Wednesday June 19, 2013
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For many years, American Presidents, and many members of Congress, dragged their feet and threw roadblocks in the way of taking out the leaders on the other side of a war.
For example, we very carefully avoided bombing the palace in Tokyo during WWII because we did not want to kill the Emperor.
It was, in fact, seen as unethical and improper to do such a thing. Even during Korea, Vietnam, and right up to the days after 9-11, Presidents continued to fight against it, looking upon it as a form of political assassination.
In fact, a shock went right around the world when it leaked out that JFK had permitted the CIA to work on taking out Fidel Castro. Johnson and Nixon were against such things, so they said, and Clinton dragged his feet and hemmed and hawed until Osama Bin Laden made a getaway from a place where we had him right in the bullseye, and could have taken him out with a couple of missiles.
But now, things seem to have changed. With unmanned aircraft and small, very accurate weapons, we are more and more often targeting those who make the plans instead of those who execute those plans.
Drones are relatively cheap to operate. Their strikes are precise. And they entail no risk to the pilots who operate them from U.S. bases thousands of kilometers away.
It is estimated that there are 10,000 unmanned aerial vehicles in the U.S. military's arsenal, in addition to an undisclosed number operated by the CIA - including one that recently killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaida's number two leader.
However, there are still those who think drones are a bad idea. Medea Benjamin, cofounder of both CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange, for example, says, "The biggest ethical problem with drones is that it makes killing too easy."
In general, anti-drone protesters dislike drones because they say they are not risk free. Right now, their focus is on the deaths of "innocent" bystanders in Pakistan.
How do you feel about all that?
There are two viewpoints here.
They both have to do with guerilla tactics--hit and run, never take on a set battle, hide among the citizen population, wear the opponent down, fight a war of attrition, outlast the enemy.
Some people say that the military arm of a nation cannot, and should not, fight back with the same or similar tactics. They also decry the use of force to take out hidden leaders because they say that they are neither on a battlefield, nor have they been tried and convicted, and so there is no legal reason to kill them. This is what you are hearing when you hear those who are opposed to the use of drones. Right now they are demanding to know how the decision is made to take out any given individual; they are doing this in hopes of using legalisms to push their point of view.
Others say that the only way to win a guerilla war is adopt some, but not all, of the tactics used by the enemy. These people say that it is improper, and is in fact a losing strategy to directly attack civilians who support guerillas because it is impossible to sort out who is who. But they say you must seek out and destroy the enemy where he lives, preserving civilian lives to the maximum, but making it dangerous to hide those who hit and run. They say that the winning strategy is to make it near-suicide to hide those at the very top. They say that any war is truly a war of peoples, and until the people get involved and rid themselves of those who are using--and abusing--them, the war cannot be won. And they say that with good intelligence it is possible to tell who is who, and as long as you use patience, and take advantage of superior arms and technology you can win a long, drawn out war of attrition because it is fought on the enemy's turf, not yours, and he is the one who pays the high price. They say that anything short of those things specifically banned by the Geneva Conventions--such as torture--are fair game.
They also say there are only two alternatives to fighting back by using part of the guerilla tactics: One is to simply surrender, to take your beating day by day and live with it. The other is to mount a full scale war, turning a guerilla war into a battle of nation against nation.
Take your choice.
Kill the leaders instead of civilians. Why take out the innocents when it is the leaders that is causing the problems? Start at the top.
To Pat, Amen. Don't stop at the head of state, continue right through the body of power until it doesn't exist.
BUT, It should only be done by us....IF....we were attacked by them. Or them if they were attacked by us.
The greatest cause of concern in this world by the opinion formed by Dan, Is that the people no longer have control. They have given it up to get on with their lives, be it existance or prosperity, they are not involved.
Take the population of the World, divide it by the number of people in charge, and ask yourself if what they say we must do affects me more than it should?
If you doubt what i have just proposed than answer this. You purchased a piece of property. If you didn't pay cash, then you financed it. If you financed it than until you pay the note, it belongs to the lender. If you paid cash, or if you pay off the note, You still owe the government taxes. They believe they own the land and you only rent it from them. As long as you occupy it you must pay. Where is the freedom that Jefferson saw for all Americans?
There is freedom to do stupid things like taking a gun into a bar.
Our lawmakers are idiots. They keep making new laws to collect more tax to hire more idiots or get more freebies.
They are now trying again to pass a bill to charge sales tax when you sell property. Tried it once back in the 70's and it didn't work. Hopefully it won't work this time either. Think how much more it would cost to buy a house.
Tom; To answer your question: I do not believe that the use of Drones is an ethical question at this point in time. Once the use of weapons of any sort has been decided in the affirmative, the decisions become tactical more than ethical. Yes, there are questions to be decided. What is the role of weapons of mass destruction (eg. Nukes, etc.) ; which weapons should not be used; when should weapons be abandoned, etc. If I decide that killing people is an acceptable tactic, the remaining questions have to do with when and how. Upon consideration, it could be argued that "rules of war" is a silly concept that we humans have adopted to help us reconcile our inner struggles with conflicting rules for our own behavior. " Thou shall not kill." contains no room for debate and yet most of Christianity adds to the commandment words that follow "except when ...". My point is that the use of Drones is based on Tactical, not ethical considerations and I am in agreement with their use.
Rules of war are the dumbest thing men have ever decided. If you get into a battle the idea to me is to win. No holds barred. Think how many lives would have been saved if the atomic bomb had been used sooner and at a few more places. How does ethics even enter into it?
You all know innocent civilians are going to be killed.
Why does the U.S. get into the fights between other countries and then set boundries where and who they can kill and where they can't. Is it to lower the population of our military?
How do they choose which side to be on?
I knew someone who was in Korea, said they would fight like hell, get to the the 38th parallel and then have to stop. Naturally the N. Koreans gathered more men and sent our men back south dead or alive and they would start all over again.
"Kill the leaders instead of civilians. Why take out the innocents when it is the leaders that is causing the problems? Start at the top.'
Glad you agree. That is exactly what they are doing. There is, of course, a chance that in taking out a leader you may take out those around him. That can include other leaders, aides, servants, and even family members. Not pretty, but no different from dropping a bomb on a leader's lair to get him.
John, I wish I could have phrased it so well!
Pat, although you come to the right conclusion, what happened in Korea was a bit different. We fought the Koreans beyond the 38th parallel and were ready to take their capital city when the Chinese sent in troops. Then we had to beat them, and we did. We were on your way into China, but Truman stopped us. The end result was that we had to settle for the original border between N. and S. Korea. What would have happened if we had invaded China is unknown. MacArthur wanted to use nuclear weapons. Truman did not. With nuclear weapons it would have been no contest. The end result? Who knows?
I was told by someone who was there about the 38th parallel. It wasn't a conclusion I came up with.
He was raised here in Payson and I knew him all his life. He had no reason to lie about it.
He was there! Was injured twice.
He received 14 different medals while serving in Korea. One of Arizona's heros.
Pat: The answer to your remarks about Korea is contained in the saying, "War is politics..." but by different means. Often, including Iraq and Afganistan, the orders from commanders including the Cammander-in-Chief are given with limited and political goals in mind. We humans do not fight total wars like two ant colonies. I am not prepared to opine regarding the good or bad of it all.
There are many that say as soon as Saddam Hussein was removed the USA should have left Iraq and said as we were exiting "Mission Accomplished,"
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