America’s Drone Terrorism

America's drone policy is hardly calculated to win friends for the United States.

In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the U.S. safer by enabling “targeted killing” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts.

This narrative is false.

Those are the understated opening words of a disturbing, though unsurprising, nine-month study of the Obama administration’s official, yet unacknowledged, remote-controlled bombing campaign in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan, near Afghanistan. The report, “Living Under Drones,” is a joint effort by the New York University School of Law’s Global Justice Clinic and Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic.

The NYU/Stanford report goes beyond reporting estimates of the civilian casualties inflicted by the deadly and illegal U.S. campaign. It also documents the hell the Pakistanis endure under President Barack Obama’s policy, which includes a “kill list” from which he personally selects targets. That hell shouldn’t be hard to imagine. Picture yourself living in an area routinely visited from the air by pilotless aircraft carrying Hellfire missiles. This policy is hardly calculated to win friends for the United States.

Defenders of the U.S. campaign say that militants in Pakistan threaten American troops in Afghanistan as well as Pakistani civilians. Of course, there is an easy way to protect American troops: bring them home. The 11-year-long Afghan war holds no benefits whatever for the security of the American people. On the contrary, it endangers Americans by creating hostility and promoting recruitment for anti-American groups.

The official U.S. line is that America’s invasion of Afghanistan was intended to eradicate al-Qaeda and the Taliban, who harbored them. Yet the practical effect of the invasion and related policies, including the invasion of Iraq and the bombing in Yemen and Somalia, has been to facilitate the spread of al-Qaeda and like-minded groups.

U.S. policy is a textbook case of precisely how to magnify the very threat that supposedly motivated the policy. The Obama administration now warns of threats from Libya — where the U.S. consulate was attacked and the ambassador killed — and Syria. Thanks to U.S. policy, al-Qaeda in Afghanistan spawned al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

If that’s success, what would failure look like?

Regarding Pakistani civilians, the report states,

While civilian casualties are rarely acknowledged by the U.S. government, there is significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.… It is difficult to obtain data on strike casualties because of U.S. efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability, compounded by the obstacles to independent investigation of strikes in North Waziristan. The best currently available public aggregate data on drone strikes are provided by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), an independent journalist organization. TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562–3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474–881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228–1,362 individuals.

The Obama administration denies that it has killed civilians, but bear in mind that it considers any male of military age a “militant.” This is not to be taken seriously.

The report goes on,

U.S. drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury. Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.

It’s even worse than it sounds:

The U.S. practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims. Some community members shy away from gathering in groups.

How can Americans tolerate this murder and trauma committed in their name? But don’t expect a discussion of this in Monday night’s foreign-policy debate. Mitt Romney endorses America’s drone terrorism.

This column originally appeared at FFF.org.

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  • John||

    available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562–3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474–881 were civilians, including 176 children.

    At worst, for every civilian killed, they are killing three legitimate targets. That is probably the best ratio ever achieved in the history of bombing campaigns. And that is assuming these numbers are right and haven't inflated the civilian casualties. And if the low en of the number is correct, it is 8 legitimate targets for every civilian killed. These people hide in civilian populations. If the standard is never kill a civilian, then you might as well just tell the world that we will never harm an enemy.

    I don't think those numbers mean what you think they do Sheldon.

  • obijuan||

    A lot better ratio than Hiroshima. The families of the civilian casualties don't appreciate just how lucky they are.

  • db||

    John, perhaps the morality of conventional bombing campaigns should be called into question. What are noncombatant civilians supposed to do? Move away? Imagine this were happening over the United States.

    If a military action that has been going on for ten years has failed, and by all indications will continue to fail, to achieve its goals, why expend the effort to defend a particular portion of that effort, especially one such as the drone attack program? It's one thing to say that WWII bombing campaings killed a higher fraction of innocents, but imagine if that war had been going on for ten years and our armies had not progressed beyond Bastogne and the Po Valley?

  • wareagle||

    now your question - that of a ten-year effort that appears bogged down - is far, far more legitimate than Sheldon's attempt to gin up morally-based outrage. I'm fine with getting out of Afghanistan.

    The result is going to the Taliban moving back in 15 minutes after whatever withdrawal date we set. The US did what it set out to do after 9/11. If those folks want to kill each other, let's make sure they don't take ours along with them.

