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I'm finding the conservative reaction to this whole drone controversy amusing. That's to be expected at this point under this particular President. But more disturbing is the reaction from the left. The bedwetters on both sides still seem to believe if you're an American, dammit, you retain all legal protections while plotting attacks to kill other Americans inside and outside our borders. You couldn't be more wrong. And you've been officially put on notice by this administration--proceed at your own risk.

The President inherited two different drone programs in 2009, one ran by the Pentagon and another ran by the CIA. Combined, they operate out of more than a dozen military bases around the globe, from Nevada to Iraq to Qatar to Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon program operates in Iraq and Afghanistan, with three JAG lawyers on call around-the-clock at Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar to sign off on drone strikes (these lawyers are required to take a class about complying with the Geneva Conventions). For the CIA program, they use agency lawyers in Langley, but oversight remains classified and is far less restrictive since they operate in countries where the US is not officially at war, including Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.
US drones are also used in southern border patrol operations, ran by the Pentagon out of Nevada.

The programs aren't flawless--far from it. Laser-guided Hellfire AGM-114's with 100 pounds of yield can cause quite a blast without leaving much of a crater. One blown strike in June 2009 took out 45 civilians in Afghanistan. Another in 2010, targeting Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, killed 35 people, including nine civilians. Yet another in Pakistan in March 2011 killed either 21 militants (US claims) or 42 civilians (Pakistani claims). A NATO strike gone awry in November 2011 killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Do I sleep well at night knowing the downsides of the drone program? I do. I've visited maimed US soldiers from vicious Taliban IED attacks and pressure-plate 'mines', both inside and outside Afghan cities, that take off legs and arms with heartbreaking violence. Pakistan can't, or won't, stop the Pakistani Taliban from crossing the border and launching attacks on our guys, so President Obama both warned of, and then executed, attacks to protect our troops. They're quite effective.

No apologies here--the terrorists use whatever means at their disposal. So do we.

I also have no sympathy for US citizens, at home or abroad, that pose an "imminent threat of violent attack" against America. You backed the wrong side, pal, and if law enforcement doesn't stop you, the drones will.
If foreign or domestic terrorists want due process, they are welcome to surrender to any US consul or Embassy around the globe, or find any local police station within our borders and turn themselves in. They retain that choice up until the moment it's too late and their day of reckoning has arrived. At that point, they've made their decision and must face the consequences of their actions.

The guidelines we have publicly heard to date sound both reasonable and fair. And elected representatives on the Senate Intelligence Committee who requested and reviewed additional classified information on the drone policy immediately moved Brennan's nomination forward to the full Senate on a bipartisan 12-3 vote.
Extraordinary measures appear to be in place to assure any America citizen their rights whenever possible without endangering the lives of others. And the burden of proof appears to be extremely high to even consider a drone strike within US borders. But we elect and pay Presidents to make those very tough calls and any President that rules them out under any circumstances would be guilty of dereliction of duty to protect the American citizens from any and all threats, foreign and domestic.

George Bush actually issued an order to shoot down a plane of US citizens without due process on 9/11 and I do find it curious a Republican congress through 2006 chose not to pursue this debate at that time. Nor did I hear many Democrats bringing up these specific questions then either.
It's fair to maintain vigilance about our rights. But when American citizens dabble in terror and threaten the lives of myself and those I and others hold dear, we reserve our right to protection from those threats with any means available to our government...    

**Thanks to Michael Hastings excellent 'Rolling Stone' article on the drone wars for some of the information used here**

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nice strawman you got here... nt (0+ / 0-)

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:30:05 AM PST

  •  If you notice we are now in the Age of Drones. (6+ / 0-)

    I don't remember any discussion about these pilotless killer flying machines, we just got them,  and now we can fight about them forever, but I never heard anyone, any of us, debate if we should even have or use these bloodless killing machines, that has long been decided by I am really not sure who, but I know not by open debate about them, long ago and now we have them and that's that.  As an American citizen I am now the owner and deployer of drones weather I like it or not.  Shut up and press that button and fly them drones maybe at my fellow Americans, too, disclaimers not withstanding. human beings love war and it's toys.  I'm sure Martin Luthur King would think they are just dandy.  Star Wars advances.

    •  We don't have societal debates about military (6+ / 0-)

      Technology. We never have. We debate technology after it already exists. Drones are just another weapon. And while some believe that their use should be decided more democratically than by vesting that power in one person, does anyone really think it advisable for us to vote on who should be a target?

      •  Exactly, there is no democracy here only the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, k9disc

        the military development of weapons and one person deciding who will get taken out.  This discussion is therefore a waste of my time and anyone elses who thinks they impact these war toy players.  This post and your comment confirm what I was thinking.  I am without any worthy status in this debate and in fact inconsequencial.

