The case for killing by drone

  • Article by: CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER , Washington Post
  • Updated: February 17, 2013 - 4:50 PM

The administration hasn't really made the case. Let me help.

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pumiceFeb. 17, 13 6:59 PM

From the article: "What choice do we have but to carry the fight to [the Jihadists]?" (1) Congress could declare war. (2) Congress could levy a tax to wage war. (3) Congress could exercise its power of the purse. (4) The Administration could fulfill its responsibility to make its case to the people in whose name it is acting. (5) Someone could take a case to the Supreme Court about war-making powers. (6) We, the people, could express our opinion about perpetual war, pre-emptive war, drone warfare, invisible war in which only 1% of our fellow citizens are asked to sacrifice, ...

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firefight41Feb. 17, 13 7:21 PM

1) By what right does the president order the killing by drone of enemies abroad? What criteria justify assassination? Answer: a) imminent threat, under the doctrine of self-defense, and b) affiliation with Al-Qaida, under the laws of war. ****************** What imminent thread does Al-Qaida have towards the US? Try again. Affiliation with Al-Qaida. What next affiliation with the KKK or Skin heads? How about affiliation with known terrorists. Obama is known to have been friends with left-wing fanatic and Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers, who is responsible for dozens of bombings between 1969 and 1975.

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tmauelFeb. 17, 13 9:05 PM

Krauthammer ignores many of the relevant facts about the drone war that are routinely hidden by the White House and the corporate press. First, two separate studies have found that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed civilians in an estimated 90 to 95% of cases. A 2009 study by the Brookings Institute of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan found that 90% of those who died were civilians. That same year the London based Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that 95% of drone victims in Pakistan were innocent civilians. Why is the rate of civilian deaths so high? The United States has almost no actionable intelligence on the ground where these strikes are made. So the CIA and the Pentagon employ what is called a signature strike where the actual identity of the individual is unknown. And since the White House considers every male between the ages of 18 and 59 as a possible target dozens of males in the targeted country are vaporized based on flimsy evidence like a persons recent pattern of cell phone calls. Furthermore the U.S. routinely employs double taps, striking first responders. The UN is currently investigating the use of double taps and striking funerals by the U.S. as a war crime. The U.S. has killed nearly 5,000 people at random in order to kill a relatively small number of known terrorist. Under the UN a conflict in which the ratio of those killed by the opposition is above 90% that action is deemed genocide. Employing these drone strikes that murder innocent civilians in the vast majority of cases is the very essence of cowardice and the height of stupidity.

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turgidFeb. 17, 13 9:12 PM

Gee, so all you need to do is say the words "imminent" and "affiliation" and you can kill anyone on the planet? I'll bet Joe McCarthy sure would have loved these here drones!

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markwashaFeb. 17, 1311:41 PM

Hopefully they won't end up in U.S. cities, like LRAD, long range acoustic device New York police have, deploy on Americans. The Middle East is just a proving grounds for these toys, sad. Legislation is already pending.

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monkeyplanetFeb. 18, 13 7:57 AM

If Krauthammer believes the president has the right to kill American citizens without due process and far from any battlefield, I would be interested to know what legal apparatus he believes protects him from being drone-killed. It's a very simple question, but one he can't answer.

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myob_STFeb. 18, 13 8:38 AM

tmauel, would bombing runs have killed fewer civilians?

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owatonnabillFeb. 18, 13 9:28 AM

Krauthammer pretty much nailed it. Let us not forget that the "enemy abroad" that kicked all this off was an American citizen who was a high-ranking member of an organization that had declared war on America and is/has been actively engaged in acts of war AGAINST America. This dude by his actions had given up his allegiance to America and was a enemy combatant. Killing your enemy in war before he kills you is the way wars are fought and won. Also, this interminable whining about "civilian casualties" is both moot and laughable. A drone may get the bad guy and in the process take out two or three innocent bystanders, but to date the way wars have been fought is to drop a couple of tons of bombs on the bad guy and take out maybe two or three HUNDRED innocent bystanders. In Operation Gomorrah in WWII Hamburg was firebombed in order to take out industry essential to the German war effort. It indeed took out the industry (or a good portion of it, anyway) and in the process toasted an estimated 42,000 civilians. Would not smart, directed weapons that minimized civilian casualties have been the better approach? So too with drones. If you're trying to cure a disease a scalpel is always better than a sledgehammer.

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localokelFeb. 18, 13 9:40 AM

KRAUTHAMMER would put us in a permanent state of war which is the basis for all his arguments. Democracy cannot survive permanent war, its secrecy, its lack of civilian oversight its totalitarian demands on citizenry. Bush II muddled this business of a just war by ginning up the yellow cake threat, and now we're in this messy situation where it's difficult to define the front of the war which gave us 9-11. Instead we have permanent police actions all over the world thinly justified by what is now a distantly related attack.

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goldengoph3rFeb. 18, 1310:19 AM

Krauthammer also predicted a Romney victory, which tells me all I need to know about "facts" on Planet Krauthammer. He can offer all the pedantic excuses he likes for legitimizing drone strikes, but the one inescapable conclusion for me is how small, petty and fearful it makes the U.S. look. If some jihadis in a house in the hinterlands of Yemen can declare "war" on the U.S., can anyone? George W Bush was fond of saying terrorists "hate our freedom". But with indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping, and unilateral drone strikes the norm now, Bush and Obama haven't so much as defended our freedoms as curtailed them in short-sighted pursuit of revenge.

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