# Obama’s executions without judicial review

Discussion in 'World Events' started by StrawDog, Mar 8, 2012.

1. ### Michael歌舞伎Valued Senior Member

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Not to beleaguer the point, and I do agree that exceptions to the rule is important for scientific veracity, mathematics proof and logical reasoning.

Yes, it is possible a psycho-killer may kill me or you or our loved ones. I don't think that because this possibility exists, we should therefor invest a legal entity like the government with massive power to erode our civil liberties.

3. ### Red DevilBorn Again AthiestRegistered Senior Member

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if someone is pointing a weapon at me, they have it with the intention of using it - shoot them first - end of.

5. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

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You forgot protecting our lives.

7. ### Red DevilBorn Again AthiestRegistered Senior Member

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In America the individual is protected with powers to shoot to kill, the gun law, the right to bear arms etc. Here in the UK it is the criminal that is more protected than the victim, its called Human Rights and Britain is a signatory to that crap (without the will of the people).

8. ### StrawDogdisseminated primatemaiaValued Senior Member

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Look on the bright side. At least in the UK your government cannot legally assassinate you, nor indefinitely detain you without due process, if you are deemed a "terrorist" and a threat to national security by the Prime Minister.

9. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

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I have the impression that the list of states wherein citizens who decide to wage war against them will be treated as anything other than enemy combatants is quite short indeed.

But, as in SciForums, teh interwebz doesn't seem to be particularly interested in any policies other than American ones.

10. ### StrawDogdisseminated primatemaiaValued Senior Member

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Do they wage war with weapons and get killed during the execution of such acts? Or are they killed prior to such acts and on grounds of suspicions that they may be a threat?
The great Satan to be sure.

11. ### Red DevilBorn Again AthiestRegistered Senior Member

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Here, thanks to the pathetic European Law on Human Rights, a blatant terrorist preaching death monster cleric can preach hate and advocate bombing and nothing is done. There are two laws in this country, human rights which protects the criminal because 'it is against his human rights' and the civil law which is ignored due to law one. I work in the Security Industry, if I 'bump into' a criminal in the act and take him down forcibly, I am the one who will be charged.

We have terrorists walking our streets, nobody does anything about it. And, as far as I can be certain, James bond does not exist in our Security Services. But, I would not mind if he did, and he keeps me and mine safe.

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Citation?

13. ### StrawDogdisseminated primatemaiaValued Senior Member

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Yes, I have read about such cases. This must be tricky for you in your line of work.
Never mind James Bond, you have Johnny English.

14. ### StrawDogdisseminated primatemaiaValued Senior Member

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Again, in the UK - the Human Rights Act - is clear.

As opposed to the unfortunate situation in the US.

"The Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, publicly stating that the American Government may murder one of its own citizens when it wishes to do so, and that the requirements of due process enshrined in the Constitution's Fifth Amendment, itself drawn from the Magna Carta that was the first reflowering of basic human rights since the Greeks, can be satisfied simply by a decision by that same president."

We Take Care of Our Own: Eric Holder and the End of Rights

15. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

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I don't see that it is. The US consitutution/bill of rights contains many of the same protections. The entire question is what the government can and can't do to you if you decide to openly wage a campaign of war against said government (which involves conspiring to violate various of the rights of other citizens). For example, we already know that the UK government can perfectly well trespass on various of those human rights, if they determine that you are a criminal, apprehend you and subject you to trial.

I was hoping for an actual legal analysis of the relevant laws and precedents governing UK conduct in wartime.

So, in your view, what is the appropriate due process when it comes to a person who openly declares war on the USA, conspires with others to wage said war, and resides in a place where the local government is unable or unwilling to apprehend them?

Similarly, how do demands for due process apply to Confederate soldiers killed - without trial - by Union forces in the US Civil War? Was it sufficient that Congress was involved in declaring war, so that it wasn't just Lincoln's say-so? Or were those all unacceptable extra-judicial murders as well?

I'm unclear on what exactly you find objectionable, and what you'd put in its place.

