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United States The Military Technology

Documents Expose the Inner Workings of Obama's Drone Wars 169

An anonymous reader writes: A little over two years ago, Edward Snowden leaked a giant batch of NSA documents. Chelsea Manning handed Wikileaks a pile of government secrets in 2010, and now another source has leaked an equally impressive cache of papers focusing on Obama's drone program. The Intercept published the documents covering the U.S.'s use of drones to kill targets. Perhaps most eye-opening is the disclosure that as much as 90% of attacks over a five-month period hit the wrong targets. According to The Intercept: "When the Obama administration has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an 'imminent' threat is present and there is 'near certainty' that the intended target will be eliminated. Those terms, however, appear to have been bluntly redefined to bear almost no resemblance to their commonly understood meanings."
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Documents Expose the Inner Workings of Obama's Drone Wars

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    even if the Nobel commite asked him to. He is now a man of a different conviction, who has gone a full 180 on the promises he campaigned on, ending up running the politics he campaigned against. I liked Senator Obama. President Obama, not so much.

    • Candidate Obama (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @05:52AM (#50742097)

      He is now a man of a different conviction, who has gone a full 180 on the promises he campaigned on, ending up running the politics he campaigned against. I liked Senator Obama. President Obama, not so much.

      No, you liked Candidate Obama.

      In mid-2008, he voted to grant the telecoms immunity from prosecution for warrantless (i.e. illegal) wiretapping. The red flags were already there if you paid attention to his actions rather than his words.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Or if you knew what war was like just a couple decades ago, you would realize that 10% accuracy is not bad, for war. For police action, it's terrible. But consider the same actions in the time of Vietnam or Korea or WWII (or Panama or ...) and drones are insanely accurate.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No he liked PRESIDENT Obama. Obama was RE-ELECTED. His last 4 years were the same policies as his first 4 years. So you can't claimed he "changed".

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @05:45AM (#50742089) Journal

    Had we not interject ourselves when the Russians were attacking Afghanistan, we wouldn't have the messy mixed up with Pakistan and the mujahideen which morphed into the Taliban, and the super powerful bin laden family

    Had we not invade Iraq under false pretense we wouldn't have thousands of our sons and daughters killed / maimed in Iraq - and Islamic State wouldn't have a chance to come into fruition either

    Had we not 'leading from the back' in overthrowing the Qaddafi regime of Libya the number of foot soldiers for islamic terrorist network wouldn't be so numerous

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Taliban was not guaranteed to beat the other mujahideen. The Taliban could have just formed a peaceful, sharia heavy nation, like Saudi Arabia. The desire to host al qaeda, and that al qaeda would carry out successful attacks, was somewhat unexpected.

      Saddam wanted to make a nuclear ballistic missile, which could reach Tehran. It would have been sooner, or later. Thanks to the Bush Administration's screw-up on Iraq's indigenous solid rocket program, it happened sooner. Iran has a similar, more successful

    • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @06:40AM (#50742217)

      Your points seem quite plausible, but I'd like to make a distinction about the word "we" in this context.

      I as an individual did not support those choices. They were enacted by political elites who rule the land in which I was born.

      • Your points seem quite plausible, but I'd like to make a distinction about the word "we" in this context.

        I as an individual did not support those choices. They were enacted by political elites who rule the land in which I was born.

        Out of curiosity, have you voted for any of those elites? I'm guessing not but...

        • Your points seem quite plausible, but I'd like to make a distinction about the word "we" in this context.

          I as an individual did not support those choices. They were enacted by political elites who rule the land in which I was born.

          Out of curiosity, have you voted for any of those elites? I'm guessing not but...

          I'm too young to have voted about Reagan or George H.W. Bush. I voted for Obama's first term, because he seemed like the anti-Bush, but I was duped. I did not vote for his second term.

          • by terbeaux ( 2579575 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:40PM (#50744509)

            You can't just say "I didn't vote for this" and absolve yourself from responsibility. Your tax dollars are paying for this and there is something that you can do about it:

            1. Go here: https://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup [opencongress.org].
            2. Type in your info.
            3. Call each number and leave a message stating "I am one of your registered constituents. I do not support the drone program. I perceive it to be illegal and may constitute war crimes. My name is Doofus O. Death and I live at *your address here*."
            4. Done!

            That would take 1-4 minutes depending upon which state you live in and how many representatives you have.

