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Rules For Drones

The law and American drones.  They’re killing all over.  What should the rules be?

A U.S. Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in Afghanistan. (AP)

A U.S. Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in Afghanistan. (AP)

American drones are a fixture of the global skies now. Pakistan and Yemen know it well. Hundreds of drone-fired missiles have come down out of the sky there. Thousands have died.

American drone warfare took off after 9.11, and accelerated sharply under President Barack Obama.

It has been Obama’s weapon of choice against Al Qaeda. But is it really legal, as 9.11 recedes and drone use spreads? And what kind of precedent is the United States setting for the future, when many nations have drones?

This hour, On Point: the law, and American drones.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Julian Barnes, Pentagon correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

John Bellinger, legal adviser to the Department of State from 2005 to 2009 under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House from 2001-2005. Partner at Arnold & Porter law firm.  Adjunct Senior Fellow in International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jameel Jaffer, directed the National Security Project from 2007 – 2010 and is currently the Director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.”

Time “It was only two days ago that Battleland posted a photo of the Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Aircraft System demonstrator “landing” gently on the flight deck of the USS Harry S Truman – with help from a crane.”

Salon “The proliferation of drones in domestic law enforcement and beyond has been boosted on Capitol Hill by a 60-representative strong, bipartisan “drone caucus,” according to an investigative report by the Center for Responsive Politics and Hearst newspapers.”

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  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    Public radio station in Missouri gets grant to develop drone aircraft for rural, environmental journalismhttp://irjci.blogspot.com/2012/11/public-radio-station-in-missouri-gets.html

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/11/npr-affiliate-launches-drone-program-150409.html

  • ttajtt

    computers are making human population power available for a horse war global control for the hungry.   does this mean the ones left are here for one reason.   if you got smaller and smaller…, would that be like falling.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/W27UZCDLONZFTETRLCUBU5QUNY Carl

    The Obama administration has used drones to assassinate 3 US citizens (one a 16 yr old minor) – all without any form of trial being provided. In ANY criminal issue, the accuser MUST prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, in a trial by jury.

    It doesn’t matter whether they were *accused* of bad things (no more than being accused of child molestation) – the fact remains that evidence must be presented and the accused must be convicted before any sentence of death can be carried out.

    These killings of US citizens are in utter denial of Article 3 of the Constitution, and the 6th Amendment. Even the ACLU has sued the administration over the issue:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/02/02/aclu_sues_obama_administration_over_assassination_secrecy/

    more here:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/13/in-assassinating-anwar-al-awlaki-obama-left-the-constitution-behind.html

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/how-team-obama-justifies-the-killing-of-a-16-year-old-american/264028/

    http://www.salon.com/2010/11/01/awlaki_2/

    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/18/obamas_killings_challenged_again/

    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/12/excuses_for_assassination_secrecy/

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Sadly there are many collateral victims in this war. It is very troubling to learn how many such victim’s the US has killed.
    One might argue that this is the evolution of warfare – as terrorists began launching complex operations from remote villages and cities, we responded by developing remotely piloted drone strikes against the commanders. Sadly they live among innocents, so when we strike we often kill innocent passers-by, people with no where else to live, and we become terrorists in their eyes and galvanize hatred for the US.

    Rules? How would any rule that precludes the deaths of civilians essentially not shut drone operations against terrorist command and control given their modus operandi.

    This bloodshed has been going on for so long now, can anyone really say who cast the first stone? Would we even be having these discussions if it weren’t for our policies in the middle east since the end of WWII?

    I don’t see any changes ahead until our political zeitgeist changes and our relationships transform. This cannot happen overnight.

    • Ray in VT

      Drones are certainly a double edges sword.  We want to eliminate terrorists, but there is aversion to the loss of American lives, so drones provide a solution there.  But terrorists hide among civilians, and they die in these strikes as well.  This is not only a moral tragedy, but it also hurts America in the minds of the people whom we want to turn against terrorism.

      Carl raises some very important issues below regarding the killing of U.S. citizens.

      Right now we’re really the only kid on the block using this technology, and we’re making the rules (which sort of seems like there are no rules), but what are the consequences when others start to bring similar capabilities online?  That’s something that we’re going to have to deal with in the future.

