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April 18, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Drones effective at cutting casualties

Another view?

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Yes, United States citizens are entitled to due process. But why should they have that right if they desert their country and join or support foreign terrorists who want to kill us?

Let the commander in chief do his job the best way with the least amount of casualties — innocent Americans and innocent foreigners.

We have reliable intelligence as to who and where they are. Yes, there will be some mistakes.

We have drones that are being improved with excellent technology. They are controlled by experienced people and are becoming more accurate.

This is 21st-century war. In any war, there are casualties. Innocent people can be killed.

Do we fight this war with planes dropping bombs where we could lose some planes and their crews?

The possible count of innocents wounded or killed would be much higher. Do we send in troops, special forces and risk our own people?

We have drones that are controlled by highly trained technicians using good intelligence and programming them to do their job correctly.

Why must we fight a war with one hand tied behind our back?

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  1. Right on, Archie! The Marquis of Queensbury rules do not apply here nor does the Geneva Convention. Those the USA is fighting play by no rules; in putting them down like rabid animals, we need not, either.

  2. Those who choose to live like warriors must be prepared to die as warriors.

  3. Noone denies drone attacks work. That's the reason the Bush Administration used them. What we object to is the blatant hypocrisy of Senator and candidate Obama and Eric Holder, as well as a host of others in the current Administration, who called waterboarding cruel and unusual punishment. Then proceed to kill people, includng Americans, without due process. Let's see: Waterboarded or killed? What's worst?

  4. Carmine: Waterboarding would require the presence of the person being waterboarded. Let's take Awlaki as an example. He was in a country, Yemen, that outside of the capital was like the wild west. No law, no government presence. That's why he was there. It was not worth a single soldier's life to try and extricate him from Yemen to Guantanamo so he could be waterboarded. He probably never knew what hit him when the hellfire missile crashed down on his traitorous head. Good riddance. He had forfeited due process by becoming an enemy of the United States, and a leading plotter of terrorism for Al Quaeda.

  5. Future: "So much for due process"...I imagine the victims and their families on the REAL 9 / 11 felt much the same way. My take? Kill every terrorist whenever and wherever they are found. Nobody twisted their arm to become a jihadi idiot. They do it willingly. Their aim is to kill and destroy lives and property, MOSTLY AMERICANS, if they can. They would not hesitate to kill you or me, and if "collateral damage" resulted, they could care less. Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out!

  6. How much due process does a terrorist consider in their actions? Should we just cede sanctuary to terrorists because they're on foreign soil? How many American lives should we risk to effect a capture and satisfy Carmen's newly found support for the ACLU's position on this issue.

  7. With the war in Afghanistan still raging on with over 2,000 dead and over 17,000 wounded Americans,and if we add the casualties from the Iraq war. We have 4,488 dead and another 33,184 more wounded warriors.It as said that there could be another possible 100,000 untreated soldier's with brain injuries from both wars.

    Why would we even be discussing anything about drones that cost us no dead or wounded troops.Take the politics out of the arguement and think of the country and all who gave with their lives,and the thousands of severly wounded.

    In short I could careless about Americans who are traitors to our country and would do anything to kill all of us given the chance. Iran is the biggest contributor to all our casualities in both wars with weapons and bombs.Why are we not having a discussion about what they have done and continue to do in both Iraq and Afghanistan?

  8. Based on the comments posted by most correspondents to this thread it is perfectly acceptable to bend or break principles enshrined in the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights and in established jurisprudence so long as the end result meets some perceived governmental need. Of course, it also helps if some visceral response is sated. If you accept this convoluted and immoral reasoning then you implicitly accept the reasoning that liberals may come up with to take away your guns.

  9. On Lincoln's birthday, it's appropriate to consider that participating in insurrection against the Federal Government was against the law as was firing cannons at Ft. Sumter. Would our commenters consider that Lincoln broke principles enshrined in the Constitution by causing the deaths of Confederate fighters?

  10. I'm a lifetime Democrat but drones are it. Half the soldiers leaving the military are applying for disability benefits. We're going to be paying for these wars over 100 years from now.

    Drones are an effective and dirt cheap way to deal with the nation's enemies.

