New Bogeyman

The U.S. Senate is now holding hearings on the legality of targeted killings, especially with Predator drones. Does the war on terror give the U.S. the right to kill suspected terrorists anywhere in the world? And even if it does have that right, are these killings doing more harm than good given that mistakes happen and innocent people are also being killed?

One Yemeni writer, Farea Al-Muslimi, testified about his own shock and hatred when a drone bombed his village. In the past he had good feelings toward America but now:

The drone strike and its impact tore my heart, much as the tragic bombings in Boston last week tore your hearts and also mine. What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village… one drone strike accomplished in an instant: There is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.

The Yemenis are now burning drones in effigy and
Muslimi said
Yemini parents are using the drones as bogeymen to get their kids to go to bed:

Go to sleep or I will call the planes.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, of course, is using the drone strikes to try to recruit more terrorists. Do you think they will succeed? Do you think we’ve gone too far with the drone strikes?

Thanks to Evan, tammy, Cathy, Dixie, bikehikebabe, Rummuser and Nick for commenting on last week’s post.
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27 Responses to New Bogeyman

  1. Mike says:

    Drone technology has been significantly misused. Just because we have the power and capability to target and attack remotely doesn’t mean that we should. Drone attacks outside of war zones should rarely used and should be individually approved at the highest level, preferably at the cabinet level or commander in chief. There should be no opportunity for plausible deniability.
    Mike´s last blog post ..Declassified!–The “school” I attended 40 years ago.

  2. Dixie says:

    ‘Time’ magazine’s Feb. 11, 2013 issue drove home the presence/presents of the drone world. I think ‘we’ are in big trouble with this seemingly, arrogant direction. Has ‘our’ plan to resolve terrorists issues made ‘us’ the newest definition of the same blatant opposition to ‘rule of law’?

    “Al Qaeda” – translates from Arabic into English as “The Base” referring to the Command Base of the USA, as housed in Iraq. Therefore the USA is al queda? (BBC did various programs proving this, in the 1990’s.)

    I abhor government antics, but am not allowed to vote my preferences. I’m not the modern day patriot. But when I see crap like I’ve seen for the last 30 years never change… I wonder, who’s really minding America’s store??

    On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 I walked out into my front yard and in the sky was the strangest air vehicle I had ever seen. Air vehicle… as I could not identify it nor confirm it as a regular airplane. And hadn’t all planes been grounded? Yes. Years passed and one day I found a photo online and it was a drone. So, a drone went over my home that day? I suppose I should have felt safer knowing it was traveling the eastern seaboard… but instead I felt sick. Here we go, and have been going ever since.

    Sorry to leave such long comment but I keep hearing the thought: “You reap what you sow.”
    Conspiracy thoughts?
    On 9-11-01 an drill was taking place; same as Sandy Hook Elementary; same as Boston Marathon. My point? Where do the drones go next?(smile) Ah, melodrama.
    Dixie´s last blog post ..spring rite – right?

  3. Jean says:

    I agree. It’s hard to believe our government still preaches about human rights and the rule of law to other countries. If only we practiced what we preach.

    Thanks for telling us about the surveillance drone you saw. Police departments are anxious to use them and the Boston Marathon has bolstered their arguments. Boston in particular wants to start using them before next year. My guess is the majority of the people there will approve since the police and FBI did such a great job in tracking down the bombers using the surveillance they already had. The argument is maybe with drones they can stop the bombers before they detonate the bombs.

    As for our enthusiastic use of Predator drones, we’ve lost the moral high ground. It’s sad and it’s hard to believe we won’t pay dearly for it.

  4. bikehikebabe says:

    We need practice in using drones. Get the bad guys placing bombs on the roads. Stay away from “suspected” bad guys with other people nearby.

  5. Jean says:

    I agree with you! Unfortunately when people have a lot of power with no oversight it’s tempting to get carried away. 🙁

  6. tammy j says:

    remember pogo?
    “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
    i think in war drones would probably be a good thing.
    hitler used them near the end of the second world war. called doodle bugs by the british. they fell on churchs, orphanages and the little villages. devasting.
    i despair of our vision now. it’s always been self serving.
    but now it is swinging dangerously close to being the bully on the block. just because we can.
    with power comes either statesmanship or oppression.
    hope i don’t offend your readers. just sayin’.
    tammy j´s last blog post ..the little monk

  7. Evan says:

    I’m from Australia. We are supporting the US in this and I find it utterly appalling that we are.

    If the difference between war and terrorism is the targeting of non-combatants then ‘war’ has been terrorism at least since WW2.

    The idea that blowing up somebody’s loved ones is going to make them inclined to your way of doing things . . . well, (polite) words fail me.
    Evan´s last blog post ..Today Only Get a Free Copy of The Midas Tree

  8. tammy j says:

    oh evan. so well said.
    tammy j´s last blog post ..the little monk

  9. Jean says:

    It’s hard to say we’re not the bully on the block. We’ve given a lot of aid to Yemen, but it can’t make up for terrorizing them with the killing drones.

