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Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 17:28

Looks like we might find out.

"The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has launched an investigation into drone strikes and will review resultant civilian casualties to determine whether the attacks constitute a war crime.

Ben Emmerson, a UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, formally launched the inquiry on Thursday, in response to requests from Russia, China and Pakistan.

A statement released by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights states that the inquiry will provide a "critical examination of the factual evidence concerning civilian casualties".

It also states that the inquiry ultimately intends to make recommendations to the UN General Assembly to prompt countries to "investigate into the lawfulness and proportionality of such attacks".

"This is not an investigation into the conduct of any particular state. It's an investigation into the consequence into this form of technology," "

Linky

I say we follow the NRA's advice and just give everyone their own drones.... then we'd all be safe.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

Drones don't kill people, people kill people


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

You can purchase your own drone today from Verizon, with 1080p camera!


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May I accessorize my Hellfire missiles?


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

I hope the U.N. proposes a rational policy on drones given the probability of increasing drone warfare by the U.S. and others, including those the U.S. would rather not see with drones. Let's see if the U.S. cooperates with Emmerson's investigation.

"This is not an investigation into the conduct of any particular state. It's an investigation into the consequence into this form of technology," Emmerson told Al Jazeera.

"The reality is that the increasing availability of this technology [...] makes it very likely that more states will be using this technology in the coming months and years and includes raising the spectre that non state organisations - organisations labelled as terrorist groups - could use the technology in retaliation," he added.

He said that it was a "very serious and escalating situation" which must be addressed by the international community "urgently".

At a press conference on Thursday in London, Emmerson said that the British government had already agreed to co-operate with the investigation and that he was "optimistic" that the US would do the same.

He also requested the US to release "before and after" videos of the drone strikes and internal reports of those killed, including civilians.

Emmerson's team will conduct the inquiry in consultation with military experts and journalists from the UK, Yemen and Pakistan.


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About time someone called the US on our shadow war in Somalia, America sure doesn't seem to care at any level. 10+ years of illegal warfare, CIA renditions and our "secret" deal with Ethiopia that's led to a brutal war from 2006 til now along a gigantic border. Throw in a historic 2011 drought and Somalia is a near-permanent failed state that we treat like an 1880's Indian reservation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Somalia drones


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I am repulsed by this technology and justifications I've read/heard for the use of drones. This is non-judicial sentencing to death based on secret intelligence or on victims being secondary casualties (collateral damage).


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 19:13

It will only be a "war crime" when the technology becomes available to our "non friends" and is used against us here in the USofA. Then watch for full and complete condemnation of drones by the current chearleaders.

I miss Ink...


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First, civilian drones for commercial purposes are coming. Much of Europe uses them today, including Euro branches of US engineering firms.

Nevertheless, Pakistan's turmoil might be the trigger to reducing this proxy war by robots. No one is brave enough to stand up to the most powerful military ever known, especially if there is oil in the area, so chaos might make some headway.


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Nevertheless, Pakistan's turmoil might be the trigger to reducing this proxy war by robots.

But there's still Africa... unless Russia and China are willing to challenge the U.S. use of militarized drones there as well.

Who knows how many civilians have been killed in these "precision" strikes. Whatever civilian death figure Emmerson's investigation arrives at, it will be disputed by the U.S.


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kwoods: "I say we follow the NRA's advice and just give everyone their own drones.... then we'd all be safe."

The NRA said that? Why would they be concerned with drones, I wonder. Do you have a link for that, kwoods? That's sort of interesting.


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But seriously. The fact that people are discussing this ongoing illegal (IMO) semi-discriminate (would collateral casualties be manslaughter?) in cavalier fashion is disconcerting, to say the least. Yeesh; get a grip people. This is not a video game. Hello!


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The use of drones is probably the only area obama and I are in agreement. War is war or course and people die. In fact, most wars have been won only when the civilian population begins to lose too much.
Surgical strikes by drones are the most effective weapon to prevent collateral damage. Beats the hell out of carpet bombing.


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"Surgical strikes by drones are the most effective weapon to prevent collateral damage." How do you figure that, Brush?


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Gotta Spoon feed them.

See elvis lots a big badda booms on the ground a little indiscriminate lots of collateral damage depending on the ordinance used lots of residual crap left lying around.

I hope the UN comes up with something otherwise popular forum opinion aside I still accept AUMF in conjunction with the articles offered by the UN for self defense as an ongoing policy. It's a stretch but popular opinion needs to be backed up by proper procedure. We are seeing this now with the new Doma mish mosh.