  11. "How many American lives should we risk to effect a capture and satisfy Carmen's newly found support for the ACLU's position on this issue." @ Jim Weber

    Sad to prove you wrong. I am against both: Waterboarding and drone strikes. Why? The US has taken both to the extreme. And I am not an extremist regardless of the issue.


  12. Mr. Pizzo's numbers are a little off. Soon we will have 800,000 applications for disability benefits as a result of the two wars.

  13. BTW FWIW the US estimates that 300-400 innocents have been killed by drone attacks. And more to come. It's called "collateral damage."


  14. Carmine,

    "BTW FWIW the US estimates that 300-400 innocents have been killed by drone attacks. And more to come.It's called collateral damage"

    Thousands of people from Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed by suicide bombers in both countries. Some of these suicide bombers are as young as 10 years old.And more to come."It's called murder".

  15. "Can [President Obama] get another Nobel Peace prize once his 'kill' list is complete?" - Heretic

    Does anyone here truly feel that President Obama deserved it then, or now? Let's grant that he has taken steps to reduce American casualties with the use of drones, but can anyone say he is a man of peace?

  16. I don't get it. Some of you seem to be blaming Obama for lack of due process while at the same time agreeing what he is doing is correct.

    One - Anyone who leaves America to take up arms against us, also forfeits their status as a citizen.

    Two - It's a new era of warfare. Unlike some conservatives still fighting the Cold War, I'd rather have death from above by the use of drones than putting American troops in the line of fire.

  17. The use of technology to prevent or reduce US military casualties is perfectly acceptable, and should be the norm in all cases where possible.

    On the other hand, the assassination of US citizens at the sole discretion of some unspecified member of the Executive branch is repugnant to all that our founding documents represent.

  18. "Yes, United States citizens are entitled to due process."

    Weitman -- wrong. The Fifth Amendment promises "No PERSON shall be . . .deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. . ." So what else are you wrong about?

    "...the assassination of US citizens at the sole discretion of some unspecified member of the Executive branch is repugnant to all that our founding documents represent."

    boftx -- excellent point, but I would point out the repugnancy is to that very Constitution each swore a solemn oath to support, protect and defend. It seems we're back to the star chamber. And let's not forget Obama's last job before politics was as a Constitutional law professor!

    "We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check . . . when it comes to the rights of th[is] Nation's citizens" -- Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U. S. 507, 536 (2004)

  19. chuck333 - "why were Democrats so up in arms about Bush's use of water boarding but yet these same people don't have a problem with the presidents use of drones."

    Apples and oranges. It is a fact that torture does not gain intelligence, victims lie. Our military manual cites torture as a crime. By the way, waterboarding was called Chinese water torture when I was much younger.

  20. Vernos,

    "One - Anyone who leaves America to take up arms against us, also forfeits their status as a citizen."

    Let's look at the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Constitution, Article 3, Section. 3, and the Bill of Rights,
    Amendment V and VI.

    There is nothing there about assassinating US citizens in foreign lands, or the loss of citizenship, or overriding the due process in the Bill of Rights.

    There are even Constitutional questions about detaining indefinitely citizen anywhere, without charges or due process or a speedy trial.

    We have a process of juries determining guilt based on evidence presented in court.

    A deterrent to becoming a fascist nation is to put American lives on the line in fighting against those who would kill us. The further we distance ourselves from the prospect of the danger of loss of American lives, the closer we move towaed fascism. Then it turns on citizens within the US.

    The danger of loss of lives is also like a brake on the emotional and political response of those making decisions that cost lives.

    Drones, in both domestic and foreign use are a very dangerous step toward fascism.

    The fears of the extremists holding on to the 2nd Amendment in a fight against gun control move closer to realization. Organizing themselves, they become ready to violently overthrow the government. That can bring a domestic terrorism into a more personal reality for us all, justified or not.

    They can also move toward furthering a fascist government's objectives.

    What a path to travel!

    We cannot shred the Constitution piece by piece or we will end up in chaos, with people pointing fingers, McCarthy hearings, round ups, convictions, executions, and possibly revolution.

    If we could get close enough to kill Bin Laden, we can get close enough to capture a traitorous US citizen planning harm to the US. However, we must give that person due process, which shouldn't be hard to do.

    "Collateral damage" is a phrase that conveniently distances us from the reality of killing potentially innocent people, including children. This is totally immoral.

