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So Obama wants to kill an American Citizen

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Posts

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    If you're ok with assassination of a political target by the US govt, are you also ok with torture to produce confessions?

    Torture is an ineffective and unreliable means to gain information. Assassination is an effective way to kill people.

    And it's laugably offensive that you describe this guy as a political target. He is pointedly not engaging with the political system in any way. He stands for minority religious hegemony of the political system, not any kind of actual political reform. He is a religious idealogue and apparently planning to kill US citizens. If he's a political target, you must have some fucked up politics.
    What part of "people are trying to kill you" isn't analagous?

    Yes incredibly simplistic views are certainly the best attitude we can take.

    So you're happy that it is, in fact, analagous. Good. As for simplistic views, I've always thought there is a kind of immediacy about someone trying to end your life which focuses the mind on what is important. Apparently you would prefer to refrain from trying to stop someone committing murder due to a procedural complaint? Perhaps getting lost in the complexities isn't the best attitude either.

    By the way, I notice that you are calling me simplistic without trying to address the pretty complex question I raised about your standpoint, namely how do you assert that your desired primacy for open government should trump others' desired primacy for not getting killed? I happen to agree with you, but I'm not quite so simplistic (or, well, arrogant) to assume that others should sacrifice what they feel is their safety for my beliefs.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    I'm okay with the use of torture against non-American citizens outside of US territory in certain, limited circumstances.

    I don't get this idea that human rights are for American only

    the implication is that US constitutional rights are a superset of "human rights"

    that is, they contain all the meaningful human rights that we are willing to adhere to, as well as a collection of extra rights granted to people willing to abide by our social contract.

    Oh I get that, but I would think freedom from torture would be one of the big ones.
    No right is universal. We ignore certain rights in certain situations.

    In certain, limited cases, a foreigner's right to be free from torture and/or death get overridden by the need to protect American lives. It's not pretty, but it is what it is.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    How in any way can you figure that torture saves American lives?

    If anything its made it worse by supplying terrorists with another recruitment tool.

    And who decides who gets tortured?

    If we can torture foreigners who we think have information, why can't we start torturing American citizens who might have information?
    Quoted for bump.

    sig.jpg
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Modern Man, can you name a case in which torture elicited valuable, actionable information which resulted in innocent lives being saved? Note that if the torture happens after the attack is thwarted, it doesn't count.

  • dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Modern Man, can you name a case in which torture elicited valuable, actionable information which resulted in innocent lives being saved? Note that if the torture happens after the attack is thwarted, it doesn't count.
    i would.. but dammit theres no time

    AAAAA!!! PLAAAYGUUU!!!!
  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Modern Man, can you name a case in which torture elicited valuable, actionable information which resulted in innocent lives being saved? Note that if the torture happens after the attack is thwarted, it doesn't count.

    Fallacious question, he can hardly cite a modern US case (what I presume you are after) which would patently never have been made public knowledge due to both being an intelligence process and questionable legality.

    However if you fancy reading a history of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, I think you'll find that torture has indeed elicited actionable information at times. The general argument against is that it is never reliable enough to know when the information is good, and when you are being sold a line. This doesn't matter so much when you are happy to kill any fucker who might be remotely implicated, and don't care too much whether you are right, because it all achieves the desired effect of institutional fear.

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Also the general crimes against humanity aspect. That's part of it.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    If you're ok with assassination of a political target by the US govt, are you also ok with torture to produce confessions?
    I'm okay with the use of torture against non-American citizens outside of US territory in certain, limited circumstances. That does not include the use of torture to secure a confession. Any such confession would be inadmissable in a criminal trial, anyway.

    Why else would you torture someone?

    For kicks?

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Also the general crimes against humanity aspect. That's part of it.

    From the ethical argument, yes. From the practical one, less so - except for the 'recruiting tool' argument. However, I was saying there is also a perfectly passable practical reason not to do it.

    This all depends on what your definition of "torture" is, because the term seems to be a little overused nowadays. In no sense of the word is taking pictures of someone naked and hooded "torture" for example. Humiliating and degrading, yes. Not something we should do for fun, yes. But if you call it torture you are trivialising the real thing.

    Personally I think 'Human Rights' activists who consistently attack their own western governments over every possibility that a detainee wasn't given tea at exactly four o'clock, while studiously ignoring the wholesale torture and murder of thousands in places like Iran and North Korea, purely because the first is easy and grabs headlines, and the second is hard and gets ignored, are guilty of a far worse hypocrisy than that of which they accuse their governments.

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Also the general crimes against humanity aspect. That's part of it.

    From the ethical argument, yes. From the practical one, less so - except for the 'recruiting tool' argument. However, I was saying there is also a perfectly passable practical reason not to do it.

    This all depends on what your definition of "torture" is, because the term seems to be a little overused nowadays. In no sense of the word is taking pictures of someone naked and hooded "torture" for example. Humiliating and degrading, yes. Not something we should do for fun, yes. But if you call it torture you are trivialising the real thing.

    I tend to go with "have we called practice X torture when it was done to US POWs?" It's a surprisingly broad definition.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    I tend to go with "have we called practice X torture when it was done to US POWs?" It's a surprisingly broad definition.

    Interesting, I like the principle.

    Unfortunately, the US govt PR machine is just as prone to hyperbole as anyone else, so I don't think it's exactly a good definition.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Personally I think 'Human Rights' activists who consistently attack their own western governments over every possibility that a detainee wasn't given tea at exactly four o'clock, while studiously ignoring the wholesale torture and murder of thousands in places like Iran and North Korea, purely because the first is easy and grabs headlines, and the second is hard and gets ignored, are guilty of a far worse hypocrisy than that of which they accuse their governments.

