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Old 10-29-2013, 08:46 AM   #1
Lamplighter
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Drone attacks

Does it matter which weapon is used ... garrote, knife, sniper, F-35, poison gas... drone ?

Drones - to the public - are the latest new killing weapon in the US arsenal
The US has already killed ~1,500 humans with missiles from drones.
The US has already targeted and killed US citizens in this manner.

They are also weapons of foreign policy... here is today's item:


NY Times

ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI
October 28, 2013

Pentagon Says Shabab Bomb Specialist Is Killed in Missile Strike in Somalia
Quote:
WASHINGTON — The United States military carried out a missile strike against
a top Shabab operative in Somalia on Monday, according to Defense Department officials,
three weeks after a Navy SEAL raid in another part of the country failed
to capture a senior leader of the Somali Islamic militant group.

The American strike is the latest evidence that the Obama administration
has decided to escalate operations against the Shabab in the aftermath of
the bloody siege at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last month
in which more than 60 men, women and children were killed.
A White House spokeswoman declined to comment on the strike,
referring questions to the Pentagon.
<snip>
Even as President Obama has ordered a punishing campaign
of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the administration has been
far more reluctant to use similar tactics in Somalia.
The reluctance partly centered around questions of whether the Shabab
— which has not tried to carry out an attack on American soil —
could legally be the target of lethal operations by the military or the C.I.A.
IMO, this is bad policy, not just in Somalia...

Quote:
Some argued that American strikes might only incite Shabab operatives,
transforming the group from a regional organization focused on repelling foreign troops
from Somalia into one with an agenda akin to Al Qaeda’s: striking the West at every turn.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:35 AM   #2
piercehawkeye45
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Drones are definitely an unideal option but the best we have at our disposal.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure disengagement would be a better weapon. This world hegemony nonsense needs to end if we ever want to work toward a free, fair, and prosperous society.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:42 AM   #4
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I'm not in favor of using the drones, unless it's against Al-Qaeda, or other groups that attack us directly (like Hezbollah in the Lebanon bombing of the marine barracks, some decades ago. The Kenyans have an army in Somalia, and they can deal with Al-Shabab. Help them with the investigation or medical help for the victims that were wounded - sure. But drones aren't warranted in that case.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:14 PM   #5
piercehawkeye45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff View Post
I'm pretty sure disengagement would be a better weapon. This world hegemony nonsense needs to end if we ever want to work toward a free, fair, and prosperous society.
I'm not sure how effective that will be. I agree that the more we use drones and fight Islamist terrorists overseas, the more unpopular we become in the countries we are fighting in. This directly leads to more terrorist recruits. However, I don't fully agree that if we disengage from these countries that we will be in a better situation.

First, as shown by Afghanistan in the 90's and recently in Yemen and Mali, Islamic group tend to organize in regions outside state sovereign control where they have free reign. In the 90s we had absolutely nothing to do with Afghanistan and until recently we had no influence in Yemen and yet anti-American groups still flourished there. To me, this implies that Islamic groups with a global focus (Al-Qaeda for example) recruit many but not all - members based on American supposed actions against Muslims in general and not that actions that directly affect them. Also, the claims that supposedly motivate Al-Qaeda and other globally focused Islamic groups support of Israel, support of Arab Dictators, etc. are not going to change and therefore these groups will continue to recruit members whether we disengage or not.

Second, the vast majority of Islamic groups - Al-Shabab for example - have regional focuses that may later expand to a more global focus. If we disengage we will not change the dynamics of the regionally focused groups. The Taliban in Afghanistan was a reaction to the poor ruling of the Afghani warlords in the early 90s. The regionally focused Taliban later allied with the globally focused Al-Qaeda.

Third, based on what I have read and observed, I do think the Islamic terrorist threat is larger than what we are made to believe. When Obama was elected in 2008 he made a pretty quick change in his foreign policy. He initially went from closing Guantanamo to stepping up drone use. It is possible that this change due to him learning of the full range of threats against the US. Also, after Benghazi, security consultants sometimes mention the number of real threats against the US on a yearly basis and it was in the hundreds or something like that. The author and journalist Ahmed Rashid, who often travels in Pakistan and Afghanistan, also mentions multiple times in his books that the terrorist threat against the US is very real.

