The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

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The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:40 am UTC

http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/201 ... ?ref=world
The Russians, Chinese, and terrorists all want drones, and they're looking towards the US as setting the norm. Global preemptive strikes into other countries' sovereign territory with US drone strikes as the precedent. Or that's the implication anyway, it'll be 5-10 years before they get them built, and global tensions rise. Drone warfare and cyberattacks are weapons we should have kept in the bottle. =( Or I'm just a conservative old fart, who knows.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Negated » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:22 am UTC

So the article argues that....US should not have used drone strikes on terrorists, because others will develop the technology in 20 years time. That is just silly. What's the point of military research if the military does not use it when the situation calls for it?

I don't really see drone strikes setting a bad precedent either. The strikes were done in war zone (Afghanistan) or with (secret) blessing of the government (Pakistan, Yemen). The strikes stopped for some time when Pakistan denied US the use of drones in the aftermath of a friendly fire incident last year. The US military is not really just striking targets at will, disregarding all regulations and laws.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Beltayn » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:29 am UTC

Negated wrote:So the article argues that....US should not have used drone strikes on terrorists, because others will develop the technology in 20 years time. That is just silly. What's the point of military research if the military does not use it when the situation calls for it?

I don't really see drone strikes setting a bad precedent either. The strikes were done in war zone (Afghanistan) or with (secret) blessing of the government (Pakistan, Yemen). The strikes stopped for some time when Pakistan denied US the use of drones in the aftermath of a friendly fire incident last year. The US military is not really just striking targets at will, disregarding all regulations and laws.


This.

I really don't understand the freaking out about drones I've seen on the boards here. The relevant issue isn't that drones are used, it's what they were used FOR. It makes little difference whether we kill some guy in Yemen using a predator UAV, or a chopper full of Navy SEALs. The outcome is the same. The only difference is that the former is cheaper, subtler, more effective, and carries less risk.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

Its not like the areas we're using drones in have anti-air defenses either. If we replaced every drone with a more expensive manned aircraft, we'd have the exact same result except have significantly higher costs. What Pakistan wants is for us to leave their country. But as long as Al queda cells remain operative inside their boarders, then Afghanistan will have issues. Come 2014, when we leave Afghanistan, then the Pakistan Al-Queda problem will become Afghanistan's problem. (I hope anyway).
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:47 pm UTC

Negated wrote:So the article argues that....US should not have used drone strikes on terrorists, because others will develop the technology in 20 years time. That is just silly. What's the point of military research if the military does not use it when the situation calls for it?
No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks.
Negated wrote:The US military is not really just striking targets at will, disregarding all regulations and laws.
The US military can neither confirm nor deny the strikes you are speaking of. When alleged terrorists are killed by things we can't talk about, the President brags about it on national television. When children are killed, we sweep it under the rug.

That's why our (alleged) drone strike program is bad.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Tirian » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks.


So what? Are we to believe that Russia and China would not have thought of those purposes had they not seen them modeled by the United States? Assassinating political dissidents is uncool no matter what method you use to carry it out, and I can't imagine we would ever lose the rhetorical skills to deliver that argument.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby johnny_7713 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:34 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks.


So what? Are we to believe that Russia and China would not have thought of those purposes had they not seen them modeled by the United States? Assassinating political dissidents is uncool no matter what method you use to carry it out, and I can't imagine we would ever lose the rhetorical skills to deliver that argument.


But when you're busy using drones to assassinate undesirables yourself you kinda lose the moral highground when you try to chastise other countries for doing it.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Chen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:59 pm UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:
Tirian wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks.


So what? Are we to believe that Russia and China would not have thought of those purposes had they not seen them modeled by the United States? Assassinating political dissidents is uncool no matter what method you use to carry it out, and I can't imagine we would ever lose the rhetorical skills to deliver that argument.


But when you're busy using drones to assassinate undesirables yourself you kinda lose the moral highground when you try to chastise other countries for doing it.


Except we'd be chastising them for killing their political dissidents not for using drones to kill people.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby lutzj » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:02 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
johnny_7713 wrote:
Tirian wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks.


So what? Are we to believe that Russia and China would not have thought of those purposes had they not seen them modeled by the United States? Assassinating political dissidents is uncool no matter what method you use to carry it out, and I can't imagine we would ever lose the rhetorical skills to deliver that argument.


