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A (civil) discussion of the drone war?

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I've been thinking about America's use of weaponized drones against our enemies and I've come to a few conclusions. I won't share them all but I am curious if anyone at UM sees this form of warfare as justifiable in ANY situation? The unintended killing of innocents is a part of every war. If these individuals hide among civilian populations (often with their approval) then how does one strike them otherwise? The use of drones tends to be more surgical than a heavy SOG team would be in achieving the death of our enemies. So is the issue the means America uses or is it that America fights this war at all? Interested in your ideas but not in flaming my thread - please leave personalities out of this and act as if someone beside me is asking the question :w00t:

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There is that issue of "collateral damage" which will (or damn well should) haunt the people who pushed the buttons and who authorised the attack.

But if it keeps "our guys" safe from "their guys" then I'm all for it.

Psychologically speaking though - I do have to wonder if there's a disconnect between the drone operator and the foot slogger. Both kill the enemy, but do they both suffer the same sort of psychological reaction?

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the drone war

any pros?

Obama's drone wars are more detestable than Obamacare, okay? Looking at the drones by numbers, the Obama White House escalated the "drone war" so much that they make King George the W. look like a flyweight.

http://billmoyers.com/content/drones-by-the-numbers/

This OP is like asking for the pros of President Obama. He's a good basketball player?

Has he made the world safer for the US or Pakistan with these undeclared wars? No I don't think so.

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I hate war. But I do not detest our military or its personnel. So, I also agree that anything to keep more of our soldiers safe would be a good thing. While at the same time I wonder the same question:

Psychologically speaking though - I do have to wonder if there's a disconnect between the drone operator and the foot slogger. Both kill the enemy, but do they both suffer the same sort of psychological reaction?

But hasn't the same been said for bombers? What has been the psychological implications/reactions for those who never see who they bomb either? I don't know I'm asking.

I watched something years ago on one pilot coming to terms with the realization of just how many he killed with one run X his career. But that is all I remember, no other details.

Edited by QuiteContrary

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But hasn't the same been said for bombers? What has been the psychological implications/reactions for those who never see who they bomb either?

Yes, they're psychologically disconnected from the terror that people on the ground surely must feel when those bombs begin to detonate. It makes it a lot easier for the policy when the bombardiers are at 35,000+ feet and nobody will ever see the carnage.

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Using drone weapons against people in another country is an act of war. Therefore it depends on what the other country wants to do about it. I see no particular moral issue beyond those that involve wars in general.

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I've been thinking about America's use of weaponized drones against our enemies and I've come to a few conclusions. I won't share them all but I am curious if anyone at UM sees this form of warfare as justifiable in ANY situation? The unintended killing of innocents is a part of every war. If these individuals hide among civilian populations (often with their approval) then how does one strike them otherwise? The use of drones tends to be more surgical than a heavy SOG team would be in achieving the death of our enemies. So is the issue the means America uses or is it that America fights this war at all? Interested in your ideas but not in flaming my thread - please leave personalities out of this and act as if someone beside me is asking the question :w00t:

I think that in a legitimate warzone , in a legitimate war it would be the duty of the government to use drones when possible to defend American lives. The problem I have with them is the absolute lack of accountability our government has when they use them in today. We hear their story and that's it. Even for those of us who look beyond the American media for information the American influence - either through dollar or muscle - has in one way or another tainted the story of what, why, when, who and did it work and how many died.

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There is that issue of "collateral damage" which will (or damn well should) haunt the people who pushed the buttons and who authorised the attack.

But if it keeps "our guys" safe from "their guys" then I'm all for it.

Psychologically speaking though - I do have to wonder if there's a disconnect between the drone operator and the foot slogger. Both kill the enemy, but do they both suffer the same sort of psychological reaction?

I think that is probably down to the individual's conscience or lack thereof. I don't know the command structure of such an operation but I think any use of weapons would be tightly reviewed and controlled i.e. one decision maker in the chain. Ultimately it would be that person's issue at bedtime. As for the operators - I'd imagine them being in the same class as particularly bad snipers (in most cases) who know they PROBABLY will kill more than just their targets.
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Obama's drone wars are more detestable than Obamacare, okay? Looking at the drones by numbers, the Obama White House escalated the "drone war" so much that they make King George the W. look like a flyweight.

http://billmoyers.co...by-the-numbers/

This OP is like asking for the pros of President Obama. He's a good basketball player?

[media=]

[/media]

Has he made the world safer for the US or Pakistan with these undeclared wars? No I don't think so.

I support the use of the drones as long as they are being used to kill enemies who are actively threatening our troops and our country. Those people do actually still exist and if we treat them with the rights of a citizen of this country then they will eventually win in this conflict. Having said that I also agonize over the lives ruined and destroyed as a result of these weapons as well. They are victims as surely as any American soldier or civilian. Imagine that the drones were unavailable. Any leader of al qaeda in the NW of Pakistan would simply be untouchable unless we risked large units of troops to go after each one. The locals would fight to the death to protect each one and the numbers of dead would be catastrophic for both sides.

