Obama's Pre-Emptive Assassination Policy [Reader Post]

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With an election looming, Barack Obama is politicizing everything under his control- including programs which would best be kept quiet. Drones have become the new plaything for Obama. They offer are seemingly cleaner approach to war. Drones were developed under the Bush administration and expanded under Obama. A recent NY Times article disclosed a surprising amount of information, including one stunner- that it is Obama himself who decides who dies. Our President personally authorizes the assassination of persons believed to be involved in terrorist activities.

It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.

Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

Keeping them alive is bad, killing them is better

They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing.

Just wars and Christian philosophers

…echoing the president’s attempt to apply the “just war” theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.

Aides say Mr. Obama has several reasons for becoming so immersed in lethal counterterrorism operations. A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.

Terrorist bombs and drones are not so different and drones are new Gitmo

Drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants; in his 2010 guilty plea, Faisal Shahzad, who had tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, justified targeting civilians by telling the judge, “When the drones hit, they don’t see children.”

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss

Mr. Craig assured him that the new president had no intention of ending rendition — only its abuse, which could lead to American complicity in torture abroad. So a new definition of “detention facility” was inserted, excluding places used to hold people “on a short-term, transitory basis.” Problem solved — and no messy public explanation damped Mr. Obama’s celebration.
……

A few sharp-eyed observers inside and outside the government understood what the public did not. Without showing his hand, Mr. Obama had preserved three major policies — rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention — that have been targets of human rights groups since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The innocent death toll is low because if you're dead, you're deemed guilty

It is also because 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, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

Which won't be of any help if you're already dead.


Obama had no intention to close Gitmo

Walking out of the Archives, the president turned to his national security adviser at the time, Gen. James L. Jones, and admitted that he had never devised a plan to persuade Congress to shut down the prison.

The God Complex

But the control he exercises also appears to reflect Mr. Obama’s striking self-confidence: he believes, according to several people who have worked closely with him, that his own judgment should be brought to bear on strikes.

Kill, don't capture. It's less complicated.

Yet the administration’s very success at killing terrorism suspects has been shadowed by a suspicion: that Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding, in effect, to take no prisoners alive. While scores of suspects have been killed under Mr. Obama, only one has been taken into American custody, and the president has balked at adding new prisoners to Guantánamo.

“Their policy is to take out high-value targets, versus capturing high-value targets,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the intelligence committee. “They are not going to advertise that, but that’s what they are doing.”


It's terrible to waterboard one man, but not to kill his whole family

But not this time. Mr. Obama, through Mr. Brennan, told the C.I.A. to take the shot, and Mr. Mehsud was killed, along with his wife and, by some reports, other family members as well, said a senior intelligence official.


We're still vulnerable because we're stupid.

And it was clear to everyone, Mr. Holder said, that he was simmering about how a 23-year-old bomber had penetrated billions of dollars worth of American security measures.

When a few officials tentatively offered a defense, noting that the attack had failed because the terrorists were forced to rely on a novice bomber and an untested formula because of stepped-up airport security, Mr. Obama cut them short.

“Well, he could have gotten it right and we’d all be sitting here with an airplane that blew up and killed over a hundred people,” he said, according to a participant. He asked them to use the close call to imagine in detail the consequences if the bomb had detonated. In characteristic fashion, he went around the room, asking each official to explain what had gone wrong and what needed to be done about it.

One word. Profiling.

The Yemeni reversal

Mr. Obama had drawn a line. But within two years, he stepped across it. Signature strikes in Pakistan were killing a large number of terrorist suspects, even when C.I.A. analysts were not certain beforehand of their presence. And in Yemen, roiled by the Arab Spring unrest, the Qaeda affiliate was seizing territory.

Now Obama is actively killing not simply known Al Qaeda members, but “suspects” as well.

Two American birds dead with one stone

Mr. Obama gave his approval, and Mr. Awlaki was killed in September 2011, along with a fellow propagandist, Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but was traveling with him.

It's ok to embarrass Bush, but not me

In the wake of Mr. Awlaki’s death, some administration officials, including the attorney general, argued that the Justice Department’s legal memo should be made public. In 2009, after all, Mr. Obama had released Bush administration legal opinions on interrogation over the vociferous objections of six former C.I.A. directors.

This time, contemplating his own secrets, he chose to keep the Awlaki opinion secret.

It's the new world standard

Justly or not, drones have become a provocative symbol of American power, running roughshod over national sovereignty and killing innocents. With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.

And what of those who consider us enemies? Will we see Al Qaida flying drones over the US and visiting us with the same?

From a commenter on the story:

On the one hand, one admires President Obama's resolve and clear vision of the mission, as he has defined it. On the other hand, one cannot help but draw the unavoidable conclusion that the policy of pre-emptive assassination has, perhaps forever, changed what were once considered American values.

History will ask uncomfortable questions about this lamentable new direction.

Glenn Greenwald is not happy about this either:

For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic, a term I use advisedly, but I discuss that in the separate, longer piece I’ve written. For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).

Sociopathic, eh, Glenn? Welcome aboard.

It is estimated that at least 2,345 people have been killed in drone strikes in northwest Pakistan. 300 innocents are thought to have been killed in drone attacks.

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan says civilian deaths are “exceedingly rare” but then when everyone who is killed is automatically considered guilty it's not hard to see how one might assert that.

Drone attacks may be politically expedient at home but they are not making friends abroad.

The meeting was organized as a traditional jirga. In Pashtun culture, a jirga acts as both a parliament and a courtroom: it is the time-honored way in which Pashtuns have tried to establish rules and settle differences amicably with those who they feel have wronged them.

On the night before the meeting, we had a dinner, to break the ice. During the meal, I met a boy named Tariq Aziz. He was 16. As we ate, the stern, bearded faces all around me slowly melted into smiles. Tariq smiled much sooner; he was too young to boast much facial hair, and too young to have learned to hate.

The next day, the jirga lasted several hours. I had a translator, but the gist of each man’s speech was clear. American drones would circle their homes all day before unleashing Hellfire missiles, often in the dark hours between midnight and dawn. Death lurked everywhere around them.

When it was my turn to speak, I mentioned the official American position: that these were precision strikes and no innocent civilian had been killed in 15 months. My comment was met with snorts of derision.

……….

At the end of the day, Tariq stepped forward. He volunteered to gather proof if it would help to protect his family from future harm. We told him to think about it some more before moving forward; if he carried a camera he might attract the hostility of the extremists.

But the militants never had the chance to harm him. On Monday, he was killed by a C.I.A. drone strike, along with his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed Khan. The two of them had been dispatched, with Tariq driving, to pick up their aunt and bring her home to the village of Norak, when their short lives were ended by a Hellfire missile.

Tariq was turned into what's called “bugsplat.” In Obamaworld, Tariq is guilty because he is dead.

One wonders what Thomas Aquinas would have to say about that.

Barack Obama is a one man death panel. It strikes me as unseemly for the President of the United States to be personally deciding who dies in the fury of pre-emptive assassination, especially when the attacks take innocents as well. This could well come back to haunt us in the future.