            • You can't just say "I didn't vote for this" and absolve yourself from responsibility. Your tax dollars are paying for this and there is something that you can do about it:

              1. Go here: https://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup [opencongress.org].
              2. Type in your info.
              3. Call each number and leave a message stating "I am one of your registered constituents. I do not support the drone program. I perceive it to be illegal and may constitute war crimes. My name is Doofus O. Death and I live at *your address here*."
              4. Done!

              That would take 1-4 minutes depending upon which state you live in and how many representatives you have.

              Well, first you're going to have to explain in which ethical framework you think I'm trying to absolve myself, and why I failed to do so, and why I should accept that framework as relevant to me in the first place.

              Second, you might want to consider the expected payoff of me calling my congressman on each of those issue, given the fact that I have no reason to believe that other constituents are adding their voices as well.

              Third, you'd have to show that the expected payoff is worth sacrificing the other thin

          • I was duped.

            Which I think is the case with the majority of voters.

            The problem is that there is no accountability for the false advertising that is political campaigning.

            • The problem is that there is no accountability for the false advertising that is political campaigning.

              Of course there is. It's called "votes in Congress". Pay better attention.

              • The problem is that there is no accountability for the false advertising that is political campaigning.

                Of course there is. It's called "votes in Congress". Pay better attention.

                Ineffective, to say the least.

                They get it, do what they want and using your solution worst case is they get voted out. So what. Damage already done and they don't have any actual penalty to pay for it.

                Try not to be obnoxious when you post. It does nothing useful.

        • Voting for someone does not mean that one supports their future actions.

          • Voting for someone does not mean that one supports their future actions.

            Nonetheless it means that there is some responsibility to be taken by those who voted for the actions of those that they voted into power.

            Unfortunately there is no accountability at any level and the system does not seem to be heading in a direction of improvement.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Had we not interject ourselves when the Russians were attacking Afghanistan, we wouldn't have the messy mixed up with Pakistan and the mujahideen which morphed into the Taliban, and the super powerful bin laden family

      So what's the complete counter-factual scenario? Without US-supplied MANPADs, the Soviets are able to successfully pacify Afghan resistance by 1983. The relatively short and successful conflict and limited application of resources prevents it from being a drag on the Soviet economy and reinfo

      • A rise in internal nationalism is what accelerated the breakup in first place - USSR was a bunch of completely different nations with different cultural and linguistic background in an artificial union -
        and Chernobyl cleanup was probably more expensive than the war in Afghanistan.
        It might have made the breakup more peaceful, resulting in less death and destruction.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        I don't think pacification *with/by force* is possible with a determined insurgency. You need to be lucky every time, they only need to be lucky once in a while. The involvement of the US just sped it up or, rather, made their attempted control or usurpation more difficult but they'd not have succeeded regardless. Look at Iraq for an example of what a determined insurgency group can accomplish against a well trained military. They need only be ready and willing to die for their cause.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Pacification is really a euphemism for killing anyone who opposes you when it boils down to it. That works, but you have to have the stomach for it.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            I suspect the Soviets had the stomach but those rascally insurgents can really put a damper on that. I'm not sure there's a way to eliminate them entirely once they get going. Even North Korea sometimes has (smaller) issues with dissidents. Imagine if they were armed and even moderately connected?

            *shrugs* I don't suppose we'll ever know, really. The closest I can think of, in modern times, would be Iraq vs. the US/Coalition. They did alright, actually. We never really did eliminate them but, as you said, we

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gtall ( 79522 )

      The Mujahideen were already the Taliban, all the U.S. did was hasten Russia's retreat. They've have left eventually anyhow. The Taliban then proceeded to abuse the pop. When Al Qaeda came along, they gratefully accepted them and used them as shock troops to empty out a hamlet so they could populate with their own Pashtun crazies.

      The Islamo-Fascists were already infiltrating Saddam's military. Left alone, they'd have taken Iraqi state with its armed forces intact. They had the support of the rest of the Mid-

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And exactly what direct benefit to the US did ANY of that have? If there was any it sure as shit doesn't match the price tag, in dollars and lives, of all the US involvement.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The Islamo-Fascists were already infiltrating Saddam's military. Left alone, they'd have taken Iraqi state with its armed forces intact.

        How do you know this? What is clear is that the former members of the Saddam's army have ascended the ranks in ISIS and are so trying to get their revenge to the American and other forces. Those Muslim children living here the "west" and elsewhere who are trying to get on the ISIS bandwagon have no idea what decapitated, disemboweled, mind-raping mess they are stepping into.

