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Source: (consider it) Thread: The legality of drone strikes
Barnabas62
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quote:
By lilBuddha:

What you want is the equivalent of a clear economic strategy. They do not, and cannot exist. The factors of how an economy works are broad and complex and fixing problems isn't easy or simple.
The same can be said for any complex and enduring problem.
One thing is clear: Current strategy isn't working. It is well past time to explore another.

Oh I'm not that ambitious! A bit more clarity would do. But I do think the US needs a new script. Or at least the recognition that it needs to look for one. It's bound to involve some judgment calls; I'm arguing that such calls could do with being better informed.

[ 10. February 2018, 18:57: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Oh I'm not that ambitious! A bit more clarity would do. But I do think the US needs a new script. Or at least the recognition that it needs to look for one.

Not just the US. Britain doesn't receive terrorist attacks simply because of its proximity or relative ease of access.

quote:

It's bound to involve some judgment calls; I'm arguing that such calls could do with being better informed.

The information is there. It requires filtering out the noise of propaganda and that is not always easy.

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet ...:
...war on terror...

it isn't that.

It's what George Bush labelled it. You can call it whatever you like, really. It's a long running conflict between the US and terrorists, isn't it? And not just the US. I don't mind if you don't think it' a proper war, for example. It isn't a war in the traditional meaning of that word.
I'm not accepting that it is just a conflict between the USA and terrorists. It appears to be part of a larger "great game" regarding economics, where the USA wants to order the world as it sees fit, per the Project for a New American Century. This is first about oil and we're just getting to see them make moves into the rest of it (space, information tech, culture, deconstruction of movements towards democracy etc).

Analysis, and their visionary documents: Rebuilding America's Defenses (pdf). If you search for "Pearl Harbor" in this pdf, you find the fascinating statements issued pre Sept 11, 2001. In this vein, the process of ongoing war and military actions by America are a cross-party, cross-administration realization of a pretty nasty plan, underway for some 25 years. The operative word being "domination" economically. To borrow their language, barring some Suez Canal like crisis (UK 1956) event, the process of blaming brown people for everything while exporting their resources and letting these people die in poverty and health crisis will continue.

Drones in this understanding are merely efficient ways of killing in aid of economics.

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Gramps49
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Case in point, the Israeli Defense Forces shot down an Iranian drone that crossed over into their territory yesterday The Iranians claimed the drone was for recognizance of ISIL positions. The Israeli Air Force attacked the vehicle that launched the drone, but one of its planes was shot down. And, in retaliation, the IAF attacked another 18 Iranian targets in Syria.

Neve ends

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
It's what George Bush labelled it. You can call it whatever you like, really. It's a long running conflict between the US and terrorists, isn't it?

I don't think it is really - or only in the sense that you can have a war against any other adjective - how are those working by the way?

It doesn't necessarily have to be a centralised plan - though certainly things like PNAC have long worked towards certain aims. The problem is once these are things that once embarked upon set up their own dynamic. Just restricting ourselves to drones for a moment, the constant presence of them in some areas lead to documented psychological impacts on the population:

http://chrgj.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Living-Under-Drones.pdf

Who are essentially being terrorised as a preventative measure in the war on terror.

And the combination of signature strikes and rather optimistic characterisations of the victims of such strikes risks underestimating the casualty rate:

http://www.law.columbia.edu/human-rights-institute/counterterrorism/drone-strikes/civilian-impact-drone-strikes-unexamined-co sts-unanswered-questions

The wider picture is little better of course - unless reducing having the Middle East to chaos is an achievement.

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Barnabas62
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@ no prophet

Oh I see. That needs a bit of reflection and some independent research. Back later!

[ 10. February 2018, 20:31: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Barnabas62
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chris stiles

The drone reports are excellent. I note they are 5 years old. I was particularly impressed with the legal analysis in the first link.

Isn't there some evidence that the Obama presidency, in its second term, made some attempts to respond to criticisms about both the legality and effectiveness of the drone programme? I'm not arguing that there was any kind of radical rethink, along the lines the first link calls for, but some kind of recognition that current drone policies needed both clarification and modification. I don't think the response was very effective.


In general terms the links are precisely the sort of serious look at effectiveness, based on real data, that the prosecution of the war on terror needs.

On wider issues, I accept that the PNAC think tank assertions were probably influential in policy making during the Bush Presidency, and may well be having some impact on the Trump Presidency. But the Obama Presidency didn't have much time for doctrinaire neoconservative approaches. I don't think Obama was much interested in US Global Military or Economic domination. He wanted to close down US military operations, bring troops home, and was indeed criticised for doing that 'prematurely'. So far as economic dominance is concerned. I think he was a global free trader, rather than an America-firster.

But I accept that multinational companies based in the US have been exerting powerful influence on US economic policies, regardless of who is in the WH.

[ 10. February 2018, 21:42: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But I accept that multinational companies based in the US have been exerting powerful influence on US economic policies, regardless of who is in the WH.

This. I think it explains much.

If Bruce Cockburn was writing If I Had a Rocket Launcher today, it would be about drones, not helicopters (he was writing about Guatemala and USA-backed government forces who were exterminating the indigenous population, something they started decades earlier on behalf of the United Fruit Company (Chiquita, of banana fame, is the successor company).