Glenn Greenwald again

Repulsive liberal hypocrisy extends far beyond the issue of Guantanamo. A core plank in the Democratic critique of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault was the notion that the President could do whatever he wants, in secret and with no checks, to anyone he accuses without trial of being a Terrorist – even including eavesdropping on their communications or detaining them without due process. But President Obama has not only done the same thing, but has gone much farther than mere eavesdropping or detention: he has asserted the power even to kill citizens without due process. As Bush’s own CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden said this week about the Awlaki assassination: “We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him but we didn’t need a court order to kill him. Isn’t that something?” That is indeed “something,” as is the fact that Bush’s mere due-process-free eavesdropping on and detention of American citizens caused such liberal outrage, while Obama’s due-process-free execution of them has not.

Beyond that, Obama has used drones to kill Muslim children and innocent adults by the hundreds. He has refused to disclose his legal arguments for why he can do this or to justify the attacks in any way. He has even had rescuers and funeral mourners deliberately targeted. As Hayden said: ”Right now, there isn’t a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel.” But that is all perfectly fine with most American liberals now that their Party’s Leader is doing it.

Indeed.

Curiously, it wasn't very long ago when the Obama administration refused to come clean on the drone program for reasons of national security:

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its refusal to release information regarding the drone strike program. The lawsuit demands documents detailing the legal rationale for the fact that “media reports reveal that at least three American citizens have been killed over the last four months by unmanned aerial vehicles — commonly known as `drones’ — on the basis of unilateral decisions made by the executive branch.”

As Glenn Greenwald has been pointing out, the Obama administration has responded with the Orwellian argument that it can’t honor the ACLU’s request, because even the answer to the question of whether such documents exist is classified info. As the above polling demonstrates, the uncomfortable truth of the matter is that the administration doesn’t have to worry about public opinion on these questions at all.

But that was before the re-election campaign began.

jfdghjhthit45

DrJohn has been a health care professional for more than 30 years. In addition to clinical practice he has done extensive research and has published widely with over 70 original articles and abstracts in the peer-reviewed literature. DrJohn is well known in his field and has lectured on every continent except for Antarctica. He has been married to the same wonderful lady for over 30 years and has three kids- two sons, both of whom are attorneys and one daughter on her way into the field of education. DrJohn was brought up with the concept that one can do well if one is prepared to work hard but nothing in life is guaranteed. Except for liberals being foolish.

73 Responses to “Obama's Pre-Emptive Assassination Policy [Reader Post]”

  1. 1

    Liberal1 (objectivity)

    This is simply a move in the direction of total covert warfare—including private mercenary armies and unmanned air strikes. Eventually, we’ll see these tactics used more and more domestically, without qualms (already they’re being used to quash progressive demonstrations against governmental intrusion both at home and abroad), regardless of what party is in the White House. The useful idiots on the right-wing may come to realize this tactic is being turn against them after the liberals have been pacified. But, by that time, it’ll be too late. The only way to survive and lead a relatively satisfying existence will be to be in complete agreement with the new regime—a complete vanilla person.

  2. 2

    Skookum

    Of all the absurd lies that have been fabricated to create the myth of Obama, expecting the public to believe that his knowledge and understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas guides him in the selection of people to kill has to be the most outrageous.

    St. Thomas, a thirteenth century theologian, is one of the most brilliant men to have ever walked the earth. He was a brilliant student of Aristotle, and combined this study of philosophic reason and logic with theology to become one of the most influential in history. Whether we realize it or not, is immaterial; Aquinas has influenced our government, laws, and concepts of morality.

    Aides say Mr. Obama has several reasons for becoming so immersed in lethal counterterrorism operations. A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.

    St Thomas Aquinas derived threes basic distinctions of law: natural, positive, eternal.

    Natural Law: Directs man while achieving personal goals, and governs the sense of right and wrong.

    Positive Law: The law of the state, this law should reflect Natural Law.

    Eternal Law: With rational beings, Eternal Law relies on reason, free will allows a man to assume Eternal Law as it guides toward achieving spiritual goals.

    To assume this Bozo, who can’t construct a complete sentence without a teleprompter, uses Aquinas’ philosophy and theology to help him decide what terrorists and family to incinerate is one of the most ludicrous bits of tripe that has ever been invented about this stage persona known as Obama.

    I could help the Obama myth creators, by using this quote from Aquinas to justify Obama’s fascination with assassination, but they are much too obtuse to actually use philosophical quotes, they prefer to drop names and hope for the best.

    St. Thomas Aquinas:

    If heretics be altogether uprooted by death, this is not contrary to Our Lord’s command

    However, this quote from Aquinas is far more appropriate for Obama, for we never outrun ourselves.

    Every judgement of conscience, be it right or wrong, be it about things evil in themselves or morally indifferent, is obligatory, in such wise that he who acts against his conscience always sins.

    Obama Stooge:

    And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.

    Hopefully he realizes that our troops face prison terms when they make errors in judgement; although, that might be a little too philosophical for him to grasp.

    St. Thomas Aquinas, good grief, that is rich.

  3. 3

    JoeFromSidney

    First of all, I think the decision to kill SHOULD be made at the top. It shouldn’t be delegated to some low-level bureaucrat so that Obama can wash his hands of it. In my book RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY, I note that the Narodnaya Volya (Will of the People) took a high-level decision to assassinate Tsar Alexander II. That’s the way it should be done. Assassination shouldn’t be left to the likes of John Wilkes Booth.

    Second, I teach Just War Doctrine and have written articles and a book on it. If Obama’s knowledge of the Doctrine is on a par with his knowledge of the Constitution, it’s pretty thin. I’ve seen no evidence he knows anything about the subject, other than what he read on a Teleprompter.

    Third, if we’re going to kill people via drones, we still need good intelligence about targets. That means having reliable sources of information on the ground. If not our own “boots on the ground,” then who? Some local who uses us to settle his own grudge against someone? Too much risk of that. The whole thing reminds me too much of Vietnam. If they ran, they were VC retreating; if the stood in place, they were VC preparing to fight back. We got them either way.

    Fourth, it’s said that hard cases make bad law. It’s turning out that good cases make bad law as well. Mr. Awlaki is described as an American citizen because he was born in the United States. He’ was a “citizen” only by virtue of the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The drafters of that Amendment never intended it to cover “anchor babies.” As a non-citizen enemy of the United States, he was a legitimate target. Having said that, however, his death opens the door to targeting ANYONE, citizen or no, without any legal protection. Regardless of his citizenship, there should have been some kind of due process, outside the Executive branch, to decide on the legitimacy of his execution. Only then should the President make the final decision to kill or not (as President he always has the option to reduce a sentence).

  4. 4

    Ditto

    I suppose that had he been President at the time, that Obama would have accepted using strafing of villages and the dropping of Napalm on them as justified just as LBJ did. Knowing the left would call our returning military (mostly innocent) “baby killers” rather than the CIC who approved the tactics.

    “Baby Killer” Obama gives little thought to collateral damage and even redefines it based on the sex of the victim.

  5. 5

    Skookum

    Joe, I read up a bit on the Narodnaya Volya, and unless my source is wrong, their group only numbered approximately 50; this is a small representative percentage of a population of approximately 50 million. Do you suppose they had a consensus to kill a Tsar who seemed to be bringing enlightenment to Russia?

    The Narodnaya Volva seems to be an early recital for the situations in Libya and Egypt, a tyrant is replaced by a far worse tyrant.

    Your comparison with Booth is intriguing, but the significance eludes me. Lincoln and Alexander both seem to be beneficial and humane leaders. Both was not a lone assassin, he had a group of accomplices; although we will probably never know the true number of sympathizers or accomplices, it may have numbered just as mant as the People’s Will.

