Friday, March 27, 2009

Why targeted killing? And why is robotics so crucial an issue in targeted killing?

(Given the recent Obama administration review of the Predator campaign in Pakistan, I thought it would be a useful thing to put this discussion on the table.  Welcome Instapunditeers, and thanks Glenn for the Instalanche!  You might also want to check out the ComplexTerrainLab's discussion among academics of PW Singer's Wired for War, here.)

Why targeted killing? And why the insistence that it will increase in utility as it is partnered with high-technology, stand-off platforms such as Predator drone aircraft? Why the emphasis on targeted killings and robotics? There is a fundamental strategic rationale lying behind the policy trend.

The United States has found the limits of how extensively it can wage full-scale wars with its military; even if wanted to take on more wars, it has logistical and political limits. In addition, the United States has discovered that full-on war is useful principally against regimes. Full scale, large scale war of the kind waged in Afghanistan and Iraq is useful primarily for bringing down a regime that, for example, might harbor or support terrorists, or which might be believed to be willing to supply terrorists with materials for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Full-scale war has a crucial strategic place in national counterterrorism policy, but by its nature that role is about states and regimes fundamentally.

Large-scale military operations are less useful directly against transnational terrorists, however, who are few in number, dispersed across populations and often borders, disinclined to fight direct battles, and more efficiently targeted through narrower means. The fundamental role of war in counterterrorism is to eliminate the regimes that provide safe haven to terrorist groups; terrorist groups can be strategically understood as an extreme version of a guerrilla organization engaged in a strategy of logistical raiding – in which civilian morale and resulting manipulation of political will is the logistical target. Logistical raiders typically need a safe base to which to retreat, and full-scale war is most useful in eliminating such safe bases and convincing other regimes not to provide them. But it is not usually an efficient way of going directly after transnational terrorist groups themselves.

Law enforcement utilized outside the United States, on the other hand, has also discovered its outer limits. Many debates are still to be had over the rights of alleged terrorists once in U.S. custody. Even so, whatever they are, few would argue that going out to ‘arrest’ terrorists in, for example, Pakistan’s tribal zones is a winning policy or a serious option. The same is true in Somalia and other places, and it will be true in other places in the world in the future.

Moreover, the political costs for any U.S. administration taking and holding detainees are now enormous. Once you hold them, over time they will likely be accorded quasi-Constitutional protections by the courts, at least some version of habeas corpus. Politically, the most powerful institutional incentive today is to kill rather than capture them. The intelligence losses of killing rather than capturing in order to interrogate them are great. But since the U.S. political and legal situation has made interrogation a questionable activity anyway, there is little reason to seek to capture rather than kill. And if one intends to kill, the incentive is to do so from a standoff position, because it removes messy questions of surrender.

All this speaks to the advantages to the U.S. government of targeted killing of terrorists or persons seriously believed to be terrorists, and it also speaks to the advantages to the US government from using stand-off robotics technology to perform these attacks. But the humanitarian advantages of ‘targeted’ killing are enormously important as well, and ought to be on the table. This is particularly so given that targeted killing has come in for a barrage of criticism, legal and ethical, much of which seems motivated by the fact that it can be more discriminate than full scale military assault; the fear seems to be that it makes violence too easy to undertake. The same criticism is offered of the evolution of robotic technology that increasingly allows targeted uses of force without having to risk one’s own personnel. Not using one’s own personnel allows a party to attack without the fear of counterassault that might increase the need to use greater amounts of force and cause greater collateral damage – but it also, so it is sometimes argued, thereby reduces the inhibitions on the decision to use force.

Why this should be a downside for US strategic counterterrorism policy is not entirely evident, but clearly some critics are disturbed by it. Much of the criticism amounts to a very contemporary restatement, aimed against the targeted killing that evolving robotic and surveillance technology might permit, of a very old argument against the idea itself of the introduction of humanitarian standards in conflict (one that stretches back at least to the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)), that humanitarian standards by their promulgation would reduce the disincentives to war.

Whatever the critics say, however, is unlikely to sway US strategic policy, under the Obama administration or anyone else subsequently. The humanitarian benefits of precision targeting are far more obvious than the more remote and abstract suppositions of their humanitarian costs. Their direct policy consequence is to introduce greater discrimination in targeting than full-scale military assault and large-scale war permit, through targeted killing using high technology. There is a clear humanitarian advantage favoring the use of targeted killing over full-scale war. Advancing technology allows for more discrete surveillance and therefore more precise targeting that is finally better able to minimize collateral civilian damage.

The result is a strategic incentive for targeted killing, for Predator strikes, and for increasing the quality of technology to make targeted killings both more precision targeted and more standoff. Precision targeting and standoff delivery are each independently desirable and, in combination, considerably increase the incentive. The Obama policy team did not quite run on a policy of targeted killing – but it did run on a policy of taking the fight to Al-Qaeda in Pakistan in a targeted way.
The Obama administration is right about this – right about the logic that presses toward targeting standoff killing as a necessary and available and technologically advancing part of counterterrorism. It is also right about it as a moral and humanitarian proposition in the law and policy of the use of force. It is a conclusion that is correct as well as for foreseeable future administrations, even if administrations naturally prefer to couch it in softer terms.

None of this alters the equally impeccable strategic logic underlying the use of law enforcement mechanisms in some circumstances. Nor does it alter the logic behind other forms of intelligence activities such as surveillance or financial interdiction, or even the use of open, full-on war. The strategic logic for toppling a regime in pursuit of counterterrorism during the next ten or twelve years can by no means be ruled out. But these are not disjunctive policies. They all can and should work together. But targeted killing is likely to increase as a policy preference as full-scale wars decreases in number and intensity.

The paradox, however, is that although the strategic logic for targeted killing increases in persuasiveness, the legal space for it and the legal rationales on which it has been traditionally justified are shrinking. It has been shrinking in ways that might surprise members of Congress and the Obama administration. And it is at risk of shrinking still further through seemingly innocuous, unrelated legal policy actions that the Obama administration or Congress might be inclined to take in support of various political constituencies, usually related to broadly admirable goals of human rights and international law.

U.S. law, in domestic law since the original Cold War legislation establishing the CIA in 1947 at least, and in the US view of international law, accepts a legal, political, and policy space for the use of violence by political decision not in the course of large scale, open armed conflict governed by international humanitarian law, and not in the course of judicially supervised law enforcement operations, either. ‘Violence by political decision’, in peacetime outside of open armed conflict under international humanitarian law, was a space of activity accepted and considered vital to national security throughout the long decades of the Cold War. Only in certain narrow times and places was the decades-long conflict with the Soviet Union and its allies a ‘hot’ war, open and large-scale armed conflict, clashes of armies. Political violence in the Cold War was often covert, often denied, but it was authorized and endorsed by US domestic law, although it was frequently a violation of the law of states where such activity took place and unsurprisingly was sometimes, too, a source of grave diplomatic and other friction.

This category of force is an obvious means by which to confront non-state transnational terrorists outside the territorial United States. It is especially true outside the territory of states where effective mechanisms exist for arrest, detention, investigation, trial, and punishment, or alternatively extradition, of suspected terrorists. Regimes that have allied themselves to terrorist organizations – the Taliban in Afghanistan – might be toppled. Failed states might require large-scale military action in order to block the use of territory as a safe haven by terrorist groups. But as a strategic matter, actual attack on a physically small number of terrorists embedded among civilians is often best served by attacks made as physically precise and discrete as surveillance and targeting technology allow.

72 comments:

Charles Gittings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles Gittings said...

Gee, there's so much to criticize here I hardly know where to begin.

The utility of targeted killings you say --

What utility? On what evidence?

The notion that the deficiencies of local law enforcement can be re4ctified by operating like Murder Inc. is just daft.

The only real utility such methods have is pandering to the depravity of vicious gangsters like Bush and Cheney and their political supporters. Their actual results speaks for themselves: they've made a bad situation worse and accomplished nothing that was worth the cost.

And what makes you think murdering people has utility. Every time you murder an innocent bystander in the process, you are recruiting more and better future "terrorists".

Every time you kill an actual "terrorist" you trade a known quantity for the unknown, and every time you kill a leader you risk replacing him with someone who is smarter and more effective.

