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White House sticks to secrecy as the death toll in drone strikes surges
December 21, 2011 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Secrecy defines Obama’s drone war. "Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory. The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified."

The article quotes an anonymous U.S. official disputing the death of 16-year-old Tariq Aziz in a drone strike on October 31, which was mentioned in this thread.

Another WaPo article on drones, this time being used at home for surveillance: More Predator drones fly U.S.-Mexico border
posted by homunculus (82 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
William Walden knows about this.
posted by unliteral at 4:43 PM on December 21, 2011


> These unarmed Predator-Bs are the same unmanned aircraft known for lethal hunter-killer missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, except they don’t carry the missile package.

Yet.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:44 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Obama should stop having people murdered.
posted by facetious at 4:46 PM on December 21, 2011 [18 favorites]


My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government. - President Obama, 01/21/09
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:48 PM on December 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


The Drone That Fell From the Sky: What a Busted Robot Airplane Tells Us About the American Empire in 2012 and Beyond
posted by homunculus at 4:54 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


William Walden knows about this.

I was thinking he'd say something along the lines the potential collateral damage falls within current matrix parameters.
posted by birdherder at 5:01 PM on December 21, 2011


Spencer Ackerman: CIA Drones Kill Large Groups Without Knowing Who They Are
posted by shothotbot at 5:06 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the future of warfare. It will be remote, robotic and will inflict causalities and damage with no risk to the attacker. The US cruise missile attack on Libya was a small preview of this evolving form of warfare. The goal is Prompt Global Strike (http://goo.gl/hAIR1) with the ability to strike anywhere on planet earth within one hour with zero exposure or risk...
posted by jim in austin at 5:08 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the future of warfare. It will be remote, robotic and will inflict causalities and damage with no risk to the attacker.

And with that risk will go a large portion of the anti-war movement.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:19 PM on December 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's tough to get too excited about the drone aspect of this. If it's OK to attack people, it's OK to attack them with a drone, and if it's not OK, it's not OK to do it with a drone.
posted by planet at 5:21 PM on December 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's tough to get too excited about the drone aspect of this.

There are contexts where it is generally agreed upon as okay to attack people, such as in self-defense. Likewise, there are contexts where some acts of aggression are unacceptable, use of chemical weapons, so forth. Where do drones and other unmanned technologies fit into this spectrum?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:25 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Azmat Khan's been following drone usage at FRONTLINE.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:29 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's tough to get too excited about the drone aspect of this. If it's OK to attack people, it's OK to attack them with a drone, and if it's not OK, it's not OK to do it with a drone.

True, it is equally wrong to strafe an Afghani wedding with machine gun fire, standing there in person.

Is that likely to happen?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:31 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Spencer Ackerman: CIA Drones Kill Large Groups Without Knowing Who They Are

So, basically, terrorism. Remember when Obama was accused of "palling around with terrorists?" Apparently that was more a prediction than an accusation.
posted by The World Famous at 5:32 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Consider this scenario: Some tin horn dictator is threatening a neighbor who just happens to be one of our allies. Within an hour every civilian, governmental, military and utility structure of note in their country is reduced to rubble from thousands of miles away. In 60 minutes the offending party finds itself in the 18th century and with absolutely no targets to attack in response. This could make being a "global policeman" a much more manageable task...
posted by jim in austin at 5:33 PM on December 21, 2011


And with that risk will go a large portion of the anti-war movement.

Man, I hope not. Even if Americans specifically aren't at risk in drone battles, they still cause an awful lot of collateral damage, which has negative first order effects (INNOCENT PEOPLE GET ROBOT DEATH RAINED ON THEM FROM THE SKY) as well as second order effects (communities, nations, etc. resent the people who are murdering their women and children with death-raining sky robots)
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 5:34 PM on December 21, 2011


I'd like to think so, cobra_h_t. But the zeal behind these movements really kicks into high gear when the casualty reports come in. It's hard(er) to get hepped up when BRING OUR BOYS HOME becomes BRING HOME DINNER WHEN YOU GET BACK FROM PLAYING VIDEO GAMES.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:43 PM on December 21, 2011


This could make being a "global policeman" a much more manageable task...

