Debate Question #4

Drones. In the past years we’ve been using Predator drones and the like more and more to effect our will in unsafe territories. Dones have the advantage of not endangering US life and are very effective, but on the other side of the coin are very bad press for the US in those regions they are used and often cause civilian casualties. Drones have been used attacking targets in countries with which we are not at war.

Question: What principle decides when and were to use drones in neutral countries and how does that principle apply when considering other countries using the same rational to fly drones against targets in the US?

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57 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    What does any of this have to do with drones? Look at the issues you identified:

    1. Civilian casualities – drones do not cause any more civilian deaths than manned planes do. They probably cause less

    2. Attacks in countries where we are not at war – Again if a bomb drops on your house, you’re probably why would you feel better about it knowing a human one mile above you ‘pushed the button’ rather than a human one thousand miles away?

    The response to both issues though goes back to the short term strategic goal I identified in your ME question. That was to neutralize Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. The countries where we have done individual centered attacks either cannot or will not arrest these targets themselves. Two notable countries, Yeman and Pakistan have so-called ‘bad lands’ where even the gov’t says it cannot enforce laws and cannot control the territory. No such situation exists in the US. If someone in the US started coordinating terrorist attacks on, say, Spain, the US would promptly put a stop to him thereby making moot the need for Spain to fly drones over the midwest trying to take him out.

  2. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    1. Civilian casualities – drones do not cause any more civilian deaths than manned planes do. They probably cause less

    Cite evidence that laser guided bombs from drones compare favorably to laser guided bombs from manned planes .. your “probably cause less” has no basis in fact.

    The countries where we have done individual centered attacks either cannot or will not arrest these targets themselves. Two notable countries, Yeman and Pakistan have so-called ‘bad lands’ where even the gov’t says it cannot enforce laws and cannot control the territory. No such situation exists in the US. If someone in the US started coordinating terrorist attacks on, say, Spain, the US would promptly put a stop to him thereby making moot the need for Spain to fly drones over the midwest trying to take him out.

    Not a good argument. Part of the problem with Pakistan and Yemen is that there are factions in the government which support those individuals we attack. Let’s see, if a guy is fundraising for the IRA in the US, not breaking any US laws (or doing the equivalent for other resistance groups which may have US support (say China or Burma) raising money to support attacks elsewhere. By the reasoning we fly drones to attack legal activities supporting illegal ones overseas why cannot they do the same? In your Spain example, if they broke no US laws, what would the US legal system do?

    It’s unclear why you don’t understand the question. Was it my wording?

  3. Boonton says:

    Cite evidence that laser guided bombs from drones compare favorably to laser guided bombs from manned planes .. your “probably cause less” has no basis in fact.

    I’ll challenge you to present a plausible reason why drones would cause more civilian casualities than manned planes. It’s the same bomb, same target, etc.

    I would think one plausible reason why drones would cause fewer civilian casualities would be because drones are more disposable than human pilots so you’d have less incentive to shoot at something because you felt it posed a threat to the aircraft. A plausible mechanism for why drones might cause more civilian deaths might be that trigger happy operators, sitting safely in cubicals in comfortable office buildings, might be less inhibited to attack pixels on a screen than ‘in real life’ flying a mile above the ground. Even assuming that’s an issue, it can be addressed by training, professionalism and scrutiny whereas the first issue cannot be so easily eliminated.

    Not a good argument. Part of the problem with Pakistan and Yemen is that there are factions in the government which support those individuals we attack.

    That actually adds to the argument for using drone strikes to take out said targets.

    Let’s see, if a guy is fundraising for the IRA in the US, not breaking any US laws

    Actually fundraising for listed terrorist organizations is breaking the law in the US.

    resistance groups which may have US support (say China or Burma) raising money to support attacks elsewhere. By the reasoning we fly drones to attack legal activities supporting illegal ones overseas why cannot they do the same?

    This might be applicable if, say, we were flying drones over Saudi Arabia attacking the mansions of rich Saudi civilians who may have donated money to radical Islamists. We have been a bit more direct in our targets than that.

    In your Spain example, if they broke no US laws, what would the US legal system do?

    1. They are breaking US law.

    2. A country’s sovereignity means it has responsibility for what happens inside its territory. If someone inside the US started attacking Spain and the US shrugged and said it was perfectly legal and it wouldn’t do anything to stop it, that would be an act of war against Spain giving Spain the right under international law to take actions into its own hands.

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Look the lawfare blog has an awful lot of talk about using drones and where and when and so on. It’s disingenuous for you to dismiss this as not an issue at all. More importantly, more than naive, I think you’re incorrect.

  5. Boonton says:

    Are you really talking about drones or are you talking about targetted attacks on countries we aren’t formally at war with? Can you name me one instance where the issue you’re raising would be allieviated if the attack was done by a manned plane rather than a drone?

    And I”m not dismissing the issue, I think I addressed it in detail. You’re the one who isn’t making an argument or taking a position. You’re just waiving your hands around saying we should ‘take it seriously’.

  6. Boonton says:

    Let’s zero in on the question then, tell me if you disagree:

    Drones have nothing to do with it. The question is is it ok to do attacks in countries like Pakistan and Yeman where we are not formally ‘at war’ (although drone critics often bring up Afghanistan, which is a place where we are engaged in a war!)

    the two ‘cons’ you cited are bad press and civilian casualities. Both of which I think are clearly risks in any military attack, drone or human.

    I cited the principle that would justify such an attack. Namely you have individuals or groups in such countries actively engaged in terrorism against the US or it’s allies. Or you have individuals or groups engaging the US in military action and the so-called ‘neutral country’ is unable or unwilling to stop such action from happening in its territory.

    The US itself would be subjected to such a principle if it permitted groups to use its territory as a staging ground for attacks on foreign countries.

  7. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Are you really talking about drones or are you talking about targetted attacks on countries we aren’t formally at war with? Can you name me one instance where the issue you’re raising would be allieviated if the attack was done by a manned plane rather than a drone?

    I think the attacks in question would not have been done if the plane was manned, because there are international laws and agreements against it. There are no such agreements (hence lawfare) about drone activity, which is why it’s being done. It’s not a question of manned or not. It’s a question of “if manned, we wouldn’t … but unmanned is not covered so we go ahead.”

    Namely you have individuals or groups in such countries actively engaged in terrorism against the US or it’s allies. Or you have individuals or groups engaging the US in military action and the so-called ‘neutral country’ is unable or unwilling to stop such action from happening in its territory.

    Seriously? You pretend that the US would stand aside to have citizens attack and do nothing if there were allegations that these people supported illegal foreign actions which many in the US government (privately or publicly) supported? I don’t believe you.

    Say a Uighur group was collecting funds for supporting anti-China activism and actions in China. And China bombed a San Fransisco bar with a drone launched off shore, killing 4 leading fund raisers and 20 others. You’d be OK with that? I don’t believe you would be … and I think you have not in any way “dealt with this in detail.” Note, these Uighurs in questions in their fundraising and purchasing (and perhaps even training exercises) have not nor have ever broken any US laws.

  8. Boonton says:

    I think the attacks in question would not have been done if the plane was manned, because there are international laws and agreements against it. There are no such agreements (hence lawfare) about drone activity, which is why it’s being done.

    Cite? I know of no principle of international law that says an unmanned attack on another country is different from a manned attack.

    I think the reason drones are used are not because of some legal loophole but much more practical: they are cheap, they have less risk to the US forces, they can be used for long term lingering and can be small enough to be difficult to detect.

    Seriously? You pretend that the US would stand aside to have citizens attack and do nothing if there were allegations that these people supported illegal foreign actions which many in the US government (privately or publicly) supported? I don’t believe you.

    Probably not, but it seems pretty hard to believe the US would ‘stand aside’ while people inside the Us started using its territory as a launching base for foreign terrorist attacks. Whether or not the US would ‘stand aside’ is besides the point. If, say, a group was firing rockets into Mexico from Texas and the US gov’t refused to stop it Mexico would be within its rights to attack them using drones, planes, troops or whatever was needed.

    Say a Uighur group was collecting funds for supporting anti-China activism and actions in China. And China bombed a San Fransisco bar with a drone launched off shore, killing 4 leading fund raisers and 20 others. You’d be OK with that?

    No but as I pointed out I don’t think that’s analogous to what we are doing.

    Note, these Uighurs in questions in their fundraising and purchasing (and perhaps even training exercises) have not nor have ever broken any US laws.

    Suppose, though, they started making package bombs and mailing them to officials in China. Suppose they set up a ‘base’ in San Fransisco and used it to issue instructions to cells in China to launch attacks via skype. Leaving aside the fact that this would be against the law in the US. China would have the righ tto demand that the US stop such activity or have it treated as a purposeful provakation.

  9. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Suppose, though, they started making package bombs and mailing them to officials in China. Suppose they set up a ‘base’ in San Fransisco and used it to issue instructions to cells in China to launch attacks via skype. Leaving aside the fact that this would be against the law in the US. China would have the righ tto demand that the US stop such activity or have it treated as a purposeful provakation.

    Oddly enough, sending skype messages (besides the fact that they are encrypted)is legal. So let’s say it’s the Skype thing. How/why and under what law would the US stop a person from using Skype? And remember, US policy makers likely sympathize more with Uighurs than the Chinese on this. There are restrictions on shipping explosives overseas. I don’t know if there are US statutes that prevent a US citizen from doing banking or commercial transactions overseas which are legal where they are transacted but for illegal purposes in other countries.

    The point is, in my example, no US were broken. US doctrine and policies are more sympathetic with the rebels than with the oppressor. This is analogous to actions in Yemen.

    A Pakistani analogue might be if US based drug traffickers were slipping into Mexico supporting Mexican (drug) cartels. Mexico tracked some of these people to a bar in San Antonio and a drone attacked that with similar results. The target people have broken no US laws in the US. Whence is your argument against?

    The Yemen al-Qaeda are not firing rockets into the US. They are not attacking us. They are training and organizing out-of-country actions. They are likely not breaking any Yemen laws.

  10. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Cite? I know of no principle of international law that says an unmanned attack on another country is different from a manned attack.

    Cite back! I know of no international treaties that call forbid drone attacks.

  11. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Grist for the drone conversation:

    Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn’t “precise” or “surgical” as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. … Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama’s kill list transgresses against the Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did.

    was quoted. Here is the remark on that by CT where I got the cite on that

    But the first two are pretty damn awful. On key foreign policy and human rights issues, Obama hasn’t been a disappointment. He’s been a disaster.

    That’s from a unabashed UK (I think) Marxist observing the situation. The point being you’re not admitting how bad things are, you’ve got to back up. You are trying to argue from a point of reasonableness that isn’t there. Let’s some reality creep in here (or a paraphrase of your words, don’t get your news from just left wing sources so reality can creep on in.

  12. Boonton says:

    Oddly enough, sending skype messages (besides the fact that they are encrypted)is legal. So let’s say it’s the Skype thing. How/why and under what law would the US stop a person from using Skype?

    Really? Stop being silly now.

    The point is, in my example, no US were broken. US doctrine and policies are more sympathetic with the rebels than with the oppressor. This is analogous to actions in Yemen..

    I believe the attempt to mail explosive packages to the US via UPS or Fed Ex came from Yemen. Again we aren’t talking about people putting ‘Free Tibet’ banners on their blogs.