As I said, I dont think drones are an ideal solution. The consequences of using them, terrorist recruiting and unpopularity among Muslim countries, are currently hurt us. However, if the terrorist threat is large enough to justify action against particular Islamic groups, it is the best option we have.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piercehawkeye45 View Post
I'm not sure how effective that will be. I agree that the more we use drones and fight Islamist terrorists overseas, the more unpopular we become in the countries we are fighting in. This directly leads to more terrorist recruits. However, I don't fully agree that if we disengage from these countries that we will be in a better situation.

First, as shown by Afghanistan in the 90's and recently in Yemen and Mali, Islamic group tend to organize in regions outside state sovereign control where they have free reign. In the 90s we had absolutely nothing to do with Afghanistan and until recently we had no influence in Yemen and yet anti-American groups still flourished there. To me, this implies that Islamic groups with a global focus (Al-Qaeda for example) recruit many but not all - members based on American supposed actions against Muslims in general and not that actions that directly affect them. Also, the claims that supposedly motivate Al-Qaeda and other globally focused Islamic groups support of Israel, support of Arab Dictators, etc. are not going to change and therefore these groups will continue to recruit members whether we disengage or not.
The Eighties.

Quote:
Second, the vast majority of Islamic groups - Al-Shabab for example - have regional focuses that may later expand to a more global focus. If we disengage we will not change the dynamics of the regionally focused groups. The Taliban in Afghanistan was a reaction to the poor ruling of the Afghani warlords in the early 90s. The regionally focused Taliban later allied with the globally focused Al-Qaeda.
Home Rule.

Quote:
Third, based on what I have read and observed, I do think the Islamic terrorist threat is larger than what we are made to believe. When Obama was elected in 2008 he made a pretty quick change in his foreign policy. He initially went from closing Guantanamo to stepping up drone use. It is possible that this change due to him learning of the full range of threats against the US. Also, after Benghazi, security consultants sometimes mention the number of real threats against the US on a yearly basis and it was in the hundreds or something like that. The author and journalist Ahmed Rashid, who often travels in Pakistan and Afghanistan, also mentions multiple times in his books that the terrorist threat against the US is very real.
They hate us because we're free should have gone out with Bush. Obama is now part of the Washington military industrial complex bubble. One problem One hammer One solution.

I know that comes off as snarky but my perspective is that government solutions to other peoples problems put us in a position to be fighting a religious war balancing extremist against extremist playing one against the other continuously in that greater region. There is no clean escape ever. If you've noticed, humans are often very bad at things. Things like saying "we can't" when someone in a higher position asks you to do the impossible. Ask a CIA dirt bag if he can make a clean kill with a drone and he'll lie right to your face. Ask a General if smart bombs will avoid civilian casualties and you'll get the same. Ask the NSA to give you the complete picture and they'll give you an unusable digital snap shot of all. Live in that bubble of limited intelligence and limited answers long enough and before you know it you'll spying on the goddamn Germans for Christ's sake! This is drifting into a never vote major party vote again rant so I'll just stop.

Quote:
As I said, I dont think drones are an ideal solution. The consequences of using them, terrorist recruiting and unpopularity among Muslim countries, are currently hurt us. However, if the terrorist threat is large enough to justify action against particular Islamic groups, it is the best option we have.
If.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff View Post
I know that comes off as snarky but my perspective is that government solutions to other peoples problems put us in a position to be fighting a religious war balancing extremist against extremist playing one against the other continuously in that greater region.
It was never snarky to discuss three facts ALWAYS necessary to justify war. A strategic objective is one. Going to war only to solve someone else's problems is Tea Party stupid. No valid strategic objective exists.

