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Old 07-06-2016, 10:20 AM   #181
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I actually would really like to hear your views because I myself struggle with this topic. I have to admit my struggle is on an intellectual level (as a lawyer I question the legality, the precedent being set and the broader implications) rather than on an emotional level. So I'm interested in hearing how other people have reconciled their own views.
My views on this essentially stem from my opposition to the US as an imperialist power (and this view is not limited to the US, I am fundamentally opposed to imperialism - it's not simple anti-Americanism). In addition to this, I have read accounts of innocent people's perspectives of being targeted by drones - and on an emotional level it's quite heartbreaking.

Looking at it on a more ethical level, and setting aside my already established beliefs for a moment, how can you be certain the drones are being utilised for the purpose of eliminating those who are deemed to be terrorists? Can you really trust the reports the state makes? Can you trust the data and the subsequent categories within it (for instance, the reported categorising of military aged men as potential enemy combatants unless proven otherwise)?

Even if I was theoretically supportive of drone strikes/intervention against US enemy combatants, I would still be concerned about the above.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:24 AM   #182
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In addition to this, I have read accounts of innocent people's perspectives of being targeted by drones - and on an emotional level it's quite heartbreaking.
Exactly what does this mean? Accounts of innocent people being missed targets? US drones?



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Old 07-06-2016, 10:30 AM   #183
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Exactly what does this mean? Accounts of innocent people being missed targets? US drones?



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Innocent people being missed targets/having no idea why they were being targeted.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:38 AM   #184
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Innocent people being missed targets/having no idea why they were being targeted.

I have some hesitation about this without hearing their stories. If they survived how do they know they were the targets?


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Old 07-06-2016, 10:42 AM   #185
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What's hard to understand? If you survived a drone strike on the building you live in, you would feel targeted, no?
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:43 AM   #186
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how can you be certain the drones are being utilised for the purpose of eliminating those who are deemed to be terrorists? Can you really trust the reports the state makes? Can you trust the data and the subsequent categories within it
I guess you can't trust it any more or less than you could fighter pilots shooting missiles based on the info on the screen in front of them (as was apparent in the Gold War).
I don't see what's so different about drones apart of perhaps slightly more possible system mistakes instead of human mistakes and besides that we inherently trust human beings more than machines even when machines are not prone to human errors.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:45 AM   #187
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I guess you can't trust it any more or less than you could fighter pilots shooting missiles based on the info on the screen in front of them (as was apparent in the Gold War).
I don't see what's so different about drones apart of perhaps slightly more possible system mistakes instead of human mistakes and besides that we inherently trust human beings more than machines even when machines are not prone to human errors.
The inherent risk of loss-of-life on your own end in a ground invasion makes you more hesitant to attack. That's not there with drone strikes. The concern would be that you overuse them because it doesn't cost you all that much when you do.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:51 AM   #188
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What's hard to understand? If you survived a drone strike on the building you live in, you would feel targeted, no?

Well there's a difference between being targeted and feeling targeted. It's a nasty gray line for sure, but that's why I was asking for clarification.


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Old 07-06-2016, 10:56 AM   #189
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I have some hesitation about this without hearing their stories. If they survived how do they know they were the targets?


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What's hard to understand? If you survived a drone strike on the building you live in, you would feel targeted, no?
And being targeted constantly/having attacks 'follow' you. Although the below is likely to be an uncommon case, as the author had barely avoided these.

I'm on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones | Voices | The Independent
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:16 AM   #190
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The inherent risk of loss-of-life on your own end in a ground invasion makes you more hesitant to attack. That's not there with drone strikes. The concern would be that you overuse them because it doesn't cost you all that much when you do.
I guess that makes sense.
Though I would prefer to compare it to airstrikes instead of ground invasion.
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:41 AM   #191
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The inherent risk of loss-of-life on your own end in a ground invasion makes you more hesitant to attack. That's not there with drone strikes. The concern would be that you overuse them because it doesn't cost you all that much when you do.
Except we're not exactly using them in lieu of ground invasions.

It's new territory, and yes it has potential of being used recklessly. But it does offer precision and minimal loss of life if used correctly.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:48 PM   #192
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You're not wrong, but it's sort of beside the point I'm making, which is that the concern with drone strikes (and air strikes/missile strikes in general) is that we won't care as much about the collateral damage since we're not part of it. Are drone strikes more advanced and equipped to reduce collateral damage than the others? Sure, which is why they're preferable to those. But that feeling of comfort compared to the others also can lead to getting lax on deciding when they're appropriate. Using them more often, using them on lower priority targets, reducing the level of suspicion/evidence needed to approve a drone strike operation, etc.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:02 PM   #193
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We can argue the grey area of drone strikes all day long. BUT, the reality is that we have one candidate that will continue the use of drones in about the same way as they are being used now, and one candidate that will most likely call for an immediate ground invasion of whatever country he believes from his Twitter feed are "terrorist countries", and then actually try to target the innocent families of terrorists, and will definitely seek to expand torture practices. In his words, we have to be the most vicious killers out there...

Those are the choices. i know mine
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:06 PM   #194
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I think you shouldn't take Donald Trump so seriously. He says half that shit (like targeting terrorists families) right after he pulls the comment out of his ass for a shock factor.

I think that's worse, but to give him credit for having a plan... I wouldn't do so.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:10 PM   #195
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I think you shouldn't take Donald Trump so seriously. He says half that shit (like targeting terrorists families) right after he pulls the comment out of his ass for a shock factor.

