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Author Topic: The morality of drone attacks  (Read 3957 times)

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Online TheGlyphstone

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #50 on: July 10, 2012, 09:28:40 PM »
You also have to keep in mind that we won. By the technological and logistical standard of the day, the colonial rebels were terrorists, as unpleasant as that might be. If we had lost the American Revolution and persisted as English colonies (I doubt we would have survived to this day as British territory, but a lot longer than we did), the Founding Fathers and their like would very likely be reviled in history books as vicious, murderous terrorists no better than the modern-day (de)evolution.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #51 on: July 10, 2012, 10:32:38 PM »
What noble cause are these Islamists fighting for?  The right to have nine year old brides?  The right to keep women as chattel?  The right to mutilate and kill people for bullshit religious reasons?

You know.. you really don't know these people. Have you talked to a muslim? Have you listened to an Arab, Persian, Yemani, Pakistani talk about their homes and family? Yes, there are some of these things you speak of.. just like you got people here in the US who won't let their daughters go out unescorted, cut their hair, wear makeup and refuse to let them wear anything but fully covering dresses and talk to 'unfaithful folk' (their words..not mine. I went to school with them).

Cultural and Religious intolerance are alive and well here in the US. Don't assume that we hold the high ground. Let's do a quick tally. Who trained Bin Laden and his nut jobs. We did. Who let the Shah of Iran and Saddam kill their political rivals by the truckload. We did. Hell we supplied Saddam with the reagents for his gas warfare program.

Consider this.. when you look at some of the BIGGEST atrocities done in that area.. who supported the regimes doing them? Oh that's right.. WE DID.  We supported killers, psychotics, and people who were perfectly wiling to do things out of Hitler's playbook. Because they were there to make sure the Russians didn't win or were willing to back our companies over the competition.

Look at it from the point of view of the folks that we so quaintly classify as 'collateral damage'. Your neighbor might be a member of the people who are up in arms (they might be just fighting.. or muscling down your village). Along comes an air strike and hammers the building flat, taking out a block or so. Maybe killing members of your family or just destroying your livelihood and home.

One side, the folks who bomb you, never follow up or do anything. To them, you don't exist.

The other side comes up and says 'sorry about your losses, here is something to help you out.' Maybe in the past they put a boot to your neck and threatened you but now they are there in moment of need.

Sorry, but I'm not seeing any moral equivalency between these cretins and the people who founded America.  And I'm not nominating the Founders of America for sainthood.  They had their foibles, to be sure.  But considering they lived in the 18th century, I think at least to a limited extent they ought to be graded on a curve.  It's one thing to grow up in an era where people didn't know any better.  Quite another to deliberately and wantonly cling to violent atavism in modern times.

Consider this before you put ALL folks in that side of the world as rabid frothing at the brain islamists. The people of Pakistan had a FEMALE president. She was a moderate. She's dead now, odds are killed either by those men you think represent everyone over there. (Or perhaps one of the people WE are supporting). I don't see a female president (or vice president) over here.

And some of those cretins, the ones I talked to.. listened to or worked with.. speak five or more languages, have the equivalent of two degrees and literally worked their way up from the stone age to the modern age. The folks of the Middle East might be a bunch of rabid nutjobs to you, but I'll let you know most of them simply want the same things we want. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A lot of the regimes out there are heavy handed and use our support to stomp on their rivals. Consider this, if you are working off the intel provided by 'allies' in the field, might be using us to help their version of the Hatfields looking to take out the McCoys in the next valley.

Without physical assets in the field, and follow up efforts our efforts with the drones are doing as much harm as good. You can feel free to sneer at their culture and highlight the bad without considering the good but you only perpetuate the stereotypes that prevent us from winning hearts and minds in the region. Smart bombs, drones, and air strikes from carriers don't win ground.

I've had my say.. I've tried to show what I thought was the fault of our policies. Without better reporting, rules of engagement, physical involvement and attempting to defuse the issues that the enemy uses in the region we will never win this fight. And right now we let FEAR guide our hands rather than thought. America's policies in the area are ruled by fear, our leaders use the threat of a war unlike any we've ever fought to do things that we'd have never considered before 9/11.

