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Thu Jan 17, 2013, 07:18 AM

Drones: An Outlier in a Transparent Presidency

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-holewinski/obama-drones_b_2442908.html

Drones: An Outlier in a Transparent Presidency
Sarah Holewinski
Posted: 01/16/2013 11:45 am

President Obama is quite literally writing his legacy on the use of force during his second term. According to media reports, the administration is codifying the hows and whys of its drone policy in a handbook. The assumption is that the United States will put into doctrine what it has already created in practice: new rules for a new global reality with a newish technology.

Leave aside for a minute the fact that there already exists a rulebook governing drone use, called international law. If the new rulebook clarifies some of the outstanding questions surrounding U.S. drone use, if its elements show an adherence to international laws (both in practice and in spirit), and if the whole of the rulebook considers the precedent it will set for the rest of the world, then this is an effort that should be welcomed, because the explanations about covert drone use coming from top officials have so far been less than explanatory (Jeh Johnson's recent remarks being the exception, though they're still short on detail).

The modern-day creation of the drone -- an unmanned airplane supported by a massive network of remote operators -- is not the problem. It was only a matter of time before a sophisticated military found a way to take itself off the battlefield yet keep the ability to strike where and when it wishes. Used in specific military circumstances -- in a full-scale combat theater like Afghanistan, for example, and with solid intelligence feeding into precise targeting -- drones have the potential to minimize collateral damage.

Yet in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, the United States is using drones outside recognized combat theaters, with operations cloaked in secrecy. In these circumstances, good intelligence is dodgy, and there is little way to assess civilian harm post-strike. As a result, operators can't fully understand the negative impact of such strikes on the local population. Who is targeted, why, how and what civilian protection measures are put in place are unknown to anyone but a tight inner circle of policy makers -- an about-face for a president who pledged a transparent government in his first term. And Congress is following his lead, reviewing high-level targets but avoiding the tough questions about the program's protocols or its repercussions.

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Reply Drones: An Outlier in a Transparent Presidency (Original post)
unhappycamper Jan 2013 OP
samsingh Jan 2013 #1
cbrer Jan 2013 #2
samsingh Jan 2013 #4
cbrer Jan 2013 #6
samsingh Jan 2013 #7
cbrer Jan 2013 #3
Fire Walk With Me Jan 2013 #5

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:05 PM

1. is there another option?

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Response to samsingh (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:51 PM

2. Another option...

 

To unmanned war?

Unmanned attacks outside of combat zones?

Or perhaps unmanned attacks outside of International law?

To unnecessary war?

Heck let's throw in war fought by credit card!

Please clarify.

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Response to cbrer (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:31 PM

4. how are attacking militants with drones an unnecessary war?

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Response to samsingh (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 04:37 PM

6. Was asking a question

 

Not describing necessity. Although since you asked...

The business interests that caused many Arab people and nations to dislike and sometimes (violently) reject Americans and their business models, could be argued to have caused at least part of the current ill feelings towards us. This in turn, fueled extremist attacks and the "necessity" of war. Putting our soldiers between corporate interests, and those nations.

So "necessity" becomes a matter of perspective. My perspective (sitting in Kabul as I write this) is that it's not only unnecessary, but it's a colossal waste of humans, resources, money, time. But at least the Taliban can sit back and wait for December 2014 now. Afghanistan will revert to their prior state, as the Karzai administration loses credibility, and the tribes that inhabit Afghanistan revert to their historical state.

The Western model of government is being imposed from without. These people are not organized that way. They settle their disputes by holding Jirghas. Not Congressional sessions.

And there are going to be some pretty serious disputes in about 22 months...

Cheers!

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Response to cbrer (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 06:12 PM

7. stay safe

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 07:02 PM

3. Are we excluding

 

NDAA, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Indefinite detention, Warrantless surveillance, Bombings in Libya, Yemen, and Somalia...

For the purposes of describing transparency?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:32 PM

5. "Do what we say or else" just in a new form.

 

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