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The Obama Administration, Drone Strikes, And The Law

The Obama administration’s argument on drone warfare. Even against Americans. We push deeper on drones, killing, and the law.

 In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. (AP)

In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. (AP)

It’s been a great ride for advocates of America’s booming kill-‘em-where-they-stand drone program.  Kill lists.  Targeted assassination.  Death from the sky.  No muss, no fuss.  All secrecy, and then the public victory dance when a big al Qaeda kill is claimed, somewhere “over there.”  Even of American citizens.

Barack Obama skewered George Bush and Dick Cheney for going “extra-legal,” but President Obama has been the champion of drones.  And “don’t ask” has been the policy when it comes to legal rationale.

This hour, On Point:  we’re asking, about American law and death by drone.

-Tom Ashbrook


Julian Barnes, Pentagon correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. (@julianbarnes)

Matthew Waxman, professor of law and co-chair of the program on law and national security at Columbia University. Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy. (@jameeljaffer)

Closing Segment on the Pope’s Resignation

Scott Appleby, professor of history and director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

From Tom’s Reading List

Time Magazine “As you might expect from a public hearing about the activities of the CIA, John Brennan’s Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday was not exactly a font of detailed information about America’s intelligence and counter-terror operations. In an afternoon when he maintained a tough resolve against occasionally testy Senate questioners—Chuck Hagel could learn a few things from this guy!—Brennan revealed virtually nothing new about drones, torture or the war on al Qaeda.”

CNN “The 16-page white paper — titled ‘Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qaida or an Associated Force’ — is a policy paper rather than an official legal document. The president, the official said, was turning over the information because he believes the scrutiny and debate is healthy.”

The Atlantic “The future of drone warfare, in other words, is frighteningly futuristic. It’s not just happening in the sky either. Soon enough, we’ll have four-legged robots on the battlefield and surveillance submarines patrolling the oceans.”

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  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Under what circumstances could the President of the United States be arrested for war crimes ? Under what circumstances could the US military call for the arrest of all “ authorities “ that have forced the use of these drones ? I see troubling possibilities for any country that uses these drones, without clarify the rules of such devices in international courts .

    What is a terrorist ? What does it mean to ‘ take action” against a government ? A big mouth and tough talk has little meaning to me.

    • Ray in VT

      Regarding your last statement, that is true, although it is possible to take legal action someone when one ranges into the realm of threats.  A guy mouthing off is one thing, but what if one is a/the major propaganda guy for a terrorist group, as Al-Aulaqi was.  The technology of drones and the nature of these stateless actors causes problems that we did not have to deal with in conflicts past.

    • Don_B1

      The U.S. military has NO power to call for the arrest of all “authorities” that have “forced” the use of drones.

      The setting of rules on the use of drones is up to the Congress (House and Senate) and the President, as determined to be constitutional by the Supreme Court.

      It is the dysfunctional Congress that has not risen to its responsibility to debate this issue and come to reasonable constraints on the use of drones in this new type of “warfare.”

      The Republicans generally support a strong executive, and while they want to destroy President Obama, they don’t want to constrain a future Republican president, and while the Democrats do not see the benefit in helping the Republican attack on President Obama, they (many) are making their qualms about the current process known.

      The problem is that in the inter-party warfare it will be difficult to come to a reasonable set of rules, and that difficulty is probably inhibiting some from even trying.

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        The issue may well be more complicated than Constitutional Law. The more international we become the more we are entangled with a collective of international laws. Also, remember that during World War 2 some of Hitler’s generals wanted to stop Hitler from doing some of the things he was doing. At Nuremburg, so many defendants argued that ‘ they were under orders…’ , but that did not save them in the end. Are we turning the same blind eye to atrocities ? If the WW2 argument is too long ago for your taste, think back to Vietnam and some of the things that went on there. It never ends, does it ?

        • Don_B1

          Absolutely true that the military can refuse orders that are unconstitutional; the problem being that it can easily take a court case to confirm you are correct in opposing what could be a lawful order and then you are “tainted goods” for the rest of your career. Talk about whistleblower protection!

          This is truly a hornet’s nest of problems, which is why the Congress needs to get serious and set the proper guidelines but also set up an independent review process for each drone attack.

          But just look at the “political posturing” going on with the Hagel nomination, where a small group of Republican neocons are trying to either set foreign policy goals through knocking out someone who might support policies they don’t like or just using the nomination to settle “old scores.”

          This kind of dysfunction does not auger well for the future, it supports the frustration level the Obama administration must feel and why they chose to “go it alone” rather than try to establish a more defendable process. And note that any review process makes the process longer and awkward.

          But the last above in no way defends the delay in developing that process; it just spreads the responsibility for not getting it done.

          While I have difficulty believing that use of drones will be terminated, that certainly should be “on the table.”

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        This post has nothing to do with drones, directly, but it does have something to do with my post, indirectly.
        The link below is to an article on Wiki, entitled :
        “ Nuremberg International Toy Fair “, the fair was started in 1949 and is the largest of its’ type in the world. It struck me as odd that the subject of Nuremberg is a very serious one, as are drones and yet a drone is an advanced and modified form of “toy”, and Nuremberg is now a modified form of “serious” ! No direct connection to anything and yet somehow, worth imagining that something almost metaphysical is at play.


  • Shag_Wevera

    Drone strikes against targets in other sovereign nations.  Killing American citizens without due process…

    The real troubling part is that we can’t see how wrong this all is. 

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Great comment. It’s as if our behavior, no matter how repugnant, is off the table in our considerations. Unfortunately this attitude extends far beyond the use of drones.  

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    How quickly we forget that these animals flew airplanes into our buildings, terrorized our embassy in Benghazi, killing our ambassador, and committed or have attempted to commit many other terrorist acts against us.  If we can pre-emptively kill them without risking American lives, I am all for it.  And if other Americans choose to betray their country by joining the terrorists, then they are fair game.  Plus, I always enjoy seeing the video of the terrorists run around their compound like little ants seconds before they are about to be blown to smithereens.

