Culture Of The Death Drones And Memories Of bin Laden’s Murder

Collateral Damage

When Osama bin Laden was killed at his compound in Pakistan many rejoiced at his death. My view was contrary as I wrote in what I believe was my most unpopular post in my time at TMV. In that piece I accused the Obama administration of having murdered bin Laden. The piece also predicted that the dark philosophy of murder-as-problem-solving would be advanced beyond that singular incident. The sentence that haunts me most is this:

“And, having held out murder as a cause to celebrate, other murders will be justified as we spiral down into false glory in the name of fighting terror.”

Today our world has changed some. Obama has been re-elected. We are winding down another war. But, the culture of death and murder continues. We argue now about a drone policy, one where we execute, assassinate, murder if you will, in other countries with whom we are not at war, striking without their permission and even killing our own citizens without due process or finding of probable cause much less conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here again is what I posted on May 6, 2011 upon the occasion of the murder of Osama bin Laden. While it may remain an unpopular view it is, in my opinion, worth repeating.

It was the first day of our vacation. My wife and I had just been seated and ordered a drink at the hotel restaurant when the text from her sister came on her cell phone. Osama bin Laden had been killed. When our drinks arrived we toasted the news.

Later that evening, in our posh American hotel room overlooking the golf course with mountains in the distance shining in the late western sunset, we turned on the television to learn more. President Obama had already spoken, telling the nation that justice had been done. Early reports were that bin Laden had been killed in a “firefight” at a compound in Pakistan.

Over the next couple of days, more details became available. Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot in the head. He was not holding a human shield at the time. His 12 year old daughter witnessed the event. He was not killed in a “firefight”, though there may have been one earlier on the lower floors. He was assassinated, executed. I’ll say the awful word, murdered. Wanted dead or alive George W. Bush once said. Justice has been done Barack Obama said. Shoot first, ask questions later someone once said.

Now the time comes to ask those questions. Not about Osama bin Laden. He won’t be much missed by the world he terrorized. The questions are about us.

Yes, I remember September 11, 2001. I was still lounging in my robe with a cup of coffee when a friend from Tennessee called and told me to turn on the news. There were tears in our house. And outrage. And anger. To be honest, we licked our lips yearning for vengeance in the early going. But vengeance is always a first reaction and a wrong reaction. Time and calm reflection change that. Vengeance does not bring closure.

In the wake of September 11, I watched as our nation, founded in the pursuit of liberty and justice, veered into the ugly nether reaches of curtailing liberty and ignoring justice to pursue an ill defined “war on terror”. Our precious individual liberties were stripped by emotional reaction to the day of terror when Congress passed the horribly misnamed Patriot Act. We learned words like rendition, waterboarding, enhanced interrogation, enemy combatants.

We found our phone records seized, only to have new laws passed preventing us from objecting in court to the process. Emails and internet access fell prey to government eyes without warrant or consent. We learned that our once valued system of justice, with twelve good citizens sitting in a jury, would give way to military tribunals, and that even those tribunals might go wanting as we held prisoners without charges or access to any court. And, on Sunday, we murdered a man in a foreign country.

Don’t get me wrong. I will shed no tears for Osama bin Laden. Like most of you, I believe he was evil and do not regret that he is dead. But, unlike some of you, I regret the way he died. Not for him, but because of what it means for us.

This “war on terror” has no endgame, no exit strategy. Murdering one man in Pakistan will not bring closure to our nation. The liberties lost will remain lost. The excesses perpetrated in the name of security will not be undone. President Obama, by continuing those excesses, has proven that. And, having held out murder as a cause to celebrate, other murders will be justified as we spiral down into false glory in the name of fighting terror.

Let bin Laden rot in hell, but remember that we have ceded our humanity for vengeance in murdering him. We have sacrificed our morality to make a jihadist martyr of a man filled with hate. We have squandered our treasure, our liberty and our sense of justice. We have sold our national soul to pursue unachievable “victory” in this war on terror. The nation our children will inherit is less for that.

When will we ever learn?

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Author: ELIJAH SWEETE

Contributor, aka tidbits

  • sinjns

    I agreed with you in 2011 and still do. This is an ongoing discussion in our house. I do not believe that the ends justify the means. I’m not a big fan of the “slippery slope” argument but I do think it applies here.