16. ### StrawDogdisseminated primatemaiaValued Senior Member

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Except that there is US legislation that allows the President the executive prerogative to order extra judicial assassinations and indefinite detention on ANYONE who he CHOOSES, with absolutely no PUBLIC oversight or PUBLICLY transparent due process. So whether these individuals are enemy combatants, psychos or political incorrect agitators or a mistaken lookalike/soundalike - we will never know as this entire process is shrouded in legislated secrecy. This legislation does in no shape or form exist in the UK.
Right - you get a trail.
Why? How does "wartime" enter the equation?
At the very least, I would establish WHY this person has declared war and see if these issues can be resolved or adressed. Secondly, out of respect for human rights, International Law, the possibility of collateral damage, and the sovereign rights of other countries, I would try diplomacy and the International Court.

For perspective re this line of thinking, do you believe China has the RIGHT to send a drone to New York to target and take down Chen Guangcheng, (for example) and perhaps a couple of bystanders?
This was a conventional war between uniformed soldiers, and surely these issues, just like the atrocities of WW1 & WW2, Korea, Vietnam, etc are the reason why mankind should be avoiding war altogether?
What I find reprehensibly objectionable is the legislation of arbitrary extra judicial murder (because without full transparency thats what it is) and indefinite detention without trail. Surely you can appreciate that this is the crumbling of a humane civilization?

17. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

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So your issue is essentially that these proceedings aren't publicized?

I can see the downside of secrecy, of course, but what about the downside of publicity? There are good reasons that the executive doesn't typically warn targets of military action before striking them - how would you respond to said reasons in these cases? I don't think it's useful to demand total transparency in wartime - so what factors would you include in striking the right balance, and how do they relate to one another? You need a good answer to this, or you aren't really addressing the case for secrecy, in which case your complaints aren't relevant.

It seems that we'll have ample opportunity to discover such things after the fact, no? And to impeach the President if we don't like who he's targetting? That doesn't amount to a pre-emptive public check on the process, but it's also not "never."

Do we have any indication that anyone has been so targetted inappropriately? Or is this a purely theoretical/procedural objection?

I get that you believe that, but I'm still awaiting an actual analysis of the UK's laws of war and how they relate to such issues. Melzer's book seems to suggest otherwise, kinda.

Well, on the one hand, a "trail" does exist in the instance in question as well - it just isn't made public until (much) later.

Similarly, there's typically no "trail" justifying the killing of any particular combatant in a war. Do you hold this to be problematic as well? If members of Al Qaeda wore clearly-recognizable uniforms, would your objections disappear?

The laws of war are very different from your regular, domestic crime laws. And they're the ones that are applicable during times of war. No?

That's great and all, but has nothing to do with "due process." Once some entity is warring you, you're at war and are entitled to respond accordingly. There's no legal obligation to try to be nice about the whole thing before declaring war in response. Regardless, we're well past the point where a state of war clearly exists on both sides.

Well, again, see above.

And, moreover, the subject is already limited to cases wherein the individual in question is in a place where the relevant government cannot or will not apprehend them - so diplomacy and the ICC are already dead ends, by the time a targetted killing is approved.

This complaint that the USA should have pursued a different strategy seems to be a separate issue from your complaints about the process for designating targets. I'd propose we separate the two questions - one is a question of law and public policy, and the other of politics, ideology and strategy. We can get somewhere on questions of law and policy, probably. On questions of ideology and politics I'm less sanguine.

Well, Chen Guangcheng isn't in New York, in the first place, isn't party to any war against China, in the second place, and, if he were, would likely be apprehended by US authorities at the request of China.

In the hypothetical scenario wherein Chen Guangcheng were a member of a paramilitary organization waging open war on China, and operating out of New York, and the US government refused requests to apprehend him, then, yes, China would be within its rights to use force to get at him.

So, again, supposing Al Qaeda members were to wear clearly-identifiable uniforms, you'd have no complaint about the President ordering their killings?

Moreover, how does the fact that Al Qaeda avoids wearing uniforms precisely to confound the legal (and political and moral) issues surrounding warring them figure into your calculus? The standard implication regarding combatants who refuse to wear uniforms is that they are responsible for all the extra damage that stems from the difficulties their opponents have in separating them from civilians.

I like peace as much as the next guy, but that doesn't tell us anything about how to deal with the wars that we're stuck with here in the real world. It was Al Qaeda who declared war on the USA, not the other way around.

There's nothing arbitrary about this issue, and killing combatants is not "murder." And secrecy, while problematic, does not automatically render it such. You do your position no favors with that kind of hyperbole.

That said, it is secret, and it does occur without judges/courts. I see the downsides of those factors. But you seem unable to address the reasons that such is held to be necessary. Instead, we just get a lot of table-pounding about how uncivilized and evil we are. This isn't productive.