Or make it seem that way at first, leading quickly to imperial overreach.
posted by General Tonic at 5:46 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


My guess is by the end of this century, if not well before, our entire military will be robotic. What will it mean when warfare becomes the Game of Life rather than the Charge of the Light Brigade?
posted by jim in austin at 5:49 PM on December 21, 2011


jim in austin: Unless said dictator has an air defense network manufactured in the last 20 years or so. Or even some clever technicians with access to radio equipment. Then AFAIK the current generation of drones, without backup from manned aircraft and missiles, are just so much flying scrap metal.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:49 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hope ... and ...

Oh, fuck it; just kill them.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:50 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No hope.
posted by grounded at 5:57 PM on December 21, 2011


The US cruise missile attack on Libya was a small preview of this evolving form of warfare.

In Strikes on Libya by NATO, an Unspoken Civilian Toll
posted by homunculus at 5:58 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's my big beef with drone/missile warfare: if you aren't giving someone a target to fight (and lose) against on the ground, do you seriously think they're just going to lie there and take it instead of bringing it to your country one bin-bomb at a time?
posted by Slackermagee at 6:02 PM on December 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


In Strikes on Libya by NATO, an Unspoken Civilian Toll

Yeah. Of course, fuck.

Can I hop out of my cynical jumpsuit for a moment and ask who I might lend support to that is in the best position to tackle this issue in an effective way? Not Amnesty. The Red Cross? The systematic castration of the U.N. is proceeding apace, so I must look elsewhere. Suggestions?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:03 PM on December 21, 2011


And with that risk will go a large portion of the anti-war movement.

You mean Cindy Sheehan?

Beause I don't know what other "anti-war movement" you might be thinking of.
posted by Trurl at 6:07 PM on December 21, 2011


In every form of warfare, from throwing rocks to launching photon torpedoes, there is the risk of "collateral damage". Just as long as you don't actually target civilians you will probably not wind up in the docket at the Hague...
posted by jim in austin at 6:15 PM on December 21, 2011


This could make being a "global policeman" a much more manageable task...

"and I don't believe we can defeat no Axis of Evil/by putting smart bombs in the hands of dumb people"
posted by howfar at 6:16 PM on December 21, 2011


Here's my big beef with drone/missile warfare: if you aren't giving someone a target to fight (and lose) against on the ground, do you seriously think they're just going to lie there and take it instead of bringing it to your country one bin-bomb at a time?
A cynical person may notice that this doesn't usually have such terrible consequences for both the ruling party and makers of drones and missiles.
posted by fullerine at 6:34 PM on December 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


A cynical person may notice that this doesn't usually have such terrible consequences for both the ruling party and makers of drones and missiles.

Holy crap; you're right.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:40 PM on December 21, 2011


Drone warfare removes the operator* from the weapons system. It puts them beyond the reach of their enemy, outside the potential retaliation of the battlefield. It gives pilots a godlike sensibility, information streaming into command and control centers, true 'eyes in the sky' and the power of Zeus' thunderbolt at their fingertips.

Drones don't have to learn a language, smile at the locals, endure relationship-destroying deployments, get retirement pay, or come home in a bodybag. Drone pilots can go home every night to their loved ones, working essentially a 'desk job' (the hard parts of launching and landing are done in-country).

Drones are the natural conclusion of twenty years of American techno-political-military policy.

I hate them and all they stand for.

* this, by the way, is the DoD newspeak you were looking for here and here
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:10 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Consider this scenario: Some tin horn dictator is threatening a neighbor who just happens to be one of our allies. Within an hour every civilian, governmental, military and utility structure of note in their country is reduced to rubble from thousands of miles away. In 60 minutes the offending party finds itself in the 18th century and with absolutely no targets to attack in response. This could make being a "global policeman" a much more manageable task...