      •  We elect the President to make those tough calls.. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenox, doc2, NedSparks, SilentBrook

        As commander-in-chief, he's always had the final word, from the Cuban Missile Crisis through Vietnam through Grenada through Desert Storm through Afghanistan through Iraq.
        When have military decisions ever required a public mandate?

        The people had their say last November. Majority rules and the winner runs the operation for four years...

        •  Not Domestically he doesn't! That's the court's (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ffour, 84thProblem, marina

          job.

          We didn't elect a quadrennial dictator. We elected a president.

          I really need to step away from the computer...

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:05:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Come back when you start making sense... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bepanda, zenox, doc2, SilentBrook

            I'm willing to bet you reserve the right to shoot someone you catch lurking on your property at 3 in the morning, even if they are later discovered to be unarmed.
            Does your due process still apply to that American citizen?

            The administration has asserted the right to kill those involved in terror operations against American citizens before they act. Nobody else, just those involved in terror operations. I personally applaud that stance and feel safer because of it, since I'm NOT involved in terror operations and have nothing to fear...

            •  How (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marina, k9disc, Roadbed Guy
              The administration has asserted the right to kill those involved in terror operations against American citizens before they act. Nobody else, just those involved in terror operations.
              Do you have to prove in a court of law that someone was actually involved? Or should we take the Administration's word?
              I personally applaud that stance and feel safer because of it, since I'm NOT involved in terror operations and have nothing to fear...
              Yes, similar to 'You need privacy only if you have something to hide'.
              •  I feel pretty comfortable in the knowledge... (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                doc2, Moravan, elmo, SilentBrook

                ...my government isn't going to try to kill me under the stated drone policy. I've seen or heard nothing--not one word--from this administration that threatens anyone not involved in terror operations.

                You can take hypotheticals to any extreme you like (I've never actually heard Rand Paul say he doesn't engage in sex with animals, so can I reasonably assume it's possible he does?), but please point any the stated threat from this administration to anyone not engaged in terror operations...

                •  Yeah, I suspect that YOU *are* confortable (0+ / 0-)

                  in that knowledge, what with your internet contributions to the cause and all.

                  So why would they target one of their lackeys?  I suspect they won't.

                  Not intentionally at least.

                  •  Oh, please (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SilentBrook

                    If they haven't targeted the Koch brothers or Roger Ailes already, I think you're pretty safe.

                    •  Why would they target their own? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      k9disc, ffour

                      That's my point - if you're in the in group, you're safe (intelligence failures notwithstanding).

                      If you're not, be wary!

                      •  You're sincerely arguing (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        SilentBrook

                        that Roger Ailes and the Koch brothers are in alliance with Obama, eh?

                        Well, then, how about sending a drone in to target Jane Hamsher, Cornell West or Adam Green? If he's done it, I missed it.

                        •  Functionally they are peas in a pod (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          k9disc

                          kinda like fights over the Keystone pipeline - the tarsands oil is getting out one way or another - the only questions is whether the pipeline or railroad 1%ers stand to profit.

                          In the case of the people you mentioned, they are all heavily invested in the MIC, which Obama has shown to be as well.  

                          Bottom line - they're all on the same side in the bigger scheme of things.

                          •  Really?!?!? (0+ / 0-)
                            In the case of the people you mentioned, they are all heavily invested in the MIC
                            So, Jane Hamsher, Cornell West & Adam Green are all heavily invested in the Military Industrial Complex? Really?!?

                            No wonder we ran Hamsher's ass off this site.

                            PrezObama's only mistake in the sequester is that he assumed that the Republicans would be more loyal to their oath of office to serve the people than their oath to Norquist to never close tax loopholes.

                            by SilentBrook on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:14:54 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I was talking about Obama, Koch Brothers, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            k9disc

                            and Roger Ailes.

                            Seriously, if an intelligent alien, maybe that one from American Dad, came to earth and apprised the situation - I suspect that he or she would quickly come to the conclusion that all 4 of them are working towards the same goal.  

                            All evidence DOES point that way . .. . right?

                          •  Irony alert! (0+ / 0-)

                            Someone who suggested that Obama might target domestic critics for drone attack is now talking about drawing a conclusion from evidence.

                            Oy!

                          •  Well, if I am doing my small part to keep (0+ / 0-)

                            irony alive, I am heartened by that.

                            OTOH, either in this diary or another one extant today, there has been discussion of how drones are just a tool, albeit one that makes the job of the Powers That Be just a tad easier . ..  .. (you know, by not having their peons killed, etc etc).

                            Nothing more or less really.

                            In that case, based on precedent of governments in the USA bombing their citizens, why * wouldn't * drones be used for this purpose in the future?  I suspect it is almost inevitable that they will be.

              •  "Before they act" = thought crime nt (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                k9disc
              •  You don't use the courts for (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SilentBrook

                crimes in progress or when an arrest would alert conspirators and thus set in motion a violent crime. It is obvious that there could be situations in which action is required by the military as opposed to by lawyers. Of course, it would be rare (as Holder said).

