Barack Obama

CIA Drone War in Pakistan Exempt From Coming Drone "Playbook"

352 strikes in the country in President Obama's first term

|

kaboom

Back when Mitt Romney (remember him?) looked like he might've been on his way to becoming the next president of the United States, Barack Obama and his team at the White House scrambled to put together some kind of rules for the use of drones to pursue targeted killings. Though Obama made drone warfare a centerpiece of his counterterrorism effort, relying far more heavily on the tactic than his predecessor George Bush ever did, codifying the process didn't become an urgent concern until it actually looked like Obama's presidency may have been coming to an end.

It didn't of course, and Obama instead began his second term this weekend. It wasn't his own inauguration that forced the codification of drone rules along, though, but the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA.  Requiring confirmation by the Senate, the nomination provided the opportunity for senators to choose to question the White House's drone war. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has asked Brennan to outline the rules for the use of drones in targeted killings. What's known about the use of drones publicly indicates a "due process" almost entirely self-contained in the White House that's seemingly immune from disclosure. It appears President Obama is close to approving a "playbook" on the use of drones in targeted killings, which will include a one year exemption for the CIA's drone war in Pakistan. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates up to 3,400 fatalities since 2004, with up to nearly 900 civilians and 176 children, with 310 of 362 strikes since 2004 coming under President Obama. Nevertheless, the Washington Post reports that the exemption for the CIA in Pakistan was a "compromise" needed to finish the rest of the "playbook," which has drawn criticism for codifying and not reforming the process of drone warfare. From the Post:  

Critics see the manual as a symbol of the extent to which the targeted killing program has become institutionalized, part of an apparatus being assembled by the Obama administration to sustain a seemingly permanent war.

The playbook is "a step in exactly the wrong direction, a further bureaucratization of the CIA's paramilitary killing program" over the legal and moral objections of civil liberties groups, said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberty Union's National Security Project.

Far from the end to a decade of war promised by the president in his inaugural address just yesterday. 

Advertisement

NEXT: MA Schools Consider Medical Marijuana Policy

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The name John Brennan should never be mentioned without noting his role in the Bush Administration’s embrace of “enhanced interrogation” or whatever you want to call it. All that shit liberals talked about the fierce moral imperative of ending torture was just that, shit. They never meant a word of it. And don’t let anyone who ever voted for Obama claim otherwise.

    1. I blame Bush.

      1. I’ve learned that it’s possible to blame Bush and Obama. In fact, I blame Bush for Obama.

        1. That is a fair cop.

        2. ^This
          Now there is something you can blame Bush for.

          1. Metastasized growth in the transferal of wealth from America to DC occurred under W before continuing under Barry.

            1. Obama lit the afterburner.

              1. And I light my farts. Obama seems to have more – effect – with his “lighting” than I do.

                With great power comes great….power.

                1. Must be all the veggies the First Scold feeds him.

  2. So since the President has already arrogated the authority to bomb the shit out of whomever, whenever, and for whatever reason he feels like, this meaningless fart in the direction of due process is more of an insult than anything else.

    1. I remember reading about some archaic thing about wars having to be declared by some sort of legislative body. Must’ve been in classical Athens or something.

      1. They did. Congress authorized the President to go after Al Quada. They could revoke that authorization if they wanted to. As bad as Obama is, the country really has only itself to blame. There are plenty of ways it could stop him if it chose to do so.

        1. I accept the AUMF for Iraq as a declaration of war, but the AUMF for the WoT seems to me to be, in effect, an unconstitutional delegation of the war power. Certainly, a vague and perpetual war pretty much guts any congressional check on presidential war-making power. After all, how does Congress undeclare war? It can withhold funding, but that’s easier said than done, apparently.

          1. Your love for “authorization” and “constitutional powers” is cute, ProL. There is no rule of law, and you’re seeing that fact in action every fucking day. I know you’re a lawyer and all, but even you have to face reality at some point.

            1. Oh, we’re well past the point where most of this is window-dressing, but I do think they have to play the game–enough of us would object if they didn’t perform the proper lip service. Though we may pass the point where they even bother to do that much.