  • db||

    I don't think my question is more legitimate necessarily; it's just a different way to argue that drone strikes aren't effective and shouldn't be done. There are serious moral and legal concerns with launching missles against people in a country we have not formally engaged in war (Pakistan) while excusing the necessarily resulting civilian casualties with logic derived from a declared war fought under entirely different circumstances.

  • Cytotoxic||

    What are noncombatant civilians supposed to do? Move away?

    Yes, they are supposed to move away. Or fight back against the Taliban/whoever. To the degree that actual innocents are killed (as opposed to the faux-innocents that allow the Taliban to operate out of their homes), it is the fault of the aggressor ie the Islamists. America is not only blameless, the USG is morally obligated to kill these people if necessary to protect the rights of its citizens.

    And that is the only relevant criterion: is there good reason to believe it's necessary to protect the rights of Americans? It's pretty clear that it is. Bombs away!

  • db||

    There are no moral obligations placed on governments; only legal ones. Have you thought about that at all? Imagine you, claiming the government has a moral obligation to do anything, and then assuming it will do so. You're claiming there's a moral obligation to kill innocents if they don't get out of the swath of our killing rage.

    Hey, can you tell me a few other good "moral obligations" the government has, and then explain how it fulfills them? Or are they all killing related?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Wouldn't it be easier to start killing American forces in numbers large enough to make America just go away? I mean, at least American soldiers are easily identifiable and often in known locations.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    At worst, for every civilian killed, they are killing three legitimate targets.

    Is this statistic from the same administration that recently decided that every male of military service age was a legitimate target?

  • sloopyinca||

    At worst, for every civilian killed, they are killing three legitimate targets.

    By "legitimate target," do you mean any male of fighting age that happens to be in the location where we dropped a murderdrone bomb? Because the Obama admin does.

    Hell, if all it takes is to declare every male of fighting age a potential [insert group we are "fighting" here], then we should do more of it.

    WoD? Every male of fighting age in Mexico is a potential dealer. Bomb Juarez and say we just killed 20k "potential drug dealers".

    It's genius! All we have to do to kill more enemies is declare more people enemies. Et voila! Success in our War on [insert buzzword here].

    Fuck that shit.

  • John||

    This study isn't done by the Administration. It was done independently. And I doubt they took that definition.

  • sloopyinca||

    This study isn't done by the Administration. It was done independently. And I doubt they took that definition.

    Right, it was performed by TBIJ. And the vast majority of their intel came from the US Government. Claims of civilian casualties were often much higher, but they only counted the ones that could be substantiated as definitely not members , supporters or sympathizers of AQ.

    Seriously, John. If you think raining bombs down on people who lack the ability to harm us and are not actively pursuing that harm is a good idea, then you do not believe in the 1A, because generally, all these people are doing are saying bad things about us (some of them, anyway) and learning ways to defend against invasion. They are making no overt actions to attack us, making us the aggressor (or terrorists, if you prefer) in this immoral "War On Terror Brown People Who Dare Speak Ill Of America From Their Dirt Huts In The Middle Of The Desert 10,000 Miles Away".

  • Les||

    I'm knocking on my desk, making noises of approval. Nicely said.

  • Cytotoxic||

    If you think raining bombs down on people who lack the ability to harm us

    Since they in fact do have the ability to harm us-as they have demonstrated time and again-then this is a fucking strawman that you whip out only because your case is bankrupt (MURDERDRONEZ!!1).

  • d_remington||

    How have they demonstrated this? By defending themselves against coalition troops? HOW DARE THEY!

  • wareagle||

    when Sheldon chooses to draw false equivalency between us and them, the rest of what he says is white noise. "America's terrorism." Seriously? If you really want a story, ask where the anti-war left is hiding when a Dem president authorizes violence.

    During the height of the Iraq war, we were inundated with estimates of hundreds of thousands of civilians being killed, numbers no one could come close to substantiating. But when wedding parties are drone-striked, silence.

  • obijuan||

    War fatigue. For how long are people expected to protest?

  • wareagle||

    it's now how long, it's who they protest. The anti-war movement is in full-bloom when a Repub is in the

  • wareagle||

    dammit: "...in full bloom when a Repub is in the WH and AWOL when a Dem shows up."

  • sloopyinca||

    That doesn't change the libertarian angle that these types of murderdrone attacks are morally abhorrent.