    • Ray in VT

      For someone who seemed morally outraged by the clothing worn by Beyonce at the Super Bowl, I find it very strange that you would express enjoyment regarding watching people run around just before they are blown up.  I think that we should have the ability to go after people, perhaps even American citizens, who are taking up arms against us, but there should be oversight, and the very practice, especially when it involves Americans, does make me uncomfortable.  Perhaps you should take heed the words of Nietzsche: “Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.”

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        I can’t seem to get the image of airplanes flying into buildings, people like Daniel Pearl having his head cut off, and other similar images out of my mind.  These people need to be hunted down.

        • Ray in VT

          Certainly they do need to be tracked down.  There are many in this world who would do us harm, and we need to take actions on all fronts in order to combat such actors, but I do not think that one need take delight in the deaths of others, even if they are people whose actions are reprehensible.

        • nj_v2

          “These people…these animals”

          As if drone strikes target only those responsible.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            Unlike these animals, whose goal is to intentionally kill innocent civilians, we target only terrorists.  And on some occasions, the innocent people that are unfortunately killed are probably involved in hiding some of these monsters.

          • nj_v2

            It’s much easier for simple-minded people like you to merely dismiss and dehumanize people by calling them animals. As always, raw hate clouds reason.

            What motivates them? Where does there animosity come from? Why are so many willing to sacrifice their lives?

            How would you feel if a foreign country dropped bombs in your neighborhood any time of the day or night?

            What if foreign powers had occupied your country for decades?

            But why trouble yourself with difficult questions or learning any history when you can just hate imagined “monsters.”

          • notafeminista

            How does it feel to take  responsibility for someone else’s actions?

            Ward Churchill would be proud.

          • nj_v2

            : : : whooosh… : : : 

            …the sound of the point sailing by your dense head.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Or maybe you just need to stop watching so much television.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            Yes, we can stick our heads in the sand, sing “kumbaya”, and ask the question, “Can’t we all just get along?”  Or we can act to stop those who desire to kill us preemptively so that it doesn’t happen again.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Preemption is BullSkat.
            How does this strike you?:
            I’m sending Law Enforcement your way because I deem you unstable and a danger to your fellow man. What’s that you say? You haven’t been arrested for or convicted of committing a crime? No worries, I promise I used due diligence to determine your guilt and besides, The Minority Machine says you’re gonna do bad things…

            Sound good?

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            Maybe you should go on a worldwide apology tour.

          • Ray in VT

            You mean like Obama didn’t do?

        • Steve__T

           Are you a set in stone person? Can you take evidence that is questionable and ignore it. If not, take a look at this, I’m sure that you can’t suspend your beliefs long enough to get through all of it, but if you do you may have some questions of your own.


    • Steve__T

       Morally bankrupt.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      If it were so simple F-R. 

      So, as a conservative which I’ll presume you are, you’re comfortable with forgoing constitutional process to allow the President to kill people who he suspects are our enemies? 

      It doesn’t bother you that at once, the executive is now vested with the power of jury judge and executioner?  

      Note, the key word “suspect” – and that little bothersome, irksome principle of “Innocent before proven guilty”.

      Your last line is telling of what kind of person you are. 


      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Take a look at videos of Arab terrorists flying airplanes into WTC, Pentagon, etc. and Daniel Pearl having his head cut off (because he was American and Jewish) and tell me if that doesn’t make your blood boil.  The people that we are killing with drones would like to repeat these atrocities as well as explode dirty nuclear bombs in our cities, etc. etc.  You can live in a naive world and think that they should get a jury trial, or you can preemptively strike in order to prevent such murderous acts from occurring.  

        • NrthOfTheBorder

          It’s difficult to answer your comment F_R – not because I don’t hear the point you’re making, but you seem incapable of seeing how  the US comes across to many in the rest of the world. 

          Ironically, you’re attitude to the “ants” elsewhere wears the same hatred they have for us. Call it blanket generalization, coloring all with the same brush. Prejudice. 

          But your feelings must resonate with others elsewhere in your reaction to innocents being senselessly murdered. So, imagine yourself in a village in Yemen having had drones circling above for months – and in finally striking a neighboring house also kills your uncle, or brother, or mother or father who had nothing to do with the intended target. Wouldn’t that make your blood boil?

          • Ray in VT

            Notice, also, that the legalistic and procedural aspects of your question went entirely unanswered.

    • nj_v2

      Signs of pathology. Please seek professional help.

    • Steve__T

      I give you this to read, maybe you may change your mind. Or at least your attitude.

      Dead Enough: The Reality of the “Lesser Evil”


    • Shag_Wevera

      Might makes right is certainly one school of thought.

  • Fredlinskip

    The precedence our drone policy sets is problematic in that, sooner or later, other nations are going to follow suit and start “preemptively” assassinating folks in other countries.    It‘s not hard to conceive how this could easily bring about escalation into larger conflicts that nations will have to choose sides on, leading to huge conflict.

    • Don_B1

      Countries with “strong” armed forces will be able to defend against slow-moving drones, at least until they get to be as small as a small bird; but then they will likely be observers, not senders of munitions.

      Countries with drones will tend to use them in “failed states,” but two countries with different agendas might wage a war between drones in those failed states.

      • Fredlinskip

        Is Pakistan a “failed state” then?
        Whose to say drones will always be slow?
        Or maybe they will choose not to use drones. 
        Let’s say Pakistan sends assassin across border to kill someone in India, they feel has “transgressed against them”, then turn around and says, “well America does it, we’re acting preemptively”
        Don’t you see how this could escalate ?

  • Fredlinskip

    Let‘s look at “constitutionality” of targeted assassination a bit subjectively for a second. 
        What do you think 1st Prez, GW, would think if he were round to tell we were performing “TA’s”, “preemptively” occupying countries, and have employed “enhanced” interrogation techniques-     because we can? Does this represents “spirit” of constitution and FF‘s? Are these the  values that America should represent?                                         Does it really matter why we have tortured and are assassinating folks, or is it simply fact we are doing it? 
    Aren’t we heading down slippery slope? Aren’t we setting terrible precedent for other countries? Aren’t we supposed to be looked up to for ethical guidance?W campaigned that we weren’t going to be “policemen of the world”. Well what the ^#* have we become?                             
    Don’t have enough info as to “value” of particular “TA’s” to render judgment, but from sidelines- it sure seems we are overdoing it..