    But to the degree the US does permit people under its jurisdiction to engage in warfare with a foreign country, the Us itself is engaging in warfare with a foreign country, which is an aggressive act.

    A Pakistani analogue might be if US based drug traffickers were slipping into Mexico supporting Mexican (drug) cartels. Mexico tracked some of these people to a bar in San Antonio and a drone attacked that with similar results.

    This sounds rather analogous to my example of people in Texas firing rockets into Mexico. In bother examples Mexico has a right to self defense provided the US is unable or unwilling to police activity within its own border.

    The Yemen al-Qaeda are not firing rockets into the US. They are not attacking us. They are training and organizing out-of-country actions. They are likely not breaking any Yemen laws.

    Doesn’t matter. If someone in Yeman is directing attacks on US troops in Afghanistan they are part of the field of combat which makes them legitimate targets. I don’t know why you think Yemen’s laws are important here.

    Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama’s kill list transgresses against the Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did.

    I always enjoy people who claim Constitutional violation without being able to actually cite the Consitution. The Constitution makes no distinction between killing American citizens and killing non-citizens. If a Japanese airman, who happened to have American citizenship, approached a battleship in WWII the AA gunners are not required to pause. The gov’t may not deprive any person of life without due process of law. This means if someone is under US jurisdiction, they cannot be killed (or tortured) by the gov’t. A person who is outside US jurisdiction who is on the field of battle is a legitimate military target and the US is permitted to attack him as long as he is removed from its jurisdiction.

    That’s from a unabashed UK (I think) Marxist observing the situation. The point being you’re not admitting how bad things are, you’ve got to back up. You are trying to argue from a point of reasonableness that isn’t there.

    I think I’m being quite reasonable here. While we are being reasonable, since we are doing this in the context of a Presidential debate, please demonstrate what real difference Romney would bring to this issue? As we have seen, there’s no distinction between American citizen and non-citizen here. There’s also no distinction between an attack by drones and an attack by humans, both are attacks. Last time I checked, Romney wasn’t saying the attack on Bin Laden was an outrageous abuse of power and an extrajudicial killing. Are you saying that? If not then what exactly is the position you’re trying to stake out here….other than the usual “I’ll embrace any argument that has a snowball’s chance in hell of making an anti-Obama case”?

  13. Boonton says:

    BTW, rather than hyperventilating about thousands of people killed, note the chart on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_attacks_in_Pakistan

    Drone attacks peaked back in 2010 at 122. In 2012 they stood at only 37, which is just one more than in 2008. In contrast you can view some lists of terrorists attacks in Pakistan on http://pakistanbodycount.org/analytics. It’s interesting to note that if thousands are being terrorized by drone attacks, then tens of thousands must be terrorized by suicide bomber attacks which are killing at least twice as many people as even the highest estimates of drone based fatalities (Needless to say this does not include non-suicide based terrorist attacks)

  14. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Really? Stop being silly now.

    Seriously. What would the US justice department do if you were using Skype to communicate with foreign nationals. First off, how would they know it was you and not someone else? Second, what charges would they offer? How legally speaking, would they stop you. Oh, wait, are you suggesting they’d just put you on a kill list and off you?

    This sounds rather analogous to my example of people in Texas firing rockets into Mexico.

    This is legal in the US? This doesn’t break any US laws? Seriously I doubt it. So it isn’t analogous.

    I always enjoy people who claim Constitutional violation without being able to actually cite the Consitution.

    He’s from the UK, dude. And yes, the US government cannot actually kill its citizens without due process.

    A person who is outside US jurisdiction who is on the field of battle is a legitimate military target and the US is permitted to attack him as long as he is removed from its jurisdiction.

    Are you defending Mr Obama by suggesting one should be able to bypass due process and kill citizens merely by the expedient of waiting until you’re overseas, e.g., kill you on a Paris subway is OK ’cause you’re not under our jurisdiction any more. How your principles have fallen defending Mr Obama, eh?

    While we are being reasonable, since we are doing this in the context of a Presidential debate, please demonstrate what real difference Romney would bring to this issue?

    Actually it seems we’ve taken a different approach. You’ve chosen to answer these questions for Mr Obama. I’ve chosen to answer them for myself, not Mr Romney by proxy. I have no idea actually what Mr Romney’s position is vis a vis drones. I think the question of their use against us given reciprocal situation is a good question, i.e., if someone else used the same criteria against us, is similar to Mr Kant’s Metaphysics on Morals, i.e., generalize the principle before you adopt it.

    So … if Mr Bin Laden happened to be a US citizen you’d have instructed the SEALs to kill him instead of capture as they were for Bin Laden. And no, I don’t know if Mr Romney would have ordered the kill vs capture. I understand reasons why Mr Obama did so, I don’t necessarily agree they were principled, even if they were expedient.

    On hyperventilating, it seems you’ve adopted the “were not worse vis a vis human rights and suicide bombers, ergo, we are laudable.” Are you also in favor of waterboarding by the same reasonings? After all it is less damaging than what the other guys are doing, e.g., that journalist tortured and killed whose name escapes me right now.

  15. Boonton says:

    Seriously. What would the US justice department do if you were using Skype to communicate with foreign nationals. First off, how would they know it was you and not someone else? Second, what charges would they offer? How legally speaking, would they stop you. Oh, wait, are you suggesting they’d just put you on a kill list and off you?

    You keep changing the hypothetical. ‘Communicating with foreign nationals’? As if the people we are talking about just happened to be people in Afghanistan or Yeman who have a few pen pals in America.

    If you are in the US and cordinating attacks on other countries you are probably in violation of at least a few major national security laws. If you are cordinating attacks as part of a recognized terrorist organization, you are in violation of even more laws.

    How would they know you are doing it? Investigation. How do they learn that people are engaged in drug smuggling, money laundering, credit card scams and so on?

    Put on a kill list? No the US gov’t would stop you if you were doing this from US soil and a foreign gov’t called it to the US’s attention.

    This is legal in the US? This doesn’t break any US laws? Seriously I doubt it. So it isn’t analogous.

    I can assure you if you park yourself in Texas and start firing rockets into Mexico you are violating US laws.

    He’s from the UK, dude. And yes, the US government cannot actually kill its citizens without due process.

    With due process there’s no distinction between citizen and non-citizens. Look it up dude, the Constitution says ‘person’ not ‘citizen’. The error both you and he are making is not telling the difference between military combat and the judicial system.

    It’s WWII. The US receives intelligence that the German high command is issue orders from a town just north of Berlin. The allied commander, acting under authority of the President, orders that town carpet bombed in the hopes that the command is either disrupted or killed.

    Is the US deciding to kill people? Yes. Is it giving them a hearing as guranteed by due process? No. Would you say it is required too? I suspect no. Does citizenship matter here? No. It’s quite possible there are people in the town who hold US citizenship, perhaps by birth or marriage. No US court is required by the Constitution to entertain a request to order the bombing be put on hold because citizens might be living there.

    Now you’re saying it’s ok to carpet bomb a whole city to take out a valid military generic military target (the ‘command’), but if you’re talking about bombing a single building in a city to take out a specific military target it suddenly merits due process review. Why?

    Are you defending Mr Obama by suggesting one should be able to bypass due process and kill citizens merely by the expedient of waiting until you’re overseas, e.g., kill you on a Paris subway is OK ’cause you’re not under our jurisdiction any more. How your principles have fallen defending Mr Obama, eh?

    I think you’re missing the distinction between a Paris subway and ‘the badlands’ of northern Pakistan or Yeman. The President ordering you killed in a Paris subway is no different than the President ordering an attack on Paris. In fact consider that hypothetical. Suppose the President wakes up tomorrow and orders a nuclear strike on Paris. There’s a lot of possible ways to object to that. A war crime? Yes. An impeacheable offense? Yes. Quite possibly it violates some US laws on the military. What doesn’t work very well is the idea that ‘due process’ applies here and it’s ok to nuke Paris as long as the President knows there happens to be no American citizens there at that moment.

    So … if Mr Bin Laden happened to be a US citizen you’d have instructed the SEALs to kill him instead of capture as they were for Bin Laden.

    Your facts are out of date. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Osama_bin_Laden notes the objective of the Bin Laden mission was ‘capture or kill’ and the one Seal who broke his oath to write a book about it hasn’t contradicted that. But to answer your question:

    Whether or not Bin Laden was a citizen has no bearing on this. As I pointed out the Constitution clearly says all persons have a right to life which can only be deprived by due process. The distinction comes between a field of combat versus a field of jurisdiction. If Bin Laden wandered into the American embassy and said “I understand you guys are trying to kill me. I demand to know why. I have committed no crime against your country and demand my day in court”, he would have been arrested but not shot on site. Under jurisdiction due process holds. In a field of battle, military rules hold. If Bin Laden had clearly surrendered to US troops, they would have been required to take him alive and an order to kill him would have been illegal.

    This is where I think those arguing for ‘due process’ have made a serious wrong turn. Due process applies to a situation where one is under the jurisdiction of a responsible government. Even if you’re a US citizen in Paris, the French gov’t is responsible for your actions on French soil. If, on the other hand, you’re living in a no man’s land where no gov’t holds sway surrounded by bodyguards with RPG’s you can’t at the same time try to claim the rights to due process. Due process is a two way street. You can’t demand to have its protections while at the same time avoid it’s jurisdiction.

  16. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    You keep changing the hypothetical. ‘Communicating with foreign nationals’? As if the people we are talking about just happened to be people in Afghanistan or Yeman who have a few pen pals in America.

    I’m changing it??! You’re the one changing it. Go back and read the thread. The hypothetical was a Uighur resistance leader in America assisting insurrections in China. Noted part of the hypothetical is that he (a) had not broken US laws and (b) China wanted him stopped, but because he had not broken our laws and that our government is broadly speaking more sympathetic with the resistance than the establishment we would not likely to act. In this instance, (in the hypothetical) China attacked and killed a the alleged supporter killing him and civilians in a San Francisco tavern using a drone.

    How would they know you are doing it? Investigation. How do they learn that people are engaged in drug smuggling, money laundering, credit card scams and so on?

    How? OK. We can, if you wish, extend the hypothetical. We haven’t learned of his activities … China has via torturing his people in China. I’ve never heard of investigations learning what people are doing in their Skype chats … you can let me know how that works out. Let’s suppose that financial records give credence to the notion that he is sending money overseas and possibly in support of Uighur’s overseas. Is that illegal in the US? What would his crime be and the punishment compared to the punishment that the Chinese seek?

    Let’s see if this hypothetical has legs. The important feature is (a) we have a person on a country who has not broken local laws but (b) an exterior country wants them stopped with prejudice. Why cannot that second country, based on our precedent use drones to attack?

  17. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    No the US gov’t would stop you if you were doing this from US soil and a foreign gov’t called it to the US’s attention.

    I don’t believe you. Can you cite any instance where a person was stopped from doing things legal in the US at a foreign government’s request/behest? Ever?

  18. Boonton says:

    I’m changing it??! You’re the one changing it. Go back and read the thread. The hypothetical was a Uighur resistance leader in America assisting insurrections in China. Noted part of the hypothetical is that he (a) had not broken US laws and (b) China wanted him stopped, but because he had not broken our laws and that our government is broadly speaking more sympathetic with the resistance than the establishment we would not likely to act.

