A beautiful cartoon that exposes the absurdity of the Petraeus saga:
A radical idea: instead of carrying out assassinations based on secret kill lists, perhaps the Federal government could start obeying the Constitution, and start issuing arrest warrants or extradition requests for individuals suspected of criminal activity so that they can be tried by a court of law in front of a jury of their peers. We used to call this strange and antiquated notion due process.
The decision to use flying death robots — or as they are known in common speech “drones” — to indiscriminately assassinate terrorism suspects (and their families and neighbours) has already created a new swelling of anger against America in the nations where suspected terrorists have been targeted. As Obama himself recently put it, “there’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Presumably, this includes Pakistan, and Yemen, and Libya and Somalia, and other nations where American drone missiles have rained down on citizens?
And one day, other nations — like China, which is rapidly putting drones into the skies — might choose to use flying death robots to assassinate their own suspected terrorists on American soil. Would the American government have any grounds to complain?
You propose a naive utopia. Who is going to catch alleged criminals, bring them to the court, extradite them? Especially if they are possibly supported by their own governments. I’d view USA taking extralegal actions as a sign that its hands are tied with the legal ones, not as some diabolical belligerence.
USA could bomb all those countries because it is a subject of the world politics and they are mere objects. They have no power to defend themselves or to resist. As long as the USA have nuclear weapons they’ll have no fear of other country waging military operations on their soil.
Following the Constitution is not a naive utopia. Following the Constitution — in my view, the greatest and simplest constitution ever written — was once the core American political virtue, and the surest guard against tyranny.
The problem is the founding fathers did not account for Radical Islam, and did not anticipate US citizens putting a religion before their country of citizenship. Whilst I do respect that everybody must have due process, in a war situation this is difficult.
You will note they will say in the MSM that the terrorist was a US citizen of “x” origin or ancestry. This allows the MSM viewer to accept the treasonous behavior as unworthy of protection by the Constitution.
I think people should buy less into the Islamophobic fearmongering about “radical Islam”. Stalinism and Maoism have been responsible for millions and millions more deaths than radical Islam has ever accounted for. While I do not like Islamism, the ideology of even the most extreme Islamist is no more extreme than that of the Spanish Inquisition, or Stalinism, or Jacobinism, or Juche (North Korean Stalinism/Maoism).
If I am honest, the destruction wrought by those who buy into the idea that Islamism is like some kind of destructive virus scares me much more than Islamism itself. Like so many things in nature, the “cure” (endless war on terror) is much worse than the symptom.
Islamophobia and the financial and military costs of the War on Terror has already cost America her position as the sole superpower. Some pathetic ideologue in a cave sucked America into Afghanistan, the graveyard of Empires. Now she is debt-ridden, overstretched and in danger of losing reserve currency status.
How much more debt and how many more invasions will it take for America (the greatest country of earth) to learn that these are futile wars, that sacrificing civil liberties is self-destructive, and that the best remedy to extremism is global economic development (marginalises extremists)?
The Pilgrim Fathers, among very many – most? – other early emigrants to America, were exactly “putting a religion before their country of citizenship”. Your Founding Fathers were surely and sharply aware that others might do the same.
John: You have a good cause here, in need of fresh air and sunlight. But take care not to confuse Constitutional rights of US citizens with those of non-citizens, enemies in war (which SHOULD have been Constitutionally declared), etc. I’m becoming a nag, but we non-politicians should scrupulously avoid, not only lies, but half-truths, confusion, spin, obfuscation, etc. in order to be seen as credible, unlike the politicians who are thoroughly disbelived even as masses fall for their propaganda.
John: Has Judge Napolitano, your learned and eloquent colleague in opposing the Patriot Act(?), spoken on drones?
Judge Napolitano going a lot further than even me:
Regarding Napolitano: Looking the other way is a time-honored practice, and the Obama administration has engaged in it more than once.
The rule of law. How quaint!