What this article mostly tells me is that you really don't have the least understanding of the problems. This isn't about counter-terrorism or law enforcement, it about you practicing terrorism yourself on the theory that you are good and your enemies are evil.

The truth is that the United States has no worse enemies than you and every other neo-fascist who advocate this nonsense. Not because you're evil, but because you are clueless and irresponsible. We would be better off disbanding the military entirely than allowing ourselves to resort to the methods and mentality of NAZIS.

And that's exactly what this is Ken. The clearest thing about Iraq and Afghanistan is the absolute incompetence the people responsible for the strategy and tactics. You want to help the US military do a better job?

Get rid of all the murderous fools like Gates and Petraeus.

Suppose these idiots used such methods against criminals here in the United States -- would you support that?

And if not, why not?

There's nothing complicated going on here: you just don't think Arabs and Muslims are entitled to be treated like human beings under all the rationalizations and false assumptions. If you really believed everything you say here, then you should simply be advocating exterminating ALL of them -- that way you'll at least be sure of murdering all the "terrorists". At least all of the terrorists who aren't American or Israeli neo-fascists like YOU.

I repeat: you are smarter than this.

Charles Gittings said...

Shorter thesis tripped of all the BS and sophist blather:

Law enforcement and police work are too difficult, so behaving like gangsters is just a good idea.

Pawpaw said...

I agree and disagree with Mr. Gittings. There is a lot to disagree with in this thesis.

Military history shows that prisoners are a pain in the ass. You've got to feed them, clothe them, etc. The only value they might have is their intelligence value, and that's quickly lost as the battlefield changes.

We've got to take prisoners, because of the humanitarian concerns, but taking prisoners is a pain in the butt.

The biggest failing of current progressive thought is trying to equate a military solution with a law-enforcement model. I'm not interested in bringing terrorists to justice. I don't care one whit if bin Laden is ever brought before a Court. I just want him dead.

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

War is not law enforcement.
So all of your un-condensed version is irrelevant.

thedaddy

Peg C. said...

First, IANAL. Second, I am very pro-America, pro-democracy, and virulently anti-terrorist. That said, your definition of terrorist groups: "...terrorist groups can be strategically understood as an extreme version of a guerrilla organization engaged in a strategy of logistical raiding – in which civilian morale and resulting manipulation of political will is the logistical target"...could be argued to include foreign and domestic groups that work to undermine America's self-defense and work to support those who mean us harm. A definition I would not disagree with. :-D I include the MSM, A.N.S.W.E.R. and other groups in this definition. I'm far from alone in this.

The truth is right now this country is controlled by people who operate from the premise that America is bad, not good, and that we should not be able to defend ourselves against attack and in fact deserve all the terror, harm and misery we get. Witness the witless first comments from the Useful Idiot.

I'm in favor of interrogation for information and defense purposes, I'm in favor of detention, I'm in favor of targeted killings by special ops or by robots or both, and I'm in favor of any and all methods that can reasonably be proposed for defending this country and our interests. The political landscape right now does not favor defense, period. No, it really does not, if you examine just what we have voted into office.

The political landscape will change very drastically after the next attacks. Things unthinkable to many of us now will be demanded and will be committed then. It will be too late for a lot of us. But this is a fascinating and necessary discussion of the coming choices, strategic, moral, ethical, and political.

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest benefit to targeted killings is that it brings the battle directly to the enemy leaders who, previously, were largely safe from harm. I doubt the next bin Laden will be as willing to strike at the US if he truly believes he could be eliminated at any minute, with no warning, for his troubles.

As for those who believe that killing our enemies only makes them stronger, I say there is a finite number of people willing to die for their cause. The perception of probable victory is just as much an incentive to recruitment as anger over the killings.

Anonymous said...

Yes but robotics are getting cheaper. When the terrorists start using standoff devices against us (crashing UAVs into stadiums etc.) will we be as happy with robotics as we are now?

I guess one could make the argument that if we don't use our technology now we'll have it us on us later. Not a reassuring thought.

ALM

SMSgt Mac said...

Your instincts are good.
I would expand more on how the so-called "targeted killing" (a legalism that could never come forth from a military mind - only a legal one) is entirely consistent with good military doctrine and the rules of warfare through the ages.

First, it is entirely consistent with B H Liddell Hart's "Indirect Approach", the use of which was shown throughout history in his best-known work Strategy.

Second, the use of airpower in the implementation of the indirect approach is entirely consistent with modern airpower doctrine as illustrated within John Warden's The Air Campaign. Warden also used examples throughout history to illustrate the importance of attacking the enemy's "Centers of Gravity"-a concept that translates well across the the entire spectrum of conflict, including those involving non-state entities.

If one reads these references and the bodies of work that they in turn reference, it becomes obvious to any rational person that failure to employ "targeted killing", if it was seen as an achievable objective, could be a more egregious 'wrong'.

The concern that the ability to carry out "targeted killing' via robotic methods might somehow encourage excessive use is misplaced. The question is not whether or not it will be employed "too often" but rather: What is the consequence of not employing it enough? What is the risk of greater conflict and greater loss of innocent life that can be avoided, if key members of an enemy command heirarchy are eliminated?

The real moral risk is that a cowardly or weak leadership might be tempted to ONLY employ "targeted killing" when greater action is warranted.

Charles Gittings said...

SMSgt Mac,

Well that all depends on how you go about choosing the targets, how you decide when you've murdered enough people to lower your risk to an acceptable level, and how long the people of the United States are willing to let murderers like you manufacture enemies.

Has it ever occurred to you that you're basically saying the 911 attacks were just a good idea?

halojones-fan said...

"...messy questions of surrender"?

Dude...seriously? This is really how you want to come across to people, as considering surrender and detainment a messy question?

What are your thoughts on Haditha?

tbrosz said...

"Why this should be a downside for US strategic counterterrorism policy is not entirely evident, but clearly some critics are disturbed by it."

Of course "critics" are disturbed. They're disturbed by anything related to U.S. use of military force against our enemies, and they're disturbed the most by methods that work. Have you noticed that U.S. military success often angers them more than military failures? The latter justifies their worldview.

In earlier wars, we had saturation bombing, thousands of troops expended, and millions of civilians dead.

If you had handed Roosevelt and Truman a Predator fleet and pinpoint targeted bombing technology, instead of B-17s and B-29s, you don't think this might have been an improvement?

As a rule of thumb, you can tell if some military tactic or strategy is a good idea by how loudly anti-Americans around the world oppose it.

Xiaoding said...

There a bit too much of black and white here.

We need rules, to guide us in the use of robotic strikes. Blowing up a church full of people too get one man is despicable, immoral, evil. THIS MUST STOP.

Why not simply announce that we will no longer do this thing? The benefits to us would be ENORMOUS.

There are reasons the Pakistanis are reluctant to attack in their west, perhaps we need to ask why that is? Do they know something we don't? What's the rush?

Get a guy in a jeep, on a bridge, seems ok. But no others must die in the attempt, except for cohorts, of course.

911 was a robotic attack, as a poster said. Good point.

So what, then, if the use of a Predator takes out a wedding? What's wrong with that?

It causes the attacker to lose legitimacy, both moral, and tactical, and strategic. How many of our troops will die, because a civilian does not act, to give a bit of precious intelligence? How many will die, because a wavering ally has doubts, is angry? It's not just bullets that can kill our troops! Resentment can kill many more! Better to let a man go, and make a friend in a foreign land!

What if this technique had been used in the American civil war? I would posit, that there would not even be an America today, but instead, a collection of small states! The loss of legitimacy would have been so severe, the federal government would have fallen. All from a missile pointed at the enemy.

Getting There said...

Ever since the idiots equated interrogation with torture, it makes no sense to take prisoners. Careful targeting and liquidation makes far more sense.

Thanks, idiots.

Tantor said...

Mr Charles Gittings provides a useful illustration of the arguments of the Useful Idiot in service of terrorists who incredibly claims that killing them multiplies them. In fact, recent history demonstrates that killing Al Qaeda kills Al Qaeda, which has been reduced to about three hundred panicky members on the defensive, hidden in Waziristan, killing each other with false accusations of treason after every Predator attack.

