Lernaean Hydra

I continue to be dumbfounded by the Obama Administration's escalating drone war in Pakistan and other nations.  On the one hand, we have a President who argued persuasively that our war on terror, by its ham-handedness, was actually creating more terrorists than it eliminated by giving people more reasons to hate America.  On the other hand, we have the exact same administration  escalating Bush's drone war by a factor of six.  The same children of the sixties that likely marched against the bombings in Cambodia are now bringing random, robotic death from the sky to countries we have not actually declared war on.  

Washington Postinvestigative report published last week raises questions about whether bureaucratic "mission creep" has cut the program loose from its original justification. "Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing," the Post's Greg Miller writes, "transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war." He reports "broad consensus" among Obama terror-warriors that "such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade."

I could be convinced to use drones to knock off a few top managers with irreplaceable impact on the war, sort of like taking out Patton or Rommel in WWII.  But now we are taking out corporals, or the terrorist equivalent.    And ever time we kill one (with a few innocents thrown in the mix, which Obama has relabeled as combatants by definition)  we are probably creating two new terrorists.

This targetted killing is an expansive and scary new power.  The Administration owes us a reckoning, a justification which demonstrates that these drone strikes are really having some sort of positive effect.  Right now, it is hard to see, with Libya, Mali, Egypt, Syria blowing up and Afghanistan no closer to peace than it was four years ago.  What are we getting in exchange for president taking on this dangerous new authority?

PS-  the report linked notes that the death toll from drone attacks is approaching 3,000.  What happened to the press, which was so diligent about reporting all these grim milestones under Bush.  It is just amazing how far the press and the Left have gone in the tank, against their stated ideals, for Obama.

Update:  Killing of 16-year-old American in drone strike blamed on his ... having a bad father.  It was his fault!

ADAMSON: You said it is important for the president to do what needs to be done in terms of members of al Qaeda and people who pose a threat. Do you think that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s son who is an American citizen is justifiable?

GIBBS: I’m not going to get into Anwar al-Awlaki’s son. I know that Anwar al-Awlaki renounced his citizenship…

ADAMSON:…His son was still an American citizen…

GIBBS:…Did great harm to people in this country and was a regional al Qaeda commander hoping to inflict harm and destruction on people that share his religion and others in this country. And…

ADAMSON:…It’s an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial. And, he’s underage. He’s a minor.

GIBBS: I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business. [emphasis added]

And this practically qualifies as Nixonian:

ROBERT GIBBS, Obama advisor: This president has taken the fight to Al Qaeda.

LUKE RUDKOWSKI, We Are Change: Does that justify a kill list?

GIBBS: When there are people who are trying to harm us and have pledged to bring terror to our shores, we have taken that fight to them.

RUDKOWSKI: Without due process of law?

GIBBS: We have taken that fight to them.

Update 2:  here is an interesting quote

Counterterrorism experts said the reliance on targeted killing is self-perpetuating, yielding undeniable short-term results that may obscure long-term costs. 'The problem with the drone is it’s like your lawn mower,' said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Obama counterterrorism adviser. 'You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.'"



  1. LarryGross:

    this is not hard to understand if you are really interested in understanding.

    boots on the ground inevitably makes enemies of far more than just the terrorist. boots on the ground is interpreted as an "occupation" no matter the good intentions and "nation building".

    Al Qaeda is a mobile and asymmetric enemy and while it's true you'll never kill them all.. killing their leaders
    effectively neuters them from growing into an effective international force.

    re: mowing the lawn ... if you have a nation-state that harbors Al Qaeda, "how" do you "mow the lawn" ?

    boots on the ground? been there, done that... it makes enemies of the entire population and it drives us into bankruptcy.

    Perhaps the drones are not the best solution but they are a heck of a lot better than nation building - unless of course you tend to lean towards the Neo Con view of how the US should conduct foreign policy.

  2. anoNY:

    And what about the lack of due process for the killing of Americans? What about the death of a teenager for the administration's stated reason of his having a bad father?

    Just because an occupation would be worse doesn't mean we need the drone war. Picking off the "number 2" guy in a;-Qaeda just creates another "number 2."

