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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:17 PM

 

Drones: Do I have a line in the sand?

Throughout my life, I have heard people express the sentiment that if they were present when some historical atrocity took place, they would have done something. They wouldn't have gone along with slavery, they wouldn't have gone along with the holocaust, they would have been right there marching with Martin Luther King.

These folks say that they cannot understand how anyone with a soul could have tolerated these horrors. Not them, they would have fought, they would have protested, they would have worn out the pavement fighting for their principles. I have heard these armchair-heroic statements my whole life, and I have never once heard anyone say, “Yeah, I totally would have voted for Hitler. Did you see his opponent?"

I have heard people make these noble statements my entire life, but I have never seen the slightest evidence that it is true. Just the opposite. I am no better.

What I have found is that it is easier to abandon your principles than your TV show. It’s easier to adjust your positions on the issues than your position on the couch. The folks who say they would have stood up to The Man and spoken truth to power, lack the courage to speak unvarnished ugly truth to their friends or forum members. Again, I am no better.

We do what’s easy, we go with the flow, and we change our position in order to silence that internal voice that says, “What the fuck are you doing?” Worse, all too often we condemn those who take a stand fighting for the positions we only recently abandoned. Those fools are undermining the Jell-O cause, they are not seeing the big picture, its hyper-dimensional chess-- it is any metaphor you can name that allows one to feel good about abandoned principles.

Am I any better? I am not.

I am so cowardly that I hesitate to write this post. My new friends here at DU might not like it; I might even get in trouble. I might even -- oh my god -- get banned from a forum. Speak truth to power? Not me, I’ll talk about Beyonce, or how adorable the President’s doggie is in this latest picture… and did you see Michelle’s dress? It’s Fab-u-licious!

So no, I am no better. But I will post this.

Within a week, I suspect that at least half the people posting here will support our government killing American citizens without a trial, without any oversight, without even a wink at our laws or our Constitution. They will support this KNOWING that it will not stop there, it will expand as it always does, and when it does the eventual outcome will be horrific beyond words. Within a week, the positions these people held yesterday or today will be gone, and they will be condemning those like me who refuse to change.

I am writing this now -- while you are still on my side -- in the hope that next week, when you are condemning me for not supporting our President and the government murdering American citizens, when you are feeling self-righteous and intellectual and super-liberal, that you will remember that you are the one who changed, that YOU are the one who stands for nothing.

I once believed that everyone has their own line in the sand. I now understand that for some, perhaps most people, this is not the case. For them there is no line. Because if you can’t even draw the line at the government murdering it’s own people then you might as well stop looking. You are freaking cool with anything. I am not, and that’s where we part ways.

So am I better?

Yes. This time I am.

103 replies, 10205 views

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Reply Drones: Do I have a line in the sand? (Original post)
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 OP
msongs Feb 2013 #1
leftstreet Feb 2013 #2
woo me with science Feb 2013 #22
malthaussen Feb 2013 #3
michigandem58 Feb 2013 #4
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #7
truth2power Feb 2013 #45
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #46
JDPriestly Feb 2013 #64
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #71
davidpdx Feb 2013 #82
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #84
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #10
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #14
truth2power Feb 2013 #47
Marrah_G Feb 2013 #5
Tierra_y_Libertad Feb 2013 #6
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #8
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #11
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #31
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #32
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #35
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #38
JDPriestly Feb 2013 #65
99Forever Feb 2013 #9
BigD_95 Feb 2013 #69
99Forever Feb 2013 #70
kudzu22 Feb 2013 #12
lark Feb 2013 #57
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #13
Flatulo Feb 2013 #15
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #24
DearHeart Feb 2013 #27
Flatulo Feb 2013 #28
JuniperLea Feb 2013 #16
annabanana Feb 2013 #17
dreamnightwind Feb 2013 #34
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #39
coalition_unwilling Feb 2013 #43
JDPriestly Feb 2013 #66
coalition_unwilling Feb 2013 #73
JuniperLea Feb 2013 #76
JuniperLea Feb 2013 #75
Rider3 Feb 2013 #48
Aldo Leopold Feb 2013 #18
blkmusclmachine Feb 2013 #19
markpkessinger Feb 2013 #20
woo me with science Feb 2013 #21
LittleBlue Feb 2013 #23
intheflow Feb 2013 #25
Kelvin Mace Feb 2013 #26
oldhippie Feb 2013 #29
SomethingFishy Feb 2013 #30
Canuckistanian Feb 2013 #33
lonestarnot Feb 2013 #36
KoKo Feb 2013 #37
Bonobo Feb 2013 #40
Laelth Feb 2013 #41
Lydia Leftcoast Feb 2013 #42
Floyd_Gondolli Feb 2013 #44
pecwae Feb 2013 #68
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #77
n2doc Feb 2013 #49
timdog44 Feb 2013 #50
NorthCarolina Feb 2013 #51
timdog44 Feb 2013 #52
Jeevus Feb 2013 #53
99th_Monkey Feb 2013 #54
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #55
TheMadMonk Feb 2013 #56
politicaljunkie41910 Feb 2013 #58
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #59
politicaljunkie41910 Feb 2013 #60
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #63
Efilroft Sul Feb 2013 #61
blackspade Feb 2013 #62
DonCoquixote Feb 2013 #67
MuseRider Feb 2013 #72
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #78
Raggaemon Feb 2013 #74
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #79
rhiannon55 Feb 2013 #80
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #81
davidpdx Feb 2013 #83
triplepoint Feb 2013 #85
DeSwiss Feb 2013 #86
davidthegnome Feb 2013 #87
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #89
Zorra Feb 2013 #88
sinkingfeeling Feb 2013 #90
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #96
raouldukelives Feb 2013 #91
stevenleser Feb 2013 #92
loveandlight Feb 2013 #93
stevenleser Feb 2013 #94
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #95
stevenleser Feb 2013 #97
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #98
stevenleser Feb 2013 #99
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #100
davidthegnome Feb 2013 #101
stevenleser Feb 2013 #102
davidthegnome Feb 2013 #103

Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:22 PM

1. your kids murdered = bad, their kids murdered = acceptable collateral damage nt

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:25 PM

2. ACK! You're making Obama sound not-dreamy

DURec

Nicely done

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:32 PM

22. Uh oh. nt

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:32 PM

3. Over 60% of people who were eligible claim to have voted for JFK.

(Sorry, no link -- read that years ago)

Which means:

1) Memories tend to be unreliable when it comes to principles, or
2) Republicans die young.

(It may also mean 3) Everybody loves a winner)

In any event, I agree with you, I've been saying it since I've been at DU, and I don't think I'm liable to change my mind anytime soon. And you are now on record. Welcome to DU.

-- Mal

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:34 PM

4. It's a different situation when a citizen goes overseas

 

They are often outside the reach of more traditional enforcement and judicial methods that could be applied if they were in this country.

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Response to michigandem58 (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:42 PM

7. I agree. They totally lose their Constitutional rights. Remember that if you travel abroad.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:20 AM

45. I'll raise you a "face palm" on that...



And an eyeroll...