I served my country. I've seen the people the media and fear mongers say we should fear.. and I say this. We are doing this wrong and we will LOSE more if we continue to fight this way.

I'm done..clearly reasoned discussion has no place in further discussion and the refusual to see the people in the Middle East as anything but primative savages won't allow the consideration that we can work things differently.

So, before I start doing more than screaming at the screen and taking a long walk before posting.. I cede this thread to those who have already made up their minds about those we face.

Offline Elias

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #52 on: July 10, 2012, 11:39:53 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.

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.

It's fixed.

I don't understand anything you're trying to argue here. I mean why are fighter jets any different from drones, the aiming systems are the same, someone is behind a drone they are just safer, away from any form of danger, do you think fighter jets don't maim and kill innocents? That's what war is. I would also like to point out that IEDs, mines these things have already taken more lives than anything the drones have or ever will.

They exist for the sole purpose of spreading terror. If Drones spread terror its no more than a normal fighter jet, or a well trained American soldier with a machine gun. They are making war LESS horrifying not more. Whether thats good or bad is an entirely different conversation.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 12:26:55 AM by Elias »

Offline Shjade

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #53 on: July 11, 2012, 12:16:12 AM »
What noble cause are these Islamists fighting for?  The right to have nine year old brides?  The right to keep women as chattel?  The right to mutilate and kill people for bullshit religious reasons?

Sorry, but I'm not seeing any moral equivalency between these cretins and the people who founded America.  And I'm not nominating the Founders of America for sainthood.  They had their foibles, to be sure.  But considering they lived in the 18th century, I think at least to a limited extent they ought to be graded on a curve.  It's one thing to grow up in an era where people didn't know any better.  Quite another to deliberately and wantonly cling to violent atavism in modern times.

Man, that doesn't sound like a colonialist attitude at all. I'm glad we've all modernized beyond the point of thinking we're better than other people simply because they have different cultural values from ourselves and no longer feel we have the obligation, much less the right, to go around "civilizing" other groups until their values resemble our own to our satisfaction.

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #54 on: July 11, 2012, 06:34:40 AM »
I don't understand anything you're trying to argue here. I mean why are fighter jets any different from drones, the aiming systems are the same, someone is behind a drone they are just safer, away from any form of danger, do you think fighter jets don't maim and kill innocents? That's what war is. I would also like to point out that IEDs, mines these things have already taken more lives than anything the drones have or ever will.

They exist for the sole purpose of spreading terror. If Drones spread terror its no more than a normal fighter jet, or a well trained American soldier with a machine gun. They are making war LESS horrifying not more. Whether thats good or bad is an entirely different conversation.

The main difference is that a drone is virtually invisible, flies at a considerably higher altitude than other aircraft, and makes virtually no sound.  The difference between a drone and some attack aircraft is about the same as the difference between a roadside bomb and a man throwing hand grenades. Give or take.

I'm sure drones are making war less horrifying for one side of the conflict, anyway. The other, not so much. And not for the civilians caught in between, either.


Offline Elias

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #55 on: July 11, 2012, 09:24:13 AM »
Civilians have been caught in the crossfire since the beginning of time, the idea of worrying about the civilians is an incredibly recent phenomena, Vietnam was the first time it became the basis for controlling the policies that went along with conflict. Drones are designed in part to keep people safe and the American military does everything in its power to avoid the loss of civilians in the conflicts they enter. Do people still die yes. But most of that has to be blamed on the other side, because they remain monstrous in their tactics. When the government messes up they make public apologies deal with riots and their own people demand more from them. This is the best you could ask for.

I dont understand why so many of you think war is supposed to be civilized.

 

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #56 on: July 11, 2012, 11:35:21 AM »
I dont understand why so many of you think war is supposed to be civilized.

I don't understand why you say that so casually.

I think I spelled out my point quite clearly earlier, but for the sake of clarity, I'll do so again. What I want to draw attention to is, and has always been, the hypocrisy of waging a war "on terror", when the tools used to fight that war are no more and no less civilized than the tools its supposedly a war against. That war as a whole is horrible and that it ought to be our aim to be rid of it for good is certainly my opinion, but that's a topic for another debate.