  3. LarryGross:

    what about right wing idiocy and lies in characterizing the son incident?

    if you are a teenager living with someone who is fighting the US and the US uses any/all manner of weaponry to take out the bad guy and his son gets killed in the process....

    what are you saying? that this has never happened before? this is just total right wing talking points, nothing more.

    did you yell this loud when Bush told SCOTUS that torture and secret detentions was none of their business because it was done on foreign soil?

    given a choice between boots-on-the-ground nation-building and drones - I pick the drones
    until and unless we find better paths. the drones don't do much more than the CIA and seal teams do now do they?

    Jeeze..you probably think the US going after Somali "pirates" is illegal too, eh?

    are you opposed to the CIA and the Seal Teams activities if they kill "innocents"?

  4. CTD:

    al-Awlaki's teenage son had not seen his father in two years. They were killed weeks apart. Please educate yourself a little before calling us "right-wing" liars.

  5. Daublin:

    To add some perspective, the U.S. has now killed far more people with drones than died in the 9/11 attack.

    I didn't follow the debates; did this even come up? It would have been a juicy question to ask Obama how he feels after signing an assassination order. As a followup, he could be asked if the 2nd one felt any different than the 1000th one.

  6. mahtso:

    So "random" strikes are being used for "targeted killings?"

  7. sabre_springs_mark:

    One point - while the drone attacks may be a bit over the top. We should not expect to go into wars with zero collateral damage. Every so often a civilian will get hurt. We went into Europe and Japan with the goal of winning the war, and we fought armies, but if civilians were killed so be it. In modern wars we are so careful, that I would not be surprised if some folks didn't realize they were invaded.

    The civilian population is really also part of the war. They need to be totally demoralized, or they will start freedom resistance groups like we have seen in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    All this crap about needing the civilians to vote, and have a democracy weeks after invasion, before we in the US can figure out that the people being voted for are the same cronies that ran the place beforehand, is just dumb, and is a large reason we are losing the war.

    In summary, Wars more like Germany and Japan, less like this kinder friendly war nation that we are currently trying to project.

  8. LarryGross:

    No. Collateral damage is not uncommon in conflicts.

  9. LarryGross:

    re: 911 attacks - do you mean INNOCENT people killed by drones ? As opposed to how many innocent people have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan through non-drone weaponry?

    what's the difference? is it because Obama is using drones rather than blackhawks or bunkerbombs?

  10. LarryGross:

    re" signing an assassination order. Do you think that previous POTUS never did that? what's your point?

  11. MingoV:

    "... escalating Bush's drone war by a factor of six..."

    The number of drone attacks isn't the most important issue. Bush used drones in Iraq and Afghanistan while we were fighting a war. Obama has been using drone bombs in Pakistan and Yemen, two nations with which we are not at war.

    Suppose that Mexico used drone bombs to attack narco-terrorists who were meeting drug distributors in Tucson. Imagine the response if innocent bystanders, including children, were maimed or killed by the drone bombs. Now you can understand why drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen are creating more terrorists than they kill.

  12. LarryGross:

    Al Qaeda moves through various nation-states.

    Is the answer to that - to invade those countries in hot pursuit ?

    do you think if we invaded Pakistan and Yemen to go after terrorists that we'd end up with LESS innocents killed?

    what is your point?

    are you in favor of returning to Neo Con - invade/nation build ?

    you're dealing with a mobile asymmetric threat - have you got a better solution to go along
    with your criticism?

  13. Mark:

    What do you think is the appropriate "due process" for such people? Give me a realistic way of handling these terrorists with "due process" and maybe I will agree with you. But, I suspect, that the words "due process" are just two words you are throwing out there.
    And, lastly, let me ask you this question. If there is a killer in a public place shooting people, and the police shoot him dead, was their a lack of due process?

  14. LarryGross:

    I love the double standard for due process as applied to Obama vs Bush. Obama's "violations" pale in comparison to Bush and company.

  15. mesocyclone:

    Which population are you referring to? I know of no country where we had significant boots on the ground where the entire population hates us. On the contrary, boots on the ground often creates friends because our boots don't trample on people like a typical invader

  16. mesocyclone:

    Bush used a drone attack in Yemen early in the Long War. I think it was the first publicized attack.

  17. mesocyclone:

    This sort of thing is because the left is constitutionally unable to wage a real war - with boots on the ground. Sure, they took over Afghanistan with a puny surge, but only with a well known bug-out date, which gives the whole thing to the enemy.

    Kennedy thought he could win wars with special forces. Obama clearly believes the same thing. Drone attacks are just a variant of this - they also are small attacks against high value target. They also use "magic" (the left doesn't understand the military, so it might as well actually be magic).

