Yemen, Drones and Tribes

Gregory Johnson, who I have been reading since his Waq al Waq blog days when AQAP announced its formation in 2009, has an article today in Foreign Policy, How Yemen Was Lost. He gives two main reasons. The second is pertains to the drone strikes, which kill al Qaeda leaders but also tribesman and civilians and are causing tremendous hostility against the U.S.:

The men that the United States is killing in Yemen are tied to the local society in a way that many of the fighters in Afghanistan never were. They may be al Qaeda members, but they are also fathers and sons, brothers and cousins, tribesmen and clansmen with friends and relatives.


The United States can target and kill someone as a terrorist, only to have Yemenis take up arms to defend him as a tribesman. In time, many of these men are drawn to al Qaeda not out of any shared sense of ideology, but rather out of a desire to get revenge on the country that killed their fellow tribesman.

...The United States has yet to realize that this is not a war it can win on its own. Only the tribesmen and clerics in Yemen are in a position to decisively disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda.

This reminds me of the solutions proposed by some for eliminating Somali piracy. Instead of funneling millions or more dollars into armed guards on ships, why not use the money to make it more profitable for them not to pirate?

What would it take to have the tribesmen in Yemen shift their allegiance away from AQAP because they value what the U.S. and their Government is offering more? Is it money, return of lands, more of a voice in how the country is run, rebuilding the country's infrastructure or simply restoring security and law and order?

Johnson recommends this 2012 Nation article by Jeremy Scahill. Scahil writes:

There is no question that AQAP took advantage of the moment, shrewdly recognizing that its message of a Sharia-based system of law and order would be welcomed by many in Abyan who viewed the Saleh regime as a US puppet. The US missile strikes, the civilian casualties, an almost total lack of government services and a deepening poverty all contributed.

...“Ansar al Sharia has been much more proactive in attempting to provide services in areas in Yemen where the government has virtually disappeared,” says Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen scholar at Princeton University. “It has claimed that it is following the Taliban model in attempting to provide services and Islamic government where the central government in Yemen has left a vacuum.”

....Ansar al Sharia repaired roads, restored electricity, distributed food and began security patrols inside the city and its surroundings. It also established Sharia courts where disputes could be resolved. “Al Qaeda and Ansar al Sharia brought security to the people in areas that were famous for insecurity, famous for thefts, for roadblocks,” says Abdul Rezzaq al Jamal, an independent Yemeni journalist who regularly interviews Al Qaeda leaders and has spent extensive time in Zinjibar. “

Taking out al Awlaki's son and his cousin in a drone strike is typical of how the U.S. focus on drone strikes has driven tribesmen and others in Yemen to AQAP instead of away from it.

The October drone strike that killed Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, a US citizen, and his teenage cousin shocked and enraged Yemenis of all political stripes. “I firmly believe that the [military] operations implemented by the US performed a great service for Al Qaeda, because those operations gave Al Qaeda unprecedented local sympathy,” says Jamal, the Yemeni journalist. The strikes “have recruited thousands.” Yemeni tribesmen, he says, share one common goal with Al Qaeda, “which is revenge against the Americans, because those who were killed are the sons of the tribesmen, and the tribesmen never, ever give up on revenge.”

AQAP, as the article points out, has gone from a group of militants to a group that includes tribe members:

The United States may see AQAP as a membership organization with a finite number of members who can be taken out through a drone- and Tomahawk missile–fueled war of attrition, but there are varying shades of support and involvement among broader segments of Yemeni society. While there are certainly some foreign operatives in AQAP, the majority of those described as “militants” are Yemenis who belong to powerful tribes.

The people of Yemen do not want to the next stomping ground for the U.S. They know what the U.S. did in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. The drone strikes in Yemen just confirm to them that they are the next victims. One tribal sheik tells Scahill:

“If my government built schools, hospitals and roads and met basic needs, I would be loyal to my government and protect it. So far, we don’t have basic services such as electricity, water pumps. Why should we fight Al Qaeda?”

Terrorism may be in the eye of the beholder. The U.S. views AQAP as terrorists. The Yemenis believe the U.S. with its increasing drone strikes is the terrorist. The tribal sheik says:

[S]everal US strikes in his region have killed scores of civilians and that his community is littered with unexploded cluster bombs, which have detonated, killing children. He and other tribal leaders asked the Yemeni and US governments for assistance in removing them, he says.

Another good read: Michelle Shepard's Jan. 1, 2010 article in the New Republic, AQAP: A Primer. Also, this 2009 article explaining the importance of the tribes to al Qaeda and the need for stability in Yemen.

Here's more on how the drones and counter-terror focus are hurting chances for stability in Yemen.

< Tuesday Morning Open Thread | Yemen Claims it Thwarted al Qaeda Attack >
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    FWIW (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by bmaz on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 06:51:34 PM EST
    Greg was on NPR radio I heard on the way back from court today. Which stands in STARK contrast to the idiotic blather from Wolf Blitzer, CNN and their "guest" Mike Hayden - which was on the TV when I walked back into the office where I had left it on earlier.

    The contrast in intelligent thought is just ridiculous. Overall, relatively nobody hears Greg while millions watch the Wolf Blitzer/CNN idiocy. It is mind numbing.

    Blitzer/CNN (none / 0) (#3)
    by ragebot on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 07:01:48 PM EST
    is lucky to get 775k viewers.

    Not trying to dispute your claim of Blitzer/CNN idiocy, just that millions are watching it.


    I wonder what the goal (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by txantimedia on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 06:59:51 PM EST
    of the drone strikes is.  What is it we're trying to accomplish?  It seems that spending millions of dollars to kill one or two people is counterproductive in the extreme, especially if all it does is alienate more people.

    The goal is (none / 0) (#4)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 07:09:09 PM EST
    to decimate the Leadership (The "brains") of their organization.

