5
   

Stanford Law School report on Drone Airstrikes

 
 
msolga
 
  3  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 02:18 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
Quote:
Secondly, for the most part, the targets need to be killed.

To clarify, in places like Yemen I think this is an accurate statement. The targets that have been selected there are not targets I am going to loose a lot of sleep over and those strikes are most often ones I think can be construed as legitimate self-defense. ....

Could you expand on your reasons for saying this, please?

Personally I don't believe drone attacks in the remote regions of Yemen are any more defensible (from a human rights perspective, especially) than those in the remote parts of Pakistan.

There have been many civilian deaths in Yemen, over a period of years now, as a result of drone attacks , with as little accountability for so-called "collateral damage" as there has been in Pakistan. With similar secrecy & without proper scrutiny of the actual numbers killed or injured ... say nothing of a proper assessment of whether those killed were "operatives" or civilians (including children).

As the attacks are carried out by the CIA & not the US military (on both countries), it means that proper scrutiny under international law is not possible ... as it is in the rules which govern "conventional" warfare.
The US is not at war with either country (or Somalia, either).

Not too surprisingly, the drone attacks are not exactly winning the hearts & minds of the civilian populations affected ... quite the opposite. They are most likely creating more enemies than existed before the attacks...

Quote:
In Yemen, 8.5 percent of the more than 530 people that have been killed as of this June might be civilians, the New America Foundation estimates.

Analysts often argue that covert drone strikes create radicals, with an unofficial rule of thumb suggesting that each drone strike produces about 10 more terrorists, Holewinski points out.

While such formulas remain speculation, it’s clear that “You see protests in street with people chanting ‘Death to America,’ ” she says.

“Then there was the Yemeni doctor who tweeted, ‘President Obama, if you kill any children with your drone strikes, we will come after you, and we have nothing to do with Al Qaeda,’ " Holewinski adds. “And that creates the kind of environment sympathetic to terrorists.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2012/1002/Drone-warfare-top-3-reasons-it-could-be-dangerous-for-US/Lack-of-oversight

BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 05:53 am
@msolga,
Since when is winning the hearts and minds of your enemies or even their supporters a primary means of winning wars and conflicts?

When we carpet bomb German cities or when General Sherman marched to the sea during the US civil war we was not concern about winning the hearts and the minds of anyone.
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 06:53 am
@BillRM,
I asked Robert that question because I'd agreed with pretty much everything he'd said about drone strikes up until that last post. I wanted some more insight into his thinking about his attitude toward the casualties in Yemin as opposed to those in Pakistan.

As for winning hearts & minds ... the idea is not to increase the number of enemies by your actions, surely? Then you'd just have more "terrorists" you'd have to wipe out ... which would gain you even more enemies!
BillRM
 
  2  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 07:15 am
@msolga,
Quote:
the idea is not to increase the number of enemies by your actions, surely? Then you'd just have more "terrorists" you'd have to wipe out ... which would gain you even more enemies!


Knowing that if you take up arms against the US you greatly increase the chance of having death come out of an 'empty' sky on you and perhaps your family should also serve as a solid reason not to take up arms or be around those who had taken up arms.

As far as reasons to take up arms they seems to need little to get them to do so a short video on youtube will do it, so good old solid fear seem to be the best way of dealing with the threat.

I do not know about you but if I had witness death hitting people I knew and knowing everytime I show myself to the open sky the same death could hit me without warning if would wear on me.

I might therefore keep away from those high on the US kill list and stop as must as possible carrying weapons around with special note of such weapons as RPGs.
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 07:16 am
@msolga,
A peace march is about to begin in Pakistan, with the aim of publicizing the impact of drones on the civilian population:

Quote:
What the drones protest march in Waziristan aims to achieve
James Jeffrey
Guardian.co.uk, Thursday 4 October 2012 21.08 BST


Sports star turned politician Imran Khan and civil rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith will highlight US drones' innocent victims

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pixies/2009/10/19/1255981207315/A-family-from-South-Wazir-001.jpg
A 2009 Brookings Institution report found that US drone attacks kill 10 civilians for every one militant in heavily targeted regions like Waziristan. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

The British civil rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith and international cricketer turned politician Imran Khan will begin a peace march on 7 October into Pakistan's Waziristan region. Their aim is to highlight the plight of innocent people killed or injured by US drones.

Smith took the precautionary measure of writing to President Obama and his CIA director, David Petraeus, informing them about the march. In the letter, he requested that the president ensure the names of him and the other marchers would not be on the weekly kill list the president reviews, along with security officials, in the White House situation room.
Smith wrote:

"Please remember that you and I are both lawyers from the same tradition, and it would be unseemly (as well as being both illegal and upsetting for my family) if you were to authorize my assassination."

