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Old 09-27-2012, 06:55 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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American drones are inefficient, terrorize civilians, and create more terrorists.

This. Is an absolutely devastating read.

Even if you buy into drones. Even if you don't mind the complete lack of checks and balances on their usage. Even if you don't mind their liberal usage. Even if you think the sacrifices being made are excusable and necessary blowback.

Your tax dollars go into this program that seemingly creates as much antipathy towards us as it extinguishes. It creates terror while pretending to be fighting it. And ths study from NYU shows the tremendous civilian cost that goes into it.

The drone program creates a warfare that America would already be trigger-happy to use. But add into the fact that there's no checks on this power, no conceivable way to exhaust it, and no attempts from either party to even remotely slow it down... and this becomes a practice whose blowback seems tailor made for civilian psychological destruction, if not outright physical destruction.

Death from above, in robot form. The sad thing is, the human fingers on the button turn out to be as indifferent as the drones themselves.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...a-drone-deaths

New Stanford/NYU study documents the civilian terror from Obama's drones
New research shows the terrorizing impact of drones in Pakistan, false statements from US officials, and how it increases the terror threat
Glenn Greenwald
Tuesday 25 September 2012 08.18 EDT

A vitally important and thoroughly documented new report on the impact of Obama's drone campaign has just been released by researchers at NYU School of Law and Stanford University Law School. Entitled "Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan", the report details the terrorizing effects of Obama's drone assaults as well as the numerous, highly misleading public statements from administration officials about that campaign. The study's purpose was to conduct an "independent investigations into whether, and to what extent, drone strikes in Pakistan conformed to international law and caused harm and/or injury to civilians".

The report is "based on over 130 detailed interviews with victims and witnesses of drone activity, their family members, current and former Pakistani government officials, representatives from five major Pakistani political parties, subject matter experts, lawyers, medical professionals, development and humanitarian workers, members of civil society, academics, and journalists." Witnesses "provided first-hand
accounts of drone strikes, and provided testimony about a range of issues, including the missile strikes themselves, the strike sites, the victims' bodies, or a family member or members killed or injured in the strike".

Here is the powerful first three paragraphs of the report, summarizing its main findings:



Whilte noting that it is difficult to obtain precise information on the number of civilian deaths "because of US efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability", the report nonetheless concludes: "while civilian casualties are rarely acknowledged by the US government, there is significant evidence that US drone strikes have injured and killed civilians."

But beyond body counts, there's the fact that "US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury":



In other words, the people in the areas targeted by Obama's drone campaign are being systematically terrorized. There's just no other word for it. It is a campaign of terror - highly effective terror - regardless of what noble progressive sentiments one wishes to believe reside in the heart of the leader ordering it. And that's precisely why the report, to its great credit, uses that term to describe the Obama policy: the drone campaign "terrorizes men, women, and children".

Along the same lines, note that the report confirms what had already been previously documented: the Obama campaign's despicable (and likely criminal) targeting of rescuers who arrive to provide aid to the victims of the original strike. Noting that even funerals of drone victims have been targeted under Obama, the report documents that the US has "made family members afraid to attend funerals". The result of this tactic is as predictable as it is heinous:

Quote:
"Secondary strikes have discouraged average civilians from coming to one another's rescue, and even inhibited the provision of emergency medical assistance from humanitarian workers."
In the hierarchy of war crimes, deliberately targeting rescuers and funerals - so that aid workers are petrified to treat the wounded and family members are intimidated out of mourning their loved ones - ranks rather high, to put that mildly. Indeed, the US itself has long maintained that such "secondary strikes" are a prime hallmark of some of the world's most despised terrorist groups.

Perhaps worst of all, the report details at length that the prime excuse offered by Obama defenders for this continuous killing - it Keeps Us Safe™ by killing The Terrorists™ - is dubious "at best"; indeed, the opposite is more likely true:



All the way back in 2004, the Rumsfeld Pentagon commissioned a study to determine the causes of anti-US terrorism, and even it concluded: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies." Running around the world beating your chest, bellowing "we're at war!", and bombing multiple Muslim countries does not keep one safe. It manifestly does the opposite, since it ensures that even the most rational people will calculate that targeting Americans with violence in response is just and necessary to deter further aggression.