  • zephyr

    I think you’re right Elijah when you say the “war on terror” has no endgame and that liberties lost will remain lost. In the long run it reduces our humanity, our freedom and the clarity of our vision.

    But, the culture of death and murder continues.

    It’s a culture we were already immersed in and prepped for given our glorification of war, all the violence that passes for entertainment on TV, in the moview, in games, etc. It’s easy to take those extra steps (Patriot Act, use of drones, torture, more world police actions) when the citizenry is already desensitized and ready to swell with pride every time we indulge a show of force. The truth is, our hearts are growing smaller.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Thank you for your comment, sinjns. Zephyr, I agree about the desensitizing going, I believe, all the way back to our colonization of the continent and treament of its native peoples. We are steeped in this. But, it is also time we looked more deeply into our soul and perhaps, if enough are willing, began to resensitize those empathic impulses that make us human.

  • zephyr

    Another example of how prepped we are for violence (and how accepting) is the massive runs on guns and ammo that take place in nearly every city in the nation whenever there is a highly publicized shooting. Yes, the belief in violent solutions is deeply woven into our culture. It’s why the NRA remains so popular, it’s why people celebrate end-justifies-means assassinations and are blase about drone strikes (even the ones that kill the innocents), This will keep happening. We are an easily manipulated citizenry.

  • zephyr

    But, it is also time we looked more deeply into our soul and perhaps, if enough are willing, began to resensitize those empathic impulses that make us human.

    Amen! Any time now would be good…

  • ShannonLeee

    Drone strikes and assassinations are acceptable behavior in an officially declared war where nations fight nations. My knowledge of history fails me, but I have to believe that us forces assassinated American traitors or allied forces traitors. How many spies did we kill during the Cold War? The US government has been murdering in foreign lands since … Who knows? We are now simply more efficient and public about it.

    We now have very blurred lines between combatants and criminals. I believe the blurred lines makes every opinion valid, making for a very slippery slope. It is a slope we have to climb up or slide down, and the direction will be determined by threat and security need.

    If I had to choose between putting navy seals into a foreign land to hopefully catch a terrorist that we may or may not have to shoot anyway, or a drone death mission… I’m going with the drone.

  • slamfu

    Violence is the ultimate authority, it is at the end of all law and order. It is necessary. Used unwisely its chaos, but structure violence is what makes a modern nation stable and not like say, Somalia. Don’t think so? Ask Jimmy Lee Dykes. You eventually get there if someone wants to be unreasonable, and many many people want to be unreasonable.

    We invaded a nation to get Bin Laden. They tried to swaddle it in the name of “Nation Building” and fighting for democracy, but the reality is we were there to murder a man and anyone that stood between us and him. Because he hurt us, and was certainly going to do it again. And there would be no reasoning with him. Hundreds of thousands are dead, and Bin Laden is one of them. I mourn for them, not him, and how its the way the world works. You don’t scare 300 million people and get surgical results, or even anything that resembles proportionate response. Its not us getting desensitized, or morally bankrupt, its just how it is.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Even if one believes in the value of murder designated as assassination – which I do not – there remains a difference between a single shot to the head or a single slit throat and the collateral carnage, often including innocents and children, that comes with a bomb from a drone. My piece on drone carnage is already written, at least in part, but is waiting for tomorrow to post.

    I do understand, ShannonLee, that my position is not universally applauded. We will see where reporting takes this subject over the weeks and months to come and where history takes it in the years hence.

    EDIT TO ADD @slamfu – read your comment. I believe someone else recently said something similar: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”, or something like that. Don’t mean to be a smart ass. Just my way of saying I disagree with you on this one.

  • slamfu

    Is there something else that stops bad guys with guns? That statement is true. I think its doesn’t imply everyone should have guns, but that doesn’t make the core statement 100% correct.

  • slamfu

    Doesn’t mean the core statement isn’t 100% correct rather.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    When we are at our best, we respond to violence with the rule of law. The reason we have prisons is because we do not engage in the vigilante justice of killing the bad guys whenever and wherever we find them. Bringing people to justice is a better answer than to simply kill those designated as “bad”. I profoundly disagree that “violence is the ultimate authority.”

    As an aside, there are also some instances where the bad guys are “bad” because of mental illness. In those cases, early diagnosis and treatment would serve us better than violent confrontation.