      • Gregg Smith

        They have been highly effective in the War on Terror but in they end only serve as a “whack-a-mole” strategy without comprehensive plan to change the face of the Middle East. That would include covert operations, support of opposition parties, a propaganda campaign over the airways and internet, financial tracking, blockades, sanctions and much more. If necessary it also means boots on the ground. There are forces on the other side pushing hard for the opposite. 

        • Ray in VT

          I agree that they would be ineffective if only used by themselves.  Thankfully, both of the administrations that have used these weapons have had wider plans, initiatives and goals along the lines with what you have listed. I haven’t always liked the ideas or the outcomes, but there has been wider intent.

          • nj_v2

            The blind agrees with the blind (mixed metaphor apology).

            One of the clearly stated reasons terrorism exists is because of U.S. presence in/occupation of the Middle East. Yet here’s agreement with the idiotic idea of more “boots on the ground.”

            Imagine some foreign country with military bases in Montana, or even Canada or Mexico.

            Stupid American arrogance as exemplified here is at the root of a lot of our problems.

          • Gregg Smith

            We are pigs, infidels who must be killed. It’s really no more complicated than that.

          • Ray in VT

            Some of your points are well taken.  I do think that we have often created problems for ourselves over the long term due to the actions that we have taken in the short term.  Now, certainly our actions in and towards some countries have greatly antagonized many people, including some people who will take violent action, but I do not think that merely not having “boots on the ground” would get rid of some of this anger/opposition/hated.  That option is one that I don’t support in many situations, but, sometimes, it is a viable, useful and effective option.

  • Shag_Wevera

    If you are a moral and thoughtful person, I don’t know how you can approve of how we use these drones.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      I wonder frequently these past ten years if any of us are moral and thoughtful. I know some are, I just seem to encounter them less and less.

  • sickofthechit

    Unless there is a trial with notice to the accused and an opportunity for them to respond to charges I don’t see how we can justify what amounts to murder.  The line of reasoning that supports drone attacks for the “greater good” led us to throw out the Constitution and Bill of Rights and torture prisoners during the cheney/bush administration.  Not a pretty chapter in our Nation’s history. charles a. bowsher

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/W27UZCDLONZFTETRLCUBU5QUNY Carl

    Furthermore, there are 2 other issues:

    1) As a card carrying ACLU member, I loathe the news station involved in the following clip, however, the Judge in the video does a great job of summarizing the domestic issue:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fNP51hZtVI2)

    2) Are drone strikes making more enemies? The administration has re-written policy so that ALL “military age” males (18+?) that are killed by a drone strike, are automatically classified as “enemy combatants”. They could be relatives, shoppers, spouses, whatever – but their age & presence within the strike zone is all that is required for them to be listed as deserving of termination. This is part of the argument for drones being more precise and humane?To look at it in another light, imagine local police depts could just state anybody shot by the police was automatically a “bad guy” and deserved to die.

    Rather Creepy. 

    http://current.com/community/93789602_obama-policy-all-military-age-males-near-drone-strikes-are-enemies-until-proven-otherwise.htm

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/29/1095594/-WOW-to-avoid-counting-civilian-deaths-Obama-WH-reclassified-Militants-to-include-civilians

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      Given that you are a card carrying member of a leftie organization that is against the death penalty for murderers , ok with the murderous act of abortion, and will go to great lengths to get terrorists off on legal technicalities, your position is disappointing but certainly not surprising.

      Drones have been used very successfully in terminating known terrorists while keeping American lives out of harm’s way.  One aspect of Obama’s foreign policy that I can embrace.  Drones are used successfully to locate terrorists and terrorist activity.  Money well spent.

      • kmh5004

        You undermine your somewhat reasonable point in the second paragraph with your baseless attacks in the first paragraph.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          My point is that the ACLU is wrong on so many other issues, why should this one be any different?  They are against punishing the guilty and are fine with punishing (or in the case of abortion, genocide against) the innocent.  One thing that I will give them:  they are consistent (consistently wrong, that is).

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            If you’re trying to fight that stereotype of “fiscally responsible folk” as people who’re damned sure they’ll never be falsely accused of anything, and who are fools (or knaves) perfectly willing to bed down politically with wingnuttia right-wing religous extremists (in a country separating church and state), you could do better.