A one-day attack on US soil eleven years ago unleashed a never-ending campaign of violence around the world from the target and its allies. Is it really a challenge to understand that continuous bombings and civilian-killing assaults over many years, in many Muslim countries, will generate the same desire for aggression and vengeance against the US?

Time and again, those who have attempted to perpetrate attacks on US soil have cited the Muslim children and other innocent human beings extinguished by Obama's drones. Recall the words of the attempted Times Square bomber, Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, at his sentencing hearing when the federal judge presiding over his case, Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, asked incredulously how he could possibly use violence that he knew would result in the deaths even of innocent children -- as though she were literally unaware that her own government continuously does exactly that:

Quote:
"'Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don't see children, they don't see anybody. They kill women, children, they kill everybody. It's a war, and in war, they kill people. They're killing all Muslims' . . . .

"'I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people. And, on behalf of that, I'm avenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their own people, but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.'"
The minute he was apprehended by US authorities, Shahzad, as reported by the Washington Post, "told agents that he was motivated by opposition to U.S. policy in the Muslim world, officials said. 'One of the first things he said was, 'How would you feel if people attacked the United States? You are attacking a sovereign Pakistan.'"

Perhaps most importantly, the report documents the extreme levels of propaganda used by the western press to deceive their citizens into believing pure myths about the drone campaign. As I've argued before, the worst of these myths is the journalistic mimicry of the term "militants" to describe drone victims even when those outlets have no idea who was killed or whether that term is accurate (indeed, the term itself is almost as ill-defined as "terrorist"). This media practice became particularly inexcusable after the New York Times revealed in May that "Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants."

Incredibly, even after that radical redefinition was revealed, and even after the Obama administration got caught red-handed spewing demonstrable falsehoods about the identity of drone victims, US media outlets continued to use the term "militant" to describe drone victims. The new report urges that this practice stop:



Significantly, the report says the prime culprit of these evils is what it calls the "dramatic escalation" of the drone campaign by the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate - escalated not just in sheer numbers (in less than four years, Obama "has reportedly carried out more than five times" the number ordered by Bush in eight years), but more so, the indiscriminate nature of the strikes. As Tuesday's Guardian article on this report states: it "blames the US president, Barack Obama, for the escalation of 'signature strikes' in which groups are selected merely through remote 'pattern of life' analysis."

The report is equally damning when documenting the attempts of the Obama administration to suppress information about its drone victims, and worse, to actively mislead when they deign selectively to release information. Recognizing the difficulty of determining the number of civilian deaths with exactitude - due to "the opaqueness of the US government about its targeted killing program" as well as the inaccessibility of the region - it nonetheless documents that "the numbers of civilians killed are undoubtedly far higher than the few claimed by US officials." In other words, the administration's public statements are false: "undoubtedly" so. As the LA Times summarizes the study's findings today: "Far more civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas than U.S. counter-terrorism officials have acknowledged."

(The report is particularly scathing about the patent unreliability of the New America Foundation and its leading drone-and-Obama cheerleader, Peter Bergen, also of CNN, who has been amply rewarded with lucrative access by the administration he dutifully defends. Echoing a recent article by the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf and an analysis from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the report concludes that scrutiny of Bergen's key claims "has since revealed omissions and inconsistencies in
New America Foundation's dataset, calling its widely publicized conclusions into question." It documents "several other glaring omissions from New America Foundation's data" used to depict Obama's drone campaign as far more benign than it actually is.)

Finally, the report notes the threat to democratic accountability posed by the Obama administration's refusal to allow any transparency or judicial oversight regarding who the president orders killed: "The opaque position of the US government on civilian casualties is also emblematic of an accountability and democratic vacuum." In that regard, the report - as its final paragraph - quotes the question I have often asked about this state of affairs, an answer to which I have never heard from Obama's drone defenders:



What has always made that question particularly pressing for me is that American progressives cheered loudly when a similar question was posed by Al Gore in a widely celebrated 2006 speech he gave on the Washington mall denouncing the Bush/Cheney assault on civil liberties:

Quote:
"'If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, imprison American citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can't he do?'"
What has always amazed me about that is that, there, Gore was merely decrying Bush's mere eavesdropping on Americans and his detention of them without judicial review. Yet here Obama is claiming the power to decide who should be killed without a shred of transparency, oversight, or due process - a power that is being continuously used to kill civilians, including children - and many of these same progressives now actually cheer for that.