    Feel free to point out the hypocrisy of Team Blue fellators that protested Bush but not Obama. Those people have no moral compass. It doesn't make the murderdrone program right, though.

  • wareagle||

    I didn't say it makes it right; just pointing out 1) hypocrisy and 2) the false equivalency narrative Sheldon is trotting about "American terrorism."

  • sloopyinca||

    I don't think Sheldon is making any false equivalency here. He probably honestly believes what we are doing is terrorism. The fact that a lot of Team Blue partisans are hypocrites doesn't mean people who aren't can't point out the immorality of our murderdrone program. It just means that the Team Blue douchenozzles that will jump back on the anti-war bandwagon if Romney is elected will lose any little bit of credibility they might have had with the American public at large.

  • wareagle||

    equating us to terrorists is false equivalency. The US did not embark on a drone program out of the blue; it was in response to something else. The value of that response is fair game but when Sheldon couches it as "American terrorism", that's just bullshit.

  • sloopyinca||

    By that logic, we could embark on dropping nuclear weapons on any city we choose in the middle east because it's in response to something else.

    Our murderdrone program is occurring in Yemen, Pakistan and other countries that were not harboring the terrorists that perpetrated the attacks on us 11 years ago. If we want to attack those places, our government should sell the wars to the American people and openly declare them through Constitutional means. Therefore, it is not "in response to something else."

    We took out the people who planned and trained the people responsible for the 9/11/01 attacks. We took them out a long time ago. All we're doing now is killing people who have never raised a finger pre-emptively against the USA. We are murdering people guilty of nothing more than speaking ill of us. It is immoral. It is unconstitutional and it is going to cause us more harm in the long run that we could ever imagine.

    We have cast aside the moral high ground for political reasons. We are creating an entire generation that hate us by killing their parents, children, brothers, sisters and friends for no real military reason whatsoever. We've already killed at least 100x more people that died on 9/11/01, and the vast majority of those people were as innocent as those in the WTC. And even most of the ones that are "guilty" are guilty of no more than speaking badly about us and have no means to harm us in any way, shape or form. That's terrorism in my book.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yemen, Pakistan and other countries that were not harboring the terrorists that perpetrated the attacks on us 11 years ago.

    Okay they shelter other terrorists that try to attack us.

    One must be pretty depraved to call America evil for attacking people that actively try to attack her.

    and the vast majority of those people were as innocent as those in the WTC. And even most of the ones that are "guilty" are guilty of no more than speaking badly about us and have no means to harm us in any way, shape or form.

    Bald-faced lying: not just for the left!

  • Les||

    Terrorists don't embark on terror programs out of the blue. It's always in response to something. Lately it's been in response to drone programs.

  • d_remington||

    The 9/11 terrorists did not embark on their planes-into-buildings programs out of the blue either; that was also a response to something else.
    So I'm guessing that wasn't terrorism either.

  • The Derider||

    Our drone policy might be immoral, but it's certainly not "terrorism", unless every aerial bombing campaign is "terrorism".

    Words mean things.

  • obijuan||

    War fatigue. For how long are people expected to protest?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Why should we believe that the people being targeted are terrorists in the first place?

    A couple of years ago an al Queda double agent killed his 'handlers' via suicide bomb. This guy was giving the CIA 'intelligence' wrt where terrorist were which was used for targeting drone strikes.

    Last year the US overthrew a neutered, compliant dictator, supposedly as part of a people's revolution. That dictator said at the time that it was al Queda operatives that were trying to overthrow him. And guess what, he was correct. We helped al Queda take power in at least the eastern half of Lybia.

    For the last several years our troops in Afghanistan have been attacked by individuals in the military and police forces that they've trained. Individuals that were supposedly trustworthy and cared more for a free Afghanistan (or whatever) than their tribal or religious loyalties.

    The US government and its agencies has a track record of extremely poor judgement wrt which natives it trusts. And it is those trusted natives that are giving us the intel used to direct the drone strikes.

    So again, why should be believe that they are giving us legitimate terrorists to target instead of settling feuds, random misdirection or even targeting their enemies (people opposed to terrorism).

  • Cytotoxic||

    That dictator said at the time that it was al Queda operatives that were trying to overthrow him. And guess what, he was correct. We helped al Queda take power in at least the eastern half of Lybia.

