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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:07 PM

A Note On 'Drone Strikes', Ladies And Gentlemen

The largest problem in discussion of this matter is that it does not fit neatly into familiar categories, leaving people to choose that which suits them best, rather than that which might be the most accurate fit.

The source of this poor fit with existing categories is that what is actually occurring is a passage of hostilities between a state actor and a non-state actor, namely the United States and a loose-knit movement of Islamic fundamentalists who manage to wield on occasion in places military power approximating that of an established state.

That such hostilities exist, and are pressed from both sides, is beyond argument: that is a fact. One may view the hostilities as more or less justified from either side, or as being of one degree of seriousness rather than another, and adopt a view accordingly of what policies may be most appropriate to their conduct, but to deny that such a state of mutual, and mutually pressed, hostilities exists, is to remove oneself from sensible conversation, waving a flag inscribed 'Carry on without me, folks, I am not taking this any more seriously than you ought to take me.'

Traditionally, states faced with hostilities pressed by a non-state actor refuse to treat adherents of the non-state body as belligerents, but rather consider them simply as common criminals, engaged in a variety of felonies. This is, however, a political decision, not something required by existing law. States make this decision, when they do, because they feel it casts the non-state actor in a bad light, and makes it easy for people to ignore the political aims of the non-state body, so that no one needs bother considering whether these aims are legitimate or not. The benefits to a state from this course are obvious, but it does come at some cost, at least to a state which has some tradition of liberty under law. This cost is restriction of state action against the hostile non-state actor to the bounds of ordinary police enforcement of criminal law; the whole panoply of warrants for search and arrest, trial with evidence and defense, and so forth. This can render dealing with the hostile non-state body somewhat more difficult, and more time consuming, all of which may well allow the hostile non-state body appreciably greater scope for action.

But a state may well decide, and certainly is within its rights to decide, to treat the non-state body pressing hostilities against it as a belligerent party, as an object for the war-fighting power of the state to engage. While this does elevate the political status of the non-state actor somewhat, the state may gain benefits more than commensurate with this. Put bluntly, at war, the state is free from any constraints of police enforcement and court adjudication of criminal law in its treatment of adherents to the the non-state body it regards as being at war with it. No one ever served a search warrant on a pill-box, no one ever set out to place members of an enemy infantry regiment under arrest and bring them to trial. Enemy combatants in the field are simply killed, and if taken alive, are simply held prisoner until hostilities are concluded. The state is bound only by treaties it has entered into regarding the conduct of war, into which concepts of criminal law and civil liberties simply do not enter.

The third possible category which exists is insurrection. Insurrection must arise within the bounds of a state, and be conducted by persons who are inhabitants or citizens of the state, and are expected to show it loyalty accordingly. If one takes an expansive view of the United States as Empire, it would be possible to class the hostilities the loose-knit body of Islamic fundamentalists are pressing against the United States as insurrection: one would have to regard them as subjects of the Empire, whose writ runs over the whole of the Islamic world. If one does view the thing as, in some sense, an insurrection against imperial rule, the thing is simply brought back to the case of warfare, for a state's or an empire's relation to an insurrection is one of war, where the insurrection is powerful enough to maintain control of some portion of territory within its bounds, and field organized armed forces. This condition, as a matter of fact, obtains in several places at present ( providing one is prepared to accept, even if only for purposes of argument, that those places are within the imperial bounds of the United States ).

It is the presence of citizens of the United States among the adherents of the non-state body engaged in hostilities which gives this categorical uncertainty ( or in some cases, deliberate blurring ) its great heat. Such persons, if the matter is regarded as not being warfare ( commonly on the grounds that war occurs only between states ), would be entitled to the full range of protections and rights under the Constitution. If the matter is regarded as warfare, however ( on the reasonable ground that the non-state body they have cast their lot with meets the qualifications for a belligerent party ), then such persons are simply enemies in the field, and liable to all the hazards of participation in war against a state, with their citizenship becoming immaterial, save for its placing them at hazard of prosecution for treason should they be taken alive.

My personal view is that the matter ought to be regarded as warfare. A citizen of the United States who adheres to an external body engaged in hostilities with the United States is just one more combatant in the field against the United States, with no right to be treated as anything but a combatant in the field against the United States. It is proper for the authorities of the United States to continue to treat such a person as a citizen, if he is taken alive. But the authorities of the United States are under no obligation to take extraordinary steps to take him alive, rather than kill him in the course of military operations against the belligerent party he has joined.

And to forestall likely reflexive responses, had the previous administration killed al' Alawi in the Yemen, my attitude would not be different by a whisker.

393 replies, 42322 views

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Reply A Note On 'Drone Strikes', Ladies And Gentlemen (Original post)
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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:15 PM

1. DU rec...

A most excellent post.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:27 PM

295. -1

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Response to blkmusclmachine (Reply #295)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:31 PM

296. +2...



Sid

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:17 PM

2. K & R. n/t

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:19 PM

3. You do realize that the problem that arises from treating terrorism as warfare...

...treating the entire world as a battlefield and giving the president the full authority to decide on a whim who is a combatant or not effectively makes the US president a dictator?

War-time or emergency powers are the traditional channel through which democracies die.

There is nothing, nothing at all, that will stop a future president from using these powers against political opponents.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:25 PM

9. The Chief Problem With Your Response, Sir

Is the cheap rhetorical device 'to decide on a whim who is a combatant or not' which you have employed. You know perfectly well these decisions are not made on a whim; they are made on the best information available, with a great degree of conscientiousness. Other elements could be engaged, but this basic frivolousness at the start makes that unnecessary.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:27 PM

11. To emphasize your point, how many Americans either travel or live overseas vs how many

have been targeted.

This is not a slippery slope, its a one off.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:34 PM

13. No, we do *not* know whether these decisions are made 'on a whim'.

You may look at an individual drone strike, the one on Alawi, and conclude that it was justified. Speaking in general terms, we have no idea how these decisions are made. In fact, the documents explicitly clarify that no sort of review process is possible.

So you may think that Obama is a good man and will not take such decisions lightly. At the end, this is simply your opinion. It may even be true for Obama, but you have no way of proving this, by design, according to those very laws you are defending. Political opponents of, say, the Karzai government may have already been targeted for a strike based on nothing more than their politics. We simply don't know.

And even under the, in my opinion shaky, assumption that Obama's record on picking targets is one of flawless ethics, the powers will pass on to the next president. How this president chooses targets will be entirely another matter.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:37 PM

16. Yes we do, from simple mathematics. How many Americans have traveled abroad

or live overseas over the past four years? And how many were targeted by drones.

Let me know if you need the actual figures behind the first part.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:41 PM

21. What Obama has done and what the powers enable any future president to do

are two different things.

Obama may or may not have used these power responsibly. In the end it is irrelevant. Once you grant a president such authority, it is bound to be abused at some point.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:45 PM

27. It's really not. There is nothing expansive about this power unless you believe that

Many new stateless combatant groups will pop up that need to be targeted and that more American citizens will be joining them.

The moment this changes from someone being targeted for being affiliated with Al Qaeda to, for instance, someone being targeted for being a regular felon of some sort, you would have a point.

Its not going to happen. That would be the first warning sign though, if it does.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #27)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:16 PM

108. Stateless combatant groups have existed off and on for very, very, very, very long.

Maybe all the way back to the Roman Empire and before. Think of the Germanic tribes.

How do you know someone is affiliated with Al Qaeda?

Did you read the article about the report on torture? One of the Al Qaeda members or suspected members was tortured in Egypt and stated that Saddam Hussein was helping Al Qaeda. We went to war with Iraq in part in reliance on that lie. We have made mistakes in identifying suspected Al Qaeda members before.

Jane Mayer reported on that in her book, The Dark Side.

It's just too easy for the policy and procedure we now have for deciding who is a terrorist and who is not to go wrong. We need more checks and balances, a more open process for determining this. We can't just rely on hearsay evidence and our reason in determining who is to live and who is to die. That brings us down to the level of the terrorists. If we do that, we become the enemy, and that is the greatest danger in war.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #108)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:34 PM

124. They have existed for a long time. I think in some respects, drones and the corresponding AUMF

are the modern letter of marque and reprisal + privateer.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:34 PM

205. Mathematics?

So what you are saying is that the likelihood of you or any one specific person being targeted, on purpose or by mistake, is very small. This is true. (Just as, by the way, the likelihood of anyone dying in a terrorist attack is below negligible.)

So what you are really saying is that the President of the United States has the right to stick the barrel of a gun out the Oval Office window once a day and shoot a random person in the street. Just because the probability of any single person dying this way is very, very small. This is the core of your argument: "mathematics".

This is certainly a novel interpretation of... of everything, really. From cold law to, I don't know, the right to a fair trial, the right to life, freedom, empathy, just being human.

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Response to moodforaday (Reply #205)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:34 PM

228. No.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:44 PM

24. Slippery Slope, Sir, Is A Slippery Ground On Which To Take a Stand....

Your 'this is done on a whim' line says more about you that the actual situation under discussion.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:50 PM

30. Slippery slope is precisely the issue with executive powers.

So you are saying you would be perfectly fine with president Sarah Palin having those powers? You think Romney might not have considered doing a drone strike on Julien Assange? Joe Biden already described him as being a terrorist.

Obama may not do it on a whim. Again, you have no way to ever be sure. Obama is not the last president we will ever have.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #30)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:57 PM

33. Present Needs Must Be Met, Sir

I have already stated that had the previous administration killed al' Alawi in the Yemen my attitude would be different in the slightest. Palin is not going to be President; no one is going to fire a missile at Mr.Assange. We both know these things to be true, though you may pretend otherwise, to try and make it seem like you are engaged in a serious argument, rather than an exercise in frivolity.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:02 PM

39. Obama will not fire a missle at Assange.

But neither you nor I know what the world will look like in five or ten years.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #39)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:25 PM

53. No One Will, Sir

Again, you know that perfectly well, though you may pretend otherwise for sake of seeming to press a serious argument....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #53)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:36 PM

68. No one knows that. You're a fool if you think unbelievable shit isn't possible.

Just look at how Bush started a major illegal war with an innocent country using an unrelated attack as justification.

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Response to Dawgs (Reply #68)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:43 PM

76. No One Will Strike Mr. Assange With A Hell-Fire Missile, Sir

It will not happen.

If stating it might is the sum of anyone's argument in this matter, such persons have no argument,and are not serious about the question.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #76)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:46 PM

80. Bullshit. There is no way you can know that.

I just gave you an example of something that was a lot less believable and it happened, so you don't know.

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Response to Dawgs (Reply #80)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:52 PM

90. No One Will Strike Mr. Assange With A Hell-Fire Missile, Sir

You know perfectly well that is true, pretend otherwise as hard as you may.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #90)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:42 PM

131. You or I can't prove it, so the only one that's pretending is you. n/t

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #90)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:40 PM

164. No one (except for someone listening to John Yoo.)

Because the scale of the violence involved in this conflict removes it from the
sphere of operations designed to enforce the criminal laws, legal and constitutional rules
regulating law enforcement activity are not applicable, or at least not mechanically so. As a
result, the uses of force contemplated in this conflict are unlike those that have occurred in
America's other recent wars. Such uses might include
, for example, targeting and destroying a
hijacked civilian aircraft in circumstances indicating that hijackers intended to crash the aircraft into
a populated area; deploying troops and military equipment to monitor and control the flow of
traffic into a city; attacking civilian targets, such as apartment buildings, offices, or ships where
suspected terrorists were thought to be;
and employing electronic surveillance methods more
powerful and sophisticated than those available to law enforcement agencies. These military
operations, taken as they may be on United States soil, and involving as they might American
citizens, raise novel and difficult questions of constitutional law.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #90)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:12 PM

176. I am astonished that you would repeat such a statement, Sir.

The future is indeterminate, thus any absolute statement you might make of the future is logically fallacious. You are the Magistrate, Sir, you are not the Omnipotent. As it happens, I agree with you that the unlikelihood of such a strike approaches infinity, especially so long as Mr Assange remains within the confines of the City of London. Should he find himself in an isolated village in a Latin American country for which we have rather less than the tender regard which we exhibit to Great Britain, however, then I believe the odds might just start to descend to less-stratospheric limits. This assumes, of course, that our government dignifies Mr Assange with the status of a threat to our welfare, which is not evident.

You may be excused on two grounds: the first that it is common, in colloquial discourse, to say something will be, when what is meant is that you believe it will be (although I would have expected you to be more rigorous), and more to the point, that you are couching your argument in the context of common sense, by which context only such statement as "You know perfectly well that is true, pretend otherwise as hard as you may." can be defended.

The question of who will be targeted, and who will not, ultimately comes down to how much one trusts the leadership of this country. As I have witnessed, in my lifetime, my government target individuals for death with neither the advice nor the consent of my representatives, and whom I personally did not believe were deserving of such targeting (for as much as that is worth), I am less-than-sanguine that targets chosen in future will meet with my approval, or indeed be in my interests, or in the interests of my country. In this it would appear we differ, which is of no matter to individuals of good will.

As rights ultimately derive from consensus (unless, indeed, it is true that they derive from a Supreme Magistrate), I often see the relation of the citizen towards the executive power as an ongoing battle to assert and defend that which we would be sorry to lose. In such a battle, it seems to me, to surrender a point for the purposes of expediency, or indeed efficiency, is a retrograde step, which might reasonably be expected to erode further the principles which are held dear by most of us. But it is easy to make the contrary assertion, and point to historical occasions where some right or other has been temporarily suspended and then re-instituted after the end of the crisis. Regrettably for that argument, it is difficult to see, in the present context, when the current crisis will end. (And no, I will not quote Mr Franklin on this subject, since I am aware of the context in which he made his statement) Given the scope of the present crisis (unlimited), and the ephemeral nature of our objectives, does it not behoove us to be all the more diligent in seeing that the means we employ not create precedents that may provide opportunity for less-scrupulous executives to further enhance their authority at the expense of individual liberty?

-- Mal



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Response to malthaussen (Reply #176)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:19 PM

178. I Will Happily Repeat It Again, Sir: No One Will Strike Mr. Assange With A Hell-Fire Missile

The raising of the specter that it might be done, as a species of 'horrible' in prospect from the actions of the United States government is risible nonesense: either the people who cry it up know it is nonesense, and press it anyway, or they are proclaiming they have as good a grasp of the matter as any oyster, and are excused from taking part in serious discussion of matters of state and lethal force.

"The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #178)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:39 PM

187. Pfui, Sir, such an argument amounts to nothing more

... than that anyone who disagrees with you is either a liar, or a fool. Which is all very well if your wish is only to thunder in rhetorical periods, but gets us no further along the road to truth. A bare assertion is not Truth; nor is the highest of probabilities the same as absolute fact. We agree that the prospect is fantastic, I am curious as to why you choose to represent that consideration as a matter of unalterable fact.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #187)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:41 PM

298. "Which is all very well if your wish is only to thunder in rhetorical periods..."

Well, you pretty much have it figured out. I wish others could see it for what is is too.