Democrats spent several days at their convention two weeks ago wildly cheering and chanting whenever President Obama's use of violence and force was heralded. They're celebrating a leader who is terrorizing several parts of the Muslim world, repeatedly killing children, targeting rescuers and mourners, and entrenching the authority to exert the most extreme powers in full secrecy and without any accountability -- all while he increases, not decreases, the likelihood of future attacks. This new Stanford/NYU report is but the latest in a long line of evidence proving all of that.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:40 PM   #61
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Here's my problem with that theory. They last went bat shit at us because of our refusal to dictate what is acceptable speech. That had nothing to do with a middle east policy.
Virtually none of them have even seen the video. But when some asshole on a radio has just told you a country you already absolutely despise has done something you absolutely hate, you don't feel the need to wait around for verification.

But that's a fair point. The thing is, however, is that nearly all of the terrorists and attempted terrorists aren't citing our freedoms when they attack us. They cite our policies, most notably our drone programs. Even Osama Bin Laden himself said our policies were what drove his marketing of Al Qaeda.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:47 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Virtually none of them have even seen the video. But when some asshole on a radio has just told you a country you already absolutely despise has done something you absolutely hate, you don't feel the need to wait around for verification.

But that's a fair point. The thing is, however, is that nearly all of the terrorists and attempted terrorists aren't citing our freedoms when they attack us. They cite our policies, most notably our drone programs. Even Osama Bin Laden himself said our policies were what drove his marketing of Al Qaeda.
So what's going to stop that asshole from doing the same thing over anything else we do?

It's easy to say it's our middle east policies, one of which being Israel, but what if that's a huge talking point.

I am having a hard time taking them for their word. I think a reasonable case can be made that it's our policies, but I truly believe it is our beliefs they find objectionable.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:57 PM   #63
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So what's going to stop that asshole from doing the same thing over anything else we do?

It's easy to say it's our middle east policies, one of which being Israel, but what if that's a huge talking point.

I am having a hard time taking them for their word. I think a reasonable case can be made that it's our policies, but I truly believe it is our beliefs they find objectionable.
Osama Bin Laden himself dispelled those notions years ago. Despite all Fox News' claims to the contrary, we are not the free-est country on earth. We are not the most tolerant of blasphemy. We are not the most welcoming of free speech and religious freedom.

And yet we're targeted far more than everybody else.

It is our policies.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:01 AM   #64
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and I would have to agree with that, as long as by your definition of muslims are extremists.

Call it a warm, fuzzy, happy go lucky feeling but I refuse to believe that they are all bad people.
They aren't all bad people but there also doesn't appear to be enough good Muslims to stand up to the bad ones.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:35 AM   #65
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Not... really. It just proves a lot of the free speech we allow can piss them off.

But if you look at what actual terrorists say, and what drives terrorist recruiting, it's less "garrr Americans are free" and more "America murders our women, children, terrorizing us all the while."
No, it definitely proves you wrong. They don't like our policies but they ALSO don't like our modern, infidel ways. When Sayyid Qutb breathed life into the Islamist movement that ultimately spawned both today's Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda, he wasn't critical of America just because we supported Israel. Nor was he critical of our relationship with Egypt (at the time we didn't have much of a relationship with the Egyptian government) or the presence of our military (there was none). He was complaining about what he considered the decadence he witnessed as a student here. Things like girls dancing with boys and going about without proper covering.

Nothing has changed since then. They still hate us for our freedoms (as well as our policies that bring our civilizations into contact), not in an intellectual way but in the same way that people like you like to say that the religious right hate gays, although I suspect that there's more real hatred among street rabble Islamists than the typical pro-life American.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:37 AM   #66
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I have little doubt Romney and the GOP would continue Obama's expansive drone campaign. Neither should you.