Congress would by procedure have to rescind which they won't the AUMF that's been in place since BUSH.

Though the US would never dare send a drone to say Canada!
The bully thing is a bit much but the legal principle involved is still there and no one has yet made a satisfying case on here in all the discussions we have had over it. When Congress acts this can change other than that you have handed the commander in chief trough your representatives this power which he may be liable for under international law at some point. As of Now No international Court has made that point or has been willing to challenge it.

Oh Digression a half/Home Grown terrorist David Headley/Daood Gilani, was sentenced for his part in Mumbai in Chicago today. It's amazing how effectively we keep trying & sentencing terrorists in this country despite what the jerks who insist on Guantanamo NOW & FOREVER maintain. There are a good number on this forum.

Federal civilian criminal courts have convicted nearly 500 individuals on terrorism...Oh no it can only be done in GUANTANAMO!

Now I'm going to assume also that drone strikes have killed more civilians that we will ever admit to.


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Nevertheless, Pakistan's turmoil might be the trigger to reducing this proxy war by robots.

But there's still Africa... unless Russia and China are willing to challenge the U.S. use of militarized drones there as well.

Right, what I'm saying is that the apple cart in Pakistan is upset, opposition to drone killings in their country may arise, and that chaos may show the way to oppose robot wars.


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opposition to drone killings in their country may arise

There is opposition among the Pakistanis, but I have no idea how that plays out with so much other dissatisfaction with the ruling elites. The military is tolerating the drone stikes, for now.

From the LAT: U.N. expert launches investigation of drones, targeted killings.

"To shine the light of factual truth on some of these very abstract debates," a team of investigators will delve into targeted killings, Emmerson told the Los Angeles Times. The experts will scrutinize 25 attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, the U.N. rapporteur said at the London press briefing...

The New America Foundation estimates that since 2004 as many as 3,279 people have been were killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, including as many as 305 civilians and hundreds of others "unknown." U.S. lawmakers have challenged the accuracy of such tallies, The Times reported in June.


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"Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?"

One would think so... along with other actions... but... perpetrators still walk free.


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An interesting thread, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the court of world opinion.


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Have most of the opponents of Drone warfare which I favor over SHOCK & WTF contacted their congress person and asked them to withdraw the AUMF if not then I suggest it's just a methane fest!


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this one of our really nasty ordinances most of the world has banned it's use it is rater criminal in that it's indiscriminate as much as a weapon can be discriminating!
Quite often some of it's scattered bomblets go off later and have killed or dismembered civilians.
Most of the world signed a treaty not to use them. The US, Pakistan, Israel, Russia did not sign on & they were used in Iraq.

I'm reminded that terror bombing of civillians went on all through WWII.

"Now everyone's at it," Churchill said about the deliberate targeting of civilians. "It's simply a question of fashion - similar to that of whether short or long dresses are in."

Just another digression!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cluster Carpet


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Most of us already have them - large military drones, at that. The most popular are the Israeli ones.

Cowards weapons. I prefer to see good old fashioned torture followed by illegal incursions into foreign territories ending in murder, especially now that girls will be allowed to do it, and you can make millions from Oscar-winning movies about it. Oh, and there was less collateral damage. Just watching endless footage of unmanned ordnance being dropped on Pakistani wedding parties is truly yawn-making.

Best wishes
Jon

Here is a link that might be useful: Who has drones?


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Zero Dark Thirty probably won't be shown in Pakistan. Perhaps we don't want to incite the "Paks" (racist epithet used in movie) with a video.

Deepa Kumar: Zero Dark Thirty; Selling Extra Judicial Killings.

Worth reading IMO.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deepa Kumar


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Looks like we have 5 which really surprises me. I wonder if they are counting the PM...now there is a Drone.


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Belgium with 13 , and Singapore with 42?


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I'm reminded of Bertie Wooster and the English gentleman's club he and his friends frequented - The Drones

This post was edited by david52 on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 11:34


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Are Drone Strikes War Crimes? I think War is a War Crime. Was Agent Orange ever designated as a war crime?


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Was Agent Orange ever designated as a war crime?

New Zealand thinks so.

Of course apologies and money can never return someone to a normal life.

After nearly 40 years and 2 failed Supreme Court cases, the United States still refuses to accept blame for the 3-4 million Agent Orange victims in Vietnam. 20 million gallons of herbicide were dumped by the United States on Vietnam during the Vietnam War, resulting in more than 50 known diseases and genetic deformities for those in contact with the chemicals as well as every one of their family�s future generations.

