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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:20 PM

We killed Yamamoto

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isoroku_Yamamoto#Death


I am very ambivalent about the drone program. Among other problems, what do we do when other people get drones.

I'm old enough to recall when assassination of foreign leaders by the CIA was a back ground scandal.

Any executive power that can be used with discretion and judgment buy one President can be abused by the next.

But - what are the choices here? We can invade an entire region. We can use drones. We can wait to see if we are indeed attacked.

As near as I can tell, some of these regions are more groups of war lords than they are actual nation states. Negotiation and depending on local law enforcement are not options. There is no one to negotiate with. There is no local law enforcement. All of our laws and customs come from a time when warfare required the resources of a nation state. Now, all it requires is a small group of people and some cash. (Which goes back to the question - what do we do when the other guys get drones?)

I've been saying for many years that what we're dealing with now is closer to piracy than it is to warfare. As such, I think we have to look at how the rules for dealing with piracy differ from the rules for warfare.

Ultimately, the questions come down to this: Is there a clear and present danger to Americans? If so, how do we remove that danger with the least harm to ourselves and others?

21 replies, 1739 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply We killed Yamamoto (Original post)
hedgehog Feb 2013 OP
truebluegreen Feb 2013 #1
Taverner Feb 2013 #2
hedgehog Feb 2013 #4
malthaussen Feb 2013 #13
truebluegreen Feb 2013 #16
malthaussen Feb 2013 #3
hedgehog Feb 2013 #5
malthaussen Feb 2013 #6
hedgehog Feb 2013 #8
malthaussen Feb 2013 #10
hedgehog Feb 2013 #11
truebluegreen Feb 2013 #15
truebluegreen Feb 2013 #14
hedgehog Feb 2013 #17
truebluegreen Feb 2013 #20
SharonAnn Feb 2013 #12
Hippo_Tron Feb 2013 #7
hedgehog Feb 2013 #9
zipplewrath Feb 2013 #18
hedgehog Feb 2013 #19
Kablooie Feb 2013 #21

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:25 PM

1. Bad analogy.

Yamamoto was commander of the Japanese fleet in a time of war.

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:39 PM

2. OK - how about Arbenz then?

 

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Response to Taverner (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:03 PM

4. That is an excellent example of how policies can be abused -

there is a huge difference between going after an elected leader for the benefit of the United Fruit company vs. going after someone who is planning on attacking Americans. As I'm typing this, I'm asking myself where we draw the line. It's over the top to go after anyone and everyone who bad mouths us. On the other hand, it is not over-the-top thinking to be concerned about the possibility of a dirty bomb or worse. The use of drones may be a good policy that requires the institution of many more safeguards.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:44 PM

13. Ah, but to mangle an historical quote,

what happens when "What's good for the United Fruit Company is good for the USA?" Especially, indeed, when more and more of the people who make these decisions work indirectly for the United Fruit Company? Oversight and safeguards, yeah, but quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

On the third hand, the rulers are gonna do what they're gonna do. To end with yet another mangled quote, "Rights are impossible."

-- Mal

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Response to Taverner (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:21 PM

16. What about him?

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:53 PM

3. Ain't it just?

I've seen this meme repeated a few times. I cannot imagine by what wild stretch of mind killing Yamamoto can be considered comparable to a drone strike. Wellington may have said, in re Napoleon "It is not the business of generals to kill one another, Sir," but times have changed since then.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:06 PM

5. The choice was to take out Yamamoto to shorten WWII. The use of drones

to take out people planning to attack America falls into the same category provided that those people actually are taking up arms against the United States.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:13 PM

6. Sorry, I really don't get it.

Every soldier, sailor, whatever of an enemy combat force killed, incapacitated, or made prisoner is for the purpose of "shortening the war." You might as well substitute "Hans" or "Raizo" for "Yamamoto." I don't think anyone is claiming that we shouldn't be allowed to kill people who are actually shooting at us.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:20 PM

8. I'm not sure if I understand what you are getting at.

I think we are in agreement that if someone is actually shooting at us, then it is proper to respond in kind. As such, in my opinion, (not necessarily yours), if we are certain that someone is planning on attacking us and has the means to do so, then it is proper to use drones to attack that person.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:24 PM

10. Ah, that is where we differ, then.

Stipulating legitimacy of target -- which is a different can of worms -- my problem with drone strikes is that they also kill civilians who are not, reasonably, definable as enemy combatants. Simple propinquity does not a Terrorist make. The P-38 pilots who shot down Yamamoto did not also kill Solomon islanders who were unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:28 PM

11. I agree with you there. Killing civilians with drones is akin

to say, a police swat team taking out the hostages and the kidnapper. If, say, the kidnapper was going to release poison gas, and the only way to take out the kidnapper was to kill the hostages as well, then the issue becomes more murky.