    In my book RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY, I note that the Narodnaya Volya (Will of the People) took a high-level decision to assassinate Tsar Alexander II. That’s the way it should be done. Assassination shouldn’t be left to the likes of John Wilkes Booth.

    I am interested in your opinions on state sanctioned assassination as opposed to political assassinations. Both Alexander’s and Lincoln’s assassinations seem to be domestic political assassinations, but Obama’s assassination’s qualify as state sanctioned assassinations of war enemies and seem to be of a different category.

    This “new” program is efficient and surely strikes terror in the heart of the terrorist, and it seems to be one of the official duties that Obama enjoys, other than giving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Marxists.

    You might consider writing an article on this subject or on your main expertise. We like to read the opinions of new authors.

  6. 6

    Greg

    Would you rather:

    (a) Let al Qaeda’s terrorist leadership go about their business without interference;
    (b) Send American soldiers to get them at great risk to their lives, with reduced likelihood of success; or
    (c) Attempt a precision missile strike?

    Choose an option and explain why it’s the best.

  7. 7

    Nan G

    @Greg: (a) Let al Qaeda’s terrorist leadership go about their business without interference;
    (b) Send American soldiers to get them at great risk to their lives, with reduced likelihood of success; or
    (c) Attempt a precision missile strike?

    Which of those three gains us the most?
    (a) allows us to collect intel and expand our knowledge of the network of al Qaeda, its other operatives, high and low as well as its weak points.
    (b) becomes less risky the longer we collect intel.
    (c) takes one head off of a hydra that has a 1,000 heads, as such it accomplishes only one thing: a photo op for Obama.

  8. 8

    Nan G

    There is a difference between fighting in an asymmetrical warfare style VS fighting in a covert warfare style.
    Obama has seen to the filings of criminal charges against members of our (his) own military for things the did that they HAD to do.
    HE put them in that position.
    Then, when they acted to save themselves and one another, he had them charged.
    If Obama understood asymmetrical warfare he would have allowed our military to respond to our enemies so as to succeed.
    But Obama wants our men on the ground to fail.
    He only uses them for photo ops.
    When he decides he wants someone dead he uses drones.
    If that causes more problems for our men on the ground, what does Obama care?
    If it makes America look bad, Obama is all for it!
    Obama would rather apologize for the great things America has done than for his own STUPID calling of a Nazi concentration camp IN Poland a ”Polish concentration camp!

  9. 9

    ilovebeeswarzone

    GREG
    WHERE DOES IT SAY IN THE CONSTITUTION that the PRESIDENT has the right to
    on his own decision order a drone to go in a SOVEREIGN COUNTRY,
    TO KILL A DECLARED ENEMY ONLY BY HIM.
    AM I right to say. I don’t think so

  10. 10

    Skookum

    Greg, as a former member of the military and student of the Obama era; you know, an FO (forward observer) or pilot who makes a strike that has collateral damage (civilians who become crispy critters) is in deep manure. However, Obama has no problems if he incinerates civilians, it’s just the luck of the draw with him. So why is our military held to a higher standard?

    Will we soon tolerate foreign powers killing their miscreants on our home country, because they have crossed our porous border and it is standard procedure for us in their country or should we hold other countries to a higher standard.

  11. 11

    Brian

    Obama’s embrace of UAVs as his weapon of choice mirrors that of Boy Clinton and the profligate use of TLAMs against the Serbs. Wasteful to the point that nuke tipped Tomahawks had their warheads switched to give Clinton the “push button”, zero casualty, war making ability that Liberals seem so fond of. The Left in this country, Frank Church, Jimmy Carter and Stansfield Turner committed their greatest crimes by gutting the CIA and wrecking the human intel networks, blinding us to the very real dangers and threats abroad. Threats that can only be truly assessed by the collection of intel by agents on the ground. Operations by Obama that target supposed enemies make a mockery of the strict Rules of Engagement that hobble our forces on the ground.

  12. 12

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    I agree that Pres. Obama has the Constitutional authority to do this. That said one must wonder about Pres. Obama’s moral integrity given his long history of criticizing to the extent of demonizing Pres. Bush for waterboarding three genocidal mass murderers. Pres. Obama by now has without doubt killed hundreds of times more innocent civilians in targeted drone attacks than the three genocidal mass murderers waterboarded by Pres. Bush, three guilty men who are still alive while the innocent by Pres. Obama’s authority are dead.

    Question for you Greg:
    1) Why not use CIA assassination teams on the ground and thereby limit the number of non-combatant casualties?
    2) Why not capture AQ leaders and interrogate them?

  13. 13

    Greg

    @Mike O’Malley, #12:

    Pres. Obama by now has without doubt killed hundreds of times more innocent civilians in targeted drone attacks than the three genocidal mass murderers waterboarded by Pres. Bush, three guilty men who are still alive while the innocent by Pres. Obama’s authority are dead.

    Nope. Even the Pakistani military has admitted that not to be the case:

    MIRAMSHAH: In a rather rare move, the Pakistan military for the first time gave the official version of US drone attacks in the tribal region and said that most of those killed were hardcore Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and a fairly large number of them were of foreign origin.

    General Officer Commanding 7-Division Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood said in a briefing here: “Myths and rumours about US predator strikes and the casualty figures are many, but it’s a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a sizeable number of them foreigners.

    “Yes there are a few civilian casualties in such precision strikes, but a majority of those eliminated are terrorists, including foreign terrorist elements.”

    The stories of scores of civilian casualties following each successful strike is what is known as enemy propaganda.

  14. 14

    Ivan

    Greg, just admit it: if Bush was the one ordering the assassinations, you and your lefty buddies would be apoplectic.

  15. 15

    JoeFromSidney

    Skookum, here’s some additional comments.

    First of all, I think purely political assassinations such as that of JFK were nothing short of murder. I don’t accept them as legitimate.

    However, in a revolutionary situation, the government official who gives the orders is just as legitimate a target as is the policeman or soldier who carries them out. Even there, however, the deliberate targeting of an individual who is not engaged in some form of combat shouldn’t be undertaken without some form of due process. As you point out, Lincoln and Alexander were actually good guys. I think one can make a good case that those two assassinations made things worse for the sides of the assassins. That’s why even a revolutionary assassination should be carried out only after due consideration. Make sure you target the right guy. Having said that, I consider assassination a legitimate tool for revolutionaries.

    In war between nations, I’ll put aside the matter of people in uniform. They’re always legitimate targets, from the PFC to the 4-star. General Yamamoto is probably the classic case. He should no more have been immune than should the lowest grunt. Putting on a uniform makes you a legitimate target. Civilian members of the enemy government pose a somewhat different problem. I don’t think anyone would argue that after 1939 the nations fighting Germany would have been justified in assassinating Hitler, could they have done it. But how about the Postmaster General? Or the guy in charge of Social Security? I don’t see them as legitimate targets.

    What about a government fighting against a revolution on its own soil? Clearly the low-level fighters are legitimate targets. I would argue so are their leaders. Castro would have been a legitimate target for Batista, could he have been able to attack him. The problem comes in identifying leaders who disguise themselves as ordinary citizens. Perhaps the classic example is Gerry Adams, then president of Sinn Fein, who pretended he had no connection with the IRA (even though everyone knew otherwise). One ought to be very sure that the guy you target is really involved with the “armed wing” of the revolution, and not merely a member of an opposition group attempting peaceful change.