Well done.

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #176)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:16 PM

199. Would all the idiots who believe the earth may implode

"The future is indeterminate, thus any absolute statement you might make of the future is logically fallacious..."

Would all the idiots who believe the earth may actually implode due to hungry turtles, regardless of how tiny the chance, please raise their hands...

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #199)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:57 PM

202. Common sense has nothing to do with logic, dude. n/t

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Response to Dawgs (Reply #80)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:34 PM

183. You're not serious because HE SAYS you're not serious. :-) eom

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Response to Dawgs (Reply #68)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:00 PM

100. Bush didn't unilaterally make the decision to invade Iraq because....

...he had to get the approval of Congress before he could proceed with that action. He got that approval by being extremely deceptive as to why the US should go to war, and by using the MSM to broadcast his anti-Iraq propaganda.

That kind of deception, and subsequent decision by Congress, is extremely unlikely to happen again, no matter who is the president.

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #100)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:41 PM

129. I didn't say that exact same thing could or would happen again.

Your post has nothing do with my argument.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #53)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:19 PM

112. Assange is only an example.

At this point, you are correct that he will not be a target. He is old news. He has been rendered ineffective through other means.

Could he, under the current doctrine, have become a target during the early stages of his activities? I think it is not far fetched. Classifying him as "affiliated with terrorist groups" would have been easy.

And even if it is not an strike, you are forgetting that the current doctrine covers all sorts of other things, such as indefinite detentions. Would they have snatched him and locked him away? Perhaps.

Chris Hedges traveled to various countries and conducted interviews with various figures who were declared terrorists. Could this journalistic activity have gotten him labeled "affiliated with terrorist groups"? Not a far fetched scenario.

The drone strike is but the crown jewel of the war-time powers that the administration is claiming. The bottom line is that constitutional rights of any sort are no longer guaranteed, for anyone.

Accuse me of moving the goalpost if you like.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:19 PM

113. There are a lot of questionable assumptions in your argument, The Magistrate.

How do you know that Palin is not going to be president.

I would never have thought it possible that George W. Bush would be president, not with Al Gore running against him. I never thought that a fool like George W. Bush could win over a distinguished statesman like John Kerry. But what happened?

Assumptions get us into trouble. We always need to doubt our own wisdom.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:36 PM

69. Thank you for saying this, redgreen. Practically everyone who supports the drone strikes

seems to start with the ass-umption that the persons targeted are, ipso facto enemy combatants. That's the crux of the argument. How do we know? Because Obama says so?

You said:
So you may think that Obama is a good man and will not take such decisions lightly. At the end, this is simply your opinion. It may even be true for Obama, but you have no way of proving this, by design, according to those very laws you are defending.



I'm appalled that so many DUers simply accept, on faith, whatever Obama does and says. The "we elected him" argument also fails, IMO.

My county prosecutor was elected, too. But I would never accept it if the prosecutor's office said, "Let's dispense with a trial for Mr. Smith and proceed to sentencing. Our office has iron-clad evidence that he is guilty of murder."

We have no way of knowing whether Pres. Obama's decisions in these matters are correct.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:06 PM

44. Let's deal with reality, shall we?

You know perfectly well these decisions are not made on a whim; they are made on the best information available, with a great degree of conscientiousness.

This is what we are told, however, many times it turns out that this is just not the case.

The Bushies would argue that they acted the way they did based "on the best information available, with a great degree of conscientiousness", but the simply was NOT the case. They routinely disregarded information which contradicted their worldview, and relied on information that was demonstrably unreliable at the time.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #44)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:48 PM

138. It seems that Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz and others decided to attack Iraq

on what looks pretty darned close to a whim.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #138)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:58 PM

145. My point exactly

And if the evidence against these people was compelling, then the Obama administration would have nothing to fear from sharing the evidence with the public and subjecting it to due process.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #145)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:34 PM

161. I'm with you on this.

If, as some commentators here assert, the opinion correctly states the current status of the law, as interpreted by the courts, then I say that the law has slid very near the bottom of a very slippery slope.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #161)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:04 PM

169. People need to remember that

"The Law" and "Justice" are two completely different, and sadly, often opposing concepts.

"The Law" is used to thwart justice as often as it is used to seek justice. The arguments proposed by the OP are an example of "thwarting".

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #169)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:20 PM

180. Many lawyers get so deep in the minutiae of decisions, regulation, etc.,

that they can't see the big picture.

I ought to know, because I used to practice law myself, and this was one of my beefs about the profession.

Just because an act is legal doesn't mean that carying out the act is the right thing to do.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #180)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:36 PM

185. Precisely!

It seems to me that 90% of the law is torturing the language until it says what you want it to say.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #185)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:36 PM

190. A lawyer's job is to represent his or her client's interests.

That means finding legal justification for whatever the client wants to do. Or at least that's how it works out too often.

I wonder how much of this supposedly neutral opinion, which should show where the argument is weak, is really an attempt to justify what's already been done or what someone or someones want done in the future.

And the opinion does seem to torture some fairly common language.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #180)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:31 AM

253. Well put. At the risk of triggering Godwin's Law, I would note that Nazi Germany

 

had a functioning judiciary and that many of the actions carried out by the Nazi regime were 'legal' but hardly 'moral.'

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #180)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:07 PM

300. Perhaps you meant..."The Correct Thing to Do" for the Common Good?

That seems to be the problem these days.

The Balance between the LAW and Precedent.....and the "Common Good."

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #138)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:59 PM

290. It was actually the exact opposite of a whim...

The Project for a New American Century was a neo-conservative think tank created in 1997 that espoused "promoting American global leadership" primiarly through a dramatic increase in the use of military force overseas. One of their first projects was to lobby the Clinton Administration to take direct military action in Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Clinton demurred on the subject, but PANC was given quite the gift when Al-Queda attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.

Within days of the attack, PANC was urging military action. Quoting memo to the Bush Administration "...even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism."

Project for a New American Century included a veritable "Who's Who" of Bush Administration foreign policy and security advisors whose objective -- six years prior to the actual invasion of Iraq -- was to eploit the post-Cold War power vaccum for the benefit of multi-national corporations.

Invading Iraq was decidedly not a whim...

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #290)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:32 PM

297. I'm well aware of the PNAC. I can't believe that anyone posting here would not be.

But despite all the sturm und drung coming out of that organization, the reasons they gave for invading a sovereign country were and are flimsy in my book.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #297)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:04 PM

299. Flimsy? Yes.

A whim? No.

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #299)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:12 PM

301. Perhaps I should have used a different word.

But your reply was extremely harsh. Really, your reaction to a less than perfect word is a bit over the top.

I spent a summer in Milwaukee interning. People were extremely nice. Are you really from there?



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Response to amandabeech (Reply #301)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 09:16 PM

312. My reply was harsh?

Extremely Harsh? Tell you what. Alert on it. Right now.

See what a jury thinks.

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #312)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:25 AM

323. Well, you're obviously not a nice person, wherever you're from.

Juries? My, my.

Thankfully DU offers other ways of eliminating interaction with unpleasant posters.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #323)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 09:39 AM

337. Ahem...

You expressed an opinion.

I expressed a different opinion.

That's how a discussion board works. People trade information and ideas.

I used no abusive or offensive language. I made no personal attacks -- I didn't even reference you personally at all in my response. I simply expressed a slight difference of opinion in a respectful manner. I have no idea how much you (or anybody else on this board) know about PANC, and so I provided some background information.

You've got more than 8,000 posts on DU -- so I can assume that you've seen some pretty raw personal attacks on this Board. My response to you was met with accusations of being "harsh" and "not a nice person." Because why? Because I disagreed with you on what amounts to a point of semantics?

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #337)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 08:49 PM

388. It's PNAC, not PANC

Unless I'm missing some clever play on words....

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Response to elias7 (Reply #388)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:44 AM

392. No. You're just experiencing some mild dyslexia.

Mine, of course. Not yours.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:33 PM

63. What you write is probably true for military drones as used in Iraq and Afghanistan

As pertains to the civilian - we assume it is CIA, although contractor involvement is confirmed at this point - assassination program that we are running; we are left to guess that these decisions are made in good faith. If we concentrate on a specific theater of operations, such as Waziristan, we can certainly say that not all of these decisions are made in good faith. The presence of "double dip" attacks and "signature strikes" exposes this undertaking as anything else than something done in good faith; it is Terrorism - it is perceived this way by the people of Waziristan (who suffer living under the drones as a bold experiment for humanity, and my suspicion is that it is intended that way. Coming from the interviews, I now believe what we are doing in Waziristan is only to a part targeted assassinations; to a larger part, it is a campaign of terror intended to send the message of "behave or be gone" to the general populace. It seems like a concerted effort to socially engineer Waziristan away from social structures that are conducive to Taliban and Al-Qaeda operations by using mass terror.

Overall, I agree with your assessment in the OP, almost on all points. Our military has definitely found a reasonable and responsible way to use these drones - checks and balances and all (sure, they too, make mistakes, but I'd wager to say that the system they came up with is as good as it gets). But what the CIA, and that odd cabal of contractors are playing - who really knows? I have stated my reasons for not believing their assertions. "Double Dip" and "Signature Strike" attacks are the very opposite of "surgical strike in a conflict short of war", as the Mighty Wurlitzer would have us believe.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:47 PM

81. you should do more research

we are killing many people who are clearly civilians.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #81)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:58 PM

99. Certainly We Have Killed a Number Of Non-Combatants, Sir

That, of course, is separate from the question of killing a citizen of the United States in the course of military action against a non-state body engaged in hostilities with the United States. That is the focus of the recent heat on this matter.

The question of killing non-combatants in the course of military action against combatants is another matter. The treaties on the subject do not, as many seem to suppose, require that no non-combatants be killed, nor do they criminalize all injury to non-combatants.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #99)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:33 PM

123. We are not in any valid sense of the phrase, restricting drone strikes to

"in the course of military actions". We are instead searching out our kill list victims and attacking them at any opportunity and routinely declaring the civilians killed as "combatants". It is bad policy and it is criminal policy and it doesn't matter what label the exeutive branch pursuing this policy has affixed to it.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #123)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:43 PM

173. I Disagree, Sir

Leadership of an enemy force is a legitimate military target. Such persons do not gain immunity from attack by proximity to non-combatants.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:01 PM

101. "You know perfectly well these decisions are not made on a whim;" But they are made

without review. What defense do you have against mythical "President Paranoid"
Who decides that the ACLU sides with terrorists or by defending their rights "provides material support" and thus every member judged to be eligible for "targeted killing"
or rendition?

The point is that without review there is no defense.

I disagree with the premiss that the tactic of "terror" can be a legitimate foe, but let's deal with the implications of the unchecked power that is claimed by the premise of the "Universal eternal War on TeRRAH" .

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #101)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:15 PM

106. I Hold No Brief For 'War On Terror', Sir

I doubt I have used the word 'terrorism' more than a half dozen times in comment here. 'Terrorism'is an exceedingly odd word, as its real meaning is 'violence for a political end the person using the word disapproves of', and so, while the word conveys meaning in regards to the one uttering it, it conveys no meaning at all in regards to the acts or persons it is applied to.

Viewed from another angle, the word simply indicates that a group is violating the accustomed monopoly of states on the use of violence for political ends, and claiming the right to act as if were a state rather than a body of private persons. Something more in the nature of a union carpenter complaining about a nonunion crew building somebody's back porch, than a serious objection on morals or principles. For states refer to actions by such bodies which fail the test of atrocity as 'terrorism' routinely,and states just as routinely commit atrocity in suppressing the actions of such groups against a state.

I stated specifically 'a loose-knit body of Islamic fundamentalists engaged in hostilities against the United States' was the other end of a de facto state of war, and that would be so even if they had never killed anyone not in military uniform, or never conducted an attack against anything that was not a legitimate military target.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #106)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:37 PM

126. You limit the discussion to your specific situation. In reality the argument is against a

Generalized ill defined threat. But that is a side point. My point is about the Executive power claimed. It is claimed without review or recourse.

You assume the alleged enemy is in fact a legitimate target.

If there is no review what defense do we have?

Are you really arguing for unaccountable Executive power without review or recourse?

If so I disagree and state that that position in Un-American.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #126)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:46 PM

135. There is always recourse. Congress can impeach him. That is the Constitutional recourse. nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #135)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:48 PM

137. Without notice or review, how would Congress know the facts of the crime?

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #137)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:50 PM

139. Part of the impeachment process is discovery. nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #139)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:53 PM

143. I prefer an easier means of correction. Checks and Balances. The American way.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #143)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:59 PM

146. That IS the check and balance on the Presidency. And it is the American and Constitutional way. nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #146)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:05 PM

148. My argument is that the power to kill without notice review or oversight is unconstitutional. We

Are not talking about armed combatants in a war.
We are talking about ACCUSED dissidents or malcontents judged by undisclosed criterion and executed without notice or review.

Unconstitutional on its' face.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #148)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:08 PM

150. I argue we are talking combatants in a war, as does the Magistrate and many others.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #150)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:16 PM

153. So you are arguing to Unlimited unconstrained executive power?

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #153)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:18 PM

154. I reread the magistrates OP. I can't see that anywhere. Can you cite? nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #154)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:25 PM

156. Did you read my post? Can you defend your position? Or are you saying I agree with the

The Magistrate? The Magistrate limits his definition of combatants in a way the Patriot act does not. I am not arguing against the constraints of the M's targets. I am arguing against the lack of constraints on the claimed powers.

The definition of acceptable targets is vague and the process is without review or limit.

Agree, disagree or speak to that.l

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #156)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:30 PM

158. I'm saying I agree with the magistrate's OP. In fact, in a rather long OP, I cannot find anything on

which I disagree.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #106)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:20 PM

303. I have seen you "parse legal language" ..I've disagreed with you in past

...but, I've always seen you to be fair and parsed about the legal system in ways that that could be differed with...but you enjoyed the challenge from a "worthy opponent."

Still...i'ts up to us "rabble without law degrees" to challenge and keep hitting back with our (what you would call) "emotional arguments" .....because......without us the "rabble at the gates" the Legal Profession would just languish in it's BOX.

I hope you understand what I'm saying ...because I've always respected you even when I disagreed. Your model plane collection sort of won me over to you..after some bad spats that you took in stride.

's

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Response to KoKo (Reply #303)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:09 PM

349. Much Appreciated, Ma'am

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:48 PM

207. "decide on a whim" is totally irrelevant

It doesn't matter whether Obama and his team spend a full year debating who to kill with a drone strike and why. It doesn't matter how much sleep he does or does not lose over it, how good the intel really is or how many well-informed people agree.

He does not have the legal right to do this. This is a usurpation of a dictatorial power, a complete trashing of the separation of powers. It is most likely a "high crime". No way out of this.

I am sure Joseph Stalin and his executioner Felix Dzerzhinsky also picked their targets carefully, out of a population of many millions. In fact, we know they did. They tortured and killed people they considered dangerous to their newly hatched revolutionary state. Some of them were; others were simply made an example of. But the process was pretty much the same. They picked people and they killed them, because they could. And there was no-one to stop them.

