2016 U.S. Presidential Elections: The Circus Is In Full Swing

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eddiemccandless

Knight at Arms
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If you referring to the drones, I don't think he completely realized what was going on so I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. But even if that was incompetence rather than malice yeah, that was bad.
 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Dancing to electro-pop like a robot since 1984
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I don't think he completely realized what was going on so I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
no.
“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”
(source)


Counter-terrorism drones do not make him a war criminal.
yes, they in fact literally do.

(edit: also worth noting that it's not the only thing that makes him a terrible person and president and he would be both of those things even if not a single drone strike had ever happened)
 
You're talking stupid now. Please stop. It should be noted the phrase is COUNTER-terrorism. If you're concerned that he may have killed civilians, it should be noted that every American killed by terrorists was a civilian. If you are a true civilian standing near a terrorist targeted by a drone, sorry. Pick better neighbors. Who judged these folks killed by counter-terrorism as civilians. What criteria were used, the word of a terrorist? During the Gulf War in Iraq, I saw a group of locals standing near what was purported to be a bombed-out building. In front of the ruins was a sign, in English, which read "Baby Milk Factory." Forgive me, but I doubted the veracity of that sign. Please tell why every other American president was a terrible person. Please include comparisons to past German leaders, you can leave out Hitler, his story is well known. Be sure to include Himmler, Heydrich and Hess. Also war criminal is reserved for after a declaration of war, not when you say it is.
 
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I'm actually willing to give Americans a pass for their drone strikes and the associated "collateral damage", here's why.
The policy of using them against US enemies started when the tech became available, during the Bush years, in 2001. It's clearly preferable to strike important enemy figures (terrorist or otherwise) from the air than to send in a ground team that would cause LESS, but not zero civilian casualties, and suffer casualties of their own, an even more important concern for the American voter.
Why would you send in a Seal team to arrest some dude if you could assassinate him without friendly casualties and with no uncertain and lengthy court proceedings?
The major question here is not whether to send in the drones, but when is it justified - is there enough evidence that the target is responsible for terrorist acts? Is the intel on his movements good? The lists of targets Obama sometimes talked about and how it is being vetted by the military and the administration is crucial here.
It's a given that there would be civilian casualties in these ops, terrorist figures live in population centers and targeting mistakes happen in the fog of war.

The difference between what targets are US Presidents hitting is how strictly those target lists are vetted and this is what we should be talking about.
Obama moved some of the strikes from the opaque CIA to the more transparent Pentagon in 2013, which was some progress. In 2016 he ordered that all civilian casualties should be investigated, compensations paid and reports made public.
At the same time, a campaigning Trump promised to hit the families of enemy militants and not be a ***** like Obama. Just so we are clear where Obama stands on the US Presidents scale.
In 2017 Trump removed Obama's limited areas of engagement where no US soldiers were in danger, like Somalia and Yemen and proceeded to pummel them with drones. Overall, in a frenzy of anti-Obama activity, transparency was reduced, powers to kill expanded and export restrictions for drones to allies relaxed.

I'm always surprised when I see "Obama is a war criminal" statements on the internet, they invariably come from the right wing and the far left, and they are just a talking point in their propaganda efforts with no nuance nor value.
 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Dancing to electro-pop like a robot since 1984
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If you're concerned that he may have killed civilians, it should be noted that every American killed by terrorists was a civilian.
it is well known that if you do a crime that someone else did before it isn't a crime for you to do it. very solid argument, 10/10.
(also that's just literally not true)

Who judged these folks killed by counter-terrorism as civilians. What criteria were used, the word of a terrorist?
who judged them terrorists? oh, yeah, right, obama. the criteria was: "any male of combat age is a terrorist". useful, that. but then when they bombed a wedding party with women and children present, they both insisted they didn't do it and that everyone there was a terrorist anyway. funny, that. definitely a sign of someone being honest.

Please tell why every other American president was a terrible person.
that would be the genocides and imperialism, amongst other things.

Please include comparisons to past German leaders, you can leave out Hitler, his story is well known.
i'm not sure why you'd think this is a question you can catch me out with. all of them are criminals too, to the present day.