    I think the question here would come down to how would this be treated if these acts were done by, say, the CIA or Army? Would they rise to the level of an attack by the US on China? My hunch is no so likewise if China sent a drone to kill the guy in San Francisco that would be an attack on the US.

    How? OK. We can, if you wish, extend the hypothetical. We haven’t learned of his activities … China has via torturing his people in China.

    Let’s say that China learns, via torture, that he has been using his skype connection to control drones that are shooting down planes in China. The US may not be able to charge him with a crime given the dubious nature of how the evidence was obtained but it would be obligated to stop him.

    you can let me know how that works out. Let’s suppose that financial records give credence to the notion that he is sending money overseas and possibly in support of Uighur’s overseas.

    Again revert to my test above. If the US gov’t gave money to the Uighur resistance would that in itself be sufficient to be considered an act of war on China? I don’t think so.

    I don’t believe you. Can you cite any instance where a person was stopped from doing things legal in the US at a foreign government’s request/behest

    Again my hypothetical was parking yourself in Texas and firing rockets into Mexico. I don’t think anyone has done this but if they had it would be illegal under US law. What you’re asking is would it be possible for a private person, from US soil, to do something that would be considered an act of war if it was done by the US gov’t but at the same time not be in violation of any US law? I don’t think so.

    Returning back to my point about ‘kill lists’, why is it ok for the President to order a city be carpet bombed because it may have high value targets but it’s not ok to bomb an individual building?

  19. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    I think the question here would come down to how would this be treated if these acts were done by, say, the CIA or Army?

    Which attacks?

    Let’s say that China learns, via torture, that he has been using his skype connection to control drones that are shooting down planes in China. The US may not be able to charge him with a crime given the dubious nature of how the evidence was obtained but it would be obligated to stop him.

    How do you use Skype to shoot down planes? Maybe he’s using telekinesis. How? How would they stop him?

    Again my hypothetical was parking yourself in Texas and firing rockets into Mexico.

    But this isn’t a good example. Remember many of the people in the the governments of Yemen and Pakistan broadly support the al-Qaeda over the US. Nobody in Texas firing at Mexicans has broad support in the US government. Also, does this mean you advocate Israel using drones to patrol Palestine and southern Lebanon as not-acts-of-war?

    So, you think China would not treat it as an act of war if the US directly financed insurgents in their country. Your probably right … might not. Depends on how much damage they did. Say Chinese backed insurgents in the US bombed and destroyed the San Fran Golden Gate Bridge. War? Or is China too big. Now … a little group can do a lot of damage. Say that private US non-law breaking guy was alledged via torture to have bombed parts of the Forbidden city. You think we’d do … what? Exactly what would happen? How would we react if China responded by drone attacking buildings he was in? How is that not the same?

    Returning back to my point about ‘kill lists’, why is it ok for the President to order a city be carpet bombed because it may have high value targets but it’s not ok to bomb an individual building?

    We “carpet” bombed in WW-II when we were … wait for it … at war with Germany. We are not at war with Yemen. Were were not even at war with Libya. Do you not know the distinction between assassination and bombardment?

    Your response is interesting. It seems pretty clear if Obama and his administration was waterboarding you’d be wrangling how to interpret that as being ethical.

  20. Boonton says:

    Which attacks?

    Well if the US gov’t fired rockets at Mexico, I think we’d agree that would be an act of war.

    If the US gov’t put a ‘Free Tibet’ banner on all $20 bills, I think we’d agree that would not be an act of war on China.

    If the US gov’t gave money to a resistance group that probably wouldn’t be an act of war. If it gave SAMs to them so they could shoot down planes that probably would border on it.

    How do you use Skype to shoot down planes? Maybe he’s using telekinesis. How? How would they stop him?

    The example I noted would be using skype to control a drone in China that would take down planes there. Would no doubt be a challenge but being that skype basically is a two way video/voice service one could probably rig a drone to take commands via a skype connection. Granted keeping internet service would be a challenge but that’s getting easier all the time. How would the US stop someone from doing this? Arrest them I’m sure.

    But this isn’t a good example. Remember many of the people in the the governments of Yemen and Pakistan broadly support the al-Qaeda over the US

    That may very well be, but nonetheless allowing your territory to be used to launch attacks against the US should put you in danger. YOu seem convinced that the ‘laws’ of Yemen and Pakistan matter here. If Pakistan passes a law saying it’s ok for their citizens to direct attacks against the US from Pakistan because many people there don’t like the US….well sorry but that makes you a military target.

    Also, does this mean you advocate Israel using drones to patrol Palestine and southern Lebanon as not-acts-of-war?

    Last I checked Israel was occupying Palestine and periodically invades or attacks targets in Lebanon. Why would using drones alter that fact?

    So, you think China would not treat it as an act of war if the US directly financed insurgents in their country. Your probably right … might not. Depends on how much damage they did. Say Chinese backed insurgents in the US bombed and destroyed the San Fran Golden Gate Bridge.

    Just a hypothetical, suppose on 9/12 it had been revealed that Iran had directly financed the operation. Do you think it would have really mattered for Iran that they had ‘laws’ authorizing terrorism on the US? I think if China financed a group that blew up the Golden Gate Bridge, it would probably bring us to the brink of war if not war itself. I’m sure if the US gov’t financed a group that did something equally as dramatic in China it would likewise be very bad. Countries are responsible for what happens under their sovereignity. A bunch of US citizens who decide to get together and organize attacks on targets in China can and will be stopped by the US gov’t and the US gov’t should stop such a group. Failing to do so could in fact be an act of war.

    We “carpet” bombed in WW-II when we were … wait for it … at war with Germany. We are not at war with Yemen. Were were not even at war with Libya. Do you not know the distinction between assassination and bombardment?

    The Constitution is hardly clear on this distinction. The history of the US and consensus of many seems to be that a formal declaration of war is not necessary for the President to engage in military action. You’re also not really addressing the question. You seem to be saying bombardment is ok because it’s ‘different’ from assassination. What exactly is the difference? Killing a lot of people in the attempt to make sure a few get killed versus killing the few people you really want to kill. Since the Constitution is being tossed around please show me exactly where such distinctions are made in the document itself.

    Your response is interesting. It seems pretty clear if Obama and his administration was waterboarding you’d be wrangling how to interpret that as being ethical.

    There is a clear distinction. Waterboarding by definition means you have custody of someone which means he is under the jurisdiction of the US and the Constitution. That is why the men who dropped the atomic bomb on Japan are veterns but a soldier who shoots a civilian woman because he gets drunk one night is court martialed. Again critics here seem to be trying to have their cake and eat it too. You either live outside the law or under the law but you are not entitled to both at the same time. A battlefield is outside the normal system of law, hence the gov’t doesn’t have to conduct a trial and hearing before a bombing run is authorized (not to say that laws do not apply to conduct on the battlefield, of course). Off the battlefield law applies.

  21. Boonton says:

    BTW, speaking of whether or not we are ‘at war with Yemen’….Congress did authorize war against terrorism where ever it might be, not war against a single country. What then would the Constitutional difference be between the US attacking an Al Qaeda camp in Yemen and one in Afghanistan? (Of course, there’s also the interesitng question of whether or not the Yemenese gov’t really objects to the attacks which it very well may not….but will decline to say so publically for obvious reasons)

  22. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    BTW, speaking of whether or not we are ‘at war with Yemen’….Congress did authorize war against terrorism where ever it might be, not war against a single country. What then would the Constitutional difference be between the US attacking an Al Qaeda camp in Yemen and one in Afghanistan? (Of course, there’s also the interesitng question of whether or not the Yemenese gov’t really objects to the attacks which it very well may not….but will decline to say so publically for obvious reasons)

    I see, so if China had declared “war on whatever” then a drone attack against a San Fran bar is justified because we can’t/won’t move against a Uighur leader working there. Interesting.

    If the US gov’t gave money to a resistance group that probably wouldn’t be an act of war. If it gave SAMs to them so they could shoot down planes that probably would border on it.

    And if they provided training and leadership? Look. China probably wouldn’t go to war over it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an act of war, it just means the provocation although serious isn’t up to the cost/benefit of going to war with the US which has a somewhat formidable military. Your “go to war” as a criteria is meaningless because of that. You justify drone attacks on the basis of the existence provocation which is internal to a foreign nation’s boundaries, but which damages you if the local country is not doing anything about it. That seems to be the sole basis for your justification. However, this justification you do not allow reciprocally. That is, you do not extend to other countries against yours. Apparently your notions of international justice are partisan, i.e., what applies to the US does not apply to other nations … or is it that powerful nations can do what they want against weaker ones … is that your notion of justice? Why don’t you see this as illogical or unjustifiable?

  23. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Granted keeping internet service would be a challenge but that’s getting easier all the time. How would the US stop someone from doing this? Arrest them I’m sure.

    Arrest them? On what charge? Really, what statute is being violated. Remember, Skype is very very hard to track. It is a peer to peer connection that is encrypted.

    Last I checked Israel was occupying Palestine and periodically invades or attacks targets in Lebanon. Why would using drones alter that fact?

    Yet I was unaware that you approved.

    You seem to be saying bombardment is ok because it’s ‘different’ from assassination. What exactly is the difference? Killing a lot of people in the attempt to make sure a few get killed versus killing the few people you really want to kill.

    Actually, with one exception to my knowledge bombing in WWII was never targeted against a single person, but against industries, i.e., factories.

    There is a clear distinction.

    No. You are willing to set aside your principles for your party in this case, I’m unclear why you would not do it again.

  24. Boonton says:

    Arrest them? On what charge? Really, what statute is being violated. Remember, Skype is very very hard to track. It is a peer to peer connection that is encrypted.

    Charge would be terrorism and the hypothetical isn’t that far off. IUD’s today are often activated by a cell phone. It’s only a small jump to consider either a flying drone like device or small rover type device being controlled by a video link from a remote location. As for being ‘hard to track’. That’s a matter of investigation and not really relevant to the discussion. If its impossible to know who is on the other side of the skype account controlling the bomb, then how is China supposed to know where the drone should be sent to attack.

    Yet I was unaware that you approved.

    Approval is irrelevant here. Military operations are different from other gov’t activities. That distinction doesn’t mean that there’s no standards to just.v.unjust wars or right.v.wrong conduct in a war.

    Actually, with one exception to my knowledge bombing in WWII was never targeted against a single person, but against industries, i.e., factories.

    But it’s ok to kill a generic group of people such as those who work at the factories if you don’t have a list of names? And while it wasn’t done with bombing, I do believe WWII had a few incidents of actual specific people being targetted. I believe a general in Japan was targetted when it was learned, via broken codes, which transport plane he would be riding on.

    No. You are willing to set aside your principles for your party in this case, I’m unclear why you would not do it again.

    So you say, but what principles are being set aside? I’m not seeing you present any principles that would prohibit our current drone use that would not also radically prohibit warfare. Please feel free to try to demonstrate otherwise.

  25. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    If its impossible to know who is on the other side of the skype account controlling the bomb, then how is China supposed to know where the drone should be sent to attack.

    The proposed method was by torturing those people he was instructing via Skype.

    Approval is irrelevant here.

    I see, you think it’s just, but does not have the Boonton-stamp-of-approval.