    Certainly, the Supreme Court must weigh in on this, if we cannot amend the Constitution.

    Personally, I don't agree with drone technology on a Constitutional and moral basis.

    In this kind of thing, there is no easy solution without serious repercussions. Emotions and political partisanship must be left in the closet.

    Staying with to the Constitution is a safeguard for our integrity, security and soul of our nation.

  21. Constitution

    "Article 3, Section. 3.

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."

    Bill of Rights

    "Amendment V

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment VI

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

  22. This should not be about Bush or Obama, Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals.

    It is about being Americans living in accord with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which applies to all US citizens.

    My personal perspective adds morality to the considerations I make.

  23. Interesting reading for legal eagles.

  24. "Thousands of people from Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed by suicide bombers in both countries. Some of these suicide bombers are as young as 10 years old.And more to come."It's called murder"." @ Sam Pizzo

    I was against sending American troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. I haven't changed my mind.


  25. Carmine,

    "I was against sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.I haven't changed my mind".

    Most people were against sending troops into Iraq,myself included.However I was not against sending troops into Ahghanistan.We could have finished our mission in Afghanistan years ago had Pre.G.W. Bush not widely entered the Iraq war on a lie.

    People need to remember Black hawk down 13 dead troops,USS cole 17 dead sailors,embassey bombing in Africa 22 Americans also dead.Who can forget the first world trade center bombing in 1993 4 dead,1,000 wounded,and 4 hundred million in damage.And last the bombing and destruction of the world trade center towers in 2001,along with the Pentagon,and the crash of flight 93 in Pennsylvania,with a combined loss of life for 3,000 Americans.

  26. Losses in the Trade Center towers attacks involved 373 citizens from 90 countries and 2379 Americans.

  27. Sam:

    The Pan Am flight in Lockerbie that was bombed in 1988 killed 300 people, mostly Americans from NY and New Jersey. What happend to Al Megrahi, the killer? Did the US drone him? Or did he get a trial? And he wasn't even an American citizen.


  28. Another view: I look for the story behind the veil. We had eyes on gaining oil from Iraq, which failed. Additionally, we wanted to stop the construction of a pipeline which Iraq had an agreement with France and Russia. The supposed WMD's was an excuse to do that.

    Afghanistan, the heroin producing corrupt country, has hugely lucrative mineral resources to be had, worth between $900 billion and $3 trillion. No wonder there is such interest in Afghanistan.

    We were fighting the Taliban, and now the Taliban will have more official power than before since the Afghan government has found it necessary to negotiate with them and work out a way to share some power with them in order to end the turmoil.

    From it's history, Afghanistan seems to thrive on war with anyone who tries to take them on.

    We can spin the story in accord with our idealism, but there is more behind the curtain that isn't so ideal.

    It is interesting that neither the Soviets, nor the US, while doing damage, could actually "win" in little Afghanistan.

    That alone has to make one think there is more to the story, since both had considerable military might available to them.

    We shouldn't allow ourselves to get into the trap of war for booty, using a moral good as the excuse.

    The cost of these two wars has been approximately $1.4 trillion and growing. No oil, no mineral resources gained.

  29. antigov,

    "Congress can eliminate the entire due process arguement with a constitutional amendment to end the citizenship and rights of anyone who is a traitor."

    Problem: Under your amendment, who is responsible for declaring one a traitor if there is no due process?

  30. Let me take another tact Sam:

    You can't be against waterboarding and be for drones. That's where the President and his Administration is on this issue. As candidate Obama, and Senator Obama, he condemned President Bush in the harshest of terms for waterboarding. As did numerous members of his cabinet and administration. Like Attorney General Eric Holder. I agreed with Obama. Obama was right. Waterboarding is unconscionable. Yet, now President Obama and AG Holder are in favor of drone attacks and killing innocents. Where's the consistency in morals and ethics applied here? I'm not talking legality here like Milam and his land deal. I'm talking human consideration, aka ethics and morals of warfare. When is killing innocents ever justified for any reasons? Innocents are innocent. And their killers are murderers, whether they are drones or people. Dead is dead. How and why they are killed is unconscionable and reprehensible.