I doubt that part will endure. The courts have already issued an injunction barring its application, and my money is that they don't ever allow it.

18. ### StrawDogdisseminated primatemaiaValued Senior Member

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My primary issue is the violation of fundamental human rights - the legislation - legitimising arbitrary murder without due process.

The secondary issue is the utter opacity of the process - essentially in the hands of a couple of individuals who insist that they will not abuse it, and we are forced (via legislation) to take their word for it and trust in their judgement.

This is the hallmark of despotism and dictatorships. An then we have a track record of dubious integrity involving torture, illegal wiretapping, illegal invasions, total disrespect for foreign sovereignty, selective support for dictators, serial military threats, attacks and other interventions with little regard to civilian casualties, etc.
My issue are the fundamentals, not the secrecy per se, which is an obvious strategy in any military conflict by all parties.
Nope. No precedent for that notion. The track record for holding executive abuse accountable (in the last 2 decades) is zero.
No, of course not. Again, what may start out as an extreme innocuous measure in dealing with threats to national security, is always open to abuse or may fall into the wrong hands.
I dont accept that this is an issue around "wartime". I dont accept that there is any realistic state of war that would allow flexibility around fundamental human rights as if it were a battlefield where everyone who is armed, is fair game. Shoot or get shot. (IMHO of course)
No due proces, no public scrutiny, no way to prevent mistakes until after the execution. This is what due process via the Law and the Constitution is all about.
I thinks we have very different views on the current state of global affairs. IMHO we are not at WAR in any traditional/realistic sense. The US public have been sold a myth that there is a WAR, so the rules are flexible (open to abuse). This is an utterly dishonest representation of the actual situation.
Yep.
The rules have been rewritten to define what WAR is. This is not WAR in any recognisable form.
Nonsense, example - the Taliban offered more that once to hand over Bil Laden if provided with evidence, to no avail. Why believe integrity is now the norm?
No "person", outside of a traditional battlefield in a mutually declared war where unpredictable events may occur in the heat of battle, should face summarily execution without due process.
Just an example - non literal.
Fair enough, but I don`t believe for a minute the US Admin shares your view. Its an exceptional world we dwell in.
On the battlefield, the rules according to the Geneva Convention would apply.
AQ are ghosts in the mist. They do not represent a nation, so the notion of war is inaccurate. Which actually gives some credence to the logic of drones, targeting, etc. but which is still totally unacceptable given that the cause of the effect is yet to be adressed, or even acknowledged and that "targeting" is wide open to domestic and other abuse.
Akin to the Mexican drug cartels declaring war on the US. in the case of AQ, the US responded to their criminal actions by invading Afghanistan and Iraq? Overkill much?
Bottom line to the issue. The US CEO can decide YOU are a combatant tomorrow, liquidate YOU and there is nothing YOU can do about it and the Law will leave YOUR family no recourse to justice.
Your country, the supposed leader of the free world, and who WE desperately need to counter the looming giant from the East, is and has been in moral and economic decline for decades. This does not have to be the case, the future for all of us can be amended for the better, by simply reinforcing and re-setting the fundamentals that made the USA what it is. You want me to have to listen to Eddie Vedder in Mandarin?
That would be greatly heartening.

19. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

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What are your definitions of "arbitrary," "murder" and "due process?"

The Obama administration is adamant that they apply a clear set of conditions for determining this (so it's not "arbitrary"), and that this application represents due process (they make the explicit distinction that "due process" does not have to be "judicial process"), and that this ensures these actions are only taken in self-defense (so it's not "murder").

You can disagree with that, of course, but my understanding of your objections is not improved by your use of reductive slogans in this way. Which parts, exactly, of the current process do you find to be problematic, and what should be done to amend them?

I've already agreed that secrecy presents problems. I await your response on how those should be balanced against the problems presented by transparency in wartime, and how your preferred approach (which you have yet to really specify) would achieve the necessary results while avoiding the pitfalls.

I'm open to hearing suggestions for improvement here, but if you're just going to complain about the downsides of the current process without aknowledging the reasons it's used and suggesting a method that answers those reasons, well... that's not very useful. It looks more like you just want to find a reason to bitch about the USA, and not actually contribute to fixing anything.

