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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeeekyyy View Post
    Not that this matters at all, but the term special forces in the Army generally refers more to green berets than rangers. Just a side note.

    Quite interesting, I had never made the distinction. Apparently Rangers are a 'special operations' unit, as opposed to Special Forces. Thank you.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    What do you think happened before drone strikes? We simply didn't kill anyone? No, we flew a helicopter or jet in and bombed them manually. This whole argument is a straw man, an unfounded perception by the opponents of Obama created purely from coincidence (and a healthy dose of paranoia). Any president and any authoritative party in power during these times would be experiencing the exact same amount of flak, simply because unmanned drones are the future of military operations. It's no single person's fault: it's science.


    I bet the Rangers that went to Mogadishu in '93 could mount a mighty fine argument for the positive utilization of drone strikes. A relatively simple snatch and grab, devolving into 1,500+ deaths, many of which women and children.
    From The American Conservative: Your Liberal President Reserves The Right To Kill You

    If he thinks you’re a terrorist, that is — and he doesn’t think a court should review the evidence before he orders your assassination either. Here’s Jeffrey Rosen analyzing the Obama administration’s drone strike memo:

    The Justice Department white paper released on Monday by NBC News is the public’s first direct glimpse at the legal reasoning that the Obama administration relied on in using a drone strike to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen living in Yemen. The memo’s arguments are troubling on many levels. Although the Obama administration’s brief is directed at the assassination of Americans abroad, the arguments it offers could apply with equal force to the assassination of Americans at home; lawyers for the Bush administration who tried to justify lesser outrages have been pilloried for supporting torture. But perhaps most troubling is the administration’s attempt to redefine the idea of the kind of “imminent threat” that can justify a targeted assassination.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that the police can only use deadly force against fleeing, dangerous suspects when killing the suspect is “necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.” But, in a vast expansion of this narrow precedent, the Obama administration says that the U.S. is not required “to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future” in order to assassinate U.S. citizens whom the government believes are Al-Qaeda leaders. Instead, the memo argues a “decision maker determining whether an al-Qaeda operational leader presents an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States must take into account that certain members of al-Qaeda …. are continually plotting attacks against the United States; that Al-Qaeda would engage in such attacks regularly to the extent it were able to do so; that the U.S. government may not be aware of all al-Qaeda plots as they are developing and thus cannot be confident that none is about to occur.”

    In light of the government’s possible ignorance of plots that may or may not exist, the memo concludes, when an al-Qaeda leader “has recently been involved in activities posing an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States, and there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities, that member’s involvement in al-Qaida’s continuing terrorist campaign against the United States would support the conclusion that the member poses an imminent threat.”

    This is an extraordinary conclusion.
    More:

    When officials conclude that “capture is infeasible,” the memo continues, “the intrusion of any Fourth Amendment interests would be outweighed by …. the interest in protecting the lives of Americans.” But of course, the question of whether American lives are, in fact, imminently threatened by a particular suspect is precisely the determination that the administration claims the right to make on its own—without an opportunity for an independent judge to examine the factual basis for the claim. “There exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations,” the Justice Department insists.
    There you have it. Look, I’m not sorry Anwar al-Awlaki has joined the choir invisible, but this is unnerving. If I’m reading this correctly, then the President reserves the right to assassinate American citizens abroad without judicial oversight, not because he knows they’re planning to do something, but even if he suspects they’re up to no good.

    Gosh, it’s like Dick Cheney never left. Here’s James Joyner on the memo:

    American citizens should nonetheless be wary of granting the president the power to single out citizens for killing based simply on his own judgment. Aside from being plainly unconstitutional, it’s simply too much trust to place in a single individual. At the very least, the rules ought to be spelled out in legislation that has passed both Houses of Congress and survived judicial scrutiny for constitutionality rather than made internally.

    Further, in addition to checks and balances, there has to be more transparency. The notion that the government can compile a list of citizens for killing, not tell anyone who’s on it or how they got there, is simply un–American. Surely, a modern version of a WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE notice could be publicly circulated, with a listing of the particulars. Maybe the named individual would turn himself in rather than wait for the drones to find him. Or maybe he’d hire an attorney to present evidence he’s not actually an imminent threat to American citizens.