    Oh come on. One, are they not really advocating human rights, whats with the scare quotes? Secondly, find a single one of those groups that doesn't condemn human rights violations abroad.

    Also:
    How in any way can you figure that torture saves American lives?

    If anything its made it worse by supplying terrorists with another recruitment tool.

    And who decides who gets tortured?

    If we can torture foreigners who we think have information, why can't we start torturing American citizens who might have information?

    sig.jpg
  • EgoEgo Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Personally I think 'Human Rights' activists who consistently attack their own western governments over every possibility that a detainee wasn't given tea at exactly four o'clock, while studiously ignoring the wholesale torture and murder of thousands in places like Iran and North Korea, purely because the first is easy and grabs headlines, and the second is hard and gets ignored, are guilty of a far worse hypocrisy than that of which they accuse their governments.

    Yeah, people who try to change the government that represents them before fixing things in far-away-land are hypocrites. That's why whenever someone 'donates' 'food' to the 'food bank' in 'Canada', I punch them in the nose. Don't they know more people are starving in some other shithole? Hypocritical assholes.

    Erik
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    As a combatant against the US, this guy's citizenship shouldn't be an issue, IMO. Since he has taken a role in an organization that is hostile to the US, I don't see an issue with US forces firing a missile at him if they get a chance.

    1) Would the same logic apply if he were in the USA?

    2) Is there any burden of proof to show that he is actually a combatant against the USA?

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Personally I think 'Human Rights' activists who consistently attack their own western governments over every possibility that a detainee wasn't given tea at exactly four o'clock, while studiously ignoring the wholesale torture and murder of thousands in places like Iran and North Korea, purely because the first is easy and grabs headlines, and the second is hard and gets ignored, are guilty of a far worse hypocrisy than that of which they accuse their governments.

    Oh come on. One, are they not really advocating human rights, whats with the scare quotes? Secondly, find a single one of those groups that doesn't condemn human rights violations abroad.

    The quotes were meant to highlight the 'human' part, whereas actually what they do is protest a fairly narrow national line.

    And plenty of those groups condemn human rights violations abroad, just like they condemn this and that and say all sorts of nice things. What they do is fight legal battles with usually their own, but occasionally other, western governments over the behaviour of said governments.

    In a world where 99.9% of the really bad shit (and I mean properly Nazi / Soviet era medieval bad shit) is done by either complete anarchy and lack of government, or by dictatorial regimes such as Tehran or Pyongyang, I find it the height of ignorance and hypocrisy that the largest, best funded and most able human (NB: i.e. universal, worldwide) rights NGOs spend their time on the 0.1% of violations from the West.

    Also, compared to intentional starvation of entire populations, human experimentation, ethnic cleansing, genocide etc - most of which most people in the West tend to be blisfully unaware - I think that raising awareness of people being forced to wear hoods is a pretty pathetic priority.
    Ego wrote: »
    Yeah, people who try to change the government that represents them before fixing things in far-away-land are hypocrites. That's why whenever someone 'donates' 'food' to the 'food bank' in 'Canada', I punch them in the nose. Don't they know more people are starving in some other shithole? Hypocritical assholes.

    Except that isn't the argument of human rights activists. Their argument is, and has been for some time, that all human beings have fundamental rights, and therefore we all have a shared responsibility across borders or nationalities to stand against violations of said rights. This completely holes any argument that they should be bound to changing the government that represents them. The fact that most of these cases are taken to supra-national government bodies (such as the ECHR or the UN Commission for HR) also demonstrates that they don't even remotely act like they are bound to narrow national issues. So, no.

    Either these people are hypocrites for not actually acting on their "one world" rhetoric, or they are hypocrites for ignoring the egregious violations of human rights around the world and focusing on the minor ones closest to home.

    I also find it a sadly (I'm going to use this under duress) 'privileged' mentality that would consider state-sanctioned torture and mass murder of people for their ethnicity / nationality / religion / politics to be the equivalent to protesting about treatment of a minority of detainees in what are, by any relative international standards, extremely law-abiding and safe facilities. If you think the two are even remotely comparable then you simply don't have a fucking clue what fear and torture really are. There are honest-to-god parallels to the Holocaust going on today, the event which more than anything else spawned modern human rights organisations. But instead of campaigning about those parallels, they are campaigning about the equivalent of a low-security PoW camp in Sussex.

    The world isn't a fucking ethics lecture. It isn't enough to say that one small instance of stepping over the line is just as unethical as murder, because it is a binary state. The volume and severity of what is being done does matter, mass murder is worse than simply stealing a newspaper. Anyone who claims to act out of morality should behave accordingly. Most human rights activists currently do not.

    PS That's without even getting into the examples of people who situationally defend regimes like Iran out of some confused anti-war or anti-nuclear sentiment tied up with dislike of US foreign policy. Those people are beneath contempt.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    MrMister wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    As a combatant against the US, this guy's citizenship shouldn't be an issue, IMO. Since he has taken a role in an organization that is hostile to the US, I don't see an issue with US forces firing a missile at him if they get a chance.

    1) Would the same logic apply if he were in the USA?

    2) Is there any burden of proof to show that he is actually a combatant against the USA?