  • slamfu

    What good is law without the force to back it up? If you can’t physically compel people they will just ignore you. I’m not saying we shoot everyyone, but if someone breaks the law, they either surrender or it will escalate to violence. It is that threat that allows laws to be enforced. At the end of all law and order is the threat of or the actual use of force. That is all I’m saying.

  • zusa1

    “I profoundly disagree that “violence is the ultimate authority.””

    I agree that violence shouldn’t be the ultimate authority, but am not sure that it isn’t.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    zusai,

    Here is my attempt to present a real life example. To which of the following groups does the greater authority ultimately attach?

    1. The non-violent participants of the civil rights movement, for example MLK, Rosa Parks and those who followed their lead, or

    2. The KKK who took to heart the principle that violence is the ultimate authority with actions like lynchings, church bombings, murder and intimidation, including their allies like Bull Connor with his dogs, fire hoses and billy clubs on the streets of Birmingham.

    In my view, the ultimate authority – that authority recognized as right and just by history – and that authority that has prevailed over time – was the authority that relied on moral right, not naked might. Just my view.

  • slamfu

    Really? Was it our moral right that allowed us to defeat the Nazi’s? That brought us from under British rule? That allowed the North to win the Civil War? No, it was our ability to do greater violence than them and compel them to our will and our laws. Had Germany been capable of more violence than us, I assure you Nazi policy would be firmly entrenched and humming along, vile though it is.

    I’m not espousing violence as a philosophy. I’m saying violence is a tool. And it needs rules and needs to be contained so as not to be abused. It can be used for “good” or “bad”, both of which are subjective. What we have done in this nation is we put bounds on it. Police officers are not simply allowed to shoot whoever they want. But the ability to do so is was allows them to carry out their jobs. Or the ability to force them to the ground and handcuff them, or whatever. But I assure you, if cops weren’t allowed the option of violence in pursuit of their jobs, they’d be useless. Its a fine line to walk. Too little and you have chaos, too much and you have tyranny. I think we do a great job of splitting the difference, mostly.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    slamfu,

    I ask you an honest question. Is it your position that violence is sometimes necessary or is it your position that violence is the ultimate authority in all cases?

  • zusa1

    I think violence is the ultimate means to enforce authority. A right and just authority will require less of it than a non just authority.
    Thus a non just authority may not endure because it cannot maintain the level of violence required to retain its authority.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    I think violence is the ultimate means to enforce authority.

    Thus a non just authority may not endure because it cannot maintain the level of violence required to retain its authority.

    Oh my. I don’t think I want to live in that world. :) It is a world without room for moral persuasion.

    The positions being posited here disallow for the possibility of rational persuasion. If you are about to throw a rock through a window, I believe in many/most instances I can persuade you not to do so without any resort to violence or a threat of violence on my part. The idea that violence or the threat of violence is necessary to mandate moral/ethical conduct strikes me as a desparately pessimistic view of life.

    Did American women gain the right to vote only because the “non just authority” that denied them that right could no longer “maintain the level of violence required to retain its [non just] authority?”

  • zusa1

    “Did American women gain the right to vote only because the “non just authority” that denied them that right could no longer “maintain the level of violence required to retain its [non just] authority?””

    No. They gained the right to vote because the non just authority changed to become a just one.

  • sheknows

    Without violence as the consequence for breaking laws, we would have chaos in our society. Most criminals don’t respond to harsh words when involved in an armed robbery, and it’s pretty difficult to effectively threaten enemies of the state with a time out.
    Without consequences, what good is a threat? The knowledge that doing something heanous will result in swift and immediate repercussion is perhaps the only way an act or FURTHER acts might be avoided.

  • slamfu

    I wasn’t making a statement about when to use or not use violence. That is variable. I was making a statement that once you exhausted rational discourse, and expectations of reasonableness, it is what you have underneath it all. Of course I think reason should be used first. But the thing is, some people don’t care about that. Generally speaking, laws aren’t there for the reasonable and the rationale. They are there for the violent, the selfish, the unreasonable. And when those people don’t want to talk or listen to reason, sometimes they have to be compelled. And the method of doing so, of resolving a situation in need of resolution, of maintaining law and order in the face of those who want to sow disorder, after all other options have been cast aside, is violence. We have a pretty nice society, but don’t kid yourself about where the authority comes from. It’s the same place all the other heroes and villains throughout history got their authority. We are just more civilized about it.