              1. Bread and circuses are en vogue, Pro’L Dib.

                I’m telling you, Rousseau won.-(

          2. I don’t think the AUMF on Al Quada is unconstitutional. Terrorism is just like piracy. You have always had a right to chase pirates anywhere you found them, including sovereign nations that were harboring them. Terrorists are the same way.

            1. Yes, but Obama can now legally start wars with country after country after country without a new declaration. That, to me, is a delegation beyond any Congress’ power.

              1. I think the AUMF gets him over the hump for Yemen because that is AQ members. But the stuff in Pakistan is not Al Quada it is the Taliban. And since when are we authorized to hunt the Taliban wherever we find them. The drone war in Pakistan is no different than Nixon bombing Cambodia to shut off supplies to South Vietnam. And last I looked, liberals thought that was pretty bad.

                1. And last I looked, liberals thought that was pretty bad.

                  Well, that’s because Nixon had an ‘R’ after his name. Duh!

                  1. It’s amazing to think, but at one time, the left was consistent in it’s anti-war stance.

                    “Hey, hey, LBJ – how many kids did you kill today?”

                    1. It’s amazing to think, but at one time, the left was consistent in it’s anti-war stance.

                      Not really. They didn’t mind when JFK was escalating in ‘Nam because JFK was glamorous. Just like Obama is now.

                    2. They also didn’t have to fight it Randian. The anti-war movement didn’t get much traction until they did away with deferments. That little fact is conveniently forgotten.

                    3. John: “the anti-war movement didn’t get much traction until they did away with deferments.”

                      And it’s been fairly well documented that the anti-war movement LOST a lot of traction when the draft went away.

                2. How long before the feds starting sending drones into Mexico to take out drug lords?

            2. Pirates were found in international waters. Terrorists are residing well within the borders of sovereign nations. It is an unfortunate, but necessary, distinction.

              1. “Pirates were found in international waters.”

                Not always, as any number of indignant Spaniards could protest and point to the activities of various Englishmen. Unless you mean to draw a distinction between piracy and privateering, then I think your point stands.

                1. If the piracy–or terrorism–can be tied to a state, then we can declare war on that state. This generic shit totally allows the president to unilaterally declare war on any nation that he argues has ties to al Qaeda.

                  1. Congress has the power to declare war. I don’t think there is a stipulation that that declaration be against a specific sovereign nation.

                2. Unless you mean to draw a distinction between piracy and privateering,

                  Heavens no! If we did that, we might find that a lot of these “privateers” are performing acts that were sanctioned by elements within the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which might lead to some uncomfortable quest…*sound of pistol with silencer firing*

                  1. I laughed – nicely done.

              2. Generic Brand,

                If a country harbored known pirates, other navies had a right to violate that country’s sovereignty to hunt them down.

  3. Could someone explain to me how what the U.S. is doing in Yemen differs from the right wing death squads in El Salvador?

    1. “Right wing.” You said it right there.

    2. The only thing that matters is who is in charge, tarran. Nothing else.

      Being a partisan scumbag must be so very, very easy.

      1. I disagree; the day I decided that the U.S. government had no more claim to my allegience than the Winter Hill mob was one of the most liberating days of my life.

        Trying to reconcile a moral code based on enlightenment values and the amoral, implacable plunder of the modern nation state is hard. Being true to one’s principles is much easier.

        1. Having no principles and following your marching orders is the opposite of hard, tarran. One of the reasons so many people are partisan scum is because it’s easy.

        2. sticking to a principle means being willing to lose or give up something. Being partisan is all about the win. The ranks of the principled are almost non-existent in elected office.

        3. Being true to one’s principles is much easier.

          I disagree, tarran.-(

          Principles are the most expensive of all.

  4. Funny how none of the sock puppets ever come on these threads. Even the retards who run the Tony/Shreek franchise don’t have the stomach to defend this shit. They just pretend it doesn’t exist.

    1. ^^ding^^

      I just get the “They’re Bush’s Wars” and “Obama is cleaning up the mess” canard.

  5. “with up to nearly 900 civilians and 176 children”

    with up to nearly? Wha?