Isn't it odd that Gittings argues that killing off Al Qaeda leaders gives them the advantage, recruiting more to their cause, while he neglects to argue that Al Qaeda killing thousands of Americans recruits millions to our cause?

Gittings argument that killing off Al Qaeda leadership improves their leadership is absurd on its face. The evidence of Iraq is that killing off the insurgent leadership promotes less able leaders who make more mistakes which get them killed faster, which promotes even more incompetent leaders below them. Targeting terrorist leadership creates a cascade of catastrophe for terror groups, which brings the least competent underlings into command.

Mr. Gittings also makes the self-evidently preposterous argument that its wrong to label terrorists evil. Yes, Mr. Gittings, when terrorists stab flight attendants to death, smash planeloads of families into skyscrapers, force people to leap a hundred stories from skyscrapers, burn pedestrians with waterfalls of flaming jet fuel, smash thousands of office workers to vapor, they are evil. These are terrorists who claim their advantage is that they love death while we love life. That's as concise a mission statement for evil as you will find.

Mr. Gittings reveals himself as the typical lefty dolt when he claims that the people who label the terrorists as enemies and seek to kill them are the true enemy, neo-fascists in his overheated lefty rhetoric. In fact, it is lefty America-haters like Mr. Gittings who propagandize against the defense of America who serve the enemy, who consider those who defend America as Nazis. Perhaps the Taliban will give you a medal someday.

War is not police work, Mr. Gittings. You advocate a police model to waging this war in order to handicap the defense of America against its Muslim enemies. Think how foolish it would be to advocate a police model in waging other wars. Perhaps Mr. Gittings would have demanded we arrest the Japanese bomber pilots at Pearl Harbor instead of shooting back. Perhaps he would have demanded we arrest Yamamoto instead of targeting him in flight over the South Pacific. Maybe he would have preferred we parachute a corps of lawyers into Normandy to read the Germans their rights before we invaded. It is an absurd position to hold which reasonable people should dismiss.

Uncle Jimbo said...

Nicely struck Tantor,

Mr. Gittings has a few valid points about collateral damage that are being addressed in the programs he complains about, but this statement is just bone stupid.

"Every time you kill an actual "terrorist" you trade a known quantity for the unknown, and every time you kill a leader you risk replacing him with someone who is smarter and more effective."

Nice use of the law of unintended consequences to derail any use of force. If Mr. Gittings is correct then terror groups are organized in reverse order of competence with the dumbest on top. I kinda doubt it.

Every time we kill a terrorist we degrade their effectiveness and lessen their capabiities.

Cordially,

Uncle J

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gittings basis for objecting to this form of warfare can be adduced for *any* form of warfare, where one makes the assumption he stated as objectionable.

"This isn't about counter-terrorism or law enforcement, it about you practicing terrorism yourself on the theory that you are good and your enemies are evil."

In this Mr. Gittings makes the assumption that cultures, and the effects they have are no better and no worse than any other. It is the standard assumption of multiculturalism. With this assumption, *any* violence used in defense of industrial society around the world against an assault from some agrarian culture group, like the International Islamic Front, can be objected to as being illegitimate. The idea being that since we're no better than they are, there is nothing here worth killing people, to defend.

So. Why shouldn't we play along with Mr. Gittings assumption? Well, cultures are tools to let people culture up their children in patterns that will let them successfully adapt to their environment. On a planet whose human population density passed sustainable agrarian culture densities about 1830, we live in a real world that has an industrial environment by virtue of our population density on this planet. To assume that agrarian culture opponents of world-wide industrial freedoms of action are equal in virtue to those defending industrial freedoms of action ignores these 2 background points.

Only with the productivity of world-wide industrial networks-physical networks, market networks. intellectual networks, political networks, and spiritual networks-all of them, will we be able to feed and house and clothe our present population, much less the next 3-9 billion coming on. To refuse to defend these industrial freedoms of action dooms 5.5 billion of the 6.5 billion now live to death by starvation. Does Mr. Gittings wish to begin picking his 5.5 billion victims today, or let random chance, and their own strong arms, decide who lives and who dies?

Make no mistake, abjure the productivity of industrial society around the world, and we face just that sort of choice. Agrarian cultures can run industrial society about as well as DOS can run my Macmini. If you don't believe that look at the most prominent recent example of where industrial freedoms, market freedoms in this case were denied. The USSR, and its allies, could never equal the productivity of the industrial world, though they aped it in building factories, while squashing the market networks that could have run them productively. The Islamists, by my count, are the 4th world-wide wave of agrarian culture reaction against the continuing industrial revolution's necessary freedoms of action, "the socialist camp" being the 3rd.

Where the target of the socialists was other people's market freedoms, for the Islamists, it is industrial participant's intellectual and spiritual freedoms of action. Like their predecessors, the Islamists have succeeded in bringing the level of conflict to the point where civil law and reactive policing are ineffective, just as they meant to do.

If we wanted a world without the current intensities of struggle against the International Islamist Front, then we should have done what was needed to win the last world-wide conflict by 1961, instead of 1991, then turned to undercutting the Islamist wave of reaction immediately. Well, we didn't do that, and we live with the consequences.

The key being that in spite of such past mistakes, we *do* want our industrial society around the world to go on living and growing. Therefore, we need the means to defend it, even when the conflict has grown beyond what can be won through civil law alone, and entered the level of warfare. Therefore, we need the least morally objectionable way to wage war. Therefore, we need the advancing technology of "targeted killing", to limit the inevitable innocent deaths in warfare.

Note that this is a distinctly different moral solution than the Islamist desire to kill as many innocent people as possible.

THerefore, in answer to Mr. Gittings belief that he has a competent objection in:

"This isn't about counter-terrorism or law enforcement, it about you practicing terrorism yourself on the theory that you are good and your enemies are evil."

My answer then is that, *yes*, Mr Gittings, we *are* morally superior to our enemies, and are right to resist their assault by the most competent means available. Their moral incompetence *is* the essence of evil, and we are right to resist!

Regards,

Tom Billings

Charles Gittings said...

Oh my.

People have been killing each other in wars for thousands of years now, with by far the worst violence occurring over the last 100 years.

Your evidence that all of this has made anyone safer is . . . ?

And exactly what military successes are you people talking about?

Anyone one who thinks Iraq or Afghanistan have been ANY kind of success simply isn't paying attention.

What are the military objectives?

Why are we still there?

Why is it taking longer than WW2 did?

How many of you would be in favor of your local police departments using predators strikes against suspected criminals?

And if you wouldn't support that, why not?

Charles Gittings said...

Uncle J,

You'll have to show me where I said anything about "any use of force". I'd characterize what's been going down in Afghanistan as the indiscriminate use of force in a situation where it's quite obvious that no serous effort to deal with the problem is being made.

That fact that YOU don't understand that isn't MY problem.

It's trivial to observe that police work entails the use force. Nevertheless, I have yet to hear that any US police force wants to use Predators armed with Hellfire missiles to attack suspects in populated areas.

Charles Gittings said...

Tom,

What exactly do you mean by "evil"?

This isn't about metaphysics to me: a criminal is a criminal because they commit an act which is proscribed by LAW, regardless of their citizenship or political affiliations.

There is no form of criminal worse than a public official who violates our own laws.

SMSgt Mac said...

All,
Wonderful commentary in response to the bleating of the delightfully named Mr. 'Git'tings.

But someone incapable of grasping the highly defined concept 'murder', while feeling free to sling it about in such puerile fashion is hardly someone worthy of such thoughtful reproach. I chalked it up to just another brain-dead hippie having a bad day. If I had thought Mr ‘Git’tings was worthy, I would have pointed him here: http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/3432296.html

Charles Gittings said...

I get the concept of murder just fine SMSgt: malicious homicide by intent or neglect.

Now did you actually have some argument, or are you just going to keep spewing BULLSHIT, false assumptions, and circular logic at me?

Schelly said...

Mr. Gittings said, "There is no form of criminal worse than a public official who violates our own laws." Really? Then we really must hate ourselves - our entire country was founded on people breaking the Queen's laws.

