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Subject: Why All The Fuss About UAVs
SYSOP    2/13/2013 5:39:02 AM
 
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bikebrains    Not So   2/13/2013 12:29:18 PM
"In the past, the enemy was the enemy and being a traitor in addition to being part of the hostile force did not make any difference."    Betrayal puts a person special category of public enemy.    Think of the famous traitors in U. S. history.   Benedict Arnold lent his name to the American Tongue.    His gilt is self-evident and the damage he caused is well documented.   Parents in the United States do not name their sons Benedict.   A traitor is put into a special class of enemy because they are the enemy "from within" often having used the resources of the society for their personal gain.   Nidal Malik Hasan and  Aaron Burr benefited from being in the United States. Hasan is a graduate of the  Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, paid by tax dollars.    Traitors cross over to the Dark Side by their own free will.  Being targeted comes as part of their freely made decision.    Traitors should expect to become a high priority target. 
 
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Steele       2/14/2013 12:27:47 AM
We like to think the good guys always win.  It is hard to justify al-Qa'eda as good guys, so defeat them at least cost.  But radical Islam has been around for 1300 years, and will be around forever if they are not stopped.  There is considerable evidence that we can use drones to kill individuals, but to kill ideologies, not so much.  Killing ideologies will take the Dresden solution.  Are we prepared for that?  Would it be better to just keep up a minimal conflict from now until doomsday, rather than wipe out terrorists and cultures in a massive effort?
 
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Belisarius1234    Yes.   2/14/2013 12:46:23 AM
Watch the FIRST American city nuked.
 
B.

 
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bhessel       2/14/2013 10:52:05 AM
While there are a few luddites who object to drone tech per se, most of the critics are not focused on the technical specs and what they can do but rather on how we are using them. In that regard, there are three main objections.

The first objection is legal/moral. It is clearly illegal under international law to be routinely and repeatedly violating the air space of and killing people in multiple countries with whom we are not at war. And while we are evidently not deliberately targeting civilians, our intelligence about whom we are actually killing is imprecise enough to arguably constitute reckless disregard, which would be illegal even if the activity were taking place in a war zone.

The second objection is strategic. It is shortsighted for us to be so cavalier in our utilization of this tech. If we are justified today in taking out an apartment in Miranshah that we believe contains bad actors (and a few nearby civilians get hosed in the process), then what if in five or ten years?once everyone has access to drone tech?there is a banker living on the upper East Side who has blocked access by some government we don’t like to funds that are undeniably theirs? Why shouldn’t they be justified in using drone tech to take him out (and too bad about those folks living in the same apartment building)? We are setting precedents here that will later bite us in the posterior.
 
The third objection is tactical. It is not clear that terrorizing large portions of Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is hurting our enemies more than it is helping them…or killing them faster than creating new ones.
 
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WarNerd       2/15/2013 4:21:18 AM
While there are a few luddites who object to drone tech per se, most of the critics are not focused on the technical specs and what they can do but rather on how we are using them. In that regard, there are three main objections.
 
The first objection is legal/moral. It is clearly illegal under international law to be routinely and repeatedly violating the air space of and killing people in multiple countries with whom we are not at war. And while we are evidently not deliberately targeting civilians, our intelligence about whom we are actually killing is imprecise enough to arguably constitute reckless disregard, which would be illegal even if the activity were taking place in a war zone.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, all approve of the drone attacks in private and condemn them publically for domestic consumption. It’s two-faced of them, but that’s politics. And Pakistan certainly has the technology to defend their airspace, but to date all they have done is sent a few obsolete AAA guns to the border that cannot even get half way to the operating altitude.
 
As for the killing being “arguably constitute reckless disregard, which would be illegal even if the activity were taking place in a war zone”, I suppose we could go back to carpet bombing, which through precedent appears to be acceptable.
The second objection is strategic. It is shortsighted for us to be so cavalier in our utilization of this tech. If we are justified today in taking out an apartment in Miranshah that we believe contains bad actors (and a few nearby civilians get hosed in the process), then what if in five or ten years?once everyone has access to drone tech?there is a banker living on the upper East Side who has blocked access by some government we don’t like to funds that are undeniably theirs? Why shouldn’t they be justified in using drone tech to take him out (and too bad about those folks living in the same apartment building)? We are setting precedents here that will later bite us in the posterior.
I expect we will see a few, in fact there have already been some attempts at things like that, a couple decades ago. Frankly it is not much different than bombs, cannon, guns, bows, knives, and rocks. Just the new tech, that is all.
The third objection is tactical. It is not clear that terrorizing large portions of Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is hurting our enemies more than it is helping them…or killing them faster than creating new ones.
The numbers are staying about the same, but the quality has declined a lot. We are winning, just no where near as fast as the politicians claim.
 