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Response to truth2power (Reply #45)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:34 AM

46. Life is so much easier once you learn that we are the good and we can kill the bad.

It's in the Bible.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:38 AM

64. No extradition?

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #64)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 08:28 AM

71. LOL, extradition. Who needs messy extradition will killer drones. nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:59 AM

82. It is true technically speaking you are under the jurisdiction of the laws of the country you are in

which may be quite different from US law. If I were to call you something nasty in public (let's say I accuse you of being a con artist since that isn't too offensive) in the US in all probability I'd get away with it. Here in South Korea the slander laws are much more strict than in the US and I'd likely find myself out a ton of money. The freedom to openly criticize politicians for example is not as wide as it is back home.

Now whether or not that allows the US to kill people on foreign soil is a whole different matter.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #82)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:18 PM

84. I understand what you are saying. But I dont believe US citizens lose their Constitutional

rights as far as the US prosecution goes when in other countries. They obviously have to obey the laws of the country they are in.

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Response to michigandem58 (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:08 PM

10. Arguably true, and totally irrelevant

 

First, how immediate a concern is it that some American citizen in a cave now considers himself an enemy? How pressing is this REALLY? Is something this trivial worth abandoning our Constitution?

Second, while we are currently discussing a case in which an apparently known terrorist (and anyone in the area) was vaporized on the other side of the world, that is NOT the power the government is now claiming.

They are claiming that they have the legal authority to kill anyone, anywhere, with no judicial process, no oversight, in total secrecy, at their whim. Anyone that they decide, based upon ANY standard or no standard at all, and that such murders shall be free of any question or review. ANYONE, anywhere, at any time, no questions asked. They are claiming, in short, the power to kill at will.

And it will NOT stop there. You know this. YOU KNOW THIS. I never stops there. The only thing that has ever stopped this is the American people saying "No, sorry, your good intentions aside, we are not going to trust you to ignore the constitution and bill of rights. Even if you claim you need the power, even if you claim there is just no other way, even if you claim that it's for our own good."

It's not going to stop. And there is no insignificant next step. We aren't talking about reading emails morphing into spy cameras in your bedroom. We are now talking about murdering political enemies. That's how far we have come. So like I said in the OP, you need to decide if there is anything you strand for at all. If you wont draw the line at murder then you won't draw it anywhere. Just save the justifications and rationalizations and start goose stepping to the polka, because if you can embrace this that's where you are.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:35 PM

14. +1. This will end with enemies of a President being rounded up and summarily executed.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #10)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:44 AM

47. Outstanding response!! Thanks. n/t

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:36 PM

5. I think there are many here who feel as you do

I know I do.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:37 PM

6. Yes. The rationalizations of the neo-hawks because it's "our guy" are overflowing.

What was once horrific is now acceptable, explainable, tolerated, even applauded.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:53 PM

8. I liked your OP right down to the end.

And I am writing this with respect and stating that I am not better than you. And I am not trying to incite you into doing anything stupid, but it seems the only change you are going to make after your "line" has been crossed, is to be "non-supportive" on a blog. Bless your heart for that (sincerely) but I doubt it will put fear into the hearts that are pushing an all powerful Unitary Executive.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:17 PM

11. Fair enough. Not sure I liked the ending myself.

 

I wrote it ten different ways and it was always weak. Still is. The reason, of course, is that there is no strong ending to write. There is nothing I can say that will put fear into the hearts of fascist corporatists. And given this story, that's probably just as well. So I didn't try, and I wasn't writing to them. Nor was I writing it for the many here who are going to embrace this.

I was writing for myself. It was the first (admittedly weak) step in reminding myself that I stand for something, there is a line that I will not cross, and this is it.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:03 PM

31. We must keep struggling against the encroaching tyranny. But how far we are willing to go

in preserving our rights is the big question. I have personally protested in large rallies but came to realize that as long as we behaved ourselves the elites didnt care. Therefore, it was fruitless. Until people are willing to risk there well being as did Occupy, nothing will change. I do not advocate violent revolution but we wont get the oligarchic elites to back off without it.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #31)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:13 PM

32. That's the question. These forums tell me all I need know

 

For even here opinion is already split. Many, who knows what percentage, simply do not care. My OP should probably indicate how unsurprised I am by this. Forget liberalism or any of that nonsense, there is nothing, literally nothing, that they would not support so long as it did not personally impact them. But let's go even a step beyond this and put all of this to bed in a stroke...

What percentage of those who are most outraged by this, the ones writing the angry posts and starting threads, what percentage would STILL vote for Obama if the election were to be held next week rather than last month. The answer to that tells you all you need know. The new banner of the corporate fascist superstate has an elephant on one side and a donkey on the other.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #32)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:43 PM

35. Two comments. I agree that things will have to get a lot worse before people start to

really object.

Interesting that those that object the strongest to any suggestion that we arent living in Camelot appear only to want the discussion to end. They have absolutely no argument. They only try to stop all discussions that might suggest that things arent peachy by bullying. I do feel for them. They are living in an ignorance bubble. Reality scare the shit out of them. They want so desperately to have the good guys and bad guys clearly labeled. They choose to think that all Republicans are bad and all Democrats are good. Makes their lives much easier. The oligarch overlords are laughing their asses off at the naive dunces.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:54 PM

38. Excellent post! -nt-

 

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #35)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:41 AM

65. Excellent statement, rhett o rick. Thanks.

I use the good old fashioned Categorical Imperative more commonly and in a simpler form known as The Golden Rule to decide whether something is right or wrong. In other words, I ask myself, "How would I feel if someone else acted in that manner toward me?" If I wouldn't like it, then I shouldn't do it.

The drones killing people who are not in a war zone does not pass that test.

People in war zones usually try to get out. They move. They become war refugees. It's not always possible, but think of the many Iraqis who left for Syria and other countries when we invaded there. At least they had some notice and some opportunity to run for cover.

But with these drone attacks, no one is safe anywhere.

We need an international protocol that outlaws their use under certain very clear circumstances. When I was a child, I had a recurring dream that all humans moved underground and lived in places hidden in the earth. I am beginning to wonder whether that dream will come true. I hope not.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:56 PM

9. Very well stated.

Each and every day, the Democratic Party moves further and further away from the morals, principles, standards is was founded on. And in doing so, leaves me and apparent you (and MANY others) wondering if it even wants our support anymore. I too, have bent as far as I am willing to. Either the Democratic Party returns to the VALUES it was founded on or I find another political party that will, or have no party affiliation at all.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:55 AM

69. ???

 

what are you talking about? The Democratic Party used to be know as the war party. It wasnt until the 80's - 90's that started changing. The Republican party changed that as a political move to act like they were the only tuff party that can protect us.

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Response to BigD_95 (Reply #69)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:36 AM

70. I went door to door for Bobby Kennedy, friend.

I'll pass on your revisionist history lesson, thank you very much.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:18 PM

12. +1

It certainly separates the principled from the partisan.

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Response to kudzu22 (Reply #12)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:45 PM

57. Succintly and very accurately put

So glad there are some who aren't blinded by the rock star glare and notice moral corruption when it happens. Do agree with Rhett O Rick and the others that action is what matters, but most Americans are comfortable and revolution doesn't start from that place. When drone killings come to this country and people's relatives and friends are dying based on nothing more than suspicion, that might be the tipping point. Sad that so many don't care as long as it's not them.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:33 PM

13. YAY! Welcome to the side of goodness and light. Let others dwell on the dark side.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:14 PM

15. Not to defend this policy, but the police kill people every day w/o charges or judicial review.

I do understand that the slight of hand used to justify the policy is the immediacy of the threat. If a cop makes the judgement that a person is an immediate threat to others, he or she executes the suspect on the spot. There may be an internal police department investigation, but the officer invariably returns to duty.