But when you're busy using drones to assassinate undesirables yourself you kinda lose the moral highground when you try to chastise other countries for doing it.


Except we'd be chastising them for killing their political dissidents not for using drones to kill people.


The drone program has killed at least a few people who were US citizens.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Negated » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:12 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Negated wrote:So the article argues that....US should not have used drone strikes on terrorists, because others will develop the technology in 20 years time. That is just silly. What's the point of military research if the military does not use it when the situation calls for it?
No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks.

This is the point I talked about in the second paragraph of my post, but you quoted the first paragraph instead. The US military has the agreement from the sovereign state to launch drone strikes. The article quotes examples like "...China...sends killer drones into Kazakhstan to hunt minority Uighur Muslims it accuses of plotting terrorism" and "What if India uses remotely controlled craft to hit terrorism suspects in Kashmir", which are not exactly what the US military is doing now. And, well, in the highly unlikely event that Kazakhstan and Pakistan allow them to do it, then sure US has no ground to condemn the strikes. But in that case the strikes are solely the matter between the two countries involved.

The US military can neither confirm nor deny the strikes you are speaking of. When alleged terrorists are killed by things we can't talk about, the President brags about it on national television. When children are killed, we sweep it under the rug.

Whichever kind of attack you use, there is no way to completely avoid civilian casualties. Naturally the US military is keen to downplay it for the sake of public image and continual co-operation from Pakistan. Do you know of any realistic alternative method for attacking the terrorists that will reduce the collateral damage?

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Nordic Einar » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:44 pm UTC

Not double tap, not classify anyone near a terrorist as themselves a terrorist, not drone strike the funerals of victims of drones strikes because there might be a terrorist there, not bomb the fuck out of anything we don't like?

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:04 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:So what? Are we to believe that Russia and China would not have thought of those purposes had they not seen them modeled by the United States? Assassinating political dissidents is uncool no matter what method you use to carry it out, and I can't imagine we would ever lose the rhetorical skills to deliver that argument.

"I decided they were terrorists, so I bombed them." That is the exact justification we are using to drone strike anyone we damn well please. So as long as China and Russia claim that the Uighurs and Chechnyans are also terrorists, we have no right to tell them not to bomb them.
Negated wrote:The US military has the agreement from the sovereign state to launch drone strikes.
I'd ask you to source this, but since no source can even confirm the existence of a United States program, it seems pretty unlikely that anyone has officially condoned something that doesn't officially exist.
Negated wrote:Whichever kind of attack you use, there is no way to completely avoid civilian casualties.
My favorite way of avoiding civilian casualties is not bombing places we have no business bombing.
Negated wrote:Naturally the US military is keen to downplay it for the sake of public image and continual co-operation from Pakistan.
Hiding civilian casualties from the American people is not downplaying them. The people need to be able to make informed decisions about our military leaders and their actions.
Negated wrote:Do you know of any realistic alternative method for attacking the terrorists that will reduce the collateral damage?
One really easy one would be to acknowledge the program, release the information, and hold anyone at all accountable for those deaths. Until that happens, there is no reason for these people to give 2 shits about civilian casualties. That would at least be the honest thing to do, rather than only acknowledging it's "successes" and hiding its failures from the very people who are funding these strikes.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:00 pm UTC

My problem with the future of drones in warfare is that even in the US with all it's press and freedoms, we are doing a terrible job regulating the drone program. Imagine how bad this is going to be in any country with less scruples about civilian casualties or violence.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby leady » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:08 pm UTC

Your not labouring under the misapprehension that either Russia or China give a crap about US or western europe condemnation of anything are you?

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Dark Avorian » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:17 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Negated wrote:So the article argues that....US should not have used drone strikes on terrorists, because others will develop the technology in 20 years time. That is just silly. What's the point of military research if the military does not use it when the situation calls for it?
No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks.


In much the same way that our use of police to arrest criminals means we can't criticize people for arresting political dissidents?
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby sardia » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:42 am UTC

Dark Avorian wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
Negated wrote:So the article argues that....US should not have used drone strikes on terrorists, because others will develop the technology in 20 years time. That is just silly. What's the point of military research if the military does not use it when the situation calls for it?
No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks.


In much the same way that our use of police to arrest criminals means we can't criticize people for arresting political dissidents?

