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Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Koatanga » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:20 pm

If I am holed up in a bunker somewhere in upstate New York, surrounded by motion-activated machine guns, mines, and booby traps, with a home-built rocket and a former Soviet nuclear warhead I bought off the internet, and I threaten to blow up New York unless they pay me $1 million - no wait, $100 billion - then I am basically giving permission for some serious hardware to rain down on my ass.

At that point I don't get to say "but wait, I am an American citizen so you have to give me due process while I push this red button".

I am not recommending the use of drones to blow up people with unpaid parking tickets, but you can't rule out the possibility there will be some circumstance in which the use of drones is potentially appropriate. Any Commander in Chief, giving an unequivocal "no" to any method of protecting the sovereignty of the US or the citizens therein would be lying.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Darielle » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:42 pm

Yes, it should have been an unequivocal "no" as the "kill an american on american soil"


It is pretty much guaranteed that if you actually have a major terrorist attack that you will be making choices to minimise damage, regardless of citizenry of the people attacking. Or even if it's straight up damage mitigation, like a choice of bringing down the plane killing everyone on board or letting it hit the Towers.

You could spin that as "Hey, we might start executing people if we feel like it", but ... eh.
I will give credit to Paul in the sense that he actually voiced his concerns appropriately though. He's still spinning it well out into paranoia, but at least his methodology is decent.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby fuzzygeek » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:04 pm

Jabari wrote:
fuzzygeek wrote:Bad PR on a reasonable policy, or policy beyond the pale?

The fact that this question is even being asked is frightening.

Here, let's try this again:
A future administration, using such lovely precedent wrote:...the administration has “no intention” of carrying out drone strikes on suspected terrorists in the United States, but could use them in response to “an extraordinary circumstance” such as a terrorist attack somebody saying something negative about the admistration on the internet.


What is the difference between a drone strike and shooting someone with a gun?

Darielle wrote:He's still spinning it well out into paranoia, but at least his methodology is decent.


It is the nature of Government to grow beyond initial scope and intentions. I don't know if it's possible to construct a believable contrary argument.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Koatanga » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:50 pm

The President is already empowered to detain anyone indefinitely without due process by simply designating the individual an "enemy combatant" at his sole discretion and without requirement of evidence of any kind. So it's not necessary to use drones for assassination of inconvenient people. It's easier to just lock them up and throw away the key.

So if a drone is to be used, it's going to be in an emergency situation where time is a critical factor and it's too dangerous or impractical to send in a sniper or perform an air strike.

Which gets back to the question - what's the difference between a drone and a SWAT team in a "hot" situation? If the goal is to prevent some wacko from doing any more harm, and the wacko doesn't want to stop, the ultimate end is likely that the wacko is going to get killed or kill himself. Whether at the hand of a remote-piloted device or a rifle is pretty much irrelevant.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:47 am

The difference between a drone and a sniper/SWAT team? Collateral damage and risk to bystanders.

An ethical difference is that when performing executions by drone strike, there is a psychological ease of doing so because you are not actually there. It becomes more like a computer game for the operator, and that ease is an ethical problem - it seems clean compared to sending in someone with a highpowered rifle and scope that actually has to pull a trigger, while in actuality it is more messy.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Koatanga » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:52 pm

Nooska wrote:The difference between a drone and a sniper/SWAT team? Collateral damage and risk to bystanders.

An ethical difference is that when performing executions by drone strike, there is a psychological ease of doing so because you are not actually there. It becomes more like a computer game for the operator, and that ease is an ethical problem - it seems clean compared to sending in someone with a highpowered rifle and scope that actually has to pull a trigger, while in actuality it is more messy.


Again, one would consider the circumstances. There is no way a drone strike or air strike or even an RPG attack would be called when there are innocents in the potential damage range.

But in a circumstance where need is imminent and it would be dangerous to send in a SWAT team, why not spare the lives of the SWAT members and simply solve the issue? Think of a drone as a really big, really slow RPG round. The advantage of the drone over an RPG is that if the operator sees potential innocents in the target range, he can abort, whereas once the RPG is fired, it's going to hit what it's going to hit.

The ethical difference is you are not getting people killed who have committed no crime (SWAT members, police officers, Homeland Security goons, TSA rejects, FBI dudes) while executing someone who is in the process of trying to kill other innocent people. The life of a psychopath means less to me than the life of a law-abiding citizen or civil servant.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:11 pm

A follow-up on Louisiana and its voucher schools
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/hi ... 34876.html
http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/ ... ax-dollars

And this is why I dont agree with state money going to some of these schools.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Aubade » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:29 pm

Koatanga wrote:
Nooska wrote:The difference between a drone and a sniper/SWAT team? Collateral damage and risk to bystanders.

