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Old 11-25-2012, 12:32 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Obama administration pushed for "drone rulebook" during the election.

Imagine that.

President Obama and his administration were perfectly fine with the drone program's complete extralegal operation in the shadows with no accountability and no legal red tape guiding their operations to make sure the power to kill people far, far away weren't absolute.

Then, the election rolls along. There's a chance that Mitt Romney actually wins the thing, and at this point the Obama administration realizes: maybe it's not a good thing to have limitless, extralegal power to kill with no accountability? I mean, the Republicans aren't us, we can't trust them as much.

Epic ****ing facepalm. The realization that accountability needs to be in place to protect us from the other party, rather than to protect the most basic foundations of American jurisprudence, due process, and public service. Just shockingly stupid.

Add into all of this: the Obama administration is seeking a rulebook. Whatever that is. Legal framework? Legal accountability? Better access for oversight? It may not be until another Republican comes close to winning a Presidential election before we find out. Christ.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/wo...pagewanted=all

Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy
By SCOTT SHANE
Published: November 24, 2012

WASHINGTON — Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.

The matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6. But with more than 300 drone strikes and some 2,500 people killed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military since Mr. Obama first took office, the administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.

Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.

Though publicly the administration presents a united front on the use of drones, behind the scenes there is longstanding tension. The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes; Justice Department and State Department officials, and the president’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, have argued for restraint, officials involved in the discussions say.

More broadly, the administration’s legal reasoning has not persuaded many other countries that the strikes are acceptable under international law. For years before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States routinely condemned targeted killings of suspected terrorists by Israel, and most countries still object to such measures.

But since the first targeted killing by the United States in 2002, two administrations have taken the position that the United States is at war with Al Qaeda and its allies and can legally defend itself by striking its enemies wherever they are found.

Partly because United Nations officials know that the United States is setting a legal and ethical precedent for other countries developing armed drones, the U.N. plans to open a unit in Geneva early next year to investigate American drone strikes.

The attempt to write a formal rule book for targeted killing began last summer after news reports on the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, revealed some details of the president’s role in the shifting procedures for compiling “kill lists” and approving strikes. Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized, a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency.

“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.

Mr. Obama himself, in little-noticed remarks, has acknowledged that the legal governance of drone strikes is still a work in progress.

“One of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president’s reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making,” Mr. Obama told Jon Stewart in an appearance on “The Daily Show” on Oct. 18.

In an interview with Mark Bowden for a new book on the killing of Osama bin Laden, “The Finish,” Mr. Obama said that “creating a legal structure, processes, with oversight checks on how we use unmanned weapons, is going to be a challenge for me and my successors for some time to come.”

The president expressed wariness of the powerful temptation drones pose to policy makers. “There’s a remoteness to it that makes it tempting to think that somehow we can, without any mess on our hands, solve vexing security problems,” he said.

Despite public remarks by Mr. Obama and his aides on the legal basis for targeted killing, the program remains officially classified. In court, fighting lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times seeking secret legal opinions on targeted killings, the government has refused even to acknowledge the existence of the drone program in Pakistan.

But by many accounts, there has been a significant shift in the nature of the targets. In the early years, most strikes were aimed at ranking leaders of Al Qaeda thought to be plotting to attack the United States. That is the purpose Mr. Obama has emphasized, saying in a CNN interview in September that drones were used to prevent “an operational plot against the United States” and counter “terrorist networks that target the United States.”

But for at least two years in Pakistan, partly because of the C.I.A.’s success in decimating Al Qaeda’s top ranks, most strikes have been directed at militants whose main battle is with the Pakistani authorities or who fight with the Taliban against American troops in Afghanistan.

In Yemen, some strikes apparently launched by the United States killed militants who were preparing to attack Yemeni military forces. Some of those killed were wearing suicide vests, according to Yemeni news reports.

“Unless they were about to get on a flight to New York to conduct an attack, they were not an imminent threat to the United States,” said Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who is a critic of the strikes. “We don’t say that we’re the counterinsurgency air force of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, but we are.”

Then there is the matter of strikes against people whose identities are unknown. In an online video chat in January, Mr. Obama spoke of the strikes in Pakistan as “a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists.” But for several years, first in Pakistan and later in Yemen, in addition to “personality strikes” against named terrorists, the C.I.A. and the military have carried out “signature strikes” against groups of suspected, unknown militants.

Originally that term was used to suggest the specific “signature” of a known high-level terrorist, such as his vehicle parked at a meeting place. But the word evolved to mean the “signature” of militants in general — for instance, young men toting arms in an area controlled by extremist groups. Such strikes have prompted the greatest conflict inside the Obama administration, with some officials questioning whether killing unidentified fighters is legally justified or worth the local backlash.

Many people inside and outside the government have argued for far greater candor about all of the strikes, saying excessive secrecy has prevented public debate in Congress or a full explanation of their rationale. Experts say the strikes are deeply unpopular both in Pakistan and Yemen, in part because of allegations of large numbers of civilian casualties, which American officials say are exaggerated.