    • by Lakitu ( 136170 )

      Had we not 'leading from the back' in overthrowing the Qaddafi regime of Libya the number of foot soldiers for islamic terrorist network wouldn't be so numerous

      Really, you think that US planes refueling French and British planes on their way to Libya is the cause of Muslims loving Islam and thinking Islam is the solution to their problems?

      The rising tide Islamism has been occurring for 70 years at least, if not dating back to the Sauds and wahabbi ties gaining influnce. And you blame it on the US not bombing Libya? You don't think the Russians slaughtering Muslims in the Caucasus in the 90s and 2000s had anything to do with that? Or the Russians slaughtering Musli

  • Another source? Is this person(s) also in hiding in (of all places, Russia), or locked in a cell on their own for months at a time? I'd even settle for someone hiding out in a foreign embassy.

    As a brainwashed media consumer, I can't think of a leak being even vaguely true unless the whistleblower is being actively hounded by the US authorities.

  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday October 16, 2015 @07:12AM (#50742325)

    A Response to the âoeDrone Papersâ: AUMF Targeting is a Deliberate Process with Robust Political Accountability [lawfareblog.com]

    By Adam Klein Thursday, October 15, 2015, 5:40 PM

    The Interceptâ(TM)s âoeDrone Papersâ leaker âoebelieves the public has a right to know how the U.S. government decides to assassinate people.â Maybe soâ"or maybe public safety and the need for secrecy trump the publicâ(TM)s curiosity. Unfortunately, the leaker has unilaterally decided for all of us. One person with a thumb drive again trumps the democratic process.

    Tant pis; the âoeDrone Papersâ are out there (the name suggests a massive archive; in fact, there are only four documents, one of which is a shorter version of another). So what do they tell us about how the U.S. Government is targeting terrorist leaders in Somalia and Yemen for drone strikesâ"or, as The Intercept would have it, âoedecid[ing] how to assassinate peopleâ? Unsurprisingly, The Intercept is out to convict; its focus is on the âoeshortcomings and flawsâ of the program, as supposedly exemplified by its ingenuous account of the life and death of al Qaeda commander Bilal el-Berjawi.

    But the documents themselves are hardly as damning as the breathless tone of the reporting suggests. In fact, for those concerned about oversight and accountability in the targeting process for AUMF-based strikes, the documents should reassure rather than unsettle. The overall impression is of thorough, individualized review, at the highest levels of government, that meaningfully constrains those developing and carrying out these operations.

    The key documents, two DOD slide decks on âoeISR support to small footprint CT operationsâ in Somalia and Yemen (a full deck and an executive summary) include these details:

    - The âoeaverage approval timeâ for a proposed strike under the AUMF process was 79 days. Even excluding the single longest approval, presumably an unrepresentative outlier, the average was 58 days. The fastest approval was 27 days.

    - These approvals were preceded by lengthy periods of gathering and analyzing intelligence on the targetsâ"an average of six years.

    - Four out of 24 proposed concepts of operations covered by the study were disapproved under the AUMF review process.

    - Each proposed operation must be approved by a lengthy sequence of high-ranking officials, culminating in the President.

    - The process for approving strikes under the AUMF âoerequires significant intel/ISR to justify (and maintain) approvals.â âoeRelatively few, high-level terrorists meet criteria for targetingâ under this process. (Note that this isnâ(TM)t a press release touting the programâ(TM)s robust oversight; itâ(TM)s an internal DOD assessment, written from the perspective of operators for whom a laborious approval process is an obstacle rather than a virtue.)

    - These âoe[p]olitical constraintsâ make these operations âoechallengingâ and âoefundamentally different from what weâ(TM)ve experienced in Afghanistan and Iraq.â

    These slides do not suggest operators run amok, âoeassassinat[ing]â targets with little forethought or oversight. To the contrary, the âoeDrone Papersâ suggest that these operations go forward only after a deliberate, individualized process. They confirm that senior political decisionmakers, including the President, review and approve each individual operation. And they reveal that operators view this review process as a significant constraintâ"a constraint that distinguishes these operations from the (presumably more liberal) operating environments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    There may be other flaws in the program, as the accompanying articles urgeâ"unintended victims, truncated intelligence collecti

    • Notably absent from this response: Any discussion of why this 'thorough, individualized, review' process, complete with meaningful constraints, robust oversight, and other cool stuff; were classified to hell and back(Secret/No Foreign).

