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View Diary: Droning Americans on US Soil: Why Holder's "No" is Not Reassuring (156 comments)

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  •  I am unoutraged (8+ / 0-)

    As much as everyone seeks to drape this debate in the solemn trappings of life-and-death Constitutionality, all it is a quibble over technology.  

    The US government has long had MORE than ample ability to direct targeted lethal force against any person or group of people anywhere on the planet.

    The laws and pertinent clauses of the Constitution that exist to address this (and the legal interpretations thereof) are the same whether or not we're talking about drones, CIA operatives, snipers, machine guns, etc.

    If you want to raise concerns that the AUMF gives too much power to the government, than fine, make your case.  But the fact that they may act on that now with unmanned drones rather than a highly trained marine with a .50-caliber sniper rifle changes nothing.

    I do not understand the instinctive recoiling unease the American people have with drones.  Is it that it makes war too easy? (and Smart Bombs launched 50 miles off-shore dont?)  Is it a sense of fairness in that it overly outmatches our opponent (a. isnt that the point of war? and b. and stealth bombers dont?) Is it that it seems too mindless and indiscriminate? (and Patriot missiles never cause collateral damage?  And the fact that the Air Force alone has over 50,000 personnel dedicated full-time to analyzing drone surveillance and data is hardly 'mindless')

    and this

    Under the new definition embraced by Holder, here are some of the people who could have been droned: everyone on the flight with "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, once the plane entered American air space;
    Is such an unsupported over-stretched argument it weakens every other point you are trying to make.  
    I'm trying to picture drones dropping bombs or Hellfire missiles in Chicago, New York, Virginia.
    Yes, you are.  Without purpose.  Scare harder.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:28:47 AM PST

    •  thank you, wisper. i am glad to see that more (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder, shaso, kefauver

      people are challenging this diarist with an agenda against all things government.

      it gets really old.  this is a rare occasion that i even open this drivel, but only for making sure that the alitalia incident is covered here and to point out that drones are readily accessible to anyone who has the cash to buy one.

      i am really tired of this "BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!!!" type of diary - all in an attempt to push a personal agenda.

      imho, this "published" author (self announced on this site) is here to promote her own theories and books - nothing more.

      she reminds me of david sirota - btw, he must not have any new books in the works - haven't seen him on the site for a long while.

      EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

      by edrie on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:39:15 AM PST

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    •  It's ultimate Big Brother (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward, Don midwest, aliasalias

      I think the 2nd amendment folks are loony because as you say the government already has abundant deadly force available, but I can wrap my head around the idea that at least they want to go out fighting to defend whatever they believe is worth defending.   I think it's both the surprise nature of the attack and the inability to even put your hands up and say, "hey, you've got the wrong fella".

    •  Snipers are taking out terror suspects on American (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiot, PhilJD, gooderservice, aliasalias

      soil?  Where has that happened?  Is Holder asserting the right to use snipers against them?  Actually, I might prefer it, as snipers likely cause less collateral damage than drone strikes.

      I have a problem w/ my govt summarily executing (according to drone supporter Lindsey Graham) 4,700 people, esp. when no one will ever know how many of them were women, children, and other civilians.  I have an even bigger problem w/ the executive claiming an untrammelled power to kill people and the executive refusing to disclose details of its decision-making process.

      I have this quaint idea that separation of powers and the Bill of Rights were burned in the wreckage of the twin towers on 9/11.  Obviously, many others feel otherwise or simply don't care.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:59:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In exactly the same place (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inland, blueyedace2, kefauver
        Snipers are taking out terror suspects on American soil?  Where has that happened?
        In exactly the same place that the President has ordered a targeted hellfire missile strike delivered via an unmanned drone on American Soil.

        It apparently happens NON-STOP in the febrile imaginations of many a blogger and media personality.

        Fine... don't picture them as drones.  Imagine we flew 4700 manned flights in our billion dollar airplanes like we've done in EVERY OTHER WARZONE WE'VE EVER BEEN IN.  

        And if you have links about the disclosure of the decision-making process the Executive Branch used to make targeting and strike decisions in Bosnia, Somalia, Desert Storm, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan, Georgia, Liberia, Yemen, East Timor and Sierra Leone, I would love to see them.