This whole immediacy argument is troubling. On the other hand, I understand the logistical problems with apprehending terror suspects overseas.

On balance, I would have to say that at the very least, some judicial review should be required. Failing that, the policy is very troubling indeed.

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Response to Flatulo (Reply #15)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:48 PM

24. Respectfully, your statement fails at the title.

 

The police always have judicial oversight.

First, the use of force criteria are public knowlege rather than secret. Nor is it acceptable for an officer to use ANY force beyond the absolute minimum necessary to end any immediate danger. When an officer kills a suspect it is public knowlege, the facts and details of the shooting are public, the DA's office makes a public decision about whether or not to prosecute, and if they decide to prosecute that trial is public. Whether they prosecute or not, the victim's family has the opportunity to seek civil damages from the officer, the city, county, even the state.

Police officers are NOT allowed to secretly select people that they believe might be bad guys, and then on their own, with no warrant, no oversight, no judicial review, track the suspect down and kill that suspect and everyone around them. They are not allowed to kill people, even really bad people, who do not pose an immediate life-threatening danger. They are not allowed to say, "I am sure that guy's dirty! I am going to break into his home tonight and kill him and his family while they sleep."

This is the power OUR President is claiming that secret government officials now possess.

The power to kill anyone, anywhere, that they -- with no oversight or review -- decide might be a potential danger. Further, they claim the power to be free even from QUESTIONS or public scrutiny about how this unimaginable power has been used. Finally, were this not bad enough, they claim that this new power not only applies to the people on their secret lists, but to everyone in the vacinity of that person. Friends, neighbors, the kids from next door, the girl scout delivering cookies, all are fair game and can be killed at will whenever one of these employees decides they need to die for the cause.

And if that doesn't scare the shit out of you, it should. This is not a game. This is real.

And it will ONLY get worse from here.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:03 PM

27. I agree wholeheartedly and can see this getting worse and escalating out of control!

You have company on your side of the line!

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:17 PM

28. I hear you.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:36 PM

16. I hate war...

Drones or boots on the ground, war is ridiculous and evil and wrong.

I feel that separating the drone issue is wrong. There were even more American citizens killed and collateral damage of all sorts with boots, rockets, and bombs on the ground.

The argument should be against war, period, not any particular weaponry. All of it.

Frankly I find these discussions putrid in their arrogance and ignorance. War is war and it is all bad.

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Response to JuniperLea (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:12 PM

17. with you. . .n/t

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Response to JuniperLea (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:39 PM

34. It's correct to separate the argument

This is very different from an actual war. This is about assassination. The "war on terror" is completely bogus as a declared war. It's not about foreign governments, and many of those targeted are algorithmic matches based on where people hang out, with no attempt to formally link them to Al Queda, the group we are supposedly at war against. This is about killing suspected "terrorists", not enemy combatants. The 16-year old son of the U.S.citizen that we killed was killed in a separate strike targeting him, and we had no evidence that he was an enemy combatant. Because he wasn't one.

The terrorist label is intentionally vague, giving the authorities the power to selectively take action against anyone they label as a terrorist. That's very different from a war.

Now, I fully support your rant against war, all war, thank you for standing against it. If more people in this country had your conviction we'd have less war.

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Response to dreamnightwind (Reply #34)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:56 AM

39. Nice post. The do love their subjective phrases don't they

 

All of the language they use is nebulous and imprecise, and worse they offer new and creative definitions for already established words. Imminent under this means: "not right now" for heaven's sake. It's like freaking Orwell. Up is now down, and for all I know that definition might actually be in there.

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Response to dreamnightwind (Reply #34)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:04 AM

43. Before 1965, U.S. government officials routinely referred to members of the

 

National Liberation Front (NLF) in Vietnam as 'terrorists'. (Interesting side note: The U.S. military dropped more bombage by air on Southeast Asia from 1965-75 than it had on all combatants in World War II combined, speaking of 'terrorism').

Ronald Reagan referred to the African National Congress as 'terrorists.' Um, that would include Nelson Mandela.

The British referred to Jewish resistance fighters like Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir as 'terrorists' (pre-1947).

No doubt, one can find many other examples where political language is so debased and abused as to justify murder and torture.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #43)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:57 AM

66. In my opinion, the definition of a terrorist in The Patriot Act is vague and overly broad.

And yet, it seems that the person who shot Gabrielle Giffords was found to be insane and not a terrorist.

Is there a difference between someone who shoots because he is a terrorist and someone who shoots because he is insane?

I doubt that there is any difference in the view of the victims.

And if insanity makes a person who shoot unfit for trial or the death penalty, does it make terrorists unfit for drone strikes?

In addition, we are a country founded on a violent revolution. Was George Washington a terrorist? He certainly was not much if anything more than that in the eyes of the British of the time.

Who decides who is a terrorist and who is a revolutionary bringing progress?

I am not a Muslim and abhor the violence of 9/11 and what I am told about Al Qaeda, but who gets to decide who is a terrorist and who is not?

I just think that these judgments need to be made in a transparent forum and not in secret.

Think of the trouble the British could have saved themselves.

Have we explored all alternatives to drones? I don't know. There is no transparency about this. That is why we need due process. That is our attempt to at least know we tried to prove guilt before killing someone.

And I don't agree with the death penalty in any case.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #66)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 10:46 AM

73. The word 'terrorist' has become so debased through over use and abuse that it is

 

meaningless for any rational discussion of anything and is only good for propagandizing and fear-mongering.

Cases in point: pre-1947, the British Government routinely referred to the activities of the vairous Lummi operating in British-mandated Palestine as 'terrorists.'I actually saw a video clip long ago where then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara referred to members of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front as 'terrorists.' I rest my case.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #43)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:26 PM

76. Exactly

Splitting hairs and renaming any form of murder is disingenuous and evil. One form of murder is NOT preferable to another.

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Response to dreamnightwind (Reply #34)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:25 PM

75. Murder is murder

Assassination is just another word for murder.

Splitting hairs on murder is ridiculous. All war is evil and must be stopped. To waste time splitting hairs and giving legitimacy to any form of warfare over another is evil and unjust.

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Response to JuniperLea (Reply #16)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:20 PM

48. Well put!

I'm with you on this.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:19 PM

18. Thanks. I am on your side.

A well-written post.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:19 PM

19. fwip, fwip, fwip

What's that nois

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:24 PM

20. Thank you . . .

. . . for such a beautifully and eloquently articulated statement. I am in absolute, 100% agreement with you!

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:25 PM

21. K&R

Corporate morality is not human morality. Corporate morality has no use for a Bill of Rights.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:36 PM

23. K&R. We are just a herd who does what our shepherds tell us.

All these lies about caring for constitutional rights when an R was in office, it evaporates at the sight of a D. Shameful.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:54 PM

25. Thank you.

This has to be said. We all need reminders of what it is to be an American who believes in the Democratic principles of liberty and freedom from tyranny.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:00 PM

26. I am tired of being right

and people with convenient memories.

Many years ago I outlined how the Patriot Act would result in a police state, with all the trimmings (assassination, torture, constant surveillance, etc).

I was told that I was "delusional", an "alarmist", "paranoid", "unAmerican" (which I take as a compliment)., etc.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:22 PM

29. I'm with you .....

 

Good read.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:23 PM

30. K&R well said...

We as a nation seem to have lost our way.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:38 PM

33. "it is easier to abandon your principles than your TV show"

Wow, that blew my mind.