    And to sacrifice others (innocents) in the process (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by Cashmere on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 07:21:49 PM EST
    ... Would anyone want to live with such fear, literally, over their heads?  I despise the drones.

    I agree Cashmere (none / 0) (#8)
    by Visteo1 on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 08:14:40 PM EST
    What are the alternatives to the drones?

    Almost right (none / 0) (#24)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 02:21:26 AM EST

    The goal of this piece of foreign policy is to decimate AQ leadership, BUT without capturing any of them.  

    In Obama world capture, confinement, and interrogation are politically unacceptable tools.  Blowing folks to bits is the alternative to those evil Bush policies.



    What a britches load (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 01:21:28 PM EST
    1st Yemen drone strike, November 2002 George W Bush

    The difference (none / 0) (#52)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:07:22 AM EST

    The difference with Booooosh is that unlike Obama he was not exclusively drone strikes and capture was a tool in use.



    Agreed... (none / 0) (#54)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:21:51 AM EST
    ...but GIMTO isn't any better, ditto for torture.  Me personally, I would rather die from a bomb, then be whisked any and held throughout the world to be tortured by enthusiastic sadists.

    They are all lawless thugs who think they are doing the right thing, but if there is a god, they are on the fast track to hell.


    Initially, but then there were (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 12:57:25 PM EST
    International problems, innocent people renditioned, torture exposed, talk that the US needed to be tried by the world for war crimes.  The Boosh administration is now afraid to travel to Old Europe at times because their arrest is entertained, so  ummmmm, no.  Guess again

    Right (none / 0) (#59)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 01:48:23 PM EST

    So much better to just blow them up, along with whoever happens to be too close.




    Your posts (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 01:39:44 AM EST
    Bush good....hero, Obama evil, coward, incompetent....yadda yadda yadda.  How about facts?  I can stand the facts.  It's the bull that clutters.  And Obama has retained rendition as far as I know.

    Look, if you want to say Obama has used more drones I'm good with that, it is a fact.  You must also be willing to give him credit though for all the Al Qaeda command he took out too because it is substantial in comparison to anything Bush did.  You must also acknowledge that Obama cares more about collateral damage than the Bush administration ever did too because that is also a fact.

    I like this blog because it doesn't give Obama an auto pass, but you troll it because you aren't here to get a clearer look at anything.  You just want to bash Obama.


    I did not say Bush was good (none / 0) (#68)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 07:30:19 PM EST

    Only that Obama has ended the policy of capture and interrogation in favor of blowing up AQ targets and bystanders that are too close.  That seems pretty clear administration policy.  Is that wrong?

    But Obama hasn't ended rendition (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:26:57 AM EST
    He has retained it.  You can argue that it seems like he is using it tactically in a different manner (maybe....because it is a secret program you really don't know what Obama has done), but if you want to argue tactics then you are going to have to discuss war success and Obama beats Boosh's ass horribly on who has killed more bad guys and who bred more bad guys.

    He has killed more bad guys, (1.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Edger on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:39:35 AM EST
    and has bred more bad guys than he's killed, too.

    Even become one of them. Co-opted nearly the whole "bad guy" scene, taken over their territory like he's taken over the far right territory the republicans used to occupy, and "owed" terrorism. Moved it's headquarters right into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    Nobody is better at this stuff than Obama. He's a pro.


    I disagree with you on breeding bad guys (none / 0) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:04:32 AM EST
    Bush IMO bred many more bad guys.  I just watched journalists on the tube though who are in Yemen, who say that when they read about Yemen when written by someone in Washington they sound nuts.  You must be in Yemen to understand they all three said. Most of the population of Yemen is no where near any of the drone strikes and the strikes are in remote Al Qaeda areas that are considered very dangerous by common Yemen folk because of who lives there.

    Yemen is a very small part (none / 0) (#74)
    by Edger on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:09:31 AM EST
    Well that's true (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 12:36:04 PM EST
    I am thinking Sunday morning.  And we do need to find better ways to deal with extremists.  I just honestly don't know what those are right now.  I don't think their evolution is entirely due to us, I think we have played a role, but they physically and violently attack everyone who isn't them and that is something we often avoid looking at.

    I will entertain all ideas on how to better deal with fundy extremist issues.


    Maybe real nation building would help (none / 0) (#78)
    by Edger on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 01:44:36 PM EST
    Schools, hospitals, agricultural assistance, etc.

    Things they would really hate us for. Or at least their dictators and oppressors we prop up would?


    I agree with that too (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:30:41 PM EST
    If you have quality of life, most of us aren't interested in destruction any longer.  And everyone joins in to deal with the destructive.

    Half this country argues to starve our own people though while we cheer on and practice corporate welfare.  They won't even fix the VA system because I guess that encourages malingerers.  That is the only answer I can come up with on why that shit hasn't been fixed yet.  I mean, the NSA is capable of doing a colonoscopy on me while I'm standing here in the kitchen right this minute and they are so tech advanced doing it I don't feel a thing, but military veterans coming home damaged from two wars must wait two years before their healthcare and any disability payments can be sorted out.

    We are fundamentally broken, not capable of being fundamentally nourishing to anyone else when we can't even and won't even care for our own.  We stand in the streets and fight with each other and call in the riot gear while all boats sink.  Our children come out of school now crippled for half their lives with debt just so Wall Street can gamble on them. Other nations school their kids for free, higher education and all.


    When I was listening to Sanjay Gupta (none / 0) (#81)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:37:09 PM EST
    The other day talk about his change in opinion of weed, he used the word malingerers to describe what he used to think of those who said pot had medical applications.  He used the word malingerers to describe a different health issue a few hours before that though. I can't remember which health issue he was discussing, but not pot related.  I just couldn't help noticing how much he liked that word.  I was used to that word only being used in military life, and more often than not being a way to abuse people vs. holding people accountable.  Now everyone is hunting for the malingerers out there.  It is all the rage I guess.

