The drone war has consequences

  • Article by: KURT VOLKER
  • Updated: October 29, 2012 - 9:01 PM

We should be creating standards that are entirely defensible, even if others were to adopt them.

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goferfanzOct. 29, 1210:11 PM

This column nicely captures the complexities of drone warfare. The big issue with drone strikes will remain the collateral death of innocents, as well as--at best-- suspects who "hang out" with the targets. It is amazing to see the many who decried waterboarding a few prisoners now so embrace their preferred President droning with extreme prejudice. This has many times killed innocents or friendly troops, but some how that isnt objectionable or "torture." I guess the key to avoiding torture charges is kill suspects quickly and without due process.

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luzhishenOct. 29, 1210:40 PM

The blowback will last for decades. Get ready.

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jdlellis1Oct. 29, 1210:59 PM

War is the most immoral action of humans. Conversely, when you are under attack, the rules of war should not be a populatrity contest. If we protect our soldiers using technology, so be it. Otherwise, we could relegate war to hand to hand combat. Besides, I didn's see those in the Middle East hell bent on destruction apologizing when several individuals hijacked populated airplens and slamming them into buildings.

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davehougOct. 29, 1211:10 PM

Which is more 'moral': Drone strike or 1,000 plane bomb attack on a port city in the hopes that the actual port is also hit????

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sylvanlakeOct. 29, 1211:28 PM

Kudo's for the use of drones to get bad guys in the our war vs our radical Islamic enemies. One point that is so obviously missing from the article is the intelligence that we no longer get from taking the bad guys as prisoners & extracting intel from them..The "drone" strategy actually puts our infantry troops on the ground in Afghanistan at more risk because we cannot get into the minds of the enemy for what they know. Drone-kill vs capture-interrogate is actually more dangerous for our troops, regardless of how our current commander-in-chief feels.

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uptownbred63Oct. 29, 1211:36 PM

What will we say when drones fly over us? It is inevitable. Drones are wrong! On so many levels. Killing others without even being in the same country? It is too easy to kill this way and we will regret introducing it to the world. How come we can't defeat the enemy in a more compassionate way? The U.S. spends 50% of our federal budget on defense. Why? The threat of Al-Quaida comes from our foreign policy. Let's fix that before it is too late. Why do we develop weapons to kill instead of building relationships? That's why the world hates us. We spend Too many at the top are greedy and until we learn that all humans deserve a job and a decent life we are doomed. And, I'm pret

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alansonOct. 30, 1212:35 AM

Drones, or more properly "Unattended Aircraft Systems (UASs)", bring a qualitative change to warfare that is ignored by the author: they can be employed without incurring loss of life for our side. The idea that "a good rule of thumb might be that we should authorize drone strikes only if we would be willing to send in a pilot or soldier to do the job if a drone were not available" is unworkable because it ignores the fundamental and most important characteriztic of the UAS: it is unmanned. We have quickly succumbed to the seductive appeal of the UAS believing its use to have minimal negative consequences for ourselves. But massive negative consequences are assuredly being nurtured in the fear and loathing created by UAS's continuous use against targets embedded in the populations of the Middle East and South Asia. As long as we fail to respect the value of human life in those areas, the UAS war's negative long term consequences will continue to accumulate. We will pay a very high price for this in the future.

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pumiceOct. 30, 12 1:40 AM

Regarding "generating public support" (for military action in general): There's no longer a draft. Congress has not levied a tax to pay the costs of over a decade of military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's easy to generate public support when no sacrifice is asked of the majority of the public. In the case of the drone war, the public is largely ignorant.

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owatonnabillOct. 30, 12 6:20 AM

Not a simple issue. It would seem to owatonnabill that taking out the bad guys via drone, if the bad guys are keeping an entire population under their heel, and that population wishes fervently to be rid of their oppressor(s) is a good and effective thing. However if the perceived "bad guys" are leaders of a "ground up" movement (al-Qaeda, Hamas, then picking off the leaders via drone attack only creates a vacuum at the top of the movement that others within the movement are more than willing and able to fill. It may confuse and disorient the enemy (not in itself a bad thing) but it will never defeat him. Seems to owatonnabill that the best you can achieve with drones is a stalemate.

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jdlellis1Oct. 30, 12 6:55 AM

By the way, check the record where then Senator Obama has harshly critical of then President Bush for his use of drones. Now President Obama has used clones at a significant multiplier under his Commander-In-Chief role. Funny how things are different when having to make command decisions. Strange how President Obama supporters are do not as critical as under the previous administration.

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