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Response to moodforaday (Reply #207)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:51 PM

208. Obama Equals Stalin, Sir: Got It --- Points For Mention Of Felix, Though....

But on the whole, utter barn-yard product.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #208)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:34 AM

256. I think your 'straw man' is a bit unfair. The person to whom you are

 

responding is making an argument by analogy, not an argument of equivalence.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #256)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:40 AM

258. There Is a Stalin Correlary To Godwin's Law, Sir, Or there Ought to Be

And I was more than fair to the bull-shit that person was peddling.

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Response to moodforaday (Reply #207)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:28 AM

251. Well put. - n/t

 

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 08:42 AM

331. ditto, this stuff is not 'decided on a whim'

and it is a foundation block of the hysteria we are seeing today. And its garbage. Which makes the rest of the 'argument' garbage too.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:26 PM

10. Except political suicide and impeachment.

I agree we need further constraints on much of this. But it doesn't necessarily follow that Obama -or any President- wants to attack its own citizens. We have lots of checks and balances in our country.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:10 PM

203. Actually there is as defined in their rules. It would not be permitted on us soil

Or where the person could be arrested or captured

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:19 PM

4. Stop reading my mind.

Perfectly stated, sir.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:45 PM

26. Thank You, Mr.Pitt

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #4)


Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:19 PM

5. Thank You and rec nt

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:23 PM

6. Why are there people who don't like the US?

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:17 PM

109. Because the U.S. has done some evil things, but that does not mean that everyone who

does not like the U.S. dislikes us for a just/valid reason, or for any reason at all.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:23 PM

7. I am conflicted on this, but good post.

And you make a compelling argument.
R&K

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Response to longship (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 03:34 PM

278. It is a conversation that we MUST have.

And I am conflicted, as well.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:25 PM

8. Well said and I agree 100% nt

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:29 PM

12. would you say that also applies within the United States?

 

so if an American citizen is a suspected terrorist, would a drone strike be ok? Just wondering.

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Response to quinnox (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:37 PM

14. What's the difference between a drone strike and a firefight that kills the suspect?

And that will likely kill officers and civilians if it's widespread enough.

If it's a life-or-death situation with no time to go 'easy' on the poor guy, what do you think we should do?

No one objected when Dykes was 'taken out' by the FBI. Would you have objected if a drone was used to do that?

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Response to randome (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:41 PM

22. ever read the declaration of independence?

 

It has a phrase that might apply in this situation. And the US constitution also has some things to say about rights all American citizens have.

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Response to quinnox (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:49 PM

29. They don't have those rights when they commit crimes in other countries.

Those countries' laws apply, not ours. And we are in other countries at the request of those governments so it's a much more complicated scenario than simply saying that Americans should always be protected.

No. Not if they are making plans with known terrorists in other countries. I don't have a problem with taking them out, then, any more than I have with Dykes being taken out in Alabama.

At some point, you have to stop thinking about what might happen and see what is truly happening.

I do agree that we can use some additional restraints on the use of our technology and ability to wage war. But it's not something that keeps me awake at night, either.

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Response to randome (Reply #29)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:25 PM

117. The troubling drone attacks are not the ones that target enemies during fighting.

The troubling drone attacks are the ones that target people who talk about fighting or who are believed to support the fighters but who are not engaged in violence at the moment.

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Response to randome (Reply #29)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:55 PM

201. Our government is ALWAYS constrained by the constitution, it is the source of

its authority and limits it.

The Federal government has no extra-constitutional authority to act in any way.

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Response to randome (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:49 PM

28. Why do you jump to the conclusion that a suspected terrorist will engage in a firefight?

You are conflating "suspected" with "actual". You are willing to condemn a person to death based on what a person might do rather than what the person is actually doing? Dykes was engaged in an action that was putting an innocent in imminent danger. The FBI's reaction to that was justified. BUT, if Dykes had merely stated that he was going to shoot a bus driver and kidnap a child, and the FBI preemptively killed him with a drone, that would be murder.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:54 PM

32. I agree, within the United States, when possible, use of lethal force should be avoided.

But it's easy to imagine scenarios when there is no time for such gentle persuasion. Such as Dykes.

And when someone is plotting with terrorists in another country, there is the additional complication of how to reach them. It's not feasible but someone is observed surrounded with IEDs and giving instructions to others on how to plant them, well, I don't have a problem with taking those persons out.

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Response to randome (Reply #32)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:17 PM

48. Your scenario is conjecture. Conjecture doesn't cut it for me particularly

given the fact that many people in Gitmo and Bagram were arrested as a result of locals collecting bounties.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #48)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:35 PM

66. Of course it's conjecture. So is the idea that Obama is planning to assassinate political enemies.

I would love to see Gitmo closed down. That, to me, is more egregious than what some future President MIGHT do to hypothetical political enemies.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:32 PM

121. Would a warning shot help?

Should we give them a chance to back down? I think such an enemy is fully aware of their intentions, so giving them that warning would just be like saying "it's ok, until we find out".

There was a time when we could take that chance, before there were weapons that could kill hundreds of thousands, like dirty bombs, poisons in the water or food supply, etc., but we really can't take any chances. Anyone plotting to do mass harm today has a very likely chance of succeeding.

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Response to randome (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:23 PM

116. A firefight has to be started by someone.

If a person is actually engaging in violence, it is relatively easy to identify them as a terrorist pr a combatant.

The problem is with drone strikes attacking people who are not engaged in violence.

It is ironic to me that so many Americans hate their government, hug their guns and insist on the right to multi-shot weapons but support drone strikes on people in other countries (or here if those people have different political views) based on the the fact that those "terrorists" have multi-shot weapons and hate the American government.

Interesting double standard.

The concern here is about people who "support" terrorism but who are not engaged in violence at the moment of the drone attack.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #116)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:44 PM

132. Then there are those who participate in firefights by building bombs in a basement.

How are we going to stop them doing that? Send in the Marines? More civilians and more soldiers' deaths, then.

It's pretty obvious what one needs to do to avoid being targeted: renounce terrorism. If you engage in terrorist activities then choose to hide in a basement somewhere, I think that's a good enough reason to target you.

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Response to randome (Reply #132)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:51 PM

140. If you have evidence that someone is building a bomb somewhere out of your jurisdiction,

you have a procedure that is fair and objective and open for determining what to do about them.

It should not be so difficult. There should be a record of proceedings and the proceedings should be public.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #140)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:10 PM

151. Part of this is the immense distances involved.

Part of it is the great number of members of the Taliban.

And part of it is time constraints. When does one act when a known terrorist is seen entering a basement clandestinely? Wait for him to walk out with an armful of IEDs?

What if he hands an IED to each of thirty individuals? Do you try and target those 30 individuals or target the man supplying them?

There isn't time for a 'proceeding' if the objective is to stop an imminent terrorist attack.

And if someone you're after shows up at a barbeque happily discussing how to kill more Americans or rape more women, I don't begrudge the military taking him out quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Maybe in some instances, we're not even sure of the NAME of someone we've targeted. That's just conjecture on my part, though.

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Response to randome (Reply #151)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:31 PM

159. IEDs are only useful locally. If they are a danger to our troops engaged in war, then drones

are OK. What we are talking about is drones used to kill people who are not in war zones.

IEDs in Somalia are not a danger here in the US. They are not an imminent danger to us. If the Somalian government wants us to help them fight against terrorists on their soil, no one is concerned about using drones against combatants in that situation.

The problem is when you target people based on intelligence which may or may not be as reliable as you hope in a country in which you are neither invited to interfere nor engaged in actual combat.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #159)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:53 PM

167. ALL targeting is based on intelligence that may or may not be reliable.

Part of the 'fog of war'.

My example of IEDs was probably not the best one. I don't follow all the mechanics of bomb-making.

So far as I know, we ARE invited into every country we're currently operating in. Even Pakistan pays only lip service to protesting our presence because they are deathly afraid of an Islamic dictatorship taking root.

And not being an imminent danger to us doesn't mean they aren't an imminent danger to their own country. In some instances, our goal is to protect the host country, not our own.

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Response to randome (Reply #167)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:11 PM

280. Last night I woke up with the horrible question as to whether we are capable of stopping foreign

countries or even people within our country from sending drones here.

Drones can be made very small and it would seem to me that they could be made small enough and still pose a danger to Americans.

What do we do when the shoe is on the other foot?

When our cities, our countryside, our politicians, our soldiers, our people are the targets?

That will happen you know.

What will we do?

Reagan talked about a missile shield. I have never heard that his talk became a reality or that we are really protected. In particular, when our diplomats and soldiers are in other country, how can we protect them from the drones of others.

It does not take an advanced degree in aeronautics to make a drone as I understand it.

Should we be pursuing this direction when it could backfire? Shouldn't we be seeking international accords on controlling and limiting the use of them for warfare and killing?

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Response to randome (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:15 PM

177. Our first drone kill of an american citizen was against a person who ran a web site.

That was not a combat situation and the only firing was ours. We also kiled his son.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #177)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:25 PM

181. He Was A Recruiter And Lead Propagandist, Sir

Inspirational figures are leading targets in guerrilla war. He was part of the thing, and died for it. I have no objection whatever to his having been killed, and killed for what he was: a man at war with the United States.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #181)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:15 PM

218. The ground begins to look less firm and the stance taken less reasonable.

Your solipsistic rhetoric does nothing to lessen the fact that the man killed (and his son) had been accused of no crime and were merely, as you said, propagandists.

"We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future."

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #218)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:17 PM

219. If I Am Solipsistic, Sir, You Would Have a Hard Time Proving To Me You Exist....

You are sure you are not a figment of my imagination?

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #219)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:58 PM

289. LOL. Well played!

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #177)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 05:59 PM

357. I would suggest that you do a little more reading up on Mr. Awlaki's involvement

with the Cargo Bomb Plot (sending PETN bombs to US synagogues) and the British Airways Plot. Mr. Awlaki did quite more than run a website--there's plenty he directed.


Awlaki's emails to terror plotter show operational role

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/03/anwar_al_awlakis_ema.php#ixzz2KLpZFPvB


:: February 13, 2010 From al-Awlaki to Karim: ''Our highest priority is the US. Anything there, even if on a smaller scale compared to what we may do in the UK, would be our choice. So the question is: with the people you have, is it possible to get a package or a person with a package on board a flight heading to the US? If that is not possible, then what ideas do you have that could be set up for the uk?''
http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/8880903.Excerpts_from_Rajib_Karim_terror_plot_messages/?ref=rss



I am always surprised when Americans do not know about the plot Awlaki and Rajib Karim cooked up.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #357)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:54 PM

358. True, Ma'am

People do their position no favors by pretending inconvenient facts are not actually there....

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #359)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:52 PM

361. One Is Reminded Of A Passage From Mr.Orwell, Ma'am

"These things really happened, that is the thing to keep one’s eye on. They happened even though Lord Halifax said they happened."

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #361)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:56 PM

362. "A louse is a louse...." All this handwringing over a man who would kill every one of us, without

regret.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #362)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:25 PM

381. People Who Are Themselves Good-Hearted, Ma'am

Sometimes display certain blind-spots in assessing other people.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #381)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 05:11 PM

382. I am a criminal defense attorney. I am far more cynical than that--people adopt the stance of

criminals not because they are good-hearted, but because it advances their own agendas, IMHO.

For example--the farthest left on this board handwring over Awlaki as a means to further an anti-Obama agenda. This is why they conveniently fail to educate themselves on who Mr. Awlaki is.



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Response to msanthrope (Reply #359)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 08:59 PM

389. Unsurprising that DUer would defend a murderous terrorist.

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Response to randome (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:47 PM

206. That isn't the issue though. There doesn't have to be a clear and present threat.

There is no requirement of imminent threat.

There is no requirement the target be armed.

There is no requirement targets be actively plotting a threat.

Folks can be targeted for the potential of plotting a threat and/or being in the judgment of the Executive to be not in Al Queda not associated with Al Queda not in or associated even with a known terror organization but merely to be "aligned" with such.

Secret and without review. The whole deal could be full of errors or willfully abused and there is no way to know or take corrective action short of impeachment.

So, if your justification is eminent threat then why are we having this conversation? This doctrine is definitive that it goes well beyond any known definition of clear and present danger. We are pretty much at thought crime territory here and "crime" with a far lower burden of proof than "witch trials". Hell, at least someone had to publicly accuse the victim of witchcraft and bullshit tests were applied. Here we are saying if you are taken out you are by definition guilty and don't try to noble out of that either, similar logic has already been stated when we just decided to declare any male from teenager to middle age as a "combatant" as well as the whole Orwellian "war" horseshit in general, we are in a state of unending emergency that has no plausible end by definition.

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Response to quinnox (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:37 PM

15. Isn't this, in apart, about accessability?

Is a terrorist within the country accessible by more surgical means?

Why is the counter arguement so often to directed toward the unsupported, inclonclusive extreme?

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Response to quinnox (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:38 PM

18. It Would Seem Excessive To Me, Sir

A person located where the civil authority of the United States is exercised without challenge is best dealt with under criminal law and procedures, and this is, in fact, what has happened. There is no particular reason to imagine this will change.

There is no question, however, that in the interior of the Yemen,or in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, the ordinary civil authority of the United States cannot, as a matter of practical fact, be exercised. The choice is between doing nothing against persons adhering to a body engaged in hostilities with the United States, or employing military means against such persons.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:40 PM

19. thanks for the answer

 

I was just curious how far you were willing to go with this. Nice to hear you wouldn't approve of that.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:41 PM

20. And 'employing military means' at the request of that country's government.

Good points.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:19 PM

114. John Yoo disagrees.

Last edited Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:36 PM - Edit history (1)

We believe that Article II of the Constitution, which vests the President with the power to
respond to emergency threats to the national security, directly authorizes use of the Armed
Forces in domestic operations against terrorists
. Although the exercise of such authority usually
has concerned the use of force abroad, there have been cases, from the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion
on,5 in which the President has deployed military force within the United States against armed
forces operating domestically. During the Civil War and the War of 1812, federal troops fought
enemy armies operating within the continental United Stales. On other occasions, the President
has used military force within the United States against Indian tribes and bands. In yet other
circumstances, the Armed Forces have been used to counter resistance to federal court orders, to
protect the officials, agents, property or instrumentalities of the federal Government, or to ensure
that federal governmental functions can be safely performed.6 We believe that the text, structure,
and history of the Constitution, in light of its executive, legislative, and judicial interpretation,
clearly supports deployment of the military domestically, as well as abroad, to respond to attacks
on the United States.


