Civilian Deaths in Drone Strikes Cited in Report


#1

nytimes.com/2013/10/22/world/asia/civilian-deaths-in-drone-strikes-cited-in-report.html?_r=0


#2

Are there any terrorists that are not also civilians?

I mean, if the terrorist was a member of an official army core, then by definition he would be defined as a soldier rather than a terrorist, and his acts would be defined as acts of war rather than acts of terrorism.

The complaint is of civilian deaths, and I suppose the assumption is that these civilians were not involved in terrorist activities.
But then who is the best judge of that? Thieves do not leave calling cards for what they do in the dark of night, and terrorists are only effective to the extent that they can blend into the surrounding civilian population that they are synonymous with.

What drones can do is survey the terrorist event, and track those scurrying away from the scene back to their villages. Footage is analysed and reanalysed and the perpetatators are continuously tracked until the decision is made even thousands of miles away that these are indeed the perpetrators being targeted. At any point, the decision can be made that the level of certainty is not sufficient that the target is a legitimate one, and under scrutiny and review, the mission may be called off.

This type of warfare is impersonal and cold blooded. Nevertheless, with the pin point precision that is allowed with this kind of strike, we have indeed come a long way from the firebombings of Dresden.

Whne it comes to doing isolated strikes against specific terrorists, this is the best technology and the best method that is now available to us.

Drone attacks have increased under Obama, not because he is some raving imperialist neo-con bent on destroying Muslims, but conversely because he is not.


#3

[quote="Darryl1958, post:2, topic:342821"]

Whne it comes to doing isolated strikes against specific terrorists, this is the best technology and the best method that is now available to us.

Drone attacks have increased under Obama, not because he is some raving imperialist neo-con bent on destroying Muslims, but conversely because he is not.

[/quote]

Please explain.

The fact that the US has gone from seizing suspected terrorist to killing them, their families and anyone that happens to be in the area seems to indicate at least a casual regard for life (particularly innocent lives) in general no matter what the cause.


#4

[quote="SamH, post:3, topic:342821"]
Please explain.

The fact that the US has gone from seizing suspected terrorist to killing them, their families and anyone that happens to be in the area seems to indicate at least a casual regard for life (particularly innocent lives) in general no matter what the cause.

[/quote]

We could do nothing in response to terrorists strikes, and nothing to neutralize terrorist, much like was the response to terrorism pre- September 11, 2001.

We could make extra-territoriality arrests, and keep terrorist suspects in Guatanamo until the threat of terrorism dies, or they die of old age, whichever comes first.

We can withdraw completely from world affairs, and allow the terrorist ideologies to take over those societies. Indeed, that is what we have been doing.

We can retaliate with overwhelming military force against any country that dares to raise its head in defiance after any significant terrorist hit that we are subject to, and the next Iraqs and Afghanistan will fall.

We can bomb the country that the terrorist hails from to a state of molten glass, and strike the fear of the devil in any country that gives rise to the terrorist seed.

There are a lot of things that we could do instead of drone strikes for sure. Out of all of those, Obama chose drone strikes.
I think that he took the better option on that one.


#5

[quote="Darryl1958, post:4, topic:342821"]

There are a lot of things that we could do instead of drone strikes for sure. Out of all of those, Obama chose drone strikes.
I think that he took the better option on that one.

[/quote]

So a modern version of better dead than red?


#6

[quote="SamH, post:5, topic:342821"]
So a modern version of better dead than red?

[/quote]

No.
It has nothing to do with communism or the Cold War.

Better a drone than an ostrich with a head stuck in the sand as a response is the more apt analogy.:)


#7

Personally, I am largely against drone strikes so long as they are killing innocent civilians. Also the fact that they are killing suspected terrorists and not convicted terrorists bothers me. Granted, if they were convicted then they would likely already be in prison or be put to death. However, the fact is that they are killing people who are suspected to be terrorists. Can they be absolutely sure that these people are, in fact, terrorists?