    1) No- Based on a long line of precedent, everyone within the US has access to the criminal justice system. I did not like the Bush administration arguing that it could grab a US citizen and not give him legal recourse in the Zacarias Moussaoui case.

    2) On the battlefield? No. If someone is captured, though, I support putting them in front of a military tribunal to make sure we've picked up a combatant rather than a goat farmer who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the standard of proof required would be pretty low. Also, in the case of American citizens captured abroad by US forces, I support giving them access to US courts.

    Basically, I see a difference between US government operations at home and abroad, as well as the requirements of treatment of citizens versus non-citizens once they are captured abroad.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    So essentially Alta, what ever we do is ok and no one should oppose it, as long as someone somewhere is doing worse?

    sig.jpg
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Alt: it's a question of power. Which is inversely proportional to distance and oppressiveness.

    I, for example, have zero power to change say, China's human rights record as I am far away and they're very oppressive. On the other hand, by pooling resources with groups like the ACLU and calling Senators and what not, I theoretically have some influence over the United States government to stop torturing people. Thus, my efforts are practical and aimed at the US government.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    If you're ok with assassination of a political target by the US govt, are you also ok with torture to produce confessions?

    Torture is an ineffective and unreliable means to gain information. Assassination is an effective way to kill people.

    And it's laugably offensive that you describe this guy as a political target. He is pointedly not engaging with the political system in any way. He stands for minority religious hegemony of the political system, not any kind of actual political reform. He is a religious idealogue and apparently planning to kill US citizens. If he's a political target, you must have some fucked up politics.

    I find it interesting that suddenly when terrorism comes into play, the idea of assassination changes people's perspective so much; suddenly it's an acceptable ends to a means. In the past assassination has been used on targets of high political value and who are extremely hard to get at in more established routes.

    Pulling from the wiki (though I hate being that guy):
    An assassination is the targeted killing of a public figure, usually for political purposes.

    Assassinations may be prompted by religious, ideological, political, or military reasons. Additionally, assassins may be motivated by financial gain, revenge, or personal public recognition.

    Assassination may also refer to the government-sanctioned killing of opponents or to targeted attacks on high-profile enemy combatants

    Now that last sentence is in your favor actually, and I'll admit to using the term "political" loosely and it may not entirely be appropriate. But I think it's extremely important to try and understand why these leaders advocate such violence and why men are willing to commit such violence. From their perspective they see themselves as freedom fighters, and not entirely without merit either, as the US has not been the greatest pal of islamic nations over the centuries.

    There's this giant push in the US to beat your chest, wave the flag, and reduce arab terrorists to the most cartoonish of stereotypes. The truth is unfortunately much more grey and complex. And we're never going to start solving the problem of radicals and terrorism until we start looking at the very tough, endemic issues that bring it about. And sadly no one is willing to go there.

  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Modern Man, can you name a case in which torture elicited valuable, actionable information which resulted in innocent lives being saved? Note that if the torture happens after the attack is thwarted, it doesn't count.

    Fallacious question, he can hardly cite a modern US case (what I presume you are after) which would patently never have been made public knowledge due to both being an intelligence process and questionable legality.
    What? Lots of modern cases of torture have been made public. The CIA trumpeted one as preventing an attack until people put a timeline together and it turned out that the torture happened after the prevented event which was supposedly averted with the intelligence gained from said torture. And even if they were all secret, my question still wouldn't be a fallacy. What do you think that word means?

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    So essentially Alta, what ever we do is ok and no one should oppose it, as long as someone somewhere is doing worse?

    If that was what I wanted to say, I probably wouldn't have bothered writing a long post saying something else. I thought you were against "incredibly simplistic views"?
    Alt: it's a question of power. Which is inversely proportional to distance and oppressiveness.

    I, for example, have zero power to change say, China's human rights record as I am far away and they're very oppressive. On the other hand, by pooling resources with groups like the ACLU and calling Senators and what not, I theoretically have some influence over the United States government to stop torturing people. Thus, my efforts are practical and aimed at the US government

    Yes, I understand that. First, the problem is that their argument is almost always based on a black'n'white moral picture, which doesn't really allow for practicality. Tony Blair was being practical when he argued that removing Saddam, despite international dissent and the fact that people would die, was a de facto good because it removed a regime that was killing its own people. I didn't hear many human rights activists supporting that one.

    Behaving practically is a problem when you stand for behaving morally, and refuse to intellectually accept sensible practical limits on what 'moral behaviour' is possible. Again, it's hypocrisy.

    Second, I don't entirely accept your "practical" argument. I think they target their own governments because it's easier - it's easier to get media interest, easier to get access to people, easier to feel like they are doing something. But for the actual payoff (which is measured mostly by how bad said government is, which is usually not very), it doesn't do much actual good. Conversely, trying to unify multiple organisations across boundaries, and send people into places such as China or Iran (Christian charities manage it, and I'm not sure I really want them to be the ambassadors for the West), is difficult and dangerous. It is also harder to get media interest in, drum up public support for, or get the ear of government. They take more risks and get lesser 'brand' payoff (and if anyone doesn't think most NGOs run as a brand, you are being pretty naive).

    However, in terms of their stated ideals, the egregious badness of the regimes they could target mean that even a small victory, even if it wasn't covered by any newspapers in the west, would be one that genuinely saves lives or makes them better. The payoff is much, much larger according to what they say they stand for. It is practical to make a difference in these places, aid NGOs do it regularly (though not as well as their HQs back in London etc usually think). They just don't get any recognition for it. Hell, soldiers and government agencies working in warzones do it regularly, but everyone at home just focuses on the body count instead.

