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Author Topic: The morality of drone attacks  (Read 3965 times)

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Offline HemingwayTopic starter

The morality of drone attacks
« on: June 02, 2012, 03:53:09 PM »
I read an article in the newspaper today ( or was it yesterday? ), where someone suggested that my country's decision to spend something like $40 billion on fighter aircraft, instead of drones, was technologically backwards. This seemed to me like a poorly thought-out statement, though I couldn't quite say why. It did remind me of something I heard last week, which was Chris Hedges asking "what is the moral difference between a drone attack and an IED?"

Hedges, among others like Noam Chomsky, see no difference between the two. They've both stated, quite plainly, that drone attacks are terror, perpetrated by the US and its allies. I suppose being one of those allies is what made me react to the statement in the newspaper, knowing what such drones could be used for. I do find their arguments quite compelling, and the logic sound. The only compelling argument I can see against the comparison is that IEDs by definition are indiscriminate, while with a drone you can at least target combatants. That doesn't really quite hold up when you consider how frequently civilians are killed by drones as well, however ( accurate numbers are understandably difficult to come by, and major news organizations appear to have very little to say on the matter, but here's an article from The Guardian ).

That said, I'm not immune to counter-arguments, and I'd very much like to hear what other people have to say. I don't want to be wrong, after all.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 05:13:07 PM by Hemingway »

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2012, 04:17:07 PM »
Personally, I think there is a big difference between the two because of the intentions for their use.  IEDs target anything and everything, friend or foe, unless you are warned in advance of their placement.  They've killed and injured humanitarian personnel as well as members of military convoys.  They are used primarily by forces that work in opposition to the established government in their country.

Drones as employed by the US are monitors used for surveillance as well as taking out the enemy with selective targeting.  They aren't meant to be used to inflict terror on innocents or to ambush legitimate forces.


Offline Shjade

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2012, 05:11:21 PM »
I read an article in the newspaper today ( or was it yesterday? ), where someone suggested that my country's decision to spend something like $40 billion on fighter aircraft, instead of drones.

...um...someone suggested what about your country's decision to buy aircraft instead of drones?

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 05:12:07 PM »
Drones as employed by the US are monitors used for surveillance as well as taking out the enemy with selective targeting.  They aren't meant to be used to inflict terror on innocents or to ambush legitimate forces.

Yet that's precisely what they do. It seems like rather a technical distinction to say that one is intended to maim and kill innocents, while the other one only does it as a side effect.

In both cases, you're given no warning. In both cases, there's no risk to the user of the weapon. In both cases, innocents are killed - regardless of intent. Unfortunately, I can't find any good studies of the psychological effects of living under the threat of drone strikes, but imagine, if you will, if the roles were reversed: American and other western soldiers were being targeted by highly advanced weapons which they could not fight back against, which could strike at any time, killing anyone, civilians included. I simply can't imagine that intent would prevent that from being labeled terrorism.

...um...someone suggested what about your country's decision to buy aircraft instead of drones?

It's fixed.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 05:13:30 PM by Hemingway »

Offline Shjade

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2012, 05:21:19 PM »
Yet that's precisely what they do. It seems like rather a technical distinction to say that one is intended to maim and kill innocents, while the other one only does it as a side effect.

Arsenic and chemotherapy can both kill you. One is intended to do this. The other does it as a side effect.

They may both be poisons, but the reasons for their use do make them distinctly different.

Any violence is frightening. That doesn't make all violence terrorism.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 05:22:48 PM »
Droning is essentially about taking out any person (or structure, building, power line etc) that the owner of the drones deems to be bound up with terrorist purposes, or just finds it useful for other reasons (propaganda, inciting terror, creating spin etc) to get rid of. There is no transparency and no requirement to try to find out who or what the powers-that-be are really striking at. If the drone is aimed at, and strikes, a school and fifty innocent people perish, it's very unlikely that there would be any military inquiry into why the school was hit. Because somebody claimed that it was associated with a movement claimed to be a terrorist network? Because some terrorists were supposed to be hiding there? Or just to create fear and demoralize the locals? I don't see how any discussion would be happening over those questions, nor any military inquiry, unless vital facts are retrieved by the work of civilians on the spot and perhaps by strenuous, intelligent and honest reporters - and that breed does not have a huge backing among today's news media. Also, as any effort to recover the truth about a "dirty attack" of this kind would likely have to rely on the locals and perhaps on persons from an armed force having the allegiance of those local folks, and which force/army was the ultimate butt of the bombing campaign, the coverage would then be easy to pass off, for the instigator power (the US, in today's world) as "the lies of the enemy".