#8

[quote="Holly3278, post:7, topic:342821"]
Personally, I am largely against drone strikes so long as they are killing innocent civilians. Also the fact that they are killing suspected terrorists and not convicted terrorists bothers me. Granted, if they were convicted then they would likely already be in prison or be put to death. However, the fact is that they are killing people who are suspected to be terrorists. Can they be absolutely sure that these people are, in fact, terrorists?

[/quote]

If you ask to many questions like that the IRS might decide to audit you.


#9

Change we can believe in.


#10

[quote="SamH, post:8, topic:342821"]
If you ask to many questions like that the IRS might decide to audit you.

[/quote]

I don't think they can audit me since I have no income and don't own a business but all well. I don't care. :)


#11

[quote="Holly3278, post:7, topic:342821"]
Personally, I am largely against drone strikes so long as they are killing innocent civilians. Also the fact that they are killing suspected terrorists and not convicted terrorists bothers me. Granted, if they were convicted then they would likely already be in prison or be put to death. However, the fact is that they are killing people who are suspected to be terrorists. Can they be absolutely sure that these people are, in fact, terrorists?

[/quote]

In WWII they could be absolutely sure that the bombs would be killing civilians. This was not a huge area of concern, and would not have been, even if it could have been avoided.
It was not much of a concern in Vietnam either
In other theatres of war, such as the precision strikes of the Iraq War, non-military casualties did become more and more of a concern. The technology was such that such casualties could be minimized.
Likewise, in Israel going after Hamas terrorists, civilians were more and more avoided, although it was very difficult to strike at the moving targets without hitting the schoolyards from which the rockets were fired from.

Drone technology is the latest technology that specifically is designed to go after the individual terrorists, to track them down in real time, and to decide on whether or not a strike is justified based in factors such as the death of people not involved in the terrorists act.
Absolute certain and perfection are the goals for sure. The technology is not there yet.
In the meantime, drones have come as a solution to fighting terrorists in traditional theatres of war, such as Iraq or Afghanistan, or of doing nothing.

Gitmo tactics are also a solution, although the political will to filling up Guatanamo with captured terrorists is problematic at best. The legality of making extra-territorial arrests is also very shaky.


#12

If there's one thing I disagree with the Obama administration on, it's the continuation of the Bush era drone strikes.


#13

A not so thinly veiled attempt to take a shot at Bush, but you can't really compare the two in terms of the sheer numbers.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_drone_strikes_in_Pakistan

It's like equating a guy who throws a punch with the Enola Gay. Obama has increased them by several orders of magnitude.


#14

The continuation was a toss of the keys to the car, no one said to drive 110 and off the road with the car.


#15

Collateral damage is a fact of war. Avoid as much as possible, but don't let it bother you if it happens....if you want to eventually eliminate the enemy.


#16

[quote="oldcelt, post:15, topic:342821"]
Collateral damage is a fact of war. Avoid as much as possible, but don't let it bother you if it happens....if you want to eventually eliminate the enemy.

[/quote]

Funny how they were not even the enemy when Bush was president. Usually they were called victims.


#17

[quote="LiberalPrincess, post:12, topic:342821"]
If there's one thing I disagree with the Obama administration on, it's the continuation of the Bush era drone strikes.

[/quote]

Agreed.


#18

Looks like some predictions made earlier this year regarding drones are coming true.

globalresearch.ca/what-obamas-nominations-mean-the-military-is-being-downsized-but-cia-covert-operations-are-gearing-up/5318140


#19

[quote="LiberalPrincess, post:12, topic:342821"]
If there's one thing I disagree with the Obama administration on, it's the continuation of the Bush era drone strikes.

[/quote]

Obama continued the entirety of the Bush era policy. Drones increased, and Guatanamo is still there.
Very little has changed that wouldn't have changed any way. Unfortunately, he never capitalized on the successes, and he never learnt from the mistakes either. He grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq, for instance.


#20

[quote="oldcelt, post:15, topic:342821"]
Collateral damage is a fact of war. Avoid as much as possible, but don't let it bother you if it happens....if you want to eventually eliminate the enemy.

[/quote]

If collateral damage is to be avoided, drone attacks are the way to go.
I am open to rational arguments that would prove me to be wrong on that point though. I just haven;t seen any yet.


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