Like the sealed corridors in which the top secret kill list nomination process occurs – an account of which was reportedly leaked by the Obama administration to the New York Times – Waziristan has, until now, remained in the shadows, a place about which very little is known or reported. It is hoped the march will help open the area to public scrutiny by taking media there to gather independent information.

Smith's letter also highlighted problems with the president's drone strategy, such as using the same intelligence that populated Guantánamo Bay. I think it's fair to assume intelligence-gathering has improved – one certainly hopes so, considering 88% of Guantánamo's 779 detainees were cleared for release. But of greater note is how Obama campaigned against President Bush by criticising his policy of imprisoning without trial – yet has chosen to kill individuals without trial.

There's no evidence those in Waziristan deemed America's enemies have either the will or ability to threaten America from thousands of miles away, Smith wrote. The region's threat extends, at most, to Pakistan, which should be allowed to resolve its own problems – as those such as Imran Khan argue that it is capable of doing. But on this point, I sympathise with Obama, since the Pakistan government has mastered the art of emitting mixed signals and behaves as an unreliable ally. Eyebrows that were raised over Osama bin Laden being found next to the Pakistan military academy in Abbottabad have yet to find reason to be lowered.

US concern over a nuclear-armed Pakistan is also understandable, and Smith's letter acknowledged that further radicalization of Waziristan is a threat to Pakistan and global security. But the US's chosen course of action undermines its objective, resulting in damage to its reputation, a failure to win hearts and minds – evidenced by research showing 97% of Pakistanis opposed to US action within their territory – and culminating in what Smith calls the "desperate failure of US policy". Wailing Iraqi mothers and maimed Afghan children whom I saw during operational tours with the British army vouch for that.

I share Smith's indignation at the Obama administration's suggestion that the "just war" theories of St Thomas Aquinas and St Augustine temper its use of drones. Smith highlights how the secretive machinations of the CIA do not constitute a clear declaration of war by a sovereign nation. Neither is drone use justified as a last resort – another principle of "just war" theory. But in applying such principles either to support or criticise drones, we risk formulating a surreal and counterproductive argument, which indeed characterises much of the debate.

Not surprisingly, Smith takes a dim view of how the administration "counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants", according to the New York Times report, "unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent." Stanley Kubrick's film Dr Strangelove doesn't come close to matching that logic for war room farce.

To ensure the marchers' safe passage into Waziristan, four groups were identified from whom assurances were needed. These included locals and tribal leaders, the Pakistan army, the Pakistan Taliban and finally the US. Currently, all but the US have provided their assurances. Smith said his greatest worry concerns a CIA-sponsored attack made to appear it was carried out by the Taliban.

Perhaps the march might also go some way to unmasking the Taliban. In Afghanistan, I never saw them. They remained heat signatures on computer screens, or the unseen origins of shots and mortars. I spurn the reductionism of the usual narrative presenting them all as lunatics hell-bent on anarchy, a lie that has been contradicted by the publication of Taliban poetry. We disrespect our enemies at our peril, primarily by missing the crucial fact we might negotiate with fellow sentient beings.

I believe President Obama is a sentient and intelligent man, and I give him credit for shouldering responsibility for the kill list's consequences and not delegating to others. But as I found when gazing at computer screens in Afghanistan, it's easy to succumb to tunnel vision and become captivated by drones' short-term solutions.

Most importantly, the march will bring attention to the forgotten people, 800,000 of them, who call Waziristan home, and have lived in fear for eight years since the US intervention began. We too easily forget how simple homesteads that don't look like much are the centre of inhabitants' universes, all too easily eradicated by drones' missiles – be it in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen or elsewhere, as their use spreads.

Smith ended his letter asking the president to confirm the CIA will not target the marchers, even as they apologise to those who have suffered. "Surely, I don't ask much: simply not to be killed," he wrote.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/04/drones-protest-march-waziristan

..

BillRM
 
  0  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 07:48 am
@msolga,
All that effort would be better employ in my opinion in getting the leaders in the tribal areas to take away the welcome mate to the US enemies.

Seems a win/win solution to the drones problem and a solutions that will greatly reduce the deaths of their husbands and fathers and women and children and our husbands and fathers and women and children.

0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  3  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 07:55 am
@BillRM,
Quote:
Knowing that if you take up arms against the US you greatly increase the chance of having death come out of an 'empty' sky on you and perhaps your family should also serve as a solid reason not to take up arms or be around those who had taken up arms.

