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Raw Story reports on the UN investigation of the legality of U.S. drone strikes.  This sentence in the story lept out at me:

"US officials have claimed the administration is in the midst of completing a targeted killing rule book"
The link and more below the fold.

More from the story:

"Emerson hopes the UN inquiry will provide the Obama administration with an opportunity to make its case publicly."
Whoa!  I didn't realize it had come to this.  I thought the drone strikes were limited to high-value terrorists and on the decline.  But this development means that it is becoming permanent policy.

Thankfully, the ACLU seems to be on the case:

"The Obama administration is currently the target of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights over the deaths of three American citizens killed by US drones in Yemen. On Thursday the ACLU expressed hope that the inquiry would reign in the administration’s targeted killing campaign."
While I understand why it would be politically tough for Obama to renounce this policy because he'd be accused of being soft on terrorism, or worse, in cahoots with terrorists. And I understand that the strikes in Yemen were of a known al Queda sympathizer, and his son. BUT to make a policy of targeted killings the norm is fraught with all kinds of problems -- legal, humanitarian, you name it. Civilians gets killed. Innocents may be mistaken for militants.

Am I missing something here?  Your thoughts....

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

    by LiberalLady on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:25:50 PM PST

  •  No matter what you think of Alwaki, (9+ / 0-)

    the first strike sent to get him killed 46 people...24 of them women and children.  His son was in a third strike (after he, Alwaki was killed), specifically targeting a 16 year old minor.

    Can you imagine what this tool will do in Republican hands?  Contrary to popular belief, there will be another Republican President some day.

    When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

    by Bisbonian on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:50:05 PM PST

  •  Beats Not Having Rules (0+ / 0-)

    I guess...

    Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

    by The Baculum King on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:51:30 PM PST

  •  Welcome . . . to the 21st Century. (2+ / 0-)

    I gather that you didn't follow closely the reports out of Iraq before that war was "wound down", and although there have been quite a number of books about it the definitive "all in one place" summary hasn't yet been done.

    So I'll refer you back a bit, to Vietnam, and suggest that you read "Kill Anything That Moves".  Then review what you can find or remember about Iraq and Afghanistan.  Because without context the drones are just . . .
     

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:55:57 PM PST

    •  I just don't think drones are the same (0+ / 0-)

      because they are targeted assassinations, as opposed to combat that supposedly follows the "rules of war". There are no rules here, if they can choose whatever target they want, and execute a strike with no accountability for civilian losses. What if they're wrong, like they were with that former detainee who sued and won?

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:58:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They Say "Oops"? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bisbonian

        Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

        by The Baculum King on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:01:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  if you believe that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nuclear winter solstice

        you really need to read the referenced book.

        ". . . they can choose whatever target they want, and execute a strike with no accountability for civilian losses."

        Same old same old . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:09:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll look it up even though (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nuclear winter solstice

          it's going to depress me.

          But I guess the point should be that drone strikes only adds to U.S. capacity to kill with complete impunity.

          The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

          by LiberalLady on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:10:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm reading the book excerpt on Amazon (2+ / 0-)

          and the difference is really that with drones, the military can commit these atrocities without having to look anyone in the face, from a distance, a safe distance.

          The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

          by LiberalLady on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:19:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  air strikes, artillery, Huey door gunners . . . (0+ / 0-)

            but it really doesn't matter.  Oh, it "bothered" a few, but plenty simply enjoyed it.  Lots of them just "went hunting".

            You have to read the book . . . the excerpts don't even come close.

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:30:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Door gunners came under fire once in a while... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nuclear winter solstice

              ...okay, pretty damned often... and pilots occasionally got shot down.  This insulates them even further.  And, without actually having to know how to fly a plane, they just pick video-game proficient kids to do the work.  Not a lot of moral restraint, from what I can tell.

              When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

              by Bisbonian on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:36:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Rules of war (0+ / 0-)

        Combat involving non-state parties is covered by the second protocol to the Geneva Conventions.. In part this states in Article 6:

        2. No sentence shall be passed and no penalty shall be executed on a person found guilty of an offence except pursuant to a conviction pronounced by a court offering the essential guarantees of independence and impartiality.
        In particular:
        (a) the procedure shall provide for an accused to be informed without delay of the particulars of the offence alleged against him and shall afford the accused before and during his trial all necessary rights and means of defence;
        (b) no one shall be convicted of an offence except on the basis of individual penal responsibility;
        (c) no one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence, under the law, at the time when it was committed; nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than that which was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed; if, after the commission of the offence, provision is made by law for the imposition of a lighter penalty, the offender shall benefit thereby;
        (d) anyone charged with an offence is presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law;
        (e) anyone charged with an offence shall have the right to be tried in his presence;
        (f) no one shall be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.

        3. A convicted person shall be advised on conviction of his judicial and other remedies and of the time-limits within which they may be exercised.