  • dduck

    ES, just to clarify, I said Sometimes it takes a Bad guy with a gun to kill a Good guy with a gun. It was in a gun thread and referred to a famous gun guy that was murdered mysteriously. It could also apply to the murder of the famous sniper this week at a shooting range of all places. My point is the too easy availability of guns leads to more accidents, suicides, murders and mass shootings and I think I was jousting with EElis.
    On the drones, I am still conflicted, but they are here and I just hope they can learn to kill fewer innocents.
    This in the NYT today shows how we kill not only our “enemies” but also our friends: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/world/middleeast/with-brennan-pick-a-light-on-drone-strikes-hazards.html?pagewanted=all
    Question, if OBL should roast in hell for murdering innocents, what should those on our side responsible “for innocents” being murdered be doing after their deaths.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    So everybody supports the killing of bin Laden even if it may have been possible to take him alive? And everybody supports drone attacks even though they kill innocents, now obscenely known as “collateral damage?”

    And the reason we all should support such things is that we must have violent consequences for any conduct of which we do not approve. Rule of law be damned. The lives of innocents be damned. We simply must impose violent consequences to prove that we are right.

    Would you feel the same if Pakistani drones were flying over your neighborhoods threatening to bomb your home or the home of your neighbor, if it was your child who might be “collateral damage?” Is it beyond imagination that Pakistan might have just grievances against America or certain Americans? Are we simply supposed to be so full of ourselves that it’s ok if we do it, but would be reprehensible should someone else do it to us. Do unto others as you would never tolerate them doing unto you…sayeth the Lord?

    EDIT TO ADD: written before the prior two comments were posted.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Just my personal opinion:

    IF an individual poses a known, verifiable, real and imminent threat to Americans (e.g. about to blow up an aircraft, launch a missile, blow up Americans, etc.)

    And IF the individual can not be apprehended and otherwise neutralized on a timely basis (host government is non-existent — e.g. Somalia –; host government can not — e.g. Yemen — or will not — e.g. many — cooperate, etc.)

    And IF everything possible is done to avoid or minimize collateral damage,

    Then and IFF (if and only if) take the individual out with a drone, covert action, or any other means.

    (Law enforcement personnel do that in the United States, to Americans as a last resort if they threaten the lives of others.)

    Again, solamente mis dos centavos

  • sheknows

    Understandable viewpoint Elijah, in a “best of all possible worlds”. It IS unfortunate that there is collateral damage, but the elimination of violence altogether is simply not possible in our less than perfect world.
    We meet violence with violence in this world, not because anyone CHOOSES it over a non-violent remedy, but because it is more effective than discourse.

    How far in discussion would we have gotten with Bin Laden to dissuade him from further attacking our people? If we had imprisoned him instead of killing him, what would the courts have decided for his sentencing do you think?

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Thanks for the perspective Dorian. I trust your definitiobn of imminent threat is different than that of the DOJ memo.

    May I make a request of you? I find the term “collateral damage” very offensive in devaluing human life. Can we begin calling it what it is: the killing and maiming of innocent civilians?

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    I appreciate your suggestion, ES, and I am sorry that you take offense, but I would not dream to suggest to you what terminology to use because I personally find certain words offensive. Peace.

  • zusa1

    By ultimate, I mean Webster’s definition of ” last in a progression or series”. I think in a given situation, non-violence should be the starting point whenever possible.

    The assassination of bin Laden did satisfy our desire for vengeance and if that or political motives were the only reason(s) for his killing, then I would have to disagree with it. But if he could have been taken alive, I doubt it would have been without risking the lives of military personnel. I also think that having such a high profile prisoner could have led to hijackings, hostage takings etc. for his release. So I hope the decision was made by people with all the available information based on the right reasons.

  • zephyr

    It is a world without room for moral persuasion.

    Elijah, this comment of yours is key. When we are willing to accept violent solutions as inevitable it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. Either we believe in the necessity of moral evolution or we don’t. Nobody said it would be easy.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    As to: “I trust your definitiobn of imminent threat is different than that of the DOJ memo.”

    I have read the memo and its discussion of “imminent threat” and “my definition” of imminent threat is not significantly different than stated in the memo, especially when:

    1. As I stated,all other conditions I pointed out have to be met to neutralize such an individual.

    2. It is apparent that more watered down definitions of “imminent threat” would have required the U.S. to refrain from taking action against the terrorists who killed more than 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.