Edit to add:

Because the scale of the violence involved in this conflict removes it from the
sphere of operations designed to enforce the criminal laws, legal and constitutional rules
regulating law enforcement activity are not applicable, or at least not mechanically so.
As a
result, the uses of force contemplated in this conflict are unlike those that have occurred in
America's other recent wars. Such uses might include, for example, targeting and destroying a
hijacked civilian aircraft in circumstances indicating that hijackers intended to crash the aircraft into
a populated area; deploying troops and military equipment to monitor and control the flow of
traffic into a city; attacking civilian targets, such as apartment buildings, offices, or ships where
suspected terrorists were thought to be; and employing electronic surveillance methods more
powerful and sophisticated than those available to law enforcement agencies. These military
operations, taken as they may be on United States soil, and involving as they might American
citizens, raise novel and difficult questions of constitutional law.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:11 PM

198. I believe it could, conceivably, be exercised.

It would simply be politically risky. Intel appears to be very good these days so I think you could send in some marines or SEALS to take get at an enemy but any losses from such action would be on the headlines weekly (ie, for every drone strike they've done, they'd had to have sent in SEALS to capture said combatants, and the likelihood that none are injured or killed is slim to none). No politician would ever push for that.

I agree with your overall assessment, but I'd state it much shorter: anyone who isn't acknowledged by a state actor, necessarily, is not protected by the sovereignty of the state in which they reside. Why is this? It's simple. States would lose their sovereignty of they did not combat non-recognized actors, ie, insurrectionists or terrorists.

The US, for instance, arrested skinheads recently who were plotting to do mass state terrorism. In that event they were not hit by a drone strike because they were within the confines of the sovereign nation of the United States, and the political risk of sending in police officers and swat teams was minimal at best.

In any event, I do not rule out the possibility that the United States would use drones against actors within the confines of its territories. But I do not consider that a "new policy" by any conceivable means. It is merely the utilization of improved technology against threats to the state. As far as I see it drones are simply the politically easy approach as far as foreign threats are concerned. If there was a politically viable way to use them in the United States, I would see it happening quite expediently (say one of the idiot secessionist governors manages to get an army base to secede, one could expect his governors mansion to be hit by a drone strike in quick order).

Lastly, drones poll really high. Unless it's for catching speeders.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #18)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:09 AM

231. That's the piece I was looking for.

My concern is BushCo as precedence, which I think took us to the brink of (if not into) fascism. "Executive Powers" grew to allow spying, wiretapping, seizure and basically dropping off the face of the earth (or making Guantanamo home) without petition, warrant, reason, or documentation beyond "We said so."

That's my fear of Americans targeting Americans. If "You could be a terrorist" means "no holds barred," then political opponents can be targeted for espionage and etc.

I'm a little late to this issue so I am not clear on all the details and nuances, but my simplistic sense of it is:
- Americans need to stay out of the lines of fire
and
- Keep the lines and limits very clear at home

Always a pleasure, Sir.

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Response to quinnox (Reply #12)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:55 PM

288. No - we have the LAPD to take care of that shit.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:38 PM

17. We need better, independent oversight, Sir.

Insofar as anyone can be shown to be actively in arms against the USA, then of course we can defend ourselves. The trouble lies, as always, in the "shown to be" part, who does that, and how, and who checks their work before the missiles are fired? What happens when there are errors, and to whom? People want the courts involved because they want oversight, they want accountability, and they want it promptly, if not before anything is actually done.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:42 PM

23. There Will Be Errors, Sir

And there will probably not be much accountability for them, either. We both know what this world is. But courts have no place in warfare, and the thing boils down to whether one regards it as war or crime. I regard it as war, not as crime.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:01 PM

36. Face it. The type of governance you are advocating is authoritarianism.

A strong-man with unchecked power over life and death of each citizen, based on emergency war-time powers.

I don't think you are doing it intentionally, but it is exactly what you are doing.

The "war on terror" is not going to end anytime soon.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #36)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:46 PM

78. I Am Recognizing What is In Fact Present, Sir

And in present circumstances I have no material objection to the actual state of affairs.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #36)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:26 PM

182. Amazing what 5 years can do to people

5 years ago: He captured an American citizen and put him into Guantanamo! Investigate! Take this to court!

Present day: Americans can be targeted by drones, innocents will die, errors will be made. Courts? Pfeh


Why did we bother?



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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:01 PM

37. Indeed Sir, and drones will be misused, and for expediency's sake, and that is the problem.

And people will complain about it as long as that continues, as long as mistakes and misuse are not SEEN to be dealt with appropriately.

It is one thing to say that we don't have time for the courts to act, and another entirely to say that it's none of their business.

And it is a highly dangerous weapon, so satisfying tactically, but strategically overuse will do you a lot more harm than good.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #37)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:50 PM

88. It Is a Very Seductive Weapon, Sir

War is supposed to have human costs on both sides. One's willingness to bear casualties is, or has always been, anyway, the real test of how serious one considers the situation to be.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:32 PM

122. You appear to be in favor of a monarchy or a dictatorship, sir.

How do you define war?

1
a (1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2) : a period of such armed conflict (3) : state of war
b : the art or science of warfare
c (1) obsolete : weapons and equipment for war (2) archaic : soldiers armed and equipped for war
2
a : a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism
b : a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end <a class war> <a war against disease>

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/war

The second definition is derived from the first and is metaphoric. I am at war with my raccoons. Doesn't mean I am going to kill them. It means I am trying to keep them out of my garden.

We are blurring the edges of our definition of war to give us the right to arbitrarily rid the earth of people we don't like, people who are inconvenient to us but who are not an imminent threat.

That reminds me of the guy who says he killed a young man because the man looked dangerous and when the killer followed the young man and tried to stop him the man wouldn't stop but turned back to fight.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:19 PM

155. The courts DO have a place in war.

 

Otherwise why have Rules of Conflict for war? Why have the Geneva Conventions? Why have a World Court? Why have international laws?

The War Against Terror is itself a crime, as we are not fighting a State or nation, but in reality, a concept, an idea, fueled by criminals from many nations. This gives us the excuse to violate the sanctity of most any nation we wish, in our quest of 'fighting' said terrorist.

The way we see it, anyone we deem to be a terrorist automatically is. Even when the local citizens in whatever country, see it as fighting and repelling invading terrorists, namely us, U.S.

If any local citizen is unfortunate enough to be near someone we declare to be a terrorist, when we fire missiles at said terrorist from miles away, they are then said to be a suspected terrorist. Even when we are not sure who the primary target was we blew up. Women and children included. When the fact of the matter is, they died for the hideous crime of being born in a country that we invaded in the name of Terror.

The War on Terror is like the War on Drugs. Both are designed to be self perpetuating profit generators.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:59 PM

34. Who would you like to suggest as the provider of "better, independent oversight"?....

....Congress? Hell, they can't even agree on a budget to do what's best for the American people. And then, who would check their work, or lack thereof?

A US court? How long would they take to make a decision while the terrorist continues to plan for attacks against US personnel, or carries out an attack before opening arguments are concluded?

A group of citizens made up of a cross-section of American life but without the clearances necessary to actually make informed decisions?

Is this oversight group going to work on 24/7 basis to provide green-lights for actions as quickly as DU juries make their decisions? Or will they ask to take hours or days to make their decision?



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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:03 PM

40. It's not really a tricky question unless you are worried about avoiding oversight.

Certainly the failure of the Congress to do it's job is part of it.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #40)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:23 PM

51. Is Congress At Present Even Capable Of Doing Its Job, Sir?

As I have said nearby, I suspect something explicitly written in statute is more susceptible of twisting to mischief in future than 'wink and a nod' courses anchored in present contingencies.

And the Congress at present ,as it is now, I would not want anywhere near a matter of this sort....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #51)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:27 PM

54. One assumes the capability is there Sir.

Not many of them are literate or educated enough to write good law, that's true. And most of them are more or less corrupt. But nevertheless, they are the representatives of the sovereign (us), to the extent we have one, and we elected them, and that's their job, oversight.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #51)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:29 PM

60. House votes 253-167 to require balanced budget date from Obama

See, they are eager to engage in oversight?

The Republican-led House passed legislation Wednesday that would force President Obama to estimate when the federal budget will balance again — and outline the steps he proposes to eliminate the budget deficit.

The Require a PLAN Act is part of a new Republican attempt to force Obama and the Democratic Senate to engage in efforts to cut the deficit. Republicans have roundly criticized Obama for submitting late budgets that don't balance, and the Senate for failing to produce any budget plan at all in nearly four years.

As expected, the House approved the bill in a mostly party-line 253-167 vote, although 26 Democrats went against their leaders and supported the legislation.

In January, the House passed a bill putting pressure on the Senate to finally pass a budget plan, under the threat of withholding Senate salaries. Republicans credit the No Budget, No Pay Act with getting the Senate to commit to a budget this year, and Wednesday's bill is an attempt to prod the White House.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/281431-house-votes-to-require-balanced-budget-from-obama

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Response to bemildred (Reply #60)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:33 PM

64. I Appreciate Your Making My Point For Me, Sir

The Congress at present is incapable of doing its job; it is barely capable of political grandstanding, and cannot even manage a very good job of that.

But I expect we do understand one another, and I am as always prepared to agree to disagree:it is a serious matter on which persons of sound judgement and good heart may well come to differing views on.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #64)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:45 PM

77. Quite. A matter of emphasis perhaps.

Nevetheless, saying: "That's just the way it is" assumes the status quo is inevitable. That is what I disagree with, we can do better, and we should not shut up about it.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #64)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:46 PM

79. ...

it is a serious matter on which persons of sound judgement and good heart may well come to differing views on.


That's probably the best statement I've read on this subject

It is indeed a serious, if not ugly, matter. Going forward with opposing views won't be easy for anyone

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Response to bemildred (Reply #60)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:38 AM

328. All that work on forcing a budget

When a budget is a guideline and not actually law. Appropriations are the actual laws. Budget means little and having Congress approve of the President's budget means even less, as only Congress can appropriate and ignore "budgets".

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:29 PM

57. For the FISA court there a judge on call 24/7

and 3 of the 11 judges must live within 20 miles of DC. You kind of have a model with them that could be used.

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #57)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:30 PM

61. Exactly. nt

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #57)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:48 PM

83. Possibly....but would they be ready to make decisions involving life and death....

....on an instantaneous basis?

How would one qualify or be trained to make those kinds of decisions? Who would do the training, and would we be duplicating the efforts of a system already in place?

What about the clearances necessary for a program of this nature?

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #57)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:49 PM

84. At last someone has come up with an alternative!

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:44 PM

25. Well-reasoned argument. Thank you. nt.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:53 PM

31. While I disagree with you - I wish you wrote

More OPs.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:59 PM

35. I was contemplating writing an OP on this

but you covered all these points far better than I ever could have dreamed of doing, so instead I get to K&R your thread in far less time. I reach the same conclusion that you have reached, that Americans who conciously join forces with international proclaimed enemies of our State who are intent on attacking us and killing other Americans, by so doing can and often must be tereated as enemy combatents subject to tactics used against enemies during war. It falls within the prime directive of any governmens to protect the citizenry as a whole against enemy attacks, even if those attacks are the acts of other citizens. Citizens though they may be, they commonly are then known as traitors who are engaged in a form of combat- which is more than just holding (in this case) extremely anti-American opioions.

Having said that, I share some concern with what one poster wrote above about the constant global nature of this "war", and all of the blurred lines defining it. Because of the potential abuse of executive power that this newly emerging form of warfare opens itself up to (which may or may not be an issue now with the current administration - but that is no basis for weighing the need for employing safeguards), I do strongly favor full public disclosure of the full criteria that is employed when an American citizen is targetted for killing as an enemy combatent. I also believe that our government needs a cleaqrly defined review process by high level designated government officials that must be adhered to before any American is placed on the so called "kill list". This should probably be prescribed by law and include judicial and congressional direct participation. It should be rare to target Americans abroad who can not be arrested instead, so it is worthy of very special mandated thorough consideration whenever it is contemplated.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:06 PM

43. I Am Not Particularly Happy About It Either, Sir

But I cannot honestly see the case in any other wise than I have stated it. Hard cases make bad law, as they say, and this is a very hard one indeed. I am not sure it is possible to construct an explicit legal framework for this sort of thing; I suspect anything written down in statute would be more susceptible to twisting in future than something engaged in on 'a wink and nod' by persons who show every sign of awareness it is something suited to a specific present circumstance.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #43)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:32 PM

62. Hard, but I think worthy of a good faith effort

First off there is the matter of when we are in "a state of war". I understand that we often enter war now without full scale Congressional Declarations of War, this has been an ongoing gray area but Congress and the Executive has grappled together over this and if not a Declaration of War, than some Congressionally sanctioned sign off acknowledging that the President is operating under circumstances that necessitate operational war powers should be a pre-condition. Arguably that is the currently the case, but it should always be the case before any President's Administration can legally target an American citizen abroad as an enemy combatent.

Next I see no reason why the generic decision making process and criteria to be employed for cases where American citizens might be subject to targetting should not explicitly be reviewed and signed off on by representatives of the legislative and judicial branches as consistent with Constitutional intent. Members of any Administration making those operational decisions should then legally be held accountable for adherence to that decision making process previously agreed upon. If there is need for any emergency exceptions that would allow for bypasing any aspect of that review because of fast breaking events that threaten our security - the standards for invoking them should be spelled out and then subject to a review after the fact to make sure those powers were not abused. The American people have a right to insist that this type of decision must receive specified thorough high level review even if we must delegate the final decision to the Executive and those who serve him or her as Commander in Chief.

Finally while the conduct of war is an executive function I see no reason why an Administration can not or should not be required to submit to legislative oversight over the conduct of this specific use of war powers - the pre-planned intentional targeting of specific American citizens abroad as enemy combatents to be killed through combat operations. It might not entail needing Congressional pre-authorization for specific military strikes, but the program should be subject to regular high level security clearence congressional review.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:01 PM

38. Just a point

My personal view is that the matter ought to be regarded as warfare. A citizen of the United States who adheres to an external body engaged in hostilities with the United States is just one more combatant in the field against the United States, with no right to be treated as anything but a combatant in the field against the United States. It is proper for the authorities of the United States to continue to treat such a person as a citizen, if he is taken alive. But the authorities of the United States are under no obligation to take extraordinary steps to take him alive, rather than kill him in the course of military operations against the belligerent party he has joined.


I might agree with your argument except for the fact that politicians, generals, spooks, et al, lie with amazing regularity. Just because someone is said to "adhere(s) to an external body engaged in hostilities with the United States " does not make it so. Also, even if true, what of the innocent people killed in the process of removing this one "threat to the state"?

The question here is, at its most basic, not about whether it is lawful to kill someone who somehow poses a threat to the United States, but rather:

1) By what process is this determined?

2) Upon what evidence?

3) By what definition of "threat"?

All of these questions are being ignored in the rush to kill someone because someone decided they "needed killing". Once you can be assassinated by the simple expediency of your name appearing on a secret piece of paper, tyranny is now a de facto reality.

Put bluntly, at war, the state is free from any constraints of police enforcement and court adjudication of criminal law in its treatment of adherents to the the non-state body it regards as being at war with it.


Again, arguably correct, but as there has not been an actual declaration of war since Dec 8, 1941, legalistic arguments such as this fall on their face.