    But it’s ok to kill a generic group of people such as those who work at the factories if you don’t have a list of names?

    That’s right. That was the operating principle behind thinking war is OK but assassination during wartime is not.

    I’m not seeing you present any principles that would prohibit our current drone use that would not also radically prohibit warfare.

    Wrong. Wartime is not peacetime. What I’m not seeing is a reason why using drones to attack Yemen or Pakistan means the Chinese can’t use drones to attack San Fran under similar circumstances.

  26. Boonton says:

    The proposed method was by torturing those people he was instructing via Skype.

    So flesh this out. Person in China builds a helicopter like drone and installs a low power explosive on it. Buys a smart phone and hooks it up. He then sets the drone on the roof of a tall building and then leaves for a day or two to give himself an alibi. From America it is switched on via a skype account and the American associate flies it into a jet engine of a landing passenger plane causing a crash that kills dozens. Via arrest and torture, the Chinese gov’t is able to learn who owns the skype account that controlled the drone.

    What impact does this have on anything said here? YOu can’t claim the American is not guilty of any criminal act in the US. You can’t also claim the US gov’t doesn’t have a responsibility to prevent and stop such attacks from being directed from it’s soil.

    I see, you think it’s just, but does not have the Boonton-stamp-of-approval.

    Not sure what you’re trying to get at here. Yes a soldier can do things in the context of serving in a military action that would be a criminal act if done outside a military action. The question of whether or not the military action is a good policy is different. I don’t believe a German airforce pilot who flew bombing missions over London was a criminal while someone blowing up a building in London is.

    That’s right. That was the operating principle behind thinking war is OK but assassination during wartime is not.

    Where did this principle come from? Civilian casualities have traditionally been justified as acceptable if they happen during an effort to take out a military target but they were viewed as a bad thing. You seem to stand that one its head and almost require civilian casualities to serve as cover for taking out the military target. If you know a Nazi General is in a particular village, you best level the village entire rather than just the house he is in!

    Wrong. Wartime is not peacetime. What I’m not seeing is a reason why using drones to attack Yemen or Pakistan means the Chinese can’t use drones to attack San Fran under similar circumstances.

    They can, if they want to be at war with the US and if the US has not problem letting local yahoos drag it into a war with China.

  27. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    So flesh this out. Person in China builds a helicopter like drone and installs a low power explosive on it. Buys a smart phone and hooks it up. He then sets the drone on the roof of a tall building and then leaves for a day or two to give himself an alibi. From America it is switched on via a skype account and the American associate flies it into a jet engine of a landing passenger plane causing a crash that kills dozens. Via arrest and torture, the Chinese gov’t is able to learn who owns the skype account that controlled the drone.

    Who in Yemen is attacking people (anywhere) with drones. We’re attacking with drones. This isn’t the scenerio I outlined. Let me try again.

    There are (now) Uighur dissidents, some may use violence in China. The situation is a Uighur dissident legally in the US (we can have him have or not have US citizenship). He is a leader of the Uighur movement … and is actively aiding them, communicating via Skype with people on the Net in China and as well training people in camps in the US (which is legal) and possibly raising money and sending that overseas. China knows he is doing this via torture of those they captured in China. They request we stop him. The US investigates and perhaps even arrests him, but they release him because they find nothing with which they can charge him (and probably don’t try very hard because those who are asked to investigate/arrest are more sympathetic with the Uighur than the Chinese). Subsequently in frustration at our inaction which they interpret as our inability to stop him they attack via drone controlled via offshore vessel while he is dining in a San Francisco. China claims he is killed with 4 of his co-conspirators. 12 others are killed in the attack.

    Read up in the thread, this is basically the scenario I’ve been citing all along. This is analogous in many was with our justification for our attacks in Pakistan and Yemen. Why are the latter OK and not the former.

    If you know a Nazi General is in a particular village, you best level the village entire rather than just the house he is in!

    With one exception that I know of in WWII we did not target individuals. We have had and have continued to hold as policy that we do not target individuals, like leaders especially as a strategic method. We don’t target their generals for killing and expect them not to do the same. The lone exception was the targeted killing of Yamamoto in the Pacific.

  28. Boonton says:

    He is a leader of the Uighur movement … and is actively aiding them, communicating via Skype with people on the Net in China and as well training people in camps in the US (which is legal) and possibly raising money and sending that overseas. China knows he is doing this via torture of those they captured in China. They request we stop him

    Again I refer you to the test…would this be an act of war if the CIA hired this dissident to do these things on behalf of the US?

    If it would, then by what logic could you argue China wouldn’t have a right to retaliate? If it wouldn’t, then all China can do is ask us to stop him….the US failing to do so would not justify a military attack.

    Who in Yemen is attacking people (anywhere) with drones. We’re attacking with drones. This isn’t the scenerio I outlined. Let me try again.

    I’m unaware of any ‘in kind’ principle in warfare. If someone in Yemen is attacking us with suicide bombers or IED’s there’s no obligation to use only the type of tech they are using in retaliation.

    With one exception that I know of in WWII we did not target individuals. We have had and have continued to hold as policy that we do not target individuals, like leaders especially as a strategic method. We don’t target their generals for killing and expect them not to do the same.

    This sounds like a strategic decision rather than a moral one. Large armies have no shortage of people to promote to general so making a special effort to kill one will not justify the risk. Plus there’s an element of ‘professional coutsey’ involved I’m sure. In the case of a surrender or even during the war when negotiating prisoner exchanges and whatnot it’s helpful if generals are intact to command their troops. There’s also the risk that you don’t know who is going to replace the general you kill. Quite a few times in war it turns out the highest level commanders don’t do so well but people promoted up the ranks turn out to be exceptionally gifted. Killing an above average general might end up opening the door to a military genius taking over his job….so all things taken together in ‘big wars’ it’s probably not usually very productive to target specific people in the enemy’s force. (This might change, though, as intelligence and precision weapons make it less expensive to pull off this type of targetting).

    This is often reversed, though, for insurgencies and rebellions. Quite often these forces are light on leadership at the top so it’s not unprecdented to make a special effort to target a charismatic leader rather than just targetting the enemy forces ‘in general’.

    In a case of fighting a terrorist organization that’s made up of dozens to at most hundreds of people and is very loosely organized I have no idea how you would expect military action to *not* be targetting specific individuals.

  29. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Again I refer you to the test…would this be an act of war if the CIA hired this dissident to do these things on behalf of the US?

    Bzzzz. You can’t refer the that test. It is under dispute. Read back. I’ve offered your test is not valid, as there are large barriers to offering “act of war”, which in turns means war is (or ought to be) engaged.

    I’m unaware of any ‘in kind’ principle in warfare. If someone in Yemen is attacking us with suicide bombers or IED’s there’s no obligation to use only the type of tech they are using in retaliation.

    And I call you on an error in rhetoric. Look. You proposed some weird rotation of my scenario with US based Chinese dissidents using drones driven from the US to perpetrate acts of terror. I had never proposed such a thing in the drone discussion. You did. Now you say that my rejection of your rotation (from the US or larger country using drones on the others to the terrorists using them) is uncalled for … is somehow a “in kind” principle. It wasn’t. The problem with Yemen using drones is it was never part of the discussion. A big part of the drone discussion is to point try to get you to use (a) name the principles by which drones are legal and (b) point out that any reasonable “multi-cultural” application of those principles means you have permitted legal attacks on the US.

    Liberal arguments against drones and assassination. Note use of assassination is illegal by statute. This is why the bin Laden assassination is not publicly cited as such. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t.

    In a case of fighting a terrorist organization that’s made up of dozens to at most hundreds of people and is very loosely organized I have no idea how you would expect military action to *not* be targetting specific individuals.

    This is where closing and deciding to not use detainment … the unanticipated (by some) consequence is you have to kill them because you have no alternative.

    Quite often these forces are light on leadership at the top so it’s not unprecdented to make a special effort to target a charismatic leader rather than just targetting the enemy forces ‘in general’.

    No. I don’t believe they are light on leadership. Cite?

  30. Boonton says:

    Bzzzz. You can’t refer the that test. It is under dispute. Read back. I’ve offered your test is not valid, as there are large barriers to offering “act of war”, which in turns means war is (or ought to be) engaged.

    Actually you can answer the question without agreeing to the test. Would it be an act of war if those activities were done by the US gov’t rather than simply by a person who happened to be on US soil?

    I think we agree that if another country commits an act of war, we have the right to strike back. You seem to be staking out the position that if individuals who just happen to be in another country commit an act of war against the US, the US may not strike back. Technically the Taliban did not attack the WTC on 9/11. Technically they stated that Al Qaeda was not allowed to do such an attack while staying as ‘guests’ in Afghanistan. Yet they also said they would take no action to either arrest or help the US take out Bin Laden and his network in their country. IMO this gives the US the right to act accordingly in response.

    A big part of the drone discussion is to point try to get you to use (a) name the principles by which drones are legal and (b) point out that any reasonable “multi-cultural” application of those principles means you have permitted legal attacks on the US.

    Perhaps we got off track with too many hypotheticals. Multi-culturalism is not a problem here. China or some other hypothetical country may think dissent is an act of war. But it hasn’t been so considered by International LAw. If China wants to declar war on the US because the US allows people to put ‘Free Tibet’ banners on their blogs, then China will do so. I don’t think anyone would seriously consider such an act to not be aggression by China.

    And I think you can tell the difference between dissenters criticizing their home country from foreign soil and those launching terrorist attacks from foreign soil.

    Liberal arguments against drones and assassination. Note use of assassination is illegal by statute.

    Errr actually your source there says most drone strikes are ‘signature strikes’ where the attack hits people believed to be militants but the US doesn’t necessarily know exactly who they are. That sounds to me exactly akin to bombing that’s been done in every war since WWI.

    Your source claims personality strikes (where the target is a specific person) are outlawed by Executive Order 11905. BUT….

    1. Executive Orders are not laws. The President can override an Executive order anytime he wants. That’s why they are called ‘orders’. In the military your commanding officer can order you to not do pushups on Monday and on Tuesday he can order you to do pushups.

    2. Order 11905 bans ‘political assassinations’. The qualifier ‘political’ would not be applicable to decapitation strikes against a military enemy. If drones were killing people running for office in a foreign country you’d have a political assassination. If you’re using drones to kill those engaged in military action against the US, you’re not conducting a military assassination.

    3. Order 12036 added very interesting qualifying language. It said that no intelligence action should be taken against a US citizen unless the President and AG approved the action and determined “that there is probable cause to believe that the United States person is an agent of a foreign power.” In other words it assumes that Order 11905 would not ban either intelligence actions against foreign powers nor even killings. Only ‘political assassinations’.

    This is where closing and deciding to not use detainment … the unanticipated (by some) consequence is you have to kill them because you have no alternative.

    Except detainment has never been taken off the table. Once under the jurisdiction of the US, the gov’t may try and convict accused terrorists and it does. You have a very strange position here. You’re essentially saying it’s illegal for the US to blow up the house Bin Laden was in from theh sky because that would be an assassination. It would be ok, though, if the US blew up the whole city Bin Laden was in…provided it was just targetting Al Qaeda’s ‘command headquarters’ neglecting the fact that was essentially a single man. And to get even stranger you are saying while the US couldn’t use a drone to blow up the house Bin Laden was in, it could send in Seals to try to capture Bin Laden because that would be…what? ‘Political kidnapping’ which I guess is ok by this mighty stand for principle you have deluded yourself into thinking you are taking.