    1. They don’t know who is a civilian. So they are assuming everyone who we don’t know for sure is a civilian.

      But even if you buy their numbers, that is still two and one half legal kills for every civilian death, which in a partisan war where the enemy is hiding amongst civilians is probably the best rate ever attained.

      1. 176 Pakistani children disagree.

        1. I am sure the children that die from Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, if they were still alive, wouldn’t have a problem.

          Children die in every war. But a child dying doesn’t make a bombing a war crime and doesn’t make the war illegitimate.

          If Libertarians object to the war in Pakistan and Afghanistan, fine. But they need to make better arguments than “but the childrenz”.

          1. Innocents get killed in wars, therefore it’s stupid to be against war just because innocents get killed.

            1. If you are a straight pasifist and object to any war for any reason, then I suppose the dead children make your argument. But most Libertarians are not strict pacifists. So they do endorse war in some cases. So when they object to the Afghanistan war they are not objecting to all wars, just this war and are saying that this war is somehow worse than other wars. And the fact that children are dying in Pakistan doesn’t make that war any worse than any other war, since children die in every war.

              1. Maybe it’s just me, but if someone attacked me with intent to kill I would have no problem killing them in self-defense. I would not, however, go to the house and kill the children of someone who said he wanted to kill me.

                1. So if a group of insane people were trying to take over the US government and they were running and hiding in Canada and using that as a base to launch attacks, you would do nothing about that Sparky? That is what is happening in Afghanistan.

                  1. That isn’t remotely close to what’s happening in Afghanistan. I don’t think it’s possible for the entire population of Afghanistan to amount to an invasion force.

                    1. Jesus Christ Sparky. You can’t be this dense. We are defending the Afghanistan government. The Taliban is using NW Pakistan as a base to fight a war against that government. That is the analogy. And that is why Pakistan is part of the war in Afghanistan. If Pakistan doesn’t like being bombed, it should do something about the people within its territory who are waging war on Afghanistan.

                  2. The Pakistani ISI wants to take over the U.S. government?

                    How perfidious!

                    1. Also, what does the Pakistani plot to conquer the U.S. have to do with rebels wanting to seize control of Yemen?

          2. Very nice question-begging John.

            Libertarians are not typically against all war, but almost all libertarians are against initiating force. And that is what we are doing in Yemen, Pakistan, and half a dozen other places in the Middle East. It is not a reaction to past actions (such as 9/11) because we are indiscriminately bombing the shit out of anyone with a towel on his head.

            1. That is not question begging at all.

              1. We are not indiscriminately bombing in Pakistan. The report says just the opposite. Even if you buy the rather questionable numbers, they are still getting over two legitimate targets for every non legal one. I doubt any partisan war in history has achieved a ratios that good. So when libertarians make statements like ” we are indiscriminately bombing the shit out of anyone with a towel on his head” they just make themselves look like morons who have no understanding of the issues and give people a reason to ignore them.

              Second, let me explain it to you again. Every war results in innocent deaths. This war is no different. If you object to this war, you better have a better reason than “some innocent people are going to die”. Well no shit, that happens in every war. So unless you want to say every war is wrong, you better have a better objection.

              1. So unless you want to say every war is wrong, you better have a better objection.

                I understand that this is not a position you’re willing to take, but others might have a different opinion.

                1. I am sure they are Sparky. They are called strict pacifists.

                  1. I am sure they are Sparky. They are called strict pacifists.

                    So if you’re willing to kill in defense of your own life, you’re a pacifist. Makes perfect sense.

                    1. So if you’re willing to kill in defense of your own life, you’re a pacifist. Makes perfect sense.

                      No dipshit. If you are unwilling to accept civilian casualties, you will never go to war, even in self defense.

                      My God you are fucking slow.

                    2. My God you are fucking slow.

                      It’s obvious that you are willing to go through any level of mental gymnastics to think you made a valid point. I’ll concede that you will never, ever understand why some people don’t think the military should be traveling the globe looking for people to kill.

              2. I do believe every war is wrong. Unfortunately, some are necessary. This is not one of those.

                1. Then your objection is about the necessity of this war. Fine. Make that objection. But the fact that children are dying says nothing one way or another about the necessity of this war.