            •  If I shot someone outside of my property at 3 AM (5+ / 0-)

              I would most likely find myself in court to determine if it was justified.

              And the government hasn't just assumed the right to execute terrorists, they have assumed the right to potentially execute associates of terrorists.

              And what constitutes "Terror" anyway? Who decides that? Is it like porn,"I know it when I see it?" What do I need to do to ensure that I'm not executed?

              Last I checked OWS and Quakers were under suspicion of being terrorists? You think we should be bombing tent cities and peacenik farms and shit?

              Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

              by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:34:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What about the victims due process? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                doc2, SilentBrook

                Is he not entitled to due process before you shoot him? Maybe he was just drunk, or lost, when he wandered onto your property at 3 in the morning. Is it your right to make that call or the authorities?

                Quakers as terrorists in 2013? Talk about a straw man...

                •  One party's terrorist is another party's freedom (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Kingsmeg, marina

                  fighter:
                  http://abcnews.go.com/...

                  A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more than half a million names. Privacy and civil liberties advocates say the list is growing uncontrollably, threatening its usefulness in the war on terror. The bureau says the number of names on its terrorist watch list is classified.
                  http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/...
                  This week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it had added a 31-year-old American animal rights activist named Daniel Andreas San Diego to its list of “Most Wanted Terrorists.” Describing Mr. San Diego as a “domestic terrorist,” the F.B.I. warned that he “should be considered armed and dangerous.” According to the bureau, Mr. San Diego is wanted for the role he may have played in the bombings of two San Francisco-area office buildings.
                  (emphasis mine)

                  And just to make you a bit uncomfortable:
                  http://allpatriotsmedia.com/...

                  In addition to Code Pink, the bill could also designate the Progressive Democrats of America as a terrorist organization, as they have openly supported the Hamas flotilla. Members of the PDA include:

                  Rep. John Conyers (D-GA)
                  Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
                  Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
                  Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
                  Thom Hartmann (radio and television host)
                  Tom Hayden (who advocates the “peaceful” disappearance of the white race)
                  Bill Fletcher (member of the Democratic Socialists of America)

                  Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy about the prospects of Rand Paul 2016, doesn't it.

                  Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                  by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:55:22 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Big difference between being on a watch list... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    k9disc, doc2, SilentBrook

                    ...and being the target of a Hellfire missile. You are actually making my point for me--all those names cited are still alive, aren't they? No Hellfire missile assassinations among them, is there?

                    The administration standard to trigger a drone attack against an American citizen on American soil is much, much higher than anything you cited above. In fact, nobody has met that standard yet.

                    Like I said, one can imagine all sorts of threats with paranoid hypotheticals....

                  •  "Hamas flotilla"? (0+ / 0-)

                    So that's what the game was about. Get a Turkish boat with giant Turkish flags join an international relief effort to bring goods to the Palestinians. Fill up the boat with fanatic looking people although most Turks are not fanatics. Get IDF to attack the Turkish boat commando style with a "kill-list" and then when the American liberals joined by the international community cry foul, designate them as "terrorists supporting the 'Hamas' boat."

                    Wow! Amazing...I can't believe the level of monstrosity built in these plots.

                    Evil does exist.

                    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

                    by zenox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:10:16 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  If the guy has been indicted for (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SilentBrook

                    terrorism and is on the lam from the FBI, then you are right that he has only been accused and thus may be not guilty. But if he is unwilling to turn himself in to stand trial, we are supposed to perpetually give him the innocent-til-proven-guilty status? IMO, if he knows he is wanted for terrorism, but it is a case of mistaken identity, he must turn himself in. If he doesn't, the police are (of course) going to consider him an ongoing threat. You are not being logical.

                •  I don't think "due process" means what you think (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  marina

                  it means.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                  'Due process' is the legal requirement that the state must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the individual person from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due-process violation, which offends against the rule of law.
                  What is your game here? You can't be that ignorant - conflating the actions of an individual citizen and the State...

                  Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                  by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:00:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Simply pointing out how your outrage... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SilentBrook

                    ...at the government ignoring due process to protect American citizens fades away when you yourself assert your right to ignore due process to protect yourself. It's the inconsistency that weakens your argument.

                    What game are YOU playing? If you aren't involved in terror operations, you have nothing to fear. This crap about the President sitting around the WH, passing the time by picking out US citizens to bomb at random at the corner diner, sounds like something...well, it sure sounds like something Rand Paul or Sarah Palin would say!

                    Gip a grip, buddy--we're going to be all right...

                    •  Citizens don't get to practice due process. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      marina

                      The courts and the states do.

                      Like I said, that phrase doesn't mean what you think it means.

                      You are mistaking due process for right or wrong, and that's kind of my beef with your logic. You just don't get it.  

