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  • Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

    It has now been confirmed that the US had in fact killed four or five "foreign terrorists" in the weekend missile strike in Pakistan, which was supposedly aimed at Al-Qaida's #2, al-Zawahiri. Also confirmed are the deaths of 18 residents, including many women and children. This has obviously added more tensions in US relations with the Muslim world.

    Interestingly, it is still not known for certain if Zawahiri was killed because according to reports the bodies of the "foreign terrorists" were taken away by "their companions." Villiagers claim all the victims were residents and had been buried. Obviously the details will be fuzzy for some time, and the US is not going to discuss it - in fact, initially, they tried to deny it. That only lasted a few hours, though.

    To many people in the Pakistani countryside and elsewhere, attacks like this must appear as a suicide bombing conducted against US interests appears to us. In fact, to them, the fact that we carried this out using unmanned equipment is probably all the more cowardly. Granted, we were seeking out a legitimate enemy. But how many locals know this, or believe it?

    White House press secratary Scott McClellan is quoted today as saying:
    "There are leaders that we continue to pursue and we will bring them to justice. The American people expect us to do so, and that's what this president is committed to doing."

    Is this how we bring people to justice, by blatantly making assasination attempts at a known cost of civilian lives?

    My question to the sandbox is this:
    Is an attempted assasination carried out in this manner worth deepening the rift between the US and the Muslim world as well as our political ties with Pakistan - who does have nuclear weapons? If Musharaf is overthrown, will we be facing yet another battlefront in the 'war on terror'?

    When things like this (single strikes) happen, it makes me extremely curious about what intelligence was given to the US, by whom, how credible it was - also, how far up the US chain of command did the decision go, and how quickly was it made?

    Of course things would probably be very different if Pakistan allowed US troops to conduct operations within their borders - and perhaps if the US had committed more troops to the Afghanistan theater in 2001... but, we live in the present.

  • #2
    Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

    Very good question. Dispassionate and thoughtful.

    It is also a tough one to answer.

    I think the intelligence must have been pretty darn good in order to carry ut that kind of strike. I mean, seriously that was high profile stuff. I don't like the fact that supposedly 18 innocent people were killed. If the #2 guys was killed I would say that tactically it might have been worth it. I also say "supposedly" because there is already evidence that indigenous people are covering up by taking away bodies. Why would they do that if they didn't have something to hide and wanted the terrorists out of their area?

    Also, I do not believe for one moment that the Pakastani government didn't know about this before hand. In fact, I heard on the news (can't remember which reputable service it was) that there were inidcations they did know. So the Paki government lets us take the full fall for this.
    "Umm Deputy these aren't my pants" - Common alarm cry of the North American Crackhead
    [tg-c1][ma-c1][defense]

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    • #3
      Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

      I don't know enough to go into too much detail about this strike, but I will say a few things.

      Afghan fighters are known for removing the bodies of their fallen comrades from the field, often times before the firefight is even over (assuming their is a gun battle going on). I remember watching a couple shows on the History Channel about this if that constitutes a reliable source. The idea was to make it as hard as possible for the US to count casualties inflicted.

      As for Pakistan, I'm not sure what to think of its government yet. I can't tell where its loyalty lies. I hate to use the word "loyalty," but it's the best way I can think of describing it right now. More thoughts from me later...

      Good discussion.
      |TG|Delta_Swift

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      • #4
        Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

        I have heard that about Afghan fighters but it also proves my point all the more. They were removing the bodies to hide body count/nationality/identity...something.
        "Umm Deputy these aren't my pants" - Common alarm cry of the North American Crackhead
        [tg-c1][ma-c1][defense]

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        • #5
          Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

          Not to be cold hearted, but bear in mind that when a location like this is attacked, the "innocent" bystanders are very likely aware of the occupations of the people in their vicinity. These guys hang out in places where they are supported, and supporting them carries with it some deadly risks. The young children are innocent, but their lives are being thrown into danger by their parents.

          I hate to see the word "cowardly" used to describe a method like this. Bombs are used because knocking on the front door would involve the sacrifice of life and the risk of missing the target at the same time. Imagine the uproar if the military sent 10 men to die and missed their target.

          The military doesn't take these decisions lightly even if the media might portray it that way.

          It all sucks. There are no easy options.
          Peace through fear... since 1947!

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          • #6
            Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

            Originally posted by icky
            Not to be cold hearted, but bear in mind that when a location like this is attacked, the "innocent" bystanders are very likely aware of the occupations of the people in their vicinity. These guys hang out in places where they are supported, and supporting them carries with it some deadly risks. The young children are innocent, but their lives are being thrown into danger by their parents.
            Can't say as I like the entire guilt by association or guilt by presence argument. Apply that logic to poor people living near known criminals because they have no other choice, and it seems a bit absurd. Not everyone has a choice of where they live or who they associate with. Note that I'm not passing judgement on whether these bystanders are actually innocent, just that the argument seems flawed to me.

