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."

From CNN:
"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?

Tags: Congress, Constitution, Drone, Eric, Holder, law, strikes

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Unfortunately, Judith, it's the principle of "might makes right" in action. I recall that one of the definitions of justice given in Plato's "Republic" was that justice was the will of the stronger. I think that's exactly what we're seeing and it applies to both situations. The US government continues to use drone strikes in places like Pakistan and Yemen because it knows that no one who cares about getting them to stop is in a position to really do anything about it. If the tables were turned, there would be a cruise missile finding it's way into a command and control center and/or the satellites responsible for relaying the attack would be taken out of orbit. Whoever attacked America in such a way would find it difficult to do so again.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying that it is what it is.

I don't know. Why stop with drones?

What if some nation detonated a thermobaric bomb around the Amsterdam Arena during a major football match or a neutron bomb over Amsterdam creating a disaster similar to the 9/11 attacks. The Netherlands, you seem to imply, would not consider itself at war with the instigators and would just sit there weeping "Why us?"

"rubbing one off" for the pentagon.

LOL

So how many 'other deaths' will be tolerated, to catch just 'a few', 'bad people'?

What other targets could be authorized, given some corporate or government interest?

If they fly a drone over US soil, how will the locals responde?

"Bad people" covers a lot of ground. There are some pretty bad people in al qaeda. Today, a lot of these bad people purposefully hide themselves among civilians. Obviously, this doesn't provide perfect protection, but if they get killed along with some civilians, the civilians function as fodder for their propaganda efforts. 

What other targets might be authorized? I don't think anyone here knows the answer.

Who is "they"?

@ Unseen,

Who is "they"?

Answer: 

Anyone other then me.

Due process should normally be the paramount concern for maintaining law and order within U.S. borders. Warrants should be served or attempted to be served, etc if an individual is considered in violation of federal or state law. 

In an extremely rare instance of a national security concern on U.S. soil,  involving a potential large loss of life, a military intervention may be justifiable. But a drone would be a stupid choice when we have fighter jet pilots much more appropriate for the situation.

The use of drones both abroad and stateside is very troubling to me. Our ability to target and kill people remotely with no assurance that innocents are spared is a pause for concern. Clicking a mouse button a world away and justifying mistaken targets or victims of circumstance as collateral damage seems pathetically insufficient.

I recently contacted my state's congressional representatives for my area regarding the possible use of drones by local or federal officials to surveil private citizens on their property. Several states bordering Arkansas have already brought forth proposed legislation to ban or severely restrict the use of drones in their state's airspace. Neither representative has responded to my concerns and I'm not sure how to interpret that at the moment. This issue will continue to move into our consciousness as government(s) decide how much the populace is willing to allow invasion into their privacy. 

Nobody I know is proposing that drones be used to kill burglars, bank robbers, or even drug kingpins in the United States. I'm sure we're only talking about imminent threat situations where the drone is the best option to save lives.

Some perpetrators, through the seriousness of their threat, and the imminence of the threat they pose, essentially force the government's hand. When the SWAT team is called on the guy holding the mother and infant hostage, he's essentially giving up his right of due process. The same, I would say, is true of a terrorist.

States can't ban the use of a Federal drone. They lack the standing to do so. They are a subservient level of government. What they most likely are doing is answering citizen's privacy concerns over small drones fitted with miniature cameras, though a private drone might be fitted with some sort of explosive device or gas canister, I suppose.

"Some perpetrators, through the seriousness of their threat, and the imminence of the threat they pose, essentially force the government's hand. When the SWAT team is called on the guy holding the mother and infant hostage, he's essentially giving up his right of due process. The same, I would say, is true of a terrorist."

My thought was that there is little difference between a known armed and dangerous man being taken out by a SWAT sniper and a person armed with a car bomb and known to be dangerous being taken out from the air by a missile whose resulting damage incurs no other deaths. It's a last-option case, but I can't shake the thought that they are essentially the same situation just scaled up in destructive power.

"Our ability to target and kill people remotely with no assurance that innocents are spared is a pause for concern. Clicking a mouse button a world away and justifying mistaken targets or victims of circumstance as collateral damage seems pathetically insufficient."

As the video will show, one doesn't have to be a world away to justify mistaking a target. It happens in combat especially when engaging a force that is not a national army with a distinctive uniform that a person can tell apart from everyday civilians. We are trained to make better judgement calls, but it's like seeing the proverbial tiger in the rustling bushes. Sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes they make bad judgement calls. Piloting a drone doesn't necessarily make those mistakes more or less likely and being in the action doesn't make it more justifiable. The sad truth is that in combat there will be civilian casualties. The best that any law-abiding national military can hope to do is limit those casualties. The US has gone to great lengths to do so at the risk of its own personnel. The Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan are so restrictive that our Soldiers are complaining that they can't even return fire at times even when they are fired upon.

I think we can agree that degrading the loss of non-combatant life and the personal tragedy they experience while trying to survive amidst armed conflict to the words "collateral damage" is "pathetically insufficient." Let us also agree that it is not drones that cause this, it is the nature of combat that civilians will suffer in a war zone. My point is that distance has no bearing on the matter of civilian casualties (an argument that several people seem to be making), and even being in the middle of a fight does not given any assurance that civilians won't get hurt or killed.

The video is graphic in nature showing an attack by an Apache. You have been warned: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

Remember what it was for:

@ the Hawk,

The Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan are so restrictive that our Soldiers are complaining that they can't even return fire at times even when they are fired upon.

I had a friend who flew F-4's in Nam, he was in a dogfight once and his missile took out the other guy on the wrong side of an imaginary line. 

Guess who got in trouble for violating the "Rules of Engagement"?

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