Gregory D. Johnsen, author of “The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al Qaeda and America’s War in Arabia,” argues that the strike strategy is backfiring in Yemen. “In Yemen, Al Qaeda is actually expanding,” Mr. Johnsen said in a recent talk at the Brookings Institution, in part because of the backlash against the strikes.

Shuja Nawaz, a Pakistan-born analyst now at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said the United States should start making public a detailed account of the results of each strike, including any collateral deaths, in part to counter propaganda from jihadist groups. “This is a grand opportunity for the Obama administration to take the drones out of the shadows and to be open about their objectives,” he said.

But the administration appears to be a long way from embracing such openness. The draft rule book for drone strikes that has been passed among agencies over the last several months is so highly classified, officials said, that it is hand-carried from office to office rather than sent by e-mail.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:11 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Pawnmower View Post
The problem I have with this argument is that I do not know of any other method that there would be less casualties & collateral damage.

And the problem that I have with your argument is that we shouldn't be there in the first place. But even if you think that we should be bombing goat herders further into the stone age, how does that justify the slaughtering of innocent children? I certainly don't buy the "convenience and efficiency of it all makes it moral" argument.

Many of the targets that we're targeting at this point are nothing more than ideologues. We're trying to bomb out an idea. And it's not working. All we're doing is confirming what they already think of us. When their sons and daughters fall to drone blasts because papa liked to preach, we accomplish nothing for the US.



All I have to say is that I thank God that none of my votes are stamped on any of those kids skulls. I'd feel pretty shitty if I were an Obama voter seeing these heart wrenching photos and knowing that I had some culpability.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:25 PM   #77
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I'd love to know what your definition of terrorism is, and why drone strikes don't fit the bill.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:28 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
I'd love to know what your definition of terrorism is, and why drone strikes don't fit the bill.
I'm just curious as to why you feel a drone strike and an aircraft holding a pilot doing a bombing run are substantially different?

Not trying to be a smart ass just trying to understand the difference.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:44 PM   #79
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
I'd love to know what your definition of terrorism is, and why drone strikes don't fit the bill.
They absolutely do.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:21 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by J Diddy View Post
I'm just curious as to why you feel a drone strike and an aircraft holding a pilot doing a bombing run are substantially different?

Not trying to be a smart ass just trying to understand the difference.
They aren't any different, one just risks US life....the other doesn't.


Drones are much superior to going in on the ground , machine guns, grenades, artillery, mortars..etc...

No one has yet named ANY other more safe weapon system, that saves US lives and civilian lives.

All of this nonsense about targeting children is dishonest bullshit. Everyone is against killing children. No one wants children to die, well except maybe Hamas....and AL Qaeda...

Why not place the blame (for civilian casualties) where it belongs....roadside bombs, IEDs and extremists kill MANY more civilians than drones do.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:22 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
I'd love to know what your definition of terrorism is, and why drone strikes don't fit the bill.
When you answer my question, instead of spouting bullshit and throwing up pictures of dead people (emotional argument) then I will answer yours.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:59 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Pawnmower View Post
Why not place the blame (for civilian casualties) where it belongs...
It belongs on the person who drops the bombs on children, and the people who support it. Don't tell my you're against killing kids when you are sitting here rationalizing why it's ok to kill kids. You can pass the buck all you want, but at the end of the day, the guy giving the orders to kill kids is an American elected official.

We don't accept this in our own neighborhoods. We set a higher standard when it's our kids in question. But when the kids are brown and of a different religion, suddenly we don't all feel so invested in their futures.

Justice is not about what's safe. Justice is about what's right.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:03 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Pawnmower View Post
When you answer my question, instead of spouting bullshit and throwing up pictures of dead people (emotional argument) then I will answer yours.

You're damned straight it's an emotional argument. It ****ing hurts my heart to see those dead kids and know that my neighbors did that. It makes me reflect on my own kids, and the futures I hold in my heart for them, and how heartbreaking it must be for a father to hold his limp, dead son because some coward in Northern California is more concerned about doing what's safe than doing what's right.

What if this was your daughter disfigured for merely being at the wrong place at the wrong time?



That's an innocent girl you're looking at. You call this justice? Where is her justice? Who makes her right again?
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:02 AM   #84
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You might be. Were your interrogations related to national security and military intelligence? That's part of what those 15 people did for a career.
I don't think the subject matter makes any difference if you don't have any experience with the technique.

Look, we don't have experts in torture in the US because we don't use it. As far as I'm aware, we don't have any good studies on the subject even though torture has been used in other countries from time to time. These so-called experts never cite scientific studies to support their claims because there aren't any (at least I've never heard of any and you'd think they'd mention it if there were). On the other hand, there's a strong motivation for leaders of our national security services and police forces to advance the notion that torture isn't as effective as our approved means of interrogation. What better way to keep your forces from committing war crimes like torture than to convince them that it's ineffective to begin with?