Oh wait... you mean in modern times. Ummm... does Mr. Obama know you feel he's a worse criminal than those who plunged planes into the WTC, not once but twice, not to mention the Pentagon? How about Mr. Geithner, who didn't pay his taxes?

I suppose we should fire everybody in the House and Senate and start fresh then? You know, just in case?

Anonymous said...

Targeted killing by our military?

Well, we have targeted hate-based taxation by our Congress (re AIG).

We have targeted condemnation and scorn by our president (re: it's Bush's fault).

We have targeted reporting by our national media (re: GOP bad, Dems good).

All our major institutions target. The military is simply doing what it does best: kill.

Targeted killing (by machines)? I like it.

Anonymous said...

If we could return to the original essay, Mr. Anderson touches on a very interesting and quite serious trend: the convergence military and civilian authorities (e.g., power or freedoms granted) to address modern threats.

I would be very interested to read comments related to this aspect. Especially if they could be expressed objectively and logically.

Charles Gittings said...

Gee, you folks are a riot.

Schelly,

If you'd bother to read the Declaration of Independence some time you'll find that we revolted against King George III for precisely the reason that he was abusing our rights in violation of his own laws. And if you ever learn a little basic English grammar, you might also realize that our laws are the laws of the people, not a king nor the president whose sworn duty is to faithfully execute those laws. That's why they call it the "executive" branch.

As for "the convergence military and civilian authorities (e.g., power or freedoms granted) to address modern threats," there's nothing new about that: did you ever hear of Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin? Napoleon Bonaparte or Julius Caesar?

Old story which people like you never seem to get tired of forgetting as visions of absolute power and you own infallible wisdom dance in your twisted little minds.

"Objectively and logically" MY ASS. You people are just bigots with a hard on for murdering people you consider inferior -- for about the same reasons they used to lynch blacks in the South. There's nothing objective or rational about it.

AtomicSnarl said...

From Sun Tzu, the order of battle in dealing with an enemy is:

1. Attack the plan - Futility
2. Attack the alliances - Division
3. Attack the resources - Frustration
4. Attack the army in the field - Attrition
5. Attack the cities - Destruction

The costs increase with each step, which is why the cities are last. Good, proactive intelligence and operatives can prevent things from happening (steps 1 and 2). If not, they can foul things up so they can't happen. The problem in dealing with terrorist groups is that they act as Raiders, not Armies. They attack socially important targets hoping to force a surrender through incapacitating fear rather than overwhelming destruction leaving their opponent helpless.

Predator and similar attacks are steps 2 and 3. Public and frequent destruction of the leadership (and those nearby) demonstrate to would-be followers how dangerous it is to be associated with those people in any capacity, thus acting to deprive them of their primary resource, recruits and new leadership.

If you demonstrate that a handshake with the Taliban & Co. is a certain death sentence, they will be shunned by any and all whom they would prey on, so isolating them.

Don Meaker said...

Though it may offend Gittings et al, that the US and Western democracies intend to fight to win against 7th century lunatics, I wonder if he will discourse to us us how wonderful it will be once we give up.

We will win. Against an enemy who intentionally hides among women and children we will win. Against an enemy who turns our legal institutions so that they protect terrorists, and puts honest soldiers and innocent noncombatants at greater risk, we will win. Against an enemy who offers the protection of law to those who break it at every opportunity, we will win. Against an enemy who perverts virtue, and turns law on its head we will win. No matter how much they may hope that we will give in to their confusion, we will win.

Don Meaker said...

Terrorists, like pirates, are the enemy of all mankind. Justice for them is summary execution. To fail to give them summary execution is to fail in the pursuit of justice. There is a key difference between honest US citizens, who deserve the protection of the Constitution and the law, and a terrorist. To extend protection of law to the terrorist is a crime and an atrocity. To defend terrorists in court should be cause for any defense lawyer to be quickly disbarred, and then prosecuted and punished under the RICO statutes.

Don Meaker said...

Referring to Bush and Cheney as vicious gangsters shows that Gittings is terribly silly, at the very least. I hope for Mr Gittings sake he never meets the vicious terrorists that he so wishes to protect. What an irony it would be if he did, and they treated him in the predictable way he foolishness deserves.

Leftists are Weird said...

'Charles Gittings' appears to be a girlie-man who is really just an anti-US fifth-columnist.

Referring to the legally elected President and VP of America as gangsters shows the moral confusion of this simple mind.

Nonetheless, targetting killing by robotic drones is what the US military will do in the future, as will the Israeli military. It is the most efficient tactic against the asymmetrical advantages that terrorists alrady possess.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me that low-IQ leftists who think killing terrorists creates more terrorists are still able to pass for functioning adults.

The US took the war to terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a result of this + the PATRIOT Act + Wiretappings + Gitmo, the US has not had another terrorist attack in 8 years.

Meanwhile, there have been major attacks in Madrid, London, Bali (twice), Russia, Bombay (twice), Agypt, Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan (multiple times), Morocco, etc.

So the US tactics have worked very well. That is why Obama is continuing the successful Bush policies exactly.

To understand Charles Gittings, you have to understand that he is actually aligned with the terrorists. Then, his actions make sense.

Leftists are Weird said...

It looks like 'Charles Gittings' has already played the race card (which always happens when a leftist loses an argument). The new definition of a racist is anyone who winds an argument with a leftist.

Never mind that the left is far more racist than the right. Almost all genocides in history were the work of left-wing dictatorships.

He also said 'MY ASS'. Leftists tend to be gay, and Charles Gittings is sending these signals much in the way a baboon would.

Charles Gittings said...

Oh listen to you people.

I got news for you: George Bush and Dick Cheney have murdered a lot more people than Al Qaeda has, and both Al Qaeda and you Republicans are just criminals to me. The only real difference is that you Republicans are a much worse threat to the safety of the United States.

The seventh century indeed. What's that supposed to mean?

What it shows is something that was already obvious: you're religious and racial bigots who don't have a lick of sense or a shred of human decency. You don't speak for America, you speak for your own lying, disloyal selves.

Now why don't you all just crawl back under your rocks?

You worthless goons don't impress me in the least.

AtomicSnarl said...

Come on people... "Nanny nanny poo poo" only goes so far. As Anonymous asked, let's see some comments stated "objectively and logically."

You've seen mine. Your turn.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gittings said:

"Tom,

"What exactly do you mean by "evil"?"
====================================
The willing action to deliberately target innocent human life as a means of destroying a world-wide industrial society whose productivity keeps most of the human species alive. In particular to dress up in the robes of a known monotheist religion what is actually Moloch Worship. That is, to deliberately sacrifice human life at a Moloch, a raised platform which the population can see, those lives most deemed capable of attracting the favor of one of heaven. Such lives are most often desired to be as valuable and pure as possible, such as the lives of innocent men and women, and all too often, of the infants they value above life itself. Today, the Islamists deliberately do this from the platform provided by Professional Journalism, which certainly makes them visible to the population.

Those things are what our opponents in World War 4 are doing. They claim to be worshiping Allah, who never called for human sacrifice, while acting in evil ways they believe will bring favor upon them in the afterlife. They do this to destroy the freedoms of action needed for building and maintaining the productive networks of industrial society around the world.
====================================
"This isn't about metaphysics to me:"

Then we have something in common. I speak from a concern about the need for utility in the practice of keeping alive as many of the human species as possible through the coming decades and centuries.
====================================
"a criminal is a criminal because they commit an act which is proscribed by LAW, regardless of their citizenship or political affiliations."

True, but irrelevant. We are *not* speaking of criminal torts, but of *War*. The people we fight do not have to be charged as criminals in order to fight them any more than we consider most of those who fought against us in WW 2 criminals today. They are opponents in warfare around the world, in a conflict properly called World War 4.


Criminal law is a great social tool. A screwdriver is an excellent woodworking tool as well. Indeed, if you have to, you can hammer with it, pry with it, scrape with it, chisel with it, even if not as well as with a properly chosen tool. But after you do all these other things with it, it often does a lousy job as at turning screws. Likewise, let criminal law do the things it was designed for, and leave war to has been designed for it by bitter effort. The need for warriors does not die.