            And if you’re an athiest/agnostic, you’re being used by them. Nothing of my liberty from religion you’re ready to give away will protect you from your “friends”. Rest easy.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      One other benefit that I forgot to mention.  Since they are unmanned and smaller, they use less fuel.  So they help reduce global warming!

  • Flytrap

     Title could be “Obama greatly expands anti-constitutional actions, Republicans racist.  

  • Jasoturner

    One would have thought that there would have been an ethics panel of some sort that would have established ground rules before we started using these drones, but I suppose our government’s passion for secrecy precluded an open discussion with the proper thinkers.

  • Gregg Smith

    TMZ wants one.

  • JGC

    If I have mineral rights to the land underneath my property, can I claim sovereignty on the air space over my property?

    • Gregg Smith

      Good question, I have a bit of experience. On two occasions (a few days each) over the last decade or so our horse farm was plagued by helicopters searching for pot. They were flying extremely low making a lot of noise. Horses were going ballistic in the paddocks. We have people riding in the arenas and little kids under the horses picking their hoofs. They were so low I saw one grazing the tops of the grass with the skids. Early one particular morning I was awakened by what sounded like a chopper landing on my roof. When I looked out the back door the fully armed chopper was so close I could see the expressions on the faces of the guys sitting in the open side door. I thought I was in Russia. 

      Needless to say I was very angry and worked the phones for an answer. The first time it was the NC SBI conducting training excercises for hunting pot. The second time it was the National Guard Armory from Statesville (40 miles East) doing actual searches. On both occasions I was apologized to profusely. The Armory even offered to have the pilot apologize in person. I declined. I was told they were not supposed to fly under 500 ft. (I think) and that I essentially owned that airspace. I am not sure if this was a stipulation for rural areas with livestock or if it applies everywhere. I am also unsure if it is a Federal or State law but I think it’s federal enforced by the FAA.

      I didn’t even consider the implication for drones at the time because it was years ago. I just wanted it stopped so I could get in a good crop of Pineapple Lady Uno. That was a joke

      • JGC

        Well, if it is only 500 feet, I guess we will all be goners when the drones come.  Time to spruce up my underground bunker.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        On two occasions? I put up with that sh*t every stinking day. Wonder what the gas bill is for the never-ending search for something that’s not even there? And not flying under 500 feet? You’re right, but Military and Law Enforcement completely disregard it. I don’t bother calling anyone, I can’t imagine it doing anything but making the problem worse. I just walk out in the yard when they are 50 to a 100 ft off the ground and flip their staring smirking faces a bird. It doesn’t help but it does make me feel a little bit better. At least drones wouldn’t wake me up in the middle of the night screaming “Red Dawn! Red Dawn!”. I despise the drone situation in its entirety, not nearly as much as I despise the helicopter situation though.

        • Gregg Smith

          Raise hell, it works. I have no problems at all anymore.

        • nj_v2

          I think it costs something like $500 an hour to keep a small, “personal” helicopter in the air for an hour. One can only imagine for a military unit.

      • 1Brett1

        Man, you came up with that “Pineapple Lady” joke so easily…hmmm… ;-)

  • kmh5004

    Why are there different rules for drones than piloted aircraft?  Seems to me the bombs coming out of them are the same so they should have the same rules

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Right. I don’t understand how it’s not an act of war to fly a drone over another nation. Everyone is going to have them eventually. What if Iran starts flying drones over afghanistan or venezuelan drones appear over florida?

      • nj_v2

        Haven’t you heard? The U.S. is special!

      • nj_v2

        Haven’t you heard? The U.S. is special!

        • sickofthechit

          Or as Stephen Colbert likes to say,  “America Again, Re-becoming the Greatness we never weren’t”

          • nj_v2

            It’s part of the reason that the national political landscape is so corrupt and immoral.

            Enough supporters of Dems and Cons buy into the nonsense of U.S. exceptionalism and will make excuses for whatever immoral policy the current White House placeholder puts in place. Politicians pander to this “We’re Number One” pathology.

  • JGC

    This program should be a good companion to the one the other day on Artificial Intelligence.  I suppose the main topic today will be drones that fly overhead, but what about miniature robotic Terminators that are being developed, programmed to kill an individual?  What are the biological parameters they use to relentlessly seek out their target? Facial recognition or iris scan?  Do you fear your Roomba yet?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Right. In the brilliant AI-SF novel “Neuromancer”, which introduced the term “the matrix”,  the protagonists are on a mission to remove the restraints that have been put on the AIs and are pursued by the “Turing police”. A drone kills the Turings.