            2. “indiscriminately bombing the shit out of anyone with a towel on his head.”

              Er, not really – for that see the Russian Air Force and Grozny. Not that President Killlist doesn’t have moral and strategic flaws in his drone strikeyness.

          3. I’ll make easy for you, John. Drone strikes aren’t acts of war. They’re extra-judicial assassinations, and as such, are flat fucking illegal under US law.

            You can claim they’re acts of war, but when you’re drone striking guys thousands of miles from any battlefield based on vague assurances that “Trust us. He’s a terrorist!” that excuse doesn’t wash.

            On the positive side, at least the drone war lacks all plausible deniability from the spooks. It’s hard to claim a Hellfire from a Reaper ain’t ours.

            1. If you are a member of Al Quada, you are a legitimate target, just like members of the Nazi party were legitimate targets. Drone strikes are no more extra judicial assassinations than shooting down Admiral Yamamoto’s plane.

              1. We didn’t declare war on Al-Qaeda.

                We declared war on those who caused 9/11. There is a difference.

                1. We didn’t declare war on Al-Qaeda.

                  Yes we did. Read the AUMF and the UNSC resolutions. We declared war on Al Quada.

              2. Just for clarification, here is the AUMF that the President (presumably) operates under:

                That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

                Unless we’re claiming that the present Al-Qaeda in any way shape or form had something to do with 9/11 (which beggars belief), then this AUMF is not operative, which makes the drone strikes illegal.

                Of course, the Obama and his neocon enablers like John here don’t much care for the rule of law, so we don’t have any way of knowing whether these strikes are targeting participants to 9/11.

                1. Dude…. You do understand the concept of an enabling act, right?

                  1. To follow John’s logic here, Al-Qaeda can simply change names to something else.

                  2. Sie verstehen die Bedeutung des Erm?chtigungsgesetz, ja?

                    It sounds better in the original German.

                  3. D?d, sie verstehen die Bedeutung des Erm?chtigungsgesetz, ja?

                    It sounds better in the original German.

                2. organizations Randian.

                  Al Quada is the organization that planned 9-11. Therefore, we declared war on it as an organization.

                  1. Right, but I have seen no offer of proof whatsoever that those individuals currently being targeted are members of the enemy, or any evidence at all that, for example, the Al-Qaeda of Yemen has even a distant relationship to the ‘real’ Al-Qaeda.

                    1. The evidence is that they claim to be. The people themselves are proud to announce they are Al Quada.

                      If you want to make a case that the President has exceeded his legal authority, you have a much stronger case in Pakistan, since I am not sure the Taliban operating outside of Afghanistan are covered by the AUMF.

              3. And we know they’re Al Qaeda… how, exactly? Because the government tells us they are? Alrighty then.

              4. It’s not like they have “I am a member of Al Qeda” stamped on their foreheads. When the President is free to kill any member of Al Queda, but has no obligation to prove a particular person is a member before targeting them, how is that different from blanket permission to kill anyone who happens to be annoying him?

                1. It isn’t any different. That’s why the declaration of war is required. He is being given permission to exercise his judgment in the matter.

                  Which he doesn’t have, BTW.

          4. But they need to make better arguments than “but the childrenz”.

            Is there a better reason?

            Serious question.

            1. There has to be. every war results in civilian casualties.

        2. “176 Pakistani children disagree.”

          Up to nearly? Whatever that means.

          I think the Pashtun who take in Talib out of hospitality, family obligation or duress are mostly keeping the kids out of the way. Therefore, I suspect the kids who get killed are when the target is in a smaller/poorer household, or when the drone hits a moving group of people.

          1. And yet those policy makers who intend drone use as a deterrent against offering succor to insurgents probably have never even given a second thought to the fact that as a cultural concept, Pashtunwali is strong that it would, at times, outweigh the safety of their own children.

            1. Oh yeah – I learned the overwhelming power of the hospitality tradition academically, before ever stepping foot into Afghanistan. No reading can prepare you for it, however.

              People would give you all their food, and go hungry for days if it meant they discharged their responsibility. And these were poor people to begin with.

