April 28th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

To drone or not? Hearing questions drone attacks' legality

WASHINGTON — Congress delved Wednesday into the politically explosive issue of unmanned drone attacks, questioning the legality of operations increasingly used to combat al Qaeda and Taliban militants in countries such as Pakistan.

In the eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, unmanned aircraft - or drones - attacked militant targets 45 times.

Since President Barack Obama took office, the numbers have risen sharply: 51 last year and 29 so far this year.

Most attacks have targeted suspected militant hideouts in Pakistan. While the United States is the only country in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from drones - which are controlled remotely - U.S. officials normally do not comment on suspected drone strikes.

Based on a CNN count, all of the 29 drone strikes this year have hit locations in North Waziristan and South Waziristan, along the 1,500-mile porous border that Pakistan shares with Afghanistan.

Several top U.S. law professors debated the legality of the attacks in a hearing before the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, the second such hearing held by the subcommittee within the past two months.

"The United States is committed to following international legal standards," said Rep. John Tierney, D-Massachusetts, the subcommittee's chairman. "Our interpretation of how these standards apply to the use of unmanned weapons systems will set an example for other nations to follow."

The four legal scholars invited to testify, however, offered sharply contrasting views of what constitutes an acceptable legal standard. The biggest controversy appeared to surround the legality of strikes conducted by CIA operatives, as opposed to the U.S. military.

"Only a combatant - a lawful combatant - may carry out the use of killing with combat drones," said Mary Ellen O'Connell, a professor from the University of Notre Dame law school.

"The CIA and civilian contractors have no right to do so. They do not wear uniforms, and they are not in the chain of command. And most importantly they are not trained in the law of armed conflict."

O'Connell also claimed that "we know from empirical data ... that the use of major military force in counterterrorism operations has been counterproductive." The U.S. government, she asserted, should only use force "when we can accomplish more good than harm, and that is not the case with the use of drones in places like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia."

David Glazier, a professor from Loyola law school in Los Angeles, California, defended the drone attacks on the grounds that there is "no dispute that we are in an armed conflict with al Qaeda and with the Taliban." That fact "allows the United States to call upon the full scope of authority which is provided by the law of war."

Glazier said there is "nothing within the law of war that prohibits the use of drones. In fact, the ability of the drones to engage in a higher level of precision and to discriminate more carefully between military and civilian targets than has existed in the past actually suggests that they're preferable to many older weapons."

He conceded, however, that there are legitimate concerns over the CIA's use of drones. CIA personnel are "clearly not lawful combatants (and) if you are not a privileged combatant, you simply don't have immunity from domestic law for participating in hostilities."

Glazier warned that "any CIA personnel who participate in this armed conflict run the risk of being prosecuted under the national laws of the places where (the combat actions) take place." CIA personnel, he said, could be guilty of war crimes.

William Banks, the founding director of Syracuse University's Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, said the U.S. government has engaged in targeted killings of individual combatants dating at least back to a 1916 border war with Mexican bandits.

Banks said the authors of the 1947 National Security Act, which traditionally gives the CIA much of its legal authority, likely didn't contemplate the targeted killings tied to drone attacks. But the statute, he said, was "designed as dynamic authority to be shaped by practice and by necessity."

"The intelligence laws permit the president broad discretion to utilize the nation's intelligence agencies to carry out national security operations, implicitly including targeted killing," he said. U.S. laws "supply adequate - albeit not well articulated or understood - legal authority for these drone strikes."

Peter Bergen, a fellow at the New America Foundation, could not say definitively prior to the hearing why U.S. drone attacks have increased so significantly during the Obama administration. He cited a revenge factor, however, saying that U.S. forces are upset and want retribution for the brazen bombing of a CIA base in eastern Afghanistan that killed seven Americans on December 30.

"The people who died in this suicide attack were involved in targeting people on the other side of the border," he said earlier this year.

Long War Journal, an online publication that charts data for U.S. airstrikes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan, says the air campaign "remains the cornerstone of the effort to root out and decapitate the senior leadership of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other allied terror groups, and to disrupt both al Qaeda's global and local operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Such attacks, which have taken a civilian toll in many cases, have frequently caused tension between Pakistan and the United States. 

–CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report

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Filed under: Drone strikes • Obama • Pakistan • Pentagon
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. RegularAmerican

    Drone attacks work, they reduce risk & cost to our troops and are devastating to the enemy!

    It must be the program is too successful, and that makes a certain 'citizen' element uncomfortable (never mind drone usage has increased w/current presidency!). What a joke, ONLY IN AMERICA.

    May 2, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. JR

    Are they legal?? Are we at war with Pakistan? NOOOO, so they are illegal and against every convention we ever signed.

    May 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. brown

    Are you serious? No wonder we're losing the war!

    May 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Realism

    Yes ofcourse all the terrorists and Talibans can be exterminated with a big bang and cheaply too by shutting the Indian terror camps and offices in Afghanistan. This will eliminate all the funding and training of the terrorists and quickly bring an end to this. People, just a simple and cheap strategy.

    May 1, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Leenybaby: I too am a Christian. No where in the bible does it say anything about not going to war and how we shouldn't kill in order to make peace.. You say Jesus wouldn't be happy. God gave us the intelligence in order to build and deploy the gift of UAV's because they save lives and blow up things that could potentially kill millions. Satin would laugh in your face because he sees how stupid you are and how he can use people like you to let him take over. God gave us these to keep us all safe. You are obviously ignorant about all kinds of things. Why don't we just send you and all of the others who think these wonderful pieces of technology are bad over there, give you an M16 and let you go into the mountains and try to track down these guys. You would probably last all about 10 minutes. WAIT.......you may kill some of the terrorists and Taliban but only because they'd die from laughter at how stupid you are. THese are saving countless lives and are making the world a more PEACEFUL safer place for all. SO shut up and get all the facts straight. Start thinking about what happens IF we DON"T/DIDN"T use them. Our planes would come back full of body bags where now they come back empty and go back to the war zone full of missiles and UAV's.

    May 1, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. smc

    the talaban dont have a soul becouse thy are animals.extermenate them asap.

    May 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. smc

    lets carpet bomb them with our bombers becouse the talaban extremists are nothing but animals,the sooner it is done the quicker this sh*t will be over,and are boys can come home.

    May 1, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Muh-MAD

    @MOBY Yes afghanistan was so peaceful under taliban rule according to Pakis.
    @Realism – Everybody in world loves muslims hehehe Just read any blog & u will know how much we love u terrorists.
    Drones are doing a great job & we only have to read these Pakis requesting it to be stopped to be sure they are working.

    May 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Moby

    Leenybaby you are right. All these warmongers are full of hate and seem to show they are bigger than God. By the way this is a deep rooted shrewd proxy Hindu & Co war of hate that is deceiving and sucking others in this bottomless pit. When there is a huge deficit in wisdom, blind folly prevails!

    May 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Realism

    This is nothing more than a Hindu war against Afghanistan and Pakistan. USA needs to get aware of this and not waste it's resources on somebody else's war. American lives are too precious for such nonsense. Just clean up those numerous Indian bases/camps/ counsulates from Afghanistan and watch terrorism dwindle away. Afghanistan is a very ethnic muslim country and Hindus have No love for muslims. In almost every blog they have slandered muslims with racial slurs and historically commited crimes on muslims in India, wars on Pakistan. So what business do they have in Afghanistan other than create terrorists and proxy wars and suicide bombers for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Who are they fooling? Hope not Pakistan and USA !