The government cannot have it both ways making legalistic arguments about war, but then failing to actually declare war since it would be constrained directly by the Geneva Convention, while ignoring the Geneva Convention by claiming that it only applies during declared wars.

Well, it can, hence the problem.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #38)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:18 PM

49. al'Alawi, Sir, Did Adhere To A Body Engaged In Hostilities Against The United States

His son seems to have simply been among persons certainly adherent to such a body, who were the target of the strike.

If you are going to adopt the 'not war without a declaration' line, then you are left in a variety of limbos, regarding whether persons who kill under military orders are murderers under laws of the country they kill in, or whether various laws of war apply to any military action of the country,and doubtless a few others that might come to mind on further reflection.

I am content to recognize the fact of a state of hostilities tantamount to war, and consider the matter in accordance with what is actually going on.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #49)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:56 PM

144. Again, based upon what evidence?

Were the people making the claims against him place under oath and cross-examined as to their evidence?

Absent a trial, no evidence is credible. And while even the presence of a trial doesn't ensure credible evidence, its absence renders all actions illegal and immoral.

If you refuse to declare war, you cannot them use remedies available during times of war. If you do declare war, then you are bound by the strictures of the Geneva Convention.

The concept is crystal clear: Pick a set of rules and adhere to them. Any attempt to claim special circumstances is simply a fictitious justification for murder/war crimes.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:06 PM

41. Question: who is to decide?

 

And moreover, who is to determine who is an enemy of the state?

Would a drone strike on Bradley Manning be OK?

Would a drone stroke on a modern day Eugene Debs be OK?

AND...could you see a different administration taking this and acting unethically?

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Response to Taverner (Reply #41)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:10 PM

45. Persons Willing To Abuse This, Sir, Would Act As They Will, Precedent Or No

Mr. Manning meets no reasonable definition of combatant in the field.

Labor organizers were murdered, by government agency, often and with impunity, in the lifetime of Mr. Debs.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #45)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:20 PM

50. Labor Organizers are murdered by government agency TODAY

 

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Response to Taverner (Reply #50)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:29 PM

59. True, Sir, On a World-Wide Basis

Though it would be hard to find recent instances where citizens of the United States were killed by some government agency of the United States in the United States.

Of course, pressing this line would simply establish that what was done to al' Alawi is really just a routine sort of thing, business as usual where those who oppose The Combine are concerned....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #59)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:36 PM

70. Sometimes it's just a matter of "blessing" them. See: Salvador Allende

 

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:06 PM

42. A well stated point of view

I would be more comfortable, however, if there were two areas where there were some semblance of a check and balance. First, on the front side, I would like to see evidence of probable cause beyond simply some authority figure has reason to believe. And second, I would like a mechanism where drone strikes are independently reviewed--similar to how officer-involved-use-of-force is investigated. Without beefing up these two areas, it seems to me there is simply too much "fog of war" ambiguity that inevitably will lead to misuse and abuse. JMHO

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:15 PM

46. Excellent analysis as always, Magistrate.

One difficulty presents itself to my eye in re drone strikes. Stipulating the "target" as an enemy combatant who may be reasonably treated with all the force our country can bring to bear, these combatants are embedded in localities under the administration of states with which we are not, in any sense, at war. Yet such strikes almost invariably kill citizens of those states in addition to the target, citizens to whom it is not always easy to attach a belligerent status. This is not comparable, say, to the strategic bombing of a city in a country with which we are at war, in which civilians might also be slain. Search my brain as I will, I can see no justification for killing the citizens of another country who have offered no insult towards myself or my country.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #46)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:09 AM

238. Yes, that bothered me, too

You might (if this were an actual war, which I am quite certain it is not) be able to justify killing some civilians in attacks on armed opponents, provided you are at war with the country those civilians live in (we are at war with that country, hence its civilians have reduced protections, or so I imagine). There is no way to justify killing civilians in some random country that the opponent happens to reside in. The host country has its own laws, its own sovereignty, and we have no power over that.

The OP made a far-fetched journey into consideration of some kind of super-sovereignty that we hold over these other nations, an authority based on our position as owners of an empire. That's absurd on its face, and even to consider such a concept as an intellectual exercise is evidence to me of a world-view that is totalitarian in nature.

Another problem:

Membership of the accused to the lethal opposition (it's not enough for them to be ideologically opposed nor for them to be a propagandist for the opposition) must be established beyond a shadow of a doubt. We're dealing with people that don't wear uniforms identifying who they might serve. We're exacting lethal remedy, so it MUST be established (and corroborated by the judiciary, I would think, since there must be an opportunity for these people to refute the charges) that these people are in a state of war against us. We're very, very far from any acceptable establishment of membership, and our actions have shown that we aren't real interested in considering exculpatory evidence that might be presented by the accused, we simply kill them without going through this process at all.

This OP reminds me of some things I've read by CATO or Heritage. Intelligent, well-reasoned, yet misguided and wrong-hearted, using pretzel logic to justify a desired outcome.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:24 PM

52. Very well said. Thank you. n/t

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:28 PM

55. Then let's get those drones trained on the Far-Right Militias!

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:28 PM

56. I think your point on insurrection is important.

The civil war comes to mind.

US citizens, intended on breaking up the US, took up arms against the legitimate US government. And the US government declared "war" on them.

If a US citizen "joins" some group with the intent of attacking America, its people and its government, the US military can probably kill them. They are, in a sense, performing a form of insurrection.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:29 PM

58. Your problem is you are blindly accepting YOUR definition of drone strike as justifiction

Where America's justification is 1. suspicion only. they are saying they do not have to submit proof to any body, they simply have to suspect an American citizen is supporting terrorists and the alleged threat does not have to be imminent, the gov't only has to say their "High ranking official" BELIEVED it was. And based on that, America will launch a drone to assasinate that SUSPECTED bad guy American (and kill others in collateral damage) without benefit of arrest, trial, judgement or sentencing.

We will simply wipe out our perceived American citizen enemies without the ever so taxing burden of, yoou know, Goddamn proof they are plotting against or ACTING against America,

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Response to rustydog (Reply #58)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:43 PM

165. Just curious, but how many Confederate soldiers were afforded the protections of Amendment 6.....

...before they were killed, wounded, or captured in battle? Did they, or did they not, take up arms against the United States with the intent to kill, wound, or capture soldiers fighting for the Union?

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:35 PM

65. So could they have taken out David Koresh?

and justified it? ..how many others?

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Response to G_j (Reply #65)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:40 PM

73. He was Dealt With By Ordinary Police Power, Sir

It might have been used more adroitly, mind, but it sufficed to end the situation with government authority intact.

The government might well have been within its rights, based on certain statements of the man and the actions of his followers, to treat the thing as insurrection and deal with it militarily, once Federal police had been repulsed with serious casualties. Whether that would have been a better or a worse course cannot be said with any certainty.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #73)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:55 PM

96. In other words, yes.. nt

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Response to G_j (Reply #96)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:32 PM

281. Actually, no. And beyond that, the point is moot.

First, the AUMF was not in force at the time.

Second, Koresh was originally subject to arrest for gun violations. Not terrorism. He and his cult violently resisted arrest.

And finally, David Koresh died in a subsequent battle with Federal agents. He was never tried with any crime. He was killed.

Such a precedent is a funny thing to hang your hang your hat on if you're complaining about drone strikes against a handful of terrorists with U.S. citizenship papers.

- C.D. Proud Member of the Reality Based Community

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #281)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:31 PM

287. Did he pose an imminent threat?

Did he rail against the government?
Someone could have decided the answer was yes in both cases.

I don't think it's a moot point.

Or how about the Black Panthers?
Malcolm X?

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Response to G_j (Reply #287)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:10 PM

292. The DOJ Memo...

States that to be targeted, one must be working in an operational capacity with Al-Queda or an affiliated terrorist organization, engaged in planning actual terrorist assaults on the United States. Railing against the government is simply not the same as being actively engaged in planning terrorism.

And to the point of David Koresh (or any other American on U.S. soil) the memo further states that the live capture of the target must be infeasible -- i.e., not possible by the methods of standard law enforcement. The arrest of David Koresh, despite his resistance, was clearly feasible by standard methods of law enforcement.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:35 PM

67. I don't think all your words trump the simplicity of the Constitution on the matter.

 

Also I don't really care about terrorists "over there" I care about banksters over here. President Obama, Eric Holder, Tim Geithner et. al. have let us all down "big time".

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:38 PM

71. Good essay, I disagree on some points.


It is the presence of citizens of the United States among the adherents of the non-state body engaged in hostilities which gives this categorical uncertainty

Most rights are universal and are not limited by citizenship. Where the constitution limits rights to citizens, it does so explicitly. Deliberately killing any civilian non-combatant without benefit of standard judicial procedures is a clear violation of human rights.

As far as considering our kill list "combatants", in most cases I could not disagree more. Is the operator of a web site a combatant? Is a the person who drives a car for some village leader a combatant? We have consigned combatant status to any person in the general area of a specific target over some minimum age. That is abhorrent.

Further, we are now in our 11th year of a war without end against an enemy that can only be vaguely described. This endless vague war against essentially anyone who evokes support for a polticall viewpoint has resulted in a situation where we are murdering civilians all over the world whenever we see fit and without regard for national sovreignity.

We get away with this policy because right now we are the only ones with the technology to do this. However the tech required is not so sophisiticated or capital intensive, as for example nuclear technology is, that we can expect these capabilities to be limited to us, or to a small select group of nation-states. The blowback from the Drone Wars will not be pleasant as the policy we have established starts to be adopted by other actors.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:38 PM

72. I generally trust Obama not to abuse this power.

But I would not accord Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich with this trust.


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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #72)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:10 PM

279. That has been my feeling on this and other thorny issues.

I volunteered, donated and voted for Barack Obama because I trusted him not to abuse his powers in situations like this. I do not trust Bush, Cheney, McCain, Palin, Romney, etc.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:40 PM

74. Well sir...

... either a person believes in due process or they don't, regardless of whether it isn't perfect, sometimes messy, and is not quite as convenient as having a pseudo- monarch decide to prosecute, convict, and execute, in an unchecked and unfettered fell swoop.

I believe in due process for all, apparently you and the Obama Administration don't. I find such a stand to be morally and ethically reprehensible.

I see no middle ground, so we'll have to agree to disagree.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #74)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:42 PM

282. Did the Confederates in the Civil War receive this "due process" ?

I believe that if you look in history books, you'll find that they didn't.

Further, nearly all of these U.S. citizens were killed on U.S. soil (except for a few killed on the high seas).

Again, arguments about "due process" only apply when the belligerent is in custody. Until that happens though, terrorists (or mere enemy combatants, pursuing war that is lawful within the definitions of the Geneva conventions) are, on the field of battle, subject to the same acts of war that they intend to bring to us.

- C.D. Proud Member of the Reality Based Community

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #282)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:58 PM

284. So now two wrongs make a right?

Nice value system you've got there, friend.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #284)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 03:18 AM

329. I do not consider preserving the Union and breaking the back of slavery to be a "wrong"...

Thank you for the compliment on my value system, friend.

- C.D. Proud Member of the Reality Based Community

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #329)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:33 AM

330. Any means to an end, right friend?

"Conservative"? Without a doubt.

"Democrat"? Not so much.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #330)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:14 PM

360. If ending slavery requires violence, so be it.

And if preserving the Union requires violence, so be it. These are things that were decided 150 years ago.
Unlike you, the vast majority of Democrats have no problem with this.

Also, unlike you, the vast majority of Democrats like President Barack Obama.
According to a recent poll, 83% of Americans agree with the Presidents drone policy.

You don't speak for the Democratic party. Or its membership.

- C.D. Proud Member of the Reality Based Community

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #284)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:10 PM

342. Two May Not, Sir, But Three Do....

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:41 PM

75. To the armchair, Monday morning quarterbacks ....

Not one us here carries the awesome responsibility that comes with the job of president, we have the luxury here of second-guessing and parsing extremely complex matters while the president takes an oath to defend and protect the citizens of this country in REAL TIME.

Stop insisting on labeling people willing to have you and your family killed, "Americans" as though their country of origin is the ultimate set-aside, even when these folks collude with groups of people who's main focus is to committ acts of terror against the citizens of your country, there a strange notion that somehow we can't target an American working along with these groups, so let em go free ?

Please tell me then, what are YOUR options in how to deal with these threats, more boots on the ground ? More covert operations lead by the CIA targeting them for assassination ? Who would YOU send to try capturing the "American" so that he can be put on trial here in this country ? You do know that the movement across borders with the protection of those countries hostile to the U.S. is very common right ?

Let's have us a sitdown to air our mutual grievances, is that the way to go about this ?

I have become so frustrated listening to Rachel Maddow ( I'm a fan, I love her show ), and Ed Schultz who I started listening to since he started his radio program because all they've offered so far are criticisms of the drone program without saying what they'd rather see happening instead.

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Response to Raggaemon (Reply #75)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:49 PM

85. The US has 17+ Intelligence Agencies

Surely someone, somewhere, can figure it out

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Response to Raggaemon (Reply #75)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:50 AM

233. Even the Sunday quarterbacks have to play within the rules of the game

You don't get to false start, make multiple forward passes, or throw the ball away in the pocket because the spotlight is on you. Too far off from the rules and take the refs off the field and football is no longer being played, rule of law and self governance by the same token are lost.

Good excuse, poor reason.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:47 PM

82. Well reasoned argument. nt

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:49 PM

86. Drones are a must have to support our Democratic allies

in Yemen......



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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:50 PM

87. a

rational discourse. thanks. an enemy is an enemy. period.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:51 PM

89. Isn't this what we all wanted?

We knew the "war on terra" would look different after Obama. We wanted him to end the more traditional wars of choice that Smirky hung around our necks and didn't pay for. We wanted this to look like it does, an occasional strike here and there taking out terraists as needed. OK, then. Obama is doing that. If one of them was a former American citizen, then so be it. If they joined the "enemy" and plotted my death or my neighbor's death, then I don't consider them a fellow countryman anymore. The alternative is all out bombs away shock and awesome war. Smirky, btw, changed the course of defense so we could make a glass parking lot out of anyone who looked at us funny or even thought about looking at us funny or if Smirky just thought they looked at us funny. I think that policy is still on the books. Where's the outrage over that?

Any pretzeldente or congress critter can abuse power. It is up to us to not let that happen. We do need rules of engagement. I think those already exist. If they don't exist for drones, then write them and be done with it.

Anyway, Magistrate, you said it much better than I could.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)


Response to shelly_moskwa (Reply #91)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:54 PM

95. Shit, that's bad enough I am tempted to alert on you.

But I'd prefer it stand to show what a loathsome post you made.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:52 PM

92. I don't necessarily agree with categorizing these people as belligerent parties

But your post is a breath of analytic fresh air in a room thick with the stench of self-righteous posturing.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:53 PM

93. Given the nature of terrorism

there are only a few areas where the U.S. government can make a case for a military strike.