    More lies. The 'AQ takes over Libya' canard has been beaten to death by conservatives despite not a shred of evidence for it and terrible results for Islamists in the elections. Islamists have some presence in Libya but they were not the revolution.

  • sloopyinca||

    By John's twisted logic, if Truman had just declared every person within a 60 mile radius of Hiroshima a Japanese soldier regardless of age or sex, then there would have been zero civilian casualties there.

    Sorry, but saying that "all males of fighting age" in a certain geographic area are terrorists doesn't exactly make it so. And besides, if "every male of fighting age" in a country was a terrorist, it would be pretty easy to get a declaration of war against that nation and carry out a legitimate war against them. I mean, the evidence of their war against the USA would be on full display, what with the coordinated attacks and bombing campaigns against New York City, Boston, Norfolk, Myrtle Beach, etc happening on a daily basis.

  • Lyle||

    Americans can tolerate killing violent jihadists because violent jihadits are violent jihadists.

    Sheldon Richman, you sir are an imbecile.

    Violent jihadists are no more angry today than they were before 9/11. And advocating that the United States just turn the other cheek and ignore is not only an asinine policy, but immoral.

    Fuck you sir.

  • sloopyinca||

    Violent jihadists like this?

    Or this
    ?

  • Lyle||

    Yeah, they use children as human shields. And we make mistakes too.

  • Xenocles||

    Collateral damage is morally bad enough in a total war scenario, but in the asymmetric war we are now in it's strategically disastrous as well. If your tactics are so mistake-prone that it routinely happens, you are shooting yourself in the foot by encouraging the people to join the enemy. I'm all for using weapons that keep our people out of harm's way, but you have to consider the other consequences of their use too

  • Cytotoxic||

    There is no evidence this is happening. Dead enemies can't recruit.

  • Xenocles||

    That is utterly false. Dead enemies can be extremely useful for recruiters. It's even better for them if the dead weren't our enemies.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Oh yeah that's why AQ was so successful in Iraq after The Surge right?

  • Xenocles||

    Don't be stupid. Wars are complex systems, and good tactics used elsewhere in the system can make up for bad ones. If you have your people embedded with the population able to make better determinations on who the enemy is and make your case to the people, it can go a long way to counteract the fact that your squad killed someone's brother. If you use a plane to drop a bomb on a house, the enemy is free to spin it however they want - and they're better equipped to do so.

    It also helped that we paid off a lot of our former enemies. It also helped that AQ was never an organic movement in Iraq - our problem was mostly with other factions who opposed our occupation.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You've never heard of a shahid?

  • Cytotoxic||

    May there be many more...

  • Lyle||

    It's a myth that collateral damage is creating more terrorists. They're just fundamentally violent people. That's why so many Muslims are killed the world over by al Qaeda and Salafists and whatever else, cause that's just what they do. They don't need an excuse or have an excuse to kill, they just kill.

  • Cytotoxic||

    +1

  • sloopyinca||

    And the whole "violent jihadists" schtick is wearing thin. How many of these people were classified as terrorists by the US? Answer: all of them, because they were males of fighting age in a war zone.

    If they lack the ability to harm us, they aren't terrorists. They are merely people speaking out against what they perceive as evil or immoral. If they were actually dropping bombs on the US or en route, then they'd be terrorists. Sitting in their huts talking about how evil we are is something else entirely. By your fucking retarded logic, I'm committing terrorism against the government right now. Do I deserve to be murderdroned? Do my wife, children and neighbors because I'm "hiding among them"?

    Jesus Christ. I get so tired of these "America, fuck yeah!" foreign policy arguments. They do nothing but piss off the rest of the world and piss away American blood and treasure.

  • Robert||

    Then the question is, why do they do it? There's no reason to believe the policy makers know less than their critics. Is this just a make-work project? Or is it a cynical way of pleasing voters who are just satisfied that foreigners are being killed by American machinery?

  • sloopyinca||

    Or is it a cynical way of pleasing voters who are just satisfied that foreigners are being killed by American machinery?

    This.

  • Robert||

    Or, do the policy makers know something that their critics, if they knew it, would change their minds, but that they have to keep secret to preserve its value? For instance, if the kill list were made public, would people be able to infer, from the information pattern, who the local informers were, and kill them or disinform them or otherwise make them useless?

