I'm going to beat Unseen to this one!
So Eric Holder in a recent Congressional hearing has left the door open to preforming a drone strike against terrorists on American soil in an "extraordinary circumstance."
"Attorney General Eric Holder is not entirely ruling out a scenario under which a drone strike would be ordered against Americans on U.S. soil, but says it has never been done previously and he could only see it being considered in an extraordinary circumstance.
He began to winnow the list of those possible extraordinary circumstances Wednesday. In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pressed Holder whether he believed it would be constitutional to target an American terror suspect 'sitting at a cafe' if the suspect didn't pose an imminent threat.
'No,' Holder replied."
Given the fact that there are people out there who want to kill us, who want to die for their cause, and who label themselves as an enemy to America, do you think that they Attorney General makes a valid point? Might there be some circumstance where a drone strike is the best option to prevent even more loss of life including that of law enforcement? Is he just plain wrong and this can't be permitted at all? As Senator Paul is now filibustering on the Senate floor and making the point, is there zero room for a lethal military/law enforcement drone strike on an individual? Might there still be a comparison with the use of lethal force by a police officer to a person that is known to be armed, dangerous, and looking to kill?
I have always hated violence of every kind. We have to live in the real world and so we have to accept that some people will choose violence for whatever reasons that I will never understand fully. I don't want to understand or become someone that chooses violence as a means to an end. I think it should always be the last resort and the last possible option and only in the situations of self defense.
I don't agree with pre-emptive strikes against anyone. That is what causes war in the first place. Drones, like all weapons, are the tools of war and I don't like any of them. That doesn't mean we should not use them. If others are using technology for violence then sadly we have to use a proportional response for self defense. I wish that this wasn't the reality on this planet but it is.
I will add my voice as one that wants to always prevent violence by any way humanly possible. I love peace the most and always have and always will. I don't usually use the words always or never because they are absolutes that tend to cause divisions in typical conversations but when it comes to violence I think we can all agree that peace is always the better way. If you don't like peace, I don't like you. That's all I can think of to say on this subject for now. Take it easy people. Peace :)
So you are adding a strawman logical fallacy argument to my statement by proposing that I think harming babies is a good thing? WTF? What kind of person do you think I am and what evidence do you have to support your insanely cruel presumptuous question? ("flip" is not the right word to describe your assertion)
Do you disagree with my premise that prevention of violence by as many humans as possible is a worthy goal?
I agree that courts need to be used to review any and all actions of a serious nature like certain military actions. The word "oversight" is sort of like the word "god" to me. It is an infinite regress. Who oversees the overseers, etc. ad infinitum?
We have to basically trust people (whether we like them or not) until they prove they are untrustworthy. Innocent until proven guilty, in other words. I think that definitions of who are terrorists and who are not are usually clear and well defined in law already but obviously it is not perfect and it will never be perfect. Perfection is an illusion. The old expression of don't make "perfect" the enemy of the good applies here.
I can see some kinds of anti-American feelings in what you are saying. You are free to feel that way but please explain why you feel that way better than just made up stuff like "environmentalists=terrorists" That is just Bullshit. Only the seriously violent extremist ones are considered criminals/terrorists.
I'm an advocate for a better environment and have never had the FBI or CIA or anyone else treat me poorly for that kind of thinking. America is not some 1984 dystopian place. We have our obvious problems (that you know about because we still have a free press) but it is not a police state. (yet) hahaha
Don't believe the negative shit you hear on the news all the time. They are vultures that almost always focus only on the worst aspects of the US. There are many great (most people in my opinion) people here that never get on the news.
You are saying our leaders and politicians need to defend their actions in a "criminal" court. That is an assumption that they guilty based on no evidence. I hope you don't normally judge people that easily or unjustly. They are being judged by the court of public opinion and that is why we still vote. It makes me sad to see people being so cynical.
I don't believe that anybody, except in the course of a legally and morally justified war, should be deprived of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without due process of law, citizen or not.
If, after due process has taken its course and it is determined that execution is appropriate, I don't really care whether it's accomplished by lethal injection or a drone. Dead is dead!