        4. The death penalty shall not be pronounced on persons who were under the age of eighteen years at the time of the offence and shall not be carried out on pregnant women or mothers of young children.

        Cruel and inhuman treatment (NOT JUST TORTURE) is also banned. The USA's failure to ratify this additional protocol is one reason for it being a pariah in international law compliance. On the other hand it was a supporter of the third protocol which allowed for a further international symbol alongside the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The Red Crystal was a response to those whose religions do not use these symbols, most notably the Israelis who demanded that the red Star of David be allowed. This partial victory (protected status applies to persons, locations or vehicles displaying one of the three international symbols even if other local symbols are also present) means that like the USA, Israel does not recognise the first and second protocols but does the third.

        "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:34:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  the strikes are military attacks, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          not.criminal punishments.

          •  These are not "military" attacks (0+ / 0-)

            as these can only take place in the context of war. Wars can only take place between "state parties", ie nations. THAT is why the protocol was introduced, if you read, you will see it relates to conflicts involving "non state parties".

            These are in fact targeted assassinations with little or no regard for anyone in the vicinity - something which is a crime under the Conventions and their protocols.

            These people have been accused of criminal acts or conspiracy to commit them. As such they should be subject to a fair trial.

            The themes of the "war on terrorism" are coming through in your response and show just how corrosive to human rights that nonsense has become.

            "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

            by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:24:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  "targeted" Signature Strikes are just that only (0+ / 0-)

        it means nothing is known about the target other than a pattern of activities, where they go, who they meet etc. and then it's bombs away.
         No idea of the name or crime, if any, committed by the victim, but if they are of military age they are automatically listed as a 'militant', but in our sense of Justice all victims can be POSTHUMOUSLY found innocent if good evidence is presented.

        Then we have 'Double Tap',  (a recognized war crime) where after a bombing there is a wait period for 'first responders to arrive....medical help, friends, concerned people, and then another bombing strike.

        The CIA has also targeted funerals and weddings, so I don't think they are worried about any 'rules'.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:18:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Or WW II or WWI (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings

      Or most wars before in which civilians were targeted

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 09:01:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're making me cry, Baculum King (2+ / 0-)

    I don't want my government to do this! This is not what I voted for. It has to be illegal. There's just no excuse.

    The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

    by LiberalLady on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:05:09 PM PST

    •  until they accidentally kill someone prominent in (0+ / 0-)

      the contiguous 48, no one 'round here is going to notice or give a damn. I hear people rejoicing all the time over how well our drone system works. Kill 'em now by video so we don't actually have to be there. Yay. (bleah...)

  •  Next (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, aliasalias

    you should look up "signature strikes" and "double tap" strikes.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:10:48 PM PST

    •  I will (4+ / 0-)

      and I really hope that the ACLU has some success in their suit, even though they will be vilified.  I just don't think any government should be able to kills a citizen without due process -- I don't care about the f**ing war on terror!

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:13:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The drones are high tech guerilla warfare in (4+ / 0-)

    opposition to terrorism.  Other nations will get drones and will have their own rule books which will dismiss a certain number of civilians and volume of collateral damage as acceptable.  All this will escalate in the same way the A-bomb and H-bomb did.  We have used the drones first just as we were first to nuke a foreign country to decimate Japan and intimidate the Russians.  We are well armed militarily but not morally.  The cyber wars will blossom soon and we won't be able to have these exchanges.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:14:46 PM PST

  •  Kind of like Salt Lake City today: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nuclear winter solstice

    a slippery slope.

    (freezing rain and hills do not an agreeable situation make)

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 10:04:45 PM PST

  •  The "rule of law" means that the law, (2+ / 0-)

    which is obviously made by men, is used to distinguish legal from illegal behavior.
    What needs to be repealed is the Congressional Authorization to Use Military Force against individual un-traditional combatants, aka terrorists, aka people who scare us.
    Congress gave the executive a blank check and the Obama administration, being legalistic, is trying to codify the behavior in rules. From the beginning, the operators of the drones have been "supervised" by legal advisers who would sign off on a particular target. All that's happening now is the process is being routinized or regularized. Regulations serve to make functions routine and predictable -- no surprises. When anomalies turn up, the regulations have to be revised.

    Our laws are not ethical. Never have been. Slavery was legal. The exclusion of aliens is legal. Detention of suspects is legal. Killing in retribution, instead of just defense, is legal. The ramifications of what we euphemistically call "capital punishment," as if it were a good thing, are many. The state claiming the right to order the extinction of a human life is evidence of the belief that the state is superior to the individual natural person. Property rights trump human rights. Property rights justify killing other humans. Property makes some people more important than others. Property is a comfort to the insecure, who have reason to feel insecure because the propertied class is out to do them in.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 11:45:58 PM PST

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