Offline Elias

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #57 on: July 11, 2012, 12:06:16 PM »
I don't understand why you say that so casually.

I think I spelled out my point quite clearly earlier, but for the sake of clarity, I'll do so again. What I want to draw attention to is, and has always been, the hypocrisy of waging a war "on terror", when the tools used to fight that war are no more and no less civilized than the tools its supposedly a war against. That war as a whole is horrible and that it ought to be our aim to be rid of it for good is certainly my opinion, but that's a topic for another debate.

My point was just as clear. Drones minimize the terror of war, the tools of REAL terrorists maximize it. I think your dislike for the war itself has more of an effect on your arguments than even you may realize. A couple of jets dropping cluster bombs seems more terrifying than anything a drone does.

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #58 on: July 11, 2012, 12:39:16 PM »
My point was just as clear. Drones minimize the terror of war, the tools of REAL terrorists maximize it. I think your dislike for the war itself has more of an effect on your arguments than even you may realize. A couple of jets dropping cluster bombs seems more terrifying than anything a drone does.

Yes, I suspect my dislike of war has a great deal of influence on how I view violence.

Again, I don't think drones minimize the terror of war. Rather, what I think they do is dehumanize war. To us it seems less terrible because we don't hear about intense fighting on the ground and soldiers dying. We rarely hear about the people killed in drone attacks, though, because getting the information and getting accurate numbers is difficult, even impossible.

As to whether bombing is more terrifying than drone attacks, I'm not so sure. The thing about drone attacks that makes it similar to a roadside bomb is the uncertainty, the lack of warning, and the impossibility of fighting back. Nevermind how realistic fighting back would be. And anyway that's irrelevant, because the same could be said about a bomber compared with an IED. Most of this I've already said in previous posts.

Offline Shjade

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #59 on: July 11, 2012, 12:57:36 PM »
Again, I don't think drones minimize the terror of war. Rather, what I think they do is dehumanize war.

Technically dehumanizing war would be reducing its terror, given that removing the human element means you're removing the element that can experience terror.

Problem is, only one side is experiencing the effect.

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2012, 12:58:55 PM »
Technically dehumanizing war would be reducing its terror, given that removing the human element means you're removing the element that can experience terror.

Problem is, only one side is experiencing the effect.

Something like that. I suppose what I mean by dehumanizing it is that it's not removing the essential brutality and horror of it, simply shielding us from it.

Offline Apple of Eris

Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #61 on: July 11, 2012, 03:05:11 PM »
One side uses IEDs, the other side uses Smart Bombs, Cluster Munitions, and 'Land Mines' (all of which are ED's, just they're not 'improvized').

I highly doubt that to the survivor of a missile strike on his convoy, the knowledge that the strike came from an drone is any more or less terrifying than a strike from an IED.

Either way you're fighting violence and terror with violence and terror, that just is not a winning strategy. It may seem satisfying to the bloodthirsty folks who want revenge, and I'm not saying perpetrators of violence shouldn't be brought to justice, but to say that well this guy is evil cuz he made a bomb out of a clock and some old socks and it killed six soldiers and a few old women is somehow worse than the guy who is flying the drone that blows up six 'militants' and a few old women is to me, a load of horse stuff.

Offline Psi

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Re: The morality of drone attacks
« Reply #62 on: July 12, 2012, 06:22:14 AM »
I look at it this way..

IED's - are equivalent to Land Mines..    They are not targeted, are triggered by anything that meets x criteria and are a risk to both sides - unless they are avoided by prior knowledge.

Drones - while still ED, are targeted, and there should be controls over when they can be utilised, there is still someone in control.   Is it any different to a fighter plane launching a missile on laser control?   There is still a human in the loop over whether the device is triggered or not, and it can be aborted.

Arguments like this have been debated over time..  Think about the introduction of archery to warfare, where previously the combatants had to close to within arms reach.   Or the introduction of crossbows or firearms..   The scope of war must change, and while I would wish we didnt need it, I would rather the side I belong to, to have the most modern weapons possible.   The longer our own troops can last, the more efficient they are, the more we are protected by them when they are defending our countries