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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > This scares the crap out of me.

This scares the crap out of me. (Page 2)
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Clinically Insane
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Stand your ground laws are kinda bullshit. Way too much discretion given. (Just like here)
Unless you're in your home. Out in public? Yeah, if you can peacefully leave the location, you should.
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Stand your ground laws are kinda bullshit. Way too much discretion given. (Just like here)
Well I'm not familiar enough with the Stand Your Ground laws in the US so can't comment on why they are or aren't BS, but in the context of military operations there is definitely one key factor that makes this very different from anything that applies to the general populous: military professionals, trained for this exact situation, are the ones making the decisions.

We train these people and put them in positions of authority to carry out violent actions that protect us, period. There are no people better qualified to make these decisions so even if they make a mistake, I can't imagine that it would be a mistake that would cost more lives than trying to enforce "due process" in the midst of a war.

Again, a combatant is a combatant regardless of their citizenship.

This controversy has all the ear marks of just being a soap box for conspiracy theorists, if you ask me.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I understand the need for these types of things in the interest of national security, but there has to be some sort of due process and/or check and balance else its just a matter of time before this power is used nefariously.
Yeah that due process and those checks and balances have worked wonderfully before.
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Unless you're in your home. Out in public? Yeah, if you can peacefully leave the location, you should.
I think there's a distinction between Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground. Not that I'm enamored with Castle Doctrine (depending on how well informed I am).
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
With >12 sub-factions, not all of which are particularly violent.
Ummmm....as I quoted above, any action being referred to would have to be against a target engaged in terrorist activities with a threat imminent. Factions of Al-Qaeda that may not be "particularly violent" are a non-issue in this context.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by gradient View Post
Again, a combatant is a combatant regardless of their citizenship.
But how is that determined? Is there a military trial where all the evidence is gathered and someone acts in his defense? Or is it some high ranking military or government official making the call from his desk? Big difference.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
But how is that determined? Is there a military trial where all the evidence is gathered and someone acts in his defense? Or is it some high ranking military or government official making the call from his desk? Big difference.
Oi. I am definitely all in favour of due process in 99.9% of situations, but this one is different. Again, the context is that a threat is imminent and the person cannot be captured. In that case, I trust a military professional, who is specifically trained to deal with these situations, to make the best decision possible.

Are you saying that you'd chose to have an embassy, shopping mall, school bus, etc. blown up for the sake of preserving due process? A tad dramatic, perhaps, but that is what's potentially at stake here and what this type of policy is intended to address.

Never in all my years did I think I'd be having to defend US military policy around here.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by gradient View Post
Oi. I am definitely all in favour of due process in 99.9% of situations, but this one is different. Again, the context is that a threat is imminent and the person cannot be captured. In that case, I trust a military professional, who is specifically trained to deal with these situations, to make the best decision possible.

Are you saying that you'd chose to have an embassy, shopping mall, school bus, etc. blown up for the sake of preserving due process? A tad dramatic, perhaps, but that is what's potentially at stake here and what this type of policy is intended to address.

Never in all my years did I think I'd be having to defend US military policy around here.
Maybe I'm misinformed here. Was Al-Awlaki an imminent threat when he was taken out? How do you define imminent threat on a leadership position without very good intelligence as to what they're planning?
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 02:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by gradient View Post
Never in all my years did I think I'd be having to defend US military policy around here.
Such is the curse of the PL.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 03:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Maybe I'm misinformed here. Was Al-Awlaki an imminent threat when he was taken out? How do you define imminent threat on a leadership position without very good intelligence as to what they're planning?
I don't know, tbh. From everything I've read about him, though, he certainly seemed like the type of character we wouldn't be having this conversation about if not for the fact that he was American.

For example: Cleric says American 'devils' must die - UPI.com

On your second point, I'm not sure what you're getting at exactly. Some amount of intelligence is clearly necessary, for sure.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 03:46 PM
 
My understanding is it took over a year between when they sent in the drones, and he was finally killed.

How long can a threat be imminent?
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 03:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My understanding is it took over a year between when they sent in the drones, and he was finally killed.