The fact is that law enforcement is the best way to pursue terrorists across much of the world.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:53 PM

94. I understand your view, The Magistrate.

Here is my problem with it.

Who defines who belongs to the external but combatant body?

How is that external combatant body to be defined?

Most important, who defines who DOES NOT belong to that combatant body?

And how are non-combatants to be defined? And how are the interests of innocent non-combatants to be protected?

In my opinion, our Patriot Act defines terrorists so vaguely, so broadly, that it could, whether due to malice or misinformation, define as terrorists a lot of innocent people, and especially a lot of people who are in fact political dissidents, people who simply support human rights or people who simply happen to be in the vicinity of actual terrorists.

When is the friend of your enemy your enemy? When does the fact that someone simply has a different point of view or defends the right of another to have a different point of view or to blow the whistle on the wrongful or questionable acts of the authority (the one with the drones) make them a terrorist supporter? a combatant?

George Washington formed an army. He did not represent a recognized country. He fought as a revolutionary against an imperial army (of which he had formerly been a member).

Our Revolution was fought by what we now view as an army of revolutionaries, but that army was supported by innkeepers, newspaper publishers, farmers, all kinds of people including women and children who lent a hand to feeding and caring for the revolutionaries.

If our Revolution were fought today, how many of our heroes would be the targets of drone attacks? How many innkeepers, newspaper publishers, farmers, supporters or suppliers of the revolutionaries who maybe had no opinion other than that the revolutionaries were their families or friends?

I am not supporting terrorism. It is a terrible thing. But, how do we know it.

Someone once said that they knew art when they saw it.

That's OK for art.

But when you are targeting people for drone attacks, you cannot just say "I know terrorists when I see them." And you can't claim to be leading a democracy if you can't let your own citizens know the specific, and I mean specific, criteria you are applying in determining whether someone is a legitimate target for a drone attack in your view.

Speech is also not a test, not under our Constitution. Because we are supposed to have a right to free speech and assembly, etc. even though that right has been eroded and is being eroded during the Obama administration.

It is very easy to write a nice, intellectual justification for drone strikes. I am reminded of an article by Sartre concerning the dehumanizing of war that occurred when we began dropping bombs on civilians from the sky. Drones carry that dehumanizing to an extreme. Terrorists make the world worse for all of us. Drones could too.

Our Constitution guarantees due process for US citizens.

One of the problems with drones is that the process by which the decision is now made as to when, where and against whom to use them invites the arbitrary abuse of the power to kill anyone who is inconvenient. I have no reason to think that is happening now, but I also have no reason to think we have any procedures in place to prevent that from happening now or in the future.

We need checks and balances on the authority to use drones. We need to have judges with secure, lifetime appointments and juries of the people to determine whether these extrajudicial murders should take place or not -- especially when the lives of American citizens are at stake -- but even if they aren't. Blowback is something to be feared.

If drones are to be used as weapons, then there must be some process for deciding on their uses other than a president seated with the counselors and officers he appointed to office sitting in a comfortable office somewhere deciding the fates of people they don't know based on hearsay evidence.

It's an abomination.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #94)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:57 PM

98. "If drones are to be used as weapons..."

Who decides when a grenade is used? Or a machine gun? Or a bayonet? The people doing the fighting, that's who.

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Response to randome (Reply #98)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:00 PM

147. Grenades, machine guns, bayonets, etc. are generally used in war zones.

Drones are used in areas in which we have not identified either by action or by other means, a war zone. That is part of the problem with zones.

Drones used for non-violent purposes are annoying enough. Drones that come out of nowhere and mistakenly hit guests at a wedding? What is that about? That's the kind of conduct we call terrorism. Just coming out of nowhere to kill people or threaten people without talking first, without diplomacy, without any procedure for declaring war or giving notice. That's barbaric. That's what it is.

So you are out with your buddies hunting and fooling around with your guns, and some neighbor who doesn't know you reports that you are acting like terrorists. Do you want a drone to come flying into your outing?

No way. Remember, if "do unto others what you would have them do unto you" doesn't work for you then try "what you do unto others, others are likely to do unto you." Maybe it's a little easier to understand.

And if you are uncomfortable with the Golden Rule because you associate it with Christianity, try the Categorical Imperative of Kant:

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_imperative

The way that the Obama administration is administering drone strikes does not comply with the Golden Rule or the categorical imperative.

Everyone deserves to know the rules. And nobody knows the rules when it comes to drone strikes -- nobody but the President himself.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #147)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:05 PM

149. Expecting Obama or anyone else to adhere to the Golden Rule or the Categorical Imperative of Kant...

...is probably expecting too much, although I have no personal problem with either outlook.

The 'rules', so far as they can be determined, is that if you are part of the Taliban, for instance, and you engage or support terrorist activities, then you can be targeted. Sounds simple to me. I would prefer there be some sort of review when someone is targeted, I'm sure we can agree on that.

But I'm not overly worried about Obama using this ability to kill indiscriminately. Nor any future President, either.

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Response to randome (Reply #149)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:33 PM

160. How do you know whether someone is a part of the Taliban? That is part of the problem.

I am very worried that some future president, frustrated by the fact that our war on the terrorists never ends and is extremely expensive, will use these weapons indiscriminately, perhaps even against Americans citizens here. From the articles I have read, it appears that the President is claiming that power -- to use drones here against whomever he wishes.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #160)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:48 PM

166. It's more than just the Taliban. I should have listed others we know about.

It gets hard to keep track of, though.

Like I said, I agree we need additional constraints. But America is a huge country. 300 million people. What President would start a war with that many people?

In addition, if the Tea Party and nut-jobs like Beck have their way, we may actually end up with some deluded group thinking they can pull off a coup or isolate a part of the country for their own use.

In that case, I would have no problem using drones on American soil to stop them.

But that's conjecture on my part just as it is conjecture that a future President will turn against his or her own country. Sure, it's possible. But not close enough to possibility to keep me awake at night.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #94)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:40 PM

172. A Few Points, Sir

Your invocation of our War of Independence provides a useful starting point. Contemplate it for a few moments from the point of view of the English Crown, and its numerous colonial supporters. Washington was an arch-traitor, every man in his army a traitor, and under law 'any man who so much as wished him Godspeed might find himself charged as a rebel'. Mr. Franklin's famous 'We must all hang together, or we shall all be hanged separately' was indeed gallows humor of a high order, describing the actual situation and stakes perfectly, with a bit of grin into the bargain. Had the English armies prevailed, which they might well have done, much of our revolutionary pantheon would have ended on the gallows, and Washington likely would rank with Guy Falkes in the calendar of boisterous holidays spawned by the ruin of a dedicated foe of the Crown.

Under law, and even under contemporary practice, the English could have hanged any colonial taken in arms against the Crown. If you suppose them incapable of such, a look into the Highlands after Culloden will leave you no doubts. The English government made a political decision to behave otherwise, to treat the rebel colonists as a belligerent party ( at least while hostilities were continuing ). Several reasons for this are likely, ranging from awareness that killing prisoners wholesale might stiffen resistance as much as it deterred it, through awareness there were English surrenders to the rebels too, to uneasiness over the consequences of severity on the popularity of the enterprise in England itself, where feelings over the situation of the North American colonies were deeply divided. While the reasoning might have been different, it is exactly the decision the United States has made, to treat a non-state body as a belligerent party, rather than a mere gang of criminals,and to do so because the government saw this as the most advantageous course.

And of course, in the attempt to defeat the rebellion in the colonies, the English paid no attention whatever to what rights a free Englishman might glory in. Persons were taken on suspicion, and held without trial, killed out of hand when they offered resistance. There was nothing particularly clean about the matter, on either side. Rebels, where they predominated, beat and killed and burnt out loyal supporters of the Crown; there was a substantial flight of refugees when the fighting concluded with rebel victory, and many who fled bore scars. The idea that persons who were not armed men enlisted in the ranks took no harm in our War of Independence is simply mistaken.

In the larger case of partisan or guerrilla war, whether fought in insurrection or resistance to invasion, this not only is always the case, it is necessarily the case. Guerrilla war always consists largely of each side doing its best to make the case to the people that it is the bunch they ought to be most afraid of. Each side will have its positive adherents, but the large mass with no strong feelings either way will collaborate with the side they fear most, and keep shy of the side they fear least.

A good deal of this comes down to whether or not a good faith effort is made to identify legitimate targets, to see to it that when a drone is aimed at someone, or several someones, they are persons actually combatant against the United States, active adherents to the Islamic fundamentalists engaged in hostilities against us. I submit that a good faith effort is made, and do so not on grounds of imputed rectitude, but on the grounds that accurately striking enemies is the most frightening thing that can be done, and so pays the best return in what the business actually hinges on. That there will be mistakes is certain, but that does not mean no attempt is made to avoid them, and that they are not seen as damaging the effort being made.

I submit further that employment of phrases like 'extra-judicial murder' in discussing this is, shall we say, poor form, and classic begging the question. It presupposes crime, the existence of criminal intent and commission of a criminal act, which is in fact what persons who oppose the policy are endeavoring to demonstrate, and must prove.

I further submit that referring decisions to shoot or not at fleeting targets to a court is hardly practical. The real choices are what is being done at present, or more conventional military action ranging from commando insertions to full-bore invasion, or leaving the thing undisturbed.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #94)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:48 AM

263. K&R. A Never Ending War with American citizens potentially targeted

for death without any transparency and broad oversight is not acceptable in a democratic republic.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:55 PM

97. +1.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:03 PM

102. Drone Strikes Are Acts of War

 

Last edited Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:02 PM - Edit history (1)

and that is how the UN will likely see it when they get their investigation finished and final report written. Drone strikes are aerial assassinations/Hit squads/Death Squads. Nothing more and nothing less.
.
.
--The same as when Germany sent V1 "Buzz Bombs" into England. Our drones are actively guided ("radio-controlled"). That's the only control difference between they and Germany's V1 "Buzz Bomb." that I have noticed about them thus far.



The V-1 was developed at Peenemünde Airfield by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. During initial development it was known by the codename "Cherry Stone". The first of the so-called Vergeltungswaffen series designed for terror bombing of London, the V-1 was fired from "ski" launch sites along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts. The first V-1 was launched at London on 13 June 1944, one week after (and prompted by) the successful Allied landing in Europe. At its peak, more than one hundred V-1s a day were fired at southeast England, 9,521 in total, decreasing in number as sites were overrun until October 1944, when the last V-1 site in range of Britain was overrun by Allied forces. This caused the remaining V-1s to be directed at the port of Antwerp and other targets in Belgium, with 2,448 V-1s being launched. The attacks stopped when the last site was overrun on 29 March 1945. In total, the V-1 attacks caused 22,892 casualties (almost entirely civilians).

Reference Link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-1_flying_bomb

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Response to triplepoint (Reply #102)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:04 PM

103. When we are invited by other countries to use them? I don't see that happening.

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Response to randome (Reply #103)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:10 PM

104. Invited...........

Yes. We were "invited."....:


Pakistani ambassador to U.S. calls CIA drone strikes a ‘clear violation’

By Karen DeYoung, Published: February 5

CIA drone strikes in Pakistan are “a clear violation of our sovereignty and a violation of international law” that threaten stable relations between the two governments, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday.

Persistent reports that Pakistan has tacitly approved the strikes while publicly denouncing them are untrue, Ambassador Sherry Rehman said....

Full article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pakistani-ambassador-to-us-calls-cia-drone-strikes-a-clear-violation/2013/02/05/1a620fc2-6fa9-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html

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Response to think (Reply #104)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:20 PM

115. Pakistan also provided intelligence about OBL's whereabouts then denied to their people they did so.

It's a complicated situation there, no doubt about it. Pakistan is not a very stable nation. I'm not sure why we would believe an ambassador over other reports. But since Pakistan has little in the way of resources we can steal, I doubt we're there for any reason other than humanitarian and to root out terrorist groups.

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Response to think (Reply #104)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:37 PM

162. You realize that we did have drones operating out of Pakistan with permission at one time

right?

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #162)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:20 PM

179. Do we have permission now? Seriously..........

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Response to triplepoint (Reply #102)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:24 AM

240. Maybe we should start calling them "buzz bombs" to make it clear. nt

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:11 PM

105. GOP Rep. On Drone Strikes: ‘There Is Oversight’

 

Per teh TPM there is oversight.

Even if true (it's a gooper talking, after all) I need more before I can be okay with this. Any American deserving a death sentence should have enough evidence against them to be convicted in absentia. Keep that trial short and secret, fine; just make sure there is a paper-trail proving that these American citizens needed to get dead, something that will stand up to judicial review. We have FISA judges right? If they're signing death warrants after reviewing evidence, then fine.

The problem I have with this is that no one is showing that any such review is taking place, leaving open at least the possibility that such deaths without due process could be occurring based on little more than a hunch.

(And don't bother with the "Obama wouldn't do that" argument -- this isn't about him. This is about allowing anyone that kind of power.)

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:16 PM

107. Bullshit

Really.

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #107)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:18 PM

110. Brevity Is Said To Be a Virtue, Sir

Hard to anything else about your contribution one could even attempt to commend....

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:18 PM

111. Looks like your opinion is consistent with John Bolton's

 

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:26 PM

118. If one engages in violence against civilization, no matter the cause, then civilization has the

right to defend itself.

If one engages in violence against civilization, no matter the cause, outside of the jurisdictional boundaries of the state, then civilization is not bound by the laws of said jurisdiction.

Well put sir.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #118)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:38 PM

127. No problem with using drones against people engaged in violence against civilization.

But there is a big problem with using drones against people who might pose a threat of violence against civilization. Just posing a believed or suspected or supposed threat is not enough to warrant the use of drones and killing. Just bringing lunch or writing or speaking in favor of the ideas of someone who uses violence without urging or condoning the violence is not sufficient to justify using drones and killing.

That is the problem here. The language in our Patriot Act and in the memos on drones and torture is so vague that it encompasses acts and thoughts and conduct that are not violent.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:29 PM

119. Let me offer you a slight counterpoint...two actually.

1.- Drones are now patrolling the skies over the United States. In time they will be armed. In time, especially if we face an internal rebellion...you will see their use over CONUS. You offered that on your point on insurrection, which legally speaking...you are on point.

2.- ironically this point has been made by CIA former agents, and the reason why we have avoided targeting foreign leaders for decades. We will not maintain ownership of the technology. This creates a legal standard that...could mean a foreign actor will commit the act of war and target our national leaders. The reasoning is that if we breach their territory in pursuit of our goals, well so can they.

This is a minefield. And I am not even touching on the obvious issues of the Imperial presidency, which is way independent of party, political party. Hell, I am not even touching on civil rights...in war they become muddled at best.

Also, even non state actors have a few protections under the laws of war...they just become very muddy.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #119)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:45 PM

133. I've never bought the idea that you'll see armed drone use in the US

Last edited Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:59 PM - Edit history (1)

the point the drone is that people are in places where physically extracting them is not practical.

