Our Destructive Drone War

Here is a long piece in the LA Times chronicling but one of our accidental bombings by a Predator drone in which we killed a boatload of civilians:

Nearly three miles above the rugged hills of central Afghanistan, American eyes silently tracked two SUVs and a pickup truck as they snaked down a dirt road in the pre-dawn darkness.

The vehicles, packed with people, were 3 1/2 miles from a dozen U.S. special operations soldiers, who had been dropped into the area hours earlier to root out insurgents. The convoy was closing in on them.

At 6:15 a.m., just before the sun crested the mountains, the convoy halted.

“We have 18 pax [passengers] dismounted and spreading out at this time,” an Air Force pilot said from a cramped control room at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, 7,000 miles away. He was flying a Predator drone remotely using a joystick, watching its live video transmissions from the Afghan sky and radioing his crew and the unit on the ground.

The Afghans unfolded what looked like blankets and kneeled. “They’re praying. They are praying,” said the Predator’s camera operator, seated near the pilot.

By now, the Predator crew was sure that the men were Taliban. “This is definitely it, this is their force,” the cameraman said. “Praying? I mean, seriously, that’s what they do.”

“They’re gonna do something nefarious,” the crew’s intelligence coordinator chimed in.

***

None of those Afghans was an insurgent. They were men, women and children going about their business, unaware that a unit of U.S. soldiers was just a few miles away, and that teams of U.S. military pilots, camera operators and video screeners had taken them for a group of Taliban fighters.

You all know what happens next in this story, so you can just click through to read the whole thing in detail.

Of all the colossally stupid, counter-productive, vile, and disgusting things the United States does, our policy of just launching missiles at every problem or threat that we have, or, as is the case here, every perceived problem or threat, has to be at the top of the list. We need to get out of Afghanistan NOW.

And by the way, at the very least, since we all know we’re never leaving, can we have these drones flown by someone other than some ignorant shitheel who thinks that a group of Muslims praying is a sign they are up to something and need to be bombed? yeah. They hate us for our freedoms.

*** Update ***

I almost forgot the best part, the CIA is running the Drone war in Pakistan, so who the hell only knows what is going on there. Although they are mighty pissed off with us at the moment for other things, so they may either kick us out or shake us down for a couple more billion. But think about that for a minute- Pakistan, not exactly scrupulous when it comes to butchering their own people, thinks we’ve gone overboard. That’s like being told by Andy Dick that you’ve had too much to drink.






88 replies
  1. 1
    Sophist says:

    “Praying? I mean, seriously, that’s what they do.” “They’re gonna do something nefarious,” the crew’s intelligence coordinator chimed in.

    Remember, they hate us for our feedoms.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    something nefarious

    ?
    Like what? Start tranching out credit default swaps?

  3. 3
    Maude says:

    Wedding parties.
    We have to get out of there.

  4. 4
    Zifnab says:

    So we’ll leave Afghanistan right after all the Muslim civilians stop praying and all the Taliban fighters are dead.

    Um… yeah. That sounds about right, actually.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m really confused. Why is George Bush still running our tactical plan in Afghanistan?

  6. 6
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Oh don’t worry, Cole, only a few more years to go. Pakistanis have had it up to here with us and are slowly shutting us out, so that’ll be a bit of a monkey wrench in the works for our dear CIA and JSOC.

    Turns out you can’t kill your way out of a fubar’d war in a completely undeveloped part of the world without a credible government partner on the ground. Oh well, we’ll learn one day. Probably. Maybe.

  7. 7
    Brachiator says:

    Of all the colossally stupid, counter-productive, vile, and disgusting things the United States does, our policy of just launching missiles at every problem or threat that we have, or, as is the case here, every perceived problem or threat, has to be at the top of the list. We need to get out of Afghanistan NOW.

    OK. Then, if Al Qaeda or another group finds support and launches another terrorist attack on the US, be prepared to see Afghanistan wiped off the face of the Earth. Because that will be the demand by the angriest citizens here. And I doubt that they will be appeased.