    Imagine (none / 0) (#82)
    by Edger on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:49:10 PM EST
    Imagine that you are riding comfortably on a sleek train. You look out the window and see that not too far ahead the tracks end abruptly and that the train will derail if it continues moving ahead. You suggest that the train stop immediately and that the passengers go forward on foot. This will require a major shift in everyone's way of traveling, of course, but it appears to you to be the only realistic option; to continue barreling forward is to court catastrophic consequences. But when you propose this course of action, others who have grown comfortable riding on the train say, "Well, we like the train, and arguing that we should get off is not realistic."

    In the contemporary United States, we are trapped in a similar delusion. We are told that it is "realistic" to capitulate to the absurd idea that the systems in which we live are the only systems possible or acceptable because some people like them and wish them to continue. But what if our current level of First World consumption is exhausting the ecological basis for life? Too bad -- the only "realistic" options are those that take that lifestyle as non-negotiable.
    Let me offer a different view of reality: (1) We live in a system that, taken as a whole, is unsustainable, not only over the long haul but in the near term, and (2) unsustainable systems can't be sustained.

    How's that for a profound theoretical insight? Unsustainable systems can't be sustained.

    Robert Jensen
    The Delusion Revolution: We're on the Road to Extinction and in Denial


    But he's just carrying on (none / 0) (#75)
    by Edger on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:13:09 AM EST
    the grand tradition, so it must not be blamed on him. I guess he had no idea what he was signing up to do when he enlisted?

    Sorry for the typo (none / 0) (#76)
    by Edger on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:21:02 AM EST
    That should have been to do when he enlisted...

    Bystanders who are too close? (none / 0) (#79)
    by MKS on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:20:34 PM EST
    Drone strikes inflict far less damage than Bush's Shock & Awe that had conservatives giddy.

    Bush was just about capture?  Not about bombing and invading Iraq?


    If Bush is the (none / 0) (#95)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 01:14:22 PM EST
    worst in history, why is he the only benchmark for Obama?

    Almost almost right (none / 0) (#30)
    by Visteo1 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 10:25:09 AM EST
    "In Obama world capture, confinement, and interrogation are politically unacceptable tools."

    To do these things means troops on the ground.  It means U.S. casualties.  It means the appearance of escalation and occupation.

    These things and others are weighed in the decision to use drones.

    I would like to see transparency, but we cannot tip our hand after each mission.  At some point, Obama will need to provide clear justification for each and every drone attack.

    Personally, I have a higher degree of confidence in Obama's command than I did with Bush, or I would have had with which Mit.  



    Yeah... (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 10:52:37 AM EST
    ...because the only two possible solutions are killing people with bombs or with guns.

    Appearance to who, the people who have bombs dropped on them or Americans ?


    Both. (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Visteo1 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 12:03:06 PM EST
    If it is not clear, I am against killing...except in the case of kill or be killed.  

    "Interrogation?" (none / 0) (#53)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:12:24 AM EST
    Good that waterboarding and other forms of torture have been disavowed.

    Bewildered... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by lentinel on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 07:16:42 PM EST
    "I firmly believe that the [military] operations implemented by the US performed a great service for Al Qaeda, because those operations gave Al Qaeda unprecedented local sympathy," says Jamal, the Yemeni journalist.
    The strikes "have recruited thousands."

    Yemeni tribesmen, he says, share one common goal with Al Qaeda, "which is revenge against the Americans, because those who were killed are the sons of the tribesmen, and the tribesmen never, ever give up on revenge."

    Critics have been saying this, how the way we conduct our "war on terror", has created ever more enemies for us.

    How is it possible for President Obama, an educated man, not to know this?

    And if, God forbid, this comes back to us and hits us in the face, will some ask, once again, "why do they hate us?"

    Facts do not support your assertion (2.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Politalkix on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 07:30:08 PM EST
    Since the 9-11 attacks, the only attacks in which American civilians have been killed have been the Boston marathon bombing and the Benghazi embassy attacks. 3+4 = 7 people died in these attacks. Now compare these numbers to how many American civilians died because of terrorist attacks in the 1980s and 1990s, all the way through to 9-11.
    The government is doing something right now. The President is a practical man; he has shown that he is willing to extend an olive branch whenever the opportunity arises (he is willing to negotiate even with the Taliban and the new President of Iran). However he has to be firm in the fight against terrorism.

    To me, (4.20 / 5) (#9)
    by lentinel on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 08:21:22 PM EST
    the phrase, "be firm in the fight against terrorism", has absolutely no meaning. "Firm" should not equate to being stupid.

    In fact, for me, the term, "terrorism" has no meaning.
    It is a way of saying that the way the "enemy" wages war is unfair and not nice - as opposed to the way we do it which is clean and Holy.

    As Jeralyn wrote above,

    "Terrorism may be in the eye of the beholder. The U.S. views AQAP as terrorists. The Yemenis believe the U.S. with its increasing drone strikes is the terrorist."

    If there ever was terrorism in recent times, it would be hard to beat Bush's ruthless reign of terror labeled, "shock and awe".

    And, there is the ominous fact that we dropped an Atomic bomb upon a city during rush hour lo those many years ago - instantly burning alive 150,000 civilians and leaving many others to suffer the long term effects of radiation poisoning.

    Unlike you, I sincerely believe that our current actions are making very dangerous enemies for us and I fear that our ongoing slaughter of civilians will come back to haunt us. The enemies that we are making take their time - and they show no more mercy than that which they feel we are showing them.

    And, I do not believe that your assertion that Obama is willing to negotiate with the new President of Iran is based on actual fact.
    I have seen nothing coming from him or the State Department that is much different that the rhetoric that has been bandied about for the last five years or even the last decade which demands prior concessions as a condition for talks.