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #133)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:48 PM

136. Well there was a time people said

Predators would never be used over the US. DHS operates more than a few.

Up arming predators is easy. At one time they were not supposed to either.

Assumptions will get us in trouble every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #133)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:58 PM

168. Not for a while yet, no.


One or two colossal, nation-wide emotional disturbances would be necessary first. The conditions would have to be right.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:31 PM

120. Thank you for writing your

analysis, Magistrate, for its much needed balance.

Michael Tomasky provides another level headed debate about the Justice Dept Memo

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/06/obama-and-the-justice-department-memo.html

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:35 PM

125. Still it's easy to identify your enemies infantry, they have uniforms

it's not so easy to identify member of nebulous terrorist networks. I think you need an extra layer of oversight like a FISA court in these situations to provide verification. That said I'd rather have Al-Alwki dead than using his citizenship as a shield.

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #125)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:42 PM

130. Solution: Only fight wars on "Casual Friday" (nt)

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:41 PM

128. It sucked when Bush did it, it is awesome now the Obama does it

and that is all the people need to know

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #128)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:45 PM

134. I don't think anyone is saying this is 'awesome'.

If one accepts the concept of war in the first place, then targeting individuals is better than sending troops on the ground.

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Response to randome (Reply #134)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:52 PM

142. Nor can that person point to anyone who said it sucked that Bush did it and now is in favor nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #142)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:37 PM

163. Except they weren't here defending Bush

policy..

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Response to randome (Reply #134)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:26 PM

157. Exactly. It's that kind of hyperbole that

takes away from the debate.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #128)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:51 PM

141. Baron von Raschke!

Oh, noes! He's teamed up with the Iron Sheik!

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:13 PM

152. Thank You!

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:05 PM

170. Excellent post. K&R.

The definitions of the past don't fit any longer. I really wonder why people can't see that very simple reality.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:14 PM

171. I'll say this much for my liberal brethren:

When we rationalize the unacceptable, we're very thorough about it.

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Response to Marr (Reply #171)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:01 PM

212. This web site's in danger of having its name changed to D Yoo.

After the mangling of the law by the Bush administration, I can't believe several luminaries on this board are justifying assassination of Americans by executive fiat and promoting such a flagrant disregard of due process. Wrong is wrong, even if "our guy" is in office. If those supporting the Justice Department memo don't recognize it, then perhaps they aren't as moral or as smart as they believe they are. But they would certainly have the right of it.

You know, I know, and Bob Dole knows that were this memo written prior to 2009, everyone on this board would have had their hair on fire, MoPaul would have gone bonkers breaking Godwin's Law with his artwork, and some of today's posters in support of the drone strikes would have posted weekly 1500-word manifestos raging against the Bush administration's imperial overreach with eloquent impotency.

Enough with the "realpolitik." With D Yoo-type posts, Osama bin Laden scores a post-mortem victory with his unlikely allies on the left. After all, "They hate us for our freedoms."

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Response to Efilroft Sul (Reply #212)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:17 PM

220. There's nothing I could add to that but

+1.

You're absolutely right. Party affiliation is the sole difference here, and it's actually disheartening to me to see how many spin around 180 degrees on that point. I actually thought it was a right wing trait just a few short years ago.

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Response to Efilroft Sul (Reply #212)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:57 AM

244. Nonesense, Ma'am

I stated specifically my view would be the same if this were done by the previous administration. I consider it a reasonable policy in actual conditions now extant.

Yoo's 'legal analysis' purporting to render torture a legitimate act are a very different thing. Even in a state of war, a government is bound by treaty obligations, and the United States has entered into treaties which define torture, and define it as a grievous crime. Yoo's 'legal analysis' consisted of stating that what was universally regarded as torture was not really torture, and so could be done legally, and that besides, treaties do not bind the Executive at war. That is nonesense, and ought to have got the man dis-barred for malpractice.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #244)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:40 AM

259. And here is what is unreasonable about the policy.

The Justice Department memo redefines what "imminent" means in the phrase "imminent threat." The memo's "broader concept of imminence" doesn't require actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the country.

The memo states, "The condition that an operational leader presents an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future." That might sound all well and good to some if the memo's text is in regards to an al Qaeda leader, but putting this "9/11 changed everything" notion aside, those of us objecting to the memo on this site are concerned about the targeting of Americans for assassination anywhere around the world and throwing due process onto the dungheap.

In addition, the memo also talks about anonymous but "informed, high-level" government officials determining whether or not Americans targets are recently involved in activities that could result in an attack on our soil or interests. However, while the memo stretches the definition of imminence and dispenses with the need for evidence, it does nothing to clearly define "recently" or, more worrisome, "activities." And it all comes down to this secret interpretation that is most troublesome for us. To accept the Justice Department's line of reasoning and think that it won't come back to haunt us down the road is woefully naive. At what point will one be considered an "imminent threat" and denied due process?

Once the camel's nose is under the tent, the body follows.

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Response to Efilroft Sul (Reply #259)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:45 AM

262. I Agree With The Definition Employed, Ma'am

It is well suited to the actual situation of the conflict.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:48 PM

174. You're omitting one important element.

How do we know that the non-state "belligerent" is really acting against the state? Because the state says so? I think that's a crucial point left out of this divide.

We are to take the word of a government, a government that has had no problem lying in the past, that an actor was belligerent, and as such, had to be eliminated? And to top it off, the evidence for his "liquidation" is to be kept secret for national security purposes? Really?

You really think this is a good scenario, or power to leave up to the state entity, any state entity?

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #174)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:34 PM

184. That pretty much describes a defacto war to me.

In any war, the government decides who the targets are. The citizenry doesnt get veto power over the targets.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #184)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:14 PM

195. Doesn't describe it for me.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:52 PM

175. As always, thanks for the clarity of a well-thought-out essay

After the unbearable amount of heat expended on all sides of the blogosphere, media, and chattering classes, Right, Left, and DU -- the clarity of your exposition, Sir, has been a relief.

Hekate

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:38 PM

186. Can't add a word to what you wrote. K&R.

And thank you.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:53 PM

188. Thanks for this n/t

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:22 PM

189. A bold choice sir, and much appreciated

Gracefully argued as always.

If one does not care for a hellfire missle suppository, it is well advised to stand clear of Al-Queda camps and leave the video making to others. This advice goes to citizens and well as foriegn nationals. I think the message has been out there for a while now. Anyone who is confused about whether we consider this war has not been paying close attention. I think when we invade soveriegn nations over an issue, one can reasonably conclude that a war exists.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:43 PM

191. Reverse the situation

Let's say I'm a citizen of Pakistan residing in the United States, plotting the overthrow of the Pakistani Government. According to you, then, it's ok for the Pakistani Government to order a drone strike in the U.S. against me, and anyone else who just happens to be killed or injured as a result (whether Pakistani or American), whether or not they were involved in the conspiracy, is acceptable "collateral damage" and an official apology from the Pakistani Government to ours is sufficient remedy.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Reply #191)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:51 PM

192. The Situation Does Not Reverse Quite That Simply, Sir

For a true symmetry to obtain, you would have to add that the government of the United States had made no effort to thwart the planning or arrest the conspirators, and had in fact financed some elements of the conspiracy through its 'special service' organs. In such a circumstance, I would accord any government the right to take action against the plotters, and would hold that such action falls under the rights of self-defense accorded a state in the United Nations Charter.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #192)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:06 PM

193. So you do support the right of other countries to attack within our country with drones

Based on whatever information they have, which may or may not be shared with our Government. But only in the case where our Government had been financed some elements of the conspiracy. I simply disagree with you, and it looks like that's where we'll have to leave it.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Reply #193)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:10 PM

194. I Strive To Apply a Uniform Standard, Sir

It is generally considered lawful for a state to strike enemies operating outside its borders, without the co-operation of the government of the country in which they are resident if that government has made no effort to deal with the situation.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:53 PM

196. John Bolton said about the same with much less verbiage. That's got to make you feel good.

The problem with much of your rationalization for the drone program secrecy is that the same government was largely duped into a massive invasion of Iraq looking for WMDs the military and all in authority said were there and they knew where they were. There were none.
So the same folks shouting yellow cake and mushroom clouds to get us into Iraq should not have unilateral unchecked power to kill based on what could easily be trumped up information. We are about to install as Sec of Defense a man who bought the WMD mushroom clouds fears and voted to invade Iraq. There were, to repeat, no WMD. None. They all said they were there. But it was all a lie. How many died for that flight of fear and folly? Because the folks you now trust to decide thought it was the right and wise thing to do?
Maybe you supported Iraq invasion, I don't know. But the top brass looked like liars and dupes to me. Then came Shock and Awe. And no WMD.
Yet you say you know such decisions are never made on a whim, always with utterly reliable information by people of great wisdom. History loudly says otherwise.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #196)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:57 PM

197. If He Agrees With Me, Sir, Then For Once In His Wretched Life He Has Stumbled Into A Correct View

"Even a blind chicken pecks up a little corn."

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #197)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:57 PM

209. Actually Bolton was defending Bush era policies

 

by comparing them to current Obama policies. But I'm sure you're proud that the four of you are all on the same page.

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Response to sadalien (Reply #209)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:58 PM

210. Do Not Try And Teach Your Grandmother To Suck Eggs, Sir

I know what Bolton said, and what his purpose was.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #210)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:02 PM

213. I'm sorry I don't get your little folksy witticisms

 

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:37 PM

200. Although I disagree with your premise...

Although I disagree with your premise on an ethical level (" to treat the non-state body pressing hostilities against it as a belligerent party..."), you do raise some points I had not previously considered which are validated by Von Clausewitz's third rule of conflict: the only purpose of war is to deny the opposition the ability to wage war.

In the past, the ability to objectively define who are what the opposition was rather simple... even if we include the Barbary Corsairs (the closest analogy I'm able to make to the current conflict), yet still... the diaphanous nature of the opposition forces in existence in the here and now make for even more diaphanous moral decisions.

Legally, I'm quite certain this administration is on solid ground. But in the end, 250 years from now, I wonder how this will be taught in history classes. A form of Pax Romana, or simple national existence... or something in between.



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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:25 PM

204. Thank you, Magistrate. Well stated.

I certainly prefer drone strikes to cruise missiles any day. However, I was concerned by the memo recently released, in that I felt it was too broad and it reminded me too much of John Woo's "torture" memo. But your analysis makes a lot of sense and makes me feel much better about it. I would feel better if Congress would codify it, but I don't expect anything but obstruction from Republicans in this Congress.

As for al' Alawi, I felt like his moving was a self- admission. I might have felt better if he had been tried in absentia, but I was not sorry to see him killed and I wouldn't have been if the previous administration had done it, either.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:00 PM

211. So basically, any abuse by any authority can be justified if you make up situations. I get it. n-t

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:06 PM

214. A good summation followed by a dereliction of responsibility to the precedent being set.

While you addressed the background well and fully, you did nothing to address the dangerous precedent set in establishing the Executive as the sole arbiter of judging where to draw the murky line between war and crime.

In granting the POTUS the powers you suggest to now prosecute any crime as if it represented a threat against the nation, you have opened the door to a tremendous potential for abuse of that power.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #214)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:12 PM

216. As Said Once Up-Thread, Sir

A President who would abuse this would do so whether there was precedent or not. So that line does not carry much weight to me. The area in which this President is wielding this war-fighting authority is reasonable, and I see no reason to oppose it, and no reason to try and stand on a slippery slope predicting future horribles because of it.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #216)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:20 PM

221. That is a very good point. However there is an argument to be made that by codifying it into law,

namely that (even) US citizens may be judged by POTUS to be legally potential targets for extrajudicial killing, that we are making such behavior less of an anathema and making it easier to be done in an abusive way without forcing the otherwise abusive President to go out of his way in bending the law.

In other words, it will be easy to abuse. If a future president is going to do it anyway, let him at least be forced to struggle, in secret. Now it can be done openly and who will be able to argue whether the target was justified or not.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #221)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:23 PM

223. But It has Not Been Coded Into Law, Sir

This is merely legal advice given to the President concerning a specific situation. It is not binding on a future administration, it is not even binding on the current President.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #223)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:25 PM

225. Good point.

You score again.

In the court of debate, you're like Michael Jordan with some open room between him and the bucket.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:07 PM

215. This part explains my position perfectly:

"My personal view is that the matter ought to be regarded as warfare. A citizen of the United States who adheres to an external body engaged in hostilities with the United States is just one more combatant in the field against the United States, with no right to be treated as anything but a combatant in the field against the United States. It is proper for the authorities of the United States to continue to treat such a person as a citizen, if he is taken alive. But the authorities of the United States are under no obligation to take extraordinary steps to take him alive, rather than kill him in the course of military operations against the belligerent party he has joined."

Thank you, Magistrate, for saying it.


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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:12 PM

217. So you would do away with all constitutional provisions to rights guaranteed by same to Americans

and the legal system too?

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:21 PM

222. So I bought my first drone and used it today

So I bought my first drone and used it today

It was pretty fun. Flying over the hood and viewing everyone.

And then I saw him. That one neighbor.

Multiple felonies, in and out of prison for years, has been a threat to me and others here. His kids have been stealing bikes. He has a gun (which he is not supposed to own), and is still running drugs. (and btw, this is a real person I know, but is not really a threat to me personally as we are good friends - and yes his son does steal bikes and other things they repaint and resell)

The police have done little here. Oh sure, they come out all the time, but then they just leave. (this is true - on many many occasions)

So I launched a missile from it.

Bam. He, his wife, kids, all gone.

A threat no more to us here.

At first I thought I might get in trouble for this. But I had a good reason, I saw a threat. I stood my ground. I made an executive decision based on information I knew that the cops ignored.

Did some innocents die? Sure. But one threat to me was eliminated. Better that the innocents who are with the guilty die than the innocents not with the guilty (how innocent can you be if you hang out with bad people anyway??). He put his own family in jeopardy by traveling with them.

I will admit though that before I hit him I, well...., I blew up a neighbor down the street by accident. But my intention was to protect myself so no real issue there. My intentions were good. I just had some bad intelligence.

I can sleep well tonight knowing that I won't go to jail or have anyone complain about it. After all, I am like 007 - I have a license to kill.

Funny how we can do things as a group, but doing the same thing as an individual is seen differently.

When we spread out accountability no one is to blame.

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #222)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:25 PM

224. Nonesense Of This Grade is Beneath Your Dignity, Sir

"My god, man, slap yourself and think!"

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #224)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:34 PM

227. Letting a few in power do this

Is a grade beneath IMHO.

We ask Yemen to cover up us killing innocent civilians.

If you or I did this we would be in jail.

The core ideal I am seeing is - someone a world away who cannot attack us is a threat, blow them up and anyone with them.

You want to kill them? Then show we the people how they were a threat, just as I would have to do if I killed someone.

Our govt asks that of us, why can we not do the same?

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #222)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:07 AM

327. Great analogy.

I've used a neighborhood setting to describe our invasion of Iraq. It lends itself well to explanation.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:27 PM

226. After reading a portion of the thread

I agree with the Magistrate on this one.