Again, these are elected officials who are subject to impeachment, or at least a lost election, if we don't like the results of their actions. No, that isn't perfect or terribly expedient, but it is a fundamental check on executive power.

No, the hallmark of despotism and dictatorships is that the guys in power are there permanently, and not subject to any electoral process whereby the populace can remove them from power.

Now you're just venting. Let's try to stick to the immediate topic, eh?

So, you recognize that there is some need for secrecy. Do you have a suggestion for how the fundamentals could be improved, while still responding to the need for some level of secrecy?

I seem to recall Clinton being impeached, actually.

But there is the point that most of the mechanisms for such accounting (which are electoral) are, given the secrecy involved, liable to be too late, given the term limits on the offices in question. But, I'm unclear on how we are to evaluate the track record of responding to the abuses in question, when you yourself agree that said abuses are still entirely hypothetical:

Which I agree with. I see the moral hazards involved, and am eager to hear suggestions for an approach that would answer all of the motivations for the current policy, while avoiding the hazards. Because that is something that we could profitably insist be adopted. To the extent that you produce a lot of lecturing and finger-wagging, but no actual responses to the things driving the policy, we're engaged in an irrelevant exercise in moral grandstanding. This might make you feel good, but it doesn't fix anything.

Why not?

But that bit of hyperbole is not what is under consideration. Nobody is claiming the power to summarily kill anyone who is "armed."

Although, Al Qaeda has explicitly adopted a doctrine that all Americans, anywhere in the world, armed or otherwise, are fair game. That much is very clear.

Sure, but the issue seems to come down to how that all works in wartime, and what type of war this is. No?

Traditional, no. Obviously not. But "realistic?" Both sides agree that they are at war, and have publicly declared as much, and are acting accordingly. In what sense is that not a "realistic" war?

There's nothing "mythical" about it - AQ declared war and started attacking the USA, and in return the USA declared war on AQ and went about attacking them.

The trouble is with the "traditional" part. We have established rules of war for dealing with traditional wars. AQ seeks to get around our overwhelming advantage in traditional warfare by waging non-traditional warfare, and in doing so to abuse the rules of traditional warfare to their advantage. So we need new rules on how this non-traditional warfare is going to work. That's how we got all of these problematic innovations.

But it won't do to simply insist that all wars must fit into the mold of "traditional" war (really, what we're talking about is massed warfare as waged in the modern European tradition) or else they aren't wars at all. That amounts to a demand that the USA permit actors to wage non-traditional wars against it, and not respond appropriately. What we need is a framework for how these new styles of war should be fought.

I don't see that it is.

You could put it that way, sure.

Why not? The two sides each said "we're going to war you" and then set about attacking one another's assets. What's so unrecognizeable about that?

This is again going far afield - and is well-trod ground to boot - but, why are you such a firm believer in the integrity of the Taliban? Everyone else dismissed the gambit in question as one of your standard tactics to delay and wrong-foot an opponent.

Well, both sides have declared war, so we have that. What is a "traditional battlefield?" WWII was a traditional war, no - but the battlefield was "everywhere."

Likewise, there is no "heat of battle" qualifier in "traditional war." For example, there's no issue with assassinating enemy leadership during a traditional war. Would you be crying about due process if, for example, the Allies had managed to get an assassin to kill Hitler in his sleep during WWII?

Actually, I think it very much does. In the first place, they've asserted exactly such a right, in general. In the second place, notice how competent governments the world over are careful not to harbor partisans to wars with states they don't want to end up in a war with themselves?

There's nothing in the Geneva Conventions that prohibits targetted killings of the types of combatants in question, nor requires a public judicial process ahead of such. Again, see the Hitler example above. This kind of stuff is fair game in "traditional warfare."

It's only assassinations outside of a state of war that are problematic.

That's fairly true - although they have attempted to hold territory and impose governance, and seem determined to keep trying to do so.

That's not what they claim.

Why not? Since when is warfare restricted to "nations?" As far as I can tell, all that's required to wage war is a command and control infrastructure, soldiers, weapons and material.

Your restriction of war to "nations" implies, for example, that there is no such thing as a civil war. Examples of groups other than nations engaging in what is clearly, uncontroversially "war" are not hard to come up with.

They'd never do that - we're their customer base.

Now, as for them declaring war on the Mexican state...

There is recourse: impeachment.