  • sloopyinca||

    You want our government to be able to establish kill lists in secret? Kill lists that include American citizens with zero judicial oversight or due process? Wow.

    And it's not the government keeping a secret kill list. It's the executive branch establishing secret kill lists with zero judicial or legislative oversight. No checks and balances and we can execute an American citizen for doing no more than exercising his 1A Rights.

    That's some pretty Orwellian shit right there. And it establishes a disregard for the rule of law that, along with the NDAA, sets us on a course for despotism.

  • Robert||

    Sometimes you need the rule of law. Sometimes you need 007 with license to kill.

    BTW, I'm equally likely to believe in the 2 opposing interpret'ns of motiv'n I wrote of above. I just don't have enough info, and I'm likely never to be able to get it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sometimes you need the rule of law. Sometimes you need 007 with license to kill.

    The fuck?

    How old are you, 12?

  • db||

    Sometimes you need the rule of law. Sometimes you need 007 with license to kill.

    There is no principle in this. None whatsoever.

  • Robert||

    Exactly. There is no principle in it. It's impossible to know which is better without specifics of the info that very few people will ever know.

  • db||

    Why not make it public? Surely angry mobs could do just as good a job of lynching the folks on the list.

  • sloopyinca||

    Sometimes you need the rule of law. Sometimes you need 007 with license to kill the rule of man.

    Have you any idea how idiotic that sounds to any person with an ounce of brains in their head? Seriously, this is fucking retarded.

  • Xenocles||

    "Sometimes you need the rule of law. Sometimes you need 007 with license to kill."

    Me today, you tomorrow.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Or, do the policy makers know something that their critics, if they knew it, would change their minds, but that they have to keep secret to preserve its value?

    Oh MY GOD.

    Not this line of bullshit again.

    The fucking policy makers leaked the details of the seal team that killed bin Laden because it was momentarily beneficial for them to do so.

    They don't keep anything secret.

  • Robert||

    They leaked that because by that time they didn't mind burning them. The people who do this are people you never want to leave yourself vulnerable to, but if you're the boss your perspective is bound to be different.

  • db||

    So, in your world, the best system is to hand over unlimited power to people who you cannot trust, and who will certainly use it exclusively to their own advantage.

  • Robert||

    No, in my world, which is the real world, none of us can ever be sure what the best policy is. I'm sorry, but that's the way things are. Those of you who are sure you know our leaders are doing this for venal reasons, how can you be so sure? Those of you who think our leaders are doing the right thing for the right reasons, how can you be sure either?

    There are secrets, there will always be secrets, and neither trusting nor distrusting the people with the secrets can ever be assuredly the right thing to do.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They don't keep anything secret.

    Unless it's in their interests which it usually is. Military secrets must stay secret barring a very good reason to let them out.

  • Lyle||

    Dude, they're attacking NATO forces all over Afghanistan.

    They just killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya.

    In 2001 after living in the U.S. for a year-and-a-half or so, they did 9/11.

    They're like pirates from years past. If anyone finds them in some lawless region, they can kill them.

  • sloopyinca||

    Dude, they're attacking NATO forces all over Afghanistan.

    The ones in Yemen and Pakistan are? You may want to look at a map. Also, "NATO forces all over Afghanistan"? Would they be attacking thise same NATO forces if they weren't in Afghanistan? They're attacking them because they view them, correctly in my opinion, as an invading force that has occupied their sovereign lands for over a decade.

    They just killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya.

    Who did? The peoplpe in Yemen and Pakistan that we are killing? Again, look at a map.

    They're like pirates from years past. If anyone finds them in some lawless region, they can kill them.

    And there is a process for establishing them as pirates and establishing programs where they can be brought to justice. Letters of Marque and Reprisal worked pretty well for us in the past. Why can we not use them now? It would allow the people overseas to police their own and benefit from it.

    And I'd like to know how these alleged terrorists pose any credible threat to our security. They have yet to attack us post-9/11 and our reaction by smashing their power structure in Afghan in the immediate aftermath has destroyed their ability to wage any kind of campaign against us.

    We can either defend our borders or we can be in a perpetual state of (undeclared) war in the middle east. The choice is pretty clear which will cause more death for Americans and Arabs alike.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And I'd like to know how these alleged terrorists pose any credible threat to our security.

    Silly sloopy, haven't you ever heard of ZOMG NARCO-TERRORISM!