    • Steve__T

       I guess I don’t seem so paranoid and delusional now, about where this country’s heading.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Heading? We’re here and we’ve been holding steady since at least 2006.

        • Steve__T

           Tell that to Fredlinskip, he thinks I’m paranoid. And the Declaration of Independence is not considered a legal document in courts.

          • Fredlinskip

             D of I reads:
            “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

              If you were attempt to forcefully “abolish” our government or part of it, because of what D of I reads, U.S. courts WON’T have any sympathy for you.

            D of I is more a manifesto declaring our independence from Mom country, because of a list of grievances as it relates to (at the time existing) English law.

          • Steve__T

             Who said anything about force?  “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”  Who said anything about me myself and I? I am but one. One of many.

      • Fredlinskip

        Work to change it within the context of existing law-
          Don’t run;
         and don’t gather your “AW’s” and storm the White House.

        • Steve__T

           I have been, since the sixty’s, I don’t think storming the WH would get anybody anywhere. I told you I don’t own an aw and don’t think that would be the proper way to try to engage this government of puppets.

          I will say, some people are fed up and wont take much more. You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth at the same time and get anyone to respect what you have to say.
           If or when revolution comes to America I’ll take me and mine to the hills and live off the land.

          • Fredlinskip

            During gun debate, my concern was that people think that Constitution grants right to Bear arms so as to protect themselves against there own government, which gives paranoid types an excuse to “stock up”. It doesn’t. 
            You say we are inches away from becoming a tyranny as England once was.  I try to remain optimistic. Don’t think we’re anywhere near that. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak out and do what  I can when I see our “leaders” go astray. Yes I’d have to say that in some ways our Democracy is threatened, but it has always been a struggle. Sometimes exposing the truth goes a long way towards encouraging change. 

          • Fredlinskip

            I have great respect for those in the ‘60’s that helped bring about great change in America- ending Viet Nam, women’s rights, civil rights, and on and on. We had a strong middle class and lots of upward mobility.
             Since 80’s Conservatives have done their best to dismantle as many of those changes as they could. Quite successfully. Majority of Americans ACTUALLY fell for the belief that the more $ that funnels to top, the better for all- Supply-side Economics. That was QUITE a feat, when you think about it. Unfortunately they have proven quite effectively that $ funnels to the top and stays there. Once $ is there they have enormous influence on our leaders and media conglomerates. A bit frightening, that.
            But there is hope- the OWS’ers brought more attention to this issue then are given credit for. And change is already occurring. Too little too late- We’ll see. I’m hopeful.

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

    It’s a simple issue:

    The Constitution EXPRESSLY STATES in Article III, Section 2:
    “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury”.

    Plus the 5th Amendment:
    “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”.

    And the 6th Amendment:
    “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury”.

    By the way, if the govt is asserting it has the power to assassinate citizens, and hold them in indefinite detention – oh wait, Obama’s speech used the term “prolonged detention”, without evidence… that is a working definition of tyranny. 
    It’s also a list of powers that the next President (perhaps Jeb Bush?) will inherit.

    No thank you.
    UnConstitutional Laws are not valid or legal.

    If the People cannot reel in the ever expanding executive branch, then nullification and interposition are the only options.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Well, if you are gonna be logical and follow the law and all…

  • Gregg Smith
  • Gregg Smith

    “Good thing (Department of Justice) drone memo didn’t come out in 2008. Candidate Obama would never have put up with stuff like that going on.” -Ari Fleisher
    How true.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Every topic doesn’t need to be an opportunity to kneecap the president, y’know.  You could address the issue from any number of angles.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    Drones highlight disturbing trends in the exercise of foreign policy, adherence to our system of justice and international law.

    Drones are instruments of terror and here we are, leading the way in a this-will-come-back-to-haunt-you manner for other nations to follow.

    Who speaks for the children and innocents killed and maimed when we target a presumed enemy? Is this the way we really want to conduct ourselves? Is this what we stand for?
    Will drones absolve the nation of the hard work of diplomacy, on the ground counter-insurgency and police work, and – god forbid – staying true to the better angels of our nature?

  • William

    In April 2012 the US State Dept. said the war on terror was over but apparently the President and the CIA don’t agree with that statement.  Obama and the CIA expanding into a new “dirty war” similar to JFK’s attempts to kill Castro and his green lighting of the killing of President Diem. 

    • Ray in VT

      When did the State Department issue a statement saying that the war on terror was over?  I must have missed that one.  Did the Secretary of State or some other top official say that?

      • William


        • Ray in VT

          I tracked down the story before I asked the question.  So, it was the case that an anonymous State Dept. official made the statement, but it was not The State Department:

          The article’s ink was barely dry when a White House spokesman corrected
          the record. The State Department official had misspoken: President
          Obama’s “war on Al Qaeda” was being fought furiously, and would
          continue.Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/04/30/is-war-on-terror-over/#ixzz2KbZN27iI

          Your first sentence is highly misleading.  Also, you cited instances of killing foreign heads of state, which is rather different from killing stateless terrorist groups.

          • William

             Obama is difficult to follow. His SD said it was over, but then said the war on Al Qaeda” was still on. Obama rejected Bush’s war on terror in 2009.

          • Ray in VT

            An anonymous official making a statement does need not reflect the position of an entire department of government.

            There are still plenty of terrorists to fight in the world, and I, like many Americans, did not like the road that some of President Bush’s policies and positions led us down in pursuit of the “war on terror”, and some of the policies of the current administration also give me pause.  We can certainly pursue terrorists without cowboy diplomacy and needlessly provoking people with talk of a “crusade”.

          • William

            Using a low level official is a good way to put out policy.