Last word to you on this, Bill.
The majority of deaths caused by drones are civilians .... as I've said before, some of the poorest people on the planet, in Yemen, Pakistan & Somalia.
Most of these civilians are not educated or sophisticated, nor do they have the opportunity or the luxury of participating in global politics (say nothing of the politics of their own countries). They are getting by as well as they can, in harsh circumstance.
If you think that they have taken up arms against the US in the grim circumstances they exist in, well, I think you're dreaming.
If you believe that that it's OK that disproportionate numbers of them are killed or injured because the CIA believes that "terrorists" & "operatives" have infiltrated their areas, then I totally disagree.
And if you can't see that the continuous horror of the drone attacks on their territories have caused resentment & anger (which didn't exist before) against the perpetrators, then you have a totally blinkered view.
Just for once, could at least you try & see things from their perspective?
No, I don't think you're capable of doing that.
BillRM
 
  0  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 09:00 am
@msolga,
Once more the leadership of the tribal area is freely granting aid and comfort to our enemies and therefore are an enemy people themselves.

As far as our obligation to enemies civilians it is to reach whatever military tasks that need to be done with as few deaths as our current technology allow to the enemies civilians.

The drones are the best technology we currently have as imperfect as it might be so the deaths of enemies civilians come under just too damn bad heading.
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 09:05 am
@BillRM,
There's no good reason for the U.S. drones to be in the area other than the U.S. government/military being too stupid to figure out how to get out.

It's really that simple.


0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 09:08 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
Once more the leadership of the tribal area is freely granting aid and comfort to our enemies and therefore are an enemy people themselves.


given that the U.S. is seen as an enemy of much of the globe, you're providing an amazing rationale for others to attack U.S. citizens wherever they might be.

Bloody blinkered view.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 09:34 am
@ehBeth,
Quote:
given that the U.S. is seen as an enemy of much of the globe, you're providing an amazing rationale for others to attack U.S. citizens wherever they might be.

Bloody blinkered view.


Given history there seems no problem for middle east people to come up with reasons to attacked and kill our citizens and not as a byproduct of military actions but as a direct targeting of our people.

See the death toll of 911 before we had one boot on the ground in Afghanistan.

Hell a video clip done on the cheap is enough to cause large scale riots and a hit contract to be placed on a US citizen.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Oct, 2012 02:25 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Put aside whether or not we should still be in Afghanistan, because we are, and if the drones being used there are intended to kill the people who seek to kill Americas who are there, I can't be worried if that use may or may not cause "new" Afghans who hate us.

I also don't have a whole lot of sympathy for supposed proud Afghan patriots who are fighting Americans because they can't abide invaders...unless, prior to 911 they were engaged in battle with the Islamists Arabs who effectively invaded their homeland as well.

The one's who actually were, were in the North of the country, and were allied with us when we invaded.

If they have now turned on us, I think they may be misguided, but I certainly don't dismiss them out of hand.

We think we agree, by the way, that we have stayed far too long in Afghanistan. For many reasons, attempting to "nation build" the country into a resolute American ally was always a fool's errand. It is a nation of bandits with ever-shifting loyalties and proudly so.

Our efforts there, at least under Bush (because Obama's are entirely political), proved at least the limits if not the lie of neo-con imperative to spread democracy throughout the world by any means available.

Having dispersed al-Qaida and deposing the Taliban we should have left with a hearty Good Luck and a clear warning: Allow Islamists terrorists to use your nation as launching base for attacks against us again and we will be back, and the next time we won't have Special Forces joining you on horseback in on the ground attacks against your fanatical tyrants, we will stay at about 50,ooo feet above your soil and drop MOADS on any and every target our satellites suggest may be a threat.

Everything else that ensued was, very sadly, a waste of life and treasure.

Perhaps that warning/threat made without any possible ambiguity may have done more to inspire the Afghans to form something close to an actual democracy than all the roads and schools we've built, and all the bullets we've fired and bombs we've dropped.

The Bush neo-cons were too incompetent to make their philosophy a reality. Like any grand effort at dramatic change it would have taken extreme skill, and they weren't even competent. Thousands of young Americans paid the price.

The notion of personal accountability that is at the core of conservatism should be applied to nations as well as people.

Far too much is made of the complexity of international relations. Of course it's not simple, but a large measure, if not most, of the complexity is born of domestic politics.

Which belies the phony anti-war stance of Obama.

Why more liberals haven't hung him on it is beyond me.

0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 22 Oct, 2013 11:19 pm

Here are the drone attack reports issued today by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/asa330132013en.pdf

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/yemen1013_ForUpload.pdf
0 Replies
 
 

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