  31. Bravo Carmine!

  32. Hitler killed millions of innocents in gas chambers. Saved the German army and people from the danger of Jewish "terrorists".

    Likud would be deemed a "terrorist organization" in Palestine by today's policy, and Israel might never have become a country as a result.

    That would have saved many American and non-American lives in fighting wars against the enemies of the Jews and Israel.

    It is easy to find justification for murder if we just accept governmental policies as saving lives.

    Justifying drones, kill lists, or having secret courts to approve killings is the same thing. It is murder of innocent humans when some are considered as just disposable "collateral damage". We become no better than the terrorists we claim others are.

    If we do such things, we need to accept and admit the reality that we are murderers of innocents and stop trying to make it look otherwise. Some Americans will speak against the reality.

  33. Carmine: at 11:18 you commented: "You can't be against waterboarding and be for drones."

    WHAT!!! We AGREE??? How did THAT happen???

    All sorts of people are in favor of scrapping the Constitution when it comes to drones and water-boarding. It is precisely when issues become most heated that the protections afforded by the Constitution are the MOST needed.

    AS for this whole trashy idea of "collateral damage:" In the recent hunt for Christopher Dorner, police killed, without warrant or probable cause, two people who looked nothing like him when they were actually looking for one person. The victims were in a pickup of a different brand, style, and color, and bore a license plate with a different number than the one Dorner was reported (but not proven) to be driving. THAT is collateral damage!!

    Just think - What would happen if your (or my...) friendly, local police shot everyone in pickups because they are hunting one specific person, who may - or may not - be driving one particular pickup. THAT is what the Constitution is designed to avoid. And the theory supporting drone assassinations isn't all that different.

  34. I would rather see Drones take out terrorists than have more US Casualities die on the battle field in Iraq or Afghanistan. War is pure hell,and we couldn't have got to some of these terrorists without Drones.

  35. I am sickened and very concerned by the number of people who apparently can not distinguish the difference between using technology to reduce US casualties and the assassination of US citizens. These are two very different issues.

    It is precisely policies like that laid out in the leaked white paper that fuels the desire for a strong Second Amendment in the minds of many people.

  36. "Carmine: at 11:18 you commented: "You can't be against waterboarding and be for drones."for drones."

    WHAT!!! We AGREE??? How did THAT happen???" @ Robert Leavitt

    Robert: I'm not at all surprised.


  37. Drones kill guilty and innocents alike without discrimination. They are a pax on the US. If the defense is it's technology, and that somehow makes it okay, forgive me for being old fashioned.


  38. Mea culpa. Gary Lind pointed out that I should have typed "pox" not pax. He's right!


  39. At 1247 boftx commented: "I am sickened and very concerned by the number of people who apparently can not distinguish the difference between using technology to reduce US casualties and the assassination of US citizens. These are two very different issues."

    Are they? You assume very two different groups are involved and that there is no overlap between the two. Anwar al-Awlaki, a native-born American citizen, is alleged (but never proven in a court of law, beyond a reasonable doubt) to have conspired with al-Queda to kill Americans. As a result he, and subsequently his second-generation native-born American son, were assassinated by drones. No formal filing of charges, no appearance in court, no trial of his peers, no representation, no opportunity to face his accusers, definitely no unanimous jury verdict of "guilty", no sentence handed down by a judge, no chance of appeal. Simply a politician following the lead of the Queen of Hearts and crying "Off with their heads!"

    Will we soon see drones in American skies and watch members of our communities, and anyone in their vicinity, disappear with a bang and a puff of greasy smoke? If so - it just may be an enemy copying our techniques - or it may simply be another politician who cried "Off with THEIR heads!" That puff of greasy smoke could be YOU. Welcome to the new, improved American Constitution.

  40. renorobert,

    I am not assuming anything of the kind. I am saying that there are two different actions being taken, and one them is by no means acceptable against US citizens.

    Judging from your second paragraph above we are in agreement. I say it was absolutely wrong to assassinate Al-Awaki (no matter what means was used) under those circumstances.

  41. "War is pure hell,and we couldn't have got to some of these terrorists without Drones." Sam

    The problem is drones don't just kill terrorists. They kill innocents too.


  42. Sam:

    Nagasaki, Hiroshima. The US bombs killed innocents. Not the enemy. Drones too. Same same.