          • Ray in VT

            So they put out a policy anonymously, and then went out and countered it, as they continued to talk about pursuing Al Qaeda.  Tell me, then, what is the difference between the war on terror and a war on Al Qaeda?  Are we just not pursuing other terrorist groups?

          • William

             Odd policy by Obama.

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

            Keep digging your hole.

      • notafeminista

        Senator Reid said not only over, but that we lost.  Why are we still bothering?

        • Ray in VT

          Do you have a specific quote for the Senator saying that the war on terror was over and lost?

          • notafeminista


          • Ray in VT

            So do you have a factual basis for your statement, or were you just taking an unfounded cheap shot, perhaps in the hope that no one would call you on it?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    It really bothers me how we continue to tally the deaths of suspected terrorists without even bothering to find or id the bodies – and ignore the deaths of actual innocents.

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    Perhaps we should remember that justice and laws are not always synonymous.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      They never seem to be synonymous any more, if they ever were. The nightmare I’ve been living through resulted from nothing more complicated than Law Enforcement and Justice Department Employees failing to do their jobs.

      Seems like The Department of Justice ought to change its name to The Department of Legal.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    encourage all those who strive for social justice to work to ensure that Bush, Obama, and those with
    leadership roles in the US governments war crimes, including drone killings, are brought to trial
    for their crimes against humanity.

    What Bush began, Obama is furthering. In their global war / extra-judicial killing policies/practices, I see the sowing of seeds of disaster.  Every mass murder the US commits around the world inspires more people to take action against the US.

    Domestically, a principle target of the FBI has been anti-war/pro-peace activists and anti-plutocracy members of the Occupy Wall Street movement. If you’re interested, see the following sites for more information:
    http://www.aclu.org/maps/spyin… ;
    stopfbi.net/about/timeline .

    As quiet as it may seem now, there are a lot of people in the US who are against war and plutocracy and are in favor of social justice in general. If the government now, or a more hawkish government in the future, were to decide that some of these “enemies” are to be killed, Obama has put into practice the policies by which they may assume these powers.

    Witness what has transpired in Syria, where the government chose to target and kill those with political/ideological differences.  Let’s not put ourselves on a path that makes this horror a possibility for the US.

  • nj_v2

    Obama merely continues and extends the amorality, violence, and pathology of the projection of U.S. hegemony. No different or worse, in many ways, that those who preceded him, or, unfortunately, those who are likely to follow. Drones are merely the latest tool of the empire.

    The military projection of U.S./corporate power has been exercised for decades to benefit the rich and powerful who control the government at the highest levels. Subjugation and overthrow of democratically elected governments, assassinations, installation and support of dictators (including Saddam Hussein) and puppet governments when the bid the bidding of the U.S. are just some of the techniques that have been used to manipulate and control economies, resources, and governments for “our national interest” which is code for the enrichment of the banksters, the corporations, and the political hacks who cater to them.

    This will never change until enough people acknowledge, see though and reject the kabuki theater of Republocrat/Democracan pseudo-partisan politics. 

    Today, we have the countervailing idiocies of a significant portion of people claiming to be “liberal” who voted for and continue to excuse the worse regressive aspects and policies of Obama and his chosen hacks, playing against the right-wingers who suddenly care about innocent people being killed by the U.S. war machine because now the machine is put in motion by the “socialist” Obama.

    People’s mindless attachment to the morally bankrupt duopoly of the two corrupt parties ensures that those in control can continue to exercise their immoral power unchecked.

    • nj_v2

      Here’s a good example of how far so-called liberal Obama apologists will go to rationalize the worst of his policies:


      Joe Klein’s sociopathic defense of drone killings of children
      Reflecting the Obama legacy and US culture, the Time columnist says: “the bottom line is: ‘whose 4-year-olds get killed?’”

    • notafeminista

      Except that President Obama as Candidate Obama was marketed, sold and bought as being above all of what you just described.  Above the fray, no?

      Lowered expectations are a booger.

      • nj_v2

        Only the dull witted and easily manipulated take marketing hype seriously.

        Anyone paying attention would have realized that Obama would be no different on foreign policy (and other issues) than his predecessors. The signs were there; for example:


        Count Me Out The Obama Craze
        The Obama Craze

        • notafeminista

          Fair point.  Apparently 3.9 million fewer of us were dull-witted and easily manipulated in 2012 compared to 2008.   Hope springs eternal.

  • toc1234

    funny how different president obama is regarding this stuff compared to senator obama.  maybe its b/c he had look behind the curtain and saw how f’d up the world is.

  • toc1234

    but I thought this was going to be the nost transparent administration of all time???  oh, right that was Senator Obama talking… 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    To go back to what was brought up last week – why shouldn’t countries like China use the same justifications to kill who they see as “imminent threats” in the US?

    If these “policies” don’t work both ways, they are not valid justifications, they are just excuses.

  • Coastghost

    Is anyone proposing that American citizens who “go over” to the jihadi cause first be stripped formally of their US citizenship? (presumably by one of these new “special courts” and not simply by a White House staffer)

    Separately: why are maritime laws concerning the killing of pirates at sea not employed in the campaigns against our jihadi adversaries? OBL & Co. are little more than land pirates and seem to merit the treatment pirates received in days of yore.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Preemption is a Tyrant’s best friend.
    It’s ridiculous. It’s atrocious. It’s reprehensible. It’s gotta stop.
    Conviction and Punishment upon arrest and conviction is great. What we have now? Not so much.

    We should have been focusing more on Preventative Maintenance and less on Preemptive Bull$#!%.

  • Potter

    Do drone strikes really save lives? Does this not make more enemies?

  • RPSelby

    Why don’t we decide what level of “legitimate” drone use by other sovereign nations we want to allow over US soil and make that our standard ?

  • Steve__T

    I found this piece from Global Research by John Zoqby called Drones and Dreams. 
    His take on this subject mirrors my own, and seems some other posters here.


  • AC

    in every scifi movie, it’s the bad guy opressing the masses with drones. this feels like we’re the bad guys; yet, through-out history, ‘security’ has a dark side the avg person doesn’t want to know about.
    i really don’t know where i stand on this…..i don’t want to decide….someone convince me either way.