A better analogy is our use of enhanced interrogation and our war on terror. Both China, Israel, and Russia have all claimed similar actions citing the US as the precedent. You may discount this, but symbols still matter. Remember when we imprisoned all those chinese uighurs because we took China's word that they were terrorists? Or Chechnya? Or Israel if you are sympathetic to the plight of the terrorists Palestinians.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Garm » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:56 am UTC

My big problem with the drone war is that it's being waged mostly by the CIA. They're not technically part of our military so they escape a lot of civilian oversight. We need to bring this stuff back under the auspices of our armed forces.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Malice » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:15 am UTC

Drones are just tools. If your issue is with the US killing anybody outside of its borders, then that's your issue, and the tool used to accomplish that is immaterial.

Torture ("enhanced interrogation") was setting a bad precedent because that was a type of action, not a method, and a type of action that everybody already agreed not to do--an agreement that only works if all sides keep it, because you agree not to torture the other guys when you capture them mainly so that he doesn't torture yours when he captures them.

No such situation exists for drone strikes, which are simply a cheaper (in money and lives) alternative to bombing or in some cases assassination, or a vastly cheaper alternative to war. Drone strikes have killed, like, a thousand foreign citizens; the Iraq War killed a hundred thousand. You'll excuse me if I don't weep over the idea that other countries will adopt those methods.

This is a wonderful step towards an advanced future where battles are fought by people like Ender and the only casualties are machines. This is a good thing.

That doesn't mean there aren't or won't be problems in the short term; there are and will be and we need to address them, to regulate and control and agree upon the use of the tool. But the tool itself is a good thing.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:40 am UTC

Garm wrote:My big problem with the drone war is that it's being waged mostly by the CIA. They're not technically part of our military so they escape a lot of civilian oversight. We need to bring this stuff back under the auspices of our armed forces.


From a technicality point of view, I think the operator of the drone needs to be military. The CIA can be the guys running the program, but you need to be military if you wanna pull the trigger. I don't exactly recall where I saw that, but it has to do with valid targets and so forth. The reason for the split between "civilian" and "military" is to define legitimate war targets and which ones aren't legitimate. The CIA is ultimately only a civilian agency, and is thus not a legitimate war target. Keeping the drone operators as military is therefore a must for some treaty or something. (possibly the Geneva convention). Otherwise, the line between "civilian" and "military" would be too blurry, and it would put civilian agencies at risk of attack in the next big War.

To remain a civilian agency according to that treaty, civilians can't kill, or something like that. So CIA officially can't pull the trigger. I could be talking shit though, but that is my understanding of the situation. If anyone else has insight, I'd like to know as well. I mean, the bureaucracy probably gets around it by having CIA select targets and then getting some low level enlisted guy to push the "bomb" button on the drone. But then again, that is what an intelligence agency is supposed to do... pick out targets.

Anyway, the lack of oversight can happen whether or not the drones are part of the military or not. For example, if the Bin Laden raid were a failure, I doubt that there would have been any real coverage or investigation... despite the fact that Seal Team 6 was military.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Nordic Einar » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:44 am UTC

Malice wrote:No such situation exists for drone strikes, which are simply a cheaper (in money and lives) alternative to bombing or in some cases assassination, or a vastly cheaper alternative to war. Drone strikes have killed, like, a thousand foreign citizens; the Iraq War killed a hundred thousand. You'll excuse me if I don't weep over the idea that other countries will adopt those methods.


Closer to triple that in Pakistan alone, actually.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/25/world/asi ... index.html

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Negated » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:47 am UTC

Nordic Einar wrote:Not double tap, not classify anyone near a terrorist as themselves a terrorist, not drone strike the funerals of victims of drones strikes because there might be a terrorist there, not bomb the fuck out of anything we don't like?

Indeed there needs to be a standard protocol on how the strikes are authorized, with oversight and perhaps more openness. Drone strike is a relatively new tool, and it takes time and experience to refine the way it is conducted. CIA's intelligence should also become more reliable as they get more familiar with this.

I know many here are skeptical of the government, but in this case the government has very good reasons to reduce civilian casualties in drone strikes. Public image matters. Supports from Pakistan and Yemen government still matter. There is little doubt that these strikes will become more accurate and cause even less civilian deaths in the future.

