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View Diary: Eugene Robinson on Assassination by Remote Control (75 comments)

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  •  No but will take a herculean task to convince (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, johnny wurster, doroma

    people that killing Al Qaeda terrorists is bad.

    •  You mean that killing (13+ / 0-)

      targeted people who are maybe Al Qaeda and bystanders and mistakenly targeted innocent people and rescuers, based upon guesses, is bad. In addition to terrorizing whole towns, motivating even more people to oppose us, and in general supporting global military/economic empire. But it's popular!

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:14:04 PM PST

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      •  The 83% figure just shows how far off-base (11+ / 0-)

        our nation has become.  We are no longer the 'light on the hill', as we once were, we are now a super power that is comfortable breaking international laws whenever it suits our purpose.

        This debate will take a different turn if another nation decides to kill an enemy combatant on American soil using a drone, because we will have to admit that an act of this nature on our own soil is illegal or even an act of war...just like it is when we use a drone to commit murder in another country (no matter if the targeted person is a terrorist, the innocent people who become collateral damage are victims of murder).  So, does the use of drones mean we are in a de facto war with Pakistan?  Yemen?

        The president is fighting to prevent this debate from ever happening because it will face a fierce legal challenge at some point, and then that leaves him open to 'international war crimes' accusations..

        And don't forget the money trail behind all of this...

        •  Suit our purposes (5+ / 0-)

          or perhap suit the purposes of our allies.

          There has been speculation, based on evidence, that some of our drone strikes are done not to protect our interests, but to satisfy the requests of country who allow us to operate on their soil.

          There has also been speculation, rather convincing I thought, that drone strikes were used for political reasons in Pakistan during a time when Pakistanis were so up in arms about drone strikes that they told us to stop and then wanted an admission and an apology for a strike that killed 24 people who were not enemy combatants.  They refused our convoys passage through Pakistan.  We were pressuring them to open up their passages to us for quite a long time and during that time the frequency of drone strikes increased significantly.  There were suggestions in the media that the reason for the increase in drone strikes was to pressure the Pakistanis.  

          More recently, there were drone strikes in northern Yemen, far away from the area where we had been conducting strikes against AQAP.  Around the same time the existence of the secret drone base in Saudi Arabia was revealed.  This is another thing that had been speculated on in the media for months.  But after the strikes in unusual areas, there was more speculation about who the targets were, and whether they were truly enemy combatants presenting a threat to the U.S. or whether they were targets the Saudis wanted to take out.

          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 03:56:16 AM PST

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          •  The appreciation for indirect action, which leaves (0+ / 0-)

            the authority unidentified, is neither genetically nor ethnically determined.  All sorts of people are persuaded that having an agent is better than getting one's own hands dirty.

            Did God the Father not send His Son to take care of a problem?

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:48:41 AM PST

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      •  Not only a guess (4+ / 0-)

        Sometimes it is an anonymous guess.  The public has been misled, purposely, about the nature of drone strikes.  Not all of these bombings are a result of targeting a known terrorist.  Signature strikes are done on people we don't know, based on some criteria that might be as simple as being in the wrong place geographically.  In those cases, we have no idea who it is that we just killed.

        Also, deliberate suppression of information about women and children blown up by drones is being done.  I do believe that some of those 83% are persuadable and I'd take it further than that.   The high approval rate is a result of secrecy and blatant lying about these drone programs.

        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 03:49:15 AM PST

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      •  But that's not what your diary was about. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster

        Your diary specifically denies the right of the United States government to kill any US citizen abroad.

        During World War II we killed enemy soldiers without regard to citizenship.  Sometimes they were US citizens.  We did this because there was a declaration of war.  Now we have an AUMF, whatever one thinks of it, and I don't understand what's different.  

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 04:32:15 AM PST

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        •  and thats why, as a matter of US law, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rich in PA

          the strikes are clearly legal.  if people want them ended, their recourse is to politics, not the courts.

          •  not necessarily (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            you are expanding Hamdan beyond where SCOTUS took it, and even if that means AUMF functions as a declaration of war, then our actions would still be bound by international convention and treaties, and the person who is an expert on such matters with whom I spoke AFTER Hamdan argued that such actions were still not legal

            "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

            by teacherken on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 04:53:33 AM PST

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            •  No, I think Hamdan is squarely on point. (0+ / 0-)

              It tells us that the AUMF triggers the war powers and grants the President the power to wage war including all the incidents thereto (which is how they held that the President had the power to detain).

              The international law angle is interesting, especially for those of us that are outside looking in to the community.  A few thoughts:

              - The actions have to be legal under international law as construed by US courts.

              - That said, this is one of those odd areas that are non-justiciable legal questions.  A court almost certainly won't interpose itself between the President and battlefield operations, so there probably won't.

              - I'm a small-d democrat, so my view is that we are bound exclusively by those treaties which we have ratified.  Intl law jurists, on the other hand, treat all manner of things that aren't subject to the democratic process - like opinions of the ICRC, opinions of jurists and professors, UN Gen Assembly resolutions - as binding.  This strikes me as deeply undemocratic.  What I think is oddest of all is the lack of meta analysis in international law.  What is it, in what sense can it be seen as "law," how is it consistent with democracy and how it can be legitimate in the absence of democratic ratification, etc.  I haven't read too much international law, but I've rarely come across much that gets to these questions.  (that's not to say it's not out there, though)

        •  are you directing this to me? eom (0+ / 0-)

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 04:52:00 AM PST

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    •  maybe we should first ask (18+ / 0-)

      who gets to determine who is and isn't a terrorist?

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:48:19 PM PST

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    •  so what? (5+ / 0-)

      not so very long ago a majority of people opposed marriage equality, but we have changed that

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 03:17:18 AM PST

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