    The Bush Administration put in place an elaborate legal framework to make decisions about covert actions. The Obama Administration either has not done this, or is unwilling to share it with us.

    We don't need to know the classified information. But we do need the specific legal justification for these attacks. I think some of them are legal, and all may be - but without sharing it with the American people, it looks like an Obama star chamber is in operation.

    If Obama were a Republican, the press would be all over this - which, btw, is one reason Libertarians should vote for a Republican for president. They watch every possible civil liberties issue with Republicans, whom they hate, while letting the Democrats just slide by.

    BTW, the other reason to vote for a Republican is the Supreme Court. Unless you favor an unrestricted federal government (in which case, you aren't a LIbertarian), you are likely to be better served by Republican appointees.

  18. LarryGross:

    Afghanistan, Iraq Wars Killed 132,000 Civilians, Report Says"


    "boots on the ground" do NOT create friends when large numbers of civilians are casualties and large numbers of US troops are sliced and diced from IEDs. No one in their right mind would claim
    that our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are "successful" and few believe that having boots on the ground in Iran, Libya, Syria would be any better ..probably disastrous.

    are you oblivious to Abu Ghraib and it's effect on our relationship with Iraq citizens?

    To characterize "boots" as "creating friends" is comical - it creates enemies because boots are ham-fisted hammers that inevitably lead to civilian casualties when our troops cannot distinguish between friend or foe. we never seem to learn this lesson. Comparing boots-on-the-ground to drones in terms of adverse impacts to innocents is also comical.

  19. LarryGross:

    Libertarians, in general, are opposed to Neo Con type foreign policy ... and for good reason.

    re: "elaborate legal work" = telling the SCOTUS that secret kidnappings, illegal detentions and torture were none of it's business. How "Constitutional"!

    You're out of touch with realities guy. Al Qaeda is mobile and your solution is to chase them through whatever countries they chose to run through. Boots on the ground is a neanderthal approach to 21st century problem.

    you want the whole Middle East in flames and hating the US? just follow your advice guy.

    we've slice and diced thousands of young people in this country for what? and you want more of it
    and you cite drones as a "problem". :-) ho boy.

  20. johnmoore:

    Tell that to the Germans or the French.

    The picture you paint is over-simplified. I'd suggest reading Michael Totten's "After the Surge" to get a more balanced perspective. Many Iraqi's in fact came to like the Americans and America - especially the Sunni's after the Anbar Awakening.

    In this modern media age, the impact of actions is hard to predict, and highly non-linear. Abu Ghraib was a big deal because of photographs that became widely disseminated (over and over and over again by our treasonous press and by the unfriendly Al Jazeera). Likewise, small impact drone strikes can have a disproportionately huge impact.

    I think our experience in Iraq could have been a success, had we stayed the course, and had we we started COIN operations immediately, rather than letting a ham-handed army repeat early Vietnam's mistake.

    Afghanistan was and probably is a lost cause. We *had* to invade in order to avenge 9-11. That is a national necessity - if you don't do that, every one will think you are a push-over, and your own citizens will be demoralized.

    But... I don't think we had to stay.

  21. LarryGross:

    well.. here's the truth: " A strong majority of Iraqis want U.S.-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying their swift departure would make Iraq more secure and decrease sectarian violence,"

    "... nearly three-quarters of residents polled said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq, with 65 percent of those asked favoring an immediate pullout.."


    so much for "friends"...

    people now days look to what confirms their biases and avoid the truth. the truth is that most countries do NOT want US troops in their country - no more than we would want foreign troops in our country. they want to take care of their own affairs - just like we do. The Neo Cons are not about making "friends" - they simply believe we must control others - for our own protection and that we have a "Manifest Destiny" as justification.

    Those folks would have us in Iran, Syria, Libya and other countries in the Middle East no matter if it bankrupts us and no matter how many more thousands of young Americans get sliced and diced or killed.

    The drones are not a perfect solution. They have their own problems but unless we have a better idea - they are preferable to the Neo Cons ideas.

  22. johnmoore:

    When the word "Neo Con" comes out, I know there's a problem. It's usually a code word for "the foreign policy of Jews" but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you just threw out the term without realizing what it means. Can you, for example, contrast it with "conservative" foreign policy?