    May 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hehehe

    @Lennybaby – Seeing all these "dronies" and other warmongers blog in here glorifying the use of these horrific planes make me sick.I just wonder how many of these people call themselves Christians

    Jesus would think- Can somebody tell this this Lennybaby to just stop wasting his time reading the bible & have a real life.

    May 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bill

    lets have drone practice on the mexican border

    May 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lennybaby

    Seeing all these "dronies" and other warmongers blog in here glorifying the use of these horrific planes make me sick.I just wonder how many of these people call themselves Christians and of those who do,if they ever pondered what Jesus would think? As I read the bible I know that He would be quite angry at the glorification of these horrific planes and their use in butchering people at will.They may be legal,but they're certainly not Christian by any means.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Just a thought here. You all are saying that UAV's are awful killing machines that are killing innocent women and children over there. You better be thankful to them that you can even say these things. If you're a woman over there and would say anything like this, anything at all, you would be killed faster than a turkey on thanksgiving. These US soldiers are not just firing at anything moving. They track these combatants for days to make sure they are getting and killing the right ones. They're not just going from house to house and blowing them up. You make it seem as if we are using these to just go and fire at will at anything living. It takes us days to figure out who we are shooting and make sure they are an enemy combatant. I'd be more than willing to buy some of you idiots a one way ticket to Afghanistan or Pakistan and see how long you last. I'd give you an US hockey jersey to wear and see how long it takes before you are coming home in a body bag. These terrorists are going into crowded public places and blowing themselves up and killing hundreds of people. We fire one hellfire missile from a UAV and everyone goes up in arms because we killed a "innocent" civilian child who, with the CIA's and UAV's help, is being trained by the terrorists to go blow himself along with REAL innocent civilians up in a market place where people are just trying to earn a living or get food for supper that night. You idiots go over there and see for yourself what really goes on.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    I agree with enforcing the principle that only uniformed members of the armed forces are legal combatants. CIA and contractors acting as combatants legally jeopardizes all civilian employees and contractors, as well as themselves, there should be no "fudging" of the demarcation. CIA and contractors should be focused on performing their assigned and duly authorized roles, not constructively hijacking military equipment and operations to gratify their own expeditionary urges.

    May 1, 2010 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  16. Bman

    Targeted killing sounds like assasination. Lets call it like it is. I'm sure theres some laws on the books regarding that.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  17. PatrickUSA

    Keep it up! Drones are doing what no military has ever been able to do – single out and kill leaders with little or no harm to innocent people. There are definately mistakes, but they have gotten less and less over time and continue to decline. This is war – what do you expect? The statement, "we know from empirical data ... that the use of major military force in counterterrorism operations has been counterproductive" is a bunch of bull. The Al Queda and Taliban leadership has crawled into holes and are finding it more and more difficult to carry out operations. They send kids and women with bombs strapped to their bodies and blow up innocent people. We respond by locating their leaders and killing them. Sounds like good payback to me.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Andrew

    Let the drones fly and birng the rain. Let the evil-doers have something to fear. Let them fear steel rain.

    April 30, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Daniel

    @Wondering.Quite well put.President Barck Obama has made it quite painfully clear that by ordering these ungodly drone air strilkes against both "militants" and civilians alike that he cares very little for the sanctity of human life and I find that very repulsive.I guess that we're going to see more and more of these mean-spirited right-wing nutjobs defending the use of them and that gets to be sickening.

    April 30, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Wondering

    It's about time the Obama strategy of targeted killings – without reading anyone their rights, without a trial, in sovereign nations with whom we are not at war – is being debated. I've been wondering (and still am) where the outrage is from those that profess to be aghast at extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, "enhanced interrogation" and the like. Obviously Bush's error was that he actually made an effort to capture people alive and hold them so they could be tried – so much simpler to just execute the people we think might be bad guys and avoid all those issues like where to hold them, how to question them, how to try them, and yes, maybe even how to release them. Here are some questions: Under the Obama administration how many people have been captured in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, etc., and where are they being held now? And how many have been killed remotely? How many of those killed by this Administration may have actually been innocent or were innocent civilians? I have to hand it to Obama, it's a brilliant old strategy – ask no questions, take no prisoners, and there are no worries about rights. It's abhorrent.

    April 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Well..

    Artful: Anything goes, eh? So, since the Nazi party decided ethnic groups were the enemy of germany, the Holocost is just the 'cost of doing business,' eh?

    If there are now laws, then we might as well give up. Who cares how many people we kill to get the mission completed, right?

    Open your eyes,man. Come on.

    April 30, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  22. J

    I happen to have a very first hand knowledge of how these UAS(what they are actually called) operate. They can stay overhead for very long periods and verify that these guys are who we think. After many different steps are taken to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage of any kind, the target(s) are prosecuted. It is very surgical. The fact is that civilian deaths are rare with these strikes. I gaurantee that more would be dying without them, either by our hand or the Taliban's.
    To the guy saying that "drones" were following a biker gang and were "heavy firepower," there are many different versions of UAVs and most don't have weapons. They will be used for manhunts, car chases, surveillance of drug houses, etc. by federal agencies. They pose no threat unless you are hiding something.

    April 30, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  23. etheismann

    Washington has to right to make any type of freakin decision. If you arent in the shit everyday fighting to save your life and come home to see your family then you have no say in SHIT. STAY OUT OF THE WAY AND WORRY ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE! ALL YOU'RE DOING IS MAKING SHIT WORSE BY BEING A CHILD, LET US DO OUR JOB AND COME HOME SAFE.

    HOW ABOUT YOU LET US MAKE YOUR LIFE DECISIONS IN WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN NOT DO EVERYDAY WHILE WE ARE IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ AND EVENTUALLY PAKISTAN... LETS TAKE AWAY EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO SURVIVE AND SEE HOW YOU LIKE PEOPLE INTERFERING WITH YOUR SHIT THAT SHOULDNT BE!

    April 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Confucious

    It is still quite confusing as to why all this blood shed and killings? For what and for whom? All it looks like, its more toward ethnicity than any thing else. Just because people dress up in rough ethnic clothes and look robust & rough mountain people does not make them a terrorist. This looks more like racism. Other countries should stop listening to the Indian Agents and stop using them as their advisors. India has its own agenda of confusing and misguiding the world by creating terrorists environment in order to perpetuate a war and waste both Pak and US resources. So most all, one needs to question why India has so many counsulates and offices in a country that is just the opposite in culture and religon from India. A country ( Afghanistan) that is so strongly muslim. Ofcourse that's where India can start its terrorist policies for both Afghanistan and Pakistan and throw a wool over rest of the world while it commits its crimes. While both Pak and US are losing their own military people, blowing others and chasing phantoms, India will keep up the terror producing machine. A never ending cycle. Past history has also shown and proved that India had used Afghanistan as its base in waging wars against Pakistan and it will go to any length to create such a situation. Who khows what hand or part India had in the tragic barbaric incident of 9/11. Indian agents do move around on Pak terrotories. Thats why Pakistan usually end up with a military rule due to security threats.