The main point is that there isn't a better method than drone strikes for target killing. Other kinds of military actions are many times more expensive and unlikely to cause less collateral damage. Abandoning military action in Pakistan is not even an option because the militants are using it as the base to attack Afghanistan. Allowing terrorists to have a safe haven in Northwest Pakistan only create many times more casualties further down the road. There are many things to improve about drone strikes, but stopping it does not solve anything.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:29 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Negated wrote:So the article argues that....US should not have used drone strikes on terrorists, because others will develop the technology in 20 years time. That is just silly. What's the point of military research if the military does not use it when the situation calls for it?
No. The article says that the way we're using drone strikes, to eliminate undesirables in hard to reach areas, could easily be emulated by Russia and China to wipe out ethnic minorities and political dissidents and our program would render us unable to criticize those attacks


That's ridiculous. Wiping out ethnic minorities with drones is wrong not because you use drones, but because you're genociding people. The means is irrelevant, such an overtly bad end can ALWAYS be criticized.

Drones are fantastic. I support robots fighting instead of people. Other countries will do the same? Great! then wars can be handled by robots fighting other robots instead of people killing lots of people. That sounds like a massive step forward for mankind.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby morriswalters » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:56 pm UTC

Drone strikes kill people. Robots in warfare will only kill other robots only so they can get to the point where they can kill people. Unless you somehow think that when faced with overwhelming force that the other side will just give up. I offer the US vs. Afghanistan in that case, hows that working out, even with drones?

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby PeteP » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:05 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Drone strikes kill people. Robots in warfare will only kill other robots only so they can get to the point where they can kill people. Unless you somehow think that when faced with overwhelming force that the other side will just give up. I offer the US vs. Afghanistan in that case, hows that working out, even with drones?

Well theoretically smaller conflicts between bigger powers could stay at the robot vs robot level, with the losing side withdrawing because it's getting to expensive. But yeah striking at humans instead of robots is still possible and depending on the stakes, the losing side might lose humans when they run out of drones.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:22 pm UTC

Malice wrote:This is a wonderful step towards an advanced future where battles are fought by people like Ender and the only casualties are machines. This is a good thing.

Ender's Game is a wonderful example of why turning a war into a video game results in MORE casualties and ACTUAL genocide. By separating Ender from the battlefield, they dehumanized both the enemy and the friendly forces to the point that in the final battle, Ender sent all his forces to their deaths in order to wipe out an entire race.

Remotely directing the battle resulted in every person in the area becoming a casualty. It was the most casualties you could possibly have. We can categorically say that he didn't reduce casualties because there was no physical way to have any more casualties. The whole book was a cautionary tale about remote control increasing casualties!! Sorry, I just can't get over how awful this example is.
Tyndmyr wrote:That's ridiculous. Wiping out ethnic minorities with drones is wrong not because you use drones, but because you're genociding people. The means is irrelevant, such an overtly bad end can ALWAYS be criticized.

Only if it's clear who's being targeted an why. And since the United States is covering that up, allowing the President to decide who lives and who dies, why should we expect the Chinese to give any evidence of wrongdoing before slaughtering innocents?
KnightExemplar wrote:Anyway, the lack of oversight can happen whether or not the drones are part of the military or not.

Personally, I would feel better about the program if it were directly under the military, due to the fact that I trust the military more to be somewhat honorable and refuse unlawful orders. That trust may be misplaced, and I'd like more transparency, but I really can't trust anyone less than I trust the CIA. Also, I feel that the chain of command and the chain of responsibility is better established in the military. When offenses are committed by the military, someone is almost always held responsible. When the CIA abducts and tortures people, nothing happens and no one is held responsible.

Edit:
Negated wrote:There are many things to improve about drone strikes, but stopping it does not solve anything.
Continuing the drone strikes doesn't appear to be solving anything, since we've been doing for 8 years and *suprise* the people we're bombing still don't care for us very much.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:32 pm UTC

Personally, I would feel better about the program if it were directly under the military, due to the fact that I trust the military more to be somewhat honorable and refuse unlawful orders. That trust may be misplaced, and I'd like more transparency, but I really can't trust anyone less than I trust the CIA. Also, I feel that the chain of command and the chain of responsibility is better established in the military. When offenses are committed by the military, someone is almost always held responsible. When the CIA abducts and tortures people, nothing happens and no one is held responsible.