If I thought for one second that any sane President would target anyone that he couldn't easily establish was waging war against the USA, I'd be right there with you. But I know full well that any President who did something like you suggest would be impeached in a hurry, and I am confident that anyone likely to become President also knows that full well.

That's silly. If you think there's ever been a time wherein the USA was more enlightened and prosperous, you're kidding yourself. I'll take the current state of the USA, in moral terms, over any period in the past, easily.

Again, to the extent that you go back in time these issues get worse, not better. I'm unclear on when you think this mythical era of purity occurred, but name any epoch in American history and dig around a little - you'll find that things used to be a lot worse in most respects.

Err, if this kind of moral rectitude is required for the USA to be geopolitically ascendent, then how is it that the CCP - an out-and-out authoritarian dictatorship whose concepts of "due process" and "human rights" are a running joke - is going to triumph as a result of US moral failures?

20. ### StrawDogdisseminated primatemaiaValued Senior Member

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* Arbitrary - selecting victims without formal and independent oversight.
* Murder - illegal termination of human life in circumstances of - no transparency/no charges & formal prosecution/no trail/no defense/no right to appeal
* Due process - transparency/charges & prosecution/trail/defense/right to appeal
OK we will just take their word for it.
Revert to due process under international law. No exceptions.
Firstly, I reject the notion that the US is currently experiencing circumstances that can be classified in any rational manner as "wartime". Secondly, even if you want to believe this bizarro notion of "wartime", there is due process even during wartime, the lack of which sent plenty Nazis to the gallows - for example. Secrecy is part and parcel of conventional wars, where there is a realistic or legitimate threat.
IMO the fix is for the US to stop waging unnecessary serial wars of aggression, thus amending the cause that is creating symptoms - real or imagined.
One would hope so.
And of course, violating the rule of law, abuse of power and trampling of fundamental human rights.
Perhaps, but a perfectly valid sentiment.
Amend a FP of bellicose agression and the threat will IMO greatly diminish improving fundamentals and then focus on the Constitution as a guiding principle - reversing various illegalities and human rights abuses instituted via the Patriot Act and such.
Hmm - those were the days eh? I have no doubt, I will see criminal trails involving senior US and/or UK executives during my lifetime.
See above - amend FP accordingly.
Because what you would like to claim as "wartime" - a la WW1 & 2 simply does not exist. "Wartime", IMO is a reciprocal state of DECLARED war between nations, not between Nations and stateless groups of criminals/militants.
So assuming American exceptionalism, one can invade nations at will to strike at AQ in so doing trampling the sovereign rights of nations, and so doing developing animosity/anti Americanism via collateral damage and occupation that will take generations to undo.
Cause and effect can be effected - confront in an honest manner the cause of this issue - these are known issues.
Right, very good question. What type of war, if any, is this?
One side represents a State, the other side represents a small criminal entity that has no permanent geographical location/context apart from being Mooslem. So in order to strike this criminal entity, sovereign sates are invaded, sacred religious institutions are trampled, and great animosity is generated - via the pretext of a "war" at play. The fact is - the US is in no way shape or form at risk of military invasion are even large scale terrorist attacks from any current entity. The current short sighted FP of global homogeny that is is assumed and accepted to prevent any threat is futile, irrational and clearly working against the interests and future of the American people.
The simplistic version.
Terrorism and non conventional guerrilla tactics have been around for a while, and recent such conflicts have largely been reconciled via politics and COIN ops within the boundaries of international law and the Geneva Convention. The transgression of which in Vietnam was publicly debated and led to an end to this war. Why should new rules to counter current non conventional war be less moral? If not ethical, then what is the difference between perpetrator and victim?
Exactly. IMO the current framework is heavy handed and ultimately counter productive, producing a new generations of anti Americanism. Adhere to the rule of law and amend FP to a less bellicose, more diplomatic and more inclusive framework. There are obvious issues to adressed before this can be attained.
The Taliban as an entity is inconsequential - I am a firm believer in war avoidance at all costs. War begets war. The cycle is perpetuated.
Hitler was an obvious threat to world peace. The late citizens of Dresden however, were not. Violence begets violence.
You have a valid point.
Indeed. So which state that is at war with the US does Awlaki represent?
Perhaps.
I respect your opinion, but this will not guarantee your freedom nor protect you, and of course we have the precedent and question of why no President been impeached for proven and clearly illegal activities such as illegal wiretapping and torture?
I believe you are somewhat out of touch on both the prosperous and moral points.
More an era of balance between the worst and best of American values. Currently things are toppling towards the dark side.
The implosion of values, economy, infrastructure, along with the steady rise of a cash guzzling constant state of war is obvious. If not reversed in time, a fall towards third world status is eventually inevitable.

21. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

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That's not what "arbitrary" means. What you are talking about is something like "unaccountability" or something like that.

You are begging the question of whether the killings are taken in legitimate self-defense in the first place, and using prejudicial language besides.

It's perfectly legal - and moral - for me to terminate a human life in circumstances of no transparency, no charges & formal prosecution, no trial, no defense, no right to appeal, provided that human is himself threatening my life in the first place.

That's why we don't have formal charges and trials, with the right to appeal, when we go about killing enemy soldiers. Is that murder as well? By your definition above, I don't see how it wouldn't be.

Okay. But - in the abstract, without worrying about this specific instance - you agree that such is not warranted nor appropriate in a war, yes? You agree that, in a war, you can kill enemy combattants without going through any of that process - right?

Not what I suggested.

There is no international law that defines what "due process" consists of when it comes to a war.

Yeah, I know. You've said that several times now. But you never address any of the objections, or give any supporting reasoning. It's just a lot of pounding the table over and over, and throwing around insulting language. If you are just going to repeat yourself, and totally refuse to address any substantive objections to your position, then you will forfeit any expectation of being addressed in good faith.

Moreover, this behavior makes it look for all the world like you haven't really though through your position, and are simply insisting on whatever framing makes it convenient to pound on the table and act superior.

Not sure what you are trying to say there. If you're referring to the Nuremberg trials, those occurred after the war was concluded, and were undertaken on an ad-hoc basis. And they are one of the classic examples of "winner's justice," to boot.

And doubly so for unconventional wars, wherein the enemy relies on subterfuge and conceals himself in civilian populations, etc.

If you plan to argue that Al Qaeda is not a realistic or legitimate threat to the USA, you're going to have to some up with something a lot more compelling than bald assertions. These guys have killed thousands of Americans.

Let's get this straight: is it your position that the 9/11 attacks, and Al Qaeda terrorism more generally, are legitimate responses to US foreign policy?

If so, how do you account for the fact that Al Qaeda was attacking the USA prior to the "serial wars of aggression" you cite?

If not, what is the moral basis for your insistence that all moral responsibility lies on the shoulders of the USA?

There are types of war short of the world wars.

Indeed, those types of wars will never occur again, what with the nuclear weapons and all.

I haven't claimed that we're in WW2. I've noted that both sides have command-and-control capabilities, war chests, foot soldiers, and weapons, and have declared that they are at war with one another and are acting accordingly. That's a war. You have not provided any convincing rebuttal of that basic observation.

Well - for about the 50th time - this war was DECLARED, by both sides, unequivocably.

In the second place, you've provided nothing to back your assertion that only "nations" can wage war. I listed several counter-examples of undisputed war that were not waged between nations - including almost every civil war in history. You have offered nothing to dispute that, instead simply repeating your initial assertion (which just so happens to conveniently support you preferred rhetoric).

No, nobody has asserted such a right. You're attacking a strawman.

Nations that are unable or unwilling to prevent their territory from being used to wage war on other nations, thereby forfeit any sovereign rights over said territory, at least as far as military responses from said other nations are concerned. It's Al Qaeda that is violating the sovereignty of Pakistan and Yemen.

Even supposing you are correct there, you're missing the point. We aren't waging war to make random people in other countries like us.

The newest kind, just like every war before it.

You seem to imply some conception of war as a fixed, static thing that everyone agrees upon, and upon which concensus systems of rules and behavior can be constructed. That is not how war works. War is, almost by definition, the defiance of any such order. You only get orders like that in certain rare, temporary scenarios where you have some collection of powerful states with a clear interest in defending such a conception (peace of Westphalia, for example). This never lasts terribly long, and one factor that is important to understand here is that the purpose of such formalisms and restraints is exactly to make it easier for politicians to wage war, so that they can do it more often.

Right. So what? Why is "permanent geographical location/context" a requirement for warfare? If they're got weapons and political organization and soldiers, and they declare war and fight accordingly, in what sense is that not a war?

