Honest question: What could prevent someone from disrupting a baseball game with a radio-controlled flying craft of some type or other as a form of protest against drones?
This focus on taking out the leaders of essentially leaderless networks (that is, interconnected cells that are highly self-organizing and at least semi-autonomous) has led to serious difficulties in the field. For example, many intelligence operatives and military servicemembers who plan and conduct drone operations have found that, all too often, the occasional strike from the sky inflicts damage that the networks can work around and quickly repair. In the meantime, the connections that the killed "leader" had are no longer discernible. Which means, in practical terms, that the slow attrition of drone campaigns, though it may hurt the enemy, does even more harm to the counter-terrorists' store of knowledge about these networks. ... Shortly before leaving office, Leon Panetta reaffirmed the traditional view when he said that loss of leaders had put al Qaeda "on the verge of strategic defeat." This is outmoded thinking. One need only look to the many fronts on which al Qaeda is operating today -- even in Iraq, where we are gone, the terrorists are back, and the country is burning -- to see that the global war on terror has morphed into terror's war on the world. ... The challenge today is to think beyond using new tools in old ways, to break through to new strategies and concepts of operations made possible by the rise of remotely piloted vehicles. For David Ronfeldt and me, this means operating in concentrated bursts of action, striking networks not at a single "decisive point" -- they don't have such -- but rather at several points at once -- what we call "swarming." Far better to go after al Qaeda by doing a lot more surveillance, for longer periods, prior to attacking. Then, when the network node or cell has been sufficiently illuminated, it can be eliminated in a series of simultaneous strikes that give the enemy little or no chance to hide or flee.
I am consistently astonished at the fact that some people can't see the most basic moral distinctions. The U.S. tries to minimize civilian casualties. Terrorists try to maximize them. If you don't see that as a reason to side with one over the other, I guess I we don't have much to talk about.
Which is for the most part neither done with drones nor really a response to terrorism.
And you know the rest of it as well as I do: Afghanistan was attacked because they couldn't plausibly invade Iraq before doing that first, Iraq was attacked because they wanted to attack it and terrorism gave them an excuse.
Fantasies about the certain success of air power in transforming, even ending, war as we know it arose with the plane itself. But when it comes to killing people from the skies, again and again air power has proven neither cheap nor surgical nor decisive nor in itself triumphant. Seductive and tenacious as the dreams of air supremacy continue to be, much as they automatically attach themselves to the latest machine to take to the skies, air power has not fundamentally softened the brutal face of war, nor has it made war less dirty or chaotic.
I'm not exactly sure what motivation there could be for hunting Al Queda down and killing them with drones or otherwise other than wanting Al Queda dead. It seems pretty direct and reasonable conpared with invading irrelivant countries.
Is this what you would tell the thousands of families who lost innocent loved ones to their attacks?
The targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, via a Drone launched from a secret base in Saudi Arabia, signaled a new threshold being crossed in the eyes of Paul and others. Drones are reshaping the way we conduct warfare and surveillance, both at home and on the numerous fronts pervaded by American interests. Yet beyond the legal and moral issues raised by Drone 'signature' strikes, there are larger questions on how Drones reshape the very notions of war and control, not to mention how the influence of liberalism created an environment where drones could thrive. In seeking answers to these questions one has to reconcile the rise of drones with the relative decline of war games as tools for conducting war and recognize that in the difference between these two lies the human drama of reconciling rationality and metaphysics.
Some of these facts may sound contradictory, and that is because they are. The truth is we don't know whether U.S. drone strikes have killed more terrorists or produced more terrorists.
Regardless, killing terrorists is only a stopgap arrangement. A corresponding and parallel development strategy for bringing the tribal areas into mainstream Pakistan is in dire need in order to empower girls like Malala Yousafzai, who challenged the insufferable Taliban worldview by standing up for education. This inclusiveness has long been the missing component in U.S. policy, and tragically, it remains so. Dismantling the al-Qaida network is a worthwhile goal, but de-radicalization is equally important.
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