How can you declare a war against an idea or system of beliefs? Are we free to smite anyone, anywhere in the world, on our list? Is it O.K. if we kill innocent children in the process?
I remember someone once said, “When America ceases to be good she shall cease to be great.”
Pull out of all these countries and just worry about protecting our own soil. My 9 year old could refute the ridiculous argument that if we don’t fight them over there, they will be over here. It is more likely, not less, that they will be over here since we are bombing them over there. The argument has no merit and is illogical. It basically says we will keep every single radical occupied over seas so 2 or 3 of them cannot slip into this country for revenge. Hogwash.
The Spanish Inquisition raged a holy war against “nature worship” Witches. If it is conceded by all world religions that radical Islam is a threat, ban it and its followers.
Wait Constantine tried that and gave up. Maybe we just adopt the religion to stop the terrorism (Christians were terrorists in ancient Rome)
Can’t wait for Obama to see the Crescent Moon in the sky as a sign to defeat his enemies.
Good post, Aziz.
Regrettably, reality is more complex than your post reflects.
The evolution we are witnessing is worrisome.
Still, it is an illusion that targeted killings is a new thing.
Maybe for the US (call me skeptic).
Targeted killings, maybe not from drones, have been happening for millennia.
Obviously, due process must be followed, at least – according to the Constitution.
But, what if due process reached its limits or is impractical?
When is it legitimate to wage war?
When does a country transition from prosecuting individuals to a war against the entity harboring said individuals?
Targeted killing seems to be employed when “due process” and “war” are impractical.
Obviously, countries on the receiving end are furious.
But, it is not obvious that the eliminating party is morally wrong.
Consider a militant operating behind a shield of country X to attack country Y, where country neither assume responsibility nor stops the militant actions.
What options are available to Y to defend itself from the militant hosted by X?
I’m concerned about the extended use of targeted killings, and believe that the US better do without, but have to concede that that is imperfect either (just less bad, imho).
I believe in following the Constitution. The framers of the Constitution were not naive people. They had just won a war against one of the greatest empires the world had ever known. The Constitution says that the time for war is when that war is authorised by an Act of Congress. That’s due process. The last time the US made a formal declaration of war was 1942. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_war_by_the_United_States
Similar thing with domestic use of drones — get a search warrant from a Judge. That’s what the Constitution says. That’s due process.
I doubt if the enemy is following the rules of the Geneva convention. Kill or be killed.
“Stop toying with him Bubba”
The British during the Revolutionary War were not into individual liberty. Morality and ethicality is not about the other side. It’s about creating a code that works.
Please correct if wrong: due process and other US Constitutional protections apply only to US citizens. However, in ALL government and private matters, ethical and practical considerations also should apply. One thinks of Bill Clinton’s off-hand “excuse” when caught in of his myriad transgressions: “Because I could”.
I think it was a great post and not naive. Israel is *defending* itself. Are we?
I can’t help imagining what our life might be like if fewer people and dollars were less involved in “fighting for our freedom” and other silly descriptions of our compulsive interventionism into the affairs of other nations. “We either fight them over there or fight them over here” is a fool’s way of excusing mindless militarism and empire building.
I tend to think another 4 years may pass before a presidential candidate may realize the utter absurdity of what we are doing in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Parkistan, Somalia and Yemen.
The weapons manufacturers won’t like it, the Pentagon won’t like it, the Capitalists won’t like it, a swarm of useless bureaucrats won’t like it, but the world just might be a better place for everyone when we decide all this is a form of beach renourishment. No matter how much ‘sand’ is spilled, The problem is perpetual, and all the bombs in the world will not solve it..
Medicine Sans Frontiers? Forget about it! OECD launches Tax Inspectors Without Borders
People complain about “welfare cheats” displaying a sense of entitlement…but truth is, those who seem to exhibit the grandest forms of self-entitlement are those who seek to suggest that their position allows, or even demands that they tax other, harder working people http://www.france24.com/en/20080307-pascal-saint-amans-tax-evasion-business-interview
Pingback: Betray Us | My Blog
If people were not completely obsessed with getting something for nothing, it seems as if most of this behavior would go away. Almost all of the insanity you see playing out now, and throughout history, has been [one way or another] an attempt to rationalize strategies to this end.
