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Drone Strikes - Rep Dennis Kucinich stood up in Cong. yest to Q the program

  • 17-11-2012 4:58pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,830 ✭✭✭

    Opening Remarks
    Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich

    “An Examination of the United States’ Drone Policy

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    I'll just list main points he made (word for word quotes)

    • ..Drone strikes are occurring far from any internationally recognized battlefield.

    • ..There is increasing evidence that such strikes cause significant harm to civilian populations and serve as a powerful recruitment tool for terrorists.

    • ..Congress has been denied the right to read the legal framework used by the Administration to justify the drone strikes.

    • ..Strikes are being carried out with virtually no transparency, accountability or judicial review. Victims or targets of the strikes are denied the right to due process. Innocent civilians and American citizens are getting the death penalty without so much as a trial.

    • ..We must reject the notion that Congress and the American people have to be kept in the dark on U.S. counter-terrorism strategies.

    • ..Simply put, drones must be subject to the same scrutiny and laws that other weapons the United States employs.

    • ..This is the new war. It is defined less by geography, than technology. This change in definition allows the President – Democrat or Republican – to concentrate the power of declaring war into his or her hands.

    • ..This change in war governance also allows the President to bypass the now out of date legal and constitutional infrastructure that was constructed to ensure war is a last resort, not a first resort.

    “we see what is happening here and we won’t stand for it.”

    Personally I think Kucinich is a legend for speaking up. I am obviously against the drone strike program. The media has been too quiet about this for too long and the presidential campaign didn't go near it and we know why that is... because Romney clearly couldn't say jack sh1t about it and that's the secret behind the media veil on this issue - because we just came from a period of large scale intensive pre-emptive US military policy run by the Bush team of Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld and the country is so war weary, Obama HAD to manage to be seen to 'do something' against the 'terror' out there BUT keep it small scale and keep US guys outa harms way. The Drone strikes offered him the perfect easy option. So he took it with both hands and expanded it dramatically and between himself and his exec team and a few guys in Justice and the CIA and the DOD (through JSOC) they managed to produce on the sly, a framework where they could do what the fuk they wanted how they wanted when they wanted where they wanted and without anybody even being ABLE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS!!! Pure power concentration, side stepping congress and their own constitution! I recommend watching Kucinich speak and realize the ramifications of what he is saying and why he is so motivated on this topic. At least read, watch or listen to something before making ignorant comments and remember that just because it's been going on for nearly a decade and that you're 'USED' to hearing about drones and killing 'terrorists' doesn't mean that it's right, moral or effectively winning their so called endless barrier-less lawless unrealistic 'War on Terror'.

    and no I don't have a better idea... before anybody asks me!.. that doesn't mean what they're doing is right!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,020 ✭✭✭BlaasForRafa

    and no I don't have a better idea... before anybody asks me!.. that doesn't mean what they're doing is right!

    Ah, I was waiting for the conclusion and you wimped out! :p

    When you look at areas like Waziristan you have a massive territory that is essentially ungoverned. The culture of that area is so different to that of the west that its difficult for us to get a handle on what they want. If they'd just keep themselves to themselves then there wouldn't be much problem but when they destabilise Afghanistan then they become a problem.

    The Pakistani military seemingly can't pacify the area and the American's can't put boots on the ground (and probably don't want to...and who could blame them) so strikes from the air seem to be the least worst way of trying to get to grips with taliban and al qaeda activity in those areas.

    It seems to be that every so often there will be a claim that a wedding party is hit by a strike and dozens of innocent civilians killed etc. The claims rarely come from an unbiased source and we can't know how many killed in any strike are actually innocent and how many are taliban. The taliban may be morally backward but I'm guessing they are sophisticated enough to know what propaganda works best against the interests of their enemies.

    I don't particularly get this point "Simply put, drones must be subject to the same scrutiny and laws that other weapons the United States employs." I'd imagine that drones are subject to the same laws that the employment of F-15's and tomahawk missiles and any other weapon would be. The operators of the drones are still subject to the uniform code of military justice unless someone is claiming differently?

    Also as to "This is the new war. It is defined less by geography, than technology. This change in definition allows the President – Democrat or Republican – to concentrate the power of declaring war into his or her hands." - The USA is not at war with Pakistan and I don't think that the US can declare war on a region of a country rather than a country. The US presumably has the tacit approval of the Pakistan government to operate drone strikes in these border areas, if the Pakistan government came out and said definitively that the US must desist from drone strikes then the US would have to stop.

    And if you take away the leeway for the executive to take actions in these circumstances without declaring war then the executive would have to seek declarations of war much more often or would in far more likelihood be paralysed into inaction.

    So essentially drone strikes might not be "nice" but they're probably the best compromise. The details of who orders what and when may need to be finessed and congress be given more oversight but not much will change I'd guess.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,830 ✭✭✭Be like Nutella

    That is essentially word for word the total argument stated by the other side I suppose... and well put in your case. You'd do better as a spokesman FOR drone strikes than most of them do already.

    Should have a look at the Vid when you've time and see does your mind change at all. I'm very much assuming you haven't. I would predict it won't but sure it's worth a go ; ) if you have an open mind.

    Very rarely is one side to anything as complex as this 'completely right'.

    I personally have major moral issues with the US drone strikes and I personally don't think they serve to protect the US. I actually think they breed more Jihadist hatred than would otherwise exist if they didn't do them at all and I don't think the killing is making the US any more safer whether or not they have killed a few dozen high ranking AQ guys and a whole boat load of totally replaceable mid and low level guys.

    Point I'm making in asking you to try and give the vid a watch is that there is far more information than you think you know so far (and that isn't supposed to be a stab, you clearly are militarily/geographically informed) and you might learn something you don't already know.

    The issue can be divided into many areas, political, moral, legal, domestic, international, technological, strategic, military, constitutional, freedom of information, liberty etc etc.. and opinions will vary in each category when it comes to drones strikes. It's a very dynamic issue and nobody is expert in it all and inevitably there's a lot of 'I feel' going on within it. Also there is a severe 'lack of information' as you allude to which makes it even more difficult to conclude arguments about it. However you seem to brush past all these nuances with the efficiency of a military general who has to make a GREEN LIGHT or RED LIGHT decision and that to me, is an inadequate approach to the subject. IF the situation was black and white and a case of 'if we don't do this exact strike right now' then 'X WILL happen to the US' then I would agree and fall on your side of looking at it from a necessarily efficient military perspective as I do believe strongly in defending yourself/your country BUT in this area - there is absolutely no evidence to say that this is the picture we see and because of that lack of transparency and lack of ACCOUNTABILITY within the drone strike program being carried out aggressively by the US then there is necessarily fierce although not fierce enough IMO debate about the whole thing.