    No. I don’t believe they are light on leadership. Cite?

    Small forces tend not to have a very elaborate chain of command nor do they have deep institutions for producing pools of new upper and middle leadership. Being able to kill or neutralize the leadership of small insurgent movements often is an effective tactic. Against larger, more conventional, forces I don’t think it would be.

    A program for the USSR to assassinate officers or a program for the US to do the same would probably have not been of much military effectiveness in the Cold War. Both the US and USSR have huge pools of officers in waiting as well as training academies and such ready to fill job openings. In smaller movements, though, such a tactic is more likely to be effective. Consider that Boliva had little qualms about assassinating Che Guevara and it seemed to work for them.

  31. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Actually you can answer the question without agreeing to the test. Would it be an act of war if those activities were done by the US gov’t rather than simply by a person who happened to be on US soil?

    Turn it around. If the Chinese government was sponsoring, running, and training terrorists from within China would that be an act of war?

    You seem to be staking out the position that if individuals who just happen to be in another country commit an act of war against the US, the US may not strike back.

    Let’s see, they are in another country not breaking laws of that country. You are claiming we can hit their country with airstrikes without consequence. And as I point out, when you reverse it, you deem it an act of war.

    If China wants to declar war on the US because the US allows people to put ‘Free Tibet’ banners on their blogs, then China will do so. I don’t think anyone would seriously consider such an act to not be aggression by China.

    As noted, they are not necessarily just putting “Free Tibet” on their blogs.

    Errr actually your source there says most drone strikes are ‘signature strikes’ where the attack hits people believed to be militants but the US doesn’t necessarily know exactly who they are.

    Mr Obama allegedly has a list, and I hear of no due process for getting on/off and no public access to that list. Mr Stalin had lists too. But then, the left is a fan of Mr Stalin. Perhaps that is why they are comfortable with Mr Obama’s lists.

    Except detainment has never been taken off the table.

    I see. You’re a closet Gitmo supporter from the left?

    And to get even stranger you are saying while the US couldn’t use a drone to blow up the house Bin Laden was in, it could send in Seals to try to capture Bin Laden because that would be…what? ‘Political kidnapping’ which I guess is ok by this mighty stand for principle you have deluded yourself into thinking you are taking.

    I’m trying to explore. I’m not taking any stand. I find the arguments that drone activity in countries that we are not at war with have some viability so I’m arguing that side. You are not doing so good a job arguing the other. Do you want to swap? You have failed (and so far so have I) to annunciate a principle that would allow drone attacks or air strikes on countries with which we are not at war ethically in such a way that would prevent the same from being done against targets in the US. Look at my Uighur example, if the Uighur does not break any US laws I see no way that the US can legally act against him … and consequently by your reasoning China would be justified in a drone/air strike. Do you agree with that? If not, why not and how does that work?

  32. Boonton says:

    Turn it around. If the Chinese government was sponsoring, running, and training terrorists from within China would that be an act of war?

    Terrorists against whom? Against the US? Yes it would be.

    Let’s see, they are in another country not breaking laws of that country. You are claiming we can hit their country with airstrikes without consequence

    Because it may not be against the law in Yemen to attack the US, individuals in Yeman are allowed to attack the US but we are not allowed to attack them? Seems to me if Yemen doesn’t want to be attacked they should make it so that no attacks against the US originate from Yemenise soil.

    Mr Obama allegedly has a list, and I hear of no due process for getting on/off and no public access to that list. Mr Stalin had lists too. But then, the left is a fan of Mr Stalin. Perhaps that is why they are comfortable with Mr Obama’s lists.

    Due process? Was there a due process system whereby citizens of Japan who lived in Hiroshima could appeal to have their city removed from the bombing list? You’re argument is it’s ok to kill vast amounts of people with no due process…but it’s not ok to kill individual people who are legitimate military targets?

    You’ve managed to argue that the way to be *less* like Stalin is to kill many more innocent people rather. Wow your logic is really working wonders.

    You have failed (and so far so have I) to annunciate a principle that would allow drone attacks or air strikes on countries with which we are not at war ethically in such a way that would prevent the same from being done against targets in the US.

    Your principle would seem to rule out any attack. If they raided Bin Laden’s house and took him off to Gitmo, that would still technically be an attack on a country we are not at war with. You’ve argued not against drone attacks but all attacks of any type.

    BUT….you neglect to note that after 9/11 Congress authorized military action against *any* country where terrorists might be found. No seperate declaration is legally required should Al Qaeda turn up in a country we didn’t expect.

    Look at my Uighur example, if the Uighur does not break any US laws I see no way that the US can legally act against him … and consequently by your reasoning China would be justified in a drone/air strike.

    The state has a monopoly on the use of force that are acts of war. If the Uighur guy is doing something that is an act of war, the US has the legal right to arrest and stop him. It’s hard to keep track of the examples but it boils down to is the Uighur guy doing something that is legitimately an act of war. If he is, China has a right to use force to stop it. If he isn’t then China using force would be an act of war on the US.

  33. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    If the Uighur guy is doing something that is an act of war, the US has the legal right to arrest and stop him.

    Recall, from the example, the evidence that it is him was gotten via torture in China and that the US is largely sympathetic with the Uighur plight. So, who asks to arrest? What jurisdiction? What charges? If no action is taken, is it right (just/ethical/legal) for China to strike? Remember, by analogy, you claim it is.

    Because it may not be against the law in Yemen to attack the US, individuals in Yeman are allowed to attack the US but we are not allowed to attack them?

    If it is not legal/allowed for China to attack us, it is not legal/allowed for us to act.

    Due process?

    We were at war with Japan. Has war been declared on Pakistan or Yemen?

    You’ve managed to argue that the way to be *less* like Stalin is to kill many more innocent people rather. Wow your logic is really working wonders.

    Not following you.

    BUT….you neglect to note that after 9/11 Congress authorized military action against *any* country where terrorists might be found. No seperate declaration is legally required should Al Qaeda turn up in a country we didn’t expect.

    And the left objected to that. Not so much with a change of President, eh?

  34. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Two cases to consider as well, the Uighur guy may have US citizenship (or just a green card). Is there a difference? Is there any distinction in your eyes between born in the US and naturalized?

  35. Boonton says:

    Recall, from the example, the evidence that it is him was gotten via torture in China and that the US is largely sympathetic with the Uighur plight.

    Irrelevant. We aren’t talking about whether or not the US will criminally prosecute him for what he did, we are talking about whether the US will stop him from using its soil from committing acts of war against foreign countries.

    Now if what he did doesn’t amount to an act of war, then the US and China will be in disagreement. Hardly unusual when it comes to wars. Correct me if I’m wrong but even Nazi Germany tried to claim Poland had fired the first shot when it invaded Poland?

    If no action is taken, is it right (just/ethical/legal) for China to strike?

    Depends on the nature of what the guy is being allowed to do from the US. In other words is it or is it not an act of war. If it is then China would be justified in striking.

    We were at war with Japan. Has war been declared on Pakistan or Yemen?

    It has against terrorist organizations as well as against the Taliban. To the degree that elements in Yemen or Pakistan are engaged in fighting the US in Afghanistan or Iraq by coordinating attacks they attacking the US and legitimate military targets.

    In essence here a country has both right and responsibility to control its geographic territory. If a country allows people inside its territory to facilitate a war from elsewhere, then it is allowing those people to bring the battlefield home.

    Not following you.

    You’re arguing carpet bombing is ok. Individual centered bombing isn’t because ‘Stalin had a list’. Stalin also liked to drink vodka.

    And the left objected to that. Not so much with a change of President, eh?

    Did it? What was the vote in Congress? Was the authorization ever repealed or even proposed to be repealed? Didn’t your side make so much hey about Kerry ‘supporting the war before he opposed it’? Now all in the sudden the left opposed war all along?

    Two cases to consider as well, the Uighur guy may have US citizenship (or just a green card). Is there a difference? Is there any distinction in your eyes between born in the US and naturalized?

    Isn’t the question whether or not there’s a difference in the eyes of the Constitution? There isn’t. Being a non-citizen does not allow the US gov’t to kill, torture, kidnap or harm people without due process of law.

  36. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Irrelevant. We aren’t talking about whether or not the US will criminally prosecute him for what he did, we are talking about whether the US will stop him from using its soil from committing acts of war against foreign countries.

    You are dodging the questions. He hasn’t broken US laws and is a citizen. What are you charging him with? Under what jurisdiction? What statutes? What are you doing to him? Who is arresting him if they do? (remember, most in the US government are sympathetic with him not the Chinese). You can’t “deport him”, he’s a US citizen. Are you suggesting exile?

    Now if what he did doesn’t amount to an act of war, then the US and China will be in disagreement.

    You’ve said that it’s an act of war if the tables were reversed. Now that doesn’t mean we will go to war. But there you have it.

    If it is then China would be justified in striking.

    I see. You countenance striking the US? Really?

    If a country allows people inside its territory to facilitate a war from elsewhere, then it is allowing those people to bring the battlefield home.

    Are you sure? Look above? What charges? Libya thinks the fella in Los Angeles should be arresting and we are doing so (I read the judge suggested 4-6 months but the justice dept. is looking for 2 years … wonder why that is? Again, as far as I know, in the US for me to be arrested I have to actually break laws. What law is he breaking? That means he has to break laws on the US books.

    You’re arguing carpet bombing is ok. Individual centered bombing isn’t because ‘Stalin had a list’. Stalin also liked to drink vodka.

    Obama has a “kill list”. Stalin did too. That’s not “drinking Vodka”.

    You’re arguing carpet bombing is ok.

    We bombed industrial centers in WWII. If you remember, we refused to do nighttime bombing at great cost of life because it mean we would be less likely to miss our targets and bomb non-military targets. We did our best with the technology to not bomb civilian centers. Apparently you didn’t know that.

    There isn’t. Being a non-citizen does not allow the US gov’t to kill, torture, kidnap or harm people without due process of law.

    But you can deport back to his nation of origin because he has one. You cannot do that with someone born here.

    Being a non-citizen does not allow the US gov’t to kill, torture, kidnap or harm people without due process of law.

    Odd that you’d mention that. I’ve asked what law your Uighur has broken and you’ve been silent. Now is your time to offer that up (due process doesn’t include information acquired via torture in other countries in case you’ve forgotten … that sort of evidence is inadmissible in any court I’ve heard of).

  37. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Irrelevant. We aren’t talking about whether or not the US will criminally prosecute him for what he did, we are talking about whether the US will stop him from using its soil from committing acts of war against foreign countries.

    Maybe I’m just confused. How does the US government stop you from doing something that is legal in the US without arresting you? Ask nicely?

  38. Boonton says:

    Maybe I’m just confused. How does the US government stop you from doing something that is legal in the US without arresting you? 

    In your example of the dissident who wasn’t a US citizen, possible expel him. To be honest this question is difficult to answer since I’m having a hard time imagining what a person could do that would be a legitimate act of war against a foreign country that wouldn’t, at the same time, be subject to US criminal law…..and be done from US soil. The examples you gave of advocacy, giving money too groups etc. would not be sufficient IMO. Giving weapons to a group might be except the US does regulate the exporting of munitions. The only example I can think that might possibly work would be something along the lines of controlling some type of drone from US soil that attacks a foreign country….but then that would be terrorism which would make one subject to US law.