    Short of that, if the Taliban take over again and initiate another reign of terror, then I don’t want to hear anyone whine or moan about someone here who is thrown in a rathole or denied their constitutional rights. If you don’t think that people should have human rights, don’t come talking about how Americans are special just because we have a Constitution.

    And by the way, at the very least, since we all know we’re never leaving, can we have these drones flown by someone other than some ignorant shitheel who thinks that a group of Muslims praying is a sign they are up to something and need to be bombed? yeah. They hate us for our freedoms.

    Of course, the problem here is that our allies, the Pakistan government, talks a good game about fighting extremists, but somehow just can’t be bothered to actually do anything. And so we fall back on drones. Yeah, it’s dumbass, and again maybe we should just pull out.

    Because when we kill people it’s bad. When people in Afghanistan and Pakistan kill each other, well shit, it just ain’t our problem. Even if we were in the middle of the crap for decades stirring things up.

  8. 8

    You raise an interesting question: how do we pick the people who interpret images from these drones and make decisions about firing?

    Are they fighter pilots? Are they the aerial photography analysts who are used to making decisions about what this group of buildings and those tarps mean, and don’t actually have any combat background? Are they bombadiers from B-2 and B-52s?

  9. 9
    General Stuck says:

    Always been against our use of drones. Yes, we do need to stop this kind of thing. But I doubt it will stop, even when we withdraw from ground combat. It will likely even increase. From my understanding, the AF has tightened the ROE for these things, and maybe civilian deaths are down some, but it is still bullshit.

  10. 10
    cyntax says:

    the crew’s intelligence coordinator

    Oxy meet moron.

  11. 11
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It turns out incompetent warmongering is only a disqualification for office if it’s a Republican or uncharismatic Democrat doing it. Otherwise, we just keep it on the hush hush and move along.

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Anyone know how Operation Independent Libya (OIL) is going? It’s slipped off the radar.

  13. 13
    Joe Beese says:

    You know, slaughtering civilians in countries who haven’t attacked us* can be considered a war crime.

    At least when it’s not a Democrat doing it.

    * Afghanistan is not Al Qaeda. Please make a note of it.

  14. 14
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Fortunately, President Obama will soon curtail our wayward Commander in Chief’s odious, nay, inhumanly depraved behavior.
    .
    .

  15. 15
    alwhite says:

    They DO hate us for our freedom! Our freedom to bomb the shit out of them, killing indiscriminately, destroying homes and fields.

    They hate that freedom so much that some of them are willing to strap a bomb onto their own body so that they can kill a few of us. Or maybe fly a plane into a building. That makes THEM evil.

  16. 16
    Sly says:

    Fucking Christ….

    Before the strike…
    PREDATOR CAMERA OPERATOR: (After hearing the intel team spotted children) Bullshit. Where? I don’t think they have kids out at this hour.
    __
    PREDATOR PILOT: Why didn’t he say “possible” child? Why are they so quick to call kids but not call a rifle.
    __
    PREDATOR PILOT: (To the ground team) Our screeners are currently calling 21 MAMs [military age males], no females, and two possible children.
    __
    GROUND TEAM: Roger. And when we say children, are we talking teenagers or toddlers?
    __
    PREDATOR CAMERA OPERATOR: Not toddlers. Something more towards adolescents or teens.
    __
    PREDATOR PILOT: Yeah, adolescents. We’re thinking early teens.
    __
    After the strike….
    PREDATOR CAMERA OPERATOR: What are those?
    __
    PREDATOR MISSION INTELLIGENCE COORDINATOR: Women and children.

    Now excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

  17. 17
    WereBear says:

    I really really wish Democrats would grasp that, no matter what they do, Republicans are going to whine and scream and claim it’s the end of the world.

    To stay in an unwinnable war because of Republican whining (as LBJ did) is pointless; yet no one has yet learned that.

  18. 18
    alwhite says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    Its going just jim-dandy! Its headed toward stalemate with the rebel forces controlling the larger part of the oil producing region. That means they will need us to protect them from Gadaphie for years to come. I’m sure we(BP/Shell) will help them sell all that oil too.