      While there is an obvious security interest in keeping who you are gunning for at the moment; and how you are tracking them, under wraps; why exactly is the decisionmaking process(which is apparently reassuring and lovely) itself a secret, apparently even to our various Freedom Buddies in cooperating countries?

      There are specifics that might need to be elided, or at least have their publication deferred; but why hide the decision process itself? Are scary terrorists going to use this to have their terror-lawyers come up with clever technicalities and beat the rap?
  • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @07:14AM (#50742329)

    Drones don't miss 90% of the time. Most of the time, the missile hits what the drone operator has targeted. The problem is how often the target has been misidentified.

    The real story here is the willingness of the military to take poor, inconclusive intelligence and use that to make decisions that kill people.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      The real story here is the willingness of the military to take poor, inconclusive intelligence and use that to make decisions that kill people.

      No that isn't a story at all. Militaries kill people and break things. Its what they do its why you have them. Militaries try and win wars, you don't win by be afraid to shoot anyone because its possible they are not the enemy.

      The story here is the the President and the American public are willing to fight undeclared wars for extended periods of time without clear objectives, and with out a strategy in place that offers clear support for those objectives, and in places where its not even clear who our fr

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        No that isn't a story at all. Militaries kill people and break things. Its what they do its why you have them. Militaries try and win wars, you don't win by be afraid to shoot anyone because its possible they are not the enemy.

        No, I agree with the original poster. The whole point of using smart weapons is that you deliver the force to the target you actually want to destroy. Such a high rate of incorrect targeting indicates you don't have the intelligence (in more ways than one maybe) to properly and effectively use smart weapons and yet choose to use them anyway.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @07:17AM (#50742339) Journal

    So the president who has been lambasted by congress for being soft on terrorists and has no backbone for attacking people who we hate has been found to have been picking people off a dozen at a time right under our noses.

    The question to ask, then, is whether the Republicans who are decrying Obamas lack of any action in the middle east are

    (1) Wrong, because they didn't know he was actually doing something (and, by the report, quite a lot)
      or
    (2) Liars, because they all had the security briefing - apparently every.fucking.week - that we were taking out hostile targets and decided to capitalize on the fact that the president couldn't defend himself from their political attacks without exposing the program

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's that drone strikes aren't enought for the hawks. They really want full on wars. Lots of troops, deployments, infrastructure, weapons, supplies, regional influence, etc. - all the stuff that makes them money.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      What do make of the President then. Who takes the political opportunity to vote against war and campaign against it but only expands it and even starts similar conflicts in places like Libya after taking office himself. Lets face it they are opportunists and liars. There are a few notable exceptions who have maintained convicted positions for long periods of time like Ron Paul, Zel Miller, Berny Sanders, and few others. The rest playing you.

    • It's just one of those ossified axioms of political discourse: democrats are 'soft' as an article of faith, so self-evident as to require no proof. Since this is not a matter of crass empiricism, it's irrelevant that Obama apparently flips through 'baseball cards', deciding who to have the CIA execute, about as casually as most people manage fantasy football teams.
  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @07:21AM (#50742355) Journal

    If you look at the fact that the USA/Obama Admin didn't care about how much they missed their target, and you look at the Doctors without Borders Hospital bombing. The USA knew, didn't care because they have been getting away with bombing the wrong targets for the last decade. Only problem now is the truth is coming out and it's looking bad for the Obama Admin.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Not the bombing the Hospital was in any way shape or form justifiable but DOB really bugs me. I don't think they should be allowed to do what they do. The simple fact is they DO give aide and comfort to the enemy when they operate in places like Afghanistan and continue operating in places that are not under the control of friendlies. American members of the that group should be treated like the criminals they are.

      • by flowerp ( 512865 )

        You don't understand the very concept of humanitarian aid at all.

      • You do realize that the rules regarding the status of medical staff are the ones that the US and major European players of the time hammered out, voluntarily, for themselves?

        The matter might be a bit dodgy if MSF 'mysteriously' concluded that the area of greatest humanitarian need was always in the logistics/support area of a given group of combatants; but that's far from what happened here:

        MSF opened the Kunduz facility in 2011; because medical aid is what they do and that area of Afghanistan had bas
      • You, sir or madam, are a complete fool and an ass.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        You utterly fail at understanding what it means to be a doctor.

        You should be shot on sight so the world has fewer idiots like yourself.

    • The USAF was not out to bomb that hospital. It was a horrible mistake. It deserves a detailed investigation, not instant judgment.