                      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                      by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:35:15 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You are claiming a right to shoot that intruder... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        doc2, SilentBrook

                        ...on your property if I understand you correctly. But I don't see how that is consistent with your stated beliefs that all American citizens deserve due process through the courts. Doesn't he get a day in court before you execute him?

                        What right are you claiming to shoot him down in cold blood without a trial? Please don't say self-defense.

                        I'll agree individuals have rights not necessarily given the state, but the government does have full responsibility to raise armies and conduct warfare for the common defense. And the constitution specifically makes the President the commander in chief of those armies, which gives him latitude to conduct military operations within the constitution.

                        The administration is asserting that the drone policy falls within it's constitutional authority. I suspect the Supreme Court will get the final say here and I believe they'll uphold the President 9-0 when that day comes...  

                        •  No, I am saying that me shooting a person on my (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          marina

                          property is not robbing him or her of his or her right to due process.

                          It may be depriving them of their life and liberty, but it has no bearing on due process whatsoever.

                          Due Process is a responsibility of the State. It's the 5th amendment. Individuals are not responsible for the bill of rights.

                          I don't have to let you talk. I don't have to let you own a gun. I don't have to protect your privacy.

                          Due process is for an accused, not a victim.

                          And you are the one that said I was shooting a guy outside my property, I was just rolling with it.

                          There is also a huge difference between me defending myself and shooting a guy loitering on my property.

                          That's kind of the point. The State can not shoot a loiterer (or a suspected terrorist) and claim that they were halting a crime that was going to be committed.

                          Of course the State has assumed that right and here you are defending it, but that doesn't mean it's proper, moral or constitutional. Remember that Plessy v Furgeson was 'constitutional' for 60 years, until it wasn't.

                          It's just a bit more complex than killing bad guys...

                          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                          by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:09:51 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Would you please answer the question. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SilentBrook

                            What about people who choose not to avail themselves of their right to due process? They refuse to face trial, go underground, and (we suspect) continue to plan and conduct crimes. What are we supposed to do then?

                          •  Assuming they have already committed crimes, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            k9disc

                            You capture them and bring them to trial, respecting due process and all that.*

                            You know, like we were taught in grade school -- equal justice for all, innocent until proven guilty, all that stuff. That's what makes used to make us such a great country.

                            * If they can't be captured, then at least we could arm the damn drones with sleeping gas or something non-lethal. Yeah, I know it's easier to just kill whoever's there and of course It Can't Happen Here.

                          •  Not that you really deserve an answer, as you (0+ / 0-)

                            and Bluestrike have been entirely obtuse as to my point and continue to try to beat your ideas into me - it's not necessary. I understand your point. I disagree with it, in it's entirety.

                            I would use like force on someone who was actively doing me harm.

                            I would not use force on someone who had done me harm or who might do me harm, or whom I believe would do me harm. If I did, I would not expect a get out of jail free card based on a self defense defense. If I were to act violently, I would expect that there would be repercussions and would budget them into my decision to act. It would be a big decision - one not taken lightly because of those repercussions.

                            That's what should happen in the "24", ticking time bomb scenario you guys keep talking about.

                            If Obama or President Bush were to shoot a hellfire missile at a bad guy in the US, to thwart a heinous crime, he should expect that there will be fallout. That he should have to fess up and come clean and plead his case to the People and to the judicial system, is important to ensuring that it doesn't happen frivolously.

                            As is, or as I understand the NDAA and current 'war footing' Unitary Executive power - no court sanction, no access to details due to National Security and Executive Privilege - it will be used not only to protect Americans from harm in a terrorist attack, but it will also be used to protect the Establishment.

                            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                            by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:36:04 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, I guess it is a good thing you (0+ / 0-)

                            are not responsible for our safety. A terrorist who has killed in the past and may be planning to kill again is not enough of a target for you? He must be actively killing at the very moment he is targeted? Again, thank you for not being my president. And my children thank you as well.

                        •  In any civilized country, (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          marina, k9disc

                          including my own (Canada), shooting down a person simply for being on your property is called 'murder'.  Period.  If that person is breaking down the door of your house, after you have ordered them to leave and called the cops, you might enter 'self-defense' territory but you will still have a lot of explaining to do if you actually shoot them before they have broken down the door and pointed a weapon at you.

                          Coincidentally, most civilized people think the current US administration's drone strikes are murder, plain and simple. Someone piloting a remote killing machine looks at some unknown house from thousands of feet in the air, and because they see 3 unknown people enter the house they decide there's a possibility they're 'terrorists' so they launch a Hellfire missile at the house, without knowing or caring who's inside or why?  Yes, that's murder.  When this is done systematically to terrorize an entire population (Afghanistan, 'Waziristan'...), it is more than 'murder', it's 'terrorism'.

                          You really think the US gov't should have the power to begin this at home?  Not the right, there is no 'right' to do this even in Afghanistan where there is arguably a war, there is merely the power to do it and have no one be able to stop it or prosecute it as a crime.