    You are ignoring facts (3.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Politalkix on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:19:12 PM EST
    Ask yourself why did we have embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanazania in 1998, WTC bombing in 1993, USS Cole bombing, WTC attack in 2001, etc before the phrase "war on terror" even came into existence during the GWB administration.

    I am not going to argue with you regarding the definition of terrorism. However, Islamic militant attacks on Americans predates the use of drones and the "war on terror".

    I have always argued that we have to show flexibility so that groups that are outside the political process in Islamic countries can be brought into the political process (just go through my posts on Egypt and other countries in this regard). The current US government is doing that.

    IMO, there will always be two certainties regarding anything this government does (1) there will always be groups of Islamic militants who will be fighting a war against us irrespective of whether we have made peace and (2) you and a few others will always find something to criticize the government about it.

    You always talk about putting our own house in order and setting examples. OK, let me take you up on the issue of violence in American society. Can you start by trying to convince people who are against gun control laws in this blog to change their minds with the same perseverance you show in criticizing the government for its "failings"? Remember that the number of innocent people killed by drones throughout the world is only a fraction of the number of people killed in America by gun violence.


    I'm sorry but (none / 0) (#46)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 12:15:48 AM EST
    can you give your no doubt brilliant alternative to the warned in advance dropping of the 1st atomic bomb- is it the death of millions by the sword and the gun in invasion, death by incineration ala Tokyo, what is it?

    Although I've read (none / 0) (#55)
    by sj on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:52:08 AM EST
    your comment several times, I have no idea exactly what point you are trying to make. So I'll make a sideways observation: it appears that you are still under the false impression that the Japanese were given fair warning about the atomic bomb. Which is not true. They were given warning about bombings but not about the existence of a new, devastating weapon.

    Looking for a specific link led to lots of sobering and heartbreaking information. I can't read any more about it today. The anniversary of that terrible and unnecessary event -- which led to the cold war -- is tomorrow.

    Historian Charles L. Mee Jr.:
    "The Americans had not only used a doomsday machine; they had used it when, as Stalin knew, it was not militarily necessary. It was this last chilling fact that doubtless made the greatest impression on the Russians."

    Wow! Seriously? 7? (none / 0) (#14)
    by txantimedia on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:58:28 PM EST
    I think you've forgotten a few.  I notice you did use the qualifier "civilian" so you wouldn't have to include the 13 killed at Ft. Hood, but even then you got it wrong.

    An Egyptian national killed two people in LA in 2002.  I guess you forgot them.  8 Americans were killed in Riyadh in 2003.  4 more were killed in Riyadh in 2004.  At least 5 Americans were killed in the Mumbai hotel attack.  8 American civilians were killed in Iraq in 2009.  A soldier in Little Rock was killed in 2009, but I guess he doesn't count.  I guess neither do the other 9 killed in Iraq in 2009.

    And there were multiple attacks over the years on various American embassies that resulted in dead and wounded, but I guess we can't count them because they're not Americans.



    If you want to do a real comparison (none / 0) (#18)
    by Politalkix on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 11:19:01 PM EST
    keep the standards the same. If you want to count the number of Americans killed in a hotel in Mumbai (where the attack was clearly against India) after the 9-11 attacks, be willing to count the number of Americans killed by Islamic terrorists in attacks all kinds of settings in pre 9-11 days. Eg: Americans killed by Islamic groups in Phillipines, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Pakistan, kidnappings in Kashmir, Sudan, etc, etc. I had just pointed out a few prominent examples from pre 9-11 days.

    Well, since you asked... (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by bmaz on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:58:09 PM EST
    Ask yourself why did we have embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanazania in 1998, WTC bombing in 1993, USS Cole bombing, WTC attack in 2001, etc before the phrase "war on terror" even came into existence during the GWB administration.

    I know this is such a weak and appeasing thing to say in the face of such spirited cheerleading, but I am going to weigh in with they don't give a flying crap about "our freedoms" but, instead, as they have repeatedly and from the start said, are opposed to American imperialism and narcissistic interventionalism. The arrogance and force projection by a holier than thou nation state might just have something, maybe just a little, with what is going on.

    To play on Lennon and McCartney, the hate you make is equal to the hate you take.

    re: cluster bombs (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jtaylorr on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:15:27 PM EST
    Meet the future boss, same as the current boss.

    They hate us for our freedom... (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by Edger on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:30:58 PM EST
    ...to kill them.

    Really. They really don't like it much at all, and no amount of it is going to make them lighten up.

    Expert? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by koshembos on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 11:16:47 PM EST
    It doesn't take an expert to notice that the Arab world swims in deep fundamentalist waters. Yemen, a non country to begin with and very poor to foot, is no exception. Al Qaida is just a facet of that wave.

    Drones solve nothing except that they increase the price of AQAP activities. Whether you can give up on drones is a tactical question, I don't know the answer to. Strategically there is no solution to the problem. Gregory Johnson's polemics are almost beside the point, but he also has to make a living.

    Amazing comment (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 11:25:43 PM EST
    You must be a mermaid.  You have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.  It is the Internet though, you might be a merdog.

    How do we know they are al Qaeda members? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Payaso on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 11:39:01 PM EST
    What exactly did they do that justifies summary execution?

    Something like (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by Edger on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 08:08:41 AM EST
    they should have chosen better parents, or something.

    Kids these days. Yeesh.


    Chilling interactive visualization of (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Nemi on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 07:00:27 AM EST
    Chiling but worthy of question... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Visteo1 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 11:42:17 AM EST
    Put your cursor over Oct. 2006.  Pakistan first took credit.  Later, after the number of civilian casualties were known, Pakistan blamed the U.S.  The U.S. has never admitted responsibilty for that attack.  There is insufficient evidence to call this one a drone strike.  Go ask Bush.  


    What is noteworthy is the drastic reduction in collatoral deaths beginning in 2011.