No offense to the military, but thats not my opinion of them at the moment. They aren't magical non-collateral machines that always kill for the right purpose. They make mistakes just like everyone else. In the case of CIA abducting / torturing people, I am again fairly certain that those are military special forces that are going in for those missions. If it makes you feel better, you can blame faulty intelligence from the CIA for wrongfully doing certain actions. (or, they might be leveraging another country's forces to do things that the US isn't allowed to do. IIRC, there were some reports about Iraqi Police abducting / torturing people... possibly under the direction of the CIA).

Again, CIA is a civilian agency. I don't think they are trained to be able to do what you're insinuating. They are practically required to rely on special forces to do that.

Continuing the drone strikes doesn't appear to be solving anything, since we've been doing for 8 years and *suprise* the people we're bombing still don't care for us very much.


The drone strikes are designed to kill the US's enemies. Not make friends. As far as being efficient at killing, they are widely successful.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:In the case of CIA abducting / torturing people, I am again fairly certain that those are military special forces that are going in for those missions.
Sure, but why are they in the loop at all? Why not use Special Forces command structures within the military and order them to run your black ops? In my mind, the CIA are less accountable than military commanders, and really shouldn't be involved in these operations at all past the intelligence gathering lead-up.

I don't think we'll ever see any sort of accountability while the drone strikes are being run by an organization of spies whose specialty is lies and cover-ups.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby omgryebread » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:13 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:No offense to the military, but thats not my opinion of them at the moment. They aren't magical non-collateral machines that always kill for the right purpose. They make mistakes just like everyone else. In the case of CIA abducting / torturing people, I am again fairly certain that those are military special forces that are going in for those missions. If it makes you feel better, you can blame faulty intelligence from the CIA for wrongfully doing certain actions. (or, they might be leveraging another country's forces to do things that the US isn't allowed to do. IIRC, there were some reports about Iraqi Police abducting / torturing people... possibly under the direction of the CIA).
The CIA does have the Special Activities Division, who are basically paramilitary operators.


Heisenberg wrote:Sure, but why are they in the loop at all? Why not use Special Forces command structures within the military and order them to run your black ops? In my mind, the CIA are less accountable than military commanders, and really shouldn't be involved in these operations at all past the intelligence gathering lead-up.

I don't think we'll ever see any sort of accountability while the drone strikes are being run by an organization of spies whose specialty is lies and cover-ups.
I don't see why there's a reason to trust the military any more than another part of government.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby lutzj » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:01 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:I don't see why there's a reason to trust the military any more than another part of government.


I think that part of the idea is that uniformed militaries are bound, and protected, by the rules of war. Intelligence agencies operate outside of those rules.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby sardia » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:34 pm UTC

There's a couple issues here which we are combining that I think we should tease apart.
Transparency in government, especially when we are ordering the execution of someone.
How new technology lowers the threshold to kill someone.

Right now, regardless of drones, the government is blowing up people, and everyone around them with no transparency, with short term thinking and bad intelligence. E.g. If you bomb a funeral of a suspected terrorist that you killed with a bomb, you're gonna make everyone who lived through the bombing really mad at you. Mad enough to think, "hey, maybe AQAP isn't so bad, let's go join them."
http://www.npr.org/2012/11/27/165936280 ... nd-the-u-s
Look, drones are awesome, but it's no replacement for shoddy intelligence and bad strategic planning. You wouldn't trust an angry kid who lobs balloons full of honey at a beehive in the hopes of disrupting further bee activity. You have to know who you are killing, why, and what the consequences are.

As to the second issue, making it easier to kill someone is both cool and dangerous. If I get mad when I was 10, I might kick or punch. If I get mad when I'm 20, I'm might fill you full of lead. The same applies in drone warfare since drones makes it so easy for us to take care of a problem, while before we needed to arrange a strike team or something to get the target.

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oxoiron
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby oxoiron » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:09 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Continuing the drone strikes doesn't appear to be solving anything, since we've been doing for 8 years and *suprise* the people we're bombing still don't care for us very much.
You need to stop this right now. I only have so much space in my signature for quoting you, so I don't have room for that one.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:47 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Drone strikes kill people. Robots in warfare will only kill other robots only so they can get to the point where they can kill people. Unless you somehow think that when faced with overwhelming force that the other side will just give up. I offer the US vs. Afghanistan in that case, hows that working out, even with drones?