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    It’s just incredibly depressing to follow the news. Let’s see…we’re killing civilians in other countries on a regular basis, rich people get tax cuts while poor people have to pay more. Almost-seniors won’t have any healthcare, but bankers will get huge bonuses. The country wants to elect a mouthy hairpiece as President. It’s just depressing.

    I think I’m going to go outside and work in the garden. At least I’ll be able to feed myself some vegetables.

  20. 20
    tkogrumpy says:

    May I illustrate that for you? http://WWW.encircling.us/pics/.....ownage.gif

  21. 21
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @alwhite:

    Its going just jim-dandy! Its headed toward stalemate with the rebel forces controlling the larger part of the oil producing region. That means they will need us to protect them from Gadaphie for years to come. I’m sure we(BP/Shell) will help them sell all that oil too.

    What about Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL)? Last I heard, Gates wanted to stay on a while longer.

  22. 22
    Steeplejack says:

    Off topic, but I haven’t seen an open thread in a while.

    TCM is showing a slate of silent movies about the Civil War tonight, beginning with D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) at 8:00 (all times EDT). A flawed, racist masterpiece, but a masterpiece nonetheless. Then The Coward (1915) at 11:30, Buster Keaton’s sublime comedy The General (1927) at 1:00 a.m. and Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927) at 3:30.

  23. 23
    Joe Beese says:

    But Afghanistan is so 2010, you know?

    The new hotness is Libya.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that options being considered for action against Libya include the use of drones…

    http://www.businessweek.com/ne.....ebels.html

  24. 24
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @General Stuck:
    You’re correct. I worked on the cameras and sensors for these things back when I was in aerospace. We did a lot of testing from fixed wing aircraft over China Lake and other thinly populated areas of California. When we got the systems to as good as they get, the project manager asked me “Would you bet your life on it?” I said “No.” Now I say “Hell, no!”
    I walked through villes that we’d flattened with aerial bombardment of artillery in Vietnam. There’s nothing like seeing a baby’s arm sticking out of the mud to make you understand the results of delivering ordnance from a consequence-free environment.

  25. 25
    HyperIon says:

    yeah, and they bagged a couple of US soldiers last week.

  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Oh don’t worry, Cole, only a few more years to go. Pakistanis have had it up to here with us and are slowly shutting us out, so that’ll be a bit of a monkey wrench in the works for our dear CIA and JSOC.

    Odd. Everything I see indicates the Pakistanis are playing us, pretending to go along, even as they support some of the Islamic groups. The CIA are saps compared to Pakistan’s intelligence service.

    And whining over drones? Odd, in public the Pakistan government protested drones. Then they asked Hillary Clinton to secure more military aid. Or they would go to the Chinese for arms.

    I get so tired of people spouting off as though the US is the sole power capable of doing cynical, duplicitous shit, especially in the Afghanistan, Pakistan region.

    Hell, Russia and Britain even had a name for their meddling, “The Great Game.” Pakistan, India and China have been playing their own version as well, especially over Kashmir.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Joe Beese says:

    Funny, you should mention the CIA, Mr. Cole…

    Guess who Obama is going to put in charge over there?

  29. 29

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Anyone know how Operation Independent Libya (OIL) is going? It’s slipped off the radar.

    Oh, it’s ever-expanding, with American ground forces slaughtering civilians left and right. Except, like, not.

    Should I understand that it’s not being talked about on the so-called-anti-war blogs you read. That the people who were so opposed to it aren’t writing about it anymore?

    Huh.

  30. 30
    Social outcast says:

    GROUND TEAM: Roger. And when we say children, are we talking teenagers or toddlers?

    Holy sweet jeebus. You couldn’t write that line in a movie without someone accusing you of being biased against the military. Lucky for war supporters that we live in a society so militarized that this question will seem totally normal and reasonable under the circumstances.

  31. 31
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Lemme know when yer done editing, Joe.

  32. 32
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Not Gates personally. He’s just glad to be getting out of dodge, I would think.

    Iraqi Kurds? Obama’s national security advisors who are terrified of Iran and the Saudi/GCC complex getting their proxy war on? Fuck yeah, they want the US to still be in Iraq come next year.