    • Fredlinskip

      Can “you handle the truth?” (as Nicholson would put it?)

  • Coastghost

    Any daylight between the White Paper and the substance of Obama’s August 2007 address to the Council of Foreign Relations at the Woodrow Wilson Center? Analysing Obama’s policy implementations in terms of that address can be an enlightening exercise.

  • toc1234

    I think that quote from the former mich gov sums up the liberal mentality…  we’re liberals so therefore we are good people and therefore just trust us, we know whats best for everyone - don’t you small people worry about the details of law, etc…

    • Mike_Card

      Dick Cheney would never say anything like that.

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

        Now Mike, Old Third-Rater Dead-Eye Dick has some important things to say about the grownups in charge now.

        • Mike_Card

          Yeah, a friend forwarded that.  What a fricking waste of a healthy heart.

    • nj_v2

      ^ Exactly the kind of mindless partisanship i referred to earlier

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      You confuse “Liberal” with “Intelligent”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Wait until Iran drops their nuclear program and develops a drone program instead.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

       FYI    The Iranians are already mass producing drones.

      • jefe68

        Do you have proof of that?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

          They downed the US Stealth Drone RQ-170 in tact and have already decoded the surveillance video.   Proof?   Do you really expect they are sitting on their hands with that technological windfall?? 

          • jefe68

            Are you aware that you contradict yourself a lot.

        • hennorama

          The GAO indicated last July that UAVs have been proliferating rapidly, and that AT LEAST 76 countries have “acquired a UAV system.”

          “Our analysis of open source information shows a significant increase in the number of countries that acquired a UAV system since 2005. In 2004, we reported that approximately 41 countries had acquired a UAV.16Our review of current U.S. export licensing data and open source materials found that this number grew over the intervening period to at least 76 countries.”


          Further, according to the same source:

          “According to available analysis, the majority of foreign UAVs that countries have acquired fall within the tactical category. Tactical UAVs primarily conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions and typically have a limited operational range of at most 300 kilometers. However, some more advanced varieties are capable of performing intelligence collection, targeting, or attack missions. Mini UAVs were also frequently acquired across the globe during this period.”

  • Shag_Wevera

    We’ll see how the pro drone, pro assassination folks feel when the Chinese start killing dissidents at weddings or universities here using this same technology.  Oh that’s right.  We’re “exceptional” and China is not.  Ethical dilemna resolved!

  • William

    The failure to control the use of lethal force was demonstrated by the LAPD recently when they shot up two ladies delivering newspapers. It is one thing to kill Islamic terrorists overseas but granting the administration a blank check to kill anyone, anywhere at anytime is not a good policy.

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

       Lots of hinting and mixing suggestiveness you got there, like conflating “Islamic terrorists” with “anyone overseas drones hit”, and “administration” (we know you mean the Obama admin) with “LAPD shooting paperladies”.

      If you want to fool people here, you’ll have to start sockpuppeting.

    • jefe68

      You’re using the LAPD as an example of the something that relates back to the Obama administration? 
      The LAPD has a history of being out of control going back decades.

      That’s a bit far fetched. You are aware the militarization of our police forces was stepped up ten fold after the Patriot act. This cat has been out of the bag since 2011.

      I heard a story about chap with a bit of a drinking problem who was driving a fuel truck while intoxicated.
      He became lost in NY City and was dumb enough to ask a cop directions. The cop smelled the booze and arrested him. Well it did not end there the DA and the NYPD tried to do this guy for terrorism. Sorry, as dumb and dangerous as this mans actions were they were not an act of terrorism. This kind of thing is not being reported at all. The misuse of these laws, which is a valid complaint.

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

        Now jefe, a Democrat somewhere who served in Vietnam but got called “unpatriotic” by Drudge (andthereforePoliticothereforetheMainstreamMedia) was shown half the evidence and voted for the Patriot Act, sobothsidesdoitequally.

        • jefe68

          Most of them did. That’s the problem.
          GW and Cheney used 9/11 to their advantage, and I might add very cunningly.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Neither of them were all that cunning in my opinion.

            It doesn’t take a clever fox to to walk through an open chicken house door and eat every fowl inside, just a hungry one…and a bunch of thoroughly panicked chickens.

          • jefe68

            Well yes and no. For some us the answer is no. For the members of Congress the answer was yes with reservation. Politics is often many shades of gray.

      • William

         I’m using the LAPD recent shootings as an example of trained professionals using lethal force poorly or with no regard for their actions. Obama is pushing for a policy to kill Americans that he or law enforcement or intelligence professional says is a threat and that I don’t agree with since as we see with LAPD and other police departments across the nation the use of lethal force by professionals is out of control.

         The police have been moving more towards a para-military organization before 9-11 but I agree after 9-11 they really have become more militarized.


        • jefe68

          The local police use of force is an interesting subject. How much is of this coming from the state and city level via a blind eye from the Federal level is anyones guess. But the way civil protests are now being handled is obviously not in line with the perception of our right to assemble to voice our displeasure of government polices  If you ask me the idea of the Occupy Movement was about this and more.

  • Coastghost

    Assuming Obama and Holder took leads in formulating the policy expressed in the White Paper: what does this tell us about the quality and the character of the legal education to be had at Harvard and Columbia law schools, respectively?

    • Ray in VT

      Maybe not much good, considering that John Yoo went to Harvard and Yale, yet gave opinions that the government could conduct domestic surveillance of Americans without a warrant.

  • derekcito

    At the heart of this program of assassination is the mystery of why President Obama reversed the views he expressed as a candidate. He hasn’t explained, he won’t explain, so all we can do is speculate. I believe it’s plausible he made a decision that he would do almost anything to prevent a major terrorist attack on the United States during his presidency. He might feel such an attack would undermine the legitimacy of his presidency (as it should have Bush’s). So he was willing to continue and expand an illicit program he himself had identified as illegal and immoral.