    About statesmanship. I can’t think of any recent examples of it.

    “hope i don’t offend your readers. just sayin’.” My guess is everyone agrees with you.

    I’m afraid terrorism has a much longer history than that. I do agree that not everyone buys into the image that WW II was a “good” war because we were on the side of right. Carpet bombing cities might be considered a war crime by some.

  10. Evan says:

    Yes, terrorism goes back a long way.

    My point was to challenge the idea that wars are somehow more legitimate than terrorism.

    The idea that a state committing terrorism is somehow more moral than a minority committing terrorism doesn’t work for me. You could argue that it was worse I should think.
    Evan´s last blog post ..Today Only Get a Free Copy of The Midas Tree

  11. Evan says:

    Carpet bombing certainly comes under my definition of terrorism (targeting civilians). The head of British Bomber Command during WW2 wanted Britain to say that they were engaged in terrorising Germany into surrender. His proposal wasn’t supported by the others involved.

  12. Jean says:

    In fact they were trying to demoralize the population, and that rarely works. People tend to get their backs up for some reason. I’m not justifying the decisions of the guys in power, but I doubt very much that they care what we think. The argument seems to be we’re the good guys so anything we do is good. The interesting thing is when innocent people are sent to jail and evidence exonerating them comes up, the fellows involved in the wrong incarceration usually don’t believe it. You might like the book, Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me.

  13. Evan says:

    In bureaucratic systems blame shifting is pretty predictable I think. The attempt is to make the ‘system’ automatic so it is not surprising that people don’t think it fair that they take individual responsibility.
    Evan´s last blog post ..Today Only Get a Free Copy of The Midas Tree

  14. Jean says:

    I’m afraid I don’t understand your last comment. Do you think you have the power to change things? Are you saying you take individual responsibility for what’s going on?

  15. Evan says:

    Bureaucracies are structures that encourage some types of behaviour and discourage others.

    A bureaucratic system is rule governed and the rules are to be applied impartially – everyone treated the same.

    Ie. the human differences tend to be ignored, or relegated to that ever growing category, “Misc”.

    I think we have the power to change some things (esp. if we collaborate) and not others. I take individual responsibility for what I can individually do.

    Corporate responsibility gets tricky. People tend to regard themselves as isolated individuals (and are encouraged in this view by a great number of cultural arrangements and institutions). However this ignores are very great mutual interdependence. So question of individual responsibility spin out into all sorts of interesting places I think.
    Evan´s last blog post ..Today Only Get a Free Copy of The Midas Tree

  16. Rummuser says:

    The question to ask is not have we gone too far, but why, no matter what the USA does, it is hated in the muslim world.

    It is the ugly American all over again. The geography is different that is all.

  17. tammy j says:

    that was an excellent article rummy.
    i too am so tired of the “swaggering tough talking pseudo-warriors” in this country.
    ever notice how the really ugly things we do are never in the big news? well. that’s directed more to monk. but if you follow any of our news you’ll soon find. we sweep it under the rug.
    we’re very clean.
    tammy j´s last blog post ..the drowning bee

  18. Jean says:

    “…why, no matter what the USA does, it is hated in the muslim world.” But we’re hated precisely because of what we do. All of our foreign aid doesn’t count because of the drone attacks. Why wouldn’t we be hated? That’s why the cartoon above is such a joke.

    I’m afraid Rummuser’s article isn’t really news. I’ve read countless other articles on the same subject. I’ve also seen a lot of cartoons pointing out that Obama won the Nobel Peace prize and then went on to greatly expand the drone killings. Also recall my previous post on drones, especially the video about drones taking over the world.

  19. tammy j says:

    so true monk.
    i guess i meant it never seems to be in the ‘mainstream’ news. like for instance cnn’s site or on tv “news at 9:00” …
    a blonde newscaster chirping “today 40 farmers were killed in their fields by u.s. drones. they were wearing the traditional head gear that muslims wear. no further knowledge of them is known at this time.”
    it almost doesn’t bear thinking of. i want to be proud of my country. i do. it becomes harder and harder.
    but then… there are many countries still where this kind of talking back and forth on a blog would get us killed or at the very least thrown into a prison and tortured or forgotten.
    i am still thankful for that freedom of speech. even when i so vehemently disapprove of its policies. a double edged sword!
    i must say. you spark deep and philosophical thought on here.
    tammy j´s last blog post ..the drowning bee

  20. bikehikebabe says:

    The radical Muslims hate us because we don’t follow their religion (islam), drones or no drones. The rest of the Muslims don’t hate us. There were 2.6 million Muslims living in the U.S. in 2012 & that’s expected to double.

  21. Jean says:

    I’m afraid our country has done/is doing all sorts of nasty things. No sense hiding our heads in the sand about it, but also no sense wasting too much energy on things we have no control over. If we can have some influence then go for it, otherwise try to do something more constructive.