I can see why droning looks convenient and sometimes necessary to fight a stealthy and often non-uniformed enemy in a country that is poorly known or mapped, but it often does involve both violation of the territorial rights of countries whose governments one is not fighting, and real gross disregard for human life - just dropping bombs and missiles at whatever you think is the right goal. And by extension, it carries considerable risks of

*leading to war crimes and rogue killings
* giving an excuse for retaliation by the other side (propaganda value to your enemy)
*destabilizing an ally by doing much more on their soil and in their airspace than one really had a deal to do. (example: Pakistan)
*demoralizing one's own armed forces, and even more, the home front, if rogue attacks and cover-up become known (as during the Vietnam war, with the abusive warfare, gang rapes, fire bombings and killings back then).

It's a very troublesome tactic and if it continues, other major powers (Russia, China, india, perhaps even Iran) will soon be trying their hands at their own drone systems - and using the same kind of excuses as the U.S. is bandying about now.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 05:37:45 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 05:30:07 PM »
Arsenic and chemotherapy can both kill you. One is intended to do this. The other does it as a side effect.

They may both be poisons, but the reasons for their use do make them distinctly different.

Any violence is frightening. That doesn't make all violence terrorism.

Where did you get the idea that chemotherapy kills you as a side effect?

That bit of light-heartedness out of the way, that is a very bad analogy for a variety of reasons. First of all, you're comparing two very obviously different things. You're comparing cancer treatment and poison, with two different weapons or tactics of war. There's no parallell there. Unless you're suggesting that the people being targeted by drone strikes actually consent to it, and so it's really a treatment. Which would be wrong on so many levels.

Now, your second point touches upon the problem inherent in the term "terrorism", which is that it's applied very generally and lacks a clearly delimited definition. It's generally defined as something like "using fear to accomplish military or political aims", which could be applied to just about anything. Which I suppose is the long way of saying that if drone strikes, by that definition, are not acts of terrorism - to what extent are using IEDs terrorism?

Offline Florence

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2012, 05:58:37 PM »
I don't get the big moral issue. Does it matter if someone is killed by a drone or a man? I think they should be used with more precision and not set loose in areas filled with innocents, but to say that using drones in general is immoral seems a bit extreme to me.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2012, 06:16:08 PM »
It's not the drones that are the problem.. it's two other things.

The lack of Humint.. or Human Intellience ie.. eyes on the ground guiding stuff in (what sources we had in the area strangely dried up about ..oh six months after Julian Assange's leaks of the diplomatic cables.. but he insists it's pure coincendenc) and let's be honest.. we've not had good humint in the region since the Russian's called it quits and left.. oh yeah.. we didn't follow through with our promises to help.

Two. Rules of Engagement. The ROE or Rules of Engagement look to be very.. fluid if the article is remotely consistent. 100 plus strikeS? That's a lot of stuff to clarify and assess.

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2012, 06:38:07 PM »
The issue is not that civilians are being killed, that's simply to illustrate that, like IEDs, they are essentially indiscriminate weapons. As are all weapons, I suppose, but I think we can agree that there's more potential for collateral damage with a drone strike than with rifles. That's really neither here nor there. The points you brought up could be applied to roadside bombs just as easily.

The point, as I laid it out in my earlier post, is that IEDs and drone strikes are similar in more ways than not, and that if one can be labeled a weapon of terror, then so can the other. That is to say that if an IED attack that kills only soldiers can be called a "cowardly" attack ( as it has ), then so can a drone strike. And if one can be called terrorism, then so can the other.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2012, 06:42:46 PM »
It's not the drones that are the problem.. it's two other things.

The lack of Humint.. or Human Intellience ie.. eyes on the ground guiding stuff in (what sources we had in the area strangely dried up about ..oh six months after Julian Assange's leaks of the diplomatic cables.. but he insists it's pure coincendenc) and let's be honest.. we've not had good humint in the region since the Russian's called it quits and left.. oh yeah.. we didn't follow through with our promises to help.

Two. Rules of Engagement. The ROE or Rules of Engagement look to be very.. fluid if the article is remotely consistent. 100 plus strikeS? That's a lot of stuff to clarify and assess.