What if those of us in other countries don't want the US to be a global policeman? I can't understand how the US somehow has the moral authority to do this sort of thing. This is not the country of Tom Paine anymore.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:16 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"In every form of warfare, from throwing rocks to launching photon torpedoes, there is the risk of "collateral damage". Just as long as you don't actually target civilians you will probably not wind up in the docket at the Hague..."

That used to make sense, but over the past dozen years we've seen aggressive unprovoked warfare and permanent hostile occupation go completely unremarked, much less prosecuted. The "justice" paradigm is yesterday's ideological obfuscation - these days, justifying your actions is for weaklings only.
posted by facetious at 7:17 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is the ratio of enemy combatant : civilians killed today vs. 40 years ago vs. 65 years ago vs 1000 years ago? Are we getting worse at sparing civilians or getting better at reporting their deaths?
posted by jasondigitized at 7:17 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tom Paine has been dead for 202 years...
posted by jim in austin at 7:20 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama jokes about killing Jonas Brothers with predator drones.
posted by bukvich at 7:26 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be fair to Obama, what he really meant to say is that the Jonas brothers are drones.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:36 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tom Paine has been dead for 202 years...

Fine, fly your fucking drones and scrag anyone who happens to disagree with you.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:38 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is the ratio of enemy combatant : civilians killed today vs. 40 years ago vs. 65 years ago vs 1000 years ago?

Well, first, you have to remember that, according to the U.S. government, basically everyone in the world is an "enemy combatant," no matter who they are, as long as the government says so. Second, 40 years ago would be what, the beginning of Vietnam, including the Cambodian Campaign through Operation Linebacker II? Vietnam wasn't exactly low on civilian casualties. There is some disagreement among various sources as to just how many civilians died. But on the high end of the estimates, the Vietnamese government in 1995 estimated that 2 million Vietnamese civilians on both sides died over the 20 years of the war.

Ancient wars are a little different, I think. As I recall, there was a bit more of a distinction between different sorts of fighting - direct army confrontations versus sieges on settlements, for example. They were both more than 1000 years ago, but the examples that spring immediately to mind would be the Battle of Lake Trasimene, where soldiers fought soldiers, compared to the Battle of Carthage, where the Roman army eventually broke through the city walls and killed half a million people, most of them civilians, sparing only 50,000 survivors who were then taken as slaves.

Are we getting worse at sparing civilians or getting better at reporting their deaths?

Look at WWII, where somewhere around 50 million civilians were killed in the span of about six years, with total casualties (military and civilian combined) at more than 2.5% of the world's population.

I'd say that humanity is a hell of a lot better at sparing civilians than we used to be. But nowhere near as good as we ought to be.
posted by The World Famous at 7:44 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Predators are now being used by local law enforcement to apprehend suspects who, in this case, happen to be part of an anti-government, sovereign citizens' movement.
posted by swift at 7:47 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


What if those of us in other countries don't want the US to be a global policeman?

Then they'll challenge the US until eventually one emerges as a stronger power, and they'll become the global policeman. Or they'll fail, and they won't. "Moral authority" has nothing to do with the role.
posted by spaltavian at 7:48 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


What if those of us in other countries don't want the US to be a global policeman?

Then you will be tased.
posted by swift at 7:49 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else see the scene in the HBO Homeland finale, where they revealed that the Vice President and the CIA director had covered up an American drone strike that killed 83 children at a school?

Well that happens pretty much every day in real life.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:59 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


We can certainly argue about whether there is a real difference between mainstream Republicans and Democrats on a host of issues. But on matters related to civil liberties and the growing menace of the national security state and surveillance there is no argument. Obama is Cheney's wet dream.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:03 PM on December 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


In order to respect U.S. law, Obama should seek a declaration of war on Pakistan from Congress; this will be certain to rally global public opinion to America's just and constitutional cause. Except that Pakistan hasn't committed any acts of aggression against the U.S. - so that would violate international law, so scratch that. I guess the only legal thing to do is seek Interpol warrants for these individuals, and leave it to the Pakistanis to enforce them. After all, we have to fight today's wars in strict conformity to laws designed regulate interstate conflict. Any actions not in keeping with those laws make Obama a murder and war criminal.
posted by Dasein at 8:06 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Canadian should never forget that the coming drone strikes were invited by Stephen Harper. If fact, you're probably stuck with this crap even if Americans eventually decide to enforce the Posse Comitatus Act.