      Wait till the drones are hooked up to the AIs!

  • AC

    this makes me think of that mexican sci-fi film ‘sleep dealer’…….
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_Dealer

  • Davesix6

    Your having this discussion now, after the election, come on Tom.

    • Ray in VT

      This is hardly the first time that this topic has been discussed on On Point:

      http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/06/07/americas-secret-wars

      http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/03/12/the-case-for-targeted-killing

      http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/07/11/global-drone-war

      The last one was from 2011, but the other two were from earlier this year.

    • Thinkin5

       Romney & party would do, and have done in the past, the same thing. It’s not really a party issue. Romney still wouldn’t have won the election.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        I just love the idea that Mitt (Insert Belief System A in Slot B) Romney would ride herd against anything drone-related, were he to have won a month ago. That he would have the gumption to go against the military industrial complex on this.

        The man has no ability to stand up to his “friends”.

        • Davesix6

          TF you need to get over Mitt, he lost Obama won.

          I suppose now you will be wanting to blame Mitt instead of Bush for everything Obama gets wrong.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I’m so over Mitt I don’t even care how quickly the right-wing noise machine stopped fluffing him.

            Your “citizenly concern” about drones sounds like something you’d barely give a shite about if the GOP were doing it. Outside of this board, and the mainstream press (bending over backwards to tell us all how the old, defeated GOP is now the Brand New Tea Party!), you barely statistically exist.

            Take it up with your own kind.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Bane’s hostile takeover of USAcorp failed, so Mitt didn’t get to loot the assets and fire the workers, and he’s free of blame. He won’t be cutting taxes on the rich, crashing the economy, turning surplus into deficit, starting wars, clearin’ brush while the terrorist alarm bells are going off in 8/2001, etc. Mitt is blame-free, except for the damage he already did as a financial con man “drone” at Bane Capital.

      • Davesix6

        The point I am making is the way in which this President and his actions are never examined.

        Obama has broken so many 2008 election promises, not the least of which was a promise of “transparency” and he is never taken to task for any of it>

        • Thinkin5

           I’ve never seen a president attacked on a daily basis the way this one has been. I have also never seen such hypocrisy about the things that he’s attacked for. Starting with “Czars” appointed by the president. As if the R presidents never did that! There is so much nonsensical, baseless, criticism of Obama that any valid critiques don’t even get noticed. Too much partisan noise.

  • http://twitter.com/en_b ian berry

    live by the sword, die by the sword

  • Thinkin5

    Far fewer innocent people are killed in drone strikes than in a military
    invasion and war. Where is the outrage and concern over all the
    innocent lives lost in Iraq? 

    • Davesix6

      And lives were saved using enhanced interrogation methods at Guantanamo Bay.

      Yet Obama called those interrogation methods illegal.

      Obama is a hipyocrite who says whatever is in his best interest, no matter the truth!

  • Coastghost

    A little late to feign incredulity or dismay with Obama’s implementation: he warned everyone of his intentions with his address to the Woodrow Wilson Center in August 2007, for which candor he was sternly and rightly rebuked by each of his competitors for the Democratic Presidential nomination (save Ms. Clinton). Obama’s unilateral disregard for national sovereignty and territorial integrity (even with respect to nominal allies) already stands to be one of his enduring legacies.

  • Davesix6

    The guest asks the question will drones be the Obama administrations Guantanamo?
     
    President Obama has not been held accountable for anything in the last four years.
     
    With a lap dog press consistently reporting the party line of the left, what would make anyone believe that will change?
     
    Obama assasinated two US Citizens on foreign soil using drones and it was barely mentioned in the press.

  • Thinkin5

    If you are an “American citizen” and you are living abroad and waging terrorist activities against America, you have forfeited your citizenship in America.

    • JGC

      Does that mean they don’t have to file their FBARs anymore?

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    The drone network is not limited to just the planes in the air.  It also includes a worldwide satellite network to support communication to the front lines.  In asymmetrical warfare, it is expected that our satellites will become targets?  Is this leading us into war in space?

  • TomK_in_Boston

    At first I thought this show was going to be about the romney class of economic drone parasites :)

    • sickofthechit

       Awesome comment.