  • Lyle||

    Haha --- "They have yet to attack us post-9/11"

    Probably because we are killing them the world over.

    They're not only if Afghanistan and Pakistan, but everywhere, even places where the U.S. isn't killing their children in drone attacks.

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, so all we need to do to defend ourselves from terror attacks is to constantly bomb people that pose no direct threat to us the world over, often resulting in civilian casualties? Yeah, that's a winning strategy to get people to either like us or leave us alone.

    Seriously, if they are "everywhere," we must have God-like intel and execution since not a single one of them has slipped through the cracks of our very large international borders or coastlines and performed an attack in the homeland.

    How often do you wake up in a puddle of piss and sweat, fearing the brown hordes that we are fighting everywhere to save our nation? Once a month, week, every night? My guess is every night if you think murderdroning people around the world is keeping us safer at home.

  • Lyle||

    Apparently it is working because "they", just like you said, haven't committed another 9/11 in the United States again.

    They do pose a threat to us. I mean they just killed our Ambassador in Libya and some Bangladeshi kid wanted to explode a bomb in Manhattan just last week.

    I'm not afraid of them, but I'm not ignorant of them.

  • sloopyinca||

    So to stay safe, all we have to do is fight this "war" (that we can't financially afford) forever?

    God forbid we'd defend our borders and leave the rest of the world to themselves.

    Simple solution: we offer rewards to anybody around the world that stops a potential terrorist attack against the US before it happens and we let the world know if a terrorist attack happens here and their nation supported it and gave sanctuary to those responsible that we will demolish their entire government.

    This would have worked in Afghan if we would have walked away a year after completely destroying AQ , and the rest of the world would have known we meant business. The Afghan people were thankful we rid them of their corrupt Taliban government in 2002. Waging the war as you want it waged has led them and the rest of the region to hate our guts.

    Smooth plan you got there: Fight forever against everybody.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Smooth plan you got there: Fight forever against everybody.

    Smooth strawman.

    Lyle's right. Nation-building aside, what we've done is pretty successful. Islamists losing ground in Somalia and Yemen. The Drone Heroes were a part of that.

  • Les||

    There is as much real evidence that the security of the U.S. is under any kind of immediate threat from forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia as there was that the security of the U.S. was threatened by Sadaam Hussein in 2003.

    You have to ask yourself: Is the threat from Afghanistan so great that this:

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runew.....63mggal=6

    ...has to happen on a regular basis in order to keep us safe? Are no other tactics available? How many mass killings of U.S. civilians would be tolerated as a necessary side-effect of U.S. security efforts?

  • Xenocles||

    "some Bangladeshi kid wanted to explode a bomb in Manhattan just last week."

    Funny how every news article about that incident is sure to mention that the public was never in any danger. There's no evidence he would have been in anything resembling a position to hurt anyone without the FBI's help.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Common sense would indicate that eventually, he'd probably be dangerous. A lot of suicide bombers are stupid dupes. Libertarians are reaching with their criticism of the FBI in this instance.

  • The Derider||

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Why take risks with people who are admitted terrorists?

  • DJK||

    "Apparently it is working because "they", just like you said, haven't committed another 9/11 in the United States again."

    Under this logic, I could argue that the foreign policy in place prior to some fixed date prior to 9/11 was working, because they hadn't committed such an act in the United States. You couldn't prove a negative. Learn how to argue.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They're attacking them because they view them, correctly in my opinion, as an invading force that has occupied their sovereign lands for over a decade.

    You must be a real piece of shit to think that the Taliban are a legitimate resistance for Afghanistan. I mean really you have to a sick and twisted fucker to say that the people who throw acid on schoolgirls 'have a point'.

    And I'd like to know how these alleged terrorists pose any credible threat to our security.

    Well there's those embassies they bomb or try to bomb the cartoonists they target and the time the ones in Yemen that tried to bomb a delivery plane. You know, the things you are willfully blind to because you can't make an honest case.

  • sloopyinca||

    I was specifically referring to Yemen and Pakistan, shit for brains...two sovereign nations we have not declared war against yet continue to drop bombs on.

  • Cytotoxic||

    So the fuck what? AQ is still operating there, and Yemen was happy with America's drone operations.

  • Xenocles||

    The president of Yemen, a repressive dictator, might have been. I wonder if that was because we were fighting a mutual enemy. What did the people think?

