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Old 09-27-2012, 06:55 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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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 10-01-2012, 03:35 PM   #91
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Ah. Okay.

No, the Middle East does not hate us for our freedoms. Some zealots and extremists do, but the Middle East has been witnessing a popular revolution over the past three years for many of the freedoms we have here in this country. So it wouldn't make sense that by and large, the Middle East hates our freedoms.

What does make sense is an invasive policy we've embraced for that region, which any populace would despise.
Are you going to answer the question?
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:45 PM   #92
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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You didn't answer his question, artful dodger.
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It is a rather simple question. That is quite a bit of typing to avoid a simple answer~
I just went straight to the point I was making. There's any number of organizations out there that try to quantify freedom and order countries out based on those metrics, and the United States is never at #1.

To avoid the needless squabbling over which lists are legitimate, here's one from the GOP's own thinktank, that has the United States at 10th.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:50 PM   #93
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No, you ducked the question.


Just say "Black for Palestine" and then we'll know what you mean.
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I said I'm an expert dickrider.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:55 PM   #94
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Are you going to answer the question?
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No, you ducked the question.
Welp, I just answered it, which must please you to no end.

So now you get to answer the same question: is America the most free country on earth?
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:04 PM   #95
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The United States is the best nation on this planet with the most overall personal freedoms.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:08 PM   #96
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The United States is the best nation on this planet with the most overall personal freedoms.
So I can take this as meaning we are the most free country on earth.

Goddamn, Hannity would be proud.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:16 PM   #97
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Not a good sign of efficient, accountable warfare.

Ask yourself: if the warfare we wage is not efficient or accountable in any way, what do we need for it to be just?

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012...ne-body-count/

Not Even the White House Knows the Drones’ Body Count
By Noah Shachtman
September 29, 2012 | 8:00 am

Government officials claim they’re ultra-precise killing machines that never, ever miss their targets. Outside groups say they’re covered in children’s blood. The fact is no one has a clue exactly how many militants and how many innocents have been slain in the U.S. drone war that spans from Pakistan to Somalia. Remember that before you start your next Twitter feud about the drone war.

Neither the American government nor the independent agencies have the consistent presence on the ground needed to put together true assessments of the damage drone strikes do. Most of the evidence is third-hand, whispered from a local soldier to a far-off reporter. The death toll claims, which vary wildly, are all educated guesswork.

It’s one of many conclusions in a new report on the covert, robotic air war that doesn’t fit neatly into the dominant narratives about the drone campaign, pro or con. (The report is due to publish at midnight GMT on Sunday.) Using interviews with dozens of people in northwest Pakistan — one of the epicenters of the unmanned air assaults — The Center for Civilians in Conflict and Columbia Law School’s human rights clinic have crafted a nuanced view of the civilian impact of this most controversial component of the Obama administration’s counterterror efforts. Table your preconceived notions about the drone war before you read — starting with the notions about who the drones are actually taking out.

In May, an administration official told The New York Times that civilian casualties from the Pakistan drone war were in the “single digits.” Perhaps that official only meant for one year. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates the minimum civilian death toll to be 447 during the campaign. One of the many costs of secret wars is that ”nobody knows how many civilians have been killed by covert drone strikes. Nobody — that means the Obama Administration, the Pakistan government, and the media,” emails Sarah Holewinski, the executive director of the Center for Civilians in Conflict.

“There are few boots on the ground to do an investigation after a strike, aerial surveillance is through a soda straw so can miss a lot and — unlike the military which has relatively transparent assessments and investigations in Afghanistan — the CIA and Special Forces are a black hole,” she adds. “The Obama administration says civilian casualties are ‘not a huge number.’ If that’s true, evidence could put the debate to rest, but we haven’t seen any.”

The drone campaign’s impact can be measured in more than just body counts, however. There’s the psychological impact of drones constantly buzzing overhead. An investigator at the UK charity Reprieve met a man, Tariq Aziz, shortly before he was killed in a March 17, 2011 strike. “I asked him, ‘Have you seen a drone,’ and I expected him to say, ‘Yes, I see one a week.’ But he said they saw 10 or 15 every day,” the investigator notes. “And he was saying at nighttime, it was making him crazy, because he couldn’t sleep.” (One reason why, perhaps, is that the Obama administration considers every military-aged male in a hostile region to be legitimate targets.)

The CIA relies on local informants to help guide the strikes; that sows suspicion in these communities, pitting one neighbor against the next. The fear and backbiting sometimes causes villages to largely empty out — which creates its own cascade of problems. “Drone-related displacement disrupts long-term stability by decreasing the capacity of local people to respond through civil society initiatives that foster stability, democracy and moderation and increase displaced people’s vulnerability to insurgent recruitment,” Lisa Schirch of 3P Human Security explains in the report.

