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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:02 PM

The legal dilemma over drone strikes: justified killings or war crimes?

Military lawyers can be intimately involved in life-or-death decisions on the use of drone strikes, authorising attacks long before the button is pushed. They often sit alongside ground-based pilots in remote stations such as Creech US air force base in Nevada that control drones thousands of miles away.

Their advice can be critical in deciding whether the risk to civilians of launching a missile are proportionate to the aim of the operation. Deploying drones, defence officials acknowledge, raises thorny legal dilemmas.

International legal action has mostly focused on the US programme of targeted killings by drones in Pakistan's tribal lands, Yemen and Somalia states where there is no declared war or United Nations-authorised conflict.

"Given the munitions, it is the rare attack that spares the lives of bystanders," says Mary Ellen O'Connell, professor of international law at Notre Dame University, Indiana. She says more than 2,200 people are estimated to have been killed by drones during the three years of the Obama administration in Pakistan alone. She has compared targeted killings by drones to the "excessive use of military force" for which the US condemns President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The human rights group Reprieve has initiated legal actions in the US on behalf of relatives of those killed in alleged indiscriminate US drone strikes in North Waziristan. (The UK is also under pressure after claims that British security agencies may have been involved through sharing intelligence with Nato allies.) UN experts have called on the US to justify its targeted killings. Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions, has alleged some may constitute war crimes.


Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/02/drone-strikes-thorny-legal-questions?newsfeed=true

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Reply The legal dilemma over drone strikes: justified killings or war crimes? (Original post)
The Northerner Aug 2012 OP
RC Aug 2012 #1
indie9197 Aug 2012 #2
SidDithers Aug 2012 #3
Bonobo Aug 2012 #4
SidDithers Aug 2012 #5
Bonobo Aug 2012 #7
SidDithers Aug 2012 #8
Bonobo Aug 2012 #9
SidDithers Aug 2012 #10
Bonobo Aug 2012 #11
SidDithers Aug 2012 #12
Bonobo Aug 2012 #15
patrice Aug 2012 #35
rug Aug 2012 #16
sabrina 1 Aug 2012 #30
patrice Aug 2012 #36
Tierra_y_Libertad Aug 2012 #23
mike_c Aug 2012 #26
Poll_Blind Aug 2012 #6
Oblomov Aug 2012 #13
SidDithers Aug 2012 #14
Oblomov Aug 2012 #17
SidDithers Aug 2012 #18
Oblomov Aug 2012 #19
Comrade Grumpy Aug 2012 #25
sabrina 1 Aug 2012 #31
patrice Aug 2012 #32
patrice Aug 2012 #29
Solly Mack Aug 2012 #20
bemildred Aug 2012 #21
Tierra_y_Libertad Aug 2012 #22
1-Old-Man Aug 2012 #24
Fantastic Anarchist Aug 2012 #27
patrice Aug 2012 #28
sabrina 1 Aug 2012 #33
patrice Aug 2012 #34
sabrina 1 Aug 2012 #37
patrice Aug 2012 #40
patrice Aug 2012 #44
Herlong Aug 2012 #38
MNBrewer Aug 2012 #39
patrice Aug 2012 #41
patrice Aug 2012 #42
patrice Aug 2012 #43

Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:46 PM

1. Targeted killing by drones is a war crime.

 

International legal action has mostly focused on the US programme of targeted killings by drones in Pakistan's tribal lands, Yemen and Somalia states where there is no declared war or United Nations-authorised conflict.


Can anyone imagine the uproar and calls for retaliation if any other country dared to try to do the same thing to any of our war criminals, in this country? There'd be a loud outcry for making the attacking country a glass parking lot. Yet, we do it to other countries with seemly impunity.
What is the difference between a Star Chamber and the way we pick people to murder with drones in countries we are NOT are war with. I'm not seeing any.
And then there are the innocent people killed in the vicinity of the intended target. Guilt by proximity is now a capital crime? Does that mean we can charge the survivors of the James Holmes shootings in the theater with murder too?

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:37 PM

2. Drones are the new nuclear weapons. They need to be outlawed by all

civilized countries.

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:14 PM

3. 285...nt

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:22 PM

4. If your counting has to do with the OP and not the content, it is a TOS violation.

Attacking the OP is not acceptable.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:23 PM

5. Good edit...

The counting has to do with the content, so you don't have to worry.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #5)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:50 PM

7. So what do the numbers mean?

Also, if it is your practice to follow him around and post this running count on all his threads, what is your intent?