There's a thread of military in support of multinationals which goes back a long time. Laws aren't fully applied to business when the amounts are large.

[ 10. February 2018, 22:13: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
chris stiles

The drone reports are excellent. I note they are 5 years old. I was particularly impressed with the legal analysis in the first link.

I'm sure there are more recent ones - I picked those because I remembered them from a few years back when I looked into the subject in some detail.

quote:

But the Obama Presidency didn't have much time for doctrinaire neoconservative approaches. I don't think Obama was much interested in US Global Military or Economic domination. He wanted to close down US military operations, bring troops home, and was indeed criticised for doing that 'prematurely'.

Wars have a life of their own, and in reality he started with two low level wars and ended his presidency with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and proxies and advisors in Syria and Libya.

The withdrawal from Iraq had - of course - been planned under the previous presidency, and in 2011 when it was completed ISIL didn't look like the threat they subsequently became, but then the rise of ISIL is evidence against the long term success of such interventions.

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Barnabas62
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Oh Iraq2 was a disaster. And the absence of an exit strategy compounded it. And, yes, the aftermath created a power vacuum and fertile recruitment for IS.

What is interesting about that argument is that you would think it would make both US and UK governments more cautious about the adverse effects of botched military interventions.

And this is where Callan's excellent argument comes in. If targeted unlawful combatants were to be pursued, for capture or kill, by a SEAL team, there would be much more care taken because of the adverse risks, and the process would be much rarer. It is the low cost zero risk to US troops which has increased the frequency and, as your linked report shows, created the other adverse effect, of increasing innocent deaths, alienating more civilians and aiding recruitment to the terrorist cause.

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I'm on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones. Not fun.

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Martin60
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The Devil's Alternative from the article:

Are drone strikes ever morally defensible?
Yes - sometimes they're necessary
No - they can only ever worsen a situation

My response is either, neither, both depending on what hat I put on. On balance, 'No'.

I cannot understand how my enlightened (HAH!) self interest is served by UK endorsed US drone strikes six thousand miles away in Pakistan from US occupied Afghanistan (the scene of the UK's greatest military-political failure since the Easter Rising), based on inadequate intel, which radicalizes my UK neighbourhood.

Never mind radical Christian idealism, I struggle to see any utilitarian argument for any of it. We have played in to Bin Laden's 9 11 Goetterdaemmerung non-stop.

I'm not interested in the legality of it. Just stop it. All of it. We have broken Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Niger, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc, etc, etc for over a century or two or four (ALL of Africa) and we can't fix it, we never owned them and we don't now, just because we've broken them more recently.

Leave them alone.

And join AA.

Can we fix Haiti? Can we - FRANCE?! - pay them back the ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS of 'reparations' they paid for daring to emancipate themselves? Can we go somewhere and only fix it? Make amends?

Sorry, useless I know.

Can we fix the half of UK kids in deprivation? As long as the Americans don't start launching perfectly legal drone strikes on Small Heath.

[ 11. February 2018, 10:53: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Callan
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Originally posted by Martin60:

quote:
'm not interested in the legality of it. Just stop it. All of it. We have broken Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Niger, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc, etc, etc for over a century or two or four (ALL of Africa) and we can't fix it, we never owned them and we don't now, just because we've broken them more recently.

Leave them alone.

And join AA.

To be fair, Syria broke itself, but otherwise this is bang on. The problem is not the use of any particular weapon. The problem is we thought we could fix the Middle East after 9/11 and actually, as the young people say, we have no clue.

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rolyn
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America has fixed the Middle East.
Fixed it to it’s own advantage. Hey, that’s what Empires do, Britons of people should know that.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Originally posted by Martin60:

quote:
'm not interested in the legality of it. Just stop it. All of it. We have broken Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Niger, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc, etc, etc for over a century or two or four (ALL of Africa) and we can't fix it, we never owned them and we don't now, just because we've broken them more recently.

Leave them alone.

And join AA.

To be fair, Syria broke itself, but otherwise this is bang on. The problem is not the use of any particular weapon. The problem is we thought we could fix the Middle East after 9/11 and actually, as the young people say, we have no clue.
Syria broke itself? How? Without Petrodollars financing the Sunni insurgency? Without the CIA fomenting the Arab Spring prior to that? Without the Sunni insurgency over Sykes-Picot next door caused by Shia sectarianism? All the way back to the Greek destruction of Persia? Really Callan!

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Barnabas62
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Oh, I think the Ba'ath Party were pretty hard at work from the early 1960s onwards, Martin.

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Martin60
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The Shia Assads always win, even against foreign interference. Russia ALWAYS guarantees that. 50 years is nothing in the great long game.

[ 11. February 2018, 21:59: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Barnabas62
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The breaking of Syria was a mix of factors, surely? And internal power fights can't all be laid at the door of external interference.

Heck, I know the argument. When there weren't US boots on the ground, the CIA was busy using whatever it could find to destabilise regimes that hated the US. But emnity existed for reasons that had naff all to do with the US, everything to do with old and new feuds.