    You keep telling me he hasn’t broken US laws but then you’re also saying he has committed nothing that we would consider a legitimate act of war if done by the US gov’t. Hence we wouldn’t recognize that China has a legitimate cause to attack us.

    You’ve said that it’s an act of war if the tables were reversed.

    No if the tables are reversed it still wouldn’t be an act of war. Plenty of people in the Middle East spend all day long posting on chat sites how much they hate the US and how happy they are to hear that suicide bombers are attacking US troops. That in itself wouldn’t be an act of war even if the President of Iran said he was happy to hear suicide bombers were hitting troops in Afghanistan. If, however, a person was actually directing attacks, coordinating them or ordering them that would be a different matter.

    I see. You countenance striking the US? Really?

    I wouldn’t countenance starting a war with China for no good reason. But yea I think it’s pretty obvious that if the US were to attack China it would be pretty sensible to expect an attack back.

    Are you sure? Look above? What charges? Libya thinks the fella in Los Angeles should be arresting and we are doing so

    I’m sorry, was breaking your probation legalized in the US until Libya suggested otherwise?

    (I read the judge suggested 4-6 months but the justice dept. is looking for 2 years … wonder why that is?

    I wonder why. Ohhh, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakoula_Basseley_Nakoula

    We begin with major tax fraud ($106K). We go to meth manufacturer and distributor (at least $45K in cash on him when caught). Then we go to a sophisticated check kiting scam done by stealing people’s social security numbers ($794K). We know at least two major provisions of his five year probation were not to use the Internet without authorization and not to use fake aliases again…. yet according to the LA Times

    Assistant U.S. Atty. Robert Dugdale said in federal court Thursday that Nakoula had applied for a passport in one name, obtained a driver’s license under another and used a third name — which he spelled various ways -– while working on the film.

    So if a person serving a 5 year probation shouldn’t get at least two years for this type of violation exactly what do you think would merit two years for someone with his record? It’s rather amazing IMO that with all he did he was only ever sentenced to one year in jail. I personally know people who got equal sentences for doing a lot less mayhem than that.

    Obama has a “kill list”. Stalin did too. That’s not “drinking Vodka”.

    Stalin directed his troops to go into Poland. FDR to land at Normandy and invade Europe. If you can’t tell the difference between the two then you’re moral facilities are greatly impaired….despite your numerous classes in religious studies.

    We bombed industrial centers in WWII. If you remember, we refused to do nighttime bombing at great cost of life because it mean we would be less likely to miss our targets and bomb non-military targets. We did our best with the technology to not bomb civilian centers. Apparently you didn’t know that.

    And how is the use of drones not the continuation of that attempt at refining modern warfare away from mass slaughter? You should be applauding it except you’re inventing tortured logic that seems to mandate mass bombing that’s designed to kill lots of ‘extra people’ because you think the larger evil is selectively targeting valid military targets.

    Odd that you’d mention that. I’ve asked what law your Uighur has broken and you’ve been silent

    You tell me. What exactly could Uighur have done that would be an act of war on China if done by the US gov’t but wouldn’t break US law.

     Now is your time to offer that up (due process doesn’t include information acquired via torture in other countries in case you’ve forgotten … that sort of evidence is inadmissible in any court I’ve heard of).

    Actually it might be admissible. The ‘poison apple’ concept applies to torture and abuse done by law enforcement to get information. Information that falls into law enforcement’s hands that was not obtained by their active encouragement may be admissible.

    For example, say a person breaks into your house and steals your computer. The police arrest him at his home and confiscate plenty of stolen computers. Upon entering they find your computer open with child porn images being displayed. This could lead to you being charged with child pornography even though it would not have been admissible if a cop had taken it upon himself to break into your house without a warrant and search your computer.

  39. Boonton says:

    Maybe I’m just confused. How does the US government stop you from doing something that is legal in the US without arresting you? 

    In your example of the dissident who wasn’t a US citizen, possible expel him. To be honest this question is difficult to answer since I’m having a hard time imagining what a person could do that would be a legitimate act of war against a foreign country that wouldn’t, at the same time, be subject to US criminal law…..and be done from US soil. The examples you gave of advocacy, giving money too groups etc. would not be sufficient IMO. Giving weapons to a group might be except the US does regulate the exporting of munitions. The only example I can think that might possibly work would be something along the lines of controlling some type of drone from US soil that attacks a foreign country….but then that would be terrorism which would make one subject to US law.

    You keep telling me he hasn’t broken US laws but then you’re also saying he has committed nothing that we would consider a legitimate act of war if done by the US gov’t. Hence we wouldn’t recognize that China has a legitimate cause to attack us.

    You’ve said that it’s an act of war if the tables were reversed.

    No if the tables are reversed it still wouldn’t be an act of war. Plenty of people in the Middle East spend all day long posting on chat sites how much they hate the US and how happy they are to hear that suicide bombers are attacking US troops. That in itself wouldn’t be an act of war even if the President of Iran said he was happy to hear suicide bombers were hitting troops in Afghanistan. If, however, a person was actually directing attacks, coordinating them or ordering them that would be a different matter.

    I see. You countenance striking the US? Really?

    I wouldn’t countenance starting a war with China for no good reason. But yea I think it’s pretty obvious that if the US were to attack China it would be pretty sensible to expect an attack back.

    Are you sure? Look above? What charges? Libya thinks the fella in Los Angeles should be arresting and we are doing so

    I’m sorry, was breaking your probation legalized in the US until Libya suggested otherwise?

    (I read the judge suggested 4-6 months but the justice dept. is looking for 2 years … wonder why that is?

    I wonder why. Ohhh, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakoula_Basseley_Nakoula

    We begin with major tax fraud ($106K). We go to meth manufacturer and distributor (at least $45K in cash on him when caught). Then we go to a sophisticated check kiting scam done by stealing people’s social security numbers ($794K). We know at least two major provisions of his five year probation were not to use the Internet without authorization and not to use fake aliases again…. yet according to the LA Times

    Assistant U.S. Atty. Robert Dugdale said in federal court Thursday that Nakoula had applied for a passport in one name, obtained a driver’s license under another and used a third name — which he spelled various ways -– while working on the film.

    So if a person serving a 5 year probation shouldn’t get at least two years for this type of violation exactly what do you think would merit two years for someone with his record? It’s rather amazing IMO that with all he did he was only ever sentenced to one year in jail. I personally know people who got equal sentences for doing a lot less mayhem than that.

    Obama has a “kill list”. Stalin did too. That’s not “drinking Vodka”.

    Stalin directed his troops to go into Poland. FDR to land at Normandy and invade Europe. If you can’t tell the difference between the two then you’re moral facilities are greatly impaired….despite your numerous classes in religious studies.

    We bombed industrial centers in WWII. If you remember, we refused to do nighttime bombing at great cost of life because it mean we would be less likely to miss our targets and bomb non-military targets. We did our best with the technology to not bomb civilian centers. Apparently you didn’t know that.

    And how is the use of drones not the continuation of that attempt at refining modern warfare away from mass slaughter? You should be applauding it except you’re inventing tortured logic that seems to mandate mass bombing that’s designed to kill lots of ‘extra people’ because you think the larger evil is selectively targeting valid military targets.

    Odd that you’d mention that. I’ve asked what law your Uighur has broken and you’ve been silent

    You tell me. What exactly could Uighur have done that would be an act of war on China if done by the US gov’t but wouldn’t break US law.

     Now is your time to offer that up (due process doesn’t include information acquired via torture in other countries in case you’ve forgotten … that sort of evidence is inadmissible in any court I’ve heard of).

    Actually it might be admissible. The ‘poison apple’ concept applies to torture and abuse done by law enforcement to get information. Information that falls into law enforcement’s hands that was not obtained by their active encouragement may be admissible.

    For example, say a person breaks into your house and steals your computer. The police arrest him at his home and confiscate plenty of stolen computers. Upon entering they find your computer open with child porn images being displayed. This could lead to you being charged with child pornography even though it would not have been admissible if a cop had taken it upon himself to break into your house without a warrant and search your computer.

  40. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    In your example of the dissident who wasn’t a US citizen, possible expel him. To be honest this question is difficult to answer since I’m having a hard time imagining what a person could do that would be a legitimate act of war against a foreign country that wouldn’t, at the same time, be subject to US criminal law…..and be done from US soil. The examples you gave of advocacy, giving money too groups etc. would not be sufficient IMO.

    (and)

    ou tell me. What exactly could Uighur have done that would be an act of war on China if done by the US gov’t but wouldn’t break US law.

    That wasn’t what I said he was doing. He’s running training camps on private grounds, he’s collecting intelligence, and running command/control via net and shortwave. These were items which you noted if China as a nation (or the CIA against China) would be acts of war. He is the commander, the leader right now and directing their operations. But he is not breaking any (to my knowledge) US laws.

    For example, say a person breaks into your house and steals your computer. The police arrest him at his home and confiscate plenty of stolen computers. Upon entering they find your computer open with child porn images being displayed.

    That’s not the same as China handing over evidence that your intelligence informs you was obtained interrogation which includes torture.

    You should be applauding it except you’re inventing tortured logic that seems to mandate mass bombing that’s designed to kill lots of ‘extra people’ because you think the larger evil is selectively targeting valid military targets.

    Well, we’re confusing two things right now. We have tangled parallel discussion on the one had about targeted assassination of people in neutral countries and a discussion of the principles under which drones can be used on foreign soil. You seem to have established a contradictory notion that China should not be able to attack US targets using the exact same reasons that we attack targets in Yemen and Pakistan. One of the fundamental principles of law is that there aren’t privileged parties, if something is illegal for me it is illegal for you too. This is violated by your allowing Yemen attacks by the US but disallowing our example of Chinese attacks on the US.

    Stalin directed his troops to go into Poland. FDR to land at Normandy and invade Europe. If you can’t tell the difference between the two then you’re moral facilities are greatly impaired….despite your numerous classes in religious studies.

    Neither of those is a kill list, so I’m unclear the point you’re making by this example.

    So if a person serving a 5 year probation shouldn’t get at least two years for this type of violation exactly what do you think would merit two years for someone with his record?

    I read a report that said the judge recommended 4-6 months in jail. What I think about whether he should get 6 months or 2 years is irrelevant … I do think that the government seeking for 2 years against the judges recommendation is politically motivated by events in Libya. I think you are naive to think otherwise.

  41. Boonton says:

    That wasn’t what I said he was doing. He’s running training camps on private grounds, he’s collecting intelligence, and running command/control via net and shortwave. These were items which you noted if China as a nation (or the CIA against China) would be acts of war

    This is probably illegal or probably could be made illegal quite easily. If you’re directing military or terrorist operations from US soil you’re beyond simple ‘free speech’.

    That’s not the same as China handing over evidence that your intelligence informs you was obtained interrogation which includes torture

    Yea it is, the poison fruit doctrine (illegally obtained evidence can’t be used in court) is not explicitly stated in the constitution, it’s derived as a tool to remove an incentive from law enforcement from using illegal methods. In cases where that is not a factor (for example, the cops make an ‘honest mistake’ and conduct a search on the wrong address), courts have been more open to allowing the evidence.

