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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 10-02-2012, 07:51 AM   #121
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by mnchiefsguy View Post
Must have missed your answer...what country was that again?
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Originally Posted by mnchiefsguy View Post
Perhaps if you answered simple, direct questions posed to you, others might pay you the same courtesy.
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Bump...still waiting for Direckshun to tell us that magic country which has more freedom than the USA.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand I'm spent.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:54 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Aaaaaaaaaaaand I'm spent.
Well, you made the claim that America was not the most free country in the world. Spent multiple posts expounding upon it....even called those who believed it name, and yet when you are asked to present your list of countries that have more freedoms than the USA, you clam up and run like a coward. Sound about right?
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:58 AM   #123
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Well, you made the claim that America was not the most free country in the world. Spent multiple posts expounding upon it....even called those who believed it name, and yet when you are asked to present your list of countries that have more freedoms than the USA, you clam up and run like a coward. Sound about right?
Yes, sure. Whatever. Christ.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:08 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
So in otherwords, you would need me to demonstrate that the word infidel is never said and never will be said ever again.
It's really more about the concept than the word itself, but that would be a start.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:23 AM   #125
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Yes, sure. Whatever. Christ.
My point stands.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:33 AM   #126
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My point stands.
I'm not sure why he didn't just give you an answer, but since he won't, I'll give you at least one take on the subject from the Heritage Foundation. It's based on the following (mainly economic and financial) criteria:

Rule of Law: Property Rights
Rule of Law: Freedom from Corruption
Limited Government: Government Spending
Limited Government: Fiscal Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Business Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Labor Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Monetary Freedom
Open Markets: Trade Freedom
Open Markets: Investment Freedom
Open Markets: Financial Freedom

It puts the top 5 in the "free" category:

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Switzerland

And the next 23 countries in the "mostly free" category:

6. Canada
7. Chile
8. Mauritius
9. Ireland
10. United States
...

Of course, this doesn't account for freedoms like free speech, freedom of religion or freedom from unreasonable search/seizure.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:09 AM   #127
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I'm not sure why he didn't just give you an answer, but since he won't, I'll give you at least one take on the subject from the Heritage Foundation. It's based on the following (mainly economic and financial) criteria:

Rule of Law: Property Rights
Rule of Law: Freedom from Corruption
Limited Government: Government Spending
Limited Government: Fiscal Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Business Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Labor Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Monetary Freedom
Open Markets: Trade Freedom
Open Markets: Investment Freedom
Open Markets: Financial Freedom

It puts the top 5 in the "free" category:

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Switzerland

And the next 23 countries in the "mostly free" category:

6. Canada
7. Chile
8. Mauritius
9. Ireland
10. United States
...

Of course, this doesn't account for freedoms like free speech, freedom of religion or freedom from unreasonable search/seizure.
His point stands? Er...
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:12 AM   #128
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His point stands? Er...
I think it's debatable as to whether that list is definitive given the flaws I already pointed out.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:16 AM   #129
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Honestly, then, you need to take a hard look then at how you view the Muslim world's complete disapproval of America.

In the off chance that any of you, or any of the people reading this thread that agree with you, genuinely believed that the Middle East hates us because of free speech, freedom of religion, we're infidels, we're free, we let women drive etc. etc...

The reason the Muslim world hates us is driven by our policies in the Middle East. That's why they hate us. If any of you genuinely knew this already, my apologies -- I just hear a casual dismissal of that hate as "it's just Muslims being Muslims" as if being Muslim came with a built-in disdain of America.

Some of those policies are defensible, such as our support of Israel.

But a lot of it comes from policy that literally rains death from above.
You just slipped by the major reason America is hated by the Muslim community as 'reasonable'.

They hate us because of our support of Israel - period. They didn't hate us before we were open military allies for Israel, hated us almost immediately once we were.

That's it. If we roll back every other policy that they find offensive but continue an open and militarily backed support of Israel, the Muslim community will continue to hate the United States.

But for the record, I also find the premise of the article pretty believable. In the end though, I just can't bring myself to care. We have to protect ourselves and the governments of these 'wronged' nations aren't doing anything to help us in that regard. In fact, in many instances they encourage things that are disruptive to our security. As a consequence, we need to protect ourselves at the lowest risk to American lives possible. The drones, right this minute, are that solution.