Also war criminal is reserved for after a declaration of war, not when you say it is.
ah, i see, that's why the usa doesn't declare war anymore, to avoid the war crimes trials. good trick, that. he's a mass murderer then. cool. good upgrade. that makes him a president to be proud of, i suppose.



an even more important concern for the American voter.
you do realise that saying "it's politically expedient" doesn't make it ok?

The major question here is not whether to send in the drones, but when is it justified - is there enough evidence that the target is responsible for terrorist acts? Is the intel on his movements good? The lists of targets Obama sometimes talked about and how it is being vetted by the military and the administration is crucial here.
about that:
Every independent investigation of the strikes has found far more civilian casualties than administration officials admit. Gradually, it has become clear that when operators in Nevada fire missiles into remote tribal territories on the other side of the world, they often do not know who they are killing, but are making an imperfect best guess.
(source)
Obama moved some of the strikes from the opaque CIA to the more transparent Pentagon in 2013, which was some progress. In 2016 he ordered that all civilian casualties should be investigated, compensations paid and reports made public.
about that:
But over the Obama presidency, it has become harder for journalists to obtain information from the government on the results of particular strikes. And Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has fought in court for years to keep secret the legal opinions justifying strikes.

Micah Zenko, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations and lead author of a 2013 study of drones, said the president’s statement “highlights what we’ve sort of known: that most individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names.”
(same source as above)

But a focus on “balancing” legitimate kills and innocents killed sidesteps one of the most potent critiques of Obama’s approach: that many aspects of targeted killing policy are on dubious legal footing, and that Obama has set hugely dangerous precedents. Obama administration officials have variously argued that targeted killing with drones is a state secret or a so-called political question that isn't properly justiciable.
[...]
Thanks to Obama’s actions, Donald Trump will be inaugurated into an office that presumes the authority to secretly order the extrajudicial killings of American citizens. Was the particular way that Obama targeted Anwar al-Awlaki worth that price?
(source)

Just so we are clear where Obama stands on the US Presidents scale.
it should be quite clear that it's obvious that trump is worse, and i never indicated otherwise (and i'm not sure why you'd think or imply that i believe otherwise if you know me at all). that doesn't change what obama is responsible for, and he is a criminal as a result.

right wing and far left [...] propaganda efforts with no nuance nor value.
i'm quoting (among others) the new york times. it literally doesn't get any more milquetoast centrist. by any reasonable metric, obama is a monster, and it's fortunate for him that he is overshadowed by others more monstrous ahead and behind.
 
The NYT article you are quoting is from April 2015, and it's calling for more transparency which came with an Obama order in July 2016. The bad side of this is that a presidential order is not a law, and can be followed or not by the administration that issued it, but certainly not by the next administration which was bent on dismantling everything with "Obama" on it anyway.
Why transparency in drone strikes is not enshrined in a law that holds the executive accountable is beyond me (McConnel blocks during Obama years?), but it certainly would be a good step towards keeping the drone strikers honest. The major hurdle here may be that the American voter supports the strikes, being the ignorant bloodthirsty menace he is (just kidding here, only Brutus is like that), meaning there's a bi-partisan consensus that they are okay and few voices asking for more transparency. Now transparency is something we can and should debate (and demand).

The legal arguments in the Atlantic article is about possible killings of American terrorists abroad, and therefore not substantial except to a constitutional lawyer.
But it rightly points to the intelligence and accountability problems, though NOT at the method itself. In a perfect world, there would be a clear-cut target and perfect intel, and a chance for a drone operator to time the strike as to avoid civilian casualties. But you don't fight in a perfect world and holding your nose over drone killings while drinking your socialist champagne won't stop terrorists.
I'd actually challenge you to propose an alternative. You have the terrorists and you have the tech to kill them, now what do you do and still get re-elected for a second term.
 
You're talking stupid now. Please stop. It should be noted the phrase is COUNTER-terrorism. If you're concerned that he may have killed civilians, it should be noted that every American killed by terrorists was a civilian. If you are a true civilian standing near a terrorist targeted by a drone, sorry. Pick better neighbors. Who judged these folks killed by counter-terrorism as civilians. What criteria were used, the word of a terrorist? During the Gulf War in Iraq, I saw a group of locals standing near what was purported to be a bombed-out building. In front of the ruins was a sign, in English, which read "Baby Milk Factory." Forgive me, but I doubted the veracity of that sign. Please tell why every other American president was a terrible person. Please include comparisons to past German leaders, you can leave out Hitler, his story is well known. Be sure to include Himmler, Heydrich and Hess. Also war criminal is reserved for after a declaration of war, not when you say it is.