    Again, just my personal views.

  • sheknows

    Perhaps the term ” regrettable losses” or “grievous loss” would be more accurate than collateral damage. The latter does sound as though one is talking about something lifeless, I agree.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    It is family time in our home, so I will leave for this evening, but first:

    Thank you to all for sharing honestly held beliefs and doing it with passion. These are discussions,civil in nature though not in full agreement, that cause us all to think. Joe G should be proud of the forum he has created as should Dr. E for her leadership and example.

    Good night. I look forward to checking in tomorrow morning.

  • The_Ohioan

    I’m trying to make the connection you do of the manner of the killing of ObL with the loss of liberties in the wake of 9/11. Those decisions had been made years before his death and are not a result of the manner of his death.

    I, like you probably were, was appalled by the street demonstrations of jubilation at his death, just like I was at the Middle East’s jubilation at the 9/11 attack. But I don’t feel guilty about his death nor about the manner of his death anymore than I do about the killing of Mr. Dykes in his bunker. Both were dangerous situations for the personnel involved and they used their best judgement as to the likelihood of a successful capture.

    The drones are used, from what I understand, only when intelligence is good enough for the President himself to give the order. Numbers differ as to the number of civilians killed since Pakistan authorities won’t let anyone check the sites. I would not trust either our government’s or any organization’s numbers because of that situation. We simply don’t know.

    Civilians are often killed in war zones, and the Taliban’s protection of al Qaida makes the AF/Pac area a war zone. al Qaida declared war on us, not the other way around. They have never disavowed their ambition to kill as many Americans as they can, indeed, quite the opposite. Including bin Laden and al Awaki. I believe them.

    To consider the moral culpability of drone attacks to be the same as the firebombing of German industrial cities where hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed seems to me to be an exercise in futility. To try to capture rather than kill an enemy is obviously the more moral thing – depending on the loss of life of the captors and the loss of civilians should the enemy not be captured or killed. Situation ethics; it’s a bugger.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    While the unclassified memo has been leaked, the release of some classified documents hopefully will shed more light on many aspects — perhaps and for example as to what is really an “imminent threat” — of what went into formulating this controversial policy:

    The New York Times:

    The White House on Wednesday directed the Justice Department to release classified documents discussing the legal justification for the use of drones in targeting American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists to the two Congressional intelligence committees, according to an administration official.

    The White House announcement appears to refer to a long, detailed 2010 memo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who had joined Al Qaeda in Yemen. He was killed in a C.I.A. drone strike in September 2011. Members of Congress have long demanded access to the legal memorandum.

  • ShannonLeee

    Elijah, I think your view is the ideal that we, everyone, should strive towards. In the world I would like to live in, we should have been able to contact Pakistan and asked them to hand over OBL and they would have done so without a problem. That is not the world we live in.

    In our world, we have a hard enough time living up to our own expectations in our own country. Outside of our borders is chaotic and uncompromising. It is simply not possible to consistently operate successfully in those areas.

    A reasonable response to my reasoning would be that we should keep our moral compass, regardless to where we operate or what we do.

    The question is, how would that behavior hurt our success rates.
    Would our lack of success equate to another successful attack on our country.
    How would a successful attack change us again… more torture? another invasion?

    Another attack on the main land would drive the US public back to 2012 thinking, which would be more damaging and dangerous to the world than drone strikes.

    As for collateral damage… I agree, it is disgusting and deplorable. I realize that collateral damage is a horrific result of drone attacks, yet I still believe drone attacks are the right thing to do right now.

  • ShannonLeee

    …also, I do not believe that Obama is a shot from the hip, dead or alive, unthoughtful President. I think he is a moral man that wishes he too could operate in an ideal world. I by NO means trust the US government, but I do trust that Obama is making the right decisions on drone strikes, based on the top secret information he receives on a daily basis.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Elijah Tidbits i totally agree…good discussion… what you point towards has fingers into many situations…

    What comes to mind as i read the post and the comments is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave…will return to this one tomorrow…thanks for re-posting in relation to the drones… truly the drones are such a sterile, technical, and remote way to kill.

    Face to face combat where one sees the face and feels all the emotions that go with war, PTSD it leaves a wound yet it also that validates the soul, and it’s horror of war.