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Response to The Magistrate (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:39 PM

229. Article III section 3

Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving then aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the Testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment for treason..

************************************************
Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer ... nor be deprived of life ... without due process of law.

************************************************

Perhaps I have an old copy of the Constitution, as I can't find the exception granted to the Executive department which allows the expediency of non-judicial execution as ordered by the commander in chief for purposes related to military operations against an American Citizen any where on the planet?

While the history you described is correct in fact, your conclusion, my good sir, does not stand on its own merits no matter how well explained.

To give unto Cesar that which is claimed by Cesar grants to it and its heir unchecked power incompatible with the Republic for which it stands, with life, liberty, and justice for all.

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Response to westerebus (Reply #229)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:56 PM

230. That is A Criminal Charge, Sir, For Someone Taken Alive

Do you seriously imagine it makes it illegal to kill a citizen actually enlisted as a combatant against the United States?

To briefly restate a point made earlier: this is a debate concerning categories. People who consider the matter defined by criminal law will have one view. People who consider the matter defined by a de facto state of war will have another. Mostly, in debate they will speak past one another, because arguments from one paradigm simply do not apply in the other.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #230)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:50 AM

232. Glad to see the spirit intact, my good sir.

Treason is a crime given a unique status and defined in the Constitution with particulars attached.

The fact is this is a fact and has nothing to do with my imagination.

Is it less a crime when viewed with in a de facto state? I do not think so.

Wanted dead or alive? Only after judicial review.

I don't see this as arguable. I see two tracks under the same wagon.

Do the ends justify the means?

That sir is debatable.

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Response to westerebus (Reply #232)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:59 AM

234. You Mistake The Point, Sir

A person who could have been witnessed levying war against the United States necessarily was taking some active part in hostilities; in the course of doing so, he might well have been killed, and nothing in the Constitutional definition of treason forbids his being killed by military forces of the United States while he is engaged in hostilities against the United States.

Killing someone in the course of war is not a criminal penalty, and no judgement of criminal guilt for some crime; it is simply one of the risks of being a combatant that one might be killed by agencies of the state one is fighting against.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #234)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:34 AM

235. War has not been declared unless you know other wise...

de facto being the current state is the correct premise.

Had he engaged forces sent to capture him, I would hold the possibility that that conduct by forces so assigned was lawful.

That wasn't the case.

The Executive department made the call outside its authority.

The message was political.

The result the same.

Does the ends justify the means?



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Response to westerebus (Reply #235)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:51 AM

236. We Are Getting Deep Into 'Say Something Once, Why Say It Again?' Territory, Sir

The government of the United States has chosen to treat a loosely knit cohort of Islamic fundamentalists engaged in hostilities against the United States as a belligerent party, and regards itself as at war with them. That is the actual state of play, and it does no good to argue as if this were not so. The individual in question was, as a matter of fact, part of the body of Islamic fundamentalists our government considers itself at war with, and played his own role in the hostilities they are engaged in against the United States. His killing was no different than the killing of any other member of that hostile body, in the course of the on-going conflict.

This is not a question of deciding someone has committed a crime, and meting out punishment for that crime. This is simply engaging elements of a hostile force, and treating them as one would treat leading elements of any combatant body. Citizenship is irrelevant to his combatant status.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #236)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:53 AM

265. I respectfully agree, good sir.



Antony: "They that have done this deed are honorable men. What griefs they have, I know not, that made them do it. They are wise and honorable and will, no doubt, with reason answer you. "

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Response to westerebus (Reply #235)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:37 AM

257. Congress broadly authorized war on September 14th, 2001

...and that authority is what applied to the incident in question.

Noting that I didn't agree with the AUMF myself, or think that it was a good idea, but it had the full backing of our elected government and the majority of the populace. Changing our minds after the fact (collectively) doesn't mean that it didn't happen, or negate the consequences.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #257)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:36 PM

271. What was authorized was a "state of emergency".

I recall the outcry here once the bushcheny cabal used it to invade Iraq as a usurpation of the Constitution.

The support for that authorization was to remove Al Quidea from Afghanistan. The state of war as described by the good gentleman remains de facto.

And no where does it grant the executive department powers beyond the Constitution or review by the Congress or the Courts.

Which is why they continued to extend the authorization and amened it to fit the circumstances as they saw fit.

Question: What kind of government have you given us Mr. Franklin?

Answer: A Republic, if, you can keep it.

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Response to westerebus (Reply #271)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:25 PM

307. What was authorized was war: "all necessary and appropriate force"

against whoever was deemed responsible which wasn't entirely certain at the time. On September 14th, I think there was still hope that Iraq or Iran might turn out to be involved.

It was a short resolution, so here's the full text of its two sections (note that it doesn't mention Afghanistan, and not by any stretch of the imagination could it be mistaken for a "state of emergency" declaration):

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force'.

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.



from: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c107:2:./temp/~c1079rrOWR::

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #307)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:50 PM

310. Worth Re-Reading,Sir: People Forget Just How Sweeping That Language Is....

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #307)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:56 PM

320. I stand corrected.

As opposed to a limited state of emergency, we have the benefit of unlimited perpetual war to make one's case with.

Bravo.

My reading of the AUMF is not so bold, as I opposed the Bush interpretation.

Thank you for clarifying the issues as it clearly favors the President's choices.

Honorable men all.

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Response to westerebus (Reply #320)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:35 AM

324. For the record, I thought it was a bad road to go down, and a bad way to do it

at the time. I do recall that the AUMF sailed through congress with 518 votes for, only one vote against. And then that 95% popular support. So my thinking it was a bad idea put me in pretty small company...

In any case, its not a choice so easily unmade, and I think Obama has done a good job to end one war and wind down another to a predictable close. The Al Qaeda thing remains a bag of cats, but I think he's doing his best, however ugly it may be.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #324)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:39 AM

326. For the record, you lack the conviction of your initial impression on just how bad this would get.

It was wrong then, it remains wrong now.

All men are created equal... with certain inalienable rights among them life,

to a trial by jury, to free speech, association, to be secure in their person,

unless, you agree with the current policy which at its worse is the sanctioned killing of american citizens

under the pretext that the war on terrorism trumps all else.

This is not a what if,

this is a what is.

Has it ever occurred to you that a Congress could be wrong for the sake of their political power and avarice?

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #234)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:22 AM

239. Does this include people in another country riding in a vehicle on the way to the store?

I can see when we are in a declared war against country X and during combat or an imminent threat.

But we are killing people who are, at the time we do so, not attacking anyone, and are often in countries we are not at war with.

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #239)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:28 AM

241. Often Combatants Are Killed, Sir, Whilst Doing Nothing Particularly Combative At The Moment

Darning socks, scrumpting apples, brewing coffee, sleeping....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #241)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:02 AM

245. Or hitchhiking a ride with a college student and teacher, who died


In Yemen:

In one recent case, on Jan. 23, a drone strike in a village east of Sana killed a 21-year-old university student named Saleem Hussein Jamal and his cousin, a 33-year-old teacher named Ali Ali Nasser Jamal, who happened to have been traveling with him. According to relatives and neighbors of the two men, they were driving home from a nearby town called Jahana when five strangers offered to pay them for a ride. The drone-fired missile hit the vehicle, a twin-cab Toyota Hilux, just outside the village of Masnaa at about 9 p.m. The strangers were later identified in Yemeni news reports as members of Al Qaeda, though apparently not high-ranking ones.

After the strike, villagers were left to identify their two dead relatives from identity cards, scraps of clothing and the license plate of Mr. Jamal's Toyota; the seven bodies were shredded beyond recognition, as cellphone photos taken at the scene attest. "We found eyes, but there were no faces left," said Abdullah Faqih, a student who knew both of the dead cousins.

http://gawker.com/5982267/the-secret-saudi-drone-base-revealed-by-the-times-today-was-actually-reported-months-ago

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #245)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:12 AM

246. Five Combatants, Two Non-Combatants, Sir

That is a better proportion by far than generally displayed in guerrilla war.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #246)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:18 AM

248. Can you expand on what they were combating?

No trial, no facts, just someone in our government states, almost weekly, we killed someone who was threatening us (or belongs to a group ).

Once or twice, maybe, I might bite. These things happen more and more and with no evidence presented.

Our government could blow up a school full of teens and say 'well, they were teaching them terror' and some would just shrug it off as ok and not ask for any evidence.

In a war zone...during battle...fair game. Yemen is not a war zone. We have not declared war there, we have no combatants there to kill.

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #248)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:32 AM

255. You Can Do Better Than This, Sir

The article you cite gives the grounds on which the five who hired the ride are properly viewed as combatants. If you are unaware of the ongoing hostilities in Yemen, perhaps you should inform yourself better.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #255)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:42 AM

260. Again, are we at war in yemen?

Do you condone drone strikes here in the US against people we think are memebers of al qaeda? In the UK? France? Maybe Nigeria and other African countries?

The government can tell me all day long the people they kill weekly are dangerous and yet still we see no proof.

It all comes down to them saying to the people "Trust us, when we kill people it is for the right reasons"

And all I see in my head is bush and cheney smiling.

What's next, arresting people without charges and secret renditions??

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #260)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:48 AM

264. Members Of A Body We Are Engaged In Hostilities With Are, Sir

Further, they are mainly present in a portion of the country where the government of Yemen cannot exercise its authority, and that government, for better or worse, is a willing ally of ours....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #264)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:54 AM

266. A willing ally indeed, when we kill innocents there they claim it is their airplanes doing it

To cover up our mistakes, as I posted yesterday.

Because, for some reason, some in our government think that blowing up innocent people (as we have done) doesn't look good.

Coverups and lies. Wanna use drones, fine - but back it up with evidence. Otherwise it is just a license to kill suspects.

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #266)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:57 AM

267. Your Use Of 'Suspects', Sir, Points Up The Problem With This Discussion

War and criminal law are different spheres.

To be a combatant is not a crime, to kill a combatant is not to punish a criminal.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #267)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:06 PM

269. Combatants

If there is any doubt as to whether the person benefits from "combatant" status, they must be held as a POW until they have faced a "competent tribunal" (GCIII Art 5) to decide the issue.

Most unprivileged combatants who do not qualify for protection under the Third Geneva Convention do so under the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), which concerns civilians, until they have had a "fair and regular trial". If found guilty at a regular trial, they can be punished under the civilian laws of the detaining power.

This point is found in Article 51.3 of the Geneva Conventions Protocol II "Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities". (Geneva Conventions Protocol I Article 51.3)

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If we knowingly kill innocents/civilians because they gave someone they don't know a ride, where is the justice in that?

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Medical and religious personnel, like civilians, are noncombatants. They may not take a direct part in hostilities and so long as they do not do so are legally protected from attack. Medical personnel may, however, use small arms in self-defence if unlawfully attacked. Religious personnel are not armed.

The composition of the armed forces is a matter for the State or faction concerned. Its components may be regular units, reservists, territorial defence units, citizens called up for part-time service or full-time soldiers as long as the conditions set out above are fulfilled. It is normal for members of the armed forces to have ranks, the more senior ranks having power to give orders to, and exercise discipline over, their subordinates.

Violation of the law of armed conflict does not mean loss of combatant status so long as those responsible are tried and punished. If members of an armed group consistently violate the law of armed conflict and are not punished, that is strong evidence that the group does not qualify as “armed forces”, since it fails to meet the criterion of an internal disciplinary system, and that its members do not have combatant status.

In unusual circumstances where it is impossible to wear uniform or combat gear all the time, such as when operating in areas under adverse occupation, behind enemy lines or, in liberation conflicts, in areas controlled by government forces, combatants must, at the very least, carry their arms openly during military engagements or when visible to the enemy in military deployments preceding the launch of any attack.

When they surrender or are captured, combatants are entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, though this can mean their internment until the close of active hostilities. If there is any doubt about their status, this must be resolved by a properly constituted tribunal. Unauthorised combatants, or unprivileged belligerents, who surrender or are captured may also be interned if the security of the detaining State makes it absolutely necessary. Those of them who qualify as “protected persons” under the Geneva Civilian Convention are entitled to the protection of that convention. Others are entitled at the very least to the rights of humane treatment and of fair trial.

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #269)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:13 PM

270. These Apply To Persons Captured, Sir, Not To Engagement With Combatant Persons

The question concerning combatant status in these is mostly not whether a person is in fact not a person engaged in combat, but whether a person has violated the laws of war while under arms, and so forfeited the protections afforded a combatant held prisoner by a hostile power. Such persons are liable to trial for their breaches of the laws of war, which has nothing whatever to do with their captor's civil codes of criminal law.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #270)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:43 PM

321. So I guess things like this are ok as well (I don't see much difference in drones and this:)

Scahill and Rowley, no strangers to war zones, ventured beyond Kabul, Afghanistan, south to Gardez, in Paktia province, a region dense with armed Taliban and their allies in the Haqqani network, to investigate one of the thousands of night raids that typically go unreported.

Scahill told me: “In Gardez, U.S. special operations forces had intelligence that a Taliban cell was having some sort of a meeting to prepare a suicide bomber. And they raid the house in the middle of the night, and they end up killing five people, including three women, two of whom were pregnant, and ... Mohammed Daoud, a senior Afghan police commander who had been trained by the U.S.”

Scahill and Rowley went to the heart of the story, to hear from people who live at the target end of U.S. foreign policy. In Gardez, they interviewed survivors of that violent raid on the night of Feb. 12, 2010. After watching his brother and his wife, his sister and his niece killed by U.S. special forces, Mohammed Sabir was handcuffed on the ground. He watched, helpless, as the U.S. soldiers dug the bullets out of his wife’s corpse with a knife. He and the other surviving men were then flown off by helicopter to another province.

Sabir recounted his ordeal for Rowley’s camera: “My hands and clothes were caked with blood. They didn’t give us water to wash the blood away. The American interrogators had beards and didn’t wear uniforms. They had big muscles and would fly into sudden rages. By the time I got home, all our dead had already been buried. Only my father and my brother were left at home. I didn’t want to live anymore. I wanted to wear a suicide jacket and blow myself up among the Americans. But my brother and my father wouldn’t let me. I wanted a jihad against the Americans.”

Before leaving, Scahill and Rowley made copies of videos from the cellphones of survivors. One demonstrated that it was not a Taliban meeting, but a lively celebration of the birth of a child that the raid interrupted. Rowley described another video: “You can hear voices come over it, and they’re American-accented voices speaking about piecing together their version of the night’s killings, getting their story straight. You hear them trying to concoct a story about how this was something other than a massacre.”

The film shows an image captured in Gardez, by photographer Jeremy Kelly, sometime after the massacre. It showed a U.S. admiral named McRaven, surrounded by Afghan soldiers, offering a sheep as a traditional gesture seeking forgiveness for the massacre. The cover-up had failed.

http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/1/24/obamas_dirty_wars_exposed_at_sundance

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #321)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:48 PM

322. That, Sir, Would Seem To Come Under "SNAFU'