Vietnamese victims receive $5-7 a month through Vietnam�s Healthcare System for Agent Orange compensation, yet their symptoms are nearly three times worse than those found in American veterans. Furthermore, all studies of Agent Orange related illnesses are based off American veterans symptoms without consideration for differences within Vietnamese victims.

Dioxin, the main chemical in Agent Orange, is as toxic as nuclear waste. Nearly 75% of Vietnam was sprayed by the US during Operation Ranch Hand. Over 10% was sprayed more than ten times. Some areas people are living in have dioxin counts 1000 times higher than the acceptable international levels. Also, nearly all of Vietnam�s flora and fauna is endangered. What might have originally been less than a few hundred thousand victims, has risen in the millions over the years due to continuous exposure and lack of containment, clean up, dialogue, or even basic research.

I think the US Government considers them "enemy combatants" and got what they deserve.

and if you think that sucks, check out the dirty ammunition (aka DU) the USA used/uses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.


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The VA is understaffed and underfunded to adequately provide for dioxin-related illness afflicting Vietnam veterans, and the current emphasis is on treating the wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. You would think that the ill treatment of the Vietnam vets would have made subsequent enlistees more wary of the promises given at recruitment.

Agent Orange was so extensively sprayed that all of the two million Americans who served in Vietnam are presumed exposed. The Veterans Administration now associates a multitude of cancers; heart disease; diabetes type 2; neuropathy; Parkinson's disease and birth defects, including spina bifida, suffered by veterans and their children, with Agent Orange exposure. However, it took veteran advocates, their lawyers and concerned scientists decades of confronting inept and corrupt government health studies to overcome expedient myths and achieve this governmental acknowledgement of the human health harm of Agent Orange. Vietnam veterans continue to eke out needed health services from a reluctant government, which still contends that it used the deadly chemicals to protect the soldiers and refuses to accept any responsibility for multi-generations of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam...

[in] 2007 when the US Congress appropriated $9 million for cleanup of contaminated sites and health-related activities. In 2011, USAID joined the Vietnamese government in the first phase of a $32 million dioxin-contaminated soil removal program at a former US air base in Danang, prompted by findings of a pivotal 2009 Canadian/Vietnamese study on patterns of dioxin contamination...

The 2011 USAID soil removal program at Danang is a start, on one of many comparable sites poisoning Vietnam ecosystems and people. However, weighing the $32 million military site cleanup against the estimated cost of $300 million for a proper site cleanup and health care services for the injured and ill...suggests that this rare and very overdue cleanup, from the most massive chemical warfare campaign in history, is but a few copper pennies from the military's vast coffers.


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There was an interesting discussion over this on the PBS News Hour -

snip- "Well, the truth is that no one really knows exactly what's going on with their effectiveness or not, because this is a program that has been wrapped in secrecy. Every aspect of this program is secret, so secret, in fact, that even members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that are supposed to be overseeing this program are not able to see even the legal justification for the program.

But what we do know is that there have been over 300 strikes. There have been -- drone strikes. There are over 3,000 people who have died. Most of those are far from any traditional battlefield. So we could point out -- point to some people that the administration has selectively leaked as successes, but what we don't know are the failures.

JEFFREY BROWN: And one of the questions among those killed, of course, has been the number of civilians, the unintended casualties. How much do we know about that?

SETH JONES: Well, the data is not really that good on civilian casualties.

It would be helpful to get a more transparent assessment of civilian approaches. I have talked to a range of human rights organizations in Pakistan's tribal areas who have argued, though, that from their perspective on the ground, civilian casualties are rather minimal.

But other than some sporadic conversations I have had with people in the tribal areas, I think the data that we have publicly is limited.

JEFFREY BROWN: What does your data show or people you talk to show?

CHRIS ANDERS: Well, two things.

One is, tomorrow, the United Nations is going to announce it's appointing a special investigator into civilian deaths by drones, and through this targeted killing program. So we should be able to get some of the real facts through this U.N. investigation.

It's ridiculous that the United States itself hasn't conducted this kind of investigation or disclosed its results. But that investigation will be done by the U.N. The second thing, is General McChrystal just earlier this month talked about the drone program and how -- how the attacks on civilians and the civilian casualties are causing what he calls a visceral reaction of hatred in the affected countries, the very people we're trying to win over to our side.