Agree with almost every word here, except the first sentence - of course the lack of reliable indigenous networks on the ground is one of the key reasons why the US feels compelled to use drones and drone strikes: you can't get the kind of watertight information you'd need from people on the ground, and get it on a running basis. But the lack of info also makes the hits, and the choice of targets, that much more haphazard. Or just prone to mislabelling a target for easy convenience, to make it appear like something legit: "terrorist hideout" instead of a rural market or seasonal grazing farmhouse, a paramilitary convoy instead of a tribal caravan. Sen from the air, the difference could be minimal, and in any case you don't get the locals to state their point of view about who is affiliated to "the terrorists".

Almost nothing in a modern war has such a power to shock the ordinary folks watching what's going on (and supporting either side) as innocents being killed or wasted for no valid reason. The massacres in Syria over the last months, and in this week, gave fresh proof of this. So if it turns out, against the word of the military and the executive VIPs, that innocent men, women and children are being blown up just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or know the wrong people, the reaction is going to be very angry and outraged. In Syria it looks practically certain the massacres have been made on the orders of Assad and his buddies, though not by his regular army. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, we only have the word of the military to vouch for that the people being killed are real enemies. Most often, we just have the silence of the armed forces, and a vague promise that "if nothing is said in detail, then it means the drone offensive is going according to plan, and it's just fine". To many people, me included, that's not enough.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 06:45:42 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2012, 07:12:10 PM »
Agree with almost every word here, except the first sentence - of course the lack of reliable indigenous networks on the ground is one of the key reasons why the US feels compelled to use drones and drone strikes: you can't get the kind of watertight information you'd need from people on the ground, and get it on a running basis. But the lack of info also makes the hits, and the choice of targets, that much more haphazard. Or just prone to mislabelling a target for easy convenience, to make it appear like something legit: "terrorist hideout" instead of a rural market or seasonal grazing farmhouse, a paramilitary convoy instead of a tribal caravan. Sen from the air, the difference could be minimal, and in any case you don't get the locals to state their point of view about who is affiliated to "the terrorists".

Almost nothing in a modern war has such a power to shock the ordinary folks watching what's going on (and supporting either side) as innocents being killed or wasted for no valid reason. The massacres in Syria over the last months, and in this week, gave fresh proof of this. So if it turns out, against the word of the military and the executive VIPs, that innocent men, women and children are being blown up just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or know the wrong people, the reaction is going to be very angry and outraged. In Syria it looks practically certain the massacres have been made on the orders of Assad and his buddies, though not by his regular army. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, we only have the word of the military to vouch for that the people being killed are real enemies. Most often, we just have the silence of the armed forces, and a vague promise that "if nothing is said in detail, then it means the drone offensive is going according to plan, and it's just fine". To many people, me included, that's not enough.

You need assets in place to observe and designate. We have ROEs that require Air Force/Navy aircraft to SEE their targets (Due to tragedies such as shooting down an Airliner in the Gulf) despite having missiles with an Over the Horizon capacity.

You have aircraft listening on ALL manner of frequencies (I know.. I worked on them) .. but to do the job proper.. you need a forward observer. IE. a person on the ground making the call. It's been done, by the gentlemen of Specwar units of the Navy/Army/Marines/Air Force have done it in Afganistan and places elsewhere.

We've been myoptic and short sighted too long about human assetts since the 'tech curve' started up, a school of thought sponsored by such idiots as Donald Rumsfeld.

A marine Major pointed it out bluntly. It takes feet on the ground to hold a piece of land, and a Army Sergeant Major agreed with him. It's is been the philosophy of the civilian intelligence agencies (Typically by the stuffed suits that run them) that technical intelligence from phone taps, radio eavesdropping, and spy satellites.

It was due in part to that short fall, that we had the total intelligence failure of 9/11. Oh there were many other issues but the fact that it costs MONEY to cultivate a spy in rival organizations,. That and the consistent prgrogression of failure to protect what human assets we have.

For example, the outing of No-Offical Cover (NOC) Agent Valerie Plame by the White House. We're not just talking about the revelation of Valerie's own identity but the fact that within hours of her outing in that leak, you can bet that people she spent years building trust with were subjected to a 'eventful life'. One measured in days at most if not simply one that ended with a bullet behind the ear.

The leak by Julian Assange, despite his claims to the contrary, most likely led to simlar deaths. Even if it didn't (which I doubt) I showed we couldn't be trusted to keep these things private and discrete.