    And perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the Bush administration set up. They had carefully define criteria for all covert behavior - specifically to avoid going past legality. Haven't you noticed that the first justice department investigation (by professionals, not political appointees) failed to find grounds for prosecution - and the second, created by the politicized Obama justice department because the first failed, also failed. If the Obama goons can't get a conviction, you can be sure that the actions were legal. They were out for blood to feed to their base.

    Just what is illegal about secret kidnappings, detentions and strong interrogation techniques *overseas*? You aren't one of those fools who believes that International Law should govern our actions, are you?

    As for that torture, it is used routinely on our servicemen in SERE school, just like when I attended SERE school a long time ago. Hence I'm sorry, but I can't even get out the miniature violin to mourn the suffering of the *three* (yes, exactly three) murderous terrorists who underwent SERE school techniques, but I can celebrate the many lives saved as a result.

    As for "my solution" - you don't know what it is - you just made it up. I don't even know what my "solution" is. You haven't offered one, other than just putting our heads in the sand and our rears in the air.

    The middle east is in flames and hating us - but guess what - they are quite capable of doing that on their own. We didn't put boots on the ground in Egypt, and yet it now has an Islamist government. We didn't put boots on the ground in Turkey, but it had an Islamist government before Iraq. We didn't put boots on the ground in Pakistan, but they have hated us for a long time.

    Perhaps you should go to the MEMRI archives and see what sort of propaganda has been put out about us (and Israel) forever and ever in that messed up place. The Middle East was destined to go up in flames, no matter what we did. The problem is not what we do - the problem is the nature of the culture and the religion. The combination of the two destines the region to many more years of vicious conflict and warfare, no matter what we do.

    But we do have vital interests there - the most important of which was oil . The second most important is preventing Iran (and Iraq before it) from obtaining nuclear weapons (we succeeded with Iraq - if we had left Saddam in power, would that be true?).

    Our intervention may have made it better, or made it worse - it's hard to tell. Would you like to tell me what a wonderful place it would be with Saddam Hussein still in power?

  23. LarryGross:

    I know what it means and it's not code. It's an interventionist foreign policy based on a belief that we need to take control of another country. A "conservative" foreign policy is the opposite. It seeks resolution NOT through invasion.

    Don't quote me Bush's "careful" legal policy. It ignored Congress and it ignored the SCOTUS. It was for all intent and purposes "careful" and illegal.

    Perhaps you reveal your own bias here with "goon", eh? Did you not consider Bush's ghouls "goons"?

    Whether or not the Middle East hates us with or without boots on the ground is irrelevant with respect to Neo Con foreign policy.

    Propaganda? that's exactly what you are spewing right now.

    if "we" had left Saddam in power? and you talk about how "careful" Bush was?

    you talk like it was our choice to go into another country and decide who would rule it.

    and you say be careful about characterizing "Neo con"? lord!

    you act like it makes no difference how others in the Middle East feel about us when we
    invade countries over there. What planet do you live on boy?

    better or worse, hard to tell? come on guy.. do you REALLY think we can go into a country that has a culture thousands of years old and tell them how to operate?

    you talk like the English did when they had an empire.

    and you make a deal about drones - compared to what you are advocating?

  24. johnmoore:

    You are really making stuff up now - controlling others and manifest destiny? Excuse me?

    Yes, Iraqis did want us out (Totten's book shows that too). That's not the same as them wanting to kill us. Nobody wants occupiers unless those occupiers are an alternative to something worse (such as out of control terrorism, or Saddam Hussein). We pacified the place (well, as much as could be done) and then we left. Better would be to have left about 30,000 troops there - not out patrolling, but just there - a status of forces situation like we have with such "enemies" as Britain, Germany and Japan. It would have interdicted Iran's supply lines much better, and given us better options for protecting the gulf. It also would have prevented the rise in Sunni (and Al Qaeda) attacks in Iraq.

    But Obama blew that one.

    Now, please prove that significant "Neo-Cons" want us to invade and control Iran, Syria, and Libya.

    My argument with your "boots on the ground post" isthat different situations need different tactics, and sometimes those tactics require "boots on the ground." Afghanistan after 9-11 was *absolutely* one of those - if for no reason other than to demonstrate that we weren't to be messed with and we weren't decadent western softies.

    Invasion of Libya - why? I think even helping the fall of Qhaddafi was questionable - we helped dethrone a tyrant, but the evil bastard (who had murdered hundreds of Americans) had proven immeasurably helpful by turning over to us (not the UN) his WMD program - allowing us to shut down A Q Khan's network. Screwing someone who has caved in to you doesn't send a very good message.