    Finally, what about people who attack you and then cross a border back into a “neutral” country? At least two issues arise. First, how much help is their “host” country giving either you or your attackers? If the host country is doing an honest job of trying to help you, that’s one thing. You shouldn’t antagonize them. If they’re unable or unwilling to help you, then they’re providing sanctuary to your enemies. Andrew Jackson attacked the Seminole Indians in Florida, even though it was a Spanish possession at the time and we weren’t at war with Spain. The Spanish were either unwilling or unable to stop Seminole attacks on US territory. I consider it legitimate to attack your enemies even in a supposedly foreign sanctuary. However, the second issue is, can you identify the right people to target? My concern here is not with the fact that you’re going to kill them. My concern is that you shouldn’t kill the wrong people. There ought to be some form of due process, based on intelligence, to verify that you have identified the right people. Once you have near certainty that you have identified the right people, I don’t see assassination to be wrong. They have declared themselves to be your enemies; they have attacked you; crossing a border doesn’t make them immune from your attack. In 1915, in the war in Haiti, the US sent two Marines inside the camp of the Haitian leader, Perrault. They succeeded in assassinating Perrault, and escaped. I see no moral distinction between sending in an assassination squad and sending in a drone. The critical issue is to make sure you target the right people. That decision should be made at a very high level, and only after independent review.

    And I agree, the “Will of the People” might not have really represented the Russian people. My point was rather that they tried to “do it right” by carrying out a form of due process.

  16. 16

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    Nope. Even the Pakistani military has admitted that not to be the case:

    MIRAMSHAH: In a rather rare move, the Pakistan military for the first time gave the official version of US drone attacks in the tribal region and said that most of those killed were hardcore Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and a fairly large number of them were of foreign origin.

    LOLZ! There is nothing quite like critical reading skills, is there?

    Just War Theory includes the following principles:

    Once war has begun, just war theory (Jus in bello) also directs how combatants are to act or should act:

    Distinction
    Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of distinction. The acts of war should be directed towards enemy combatants, and not towards non-combatants caught in circumstances they did not create. The prohibited acts include bombing civilian residential areas that include no military target and committing acts of terrorism or reprisal against civilians.

    Proportionality
    Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of proportionality. An attack cannot be launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality).

    Military necessity
    Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of minimum force. An attack or action must be intended to help in the military defeat of the enemy, it must be an attack on a military objective, and the harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. This principle is meant to limit excessive and unnecessary death and destruction.

    Further, Pres. Obama is conducting drone attack assassinations in no less than three countries. Here is information about another:

    Blowback: In Yemen, US Drone Attacks Backfiring: Obama’s covert war has brought ‘a marked radicalization of the local population’

    Journalist Michelle Shephard, who has covered the war in Yemen, told Frontline: “If the use of ‘signature [strikes]‘ – those that target regions instead of individuals – erroneously kill tribal leaders, women or children, the blowback is an increase in anti-U.S. sentiment of which AQAP will deftly capitalize.” … the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. But civilians have also died in the attacks, said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists.

    “These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March.

    Let’s try applying some critical thinking skills. Now remember I think Pres. Obama HAS the Constitutional authority to carry out these drone attacks. However with Just War Theory in mind I’ll repeat my questions for you Greg:

    1) Why not use CIA assassination teams on the ground and thereby limit the number of non-combatant casualties?

    2) Why not capture AQ leaders and interrogate them?

    .

    And I’ll reiterate: I agree that Pres. Obama has the Constitutional authority to do this. That said one must wonder about Pres. Obama’s moral integrity given his long history of criticizing to the extent of demonizing Pres. Bush for waterboarding three genocidal mass murderers. Pres. Obama by now has without doubt killed hundreds of times more innocent civilians in targeted drone attacks than the three genocidal mass murderers waterboarded by Pres. Bush, three guilty men who are still alive while the innocent by Pres. Obama’s authority are dead.

    Journalist Michelle Shephard, who has covered the war in Yemen, told Frontline: “If the use of ‘signature [strikes]‘ – those that target regions instead of individuals – erroneously kill tribal leaders, women or children, the blowback is an increase in anti-U.S. sentiment of which AQAP will deftly capitalize.” … the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. But civilians have also died in the attacks, said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists.

    “These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March.

  17. 17

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    No Yemeni has forgotten the U.S. cruise missile strike in the remote tribal region of al-Majala on Dec. 17, 2009 — the Obama administration’s first known missile strike inside Yemen. The attack killed dozens, including 14 women and 21 children, and whipped up rage at the United States.

    December 17, 2009, the day Pres. Obama initiated an undeclared air-war in Yemen

    In some cases, U.S. strikes have forced civilians to flee their homes and have destroyed homes and farmland. Balweed Muhammed Nasser Awad, 57, said he and his family fled the city of Jaar last summer after his son, a fisherman, was killed in a U.S. strike targeting suspected al-Qaeda militants. Today, they live in a classroom in an Aden school, along with hundreds of other refugees from the conflict.

    “Ansar al-Sharia had nothing to do with my son’s death. He was killed by the Americans,” Awad said. “He had nothing to do with terrorism. Why him?”

    Published on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Common Dreams

    One must wonder about Pres. Obama’s moral integrity given his long history of criticizing to the extent of demonizing Pres. Bush for waterboarding three genocidal mass murderesr. Pres. Obama by now has without doubt killed hundreds of times more innocent civilians in targeted drone attacks than the three genocidal mass murderers waterboarded by Pres. Bush, three guilty men who are still alive while the innocent by Pres. Obama’s authority are dead.

  18. 18

    Greg

    Re: #16 & #17

    Pres. Obama by now has without doubt killed hundreds of times more innocent civilians in targeted drone attacks than the three genocidal mass murderers waterboarded by Pres. Bush, three guilty men who are still alive while the innocent by Pres. Obama’s authority are dead.

    I think your record is stuck. Try whacking the side of your head.

  19. 19

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    Try whacking the side of your head.

    Try answering the question, perhaps?

    Pres. Obama has found the courage to kill. Do you have the courage to answer?

  20. 20

    Greg

    @Mike O’Malley, #19:

    Aren’t we running a little behind the curve today? I guess it must be taking the right wing echo chamber a little longer than usual to figure out an angle to go after Obama for the cyber attacks on the Iranian nuclear facilities.

    (1) Why not use CIA assassination teams on the ground and thereby limit the number of non-combatant casualties?

    Interesting. No doubt any such undertaking would be publicized. It’s certainly fortunate that the CIA has no involvement in drone targeting.

    2) Why not capture AQ leaders and interrogate them?

    Let me see . . . 964 terrorists have been eliminated with precision drone strikes. I suppose after the waterboarding party we could add them to the Gitmo population, and begin scheduling their court dates. Of course if Romney won the election, they would all become his problem.

  21. 21

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    It’s certainly fortunate that the CIA has no involvement in drone targeting.

    DUDE!

    The C-I-A is not only providing the targeting, C-I-A personnel are operating the drones, C-I-A personnel ‘pull the triggers’.

    DUDE!!!

  22. 23

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    I guess it must be taking the right wing echo chamber a little longer than usual to figure out an angle to go after Obama for the cyber attacks on the Iranian nuclear facilities.