    It’s probably impossible politically, but it speaks to how terrible a job both the Maliki and Obama governments have done reconstructing the country and setting it up to survive the current wave of Arab populist sentiments.

    I kinda want to see it happen just to see what the domestic political response is here if Obama doesn’t make good on his promise to end the US involvement in Iraq in time for his reelection. Crickets, I’d be willing to bet.

  33. 33
    Joe Beese says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Should I understand that it’s not being talked about on the so-called-anti-war blogs you read.

    The top stories at antiwar.com:

    – African Union: Gadhafi Agrees to Peace Plan

    – Libya Rebels Spurn African Peace Plan Without Gadhafi Exit

    – Rebel Defenses ‘Failing’ as Gadhafi Forces Move Toward Benghazi

    – Battle for Rebel Town Goes on as Foreign Powers Urge a Ceasefire

    – NATO Shrugs Off Human Shields, Attacks Libya Forces

    Well-played, J-Low.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “They’re praying!”

    Gosh, that’s ABSOLUTE PROOF that they’re Islamist Insurgents!

    Good thing they weren’t monitoring activities at some Baptist church in Alabama, isn’t it?

  35. 35

    @Joe Beese: Uh, thanks? I haven’t the foggiest idea why you are linking to stories on Justin Raimondo’s site, or why you think doing so has anything to do with me, but maybe you could reply to JSF, who seems to think nobody is writing about it.

  36. 36
    Joe Beese says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    I kinda want to see it happen just to see what the domestic political response is here if Obama doesn’t make good on his promise to end the US involvement in Iraq in time for his reelection.

    Want me to ruin the suspense for you?

    “That doesn’t count as a broken promise! The Iraqis asked us to stay past 2011!”

    [right after we showed up cracking our knuckles and suggesting that they do so]

  37. 37
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Brachiator:

    If you don’t think US-Pakistan relations are particularly chilly right now, I’m not sure what to tell you. It hasn’t been a easy start to the year.

    You also make the mistake of assuming that Pakistan thinks and acts in one mind and one voice. It has like eight, really. Maybe more. It’s a remarkably poorly run country, with a particularly duplicitous and greedy elite.

  38. 38

    Wait, guy, I’m still editing! Hold that thought!

    I’ll let you know when I’m done.

  39. 39
    Keith G says:

    @Violet:

    It’s just incredibly depressing to follow the news. Let’s see…we’re killing civilians in other countries on a regular basis, rich people get tax cuts while poor people have to pay more. Almost-seniors won’t have any healthcare, but bankers will get huge bonuses.

    But things will get better when we finally get a Democrat in the White House.

    Oh wait….

  40. 40

    So, who do I blame for this? My local librarian? The Barstow, California city council? Frank Stallone? Help me out here.

  41. 41
    Joe Beese says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    It’s a remarkably poorly run country, with a particularly duplicitous and greedy elite.

    Wait, which country are we talking about?

  42. 42
    Silver says:

    @Joe Beese: I was wondering the same thing.

  43. 43

    @WereBear:

    “I really really wish Democrats would grasp that, no matter what they do, Republicans are going to whine and scream and claim it’s the end of the world.”

    You mean, Republicans would run ads during the 2010 election slamming Democrats for wanting to cut Medicare, then release a budget plan in 2011 that calls for–cutting Medicare? You’re right, there just might be a lesson in there. There just might.

  44. 44

    @Brachiator:

    “And whining over drones? Odd, in public the Pakistan government protested drones. Then they asked Hillary Clinton to secure more military aid. Or they would go to the Chinese for arms.”

    I don’t understand your point. How does one rule out the other? How does “please don’t obliterate our citizens with drones” rule out “please sell us tanks, planes, and mines”?

  45. 45
    Brachiator says:

    Pakistan, not exactly scrupulous when it comes to butchering their own people, thinks we’ve gone overboard.

    This is just stuff for public consumption. It keeps “the street” in line and fools gullible Americans into thinking that there is not a broader Pakistan strategic interest at play.