As for 'terrorist hideouts', you know where a friend of mine found one when we live in Ireland? A pub. Another was a chips shop. Terrorists know better than to hide in the 'lonely farm house out in the middle 'o nowhere' when they can hide in public.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2012, 07:33:13 PM »
You need assets in place to observe and designate. We have ROEs that require Air Force/Navy aircraft to SEE their targets (Due to tragedies such as shooting down an Airliner in the Gulf) despite having missiles with an Over the Horizon capacity.

You have aircraft listening on ALL manner of frequencies (I know.. I worked on them) .. but to do the job proper.. you need a forward observer. IE. a person on the ground making the call. It's been done, by the gentlemen of Specwar units of the Navy/Army/Marines/Air Force have done it in Afganistan and places elsewhere.

Agree, but I wanted to have it in print here that I think Hemingway is right in saying that drones are a special, hard problem in themselves, even before there are definite, proven cases of innocent civilians getting hit and killed. That's why I singled out your first sentence - not because I would be thinking it was some hugely offensive bit as such.

And you can bet innocents have been hit, just like they were hit by the "smart bombs" in Iraq.
 

Quote
As for 'terrorist hideouts', you know where a friend of mine found one when we live in Ireland? A pub. Another was a chips shop. Terrorists know better than to hide in the 'lonely farm house out in the middle 'o nowhere' when they can hide in public.

My point was just that: the choice of what place to drop a missile on, when you have to go on robot plane camera intelligence (how reliable is a stream of air photos taken in a country like Afghanistan?), maybe coupled with some rumours from other competing factions on the paramilitary scene, that choice IS going to be, let's say, arbitrary. Tactically, ethically and in terms of if it's the "right spot". In many cases it's going to be, just as if your buddies had dropped a bomb on the Irish pub. Of course they would never have done that in the Irish case: the price, in terms of credibility and lives lost, would have been much too high. And in a European city, there would have been too many (English-speaking!) witnesses and reporters for the army to be able to gain control of the story once it had led to a massacre. In Afghanistan, Iraq and in many other places in the Middle East, journalistic access is very restricted and most of the media report what they are shown and explained by NATO armed forces.

There are no pubs in Helmand, for obvious reasons. But any house or structure that looks kinda plausible from the air could be touted as a terrorist hideout if you wished to.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 07:45:17 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2012, 09:19:36 PM »
Which comes back to the two issues I said earlier.

Better intelligence and more stringent ROEs.. I'll add another. Someone other than the DAMN CIA needs to be making the warshots, I'm willing to bet that would increase accountability a LOT.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2012, 09:46:06 PM »
Which comes back to the two issues I said earlier.

Better intelligence and more stringent ROEs.. I'll add another. Someone other than the DAMN CIA needs to be making the warshots, I'm willing to bet that would increase accountability a LOT.

Absolutely - and let's not make this a hen-or-egg issue, please? I mean, the difficulties of intelligence are a big factor - but the lack of realtime, spoken, on-the-ground intelligence is also part of the reason why drone strikes are being used. No one in the CIA would want to use drones if they were trying to track down an outfit that operated only in Britain and France. they would know it was the wrong way to enter the problems of tracking people down in those countries.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2012, 10:05:45 PM »
Absolutely - and let's not make this a hen-or-egg issue, please? I mean, the difficulties of intelligence are a big factor - but the lack of realtime, spoken, on-the-ground intelligence is also part of the reason why drone strikes are being used. No one in the CIA would want to use drones if they were trying to track down an outfit that operated only in Britain and France. they would know it was the wrong way to enter the problems of tracking people down in those countries.

Truth be told.. I'm more ill at ease with the CIA doing it than the military.

Offline Shjade

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2012, 05:51:29 PM »
As are all weapons, I suppose

This was my point, whether you liked the analogy or not. Weapons are weapons; it's what you're doing with them that matters. Neither IEDs or drone strikes are inherently tools of terrorism. Goals and results determine that.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2012, 06:20:02 PM »
This was my point, whether you liked the analogy or not. Weapons are weapons; it's what you're doing with them that matters. Neither IEDs or drone strikes are inherently tools of terrorism. Goals and results determine that.

And point of view. One man's 'defense of the homeland' is another man's act of terror.  That is the slippery slope we're on. Remember not everyone in Afghanistan is the Taliban.. in fact they've been oppressed by the Taliban longer than we were threatened by them

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2012, 06:26:19 PM »
This was my point, whether you liked the analogy or not. Weapons are weapons; it's what you're doing with them that matters. Neither IEDs or drone strikes are inherently tools of terrorism. Goals and results determine that.