Especially when I see the posts from the same DUers who would have screamed murder if this had been a John Yoo memo from the Bush administration.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:45 PM

36. K & R!

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:48 PM

37. Yep.........n/t

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:59 AM

40. The problem is that people make their lines in sand.

When the wave comes, it is washed away.

Great post.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:16 AM

41. Beautiful post. Well said. k&r n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:47 AM

42. Thank you. At this point, the Establishment Democrats have lost their moral compass

It's all about pleasing the Big Money Boys and the War Hawks.

They get away with it because Americans are historically and geographically and culturally ignorant and really DO care more about "Jericho" being cancelled than about us imitating the dictatorships we supposedly hate.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:14 AM

44. Vanity post

 

Yawnsville......

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Response to Floyd_Gondolli (Reply #44)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:55 AM

68. What's your point?

Many hundreds of posts here can be considered vanity posts. The OP has something of substance to say. I fail to see that in your post.

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Response to pecwae (Reply #68)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 03:03 PM

77. Thanks. I appreciated that he gave me a free "kick"

 

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:20 PM

49. Absolutely agree

It really has opened my eyes to the way that icon-worship (of Obama, and what he stands for to some) can blind people to evil acts. The US has become a force for evil in this world, just like the Taliban, but we at home refuse to see the horror that we are producing. And the mere fact that there is no longer any viable political party that opposes these horrors is just as scary. Where do we turn?

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Response to n2doc (Reply #49)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:19 PM

50. I may be off base on this.

I agree with you. We have military bases located all over the world. And some peoples think of their land as sacred and not a place for American military. So it seems that just our presence causes problems. And when these bases are used as deployment stations to force our will on their country we create terrorists. I wonder how many "terrorists" there would be if we were not there. I wonder how many military bases of foreign countries are located with in the borders of the USA? So at this point it does not make any whit of difference who is "in" power, we seem to be creating more of what we are trying to destroy.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:33 PM

51. Thank you for your post.

Such sentiments should encompass the vast majority on DU, but the reality here seems quite the opposite.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:38 PM

52. Heart felt and well thought out.

I find that my line in the sand grows deeper all the time. Although sometimes it tries to fade away, it comes back. I am with you on this.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 02:30 PM

53. This is exactly how I feel.

I posted about it recently and the post was deleted by the DU jury.

Why was my post deleted when this post expressing a similar idea (although much more articulately) is getting so much acclaim? Wtf?!

Anyway, excellent post. Very well said.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:30 PM

54. You speak my mind well. Thank for a great OP. nt

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #54)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:55 PM

55. Thank YOU for reading and responding!

 

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:55 PM

56. Why do you think we speak of SAND, when referencing...

 

...uncrossable lines? Because even without a judicious toe, they swiftly erase themselves behind us.

We are all products of our times and circumstances. I "supervise" a petty thief, a skinhead (with little man syndrome) and a contract murderer, do you think I speak up when they get all "construction site" on drunken clubbers "flashing flange" at them in the street.

For a 1/2 time job that pays a full time wage, I'll just "read my book" 3 hours out of 6, give payroll the hours, and pass on missives from management to be ignored.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:19 PM

58. I'd like to know how the people who have condemned drone attacks with such black and white

vitriol over the past few days are any different than the rightwingnuts they've been critical of in the past over the abortion issue. Rightwingers have said that life begins at conception and even birth control designed to prevent implantation is murder. The accuse people who are pro-choice to be condoning 'baby killing'. So now 'it's own turn' to be engaging in the same hyperbole as if everything is your 'black and white'. That type of simplistic reasoning worked when I was a child. But I'm not a child and can have a different opinion from yours and still be a moral person. If not in your opinion, than so be it. If I were to examine some your life utilizing my standards, you might not measure up to my morals. But I'm not going to judge you, because I believe that Good People even when faced with the same information on a controversial topic can arrive at a different conclusion and that doesn't make one person Bad and one person Good; one person moral and one person immoral.

I've had some pretty bad things said about me in the past couple of days by people who don't know me, and would say things on a message board that they wouldn't say to someone's face. This forum is "General Discussion". If people can't Discuss without name calling and insulting people, or characterizing them as immoral over a narrowly focused issue, than I would suggest that they step away from the keyboard because they don't have the self control to engage in adult thought provoking issues of the day. Your line in the sand may not be my line in the sand. So if it's not what happens next? Are we going to start advocating blowing up stuff like the rightwingnuts who blow up women's health care clinics. Also no one of any courage is going to be bullied into submission because you scream loud and insult people. Every issue is not black and white now matter how loud one says it is. Everyone is a product of their experiences which encompasses a lot of things. That the beauty of a free nation. Your right to your opinion should not infringe on my right to have mine.

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Response to politicaljunkie41910 (Reply #58)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:20 PM

59. Thanks for your response

 

Your comments in BOLD:

I'd like to know how the people who have condemned drone attacks with such black and white vitriol over the past few days are any different than the rightwingnuts they've been critical of in the past over the abortion issue... So now 'it's own turn' to be engaging in the same hyperbole as if everything is your 'black and white'. That type of simplistic reasoning worked when I was a child.


Some things really are black and white. You either believe that government officials and elected representatives are bound by the rule of law or you do not. You, apparently, fall into the later category. You seem to be arguing that elected officials can ignore the law whenever they feel it is useful to do so, and more, that such exceptions should properly be kept secret from the public.

In this case, we are talking about the government declairing that they have the 'legal' right to kill any Americans they like, without a trial or judicial process, no review, no appeal, and in secret. Killing people is as serious as anything ever gets, and I believe everyone should be concerned.


I've had some pretty bad things said about me in the past couple of days by people who don't know me...


If anyone has personally attacked you on these forums report the post. I think there's a button somewhere to do that (never looked).

Beyond this, a difference of opinion is not an attack on you personally, nor should you take is as such. I LOVE when people disagree with me, and I love it still more when they take the time to tell me why (as you just did). If I wanted an echo chamber I'd rant to myself in my bathroom.

Your line in the sand may not be my line in the sand. So if it's not what happens next? Are we going to start advocating blowing up stuff like the rightwingnuts who blow up women's health care clinics.


What happens next? Nothing. As I said in my OP, by the end of the week at least half the people posting here will have decided that they are totally fine with this. Within a month they will be proudly proclaiming that all good Democrats and true liberals support the extra-judicial killing of Americans.

But my opinion will not change on this one. It's a terrifying step, and we are not done marching down that road.


Also no one of any courage is going to be bullied into submission because you scream loud and insult people. Every issue is not black and white now matter how loud one says it is. Everyone is a product of their experiences which encompasses a lot of things. That the beauty of a free nation. Your right to your opinion should not infringe on my right to have mine.


Respectfully, it is ALWAYS a bad idea to take a post or thread personally. No one in this thread is picking on you, no one is bullying you, and as far as I am concerned you are free to say and believe anything you like.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #59)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:04 PM

60. Thanks for responding to my ranting in such a rational manner. I applaud you for that.

First let me say that I was not talking to you specifically but since the majority of the posts on this topic the past couple of days had been going along your same line of thinking, and the few that were going the other direction seemed to get shouted down, I was expecting more of the same, and was speaking to that school of thought which has dominated this topic in other posts.