JEFFREY BROWN: That's been one of the issues, of course, is, are we making more enemies than killing enemies by doing this?

SETH JONES: Well, my experience in particular in Pakistan, where most of these have happened, is that most Pakistanis are upset not that drones are being used, but more upset that the Pakistan government isn't using them. - snip -

Video and transcript at the link

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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SETH JONES: Well, my experience in particular in Pakistan, where most of these have happened, is that most Pakistanis are upset not that drones are being used, but more upset that the Pakistan government isn't using them.

They're upset that the U.S. is doing them in Pakistan territory. That, I think, is often more issue than the drones themselves.

A master of deflection: he side step the issue of anger at civilian casualties, and terror coming from a foreign military. Jones also conveniently leaves out where and how "most Pakistanis" think their government should be using drones.

The question of national sovereignty is interesting, and I can imagine what the Pentagon and Congress would say if another country proposed to send its drones into U.S. air space.

The Pakistan military - or a faction in the military - has obviously approved the invasion of its air space by U.S. drones. By keeping the focus on the U.S. incursions, they are letting themselves off the hook.

Seth Jones will keep the tradition of wariness of anything associated with the Rand Corporation alive and well for many more years.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 17:04

Thanks David, NOVA repeats it's episode on Drones tonite locally EST @ 8pm.


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well children and relatives of terrorist might be considered
reasonable targets against tribal society we are fighting.


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reasonable targets against tribal society we are fighting.

No. Not in a sane society.


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I have never quite understood that War is supposed to have it's own set of rules as in "Rules of War."

I would think that war was to beat the other side into submission. No Mr Nice Guy, just stomp them into the ground and be done with it.

A good lesson is our own Civil War. The opinion was that the South would fight until every man was dead. Honor, and all that stuff, you know.

General Sherman came along and said that if the North made it hard on the Civilians, so the support for the troops would be gone, then, the war would cease to be a thing of Honor.

And he made his March to the Sea through Georgia, burning and destroying everything in his path. That was That! The War lost it's charm very fast when the troops found out that the folks back home were suffering too.

War is not a game.


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Blown-up babies and reasonable? I dont see it.


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Patricia, Cob should have said *sarcasm*; I'm sure that's how he meant it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think Cob is pro-drone executions.


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elvis I am pro-drone execution. Also since terrorist install there values in there children, their kids are future terrorist. there wives are also targets since they giving aid comfort to terrorist.


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Yikes! I stand corrected.

And I respectfully disagree.


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their kids are future terrorist. [sic]

You know, those people are simply savages and don't think like the rest of us do, so are unable to think for themselves.

That's why America is exceptional - because we aren't savages and every non-savage learns from our values of peace, love, and live and let live!


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Cob, do you consider yourself a moral person? A good person? I think that I would have trouble reconciling killing children with morality. Practicality, maybe.


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well since the terrorist strap bomb on to kids and handicapped. I consider them savages. After reading a book where the author interviewed terrorists, I understand how they need to be dealt with.


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Agnes, the total kind of warfare you describe was one of the reasons the Geneva Conventions and Protocols evolved in an attempt to protect civilians. The Nazis and the Soviet forces (and likely the other armed forces) committed atrocities left and right, and justified such behavior by dehumanizing the foe, military and civilian.

Given modern military technology, warfare against civilians is just state-sponsored terrorism and should be a war crime.


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children and relatives of terrorist might be considered
reasonable targets

He's right - that's what terrists do, therefore drone strikes are terrorism.

I'm not sure terrism is a war crime, but surely not the way for a moral country to act.


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And then there are those who send their children to die in wars with no justification. Thousands of young beautiful Americans sent to their death by their government......thousands and thousands. ....how civilized to some.... savages to me.


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marshall the convention says nothing about none state entities like terror organizations.

ps terrorists like to hide among human shields or civilians.


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terrorists like to hide among human shields or civilians.

I'm not sure what kind of morality justifies that, but it is not any morality of any civil society I'm aware of. Sounds kinda faulty and weird, if'n you ask me, almost as if was made up simply to provoke, or descend into a morass that the terrists want us to descend in, so they can defeat us. Sounds defeatist. Defeatocrat.


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Cog, go to Wiki and read the section on the Geneva Conventions (a bunch since the 19th Century) and Protocols (many since WWII). Keep up, old man, because the International Court will come to examine these issues soon enough. Don't tell me they have no jurisdiction in the US but they do have jurisdiction elsewhere in the world. Good luck avoiding the implications of that fact.