                          190 milliseconds....

                          by Kingsmeg on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:19:45 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Basically they are saying that (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SilentBrook

                      everyone is entitled to due process, even if they are hiding out from due process. We must patiently wait until we have an opportunity to safely arrest the person. That is our only avenue. Aren't progressives supposed to care for the weakest and most vulnerable over the interests of the violent bully?

                  •  That is silly. Due process is (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SilentBrook

                    available to all. But we are talking about people who, by evading detection when they know that they are wanted, are actively running from the law. They are deciding NOT to take advantage of their right to due process. So you say that we should hold off on punishing them since we can't prove them guilty since they won't allow us to. That is a Catch-22 if there ever was one. Why though you'd side with the wanted terrorist on the run is surprising though since it is you (and I) that he wants to kill. I say that if a person is wanted or indicted for violent crimes, and some time passes and they do not turn themselves in, that their due process rights are put on hold in favor of protecting society. To me, that is a commonsense progressive position to take.

              •  Unless you're in Florida (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                k9disc

                then it's a whole different can of worms.

              •  Yes, that has happened (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                marina

                The court said that the administration's use of drones to target American civilians abroad was not justiciable.

                http://www.csmonitor.com/...

          •  Ever heard of "self-defense"? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SilentBrook

            can't be used against American citizens on US soil? Courts will disagree with you. The president is not only responsible for the protection of the American citizens on foreign soil against foreign enemies but also on U S soil against domestic dangers.

            Nobody wants a dictatorship but to say that US citizens can not be defended on U S soil if the danger is domestic, one mustbe living in a cartoon universe of simple dimensions.

            "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

            by zenox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:59:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "I promise you, your honor, he was going to go out (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marina

              to his car and get his gun. So I shot him."

              "I'm sorry, I will not show my evidence of that because it is a trade secret."

              The President is also responsible for upholding the rights of all citizens, including criminals.

              Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

              by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:15:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  What if the threat comes from (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Moravan, Cedwyn, SilentBrook

            within our borders? The world is changing, rapidly. 18th Century rules are not sacrosanct; we should adapt them where necessary. In a representative democracy, you elect an executive to make the tough decisions. If you don't like the decisions he made, you elect someone else the next time. That is how the system has always worked; today's presidents simply have more power.

            And by the way, our first president led troops, personally, on horseback, to mount a fight against our own citizens at the Whiskey Rebellion. A reminder that we're not really talking about something different here (albeit with more powerful technology).

            •  Then you do police work, arrest them and give them (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marina

              a trial. Full stop.

              Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

              by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:27:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Absolutely. You try that. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SilentBrook

                No one is arguing against you on that. But say the dude keeps killing (we suspect) and we can't catch him alive and he refuses to turn himself in? Are you saying that we should just keep doing what we're doing, and hope that someday he makes a mistake so we can catch him peacefully, or hope for him someday to turn himself in? Seriously, if it were your job as president to protect us from this suspected murderer, would you just opt to wait indefinitely out of respect for "due process"?

              •  Wow, just arrest every terrorist out there... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SilentBrook

                {Palm-slap to my head}
                Billy Rosewood here has it all figured out. Just go out and arrest all the domestic terrorists before they act. Why didn't we think of that?

                Oklahoma City wasn't a terror attack, it was just a law enforcement failure. And all this time I thought McVeigh and Nichol's were to blame.

                Somebody throw Democracy a life preserver....

                 

            •  Today's Presidents simply have more tools... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              doc2, SilentBrook

              ...at their disposal.

        •  Yes. this is why we spend more dough on the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina

          military than the next 8 or 10 nations combined and no president ever cut the military in any significant way.  By the way wasn't congress supposed to authorize war under the Constitution, what a joke, we have a new dictator every 4 years and they can go to war come hell or high water, the people must support this stuff or be called unpatriotic.  At least crazy Rand Paul is severely questioning this kind of war mentality which leads to stuff like Iraq.  

          •  Rand Paul was pulling a political stunt... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zenox, Moravan, SilentBrook, WakeUpNeo

            One five-minute personal phone call to Holder and he would have received his answer. They do have phones in DC.

            But then he wouldn't have been an overnight right wing hero, would he? Let's just be clear about what Wednesday was all about...

            •  Phone call would've been superfluous (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SilentBrook

              Did Holder not assert respect for due process in his initial response to crackpot Paul and his hypothetical paranoia?

              "It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the president to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States."

              Paul had his answer all along. I'm tired of people fawning over his political theatre.
          •  We do indeed spend WAY too much (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SilentBrook

            on the military. Which is just another reason to support drone warfare. A president with direct control over unmanned drones is a very cheap alternative to our existing military footprint. We should applaud strategies that result in a much smaller (though still lethal) military.

      •  I think that Due Process should (4+ / 0-)

        dictate when we execute american citizens.