    Saps.

  46. 46
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    well….what i truly do not understand is how killing civilians with drones and chopper fire, burning Qurans, holding Draw Muhammed Day and American troops committing atrocities and taking human trophies is going to do accomplish anything but make more islamic terrorists.
    This strategy is not ever going to result in liberal democracy in Kabul or Islamabad.
    And we are spending three billion dollars per month to make more more islamic terrorists? Really?
    That is 100 million dollars a day.
    incroyable.
    I suppose it isn’t any stupider than giving the keys to the economy back to the freemarketeers.

  47. 47
    t jasper parnell says:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this but

    A U.S. Marine reservist and a Navy corpsman were killed in a drone airstrike in Afghanistan last week in an apparent case of friendly fire, U.S. military officials tell NBC News.

    It’s not just out of Afghanistan we must get but out of the business of making killing a virtual exercise.

  48. 48
    General Stuck says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    There is something about remote controlled warfare that just creeps me out. And the possibilities in the future of uninhibited painless war for those conducting it, should creep everyone out.

  49. 49
    Ruckus says:

    I like how we’ve gotten very, very good at killing “other” people, but keeping americans healthy and alive, that’s just not affordable. I wonder if there are any international awards that are available for this particular skill set?

  50. 50
    opie jeanne says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: I agree with everything you said in that post.

    I think I need to lie down now.

  51. 51
    Fuzz says:

    I really hope we stick with the timelines we’ve drawn up in Afghanistan. It looks thus far like we are in Iraq, we’ll likely be leaving either completely or leaving behind a small force of 10-20k to live on large bases out in the desert (at least according to Bob gates, whether we do is for the Iraqi govt to decide in the coming months), and I hope we do in Afghanistan. We’ve already weakened the Taliban in the south to the point that the Afghan government has a much better hand to play in any negotiations, and aside from training the ANA/ANP I don’t know what else we can do. It’s going to be tough though, a sneak peak at what will happen after we leave is playing out in the Pech and Korengal Valleys.

  52. 52
    Ruckus says:

    @General Stuck:
    Agreed. The cost to wage war can not be just in dollars, otherwise we just keep printing and killing more.
    Maybe we should start using red ink for the symbolism?

  53. 53
    opie jeanne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That really bothered me. They’re praying, therefore they’re Taliban and up to something.

  54. 54
    opie jeanne says:

    @General Stuck: I think that idea of being too removed from the consequences of your actions really started to talked about regarding the Air Force sometime after WWII, maybe during the Korean War? But maybe that’s just the earliest I’ve seen it written about and maybe it goes back a lot farther. .

  55. 55
    Mark S. says:

    @cyntax:

    Hey, he used the word nefarious. He at least had a thesaurus handy.

  56. 56
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Fuzz: whatchu smokin’ boi?
    The Taliban are kicking our ass. There are 30k taliban and 100k american troops and 250k NATO UN and Karzai and coalition forces.
    Last year there were ~25k Taliban and this year there are ~30k Taliban. We are spending 1 billion per month in A-stan to make more Taliban and commit atrocities.
    And the mini-surge failed. We have no exit strategy.
    We have been trying to deligitimize/wipe out the Taliban for 10 years.
    There are more of them than ever, and even Petraeus acknowledges that they will be part of the government when we finally leave.
    And dem no liek us.

  57. 57
    cleek says:

    CIA?

    nah. they only gather intel.

  58. 58
    Joe Beese says:

    @Ruckus:

    I wonder if there are any international awards that are available for this particular skill set?

    The Nobel Peace Prize, apparently.

  59. 59
    Fuzz says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    I basically agree with you, I’m just saying that when we leave the Taliban will take over, because in the Pashtun areas we’ve left, that’s what has happened.

    I don’t know why people on here think I’m war mongering or chicken hawkish. I mean you can have your opinion, that’s fine, I just don’t get it. I just don’t draw an equivalence between the US military/NATO and the Taliban, I really do think we’re on the side of good here and at least in this war we’re on the so called “right side of history.” unfortunately those sentiments mean nothing in reality and we’re likely to leave Afghanistan having accomplished little if anything either for ourselves or the Afghans.