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chase wrote: "And then there are those who send their children to die in wars with no justification. Thousands of young beautiful Americans sent to their death by their government......thousands and thousands. ....how civilized to some.... savages to me."

There are justifications that many people may not agree. Nevertheless, they volunteered to sign up for the service knowing the risks they'd take and the desire to serve. No, those beautiful Americans, they're not sent to their death by their government. Nothing savage about that. On the other hands, it is demoralized and savage to many people that unborn children's lives being taken for selfish reasons, aka abortion, under a glossy name "women's rights". Surely you must agree it is savage, at least.


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No, those beautiful Americans, they're not sent to their death by their government.

These kids would almost all be alive if we hadn't gone to war. Are you asserting that our robot overlords sent them to their deaths?


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What about the bombs we dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the tens of thousands of casualties from them ?
Were those massive War crimes? I am inclined to think that they were because large amounts of civilians were intentionally targeted.

Drone strikes should never authorized if the intent is to target civilians. The problem with any ordinance is collateral damage and civilian casualties. But where do we draw the line?
Let's imagine for the sake of argument that in 2002 we had intel that Osama Bin Laden was sitting with two wives and a teenager eating mutton at his Pakistan compound and there was no way to get him without risking dozens of our own troops. Do you launch a drone strike or not?
This is not that far fetched since I suspect several of the drone strikes that allegedly caused civilian casualties were likewise aimed at people planning to kill Americans.

Drone warfare is disconcerting but we have so many other guided weapons launched from air and sea that create even more collateral damage. Remember that first two night when Bush invaded Iraq? No, not one drone strike, 800 missiles. Why doesn't brush call for bush to be brought to justice as a war criminal? Yes, that was a long time ago, right Elvis?
Time to let by gones be by gones.
******
"The US intends to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people as many as 800 cruise missiles in two days.

The Pentagon battle plan aims not only to crush Iraqi troops, but also wipe out power and water supplies in the capital, Baghdad.

It is based on a strategy known as "Shock and Awe", conceived at the National Defense University in Washington, in which between 300 and 400 cruise missiles would fall on Iraq each day for two consecutive days. It would be more than twice the number of missiles launched during the entire 40 days of the 1991 GulfWar.

"There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," a Pentagon official told America's CBS News after a briefing on the plan. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before."

If that isn't a war crime, then what the he11 is?

Here is a link that might be useful: 800 missiles to hit Iraq in first 48 hours


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the USA is except from international criminal court read courts mandate and charter.


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After reading a book ...

What, a *whole* book, with big words?


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The war in Iraq was totally without justification. Those young men and women were sent into combat to die or suffer serious injury based on lies. Untold numbers of Iraqi innocents were killed for no good reason.

I think that is savage.


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Cob, please try to respond with some coherence, not:

"the USA is except from international criminal court read courts mandate and charter."

Got to get your sound bytes squared away.


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And we also know that Afghanistan, from the beginning to the end, will be a failed attempt to bring democracy and freedom to a culture that rejects our way of life. Yet, we continue to lie, lie, lie even though the people want out. Instead of bringing it to an end, it was escalated. The enemy responded with force and we're at a stalemate there, same as any other country that attempted to bring civility to Afghanistan.

And to explain away a soldier's death as a volunteer who knew what was good for him is "savage". Why? The soldiers of our time are used and abused by our government with the sole purpose of imperialism, power and control over weak nations.

If someone can show me proof that we have defended and protected the constitution of the USA by fighting in Afghanistan, please bring it forward.

We are going to walk away from Afghanistan and life will resume as hell, suffering, and chaos, just like it was when we arrived. The only accomplishment in Afghanistan is that Karzai was made a multi-millionaire by our tax dollars.


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Untold numbers of Iraqi innocents were killed for no good reason.

No, likely a couple hundred thousand died. But the usual suspects attacked any attempt at a study of the deaths, and smeared the author and paper that tried to count the "collateral damage". Just like they always do.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 10:58

Drone Strikes a war crime? Compared to what? One side's war crime is just another side's right to self defense. If the US resorts to using drones to deliver WMDs that might better fit a war crime. Where would one place fire bombing cities with conventional weapons killing tens of thousands vs a drone blowing up a car with 2-3 people? The creepy factor of drones is that they are a surprise attack which may or may not kill innocents. As long as we're at war, war will continue to be hell for both sides.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 11:52

So, we are at war with Yemen? With Somalia? With Pakistan? I don't understand... these are sovereign nations and we are killing people on their soil... can others do the same on Amercun soil? Say... Iran. That would be ok because we set the same standards for ourselves as we do for others... right?