        And due process is not the job of the Executive, or the commander in chief.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:09:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is the happenstance of American birth so special? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k9disc, SilentBrook

          Why should that make such a vital distinction in matters of life or death? Born in the USA, you can feel free to engage in every terrorist act imagineable, safe from having to look over your shoulder for anything other than the local constable. Born somewhere else, you must duck and cover every time a bird flies over your head.

          Sorry, that never has made sense to me. If you object to targeted killings, you should object to them all, not just on ones targeting Americans.

          Of course, you do realize that here within the U.S., a noncitizen is entitled to the same due process rights as a citizen for criminal prosecution.

          •  Actually I don't place American Citizen's lives (0+ / 0-)

            above others.

            I have a problem with all extrajudicial killings. War is one thing (which we are currently not in IMO, BTW), but assassinations of "bad guys" while at family gatherings and such is not cool by me.

            But right now we are talking about here in the USA, and we are talking about me and you, and a bunch of people here, potentially. It's a more direct argument, and one that I stand a chance of making some common ground on with the more aggressive authoritarian types here.

            I do realize that all persons in the US are granted constitutional protections, although I don't think that's the case any longer, largely because they are not Americans. I don't want to take on an entirely different issue.

            I'm pretty floored by the acceptance of this by so many people. Apparently they now believe that bad guys are bad guys, worldwide, except for the serious people pushing the buttons on extrajudicial killings.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:15:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There hasn't been one drone killing on US... (0+ / 0-)

              ...soil yet. And the AG has called any hypothetical situations both extremely rare and under extraordinary circumstances.

              To say serious people are "pushing the buttons" is nonsense. It hasn't happened yet and it may never happen. But only a fool of a President would rule it out entirely under any possible circumstance...

              •  This is painful... I'm sure you agree... (0+ / 0-)

                Look, the President can do this, but he can't do it without having to come clean afterwards. There can't be a "national security" or Executive Privilege protection for it codified into law. If there is, then we're in trouble.

                Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:39:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Also... (0+ / 0-)

            I feel the slope slipping here. A few years ago we were all aghast at targeted killings, or at least most of us, and then when Obama won, it become OK - even desirable, which was bad IMO.

            But now we're talking about executing American citizens and people on American soil without due process, and that's just insane to me.

            We are becoming habituated to state secrets and murder as a security protocol. And we're in a war with no end.

            It's so fucked up, man...

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:18:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We may be talking about it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              doc2
              But now we're talking about executing American citizens and people on American soil without due process, and that's just insane to me.
              but this Administration is not...except in the sort of extraordinary circumstance like 9/11. I'm sure you would agree if we could have shot down the 2nd plane before it hit the Twin Towers, or the plane headed for the Pentagon, we should. Right?
      •  Last time I checked, both the CIA and the DoD (0+ / 0-)

        are not really allowed to work domestically.

        So what's your point?

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:36:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Should we have voted as a nation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook, doc2

        about whether we should use the nuclear bomb on Japan?

        I suspect a majority of the nation would have voted "yes" anyway, as I also suspect a majority of us would vote "yes" to these drone strikes.

    •  Why would a Hellfire missile be any different... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc, elmo, SilentBrook

      ...if fired from a manned jet rather than a drone?

      The issue seems to me to be how the decision is made when and where to fire the missile—not what kind of vehicle happens to be carrying the missile when it is fired.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:49:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not that simple... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook

        There is already micro-drone technology that is capable of release from a larger drone, flying through a window, and taking out designated targets within multiple rooms, while leaving the structure and other survivors alive. Real James Bond stuff. They could target terrorists and leave no trace behind except the dead bodies.

        The final call must be the commander in chief's in an emergency situation. If not his, who else would you suggest?

        •  In a true emergency situation, sure. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina
          The final call must be the commander in chief's in an emergency situation. If not his, who else would you suggest?
          If the situation is a true emergency, such that immediate action is needed in order to preserve American lives, the President is already empowered to do a whole lot... but after the emergency passes, the President (and whatever other people were involved) does have to account for his/her actions to Congress and to the American people. My concern there would be that the administration would need to be transparent about exactly how decisions were reached, and on the basis of what—a transparency that has unfortunately not been the hallmark of the presidency for at least the past century.

          But my other, more significant concern is that "emergency" isn't being very well-defined here, and the protocols by which decisions are made—whether in true emergencies or simply time-sensitive situations—do not seem to me to be very well laid-out, with little accountability for decisions before or after the fact. There needs to be a process in place for making these decisions that involves due process, accountability, and respect for basic human rights—and, in my opinion, unless it's a true emergency situation, this process needs to involve at least the judicial branch in addition to the executive branch, if it involves American citizens abroad.