    You seem to have established a contradictory notion that China should not be able to attack US targets using the exact same reasons that we attack targets in Yemen and Pakistan.

    I disagree with your implication that Chinese dissidents inside the US are or would be allowed to do anything near what those targetted in Yemen and Pakistan have done. I think I stated several times over if the US allowed individuals to conduct acts of war based on its soil it could be liable to valid counter attack by targetted countries.

    Neither of those is a kill list, so I’m unclear the point you’re making by this example.

    First it is unclear that we even have a kill list. Everyone on such a list would, if they turned up in a place where it was easy to capture them, would in fact be captured and then not killed….meaning this is not a true kill list. Stalin killed those on his kill list regardless of whether or not he had them in custody.

    I read a report that said the judge recommended 4-6 months in jail. What I think about whether he should get 6 months or 2 years is irrelevant … I do think that the government seeking for 2 years…

    I agree part of the gov’t’s motive has been caused by the worldwide events that happened. While he may not have intended it, by becoming famous with his probation violation he creates the need to be made an example of. It’s one thing to violate your probation, that’s your violation. If you’re on TV violating your probation then you’re not only violating but sending a message about what happens when you brazenly defy the law. That should be meet with a demand for a harsher penalty.

    That being the case there’s no all that much difference between 6 months and 2 years and 2 years seems pretty reasonable when the underlying crime was stealing nearly a freaking million dollars and a whole bunch of people’s social security numbers! It’s also pretty freaking reasonable when you’re not only caught violating the internet ban in your probation but you’re lying to investigators and have a collection of fake passports and drivers licenses to boot.

    I think Casey Anthony got 6 months alone for just lying to police about the whereabouts of her daughter.

  42. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    This is probably illegal or probably could be made illegal quite easily.

    Are we making this illegal before or after the Chinese attack? On what charges? You can train, this is not unlike Boy Scout camping trips, if you do it on private land, you need a law to be noted that is broken. As for communications, cryptography is ahead of code breaking. Even Skype traffic is encrypted, it would be easy to make it very very hard for that to be tracked (get on-line on different machines from libraries and free wifi hotspots with different computers and even different skype accounts). That’s just using vanilla skype. Any reasonably thoughtful programmer could spend a little bit and be very very secure. So .. it is quite likely that your Chinese torture is you only evidence of his “command/control” feature. So you have to make a case that he’s doing what the Chinese allege and that’s going to be hard to prove … here. Let me know when you figure out the crime and statute he’s violated.

    I think I stated several times over if the US allowed individuals to conduct acts of war based on its soil it could be liable to valid counter attack by targetted countries.

    Again. I disagree. You think such acts that are recognized as “acts of war” by other countries are in fact illegal in this country. If they are not illegal we would not stop them and you would find that foreign attack itself provocation.

    Yea it is, the poison fruit doctrine (illegally obtained evidence can’t be used in court) is not explicitly stated in the constitution, it’s derived as a tool to remove an incentive from law enforcement from using illegal methods.

    Let’s see … review the Gitmo proceedings and let me know if evidence given under torture overseas is admissible there. Yet you figure it will be here. Is this a loophole? Sam Spade wants to torture Guido … so he foots the bill to fly him to Bulgaria for a little rubber truncheon action, some waterboarding, and some drugs and gets the confession he wants. Courts will allow that ’cause it was done by foreign nationals? Are you going to lose your progressive/liberal identity bracelet for suggesting evidence gotten via torture is admissible to charge US citizens?

    First it is unclear that we even have a kill list.

    The effing NYTimes says he has one. If liberals can’t believe the NYTimes when they accuse another liberal, your view of media bias is truly warped the wrong way.

    Everyone on such a list would, if they turned up in a place where it was easy to capture them, would in fact be captured and then not killed….meaning this is not a true kill list

    Like bin Laden was? LOL.

    I agree part of the gov’t’s motive has been caused by the worldwide events that happened.

    Well, that took a bit. Let’s see how far we’ve progressed. You’ve now admitted the admin is waffling to foreign pressure and that the riots were not the caused by the riots they just an excuse. Interesting.

  43. Boonton says:

    Are we making this illegal before or after the Chinese attack? On what charges? You can train, this is not unlike Boy Scout camping trips, if you do it on private land, you need a law to be noted that is broken.
    Act of war though? The military trains all the time. ‘Militias’ do their pseudo-training on private land. Private security firms like Blackwater also do training. That in itself wouldn’t be an act of war and if someone was training people to go to China and cause mayham it would seem the problem could be addressed by China simply choosing not to let such people in.

    But if you’re operating a training camp to do overseas terrorist attacks, you are in violation of the law so some Chinese people in the US signing up to take gun classes, signing up for ‘boot camp’ like fitness resorts….not illegal but also not an act of war. Training to attack, say, Chinese airlines at a ‘private camp’ in North Carolina would violate the law.

    Even Skype traffic is encrypted, it would be easy to make it very very hard for that to be tracked

    I suppose it’s possible the Internet may make it possible to do terrorism from your living room and it’s only a matter of time before it happens. But why go through all this trouble to encrypt your true location if you’re going to have people in China who can give you away if they are captured? And the hypothetical drone via skype terrorist attack still presumes that there’s some type of network in China that can set up these drones. If China cuts that off then there’s no attack. If they can’t find that network inside China itself, then how are they going to know where in America to attack given the terrorist is hiding behind all that encryption?

    Again. I disagree. You think such acts that are recognized as “acts of war” by other countries are in fact illegal in this country. If they are not illegal we would not stop them and you would find that foreign attack itself provocation.

    And again you are assuming the existence of a class of actions that would be considered legitimate acts of war if done by the US gov’t against another country but are perfectly legal for an individual to do from US soil. I’ve yet to hear a single element of this class and I think there’s good reason to assume it’s empty.

    Let’s see … review the Gitmo proceedings and let me know if evidence given under torture overseas is admissible there. Yet you figure it will be here. Is this a loophole? Sam Spade wants to torture Guido … so he foots the bill to fly him to Bulgaria for a little rubber truncheon action, some waterboarding, and some drugs and gets the confession he wants.

    Exceptions to the poison fruit doctrine hinge upon the state not having an incentive to bring about the act. In the example I gave of someone who robs your house and steals your computer, if it’s found that the cops ‘hinted’ to the thief that taking your computer might be a good thing the doctrine would certainly apply and the evidence excluded. Ditto for the gov’t trying to ‘outsource’ the torture by getting another gov’t to do it.

    But say it is impossible to try the person for using his local internet connection to operate the terror drone. I would imagine the guy would be placed under surveillence and his communications tapped, even blocked if he was engaging in warfare from US soil. It would be difficult to challenge that on Constitutional grounds since the gov’t isn’t using such evidence to try him.

    But as interesting as it is to speculate about the future brining about an age of individualized warfare, it has nothing to do with Pakistan and Yemen where the targets are detected via more or less traditional means and can be stopped by traditional means. Those gov’ts either choose not to stop them or lack the basic resources (reliable police for example) to stop them.

    The effing NYTimes says he has one. If liberals can’t believe the NYTimes when they accuse another liberal, your view of media bias is truly warped the wrong way.

    If the Us was notified by Pakistan tomorrow that Al Qaeda’s current #2 or #1 man had been captured by them and they wanted to turn him over, what would the US do? Shoot him in handcuffs when he is transferred to US custody? You make a critical error in your comparision of our ‘kill list’ to Stalin’s ‘kill list’. Stalin was killing people who were entirely within Soviet jurisdiction and control. The drone strikes are on military targets totally outside anyone’s jurisdiction or control.

    Like bin Laden was? LOL.

    Again even the Seal who is in trouble for leaking classified info in his book has stated his orders were to take Bin Laden alive if possible.

    Well, that took a bit. Let’s see how far we’ve progressed. You’ve now admitted the admin is waffling to foreign pressur…

    Bullshit. Look back to my Lindsey Lohan analogy. If you break the law and don’t get noticed it’s a very different deal than if you’re on worldwide TV breaking the law. Even though this guy probably didn’t want to become famous, the fact is once he did the need for the gov’t to up the charges on him mounts. He was effectively giving the law the middle finger, and that’s going to get the book thrown at you.

    I’m amused you’re trying to argue here that stealing a million dollars, steal SSI numbers, churning out fake passports and drivers licenses on probation, obstructing justice and violating your probation are all ‘ok’ to be punished by 6 months in jail but it’s bending to foreign pressure to get 2 years. What exactly is this subtle formula you are using that is able to so precisely tell us that 4-6 months is ok but 2 years is outrageously long? Just because a report says a judge thinks so?

  44. Boonton says:

    that the riots were not the caused by the riots they just an excuse. Interesting.

    Clearly you wrote this too quickly and expressed your thoughts in a confused manner (the riots were not the cause of the riots?). But I think ultimately you’re underlying thought here is confused too.

    I think you’re trying to say that the video didn’t cause the riots, the riots were caused by leaders manipulating the population and the video was just an excuse that happened to be laying around. If the video didn’t exist some other video on Youtube would have been found or perhaps an imaginary rumor would have been made up and circulated.

    In 1965 the US airbase at Pleiku, Vietnam was bombed leading LBJ to dramatically escalate the war. McGeorge Bundy said at the time “pleikus are streetcars…if you are waiting for one, it will come along”. In other words the administration wanted to up the war and one way or the other it would have found a reason to do so.

    You might say the same of Pearl Harbour. Both sides recognized the rising tensions between Japan and the US. War was expected so one might say it would have started sooner or later, even if the attack didn’t (just like Hitler’s decision to declar war on the US, which was probably a strategic blunder on his part, was in the making even if he didn’t have the Japanese attack as the tipping point to announce it).

    In this sense I’d go along with you. If you have a super dry forest there’s only so much value in asking exactly which lightening strike or which flicked cigarette started the fire. But that doesn’t make the events unreal or absolve them of responsibility for the causation. If Japan had merely announced it was at war rather than the surprise attack, I think things would have turned out a bit differently. If pleiku hadn’t been bombed, Vietnam may have escalated but not in the way it did.

    I think both Bundy and you are overplaying the illusion of perfect control by leaders and perfect predictability by nature. It’s not at all obvious to me that if Pleiku wasn’t bombed, the next ‘streetcar’ would have provided LBJ with an equally strong justification for escalation. It’s not at all obvious to me that rioters could have just plucked any ‘offensive video’ off of YouTube to spark riots. one video became a ‘hit’ and ultimately the causes for that are chaotic.

  45. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Act of war though? The military trains all the time. ‘Militias’ do their pseudo-training on private land. Private security firms like Blackwater also do training. That in itself wouldn’t be an act of war and if someone was training people to go to China and cause mayham it would seem the problem could be addressed by China simply choosing not to let such people in.

    “Just don’t let those people in.” ROTFL. Training wouldn’t be an act or war. Right. Communicating with people over seas is not an act of war. China however, has their evidence, that it was.

    Exceptions to the poison fruit doctrine hinge upon the state not having an incentive to bring about the act.

    China had incentive. So you can’t use their evidence.

    I would imagine the guy would be placed under surveillence and his communications tapped, even blocked if he was engaging in warfare from US soil.