@Dicot who wa-ay upthread mentioned "shadow war" in Somalia. Interesting take on current situation in Mogadishu.


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  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 15:43

I am very, very ambivalent about drones, mostly against them, but I can see their usefulness. I just don't like the whole idea of someone sitting in a room in Florida deciding to kill someone in Afghanistan, and then going home to their family. War is now just another job.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 17:20

"So, we are at war with Yemen? With Somalia? With Pakistan? I don't understand... these are sovereign nations and we are killing people on their soil... can others do the same on Amercun soil? Say... Iran. That would be ok because we set the same standards for ourselves as we do for others... right?"

kwoods, it really does stink! but about US being at war with Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, We're not at war with the governments of those nations (what governments there are) otherwise they would launch counterattacks. I believe those in charge over there would probably be knocking off Al-Q if we stopped doing it for them, so they bark rather than bite. Now if we did drone attacks in Iran that might stir up some real anger and retaliation. They don't seem to mind our drone cameras too much, esp now that they have one as a trophy.

As we end our stay in Afghanistan will drone attacks increase or decrease? Will there be a declaration to the end of the war? on Al-Q? The Bush era war on terror was rightfully directed at Al-Q. Let's hope it shrinks even further and ends that way, and soon.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 18:00

Bad stuff. Ever expanding proxy wars where nothing is at risk beyond military hardware.

" This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. "

WASHINGTON � The United States military command in Africa is preparing plans to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.

If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of that country. The American military�s Africa Command is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said.

The immediate impetus for a drone base in the region is to provide surveillance assistance to the French-led operation in Mali. "This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for I.S.R.," one American military official said Sunday, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

The west stood by while China grabbed Sudan and their oil, largely because we refused to sell them Sun Oil - and wrung hankies re Darfur.

Apparently not so with the resources in Mali, Niger, Eastern Mauritania etc.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

28 Jan 2013 06:07 PM
Anti-Drone Apparel

Artist Adam Harvey has spent the last four years designing counter-surveillance fashion. Tim Maly reviews his work:

His latest addition is a collection of clothes and accessories called Stealth Wear. The collection includes an anti-drone hoodie and scarf that are designed to thwart the thermal-imaging technology widely used by UAVs, and the OFF Pocket, a phone accessory that blocks all incoming and outgoing communication from your phone. Harvey's earlier work includes the CamoFlash, a set of powerful LEDs that trigger when it detects camera flashes, turning the tools of the paparazzi against them, and CV Dazzle, a experiment with makeup and hair styles that will confuse facial-recognition systems.

How Harvey explained the philosophy of the project to Maly:

Conformity is what surveillance wants and fashion is anti-conformist. And I think the decision to conform or not happens on a personal level. The projects I've been working on act upon surveillance in a way that exploits a vulnerability and makes this vulnerability accessible through using something ordinary (hair, makeup, or fashion) in a non-conformist and legal way. [embedded links omitted]

More images here.

The genius of capitalism!


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

The question remains open! How is the logical approach to an answer been gone after (war is bad) no kidding (innocent people die) in each and every one that is truest thing can be said. (i'll say something snarky & clever nope that didn't answer anything & personal opinions are about as good as a morning BM)
Congress gave the president this pass and until congress withdraws it I believe this or any President sitting in office will take this pass & use it.
(I'll ask again how many of you have contacted your congressperson and asked then to get something started to deny the president & the CIA continued action along these lines)
I don't remember the allies trying anyone for the fire bombing of Dresden so much for conventions & the polite rules of war. Oh wait they would have been trying themselves!

I got it wars is not Nice!



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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

Drones are properly used to preempt terrorism and save lives. That's the Bush Doctrine which is ironic since it was Bush who sat on his hands while we lost 4 planes full of people and had citizens jumping out of burning buildings to their death because he failed to act preemptively.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

So secret extra-judicial killings are ok as long as our gvt assures us they targeted the right guy, that whole process of target selection kept secret.

And a few collaterals? Pft. They should have known not to hang out with secret targets.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

Your congress person continues to make it ok!


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

And many of the partisan-stuck libruls love them!


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 11:26

My congress person has little to no say in established international human rights law. What is being investigated by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is whether CIA extrajudicial killings far from any recognized battlefield violate international law.