Law is a tool that has great utility. It is deeply destructive of it to believe it has universal utility. In warfare , law has a narrowly defined utility, which our military adheres to, prosecuting our own violators.
====================================
"There is no form of criminal worse than a public official who violates our own laws."
====================================
Again, we are not fighting people because they are criminals. We are fighting them because they support the destruction of our society, and willingly say so at every opportunity they get to speak to people in any language that is not well known outside Islam.

As to our own officials, your statement is manifestly untrue, since it is by now impossible to govern without breaking some sort of law previously passed. It is scarcely possible to simply live one's own life without breaking some law each day. Yet, we revere many of these Presidents and other leaders who got us through the last 150 years of waves of reaction against industrial freedoms, without totally losing those freedoms and the survival they make possible.

Regards,

Tom Billings

Liberals are Dumb said...

Charles Gittings is an uneducated fool.

Democrats have :
*Dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshina and Nagasaki
*Fought in the Korean War
*Invaded Vietnam
*Invaded Bosnia and Kosovo
*Imposed Oil for Food sanctions on Iraq, killing 500,000 children
*Attacked Saddam for his WMD programs in 1998.

Of course, to know this, one would have to read books, which Charles Gittings never does.

His moral inversion is stunning, as his is anti-US fanaticism.

Liberals are Dumb said...

Let me also add that the Democratic party has a far worse history of racism than the GOP does.

1) Slavery, which Abe Lincoln stopped
2) Internment of Japanese by FDR
3) Robert Byrd, a KKK kleagle, is a cherished bigot in the Democratic party to this day.
4) George Wallace running as a Democrat for President as recently as 1976.
5) Strom Thurmond was a Democrat at the time of supporting segregation. When he saw the error of his ways, he switched to the GOP.
6) Extreme Democrat racism against Bobby Jindal to this day.

By comparison, the worst that a Republican has ever done is utter a word like 'macaca', which is not even an insult.

I don't have much more time to educate Charles Gittings, but whatever planet he comes from, it certainly is not Earth.

He probably is worried about global warming since he comes from Venus - feminine men usually do (metaphorically).

Charles Gittings said...

Tom,

Well that's about what I thought. Are you trying to tell me that you don't think they are criminals?

I don't care if you think they are trying to destroy our society anymore than I care about them thinking that we are trying to destroy theirs. The reality is that they don't have any real capacity to destroy our society beyond pushing the buttons of people like you and Dick Cheney.

And I don't care about your version of Christian theology any more than I care about Osama Bin Ladin's version of Islamic theology either: god doesn't need a police force or an army, and if you think otherwise I'd have to question that you have any sincere belief in Christianity.

What I do care about is American officials committing dispicable war crimes that we once executed Nazis for committing in violation of our own laws, while simultaneously failing to do anything serious about bringing Osama Bin Ladin and his gang to justice because they are too busy raping Iraq and doing anything serious about the problem of Pakistan is too difficult and might upset some of their buddies.

You're barking up the wrong tree: I saw 911 coming back in 1987, and I've been tracking the events since day to day for eight years now. Neither the crimes nor the abject failures of the Bush adminstration are in any doubt to anyone with an objective view of the4 facts, and despite all the knee jerks assumptions going on here, it just so happens that I wasw a life long Republican up until 1987, when I quit voting at all because I just couldn't support a party that was being taken over by southern racists, religious bigots, and neo-fascists.

I'm not complicated at all: I don't like gangsters or bigots, and I like American gangsters and bigots least of all.

SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS.

Charly

Anonymous said...

"I don't like gangsters or bigots, and I like American gangsters and bigots least of all."

Aha! So you admit to having a unique prejudice towards America.

At least you are honest among left-wing traitors.

Charles Gittings said...

No -- I just don't like criminals subverting our laws and instituions for criminal purposes becasue it hurt all of us and makes everyone more vulnerable.

And if anyone here was a traitor, it would be YOU, excpet your really just a nut-job that gets off on the idea of murdering children.

No go fuck yourself. I'm done wasting time on you drooling goons.

ASIDE TO KEN:

What a wonderful set of people you are pandering to with this stuff huh? Proud of yourself??

Stephan said...

In an odd synchronicity check out today's Doonesbury

A Jacksonian said...

Terrorism is something known as an activity from antiquity, and it is not war fought for land or ruling an area via normal forces of a State or those declaring themselves to be a State. Thus their operations, having no central area to protect nor people to administer to cannot be an "extreme version of a guerrilla organization". For that to be true the organization would need to demonstrate itself with accountability, territory, uniforms and a declared system that they operate under. Having none of those they are not regular forces nor those seeking to be recognized as a State.

This puts them out of the Public War category entirely and attention shifts to Private War.

Private War is known by multiple names and is seen throughout history and one of the most salient to address this was Hugo Grotius with On the Laws of War and Peace starting in Book I, Ch.3. This actually grew out of the commercial understanding of warfare under the remains of the Roman Law that was used by Europe and codified as one of the first international law works in The Black Book of the Admiralty. Piracy itself is not just a sea based activity and that is fully understood even at that point in time. Piracy is a class of warfare that exists along with 'armies of thieves' which one might think was something relegated to the deep past until you see that the USSR used paratroops (indeed the first offensive paratroop drop ever) against a group they defined as such in 1929. This understanding was better codified as part of Emmerich de Vattel's work on Law of Nations particularly in Book III. What is interesting is that Blackstone worked with de Vattel before working on his Commentaries on the Common Law of England. Each of these individuals had a great sway on the founders and we are indebted to their work for formulating the concept of what a Nation State is and what its powers actually are, along with the responsibilities of citizens to conform to these for their own safety.

With that understanding we can examine Blackstone for his view of piracy and that it is in accord with the Private War concept stated by Grotius and de Vattel:

"LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high seas, is an offense against the universal law of society; a pirate being, according to Sir Edward Coke,10 hostis humani generis [enemy to mankind]. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of society and government, and has reduced himself afresh to the savage state of nature, by declaring war against all mankind, all mankind must declare war against him: so that every community has a right, by the rule of self-defense, to inflict that punishment upon him, which every individual would in a state of nature have been otherwise entitled to do, any invasion of his person or personal property."

By reclaiming the negative liberty of personal warfare for offensive use, one gives up the civil means of warfare through Nation States and returns to the Law of Nature. At the very beginning of Book III de Vattel has this differentiation:

"§ 1. Definition of war.(136)

WAR is that state in which we prosecute our right by force. We also understand, by this term, the act itself, or the manner of prosecuting our right by force: but it is more conformable to general usage, and more proper in a treatise on the law of war, to understand this term in the sense we have annexed to it.

§ 2. Public war.(136)

Public war is that which takes place between nations or sovereigns, and which is carried on in the name of the public power, and by its order. This is the war we are here to consider: — private war, or that which is carried on between private individuals, belongs to the law of nature properly so called."

There is no surprise that they are in agreement, although de Vattel went far further into warfare than Blackstone would, as it is an essential part of the Nation holding this negative liberty for the safety of the public it represents. Why this is important is next brought up by de Vattel starting with:

"§ 4. It belongs only to the sovereign power.(137)

As nature has given men no right to employ force, unless when it becomes necessary for self defence and the preservation of their rights (Book II. § 49, &c.), the inference is manifest, that, since the establishment of political societies, a right, so dangerous in its exercise, no longer remains with private persons except in those encounters where society cannot protect or defend them. In the bosom of society, the public authority decides all the disputes of the citizens, represses violence, and checks every attempt to do ourselves justice with our own hands. If a private person intends to prosecute his right against the subject of a foreign power, he may apply to the sovereign of his adversary, or to the magistrates invested with the public authority: and if he is denied justice by them, he must have recourse to his own sovereign, who is obliged to protect him. It would be too dangerous to allow every citizen the liberty of doing himself justice against foreigners; as, in that case, there would not be a single member of the state who might not involve it in war. And how could peace be preserved between nations, if it were in the power of every private individual to disturb it? A right of so momentous a nature, — the right of judging whether the nation has real grounds of complaint, whether she is authorized to employ force, and justifiable in taking up arms, whether prudence will admit of such a step, and whether the welfare of the state requires it, — that right, I say, can belong only to the body of the nation, or to the sovereign, her representative. It is doubtless one of those rights, without which there can be no salutary government, and which are therefore called rights of majesty (Book I. § 45).