I'm also sorry if I interpreted your OP "line in the sand" as a veiled 'threat' that you might have to do something if people didn't come around to your line of thinking. People on this board can be really ugly and accusatory if you have an opinion that differs from them.

I still don't think that the issue is as black and white as you seem to think it is, but I understand that people when their minds are made up can easily close their minds off to other peoples likewise principled opinions. But let us not question one another's moral convictions because we don't see eye to eye. I assure you, I believe myself to be a highly moral and principled person. But the world changed on Sept 11 and even the courts have given a lot of latitude to the Executive Branch in dealing with the '21st Century threat that our nation (and others) faces in the form of non-state sponsored terrorism that threatens nations and economies and I don't apologize for a threat that is real not imagined. Also people have said some pretty crazy things the past couple of days and quick to throw out the slippery slope that we're all headed for as if we aren't capable of rational thought and that if we take an inch that means we 'must' take a mile.

I think that is why we should elect people of character and that character matters (although by now it's fairly obvious that we probably wouldn't define character the same way but at least we're talking rationally). I do think however, that our nation has a right to defend itself against ALL enemies foreign and domestic and when an American renounces its Government and conspires with our enemies to attack this nation or it citizens, at home or abroad, we have a duty and a right to protect ourselves and eliminate that threat if we cannot capture it and bring it to justice without putting more people's lives at risk.

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Response to politicaljunkie41910 (Reply #60)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:28 AM

63. Nice post. (cont.)

 

We certainly agree that character matters. We probably agree on most things, and that's not bad. My wife (of over twenty years) and I do not agree on everything, so there is no reason to assume internet comrades would do any better.

My "line in the sand" comment was not intended as some kind of militant call to arms. Rather, I was just saying that this is as far as I will go with my support, and when my representatives go beyond this point they are going there without me. I probably should have said that in the original post, but it didn't occur to me.

As for this issue here, you have your opinion and I have mine. I understand why you feel the way you do, and I am sure you understand me. We're both rational adults, we both have a handle on the issue, we just disagree as to how important this issue is. Since you are going to win, and the White House is going to continue doing this, I hope that you are right and I am wrong. By the time another decade has rolled around we both know the answer.

In any case, by this time next week this will be old news and the forums will have moved along to other issues and you will no longer feel like you are in the minority. We might well be on the same side of the next big issue. I hope so, and again I appreciate you taking the time to read this and respond! That's why I wrote it in the first place.

Chris

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:15 PM

61. The good news is that more people on here seem to agree with you than not.

For instance, an OP with a comic spoofing the drone mentality in another thread is outpacing the recommendations by the leading pro-spin thread. And a lot of other threads against the Justice Department's "reasoning" are outpacing recommendations for threads started by the Minority Report fan club.

Wrong is wrong. You, however, are not.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:08 AM

62. well said.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:00 AM

67. k and R

Let's hope your point makes it to the right people.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 09:11 AM

72. :-)

Thank you. Not smiling because of your topic, not at all, but because sometimes I try to say things and am unable to find a way to word them. THIS, your excellent OP, is what I tried yesterday to say but finally gave up hoping better words would come to mind. They did not but you, as so often is the case, find the words and did the work for me. My smile is because I might be able to play you a lovely tune but you can then turn around and write it down. We are all so colorful in our own way. How is it that we often do not see into the souls of people but instead decide they are not worthy to live (or post, lol) just because we decided that? We allow others to do that for us? Sadly we do, always have, but holding them to a moral standard seems impossible.

I have strong values that I am incapable of giving up, just ask my husband. Don't know why or where they came from but that is how I am built. I will stand against this and many things done by our government as long as I draw breath.

We have moved so far beyond party that I am astounded that others do not see it. We have moved into territory that would make it difficult for me to not be afraid of a good many of the people who post here. Humanity, humaneness are simply words to be redefined like imminent I guess.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #72)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 03:07 PM

78. Wow! Thank you very much! That was very nice of you to say -nt :)

 

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:07 AM

74. Us liberals ...

I recall reading someplace, " while liberals get bogged down debating the nuanses of complex issues, republicans are at work creating new bumper sticker slogans". The point being that for people looking at strength on national security, we liberals always end up sounding like wimps too caught up in namby-pamby minutia, too much so for most folks.

All this bitching about the horrors of killing Americans makes me sick, someone colluding with others to plot against you and your family, willing to kill you, but oh no, we can't kill them ... who will you send to capture them, or is it a matter that you don't trus the intel ? If you don't trust the intelligence what then, sit around haggling, debating, second-guessing ?

I was against the Vietnam war, when I was drafted I studied the Conscientious Objectors handbook, I wasn't killing anyone, there were no college deferments left in 1969, my draft year, Dick Cheney and his gang got em all. I was against the first Gulf War, daddy Bush's big lie, I'm against wars period, yeah I know ... "if that's true, how can you defend drone strikes ?". I have the luxury, like you, to sit here and play arm-chair quarterback, none of us is shouldering the responsibility of protecting the entire United States IN REAL TIME, but some of us seem wrapped up in a utopian ideal.

What then is your option, more "boots on the ground", another round of covert CIA assassin squads, sit around the campfire with people who vow to kill you and talk, hoping to change their minds ? You offer nothing but complaints without options, that's what pisses me off, and that's what helps make our side seem limp and feckless on such matters.

There is no perfect solution, if the responsibility calls for protecting the citizens of this country you will have to balance between not having a margin for error and taking steps that might push the envelope, you think you'd come up with something better ?

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Response to Raggaemon (Reply #74)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 04:28 PM

79. Thanks for responding (more below)

 

I am going to address this in pieces. Your comments (respectfully editted for length) are in BOLD:

I recall reading someplace, " while liberals get bogged down debating the nuanses of complex issues, republicans are at work creating new bumper sticker slogans". The point being that for people looking at strength on national security, we liberals always end up sounding like wimps too caught up in namby-pamby minutia, too much so for most folks.

That's a great quote, and there is no doubt some truth to it, but on the whole it is a misrepresentation. Most liberal issues, including this one, can easily be distilled down to a bumper sticker or sound bite. For example:

Dear Government, stop shooting drones at us!

or...

Drones shouldn't fly above the LAW!

But it's true, liberals tend to think and discuss the issues beyond these simplistic responses. We do tend to look deeper, and if it waters down our slogans that's only because we understand that real life issues are complicated. But then, isn't that what you are doing here?

All this bitching about the horrors of killing Americans makes me sick, someone colluding with others to plot against you and your family, willing to kill you, but oh no, we can't kill them ... who will you send to capture them, or is it a matter that you don't trus the intel ? If you don't trust the intelligence what then, sit around haggling, debating, second-guessing ?

I will keep this short as I have answered this at greater length in previous posts in this thread. There are several problems with this argument.

People are always plotting to kill us. I know this both because the government tells me so, and because every now and again these people succeed and some of us get killed. Given this, and knowing that nothing we do will stop all of them, the discussion moves to dealing with this problem. There is always a cost in dollars and liberty, and we must weight those costs against the danger.

I have done so and arrived at my own conclusions. I believe that the danger is not worth this radical cost. Or, in bumper sticker terms:

"Hey Terrorists, stop taking our jobs!" -- US Government

In short, you believe that in order to stop people on the other side of the world from killing Americans, the US Government needs the power to kill any and as many Americans as they see fit.

