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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:20 PM

Drone thought experiment

Hello DU. I'm a foreigner (belgian) and an old-time Duer, and would like to make a point about drones (and US policy in this regard).

My country, lying in the heart of Europe and housing many of the EU institutions is an obvious target for terrorism of the type we have seen in London and in Madrid. Let's say we become the victims of an attack that can be traced back to a cell of Al Qaeda in the US. Outrage follows, as does public support for retaliation.

We then use our drones to come and execute those who we think are a part of this cell, living in the US. We do not share our intentions with the US public, and neither do we share the intelligence we have on the suspects or our deliberation process for picking the targets.

A handful of drone strikes eliminates about 10 people. There are also 5 innocent bystanders killed or wounded in the various strikes, and one of the strikes goes wrong and hits a 4th of july party, killing 15.

How do you feel about that?

What I know is that I wept out of joy when Obama was elected in 08, and that it only took me until his appointment of Geithner to know those tears weren't justified. Yes, of course Obama is better than Romney. But in so many ways, this administration is following in the footsteps of Bush* and in any case paying the 99% only lip service whilst being captured by the 1. So the difference, large as it is, is marginal if you know what I mean.

regards
bmc

31 replies, 1504 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Drone thought experiment (Original post)
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 OP
Robb Feb 2013 #1
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #10
Robb Feb 2013 #16
graham4anything Feb 2013 #2
pscot Feb 2013 #3
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #17
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #4
kudzu22 Feb 2013 #5
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #6
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #7
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #11
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #21
panader0 Feb 2013 #8
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #13
WillyT Feb 2013 #9
michigandem58 Feb 2013 #12
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #14
marmar Feb 2013 #22
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #30
Martin Eden Feb 2013 #15
KoKo Feb 2013 #18
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #19
Motown_Johnny Feb 2013 #20
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #23
Motown_Johnny Feb 2013 #25
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #28
EastKYLiberal Feb 2013 #24
cthulu2016 Feb 2013 #26
FSogol Feb 2013 #27
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #29
Kalidurga Feb 2013 #31

Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:25 PM

1. It's a tough comparison. Locals are typically better bets

...anywhere where the government is well and fully in control. Drones -- and cruise missiles, and SEAL teams -- tend to be utilized most in areas where we can't pick up a phone and drop an effective dime on some bad guy or other.

That said, of course, our police regularly screw up and kill the wrong people, too. So on a sense we're acclimated to that.

I get your point and where you're going with it, but the comparison falls short as I've described.

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Response to Robb (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:40 PM

10. I hear you - saying we could ask the US to do that work for us - I should have found

another example than Al-Qaeda, rather a group that we here see as terrorists but the US wouldn't per se. I actually had "a white supremacist group" in my OP at some point, but that wasn't quite right either.

The point of getting some other group as the target would be that it would be us deciding they needed taking out and then unilaterally invading US airspace to kill with drones, including collateral damage.

I totally agree that the normal way to go after such groups is via law enforcement. (as opposed to invading countries, either with boots on the ground or drones in the air). I was indeed making another point - basically the lack of "and what if other countries did this to US" in the discussion, which suggests some form of american exceptionalism.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:58 PM

16. Like if that group was someone we were harboring.

Belgium knows we won't give them up, for example, so in go the drones.

The thing is, though, there is something "exceptional" about US drones, at least with respect to the countries in which they operate. They're fairly untouchable; the established governments don't really have anything to counter them, so the US acts with a certain degree of impunity -- I expect in no small part because the technology allows us to.

It's easier (!) to craft a foreign policy that includes this sort of unilateralism when you have the tools to execute it. I think the reason there's no significant "and what if other countries did this to the US" in the discussion is just that -- there aren't other countries that could, so it taxes the imagination.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:28 PM

2. 20 million people died by Hitlers hand.

 

had a drone been around then, and say Hitler and 20 collateral died, it would have saved 20 million lives.

