Sunday, February 10, 2013

Limits To Drone Strikes

For John, BLUFIn war and quasi-war, safeguards to civil liberties erode.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reason Magazine seems a little concerned that the Administration thinks it can order hits on Americans in the US.

I think the author, Jacob Sullum, is reading too much into the tea leaves, but times of war do tend to seen Constitutional Rights diluted or ignored by the Federal Government, starting with the Alien and Sedition Acts, during the Quasi-War with France in 1798, but including the Civil War, The First World War and the Second (remember all those people interned on the West Coast and elsewhere?).  During the Viet-nam war there was domestic spying by the US Army.  And now we have great freedom given to law enforcement agencies, and, of course, the Drone Attacks, executed under a secret plan, that has resulted in American Citizens being killed.  

Interestingly, The New York Times has an article today that compares and contrasts the approach to the Global War on Terrorism by Presidents Obama and Bush.  Less harsh interrogation and more death.

Then there is the comment from the Public Editor (Ombudsman) of The New York Times, in which she laments the fact that the paper has kept secret a Drone Base in Saudi Arabia, kept secret at the behest of the Federal Government.

Hat tip to Hot Air for the Reason Magazine item.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Frankly, if someone takes up arms against the United States, then their passport is no shield to protect them from our armed forces.  They have declared war on us and war it is.  On the other hand, off the battlefield and away from enemy headquarters, suspicion is not sufficient for ordering a hit.


C R Krieger said...

Here is an "over the transept" comment from someone here in Lowell:

"Are you saying that only enemies with gun in hand are valid targets?  If they get Intel on a suspected mark, they have to act immediately.  The Fatwah against America shows no regard for innocent beings.  Why afford them any greater regard.  I am 100% pro drone use as it is low risk and highly effective....a human life is irreplaceable ...a drone has a serial number...."

C R Krieger said...

I like the line, "a drone has a serial number".  I think someone with the supply train for the enemy forces counts as an enemy combatant, even if an American.  An American passport should grant no immunity.  What about an American Reporter?  If collateral damage it is unfortunate, but they should definitely not be targetted.

Reards  —  Cliff

Neal said...

I am not certain that the hue and cry over the drone policy is focused on the American who has gone over to the bad guys. To be sure, that has been expressed, but I think the real fear that isn't expressed is the employment of drones to control/subject a population set of citizens for political purposes. I think that is a growing fear in a society that is growing more fearful of political domination with each passing week....or perhaps day. When Big Sista makes comments about ex-military personnel being potential domestic terrorists, the sorting would seem to have already begun. Many Democrats seem to feel, judging by their expressions, that conservatives are enemies of the State and therefore should be put away. I hear this quite frequently in this and other blogs, as well as the media. One wonders if the interment of an entire class of American citizens is not possible given a "mandate" from the electorate. The argument can and will be made that our system has enough checks and balances that it could never happen. It would be too difficult to bring about. I would respond readily that in decades past, that would be somewhat true. Today, technology provides the "proof" and the "process" by which Americans can suddenly be stripped of their rights and locked away indefinitely and incommunicado....or simply disappear. Does vigorous and vociferous opposition to a political status quo constitute a clear and present threat to national security, thus rendering those in the opposition "enemies of the state?" But perhaps, more importantly, are those people enemies of the state....or are they enemies of a political agenda?

When a sitting President declares in a speech the intent and encouragement for "all out war" against his opposition, one has to wonder about what limits, if any, that warfare may possess. History would suggest that in far too many instances, there have been no limits.

I think THAT is the basis for the current expressed concerns about drones.....and other aspects of our current Federal state.