The Daily Scoop: Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing

The Obama administration’s counterterrorism accomplishments are most apparent in what it has been able to dismantle, including CIA prisons and entire tiers of al-Qaeda’s leadership. But what the administration has assembled, hidden from public view, may be equally consequential.
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3 Comments to “The Daily Scoop: Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing”

  1. What gives us the right to kill civilians in foreign countries we are not at war with with impunity. The War on Terror is a joke. Terrorism is a tactic, a not particularly good one, that we are way over reacting to. If you discount the deaths on 9/11, there were fewer terrorist deaths (domestic and foreign sources) in the U.S. than there were people who drowned . . . in their own bathtubs! Should we declare war on bathtubs?

    • Stephen, but that’s the thing…you cannot discount 9/11 nor can you discount 2005’s London transportation bombings (killed 52 people) nor Spain’s 9/11, 11th of March (2004), the train bombings which killed 191 people and wounded 1,800 {I was living there at the time}. I can’t see the victims of numerous other attacks or their families referring to the War on Terror as a joke or not worth the effort. Is it possible the fewer terrorist related deaths may well be related to the efforts to dismantle terrorism networks, with one tool being these drone attacks?

      Please know that I am not at all condoning or excusing civilian deaths as collateral damage but we are not targeting innocent people, something you appear to elude to in your 1st sentence. But the question begs to be asked, given the significantly improved accuracy of weapons systems and new technologies, what would the civilian death rates be if the government did not strive to reduce the chances of civilian casualties while going after terrorists? While no system is going to be perfect and mistakes will always be made in war, one has got to consider the risks of doing nothing or hesitating at critical moments waiting for ALL risks to the target’s surroundings to be eliminated. It may sound extremely callous to say but the potential for more deaths by doing nothing or hesitating does outweigh a smaller amount of associated casualties. I know that borders on shameful to say but there are extremely difficult, practical realities to deal with when considering the potential for many more casualties if these terrorist leaders are not dealt with.

      • We are, above all, a nation of laws. We participate in network of other nations of laws. I do not see that there is any right given to shoot rockets at “suspects” in forign countries in which we are not at war. I will not even go to the subject of weak rulers using us to enforvce their rule in parts of their own countries they cannot. (I do not include Afghanistan or Iraq in this, I mean Yemen and Pakistan and elsewhere.) Would we even be aware of the many tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens who died in that war if it were not for the Wikileaks publication of those war records? Our “pinpoint accuracy” is far from accurate.

        And, I am not recommending we do nothing. Far from it. The incidents on 9/11 showed our intelligence agencies in a state of false competition and disarray. We urgently needed to get them back up to world class in quality. Maybe if they had been, there would not have been a war in Iraq, with thousands of Americans and 100,000+ Iraqi dead and myriad wounded.

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