            You're right though about one thing though; it all sucks.
            [squadl]
            "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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            • #7
              Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

              Originally posted by SmokingTarpan
              Can't say as I like the entire guilt by association or guilt by presence argument. Apply that logic to poor people living near known criminals because they have no other choice, and it seems a bit absurd. Not everyone has a choice of where they live or who they associate with. Note that I'm not passing judgement on whether these bystanders are actually innocent, just that the argument seems flawed to me.
              True. I didn't mean to imply guilt, just that these people may not be as innocent as the word "innocent" suggests. It is also slightly different from your poor people and known criminals analogy, because unlike ordinary criminals, these terrorists move their bases of operation into areas where they are supported by the locals.
              Peace through fear... since 1947!

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              • #8
                Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

                I think the risk of killing civillians needs to be weighed against the need for immediate action, the value of the target, and available alternatives. Obviously we want to avoid killing as many people as possible, but I think it's fair that it be extremely dangerous to stand next to certain people.

                Perhaps the next village hosting such guests may wish to take it upon themselves to do the right thing for the village instead of the guests.

                It'll be interesting to see if Jill Carroll is on the receiving end of any restraint. Until the USA starts posting pictures of captured women on websites, there really is no comparison between our acts and those of our enemies, and efforts to blur the stark difference between our behavior and their's smacks of propaganda.

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                • #9
                  Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

                  Good post.


                  Originally posted by AMosely
                  My question to the sandbox is this:
                  Is an attempted assasination carried out in this manner worth deepening the rift between the US and the Muslim world....?
                  I think I'll be more concerned with us deepening the rift between the US and the Muslim world when the Muslim world is just as concerned about deepening their rift between the Christian and the Jewish worlds.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

                    Originally posted by leejo
                    I think the risk of killing civillians needs to be weighed against the need for immediate action, the value of the target, and available alternatives. Obviously we want to avoid killing as many people as possible, but I think it's fair that it be extremely dangerous to stand next to certain people.

                    Perhaps the next village hosting such guests may wish to take it upon themselves to do the right thing for the village instead of the guests.

                    It'll be interesting to see if Jill Carroll is on the receiving end of any restraint. Until the USA starts posting pictures of captured women on websites, there really is no comparison between our acts and those of our enemies, and efforts to blur the stark difference between our behavior and their's smacks of propaganda.
                    Yes, because killing women and children in Pakistan is just something you have to do sometimes to show the armed insurgents 2 countries away that you mean business. I'm waiting for the "ocean of glass" argument as a follow up.

                    While I'm not going to comment on this particular bombing itself, your sentiment disgusts me.
                    In game handle: Steel Scion
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

                      Steeler, you are making some dangerous statements and assumptions. Actually, I think you are just being rude.

                      #1. Leejo never said or even intimated, "killing women and children in Pakistan is just something you have to do sometimes to show the armed insurgents 2 countries away that you mean business.". He did say, "I think the risk of killing civillians needs to be weighed against the need for immediate action, the value of the target, and available alternatives. Obviously we want to avoid killing as many people as possible, but I think it's fair that it be extremely dangerous to stand next to certain people. " I think those two statements are pretty far apart.

                      #2 And why, when we are having a polite and somw may argue, philosphical discussion, would you make such an inflamatory statement as, "I'm waiting for the "ocean of glass" argument as a follow up." This wasn't even hinted at.


                      Let's please try to keep this discussion on track, polite and civil.
                      "Umm Deputy these aren't my pants" - Common alarm cry of the North American Crackhead
                      [tg-c1][ma-c1][defense]

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                      • #12
                        Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

                        Originally posted by Steeler
                        While I'm not going to comment on this particular bombing itself, your sentiment disgusts me.
                        How so?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

                          Originally posted by AMosely
                          My question to the sandbox is this:
                          Is an attempted assasination carried out in this manner worth deepening the rift between the US and the Muslim world as well as our political ties with Pakistan - who does have nuclear weapons? If Musharaf is overthrown, will we be facing yet another battlefront in the 'war on terror'?
                          I believe that the question is this:

                          Is it morally acceptable to launch a missile strike in which you know innocent civilians will be killed, but the probablity of killing your primary target is only 30%?

                          It's a difficult question, and I don't know the answer.
                          A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                          "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

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                          • #14
                            Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

                            The question could also be interpreted with using a 100% factor. I think it also depends on who the target is. Are we talking a low level thug or a high level planner/financier? That has to be worked into the equation as well.
                            "Umm Deputy these aren't my pants" - Common alarm cry of the North American Crackhead
                            [tg-c1][ma-c1][defense]

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                            • #15
                              Re: Pakistan Drone Missile Strike

                              Originally posted by icky
                              I hate to see the word "cowardly" used to describe a method like this. Bombs are used because knocking on the front door would involve the sacrifice of life and the risk of missing the target at the same time.
                              From what I read I don't believe Mosely was implying cowerdice on the US behalf. I think he was making the observation that, given the perspective and beliefs of that country's citizens, it may appear cowardly.
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