In history are perfect examples of how to use military power to greatest victory. Clinton did it in Haiti. Notice how much money and soldier's lives were spent removing Baby Doc. Clinton did it again in the Balkins. How many years, treasure, and lives did we waste there to obtain a massive victory (when Europe failed to take responsibility)? Clinton also stopped what could have been a nuclear war between Pakistan and India. Did anyone learn from that history? Britian did same with only a battalion of Marines in Liberia. So again, how many here (probably a majority) forgot that lesson?

We have no vested interest in a Syrian war. First and foremost, it is a problem to be solved by the nations of that region. However Obama did demonstrate one condition that is a world standard taboo. He even got Putin to cooperate. By simply threatening military conflict, he got Assad to completely surrender and stop using chemical weapons. A major military victory. Another perfect example of how smarter leaders use military force combined with the entire purpose of the military. Every great victory is won at the negotiation table.

How did one get Milošević to literally negotiate himself out of power? Simple. Richard Holbrooke‎ kidnapped him in Dayton Ohio. Milosevic surrendered without America deploying any divisions. The world's greatest military victories occur that way. As even demonstrated by Alexander the Great long before anyone here learned what a military is.

Its not snarky to state the obvious. America has no strategic objectives in Syria (except Assad's chemical weapons that he surrendered due to the best use of American military power). But we have a strategic interest in doing police actions or actions no different than covert actions during the cold war. Those actions were done in America's strategic interest.

As are attacks on people who would perform cirminal acts in upon US citizens and vested interests. Kaddafi learned that the hard way after foolishly bombing some American servicemen in Germany. In every case, military victories because action (or successful threats) were only justified by a strategic objective.

Drones are only a tactical weapon. A trivial tool no different from helicopters, cruise missiles, special forces, aircraft carriers cruising nearby, CIA spies, destroyers hunting for pirates, or armored divisions. These tools are completely irrelevant to the relevant question. What is the strategic objective? What, exactly, do we intend to achieve?

Last edited by tw; 11-02-2013 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 11-02-2013, 09:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff View Post
Live in that bubble of limited intelligence and limited answers long enough and before you know it you'll spying on the goddamn Germans for Christ's sake!
When your leaders see mythical threats everything (they even believed the Cold War was still ongoing), then these fearful extremists even bugged Angela Merkel's phones when she was an unknown. Which begs a question - how many other thousands of future world leaders were routinely being bugged by a government defined by Cheney's paranoia and 'black and white' perspectives that even justified Gestapo style torture?

The NSA was only doing since 2001 what George Jr's administration told them to do. To spy on everyone and never admit to any of it. Another legacy of the an administration that all but protected bin Laden (so they always had a bogeyman) while knowing that even Ted Kennedy was an enemy.

I once asked how I could get on Cheney's enemies list. Apparently I and all others here were already on his enemies list. Nixon only had a list of hundreds. With NSA computers, Cheney, et al had millions of enemies - including Angela Merkel in 2002 when she was only another unknown politician to be feared.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:30 PM   #9
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Wishing the Cellar had a blocking option.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:52 AM   #10
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Wishing the Cellar had a blocking option.
???

Like "ignore"?
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:39 AM   #11
classicman
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More than that. Like a "doesn't exist" option.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:19 AM   #12
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well, you could try a combination therapy; ignore, denial and bourbon. putting your fingers in your ears and singing la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la for periods of acute awareness could be done as needed, but it will definitely interfere with your browsing and posting experience. this is known as a side effect. I can't say if this is covered under the ACA.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:29 AM   #13
piercehawkeye45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff View Post
The Eighties.
Yes, it was decided in the 80's that arming radical Islamists to prevent Soviet expansion into Afghanistan was a good idea. In hindsight, there have been obvious consequences to that decision. My point is that a lot happened between the fall of the Soviet government in Kabul to the rise of the Taliban that could have prevented Al-Qaeda's safe haven there. 9/11 was due to the a poor mix of intervention and non-intervention policies.

Quote:
They hate us because we're free should have gone out with Bush.
I think there is very strong consensus on this. I haven't heard this argument since Bush honestly.

Quote:
Obama is now part of the Washington military industrial complex bubble.
Yes, but every president is forced to become part of the military industrial complex.