    April 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Jed

    Every soldier is told that anyone on the battlefield anyone who has the intent, will and capability to do you bodily harm is a combatant. If the CIA operatives are carrying weapons or using weapons such as drones they are considered to be combatants and could be targeted by the Taliban or anyone else considered to be an enemy. We are generating too many lawyers in this country. Much learning doth make thee mad!!!

    April 30, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Jed

    Every soldier is told that anyone on the battlefield that has the intent, will and capability to do you bodily harm is a combatant. If the CIA operatives are carrying weapons or using weapons such as drones they are considered to be combatants and could be targeted by the Taliban or anyone else considered to be an enemy. We are generating too many lawyers in this country. Much learning doth make thee mad!!!

    April 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Artfulgang

    "Only a combatant – a lawful combatant – may carry out the use of killing with combat drones," said Mary Ellen O'Connell, a professor from the University of Notre Dame law school.

    Good grief. Leave it to a professor to talk about the "law of war". War is not a game. There are no rules. The intent is to win, by any means. I suppose she would advocate our compensating the enemy, perhaps paying a fine or penalty to them, every time we "cheat" at the game of combat.

    April 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Bob

    Sorry "Joe"
    I meant "chuckster"
    "Chuckster" sounds like a CIA code name. He probably works for Blackwater.

    Business is good for the financial-paramilitary-intelligence complex!

    April 30, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  29. Bob

    9/11 was a "targeted strike" just like these are. Neither is war. Both seem to be cold blooded premeditated murder. And, how the hell does (what's his name?) "Joe?" know who is being killed over there and how does he know they are terrorists? Answer: because that is what the people who killed them said they were...just like 9/11, Nazis, etc.

    Don't drink so much kool aid

    April 30, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  30. Seabee

    Drones are one of the best inventions. I'm sure much intelligence is gained prior to deploying such an expensive, hi-tech, highly proficient piece of equipment. It's not like they just fly them around and just launch missiles without having gained a sufficient amount of information on the target. The accuracy of these unmanned killing machines is pretty incredible, If you are worried about what few innocent causalities are sustained with a drone; one should be more focused on how many innocent causalities derive from a roadside bomb which loaclizes no direct target and just blows whatever touches it to pieces. The only true law of war is that the strong survive! On the use of drones inside the US; well that could be both good and bad. Using drones along the borders though, great idea! If you think we are wasting tax money on war equipment then think about how much is wasted on paying for health-care and what not for illegals in our country who take jobs for less pay and end up sending their "hard earned" money back to their home country and don;t help boost out economy what so ever. Just a thought!

    April 30, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  31. Seabee

    Drones are one of the best inventions. I'm sure much intelligence is gained prior to deploying such an expensive, hi-tech, highly proficient piece of equipment. It's not like they just fly them around and just launch missiles without having gained a sufficient amount of information on the target. The only true law of war is that the strong survive! On the use of drones inside the US; well that could be both good and bad. Using drones along the borders though, great idea! If you think we are wasting tax money on war equipment then think about how much is wasted on paying for health-care and what not for illegals in our country who take jobs for less pay and end up sending their "hard earned" money back to their home country and don;t help boost out economy what so ever. Just a thought!

    April 30, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  32. frank

    Anyone that thinks congress will outlaw drones is naive. UAVs are now an essential part of US National defense policy.

    People die in war, it's an ugly truth that hasn't changed since the first neanderthal decided he needed his buddy's mate more than his buddy.

    April 30, 2010 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  33. Silvereagle

    Making drones illegal is just plain stupid.Oh I forgot we are dealing with assholes in Washington that have no idea whats going on anyway.They are trying their best to lose this war just like the vietnam war they wanted us to lose by hamstringing everyone and everything possible.Let the troops do the job they were trained for.Get the hell out of the way!

    April 30, 2010 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
  34. Kill or Be Killed

    Dear Zogelt.

    What is the difference between a suicide bomber and a UAV? The main difference is that the majority of suicide bombers intentionally target civilians, in clearly civilian locations, such as bazaars and restaurants. Occasionally, they do attack police stations, and rarely soldiers, as their chances of being able to successfully detonate their explosives decreases radically, when they take on trained forces.

    But, let’s take your question to the next step, what is the difference between a UAV and a suicide bomber? The answer: the UAVs, although they are not always perfect, intentionally target enemy combatants, and try to avoid civilian casualties; the exact opposite of what most suicide bombers do.

    April 30, 2010 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  35. Zogelt

    Can anyone explain to me why a suicide bomber is considered cowardly and yet a drone attack is not? I mean how much courage and risk is their in sitting behinda desk thousands of miles away from the action? Perhaps the ease with which it can be used explains the incresing number of dead civilians its use is leaving behind?

    April 30, 2010 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  36. Former Marine

    Emile, you are one, wrong about America being a "Christian Country." Number one, the constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" meaning, there is no "official religion" of the United States. Second, Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace. These enemy forces we're fighting over there, they aren't true Islamic Believers. They are like any other zealot. They read a book about an invisible man, and then interpret it in their own way. In fact, I can blame this whole war, and 99% of all wars on Religion. George Carlin said it the best. All wars have been fought over who prays to what invisible man. "Do you believe in God?" "No." *Gunshot* "Do you believe in God?" "Yes?" "Do you believe in MY God?" "No" *Gunshot* "My God has a bigger groinal region than your god!" What's worse is, all of you who are saying we shouldn't use these drones are absolutely idiotic to say the very least. War is nothing more than a fight where people die. That's it. And if there's one thing I have learned in my time alive, there is no such thing as a fair fight, never, not once. A fair fight is redundant, because both fighters would have to knock each other out at the same exact time. Think about it for a minute, imagine you're in a fight, and the enemy picks up a rock? You're not gonna say "HOLD UP! That isn't fair!" You're gonna reach down and pick up a bigger rock. Same concept. The enemy's "Rock" is camoflauging themselves amongst civillians. Our Rock? Predator Drones mounted with Rockets and Machine Guns. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that, when you get into a fight, you get into it to win, no matter how stupid the reasons for fighting are. And OH BTW Joe, yes, I'll agree, war is bad. War is an absolutely horrible thing that never should exist to begin with. But it does, and you know what, we're in one. It's OUR war. Guess what, it's your war too. And I'd sacrifice 1,000 of those terrorist scumbags to bring just one soldier, marine, sailor, or airman home for good. Our armed forces aren't aiming at civillians and sending bullets down range for jollys. No, they're over there, busting their hump, away from their families, fighting in a war they know is a load of crap, doing so because they signed a contrat obligating them to follow the orders of those above them. Those enemies we're fighting over there, they choose to blow up civillians, crowded marketplaces, hospitals, convoys. I mean, come on, these people are crazy enough to blow themselves up in the process. If I could have my way about it, I'd take every Religious Zealot, on every continent and send them to Antartica to have one massive battle royale, until they killed one another with slabs of ice falling off the artic shelf, because THEY are the reasons we have wars. Zealots, they create the turmoil and chaos. And you want to know why? Because you pray to a different invisible man than they do. Or even better, you don't pray at all. Count your blessings while you sleep tonight, because if you were in Afghanistan or Iraq, you'd be drug out of your bed in the middle of the night, and butchered along with the rest of your family for just having an opinion against the Taliban, or even worse the government. And believe me, their justice is swift, cheap, and sometimes provides the people with a source of entertainment. Think about this whenever you want to ridicule why we're over there, and what we're doing to scar the bejesus out of those terrorist scumbag idiots who have nothing better to do than to blow themselves up in hopes that an invisible man in the sky, will grant them with the gift of 40 virgins upon their ascent to the promised land. Not to disprove their religion, but I haven't met 40 virgins on Earth, what makes anyone think there are 40 virgins in Heaven? And at the rate of these suicide bombings, if there are, they should be running out sometime here soon, unless the're rotating them around.