If you do not explain the meaning of the numbers, then it cannot be that you are trying to educate anyone or illuminate the subject.

As such, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that you are engaging in some form of threat or bullying of the OP.

Either dissuade me from this notion or expect me to follow up.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:53 PM

8. No...

I ain't explaining anythin' to you.

You do what you think you need to do. But isn't your attacking me here the same sort of TOS violation you're accusing me of? Isn't your threat to "follow up" the very bullying you see in others?

Pot, kettle, and all that.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #8)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:58 PM

9. This is the first (and only) thread I have spoken to you on.

In contrast, you appear to be stalking the OP of this thread in numerous of his OPs concerning drones.

You will not explain your purpose, but is not difficult to see it as a form of bullying.

BTW, stopping a bully with threats of telling others of his bullying is not the same as becoming a bully yourself.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:00 PM

10. Am I posting a "running count on all his threads", as you're accusing me of doing?...nt

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #10)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:09 PM

11. I saw two threads in which you had posted consecutive numbers.

The numbers were "285" in one thread and "286" in another.

It looked like this;

"285..."

"286..."

It certainly gave me the impression that this was something you had been doing for a while and were going to continue to do.

I asked politely for an explanation. Your refuse to give one, casting further suspicion on your methods and motives.

I personally think you should stop. It is rather low-class behavior to stalk someone because you don't like them posting about issues that make you uncomfortable.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #11)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:16 PM

12. And the personal attacks continue...

You didn't politely ask for an explanation. You accused me of a TOS violation.

You accused me of posting a "running count on all his threads", apparently without checking if that was in fact true.

You've accused me of bullying and threatening.

And you've accused me of stalking the poster.

Now I'll politely ask you to retract your accusations.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #12)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:20 PM

15. No...

You are seeing what you want to see.

I said "If you are doing this... it is a TOS violation"

Then, I asked what you were doing. Yes, politely.

You said you would not explain. Your right, of course. But you cannot blame me for drawing reasonable conclusions if your refuse to explain.

I daresay that most people would draw the same conclusions.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #15)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:48 PM

35. I'm a reasonable person. 285 isn't "information", because it has no context,

and even if it were information, if I knew 285 what for example, it has no valence, because the poster of that information, in this case, Sid, posits no predicate for 285-whatevers.

On the matter of "stalking": That is 50:50, an indeterminate "answer". Sid could be searching for this DU user : Sid could just be wandering around and seeing this DUser and clicking on his/her threads whenever he sees them. Without more information, I don't know whether it is stalking or not and, though it COULD well be stalking, at a 50:50 probability, a decision in favor of one probability in favor of another is bias.

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #12)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:25 PM

16. So, answer him. I read the content. 285 is meaningless to that.

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #12)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:01 PM

30. What do the numbers mean? n/t

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #30)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:50 PM

36. The numbers mean something/anything/nothing & IMO, that's Sid. nt

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 02:08 PM

23. 629

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 03:09 PM

26. 479

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:48 PM

6. Dunno technically, but definitely fits the legal definition of crime against humanity

The systemic, indiscriminate killing of groups of persons in Afghanistan/Pakistan by drone-launched Hellfire missiles (but also occasionally by other air platforms) clearly fits the definition of a crime against humanity. The indiscriminate nature of the killings is so completely out of control that the United States has regularly also killed Pakistani troops who it admitted later it had absolutely no reason for being targeted, even as collateral damage because of nearby militarily-legitimate targets. It has even, on occasion, included our own US troops.

Similar crimes against humanity were regularly committed by the Bush Administration as well, although previous strikes from the air were carried out by fighter jets.

Simply put, there is little oversight or recourse over the triggermen and women who launch the attacks via drone. The "bar" for an acceptable target is so low, it's not just laughable, it's criminal. From what I've read, the current bar is as low as a presumed adult male, carrying a longarm and that there are presumed to be no children present. That's it. Well, just about every male over the age of 15 in the region has a rifle, regardless of who they fight for or against.

As shambolic and untrustworthy as the Pakistani government is, only the United States actually tolerates these acts and bears special responsibility for the deaths as a consequence.