How long can a threat be imminent?
Is there a statue of limitations on being a threat?
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 03:51 PM
 
It starts after the drones land, but ends shortly before they take off again.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by gradient View Post
How is Al Qaeda an ambiguous term? Does it not refer to a very specific organization?
Al Qaeda should just change their name to Al Schmaeda. Instant protection.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 03:59 PM
 
Let me switch debating tact's.
I took this statement to mean that the fact that the individual is an us citizen has no effect on the rules of engagement. If you're going to shoot a missile at a terrorist then it doesn't matter if said terrorist is a citizen or not. This I agree with. Shooting missiles at terrorists from drone (its the military so it has to be a foreign country) with/without a state of war is a completely different debate.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My understanding is it took over a year between when they sent in the drones, and he was finally killed.

How long can a threat be imminent?
I'll assume you're right on this, as I don't know much about this specific case. It could be easily argued, though, that if someone is actively recruiting terrorists and promoting terrorist attacks then they are constantly aiding in the creation of imminent threats and are thus legitimate targets until such time as they are either captured, killed, or cease their activities.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 04:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Al Qaeda should just change their name to Al Schmaeda. Instant protection.
Point taken, and for the record I do agree that there's potential (however remote) for the slope to get slippery on this but at the end of the day, for me, it's about the intention of this policy (thwarting attacks on the US and her allies) and trusting those who know far more about these situations than any of us do to make the right decision.
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 05:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
It happens on both sides. R's pass social and environmental reforms that D's would never get through. Everyone has a better chance of getting their platform implemented by voting for the other side and crossing their fingers. It sucks because everything gets done by the party that doesn't really want it, so they do it half-assed.
I can buy part of this argument in that a policy will have a better shot of passage by the party in power that generally opposes it, but there were a great many Republicans and Conservatives post-Bush that have and continue to overturn their establishment base and I'm not seeing this on the left though admittedly I'm not armed with a super solid metric here other than voting patterns from 2008, 2010, and 2012.
ebuddy
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Feb 6, 2013, 05:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by gradient View Post
Point taken, and for the record I do agree that there's potential (however remote) for the slope to get slippery on this but at the end of the day, for me, it's about the intention of this policy (thwarting attacks on the US and her allies) and trusting those who know far more about these situations than any of us do to make the right decision.
Can you define "terrorist activities"?

Why do the criteria need to be classified?

Are they subject to change on a whim?

I applaud your faith in our military and I do trust them to make these decisions at large, but this is dangerous precedent. These are American Citizens. This is the military attacking its own people, justified or not - this precendent could reasonably be applied beyond "Al Qaeda" and your and my free speech could constitute "Terrorist Activities" to those in power.
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Feb 6, 2013, 06:03 PM
 
Do you not think in a years time they could have gotten a judge and jury to classify him as an enemy of the state?
     
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Feb 6, 2013, 06:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Can you define "terrorist activities"?
Probably not to anyone's total satisfaction. It's a whole other conversation, really, but as far as I can tell the term "terrorist" simply refers to a combatant that isn't enlisted in an official government military unit and who's targets include, but are not limited to, civilians.

Why do the criteria need to be classified?
I'm not totally sure which criteria you're referring to here, but if you mean the criteria for taking out an American citizen (imminent threat, participating in terrorist activities, can't be captured) I just pulled those from the article in the OP and they seem like reasonable requirements.

Are they subject to change on a whim?
Again assuming that you're referring to the criteria above, then I would hope not. They are pretty much the bare minimum requirements for justifying this type of action.

I applaud your faith in our military and I do trust them to make these decisions at large, but this is dangerous precedent. These are American Citizens. This is the military attacking its own people, justified or not - this precendent could reasonably be applied beyond "Al Qaeda" and your and my free speech could constitute "Terrorist Activities" to those in power.
I just don't see that there is any other choice, though, but to have faith that the political checks and balances within the USA are at least good enough to stop this from heading down a road that sees the definition of "terrorist" expanded to include normal law-abiding individuals. These are life and death situations. And really, should someone like Al-Awlaki even be considered as having the rights of an American citizen, after essentially declared war on the USA? It seems to me that he forfeited his rights as an American, and likely knew it.
     
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Feb 8, 2013, 07:24 AM
 
What I want to know is, how do you reconcile the stance of bringing Gitmo detainees into the US for trial with offing American citizens abroad?
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Feb 8, 2013, 09:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
What I want to know is, how do you reconcile the stance of bringing Gitmo detainees into the US for trial with offing American citizens abroad?
I don't agree at all with offing citizens abroad, but the reconciliation is obvious: the drones are nominally only for when capture is impossible. Obviously capture was not impossible for gitmo detainees.
     