  • ttajtt

    in nano technology, i here if ones at a bus stop with someone who is smoking, and one inhales the smoke, one is programed for to what one is to do.   so then one is crazy now, spontaneous and off the handle.   people scaring us

  • AC

    i’m in and out of this conversation; has anyone asked about the psychological effects to the operators?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Can’t remember where but I read an article somewhere fairly recently about how operators are affected. It basically hinted that they weren’t really impacted, that it was no tougher on the psyche than playing a game of call of duty. That scares the hell out of me. It’s bad enough that we’ve made it so easy to kill, it’s even worse that we don’t appear to consider or regret it when we do.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dwight.mccall.39 Dwight McCall

        Drew:  Thanks for succinctly station (one of the many) trepidations I have about our use of armed drones.  (You can always count on a Georgian to see through the rhetoric!)

      • Mike_Card

        That’s interesting.  Sometime during the past 12 months, I read an article (again, somewhere) that concluded the opposite:  drone operators in Nevada or New Mexico or wherever were severely conflicted about their military duties.

        That they were having problems reconciling spending 12 hours a day hunting and shooting, then going home for dinner, helping kids with soccer and homework, dealing with PTA committees, etc.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          As bad as this may sound I find that encouraging. I feel terrible for the operators that bare a heavy conscience, however, at the same time it gives me hope that they have one.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      To kids who grew up playing violent video games it must be business as usual! Just think, slacker game addicts are the new “top guns”.

      • AC

        hold up – i have played all the Call of Duties, except for the one out now, and i am no slacker!

        there were certain parts of the game that gave me new perspectives on ‘war’. the D-day mission took me forever to get off the beach and the game makes sure you feel the chaos of the sounds, with all your team mates falling around you screaming and moaning or exploding, very effectively. Also, the all ghillied up mission with macmillan in 3 where you’re crawling beneath the enemies’ caravan – i can’t believe there are people who actually have to do this. they must be adrenaline junkies, my heart nearly gave out just pretending.

        i don’t believe i’m completely dissociated from the reality between the game and real world consequences at all. in fact i know i couldn’t do it all if it was for real…

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Sorry, no offense meant.

          Maybe you should head to the recruiting center :)

          • AC

            there is no way i could really do it, like i said, i nearly had real heart attacks just pretending!!

  • Ben Cornforth

    It seems like drones have removed the original opportunity costs that bombs, missles, and chemical weapons used to have – costs that used to be prohibitvely high.  

    For the first time, we have a weapon that allows for unparrelled accuracy, with no risk of personel – it’s why they are referred to as assinations rather than assaults.

  • ToyYoda

    China or Russia using drones?  I think the next likely country to use drones would be Israel. (If they don’t use it already.)

    • anon

      When journalists were reporting from Gaza a few weeks ago, there was a constant buzz of drones in the background.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    What will stop other Drone operations from launching US or other countries’ missiles to steer suspicion towards the US or someone else to foment further chaos? This is a mess on so many levels.

  • Davesix6

    “Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.”

    So the Obama adminsitration is in fact admitting that they have had no standards for using drones.

    • hypocracy1

      Was there a standard?

  • Joachim110

    Listening to your callers this morning talking about killing people with drones as it is something normal is appalling. The U.S. practices murder and assaults other countries. What would be to outcry if one of these countries would fly some drones in here and start killing people. In the end it will come back like all the weapons we are selling around the world and suddenly kill our people. These killings are illegal under international law and it is high time that our rights are restored and accountability for Government and Military.

  • Roberto1194

    Drones dispatch death at a distance.
    They are instruments of fear and ignorance that we have foolishly embraced. And just as we have become the victims of our own inventions and interventions in the past…
    We shall suffer, and cause the suffering of many others.
    -unless WE act and lead the world with wisdom and the 
    courage to resist confronting evil with evil.

  • Thinkin5

    Here in the U.S. the right defends people shooting and killing people whom they “perceive as threatening”. Another teen killied in Florida last week! He was playing loud music while being black.  The same people don’t like drones killing terrorists?!

  • AC

    what will happen with the inventories as the technologies improve? will they be destroyed? or sold used to allies, or what?

    • Gregg Smith

      “Drones-R-Us” online?

