Comments: Good Thinking

We don’t really know if the policies were carried out or not. And what is the difference between sending in death squads and using drones? And if using drones to assassinate alleged Taliban or al Qaida members can be done out in the open then why would a death squad sent to do essentially the same mission, as in murdering likely the wrong people, need to be a secret? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

Posted by Rob Payne at July 15, 2009 11:05 PM

We don’t really know if the policies were carried out or not. And what is the difference between sending in death squads and using drones? And if using drones to assassinate alleged Taliban or al Qaida members can be done out in the open then why would a death squad sent to do essentially the same mission, as in murdering likely the wrong people, need to be a secret? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

Posted by Rob Payne at July 15, 2009 11:05 PM

Can't wait for the Speilberg movie about this one. I like my mass murderers to be all conflicted about their work. Makes me feel smarter, while I'm watching people get blowed up.

Posted by SteveB at July 16, 2009 12:02 AM

Because with "death from above," Rob, you know it's nothing personal. Duh. Only business.

Posted by Save the Oocytes at July 16, 2009 12:19 AM

Save the Oocytes,
Perhaps, or is this just another opportunity for Congress to show that our “government” actually operates as a “free Democracy” even though it isn’t. After all they get to put on a grand show of being outraged even though this stuff has been going on for years and certainly not just with Bush.

Posted by Rob Payne at July 16, 2009 01:24 AM

Some may not consider this a major facetious post. I think it is perfect.

Posted by BuelahMan at July 16, 2009 08:12 AM

And what is the difference between sending in death squads and using drones?

Drones may be OK in the frontier provinces of Pakistan, but they don't work very well in Italy. Give the government a broader array of techniques for illegally killing people, and it will kill more people.

Posted by SteveB at July 16, 2009 08:53 AM

But ... but ... but ... if the government kills you, it must be legal!

Posted by Duncan at July 16, 2009 10:25 AM

Laughed my ass off - You and Bernard are using the hammers well, finding lots of nails.

Posted by Richard S at July 16, 2009 01:28 PM

Drones may be OK in the frontier provinces of Pakistan, but they don't work very well in Italy.

Based on the number of civilian deaths caused by the flying robots over Afghanistan and Pakistan, drones work as well in the Af-Pak border as they would in Italy. Which is to say, not very well at all, and resulting in the deaths of a lot of a lot of innocent bystanders.

The difference is that those bystanders in Italy would be white and European as opposed to those sub-human, brown, savages in Afghanistan-Pakistan. Innocent or guilty, who cares. They're guilty of being brown. I don't think people in the West and in America even think twice about the "collateral damage", and when they do, they rationalize it. This kind of racism is deeply embedded in the West. One should try a hypothetical thought experiment with people who justify and rationalize the drone attacks and ask them if it would be acceptable if, for example, drones were used on Western thugs and war-criminals, eg. Cheney, Kissinger, etc, and ended up killing lots of innocent, white and Western civilians.

Posted by hv at July 16, 2009 07:11 PM

And we know the Israeli policy worked, since Palestinians were so cowed by the assassinations in the seventies that Israel has never experienced any conflict with them since.

But didn't Israeli policy work.. to the extent that Palestinians no longer engage in that kind of high-profile, international terrorism against Israeli citizens knowing they will be hunted down and killed if they did?

Like Chomksy says, violence works.. it's why states resort to it so often.

Posted by hv at July 16, 2009 07:34 PM

From the link, this I believe:

"Government officials say that neither the intelligence community nor the White House was especially concerned about whether the proposed kill teams violated the law."

Not much else.

Posted by N E at July 16, 2009 07:48 PM

The idea that the CIA's Directorate of Operations, back when it was called that, had to learn anything about assassination teams from Mossad is laughable, as is much of the article, which the authors basically concede at the end. It's all guesswork and leaks that are unreliable because everyone has a motive to lie.

Cheney probably wasn't using CIA for his various nastiness, because he probably wouldn't have felt that was safe given his adversaries there, but i'm sure that didn't stop Cheney. Maybe CIA felt they should have their own capabilities to keep pace. You know boys--everybody wants to have the biggest gun!

Seriously, this assassination thing is probably a lot worse than anything we'll read. Patrice Lumumba would be able to explain from the grave what it means for the CIA to have the authority to roam around the world assassinating people who CIA considers communists or terrorists or whatever they don't like at the moment. Where is Robert Ludlum when we need him? It sounds great to talk about the Munich olympics or al qaeda, but they'd probably kill any one of a number of south american politicians they don't like, or somebody they don't like somewhere else for other Machiavellian reasons.

Posted by N E at July 16, 2009 08:26 PM

Based on the number of civilian deaths caused by the flying robots over Afghanistan and Pakistan, drones work as well in the Af-Pak border as they would in Italy. Which is to say, not very well at all, and resulting in the deaths of a lot of a lot of innocent bystanders.

You misunderstand the meaning of the word "work" in this context. Whether the drones work has nothing to do with how many civilians they kill. Assassination attempts "work" if they don't bring significant repercussions back to the US.

And I know that killing a bunch of civilians is bad for us, but the repercussions from bombing the fuck out of Italy would be in the "likely to cause World War III" level, as opposed to the "encourages people to engage in terrorist actions against the US" level.

If we kill people subtly enough, we don't have to deal with any repercussions.

It occurs to me that that entire line of reasoning could be utter bullshit, but it's not like the Bush administration had a fucking clue what they were doing. It's not like doing pointless, stupid, destructive things is against their nature. I'm fully willing to believe they'd do this kind of shit just because it appealed to them emotionally.

I hate this spy bullshit. The people running the government think they're fucking James Bond (Or Blofeld, maybe) but mostly these complicated secret schemes just kill people and ruin things. It's disgusting.

Posted by Christopher at July 17, 2009 12:00 AM

"I hate this spy bullshit. The people running the government think they're fucking James Bond (Or Blofeld, maybe) but mostly these complicated secret schemes just kill people and ruin things. It's disgusting."

yes, it is disgusting, but when killing people and ruining things gets them what they want, that's fine with them.

Posted by N E at July 17, 2009 09:16 AM

I approve of your sarcasm.

When it comes to the terrorist threat, increased security measures will be doomed to failure, and the bigger they get, the more intolerable they are to people who have any desire for freedom. Legitimate policy complaints need to be addressed.

Posted by Clint at July 17, 2009 09:38 PM