    For centuries, civilized societies have understood that even wars must be fought according to rules, which have developed over time in response to changing realities. Rules are even more important in endless, murky wars such as the fight against Islamist terror groups. Currently, we’re letting whomever is in the Oval Office pick and choose from among the existing rules, applying and redefining them based on his own judgment and that of his advisors. We can do better.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post

    Seeing how fond you are of letting others do your talking:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targeted_killing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrajudicial_killing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disposition_Matrix


    I don't know what to tell you. I'm simply not paranoid about it. Perhaps, if I had thoughts of overthrowing the government, or killing my president or something...

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    Seeing how fond you are of letting others do your talking:

    I don't know what to tell you. I'm simply not paranoid about it. Perhaps, if I had thoughts of overthrowing the government, or killing my president or something...
    Which responds to the points addressed in the article how?

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    Seeing how fond you are of letting others do your talking
    Here's a comment of mine from a politico article about the drone policy:


    Who determines what an "imminent" threat is?

    When the decision process on these drone strikes is completely opaque as it is, the higher ups basically get to kill whoever they think is a threat.

    Not only that, but arguing that you are fighting an idea like terrorism gives you carte blanche to wage an unending war of your choosing regardless of whether or not that war makes us ANY safer in any quantifiable way. Also, fighting terrorism allows you to chase it to whatever country you like.

    So basically, our government has given itself justification to kill people wherever they like because they decide they want to without any oversight.

    The relative levels of collateral damage between torture and drone strikes aren't even comparable.

    The nature of drone warfare has taken all political risk (the only kind the decision makers care about) out of lethal military action.

    How is killing 1000's with no oversight better than torturing and killing a small number (with vastly less collateral damage) with an actual justifiable reason (the need for actionable intelligence)?

    Your argument is like trying to pick up a bucket you're standing in.

    I'm worried more about the growth of executive power that allows the president to kill anyone anywhere just because he finds it necessary, than I am about the US torturing prisoners for actionable intelligence.

    The only way your argument works is if you think Obama's capability to determine who is a big enough threat to assassinate is completely infallible always.

    I can't place that much faith in anyone.

  6. #36
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    The nature of drone warfare has taken all political risk (the only kind the decision makers care about) out of lethal military action.
    I think this is the key sentence. The political risk is in not killing people with drones. If there is another successful Islamist terrorist attack in the US, people will jump down the President's throat. So naturally the President will do anything to prevent the possibility of it happening, unless the political cost of doing it exceeds the political cost of not doing it. (Putting tens of thousands of US troops in hostile countries to get blown up by IEDs is an example.)

    US voters will have to accept a bit more risk in their lives before the President will consider changing the policy. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    I think this is the key sentence. The political risk is in not killing people with drones. If there is another successful Islamist terrorist attack in the US, people will jump down the President's throat. So naturally the President will do anything to prevent the possibility of it happening, unless the political cost of doing it exceeds the political cost of not doing it. (Putting tens of thousands of US troops in hostile countries to get blown up by IEDs is an example.)

    US voters will have to accept a bit more risk in their lives before the President will consider changing the policy. I don't see that happening anytime soon.
    I don't think ending the war on terror as we know it entails any greater measurable risk for the American public.

    In fact I think our foreign policy makes more enemies and increases the risk to our people.

  8. #38
    respect the brick C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I don't think ending the war on terror as we know it entails any greater measurable risk for the American public.

    In fact I think our foreign policy makes more enemies and increases the risk to our people.
    I agree. But curtailing the shooting "War on Terror" is a perceived risk to many Americans. It doesn't help that many Americans are ignorant about relative risk.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    1. Unless Rand Paul has a plan to deal with the military industrial complex, his doctrine will fail.
    2. Obama is not a liberal. He's a pro-corporate moderate.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    I agree. But curtailing the shooting "War on Terror" is a perceived risk to many Americans. It doesn't help that many Americans are ignorant about relative risk.
    Thats going to shift over the course of this presidential term. The culture shift is already occurring, with Hagel going in at SecDef and the upcoming cuts to the pentagon budget.

    It's going to be easier to sell military cuts to the public than it will be to sell entitlements cuts. Both of which are going to have to happen eventually, but I suspect the bulk of the military cuts will happen first, while the political class will put off entitlements reform as long as they feasibly can.

    It remains to be seen how long that will be.

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