    The majority of human rights campaigns from Europe and the US that I've seen do not even try to make a difference in the places it really matters. They issue bland statements about x country being bad, and then they tend to focus on national issues. It's lazy, it's not the only choice they have, and considering what they say they stand for, it's hugely hypocritical.
    Dark_Side wrote:
    If you're ok with assassination of a political target by the US govt, are you also ok with torture to produce confessions?
    Torture is an ineffective and unreliable means to gain information. Assassination is an effective way to kill people.

    And it's laugably offensive that you describe this guy as a political target. He is pointedly not engaging with the political system in any way. He stands for minority religious hegemony of the political system, not any kind of actual political reform. He is a religious idealogue and apparently planning to kill US citizens. If he's a political target, you must have some fucked up politics.
    Dark_Side wrote:
    I find it interesting that suddenly when terrorism comes into play, the idea of assassination changes people's perspective so much; suddenly it's an acceptable ends to a means. In the past assassination has been used on targets of high political value and who are extremely hard to get at in more established routes.

    Not even remotely addressing what I said. Effective =/= acceptable. Though I don't particularly find assassination unacceptable; it's often a damn sight better than all the other options, if you can pull it off. The problem with the current version of killing people with drones is that it isn't accurate enough when low to no collateral is a requirement, and is never going to be.
    What? Lots of modern cases of torture have been made public. The CIA trumpeted one as preventing an attack until people put a timeline together and it turned out that the torture happened after the prevented event which was supposedly averted with the intelligence gained from said torture. And even if they were all secret, my question still wouldn't be a fallacy. What do you think that word means?

    You didn't ask for public torture cases. You asked for public torture cases which had produced "valuable, actionable information which resulted in innocent lives being saved". I was pointing out that the chance of him being able to give such an example is about zero. One, such information isn't made public. Two, if he quoted the government saying "this produced valuable, actionable information which saved lives", you would undoubtably say that they were unreliable. It's a fallacious question because you know damn well he can't present the information you want.

    But just because such information can't be presented to you, a random dude on the internet, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. This has previously been a hard concept for some people here, and I certainly don't claim that it proves it does exist, but nonetheless it is true.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    No it seemed a pretty accurate summation of your post.

    There are worse people doing worse things abroad, so how dare those hypocrites campaign against more minor abuses.

    sig.jpg
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Yes, I understand that. First, the problem is that their argument is almost always based on a black'n'white moral picture, which doesn't really allow for practicality. Tony Blair was being practical when he argued that removing Saddam, despite international dissent and the fact that people would die, was a de facto good because it removed a regime that was killing its own people. I didn't hear many human rights activists supporting that one.

    That's... not necessarily true. Saddam was awful, yes. We'd need good numbers on how many he was killing/year vs. civilian casualties since we invaded + a metric for the effect empowering Iran in the region has had. Your view is the one that strikes me as black and white. Saddam evil, therefore going in and removing him = good. Is the current (lack of an) Iraqi government better or worse? Was the period of massive violence actually better than Saddam's totalitarianism from a human rights perspective? Probably, but I don't think it's as obvious as you say.

    And you're also ignoring that that wasn't the reason for the opposition to the war. It wasn't Saddam's an OK dude, who cares if he stays in. The primary objections were:

    There were some people who think war is always wrong, so you've got them
    There were people who think offensive war is always wrong
    There were wonks who thought that we needed to focus on people who actually attacked the US
    There were those who thought it was a pure imperialist move for Iraq's oil
    There were those who questioned the pre-war estimates and thought from a practical standpoint it couldn't be done at nearly the cost projected by the Bush and Blair governments

    None of those people were arguing against removing Saddam because of removing Saddam. There's also the added problem of where do you draw the line? It's a silly argument.

    You do what you can.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Okay, someone needs to do this for you:
    So essentially Alta, what ever we do is ok and no one should oppose it, as long as someone somewhere is doing worse?
    There are worse people doing worse things abroad, so how dare those hypocrites campaign against more minor abuses.

    Those two things do not even remotely mean the same thing. The first is a statement in the third person about "us". It says that what we are doing is acceptable, and dictates the reactions of others, given a certain condition. To the point, it says "whatever we do is ok". That is a pretty strong statement about "us" and our actions.

    The second is a statement in the first person about "those hypocrites". It's condition for people being hypocrites is "worse people" doing something. Related to the first example, the "worse people" equates to "someone somewhere". As they relate to the same post, the two conditionals in each statement are therefore functionally the same.

    Take away the two conditionals...

    Saying "whatever we do is okay" =/= "how dare those hypocrites campaign against more minor abuses". The latter I agree with. The first I do not.

    Your second post was an accurate summary of what I said. It also bore little relation to what your original summary said, which was not accurate. I write in detail to be accurate about what I am saying. Try it some time.

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Yes, I understand that. First, the problem is that their argument is almost always based on a black'n'white moral picture, which doesn't really allow for practicality. Tony Blair was being practical when he argued that removing Saddam, despite international dissent and the fact that people would die, was a de facto good because it removed a regime that was killing its own people. I didn't hear many human rights activists supporting that one.

    That's... not necessarily true. Saddam was awful, yes. We'd need good numbers on how many he was killing/year vs. civilian casualties since we invaded + a metric for the effect empowering Iran in the region has had. Your view is the one that strikes me as black and white. Saddam evil, therefore going in and removing him = good.