    April 29, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Funky-Pres

    Please call Osama and tell him how he feels about being targeted with a UAV that can take out only one room or blow the whole roof off.

    Osama's phone number is: 00-873-682505331 Go ahead, give him a Call !!

    You could call also call Hitler at 120050 but Gemany already got a new phone... and

    THEY'RE ALREADY DEAD !!

    April 29, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  38. kieran

    Sure! They kill people! Yeah it seems inhumane to just blow them up. But do you think that sacrificing soldiers to capture one man when you can blow him up instead. Plus, most of these drones are in PAKISTAN! Pakistan is at war with the Taliban! Its just helping to supress the Taliban IN Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    P.S., it only serves the Pakistani right for funding the taliban in the first place. Thanks guys.

    April 29, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  39. jay

    I heard skateboarders are using drones to find empty swimming pools to skate in.

    April 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  40. james avila

    it's a shame that there will always be pieces of garbage in america who will try and paint a bad picture of the men/women who protect us!! Why in the heck are people complaining that the US uses the latest and greatest technology available to kill the bad guys? and in war, there are ALWAYS civilian casualties....OKAY nobody wants that and it's not a good thing but it's just reality. But you don't tie the hands of troops and CIA over some civilian casualties. I mean, do you think osama and his cohorts thought about the 3000+ innocent civilian casualties that they killed at the world trade center? of course not!! So now we need to use every resource available to destroy their entire evil network. or should we become panzies and let the ACLU dictate how we fight wars? imagine if the ACLU and other peace luving idiots were around back when we fought for independance....or fought the civil war....

    April 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  41. HRPufnstuf

    So, is there a Predator lined up for Castro, one for Hugo Chavez, and so on? Where do we stop?

    April 29, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Joe

    War is bad. These are just another tool in a world that profits of war. I don't have a opinion other then that since we can't seem to get out of the cycle of a few people starting wars that the majority of innocent people have to die for (and all countries and sides are guilty of having said warmongers).

    I wish people here would just own up to their nature though. Statements such as "it saves OUR troops lives. OUR war" ect ect. Translation: We believe whole heartedly that our lives are more important than anyone/everyone elses. We don't care that others died because it wasn't us or one our own. Life maybe precious by my life and the life of my loved ones are more precious than any body elses. Why is that so hard to just say? Why is it so hard for others to understand that when someone they love dies and no one seems to care? How else can you explain that they can disregard the anger of others when they are killed but not their own when its someone close to them? Other people's life just isn't as important as mine or those I care about or are like me. Period.

    Admit it and take all the consequences that comes with that additude. Own up to this view that many obviously have and stop complaining when you reap what you sow.

    April 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Emile Zola

    I can't believe that a, so called, Christian nation kills innocent civilians like they were a K-Mart blue light special. Drones are too prone to errors and those errors are somebody's brother, wife, husband, etc and we don't have any bussiness killing civilians that can do nothing to stay away from harm's ways. If any nation, friend or foe, would do this to us, I believe that would be reason enough for a nuclear war. One thing that a Christian is supposed to do is to show charity and empathy for others. We can't kill many innocnet civlians trying to kill one or few "terrorists'" Let's remember that terrorism as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Moncahem Begin was wanted by the British for being a terrorist. For Arabs, Muslims George W. Bush is the worse terrorist than Osama Bin Laden.
    Jassir Arafat was a hero for the Palestinian people and for the Jews and Americans a terrorist. Terrorism should be treated the same for all and not by ideology. We can't go to another country and just because a repressive government ask us there to protect their oil fields and do so without taking into consideration the lives, desires and freedom of their citizens. According to media reports, Osama Bin Laden attacked because foreign troops in sacred ground for Muslims was a blaspheme, a crime against Allah. We should stand with the people, not with tyrants. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    April 29, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  44. ITSALLINSANITY

    War has one thing in common for the opposed parties that have the need to kill one another. DEATH! Suffering mothers,fathers and children of the dead and maimed. Humans have not evolved sufficiently and come to the point in time where killing is no longer the tool that is needed to bring others to believe as "we" want them to. Religion has been the rally cry of many societies for thousands of years that has brought war to every corner of the inhabitted globe. I have no wish to orphan a muslim or a hindu. Doesn't a jewish baby need the same thing that a palestinian baby needs? Only a fool can argue against that point. Evolution is the only answer. Until we come to that point in time..... Why don't we all recognise that the very idea behind war is the demoralization of your enemy until they no longer have the will or desire to fight for their cause. Kill as efficiently and quickly as possible and crush the enemy. Then get on with the healing and recovery. ITS ALL INSANITY! If it is a choice between a pakistani baby or an afghan baby..... As long as its not an AMERICAN baby...... KILL THEM ALL AND FORGET COUNTING ANY OF THEM! It is better to be loved than feared. But survival is paramount. TOTAL WARFARE IS THE ONLY WAY! But humans have not evolved to the point where even that is understood. ITS ALL INSANITY!

    April 29, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Former Marine

    I'm going to say this simply. We're fighting an uncivilized war in a civilized manner. These men, women, and children we are fighting have been training from birth to carry out jihadist actions against anyone who doesn't pray to the same invisible man that they do. They are brutal, violent, and ultimately effective killing machines. I have seen the damage done by a few of these lunatics first hand, and I have spent some time in the dirt, putting rounds down range. Currently, I am out, and grateful every day for having survived the ordeal. Those of you who think Drones should be illegal, I disagree, strongly. I believe Drones are merely another tool in our arsenel used to combat the enemy wherever they may hide. I disagree that the CIA and Civillian Contractors should be allowed to operate said drones.

    Those of you who think my comments are of a facist nature, you may in turn go look up the actual history of Nazi Germany and see how it was created, because you're just professing your ignorance in the subject. I can tell you, with the upmost certainty, that these "innocent civillians" we're killing over there would have GLADLY come over here and cut your head off with a dull machete if given half a chance. What most everyone fails to realize is, these people we fight over there aren't your typical every day enemy. They wear no uniform, they have no morals or values when it comes to fighting a war, they do not abide by the Geneva Convention, and most importantly are trained sociopaths. We arrest Sociopaths over here, because they murder and kill, if you are against the war, where is your public outcry for the lunatics in the United States?

    Most of you are right, we must do whatever it is we must do to win the war and neutralize civillian casualties. But until the enemies of our country don their own uniforms, there will always be casualties of war. It is sad, and it is upsetting, even to our forces overseas when it does happen. But, this is the nice thing about America, the freedom of choice, the choice that you all have made to disrespect the men and women fighting for your rights, and your freedoms. The very same people who give you the ability to be Arm Chair Generals, from the comfort of your own home. Remember, they get a split second to make a decision on the ground, you get a lifetime to nitpick it apart. Atleast with this, we have a greater reaction time, to decide if we indeed wish to kill the target, or bugger off. Thank you, and have a wonderful evening.

    April 29, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  46. YetAnotherOldVietVet

    Certainly a lot of shouting past each other here.