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Feb 8, 2013, 11:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
What I want to know is, how do you reconcile the stance of bringing Gitmo detainees into the US for trial with offing American citizens abroad?
IMO, you can't. What's even more scary is that the legal theory behind the killings is that Obama believes his narrowly applied and carefully considered actions in this realm is a viable replacement for due process.

Because he thinks about it alot and carefully considers the assassinations under a strict set of guidelines (that his administration defines, seemlingly at will) is just as good as the rights afforded by the constitution. The more I look into it, the more horrified I am.

Seems to be getting bi-partisan opposition, which to me is a good thing. I'll state again that I'm not uncomfortable with dangerous and murderous individuals being offed in a desert somewhere, but if they are Americans there needs to be judicial oversight. This power amounts to a license to kill whomever and whenever based on arbitrary guidelines. I doubt Obama is going to start offing MacNNers that disagree with his policy but the precedent is so dangerous and short-sighted that it makes me nauseous. Alot can change in 30 years and if this precedent stands it is one big step towards the abuse of office by a future administration.
     
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Feb 8, 2013, 05:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
What I want to know is, how do you reconcile the stance of bringing Gitmo detainees into the US for trial with offing American citizens abroad?
I don't usually agree with this guy but in this instance he's spot on IMO ...

Originally Posted by Charles Krauthammer
I really don't understand this sort of hysteria over the idea of killing Americans who have taken up arms against the United States. Thousands of Americans, Southerners, died in Antietam without any due process. When we stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-day, and Americans approached German bunkers, I don't think anybody asked if they were any German-Americans here, I want to read you the Miranda rights. If you take up arms against the United States you were a target because it was an act of war and you forfeited those rights.
Krauthammer: If You Take Up Arms Against The United States You Have Forfeited Your Rights | RealClearPolitics

That being said, there should be some legal process where such rights are formally terminated. While I'm not shedding any tears over Anwar al-Maliki (let's not forget that this is who we are talking about here) ... no President should be able to target American citizens overseas on a humbug. I certainly don't think that is what's transpiring here ... but it's better to put checks and balances in place to prevent abuse in the first place rather than wait until some President decides to push the envelope too far.

OAW
     
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Feb 8, 2013, 06:45 PM
 
Traitors are entitled to the same bullets delivered at high speed as other enemies. No more, no less.

ebuddy, the Gitmo detainees are already in custody. That's a pretty fundamental difference.
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Feb 8, 2013, 07:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
Traitors are entitled to the same bullets delivered at high speed as other enemies. No more, no less.

ebuddy, the Gitmo detainees are already in custody. That's a pretty fundamental difference.
And who decides who's a traitor? A suit in an office behind closed doors?
     
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Feb 8, 2013, 08:27 PM
 
If this is such a rare issue, they can just handle it via due process. This law is dangerous and sets bad precedence, will look forward to the USSC getting hold of it.
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Feb 9, 2013, 03:38 AM
 
Oh yes, "due process," meaning in this case a trial in absentia, when a judge decides that you can be killed by a CIA operation? That doesn't sound slightly Kafkaesque to you?

You're literally trying to subject military operations to the approval of the civilian courts. Think for a moment how absurd that is. No one needed a court's approval to fill southern secessionists with lead, and for the same reason, no one needs a court order to drop a bomb on a legitimate military target, American citizen or not.
     
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Feb 9, 2013, 10:35 AM
 
The Gitmo detainees were captured and imprisoned because the field of battle was on the ground. You're justifying Drones as different because we no longer need boots on the ground. The death sentence is being delivered from the sky and you're right, you can't capture people when you're bombing them from so far away.

Just because we can doesn't mean we should, but my biggest complaint has been the hypocrisy in it. Truth be told, I'm torn on the policy because I'm not trying to justify it by some ambiguous standard. It's a death sentence given by a silent authority that delivers the sentence from the sky. Period. I feel in the least, the language needs to be much more effectively written to provide greater oversight of this power and I believe Obama has recently opened for ideas.

After all -- a guy I happen to appreciate a great deal has the following to say;
Originally Posted by Charles Krauthammer
I'm going to go hard left on you here, I'm going ACLU... I don't want regulations, I don't want restrictions, I want a ban on this. Drones are instruments of war. The Founders had a great aversion to any instruments of war, the use of the military inside even the United States. It didn't like standing armies, it has all kinds of statutes of using the army in the country... A drone is a high-tech version of an old army and a musket. It ought to be used in Somalia to hunt bad guys but not in America.