    Except that isn't what I said, is it. If you want to read Blair's argument (which has the good numbers you ask for) then buy his book, I'm not inclined to quote it en masse to you. Suffice to say I take it as something of a given that anyone taking such decisions for practical reasons will carefully weigh the pros and cons, of which there will be many, whereas people acting on moral grounds tend to be a lot more one-track. I've had this whole argument somewhere else on these forums, and I don't much feel like repeating it, but it was relatively recent if you want to do a search.
    And you're also ignoring that that wasn't the reason for the opposition to the war. It wasn't Saddam's an OK dude, who cares if he stays in.

    No, I'm not ignoring it, I was simply talking about a small subset of protestors: those who did so primarily on grounds of human rights. I know other people had other objections, but that's not the issue we're talking about.
    You do what you can.

    Yes, I know. I said that most human rights campaigns don't do what they can. They go for the easy options, and by doing so they demonstrate that their stated ideals are bollocks. If the practical argument is so important to them, then they need to adhere to a practical doctrine of human rights. Since most human rights doctrines are anything but practical, they should probably rethink how they are presenting their case.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Your logic conditional ignores the second part of my first summation "no one should oppose it, as long as someone somewhere is doing worse".

    While the first summation may be more sensationalistic, its hardly that different than the second.

    But if you want to run with my second summation as your argument, then you go right ahead and do that, because its a terrible one.

    sig.jpg
  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Dark_Side wrote:
    I find it interesting that suddenly when terrorism comes into play, the idea of assassination changes people's perspective so much; suddenly it's an acceptable ends to a means. In the past assassination has been used on targets of high political value and who are extremely hard to get at in more established routes.

    Not even remotely addressing what I said. Effective =/= acceptable. Though I don't particularly find assassination unacceptable; it's often a damn sight better than all the other options, if you can pull it off. The problem with the current version of killing people with drones is that it isn't accurate enough when low to no collateral is a requirement, and is never going to be.

    Frankly if you are ok with the idea of assassination as a political tool, I just don't think we're going to find a middle ground, and as far as I can tell, that seems to be what you're arguing for. And what exactly is your point if you're saying assassination is effective? What exactly do you even base that assumption on, your gut? And how is it better than other options? I mean....one other option in this particular case is working hand in hand with the Yemen govt. to track this guy down, break his network, and arrest him. It's also highly interesting you bring up drone strikes, since part of the reason the drones aren't accurate is because the CIA knowingly accepted faulty software that introduced the locational errors of strikes by up to 13m.

    Now are you seriously going to tell me that the CIA, who knowingly accepts faulty software on drones [strike]that are now notorious for killing innocent people[/strike], should be entrusted with maintaining and executing kill lists on certain individuals? You're comfortable with that being done in your name as an american? (Assuming of course that you are a citizen.) Because I'm totally not.

  • HozHoz Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Yeah, that's the accusation of a rival company. And the drones operated by the CIA are not the ones that are notorious for civilian casualties, those are the military operated drones.

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Hoz wrote: »
    Yeah, that's the accusation of a rival company. And the drones operated by the CIA are not the ones that are notorious for civilian casualties, those are the military operated drones.

    Given the past history with independent contractors in all this mess, I feel there's enough malfeasance and short cuts that have already been exposed to take this story at face value for the time being, but fair enough, you make a good point.

    Also I'd like to know the difference between the military drones and the one's the CIA is using. Different manufacturers?

  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    What? Lots of modern cases of torture have been made public. The CIA trumpeted one as preventing an attack until people put a timeline together and it turned out that the torture happened after the prevented event which was supposedly averted with the intelligence gained from said torture. And even if they were all secret, my question still wouldn't be a fallacy. What do you think that word means?

    You didn't ask for public torture cases. You asked for public torture cases which had produced "valuable, actionable information which resulted in innocent lives being saved". I was pointing out that the chance of him being able to give such an example is about zero. One, such information isn't made public. Two, if he quoted the government saying "this produced valuable, actionable information which saved lives", you would undoubtably say that they were unreliable. It's a fallacious question because you know damn well he can't present the information you want.
    I just fucking gave you an example of something that would satisfy my question. It was later disproven, but it was certainly released.
    But just because such information can't be presented to you, a random dude on the internet, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. This has previously been a hard concept for some people here, and I certainly don't claim that it proves it does exist, but nonetheless it is true.
    True, but any argument that relies on it existing is, at the least, extremely suspect.

    If Modern Man can't back up his claim of torture saving lives, he should retract it. If evidence for his statement is difficult or impossible to find, tough shit for him.

  • HozHoz Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    Also I'd like to know the difference between the military drones and the one's the CIA is using. Different manufacturers?
    I have no fucking clue. But they have different area of operations. The CIA drones operate over Pakistan and as far as I know there hasn't been any incident that has killed a large amount of civilians like there has been with military operated drones in Afghanistan.

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Hoz wrote: »
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    Also I'd like to know the difference between the military drones and the one's the CIA is using. Different manufacturers?
    I have no fucking clue. But they have different area of operations. The CIA drones operate over Pakistan and as far as I know there hasn't been any incident that has killed a large amount of civilians like there has been with military operated drones in Afghanistan.

    Oh, but you don't actually know then. Perhaps they use the same software? Same drones?