  • AC

    i’m not a ‘he’…:(

    • DrewInGeorgia

      You sure? lol

      • AC

        i’ll go double check – ha!

    • http://twitter.com/Dragonsong73 Eric R. Duncan

       I cringed when i heard him say that.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Does anyone know why nations can’t use their air forces to shoot down drones violating their air space?

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Leave it to anything goes in the name of free enterprise for a US company to come out with an anti-drone missile and sell it abroad to shoot ‘em down. 

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Bingo! After all, cheney did his best to avoid US sanctions when Halliburton was supplying the Iranian oil industry.

  • MarcusXH

    I don’t see what the big deal is.  Nobody had a problem with it until this information was leaked.

    Suddenly now that we’re “informed” people are up in arms?

    It’s a covert operation and it should remain a covert operation.

    Nobody here knows all the facts or details about the program, and we’re extrapolating. 

    As for targeting Americans who go and become jihadists, there is nothing wrong with that.  Spending the time and effort to capture those individuals then transport them back to the states (or even to a courthouse at a us embassy) would be a massive waste of time, a massive risk to the individuals involved, give the jihadists more press than they deserve and drain our coffers.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Ah.  Seems the US is so leery about costs these days they’d sell their sacred principles for a pittance.

  • J__o__h__n

    Why is the Pope substituting his judgment for god’s for when it is time to stop being Pope?  What is next, euthanasia? 

    I nominate Ed to be the next Pope.  My second choice after Bernie Law.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Where is ED this morning? All I could think when the step-down was announced is: Damn, Ed must be right. We’re all so Evil and Corrupt that even The Pope can’t handle it. I wonder if Ed’s head exploded…

  • mezure

    I’m always disturbed by statements made within the context of laws that attempt to rationalize why we do something militarily.  From whence do these disagreement come?  How have we spent more than seventy five years deluding ourselves about the purpose of military weapons?  The United States made the Atom Bomb and we used the Atom Bomb.  We are making the drones and we are using the drones.  The catch word is making.  We spent our tax dollars to make the bomb and we are spending our tax dollars to make the drones.  You need enemies in order to capitalize on this major investment.  The legal illusion of what is right or wrong has nothing to do with the need to use these investments wisely.  Don’t give me empty legal platitudes for they are as fungible as the tax dollars that we are spending in order to keep the United States a nation of  military junkies.

  • sickofthechit

    I am not comforted by the thought of Congress having what may need to be secret information.  Not when I hear and see Rep. Mike Rogers (R) Michigan reveal on a Sunday show yesterday the specific reason the underwear bomber’s device failed to go off.  Talk about aiding and abetting the enemy!

    Same thing with all of us wanting to know everything about Benghazi as soon as it is known.  When we reveal all of what we know prematurely it aids the enemy if they know we know who they are, or where they are headed.  It might drive them deeper undercover and out of reach.  Better that they think we are in the dark while we track them.
    Charles A. Bowsher

  • 65noname

    this conversation was too narrow.  What about the question of whether the government can or should be trusted with the power to make these sort of decisions.  After all, the amerikan govrnment’s history when it comes to providing truthful info

    when it comes to people that it opposes.  Start with the obvious bush govt lies about weapons of mass destruction in iraq. Go on to the government’s lies about the viet namese people’s resistance to the splitting of the counbtry into north and sout, not to mention the governemnt’s lies about the anti-war movement; go on thegovernment’s claims that the anti-war movement was run by outside forces and dangerous to tthe country; proceed to both state and federal governments’ attempt to redbait the civil rights movemeng anti-amerikan.

    And then, of course, the governemnt’s attacks on progressives during the 40′s and the 50′s.

    Is this the government that we want to make secret decisions about who gets murdered?  And the secret courts are no better.  First, they do not provide either any real due process nor are they required to provide any evidence to support the government’s desire to kill someone; nor does it give

     the “suspect” any opportunity to respond.  And, do you really trust the judges who sit in secret session on these secret “star chamber” proceedings?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    The US has followed Israel’s path to Nazism. 

    But just like Stuxnet, these drones will come back to haunt the USA.  Cheap drones and computer hacking is an easy weapon for assimetrical warfare.

  • yamziam

    No matter what excuse they use for drone attacks, they are wrong. What argument will be made when drone attacks could be used on US soil. Once you open that as an “acceptable warfare”, there is NOTHING to keep another country to use our own tactics on us. It is opening Pandora’s Box and very unwise.

  • Slimfred

    How can Obama justify Killing opponents with Drone strikes, especially after he was so critical of President Bush that treatment of terrorists held in Guantanamo was too harsh.  I guess power has gone to his head, and Obama no longer sees a need for an American Judge and jury to convict terrorists.   BOOM !!  They’re dead because we didin’t like them. 

    I am grateful that American News media has found the time to cover this hypocrisy.  Even if it has taken 4 years.

    • hennorama

      To those who state that there is hypocrisy involved in how some criticized the use of redefined/legalized torture by the Bush II administration vs. how some were less critical of the use of redefined/legalized assassination by the Obama (and Bush II) administrations, one can only ask why would you think these are somehow equivalent policies when discussing national security?

      While both of the policies involve actions taken against particular individuals, the policies involve different levels of US control, and the urgency of the threats involved.  Those who were tortured under the Bush II admin. were already captured and under control and therefore already neutralized as a national security threat.  Those assassinated by both the Bush II and Obama admins are not captured, controlled or neutralized, and therefore represent an ongoing threat until the policy is carried out.

      Think of it another way.  Let’s say you raise livestock outdoors and the livestock are threatened by large predators.

      You set out some traps, and a predator is captured.  Do you gain anything by then poking the trapped predator with a sharp stick, or dropping the predator and the trap into a water trough, then pulling them back out?  Do those subsequent actions reduce the current threat from this particular predator?  Can these subsequent actions be justified if your goal is to eliminate the immediate threat posed by an individual predator?

      You also use a crossbow and/or firearms to kill a predator that is just outside your fences, or was about to breach your fences.  This eliminates a real or perceived threat.  This is how you choose to neutralize an uncontrolled and imminent threat to your livestock,  These actions certainly eliminate the current threat from this particular predator.