    Likewise, cheering the outing of Mubarak may have foolish. It was obvious from the start that, unless the Egyptian army just replaced him with someone similar, that the Islamists would take over in Egypt, to our detriment.

    As for Syria... well... it's not clear what our interests are there - other than whatever we can to damage Russian and Iranian interests, and trying to keep the WMDs from getting into terrorist hands. And note: Syria recently threatened to use chemical *and* biological weapons against us. A high ranking EU scientist recently reported that Syria has weaponized orthopox virus (in other words, smallpox), and has worked on deniable biological agents and delivery mechanisms. What juicy stuff for Al Qaeda to grab!

    I think what's ultimately going to happen (and probably would have happened no matter what we did) is a regional religious war, with the Sunnis and Shia going after each other in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. It will be a bloody mess. Add to that the three way antipathy between Arabs, Turks and Persians, and you get a strong ethnic factor to boot.

    As for Al Qaeda and other terrorist outfits - it is in our interest to minimize their ability to damage us and our allies. The biggest reason is technology - terrorists are more likely to get hold of and use WMD's than ever before. They already used nerve gas against us once in Iraq (by accident - they didn't know they were using a chem warfare artillery shell in their IED). They also used chlorine gas there - another chemical agent.

    If they are allowed to set up a safe area (as they had in Afghanistan up through 9/11), they will work on these things. As savage they are and as primitive are their beliefs, some of them are scientists (Zawahiri is an MD) and engineers (Bin Laden and some of the 9-11 crew).

    We captured a PhD neuro-scientist (degree: MIT) who was working on chemical and biological weapons in Afghanistan. Today, a bachelor's degree graduate from a number of different fields of study (including neuro-science) has the skills to do genetic engineering on micro-organisms.

    Biological weapons are a very dangerous threat, since these groups may be willing to loose a deadly contagious agent - even it if kills hundreds of millions of Muslims. As Rafsanjani said when he was #2 in Iran - a nuclear war could be a good thing because even if Israel killed tens of millions of Muslims, there would be plenty left, while there would no longer be Jews in the middle east. That indicates the sort of sacrifice they (Islamist fanatics) are willing to make.

    If we do not stop the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran, the whole area will end up with them (Saudi Arabia can have them in days by calling in their IOU's from Pakistan, Turkey would follow, then Egypt). Then the odds of nukes ending up in the hands of terrorists goes up - especially since an area with lots of nukes could make a nuclear attack deniable, greatly reducing the risk to a government (or agency) of using terrorists to deliver them.

    THAT is the kind of threat we face, and we shouldn't forget it. We *are* at war. We didn't start it, and as with all wars, we haven't necessarily fought it in the smartest way, but we are definitely at war. We are at war with a diffuse enemy that intends with all its heart to attack our homeland and kill *our* civilians. And that war was *not* caused by our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  25. LarryGross:

    re: wanting us out (you said "friends).. not the same as "killing" us. you live in a dream world boy.
    do you not see all of young soldiers now sliced and diced ? who do you think did that? do you think if we stayed longer more of it would happen?

    re: "safe" areas - around the world in 2 or 3 dozen countries and your solution is? what?

    re: the world is a dangerous place and they are out to get us. so? what is your solution?
    you dance around this guy. you refuse to say that boots on the ground is ONE of your solutions, right?

    re: terrorist and Nukes. Have you considered a land war in Iran guy? do you have any idea
    how that would compare to Iraq and Afghanistan? What about Pakistan and North Korea? do we go after their Nukes?

    Who advocates it? some well known NeoCon Senators who play the same game you do by not admitting outright that direct military action is what they are really advocating. You get no other advocacy from them.

    so we have all of this - and you harp on Obama about drones? isn't that pretty hypocritical?

  26. johnmoore:

    You are wrong with your definitions. Conservatives, neo and otherwise, believe in national defense and taking actions, including war and covert means, to protect us. "Neo-cons" tend to also believe that we should act in the interests of the population of other countries - and that is the key difference. *Some* of the ends, not the means.

    If Bush's policy was so illegal, why didn't Obama's goons prosecute? That was their mission and Obama's promise. The answer; this stuff wasn't illegal.

    Yes, you are right about "goons" - I don't think much of Obama's justice department. It does not, however, alter the conclusion.

    You post above seems to have devolved into a rant, so it's a bit hard to answer... But....