    You did pick up on the fact that I think Pres. Obama is acting within his Constitutional authority when he orders drone attacks, didn’t you? You did discern that I approve of Pres. Obama’s use of drone attacks. in the GWoT? Yes? No?

    .

    Duqu
    Stuxnet
    Flame…

    The incomparable Flame

    First of all, Flame is a huge package of modules comprising almost 20 MB in size when fully deployed. Because of this, it is an extremely difficult piece of malware to analyze. The reason why Flame is so big is because it includes many different libraries, such as for compression (zlib, libbz2, ppmd) and database manipulation (sqlite3), together with a Lua virtual machine.

    Lua is a scripting (programming) language, which can very easily be extended and interfaced with C code. Many parts of Flame have high order logic written in Lua – with effective attack subroutines and libraries compiled from C++.

    http://www.securelist.com/en/blog/208193522/The_Flame_Questions_and_Answers

    The first release of Flame or a portion of Flame appears to have taken place in 2007.

    Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html

    Some experts suspect the United States and Israel, a view that was laid out in a January 2011 New York Times report that said it came from a joint program begun around 2004 to undermine what they say are Iran’s efforts to build a bomb. That article said the program was originally authorized by U.S. President
    George W. Bush,

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-28/news/sns-rt-cyberwarflame-update-1l1e8gs1fj-20120528_1_stuxnet-worm-cyber-weapon-cyber-security

    How about giving credit where credit is due?

  23. 24

    ilovebeeswarzone

    GREG
    on your 6, I answer, gathered the civilians in a zone not allowed to cross at their peril, LET THEM NOT IN YOUR PLAN, TELL THEM THIS IS FOR A MONTH, A NO MEDIA IN THE KNOW,
    gather info of where the enemies hide or trained or cross from the PAKISTAN,THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE FIRST, WITH MUCH PRECISION,
    THEN TAKE SOME PLANES ABOUT 6 LOADED AND LEVEL THE PLACE LEVEL THE GROUND, UNDERGROUND,
    LEVEL THE HOUSE, LEVEL THE HUMAN TRAFFIC ON AND ON AT A TIME OF HALF AN HOUR BETWEEN EACH PLANE FLIGHT TO EMPTY THEIR LOAD,
    REPEAT 3 DAYS AFTER, REPEAT 6 DAYS AFTER REPEAT THAT IS 10 DAYS,
    REPEAT FROM 3 DAYS AND 7 AGAIN TWICE THAT IS ONE MONTH,
    ASESS THE MANEUVER RELEASE THE CIVILIANS FOR ONE MONTH,
    REPEAT THE MANEUVERS THE FOLLOWING MONTH, FROM THE BEGINNING
    UP TO THEY SURRENDER OR 6 MONTHS TOTAL,
    LEAVE AFGHANISTAN COME BACK HOME AND ENJOY YOUR VICTORY WELL EARNED,
    GIVE YOUR PLAN TO KARZEI FOR HIS SOLDIER TO APPLY IF THE TROUBLE START,

  24. 25

    ilovebeeswarzone

    Liberal1 [objectivity]
    now that the GOVERNMENT CREATE THOSE OCCUPIERS OWS,
    THEY LOST THE CONTROL OVER THEM, SO THEY ARE TRYING TO FIND SOME WEAPON TO PACIFIED THEM, THEY CANNOT, AND THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OFFICERS OF THE LAW BEING ATTACK TARGET AND WOUNDED,
    WAS’NT IT STUPID OF OBAMA TO START THAT MOB TO BEGIN WITH, AND HELP THEM GROW ANARCHIST ON THE LOOSE,
    SCARING THE PEOPLE SCARING THE BUSYNESS,
    SCARING THE BIG COMPANIES, STRAIGT FROM THE LION’S MOUTH OF THE WHITE HOUSE.
    THEY GET THE HELP FROM UNIONS, THEY GET PAY FROM THE GOVERNMENT COFFER FROM THE TAXPAYER TO DESTROY AND TORMENT THE PEOPLE, BREAK EVERYTHING AROUND, SOIL EVERY THING THEY TOUCH LIKE A PLAGUE THIS FROM THE OBAMA GOVERNMENT,

  25. 26

    Ditto

    @Mike O’Malley:

    Greg’s bringing up the Flame cyber attacks on Iran is his typical evasion tactic of avoiding answering questions by changing the subject. Don’t let him off the hook.

    NOTE: I don’t quite agree with your assertions on the President’s authority to send drone strikes in to foreign airspace as being “Constitutional.” If it is regards to stopping an immediate threat to our national security, then I would agree. If at least he gain’s approval from Congress’ National Security committees, I would agree. If it is in cooperation with a UN operation that we have already signed onto, then I would agree. If a current state of war exists between the the US and that nation, I would agree. If he does it in cooperation with the nation being entered, I would agree.

    If however, those conditions were not in effect, and the President just wants unilaterally to send in an airstrike (drone or otherwise,) violating the sovereign air space of a nation we are not at war with, to hit a building where a terrorist leader may be within, then I do not agree that it is “Constitutional,” as such actions have historically been viewed by the US and other nations of the world to be considered a potential “act of war.” (Or have you forgotten Pearl Harbor and similar such invasion of airspace by various nations including the US during the “Cold War.”)

  26. 27

    Mike O’Malley

    @Ditto:

    Thank you Mr. Ditto.

    You’ll understand that I’ll decline an opportunity to engage in an extended discussion of Pres. Obama’s authority as Commander in Chief. I’d rather focus on the points I’m addressing to Greg. Regarding these drone attacks Pres. Obama has the Constitutional authority to conduct them under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

    It says in part:

    Section 2 – Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces

    (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    This particular Congressional authorization did not however authorize Pres. Obama’s use of military force against Libya, a issue to be discussed on another day.

    .

    In any case as I agree with Greg and I defend Pres. Obama about the authority. Must I be left to doubt Greg’s intellectual integrity? I agree with him on the basics and so one may wonder why Greg does not have the courage to address my questions without clumsy evasion?

    Perhaps Greg will soon step up to the plate.

  27. 29

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    This information is from a year ago and it covers only Pakistan:

    With the US military unable to operate overtly inside Pakistan, the Obama administration has come to rely heavily on CIA drone strikes to attack alleged militants in the country’s western tribal areas. To date, at least 253 drone attacks have been ordered in Obama’s name, the Bureau’s research shows.

    At least 1,897 people have been reported killed in the Obama strikes, most of them militants.

    Recently, Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan stated that the president has ‘insisted’ that Pakistan drone strikes ‘do not put… innocent men, women and children in danger’. Yet at least 225 of those killed in drone attacks in Obama’s time in office may have been civilians.

    As reported in August 2011 Covert War on Terror: Drone War Exposed – the complete picture of CIA strikes in Pakistan, August 10th, 2011 | by Chris Woods. and Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals, February 4th, 2012 | by Chris Woods and Christina Lamb

    Just War Theory includes the following principles:

    Once war has begun, just war theory (Jus in bello) also directs how combatants are to act or should act:

    Distinction
    Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of distinction. The acts of war should be directed towards enemy combatants, and not towards non-combatants caught in circumstances they did not create. The prohibited acts include bombing civilian residential areas that include no military target and committing acts of terrorism or reprisal against civilians.