The only real alternative to the drones or assistance from the opposing governments is to withdraw support of Israel and eventually I think the middle-east will simply cease to care about the US (to the degree necessary for large-scale terrorist action, anyway). I don't see how we can morally take that step, though.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:25 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I'm not sure why he didn't just give you an answer, but since he won't, I'll give you at least one take on the subject from the Heritage Foundation. It's based on the following (mainly economic and financial) criteria:

Rule of Law: Property Rights
Rule of Law: Freedom from Corruption
Limited Government: Government Spending
Limited Government: Fiscal Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Business Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Labor Freedom
Regulatory Efficiency: Monetary Freedom
Open Markets: Trade Freedom
Open Markets: Investment Freedom
Open Markets: Financial Freedom

It puts the top 5 in the "free" category:

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Switzerland

And the next 23 countries in the "mostly free" category:

6. Canada
7. Chile
8. Mauritius
9. Ireland
10. United States
...

Of course, this doesn't account for freedoms like free speech, freedom of religion or freedom from unreasonable search/seizure.
Surprised to see Hong Kong top the list, given that it is no longer under British control. Communist China must have a different set of rules for how things work there versus the rest of the country.

It is interesting that the list in question does not include some of the most important freedoms , as pat noted, and that certainly puts the list up for some serious debate.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:31 AM   #131
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Surprised to see Hong Kong top the list, given that it is no longer under British control. Communist China must have a different set of rules for how things work there versus the rest of the country.
Yes, they definitely have their own set of rules, although I couldn't begin to tell you what they are.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:38 AM   #132
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I think it's debatable as to whether that list is definitive given the flaws I already pointed out.
Sure.

There are a hundred lists out there, many by reputable organizations. And they all have different criteria because "freedom" is a nebulous term that can be defined many different ways.

You typically don't, or really never, see the United States topping those lists.

We do well generally, but we're almost never #1.

That's nothing to be ashamed of, but the idea that we're the free-est bestest most holy country is a pretty silly notion.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:40 AM   #133
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Sure.

There are a hundred lists out there, many by reputable organizations. And they all have different criteria because "freedom" is a nebulous term that can be defined many different ways.

You typically don't, or really never, see the United States topping those lists.

We do well generally, but we're almost never #1.

That's nothing to be ashamed of, but the idea that we're the free-est bestest most holy country is a pretty silly notion.
Again I will ask...what country do YOU believe has more freedom than the USA?
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:44 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by DJ's left nut View Post
You just slipped by the major reason America is hated by the Muslim community as 'reasonable'.

They hate us because of our support of Israel - period. They didn't hate us before we were open military allies for Israel, hated us almost immediately once we were.

That's it. If we roll back every other policy that they find offensive but continue an open and militarily backed support of Israel, the Muslim community will continue to hate the United States.

But for the record, I also find the premise of the article pretty believable. In the end though, I just can't bring myself to care. We have to protect ourselves and the governments of these 'wronged' nations aren't doing anything to help us in that regard. In fact, in many instances they encourage things that are disruptive to our security. As a consequence, we need to protect ourselves at the lowest risk to American lives possible. The drones, right this minute, are that solution.

The only real alternative to the drones or assistance from the opposing governments is to withdraw support of Israel and eventually I think the middle-east will simply cease to care about the US (to the degree necessary for large-scale terrorist action, anyway). I don't see how we can morally take that step, though.
Our support of Israel's a big part of it, especially given what the Muslim world has observed as Israel's movement away from the two-state solution in recent years. Another big part of it is our soldiers that we keep stationed all over the subcontinent, in particular in Saudi Arabia. Another big part of it is our propping up and doing financial dealings with numerous dictators in the region, in some cases empowering those very dictators to slaughter democratic protesters.

But to pretend like firing missiles and dropping bombs on Muslim populations for the near-entirety of the 21st century isn't a serious, serious influence is, well, misguided.

You're creating a false dichotomy when you say the only options America has in the Middle East are (a.) a complete reversal of everything we're doing in the Middle East, and (b.) what we're doing now. You're leaving out a ton of middle ground.

At the end of the day, I would say we need to protect ourselves at the lowest risk of losing American lives while still being respectful of losing other lives as well. The children we've killed in our drone campaign did nothing wrong, at the very, very least.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:47 AM   #135
patteeu patteeu is offline
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Sure.

There are a hundred lists out there, many by reputable organizations. And they all have different criteria because "freedom" is a nebulous term that can be defined many different ways.

You typically don't, or really never, see the United States topping those lists.

We do well generally, but we're almost never #1.

That's nothing to be ashamed of, but the idea that we're the free-est bestest most holy country is a pretty silly notion.
There's no doubt in my mind that we're the best country. Any shortfall in the freedom area will eventually be rectified when we stop electing people like Barack Obama.
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