  60. 60
    salacious crumb says:

    John, why do you hate America?

  61. 61
    NobodySpecial says:

    @opie jeanne: Since the days when ‘strategic bombing’ was proven to be a mostly expensive failure right after WWII.

  62. 62
    alwhite says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    OH we’re gonna stay alright. If the rebels win the whole country they could have elections & a government but as long as the country is divided and half controlled by Kaydaffy we have an excuse to stay.
    “Come for the killing, stay for the oil”

  63. 63
    alwhite says:

    @Bob Loblaw:
    But enough about US, whats it like in Pakistan?

  64. 64
    Chris says:

    “We need to get of Afghanistan NOW.” I agree — that’s why I’m going to caucus against Obama (in Iowa). I’ll vote for Uncommitted if I have to. How the hell else can people with that opinion express it politically? I know it’s not going to have any effect, and that I’ll vote for Obama in November. But what else am I supposed to do?

  65. 65
    KXB says:

    You do realize that we had to resort to drone strikes because the Pakistanis were just cashing our checks and not doing anything, right? Neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan have anything to sell but their “services” in addressing regional instability. Of course, if there is stability, then the US checkbook closes, so they have little incentive to completely cooperate with us.

    It would be foolish for the U.S. to reduce its drone attacks until Pakistan abandons its support for terrorism.

  66. 66
    NedPointsman says:

    How is that accidental?

    They meant to kill those people and that’s exactly what happened, nothing accidental about it.

  67. 67
    Joe Beese says:

    “It would be foolish for the U.S. to reduce its drone attacks until Pakistan abandons its support for terrorism starts taking orders and kills its citizens like we tell it to.”

    FTFY

  68. 68
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Brachiator:

    Short of that, if the Taliban take over again and initiate another reign of terror, then I don’t want to hear anyone whine or moan about someone here who is thrown in a rathole or denied their constitutional rights. If you don’t think that people should have human rights, don’t come talking about how Americans are special just because we have a Constitution.

    Pardon me, bozo, but there is torture and imprisonment of dissenters going on in Afghanistan now – under the government the US supports. Remind me again about your oh-so-noble commitment to human rights…

  69. 69
    Nic108 says:

    “We” didn’t do that.

  70. 70
    celticdragonchick says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    Since the days when ‘strategic bombing’ was proven to be a mostly expensive failure right after WWII.

    Strategic bombing of population centers was a failure(unless your goal, like RAF Air Marshal “Bomber” Harris was to simply kill an awful lot of civilians. It did that rather well). Strategic bombing of factories, rail marshaling yards and so on was fairly successful.

  71. 71
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @Brachiator:

    So our current actions in Afghanistan are having a positive effect? I don’t think so. The Muslims praying have relatives who have even more cause to hate us.

    Also, it is not our place to try to solve all their problems for them. It doesn’t work that way. They have to solve their own problems in their own way.

    I will happily support a women’s group in any of the Muslim countries which fights for greater rights for women. But our interfering won’t improve their lot.

  72. 72
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @Chris:

    How about supporting people running for congress who are progressives?

  73. 73
    El Cid says:

    Whether or not drone strikes in any way reduce terrorism, or, as is apparently the case, killing civilians and spurring on more terrorism, it must continue. The fact that American diplomats working there think the attacks are making the claimed focus on reducing terrorism less effective is irrelevant.

    If this type of specially targeted warfare is not continued, then it means you love the Taliban and want to have their babies and you want all people in Afghanistan beheaded.

    So shut up. And worry about it in maybe a dozen years or so. When some new development shows that it is still incredibly urgent to do so.

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @El Cid: Can’t we just Surge N Purge(tm) and call it good?

  75. 75
    Bill H. says:

    @t jasper parnell:
    Confirmed: they were stationed in San Diego. The part that broke my heart was that “their families have been notified of the nature of their deaths.” How do you walk up to the front door and tell some couple that their kid was killed by a Predator drone missile strike?