    Drones? perhaps what is most frightening is the soul will never be given the chance for PTSD?

  • ShannonLeee

    OS, I think the only advantage of hand to hand combat now is that the Generals and Presidents that will be making combat decisions in the future might have had to experience real life war.

    Out of touch drone pilots may be just as inept as national guard air force pilots, you know, like that one President.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Sparrow,

    Your comment reminds me of a Star Trek episode. Two worlds have turned war sterile and clinical. It is fought by machines and each day a designated number of citizens are sent to die based on the calculations of the machine generated numbers. The solution is to end the sterile mechanized approach and force a return to the horrors of war, the blood, the sacrifiice, the emotional impact. Faced with the horrors of war, the worlds seek peace.

    What you say has, I believe, some merit. Killing supposed enemies without actual proof and adding into it the killing and maiming of innocent men, women and children [obscenely and clinically referred to as "collateral damage"] is too clean. It allows us to turn a blind eye to the real horrors of war and makes it too easy to kill without remorse or even second thought.

    tidbits

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    ShannonLeee,

    Your faith in Obama is greater than mine, but that is a minor point unworthy of great discussion. But, given your faith in the moral judgment of the current president, please keep in mind that the policy will remain in place even if the next president is named Santorum or Bachmann or is some other extreme right wing neocon. The policy does not care what name the president bears any more than the bombs fired by a drone care whether the dead and maimed are terrorists or innocent men, women and children.

    tidbits

  • ShannonLeee

    Agreed tidbits, but that would be a different time, where the public would have to demand different rules. Maybe we are not agile enough for such a thing, but imho, it is a chance we have to take.

    such quick changes would require the deaths of innocent civilians…very sadly, but considering the alternative in the grand scheme of things, I still end up on the drone-positive side of the scale.

    I’ll say again, another strike on the homeland and the US would return to its 2002 attitudes…and the collateral damage we had in Iraq is a mountain next to the molehill of drone collateral damage.

  • dduck

    ES, On the question of OBl, as I said back when it happened, I would have had a secret mission to snatch him and regardless of how it went down, and kept it as secret possible. If we got him alive, I would have tried for as much intelligence as possible, probably with the FBI type of interrogation (slow, as non-violent as possible). If the raid was discovered, I would say we killed him.

    The doctor who helped confirm OBL’s identity and the workers trying to give polio vaccine being murdered in Pakistan are more innocents, as are the kids that will get polio, caught up in what I would call a semi-cowboy operation, in addition to the relations between us and Pakistan that had them losing more face than was necessary with the in your face Obama speech and the demonstrations.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Duck,

    I remember your comment at the time about losing an intelligence opportunity by electing assissination over capture. It was, and remains, a good point.

  • zusa1

    SL,
    “but that would be a different time, where the public would have to demand different rules.”
    Once a precedent is set for any action, how do you justify the change in rules? We trusted our guy but we don’t trust yours? Each side is probably overly suspicious of the other and overly trusting of their own.

  • slamfu

    Not for nothing, I totally agree with not using the term collateral damage. In all posts I will refer to them as what they are, civilian deaths as a result of our actions. There blood is on our hands, and we should never forget that as we make our decisions to proceed with this fight against terrorism. I am not saying we give terrorist leaders a pass and not take them out, but neither do we just proceed like a bull in a china shop because human lives, often innocent ones, are being lost along side those of our enemies. It is a moral burden on us all and one we should never take lightly.

  • ShannonLeee

    Z, in one of my earlier posts I stated that such a change would have to be a result of a lot of bloodshed, dead children everywhere and very public. My assumption is that lunatics like Santorum would allow damn near anything, which would eventually result in such a disaster, resulting in a change in policy.

    I will say again, better drones than starting another war and killing many many many more innocent people.

    or we can do nothing and hope.

  • dduck

    SL, I don’t think we really need to insult Santorum. And, no I am not a fan of his.

  • Enkindle

    The “collateral damage” goes way beyond what happened on the night they killed OBL. For me it goes back to the day OBL’s cohorts blew the U.S. Embassy in Kenya into little bits and killed twelve Americans, hundreds of Kenyans and hundreds and hundreds more injured. The Nairobi Hospital floors where so slippery with human blood you could barely stand. As far as I’m concerned the US military took enough humane precaution to satisfy me, but I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. You either empathize, or you were there.