An ethical difference is that when performing executions by drone strike, there is a psychological ease of doing so because you are not actually there. It becomes more like a computer game for the operator, and that ease is an ethical problem - it seems clean compared to sending in someone with a highpowered rifle and scope that actually has to pull a trigger, while in actuality it is more messy.


Again, one would consider the circumstances. There is no way a drone strike or air strike or even an RPG attack would be called when there are innocents in the potential damage range.

But in a circumstance where need is imminent and it would be dangerous to send in a SWAT team, why not spare the lives of the SWAT members and simply solve the issue? Think of a drone as a really big, really slow RPG round. The advantage of the drone over an RPG is that if the operator sees potential innocents in the target range, he can abort, whereas once the RPG is fired, it's going to hit what it's going to hit.

The ethical difference is you are not getting people killed who have committed no crime (SWAT members, police officers, Homeland Security goons, TSA rejects, FBI dudes) while executing someone who is in the process of trying to kill other innocent people. The life of a psychopath means less to me than the life of a law-abiding citizen or civil servant.


I think the point he's trying to make is that the innocent bystanders who aren't psychopaths are being killed with little to no recourse to the people who shot the strike, because they're sitting behind a computer all comfortable like. Whereas if you send a real person in there, there's a much smaller (albiet still there) risk of collateral damage on innocents.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Koatanga » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:35 pm

Aubade wrote:I think the point he's trying to make is that the innocent bystanders who aren't psychopaths are being killed with little to no recourse to the people who shot the strike, because they're sitting behind a computer all comfortable like. Whereas if you send a real person in there, there's a much smaller (albiet still there) risk of collateral damage on innocents.

Again, if there are innocents in range, you don't use a big boom, regardless of what kind of boom it is. That should go without saying, because it's so obvious.

I am just saying that no Commander in Chief would ever completely discount the possibility of using something in his arsenal that may be the right tool for the job. To answer the question with a categorical "No" would be just silly, if he can conceive of even one possibility where a drone would be the safest and most effective method to deal with an imminent threat to the sovereignty of the US.

If you are the president of the US and the *only* way to deal with a direct and imminent threat is to use a nuclear strike, do you reject that and risk the sovereignty of the nation? Of course not. You're there to protect that sovereignty against all threats, foreign and domestic. There is no fine print restricting you to certain methods.

People who are already inclined to hate the man may take that to mean he'll wantonly authorise drone strikes all over the US, but who cares what they think because there's no possible answer that would make them like him anyway. What he shouldn't do is limit his own authority as Commander in Chief.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Skye1013 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:19 pm

I'm with Koatanga on this one. It's not like that will become the first option in every situation, it would merely be an option for specific situations.

As I've been told in leadership training... if you have to discipline someone, you don't start with the nuke unless the situation absolutely warrants it (drinking & driving wouldn't just get a slap on the wrist, especially if someone was injured from it.)



In other news, the White House is ending official tours until further notice.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:29 pm

I didn't see/read about the exact back and forth on that issue, but I don't think Sen Paul was referring to an active conflict situation. We do have some guidance there via posse comitatus.

From what I've seen, Paul was more concerned with using drones how we currently do overseas, which is not always at actively engaged targets. If a target here were to be determined to be a terrorist on US soil, that could create a gray area under current regulations. The White House did respond to that with a flat 'No' eventually. Much ado about nothing, imo.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby aureon » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:56 am

Airliner has been hijacked, it's heading towards NYC.
There are, of course, innocents on board.
Does the Commander in Chief have the right to scramble interceptors and have it shot down?
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:34 pm

That is very different situation and scenario from "does the CIC have the right to execute a US citizen".

Noone here argued from a point of collateral damage being the operative word (and innocent lives versus innocent lives means you go a on a pure numbers game).

Now Having a hi-jacked plane did not mean automatic loss of life pre 9/11 and hasn't since either, most hi-jackers took over the plane, rerouted it and had demands, that were sometimes met and sometimes not.
So, barring information to the contrary, I'd say, international law states, no the CIC does not have the right to order the plane shot down.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Skye1013 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:17 pm

Nooska wrote:That is very different situation and scenario from "does the CIC have the right to execute a US citizen".

And if the hijacker is a US citizen? I'm not really sure where that applies. It's not like they're going to just start firing missiles at J-walkers...
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Skye1013 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:50 pm

Stonekettle Jim has actually written a nice blog post about the drone issue.

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