    Sadly this seems to be the new form of political discussion in America: Demonize your opponents and call them names. Since that is what the major parties are doing, reckon it is no surprise that the same is done by people commenting here.

    Please people.

    We are – mostly – all Americans who are commenting on this thread. We all love our country, we all want to think that it is doing the right thing and in the right way. Well, not everyone here would agree with the last.

    One of the things which historically has distinguished our nation from many others, is that we do try to hold to certain standards of conduct – no matter what our enemies might do (though we have not always succeeded).

    With this in mind, I can only say that those who are arguing that we should abandon any restraint, simply because our enemies may have done so would make us no different from our enemies. As Friedrich Nietzsche observed: "Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one."

    I like to think that we are, in fact, different from our enemies – and not simply because we live in one country, and they in another – but because we do value human life, and we should take care to show restraint because we have the power to do so.

    To address the current point: The aircraft are not "drones," they are remotely piloted vehicles – and it is, or should be, a soldier who decides when to fire its weapons. Certainly it should not be a CIA operative who, though perhaps former military, now live in a world with very different values than those of the warrior.

    These remotely piloted aircraft have the ability to project force where manned vehicles cannot. As long as they are being piloted by the military I see no difference in their use compared with any other over-the-horizon weapon.

    God Bless America: and may God Bless us with Peace.

    April 29, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Joeb

    I wonder if there will be hearings on the legality of suicide bombing. Or if we should have hearings on the legal arguments against warfare.
    i thought after 9/11 we were going to change thinking for this new war? Drone attacks appear to work. there is no data to support the contention that they create new terrorists. There is plenty of data to suggest that the real terrorists have been dramatically effected and are altering their activities in specific response to the drones. There is likley collateral damage and innocent life lost, which is deplorable, but again good data to suggest this is minimal in comparison to conventional warfare, or again our opponents main tactic of a suicide bomber in a crowded market. The drone strikes are probably illegal, but that doesnt mean we should stop, it means our laws have to change.

    April 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Dawn

    Here we go again! Fighting another war with our hands tied behind our backs. Use the drones. How stupid can we be to not use a weapon that works & is not endangering troops. I'm not computer savvy, but I assume we have means to change the gps positioning on the drones to change their target if they fall into enemy hands.
    Why do we keep on doing this to ourselves? Do we want to win this war or not?

    April 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  49. INTERNET THUG

    To many anti-war liberals in america. They need to suit up and join the armed forces to see what its realy like to defend them selves. We are talking about the same kids in grammar school who had their mommy's and daddy's get them out of a face pounding because they called the bigger kids names. Stop making judgments on something like war that you have no idea, or expierence about. Stick to topics like trees

    April 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Bruce

    Do you really think wars are fought in a court room?
    Unfortunately you fight wars and people get hurt.
    War is not fun. Do you think the other side is going to say "Gee we have to go to court and find out if what we are doing is legal or the right way to fight this war?"
    Sorry!! Ain't goin' happen.

    April 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Funky-Pres

    Answer to above questions:

    Yes American citizens have been Targeted for assination by UAVs.

    American citizens have been killed by CIA UAVs but were not the primary target.

    Questions:

    When do their rights to to trial by jury as americans disappear?

    When can someone sign YOUR death warrant without you knowledge?

    When is it legal to for the US to assasinate an American citizen without trial anywhere in the world?

    April 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  52. stupid tax payer

    since when is it illegal to kill an enemy on a battlefield in any manner???

    April 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Funky-Pres

    BTW,
    the New Boeing X37B "drone" being tested can deliver cameras or nukes or anything else anywhere in the world in hours or less, depending on the launch vehicle.
    Plus, under an atlas shroud, you would never know what was just launched.
    Why do you think it is so secret?
    It's for the Air Force and "OGAs" under working under the guise of a NASA project. DARPA's secret funding is expanded by "shared" Technology

    April 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Funky-Pres

    Also Pakistanis may be flying the drones operatiing within Pakistan. We dont really know for certain!

    April 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Funky-Pres

    Before he sold his soul to the Devil, Henry Kissenger as Sec. of state first ordered a letter delivered and the recended that order to three governments of Countries in South American who were waging war on "Terrorists" (socialists and communists). Kissenger stated it was know they were carrying out torture and assasinations and it was bad for our reputation

    The next day, the most significant case of terrorism in the US prior to 9-11 occured in washington DC. Killing one American and one foreginer

    It has happened before it will happen again. It is state sponsered murder condoned by us even within this country. We knew it was bad for our reputation then and nothing seems to have changed.

    Now we have Hillary Clinton who just commited a war crime (Geneva Convention) by not sending a captured POW Manuel Noregia not back to Panama long after hostilites ended but instead to France for a 20 year old money laundering charge.

    Prior to that we ( Dick Cheny and others) supported the M.E.K Mujahadeen-e-Khalq a terrorist organization on the state departments terror org list.

    read Kissengers own words http://www. gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB312/5_19760823_Operation_Condor.PDF

    April 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Jon

    Wow. I have not seen these may posts to one CNN article in a long time. If the 'bad guy's get hold of our technology and start bombing US solidiers with drones, willl the folks who said that drones are not politically correct- please take the next trip overseas to afghanastan and explain to the terrorists that they are not allowed to use them either? I am sure they will listen to you before blowing you up as well. We are not discussing nuclear bombs here- we are discussing 21st century technology to save more soldiers lives and get the job done faster. As long as they have done extensive due dillegence on the sites they are bombing- and not just gun-slingnig those drones around and bombing civilians I am all for it the next time we god forbid have another 9/11 I am sure all the folks against this will stop yapping.

    April 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  57. AtlasEyes

    Hmmm...are these people upset that we (USA) are using unmanned vehicles to do the killing instead of our own sons and daughters? Or, are they upset at the fact that the present administration is doing what most have called for, stepping up the effort against our enemies with minimum lives lost on the battlefield? CIA agents are combatants during wartime situations and if i recall correctly, former president Bush jr. offically declared war on terrorism. I don't think some of you realize the the CIA has been in all of our recent wars and are most likely gathering information for future wars yet unseen by the US public. Unfortunately, they (CIA) have more top secret information than the common military unit is allowed to know and therefore should be the ones to carry out the strikes against potentially threats to our (USA) interests, allies, and innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. The CIA never gets enough credit but, they're the ones getting most of the intell that the military uses to plan operations against our foes. Everyone likes to think that our elite military sectors i.e. Green Berets and SEAL teams are first in, think again...

    April 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Kimberly

    For those who are against drones look into every face, read the details of all 1,723 heroes & then voice your opinion.

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2004/oef.casualties/index.html

    April 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  59. jay

    their use in war is the smart thing to do...whether one thinks it is right or wrong. I think most people opposed to their us are worried about domestic applications.

    April 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Kill or Be Killed

    Dear Daniel-2,

    You continue to expose your complete ignorance of the history of 9/11, and the subsequent war in Afghanistan. You state that it is all because of right-wing politicians (like President Obama and the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate?): for the record, I too am a Democrat. This issue crosses all party lines; the only party line that it doesn’t cross is that between the informed and the uninformed. I don’t “like” war, and would like to see this one over, and our soldiers return home as swiftly as possible. I am very glad that we will soon be significantly out of Iraq, a place where we never belonged to begin with.