    I always though the whole idea that torturing a confession could save lives was logically almost impossible to prove anyway. The argument always seems to revolve around the "24" scenario where you have an extremely limited amount of time to get a confession and save lives. The problem is that you'd have to get a confession and still have enough time to react and stop the plot, exacerbated by the fact that the perp you had would know how limited time was and could just as easily send you on wild goose chases. And if you expand the time limit to stop the plot, the whole argument fails since any information you get from torture is completely suspect anyway, and you would actually have time to properly investigate and question the suspect.

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    Frankly if you are ok with the idea of assassination as a political tool, I just don't think we're going to find a middle ground, and as far as I can tell, that seems to be what you're arguing for. And what exactly is your point if you're saying assassination is effective? What exactly do you even base that assumption on, your gut? And how is it better than other options? I mean....one other option in this particular case is working hand in hand with the Yemen govt. to track this guy down, break his network, and arrest him. It's also highly interesting you bring up drone strikes, since part of the reason the drones aren't accurate is because the CIA knowingly accepted faulty software that introduced the locational errors of strikes by up to 13m.

    No, that isn't the reason drones aren't accurate. 13m in New York is another apartment. 13m in Afghanistan and Pakistan is in the same compound, and about a hundred meters away from the next house. If you can find anything in the library or on the internet (there's a reason they don't publish this stuff, which is also why I'm not going to tell you outright), read up about targeting processes and you might begin to understand why sometimes strikes go wrong.

    PS Hoz, you're also pretty off the mark. I can almost guarantee that strikes in Pakistan have gone wrong, just like in Afghanistan. You just don't hear about it.
    I always though the whole idea that torturing a confession could save lives was logically almost impossible to prove anyway. The argument always seems to revolve around the "24" scenario where you have an extremely limited amount of time to get a confession and save lives. The problem is that you'd have to get a confession and still have enough time to react and stop the plot, exacerbated by the fact that the perp you had would know how limited time was and could just as easily send you on wild goose chases. And if you expand the time limit to stop the plot, the whole argument fails since any information you get from torture is completely suspect anyway, and you would actually have time to properly investigate and question the suspect.

    Honestly, please at least try to know what you are talking about before you start using TV shows as a basis for your arguments.

    24 isn't real. The scenarios it gives aren't realistic. The argument for using torture to gain intelligence has been that over a long period, it would add to an existing picture and may prove a key piece. It's not a particularly strong argument to torture people, and the fact that it has clearly been badly implemented doesn't help, but the principle of interrogating key figures to get vital information is a good one. Questioning the reliability, outside of a Jack Bauer "I need the code" situation, isn't the show-stopper issue you seem to think because it will always be compared to other information. That's what intelligence is. Real people don't need to get the code to stop the nuclear weapon within 24hrs. That's just what actors do.

    You really need to know more about this subject before you start waffling about it, because so far you clearly don't have the slightest clue. I suggest reading more.

    [In case you feel tempted to make that tiresome "olol ur arguing from authority without telling me facts" point, can you really not see why I'm not publishing the detail of targeting processes for your gratification on a public forum? If you can find this stuff publically available, crack on. I'm not doing it for you.]

  • HozHoz Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    PS Hoz, you're also pretty off the mark. I can almost guarantee that strikes in Pakistan have gone wrong, just like in Afghanistan. You just don't hear about it.
    I wasn't going by not hearing about it. Earlier this year I read about a study of the drone strikes in Pakistan that concluded that only 13% of the casualties from drone strikes were civilians and even those are just people that can't be confirmed as militants by anything more than "they were near militants".

    But, now when I go looking for that fucking study I run into all sorts of conflicting shit about how the civilian casualties are 1/3rd of the deaths reported, so I'm going to back away from my claim.

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Hoz wrote: »
    PS Hoz, you're also pretty off the mark. I can almost guarantee that strikes in Pakistan have gone wrong, just like in Afghanistan. You just don't hear about it.
    I wasn't going by not hearing about it. Earlier this year I read about a study of the drone strikes in Pakistan that concluded that only 13% of the casualties from drone strikes were civilians and even those are just people that can't be confirmed as militants by anything more than "they were near militants".

    But, now when I go looking for that fucking study I run into all sorts of conflicting shit about how the civilian casualties are 1/3rd of the deaths reported, so I'm going to back away from my claim.

    There are a multitude of factors that make casualty reporting in these situations very unreliable, even to the people doing it. The major one for UAV strikes is: who is confirming the casualties? In Pakistan, there aren't any Americans on the ground, and generally if there were Pakistani military nearby, they wouldn't need a Pred. The confirmation data is all second or third-hand. Also, as you say, often there is simply a knowledge gap: outside of the key players, there are many random militia for whom there are no fingerprints, pictures, or way of IDing them. If they aren't actually firing a weapon at you, they could as easily be civilians as militia. There is little way to prove that they are either, and plenty of scope for each side to claim whichever suits them.

    The basic fact is that you can't fully trust any of the numbers on this: not from the military, US government, local government, civilians, insurgents, or NGOs. It is a highly public & controversial subject; it is difficult to conclusively prove; and there are a lot of people with a motive to lie about casualty figures. The most accurate stats probably come from the military in Afghanistan, because they get closest to the aftermath of a strike. But even those have a margin of error. Any strike (bar a PIDed sniper kill) is an imprecise process at best. Generally the further away you are physically from the target, the less precise it will be. Moreover, there are almost always civilians in close proximity to the targets, because the targets know that civilian casualties damage our cause.