    I am giving you my opinion. That, by definition, is not propaganda.

    You have failed to answer the important alternative to Iraq: leaving Saddam in power. So perhaps you should answer that.

    "you talk like it was our choice to go into another country and decide who would rule it." - Actually, decide who should *not* rule it. An important different. Yes, it was our (the US) choice.

    "you act like it makes no difference how others in the Middle East feel about us when we invade countries over there. " I did not assert that. Obviously it affects their views. My point is that they will hate us anyway. I guess you need to be taught why, so here goes...

    They will hate us because we are rich and they are poor (due to their culture and government).

    They will hate us because we spread our hyper-sexualized popular culture into their 7th century world, and it pisses them off (I have some sympathy with that).

    They hate us because our women don't stay "in their place" and this is rubbed in their faces in our entertainment products which they consume.

    They hate us because the governments of the area constantly propagandize them to hate us - the old "hey, look over there, an enemy" trick.

    They hate us because we have immense power, and they don't, and being powerful is important in those cultures.

    They hate us because their societies are sexually repressed and our men can do a lot of things prohibited (or unavailable) to them.

    They hate us because we support Israel, and as for why they hate Israel, see all of the above and add their perception that the Jews should not be in Palestine (never mind that they have been there continuously for thousands of years).

    As for telling an ancient culture how to operate... we can sure give them some good ideas, because their thousands of years old culture is failing them. But where the neo-cons fail (unlike the cons) is that they are too optimistic about our ability to sell them our ideas.

    As for the drones... as I said,l different tools for different situations.

    And btw, is it possible for you to adopt a civil tone? It makes you look small when you try to talk down to me, boy!

  27. johnmoore:

    Let's try this again, gal...

    WHO advocates a ground war in Iran? I asked you to name them. You cannot. WHO advocates invading Libya or Syria. You can't name them.

  28. LarryGross:

    real conservatives are not neo cons. they are very different. One favors interventionist policies to "protect our interests" while the other is wary of causing more harm than good when the downsides are seriously considered. War, invasion, usually are very damaging to all concerned.

    what if other countries took the same attitde as our Neo Cons? The middle east would be aflame.. People really interested in progress do so as alliances rather than unilateral actions..

    re: civil tone - point taken

    re: Obama's Justice dept - is more principled that the ghouls in Bush's Justice dept.

    re: Saddam - what is your point - with ANY dictator whether Iraq, Iran, Korea, etc, et al?
    do you think that invasion of another country because they are run by a dictator is a "Conservative" foreign policy?

    re: they hate us - you've got your views which are surprisingly similar to neo con propaganda.

    re: "failing" cultures - perhaps so around the world - our business? reason to invade them?

    re: "different tools". I do not consider Neo Con approaches to foreign policy as a "tool" but rather disastrous cowboy stupidity that puts us in debt and slices and dices our young people.

    there are times and places for invasion and wars - but not near as frequent as Neo Cons want.We are part of a world community - not the dictator of the world.

  29. obloodyhell:

    I haven't read the comments, here, yet, but...

    }}} RUDKOWSKI: Without due process of law?
    -- and
    }}} ADAMSON:…It’s an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial. And, he’s underage. He’s a minor.

    a) He's SIXTEEN. For most of human history, that's old enough for war, and to have rights and privileges accorded an adult.
    b) "Due process"? ,.. what part of "this is a WAR" was unclear to you? What part of "Civil Law" did you think applied in wartime? Yes, there is lawful and unlawful in war, but that's a heck of a fine line to be drawing over this, and it's pretty doubtful if it applies.

    I'm not suggesting pro/nay on this issue, but there are words being bandied about that aren't applicable to the scenario, showing muddled thinking at best.

  30. johnmoore:

    Thank you for toning it down. It's easier to discuss things from the standpoint of mutual respect.

    Both 'cons favor protecting our interests, including intervention when required - for example, conservatives supported the Vietnam War. I say again: what differentiates Neo-Cons is their belief that we should, in some circumstances, intervene to help the people of other countries (this is probably left over from the soft-hearted liberalism they left behind when they became 'Cons - hence the word "Neo"), and that this will work. I must admit that I bought into the hope that we could implant freedom in Iraq

    The "what if other countries" argument is unrealistic. Other countries don't have the capabilities that we have. France, however, does intervene frequently in Africa (where it doesn't take much power).