    But, we are not fighting the war in Afghanistan, just to make the Pentagon and defense contractors happy. No one likes the enormous budget deficits caused by these wars, but the war in Afghanistan is about the survival of our country, or risking the chance of a repeat of 9/11, or far worse. Osama bin Laden is on record saying that he is trying to get his hands on a nuclear weapon. How would you feel about the words that you have typed here, if that ever becomes a reality? Are you really prepared to give him that opportunity? I know I am not, and thankfully, neither is the President.

    The relatively low cost of operating the UAV program, and its ability to reach places that our infantry could never get to––at least without the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of lives, and at a cost hundreds of times greater than the UAVs––means both the savings of millions of dollars, and thousands upon thousands of lives, both military and civilian. If instead of a limited missile strike, you had a full invasion of a city––with street-by-street battles involving tanks, artillery, heavy machine guns, as well as close air support––how many more people do you think would end up dead?

    Why don’t you read some of the reports from the BBC, of interviews they have conducted in the tribal regions, where the people, in general, view the missiles as a gift from Allah, hopefully freeing them from the clutches of the Taliban and al Qaeda. They want peace and they are tired of beheadings, random killings and living under the Taliban’s distorted version of Islam, but they are helpless to fight them alone. Please do some reading and maybe you will get an education about the subjects that you so freely write about, without having a grasp of the facts.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  61. John Q.

    This is all going on with the quiet permission of Pakistan anyway. We are reluctant to turn all the technology over to them, and rightfully so probably, or Pak would be doing it themselves. This gives them a little plausible deniability with the populace is all. I say keep crossing the terrorists off the list before they kill more soldiers, plant IEDs, etc.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Jpck20

    Go Drones Go!!!

    April 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Randy

    We have a right to protect our country and citizens. The article doesn't seem to say NOT to use drones, only who is making the decison of targeting. It's a matter of paperwork and burocracy. By the time they figure it out the war will be over...I'm not worried, no politician or administration in their right mind would cancel the use of this awesome tool against terrorism.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Just Wondering

    AMERICAN LAW FORBIDS THE CIA TO ASSINATE ANY ONE, BUT W SAID THAT BECAUSE HE WAS PRESIDENT. HE HAS A RIGHT TO IGNORE ANY AND ALL LAW'S HE CHOOSE'S. HE EVEN TOLD THE SUPREME COURT TO REPEATEDLY EAT A SH@T SANDWICH BECAUSE HE IS ABOVE THERE RULING'S! GOD SAVE THE KING.... I MEAN QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Myomy

    Devils advocate for a moment only: Can any one imagine that any country can use drones with the same logic we are usung and use their grievance such as Japan, Cuba or Yoguslavia with its reasons or even Russia with its own logic or reason. This looks like a very questionable and messy path as it violates another country's sovereignty and quite possibly one day the effected law abiding civillian population is bound to demand justice.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Gin

    To add to my previous comment, drones are not just blindly striking. Like Drone On says, there are rules of engagement and recon. is done.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Gin

    Yes, drones can be destructive. However, war is destructive and we ARE at war. There is no time to determine the "legality" of a drone strike in a war zone. My husband is a drone operator for the military and the use of drones saves many lives; the drones observe enemy positions as well as watch over troop convoys and keep them safe.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Drone On

    The title is misleading and some of the comments reflect the misconception of the title to the article. First there are rules of engagement and I can see how some may think there are no laws when it comes to war but be careful with that statement because the law states that only military combatants may participate not civilians unless you want to be charged with war crimes. As far as the article, it doesn't question whether drones should be used but rather who should operate drones. Should it be military combatants or are civilians like the CIA (even if they are ex-military) allowed to operate them? That is the true discussion and not whether or not drones are immoral or moral because the lack of human emotion or intelligence may cause the unintentional deaths of civilians. There is no evidence to backup that unmanned vs manned weapons cause more civilian deaths. In the many wars that have occurred, many civilian deaths were caused by manned vehicles. With that said please stick to the topic...who should operate unmanned vehicles...military or civilians? In my opinion, in sticking to the proper rules or laws of military engagement it should be military. After all we are more civilized than terrorists...are we not?

    April 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Daniel-2

    @William Earley.You say war is never good and you're right.Except for those right-wing politicians who use it along with the ignorance of the people to get votes and the people at the Pentagon and the big defence plants who are making a great deal of money out of this obscene war and that is the very reason we're fighting it.

    April 29, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  70. william Earley

    War is never good. I wish we were not in the position we are in now. We are fighting people who use tactics like Japan used against us in world war 2. How do you fight someone who uses there own self as a bomb? OBL used The 911 bombers and the planes they hijacked as HIS drones to kill us. We certainly can't let the terrorist use countries, to poor to secure anything, let alone their own people, to harbor these gangsters ! I feel we are witnessing the birth of a drone military machine. Our future 'boots on the ground' soldiers will be city and state builders. Using men and women with guns in large numbers is a 'no go' in the future. My real fear is that one of these fools will get their hands on a nuke and detonate it in some big city. Then all bet's are off and we will be forced to retaliate . Then the tactics we use now to fight these guys will seem quaint if it ever comes down to using nukes.

    April 29, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  71. Iraq Paramedic

    As a former infantryman in the Army in the late 70's, a firefighter for 5yrs, worked the streets on a 911 ambulance for 8yrs & now a paramedic in Iraq, I would love for GOD to send Christ down right now & return all to peace but, that ain't happening untill GOD wants it to & he allready told us through his word in the wholy Bible & the Q'uran & the Tora that there is going to be a great war that starts in the east & culminates in a final battle in the valley of Meggido where blood will run as deep as a horse's breast plate. War has been around since Cain slew Abel. Everyone has a right to their own opinion so why are some of you getting angry at the rest, it is just a discussion.
    Any way the UAV, not drones, are an excellent tool & greatly reduce civilian casualities & infurstructure damage. Unfortunately though someone will try to prosecute someone else to try & make them selves look good, it is the nature of the beast.
    Sophos, peace is a great idea but, sitting back safe in a country made safe by the very people you are calling filthy creeps is really not fair. Get some of your friends together & take a trip to a middle east country without the protection of the USA & see how far you get. I mean nothing mean or disrespectfull by that, just a suggestion for a learning experiance.
    Daniel-2, you are wrong young man. The CIA does not operate with impunity anywhere it wants to. Yes they have a wide latitude of self preservation in certain situations but not total freedom by any means.
    May GOD Bless & keep us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 29, 2010 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  72. Mulada

    @Sophos . . . "as usual the US military culture is circular, self serving, and simply immoral." I'm sure that comes from your long, distinguished experience serving your country. Again, the military is not an autonomous agency operating independently. Wherever the military goes, they were directed there by civilian leadership. The top officials in the Department of Defense are all civilians, not military members. The military exists to excert the political will of our nation (not our military) when other methods fail.

    As John Stuart Mill said, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

    April 29, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  73. prlytle

    To bad all those people that are defending the Al Qeada or terrorists were not in the World Trade Center when it went down.