  76. 76
    El Cid says:

    @Corner Stone: Blasphemy. For David Petraeus so loved the world that he gave his only begotten SURGE. There has been and shall never be another, AMEN.

  77. 77
    Chris says:

    By now, the Predator crew was sure that the men were Taliban. “This is definitely it, this is their force,” the cameraman said. “Praying? I mean, seriously, that’s what they do.”

    “They’re gonna do something nefarious,” the crew’s intelligence coordinator chimed in.

    Should the war in Afghanistan finally go south, expect everybody to pin the blame on the politically correct rules of engagement, which put such an inhuman burden of proof on our troops.

  78. 78
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Fuzz:

    I really do think we’re on the side of good here and at least in this war we’re on the so called “right side of history.

    No, sorry.
    Bush charged in there with missionary fervor. The Bush Doctrine and COIN are simply impossible to implement in majority muslim nations.
    Westernstyle democracy is incompatible with shariah law. When muslims are democratically empowered to vote, they vote for shariah.
    A simply colossal waste of blood and treasure.
    Exactly like Vietnam, our national shame.

  79. 79
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    But here is a good thing.
    A sparkly bit of hope at the bottom of the pandora box of horrors that is American foreign policy.
    I think McC understands how we have brutalized and corrupted and tortured our soldiers in the service of an unjust, immoral and unwinnable war.
    America put her troops through an unjustifiable meatgrinder in A-stan and Iraq, exactly like Vietnam.
    He is a good choice.
    Bravo, Obama.

  80. 80
    ItAintEazy says:

    They gave each survivor 140,000 afghanis, or about $2,900.
    Families of the dead received $4,800.

    I know I should be immune to that sort of thing, but it always strikes me as unreal how damn cheap the compensations are.

  81. 81
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @ItAintEazy:

    it always strikes me as unreal how damn cheap the compensations are

    its tabletop gaming with live humans.

  82. 82
    KXB says:

    @Joe Beese:

    Oh, please. The Pakistani gov’t had no problem in killing hundreds of innocents when it re-took the Swat Valley, as continues to slaughter thousands of Baluchis in Baluchistan province to get its mineral deposits, and killing 3 million Bengalis in 1971. It has no problem letting LeT commanders roam free, despite their role in killing innocents in Mumbai in 2008. The only reason they raise a hue and cry about the drones is because they have to be seen raising an objection, but again, so long as the checks keep coming in, it won’t matter too much.

    Cry me a fucking river and drone away!

  83. 83
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @KXB: the problem is droning just makes more islamic terrorists.
    What is the mission again?

  84. 84
    KXB says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    I agree with you that the mission is now so confusing, that we would be better off if we took our men and money out of that hole. But, if we are going to stay there until some minimal stability is reached, it would be foolish to let go of drone attacks, given that they have proven far more reliable than Pakistani cooperation.

  85. 85
    Mandramas says:

    @KXB: Well, if Paquistan terrorist puts a bomb on an amarican city it is terrorism. If America does a drone bombing on civilian targets, it ok. America is the biggest terrorist nation, right now.

  86. 86
    KXB says:

    @Mandramas:

    While Bush was president, anytime an American official would visit Pakistan, the Pakistanis would just so happen to arrest a high-value Al Qaeda official. If they handed over the rest, the argument for drone attacks would be weakened. So long as the Pakistanis insist on being paid for a half-assed job, the drone attacks should continue.

  87. 87
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @KXB:

    if we are going to stay there until some minimal stability is reached

    But that can never happen with droning.
    Here, I will prove it mathematically via the Dragons Teeth Axiom of Social Network Theory. Every drone kill makes AT LEAST two more hostiles, because negative influence propagates along both social and consanguineous network connections.
    We are not just running in place, we are running backwards.

  88. 88
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @KXB: the flaw in that argument is the Pakis are also giving American fundage directly to the Taliban via the ISI.
    That was in the Wikileaks A-stan docs.
    And they CAN’T hand over the rest. Jamaat-e-Ismali is part of the Pak government.
    The Pakis kind of look at the Taliban as crocodiles in the moat that prevents them from getting their very own OEF on their turf.

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