I was against the Vietnam war, when I was drafted I studied the Conscientious Objectors handbook, I wasn't killing anyone, there were no college deferments left in 1969, my draft year, Dick Cheney and his gang got em all. I was against the first Gulf War, daddy Bush's big lie, I'm against wars period, yeah I know ... "if that's true, how can you defend drone strikes ?". I have the luxury, like you, to sit here and play arm-chair quarterback, none of us is shouldering the responsibility of protecting the entire United States IN REAL TIME, but some of us seem wrapped up in a utopian ideal.

I believe that the government is NEVER above the law. I don't believe it's okay for the police to beat suspects or kick in doors without a warrant, even if they are protecting me from the bad guys. In my mind they become the bad guys when they do this. But here we are talking about a whole new level. Not kicking in doors or kicking some "punk" ass, we are talking about the government killing it's own people. Anytime, anywhere, and anyone that they decide -- in secret.

What then is your option, more "boots on the ground", another round of covert CIA assassin squads, sit around the campfire with people who vow to kill you and talk, hoping to change their minds ? You offer nothing but complaints without options, that's what pisses me off, and that's what helps make our side seem limp and feckless on such matters.

There is no perfect solution, if the responsibility calls for protecting the citizens of this country you will have to balance between not having a margin for error and taking steps that might push the envelope, you think you'd come up with something better ?


I start with the position that no actual solution is possible. At best we can perhaps stop some of these people. We cannot even stop our own kids from slaughtering their classmates and teachers. Hell, we cannot keep weapons and drugs out of prisons. So no, a solution that eliminates the problem is impossible. We both no doubt agree on this. Where we differ is in what we propose to do about it.

Your answer is to go all in. ALL IN. In order to slow these terrorists we must abandon even the most basic constitutional and rational protections. Understand, hyperbole is no longer possible here. There is no next step or slippery slope. You are arguing that we need to allow secret government agencies, with no oversight, no judicial review, no due process, no chance to offer a defense, no warning, no surrender, and no questions, the authority to secretly KILL any Americans they want.

Again, hyperbole is impossible here. There is literally nothing left for you to surrender. Once you grant the right to kill at will, laws no longer apply. Rights no longer apply. It's ALL legal when you work for Uncle Bundy. You want to replace legal protections against government power and excess with nothing more concrete than political cost. You want to replace "Don't kill that guy, it's illegal!" with "Don't blow away that schoolbus, it might cost us votes!"

And why? What's your explanation and excuse for the greatest betrayal possible? What JUSTIFIES this insanity in your mind?

YOU ARE SCARED.

That's it. That's all there is. Well screw that. If you're that scared go buy a fucking gun and dig a bunker, but don't demand that the rest of us abandon our constitution, our sanity, and our kids fucking future just so you can feel safe from the terrorist boogiemen.

Nuff said, and thanks for reading and taking the time to respond.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 09:14 PM

80. I have always been totally against war

It is a horrible barbaric waste of lives. I have wondered why it takes the deaths of so many soldiers and innocent civilians to get a few "bad guys". I am a pacifist, but when BushCo invaded Iraq, I remember wondering why they didn't simply assassinate him and save all those other lives that were being lost. That's why, even though I hate this drone program, I would rather see it than boots on the ground in another war. Far fewer lives are lost this way. And I don't think killing American citizens who have decided to try and kill us is any worse than killing citizens of other countries who have the same goal.

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Response to rhiannon55 (Reply #80)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:06 AM

81. It is different in this way...

 

Objectively and morally it makes no difference. A dead kid is a dead kid. However, in one case our government is killing them, and in the other case our government is killing us. Before, our government was at least pretending to care about the law, and now they are saying the law no longer applies to them.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:47 AM

83. I think what you stated was well thought out and had very good points

I agree with you on some areas and disagree on some.

I agree that American has been dumbed down over the last dozen years or so. I have friends who I've know for years who don't give a shit about anything but their TV programs and their books (which is sad because they are the Harry Potter and Twilight series. Ok, Ok don't hate me for saying I think they are dumb, I'm just trying to make a point. I know for some people that's there thing).

I don't consider myself ordinary as I try to read about different subjects especially having to do with culture, politics, economics, etc. Currently I'm working on a doctoral degree and just finished a course on international law in which I read quite a bit about Sharia law and found it very eye opening (in a good way)

I have lived in a foreign country for 9 years and seen how the US is perceived from the outside. It is often uncomfortable especially during the first couple of years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as there were massive protests. The year before I got here there was an incident (I don't think I want to call it an accident) where two girls got ran over by a US Army tank. All of these things caused Koreans to generally dislike Americans.

From the moment it began I was against the war in Iraq and I have always hated Bush. I believe his incompetence was one of the reasons the attacks happened. The people of the US were duped at a time of crisis.

With those tangential thoughts being said, I also believe the wars we are fighting aren't against nations but against extremists. The people are from many different countries, not just one.

It is very hard to justify killing people without charges, a trial or a judge. At the same time, the question is how do you set the limits (or the line in the sand) with the pursuit and killing of those who are dangerous? Would making the criteria public be enough? Does a system need to be in place where consent must be obtained from a judge? These are all questions that need to be asked.

Now from the last three paragraphs it's probably easy to tell I lean toward allowing drone attacks. The question is how do you put checks in the system that will prevent abuse. I don't have an answer to that.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:43 PM

85. Military/NSA/CIA Drone Charts & Graphs

 


























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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:47 PM

86. K&R

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:08 PM

87. I wonder if it matters?

Does it even matter here and now... what side you or I take? If popular opinion is very much in agreement with your own, does it matter? Not if it doesn't in some way end up having something to do with the legal process - the claiming of such power, or the ultimate refusal to grant it. Who decides? Will it be put to a vote for the American public... a high percentage of which can hardly read? Or will it be decided by some of our greediest, most corrupt elected officials? Will it be determined instead by men and women crunching numbers?

There is this option that allows us to take boots off the ground. A remote control, so to speak, that enables us to kill enemies foreign - and inevitably at some future point, very much domestic. In time, robotics might very well do away with the majority of armed forces, military and police. This, I think, is something worth taking a moment to reflect upon. It is sad that we humans program these wonderful machines - that we use this great technology of ours, to come up with better ways to kill. We take something that is essentially innocent, a machine, and we tell it "Go here. Kill this person." They won't question the morality of it at all. Unlike human beings, they don't get caught up in messy moral issues.

What other things could instead be done with this drone technology? How much money in comparison is being spent in the development of medical technology that is related? Or entertainment, or something that in some way provides a benefit to humanity, rather than a danger to it.

Am I in favor of the President getting this kind of authority? No. I'm not in favor of anyone having that sort of authority - to kill pretty much anyone, anywhere, without being subject to oversight. People do it all the time, but it is easier to hold people accountable, and it is very human to question orders given and to some times refuse to obey them, particularly when it involves issues of questionable morality. Machines simply do what they're programmed to do.

All the same, I'd rather see a machine blown up than a fellow human being. I'd rather a machine do our fighting in Afghanistan or elsewhere than see boys I went to school with get blown to bits.

Eventually though, questions of morality - particularly during war - become second to accomplishing the task. We want an enemy combatant destroyed, so we send a drone. Perhaps we kill his family and his neighbors in the process. Perhaps we blow up a church or a village, killing dozens or hundreds. Yet if the target was an enemy combatant who had killed our own, some would consider that collateral damage a worthy price to pay. Unwilling sacrifices in the name of safety, of vengeance, or even of simple convenience.