You can't declare something is "ok" because our congress sez so when it is being legally challenged.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is joke and has no power to do anything but write report and make statements. The office has no enforcement power.
the the international court has no power to enforce it's power on states that are not a party to it. Do try to read charter it is there clears as day.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

drone strike are basically the same a snipers killing target just bigger bang.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

How many States are signatories to the treaty?

I know that the war-mongering and the despotic States are not signatories, countries like the US and Iran.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

marshallz10 try a google search it is easy to find if you bothered to look.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

I did. I am making a significant point about what countries fear UN international court actions. War Crimes, anyone?


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 12:05

At least Cob's argument is an honest one.

We do what we want regardless of the law because nobody can do anything about it.

At least three things I can think of will happen because of this lack of vigilance by the public:
1. "Others", state and stateless, will seek to acquire the same technology, use it for their own purposes including against us.
2. Our government will use this technology domestically infringing on our rights.
3. Private interests will begin to use the same technology for who knows what purposes.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

At least three things I can think of will happen because of this lack of vigilance by the public

I agree.

Lack of vigilance, or tacit approval? Can the public do anything about CIA covert actions given the handy excuse of national security to shut down any inquiry. (Not to say that there shouldn't be pressure put on Congress for strict oversight, and insistence on legal actions by the CIA.) I'd like to see a Congressional hearing with testimony of civilian survivors of drone strikes.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

Yes You cannot declare something is OK because Congress says so I've made that point on here numerous time about the Guantanamo sham trials. Milosevic found that out when he was tried in the Hague. Congress cannot change International Law. International Law must first declare this is verboten. On the US side "OUR" side the conceit used for carrying out this form of warfare is supposedly covered under the AUMF which was extended by Congress.
The suggestion of dishonesty is well (PUHLEASE)
I just ask that you folks follow some sort of Judicial order. International or otherwise.
Your congress person and all the other congress critters of the US must not abrogate their moral or legal responsibilities which they exercised so freely in handing any & every president EXTRAORDINARY POWERS.
When the UN Commission return & when International law has declared The use of drones a violation.


If there is no rule there is no law & without law & it's procedures we have chaos & worse mere opinion!


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

What is most certainly criminal is the re targeting of an area that's already been hit to kill (responders or people aiding those who may have survived the initial attack)


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

Utilizing the UN Charter on the right to self defense.

"We, however, recognize and strongly support the principle that a state subjected to continuing terrorist attacks may respond with appropriate use of force to defend against further attacks. This is an aspect of the inherent right of self-defense recognized in the U.N. Charter. We support this principle regardless of attacker and regardless of victim. It is the collective respon- sibility of sovereign states to see that terrorism enjoys no sanctuary, no safe haven, and that those who practice it have no immunity from the responses their acts warrant. Moreover, it is the responsibility of each state to take appropriate steps to prevent persons or groups within its sovereign territory from perpetrating such acts."
No one has so far argued against that position in an international court. (remember this isn't personal opinion)

Bin Laden joked the Clinton's attempts to get him killed only a few goats & chickens & that was 75 cruise missiles fired (a big badda boom) 911 had not yet started but the principle was already in place along with the shoddy CIA intelligence for the Sudan end of the deal!


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

labrea wins the debate with knock out.
as he said you can not make self dense illegal by international law. states have right self defense there is no listing in charter about the method of defense.
drones may not be pretty but another 9/11/2001 is not acceptable. As George Bush said they are wanted dead or alive. Which way does not matter. As long as we stop their acts of terror. they will have no place to hide.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

I find it amazing that people who, on one hand, claim that the gvt is the problem, fight taxes, fight regulations, fight everything the gvt does as being wasteful and counter-productive, are suddenly all gunho when it comes to believing the same Gvt is wonderful for keeping us safe, and strongly support things like the Patriot Act, "enhanced interrogation" and secret extra-judicial killings.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

That's not exactly what I'm saying I'm saying you just can't say (it should be a war crime without being able to cite international law & precedent that makes it such)
Currently it's a much debated and murky area. The US has actually not shown it's hand by stating little more than what I have just stated which is merely a sketch of something much longer & drawn out.
I have made this case here before the the US has claimed the right of self defense & has also claimed the Totten bar as a means of thwarting transparency in the CIA's extrajudicial killings.
Now the number of non combatants killed is quite important if you kill a large number of civilians to achieve a small military objective then the US would be guilty of IHL there are whole section s written on the use of guided & unguided weapons & precision strikes.
If it could be shown that the US was careless/wreckless in it's use of drones (considered a precision device) then a court would have to be set up or as is happening now & investigation would have t be launched.