    Re Saddam - he wasn't just any dictator. He was an expansionist who was continually engaging in acts of war against the US. He had invaded an important oil producing country and would have taken over Saudi Arabia as well without our intervention. He had used WMD's in a war he started. He had tried to develop nuclear weapons and had developed chemical and biological weapons. He had ambitions to do more of the same, especially nukes.

    My views on why they hate us are based on reading a lot about the middle east, and reading articles *from* the middle east translated from Arabic and Farsi into English. They are also based on how humans actually react to events (envym for example). If the neo-cons have the same views, that doesn't make them wrong.

    I never said that failing cultures are a reason for invasion. I said they are a reason that people hate us, and nothing more.

    I favored the invasion of Afghanistan - it was a national imperative. I also favored the invasion of Iraq and the use of COIN tactics to suppress Al Qaeda there. I did not favor the dithering that took place in the first several years of that war - because that dithering did nothing for our national goals but, as you put it, get Americans sliced and diced.

    Currently, I favor an attack on Iran if they don't stop enriching uranium (and they almost certainly won't). I don't favor an invasion, and the neo-cons don't either ( *one* of the conservative publications I read is neo-con - the Weekly Standard - so I know their views). Iran is much larger than Iraq, and an invasion would make Iraq look like a cake-walk. So we need to use different tools there: aiding the resistance, which only in Iran was anti-cleric; that failing, using strong sanctions in the unlikely hope that is would stop the program; military attack ( possibly including small, short-duration special forces strikes ) to greatly damage their nuke program.

    Here's a question for you: do you favor allowing Iran to get nuclear weapons if the alternative is military action by us?

  31. obloodyhell:

    }}} boots on the ground is interpreted as an "occupation" no matter the good intentions and "nation building".

    No it doesn't, and this has already been demonstrated with Iraq. While most Iraqis didn't WANT us there, they DID grasp the essential NEED for it until they got their infrastructure back in order and some semblance of a government. Once THAT was done, THEN it was time to exit. NOT BEFORE. And we probably left about six months early, by my own observations, leading to the current levels of instability there (Iran/Syria's efforts in that regard have been quite helpful, too).

    }}} Afghanistan, Iraq Wars Killed 132,000 Civilians, Report Says"

    The wars? Or the resistance by armed provocateurs of foreign nations EXCLUDING the US and its allies?

    Sick and tired of idiotic quotations of BULLSHIT numbers created by people who are out to paint ANYTHING done by America as bad and eeeeeevil. Clearly, EVERY ONE of those 132,000 civilians were killed by AMERICA, no one else? Or were most of them killed by suicide bombers and agents of Iran, Syria, Al Queda, and other external agents -- not one of which has ANY more justification for their presence there, and, mostly, FAR LESS, than the USA does -- each looking to count coup against the USA?

    Does that question EVER enter your beady little brain's function?

    Saddam killed 300,000 Kurds.
    Is that better, to you....? "Hey, at least he was an Iraqi!!"?

  32. obloodyhell:

    }}}} http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
    }}}} so much for "friends"...

    So much for "journalism", more like it.

    These idiots would quote the Lancet's statistics as though they were a serious organization, so pardon me if I take ANY figures they cite as doubtful.

    I also recall numbers from that time, and they reflected an entirely different view. The fact is, they DID NOT like us there -- but they DID see the NEED for our presence, and that they wanted us to help get things in order and THEN, and only then, GTFO.

    And the difference between those two is largely how you ask the poll questions and

    The MAJOR argument for which one was right was:
    Where were the anti-US protests? Where were the Yanqui Go Home! demonstrations? Why was there no march on Coalition headquarters going "US GET OUT!!"

    There weren't "only a few" of these, there were VIRTUALLY NONE.

    You can't chalk that up to fear of reprisal. The only ones who really wanted us out were the Sunni, initially, then, when THEY realized we weren't screwing them out of any power, it was the foreign nationals, who made up more than 80% of all suicide bombers, IIRC.

    And I repeat: THEY had no more right to be there, influencing the development and the direction Iraq took, than we did.


    }}}} The drones are not a perfect solution. They have their own problems but unless we have a better idea - they are preferable to the Neo Cons ideas.

    Yeah, Larry -- *I* will remember that, and throw it back in your face when Romney wins, decides to take out an Al-Q LEADER with one, and you start screaming your idiot libtard head off about it.

  33. obloodyhell:

    }}} But Obama blew that one.