These "rules of engagement" are not limited to Afghanistan/Pakistan. The "Collateral Murder" video released by WikiLeaks shows the death of Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen under a very similar if not exact set of rules.

PB

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:17 PM

13. Democracies don't do assassinations.

Tyrannies are where one person has the power of life or death over another person without due process of law.

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Response to Oblomov (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:18 PM

14. Who is the tyrant in your scenario?...nt

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #14)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:35 PM

17. I don't know. George Walker Bush? He killed a U.S. citizen without trial.

Who were you thinking of?

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Response to Oblomov (Reply #17)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:47 PM

18. I wasn't thinking of anyone. I wanted to know who you were thinking of...

that's why I asked the question.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #18)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 01:29 PM

19. Are you a policeman?

You act like one who's trying to get me to admit to a crime.

All I did was point out that a president of the United States who thinks it's legal to kill a citizen of the United States without due process of law acts as a person who is above the law.

That's what Nixon meant when he said: "When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal."



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Response to Oblomov (Reply #19)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 02:59 PM

25. He's one of the self-appointed guardians of purity.

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #14)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:05 PM

31. Bush claimed total control over decisions of life and death without review, without input

by Congress. Iow, he took away the balance of powers that makes this country a Democracy.

Do you agree with him?

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #14)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:09 PM

32. Always a good question, but one that IS extremely hard to answer, so the best

we can do is always ask that question and ask others to ask it and all of us admit the very real limitations of any of our answers.

Most people are not willing to engage in that level of un-certainty even though they live in it ALL of the time.

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Response to Oblomov (Reply #13)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 03:57 PM

29. We don't live in a Democracy. We live in a Republic.

Republics can have more or less direct (democratic) representation. Ours is very indirect, because of corporate personhood, campaign finance corruption in general, and lack of campaign finance transparency in particular.

I wish it were otherwise, so that the people COULD decide directly/democratically whether to defend themselves (and I do mean themselves, not just delegate that responsibility to the poor), or decide that it is un-necessary.

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 01:32 PM

20. K&R

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 01:41 PM

21. There is no dilemma, there is an unwillingness to face the facts.

Assassination is not a fair trial, and declaring that you are at war with the deceased is just butt-covering. If we are not willing to live up to our own Constitution, why whould anybody take seriously our whining protests about human rights and corruption elsewhere?

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 01:42 PM

22. Gee, I wonder why the United States isn't signed on to the ICC?

Could it possibly be because we don't want our war criminals to stand trial?

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 02:17 PM

24. Drone strikes are as indiscriminate as chemical or biological weapons

And if I'm not mistake it is a war crime to use either biological or chemical weapons.

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 03:14 PM

27. If we really want to operate under the banner of international law, which we don't,

... then they constitute war crimes. But everyone knows that the United States, and certain other allies play by a different set of rules. Not even "set" because that implies some sort of consistency. It's more like different malleable parameters of rules. Well, I wouldn't even say "rules" ... more like "unlawful set of dictates" or "fatwas" if you prefer.

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 03:38 PM

28. I don't know. That doesn't excuse me, but it IS a fact. I. don't. know. & I do know:

- This is the situation we are in; we are NOT in some other more ideal situation & pretending that we are, and acting upon that error, damages not only whatever good can rise out of our current situation, and hence the future too, but, also, therefore, damages the prospects of those future situations becoming something closer to that ideal that we all desire so much.

- These drone decisions are based upon probabilities, probabilities that I cannot calculate, because I do not possess the necessary information;

- People make decisions similar to drones, also based upon probabilities, which I, and perhaps they, cannot calculate, all of the time, decisions like whether and when to have an abortion, supporting capital punishment, and the right to bear and to use arms . . . we could even extend those types of decisions to how certain government or corporate economic policies contribute to the suffering and deaths of certain other persons, our own nationals or foreigners . . .

- The reason that it is necessary for people to make these and all similar such decisions is because, even if it were possible to write them, perfect laws, laws and regulations that fit ALL situations perfectly, ALL of the time, for ALL people, are not possible, so we MUST rely upon individual FREE rational decisions about individual behaviors, ALL behaviors, even just "flipping a switch." And even if we could write such perfect laws, they would not be good for humans in their effects upon the intrinsic value of freedom to who and what each person is, especially as that is manifested in more or less perfect decision/choice making by ALL persons;

- Since most/none of us are free enough to be making fully rational decisions, for or against all forms of more or less direct murder, it will do little or nothing, or even damage the processes of liberation, to ignore that fact and continue to pretend that we live in a FALSE ideal world where just pretending something, through some form of mumbo-jumbo, makes it true, instead of doing the rational, actual, concrete, down-and-dirty, low, boring, daily grind work of actually getting out there and helping people free themselves, so that drone (and all other such similar) decisions become less and less likely a "necessary" probability.