I've always been a fan of video games, particularly those with swords and crossbows. In video games though, you don't have to see real blood, hear real screams, or watch real innocents suffer and die. It removes the human element. This is similar, in some way, to combat by drone.

War and combat are terrible, but I believe that they are at times necessary to put a stop to great evil. Yet I do not think that the real thing should ever become a video game. The idea of this... it enables so much destruction, so much killing, all without being present personally, all without having to lift a weapon. It doesn't require you to look into the eyes of the condemned, to hear them ask why, to hear them beg for their lives. It doesn't display the grief of weeping parents, friends or siblings.

As terrible as war is, without a human element to it it would be far more terrible.

Frankly, I think the drones should be configured into something not meant as a weapon. Or destroyed and sold for scrap metal. That won't happen though. Quite the opposite - in the future, we may not even need a human hand to kill humans. What happens when we develop this technology further and the things malfunction? When they go on rampages destroying random people? I've read a lot of sci-fi, it's true... but the truth is often stranger than fiction.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #87)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:24 AM

89. Nice post, quite a lot to think about there! :)

 

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:18 PM

88. It's disturbing seeing how many PNACkers we have at this progressive website. nt

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:10 PM

90. Great summary of the problem, now, what are you and I going to do about it?

I made donations to the ACLU and CCR which are challenging the use of drones in the USA. I will gladly sign petitions and walk in protest and write letters to Congress against this 'policy'. Now, what else?

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #90)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 03:26 PM

96. Remember and VOTE! That's the only power we have ever had

 

You will have to decide for yourself how important this issue is, and whether or not this issue determines how you vote in future elections.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:02 PM

91. People go along with slavery right now.

Every investor in the stock market supports & profits from it. Americans seem to be fine with most things liberals would find offensive, as long as it happens somewhere else and they can turn a buck from it. When the money calls, the principles fall like leaves.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:13 PM

92. If you reread your OP and some of the responses, you will see why your position gains no traction

Virtually every OP that takes your position involves insulting those who disagree. Those of us who disagree, of course, respond in kind. But we don't have the burden of having to change a massive percentage of the minds of people in this country. 83% agree with the use of drones including 77% of self described liberals.

This all is part of the reason I asked Medea Benjamin if she would discuss the issue with me for my radio show. We had a really good discussion and I think I outlined at the end some ways that both liberal camps could move forward together on the issue. One thing we did not do was insult each other or impute bad motives to each other. It's unfortunate that discussions from the anti-drone side started the discussion on DU doing those exact things.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lesersense/2013/02/11/making-sense-with-steve-leser--drones-the-week-in-review

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #92)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:00 PM

93. really good discussion with Media Benjamin

Thank you, I listened to your interview. I learned a lot from both of you. I am pretty much on the side against the drones, mostly I have a gut reaction against our country running around the world bombing people in general. But with the drones, the question of who is the enemy and how are we protecting ourselves, etc., does make me pause for a moment. I thought Media had some very informative answers to many of the questions those in favor of drones often raise and I appreciated your suggestions for finding a way toward a post-drone policy. A calm discussion among friends is certainly needed, as you state, before we will ever get out of this situation. I too find it unfortunate that there is so much rancor on both sides that we frequently cannot have a decent discussion. I fear that we will continue down the road blindly supporting any and all policies that might protect us and never be able to stop for a minute to see where we are really headed with these policies until it is too late to change them. Thanks again for the link to your discussion.

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Response to loveandlight (Reply #93)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:22 PM

94. Thank you for your kind and amazing feedback!

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #92)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 03:20 PM

95. Thanks for the nice response (cont)

 

When I wrote this I was not interested in changing anyone's mind. I do not believe that I can change anyone's mind on this issue, nor is it possible for anyone to change mine. This is something that you will RARELY see me write -- I pride myself on taking the time to actually listen to what people who disagree with me have to say, not with the goal of countering their arguments, but understanding their position.

And I have done so here. In this case, however, I have not seen any arguments I had not considered myself prior to voicing my opinion, and none that I consider relevant. All of us have positions on select issues that are not open to debate. This, for me, is one of those issues.

I don't have a whole lot of purity tests, but this is one of them. I will never agree that it is acceptable for the US Government to secretly execute US Citizens with no judicial process, no trial, no oversight, no rules, no demonstrable need, and no review. With this act the Obama administration announced to the world that from this day forward the US Government was no longer bound by the restrictions in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is something unprecedented, horrific, and in my opinion indefensable.

Which is not to say that I do not understand those who think this is a swell idea. I understand them in the same way they understand me. We simply disagree on the importance.

In any case, thank you for reading, and thank you even more for taking the time to write and tell me why you disagree.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #95)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 04:00 PM

97. You clearly do not understand the points of those who disagree. More than that...

you don't seem to even know what their/our arguments are.

You have no disagreement with anyone on the left that extrajudicial killing is OK. You go down the assumption that those who disagree with you believe in a set of beliefs and don't seem to care that they don't. Acting under those very unliberal and unprogressive assumptions, you go about believing and writing things you think are more progressive than other people.

Moreover, the tools for understanding the other Liberal position are easily there in front of you.

When a human being causes the death of another person, there are multiple ways our legal system has for addressing that depending on circumstances and intent. Depending on the circumstances or intent, the person could go free, or they could face life in prison or even the death penalty. In the case of self defense, the person who caused the death may well go free. I am sure you will agree with that so far, those are facts that are hardly controversial.

Those are normal civilian circumstances. The micro, if you will.

In the macro sense, when issues between nations degenerate into war, there are a set of rules codified in the geneva conventions that govern what is 'legal' in terms of war. If Americans had deserted in the second world war and joined the Japanese side, Marines defending a hill on Iwo Jima could hardly be blamed for shooting them if those deserted Americans, now in Japanese army uniforms, charged up the hill against them.

In fact, those who join the enemy side in wartime, if caught, can be executed summarily as traitors. Even those who desert in wartime can legally face the death penalty. That's war and again, I dont think any of those facts are controversial.

Now we face a situation where we have a non-state group acting against us, and 12 other countries over the past 20 years or so, in ways that straddle the difference between a criminal entity and a hostile state. In Afghanistan, that difference is nearly non-existent. Taliban and Al Qaeda act together as full battlefield combatants against our troops.

Yet, your argument is that it is impossible to consider treating these people any other way than regular criminals. Your mind cannot conceive of anything other than that. It's so alien to you that it is, in your own words, worthy of a purity test. The irony is that Al Qaeda very much consider themselves combatants. So much so that when Iraq invaded Kuwait back in 1990, and was threatening to invade Saudi Arabia, they offered themselves as a fighting force to the Saudi royal family to kick Saddam out of Kuwait. And the argument they made was a pretty compelling one. They suggested that they had just kicked the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. Compared to the Soviets, who is Saddam/Iraq?

But you assert that you cannot conceive of anyone treating Al Qaeda as a military force, so much so it is one of those rare situations worthy of a purity test. I dont think that opinion holds up to scrutiny based on the evidence.