However,the 20 collateral most likely would have died anyhow at the same time as the 20 million died.

so the correct analogy is how many would die in a man to man ground war, instead of a leader of terrorism and a few collateral.

as Richard Clarke said last month, drones are the most humane form of warfare that exists at this time.

Would one rather an old a-bomb be exploded and cause instant deaths, plus horrible cancer deaths 10 years from now?

the more correct analogy would be-
how many people would a living terrorist end up killing in one, two, ten years had the drone not gotten him.

no longer is war fought between borders. The world is now a borderless place.

imho

(btw, lest someone ask why I bring up Hitler, I am Jewish and my family was directly affected by him. Would have loved a drone two weeks before hitler gave the orders to have silenced him. Maybe my grandfathers brother would have been someone I knew.Because he never came to the US, I never knew him (as he died because of Hitler).

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:30 PM

3. I would welcome a Belgian drone strike

if it killed bad guysl Too bad about the July 4th revelers, but I'm certain they would go straight to heaven, where the baby jeebus would be waiting, waving an American flag..

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Response to pscot (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:59 PM

17. Nicely done! lol

 

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:30 PM

4. You are not off

The CIA agrees. Why I posted this concentrating in the less sexy subject of blowback and violating air space.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022324097

I know, ironic, but even they get it. Must people living in the bubble don't.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:31 PM

5. Honestly, it would be an act of war

However, it's not an apt comparison. There are channels between Belgium and the US for the capture and extradition of terrorists. It wouldn't be appropriate to go straight to drone strikes. In the countries where drones are used, the local governments are either unable or unwilling to assist in the capture of these individuals. I'm by no means defending the use of drones or justifying extrajudicial killing of terror suspects. I'm just saying that's the reason they are used.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:33 PM

7. You're not expecting Americans to

acknowledge that the CIA is the world's best funded terrorist organization are you? Good luck with that.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:49 PM

11. "that the CIA is the world's best funded terrorist organization"

I guess I was trying to get that acknowledged, yes.

I must confess reading the first half of the Shock Doctrine, with all that happened in Latin America,
coupled with thinking about Iraqi casualties and what such events would do to me as a father should my kids die to bombs,
has fundamentally changed my worldview. I now look at a lot of sources outside of western mainstream media and it's not very pretty is it.

Then again, there is hope. If we realise in time that we are one.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:17 PM

21. Shock Doctine was old news

for those of us who have been around awhile. Vietnam, and the protest movement, led to the uncovering of many CIA activities. Iran-Contra uncovered more. Some clown with 40,000+ posts here on DU, called Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the US" Marxist BS. Willfully blind. Let's not forget the damage done by the IMF and World Bank...both controlled by American interests.

No, it's not pretty and as each successive generation of Americans becomes dumber, it is only going to become worse. You have one third of supposed 'progressives' condemning the drone assassinations, one third defending them and one third totally indifferent.

The neocons are constantly looking for a war, somewhere, anywhere. The small government pinheads drone on about our debt turning us into Greece. Hell, we are well on the way to becoming North Korea, and heaven help the world when we get there.

Now there's a cheerful post.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:34 PM

8. BelgianMadCow--haven't seen you around for a while

"Drone thought experiment"-- technology will soon be able to drone your thoughts. lol
Why can't we just all get along?

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Response to panader0 (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:01 PM

13. I'm pretty sure we CAN all just get along

and I'm also pretty sure that that is not what the controlling elite like to see happen. The amount of diversion and division that is used to keep us from understanding, is staggering.
When I see the arab spring start in large part due to absurd food prices, and I see similar protests about food and housing in Israel, and chinese protests against companies polluting, and then the indignados and everlasting protest in southern Europe, and Occupy Wall Street turning Occupy Sandy, I got really upbeat about real change.

And ever since, I've been trying to spend less time reading about the grand betrayal and more time at being a local force for good. But DU was key to my awakening so to speak, and it's still in my news bookmarks.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:37 PM

9. K & R !!!



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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:00 PM

12. We have a government and justice system that would deal with it

 

And you don't have the capability to do that.