      • DrewInGeorgia

         *shudder*

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlo-Danese/100002305865604 Carlo Danese

    a disturbing detail is that the cia is using drones to kill people targeted by foreign intelligence agencies – in this case pakistani we become agents of governments which are far from democratic – this is how we lost Cuba and Iran – we supported brutal dictators and helped them oppress their own people

    • sickofthechit

       Don’t forget our great work in Central and South America.

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    You don’t go to war to kill people. You go to war to achieve a political goal, to change the behavior of others. Let the robots go into harm’s way and fight the wars. There is no such thing as a fair fight. The US is not going to shrink its military might to the size of Middle Eastern countries just to make everything equal. Equal doesn’t exist. Don’t feel guilty for being on the righteous and winning side.

    • sickofthechit

       I would venture to guess that the original 9/11 hijackers felt righteous, victorious and guiltless as they crashed the planes into the twin towers.

      • harverdphd

         but…would they do it again given the horrible casualties their actions fostered?

        • Ray in VT

          I think that they probably would.  I don’t think that there is much that will sway the mind of a fanatic, religious or otherwise.  If one thinks that one is going to get into heaven by killing infidels, then one probably doesn’t care about wider ramifications.  I mean, if they wanted conflict and division between the Muslim world and the West, then they’ve certainly achieved it.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

             I agree. ~3,000 people killed, many of them NOT “infidels” and they must have known that would be the case.

            Their own version of “collateral damage”. Perhaps they would consider the Muslims they killed as unwitting martyrs.

  • http://twitter.com/JustWonderWhy Linda Bond

    Sense the 911 attacks the US “War on Terror” has retaliated by killing hundreds of thousands of people including thousands of our own military personnel.  The drone program continues this terror and has done more to fuel the unrest in the Middle East and inspire hatred.  The more distanced we get from the destruction, horror and terror of these actions the harder it becomes to find alternatives. It seems that as a world power and advanced society we in the United States could find alternative,effective, non-violent ways to work toward a more peaceful world.

  • Jaava

    I believe Drone’s are a good alternative to any other form of attack. The issue I see is that we are not trying to understand are enemy we are just killing people. and to be clear I am by no means some leftist liberal, but think about this, if we have a group of Americans on the other side of the country who decided they hate all Pakistanian’s and began to form there own group with the intention of killing Pakistanian’s, and Pakistan officials discovered them, then found out where they are training and dropped a missile on them. (assuming they had the capability)  Even if every one of those Americans was intending to kill (murder) civialians in another country we would still be outraged we would start a war over that and every american would support that. “you can not drop bombs on are country for any reason and you will pay for it”  Al qaeda is able to use this attitude to condem are country to there own people even more. Al qaeda as told people they are at war with the goverment in the middle east not the people”  They are always looking for ways to convince people they are only fighting for there freedom there rights. Then they can easily use these bombings as a tool to recruit more people. There are Militiant groups all over the world if we see a militiant group in the middle east we assume it is Al qaeda. Some militiant groups dont even have a cause some just fight for hire, who ever pays the most, some fight for there own causes often against there local government, If we hit them with a Drone, then Al qaeda walks around the corner the next day and says “See, see what the Americans do, fight with us fight against them” we are helping them build there support. If we want to win the war against Al qaeda we need to win over the people they are recruiting, we need to have people say “no I dont want to kill americans” We need to take there “personal” away from them. We are not going to make any friends in the middle east if missiles keep falling on them. If the CIA or the Wight House can gurantee they have located an Al qaeda camp, where everyone there has already decided they are at war with us, then I believe a Drone strike is a good idea, but only after people on the groud (CIA, Military Intel, etc..) have detrmined this is in fact an Al qaeda group with plans to recruit more and kill Civilians.

  • ttajtt

    if the boys are to come home without retaliation via foe toys like this wouldn’t get a bad name.  is there a mothership?   in the inland northwest we get you all later.  if uncontrolled then cheating is allowed they get to use chemicals.    NEW COMING SOON drones in one cell-pod-car-credit.  but then if we have it why would they not have alike too.   red octtobeer they ate the food that fell off the truck.  then found.   it must have had a nano taste.  