The covert nature of the drone campaign produces strange imbalances in the ways civilians are treated from warzone to warzone. If an American aircraft drops a bomb on your house in Afghanistan, U.S. officers will usually offer some kind of financial compensation for your loss. It may not be much, but at least it’s a recognition of the harm done. If an American aircraft drops a bomb on your house in neighboring Pakistan, however, you get nothing. There are no American officers in the vicinity — at least not officially. There’s no one to provide that financial or psychological recompense.

The report relates the tale of Usman Wazir, who “was at his job selling fruits when a drone hit his house, killing his younger brother, his wife, their 15-year-old son, and 13-year-old daughter.” He wanted some kind of payback. But there is “no known process in Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia by which they can apply for compensation…. The secrecy surrounding the drone program, combined with its operation in many areas that are inaccessible, has meant that civilians harmed by drones have no recourse and no point of contact to hold accountable for the sudden devastation they face. This vacuum of accountability can lead to anger, despair, and even hatred, directed at their own government or at the U.S.”

Sometimes, innocents caught in the robotic crossfire get punished a second time. The drones are believed to be beyond-precise, which naturally leads to the conclusion that whoever has been targeted must be bad. “Victims face the double burden of dealing with the physical attack and also clearing their name,” according to the report. Meanwhile, the rest of us take our best guesses about the toll of these shadow wars.

And that’s its own problem. The drone strikes, the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism efforts, inspire heated opinions in the United States. That’s as it should be: Wars ought to be debated. But by keeping the drone war, and especially its consequences, wrapped in secrecy, the Obama administration and its foreign enablers shut off the basis for that debate. Second-order questions (Would other tactics be more or less brutal? Do the drones breed more radicalization than dead radicals?) that are necessary to intelligently assess the wisdom of the drone war can’t be answered. And so various factions yell at each other, each convinced they’ve grasped the truth of a war that has practically none to offer.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:20 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Ah. Okay.

No, the Middle East does not hate us for our freedoms. Some zealots and extremists do, but the Middle East has been witnessing a popular revolution over the past three years for many of the freedoms we have here in this country. So it wouldn't make sense that by and large, the Middle East hates our freedoms.

What does make sense is an invasive policy we've embraced for that region, which any populace would despise.
Ok, well then you're wrong. We've been told that the Cairo mobs were motivated by a movie trailer. They weren't protesting drone strikes or boots on the ground in Iraq.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:26 PM   #99
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Ok, well then you're wrong. To the extent that the Cairo mobs that we're told were motivated by a movie trailer weren't protesting drone strikes or boots on the ground in Iraq.
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 10-01-2012, 04:32 PM   #100
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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.
It's good psychological warfare to point to drone strikes or interrogation techniques as a motivator rather than hatred of all infidels for their way of life. The former is a message that divides and weakens Americans and potentially gets useful policies reversed while the latter would unify us. Do you think al Qaeda are too dumb to figure this out?
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:46 PM   #101
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It's good psychological warfare to point to drone strikes or interrogation techniques as a motivator rather than hatred of all infidels for their way of life. The former is a message that divides and weakens Americans and potentially gets useful policies reversed while the latter would unify us. Do you think al Qaeda are too dumb to figure this out?
If it were coming purely from al Qaeda's PR, you might have a point. But our policies are frequently cited across virtually all jihadists as the source of not just terrorist attacks, but of the Middle East's contempt towards America in general.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:53 PM   #102
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If it were coming purely from al Qaeda's PR, you might have a point. But our policies are frequently cited across virtually all jihadists as the source of not just terrorist attacks, but of the Middle East's contempt towards America in general.
Correction: I definitely have a point unless none of it is coming from al Qaeda.

I'm unaware of any comprehensive study on the subject, but if it exists, I'm confident that policies aren't the exclusive motivator and that terror detainees claim they aren't motivated by their antipathy toward our blasphemous and infidel way of life. I suspect that you've just been reading too much left wing propaganda or you just haven't stopped to think about how ridiculously unlikely your position is.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:59 PM   #103
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Correction: I definitely have a point unless none of it is coming from al Qaeda.
Come again? You lost me.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:07 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Come again? You lost me.
You seemed to agree that al Qaeda trained terrorists might indeed be trained to point at US policies as motivators in a sophisticated effort to undermine our war effort, but you concluded that I don't have a point because some terrorists aren't al Qaeda trained. I'm correcting you by pointing out that to be right, I only need some of the terrorists to be using this tactic, not all of them.

I've agreed that some terrorists may well hate us for our policies. My position is that hatred of our culture/freedoms is also a major motivator. Therefore, to prove me wrong you'd have to make the case that most terrorists have to hate us almost exclusively for our policies.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:09 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
So I can take this as meaning we are the most free country on earth.

Goddamn, Hannity would be proud.
At least he has the courage to answer the question.

What is your answer? What country on earth is the most free?
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