              I came up with a whole system of evaluating villages – what we could/would accept from anyone and the face saving excuses we could make to not accept hospitality that would beggar the giver.

              Makes you damned well appreciate what you have, and keeps me a very generous host at home.

      2. with up to nearly

        The “nearly” is useless.

  6. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates up to 3,400 fatalities since 2004, with up to nearly 900 civilians and 176 children, with 310 of 362 strikes since 2004 coming under President Obama.

    Numbers are meaningless without something to compare it to. I’m a little disappointed in the reason staff using raw numbers for shock value. I would like to see a comparison of civilian fatalities between drones and bomber/fighter/helo attacks against like targets.

    My issue is not with the drones, or with targeting playbooks, or necessarily with the collateral damage, which will always be a factor in any military engagement (and we should attempt to minimize, I might add). My greatest concern is this megalomaniac is taking action he has not been authorized to take. THAT is the unforgivable offense and where the emphasis should lie, IMHO.

    1. Well put. Other than the reports of double tapping in hopes of getting medical personnel, I have yet to see anything illegal about the conduct of these missions.

      Now, why are we are bombing Pakistan with no authorization from Congress or the UN is a different story. That is something worth talking about and objecting too. But the fact that fighting an enemy who hides in civilian populations and refuses to wear uniforms results in collateral damage is really not particularly noteworthy. Reason’s constant focus on this issue makes me wonder if they actually understand the issues involved very well.

      1. But the fact that fighting an enemy who hides in civilian populations and refuses to wear uniforms results in collateral damage is really not particularly noteworthy.

        It’s noteworthy because it’s been tried and failed. What the fuck do you think the outrage over Vietnam was? This is Vietnam 2. Sending our soldiers to die over a bunch of bullshit, and not giving a single fuck that civilians are being gunned down or bombed along with the enemy.

        1. Then I guess we should just surrender Brand. Because if the standard is that we will never fight a war that results in a civilian death, we will never fight any war under any circumstance.

          And we succeeded in Vietnam. The guerrilla war in Vietnam failed miserably. South Vietnam fell to a conventional invasion in 1974. The Veit Cong was completely destroyed as a military force by 1972 and really by 1968. So you might want to work on your examples a bit.

          1. If you want to consider Vietnam a success, you might want to look up Pyrrhic Victory.

            1. I didn’t say we won Vietnam. I said Vietnam is not an example of the US losing a guerrilla war. It is an example of the US winning such a war, going home, and those we left behind losing the subsequent conventional war.

          2. Then I guess we should just surrender Brand. Because if the standard is that we will never fight a war that results in a civilian death, we will never fight any war under any circumstance.

            How fucking dumb can you get? You’re not willing to go on a killing spree, therefore you might as well surrender? Really? Do you not understand the concept of self-defense?

            1. Sparky,

              You are the slowest person who comments on here. Even if we fought a war in self defense, innocent people are going to die. Civilians die in every war. So unless you are willing to accept the killing of civilians, you are not going to be able to fight a war, even one in self defense.

              Slow down and think about what is being said.

              1. Sorry John, but I’m not the slow one here. You obviously believe that war is just war, no matter where it’s fought or what it’s fought over. You actually equate sending a military force to another country to kill people with defending yourself and your property.

                If it’s bad when the “enemies” come here and we have to defend ourselves, why isn’t it bad when our forces go there and they have to defend themselves?

                1. I can understand where John is coming from – at least from a historical point of view and my own previous beliefs of the legalities of war.

                  However, I’ve changed a lot since the days of 9/11 and even my own reading of WW1, WW2, and Vietnam. I’m not an uber-pacifist myself, but I do think a moral nation should do whatever it takes to minimize wounding & killing civilians; even if it means allowing a legitimate target to escape.

                  A ground war – something on the scale of WW2 or Vietnam – where civilians (many not so innocent) are mixed in with the enemy is a complex moral issue that has no easy answers. However, a moral nation would once again do everything within their power to minimize civilian casualties, even if it means you take a few punches yourself.