The US focusing hatred upon itself by the use of drones is relatively new.

I was watching Bill Maher last night, heard a claim that the numbers of deaths from Trump sanctioned drone strikes already exceeds those during Obama's two terms. Any data to support that?

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Doc Tor
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We disgracefully ignored the Sunni/Shia divide when we drew up the map for the Middle East, post-Ottoman.

We continue to ignore it today, despite the fact that it is weaponised by us.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Heck, I know the argument. When there weren't US boots on the ground, the CIA was busy using whatever it could find to destabilise regimes that hated the US. But emnity existed for reasons that had naff all to do with the US, everything to do with old and new feuds.

Sure, but the creation of venues for the playing out of sectarian struggles (Iraq) had a huge impact on the level of enmity.

The sectarian struggles in Baghdad loomed very large in the minds of people in the region, as did the aftermath of ISIS and the eradication of minority groups.

This created more enemies for the US, while not necessarily creating any allies.

Besides, it's a bit rich for billions in money and arms to salafist rebel groups to be labelled 'non intervention'.

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Barnabas62
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I didn't make it clear, chris. My comments related specifically to Syria, and the difference of opinion between Martin60 and Callan.

I don't like either the fostering of client states or the destabilising of other countries' client states. But there is a lot of that going on, and not just by the US

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I didn't make it clear, chris. My comments related specifically to Syria, and the difference of opinion between Martin60 and Callan.

Yes, I realised that. My post still stands. I don't think the idea that the destabilisation of Iraq had knock-on effects on Syria was a particularly controversial one.

The sectarian nature of the ensuing chaos had a large impact in the ME. There are plenty of 'secularists' who found themselves siding with Iran purely for self preservation.

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
I don't think the idea that the destabilisation of Iraq had knock-on effects on Syria was a particularly controversial one.

Agreed.

I'd read this and looked at the Ba-athist coup and the very long running state of emergency from the mid 1960's onwards. I think that supports Callan's assertion that Syria played a substantial role in breaking itself, well before Iraq1, Iraq2 and consequences. Iraq2 and consequences certainly added to the fractured state which was already there.

[ 12. February 2018, 12:10: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:

I'd read this and looked at the Ba-athist coup and the very long running state of emergency from the mid 1960's onwards.

In common with a lot of parts of the middle east.

quote:

I think that supports Callan's assertion that Syria played a substantial role in breaking itself, well before Iraq1, Iraq2 and consequences. Iraq2 and consequences certainly added to the fractured state which was already there.

I'm comforted that we can thus absolve ourselves of responsibility. Certainly creating a failed state next door, and funding jihadists in Syria are only second order causes.
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Barnabas62
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Where instability was caused by existing internal differences, that is not our direct fault. I think we can argue that indifference to suffering, wherever it occurs, is a general moral failing.

Where instability has been caused by our actions, or our actions have fostered instability for our own purposes, that's our direct fault.

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Callan
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Having thought about this I think the UK bears the blame (or part of the blame) for Sykes-Picot. But, that said, I think the Assad dynasty and Sunni Jihadists shouldn't be allowed to use that as a moral 'get out of jail' card for what is actually happening in Syria now. And, to quote those great analysts of Geo-political realities, Boney M. "Oh, those Russians!"

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:

I think the Assad dynasty and Sunni Jihadists shouldn't be allowed to use that as a moral 'get out of jail' card for what is actually happening in Syria now.

The country next door is in chaos. There are 1.2 million refugees in Syria (population 17m), furthermore the level of the conflict could not be sustained unless the jihadists were constantly being supplied from elsewhere (they'd have literally run out of ammo after a few weeks at most).

The Assad regime is horrible - but in the absence of a better alternative are really the only thing preventing the eradication of minority populations in Syria - so understandably they see it as an existential battle, and the US hasn't shown itself to be particularly adept at handling sectarian regime changes.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
We disgracefully ignored the Sunni/Shia divide when we drew up the map for the Middle East, post-Ottoman.

We continue to ignore it today, despite the fact that it is weaponised by us.

What would you have us do? Draw a different set of lines on the map and tell everyone there to follow them?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
We disgracefully ignored the Sunni/Shia divide when we drew up the map for the Middle East, post-Ottoman.

We continue to ignore it today, despite the fact that it is weaponised by us.

What would you have us do? Draw a different set of lines on the map and tell everyone there to follow them?
Allow the people there to draw their own lines? Oh yeah, and not fuck them up in the first place.

[ 12. February 2018, 17:01: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Doc Tor
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What she said.

It wasn't our call then. And I'm surprised you still think it is now.

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Barnabas62
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In other news, the Iranian drone which Israel shot down is now thought to be a reverse engineeered copy of a lost CIA reconnaissance drone (no offensive capability).

On borders of Middle Eastern Countries, if they are UN Members their present borders are internationally recognised and can only be changed by formal agreement by the UN.

However wrongly based historically and there are plenty of good arguments about that, the borders cannot be changed unilaterally.

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Martin60
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I don't disagree with Callan really. I just look at the history of Iran for instance and find it innocent. And then I just keep on going. Where should I stop?

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Love wins

Posts: 17551 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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