    UAVs are popular because they are low-risk to our forces, can go anywhere, and are comparatively cheap. Having said that, the requirements for a strike are extremely stringent, the people who work on these ops are the best in the business, and the consequences for incompetence or carelessness are generally removal from post, career-end or prosecution. But UAVs were designed to save friendly force lives, they weren't made to make war casualty-free.

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    Frankly if you are ok with the idea of assassination as a political tool, I just don't think we're going to find a middle ground, and as far as I can tell, that seems to be what you're arguing for. And what exactly is your point if you're saying assassination is effective? What exactly do you even base that assumption on, your gut? And how is it better than other options? I mean....one other option in this particular case is working hand in hand with the Yemen govt. to track this guy down, break his network, and arrest him. It's also highly interesting you bring up drone strikes, since part of the reason the drones aren't accurate is because the CIA knowingly accepted faulty software that introduced the locational errors of strikes by up to 13m.

    No, that isn't the reason drones aren't accurate. 13m in New York is another apartment. 13m in Afghanistan and Pakistan is in the same compound, and about a hundred meters away from the next house. If you can find anything in the library or on the internet (there's a reason they don't publish this stuff, which is also why I'm not going to tell you outright), read up about targeting processes and you might begin to understand why sometimes strikes go wrong.

    PS Hoz, you're also pretty off the mark. I can almost guarantee that strikes in Pakistan have gone wrong, just like in Afghanistan. You just don't hear about it.
    I always though the whole idea that torturing a confession could save lives was logically almost impossible to prove anyway. The argument always seems to revolve around the "24" scenario where you have an extremely limited amount of time to get a confession and save lives. The problem is that you'd have to get a confession and still have enough time to react and stop the plot, exacerbated by the fact that the perp you had would know how limited time was and could just as easily send you on wild goose chases. And if you expand the time limit to stop the plot, the whole argument fails since any information you get from torture is completely suspect anyway, and you would actually have time to properly investigate and question the suspect.

    Honestly, please at least try to know what you are talking about before you start using TV shows as a basis for your arguments.

    24 isn't real. The scenarios it gives aren't realistic. The argument for using torture to gain intelligence has been that over a long period, it would add to an existing picture and may prove a key piece. It's not a particularly strong argument to torture people, and the fact that it has clearly been badly implemented doesn't help, but the principle of interrogating key figures to get vital information is a good one. Questioning the reliability, outside of a Jack Bauer "I need the code" situation, isn't the show-stopper issue you seem to think because it will always be compared to other information. That's what intelligence is. Real people don't need to get the code to stop the nuclear weapon within 24hrs. That's just what actors do.

    You really need to know more about this subject before you start waffling about it, because so far you clearly don't have the slightest clue. I suggest reading more.

    [In case you feel tempted to make that tiresome "olol ur arguing from authority without telling me facts" point, can you really not see why I'm not publishing the detail of targeting processes for your gratification on a public forum? If you can find this stuff publically available, crack on. I'm not doing it for you.]

    I feel like you just basically said the same exact point I was trying to make by using the 24 scenario, which if you'll remember has been used publicly by a few politicians in regards to the validity of torture, which is why I brought it up. And my point was the scenario doesn't exist except on tv, which you concur on. Further on down my point was that basically if you can't come up with the need to know now kind of reasoning, the very concept of torture as a valid interrogation tool pretty much disappears. We've all heard the countless different versions of how German detainees during ww2 were much more loose with information with a game of chess and good food, and it's no secret that torture is really of very questionable intelligence use.

    Sadly this is all forgetting the much larger question of why the US is co-opting a tool usually reserved for 3rd world despots and dictators. And to bring this back on topic, I think the same question can be applied to compiling kill lists for guys who haven't been charged with any crimes.

    And honestly, I wasn't going to bring it up because it's a cheap argument tactic, but actually you're kind of exactly doing an appeal to authority thing, putting a disclaimer on it doesn't somehow absolve you after the fact because you're still implying you have implicit knowledge of targeting systems and aquistion(and calling me ignorant on top of that) that you also claim probably can't be found on the internet or in a library.

    But I don't really care if you do have deep knowledge of targeting systems because that's not really relevant to the point I was making. The point I was making is that here's an article showing the CIA may have knowingly accepted faulty software for drones that may be used to kill people. And 13m is not a trivial distance, that's 42 ft, half the length of a basketball court, and pretty terrible (if true) for what is supposed to be a pinpoint system to take out high value targets, and easy to see how this would cause collateral damage. Now the point was that if it turns out true the CIA knowingly accepted faulty software because they were cutting corners in this case, is it wrong to question whether or not they would also take shortcuts on compiling evidence to show this was a bad dude who should be taken out? I say yes, and I think that's reason enough to not be doing these types of things in the war on terror, and that's not even digging into the fact that killing this guy will do nothing but create a religious martyr.

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    And honestly, I wasn't going to bring it up because it's a cheap argument tactic, but actually you're kind of exactly doing an appeal to authority thing, putting a disclaimer on it doesn't somehow absolve you after the fact because you're still implying you have implicit knowledge of targeting systems and aquistion(and calling me ignorant on top of that) that you also claim probably can't be found on the internet or in a library.

    PA isn't some Chatham House arena separated from the rest of reality. There are certain rules that supercede the ones in the sticky thread. The law, for example, which the forum rules here also recognise: since unauthorised disclosure of this stuff is illegal, I clearly cannot tell you and remain within the rules.