I would add- I doubt there is such a thing as precision bombing. I suspect any time we use missiles or bombs, we are inevitably killing civilians. So the questions regarding the use of drones extend to many of the tactics of war.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:19 PM

15. "...certain..."

There's the issue. Just about the only way to be "certain" is if they do it.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:16 PM

14. "...provided that those people are taking up arms against the United States."

I see two problems:

1) Who gets to decide and what are the criteria re "taking up arms"? The two extremes might be a state of war (true in Yamamoto's case) v. random people who don't like us. Where is the line drawn and who draws it?

2) What about civilian casualties? Again, people on Yamamoto's plane wouldn't qualify.

What do you think a just nation should do?

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:54 PM

17. This is why I would prefer the language of piracy vs. the language of warfare.

Fighting piracy to me implies a limited engagement with a few based on specific activity as opposed to an open-ended "war on terror".

It is something we need to be thinking about. Lest we forget, Valerie Plame was working on tracking down loose nuclear weapons when she was outed. The potential for serious danger does exist.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:40 PM

20. I agree that the "language" of piracy would be better

than that of an endless, un-winnable war.

However. Military strikes that take out non-military targets are not acceptable from a moral viewpoint, and counter-productive from a practical one.

Sure, we have enemies. We have spent a great deal of time and treasure and effort acquiring them, starting--at least--in Iran in 1953. That was our newly-minted CIA at work, making us all safer...oh, wait....making the predecessor to British Petroleum's profits safer.

We would need a lot less effort and money spent to keep us safe if we quit acting like our needs were the only ones that count and dropped the meanest-SoB-in-the-valley attitude.

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:38 PM

12. We had formally declared war on Japan after their Pearl Harbor attack. It was war.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:16 PM

7. My qualm is that there's no limits to the battlefield and no time limit to the war

We took out Yamamoto on a clearly defined battlefield and a war that had a clearly defined ending (the surrender of the Axis powers), at which time the government no longer has the power of targeted assassination.

Now we're fighting a "war on terror" where the battlefield is the planet earth and there's really no entity that can surrender to us to end the war.

It's the same thing with the prisoners in GITMO. It's standard practice to hold prisoners of war until the end of the war. But when the war lasts forever, you're holding them forever. That's far more questionable.

The 2001 AUMF gave the executive branch indefinite war powers, and I find that troubling. War powers should be constrained to a specific time and a specific place.

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Response to Hippo_Tron (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:24 PM

9. A forever war is a horror. We have been at war with too many people for too long a time.

For example - exactly what are we doing in South America as part of the War on Drugs. At the same time, the fact that Bush used the attack on 9/11 as a pretext for invading Iran doesn't preclude the fact that we were indeed, attacked on 9/11.

I agree that it is well past time to give the prisoners at GITMO a fair hearing and if possible send them home. Some can't go home and I will allow the possibility that some should be locked up - but only after a fair and open hearing!

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:09 PM

18. Arrest them

In this day and age, when we are the most powerful military force on the face of the planet, it is time to start arresting and putting people on trial. Many of the targeted assassinations are in places where we would have little resistance to arrest. Some might actually be cooperative. This isn't WWII by any stretch. We have courts and laws in this country to put them on trial. There are international courts. And there are friendly foreign courts all with the willingness and desire to put these people on trial. We did it with the Lockerbee bomber. The Israelis did it with various Holocaust criminals. We did it to the terrorists from the Achille Lauro hijacking.

It's time to wage some law enforcement and look to the Attorneys General instead of waging war and putting all power in the Commander in Chief.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 04:32 PM

19. That is the best option!

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 04:06 AM

21. When will the drones start aiming at Wall Street?

There seems to be no way to arrest those criminals so they should simple be blown out of existence.

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