It does not require that you agree with those of us about whether Al Qaeda is a military force or should be treated as one. The only thing required of a thinking person is for you to acknowledge that the points I have raised makes it at least reasonable for other reasonable thinking people to believe it. For if you believe the entirely believeable assertion that Al Qaeda is a military force engaging in war against us, regular constitutional protections do not apply to them. Thus, you cannot accuse those who believe that as being in favor of extra-judicial or extra-Constitutional acts.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #97)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 06:04 PM

98. Thanks! I believe you are missing my point actually

 

As I am sure you are aware, most of what you wrote is irrelevant. Interesting, but irrelevant. The question is not how we conduct war or handle deserters or even whether or not this one person deserved to die. All of that is a distraction.

We are debating what rights apply to the American Citizens that our government has labeled enemies of the state. In so doing, we are debating what rights apply to everyone -- that being the way our rights work in this country. Not this singular case, or individual bad guy, but the biggest question of all:

Will we remain a nation of laws and rights, or have we decided we no longer care.

President Obama is arguing that US Presidents are no longer required to follow the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He is claiming that a President is free to ignore these laws as he sees fit, anytime he feels it is necessary, with no restrictions, no rules, no oversight, and no accountability to anyone. That a President, any President, can decide, in secret, what laws he feels like following that particular day, and who is an enemy of the state deserving of execution without a trial.

That is the power President Obama is claiming.

I think that you should have a problem with this.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #98)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 07:25 PM

99. You are missing MY point. I already understand your position. You are not listening to mine

It's funny that you asserted that what I wrote was irrelevant because that is exactly what was going through my mind reading your response. All of what you wrote is irrelevant. The difference is, what you wrote is irrelevant because I understand your position already. Everyone on my side of the issue understands your points and understands where you are coming from. You haven't added anything new to the several dozen times I have heard the anti-drone position explained.

Being progressive is more than having a set position on the issues. It's being able to understand where other people are coming from. Its being able to understand why other people have differing positions particularly when those positions have logic to them. That's regardless of whether the differing opinions come from a different culture or people in your own country.

You asserted my points as being irrelevant not because you considered and rejected them. You refuse to consider them. You refuse to see them for the completely logical points that they are. This is part of the reason why people on your side of the issue cannot convince anyone. You can't pretend that other inconvenient logical arguments don't exist.

In fact, because most people on the anti-drone side have no answer to many if not most of the points I raised and that many others have raised, because you engage in the rhetorical equivalent of a three year old yelling "la la la" at the top of their lungs so that they don't hear something they don't want to hear, it makes it clear to many of us that your position is weak, far too weak to stand up to a calm and thorough examination of all the facts and points of view involved.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #99)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 03:46 AM

100. Thanks! I am gonna let you have the final word. Just letting you know I read it. n/t

 

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #97)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:24 PM

101. Interesting points

I don't think many people would deny that Al Qaeda is a military force - or an enemy to most, if not all, of us here. Elimination of the enemy is what we do in times of war, or when we feel it necessary for vengeance, justice, peace, or what have you. Yet it's not nearly so simple as that when it comes to this particular situation involving drones. It's the necessity of the consideration of what we are killing and what we are enabling to exist.

Should the President gain the authority to execute any American he or the military powers that be deem to be an enemy, or a danger... it sets a dangerous precedent. Now perhaps this particular President would use that authority honestly and well, perhaps it would be used only for the elimination of militant enemies - and, of course, those caught in the crossfire. A sacrifice for the greater good, happens all the time during war, casualties. It's sad - and it could be argued that it creates more enemies than we destroy. If these drone strikes ever become truly surgical, I might reconsider my opinion...

What I fear is that this sets the stage for the permanent presidential power of authority to kill who ever he or she pleases. Without oversight. Without trial. Without a built in way to determine the legality, or righteousness of such killing.

I have no issue with killing militant enemies who would gladly kill one of us if the shoe were on the other foot. What I do take issue with is the potential for abuse within such a power. It's not merely potential either, in the grand scheme of things, eventually, inevitably, some President would use this power for his or her own ends, politically. We have seen too many tyrants in history, too many secret assassinations and too much corruption to believe otherwise.

What you seem to be favoring here is taking this risk. Is the sacrifice worth it? How many enemies will we eliminate if such powers come into play? How many innocents will die? How long will it be before a corrupt politician or military official uses this power for the wrong reasons?

Regular constitutional protections may not apply to our enemies, but some form of forethought and empathy should. Can we imagine ourselves in their shoes? We must, after all, hope to eventually resolve this conflict. The idea of killing random targets anywhere at all, regardless of Nationality... is disturbing.

I am not a pacifist. I believe in fighting for the right reasons. I do not, however, trust any institution or government well enough to support their gaining of this sort of absolute power. Those in power MUST have to answer to someone for their actions - and to some extent, it is definitely our business to know what those actions are. Especially during times of war. This is far too hush-hush and far too one-sided for me.

Of course, the power will eventually be won... but I wonder how long it will be before you and others regret your support?

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #101)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:39 PM

102. I think you and I have very little disagreement.

Please excuse what might seem a plug for my show but I conducted the interview with Medea Benjamin about drones that I aired during my last show because it gave an opportunity to both showcase the two liberal positions and hopefully develop a unified way foreward, as well as fully explain what I believe is my fairly nuanced position. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lesersense/2013/02/11/making-sense-with-steve-leser--drones-the-week-in-review

I would ask that you hear what I have to say when I talk with Medea. My support of drones is far from absolute, and it has a time limit. Those nuances are often lost in debates here on DU for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the anti-drone OPs usually start with some form of fire and brimstone along the lines of "Oh my god! Those horrible pro-drone woodchuck Democrats! They love giving authoritarian power to the executive to kill people!!!!!!11111!1!1"

When the discussion starts with that, its hard to have a reasonable discussion.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #102)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 02:19 PM

103. Your three main points were good ones.

If such plans are ever implemented, it would go a long way towards resolving this debate. My main issue is that there isn't enough transparency, there isn't a group of qualified people ready and able to determine whether or not someone needs to be terminated. This power can't be given into the hands of those who would almost inevitably misuse it. I'm not convinced it should be given to anyone, regardless of the circumstances... but your idea for a FISA court, in particular, I think would have a lot of support.

All the same... it's a dangerous road we walk right now. The development of these technological killing machines are reminiscent of a a Star Wars movie, or an episode of Star Trek. The drones hovering over villages, for days or weeks, searching for targets... is indeed likely to inspire terror. There's the question of who will report on it when we go too far. There's the question of who has the power to do anything about it if we do. As the world's present military super power... we have an obligation not just to our own citizenry, but to the rest of the world. To be cautious in our conflicts, to consider the costs of military action, the costs of repairs, or compensation for those who lose innocent family or friends.

Things could be done very differently. I can't help but wonder how I would feel, here in my apartment, if I could hear a drone buzzing outside and suspected it might be intended for a neighbor. I could then be collateral damage, whether I'd done anything wrong or not. Whoops, sorry, but you know, he was close to the bad guy... so it serves the greater good?

What if one of those innocents we kill might have become a musician like Bach? A brilliant scientist with cures for diseases? An amazing diplomat who might have brought an end to various conflicts? There is so much to consider.

I can't help thinking... "These aren't the droids you're looking for." If you or I became the unintended target, or collateral damage of a drone strike... our families would no doubt not be in favor of drone technology, of using them as weapons. If one of our family members was collateral damage, chances are we would quickly lose any sort of support for the idea. Putting ourselves in the shoes of the innocent casualties... it helps put things in perspective. What we are killing. What we are enabling to exist. What we are supporting.

Okay, I've rambled enough for now. Interesting show... I'll definitely consider listening in from time to time.

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