      One can discuss the advantages or disadvantages of either policy as to its impact on future threats, but as related to the threat posed by a  particular individual, the policies are far different.  One policy involves threats that have already been neutralized and the other relates to threats that are ongoing.

      So it can make sense to have a differing view of each policy.

      One also needs to recognize that the use of torture was not an already established policy prior to the Bush II admin’s use of it, whereas the use of assassination became an established policy under Pres. Bush II, and greatly increased under Pres. Obama.  The only difference has been the greater frequency and the nature of the allowable target, adding US citizens to the list of those killed.

      • Slimfred

        1. Stop blaming Bush.  It’s been 4 years, time for you to accept responsibility for your own actions.
        2. There is a difference between a human and a “large predator”.
        3. If you live in the USA, many “large predators” are protected, and you cannot just kill them.  I’m sure you have droned , if you’ll pardon the pun,  on and on about how we must protect natures creatures.  Yet, today when it suites your political position, anyone and anything can be killed.  You are the reason the USA has a constitution.

        • hennorama

          Slimfred – TY for your response. I respect and appreciate your views.

          I’ll respond to your points in order.

          1. I am not “blaming Bush” nor is anything being discussed here “[my] own actions.” My post included questions, statements, and an analogy, none of which were related to or about me.

          2. TY for stating the obvious, except for the fact that you are assuming that a “large predator” does not include the possibility of a “large predator” being a human. Is there a point to your statement?

          3. Your assumptions and argument about my analogy are weak. Let’s stipulate that the “large predator” is not “protected,” and also not human. You also assume things about me that are not part of the argument, and also that are not evident. I also have stated no political position, nor even suppport for either side of the arguments over torture or assassination. My point was that these policies are not equivalent, and one can therefore have differing views about them without being hypocritical.

          One may regard torture of individuals as unjustifiable, yet believe the use of assassination of individuals to be justifiable. And vice versa. These are not equivalent practices.

          TY again for your response.

          • OnPointComments

            The analogy is inadequate because the actual circumstance is that a terrorist is captured and there is reason to believe that the terrorist has knowledge that can prevent future deaths.  If you knew with absolute certainty that you could obtain the terrorist’s knowledge and prevent the deaths if you dropped the terrorist into a water trough, would you do it even though it caused the terrorist to panic and be uncomfortable?  My guess is that most would answer yes, if they knew with absolute certainty.  Suppose the chance of success is smaller; would you still do it?  A more difficult question.  At what odds do you say that the temporary discomfort of the terrorist isn’t worth the chance to prevent future deaths?
            A further difficult question:  if it was 6 years ago, and Dick Cheney was explaining why the administration was deploying drones, would your answer be the same?

          • hennorama

            OPC – TY for your response. I respect your views.

            Your post amplifies my point – the policies of torture and assassination are not equivalent, and differing views about each policy do not indicate hypocrisy. These policies could only be viewed as equivalent if one viewed their implementation as only addressing potential future threats and not current, ongoing, or imminent threats.

            That’s part of the issue involved in the leaked position paper – what is the definition of “imminent?” This definition is important when it come to the justifiable use of lethal force outside of armed conflicts.

            These policies also involve military and/or intelligence service actions against INDIVIDUALS, not armed forces. These actions are not taken on battlefields, and are also distinct from law enforcement action.

            Of course my analogy is imperfect – that’s part of the nature of analogies.

            Torture never guarantees that the torturer will gain ANY actionable information, nor do any other interrogation methods. Your initial hypothetical question therefore must be considered to be rhetorical, requiring no answer.

            As I said, I was not and am not arguing for or against either policy. These are exceptionally difficult questions and I am very glad to not have to decide them. There are arguments on both sides of both topics that have merit, and there are clear disadvantages to both policies.

            Apologies in advance for the repetition, but as I’ve stated before, these dilemmas are never easy to resolve. They generally come down to choosing the lesser of two evils, and/or a determination that “the ends justify the means.” This is what gives Presidents prematurely grey hair and sleepless nights.

            To again quote Machiavelli:

            “Anyone who would act up to a perfect standard of goodness in everything must be ruined among so many who are not good. It is essential therefore for a prince to have learnt how to be other than good and to use, or not to use, his goodness as necessity requires.”

            In my view, if one believes a nation has an unlimited right to self-defense, then all means of self-defense are therefore justifiable. It’s quite difficult to balance all aspects of these policies, but all administrations can be expected to err on the side of actions that enhance US safety and security, regardless of the morality or legality of the actions.

            To again paraphrase Machiavelli, referring to current and past Presidents:

            “[A]mong so many who are not good … the “prince [has] learnt how to be other than good … as necessity requires.”

  • hennorama

    Curiously, the fact that UAVs are by definition unmanned, and the implications of this in cross-border operation of UAVs, is rarely if ever mentioned.

    Since UAVs are “unmanned,” cross-border usage may not be considered to be an “invasion.”  This makes a huge difference.  Think of the difference between someone throwing a rock over a fence into your yard vs. someone jumping over the fence and then throwing the rock.

    In addition, one must decide whether terrorism is a crime, or whether it is warfare.  Clearly the US is acting as if terrorism is warfare.  The “rules of the game” involving the use of lethal force differ depending on whether an “armed conflict” (AC) exists.  If there is an AC, then the lower standards involved in warfare apply,  If no AC exists, much higher standards apply.

    One also needs to consider the difference between unarmed and armed UAVs.  UAVs are effectively considered to be simple surveillance tools if unarmed, or military weapons if they are armed with missiles and/or bombs.

    A UAV armed with missiles and/or bombs cannot be considered to be a law enforcement tool, as the use of such weapons is far too indiscriminate to be justifiable under various international human rights restrictions.  Law enforcement can use lethal force only under very narrow restrictions.