Finally, I see you complaining a lot, but you don’t appear to have any alternatives to offer.
 
What should we be doing to stop the attacks on us they are attempting to make against us right now?
Not in 20 years (if even possible) it would take create growing economies in those regions. Or clean government (Though how we could do that without invading and occupying them for 60 years I don’t understand. We would need to change their whole culture.). And definitely not what we kind of, might have, should have done in the past.

What should we be doing to solve the problem RIGHT NOW.
 
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Reactive       2/15/2013 11:23:16 AM
As is often the case WN puts in to words what I find difficult to. Excellent post.^^
 
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bhessel    Re WarNerd?s Problem    2/15/2013 2:04:04 PM
[a] LOL I just used almost exactly the same comparison to carpet bombing to point out the idiocy of some knee-jerk Liberal who was insisting that drones constituted WMDs, when of course drone tech is the antithesis of a WMD. However, to your point: attacking the citizens of countries we are not at war with using drones is just as illegal as carpet bombing them, although I will concede that the latter is morally more problematic.
 
[b] Again, I am not particularly concerned with the development of drone tech per se. I recognize that strategically, we humans should keep the contrast between the Cameron/Skynet vision of the future of AI/robotic tech and the Asimov/Three Laws vision in mind. But for now, my main concern is on how the tech is used, not what it can do. Illegal attacks aimed at folks we consider to be bad actors?which at least occasionally wax relatively innocent bystanders?in countries with which we are not at war sets a terrible precedent that we are extremely likely to rue in the not-too-distant future.

[c] With respect to your scorekeeping, it will not be complete until the friends and relatives of all the folks we have killed have had their say. Many of these are children and we will not reap the full “fruits” of our immoral and self-defeating labors for decades.

As for what I would do “to solve the problem RIGH NOW”…simple: I would bring the troops home now. I would stop propping up authoritarian regimes whose corrupt leaders line their Swiss bank accounts with our bribes in exchange for spending their people’s income?that which they don’t steal for themselves, that is?on the offerings of our military-industrial complex. I would stop overthrowing governments who won’t play ball. I would work with China and Russia and India to develop realistic contingency plans for dealing with the near-failed nuclear states?North Korea and Pakistan?whose potential bad ends have a good chance of spilling over and affecting the rest of us, but aside from that, I would treat folks outside the USA pretty much the same way we aspire to treat our fellow citizens: let them work their own issues out. Once we stop presumptuously dictating to them how to live their lives, they will be too busy thrashing it out amongst themselves to have any time or energy (or motivation) to bother us.
http://www.strategypage.com/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Load.ashx?type=style&file=SyntaxHighlighter.css);" target="_blank">link
 
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WarNerd       2/16/2013 4:12:32 PM
The mistake is the assumption that the USA is at war with a country, they are not. There is no country called al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is not a ‘state actor’, and the attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen are taking place with the permission (though not on a case-by-case basis) of the country they take place in. They are not attacks against those countries, nor are they recognized as such by those countries.
 
So – How should we defeat/discourage a stateless terrorist group if they can just move across the border to a friendly(?) state that lacks the power or political will to defeat them?
Again, I am not particularly concerned with the development of drone tech per se. I recognize that strategically, we humans should keep the contrast between the Cameron/Skynet vision of the future of AI/robotic tech and the Asimov/Three Laws vision in mind. But for now, my main concern is on how the tech is used, not what it can do. Illegal attacks aimed at folks we consider to be bad actors?which at least occasionally wax relatively innocent bystanders?in countries with which we are not at war sets a terrible precedent that we are extremely likely to rue in the not-too-distant future.
You might want to read something about drones instead of just watching the idiots of the MSM (Main Stream Media). AI/robotic tech isn’t involved, in fact the biggest improvement has been coming up with drones that can fly themselves from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ without pilot intervention, in calm air (Commercial airlines have been doing that since the 70’s, and the Army did it several years before the Air Force, so it may just be a cultural thing.)./div>
 
Drones are not robots. Drones do NOT pick their own targets. The drones are just remotely piloted aircraft, and those remote pilots do not pick the the targets either. The targets are identified by intelligence organizations and then reviewed and approved by lawyers. The drones are just long range observation devices and occasional munitions carriers
 
As for attacks in countries with which we are not at war, pursuit of an enemy across borders is allowed by international law with the permission of the country you are pursuing them into.  The US has this permission for the use of drones in Afghanistan, the parts of Pakistan where they operate, and Yemen. But US troops on the ground are unacceptable to those governing Pakistan and Yemen, which is why the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden generated such a political mess.
 