There is however a reasonable change that journalism could become the killer app for drones, behold the OccuCopter. See previous comments on Ridus' OccuCopter in Russia too.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:10 PM on December 21, 2011


Congress already gave the President this authority in the joint resolution where they Authorized Military Force

..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.

Even Ron Paul voted for it.
posted by humanfont at 8:29 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Local police stockpile high-tech, combat-ready gear
posted by homunculus at 9:12 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It’s Not a UFO, Just a Killer Drone for an Aircraft Carrier
posted by homunculus at 9:44 PM on December 21, 2011


Drone warfare removes the operator* from the weapons system...the power of Zeus' thunderbolt at their fingertips.

Moreso for the guy who orders it I'd think. Separating the exultation of execution from Power (capital 'P') type Power.

Thinking about the potential future of strikes on U.S. soil.

Here's the thing - how do you know who ordered it? I mean, eventually other countries are going to have the capability to do this in our backyard. Obviously we can do more than just surveil if we want. This technology is going to be off the leash pretty quickly too.

I dunno where people get the idea secrecy protects them. Or flushing money down the drain for high spec equipment for Joe Friday and Barney Fife when it all relies on integration and an infrastructure that's vastly more threatened by natural disaster.

From Hom's link above:
Clark is startled by the number of SWAT teams falling below the 16 hours of minimum monthly training recommended by the National Tactical Officers Association. Without proper maintenance, only luck remains.

*chuckle*

I always thought it was communication, coordination of effort, and cooperation that led to human beings' ruling the planet. Not sharper, pointier teeth.

And all other considerations aside, it is a big waste of money. I mean even beyond the general idiocy involved. And part and parcel with the federal grants for Podunk counterterrorism.
Pretty much just the defense industry selling toys. Lobbying. Jockeying. Hiring ex-generals and top law enforcement folks. And lining their pockets with billions siphoned from U.S. taxpayers filtered through the blood of ... well, whomever really, because the actual mission and actual threats to U.S. interests don't matter to Mother Courage.

So yeah, billions for this and billions more so we can be suspicious of each other, kill some of the people who look suspicious, live life like the film "Brazil" and drones can fall out of the sky the rest of our lives because we're creating more and more people in opposition by their wonton and careless use.

Which makes zero sense if you're interested in security and protecting the people of the United States.
But it's just GREAT if you're in the arms business.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:46 PM on December 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


AmericasWarWithin.org looks interesting, thanks homunculus.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:32 PM on December 21, 2011


Congress already gave the President this authority in the joint resolution where they Authorized Military Force

Isn't it great how open-ended and vague it is about the terms? And here we are ten years later.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:22 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tom Paine died??!!?? WTF?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:11 AM on December 22, 2011


Congress already gave the President this authority in the joint resolution where they Authorized Military Force

Yeah, your republic is over. I don't know why people are still making such a fuss.
posted by pompomtom at 3:01 AM on December 22, 2011


Did anyone else see the scene in the HBO Homeland finale
Yes they have but they didn't send in a drone spoiler.
posted by unliteral at 6:00 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


> These unarmed Predator-Bs are the same unmanned aircraft known for lethal hunter-killer missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, except they don’t carry the missile package.

Yet.

The Card Cheat, I think you misread that. "Yet" has already happened; they essentially de-missiled the killer drones to make these "unarmed Predator-Bs".
posted by IAmBroom at 6:13 AM on December 22, 2011


Drone Strikes on Hold in Pakistan

Various stats on US drone strikes in Pakistan.
posted by humanfont at 6:27 AM on December 22, 2011


Reconnaissance was the primary mission of early aircraft. Once they had proved themselves in that role, it was not long before they were equipped with bombs and guns. Nobody is going to be very surprised when Predators are mainly used for killing people.