Quote:
One problem One hammer One solution.
I disagree. While ugly, Obama showed he wasn't going to intervene in Syria. With Iran, Obama hasn't militarily intervened but has relied on cyberattacks and economic sanctions (look at Iran's economy). Obama does use more than one tool in his foreign policy.

When it comes to fighting Islamists in the middle of Afghanistan and Yemen, while not ideal, drones seem to be the best tool.

Quote:
I know that comes off as snarky but my perspective is that government solutions to other peoples problems put us in a position to be fighting a religious war balancing extremist against extremist playing one against the other continuously in that greater region. There is no clean escape ever. If you've noticed, humans are often very bad at things. Things like saying "we can't" when someone in a higher position asks you to do the impossible. Ask a CIA dirt bag if he can make a clean kill with a drone and he'll lie right to your face. Ask a General if smart bombs will avoid civilian casualties and you'll get the same. Ask the NSA to give you the complete picture and they'll give you an unusable digital snap shot of all. Live in that bubble of limited intelligence and limited answers long enough and before you know it you'll spying on the goddamn Germans for Christ's sake!
I actually agree with this. We should not be delusional to think that we will make the world a better place by intervening. Our country has obvious limitations and this has been emphasized for the past decade. That rhetoric is usually just used to gain public support (see Syria).

However, many interventions (not necessarily military) have had positive tangible and intangible benefits for the US so this cannot be ignored. Also, I strongly believe power vacuums are usually more dangerous than intervention because some other country will be more than willing to fill the void (see Syria). Its a lose-lose situation.
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Old 11-08-2013, 02:52 PM   #14
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"Obama showed he wasn't going to intervene in Syria."

Bullshit - the overwhelming pushback from ... well everybody ... is what convinced him.
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Old 11-08-2013, 04:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piercehawkeye45 View Post
However, many interventions (not necessarily military) have had positive tangible and intangible benefits for the US so this cannot be ignored.
George Jr eventually learned this in his last years - according to George Jr's recent comments. Learned when George Jr became more concerned for his legacy.

Cheney speaks much like the naive who 'solve' everything with overt military power - as some foolishly advocate here. Same strategy only makes things worse (ie Vietnam, Mission Accomplished). Cheney even insisted we 'Pearl Harbor' all Iranian nuclear facilities. A George Jr with changing priorities then asked everyone whether anyone agreed with Cheney. No one - not even one - raised a hand. Once George Jr questioned Cheney, then no one agreed with Cheney's wacko extremism.

Cheney is so extreme as to recently recommend (on Charlie Rose) that Israel immediately attack Iran's nuclear facilities. When everyone with intelligence knows that will create a strategic disaster for Israel. Quite obvious to most all; but not to Cheney who views a world in terms of black and white. An extremist cannot think pragmatically - like a moderate. Extremists foolishly want solutions using wasteful military deployments. Even advocate intervention in Syria.

America was roundly successful in Syria - despite extremists who still deny it. America intervened in what was clearly and only in our and the world's interest. A strategic objective was clearly defined and roundly accomplished. (Mission Accomplished had no strategic objective.) Threats without deploying military power indicate great leaders. It clearly accomplished THE best possible solution. Well beyond what most thought was possible. Even Putin is on board.

Enough must die in Syria to finally make obvious what really matters. That civil war will only end when enough pain makes obvious how dumb their extremists really are. When extremists are replaced by people who know by using education, logic, and basic intelligence rather than hate, religion, and child-like reasoning.

Only a wacko would advocate an American intervention in Syria's civil war. Wackos wanted and got the same thing in VietNam. Some never bother to learn from history. Do not even know how to close their eyes so as to censor what they fear. The informed remember Vietnam and contempt that extremists had for the American soldier (ie Mission Accomplished).

Those who never learn from history would advocate unilateral American intervention in Syria. Or Pearl Harbor attacks on Iran. Because so many replace lessons from history with perverted extremist rhetoric. Responsible leadership repeatedly solved such problems using patience and without a massive deployment.

If extremists (ie Cheney) recommend it, then suspect a 'classic' contempt for American soldiers.
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