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I think that in a legitimate warzone , in a legitimate war it would be the duty of the government to use drones when possible to defend American lives. The problem I have with them is the absolute lack of accountability our government has when they use them in today. We hear their story and that's it. Even for those of us who look beyond the American media for information the American influence - either through dollar or muscle - has in one way or another tainted the story of what, why, when, who and did it work and how many died.

You placed too many impossibles in the way to say you support it Farmer. These days war has NO legitimate zones. I agree about the issue of accountability though I'm not sure how we devise a system for that that wouldn't be used as a political assassination tool. In the 40's we didn't agonize - we bent to the needs of reality and crushed an enemy we recognized as a threat to all we believed in. We killed HUNDREDS of thousands of civilians - in awful ways - and then stood proud of the victory. These days of course we have people coming out of the woodwork to condemn what a previous generation did -even though their very existence might be owed to those actions that were taken. War is the most awful legacy of mankind and for all our profligacy with technology and increased knowledge in general, all we seem to change about war is how it is fought.
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It seems to be as if America is trying to pursue justice by means of the Missile. What it's doing is essentially assassinating criminal suspects without the need for any of that tedious business of capturing them and putting them on trial first- see also, of course O. bin Laden. This may be a heck of a lot easier than trying to pursue justice by the tedious, time-consuming traditional means, but I don't think it really does very much for the credibility of America's insistence that it should be the global arbiter of Justice, and that it is the example for every other nation to follow. if it is justice, it's the justice of I am the Law. It's not even the justice of the Wild West, since there at least it was one specific person that the Lawman was after, and they tried to minimise collateral damage.

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Using drone weapons against people in another country is an act of war. Therefore it depends on what the other country wants to do about it. I see no particular moral issue beyond those that involve wars in general.

but that's the point; most of these countries that the US has sent its robo-assassins in to the U.S. has not been at war with; many of them have been so-called Allies. This isn't war, it's assassination by the armed forces.

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but that's the point; most of these countries that the US has sent its robo-assassins in to the U.S. has not been at war with; many of them have been so-called Allies. This isn't war, it's assassination by the armed forces.

Afghanistan and pakistan are the primary locations for these strikes. Yemen comes in 3rd I think. Where else are they being used?

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Pakistan is supposed to be a Valued Ally, aren't they? (Obviously, no one actually believes that, but still, you might have thought the Govt. might have some concern about the ethics of launching air strikes on countries that are supposed to be Valued Allies.)

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but that's the point; most of these countries that the US has sent its robo-assassins in to the U.S. has not been at war with; many of them have been so-called Allies. This isn't war, it's assassination by the armed forces.

When there are acts of war (and they happen a lot -- assassination, counterfeiting currencies and other documents, spying, kidnappings, as well as things like lobbing missiles or carrying out raids), the other country has the right to retaliate, to protest, to ask for a Security Council hearing, to sever relations and treaties, and so on. It must then accept any consequences of what it does.

What the US is doing doesn't seem to me unique except they have a way of doing it out in the desert. The cost or even possibility of doing it all nice an legally is silly, since such an trial would be illegal anyway. There is a good deal of hypocrisy going on here, and the posters who get themselves in an uproar morally about anything the States does should keep that in mind.

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Pakistan is supposed to be a Valued Ally, aren't they? (Obviously, no one actually believes that, but still, you might have thought the Govt. might have some concern about the ethics of launching air strikes on countries that are supposed to be Valued Allies.)

I think the Pakistanis are happy enough that the States are doing their job for them much better than they could; for domestic consumption however they have to stomp their feet at least some. Were Mexico to do something similar and knock out a drug ring in Texas, the Americans would behave similarly.

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Afghanistan and pakistan are the primary locations for these strikes. Yemen comes in 3rd I think. Where else are they being used?

Somalia and I think some in Mali

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When there are acts of war (and they happen a lot -- assassination, counterfeiting currencies and other documents, spying, kidnappings, as well as things like lobbing missiles or carrying out raids), the other country has the right to retaliate, to protest, to ask for a Security Council hearing, to sever relations and treaties, and so on. It must then accept any consequences of what it does.

All those things are called terrorism, at least when other countries do it to the U.S. When the U.S. does it to anyone else, it's a legitimate act of war, it seems. As usual, one standard applies to the Global Megapower, and a different one to everyone else?

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All those things are called terrorism, at least when other countries do it to the U.S. When the U.S. does it to anyone else, it's a legitimate act of war, it seems. As usual, one standard applies to the Global Megapower, and a different one to everyone else?

I don't agree. "Terrorism" properly used is the inflicting of death on innocents for the purpose of striking fear into the general population. Targeted assassinations are a form of war, as is terrorism, but not the same.

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I don't agree. "Terrorism" properly used is the inflicting of death on innocents for the purpose of striking fear into the general population. Targeted assassinations are a form of war, as is terrorism, but not the same.