Remember, people will do EVERYTHING to get something for nothing.
Yes — something for nothing, more for less, more than yesterday. But primarily, as much as or more than the other guy — the “Deadly Sin” of envy. This is the politicians favorite to gain power for propaganda!
Imagine rationalizing the killing of completely innocent children as, “necessary.” This singular moral stance is enough, in and of itself, completely exposes the illegitimacy of modern state.
How is it possible that ANYBODY with a conscience can support such institutions in this light?
That is “Collateral Damage”.
If you own people then they are an asset, and an asset may be held as “Collateral” by a Financier in exchange for funds.
No wonder the Conspiracy Theorists have a field day. When will someone expose the 1% talking about people as if they are mere cattle.
Imp re your Nov 21 post about killing of innocents: what is your moral judgment of the killing of millions of German and Japanese civilians, authorized by three Christian leaders of Christian nations (Roosevelt. Churchill, Truman) in order to end WW II? I suppose one could question the military estimates of least bloody solutions, but I (claiming “a conscience”) did and still do “support” them.
In another Azizonomics thread, a well-intentioned comment dredged up the old peacenik chant, “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity”, and posited that war/fighting is never justified. I answered:
To surrender every human, every principle, every possession to every attack and robbery would be the end of individual survival and the end of civilization.
“To surrender every human, every principle, every possession to every attack and robbery would be the end of individual survival and the end of civilization.”
DG, when you must justify the killing of people as the prerequisite to saving people, then you know your intellectual/moral foundation is rotten.
The answers to these intellectual paradoxes lie outside of the intellect. Only when you are willing to give up everything, will you receive the same in return.
Buddy @ Nov 21 19:26:34: Per my dictionary —
“COLLATERAL, adj. 1. situated at the side”. (definitions 2-5 and 7-8 are variations of 1.). “6. secured by collateral”. Only if “collateral” is used a NOUN — e.g., “a loan secured by collateral” — would the word mean what you allege.
Thus, “collateral damage” in war or figurative equivalent means DAMAGE that is aside, attendant, subsidiary, secondary, indirect, etc.
To impermanence @ Nov 21 21:10:17: If your guidance is for the after life, I’ll not argue on matters of faith. Otherwise, I strongly protest your judging that MY “intellectual/moral foundation (and/or that of FDR, WSC, HST) is rotten”! The rot that killed is the familiar human lust for power, plus the lesser sin of cowardice in avoiding prompt confrontation with evil.
DG, I didn’t mean you personally. I apologize for the poor wording.
It was not for the afterlife, but this one.
Oh gods where to starts
“A radical idea: instead of carrying out assassinations based on secret kill lists, perhaps the Federal government could start obeying the Constitution, and start issuing arrest warrants or extradition requests for individuals suspected of criminal activity so that they can be tried by a court of law in front of a jury of their peers.”
When did arrests become the remit of the armed forces?
Laws, Police and Courts are how civilisations deal with internal troubles.
Wars, Soldiers and Killings are how civilisations deal with external troubles.
“America in the nations where suspected terrorists have been targeted. As Obama himself recently put it, “there’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.””
The drones are internal…..
“Presumably, this includes Pakistan, and Yemen, and Libya and Somalia, and other nations where American drone missiles have rained down on citizens?”
The obvious difference being that missiles fired into Pakistan et al are fired with the full support of its government, against agreed targets.
Not against the governments wishes, randomly.
It is well within Pakistans powers to end Drone strikes, it chooses not to, because it wants them.
“Would the American government have any grounds to complain?”
Again, if china rocketed American, america could choose to all the strikes to proceed unhindered, as Pakistan does, or prevent them, as Israel does.