                  1. I do think a moral nation should do whatever it takes to minimize wounding & killing civilians; even if it means allowing a legitimate target to escape.

                    the bold is problematic in that this particular enemy already hides under its women’s skirts and wears no uniform like traditional soldiers do. Hamas fires from civilian neighborhoods; should no one shoot back?

                    I get the theory of what you’re saying but the practice seems difficult to accomplish. A lot of civilians were killed in WWII and that was with things far less murky than terrorism.

                    1. as I said, it ain’t easy.

                    2. Hamas fires from civilian neighborhoods; should no one shoot back?

                      Should no one shoot back with what? Shoot back with small arms fire? Sure. Shoot back with bombs and mortars? I don’t think so.

                    3. Hard to take out a rocket launcher and crew hiding in a school/mosque/clinic with small arms, when they are 5km from the border. You don’t drop a 20,000lbs bomb, but if you drop a 25olb one and someone else besides the crew gets hurt, that is on the Hamas rocketeers, not the IDF.

                    4. You don’t drop a 20,000lbs bomb, but if you drop a 25olb one and someone else besides the crew gets hurt, that is on the Hamas rocketeers, not the IDF

                      Are you saying that infiltration is no longer a part of conventional warfare? Honestly curious as to why a squad couldn’t get in there and take out the rocketeers.

                    5. 5km inside Gaza, when the thing pops out and starts firing – you want to wait for some commando team to get rounded up and infiltrate 5km in and go for the crew of a mobile launcher?!

                      Um, that is simply saying you ain’t ever going to shoot back.

                    6. Um, that is simply saying you ain’t ever going to shoot back.

                      Fair enough. I don’t know enough about modern military hardware so I’ll just have to accept your word that the only way to get a nest of guys out of a building is to level at least part of that building.

                    7. I think that in a truly moral war, no target is off-limits. Tax dollars fund wars more than anything else.

                    8. Randian

                      You try to apply moral principles where none exist. War is immoral, by definition. The result is depriving innocent people of their rights because their governing bodies couldn’t come up with a peaceful solution.

                      Was is immoral. That’s why it should only be suggested as an absolute last resort.

                      I invoke Kirk:

                      Death, destruction, disease, horror. That’s what war is all about, Anan. That’s what makes it a thing to be avoided. You’ve made it neat and painless. So neat and painless, you’ve had no reason to stop it.

                    9. Was War

                    10. Tax dollars fund wars more than anything else.

                      Tax dollars? Those voluntary donations?

                      Last I checked, I was an individual who paid these under the threat of violence and imprisonment from the state. I pay these involuntarily. In no way is that an endorsement of anything the state does.

                      Your argument is holding the slaves accountable for the actions of the master.

                2. You obviously believe that war is just war, no matter where it’s fought or what it’s fought over.

                  I don’t believe anything like that. I am just saying that the fact that a war results in civilian casualties says nothing about its justification or rightness. I have never made a single argument on this thread about whether this war is worth fighting. I have only said that the death of children in it is irrelevant to answering that question.

                  You are dumber than Tony sometimes.

                  1. I am just saying that the fact that a war results in civilian casualties says nothing about its justification or rightness. I have never made a single argument on this thread about whether this war is worth fighting. I have only said that the death of children in it is irrelevant to answering that question.

                    The point you made above was this:

                    If Libertarians object to the war in Pakistan and Afghanistan, fine. But they need to make better arguments than “but the childrenz”

                    In other words, you think it’s stupid that people would object to war just because kids get killed. And it’s stupid to object because kids get killed in war. YOU personally don’t have a problem with kids being killed, because, hey, it happens. Many people don’t agree with you and not agreeing with you doesn’t make one a pacifist. This argument is not worth continuing at this point because you can not and/or will not acknowledge that an opinion other than yours might be valid. If you want to plant your flag and claim victory because you’ve become a brick wall, so be it.

                    1. If you experience a WARBONUR lasting longer than 4 years, please consult a physician, of some kind.

          3. I agree with the assessment that we won the on ground war, and what a load of shit the media fed the American public at the time (I even remember absorbing it as a kid in kindergarten) but it was no cake walk, and even in ’72 the Vietcong proved to be assholes who could disrupt and terrorize our allies in the villages. One of my acquaintances described to me a patrol he did months just before we airlifted out where happening upon a village under his team’s protection they found several dead laying out in the open and the tribal elder had been tied to a tree left with his stomach split open and a flare stuck up in it. Even late in the war, they were some gruesome commie sons of bitches to deal with.