    Proportionality
    Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of proportionality. An attack cannot be launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality).

    Military necessity
    Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of minimum force. An attack or action must be intended to help in the military defeat of the enemy, it must be an attack on a military objective, and the harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. This principle is meant to limit excessive and unnecessary death and destruction.

    Let’s try applying some critical thinking skills. Now remember I think Pres. Obama HAS the Constitutional authority to carry out these drone attacks. However with Just War Theory in mind I’ll repeat my questions for you Greg:

    1) Why not use CIA assassination teams on the ground and thereby limit the number of non-combatant casualties?

    2) Why not capture AQ leaders and interrogate them? There is plenty of room for them in Gitmo, particularly for a few select AQ leaders and Gitmo’s the seaside location provides ample water … .

    .

    And I’ll reiterate: I agree that Pres. Obama has the Constitutional authority to do this. That said one must wonder about Pres. Obama’s moral integrity given his long history of criticizing to the extent of demonizing Pres. Bush for waterboarding three genocidal mass murderers. Pres. Obama by now has without doubt killed hundreds of times more innocent civilians in targeted drone attacks than the three genocidal mass murderers waterboarded by Pres. Bush, three guilty men who are still alive while the innocent by Pres. Obama’s authority are dead.
    :

  28. 30

    ilovebeeswarzone

    Mike O’ Mally
    authority to bomb in a sovereign country which is used to hav
    your convoys cross their land ,so to bring your needs into the other country which you
    are killing their enemies, that is AFGHANISTAN?
    DID PAKISTAN HAVE AN AGREEMENT WRITTEN ALONG THE PROCEDURE TO DO SO?
    IF NOT OBAMA IS IN BIG TROUBLE IN HIS FUTURE, NOT THE AMERICANS IN THE USA, HE ALONE MUST CARRY THESE DECISIONS , NOT THE CONGRESS WHO WAS NEVER ASK NOT THE CONSERVATIVES NOT THE REPUBLICANS, BUT THE DEMOCRATES IN POWER FOLLOWING AND IN AGREEMENT WITH OBAMA.
    AND PAKISTAN MUST BE ADVISE OF THIS, THE ENEMIES IN PAKISTAN IS FOR THEM TO KILL NOT THE USA,
    THEY BELONG TO PAKISTAN AND IT’S THEIR RESPONSABILITY
    TO DEAL WITH THEM.
    THEY ENEMIES AS SOON AS THEY CROSS THE BORDERS OF AFGHANISTAN THEN BELONG TO AFGHANISTAN TO FIGHT THEM OUT IN ANY WAY THEY CHOOSE,
    AND THE USA HAS NOT DECLARE WAR WITH PAKISTAN.
    THEY NEED THEM TO CARRY THEIR HEAVY STOCKS TO BE USED IN THE WARZONE.
    FURTHER MORE, BECAUSE THE MEDIAS ARE PART OF THIS WAR, PART ALSO OF THEIR OWN PROPAGANDA REGARDING THAT WAR, IT MUST BE RENDERED CLEAR AS TO WHO MAKE THE DECISIONS TO CROSS PAKISTAN OR YEMEN OR ANY OTHER COUNTRIES, SO TO NOT LEAVE A HATE OF THE PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY WHO THE PRESIDENT DECISIONS TO ABUSE THE RIGHT OF SOVEREIGNTY OF THE OTHER,
    LATELY THE HATE IS RAMPANT FROM FOREIGN SOIL
    AGAINST THE USA, BUT IT’S NOT THE PEOPLE OF THE USA IT’S THE LEADER ALONE

  29. 31

    Skook

    author

    Joe, this distinction between murder and assassination seems to be less than the width of a razor blade and defined differently by opposing sides.

    The JFK murder/assassination may never be understood, but the RFK incident seemed to be a lone wolf type of killer of questionable cerebral capacity. Sirhan may have considered his actions justified and therefore a “legitimate” assassination, yet to the rest of the world, he appears to be a nut case.

    The most calamitous assassination must have been Archduke Ferdinand, a political assassination that ignited a large powder keg.

    A question must be raised concerning the legitimacy of political assassinations: if a consensus is reached and the target is identified and the assassination is successful, but the results are catastrophic is the assassination still considered to be legitimate? It is difficult to predict far reaching repercussions and often, the laws of unintended consequences weigh heavily on the perpetrators’ people.

    The assassination of Julius Caesar was planned and executed by 60 senators; yet, their actions precipitated the end of the Republic and three civil wars. The assassination occurred on the Ides of March, just before he was to take on another military campaign during the second half of March. Caesar is interesting, because his success and adoration by the mob frightened some of the senators and they were afraid of the Senate being dissolved. Elected Dictator Perpetuo by the Senate, he reprimanded those who called him Rex (king) and demanded to be called Caesar.

    His assassination will qualify by your definition as a legitimate assassination, but immediately following the assassination the Senate members were shunned by Romans and the stage was set for civil war.

  30. 32

    JoeFromSidney

    Skookum:

    I agree fully that any act of assassination ought to be thought through carefully. In my book I use the example of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The aftermath was an absolute disaster for the Czechs, and Heydrich was replaced by someone even worse.

    All in all, I don’t think assassination has a good record. Even in many cases where I’d consider it legitimate, it made things worse. The would-be assassins should think things through first.

    The trouble is, people point to Hitler as the classic example. I believe that, had Hitler been killed in, say, 1935, the world would have been saved a lot of grief. On the other hand, assassinating Mao or Stalin would have accomplished nothing but bringing to power sooner the people who eventually replaced them. One has to look at who will be the successor to the assassination target. Among the Nazis, there was simply no one who could have replaced Hitler. In most other cases, the system goes on with only a slight bump. Consider that in the US, we’ve had 4 Presidents assassinated. Their deaths seem to have made no discernible difference. There was always a backup with much the same policies as the deceased.

  31. 33

    Skookum

    Joe, Obama’s program of assassination has proven to be successful in castrating our enemies, and yet they continue to step forward to assume positions of leadership. However, the leadership qualities and probably the ability to inspire the morons of the world is diminishing as they reach further down the ladder for new leaders.

    I doubt if there is debate as to the consequences of killing individuals, the fact that they are leaders is sufficient enough. The long term or unintended consequences of serial assassinations will be revealed in the future, but for now, this unprecedented assassination program seems to be effective, thanks to Obama and friends, we supposedly can no longer interrogate prisoners, so they have no practical value. Although, some of our friends might be more than willing to interrogate our prisoners for us, but surely Obama and company would never consider such options to win a war, elections are another matter entirely, with war you have moral obligations.

  32. 34

    JoeFromSidney

    You can’t count on assassination degrading the quality of leadership. The Israelis found that out. They assassinated some top Palestinian leaders and found that those who moved up were more effective. The same thing happened in the Philippines in WW II, when the Japanese eliminated the initial leadership of anti-Japanese guerrillas. The second echelon moved up, and proved to be more effective than those they replaced.

    The question is an empirical one in each case. Are we degrading the quality of al Qaeda and Taliban leadership? If so, let’s keep it up. But let’s make sure that”s really happening.

  33. 35

    Greg

    @Mike O’Malley, #29:

    Let’s try applying some critical thinking skills. Now remember I think Pres. Obama HAS the Constitutional authority to carry out these drone attacks. However with Just War Theory in mind I’ll repeat my questions for you Greg:

    1) Why not use CIA assassination teams on the ground and thereby limit the number of non-combatant casualties?