Thus the sovereign power alone is possessed of authority to make war. But, as the different rights which constitute this power, originally resident in the body of the nation, may be separated or limited according to the will of the nation (Book I. § 31 and 45), it is from the particular constitution of each state, that we are to learn where the power resides, that is authorized to make war in the name of the society at large. The kings of England, whose power is in other respects so limited, have the right of making war and peace.1 Those of Sweden have lost it. The brilliant but ruinous exploits of Charles XII. sufficiently warranted the states of that kingdom to reserve to themselves a right of such importance to their safety."

Do note that in prior parts of Law of Nations de Vattel includes different Nation types, including republics, under the 'Sovereignty' banner. Republics will divide up sovereign powers differently to meet the needs of their Nation, but that they have these powers to distribute is a given. That the 1787-89 period saw both 'Federalists' and 'Anti-Federalists' using these concepts of Nation and sovereignty confirms that they not only understood these works and concepts, but aligned the United States via its Constitutional compact along these very same lines.

The problem with modern thinking on this is that it refuses to recognize the determinants for this distinction, and the outcomes of war types are starkly in contrast given their origin. Thus de Vattel examines this:

"§ 67. It is to be distinguished from informal and unlawful war.

Legitimate and formal warfare must be carefully distinguished from those illegitimate and informal wars, or rather predatory expeditions, undertaken either without lawful authority or without apparent cause, as likewise without the usual formalities, and solely with a view to plunder. Grotius relates several instances of the latter.5 Such were the enterprises of the grandes compagnies which had assembled in France during the wars with the English, — armies of banditti, who ranged about Europe, purely for spoil and plunder: such were the cruises of the buccaneers, without commission, and in time of peace; and such in general are the depredations of pirates. To the same class belong almost all the expeditions of the Barbary corsairs: though authorized by a sovereign, they are undertaken without any apparent cause, and from no other motive than the lust of plunder. These two species of war, I say, — the lawful and the illegitimate, — are to be carefully distinguished, as the effects and the rights arising from each are very different.

§ 68. Grounds of this distinction.

In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war."

Those areas that have been under al Qaeda control, both in Iraq and Afghanistan have been plundered, their people used and abused to meet their ideals and no attempt to regularize forces, authority, accountability, or demonstrate even so much as a hand of kindness given. Hamas, Hezbollah, FARC, Tamil Tigers, and the endless list of those willing to assert their will via Private war towards their own ends that is not creating a Nation State is highly at odds with guerrilla war organizations that are seeking those avenues of legitimacy.

By going outside civil means of interaction between peoples and Nations, those taking up terrorism have stepped away from civilized law. Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has the last paragraph being a negatory one in which those who take up those things proscribed for citizens of Nations are not afforded the protection of the document. Instead of being a 'safe haven' those that step away from it turn it into their own cage from safety.

The answer for those wishing to gain a way out of that cage is to make themselves accountable to civil law, as the accused Captain Morgan did, after he attacked land-based Spanish fortifications and was charged with Piracy. He went to his Nation, yielded himself up to civil law and was acquitted as he could not know of a peace treaty signed between England and Spain, and was even knighted for his deeds not the least of which was coming back home to face civil law to clear his name.

Any means can be used to rid ourselves of these people who have decided that the Law of Nature suits them far more than being civilized in a Nation. They declare themselves to be enemy of mankind by their actions, their words, their deeds. Predatory drones are the least problems they face... if we were civilized and recognized that humans can revert from the civil state in harmony with society and seek to enforce personal will via warfare on others.

Unfortunately we are too decadent to do so. And that state of decay will be the end of us, as it was with Rome. As it was with Troy. As it has always been for peoples who forget that there is a distinction between being civilized and being only under the Laws of Nature.

Anonymous said...

A most interesting and relevant topic, and a good essay to start it off. Writing as a retired Marine Corps Judge Advocate, I naturally turn to the LOAC/LOW considerations inherent in UAV/PGM operations.

For one thing, as greater precision becomes available, the rules pertaining to the proportionality of collateral damage to military necessity require the use of the most discrinminate means.

This is of great humanitarian benefit, as it is no longer necessary to take out an entire city in order to neutralize a single discrete objective. For example, suppose we determine tha militarily relevant signals are emanating from a single building in downtown Belgrade. We no longer need to flatten half the city with B-24's, but can now targed a specific building, or even a specific room in a specific building. There still may be collateral damage--the Chinese embassy cleaning lady, that sort of thing, but much less than in the bad old days.

Two benefits accrue from this technological advance. First the obvious humanitariam benefit: less loss of innocent life. Second, and this bothers some of our commenters, it is now legally and politically feasible to use force in more situations.

The effect of this is to move the military threshhold, that level of civilizational competence an actor must attain to be just competitive. This leaves us with Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gittings said:

"Tom,

Well that's about what I thought. Are you trying to tell me that you don't think they are criminals?"
===================================
I'm trying to tell you that in the prosecution of a world-wide war their obvious criminality adds less then 10 percent of incentive to the other reasons for fighting against them in World War 4. Their criminality exists, but is nearly irrelevant to whether or not we should be at war with them.
====================================
"I don't care if you think they are trying to destroy our society anymore than I care about them thinking that we are trying to destroy theirs. "
=====================================
Then do you care that *they* claim they *are* trying to destroy our society? Do you care that they have declared the existence and growth of representative government to be the greatest single threat to the society ruled by god (through his sheiks or mullahs, of course) that they wish to bring about as an alternative to today's majority of muslim states?
====================================
"The reality is that they don't have any real capacity to destroy our society beyond pushing the buttons of people like you and Dick Cheney."

Against an opponent that wants to win in 5 years, you would be correct. Against an opponent that always has admitted this will be a war of 50-100 years, you are projecting a fantasy in which they simply won't build the strength they need, to do what they say they will. Sort of like Brits in 1934 talking about the insane ravings of "that mustachioed madman" in Germany. As early as 1996, we could see websites (now vanished, without me taking screenshots:-/)detailing the 3 phase plan of their war, with the salafists and the khomeinists mirroring each other in their plans. Phase 1 was to be rallying the ummah of Islam to their banner in a conflict striking the industrial world from "the places in-between" where industrial society had no eyes to warn them, demonstrating the infidels would not harm the holy warriors. Once the ummah was united behind them, in a nuclear-protected Caliphate, then in Phase 2 gazavat raids based in their nuclear-protected Caliphate would harrass the decadent infidels to give up "the lost lands of Islam", from Lisbon to Manila. After those were recovered to the rule of the Caliphate, then in Phase 3 the world was to become dominated by the Caliphate so much that Sharia law was the norm in the world, including the dhimmi status of jews and christians, and the death of all polytheists. In 5 years, no. In 100 years, with little or no military resistance, all too possible!
====================================
"And I don't care about your version of Christian theology any more than I care about Osama Bin Ladin's version of Islamic theology either:"
====================================

OK. Since I have included nothing in this thread about my christian beliefs, it would be hard for you to know enough of them to care. I have no scriptural literalist beliefs in any religious texts.
=================================
god doesn't need a police force or an army,

Right!

But the United States does, if it is to defend our freedoms, and those of other participants in the world-wide networks of industrial society, from those who would destroy them, whether they are scriptural literalists here, or amidst the ummah of Islam.

"and if you think otherwise I'd have to question that you have any sincere belief in Christianity."
====================================
Well I'm glad we have cleared up your worries on that point!
====================================
"What I do care about is American officials committing dispicable war crimes that we once executed Nazis for committing in violation of our own laws,"
====================================
OK. I suppose you have your own lists of those? Why do you think I should believe your arguments more than the attorneys that were writing opinions for the last administration, or the current one, that has changed little of what you seem to most dislike?
====================================
"while simultaneously failing to do anything serious about bringing Osama Bin Ladin and his gang to justice"

Once again, criminal justice has little or nothing to do with the war we are in with the International Islamic Front, of which Al Quaeda is one major member. We could hang Bin ladin from the highest gallows in the world, and still lose World War 4 if we allow the Islamists to begin again at building their bandwagon, once again chanting, with the plausibility they enlarged from 1993 to 2001, that the infidels are too cowardly to strike back.
====================================
"because they are too busy raping Iraq and doing anything serious about the problem of Pakistan is too difficult and might upset some of their buddies."