    The lack of past information is disturbing.  We should be demanding answers for what has happened in the past and the future of drone strikes...without revealing anything that would reduce their effectiveness or return us to higher civilian casualties.

    Keep up the pressure on our press and the President.  Just glad which Mit is not at the helm.


    Too Late... (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 09:13:25 AM EST
    Does this scenario remind anyone of the the GITMO prisoners we can't release because we tortured them and turns innocent folks don't like that.  Now we can't release them for fear of reprisal.

    I am so tired of not being safe because people hate my government.  I don't even know any terrorists, much less ones that hate me, and I am pretty sure sans the violence, some of our views of the US government are the same.  Yet here I am am paying money to the government and all they have done on this topic is create and entire generation of folks who hate us more than the last one.

    Drones work great because the US has decided it doesn't play by any rules, when in doubt, drop it.  But they are a short term solution and like everything else the US government has ever done in the Middle East, it's backfiring and creating hatred that can't never be squelched with bombs.

    We are arming the next generate with hatred that fuels terrorism.

    The "war on terror" (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Edger on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 09:33:58 AM EST
    is not only a great slogan, it is also probably even more profitable then the "cold war" was.

    And as with any other marketing campaign, it is designed to create a market.

    They can't have a successful "war on terror" to sell to the gullible they take to the cleaners every day with it, without doing everything they can possibly do to create as many "terrorists" as they possibly can.

    Fortunately for them, the gullible are a seemingly endless renewable resource. They even pay through their noses to help create the "terrorists" who are waved at them to scare the bejeezus out of them to make them keep buying the con job and pay even more through their noses.


    The Cold War (none / 0) (#39)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 01:40:15 PM EST
    Definitely, there was misuse of the Cold War status by those who wanted to disallow any movement toward agreements, resolutions, etc. Pick any example of that demonizing method used by those seeing-a-communist-under-every-rug ... Nixon v. Helen Douglas and many more.  But, Edgar, the Russians were nowhere near blameless on their end. For example: Review the blood-shed in Hungary, the Czechoslovakian spring of 1968, & the years of oppression in Poland leading to Solidarnosc to name a few.  (Remember also their own 10 yr military incursion in Afghanistan.)  A little perspective makes for a more genuine give & take in any discussion about "right & wrong."

    When I read about... (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by DebFrmHell on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 12:58:51 PM EST
    the concerns about using drones, I think of the 211K people that were killed or wounded in Viet Nam and how that kind of technology could have helped save many lives.

    What can I say.  I remember a dear family friend that was held captive for many years in Viet Nam and, in the long run, it killed him too.  His was, basically, suicide by alcohol.  

    Of course this was long before we knew any thing about PTSD.

    Not really (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by sj on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 01:27:18 PM EST
    Of course this was long before we knew any thing about PTSD.
    It has been called "shell shock" and "combat fatigue" and "soldiers heart" and lots of other things over the course of history. Which I new about before finding this link. But I found this very interesting
    Also, some experts think the Iliad is describing PTSD when Homer says Ajax went mad under Athena's spell, slaughtering a herd of sheep that he thought were the enemy, and then killing himself.
    Actually, the entire post is quite interesting.

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Zorba on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 07:17:39 PM EST
    I believe that my father, a WW II and Korean War veteran, suffered from "combat fatigue," or whatever anyone wants to call it.  This is my own opinion, only based upon my experiences.  I was born after WW II.  He married my mother, they had me, then he was called up again to serve in the Korean War.  I do recall that he was a very different father to me and my next younger brother (born after he came back from Korea), than he was for the rest of my siblings, who were born much later.  It's not that he was abusive, nor did he beat us or even spank us, but he was very nervous and what I would call "wired," and had a temper that terrified me and my next brother.  By the time the rest of my sibs were born, he had mellowed out considerably, and was a completely different father to them, than he had been to the two of us.
    Not that I did not love him deeply, but I do believe that he suffered from what is now called PTSD.  Thank goodness that he was able to work through this.

    I'm glad to hear that your (none / 0) (#45)
    by sj on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 10:48:22 PM EST
    Dad eventually worked through it. An uncle of mine came back very broken from Viet Nam and was terribly abusive to my Aunt. I'm not convinced he ever did work through it sufficiently.

    "If only we'd used drones in Vietnam!" (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 02:46:49 PM EST
    Now I've heard it all.

    I Know... (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 04:26:17 PM EST
    ...they would have been totally awesome for the revolution, Washington would not have had to cross the Delaware.  Or if the disciples had them sum drones, they could have saved jesus from the evildoers.  Either way, we could have racked up a lot more bodies, 20 million in 20 years just isn't feeding the blood thirty machine.

    GD, just when I think I can't be shocked, bam, right upside the head.

    Fear not, the DoD will eventually build a time machine and instead of using it to prevent wars, they will just bomb the F out of anyone it feels like.  

    Show everyone why we are the greatest nation on earth.


    The fact remains (none / 0) (#57)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 12:44:47 PM EST
    that Viet Nam was the one big war that had the most impact on my life.  Not only did I lose my favorite Colonel, but out of my HS class of 168, maybe 10-12 of those young men.

    So do I wish we had that kind of technology back then?  Unapologetically and absolutely.  


    Well as Long As Your Life Would... (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 02:07:26 PM EST
    ...have been better, who cares if the the body count was doubled, so long as you weren't effected.

    That pretty much sums up all the people's views who wage war, who cares about the carnage so long as they get what they want.  The same rationalization that produces torturers, Agent Orange, muster gas, landmines, and drones.  People who are incapable of comprehending others suffering, aka sociopaths.

    Me, I would wish that people with that mentality would not have been elected and the wars never waged.  Never in million years would I wish for machines that could kill even more people.