      Some of the questions to ask: What measures were in place to avoid bombing places like the hospital? How did they fail? What measures were in place for target selection? (The US said that there were reports of enemy fire from the building, which DWB claimed was false, but these statements do not necessarily contradict each other) How can these measures be improved to st

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Friday October 16, 2015 @07:32AM (#50742385)
    That sounds so cute. Much better than murder.
  • What does this have to do with your privacy? Why did he steal these documents?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1. This hasn't much to do with privacy, but about speaking truthfully.
      2. Snowden didn't leak these documents.

    • Hmmm... did Snowden release these? Why are you blaming him?

  • by Britz ( 170620 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @08:02AM (#50742503)

    The drone program is a killing machine that creates it's own targets by itself. One of the basic things you learn about government agencies and programs is that they can't be stopped or reduced. You can only slow down their growth. Fortunately, this isn't 100% true for the US, but generally, people like to keep their jobs and positions. And they will go to any length to do this. They will keep finding reasons why their work should continue to exist.

    Once you set something up, it is very, very difficult to tear it down.

    Why should the drone program be any different? Target lists are secret. As well as the reasons given for people being targeted. If you were to reduce the target list, you would need less drones, less people and less money. Is there any sane reason why this should ever happen when there is no oversight over target lists?

    Anything we have heard about the drone program confirms this. They are now down to shooting kids that made suspicious posts in online forums.

  • If it were Israel defending itself from indiscriminate rocket attacks from a hostile neighbor, it would matter. But it's just the US killing people in wars it has no business being involved in, on the other side of the world, so who gives a shit?

  • "Precision" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @08:28AM (#50742645)

    Perhaps most eye-opening is the disclosure that as much as 90% of attacks over a five-month period hit the wrong targets. According to The Intercept: "When the Obama administration has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground"

    We might have been targeting the wrong car, but we still took the car out! Successful mission!.

    At least when you have boots on the ground locals have an opportunity to interact with you and possibly set up a dialogue. Random bombings from the air by a robot is just going to piss people off. The only thing that can beat extremism is moderation, and you have a hard time finding moderates when you are blowing up weddings and funerals (bonus points for bombing the funeral of people you killed in an earlier bombing). This is the problem with increased automation in warfare: it removes the political pressure. Because honestly, people don't really care when people from "over there" get killed. But when they see the bodies of their own start piling up they start putting pressure on the government to end the fighting. War needs to have a human cost because that is the only way to have a political cost. Without that political cost it becomes way too attractive a tool.

    • War needs to have a human cost because that is the only way to have a political cost. Without that political cost it becomes way too attractive a tool.

      As an infantry soldier, I 100% back this assertion. But know that some organizations use the political cost itself as a tool. Just look as Gaza today: The Hamas declared a "day of rage" due to, of all things, many Muslims getting killed _while_they_were_stabbing_Jews_. What do you think will happen to their followers during this "day of rage" (today) who throw molotov cocktails and slingshot lead at Israeli soldiers? And then the Hamas back their cause with the claim that we used "disproportionate force".

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        As an infantry soldier, I 100% back this assertion. But know that some organizations use the political cost itself as a tool. Just look as Gaza today: The Hamas declared a "day of rage" due to, of all things, many Muslims getting killed _while_they_were_stabbing_Jews_. What do you think will happen to their followers during this "day of rage" (today) who throw molotov cocktails and slingshot lead at Israeli soldiers? And then the Hamas back their cause with the claim that we used "disproportionate force". War is messy. Avoid it at all costs. And when someone tells you to go get killed (throw molotov cocktails and stab people) for a cause, avoid them as well.

        In the case of Gaza, you also have 13 year old boys getting shot dead for throwing a rock at a truck, armed Jewish settlers burning down Palestinian houses with the families still inside (by the way, these Palestinians are not allowed to own guns but the settlers are armed to the teeth and they want to loosen gun restrictions even further, and the settlers have military training due to mandatory service), and tearing down of people's homes and sources of income when a member of their family commits a crime.

        • Re:"Precision" (Score:4, Interesting)

          by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Saturday October 17, 2015 @09:02AM (#50749175) Homepage
          Thank you for the well-informed response. You'll find that I agree with almost everything that you say!