        Since these things all happened before the Bill of Rights was incinerated and the Executive Branch started wielding tyrannical power, I assume every one of those places listed that all had documented deployment of combat-equipped US troops had crystal clear public decision process and never engaged in any act that hurt or damaged unintended people or property.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:09:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  false comparison (0+ / 0-)
        Actually, I might prefer it, as snipers likely cause less collateral damage than drone strikes.
        Drones that are bombing (which is not all a drone can do now or will do - certainly there will be sniper drones someday soon) are not doing the job of snipers; they're doing the job of pilots who would be bombing.

        Whether bombing is an appropriate way to fight global terrorism is an excellent question. Truly. But I don't get the fuss over drone either.

    •  As used overseas, it's unsporting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher

      That sounds like I'm being dismissive, but I'm not.  It gives people around the world a compelling reason to think of us as cowardly, to hate us, to want to kill us.

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:37:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Then why the secrecy? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo
      The laws and pertinent clauses of the Constitution that exist to address this (and the legal interpretations thereof) are the same whether or not we're talking about drones, CIA operatives, snipers, machine guns, etc.

      If you want to raise concerns that the AUMF gives too much power to the government, than fine, make your case.  But the fact that they may act on that now with unmanned drones rather than a highly trained marine with a .50-caliber sniper rifle changes nothing.

      This is what troubles me.  Granted Federal forces have waged war on American citizens on American soil on occasion:  Wounded Knee Incident, Ruby Ridge and Waco, for instance.  But in the past these sorts of mini wars were waged by the FBI and US Marshals Service following the rules of law and subject to the courts.  

      For instance, after the Ruby Ridge siege, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted 14 days of hearings and concluded in part

      The Subcommittee is […] concerned that, as Marshals investigating the Weaver case learned facts that contradicted information they previously had been provided, they did not adequately integrate their updated knowledge into their overall assessment of who Randy Weaver was or what threat he might pose. If the Marshals made any attempt to assess the credibility of the various people who gave them information about Weaver, they never recorded their assessments. Thus, rather than maintaining the Threat Source Profile as a living document, the Marshals added new reports to an ever-expanding file, and their overall assessment never really changed. These problems rendered it difficult for other law enforcement officials to assess the Weaver case accurately without the benefit of first-hand briefings from persons who had continuing involvement with him.
      The surviving members of the Weaver family filed a wrongful death suit. To avoid trial and a possibly higher settlement, the federal government awarded Randy Weaver a $100,000 out of court settlement and his three daughters $1 million each in August 1995.  The attorney for Kevin Harris pressed Harris's civil suit for damages, although federal officials vowed they would never pay someone who had killed a U.S. Marshal. In September 2000, after persistent appeals, Harris was awarded a $380,000 settlement from the government.

      Contrast these cases with that of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. He was the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric tied to al-Qaida who was killed in a drone strike. The killing of the elder al-Awlaki in September 2011 attracted widespread attention because it was an example of the U.S. government using drones to kill a U.S. citizen overseas.

      The killing of his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, on Oct. 14, 2011, is a lot less well-known. The younger al-Awlaki was reportedly killed two weeks after his father and was also an American citizen, born in Denver in 1995. Tom Junod of Esquire magazine wrote that

      "there has been no similar public discussion over the death of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki because there was, until now, no hard information available about the death of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. … The administration has neither acknowledged his death or acknowledged that it killed him."
      Three things:
      1. There will be no public investigation into what led to Abdulrahman's death.  His surviving family has no recourse through the courts.  In fact, we have yet to hear word one from a defense lawyer representing any of the victims of US assassination.  American citizens killed in this way similarly would have no recourse.
      2. Once the FBI started down the path of capturing/prosecuting the Weavers, they discarded information that conflicted with their desired assessment that Randy Weaver was a dangerous individual.  The CIA let itself be used to justify a multi-trillion dollar war.  Only Joseph Wilson (not a CIA employee) spoke out (through an op-ed).  Do we think the CIA would be a better judge and jury than the FBI in these terrorism cases?
      3.  You are right that a drone is fundamentally no different than a sniper with a .50 caliber rifle.  Holder has claimed the right for the Administration to be judge, jury and executioner of American citizens by any means it chooses.  How far we've come.  When I was a young man, we debated whether the CIA could/should be allowed to take actions, or should be limited to only intelligence gathering.  This discussion was probably going on while the CIA was overthrowing the Shah of Iran.  Lost that one, but the CIA was still limited to outside our borders -- until 9/11 and FISA.  And now Jason Borne scenarios are no longer fiction.

      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

      by Helpless on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:44:35 PM PST

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    •  Bravo (0+ / 0-)

      Well-reasoned, concise.  The perfect is the enemy of the good.

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