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WarNerd       2/16/2013 4:14:13 PM
With respect to your scorekeeping, it will not be complete until the friends and relatives of all the folks we have killed have had their say. Many of these are children and we will not reap the full “fruits” of our immoral and self-defeating labors for decades.
The goal is reached when there will be no one left to indoctrinate and train them. Without that the problem is greatly reduced. You will of course have to kill some of them, but eventually the survivors will consist only of those smart enough to decide it is better to live and have a family than continue the tradition. That is how feuds end in that part of the world.
 
The terrorists don’t need the US to kill people over there to raise their armies. Someone finds a Quran in the mud, or a cartoon they don’t like, or a commentator or reporter who publishes something not complimentary of Islam, and then trumpets it as an attack on Islam and demands retribution. The Imam of a little mosque in southeastern Inner-Outer Bumpfuq calls for volunteers for the great adventure to protect the faith and 10 volunteers step forward. Multiply that by 200 mosques and there is an army that you never hurt a single relative of. Its already happened, repeatedly.
 
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WarNerd       2/16/2013 4:21:15 PM
As for what I would do “to solve the problem RIGH NOW”…simple: I would bring the troops home now. I would stop propping up authoritarian regimes whose corrupt leaders line their Swiss bank accounts with our bribes in exchange for spending their people’s income?that which they don’t steal for themselves, that is?on the offerings of our military-industrial complex. I would stop overthrowing governments who won’t play ball. I would work with China and Russia and India to develop realistic contingency plans for dealing with the near-failed nuclear states?North Korea and Pakistan?whose potential bad ends have a good chance of spilling over and affecting the rest of us, but aside from that, I would treat folks outside the USA pretty much the same way we aspire to treat our fellow citizens: let them work their own issues out. Once we stop presumptuously dictating to them how to live their lives, they will be too busy thrashing it out amongst themselves to have any time or energy (or motivation) to bother us.
Finally you reveal yourself. Your whole argument is to just bring the troops home. The rest of this, the claims of illegality, the bemoaning of civilian casualties, etc., is only an attempt to justify this position. It is not an analysis of the situation or a plan of action
 
”stop propping up authoritarian regimes whose corrupt leaders line their Swiss bank accounts” will be fun, since that would include 70% of the worlds countries and probably 85% of the population, including Russia, China, and India. Going to be hard to get them to cooperate with you if you aren’t willing to help prop them up. Also means no foreign aid or emergency relief, the terrorists object to that too. Not that hard to fault them, but the USA doesn’t bribe those leaders to do anything, it just doesn’t cut them off when they steal 60% to 90% of the aid money, because 10% to 40% is still getting through to improve the lives of their citizens. Still, you are right, it would save a lot of money if we just closed our eyes to the suffering and walk away.
 
Also, the terrorists consider even trading with those countries as supporting the governments that they object to (i.e. not run by them). So you will have to cut all trade with most of the world as well. No raw materials, no foreign markets. Did you know that the USA is the world’s largest food exporting country? Going to be a lot of starving people out there.
 
You need to also understand it is not just troops from the USA and NATO the terrorists object to, but also the NGOs (Non Government Organizations – Like the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, Catholic Relief Organization, the United Nations, etc.) that promote unacceptable ideas like democracy, women’s rights, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and thought, and all those other ideas that violate their interpretation of Sharia law. And no aid providing healthcare from non-approved Muslim organizations, so no support for AIDS, polio eradication, CARE, HOPE, etc.
 
The terrorists insist that only they can define what is Muslim, not the rest of the worlds Muslims, and the right to kill all the apostates (anyone they deem non-Muslim). They also demand that no matter where they live that all Muslims live under Islamic law, not the laws of the country they are residing in. Among other things this deprives women of almost all their rights, and if a non-Muslim woman wants to charge a Muslim man with rape she has to do it in a Muslim court where she needs 4 other women to back up her testimony for it to be accepted, and she can be sentenced to death for infidelity if she loses. And then there is their drive to create the global Caliphate.
 
So, the terrorists can always find another excuse to attack the western world. Pulling the troops out just shows them that they are winning.
 
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