  • Cytotoxic||

    By your fucking retarded logic, I'm committing terrorism against the government right now.

    More lies and strawmen! Peaceniks feed on lies and strawmen.

  • Les||

    It requires a leftist's faith in the state to believe that spending billions in tax dollars to kill innocent men, women, and children on the other side of the planet is going to make the U.S. safe from terrorism.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....print.html

    No Yemeni has forgotten the U.S. cruise missile strike in the remote tribal region of al-Majala on Dec. 17, 2009 — the Obama administration’s first known missile strike inside Yemen. The attack killed dozens, including 14 women and 21 children, and whipped up rage at the United States.

  • Cytotoxic||

    No it just requires the slightest knowledge of history.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The official U.S. line is that America’s invasion of Afghanistan was intended to eradicate al-Qaeda and the Taliban, who harbored them. Yet the practical effect of the invasion and related policies, including the invasion of Iraq and the bombing in Yemen and Somalia, has been to facilitate the spread of al-Qaeda and like-minded groups.

    I take comfort that this is all the Reason pacifists have left: lies. All they can do is distort and bullshit and try to tug on my emotions ie DRONE TERROR. Chapman and Richman and the Yglesias and Klein of Reason respectively.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What makes you think the Pakistani Secret War is going to be any less disastrous than the Laotian/Cambodian Secret War?

  • sloopyinca||

    If by "disastrous," you mean it ends in a lot of people that aren't Americans being killed, then he probably hopes it is.

    And cyto has yet to offer up any evidence by way of links, to support any of his claims. The couple of instances he did point out hardly justify an aerial assault of this magnitude. Of course, when all you have (mentally) is a hammer...

  • Lyle||

    Haha. There's a secret war going on in Pakistan?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Define 'disastrous'.

  • Lyle||

    I agree with you.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    By the way...

    Oh what fun we'll have when the "land drones" come!

    Here is a USMC-funded land drone tracking a dude through the forest.

  • Entropy Void||

    Boston Dynamics is dogwhistle for SkyNet?

  • PapayaSF||

    I propose a compromise. While I agree with John and the others above that killing jihadis isn't a bad thing, and that civilian casualties have been relatively small, the whole War on Terror seems to have passed the point of diminishing returns. We have made our point, and unless we can get clean shots at genuine Al Qaeda bigwigs, we should cut the whole thing back.

    However, we should also make it clear that every time Americans are attacked by jihadis (and I include freelancers like Major Hasan), we escalate things again for a while, and other jihadis, somewhere in the world, are going to die.

  • Cytotoxic||

    1) The CIA is not allowed drones anymore. Only John the military gets to use them.

    2) For the most part, I like your idea. Diminishing returns does seems to describe it. Especially with intermediate powers stepping up, like Kenya in Somalia.

    3) Still need to overthrow the Iranian government. No invasion, just covert.

    4) Hamid Karzai needs to have an accident.

  • tagtann||

    I still think that drone pilots are the biggest cowards of them all!

    www.Over-Anon.tk

  • DJK||

    Fuckers can't even get through flight school. ;-)

  • Agile Cyborg||

    ...and the Obama smirk with its CIA glint makes all of this like so much smurfy ramblings...

  • DJK||

    I see the warmongers are out in full force. Why even try to engage with them? They show Tony-level stupidity in their embrace of the government as the be all and end all that can save them from the brown people.

  • Calidissident||

    Anyone who thinks thousands of Pakistanis would have committed terrorism against the US if weren't droning them is a moron. Like Tony level stupid

  • Lisa||

    Deterrence isn't excluded to the nationality of the person you're attacking. That's stupid.

  • Lisa||

    Honestly, the "OMG, terrorists only attack us because we're meanie pants" folks remind me so much of gun control advocates. It shocks me that so many libertarians realize that gun rights are a deterrent on a local level, but we're supposed to go back to our holes and cower when anyone from another country wants us to die. OK, so we withdraw all troops and embassies from the middle east and say FU to Israel (which then gets blown to smithereens). Then do we just act like nothing is happening whenever any American tries to go over there for any reason and is consequently beheaded? How do you embrace globalization economically while ignoring the ramifications socially and politically? If we don't have a right to make the world safe for democracy, don't we have a right to make it safe for Americans? This is the 21st f*cking century. People are mobile.

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