There's very obviously nothing inherently "terrorist" about either of them. Just as there's nothing inherently terrorist about flying a plane into a building; it could be for the filming of a movie, or an accident. If you ignore the context and content, then, of course. But a defense like that could be used to justify anything from nuclear weapons to ethnic cleansing.

But, like I've said, that's completely ignoring the context. It doesn't really have anything to do with reality. The reality being that drone strikes are being used in such a way that there's no discernible difference between them, and roadside bombs. And the reality is that when a bomb goes off and kills half a dozen soldiers, it's condemned as a cowardly attack, yet when a drone strike kills the same number of "assumed insurgents" ( a line I actually read in the newspaper today ), that's great news, business as usual. The basic contention is that if such a thing as an IED can be called a cowardly terrorist weapon, then so can a drone strike.

And, so we're clear, if terrorism means anything like:

violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for a religious, political or, ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians)

Then I think they both can be called terrorism.

And point of view. One man's 'defense of the homeland' is another man's act of terror.  That is the slippery slope we're on. Remember not everyone in Afghanistan is the Taliban.. in fact they've been oppressed by the Taliban longer than we were threatened by them

You're entirely right in pointing out that what is and is not terrorism depends on your point of view. That's hardly a justification, though, I'm sure you'll agree. And, again, the problem is the hypocrisy and doublethink of waging a "war on terror", with means that, had the roles been reversed, would've been labeled as terrorist.

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Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2012, 01:17:31 AM »
Quote from: Hemingway
Where did you get the idea that chemotherapy kills you as a side effect?
     "Side effects" for something as drastic as chemotherapy, can be very extensive.  I have a friend who underwent chemo for 9 months.  He started in relatively good overall condition (among cancer patients), yet he frequently remarked that the chemo itself had extremely debilitating effects, which would require further recovery/ caution time after the whole process.  He would often say things like, "which is killing me faster, the cancer or the chemo..."  When you combine the effects of chemo and the existing problems of cancer, it seems there is something of a gamble whether the chemo ultimately "works," or effectively exacerbates the problem.  It may be true that damage or death without chemo was most likely, but it's also true that chemo itself can open a person up to other risks, and possibly to life-threatening situations.

Here is a list of side effects of chemo.  In particular, see the paragraph near the end on "Long-term side effects."

   // point of evidence digression over.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2012, 01:45:50 AM »

You're entirely right in pointing out that what is and is not terrorism depends on your point of view. That's hardly a justification, though, I'm sure you'll agree. And, again, the problem is the hypocrisy and doublethink of waging a "war on terror", with means that, had the roles been reversed, would've been labeled as terrorist.

You know what my first clear memory of an act of Terrorism was?

January, 1979. I got up after sleeping something like 20 hours after flying into Ireland. I got up in time for the news. My first exposure to the press style of the folks at RTE. I saw a burning car, blown up by a radical  group.

The crime? A man, protestant, married a catholic.

They were newly married and expecting a child.

Terrorism is the use of violence to invoke fear and push your outlook on a person.

Drone strkes aren't in and of themselves terror, IEDs aren't either. (We used similar methods during WWII). It's the intent behind it.

Radicals know they will never have control except by violence, so they make others fear them.

Offline vtboy

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2012, 04:49:29 PM »
With respect to noncombatant deaths, the distinctions among drones, piloted warplanes and IEDs are elusive. No matter the degree of care exercised in their use, from time to time all inflict casualties on noncombatants. So, too, do ground troops. And, sometimes, of course, no care to avoid civilian deaths is exercised at all.

"Terrorism," like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder, and may even be an unalienable aspect of modern warfare. Perhaps this is as it should be, since the waging of war is frequently an endeavour in which entire populations participate, or at least one which is tolerated by entire populations. Grant and Sherman understood how ephemeral the difference between civilian and military activity can be. I am by no means certain that meaningful distinction can be made between civilians who vote in war regimes, crank out weapons in their factories, and raise food for armies and the front line soldiers who fire the weapons and carry out the their government's orders. This would seem to hold especially true for those nations which conscript their young or otherwise coerce their military enlistment through social pressures. 