Not that badly.

Any time in conflict drones take the risk instead of people is good. Obviously, people are the thing you want to protect, and if drones fail to do so...they're at risk. But better that than using people from the start. China, Russia, us...the big powers. We don't just go punch each other directly, we use proxy battles. Have for a while. Better we have robots serve as those proxies than people.

Heisenberg wrote:
Malice wrote:This is a wonderful step towards an advanced future where battles are fought by people like Ender and the only casualties are machines. This is a good thing.

Ender's Game is a wonderful example of why turning a war into a video game results in MORE casualties and ACTUAL genocide. By separating Ender from the battlefield, they dehumanized both the enemy and the friendly forces to the point that in the final battle, Ender sent all his forces to their deaths in order to wipe out an entire race.


That's fiction, not an example. It doesn't demonstrate that more casualties/genocide is a necessary outcome any more than harry potter demonstrates that wizards are a necessary outcome.

Only if it's clear who's being targeted an why. And since the United States is covering that up, allowing the President to decide who lives and who dies, why should we expect the Chinese to give any evidence of wrongdoing before slaughtering innocents?


That's review and oversight at the highest level, not the president just randomly killing people for the lulz. Oversight of such operations is a pro, not a con.

Personally, I would feel better about the program if it were directly under the military, due to the fact that I trust the military more to be somewhat honorable and refuse unlawful orders.


Er...well, first off, the president is the commander in chief, so technically, that's the case. That said, military people DO run drones. I used to be AF. There's an entire wing of these folks. Sure, non-mil people may also be involved in some of the decision making, but framing it as a non-military thing is not accurate.

Again, CIA is a civilian agency. I don't think they are trained to be able to do what you're insinuating. They are practically required to rely on special forces to do that.


Probably more pushing papers to the appropriate group to get things handled.

Continuing the drone strikes doesn't appear to be solving anything, since we've been doing for 8 years and *suprise* the people we're bombing still don't care for us very much.


The drone strikes are designed to kill the US's enemies. Not make friends. As far as being efficient at killing, they are widely successful.


Precisely. They're not friend making drones, so using friends made to judge their performance is...kind of strange. They turn targets into holes in the ground, and at that, they are quite good. Making friends instead of going to war is great, but that's an entirely different thing.

sardia wrote:Right now, regardless of drones, the government is blowing up people, and everyone around them with no transparency, with short term thinking and bad intelligence.


Is war. Is supposed to be blowing people up. Is not supposed to be transparent.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Kulantan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:17 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Is war. Is supposed to be blowing people up. Is not supposed to be transparent.

War is the single most extreme power wielded by government. The way that we can make better decisions about government is if we have more of the facts. War has to be as transparent as possible.

Tyndmyr wrote:Precisely. They're not friend making drones, so using friends made to judge their performance is...kind of strange.

Measuring the success of a war of occupation by the amount that people still want to kill you seems like a good idea.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:26 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Drone strikes kill people. Robots in warfare will only kill other robots only so they can get to the point where they can kill people. Unless you somehow think that when faced with overwhelming force that the other side will just give up. I offer the US vs. Afghanistan in that case, hows that working out, even with drones?


Not that badly.

Any time in conflict drones take the risk instead of people is good. Obviously, people are the thing you want to protect, and if drones fail to do so...they're at risk. But better that than using people from the start. China, Russia, us...the big powers. We don't just go punch each other directly, we use proxy battles. Have for a while. Better we have robots serve as those proxies than people.



Fine for us bad for them. However it can't stand in the long term. The technology is too cheap. Soon the other side, whoever that may be, will be targeting our people with drones and around and around we go. In the end it will always come back to people. Countries and organizations are composed of people. In a fairly funny way it's ironic Al-Qaeda used even cheaper drones first. Suicide bombers. Very low total cost of ownership and in unlimited supply.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby sardia » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:40 am UTC

Is war? What war was declared exactly?
People? Which people? Is it you? Do you have a drone watching you? How am I suppose to know who to shoot?

You're too trusting of a president, I wouldn't trust anyone who says "trust me, just let me blow up some more terrorists."