I'm going to continue to leverage my vote where I can, the Democratic Party is the only one of the two with any sort of disdain for the drone campaign. My vote isn't dictated by any one issue, but they're my lone hope on the issue.
If you can't bring yourself to clearly answer the question, let me boil it down for you. Are you going to vote for Barack Obama even though he's a war criminal by your standards? Yes or no.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:39 AM   #67
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They hate us because we're sending missiles into their hillsides, murdering innocents, and terrorizing them.

That's why they hate us. Stop deluding yourself into "they hate us for our freedoms."
Is that why they killed Theo Van Gogh? Did he launch an airstrike or were they targeting him in response to some kind of drone attack?
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:40 AM   #68
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Jihadist terrorist networks rely on rhetoric and the impression of a civilizational struggle.

If we fought terrorism as a criminal matter rather than a civilizational struggle matter, we could go a long way to deflating the effectiveness of that rhetoric.
What could go wrong with that approach?

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Old 10-01-2012, 08:41 AM   #69
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I view the Muslim world for what it is. It is a shit stain on the world. Simple minded idiots who demand the rest of the world follows their beliefs. They hate us and will continue to hate us unless we follow their beliefs~
Same for us, who is over there killing people without much regard for human life?
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:41 AM   #70
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What could go wrong with that approach?

Dick Cheney/George Bush???
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:42 PM   #71
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They don't like our policies but they ALSO don't like our modern, infidel ways. When Sayyid Qutb breathed life into the Islamist movement that ultimately spawned both today's Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda, he wasn't critical of America just because we supported Israel. Nor was he critical of our relationship with Egypt (at the time we didn't have much of a relationship with the Egyptian government) or the presence of our military (there was none). He was complaining about what he considered the decadence he witnessed as a student here. Things like girls dancing with boys and going about without proper covering.

Nothing has changed since then. They still hate us for our freedoms (as well as our policies that bring our civilizations into contact), not in an intellectual way but in the same way that people like you like to say that the religious right hate gays, although I suspect that there's more real hatred among street rabble Islamists than the typical pro-life American.
Right, there will always be extremists and radicals. But extremist radicals don't compose 90% of the Middle East's population, and yet that's roughly the percentage that has an unfavorable view of the United States.

Something that pervasive and negative from such a diverse, heterogenous region goes far beyond who wears what, and who dances with whom. It goes right into America's shit policies for the entire region, from propping up dictators to both directly and indirectly terrorizing them to, yes, our no-questions-asked support of Israel.

Which is why extremist assholes figured out that was their best sales angle if they wanted new recruits. You need look no further than Osama Bin Laden or Anwar Al-Awlaki, two of the most gifted recruiters for Al Qaeda.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:45 PM   #72
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If you can't bring yourself to clearly answer the question, let me boil it down for you. Are you going to vote for Barack Obama even though he's a war criminal by your standards? Yes or no.
I will be voting for Barack Obama, yes.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:48 PM   #73
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What could go wrong with that approach?
The gaping holes in our defense can be and should have been repaired as a criminal matter.

Instead, American dialed up the "War on Terror" rhetoric, went big on the Battle for Our Very Civilization.

Which attracted Muslim jihadists like flies to a purple light.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:15 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Right, there will always be extremists and radicals. But extremist radicals don't compose 90% of the Middle East's population, and yet that's roughly the percentage that has an unfavorable view of the United States.

Something that pervasive and negative from such a diverse, heterogenous region goes far beyond who wears what, and who dances with whom. It goes right into America's shit policies for the entire region, from propping up dictators to both directly and indirectly terrorizing them to, yes, our no-questions-asked support of Israel.

Which is why extremist assholes figured out that was their best sales angle if they wanted new recruits. You need look no further than Osama Bin Laden or Anwar Al-Awlaki, two of the most gifted recruiters for Al Qaeda.
So we agree that anyone who claims they don't hate us for our freedoms (ie our modern western culture) is wrong, right?
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:16 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
I will be voting for Barack Obama, yes.
Shame on you. I can't imagine the level of cynicism it must take to vote for a war criminal.
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"I'll see you guys in New York." ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to US military personnel upon his release from US custody at Camp Bucca in Iraq during Obama's first year in office.
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