    Is there really anything The One HASN'T blown?

  34. obloodyhell:

    }}}} did you yell this loud when Bush told SCOTUS that torture and secret detentions was none of their business because it was done on foreign soil?

    Did YOU when CLINTON **first** promoted, defended, and insisted it was within his legal prerequisites as PotUS, to perform "extraordinary renditions"?

    Did you complain as loudly about Project Echelon as you did about Bush-era wiretapping?

    Sorry, there's NEVER BEEN any legal "right" to cross-border communications being actually private, not at any point in human history. You want to argue about INSIDE US borders, that's one thing, but the notion that international calls are sacrosanct? That's just stupid.

  35. obloodyhell:

    }}}} Obama's "violations" pale in comparison to Bush and company.

    Those must be some REAL GOOD drugs you're on.

    Obama has thumbed his nose at more requirements than Bush ever dreamed of -- including the requirement that he RECEIVE PERMISSION to prosecute a WAR after a certain minimal time frame (60 days, IIRC).

  36. obloodyhell:

    }}}} "you talk like it was our choice to go into another country and decide who would rule it." - Actually, decide who should *not* rule it. An important different. Yes, it was our (the US) choice.

    Exactly, since he DIRECTLY had violated international law, was allowed to remain in power ONLY as a result of meeting certain conditions, and then VIOLATED those conditions.

    In criminal justice terms, this is called "violation of parole", and it calls for you to IMMEDIATELY, without "due process", lose your freedom (You have some due process AFTER that point, but that's a different matter -- you're caught violating your parole, you are IN JAIL the moment someone in authority notices and can lay their hands on you.

    Saddam REPEATEDLY violated the terms of his "Parole", and as such, the USA had every right to perform the action of his capture and detainment for further prosecution.

    And that is IF you grant that "criminal law" issues should predominate international government actions, a specious argument on the face of it.

  37. obloodyhell:

    }}} The middle east would be aflame

    It IS you nit. What do you think is going on in Lebanon? In Syria? In Iraq? In Pakistan? In Libya?


    }}} re: they hate us - you've got your views which are surprisingly similar to neo con propaganda.

    I would point out that yours are EXACTLY the same as anti-American propaganda.

    Funny, huh?

    }}}} there are times and places for invasion and wars - but not near as frequent as Neo Cons want.

    Yeah, only places that don't matter, haven't attacked or encouraged attacks against anyone outside their nation, and whose governments don't have BILLIONS of dollars of money to use to buy off UN officials are suitable places for liberals to go to war.

    Somalia, Yugoslavia... places like that.

  38. obloodyhell:

    }}} have you got a better solution to go along with your criticism?

    Do you have a position you'll defend no matter who is the President?

    I'll lay odds not. You'll have SOME bullshit excuse for why Romney doing the exact same thing under the exact same circumstance isn't the same as Obama doing it.

  39. obloodyhell:

    I do find this concern over a small number of collateral victims is such a big deal, considering the thousands and thousands killed in the Firebombing of Germany and Japan, and the Rape of Nanking.

    This is one of the first where we've been able to be SO surgical that it seems like we CAN actually concern ourselves with every death. Doesn't mean we shouldn't examine each one for possible efforts to reduce collateral damage still further, but it also doesn't mean we need to treat any collateral damage as an absolute NO vote.

    The questions are far more about the appropriateness AND effectiveness of the policies of Obama than the specific use of this as a tool.

  40. LarryGross:

    re: drones ... conventional boots-on-the-ground warfare and Romney

    anytime you have an armed conflict - there is the probability that innocents will be killed - especially if they
    are willingly (like a family) in close proximity with a combatant.

    the drone does not obviate the risk of harm to non-combatants but it does provide for less overall collateral damage than many other kinds of weaponry.

    Not sure what the deal is with Romney's potential use of it. I would expect him to use them.

    the trick is - using them in other countries - with or without permission but that's just a small nit compared to
    all the other issues that will arise from the use of drones. Drones are the "internet" of weaponry and surveillance. We have yet to appreciate all the ways they can be used - and misused - not only by our military but our own law enforcement as well as virtually any other country in the world as they as so inexpensive compared to conventional weaponry.

    but the juxtaposition between drones and boots-on-the ground is what delineates those who I characterize as NeoCons and other approaches to dealing with other countries.

    Those who believe that we still need to have boots on the ground are after a lot more than just hunting down rogue terrorists.