          Unless it is a true emergency situation in which immediate action is absolutely crucial—in which case there must be accountability after the fact—any situation involving persons on American soil must go through ordinary due process. So long as "combat" as used in AG Holder's letter to Sen. Paul is defined elsewhere in more detail and significantly more stringency, that seems like a decent enough definition of an emergent situation in which lethal force is justified; if that isn't defined elsewhere, it's a recipe for putting far too much faith in one person, as the President would be empowered to define "combat" as loosely as possible and bring lethal force against anyone fulfilling his/her definition.

          As a rule, any unilateral presidential power I would not entrust to someone completely evil, like Dick Cheney, should not be entrusted to any president. This isn't about President Obama; it's about how our 200-year-old legal system, instituted during a time when it took weeks to even get a message across the country, hasn't caught up to the present realities of global awareness and near-instantaneous communication and strike capability. That is a shortcoming we need to address as a nation, lest we entrust too much power to an office that has, at times, been occupied by people who have proven eminently unworthy of such power.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:38:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We have entrusted our President with full control (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlackClouds

            ...over our nuclear arsenal for decades and there has been little debate about that. I think we can entrust him with the drone program. In fact, if we're going to have these weapons, we almost have to.

            It's impossible to run national security with required judicial approval. My God, what if a future court simply decided nothing justified a nuclear strike and prohibited their use in any situation? Do we just ignore the court if missiles are heading our way? If so, what's the point of the court?
            Are you really prepared to gamble our security on a decision from an unelected court that answers to no one?  

            Same with the drone program. What if the court prohibited their use anywhere on US soil? Can we just use conventional fighters to accomplish the same objective, albeit with more collateral damage?
            If so, what's the point?
            If not, would we just sit by and allow future planes to run into future towers?

            Have you really thought all this through?

      •  You are correct, JGG... It's about due process and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina

        habeas corpus.

        The tech is irrelevant.

        Here's another one.

        So you're a suspected terrorist, JGG, because you are organizing a general strike because of poor wages that will cripple shipping of vital material goods to hospitals.

        Bluestrike here thinks the President should be able to send out a drone and kill you. Or perhaps he could send out a real nice black sedan with tinted windows and take you away, he might want to use a hellfire missile if you're not going to be too close to 'civilians'.

        It's a terrible argument.

        Section 802 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Pub. L. No. 107-52) expanded the definition of terrorism to cover ""domestic,"" as opposed to international, terrorism.   A person engages in domestic terrorism if they do an act ""dangerous to human life"" that is a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States, if the act appears to be intended to:  (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.  Additionally, the acts have to occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States and if they do not, may be regarded as international terrorism.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:23:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's just ridiculous... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elmo, SilentBrook

          Like I said, one can imagine all sorts of threats with paranoid hypotheticals.

          Democracy, you are so messed up here you now appear to be claiming anyone on a terror list of any kind will be bombed by this President.

          Frankly, that's pathetic. That's nothing remotely close to the constitutional authority this administration is asserting.

          Again, it's something Rand Paul or Sarah Palin would say...

      •  I think the difference is a practical one (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, SilentBrook, JamesGG

        A manned airplane involves risk to the pilot. A drone involves risk to no American. I think this means that drone missions go forward much more easily than manned missions...which may mean that we "pull the trigger" with drones when maybe we shouldn't.

        •  I don't find that argument very compelling... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina, elmo

          ...as a reason for being more concerned about drones than about the decision-making process overall.

          None of the drone strikes that come to my mind took place in a territory where there is any question that America has complete control over air power.

          While there is definitely more human risk involved in sending in a manned jet bomber rather than a drone, since there's a person in there instead of not, the risk of the plane being shot down (as opposed to an accidental crash) doesn't seem very high to me.

          Additionally, it seems to me that the risk of the drones' technology—particularly whatever encryption protocols, etc. it uses to send and receive signals—falling into the hands of the enemy should the drone go down is in itself a pretty substantial risk.

          I may be wrong, but I don't think that the risk differential between manned and unmanned aircraft is sufficient enough in the situations in which drones are being used that it makes an impact on the overall go/no-go decision, such that the decision becomes "we wouldn't send in a piloted plane, but we'll send in a drone."

          It seems to me that what needs more oversight and accountability is the decision to send in any kind of lethal force, more than which kind of lethal force to send in.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:06:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The technology could be abused by our leaders. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Moravan, elmo, SilentBrook

    So the concern isn't crazy. But this ain't in my top 100 of things worth worrying about. In a country in which over 30,000 people each year are killed by guns, on a planet headed for 11 degree hotter temperatures and 23 foot rises in the seas, worrying about somebody dying someday by drone is, well, crazy. I guess I take back the statement that it's not.

  •  Hard on Crime (8+ / 0-)

    Dear Leader should make dabbling in any kind of crime a bad career move under his leadership.

    Remove due process from the law. Let the president's secret council decide if anyone is guilty & punish them accordingly. Very soon, all the criminals will realize that they have got into a bad career and quit and we will be crime free. And the meadows will be filled with daffodils.