    According to “The International Law of Drones” by Mary Ellen O’Connell, a member of the American Society of International Law,

    “By contrast, missiles and bombs are lawful on battlefields because of the combatant’s privilege to kill opposing forces under a lower necessity standard than prevails outside armed conflict zones. Also, within armed conflict zones, there is some tolerance for unintended loss of civilian lives.  The use of drones in armed conflict is as lawful as any other battlefield delivery system. Indeed, the drone’s camera and other features may allow for more precise attacks than other launch methods.”


    However, the use of UAVs is not the issue. UAVs are merely a means to an end, to carry out a policy.  The real issue is whether any sovereign nation has an unlimited right of self-defense.  If one says yes, then the means of enforcing such a right matter very little, as the right is unlimited.

    US policy and action seem to assert such an unlimited right.  The rest are mere details, as the means to the end of self-defense.  In this case, the US is indicating that “the end justifies the means.”

  • Mike_Card

    I guess I’m in pretty much the same quandary as AC, down today’s thread.  I don’t like what’s happening, but then I think about 9/11; then I think about the Civil War–they were citizens, too.

    I get queasy about preemptive killing, and killing citizens…but then there are all these exceptions that just don’t fit into partisan politics.

    There was an article a few years ago about the way that candidates become office-holders; something about receiving the national security briefings and being confronted with the “football” of nuclear launch codes.  It made me a bit more introspective about criticizing candidates’ (yes, Dubya, too) back-pedaling from campaign boldness.

  • twenty_niner

    I think the news media (except for Chris Mathews) has forgotten what we all agreed upon at campaign headquarters! Maybe a little inspirational music will jostle their memories!

    Nothing you could say
    Can tear me away from my guy
    Nothing you could do’
    Cause I’m stuck like glue to my guy

    I’m stickin’ to my guy
    Like a stamp to a letter
    Like the birds of a feather
    We stick together
    I’m tellin’ you from the start
    I can’t be torn apart from my guy

    Nothing you can do
    Could make me untrue to my guy
    Nothing you could buy
    Could make me tell a lie to my guy

    I gave my guy my word of honor
    To be faithful and I’m gonna
    You best be believing
    I won’t be deceiving my guy

    As a matter of opinion
    I think he’s tops
    My opinion is he’s the cream of the crop
    As a matter of taste to be exact
    He’s my ideal as a matter of fact

  • Fredlinskip

      I don’t think anyone mentioned in these comments, the “elephant in room” component of the argument, mentioned only briefly in broadcast.
       If U.S. found a “hot” target and decided NOT to use drone, and then this person eventually pulled off a successful attack on American soil, then “heads would roll”. This may be why there is so much pressure to use the technology.

     I don’t agree with this thinking, but I think that’s basis of argument. Argument is theoretical at best, and at worst is excuse for imposing our will on the world as if we were “Gods of the Universe”. 

    • hennorama

      Fredlinskip – clearly what we need is “an elite law enforc[ement] squad [called] ‘Precrime’.  They use … gifted humans (called “Pre-Cogs”) with special powers to see into the future and predict crimes beforehand.”

      This is part of the plot synopsis of the film “Minority Report.”

      Until Pre-Cogs become available, all we are doing is weighing the evidence and our suspicions against the odds of a successful assassination of the target.


      [EDIT/ADD]: The current political climate and the realities of recent attacks on US soil means that all administrations can be expected to err on the side of actions that enhance US safety and security, regardless of the morality or legality of the actions.

  • Mike_Card

    While I’m looking at it, what happened to Ed’s comment about whatever inanity he posted earlier?  A retreat from the notion of the pope’s infallibility?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Davis/100002035620377 Andrew Davis

    Legal or not, if you don’t want someone doing the same in your back yard, its not OK. If Sandy Hook was a tragedy, why isn’t double the number of innocent bystanders hit by a drone – oh yes, one is called collateral damage. US always has and always will have double standards

    • Ray in VT

      Although in relation to your last point, I think that that is generally pretty true for peoples and states across time and space. We’re probably, generally, not any better or worse than many of our contemporaries.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Exactly what I was thinking. We aren’t any better or worse, we’re all the same especially when it comes to hypocrisy. It’s a tragedy we still can’t get that through our thick skulls.

        A Global Bill of Human Rights accepted, adopted, and adhered to by any and all Nations that participate in the Global Economy is the only solution. Then again, that sounds awfully New World Order-y doesn’t it?  Maybe that’s what we need, The Old World Order sure doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere these days.

        • Ray in VT

          You know, in an ideal world that would probably work, but, unfortunately, we don’t live in one, and as much as I would like to see humanity put aside it’s differences and work together as I saw on Star Trek as I was growing up, I don’t think that we’re anywhere near that.

          If the Old World Order is the American hegemony of the late 20th century, then I think that that is going the way of the Dodo, and there’s nothing workable on the horizon.  Even if there was something workable, just look at where we are now as a nation.  We couldn’t pass a treaty on the rights of the disabled, and look at some of the lunacy out there regarding Agenda 21.  New Hampshire just voted on a GOP measure that would have banned involvement in it, because people think that it’s going to ban private property or something.  We live in a crazy world, but it always have been, I think.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            When I said Old World Order I was thinking of Nationalistic Hegemony going waaaaaay back. When was money invented?

            As much as it saddens me I agree we don’t seem anywhere near getting it right. Half the planet appears to want to climb into their Way Back machines Ideologically but retain all of the fancy toys progress has brought them.

            I also agree it’s a crazy world and that it seems to have always been that way. I still hope we somehow manage to get it together. We have so much potential if we’ll just slip the noose from around our neck and climb down off the chair.

    • hennorama

      Andrew Davis – there IS a difference between those killed in Newtown, and civilians killed in a missile strike – the Newtown victims were intentional targets, while those “innocent bystanders hit by [a weapon launched from] a drone” were not. That doesn’t make them any less dead, but there is a difference.

      One also must recognize that US media coverage of these events is quite different, regardless of the reasons for the difference.  One would expect that the use of UAVs as a means to assassinate real or perceived US enemies might change if the images, names and ages of the “innocent bystanders hit” were as prevalent in US media as those of the Newtown victims.

  • Steve__T


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