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Response to patrice (Reply #28)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:17 PM

33. Was Bush right then when he claimed total power over all decisions like this? Were we on the

left wrong to have opposed him?

Frankly I don't think this is as complex as you appear to think. We have laws, they were the result of decisions made after long and thoughtful debate.

We are either a country comprised of:

1) three branches of government all with equal powers, or we are

2) a country of arbitrary decisions to be made by only branch of that government.

I prefer #1, the 'balance of powers' idea. I thought it was a brilliant way to set up a Government, and while not guaranteed to prevent someone from grabbing power for themselves, it certainly limits that possibility.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #33)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:31 PM

34. All persons should maintain and OWN their rights to their own decisions. I am just

thinking about what rational honesty about what those decisions are will help everyone to do that.

My personal bias is about how we really need to stop projecting all of the responsibility for all of the mistakes upon others and that goes for the persons who are making those key-strokes that result in drone attacks too. However, in saying that I still am in the position that I must accept the fact that there are persons who have honestly decided differently from what I would decide in the same situation and the only thing I CAN do about that difference, given my own situation, is to have more integrity in my own behavioral decisions as they relate to the root causes of the whole thing.

I'm tired of bitching about stuff after the fact. I'm tired of bitching about stuff that we just respond to by switching actors or labels and re-enacting the whole scenarios over and over again. Changing this is a problem because it amounts to a different kind of commitment to change than most people, even some so-called peace advocate like Paulites, are willing to engage in and MOST especially the probabilities of specific financial commitments to certain countries which are necessitated by our recent war mongering abroad. I'm also worried about the kind of ground that those seeds of responsibility will fall on.

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Response to patrice (Reply #34)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:52 PM

37. We have laws that society collectively agreed on through their chosen representatives.

According to those laws elected officials do not have the right to, as you say "maintain and OWN their rights to their own decisions". They asked US, the American people, to trust them to represent us which means they abide by the already agreed-upon laws which are there to help them when they have major decisions to make.

While individuals such as you or I who were not elected and who did not take an oath upon election to 'defend and protect the Constitution of the US against all enemies, foreign and domestic' CAN make our own personal decisions, right or wrong, we did not ask for the trust of the people to make those decisions within in the framework of the US Constitution. Every elected official in this country takes that oath when they are sworn into office.

Now, if America has come to the conclusion, as Bush apparently did, that the Constitution is just a 'piece of paper', then let us decide that it is no longer relevant or workable and stop pretending that we are a 'Country of Laws, Not Men'. Let's just get rid of it altogether, OR, let's start demanding that our elected officials abide by the Rule of Law. One or the other.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #37)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:58 PM

40. All true, but what about the fact that, whether we like it or not, that "representation"

IS corrupt.

Which corruption has resulted in quite a few dangerous problems for those who would NEVER have chosen this situation in the first place, thinking especially of children here, Americans AND Muslim.

H - O - W do "we" end that, or at least limit it as much as we possibly can?

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #37)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 05:32 PM

44. I think we may agree that the Constitution is not the God some people want to

pretend that it is.

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:52 PM

38. Fascism on our front door

 

And all legals experts should examine and discuss this practice openly.

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:54 PM

39. I think it all depends

on where one's lips are located with respect to the Obama Administration's rear end.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #39)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 05:18 PM

41. A VERY broad statement about BILLIONS of people, ergo, bias. Without

enough of the right kinds of information, it could just as probably be a commitment to NO ideology/authority/power that has yet manifested itself, or at least one that I/you have not/cannot recognized.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #39)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 05:23 PM

42. Billions of people + a practically infinite number of permutations of factors per

person.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #39)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 05:27 PM

43. Just because you can't/don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there; doesn't mean

it IS there either, but pretending that you KNOW it isn't there doesn't make that true.

How many chess gambits do you know? Are the ones you can't/don't see not real?

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