    Seriously. (none / 0) (#61)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 04:14:54 PM EST
    It is not the fact that my would have been better, I just wish that so many more would have been able to come home.  You know what they say about "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

    That pretty much sums up all the people's views who wage war, who cares about the carnage so long as they get what they want.  The same rationalization that produces torturers, Agent Orange, muster gas, landmines, and drones.  People who are incapable of comprehending others suffering, aka sociopaths.

    How do you know I am not concerned about the "collateral damage" that is done in any war.  The statistics on Viet Nam also show about 4 MILLION civilians and that makes incredibly sad.  Look at the difference of civilian deaths between just the Iraq war and Afghanistan.

    With each successive war, the casualties have dropped dramatically with better technology.  It doesn't make it any less painful for those who have lost loved ones.

    I don't think we will ever be able to live in a major conflict free world, not even for a thin minute.  Best hope is for less casualties.

    Other best hope is to stay out of some conflicts.


    Body counts is what I remember (none / 0) (#88)
    by Visteo1 on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 11:17:06 AM EST
    from the nightly news.  Viet Nam was called something other than a war...police action?  Wars you try to win.

    Never in million years would I wish for machines that could kill even more people.

    Drones would have reduced those nightly body counts, especially civilians...that is the point I am reading into this.


    World's Most Evil and Lawless Institution? (1.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Edger on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 11:37:28 PM EST
    The Executive Branch of the U.S. Government
    Executive Branch leaders have killed, wounded and made homeless well over 20 million human beings in the last 50 years, mostly civilians.

    June 26, 2013  |  Editor's Note: The following is the latest in a series on the Executive Branch of the United States.

    America has a secret. It is not discussed in polite company or at the dinner tables of the powerful, rich and famous.

    Parents do not teach it to their children. Best-selling authors do not write about it. Politicians and government officials ignore it. Intellectuals avoid it. High school and college textbooks do not refer to it. TV pundits do not comment on it. Teachers do not teach it. Journalists from the nation's most highly regarded TV news shows, newspapers and magazines, do not report it. Columnists do not opine about it. Editorial writers do not editorialize about it. Religious leaders do not sermonize about it. Think tanks and professors do not study it. Lawyers do not litigate it and judges do not rule on it.

    The courageous few who do not keep this secret, who try to break through to their fellow citizens about it, are marginalized and ignored by society at large.

    To begin to understand the magnitude of this secret, imagine that you get into your car in New York City, and set out for a drive south, staying overnight in Washington DC, a four-hour drive. As you leave, you look out your window to the left and see a row of bodies, laid end to end, running alongside you all the way to DC.

    You spend the night there, and set out early the next morning for Charleston, South Carolina, an 11-hour drive. Again, looking out your window, you see the line of bodies continues, hour after hour. You are struck that most are middle-aged or older men and women, younger women, or children. You arrive in Charleston, check into your hotel, have a good meal, and get up early the next morning to drive to Miami, another 12-hour drive. And once again, hour after hour, the line of bodies continues, all the way to your destination.

    If you can imagine such a drive you can begin to get a feeling for...

    US covert and overt criminal Wars of Aggression has caused 20-30 million deaths of human beings since World War 2, according to the outstanding documentation of James Lucas of Countercurrents.org. The US use/support of armed attacks is documented in 37 countries (over 40 in a more current study), and in direct violation of treaties after both world wars (Kellogg-Briand and UN Charter) to forever end armed attacks unless first attacked by another nation's government.

    The United States Government is and has been for decades the worlds most dangerous and deadly terrorist organization. Bar none.

    fair enough. (none / 0) (#29)
    by cpinva on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 09:49:42 AM EST
    "Al Qaeda and Ansar al Sharia brought security to the people in areas that were famous for insecurity, famous for thefts, for roadblocks," says Abdul Rezzaq al Jamal, an independent Yemeni journalist who regularly interviews Al Qaeda leaders and has spent extensive time in Zinjibar."

    that said, he conveniently neglected to identify who was responsible for all this insecurity to begin with. hint: it wasn't the US. al Qaeda & ansar al sharia created the "insecurity" that they then conveniently stepped in to curb. granted, the Yemeni gov't has been less than useless, but again, it wasn't the US that created all these problems to begin with, since long before the US was a twinkle in anyone's eye. the terrorist groups are simply the latest actors to avail themselves of the opportunity left them, by a dysfunctional gov't. even the ottoman empire had problems controlling these areas, and they did their killing of innocents up close and personal.

    none of this excuses the apparent indiscriminant killing of innocent civilians, by drone, but let's not try and leave the impression these tribal areas were ever an eden of peace and stability, before the drone strikes started.

    The USAF is now training more drone pilots (none / 0) (#32)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 11:30:51 AM EST
    than real pilots.  I don't have the cite at hand, but I read this within the past six months.

    Politalkix: I appreciate your comments (none / 0) (#37)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 01:23:59 PM EST
    in this thread because you are taking the time to go beyond the "oh yeah, so's your mama" style that characterizes those most angry about any protective or self-defense option that the US might take in the 21st century.  

    For example: We all know that the drone usage situation raises central ethical issues; yet, we also understand that we are engaged in a world where are those who have demonstrated continued intent to attack the US and our interests ... IMO, the question of the level of response has changed because of technology in such a way that the drones vs. combat situations (aka Afghanistan, Iraq and all the preceding regional "wars") has become an unavoidable issue.  Certainly, it is more than better to resolve conflict without the ultimate breakdown that is war ... and, the amount of casualties inflicted by war/combat must be a paramount factor. Absent castigating any strong response to attacks upon us in these early years of the 21st century where we cannot escape being a global player no matter what we do, I think that the country does need to engage in a debate about foreign policy expectations, generally, and expectations of our levels of appropriate response--whether diplomatic or gradated military--in specific conflicts.  To be very specific: What are our expectations as to Syria?  Are there any expectations as to Egypt?  And -- considering the present & apparent crisis -- what is appropriate to the intelligence obtained relative to Yemen?