    April 29, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  74. Sophos

    Ronald is just simply wrong in his logic. He is ensnarled by some rather basic unexamined beliefs. They are worse that "filthy creeps" since we are speaking of murder... As usual the US military culture is circular, self serving, and simply immoral. Call it "surgical" and justify, whatever...it is all wrong. Find something else to do with your time.... Peace

    April 29, 2010 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  75. Ronald

    Some people on here have a complete lack of credibility or valid information and need not comment. Particularly comment numbers 33 and 35, which allege that Afghanistan was never home to Al Qeada or terrorists, their funding does not come from within the country, that "drones" slaughter innocent people indiscriminately and other false statements. The Taliban provided a safe haven for Osama's insurgency for decades while they were in power, and the poppy seed is a very important commodity in the country, and generates large amounts of funding for the insurgent organization. Comment number 41 states "Drones = won't question killing innocent people. And the army can't give a court martial to a drone." This is quite possibly the most ignorant and false sentence ever constructed by the English language. Apparently the scholar who wrote this believes that the military asset in question is capable of finding, fixing, targeting, tracking and engaging individuals autonomously. First, the weapons engagement process for an unmanned aircraft is identical to that of a conventional, manned strike asset. In neither case is the aircraft operator at liberty to release ordnance without specific clearance from a qualified attack controller. Failure to comply with official policies governing the employment of a weapon system will most surely result in a court-martial, at least, for those individuals responsible, whether they are operating an unmanned vehicle or a manned one. If an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot drops a 500 pound GBU-38 on a crowded street corner, no the F15 will not be the recipient of a court martial, but that pilot will surely have plenty of time at Leavenworth to reflect on the incident. If the crew of an MQ-9 Reaper finds it prudent to place a GBU-12 in the center of the local Afghani market, the "drone" similarly will not be punished, but the crew will suffer identical consequences as the individual in the first example. So, daniel-2, no the operators of drones are not "filthy creeps" who need to be prosecuted in an international war crime tribunal. Please do some research before posting ignorance, or simply do not post at all if you do not have a clue what the f* you are talking about.

    April 29, 2010 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  76. Sophos

    Volence begats violence... the logic is circular, paranoid, and deadly. Tune in, turn on, and the drop out from any (any!) support for people "in uniform." The actions of the US military are endangering Americans. Each solider is morally responsible for any human life they take and contributes to the machine of death. And yes, to the other posts, it will just boomerang back on you... Karma–what you give out, will come back to you... Why not decide to STOP dropping bombs on people. PEACE

    April 29, 2010 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  77. Daniel-2

    @Kill or Be Killed,Contrary to your statement,the C.I.A. has done more damage around the world than any terrorist organization ever did at any given time.It does anything it wants with virtually unlimited resources including operating those ungodly drones with total impunity butchering both "militants" and civilians alike.The butchers who operate those aircraft need to be brought to justice and dealt with appropriately,but sadly enough this won't happen.

    April 29, 2010 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
  78. Kill or Be Killed

    So, EdBnv, you think that 9/11 is somehow "justifiable" even assuming, for argument’s sake, that the CIA had an office on part of one floor, of one tower? By that logic, we should have just dropped a nuclear weapon over Kabul, and flown home, but we didn’t do that. In fact, those bad, bad, CIA people, made it possible for us to march in, without any military action at all, saving an untold number of thousands of lives on all sides.

    Are you old enough to remember Viet Nam? Have you ever seen any footage from the era of carpet bombing North Viet Nam, or the bombing of Germany in World War II? Compared to those days, we are practically “hand-delivering” every missile, after checking and re-checking, to try to ensure that we are hitting the target we want. Have we made mistakes? Yes, we have. It would be ludicrous to think that an entire war, as in W-A-R, is supposed to be fought, from start to finish, without any civilian casualties. I hate war. I was against Viet Nam, and the Iraq war, but Afghanistan was a country that we did not attack, until Osama bin Laden, with the protection of the Taliban, launched the single-worst terrorist attack in history.

    Do you remember 9/11? I flew into New York on the Saturday after the attack the prior Tuesday. Flying down the New Jersey side of the Hudson, looking down where the towers had always stood, and seeing still burning and smoldering holes in the ground. My brother-in-law worked directly across the street, on the thirty-seventh floor, and had just gotten to his office when the first plane hit. He was still in a daze, when the second plane came in, and then he ran down thirty-seven flights, and walked through the dust, smoke and debris, down to the Battery, and then all the way up the East Side Drive to 125th Street. No one could reach anyone by phone, and my sister, and my entire family was in a state of panic for hours, until he finally reached a pay phone, and was able to call my sister. He was very fortunate.

    Have you ever seen any of the more graphic footage, which most U.S. stations decided not to broadcast––people holding hands, and jumping out of windows a hundred floors up? It kind of sears your memory, like being in New York that weekend, and seeing the thousands of fliers, the makeshift memorials throughout Union Square, the firehouses, covered in black crepe paper, with thousands of flowers and candles and teddy-bears piled up to mourn the lost.

    So, maybe in your sheltered corner of this planet, nothing like this happens, but it did happen right here in the United States, and it’s a little difficult to forget, and quite frankly, I would never want to forget, otherwise, I might end up sounding as ridiculous as you.

    Actually, you are right. Maybe we should send a police car to Afghanistan, with a properly signed warrant for Osama bin Laden, who of course will peacefully surrender, so that he can be brought to trial in America. Perhaps you would like to start taking up a collection for his legal defense fund. Are you really that out of touch with what is going on this planet? You might as well join LiveFreeor when she goes fabric shopping for her burqa; something in a royal blue might be nice.

    April 29, 2010 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
  79. History

    Raise your hand if you like freedom and safety. Alright then, if you want those things then let the military and other supporting casts do their jobs. It's a fact that U.S. drone strikes have had a major impact on enemy forces throughout the war on terrorism. Why would any American want to stop that? If you don't want the enemies of your country dealt with then what do you want? I hear a lot of crying about the drones but not one opponent to drones has suggested an alternative that's just as effective...letting senior terrorist leaders live in peace while they plan operations against the U.S. is not an alternative.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  80. Amused

    I am so amused by all this stuff... It seems like the vietnam war is back again only instead of vietnam its the war on terrorism. You have the weak dumb foolish people (the hippies) that want to tie america's hands behind her back while the terrorist beat the crap out of us and theres the good smart people that know what is going on (everybody else) wants to beat the crap out of the terrorist.

    For all the people that are saying drones are bad and they are ungodly... and say the united states wants to fly reapers over the big cities of the united states get real people... Predators maybe. It would be a good idea the cops would have much easier jobs and the crime rate would probably go down because you would have predators flying over which don't have missles or any kind of firepower keeping an eye on the city for gangs and all that other crap.

    Reapers on the other hand have full up missles and all kinds of other weapons people don't know about and the reaper isn't the only drone that has weapons on it you stupid people. Do your research before you comment on stuff. If it wasn't for the predators and reapers and all the other drones they fly the terrorist would be attacking us alot more than they already do and we would have a tougher fight on our hands and the death toll would be alot higher than it is already which people are complaining about.