I mean, they're even called Predators.
posted by swift at 6:47 AM on December 22, 2011


@Dasein If the President believes current law to be detrimental to his ability to defend the nation then he is welcome to present his case to Congress and the American people and requires modifications to the law.

Similarly he can leave or request modification to the various treaties which legally bind the USA.

He is not, however, supposed to be simply able to violate the law without consequence because he thinks it's necessary.

And, yes, I do think that pursuing a policy which is known and repeatedly demonstrated to kill a large number of innocent people (children, for example) in pursuit of shadowy and always ill defined or even completely undefined goals is a war crime.

Serious question: do you honestly think we can simply kill "the terrorists" until there are no more? As if there were a fixed number of "terrorists" and if we can kill them, by whatever means and with civilian collateral damage being perfectly acceptable, then we'll be safe again?

Is it your contention that the killing of children and other non-combatants will not inspire new people with great hatred of the USA and instill in them an urge to seek bloody vengeance by whatever means they have available?

When, exactly, do you see the "War on Terror" ending and the AUMF being terminated? Under what specific conditions do you think we can return to peacetime and the civil rights violations you believe to be necessary in order to successfully prosecute the war will end?

What grounds do you have for believing that the necessary lawbreaking you advocate will end at protecting America and will not extend into violating our civil rights even further? Why, for example, shouldn't the "War on Drugs" be fought with drones? See a suspected drug dealer, fire missiles into a housing project and kill him and a few dozen random other people?

Since you are of the position that rule of law is a hopelessly obsolete and laughable concept, what exact mechanism will prevent future governments from undertaking the situation outlined in the above paragraph?
posted by sotonohito at 10:10 AM on December 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dang that's a lot of typos.
posted by sotonohito at 11:01 AM on December 22, 2011


For Christmas, Your Government Will Explain Why It's Legal to Kill You

Ha! Just kidding! It won't tell you that. That's classified!

posted by homunculus at 12:47 PM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Air Force Drone Operators Report High Levels of Stress
posted by homunculus at 3:04 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Via Greenwald: Texas doctor to operate on injured girl
posted by homunculus at 3:12 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alternatively we could just let these guys back in power. they don't accidentally murder women and children, they do it on purpose.
posted by humanfont at 4:21 PM on December 22, 2011


Alternatively we could just let these guys back in power. they don't accidentally murder women and children, they do it on purpose.

Maybe we could find some other option which doesn't involve murdering innocent people...."accidentally" or no.

Also, The Long War Journal is for all intents and purposes a neocon propaganda site that poses as a miliblog. Just thought the gentle mefi readers should know that.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:09 AM on December 23, 2011


Since you are of the position that rule of law is a hopelessly obsolete and laughable concept

International law is obsolete when it comes to how wars are fought - they're designed for interstate conflict, not wars against non-state terrorist entities. And there is no rule of law internationally - there's anarchy. We can choose to restrict ourselves in how we defend ourselves, but it will only mean more dead civilians, and more safe havens for terrorists. I don't think that's a price worth paying to say that we're playing by the rules set down by European statesmen before World War II. There is no moral authority inherent in international law - it derives its moral authority from codifying reasonable norms of acceptable behaviour. Some of those norms are grossly out of date and would lead to more, not fewer, civilian deaths. International law needs to change, or it needs to be ignored by any responsible president concerned with protecting American lives.
posted by Dasein at 6:02 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


US Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004-Present -- Compiled by The New America Foundation a center-left think tank.
posted by humanfont at 6:50 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


US Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004-Present -- Compiled by The New America Foundation a center-left think tank.