The fact that you'd like wars to be tied to specific geographic locations is just that. And the insistence on refusing to aknowledge any other form of war as such is a silly bit of ideology that will be - is, already - exploited by non-traditional actors to help them wage war. All of which is totally expected and normal in warfare. Exploiting your enemy's biases and ideological blind spots is characteristic of warfare, since forever.

Also, "criminal entity" is not exclusive of "political entity that wages war." You can't go around insisting that Al Qaeda's status as criminals disqualifies them from the realm of warfare one moment, and then insist that US leaders be treated as criminals for their waging of war the next.

Well, that, and the small detail of waging an explicit, declared war on the United States.

Also, you realize that these guys do claim to represent a nation, and do aspire to hold and rule territory as well. They were driven out of entire towns that they govern in Yemen only yesterday, after all.

Likewise, what's the implication? Suppose we let Al Qaeda win a few and take over, say, Yemen. Then we'd be in a "traditional war" and everything would be kosher? Can you see how perverse that logic is?

Only ones that cannot or will not adequately deal with said entities on their territory themselves, according to their sovereign responsibilities. States that fail to do such, thereby forfeit certain parts of their sovereignty. Sovereignty is not some kind of free pass - it carries various strong responsibilities.

To the extent that this is true, it's exactly because of the use of the tactics that you are here rejecting. You're arguing in a circle.

Look, the American people are the ones who have to assess the threats to themselves and weight the costs and benefits of the responses to such. And they are very happy with Obama's "kill list" and drone strikes. You're going to have to do a lot better than this condescending hectoring if you want to convince enough Americans to change their mind and vote for something else.

I don't think that you'll find many relevant examples of global terrorist movements, and anyway I think you'll find that the outcomes of the various other examples have not been nearly as sanguine as you portray them there, mostly. That isn't how the Tamil Tigers got "reconciled," for example.

I'm also baffled that you'd be recommending "COIN" at this juncture - that's exactly what the USA did in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Vietname, etc. What do you think you're referring to?

I didn't say that they should - my whole point here has been to try to get you to come up with some set of new rules that are morally superior and deal with the substantive issues driving the current situation.

Aggression, obviously. If you try to kill me, I am justified in killing you. The fact that the end result is that I'm a killer and you're dead doesn't render us moral peers. The initial aggression creates a distinction that survives the subsequent response.

The goal is not to manage the worldwide levesl of anti Americanism. It's to achieve the strategic goal of defeating Al Qaeda, and the tactical goal of limiting any damage they may do to us in the meantime.

You think we're waging war to make people like us? That's silly.

? What does that even mean? These guys are party to an ongoing war, in a strategically relevant country.

No you aren't.

I said "state of war," not "state at war."

Also, you do realize that various Al Qaeda factions - including the one Al Awlaki was affiliated with - have captured and held territory, proclaimed "Islamic states" on them, etc., no? That Al Qaeda in Yemen is waging battles against the Yemeni military for control of various towns right now?

Well, Nixon resigned before he could be kicked out of office for his crimes. The stuff with Bush is politics, obviously. But let's note that Obama did away with the torture in short order once he took office.

Since you offer nothing to substantiate that perspective, I can't say I particularly care.

22. ### CavalierKnight of the OpinionRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
157
In the war of strings of quotes, I would say quadraphonics 1: StrawDog 0.

There are plenty of reasons to oppose the use of drone-based strikes, and plenty of reason to prefer additional layers of oversight and accountability when they are used, but merely to assert that the strikes are "murder" and "arbitrary" and "every other bad thing" is not compelling.

A better reason is that, as a rule, all uses of governmental power should have some method of imposing discipline on those uses. Right now, all we have is public approval after the fact (for those strikes we know of) and the judgment of history in the long run.

The responsibility for putting in place a system of oversight falls to the Congress and the President, primarily, and the ultimate responsibility on the voters. None of them seem to care enough to do something.

That doesn't make the current system immoral, as *not* having a preference for greater oversight is not much of an issue unless you can demonstrate that the President has committed specific immoral acts (ordering that targets if no military value be struck, for example).

23. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

Messages:
9,391
Woah, wait, people who aren't party to those exchanges actually read them?

/shocked

I always assumed that they alienate everyone else, cause who want to try to track through all of those quotes? I sure don't - I never read such exchanges when I'm not involved. Indeed, I typically go into situations like this intending to break out of that style and just write a monolithic, direct response, but then somehow always get sucked in...