      2. I question the “intentional double tapping”. This was something they were doing to us with IEDs. I seriously doubt that anyone in our military was double tapping to kill responders, as that’s illegal. It may have happened because there was a legitimate secondary target. But not to kill first responders.

        Anyone actually have a (legitimate) citation for this claim?

        1. http://www.businessinsider.com…..an-2012-12

          Here is the source. If it is true, it is a war crime.

          1. Please not the word “legitimate” in my request.

            My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with a girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night.

            1. how exactly could one get a “legitimate” citation for this? The CIA isn’t going to admit it. And it’s a part of the country where there aren’t many neutral observers. The only way would be through some “god” satellite where one could see any part of the conflict at a given moment.

              1. You buy this because it’s been tweeted by an NYU student? No sources? Anyone who believes this is predisposed to because it supports their argument.

                A more likely scenario is this student misunderstood someone talking about how WE were being double tapped with IEDs and reported incorrectly because of said confusion.

                I can’t speak for the CIA. But I feel pretty comfortable speaking for the military on this issue. This is CLEARLY illegal and such operations WOULD NOT be tolerated.

                Isolated incident? Maybe. Extenuating circumstances? Maybe. But to say this is policy? Not a fucking chance in hell.

                1. do you have a citation for that?

                  1. 20+ years of first hand experience.

                2. Actually, if you read his sources, the U.S. is double tapping. For example:

                  Ob197 ? March 11 2011
                  ? 6-12 total killed
                  ? 5 civilians reported killed
                  ? ‘Many’ injured
                  A double strike on a vehicle (and possibly a compound) and rescuers killed at least six people. Some locals reported that all of the dead were civilians. ‘When local people rushed towards the burning vehicle to remove bodies and help the injured, the unmanned plane fired two missiles’ (Dawn). The Bureau’s own researchers in Waziristan reported that five Taliban and five civilian rescuers were killed, named as Noor Gul, Jaffar, Faraz, Musa and Kamal.

                  1. Again, you have NO IDEA why that happened. There could have been a legitimate military reason for the second missile based upon information no one else has access to. It could have been an accident/fuck up.

                    To say that it was done to specifically target first responders or is recurring policy is complete bullshit.

                    1. Dude, I don’t know the intentions of people firing the missiles. They could be depraved, deluded, honorable or misled.

                      If they are hitting a target in a built up area, then shooting a second time as people rush to deal with the mess, why they are doing it doesn’t change what they are doing. The bullet pulverizing Gabbie Gifford’s brain doesn’t really give a shit why it was fired.

                      Some of the strikes are double taps. Most of those kill militants, a substantial portion kill good samaritans. The why is really, really irrelevant.

                    2. Yes. It IS all about the why.

                      The implication was we were doing it for the purposes of killing first responders. I’m here to tell you that that DID NOT happen. And if it did, everyone involved needs to be court-martialed.

                      The legality of killing innocents is dependent upon the military necessity of the destruction of a legitimate target. There are times when the value of the target outweighs the potential for civilian casualties.

                      When? That is determined by ROE. Sorry if you don’t like that, or if it offends your delicate sensibilities, but that’s war. There is no due process or fairness.

                      Now if you’d like to debate whether or not these wars are legitimate or justifiable, we’d most likely agree.

                    3. Sorry if you don’t like that, or if it offends your delicate sensibilities, but that’s war.

                      You equate opposing collectivism with “delicate sensibilities”? Tell me more about this Earth custom called ethical egoism, second technician Rimmer…

                    4. Not quite sure what you just asked me? Please explain.

        2. They were targeting the “first responders” IIRC, but it wasn’t the Northwest Frontier Ambulance Service – it was other Talib/Haqqani running to the scene.

          However, I think the tactic is still prohibited- That only works if you killed a gun crew (for example) and the “first responders” were there to man the gun, not treat or evacuate wounded.