                                                   99 for 007

  • 1Brett1

    The rise of terrorist activity continues to gain ground because of how their leadership uses propaganda, which is reinforced by what is perceived by young/impressionable citizenry in foreign lands as unreasonable US aggression…While drones may take out a certain number of, say, prominent al Qaeda leaders, in the long run it causes us to lose the propaganda war, which facilitates the recruitment of new, say, al Qaeda members.

    • 1Brett1

      Not to mention all of the moral and legal ramifications of using drones.

    • notafeminista

      Making any actions by, say, al Qaeda members, the fault of the US.  I’ll bet you think rape victims had it coming to them as well.

      • Ray in VT

        That depends, has that rape been deemed to be legitimate or intended by god?

        Seriously?  Brett raises a very good point about the consequences of our use of such weapons and that is where you choose to go?  What an absolutely pathetic and empty response.

        He’s saying that they use civilian deaths as a propaganda and recruiting tool, not making excuses for them.

        • 1Brett1

          Thanks, Ray.

          • Ray in VT

            My pleasure.  The comments today have been by and large pretty substantive, Flytrap’s alternative title suggestion aside.  Why ruin a good thing by posting some moronic nonsense.  One could certainly argue that it is best to ignore such blatherskite, but I didn’t feel like doing that.

      • 1Brett1

        Yes,  “pathetic and empty” is an apt way to view your reply. You’ve misinterpreted (which is being kind) my comment. I’m not making excuses for terrorists, I’m questioning just how productive the drone strikes actually are and just what they really do accomplish, and perhaps that they might be counterproductive in the long view.

        • notafeminista

          Ma-and-larkey.  It’s difficult to interpret what isn’t there.  The substantive debate would be significantly more believable if:

          Overall comments weren’t lacking.  The use of unmanned drones against sovereign countries with little or no apparent oversight or policy and protocol and only 108 comments?  Where are the brave souls telling truth to the war-and-fear mongering regime in power?  And everyone so very,very careful not to call the administration thoughtless or immoral (see comments below for the suggestion that the use of drones may be lacking in either thought or morality) – as if these drones simply fell out of the sky.

          I’m simply holding you to your own standard.

  • ttajtt

    remember battle bots.

  • MattCA12

    Drones deal death to individuals who would otherwise do us harm, without putting American lives at risk on the mission. They work, hell yes we should keep using them. 

  • harverdphd

    The rule for all of history was:  Decimate your enemy’s forces and then turn your army loose on the population.  After WWII the rule has been shoot at each other till we get tired and then go home.  Get over it…war is now a video game.      

    • ttajtt

      its not just a job!  societies Mass employment.  meet the world.   retirement look at North, nixon, carter, big bush.  its got one to where we are now..    

  • Patrick McCann

    The rule is kill dirkas. Kill as many enemies of the West as possible.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_X2SQX7ADORRD5QFOA7NZSDL6OU Gary C. Huggins

      You, Patrick, are an enemy of the West. Prepare to die.

  • Outside_of_the_Box

    The US should not be using drones in countries that don’t want them there. And the drones should not have missile capacity where they are. Only surveillance.
    As far as drones in the US, they should not be allowed. Period.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002688768493 Jeffrey Heilman

    Purely military strategic thinking wants the effectiveness of US drones to become legendary around the world. In that vein, imagine drones so sophisticated that they can be programmed for a specific individual. The end of war as we know it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002688768493 Jeffrey Heilman

    On the other hand, this would also end privacy as we know it. Imagine squadrons of police drone helicoptors spying about. And why not? If drones per se are sanctioned, why should they not serve to further domesticate domestically?

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       They already exist, but that is not the topic of the show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002688768493 Jeffrey Heilman

    The real question is: Do we have the Will to NOT use drones, even if we had a mind not to? I think not. You cannot Will yourself to evolve beyond idiotic behavior. But you will do so.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SDKEES3YIJ7KO3CDLFV2GMKBHE Richard

    A few years ago, the western countries were outraged when a Russian dissident was assassinated with a poisoned tip umbrella tip.  Now we,the western countries, condone assassination with drones that also include “collateral damage.”  From the perspective of the perpetrator of the action, is there a ethical difference in their reasoning for killing individuals they perceive as threats to their governance?

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Do the editors of the show read the comments?

    If so, will you please read those from ttajtt. Then delete them  and remove posting privileges.

    The person posts nothing but disjointed sentence fragments that have no connection to the topic of the show (or anything else for that matter).

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