There was a lot of criticism of NATO forces in the conflict in Yugoslavia. We didn't hear much about it here in the Us it concerned the altitude that aircraft dropped ordinance from. Unguided ordinance dropped from high altitudes cannot be said to be precise in targeting populated areas unless the are guided bombs.
The US will always fall back on article 51 of the UN Charter for this one.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

A very nasty incident conducted by the US. in 1991 1 or 2 precision guided bombs tore into a shelter in Amariya, Baghdad killing 408 people. The US claimed it was a command center.
We were glued to the TV watching CNN.

"knew the Ameriyya facility had been used as a civil-defense shelter during the Iran�Iraq War." Changes in the protected status of such a facility require warning, and Human Rights Watch notes that, "The United States' failure to give such a warning before proceeding with the disastrous attack on the Ameriyya shelter was a serious violation of the laws of war."[


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

"Human-rights advocates were floored on Monday night when NBC News published the details of an alarming Justice Department memo detailing the protocol for sending drones after United States citizens. It's not as if they hadn't suspected that the Obama administration's top-secret drone attack protocol contained some unsavory details. They just didn't expect them to be so frightfully broad. The scoop by Michael Isikoff is actually startling not for the details but rather for the lack of details. It's very vague about a decision-making process that puts American lives on the line. Put simply, the government believes that a lethal drone attack against an American citizen is justified if the targets are a) "senior operational leaders" of al Qaeda or b) "an associated force."

One of those two qualifiers is infinitely more worrisome than the other. Going after leaders of al Qaeda makes sense. That's what the War on Terror is all about, right? Breaking down networks of violent terrorists and keeping Americans safe. If an American happens to be caught up with al Qaeda, someone like Anwar al-Awlaki, then well - they shouldn't be surprised if they're getting chased by drones. At least that's what we've been told so far. How and why these attacks are carried out by drones is also detailed in the memo, but we'll get back to that in a second.

But what does "an associated force" mean? It seems like the guy who sells the terrorists bomb supplies would probably qualify, but what about the unknowing neighbor or the hired hand? Can we just kill them too in good conscience? Quite unfortunately, the government isn't exactly sure. The memo suggests that anyone who "present[s] an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States" qualifies for assassination "a lawful killing in self defense," but that "does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future." In other words, an "informed, high-level" official can order the killing of any American citizen that was "recently" involved in threatening "activities." As Isikoff points out, the memo fails to define both of those terms. snip end quote

Here is a link that might be useful: embedded links within link


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

If the The original memo is published There will be a case to be made legally.They are holding on to that memo like the Ruby slippers!
Continued eminent threat will be the hard one to sell!


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

At the link is the original memo

Here is a link that might be useful: .pdf file


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

That's the WHITE PAPER that gives you an idea of what is contained in the memo. The Memo again contain the considered legal position that would be argued if brought to court. It does call for Congress help in reining the authority it so freely gave.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

I'm confused - isn't this the same thing? Reading the "white paper" sure as heck seems like I'm reading a memo -


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

Thanks for the links, David.

I heard a discussion of this earlier today, and it's frightening, dangerous, and setting a precedent that can come to no good.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

It is going to be impossible to provide a legal basis for each and every drone strike or other military action that is taken unilaterally on authority of our President.
We just have to elect the right people to Office, those who do not have creating War as their agenda, like GW Bush did.

I am concerned about what looks like way too many drone strikes and want to something concrete as to where to draw the line.
In the meantime while drone strikes sometimes cause civilian casualties, one has to keep things in perspective. I suggest watching Fahrenheit 911 to get a sense of what our troops did when they invaded Iraq.


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RE: Are Drone Strikes War Crimes?

A white paper would be a report on THE MEMO. A white paper helps to understand what is contained in something that may be even more dense dense with legal citations & terminology.
As I said before Congress needs to act and start doing it's job defining the limits of the use of AUMF which is cited in this white paper along with the case of Hamdan vs Rumsfeld. Which indicates that the Geneva conventions did not apply as the character of the hostilities was not a clash between nations.
This Supreme court case has been useful because it clearly madE the proceedings at Guantanamo illegitimate here the knife is cutting the other direction.

This white paper looks like it's being floated to give the DOJ a direction to turn in it's eventual presentation.
See what gets shot down in the white paper first!

Even the IRC has declared that some of the most miserable of atrocities have been perfectly legal.

This post was edited by labrea on Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 14:52


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