Surely the message, just as it was with bumping off O bin L, is "Don't mess with Uncle Sam"? what's that if not wanting to strike fear into the general population? The general population because the message is aimed at the people who the (suspected) Terrorists might try to take refuge among. And it's only Uncle Sam's word, after all, that these are indeed the droids they're looking for. And targeted assassination has never before been used as an instrument of war, whether rightly or wrongly; it's once again Uncle Sam that's re-written the rules to suit itself.

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Surely the message, just as it was with bumping off O bin L, is "Don't mess with Uncle Sam"? what's that if not wanting to strike fear into the general population? The general population because the message is aimed at the people who the (suspected) Terrorists might try to take refuge among. And it's only Uncle Sam's word, after all, that these are indeed the droids they're looking for. And targeted assassination has never before been used as an instrument of war, whether rightly or wrongly; it's once again Uncle Sam that's re-written the rules to suit itself.

No I don't think so. The execution of Bin Ladin was appropriate and any country would have done as much. Blowing up hotel rooms in India because of that nation's Kashmir policy is terrorism, sending intrusions into Kashmir territory targeting Indian soldiers is more ordinary war,.

If you use the word "terrorism" to describe any act because it has a secondary fear aspect, you simply make the world meaningless.

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There is that issue of "collateral damage" which will (or damn well should) haunt the people who pushed the buttons and who authorised the attack.

But if it keeps "our guys" safe from "their guys" then I'm all for it.

Psychologically speaking though - I do have to wonder if there's a disconnect between the drone operator and the foot slogger. Both kill the enemy, but do they both suffer the same sort of psychological reaction?

I imagine lots of kids in US with x box have already aced the skills to be remote drone pilots if they so pleased. For a lot of kids this will sadly be a dream job.

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All those things are called terrorism, at least when other countries do it to the U.S. When the U.S. does it to anyone else, it's a legitimate act of war, it seems. As usual, one standard applies to the Global Megapower, and a different one to everyone else?

My understanding is that the US has been fighting insurgents from Pakistan who kill coalition troops regularly in Afghanistan. Your premise is that the US is wrong about the entire conflict and as such has no authority to justly execute war on anyone - at least this is the drift of your opinions here. Warfare is continually evolving and what we are witnessing in this conflict is the latest incarnation. The rules are changing faster than the legal precepts. We are not randomly killing for the fun of it Col. By your standard I think the US would still be on the hook according to you if we had a 100% effective tool to kill only a target with absolutely no innocents harmed. We'd still be executing "extrajudicially" Wars aren't fought according to courtroom decorum.

And Pakistan's two headed monster of a government harbors Taliban and even supports them(probably with US funds) so we go in and kill them where we can and the "good" side of their government says nothing and keeps raking in the cash. It is insane.

Edited by and then

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My understanding is that the US has been fighting insurgents from Pakistan who kill coalition troops regularly in Afghanistan. Your premise is that the US is wrong about the entire conflict and as such has no authority to justly execute war on anyone - at least this is the drift of your opinions here. Warfare is continually evolving and what we are witnessing in this conflict is the latest incarnation. The rules are changing faster than the legal precepts. We are not randomly killing for the fun of it Col. By your standard I think the US would still be on the hook according to you if we had a 100% effective tool to kill only a target with absolutely no innocents harmed. We'd still be executing "extrajudicially" Wars aren't fought according to courtroom decorum.

And Pakistan's two headed monster of a government harbors Taliban and even supports them(probably with US funds) so we go in and kill them where we can and the "good" side of their government says nothing and keeps raking in the cash. It is insane.

The problem for the U.S. is that they tried to make a crime the pretext for a war. Taking an act of terrorism as a pretext for War gives those you're bombing or shooting legitimate reason to bomb or shoot you: it turns them from criminals into Freedom Fighters resisting the Big Bully America. Would the US still be on the hook according to me if we had a 100% effective tool to kill only a target with absolutely no innocents harmed? yes, because it's still shooting first and not even bothering to make sure if they were actually who you claim they are, and even if they were who they're claimed to be, that they were in fact guilty. It's still assassination rather than seeing that Justice is done. What's the difference between assassination and murder? It's assassination when Governments do it.

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It seems to be as if America is trying to pursue justice by means of the Missile. What it's doing is essentially assassinating criminal suspects without the need for any of that tedious business of capturing them and putting them on trial first- see also, of course O. bin Laden. This may be a heck of a lot easier than trying to pursue justice by the tedious, time-consuming traditional means, but I don't think it really does very much for the credibility of America's insistence that it should be the global arbiter of Justice, and that it is the example for every other nation to follow. if it is justice, it's the justice of I am the Law. It's not even the justice of the Wild West, since there at least it was one specific person that the Lawman was after, and they tried to minimise collateral damage.

I absolutely agree that the US should not be depended upon to be an exemplar of justice - not sure we ever should have been. But the idea that we owe the world a chance to pick us apart piece by piece in an era when it is easily done - and only respond in a legal way to extralegal attacks is unacceptable - and would be to any other government on earth. Prior to 9-11 we weren't bombing anyone in Pakistan or Afghanistan - as I recall.

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