I don't want to see it hovering over anybody's home. Yes, you can say we have satellites, we've got Google Street View and London has a camera on every street corner but that's not an excuse to cave in on everything else and accept a society where you're always under -- being watched by the government. This is not what we want... I would say that you ban it under all circumstances and I would predict, I'm not encouraging, but I am predicting that the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that's been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country...It's going to be, I think the bane of our existence. Stop it here, stop it now.
ebuddy
     
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Feb 9, 2013, 11:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
I don't usually agree with this guy but in this instance he's spot on IMO ...
Krauthammer: If You Take Up Arms Against The United States You Have Forfeited Your Rights | RealClearPolitics
Missing were the some 400,000 soldiers that were captured and detained during the Civil War. In this I would challenge his reasoning and your citation of it as relevant with regard to Drones.

That being said, there should be some legal process where such rights are formally terminated. While I'm not shedding any tears over Anwar al-Maliki (let's not forget that this is who we are talking about here) ... no President should be able to target American citizens overseas on a humbug. I certainly don't think that is what's transpiring here ... but it's better to put checks and balances in place to prevent abuse in the first place rather than wait until some President decides to push the envelope too far.
OAW
I couldn't agree more.
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Feb 9, 2013, 01:38 PM
 
The drone stuff scares the porn out of me too. What do you guys think of Jullian Assange though? Any changes in your position - traitor vs. hero?
     
Clinically Insane
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Feb 9, 2013, 06:33 PM
 
A traitor? To whom? He's Australian.
     
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Feb 9, 2013, 06:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
A traitor? To whom? He's Australian.

I guess I meant to say an enemy of the state.
     
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Feb 9, 2013, 06:42 PM
 
I'm still waiting for him to do something illegal.

Not counting the touchy-touchy, which seems ginned up to me.
     
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Feb 10, 2013, 10:29 AM
 
NOW you guys are concerned about profiling? You let the door open for exactly this sort of thing when you didn't complain about things like the TSA's No Fly List or the ineffective-at-anything-but-giving-people-cancer Body Scanners.
     
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Feb 12, 2013, 10:42 AM
 
In case you had any doubts about how evil this program is:
Dick Cheney: Obama Drone Program Is 'A Good Policy'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney says the Obama administration's policy of targeting terrorists abroad with unmanned drone strikes is "a good policy," even though he disagrees with most of President Barack Obama's views on national security.

In an interview that aired Tuesday on "CBS This Morning," Cheney dismissed the need for "checks and balances" against the drone program. He says Obama "is getting paid to make difficult, difficult decisions."
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Feb 14, 2013, 03:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
Oh yes, "due process," meaning in this case a trial in absentia, when a judge decides that you can be killed by a CIA operation? That doesn't sound slightly Kafkaesque to you?
Perhaps, but to me it's a bit better than the Orwellian notion that being president gives you the authority to kill anyone, anywhere, for any reason. Keep in mind that Obama himself defined the guidelines and there is nothing preventing him or a future potus from changing them at will, without notification, and without anyone but himself and his closest advisors being aware of the changes.

I also envision the trial to be decided by jury, not a judge, and open to the public.
You're literally trying to subject military operations to the approval of the civilian courts. Think for a moment how absurd that is. No one needed a court's approval to fill southern secessionists with lead, and for the same reason, no one needs a court order to drop a bomb on a legitimate military target, American citizen or not.
Military operations are not supposed to target American citizens. Comparing drone strikes with the civil war is absurd, IMO. Several states essentially declared war by succession and the Civil War was defensive from the Union's frame of reference. The Confederates weren't technically American citizens as they had declared independence.

Do you suppose a court order would be appropriate to drop a bomb on an American complex abroad? On US soil? What about in a major urban center like NY? Where do you draw the line? How do we know that the targets of the drone strikes are guilty of what they are accused of? What is to stop the POTUS from using this on political enemies of his re-election abroad? At home?
     
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Feb 14, 2013, 05:26 PM
 
I think one of the issues here is drones redefining the notion of "battlefield".

There used to be a relatively clear distinction between whether you were on a battlefield (and hence not requiring a civilian solution) or not.

Likewise, the terrorism angle confuses things. We're dropping bombs on Yemen, but as their "pals".
     
 
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