I suspect that there are conditions under which torture is less effective than the techniques endorsed by these guys you're citing. I think we can look at cases like false confessions under torture and see that that's the case. But that doesn't mean that it's ineffective in every type of case. The person being interrogated is also a variable. I suspect that some people are less susceptible to one technique or another (torture or otherwise) while others are more susceptible.

The bottom line is that I think a lot more skepticism of these claims from experts who aren't really experts is in order.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:47 AM   #85
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Am I the only one who is just fine with torturing terrorists but is against drone strikes?

If you have a terrorist in custody (and you better damn well be correct in your assessment that your prisoner is indeed a terrorist), then I have no moral qualms about using whatever means are available to extract information from him, especially if the terrorist is directly responsible for the deaths of innocent people. Whether the information you get is reliable or not is certainly up for debate, but you never know, you just might hit the jackpot and save a hell of a lot of lives. There's a certain assumption of risk that goes with being a terrorist who kills innocent people, and being tortured if you get captured is one of those risks the terrorist chooses to assume.

Drone strikes are another matter altogether. Drone strikes result in the killing of innocent people who aren't guilty of anything. Those innocent people didn't make a choice. They are victims just as much as the people in the World Trade Center were victims on 9/11. Smug and self-righteous idiots (like the one who has been posting in this thread) can post all of the defenses of this tactic that they want, but that doesn't change the fact the drone strikes are simply convenient and efficient ways to kill people via remote control. Some of the people who get killed are guilty as hell and deserve what they get. Some of the people who get killed are 100% innocent and don't deserve what they get.

Are drones a superior technology that saves US lives? Certainly. But to claim that drones cause less collateral damage to innocent victims than troops on the ground would cause is pure bullshit. If your objective is important enough, it's worth sending troops on the ground to accomplish it.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:57 AM   #86
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Am I the only one who is just fine with torturing terrorists but is against drone strikes?

If you have a terrorist in custody (and you better damn well be correct in your assessment that your prisoner is indeed a terrorist), then I have no moral qualms about using whatever means are available to extract information from him, especially if the terrorist is directly responsible for the deaths of innocent people. Whether the information you get is reliable or not is certainly up for debate, but you never know, you just might hit the jackpot and save a hell of a lot of lives. There's a certain assumption of risk that goes with being a terrorist who kills innocent people, and being tortured if you get captured is one of those risks the terrorist chooses to assume.

Drone strikes are another matter altogether. Drone strikes result in the killing of innocent people who aren't guilty of anything. Those innocent people didn't make a choice. They are victims just as much as the people in the World Trade Center were victims on 9/11. Smug and self-righteous idiots (like the one who has been posting in this thread) can post all of the defenses of this tactic that they want, but that doesn't change the fact the drone strikes are simply convenient and efficient ways to kill people via remote control. Some of the people who get killed are guilty as hell and deserve what they get. Some of the people who get killed are 100% innocent and don't deserve what they get.

Are drones a superior technology that saves US lives? Certainly. But to claim that drones cause less collateral damage to innocent victims than troops on the ground would cause is pure bullshit. If your objective is important enough, it's worth sending troops on the ground to accomplish it.
I don't share your (excessive IMO) concern for collateral damage. It's good that we make reasonable efforts to minimize collateral damage, but at some point collateral damage is unfortunate but, IMO, justified. It all depends on how important the target is and what your other options for getting that target are. In situations where people use innocents as shields, they're the ones who should be blamed for harm that comes to those innocents.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:06 AM   #87
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I don't share your (excessive IMO) concern for collateral damage. It's good that we make reasonable efforts to minimize collateral damage, but at some point collateral damage is unfortunate but, IMO, justified. It all depends on how important the target is and what your other options for getting that target are. In situations where people use innocents as shields, they're the ones who should be blamed for harm that comes to those innocents.
That's a fair point, especially the part about human shields.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:21 AM   #88
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We are killing many more of their innocents than any terrorist killed of ours. This is very unproportional and does not fit just war.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:41 AM   #89
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Look you stupid buffoon...The only ironic thing is you don't understand the difference between killing someone on accident during a chaotic situation not under your control and killing/torturing someone ON PURPOSE while the situation is under your complete control.

The fact you continue to blabber on about not getting it just shows what a ****ing tool you are.

It has always been, that in warfare there are civilian casualties...the weaponry we have now causes the least amount of civilian casualties in the history of combat. To try and equate the INTENTIONAL killing / torture of a prisoner, while held under your control with civilian casualties during a combat mission is ****ing dumb.

You aren't confused because this is difficult, you are confused because you are a ****ing imbecile.

It is a war crime to torture or kill prisoners. It isn't a war crime if a civilian dies accidentally....It is a war crime if a soldier kills civillians on purpose (and the USA is one of the only places that prosecutes these crimes)

Now do you ****ing get it?

Or are you still a ****ing retard?
you mad?

If you haven't figured it out by now I've always understood your point. I just don't agree with it.

Moron hypocrite.

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:51 AM   #90
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If we vote for our govt—then we are not innocent. We are not innocent if we support harmful policies in other places that have bad consequences.
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BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.
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