    As I said, it may be technologically impossible to block him without arresting him. And remember, on what charges? Why is the US watching him? Because China tortured some guys and asked them to? Remember, most of the people China is talking to are unsympathetic.

    And again you are assuming the existence of a class of actions that would be considered legitimate acts of war if done by the US gov’t against another country but are perfectly legal for an individual to do from US soil. I’ve yet to hear a single element of this class and I think there’s good reason to assume it’s empty.

    I’ve given the example. You said training and running insurgents from within US borders to act in China would be an act of war. Yet taken individually these acts are not illegal in the US. Or at least you’ve not suggested a single law that might be broken. You’ve suggested, probably illegal wiretaps, might be able to verify that the person is doing what China suggests, which may or may not be technologically possible to block by an individual.

    Your US #1/#2 man is in Pakistan example is interesting. Let’s say China tell us that the #1 insurgent running operations is within US borders. We investigate and discover he is now a naturalized US citizen and hasn’t broken any US laws. Now what? What happens then, when China foiled by our defense of the fellow uses a drone to attack the Chili’s Grill from which he was eating and using their Wifi?

    But say it is impossible to try the person for using his local internet connection to operate the terror drone. And!? And the hypothetical drone via skype terrorist attack still presumes that there’s some type of network in China that can set up these drones.

    Arrrgh! What the heck are you talking about? No drone attacks via Skype. That’s your thing. I’ve never said anything such. The person is directing people via Skype chat (which is encrypted). He has trained (which you point out is legal). He is running cells of operatives coordinating the insurgency via Skype or something like that. China uses the drone to attack a target in the US. The drone is Chinese. It attacks US targets. China has gotten his identity by a campaign of terror and torture. The US knows that. They claim (and as you noted, you find training, arming, and directing terrorists is an act of war).

    Get that straight. Please. Please. Please.

  46. Boonton says:

    “Just don’t let those people in.” ROTFL. Training wouldn’t be an act or war. Right. Communicating with people over seas is not an act of war. China however, has their evidence, that it was.

    Person X is arrested in China after having shot a bunch of people. Turns out person X was an American with duel Chinese citizenship and had served in the US military where he received extensive weapons training which he used to make his attack more deadly. Not an act of war unless you have evidence that the US military ordered him to conduct the attack.

    If you train someone then ‘order’ him to go attack China (say you’re some type of cult leader). You’ve broken the law in the US.

    China had incentive. So you can’t use their evidence.

    Only relevant to US law enforcement. The theif who stole your computer had an incentive too (score something to steal and sell for cash).

    As I said, it may be technologically impossible to block him without arresting him. And remember, on what charges? Why is the US watching him?

    If he’s conducting warfare from US soil he is a threat to national security. An application would be made to permit monitoring to a FISA court which almost always grants them. As for being ‘technologically impossible’….that maybe but we aren’t quite there yet. If nothing else a country could cut Internet traffic and probably cut specific skype traffic. If Google can’t figure out how to get around the ‘Great Firewall’, then I’m thinking it’s still not so easy for individuals to do so…esp. when they are being watched out for.

    You said training and running insurgents from within US borders to act in China would be an act of war. Yet taken individually these acts are not illegal in the US.

    Errrr hello, yes they are. If you are directing insurgents in any way from inside the US you are breaking the law. Note Americans have been convicted of simply going to Somalia or Pakistan or Afghanistan and attending terrorist run training camps, note they didn’t do anything on US soil even, they were convicted of supplying material aid to a terrorist organization.

    You’ve suggested, probably illegal wiretaps, might be able to verify that the person is doing what China suggests, which may or may not be technologically possible to block by an individual.

    What illegal wiretaps?

    The US knows that. They claim (and as you noted, you find training, arming, and directing terrorists is an act of war).

    So you seem to have drifted away from your point. Your hypothetical is not really about attacking terrorists who are hiding inside other nations but what to do if we are presented evidence that a US citizen is conducting terrorism but this evidence was obtained in an illegal manner. How is that relevant to our drone attacks in Yemen or Afghanistan?

  47. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    If you are directing insurgents in any way from inside the US you are breaking the law.

    Again. What law? His lawyer says he’s talking with people who are only part of non-violent protest movements, many not in China.

    Only relevant to US law enforcement. The thief who stole your computer had an incentive too (score something to steal and sell for cash).

    Let me get this straight. China tortures a bunch of guys. They name a person as their #1 terror suspect. We know they tortured people to get that name. Is this data relevant for law enforcement? Why?

    Person X is arrested in China after having shot a bunch of people. Turns out person X was an American with duel Chinese citizenship and had served in the US military where he received extensive weapons training which he used to make his attack more deadly. Not an act of war unless you have evidence that the US military ordered him to conduct the attack.

    This isn’t my hypothetical. The only person with dual citizenship is our #1 terror suspect who lives in the US. China claims he is the Uighur equivalent of bin Laden. The US doesn’t have any non-torture evidence at hand that this is so.

    So you seem to have drifted away from your point. Your hypothetical is not really about attacking terrorists who are hiding inside other nations but what to do if we are presented evidence that a US citizen is conducting terrorism but this evidence was obtained in an illegal manner. How is that relevant to our drone attacks in Yemen or Afghanistan?

    We attack people in Yemen and Pakistan who we claim are involved in terrorism. They may not have actually broken any Yemenese or Pakistani laws. Our evidence that they have committed acts of terror may or may not be admissible with regards to Yemen/Pakistan law enforcement. Many factors in their government will be more sympathetic with the terrorists than with us. We then attack neutral states because we claim they are not acting to arrest these activities. This is exactly parallel my hypothethical. I have suggested a US citizen person accused of terror in other countries operating within our borders who has not clearly broken any US laws. Their attack would parallel ours.

  48. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    The only person with dual citizenship is our #1 terror suspect who lives in the US. China claims he is the Uighur equivalent of bin Laden. The US doesn’t have any non-torture evidence at hand that this is so.

    I’d like to expand on that. China has said he’s their suspect. We know they’ve tortured people who gave his name up. You say we’d be wiretapping him and watching him. Why? Remember part of this is that our government (like much of Pakistan/Yemen) is sympathetic not with China and their totalitarian regime, but with the other side. Why would we investigate?

  49. Boonton says:

    Again. What law? His lawyer says he’s talking with people who are only part of non-violent protest movements, many not in China.

    There is no overriding authority that decides these cases. Both the Taliban and Al Qaeda declared that while they were happy with 9/11 they didn’t actually do it hence there was no justification for the US to invade Afghanistan or the Taliban to arrest and extradite Al Qaeda. The US and most of the rest of the world dismissed that claim as just so much smoke. There is no utlimate world court that decides whose right or wrong here.

    The US would, in such a case, have to decide whether this argument was correct or not. If it decides he really is using his position in the US to direct attacks in China, the man is breaking the law and posing a threat to US national security. If it decides he is simply expressing his opinions about Chinese policies and China’s overreacting, then the US has to stand by that. Likewise China will have to decide whether risking war with the US is the best way to resolve the difference.

    Let me get this straight. China tortures a bunch of guys. They name a person as their #1 terror suspect. We know they tortured people to get that name. Is this data relevant for law enforcement? Why?

    I assume it’s a bit more involved than that. With that name US law enforcement would get a warrent and uncover evidence that the US national is indeed a terrorist. If I’m reading your question(s) correctly, the problem comes in from the fact that the evidence for the original warrent was obtained by China torturing people (say this comes out in the course of a criminal trial). Since such an initial piece of evidence is what lead to all the other pieces, the entire case would get tossed out leaving the US with no way to legally stop his actions.

    The only person with dual citizenship is our #1 terror suspect who lives in the US. China claims he is the Uighur equivalent of bin Laden. The US doesn’t have any non-torture evidence at hand that this is so.

    Let’s make it easier then. Let’s say he is the equilivant of Bin Laden. Does it make sense to say that both the US and China *must* permit him to continue to conduct terrorist attacks because no one can get evidence that would be legally admissable in a criminal court? I suspect the answer would be no. While the US may not be able to punish him for acts he did in the past, it could prevent him from acting in the future on the grounds that his doing so would endanger US national security.

    We attack people in Yemen and Pakistan who we claim are involved in terrorism. They may not have actually broken any Yemenese or Pakistani laws. Our evidence that they have committed acts of terror may or may not be admissible with regards to Yemen/Pakistan law enforcement.

    These are criminal claims you are talking about, only relevant if we have these people in our custody. We don’t therefore the question is the military claim, are these people in the field acting to attack either our homeland or our forces abroad? Due process simply does not apply to that determination anymore than it applied to bombing selection in WWII or Vietnam.

    You say we’d be wiretapping him and watching him. Why? Remember part of this is that our government (like much of Pakistan/Yemen) is sympathetic not with China and their totalitarian regime, but with the other side. Why would we investigate?

    It has little to do with whether or not we are sympathetic to China’s regime. The gov’t has a monopoly on the ability and right to make war. If an individual or group is infringing on that monopoly, the gov’t has the right and duty to act to protect itself. You are perfectly free to leave the US and try to make war on China from abroad (many Americans did this after WWI by going to Spain to fight against the fascists).

  50. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    I assume it’s a bit more involved than that. With that name US law enforcement would get a warrent and uncover evidence that the US national is indeed a terrorist. If I’m reading your question(s) correctly, the problem comes in from the fact that the evidence for the original warrent was obtained by China torturing people (say this comes out in the course of a criminal trial). Since such an initial piece of evidence is what lead to all the other pieces, the entire case would get tossed out leaving the US with no way to legally stop his actions.

    OK. The case would be tossed. The prosecutors know this. Why are they wasting money and time then? They wouldn’t bring the case forward because they know they have no admissible evidence. So the US has no way to legally stop his actions. Is that what you’re saying, cause that’s what I’ve been saying all along. So where does this leave China.

    If it decides he really is using his position in the US to direct attacks in China, the man is breaking the law and posing a threat to US national security.

    Seriously. What law? What jurisdiction? I have no idea how to find that. I googled some. I know, for example, how to look up traffic and vehicular laws. You have some legal training right? Teach me here. How do you find the relevant laws? You claim it is against the law to do what he is doing, so you should be able to point to the laws that forbid it.

    Does it make sense to say that both the US and China *must* permit him to continue to conduct terrorist attacks because no one can get evidence that would be legally admissable in a criminal court?

    He is a naturalized Uighur. Are you saying the US on the basis of these allegations will no longer let him talk to his relatives? Again, are we arresting him? Perhaps this is one of those celebrated cases where he gets tossed in jail and no charges are made. You liberals didn’t like that so much before. Are you know arguing for it as a way to avoid your China/US US/Yemen-Pakistan asymmetry.

    These are criminal claims you are talking about, only relevant if we have these people in our custody.

    Our Uighur citizen is not in custody. What crimes in Yemen?

    The gov’t has a monopoly on the ability and right to make war. If an individual or group is infringing on that monopoly, the gov’t has the right and duty to act to protect itself.

    Why would it? You keep letting the “we sympathise” part of my hypothetical drop. Perhaps we could stop him, but we won’t because we mostly sympathize. But we aren’t trying very hard, just as Yemen/Pakistan, which perhaps could stop those guys but they aren’t because they are sympathetic. This lends us to your conundrum, you claim the US is justified but China is not. What is the distinction?