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Response to michigandem58 (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:10 PM

14. But your justice system decided that a bank knowingly dealing with drug cartels and terrorists

can't be criminally prosecuted because of the damage to the financial system. I'm referring to HSBC. Let's say that we decided a couple of those financial players were also a target of our strikes. Your system would NOT do anything about them.

I was gonna say no, we don't have those capabilities. But we have big neighbours who do, and besides it's a thought experiment. But lo and behold, here we are with our hunter drones: http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-106-the-droning-of-drones.pdf see table 1.

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Response to michigandem58 (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:17 PM

22. WTF are you talking about?

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Response to michigandem58 (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:12 PM

30. You mean the DOJ that allowed a bank

To walk Scott free after money laundering Mexican cartel money? Or is that the DoJ that has yet to prosecute any of the big banks and has declared them untouchable? That DOJ?

Okay.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:28 PM

15. An imperfect analogy

The US would cooperate in arresting that al Qaeda cell, whereas such cooperation is unattainable in the countries where the US employs its airborn extrajudicial executions with collateral damage.

A better analogy would be for the Belgian drone to take out a killer of innocents whom the US refuses to arrest or extradite. The previous occupant of the Oval Office, for example.

Yes, I know. The point you are making is that the current Occupant is little different. However, I would point out invading Iraq on the basis of lies is an order of magnitude greater on the scale of war crimes.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:05 PM

18. The Drones are coming..and it's important to get some "International Agreement"

about them before we have a Major Incident going forward.

This should be TOP PRIORITY of UN and other International Bodies to immediately get to work on. IMHO

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Response to KoKo (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:11 PM

19. Totally agree. Especially looking at the exponential growth in numbers and decline in price

you can see this go very wrong very fast. Last week, I read about a 49 euro four-rotor drone with a camera, designed to follow you around and take your pics. Obviously far away from military use but imagine if we all had those flying around. It's a case of stepping in with worldwide regulation before we find ourselves in dystopia imho.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:16 PM

20. A NATO country (such as Belgium) would never behave that way.

The idea that your country, or any other NATO member, would not go through channels is beyond the realm of possibility.

The very fact that you need to resort to such a ridiculous analogy speaks volumes.

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Response to Motown_Johnny (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:29 PM

23. It was called a thought experiment.

Let it sink in. You do have a point about going through channels, as I conceded upthread. Think around that if you would. Or imagine I'm the next Pakistani president that got elected after the US puppets got overthrown, and I'm being armed by China to kill the banksters. See where I'm going?

The question is real simple: and what if others would do this to you? Care much for their legal reasoning?

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:50 PM

25. What if people who don't have drones had people fly planes into buildings?

Do you see where I am going with this?



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Response to Motown_Johnny (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:55 PM

28. Yup, Te Japanese attacked Pearl and we bombed Mexico.

It's not that crazy. In fact...you should read what the CIA has to say on blowback and the drone program.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:35 PM

24. Implying that the US is a shithole like the ones that harbor despicable people. nt

 

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Response to EastKYLiberal (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:52 PM

26. Did we deport Cheney? I missed it.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:54 PM

27. DDS

Drone Derangement Syndrome!



Are the Belgians leaving NATO?

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:58 PM

29. have to sign out for now, 4 AM, but check out the discussion by Thom Hartmann

http://rt.com/programs/big-picture/drones-ultimate-stalkers-discusses/

Drone part starts at 14 mins 20 secs in.

Will check in again later.



on edit: the panel Thom had, both liberals & conservatives, are equally concerned. Interesting.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:38 PM

31. I don't think Belgians have less of a right to protect themselves from terrorists.

However I would have to wonder why they did't get the cooperation of the United States government. It's not as if the US wouldn't be inclined to arrest/kill terrorists or make them disappear somewhere. I don't know how upset I would be. Probably depends on the particulars. I wouldn't see it as an act of war so much though. It does seem to be a lack of manners though.

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