I'm not really that big on think tanks since they can pretty much say whatever they want and never be held accountable. That being said it will be interesting to look at the differences between the Long War Journal and the New America Foundation. Just a cursory glance reveals that the Long War Journal doesn't report as many civilian deaths.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:11 AM on December 23, 2011


Also, after wikileaks does anybody really believe numbers that we hear from the mainstream media and other associated institutions? I mean the u.s. military was keeping civilian deaths a secret in Iraq and Afghanistan so I don't see why anyone with any modicum of intellectual integrity would believe any numbers that are cited by anyone. The truth is the only people, or institutions, that have any accurate data concerning the amount of deaths related to drone strikes is the Pentagon and CIA. Unfortunately their track record on being trustworthy as sources of information is not exactly stellar.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:34 AM on December 23, 2011


I think you just reject any information that doesn't fit your narrative. Even with the Wikileaks data we see that the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties are the result of insurgent groups. We've dramatically increased availability of electricity, clean water, sanitation and basic health programs in Afghanistan. Lack of access to these things kills a lot more Afghans and Pakistanis than wayward drone strikes.
posted by humanfont at 10:44 AM on December 23, 2011


I think you just reject any information that doesn't fit your narrative.

I usually don't reject any information, but I do realize that some sources are more reliable than others. The U.S. military, CIA, and MSM have demonstrated that they are not reliable sources of information pertaining to U.S. military actions.

Even with the Wikileaks data we see that the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties are the result of insurgent groups.

That's kinda missing the point. Wikileaks illustrated to the world that the numbers and facts we are given by the MSM and other governmental/military institutions are not to be taken at face value. This is precisely why I don't really believe that any numbers that we have access to, pertaining to drone strike deaths in Pakistan, have any relation to the reality on the ground.

We've dramatically increased availability of electricity, clean water, sanitation and basic health programs in Afghanistan.

You mean after we knocked out what infrastructure they did have in place before the 2001 invasion? I guess we should start invading Africa bombing their limited infrastructure into smithereens, kill lots of innocent civilians, make a half assed attempt to rebuild the shattered infrastructure, and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done..... Oh wait I forgot we are already bombing Africa with drones, and engaging in low intensity warfare directly through the auspices of JSOC and indirectly through our proxies it the African Union. But I suppose this is all justified somehow in the twisted bizzaro world we seem to inhabit.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:11 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Secrecy Obstructs Accountability: How the Drone War Will Help Get Obama Reelected
posted by homunculus at 12:17 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Destroyed? The numbers from the World Health org do not support your statement.
posted by humanfont at 4:12 PM on December 23, 2011


2011 in Review: The Year Secrecy Jumped the Shark
posted by homunculus at 10:01 AM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drone-Ethics Briefing: What a Leading Robot Expert Told the CIA. "Last month, philosopher Patrick Lin delivered this briefing about the ethics of drones at an event hosted by In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture-capital arm. It's a thorough and unnerving survey of what it might mean for the intelligence service to deploy different kinds of robots."
posted by homunculus at 2:55 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drone Pilots to Control Four Planes at Once: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
posted by homunculus at 10:44 AM on December 25, 2011


Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing

Snapshots of Washington’s essence
posted by homunculus at 1:43 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Contractors' role grows in drone missions, worrying some in the military
posted by homunculus at 11:59 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was Teen Killed By CIA Drone a Militant -- or Innocent Victim?
posted by homunculus at 12:36 PM on January 3, 2012


U.S. has apparently resumed drone strikes in Pakistan.

At Least Four Killed in US Drone Strike Against Pakistan
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:05 AM on January 11, 2012


Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on why it's morally justified to assassinate Iranian scientists:

If people say, “well, you can’t go out and assassinate people” — well, tell that to Awlaki. OK, we’ve done it. We’ve done it to an American citizen, so we can certainly do it to someone who’s producing a nuclear bomb that can be dropped on the state of Israel . . . .


I recall predicting, just a few weeks ago, that future Republicans would embrace and extend Obama's declaration that the American President can simply order people (including US citizens) be killed and the response was mostly people saying I was indulging in conspiracy thinking, that I was being hysterical, and generally that I was a crank, a loon.

We now have a solid example of a Republican doing **EXACTLY** what I predicted. Am I still a nut?
posted by sotonohito at 10:08 AM on January 11, 2012


The Crash and Burn Future of Robot Warfare: What 70 Downed Drones Tell Us About the New American Way of War
posted by homunculus at 2:14 PM on January 19, 2012


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