    2) Why not capture AQ leaders and interrogate them? There is plenty of room for them in Gitmo, particularly for a few select AQ leaders and Gitmo’s the seaside location provides ample water …

    Please refer to post #20. I already answered both questions.

    Apparently the first answer flew by undetected. Maybe it needs clarification: CIA teams on the ground are almost certainly calling in many of the drone strikes. That fact isn’t publicized, for obvious reasons. The way they’re operating allows them to avoid detection and continue gathering intelligence. If they took action against targeted individuals directly, they would be spending most of their time afterward attempting to evade capture. They would need to be extracted and put back on the ground for each mission, resulting in a much higher risk profile.

    The original answer to #2 seems direct enough. The logistics of removing terrorists from a variety of hostile locations and taking them away for interrogation 964 times is just too complex to contemplate. So, you either identify them and eliminate them, or you let them go about their business. Obama has decided in favor of the first option.

  34. 36

    ilovebeeswarzone

    GREG
    you seem to be so sure to answer many questions as if you had an inside ear on what is going out in the WHITE HOUSE, YOU ANSWER AS IT TO BE THE TRUTH NOTING BUT THE TRUTH,
    WHERE DO YOU FIT IN YOUR PART OF THE JUNGLE? WHICH STEP OF THE LADDER DO YOU OWN? FOR YOU TO ERASE THE OTHER’S COMMENTS AS IF THEY ARE UNSIGNIFICANTS WITHOUT ANY WEIGHT, COMPARE TO YOUR ANSWERS WHICH SEEM SO FULL OF KNOW HOW, KNOW WHERE, COMING FROM THE TOP GUY, WHY, WHAT MAKE YOU SO SURE OF WHAT YOU SAY AS OPPOSE TO OTHER, DO YOU GET PAY TO SELL THEM?
    WHAT DO YOU NOT KNOW IN ALL THE POSTS HERE?

  35. 37

    Ditto

    I hesitate to consider “Drone Strikes” assassinations. An assassination infers a surgical removal of a specific select target from the land of the living. (For example: via a trained sniper or assassin’s bullet). Drone attacks are not so discriminant and very often kill a number of non-combatants. Drone Strikes are more akin to bomb drops, guided missiles, gunnery targets or advanced “buzz-bombs.”

  36. 38

    ilovebeeswarzone

    Ditto
    hi,
    yes like in LIBYA WHEN THEY DROP BOMBS TO DESTROY THE HEAVY WEAPONS
    BELONGING TO KADAFI
    THERE WAS MANY CASUALTYS THERE TOO.
    BYE

  37. 39

    Brian

    @Ditto
    The issue in a nutshell is that Obama and his people find drone strikes to be as surgical as any other means of hastening the demise of AQ or Taliban targets. As positively identified as a sniper round with the targets name on it, no but probably just as accurate as an LGB or JDAM. I doubt that many drone strikes are coordinated with teams on the ground because the locations in the tribal areas are too hostile to allow teams to operate there for any length of time. Would strikes made with eyes on, real time intel reduce civilian casualties? I am sure they would, but at some point targets moving amongst the population make it impossible to prevent them.

  38. 40

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    Greg says: Apparently the first answer flew by undetected. Maybe it needs clarification: CIA teams on the ground are almost certainly calling in many of the drone strikes. That fact isn’t publicized, for obvious reasons. The way they’re operating allows them to avoid detection and continue gathering intelligence. If they took action against targeted individuals directly, they would be spending most of their time afterward attempting to evade capture. They would need to be extracted and put back on the ground for each mission, resulting in a much higher risk profile.

    OK Greg thank you for your response. I agree with the President’s use of drones in general. This it is a good tactic some of the time. However with Just War Theory in mind, why not use CIA assassination teams on the ground and thereby limit the number of non-combatant casualties?

    Greg says:The original answer to #2 seems direct enough. The logistics of removing terrorists from a variety of hostile locations and taking them away for interrogation 964 times is just too complex to contemplate. So, you either identify them and eliminate them, or you let them go about their business. Obama has decided in favor of the first option.

    Can you post your calculations supporting your “964 times” figure as a calculation of risk so we can check your math? 😉

    One may marvel that Pres. Bush was able to execute such complex feats over and over and over again with few if any American casualties!

    That is how the question arose for us to begin with. Now be mindful Greg, I agree with the appropriateness of the use of this tactic some of the time. However Greg, why not capture selct AQ leaders and interrogate them? There is plenty of room for them in Gitmo, particularly for a few select AQ leaders. Under international law you don’t have to give them a trial and Pres. Obama claims he has the authority to hold such prisoners in Gitmo indefinitely without trial.

    .

    I’ll reiterate: One must question Pres. Obama’s moral integrity given his long history of criticizing to the extent of demonizing Pres. Bush for waterboarding three genocidal mass murderers. Waterboarding as employed under the authority of Pres. Bush induced panic. It did not cause pain. It did not cause physical harm. The technique did not kill. The technique was similar to techniques used to train American airmen. Pres. Obama by now has without doubt killed hundreds of times more innocent civilians in targeted drone attacks than the three genocidal mass murderers waterboarded by Pres. Bush, three guilty men who are still alive while the innocent by Pres. Obama’s authority are dead.

    If it is OK for Pres. Obama to kill hundreds of non-American civilians including children in the GWoT, why Greg is it not morally reprehensible for Senator Obama to have demonized Pres. Bush for waterboarding three genocidal mass murderers.? Waterboarding as employed under the authority of Pres. Bush induced panic. It did not cause pain. It did not cause physical harm. The technique did not kill.

  39. 41

    Mike O’Malley

    @Brian:
    The drone strikes are targeted:
    1) by CIA moles inside of AQ,
    2) by CIA or DOD ground teams, and
    3) from the air with the cameras on the drones providing information from which the identification and targeting decisions are made.

  40. 42

    Mike O’Malley

    @Ditto:

    An assassination infers a surgical removal of a specific select target from the land of the living. (For example: via a trained sniper or assassin’s bullet)…

    You need to broaden your definition:

    Rafiq Hariri assassination
    Ministry of the Interior soldier guarding the site of the attack that killed former Prime Minister Hariri

    A massive explosion on February 14, 2005, killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in Beirut, near the St. George Hotel. Also killed was the former Minister of the Economy, Bassel Fleihan, and 19 other people. About 220 others were wounded.

    Samir Kassir assassination

    Anti-Syrian journalist Samir Kassir was assassinated on June 2 when a bomb detonated in his car outside his home in Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh district, a largely Christian residential area. Kassir was a front-page columnist for the al-Nahar newspaper, where he wrote columns criticizing the pro-Syrian regime.
    George Hawi assassination

    George Hawi, former Lebanese Communist Party leader and a critic of Syria, died when his car exploded as he was driving through Beirut’s Wata Musaitbi district on June 21, 2005.

    Gebran Tueni Assassination

    A prominent anti-Syrian journalist and lawmaker, Gebran Tueni, was killed by a car bomb on December 12. He had returned from France only a day earlier, where he had been staying for fear of assassination. Two other people were killed—his driver and a passerby—when a car bomb exploded as his motorcade drove through Mkalles, an industrial suburb of Beirut. Another 30 people were wounded in the bombing, and at least 10 vehicles were destroyed

    The assassination of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto on April 18, 1943:

    Operation Vengeance was the name given by the Americans to the military operation to kill Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto on April 18, 1943, during the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was killed on Bougainville Island when his transport bomber aircraft was shot down by U.S. Army fighter aircraft operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.