What in the name of vaporised afghan children am i reading

Are you seriously one of the people who still believes that the wars in the middle east were counter terror operations? Oh and only the ones after 2001?
 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Dancing to electro-pop like a robot since 1984
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You have the terrorists and you have the tech to kill them
you have "terrorists" (any male of military age, remember?).

it seems to me that asking how best to murder these random groups of people that you think maybe possibly could contain a terrorist or two (but you aren't sure (but it doesn't matter because you can just call them all terrorists and who would argue otherwise?)) is the wrong question.

now this might just be me, but possibly not doing the whole imperialism/genocide/death squads/extrajudicial assassination/war crimes thing is an idea worth entertaining.

in fact it seems to me that not randomly murdering hundreds of people, of which some might have been militants, but who knows, really, might even be a better strategy to help reduce the potential for radicalisation of the now-no-longer-being-randomly-murdered population.

meaning there's a bi-partisan consensus that they are okay and few voices asking for more transparency.
now what do you do and still get re-elected for a second term.
you do realise that saying "it's politically expedient" doesn't make it ok?
 
While I understand your concerns Monty(?), what baffles me is the lack of solutions - "let's not do anything so we would avoid making mistakes and maintain moral superiority". This is typically the hard left position insisting on ideological purity but failing to deliver solutions to real problems.
You'll have blood on your hands through inaction too, but it will be the terror victims' blood.
 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Dancing to electro-pop like a robot since 1984
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aye
failing to deliver solutions to real problems.
"let's murder random people because we think some of them might maybe be terrorists" strikes me as the epitome of failing to deliver solutions for real problems. especially since the alleged problem ("terror vitims' blood") is specifically made worse by that course of action (both by encouraging radicalisation and by itself basically being terrorism, incidentally).

it's farcical to accuse others of having blood on their hands by inaction while literally supporting blind actionism that does nothing but spill said blood.

very nice job glossing over the whole "we're just declaring random people terrorists to make the numbers look good", though.
 

Nega-Brutus

Sergeant
@History bros, what's your take on Kraut's history? (Does he misrepresent anything?)


When the US stops geopoliticing, Russia or China or some other ambitious group pick up whatever the US is involved with (e.g., Chinese involvement in Korea in Asia; Russian in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq in the ME; and Ukraine/Baltic states in EE, etc.). Being critical of the US is important, and most of its foreign policy is morally disastrous, but the alternatives are usually worse, and arguing or even implying a hands-off solution would be even more disastrous. Saying ''imperialism'' as a strong implication of arbitrarily rolling over countries doesn't feel right to me. It's important to be critical of the US but not antagonize it, because its citizens and allies give form to what the US does on the international stage, and those actions can be leveraged for doing good stuff.
 

eddiemccandless

Knight at Arms
WBNWVC
by any reasonable metric, obama is a monster, and it's fortunate for him that he is overshadowed by others more monstrous ahead and behind.

I don't want to get too much into this topic because I have mixed feelings about it myself and I am not quite sure what to think, but... The word nerd in me can't help but notice that if one goes by the etymological meaning of monster (from the latin monstrum, which was mainly used to indicate something exceptional and completely out of the ordinary), the mere fact that he is overshadowed by others kind of prevents him from truly being a monster. In other words, if everyone else kills 1000 people the guy who only kills 100, as terrible as that might be, probably is not that bad relatively speaking.

To me more than Obama's personal failings the issue with the US foreign policy is the whole big mess of unwarranted interferences, that were justified by this thought that Americans are inherently better than everyone else, which still lingers in the society and is simply not true. And what is happening right now is very ironic when seen under that light. I blame him more for failing the make banks and corporations accountable for their failings. That was something that he of all people should have taken care of, and he failed. The rest is history.
 

kurczak

Section Moderator
WB
There are some "allies" America can afford to lose like Pakistan, Israel, Egypt or Ukraine and Albania/Kosovo. They do literally nothing but agitate countries that would otherwise be unagitated. The money and troops can be spent better on containing China.
 
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