          1. The same argument could be used if military first responders popped up on the scene on our side, right? Or, really, to stretch the logic a bit, if government employees are the first responders.

            1. Pro Libertate| 1.22.13 @ 2:08PM |#

              The same argument could be used if military first responders popped up on the scene on our side, right?

              It is noted that the attack on the Benghazi ‘mission’ was suspected to have been purposely dragged out for hours in order to lure an American response force into the area to subsequently be ambushed.

              i dont remember the precise source of that, but i recall it being reported by a few different outlets. I believe it was either from signal intercepts… or maybe just a bullshit excuse tossed out by the DoD to cover up why they sat on their hands

            2. Well, that is why we mark our medical folks and vehicles. If it is infantry running to a mortar and the enemy drops another blast on you, that is good targeting – I don’t care if the infantry guys happen to know first aid or have a combat lifesaver bag.
              Our problem is that we cannot know who is coming there, so if you hit again, you don’t know who you are getting – nobody there is wearing uniforms or Red Crescent markings or such. Hence, I would NOT do such a double strike, and avoid the whole problem.

  7. You think the CIA is the only one using drones in AfPak? I’d bet money on the fact that armed drones have been used to support to DEA FAST teams.

    1. I only met two CIA guys in AF – I met a lot more drug warriors than that.

      1. I’ll read between the lines, (don’t want you to break OpSec) and take that as a yes. 🙂

        Time to cash in that bet….

        1. Safe to say you would have some extra money, yes.

  8. the Washington Post reports that the exemption for the CIA in Pakistan was a “compromise” needed to finish the rest of the “playbook

    Its hard to take seriously a “set of rules” that practitioners of drone warfare are unwilling to apply to the #1 theatre where it is employed

    Its like applying strict rules to pop warner football, but then playing the superbowl without any refs. It shows a fundamental contempt for the idea of ‘rules’ in the first place. “We’ll apply them as soon as we’re done breaking them over here”

  9. The reason that children are brought into the conversation is not entirely emotionalism. There is no sane argument to be made that pre-adolescents are not innocent.

    We are killing innocents to pursue a vague, open-ended (and self-perpetuating) policy goal based on intelligence gathered in a part of the world that is largely hostile (because we keep killing their children) and no proof or evidence is ever presented that the guilty were there in the first place or were actually killed in the attack.

    It’s illegal, immoral, and indefensible and it should stop.

    1. It is immoral.

      It is not illegal.

      It is defensible, as no target chosen during war has ever required evidence or proof that it is hostile prior to engagement. All one needs is a legitimate argument of military necessity. History judges whether that assessment was correct.

      I completely agree with you on the results of the current policy. It is self defeating.

      1. We are not at war. You go to war with other states, not amorphous ideologues who are criminals. We arrest criminals. We are conducting targeted assassinations of foreign nationals, which is illegal under the laws the government claims to operate.

        If we were going into Pakistan to capture them and they end up dead, there might be an argument, but we are just firing rockets into other countries and guessing at who the targets are. Just because Pakistan is unable to stop us doesn’t make it legal.

        All one needs is a legitimate argument of military necessity.

        The CIA is not the military; it has no argument. And the drone strikes the military make away from the battlefield in countries we are not in a declared war with is also not a military operation. Those are area-effect assassinations on maybe targets.

        1. We are not at war.

          As I said earlier (you may have missed it), THAT is the issue. There has been NO authority given the executive by the legislature to carry out these actions. The acts themselves would not be illegal if such authority had been granted.

          I disagree with you about going to war with states. Nowhere, that I’m aware of, is the act of declaring war limited to actions against a state. I’ll give you that the wisdom of doing otherwise is debatable.

          Yes, they are assassinations because there is no Congressional approval. Had there been, it would be legitimate warfare.

          You are correct about the CIA. They fall under different rules.

          My only issue is there are people conflating whether this is a legitimate war, with the actions allowable if it were. That there is no authorization is the crux of the matter.

  10. ‘Stans are ‘Stans.

    You can’t avoid an instant replay of te Afghan or Yemeni consequences by moving the action fifty miles towards the Indus.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.