    The mission of the U.S. aircraft was specifically to kill Yamamoto and was based on United States Navy intelligence on Yamamoto’s travel plans in the Solomon Islands area.

  41. 43

    Brian

    @Mike O’Malley
    Mike, I understand the methods used to target the higher valued AQ, Taliban and Haqqani people. The first two carry appreciable risks to those involved.The third based on video and IR is a lower risk to all but the target and anyone unfortunate enough to be in proximity. I do not believe that the current CinC, truly understands the nature of the war he is fighting. The Drones give him a risk averse and sterile way to strike at an amorphous foe. This I believe is the extent of his grasp. He has repeatedly violated the operational security of our most valuable assets in SOCOM for political gain and made announcements of strategy and directives that were best left to the operational commands that they applied to. His errors will be glaring when the history of this war is written and added to the failure of the Army leadership to remove our warfighters from rubber tired fighting vehicles and to maintain armed escorts for CASEVAC helos as required by in theater directives.

  42. 44

    Mike O’Malley

    @Brian:

    Thank you Brian.

    It is difficult to disagree with you. Both Pres. Clinton and Pres. Bush were hard more flexible and effective. Nonetheless it did not take long before Pres. Obama adopted most of Pres. Bush’s strategy in the GWoT, perhaps at the sage counsel of Acting POTUS for Foreign Affairs, Leon Pannetta.

  43. 45

    Mike O’Malley

    @Greg:

    How about it Greg? Are you willing and able to step up to the plate and answer my questions. Now be mindful Greg, I agree that it is appropriate to use drones to attack AQ some of the time. However Greg, why not capture selct AQ leaders and interrogate them? There is plenty of room for them in Gitmo, particularly for a few select AQ leaders. Under international law you don’t have to give them a trial and Pres. Obama claims he has the authority to hold such prisoners in Gitmo indefinitely without trial.

    .

    I’ll reiterate: One must question Pres. Obama’s moral integrity given his long history of criticizing to the extent of demonizing Pres. Bush for waterboarding three genocidal mass murderers. Waterboarding as employed under the authority of Pres. Bush induced panic. It did not cause pain. It did not cause physical harm. The technique did not kill. The technique was similar to techniques used to train American airmen. Pres. Obama by now has without doubt killed hundreds of times more innocent civilians in targeted drone attacks than the three genocidal mass murderers waterboarded by Pres. Bush, three guilty men who are still alive while the innocent by Pres. Obama’s authority are dead.

    If it is OK for Pres. Obama to kill hundreds of non-American civilians including children in the GWoT, why Greg is it not morally reprehensible for Senator Obama to have demonized Pres. Bush for waterboarding three genocidal mass murderers.? Waterboarding as employed under the authority of Pres. Bush induced panic. It did not cause pain. It did not cause physical harm. The technique did not kill.

  44. 46

    ilovebeeswarzone

    Brian
    hi,
    and this could have had an effect in the escalation of MILITARY being killed
    more than before they started the drones, even by the soldiers being trained have kill from the back,
    IT HAS PROBABLY ENHANCE THE ALREADY HATE AT WORK FOR THE MILITARY’
    COMING DIRECTLY FROM THE ENEMY PROPAGANDA
    THIS DRONE’S ATTACKS WOULD HAVE BEEN OKAY ONLY AFTER THE MILITARY ARE GONE
    BACK IN THIS AMERICA, AS FOR NOW THE TWO ARE NOT COMPATIBLE TOGETHER,
    and not counting the hate already developed from PAKISTAN, THE US CARGO ARE BEING HELD HOSTAGE AND STOLEN, BLOW UP, DISABLED,THAT IS BAD FOR THE TROOPS WHICH NEED THOSE THINGS, AND GO WITHOUT , IT SURELY INTERFERE WITH THEIR WORK,
    THEY FORGET AT THE WHITE HOUSE THAT THEIR DRONES JOBS ARE LINK WITH THE TROOPS IN THERE LIKE IT OR NOT,
    THEY MUST RELATING THE TWO WHERE ONE DOES NOT KILL THE OTHER OR AND DISABLE THEIR WORK OR KILL THEM.
    BYE

  45. 47

    Brian

    @Mike O’Malley
    The double standard of the left in this case would be laughable if it did not entail the deaths of at least nominal noncombatants. Granted it is hard to separate the sheep from the goats in the Paki tribal areas. Ever since the responsibility for “His” war settled on Obama’s rather narrow and bony shoulders he has displayed an inability to make command decisions as CinC. The drone campaign is one that allows him, three and a half years in, to prosecute the war against AQ, the Taliban and the Haqqanis with one finger in the wind,lest the focus groups dictate another course. As long as the public finds no fault in his results, in this case it is hard to argue against the effect the persistent, punishing threat the drones have on their targets. It is however one thing to rail against the policy and actions of a political foe and quite another when in that man’s shoes, find that the war demands the same or greater level of actions to fight an implacable, dedicated and patient enemy.

  46. 48

    Greg

    @Mike O’Malley, #45:

    I approve of the approach Obama has taken, for the reasons previously stated. Stating my reasoning again is pointless. It hasn’t changed.

    I regret any civilian casualties that have resulted from drone strikes, although I’m skeptical that the numbers actually run into the hundreds. If one is going to take Obama to task on that point, it might be well to remember the 116,705 confirmed civilian deaths that resulted from the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and try to put things into perspective. Precision drone strikes hold less potential for civilians casualties than putting armed forces on the ground however many times would have been necessary to remove 964 terrorists from territory we don’t hold. It certainly puts Americans at less risk. (I recall Obama being criticized on the right for putting people on the ground to neutralize Osama bin Laden, when he could have used a missile strike. That seems oddly inconsistent.)

    I consider water boarding to be torture. I believe it to have been a serious moral error to make it the official policy of our nation to use it. Our nation’s moral stature was diminished by that decision. Others may have different opinions, but that’s mine, and it’s unlikely to change.

    I’ve really got nothing more to say on either topic.

  47. 49

    Mr. Irons

    So you approve un-lawful, unwarranted, undeclared acts of War … or just plain Murder, on targets deemed “high Profile” by the admin when Congress has not declared an Act of War on AQ at all? At least with Bill Clinton we had a Capture and detainment policy to gather intel in who they were, where they are, and what their plans are. With Obama, we might as well be shooting blind in the next coming months and pray we’re hitting targets.

  48. 50

    Brian

    @Mr. Irons
    If Boy Clinton had moved his ass off one of Greg Norman’s bar stools long enough to make the needed command decision, he could have take bin Laden out when the CIA had him in the open in convoy. Militant Islam knows no borders. They have no fixed bases or fortresses that they will stand and defend. They flow from areas where they are pressed to places where they are not. They do not have a nationality that could be warred against by declaration. They represent a nascent, radical evil that is now global in scope. Can you declare war against evil? You shouldn’t have to, as it should be fought anywhere it is found. This evil is centuries old and will not be vanquished on any politically engineered or desired timetable. It took 700 years to drive the Moors from europe. In less than a century europe has allowed Islam to take root again without a shot being fired.