I think that's worse, but to give him credit for having a plan... I wouldn't do so.
Well, I know he can't actually DO the things he says. But the only reason he can't is because there are current laws, treaties, guidelines, etc... to keep him from doing it. I do actually think he would do those things if he had free reign.
But the fact remains, that you would have someone in office with that level of disgustingness, dangerousness and complete disregard for a real solution. (I know there is probably no REAL solution, but some solutions are much better than others)
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:11 PM   #196
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Exactly. It's the distance our military gets to have from the damage and the deaths that tends to particularly bother me with drone strikes. Plus, yeah, drones may be advanced and more precise...but it's still technology, and technology can fail sometimes.

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I think ISIS is a very different animal than anything we've seen in the past. It is so vile and so hated by everyone else, but so capable of spreading itself through pure misery and destruction. Perhaps the fact that it is a reasonably clear target and that its on-the-ground support seems to be motivated by fear more than anything makes it appropriate for there to be some sort of military response (maybe one even greater than the bungled mess of drone strikes and non-allies-being-allies so far).

But, more generally, I find the argument that Western interventionism breeds further terrorism pretty convincing, for a few reasons. First, because terrorists generally cite Western interventionism as their motivator themselves. Second, because we have a nasty tendency towards ill-planned ham-fisted intervention catastrophes that leave behind comparable levels of destruction to what there was when we arrived (it's not a coincidence that ISIS developed half in a country that hosted a messy US intervention and half in a country that has been hosting a disastrous Russian intervention).

But it's hard to make foreign policy off of such convictions. My inclination (not very strongly held) is that ISIS needs to be defeated but there needs to be a general policy of non-intervention after that. But that is easier said that done. Terrorist attacks may happen anyway. There may be ruthless dictatorships and there will be awful religious extremists running the show - not because Islam is a particularly violent or bad religion (which I absolutely do not believe), but because there will be for a long, long time a legacy of destruction and economic misery in the region. Say what you will about the disastrous Iraq invasion, but Saddam Hussein was an *awful* dictator, and it's not hard to understand why people wanted him gone. But is there anything Western intervention can do about it without causing more destruction? And if there are terrorist attacks here, will more intervention (drones or otherwise) solve that or breed more?

Slightly off-topic but related: the most difficult question to me about the region comes from Israel. It's not hard to close your eyes and sympathize with the viewpoint that Israel is not much more than a Western imperial settler-state - especially if you don't happen to be Jewish or Christian. Western support for Israel will always create anger. But it's hard for me to muster up the desire to advocate that the West shouldn't support Israel, or that Israel shouldn't vigorously defend itself, but maybe that's just because I'm too much of a shill for Western liberalism. Regardless, recent right-wing Israeli governments haven't done themselves favors with their colonization of the West Bank.
Completely agreed on all of this.

I think one of our biggest problems with our foreign policy is that we don't really seem to work in connection with the people that live there when we come into a country, or at least, it doesn't feel like we're doing near enough of that. We need to stop trying to set up their governments for them and stop trying to act like we know their area of the world better than they do, 'cause that doesn't seem to really be working. And it makes us come off as incredibly patronizing and arrogant, too.

Instead, if we're going to continue to get involved in foreign conflicts, we need to actually work with the people there. Make it a joint effort to rid their country of terrorists or dictators or whatever other threat they're facing. Because I do think there are ways we can and should help without getting all pushy and imperialistic about it, ways that I think people in those countries would actually appreciate and welcome.

And then we need to let the people decide for themselves how they want to rebuild and reshape their country, and offer help and suggestions only if they want our input. That kind of respect and trust would go a long way, I think, in allowing other countries to look favorably upon us.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:14 PM   #197
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I think you shouldn't take Donald Trump so seriously. He says half that shit (like targeting terrorists families) right after he pulls the comment out of his ass for a shock factor.

I think that's worse, but to give him credit for having a plan... I wouldn't do so.
Well we really don't know how serious to take him. That's the problem.

He actually said, "I love waterboarding" "I think it's great". No world leader should say that. Will he nuke Europe? We don't know, will he be reasonable or get drunk off power? Will he have a knee jerk reaction because of his paper thin skin? Seriously or not, he's an unknown and that kind of unknown his dangerous, so at the end of the day you have to take that seriously.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:22 PM   #198
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Well, I know he can't actually DO the things he says. But the only reason he can't is because there are current laws, treaties, guidelines, etc... to keep him from doing it. I do actually think he would do those things if he had free reign.
But you don't have to look any further than in here; his minions want him to have free reign. After 8 years of falsely saying Obama is using too many executive orders blah blah blah, we have his voters saying:
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I can see him ramping up executive orders to satisfy his 'get shit done despite you' Ego.
with glee. His voters are salivating at the thought of an authoritarian state.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:26 PM   #199
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Well, I know he can't actually DO the things he says. But the only reason he can't is because there are current laws, treaties, guidelines, etc... to keep him from doing it. I do actually think he would do those things if he had free reign.
That's just the thing. We're not suppose to take seriously what he says? OK, then on which basis are we to evaluate his "platform" or policies? If we're not listening to his words, then essentially we're constructing a narrative in our heads which guesses at what he'd actually do if elected.

Now to be fair I don't think it matters as none of us who realize this will probably vote for him. The people voting for him are the ones who are actually taking him seriously and agreeing with him.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:32 PM   #200
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But you don't have to look any further than in here; his minions want him to have free reign. After 8 years of falsely saying Obama is using too many executive orders blah blah blah, we have his voters saying: with glee. His voters are salivating at the thought of an authoritarian state.
True. Even though existing laws prohibit a lot of his reckless talk. The fear that he could somehow override these is unnerving.
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