That being said, I, unlike most theists, am a strong opponent of the death penalty, so I believe that, as a practical matter, the only context in which a drone killing is justified is in a defensive confrontation with an actual enemy who is engaged in attempting to kill me or my family. If my government is going to tell me that some American wearing a turban in the middle east is an existential threat to me, I would demand at least a modicum of evidence that this is so. Assurance from the CIA or the President does not meet that requirement for me.
Finally, if it is okay for the U.S. to go into a sovereign non-combatant country to kill people there, then we should not be outraged when they do the same thing to us, like on 9/11.
Bottom line: when Islamic fanatics killed 3,000 Americans to further their agenda it was wrong. When we choose to kill people in Pakistan to further ours, it is also wrong. The notion that we are "exceptional" Americans does not justify actions that are morally and legally wrong, any more than the actions of the 9/11 terrorists would be justified because they were Saudi Arabians. What part of "Thou shalt not kill" do you theists not agree with?
+1 :) I like Eric Holder. No bullshit answer. Just telling it how it is.
I can imagine a circumstance where, for example, an American is driving a van through the mountains toward Denver or Seattle with a nuclear bomb on board. If he were stopped on the roadway by a team of soldiers at a roadblock, he might detonate it there and kill the soldiers. By contrast, a drone could fire a guided bomb toward his van on some isolated stretch of road. By far, the best way to handle it.
There are already plenty of situations where some level of the state kills people without arresting them and giving them due process. Think of what SWAT teams often have to do.
In any case, it should involve an imminent threat and should be a last recourse (or one of the last, it being the best of choices).
The real question is at what level and by what process is the decision to be made to use a drone strike. Should it involve judicial review or should it be something the President can simply decide to do, or should there be some board reviewing it and whatever options are available.
But it should never become routine.
It's like you are reading my mind. Well, my mind from 24 hours ago.
If we are in a situation where we consider our own citizens to be acceptable collateral damage, or themselves enemies of the state for whatever reason - then we have failed horribly as a nation.
Waco Texas, Libby Montana, Ruby-Ridge Idaho come to mind - for the most part the citizens responsible were just paranoid rednecks. The individuals involved were in violation of certain laws and may have been a nuisance to local authorities, and may indeed have committed local violent crime on a limited scale, but were no immanent threat to the United States as a whole... Rednecks with rifles in rural areas are not a credible threat - in rural areas they are NORMAL. What got them in trouble was their speech regarding their disposition towards the perceived threat of encroaching federal enforcement. Turns out they were right in the end; as they were raided, shot, and burned (including children in some cases).
There were many options available NOT including para-military style swat raids that could have diffused the situation - instead overzealous federal prosecutors decided to classify them as dangerous (they would have been called terror suspects today thanks to the Patriot act, and due process sumarilly suspended).
These individuals were paranoid perhaps, and you may not have an appreciation for the lifestyles of rural middle-Americans; but you cannot deny the fact that their own federal government ignored due process to attack and kill citizens in these cases. The point being; that no matter HOW much rhetoric or banter was coming from they were not yet guilty of crimes deserving the retaliatory response displayed.
Contrast this with the fact that certain credibly dangerous individuals committed significant mayhem WITHOUT attracting that kind of attention and were apprehended WITHOUT the use of paramilitary force - I don't see how people can feel OK with a government that thinks it is okay to apply this force domestically.
While you can certainly argue that mistakes have been made. Horrible ones in a few cases, it's hard to argue that they are the rule.
What about the case I gave of the terrorist driving a van with a nuclear weapon through the mountains toward Denver or Seattle. What would you do, send in a negotiator or just eliminate the threat with a decisive drone strike.
(BTW, before anyone says anything, nuclear bombs as a rule don't go off very easily unless their own detonation system detonates it. A missile strike would likely not detonate the nuclear weapon.)
What if it's a conventional truck bomb (Oklahoma style) covered with 4 lbs. of powdered Plutonium laying on top.
And the prevailing wind will carry the resulting radioactive cloud over a major population area?
Do you still want to hit it with a Hellfire missile?
If it's a standard nuclear munitions, you still have the radioactive material getting spread by the Hellfire explosion. The drone strike still turns the nuke into a dirty bomb.
You're better off helo inserting 19D teams ahead of the van and taking out the occupants, then recovering the van and bomb in tact. If you have the intel on the vehicle, it's contents, and it's route, then you have a great many more options than a half-assed drone strike.
Well said Unseen. I agree.