Raping Iraq by buying them the time to build representative political institutions, while they give oil contracts to non-US companies? No Mr Gittings, if we wanted the oil we could have simply and silently made a deal with Saddam, as the French did, when Chirac sold their UN veto to Saddam for a $125 Billion dollar oil bribe. We could have got a better price, too!

As to Pakistan- operating in *any* country that already has nukes, even older, cruder Chinese designs from Ali Quadeer Khan, *is* far harder. This is especially so if/when we risk a split in the Pakistani Military, which could let ISI partisans of the salafists get control of those nukes. They would love nothing better than to encourage the martyrdom of Pakistan by striking at our Indian allies with nukes. Even if we could pre-empt, and destroy most of those nukes, at least 30 cities of a million people or more would still reside within range of the M-9 missiles the Pakistanis bought from China. If only 30 out of 200 nukes survive, their lives would be forfeit. *I* would be *very* cautious in any such situation.
====================================
"You're barking up the wrong tree: I saw 911 coming back in 1987, and I've been tracking the events since day to day for eight years now."
====================================

Yes, and as I did, others were warning people about the Muslim Brotherhood and their decedent organizations as early as 1965, and predicting we would be fighting them after "the socialist camp" folded. Many of us watch WW4 on a daily basis. Welcome to the club.

Regards,

Tom Billings

AtomicSnarl said...

Charles Gittings said...
With extreme frustration...

Oh listen to you people.
Let's change the subject, because I don't have a response.

I got news for you: George Bush and Dick Cheney have murdered a lot more people than Al Qaeda has,
Using soldiers aiming at people who shot at them first, instead of merely putting bombs into marketplaces, schools, and weddings.

They also tried to put the government back into the hands of the people there instead of the factions trying to control them, those mean, meddlilng soldiers. Who do they think they are, trying to establish and encourage peaceful self-government by the locals? No wonder Al Qaeda was forced to slaughter so many people -- It's BusHitlerBurtonCheny's fault!

and both Al Qaeda and you Republicans are just criminals to me.
But not the Democrats who authorized the war. Nope -- not them. They don't count.

The only real difference is that you Republicans are a much worse threat to the safety of the United States.
As you can plainly see by the masses being shipped off to concentration camps, deportations, and dissappearances. Yes, beheadings, public executions, and kidnappings galore! Film at eleven.

The seventh century indeed. What's that supposed to mean?
Darn -- what was that Prophet thing all about again -- I missed that show on the History Channel, too. Maybe it was in the papers or something.

What it shows is something that was already obvious:
Here it comes...

you're religious and racial bigots...
Change the subject! Shoot the messenger! Pre-empt the opposition! Remove the middle!

who don't have a lick of sense or a shred of human decency...
To fawn obsequiously at my profound, awe inspiring insights without the slightest hint of contradiction or investigation.

You don't speak for America,
Heaven forbid that anyone would ever make that mistake.

you speak for your own lying, disloyal selves.
Which is to say, you disagree with me. Never mind why, it doesn't count.

Now why don't you all just crawl back under your rocks?.
Shut up. Shut UP! SHUT UP!! SHUT IT!!! NOW!!!
My mind's made up -- I don't want to learn anything today, least of all from any of you. So there. Nyah.

You worthless goons don't impress me in the least.
But you are fascinating enough to keep me coming back so I can yell at you. I'm making the world a better place this way, don't you know? It should be obvious. It is to me, and that's all that counts. So go away, or I shall taunt you again. I mean it. I really, really do.

===============================

It clear you have a brain, and I hope your spleen will let loose of it. You can be angry at, angry with, or angry because. I can be angry at my toaster because it burnt my toast. I can be angry with someone who slighted me. I can be angry because I was cheated.

So be angry all you want, but it's more useful when you can speak to the cause of your anger rather than lashing out. Stay on point and make your reasoning clearer so we can understand and we'll all come out ahead.

Charles Gittings said...

Atomic Snarl,

There's mystery about why people like you make me angry -- like I said, I don't like bigots or gangsters... And I don't much like liars who try to put words in my mouth either, so let me repeat:

GO FUCK YOURSELF.

Charles Gittings said...

Tom,

What can I tell you??

That's nuts. This is just one more pointless exercise in colonialism for the sake of political agendas that don't have much relation to reality. Your precious fantasies about what is or isn't going on inside the heads of other people have no relevance beyond the light they shed on your own feeble state of mind.

I told you exactly what I'm concerned with: enforcing the laws of the United States. That works for Osama Bin Ladin just as well as it does for Dick Cheney.

I don't have to make up anything, I don't have to read anyones mind, and I don't have to guess -- all I have to do is analyze the facts and the law.

Charles Gittings said...

"This is of great humanitarian benefit, as it is no longer necessary to take out an entire city in order to neutralize a single discrete objective."

What absolute bullshit.

I am unaware of a a single instance where it was "necessary" to any such thing in order to "take out a single discreet objective". I can't even imagine a case where anyone in their right mind would claim it was even a good idea.

In point of fact, the only reason anyone ever took out an entire city is becasue that was exactl what they wanted to do for the specific purpose of terrorizing the enemy population. Anyone who claims different is adamned liar or a damned fool.

Or in this case, a former JA who really ought to know better than to make such an outlandish claim. Lawyers have such bad habits when it comes to overstating arguments.


And what, pray tell, is the military objective of these predator strikes?

Enemy munitions factories? Ball bearing plans? Radar installations?

Oh no, just murdering civilians on the basis of unproved suspicions and accusations along with any innocent bystander who happens to get in the way. All this being in violation of both the laws of war and the laws of the United States, regardless of the dishonest excuses of all the apologists.

Leftists are Weird said...

Note how Charles Gittings hid in cowardice when presented with a list of wars Democrats started, as well as examples of racism that Democrats have conducted.

A typical left-wing coward (but I repeat myself), who has no interest in inconvenient facts.

He would send Republicans to the gas chambers if he could get away with it. Everything he says here is merely projection (Psych 101).

SMSgt Mac said...

"An intense, six-month campaign of Predator strikes in Pakistan has taken such a toll on Al Qaeda that militants [sic] have begun turning violently on one another out of confusion and distrust, U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials say."

(From that evil bastion of Right-wing thought known as the LA Times)

A rational person will be able to find the military utility in the above mentioned developments.

Ten...nine....eight...

AtomicSnarl said...

"An intense, six-month campaign of Predator strikes in Pakistan has taken such a toll on Al Qaeda that militants [sic] have begun turning violently on one another out of confusion and distrust, U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials say."

2. Attack the alliances - Division

QED

Charles Gittings said...

HA. The only projecting going on here is YOURS.

AS IF you can read my mind any better than you can read the minds of all these people you want to wage war on for thinking bad thoughts (according to you).

This not complicated: I don't care what you think, and I'm not going to waste my time arguing with someone as ignorant and irrational as you are. It's pointless.

Leftists are Weird said...

More projection from Charles 'girlie-man' Gittering.

I posted a simple list of wars Democrats have started, and of racism by Democrats.

You simply cannot even acknowledge those historical facts - as they don't fit your narrative.

Acknowledge those historical facts, loser.

As much as you would like to say that Abe Lincoln was a Democrat and the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings were done by Republicans, the facts are the opposite.

Democrats = Homocrats = Faggots said...

Actually, the fact that a left-wing racist like Charles Gittings is so worried about targeted killing via drones PROVES that it is the right strategy for the free world to use.

Charles is bothered that his Al-Qaeda bretheren are vulnerable to this strategy. This proves that this is an effective counter-terror strategy.

Charles, now go admire the picture of GAYman al-Zawahiri that you have in your bedroom.

Democrats = Homocrats = Faggots said...

I notice that Charles won't concede that Obama has stepped up the strikes in Pakistan.

So it is not just a 'Bush/Cheney strategy.