    What I did do is say: if you can find any of this stuff which has been cleared for public release, then go educate yourself and come back. You clearly haven't done that, because before I posted it last time, I did a cursory Google of what I suggested. Instead of reading any of that, you have just decided to hammer your original assertion home from a point of ignorance. Bad call.
    But I don't really care if you do have deep knowledge of targeting systems because that's not really relevant to the point I was making. The point I was making is that here's an article showing the CIA may have knowingly accepted faulty software for drones that may be used to kill people. And 13m is not a trivial distance, that's 42 ft, half the length of a basketball court, and pretty terrible (if true) for what is supposed to be a pinpoint system to take out high value targets, and easy to see how this would cause collateral damage. Now the point was that if it turns out true the CIA knowingly accepted faulty software because they were cutting corners in this case, is it wrong to question whether or not they would also take shortcuts on compiling evidence to show this was a bad dude who should be taken out? I say yes, and I think that's reason enough to not be doing these types of things in the war on terror, and that's not even digging into the fact that killing this guy will do nothing but create a religious martyr.

    I can, however, demonstrate why your assertion is wrong, because all it takes is a bit of logic and some applied geometry so basic that even I can do it.

    You talk about a "pinpoint system". Predators (the most commonly known type of drone) and other UAVs are armed with missiles, such as the Hellfire. Missiles are not a "pinpoint" weapon, because they have a blast radius. Explosive ordinance kills on the basic principle that it has a lethal radius, which we will call X, and a non-lethal radius, which we will call Z. Within the lethal radius, a (generally assumed to be unarmoured unless stated) person will be killed; within the non-lethal radius they will likely be injured. Variations occur according to armour, obstacles and whether the person is standing or not. For example, a standard HE grenade has a 5m lethal radius and a 25m non-lethal radius to a standing, unarmored person. Lying down dramatically reduces the non-lethal radius. For missiles and other ordinance, as you mentioned, you then have an area of variance, which we will call Y; this is the maximum expected variance from the target point that can be expected, essentially the accuracy of the ordinance.

    X and Y are both known values from testing. Therefore for a missile to produce an accurate kill (your "pinpoint"), the user only has to be sure that: X > Y ... the lethal radius must be larger than the variance distance, or the target is not assured to be within the lethal radius. Your 13m doesn't affect either accuracy or chance of collateral damage, because it is actually the size of X, the lethal radius, which determines how large the kill distance is. If you want to reduce collateral damage, then you first reduce X - not Y. As long as the CIA knew X was fixed (i.e. the missile payload specs), as long as X > Y then the variance from target is not going to affect the operation. Also consider that if the lethal distance for a fist-sized HE grenade is 5m, what do you think the distance for a Hellfire is likely to be? I would guess 13m is well under the lethal distance.

    At this point most people's heads will be imagining some kind of lethal radius Venn diagram and say: ah, but if the missile is off by 13m, even though the target is killed by the lethal radius in one direction, there is still X length of lethal radius going in the opposite direction. That makes a lethal radius of 2X, which must mean more collateral damage?

    That is correct. Again, however, this is a known quantity. If you know both the variance and lethal radius of the missile, then you can calculate a distance from the centre of the target of X + Y outside which even if the missile goes to the most extreme variance, the lethal distance will not extend. This is called the safety distance. Depending on ROE, or the decision of the chain of command, this can (and often does) also include the non-lethal radius as well. Therefore the safety distance to neither kill nor injure is X + Y + Z. This can then constitute the go / no-go order on whether the missile is released at all. If the requisite safety distance is satisfied, then it is a go. If not, it is a no-go.

    The real problem of collateral damage is that these weapons aren't instant. As the article I linked above says, their standard range is up to 8km. It takes considerable time for a missile to travel 8 km. The order to release must be therefore taken without an exact knowledge of what the target area will look like when the missile hits. The target may move; others may move inside the safety distance. Moving the UAV closer to the target point does not help this, because if it is spotted, there is more likely to be panic movement on the ground and therefore the target area becomes even more unpredictable, not less.

    Moreover, tightening the variance of the missile isn't going to significantly reduce the chance of collateral damage, because all it is doing is reducing the area within which the lethal blast radius will fall. What is actually in that area is somewhat random given the delay from missile release to point of explosion. Moreover, accounting for general patterns of human behaviour, if you have a target in the centre of the area and a safety distance clear of other people around, the most likely destination for anyone wandering into the safety distance is directly towards the target. Therefore having a perfectly accurate missile with the target at the centre of the blast radius is more likely to kill bystanders than (remembering the safety distance principle) having a missile with a 13m variation where it has fallen far to one side, the target is killed at the edge of the lethal radius, but actually some bystanders 3m on the other side of the target survive. Random chance is a far more important driver of collateral damage than the area of variance of the weapon.

    So as you can see, as long as the weapon capabilities are a known quantity, procedures can account for them and reduce or eliminate how they affect collateral damage. But the prime technical cause of additional casualties is the blast radius / area of effect of the weapon, not the accuracy. The accuracy just drives whether you get the intended target or not. Explosive ordinance is never going to be "pinpoint", and if you do want to reduce collateral damage, you decrease the lethal radius of the weapon, not the variance. More to the point, blind luck and human decision-making play a much larger role than the technical specs.

    Ergo, the CIA are not cutting corners, but actually know the detail of their job which you, without any actual knowledge of the subject, are missing and have therefore been led to the wrong conclusion by a media article. Huge surprise.

    And all that was from publically available information + logic. Perhaps next time someone tells you something from a position of authority you should at least think it over instead of going into instant denial. Chances are they probably know what they're talking about.

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