    Network news doesn’t have the resources for in-depth reporting. Its purpose is to make money, which means entertaining enough people to get some advertising dollars. It has a lot of competition from the internet, as do newspapers, many of whom have gone out of business.

    We get the Wall Street Journal, which doesn’t do as much in-depth reporting as in the old days, but they still charged us $374.40 to renew for the print edition. Andy does read most of it every day. I check it for articles of interest and read most of my articles on the web. There are plenty of good sources there. We also get the Economist for world news.

    Yes, the radicals would hate us no matter what. But I disagree with your statement, “The rest of the Muslims don’t hate us.” That’s becoming less and less true the more we invade the air space of other countries and kill innocent bystanders.

  22. Rummuser says:

    Jean, apropos your response to bikehikebabe, I beg to differ with your logic though I agree that bikehikebabe has got it all wrong. You do not have to invade their air space and kill innocent bystanders for them to hate you. From their childhood they are taught to hate non muslims. All attempts to hide that basic hatred is temporary till their own ends is met, ie where they are they become the majority. Believe me, this is not something that I have been brainwashed into believing, it is something that family members who are muslims have shared with me. I make no bones about my being islamophobic while not being muslimphobic.

    I live in India which has the second largest muslim population after Indonesia. It has more muslims than Pakistan has. They live among us, and mostly share many of our strengths and weaknesses but insist on being different. So be it.

    I think that you would agree with me that Thomas Friedman is not a lunatic. This is what he has to say. There is one particular statement that I would stress on. “………and without generating any vigorous, sustained condemnation in the Muslim world.”

    “In the past few years, hundreds of Muslims have committed suicide amid innocent civilians – without making any concrete political demands and without generating any vigorous, sustained condemnation in the Muslim world.

    Two trends are at work here: humiliation and atomization. Islam’s self identity is that it is the most perfect and complete expression of God’s monotheistic message, and the Quran is God’s last and most perfect word. To put it another way, young Muslims are raised on the view that Islam is God – 3.0 Christianity is God – 2.0 Judaism is God – 1.0 And Hinduism and all others are God 0.0.

    One of the factors driving Muslim males, particularly educated ones, into these acts of extreme, expressive violence is that while they were taught that they have the most perfect and complete operating system, every day they’re confronted with the reality that people living by God2.0, God 1.0 and God – 0.0 are generally living much more prosperously, powerfully and democratically than those living under Islam. This creates a real dissonance and humiliation. How could this be? Who did this to us? The crusaders! The Jews! The West! It can never be something they failed to learn, adapt to or build. This humiliation produces a lashing out.”

    Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times. July 4, 2007.

    “We patronize Islam, and mislead ourselves, by repeating the mantra that Islam is a faith with no serious problems accepting the secular West, modernity and pluralism, and the only problem is a few bin Ladens. Although there is a deep moral impulse in Islam for justice, charity and compassion, Islam has not developed a dominant religious philosophy that allows equal recognition of alternative faith communities.”

    Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times.

  23. Jean says:

    I agree that some Muslims are going to hate the West because of that disconnect. But the Guardian article you originally quoted wasn’t about them. It was about why others who originally liked us have turned against us:

    It is not hard to understand why this is happening. Indeed, the slightest capacity for empathy makes it easy. It is not – as self-loving westerners like to tell themselves – because there is some engrained, inherent, primitive anti-Americanism in these cultures. To the contrary, there is substantial affection for US culture and “the American people” in these same countries, especially among the young.

    What accounts for this pervasive hostility toward the US is clear: US actions in their country. As a Rumsfeld-era Pentagon study concluded: “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies.” In particular, it is “American direct intervention in the Muslim world” – justified in the name of stopping Terrorism – that “paradoxically elevate[s] the stature of and support for Islamic radicals”.

    Just consider how Americans view their relentless bombing attacks via drone versus how the rest of the world perceives them. It is not hyperbole to say that America is a rogue nation when it comes to its drone wars, standing almost alone in supporting it. The Pew poll from last June documented that “in nearly all countries, there is considerable opposition to a major component of the Obama administration’s anti-terrorism policy: drone strikes.” The finding was stark: “in 17 of 20 countries, more than half disapprove of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in nations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” That means that “Americans are the clear outliers on this issue”.

  24. Rummuser says:

    This is the stated reason Jean. The underlying antipathy is generic.
    Rummuser´s last blog post ..Brass Handled Walking Stick.

  25. bikehikebabe says:

    Is the picture of your dog? It’s cute.

  26. tammy j says:

    yes bhb!
    that is zeke. you can read all about him on the peanut.
    right under his picture. it’s not too long. and it’s worth it.
    he was a rescue. and the light of my life.
    there are other pictures of him in the post ‘get ready for some zekey love’. just click on the side bar in those previous posts to find that one. thanks for noticing him.
    he died of cancer about 3 years ago now. i miss him to this day.
    tammy j´s last blog post expensive day?

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