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  1. #1

    Default The Increased Use of Military Drones and its Impact

    Does the increased use of drones radically change our approach and perception of war? What are the longterm ramifications? Do you support or condemn the use of this technology?

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    C.I.A. Is Disputed on Civilian Toll in Drone Strikes

    WASHINGTON — On May 6, a Central Intelligence Agency drone fired a volley of missiles at a pickup truck carrying nine militants and bomb materials through a desolate stretch of Pakistan near the Afghan border. It killed all the militants — a clean strike with no civilian casualties, extending what is now a yearlong perfect record of avoiding collateral deaths. Or so goes the United States government’s version of the attack, from an American official briefed on the classified C.I.A. program.

    Here is another version, from a new report compiled by British and Pakistani journalists: The missiles hit a religious school, an adjoining restaurant and a house, killing 18 people — 12 militants, but also 6 civilians, known locally as Samad, Jamshed, Daraz, Iqbal, Noor Nawaz and Yousaf
    In a statement on Tuesday for this article, Mr. Brennan adjusted the wording of his earlier comment on civilian casualties, saying American officials could not confirm any such deaths.
    American officials, who will speak about the classified drone program only on the condition of anonymity, say it has killed more than 2,000 militants and about 50 noncombatants since 2001 — a stunningly low collateral death rate by the standards of traditional airstrikes.
    The C.I.A. should make public its strikes and their results — even to the point of posting video of the strikes online, she said.

    “This is the least indiscriminate, least inhumane tool we have,” Ms. Fair said. “But until there is complete transparency, the public will not believe that.”
    Obama Terror Drones: CIA Tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals

    The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.

    The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a ‘targeted, focused effort’ that ‘has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.’

    Speaking publicly for the first time on the controversial CIA drone strikes, Obama claimed last week they are used strictly to target terrorists, rejecting what he called ‘this perception we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly’.

    ‘Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties’, he told a questioner at an on-line forum. ‘This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists trying to go in and harm Americans’.

    But research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children. A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.

    Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.

    There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days. Because the attacks are carried out by the CIA, no information is given on the numbers killed.
    Other tactics are also raising concerns. On June 23 2009 the CIA killed Khwaz Wali Mehsud, a mid-ranking Pakistan Taliban commander. They planned to use his body as bait to hook a larger fish – Baitullah Mehsud, then the notorious leader of the Pakistan Taliban.

    ‘A plan was quickly hatched to strike Baitullah Mehsud when he attended the man’s funeral,’ according to Washington Post national security correspondent Joby Warrick, in his recent book The Triple Agent. ‘True, the commander… happened to be very much alive as the plan took shape. But he would not be for long.’

    The CIA duly killed Khwaz Wali Mehsud in a drone strike that killed at least five others. Speaking with the Bureau, Pulitzer Prize-winner Warrick confirmed what his US intelligence sources had told him: ‘The initial target was no doubt a target anyway, as it was described to me, as someone that they were interested in. And as they were planning this attack, a possible windfall from that is that it would shake Mehsud himself out of his hiding place.’

    Up to 5,000 people attended Khwaz Wali Mehsud’s funeral that afternoon, including not only Taliban fighters but many civilians. US drones struck again, killing up to 83 people. As many as 45 were civilians, among them reportedly ten children and four tribal leaders. Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud escaped unharmed, dying six weeks later along with his wife in a fresh CIA attack.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #2
    ... Tyrinth's Avatar
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    I'm sorry if I missed this somewhere, but is the use of drones of any consequence to this issue? I mean, the possible/confirmed death of civilians has caused an uproar with just about every type of military strike. I don't see why this issue is any different with drones than it would be with bombing or any other method of taking out these targets. I mean, it is unfortunate that civilians are killed, but it's hardly a new issue, is it?
    ...

  3. #3
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, war isn't humane.

    Killing people is never good, but the idea that the military or other government agencies should tell the general public everything they do is absolutely ridiculous. Arm chair generals that don't know anything about war, or the situation on the ground, or the higher intelligence that people aren't privy to shouldn't have the ability to micromanage with public opinion how a war is conducted. If they think that we need the more surgical actions of people on the ground instead of using unmanned drones, maybe they should sign up and go do it themselves. People can bitch about things not being pretty and honorable when they're safe and sound but what would they be saying if we passed up the chance to kill a terrorist every time there was a risk of collateral damage and those terrorists committed more acts of violence before they could be eliminated?
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    Unfortunately, war isn't humane.

    Killing people is never good, but the idea that the military or other government agencies should tell the general public everything they do is absolutely ridiculous. Arm chair generals that don't know anything about war, or the situation on the ground, or the higher intelligence that people aren't privy to shouldn't have the ability to micromanage with public opinion how a war is conducted. If they think that we need the more surgical actions of people on the ground instead of using unmanned drones, maybe they should sign up and go do it themselves. People can bitch about things not being pretty and honorable when they're safe and sound but what would they be saying if we passed up the chance to kill a terrorist every time there was a risk of collateral damage and those terrorists committed more acts of violence before they could be eliminated?
    Surprisingly, the woman who championed the transparency was also championing the use of drones, rather than the critics.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  5. #5
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Surprisingly, the woman who championed the transparency was also championing the use of drones, rather than the critics.
    This doesn't surprise me.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    This doesn't surprise me.
    Mhmm, but I think you missed the point of my bringing it up.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  7. #7
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Mhmm, but I think you missed the point of my bringing it up.
    Such thinking is quite common these days in regards to military affairs. That was my point at least.

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    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Terrorists are already realizing that the best way to prevent being bombed is to live amongst the civilians. This just increases the number of intelligence and special forces needed like Seal Team 6.

    My favorite bomber, the B2 stealth bomber, still has 2 pilots.


  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Such thinking is quite common these days in regards to military affairs. That was my point at least.
    Among certain quarters, sure --particularly non-military. This specific academic Christine Fair isn't military either and her professional/academic resume seems standard enough for a pro-transparent gov't view, with the exception that she is a senior fellow with the Counter Terrorism Center at West Point.

    That
    did surprise me. It can't be a popular attitude in that sector, but it's an unorthodox means to an orthodox end (depending on the demographic we're viewing this from). She wants civilians to trust in their military and she thinks it's the surest way to accomplish it. I doubt it'll ever come to pass... cooperatively. But that may not be necessary. There's always Wikileaks.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  10. #10
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    The killing of civilians is a war crime.

    However in the 20th century we began the industrial killing of civilians. So by the end of the century we were killing more civilians than combatants.

    So perhaps we should start listening to our first christian humanist, Erasmus, who told us that all war is evil. And perhaps we should start disbanding our standing armies.

    And drones are particularly hated by tribal people because they kill civilians from the comfort of armchairs in Virginia.

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