Whatever planet Charles comes from, it is not Earth. The planet he comes from is called 'CastroFaggottia'.

Charles Gittings said...

Oh, ya that all really bothers me.

You are such pathetic twits.

PS: It happens that I think Obama has a lot to learn i nsome areas, and that holding over Gates and Petraeus was a terrible mistake. It;s becomming quite obviosu that the CIA needs a good house cleaning too.

He'll learn, and as long as Gates and Petraeus are running the show, he'll learn the hard way.

You people just have no idea what I actually think about any of this stuff -- for the simple reason that you are literally so addled that you are incapable of understanding anything said to you.

Anonymous said...

Let's make this more visible so Gittings finds it harder to hide :

Violence committed by Democrats :

Democrats have :
*Dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshina and Nagasaki
*Fought in the Korean War
*Invaded Vietnam
*Invaded Bosnia and Kosovo
*Imposed Oil for Food sanctions on Iraq, killing 500,000 children
*Attacked Saddam for his WMD programs in 1998.

Racism committed by Democrats :

1) Slavery, which Abe Lincoln stopped
2) Internment of Japanese by FDR
3) Robert Byrd, a KKK kleagle, is a cherished bigot in the Democratic party to this day.
4) George Wallace running as a Democrat for President as recently as 1976.
5) Strom Thurmond was a Democrat at the time of supporting segregation. When he saw the error of his ways, he switched to the GOP.
6) Extreme Democrat racism against Bobby Jindal to this day.

By comparison, the worst that a Republican has ever done is utter a word like 'macaca', which is not even an insult OR an English word.

As another commenter said, whatever planet Gittings comes from, it is certainly not Earth.

Anonymous said...

Note the crickets chirping within the ashamed silence of Charles Gittings...

That, children, is how to destroy a leftist in a debate.

Charles Gittings said...

I'm not a ashamed of anything. You're a fucking fascist subversive who makes excuses for murder -- we have nothing to discuss.

Xiaoding said...

"An intense, six-month campaign of Predator strikes in Pakistan has taken such a toll on Al Qaeda that militants [sic] have begun turning violently on one another out of confusion and distrust, U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials say."

We keep hearing this, and, we hear we need more troops in Afghanistan, because the situation is so bad. You can't have it both ways. I trust NPR more than the government right now, about what's going on over there.

Leftists are Weird said...

"I'm not a ashamed of anything. You're a fucking fascist subversive who makes excuses for murder -- we have nothing to discuss."

Yawn.... you can't even admit that the Democrats have committed the aforementioned warfare and racism.

Extreme cowardice is the hallmark of a leftist like Chuckie Gittings.

Behold, everyone, how to totally corner and humiliate a lefty hypocrite.....

BTW, Chuckie, I am not white (upon knowing this, Chuckie's hatred for me has risen 10X).....

Leftists are Weird said...

Let's list these items again, for Chuckie's benefit :

Violence committed by Democrats :

Democrats have :
*Dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshina and Nagasaki
*Fought in the Korean War
*Invaded Vietnam
*Invaded Bosnia and Kosovo
*Imposed Oil for Food sanctions on Iraq, killing 500,000 children
*Attacked Saddam for his WMD programs in 1998.

Racism committed by Democrats :

1) Slavery, which Abe Lincoln stopped
2) Internment of Japanese by FDR
3) Robert Byrd, a KKK kleagle, is a cherished bigot in the Democratic party to this day.
4) George Wallace running as a Democrat for President as recently as 1976.
5) Strom Thurmond was a Democrat at the time of supporting segregation. When he saw the error of his ways, he switched to the GOP.
6) Extreme Democrat racism against Bobby Jindal to this day.

By comparison, the worst that a Republican has ever done is utter a word like 'macaca', which is not even an insult OR an English word.

A mass-murdering racist like Chuckie Gittings cannot actually admit his actions.

SMSgt Mac said...

RE: "I trust NPR more than the government right now.."

National Proletariat Radio?

ROFLMAO!

Anonymous said...

Notice how Chuckie fled in extreme cowardice once the facts were no longer easy to hide from.

Charles Gittings said...

Notice how I don't give a shit what liars think or say about much of anything, least of all me.

Anonymous said...

Note how Chuckie is clearly reading the historical wars and racism that Democrats have committed for a long time, yet cannot acknowledge these facts.

Chuckie squeals in protest, because he does not want to admit that racism and warmongering are predominantly Democrat traits.

Cornered Chuckie is getting bitchy.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Chuckie has fled it permanent cowardice. That means he knows his religion (leftism) is a bad one.

Let's list these items again, for Chuckie's benefit :

Violence committed by Democrats :

Democrats have :
*Dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshina and Nagasaki
*Fought in the Korean War
*Invaded Vietnam
*Invaded Bosnia and Kosovo
*Imposed Oil for Food sanctions on Iraq, killing 500,000 children
*Attacked Saddam for his WMD programs in 1998.

Racism committed by Democrats :

1) Slavery, which Abe Lincoln stopped
2) Internment of Japanese by FDR
3) Robert Byrd, a KKK kleagle, is a cherished bigot in the Democratic party to this day.
4) George Wallace running as a Democrat for President as recently as 1976.
5) Strom Thurmond was a Democrat at the time of supporting segregation. When he saw the error of his ways, he switched to the GOP.
6) Extreme Democrat racism against Bobby Jindal to this day.

By comparison, the worst that a Republican has ever done is utter a word like 'macaca', which is not even an insult OR an English word.

A mass-murdering racist like Chuckie Gittings cannot actually admit his actions.

Charles Gittings said...

Your idiotic verbal masturbation is nothing that might represent my actions or my racism... More like your slander and your lying bullshit.

Anonymous said...

"Your idiotic verbal masturbation is nothing that might represent my actions or my racism... More like your slander and your lying bullshit."

What is a lie? These are historical facts, and you know it. Democrats have always been the party of racism and murder.

Admit the crimes of your party, faggot.

Charles Gittings said...

A lie is deliberate statement which the speaker knows to be false, or with reasonable care, should have known was false. In this instance, the lies all consist of false statements concerning my view of the facts; in particular, jaundiced misrepresentations concerning my opinions regarding the facts and applicable laws. This a topic that you obviously don't know much about, because you're too busy spewing verbal diarrhea at me to care, and there's no reason for me to suppose that you're worth the effort of a detailed response be4casue anything I say will simply be twisted out of shape and used to fabricate more lies.

I just do not fucking care what you think or say in the least: I don't like Nazis or liars, and you're both.

Anonymous said...

None of this discussion has any relevance to the actual important question. Assuming for the sake of argument that it is legal and moral to kill a "known terrorist", the difficult and important question is how do you know you have such a person in your sights. I once was in a position to evaluate the cases against a number of persons detained by the U.S. military in Iraq. In many cases, probably over half, there was no "evidence" against them that would cause an American policeman or court to feel that they had sufficient suspicion or probable cause to even detain them, or search them, much less anonymously kill them. Too often they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or had a nieghbor or other person willing to "inform" against them for some selfish reason. Perhaps the warlord in Afghanistan has cozied up to the local U.S. military, in order to get money, or perhaps just to know where they are operating so he can protect his opium traffic. And, to maintain their trust in him he has to inform them now and then of where some Taliban meeting is taking place. We in America have a misplaced faith in technology - we think some technician looking at a screen in Nevada can actually tell who is a terrorist and who is not. Everyone in those countries carries an AK-47 - surely we cannot wipe them out if we see that in their arms on the TV screen. Unless and until someone explains what the rules of engagement are, and what is the level of proof required, I'm not willing to accept this easy and safe way to wage war is something this country should be involved in. You don't have to take my word for this. I think everyone knows by now that we have people in Guantanamo who did nothing - who are there by some mistaken identity, or because they were sold to the US for a payment. It is bad enough to imprison such people for years based on that sort of flawed information - now we want to kill them anonymously. Too often what any lawyer or police officer would call "rumor" or "hearsay" or "bullshit" is labeled "intelligence" and classified. Well, unless and until our government is willing to explain to us what that consists of, then I'm not willing to give them the 007 "License to kill" in my name. An American citizen who has served in three wars.