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Negated » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:02 am UTC

Kulantan wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Is war. Is supposed to be blowing people up. Is not supposed to be transparent.

War is the single most extreme power wielded by government. The way that we can make better decisions about government is if we have more of the facts. War has to be as transparent as possible.

Some degrees of transparency, yes. No one wants war crimes covered up within the military. But secrecy is an inherent nature of conducting warfare. Anything the general public knows, the enemy would know too. You don't want the enemies to know that the war is not going well for you. You don't want militants to know how CIA compiles a list of targets to strike. Another problem is that a sound military strategy is not necessarily politically popular. By making things public, military decisions will be greatly influenced by the media and political pressure. Difficult decisions become impossible to make, even if they are believed to be necessary by the Pentagon.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Malice » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:33 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Malice wrote:This is a wonderful step towards an advanced future where battles are fought by people like Ender and the only casualties are machines. This is a good thing.

Ender's Game is a wonderful example of why turning a war into a video game results in MORE casualties and ACTUAL genocide. By separating Ender from the battlefield, they dehumanized both the enemy and the friendly forces to the point that in the final battle, Ender sent all his forces to their deaths in order to wipe out an entire race.

Remotely directing the battle resulted in every person in the area becoming a casualty. It was the most casualties you could possibly have. We can categorically say that he didn't reduce casualties because there was no physical way to have any more casualties. The whole book was a cautionary tale about remote control increasing casualties!! Sorry, I just can't get over how awful this example is.


That's bullshit. Ender's Game sidesteps the issue because Ender's never told he's fighting a real war; they tell him he's simply being tested on a simulation, and what is essentially academic pressure causes him to "ace the test" by destroying what he thought was a virtual enemy. Only afterwards does he learn the truth. The story is only a cautionary tale only applicable to drone warfare if we start telling our soldiers they're playing Drone Warriorz 4 on PS3 and that they aren't actually bombing anyone, which is a patently absurd hypothetical.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Kulantan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:23 am UTC

Negated wrote:Some degrees of transparency, yes. No one wants war crimes covered up within the military. But secrecy is an inherent nature of conducting warfare. Anything the general public knows, the enemy would know too. You don't want the enemies to know that the war is not going well for you. You don't want militants to know how CIA compiles a list of targets to strike.

I'm not suggesting that the government publish a schedule for military strikes. Wilfully distorting the public's perception of the effects of drone strikes by calling every military aged male kill a terrorist isn't directed at the "enemy".
Negated wrote:Another problem is that a sound military strategy is not necessarily politically popular. By making things public, military decisions will be greatly influenced by the media and political pressure. Difficult decisions become impossible to make, even if they are believed to be necessary by the Pentagon.

The only worse thing that can ever be said about a government department in a democracy than that they fear public scrutiny is that they actively deceive the public.
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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Sockmonkey » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:41 am UTC

Negated wrote:So the article argues that....US should not have used drone strikes on terrorists, because others will develop the technology in 20 years time. That is just silly. What's the point of military research if the military does not use it when the situation calls for it?

I don't really see drone strikes setting a bad precedent either. The strikes were done in war zone (Afghanistan) or with (secret) blessing of the government (Pakistan, Yemen). The strikes stopped for some time when Pakistan denied US the use of drones in the aftermath of a friendly fire incident last year. The US military is not really just striking targets at will, disregarding all regulations and laws.

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Re: The Global Growth of Drone Warfare

Postby Beltayn » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:53 am UTC

It must be really great to live in a bubble where the world is a wonderful place full of nice people and everyone would all just mind their own business if that Big Bully American Military/CIA just left them alone.

Sometimes I think we've become a victim of our own success since 9/11.
We've reached the point where self-righteous hippies who have never left their state, let alone the country, trust the word of an illiterate, wife-beating, boy-raping, daughter-acid-burning Pashtoon tribesman who IN NO WAY has ANY ulterior motives in what wild story he tells western journalists.
Trust their word over that of our own elected officials, extensively vetted and polygraphed operators, and strictly controlled military personnel, all of whom act under a conservative moral framework of oversight and checks-and-balances designed to prevent mishaps and mistakes and power abuses.

Disapprove of warfare in general if you must, fine.
But give us enough freaking credit to not call us all shadowy, Machiavellian war criminals, on the basis of ZERO evidence except hearsay from biased sources.


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