          In the case of Gaza, you also have 13 year old boys getting shot dead for throwing a rock at a truck

          No, you don't. You have 13 year old boys throwing rocks at trucks, and you have 13 year old boys getting shot, but you do not have 13 year old boys (or anyone else) getting shot for throwing rocks at a truck. The times that I know of people getting shot for attacking a truck were when using slingshots (The Muslims call this "throwing" but it adds an order of magnitude more energy to the projectile than does a normal hand throw, in Hebrew as in English we have a distinct word for it), or when throwing from an altitude, such as from a cliff or building. In both cases there is real danger of harming the occupants of the vehicle. Of course, that is the intention. People who "just throw rocks at trucks" are usually welcome to throw rocks at trucks all day long. The rocks do some damage (mostly to the glass - armored glass is rather fragile) but that is no reason to go hurt somebody.

          armed Jewish settlers burning down Palestinian houses with the families still inside

          The incident that you are referring to was one of the most disgusting incidents of violence that I recall in recent time. A group of Jews entered a Muslim village and burned a house, killing a baby and I believe another family member died from wounds sustained in the fire late. As an Israeli, I am ashamed to have to say that my fellow countrymen would even think of burning someones house, someone they do not know even, because that "other person" belongs to "that group" of whatever. There is no excuse, this incident will stand out for decades as a black mark on our history, as it should.

          by the way, these Palestinians are not allowed to own guns but the settlers are armed to the teeth and they want to loosen gun restrictions even further, and the settlers have military training due to mandatory service

          You are correct that the Muslim citizens of the West Bank are not allowed to own guns, but the Jewish citizens are. Don't think for a minute that this means that they are unarmed, though. Many Muslim families have a firearm, usually an old Kalachnikov or Kalach copy that has only been fired at weddings, and ammunition is scarce. But the weapons do exist and there really isn't anything that we could do about it. Note that many Muslim citizens outside the West Bank do have firearms. That is part of their culture just like it is part of American culture to possess a firearm. A lot of them work in the fields, a lot of them work in security, and a lot of them have other reasons for owning a firearm. These are mostly hand pistols, though, not rifles. They have _too_much_ ammunition, at every wedding they fire without regard for when the bullet lands, though injuries are rare.

          and tearing down of people's homes and sources of income when a member of their family commits a crime.

          This is a terrific point of contention. Like you, I also feel that entire families should not be punished for what a single family member has done. I know for a fact that most terrorists are _not_ supported by their families and that their families condone the actions. That said, the threat of having the house torn down is demonstrably preventing attacks. I hate the practice, but I've come to accept it. Just as the family of the murdered victim suffers due to the loss of the family member, this practice threatens suffering on the family of the would-be attacker. I wish that other methods would work, really I do, but this is an effective method for _preventing_further_attacks_.

          the whole Israel/Palestine situation is effectively an occupation, whether right or wrong

          I know that the anti-Israel side likes to use the term occupation, but the situation is more complicated that an occupation such as that done

  • OK I RTFA and the cache of documents. They are hard to understand owing to the use of acronyms but the Guardian article helps a lot with that (ABP == Advanced Battlefield Placement) .

    I'm sorry, but it looks to me like the drone war is on track and performing as well as can be expected. Since the alternatives are doing nothing or risking boots on the ground in remote places with little local support and trying to leverage intelligence which by it's very nature is ephemeral (Person X is at location Y at time

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "No one tries harder than the US military to avoid taking innocent life"

      Bullshit. Vietnam is a perfect example to counteract your lies.

      • I agree that Kissinger and the prosecution of the Vietnam war was an abomination, even more so since the govt. had privately concluded we could not win it (this is what the Pentagon Papers contained) but that was forty years ago. Forty years is like two generations ago. Fifty five years ago they blew away JFK. That was the government then. Go back further, it gets even more brazen if not uglier still.

        But that is not what we are today anymore than Nazis are what Germans are today.

        Just because a thing is refe

    • Well there is the argument that we shouldn't be fighting a war there to begin with. The summary is very misleading though, and obviously with a negative bias.

      JSOC does seem to be more ethically rigorous about how it conducts drone strikes than the CIA. The CIA were the ones doing signature strikes after all, and double taps to catch first responders if memory serves.

  • and a liar and a murderer. What a travesty that the Nobel committee doesn't demand the peace prize back from this war monger.

  • From a practical standpoint the drone operations are counter-productive.
    They come off as cowardly
    (no risk of personal injury while killing others),
    while the attacks also kill many innocent people.
    (To quibble over numbers is insulting.)
    The drone attacks likely represent the greatest recruiting tool of the groups they mean to diminish.

    So why use them so much, and seemingly with so little regard for collateral damage?

    For the headlines:
    "Number [insert low number] enemy killed by US drone!"
    ...and

"Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth." -- Milton

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