    A note: If one answers that "nothing" in terms of response is appropriate for the US to do in the interconnected world of the 21st century, that is one's opinion.  Then, I would also assume that what applies to us should also apply to Russia & other authoritarian governments, as politalkix points out in the last paragraph above.  And, finally, to put it on the line here: The "we're so bad" stuff--without providing options other than "I don't like this, it is not what is supposed to be, the government stinks," and all manner of denial is little more than stomping one's foot.

    Thanks again, politalkix, for your efforts.

    Anybody (none / 0) (#47)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:30:13 AM EST
    have any thoughts on how to proceed, as opposed to which political figures are the worst?

    Do we have a goal?

    How about we change the name from "drones" to unmanned suicide bombers?

    Yeah (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by sj on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:53:09 AM EST
    That'll do it. Doubtless a name change will result in fewer civilian deaths.



    Thinking back while reading (none / 0) (#48)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:43:53 AM EST
    the comments reminds me of how the conversation has changed since 2003, 4, etc. Back then it was almost universally "Bush bad" but now we find Obama not so bad and how the "ethics" need to be discussed if Obama is deemed somewhat bad.

    But I don't want to get into a political tussle.

    Instead I wonder if we still aren't missing the main point that this is indeed a war whether we like it or not and should we choose a strategy that kills less of the enemy and more of our troops or vice versa??

    I wonder if we had drones in 1932 and used them to take out Hitler and the other top leaders would the innocent civilian deaths be worth it in the eyes of some who opine here?

    And isn't it time we reject the "German Argument" that they "don't know nothing" and understand that if a group is just tolerating evil then the group is responsible for what happens to it??

    Isn't it time to quit "nation building" and get into serious "nation destruction?" Do you think that Germany or Japan would have reformed had we followed the same strategy we are using now?

    So, we are at war with all of Islam? (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:51:25 AM EST
    We should be at war with a billion Muslims?

    Who should we bomb first?  Iran?  


    The nature of the conflict (none / 0) (#50)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 09:45:02 AM EST
    is not national, it is drawn on religious lines, but not broad lines, Al Qaeda, and other militants are more splinter groups that are well funded, but not necessarily even well tolerated by the mainstream Islam practitioners.

    I do see serious issues in the broader clash of religions, and western concepts of tolerance and personal freedom.

    Rather than bomb anyone, why not start with a worldwide serious embargo on oil from any nation that is part of the conflict?

    The failure of that strategy is why troops are on the ground, drones in the air, and bombs very likely to be dropped on nuke facilities in Iran. Economic interests, and the political fighting between nations prevent the practical non military solutions.


    Okay let's embargo oil (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 09:57:56 AM EST
    from Saudi Arabia--after all, that is where most of the 9/11 terrorists and Bin Laden himself comes from.



    MKS and MC - Some interesting question (none / 0) (#62)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 04:56:16 PM EST
    and thoughts... You see I don't pretend to have the answers. I just know that what we're doing isn't working.

    Embargo oil from SA? Wouldn't hurt us too bad but it would really hit Europe. Either way I don't think it would do much to the terrorists although I'm convinced that SA is paying protection money to the terrorists. But yes, I'd say blocking all oil imports except from Canada and Mexico via phased in controls would be good.

    Cat writes:

    Rather than bomb anyone, why not start with a worldwide serious embargo on oil from any nation that is part of the conflict?
    The failure of that strategy is why troops are on the ground,

    I didn't know we had done that.

    And yes, the real conflict is cultural. Like it or not Islam is not a tolerant religion  overall although in some situations it has evidenced tolerance. How do we encourage that and discourage the radicals??

    Are we at war with a billion Muslims? Define "war." I have little doubt that there are millions of Muslims who just want to be left alone. Unfortunately I think there are millions who also buy into the "Death to the Infidels" slogans and thus give de facto support.


    Oil embargo against Iraq pre invasion (none / 0) (#65)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 03:38:13 PM EST
    We never got full compliance from the French or Russians, so the economic sanctions were not effective enough. Invasion of Irag on the ground I think in hindsight was a pivotal mistake.

    Not a lot of discussion includes Israel, but it is as big a factor as Sunni, Shia, western ideologies are.


    Actually the Oil for Food program was (none / 0) (#67)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 06:03:53 PM EST
    a huge mess because the UN officials took bribes.

    Invasion wrong? No.

    Nation building attempt wrong? Yes. YES !!!!!!!!!!!!


    The invasion was wrong (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by MKS on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 09:51:42 AM EST
    It is clear to most.  There was no justification for the invasion.

    Hans Blix had issued at least two widely publicized reports pre-invasion, after interference free inspections,  showing that there was no WMD.  Bush did not care.

    Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

    Invading Iraq just created a greater Iran, a Shia ally.

    Invading Iraq was perhaps the greatest strategic blunder by the U.S. of all time.  It is hard to think of a worse instance of the U.S. totally blowing it.


    Absolutely true. (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by shoephone on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 09:27:14 PM EST
    A blunder of major proportions -- not the least of which is because Al Qaeda was never in Iraq until after we invaded. Saddam kept them out.

    I don't remember two (none / 0) (#84)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 09:29:39 AM EST
    interference free PRE invasion reports.

    I do remember two POST invasion reports that found rockets that violated the rules and said that Hussein was getting ready to get back in the WMD business.


    I don't remember two (none / 0) (#85)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 09:30:08 AM EST
    interference free PRE invasion reports.

    I do remember two POST invasion reports that found rockets that violated the rules and said that Hussein was getting ready to get back in the WMD business.


    You "don't remember"? (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by Yman on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 10:37:49 AM EST
    Not really the same as a denial, is it?

    Hans Blix (January 2003) -

    "Access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect" and Iraq had "cooperated rather well" in that regard, although "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance of the disarmament."

    Hans Blix report to the Security Council (Feb. 14, 2003) -

    How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programmes? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed.