    War isn't pretty people why don't you understand that. You have good guys and you have bad guys and they are trying to KILL EACHOTHER we need these drones so we can KILL MORE OF THEM than they do of us. Why don't you shut your ugly mouths and support your troops like good americans instead of critisizing everything they do when you don't know jack crap about anything going on exept for what the retarded media tells you.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  81. LiveFreeor

    The same drones that are blowing the @#$% out of Iraquis and Pakistanis will, one day, be used against us...and we will remember....and have empathy.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  82. Motive

    One needs to sincerely do a reality check. What is this war of drones about? Is the motive religous hatred? Or is it racial hatred? Could it be that we are just trigger happy? Or is this giving rise to the ugly head of fascism? Their is a disproportionate killing of innocent civillians which is clearly immoral. Errors could be made and the so called suspected terrorist may not really be terrorist but ordinary ethnic, indeginous people dressed up in their unusual ethnic style. One example in the news media was the killing of a whole wedding party. No one would be able to predict as to how one would react or be effected after seeing their family killed by a drone attack. So in essence the drone attack may also be creating terrorist and so goes on this vicious cycle. So, in the end no body wins the war, its the war alone that wins. Food for thought.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  83. LiveFreeor

    Just remember War is Peace. The smart bombs and missiles that indiscriminately take out entire blocks of humanity in Iraq, just like the hellfire of bombs and napalm that we poured down on Vietnam and Cambodia will kill only the bad people and leave the good. War promotes wonderful relations with the locals. Peace will reign supreme. Iraqui women will fling off their burkas and drink from their glasses of wine. Obama will be found and flown back to Logan where his family was secretly flown out of by the US Government. He will be tried and punished and he will no longer be able to run a successful global terrorist campaign from his cave in Afghanistan. And to think, none of this would have been possible without the peace operations of the US Military.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • A dude

      So we should base our government and society on 1984? Authoritarian regime sounds good to me!!!

      June 5, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  84. OneAM

    I think this Drone or Not argument is useless. It's going to happen, other countries will build them, along with drone tanks, drone ships, drone everything that can be operated un-manned. Unless we believe that the whole planet is safe and civilized, argueing about this coming technology is useless. I do NOT believe that the world is safe and all made up of nice, decent civilized people. Until then, when the human race no longer needs armies and weapons of war, I'd rather see our children in the armed services operating a drone instead of a plane anyday.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  85. unlimitedvisibility

    u guys are nuts
    are u at war or not
    sounds like going back to the good old Vietnam days
    must not bomb where the bad guys are
    either do the job or not
    if not get your troops out of harms way
    War Crimes are a joke they only apply to the losers

    April 29, 2010 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  86. Dr. Randall Norris, Ph.D.

    Someone needs to teach the guys shooting the missiles on the drones the difference between an Al Queda terrorist cell and a wedding party and school children playing. Seems like they end up being our favorite targets. End the damn wars, come home, and spend the money here, not over there protecting big oil!

    April 29, 2010 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  87. EdBnv

    Since we settle our grievences with summary execution (read drone attacks) that result in colateral damage (innocent civilians killed) we can hardly complain when citizens of other contries settle their differences with us by summary execution with civilian casualties (read terrorist acts of 9/11.) A CIA terrorism task force (read summary execution cooridination center) was located in one of the buildings destroyed:
    The Department of Defense (DOD) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) shared the 25th floor with the IRS.

    Me thinks this would be a more civilized world if we went back to catching criminals (read terrorists) and trying them in civilian courts.

    One leads by example and the example we are setting to the world is that if one thinks someone else committed a crime - or even may committ a crime, then you can kill them without a trial and even kill innocent people nearby with impunity...

    April 29, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  88. LiveFreeor

    Just remember:

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

    Oh and don't forget: "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING"...from a drone.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  89. Kill or Be Killed

    Brigitte,

    Are you, along with LiveFreeor, as incredibly uninformed as you appear? The CIA does not just run around the world doing whatever it wants. It is an arm of the Executive Branch, you know, the guy in the White House, no matter which party he or she may be affiliated with. Nothing the CIA does is by “accident,” they are given the most difficult, undesirable and dangerous paramilitary assignments, directly by the President, through Executive Orders. The last time I checked, the President was still the Commander In Chief of the United States of America, including all of its uniformed forces, as well as those operating under his direct, but more clandestine, command.

    Do you really believe that the CIA is operating in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, without the full knowledge of each Country’s governments? The CIA has the unenviable responsibility of carrying out its assigned missions, without the “public” support of these countries, all of whom will deny any knowledge of or participation in any of the operations, while popping Champagne corks each time another al Qaeda leader is taken out.

    Maybe we just don’t need the CIA, or an Army, Air Force, Navy or Marine Corps, and maybe the tooth-fairy and the Easter Bunny will stop Osama bin Laden, before he can launch his sequel to 9/11. I would love to live in an idyllic paradise, without war, but right now, that is not an option on the table. How would you like to be a woman in Afghanistan, facing the possible return of the Taliban? Have you bought the fabric for your burqa yet? Are you prepared to live your life through a small slit of cloth, forbidden to go to school, or to even go outside, for that matter, unless you are escorted by a male relative? You won’t have to worry about voting, driving or having a glass of wine after a hard day of work, so I guess that would be a big plus. But if you have any interest in being a part of a democratic society, which is not exactly perfect, and never will be, then I suggest that you do a little reading, before declaring your Country to be the same as a terrorist organization.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  90. Sophos

    Stop sending your "drones" to kill people....Period... Focus on all the problems you have in your own geographic area.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  91. LiveFreeor

    Drones= Freedom and Peace. God bless the drones. A drone over every house in Amerika, whatever the cost!

    April 29, 2010 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • A dude

      Don't Nazis spell 'America' with a 'k'? Hm...

      June 5, 2010 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  92. Whatif

    The use of Drones in this military campaign seems like the only viable alternative we have. Missle attacks have killed too many civilians, and are further decaying our diplomacy with these countries. Afganistan, Pakistan, and India allow us to occupy their land because terrorism has been a huge problem there, but the people there will certainly demand we leave if they percieve us to be a bigger threat to them than terrorist attacks. As for going toe to toe with them with rifles-that would be the most moral alternative to airstrikes and missles, but then you must also have a moral opponent willing to stop killing innocent civilians with carbombs and suicide squads, and stand to face us. I do like the idea of patrolling our borders with drones, the illegal immigation problem has gotten totally out of hand. Remember it is not only Mexicans and Canadians illegally entering our country (most of whom are criminals) it is terrorist using these avenues too. Big brother has had an eye in the sky since the days the first satellites were launched, they don't need drones for the job, and I really don't think they will start patrolling our cities with armed-to-the-teeth aircraft. The legislative branch was created to keep the executive branch in check so just to make sure we should have some legal discussion on the use of drones for domestic survellance.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  93. LiveFreeor

    "Me–Afghan war vet, U.S. Army drill sergeant. I do my best to turn the youth of our country into killers. BUT, killers with a conscience, killers that not only know HOW to kill but WHO, WHEN, and WHY to kill. The laws of land warfare make us better than the enemy. "

    What a load of crap. If only war were so black and white. Just ask the MILLIONS of people that have died in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. How many were innocent people just trying to take care of their families? Were they all evil, bad people who desrved to be killed? Did we even have a right to be over there killing them or should we have left them alone? We lost the Vietnam War to the Communists and now we trade peacefully and properly with them....no killing necessary! The US Military is an out of control genocidal war machine that is contributing to the bankruptcy of this economy.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  94. LiveFreeor

    Don't forget that right up until the day they went bankrupt, the Soviet Union was wasting their money to support one of the largest militaries in the world. As I recall, they blew some of their hard-earned money in a country called Afghanistan. Who says you can't learn from other's mistakes?

    April 29, 2010 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
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