    After all, you don't really need due process unless you are criminal, right?

  •  The problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, 84thProblem, Kingsmeg
    The bedwetters on both sides still seem to believe if you're an American, dammit, you retain all legal protections while plotting attacks to kill other Americans inside and outside our borders.
    As with all anti-terrorist laws the problem is here
    - Anti-Terrorist laws will be used once it's proven you are terrorist.
    - How do you prove someone is a terrorist - by using the anti-terrorist laws.

    So basically due process goes for a toss. Who cares?

  •  Drones are tools of terror (5+ / 0-)

    And we have become that which we once abhorred.

    •  ...propaganda and misleading language (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Moravan, SilentBrook

      is the real tool of "terror" which Rand Paul used effectively against the Democratic audience he had targeted.

      Paul used the language of terror (fear inducing pathos) where he had no real evidence.

      His example of a so called scenario in which American citizens are killed by drone attacks while sitting in a cafe would not even pass the editor's desk for a fiction, for it makes no sense. A potential domestic threat in U S who is being hunted would not be sitting in a cafe getting hit by a drone, unexpectedly. He can be picked up by FBI, instead. In case of the extreme possibility where the president must use a drone against a domestic threat on U S soil, you can bet that the target won't be drinking late, or walking his dog.

      Rand Paul's speechwriters know this fact. Why use? It is pathos meaning fear emotion inducing and stupefying rhetorical trick. The target audience was the Dems.

      "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

      by zenox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:32:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you lived in a Pakistan or Afghanistan (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina

        village and had these things buzzing around above you 24/7 (or not buzzing, depending on the altitude and cloud cover) - it IS a terror tool.

        Already, not in some theoretical future but right now.  'cuz in the back of your mind you never know at what instance if any the missiles will rain down on you.

        If we can do it over there, we can do it over here.  Or, to be "legal" the feds will probably outsource the operation to the likes of the NYPD (which has been done by the CIA in many other realms other than drones).

        •  Probably/ abably all of them can happen (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SilentBrook

          Afghanis have been living under worst things than the drones. Going back to the Soviet invasion et all. No drones are not the perfect choice but so far the only choice maybe helping to prevent more wars and shock and awe. How would you have handled the Afghani situation hopefully to end the war? Drones prevent troop deaths. Both Afghani and American lives are being saved by them. Do you have a better idea? Contact the president.

          About drones being used in America, raining fire on cities....

          I could think of worst things that can be done with some of the tech available to defense if I let my imagination go overboard.

          "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

          by zenox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:17:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My suggestion is to get the fuck out of (0+ / 0-)

            there and let the Afghanis figure out what to do with their country.

            •  Point taken. And my suggestion is that the (0+ / 0-)

              president is trying to "get" us " the fuck out of there" by using whatever arsenal is available to him, short of miracles.
              If you have miracles available however I am sure he would like to hear about them.

              "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

              by zenox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:56:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why is it so easy to send everything in (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                marina

                and virtually impossible to get it out?

                Heck, leave all the materials there and just fly the people off of a roof in a helicopter like they did in that iconic photograph from Vietnam.

                Seriously, if there was a will to get out, I suspect the military has the logistical wherewithal to make it happen.

                Instead, Obama is totally in the thrall of the generals who told him the solution to the Afghan war quagmire was "more war" - it's really just that simple.  Nothing miraculous has to transpire - only common sense needs to prevail.

                (he he heh eheh - of course I kid - for common sense to prevail, a major miracle would indeed be needed!)

  •  Yay for killing innocents with flying death robots (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, PhilK, Kingsmeg, Roadbed Guy, marina

    At least there's a JAG lawyer on call who took a course in the Geneva convention!

    "...we can all shut-up and go back to our caves." - Leonard Bernstein

    by progdog on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:14:35 AM PST

  •  Your diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, limpidglass, PhilK, Kingsmeg

    is  a fascist piece of shit.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:35:45 AM PST

  •  Perhaps relevant to this diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, marina, k9disc

    a recent poll has shown: Majority of Americans Opposed to Being Killed by Drone

    who'd ever have thunk it?

    •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

      Do you have any polls showing ways that a majority of Americans would approve of being killed? You know, so we could see if this kind of drone opposition is mirrored or dissimilar from other ways of being killed?

      PrezObama's only mistake in the sequester is that he assumed that the Republicans would be more loyal to their oath of office to serve the people than their oath to Norquist to never close tax loopholes.

      by SilentBrook on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:37:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suppose that all Americans who do (0+ / 0-)

        support the general concept that the POTUS has the authority to use extrajudicial means to kill US Citizens (either at home or abroad for that matter) really should approve of they themselves being killed.

        Because, after all, the rate of people killed errantly this way due to down-right faulty intelligence, or just poor targeting (collateral damage either way?) is quite large.

        So to exempt themselves is both logically and operationally unrealistic.

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