    "Getting ready to get back in the WMD business" - heh.  You mean the Duelfer Report?  Yeah - I "remember" the rest of that report:

    U.S. 'Almost All Wrong' on Weapons

     The 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequent U.N. inspections destroyed Iraq's illicit weapons capability and, for the most part, Saddam Hussein did not try to rebuild it, according to an extensive report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq that contradicts nearly every prewar assertion made by top administration officials about Iraq.

    Charles A. Duelfer, whom the Bush administration chose to complete the U.S. investigation of Iraq's weapons programs, said Hussein's ability to produce nuclear weapons had "progressively decayed" since 1991. Inspectors, he said, found no evidence of "concerted efforts to restart the program." The findings were similar on biological and chemical weapons. ...

     "We were almost all wrong" on Iraq, Duelfer told a Senate panel yesterday.

    President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials asserted before the U.S. invasion that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, had chemical and biological weapons and maintained links to al Qaeda affiliates to whom it might give such weapons to use against the United States

    But after extensive interviews with Hussein and his key lieutenants, Duelfer concluded that Hussein was not motivated by a desire to strike the United States with banned weapons, but wanted them to enhance his image in the Middle East and to deter Iran, against which Iraq had fought a devastating eight-year war. Hussein believed that "WMD helped save the regime multiple times," the report said.


    No matter what I say (none / 0) (#89)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 11:26:02 AM EST
    no matter how innocuous it is...

    My shadow always shows up.


    What can I say? (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 12:13:01 PM EST
    I like to help the uninformed/misinformed by providing them with actual facts, rather than have them rely on faulty/selective memories.  You were having trouble recalling the numerous reports from weapons inspectors challenging the Bush administration's claims of a threat to the US of WMDs.

    What you like to do is stalk me. (none / 0) (#99)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 08:40:42 PM EST
    What you like to do is whine and moan (none / 0) (#100)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 11:56:08 PM EST
    when Yman, or anyone else, calls you on your b.s.

    If you can't stand the heat...


    What I said (none / 0) (#69)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 12:02:57 AM EST
    was the "ground invasion". If we stuck to very limited ground, mostly air, and weakened but not destroyed Saddam's regime to allow some kind of natural change in power without US taint it might have worked out much much better.

    Bloody civil war, maybe somebody that doesn't like us ending up in power, but still much less worse than what happened.

    Nation building, worse than wrong, not smart.


    A lot of that strategy came from the neocons (none / 0) (#98)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 04:00:18 PM EST
    like Wolfowitz, who apparently liked to fantasize about Trotsky in his private railway car leading the glorious Red Army..

    The Trotsky connection is also why Christopher Hitchens had such a seemingly blinding man-crush on Wolfowitz..


    As a member of the security counsel (none / 0) (#87)
    by jondee on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 12:55:58 PM EST
    the U.S had more jurisdiction over the Oil-for-Food program than "U.N officials"..

    The right wing Oil-for-Food ruse was more right wing rhetorical misdirection; like Fannie and Freddie and programs for the poor causing the financial crisis.  


    jondee's country, always wrong (none / 0) (#90)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 11:32:29 AM EST
    One of the next big chapters in the United Nations oil-for-food scandal will involve the family of the secretary-general, Kofi Annan, whose son turns out to have been receiving payments as recently as early this year from a key contractor in the oil-for-food program.



    And yet ... (none / 0) (#92)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 12:14:18 PM EST
    ... that "next big chapter" never materialized, as is so often the case with baseless, winger accusations.

    Go figure.


    The idea is to distract people (none / 0) (#97)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 03:45:47 PM EST
    and sabotage the debate with an outrageous charge and then scurry away under the cover of darkess, so to speak..

    Like a squid shooting it's squid-sh*t into the water..


    In fact (none / 0) (#93)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 12:22:39 PM EST
    The independent committee investigating the United Nations oil-for-food program found unequivocally that there was no evidence to back up these winger claims:

    "There is no evidence that the selection of Cotecna in 1998 was subject to any affirmative or improper influence of the Secretary-General in the bidding or selection process"

    But if you have any actual evidence, Jim, it would be nice to see it.  Something more than an evidence-free accusation from a defunct, conservative tabloid that advocated prosecuting Iraq war protesters for treason would be nice.


    Here's an example (none / 0) (#94)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 12:24:42 PM EST
    ... of what we refer to as "evidence".

    If only people like you lived here (none / 0) (#96)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 03:39:34 PM EST
    it would always be wrong..

    Read what your hero Scott Ritter has to say about the Oil-for-Food maunfactured scandal..

    What it mainly was was a F*cks News talking point, like government programs for the poor being responsible for the financial crisis..  


    Deleted Comment (none / 0) (#63)
    by ragebot on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 09:40:27 PM EST
    Looks like one of my comments was deleted, I hope this one is not.

    My previous comment was about my personal experience flying remote controlled model platforms carrying cameras that broadcast back to a computer.  Most towns have a local RC club if one wants to experience it first hand.

    One reason I mention this is because the local hobby store where I buy some of my toys is run by a former US Army guy who trained troops to fly drones.

    But not armed drones, rather it was the small ones carried in a backpack at the squad level.  Instead of sending someone over a hill to see if there are enemy troops a squad can pull a drone out of a back pack and send the drone to gather intel.  These planes cost around $US5k and can withstand a direct hit from a standard 7.65 round.

    All the military guys I know think these devices are real lifesavers that provide risk free intel.

    Just so we are all on the same page here is an example of the kinda stuff my hommies are doing with drones

    RC example

    Zero doubt (none / 0) (#66)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 03:46:17 PM EST
    Drones are here to stay, and grow in purpose.

    I don't see a great need to "learn" to fly them as most of the "difficult" issue of flight, landing, can be easily done automatically. Makes me wonder what the training might actually be about.