Few doubt the application of the "terror" label to the World War II bombings of Shanghai, Guernica, and London, but many bridle at its use to describe the more complete and effective carnage at places like Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These killings were indiscriminate and, to whatever extent the cities may have encompassed military targets, the primary purpose of the bombings was not to cripple military capacity so much as it was to inflict such horror on the enemy population that its will to go on fighting -- or supporting the fighting -- would be broken.

That sounds a lot like terrorism to me. But, unless and until war is eliminated, I think there is little that can, and perhaps little that should, be done about it. Perhaps the only inoculation possible against the horrors of war is to make sure everyone understands he will receive his portion. 

Offline patrickstarfish

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2012, 09:46:48 PM »
im  skeptical   of  how  moral   a  machine  piloted  by a    man/woman   viewing others from   screens  etc and    decide without  due  process or  proper   constitutional  law    to   find evidence  to  convict  or target  individuals  is even ethical argument    conversation.  More importantly  this seems   highly dehumanizing   in general  of a  spin on the subject.  I  can not  in good  morality  say    someone who i never met  nor  know  motivations of   is   or  should be subject  to  someone   else  from a completely  different culture  to  be  judged as terrorist. This  of  course seems to be a sad trend in america the enemy  is bad  and that  is that  think  beyond terms of enemy ally. Think common  man in  afghanistan trying to feed his  kid then boom he is dead  now   a  family  that was once  2  parents is now one leaving broken families  in  distraught   saddness. Bin  laden    knew this   an that's why the war on terror is  a  lost war   by the west  we  are occupying  countries  killing  innocents  an  al  quida  goes an recruits  bitter  victims  of  drone attacks  to  fight  for them  morality  of  drone  attacks aside  as  long as the  argument  is  ethics  or  morality  of(set   military tactic) instead  of    what  is the end  goal  or  is  this  really  a   just war  is  not the debate inevitably  the real issue will never  be dealt with.

Offline Shjade

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2012, 03:17:19 AM »
There's very obviously nothing inherently "terrorist" about either of them. Just as there's nothing inherently terrorist about flying a plane into a building; it could be for the filming of a movie, or an accident. If you ignore the context and content, then, of course. But a defense like that could be used to justify anything from nuclear weapons to ethnic cleansing.

But, like I've said, that's completely ignoring the context.

It's at a point like this that a number of people might point out that completely ignoring context (in this case, deciding to interpret my even-handed approach to labeling both drone attacks and usage of IEDs as being "equal" with regard to potential terrorism as "a defense" - what it's meant to be defending, I have no idea) to accuse someone else of completely ignoring context is ironic.

It's actually hypocrisy.

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2012, 08:51:26 AM »
It's at a point like this that a number of people might point out that completely ignoring context (in this case, deciding to interpret my even-handed approach to labeling both drone attacks and usage of IEDs as being "equal" with regard to potential terrorism as "a defense" - what it's meant to be defending, I have no idea) to accuse someone else of completely ignoring context is ironic.

It's actually hypocrisy.

I've read and re-read this post and your previous one, the one I responded to, and I can't for the life of me figure out how there's anything ironic or even remotely hypocritical about what I said. The only thing I could possibly think of to change is to suggest that there actually is something "inherently terrorist" about a drone strike.

The reason I responded to what you wrote is that it's saying, or at least seems to be saying, that these things are not inherently tools of terrorism because they can be used ( or not used ) in ways that wouldn't necessarily count as terrorism. The problem is that the context of this whole thread is drone strikes ( and IEDs used ) against people. That's why it says "drone attacks" and not "drones". If I'm still missing something, do let me know.

Drone strkes aren't in and of themselves terror, IEDs aren't either. (We used similar methods during WWII). It's the intent behind it.

Radicals know they will never have control except by violence, so they make others fear them.

I meant to reply to this earlier, but here we go.

I'm not sure I agree that intent matters. I know that terrorism is generally defined as being something like the deliberate use of fear, but I think we can agree that whether you intend to cause fear as a primary goal, or it's just an unintended ( I won't get into whether it's an unintended or intended side effect her, but I'll mention that I think there's reason to wonder about that, too ) side-effect, the result is the same.

Now, perhaps I ought to clarify here, though I believe I've at least mentioned this before, that the reason I care is that anything that's labeled as "terrorist" is seen as morally repulsive. My contention here would be that the actual act is more important than the label we apply to it, and that two more or less identical acts, one of which is carried out primarily to spread terror and the other doing so only as a side-effect, are morally repulsive in equal measure.

« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 09:02:53 AM by Hemingway »