17 July 2012

Drones.........more damn drones

Greetings to all who stop here and read. Thank you for your time.

Yes, drones are back, or rather, still in the news and therefore the topic here at the old corner. I am not a "fan" of these tools (drones), nor do I enjoy posting about them and their uses. OK, so why keep ranting on about the drones then? Well, they seem to be the number one "weapon of choice" for "dear ;eager" Gobomber (aka DOBO/Obama-fay). 
Many of you will have read how our (assuming you live in and are a citizen of the USA) president is personally responsible for maintaining his personal "kill list". How he and his special side-kick a certain Mr. Brennan, "agonize" over the choice of target for the drone force to "take out". By "take out" I refer to killing and not to a Chinese menu/meal. Take out can and does have various meanings, depending on where in the world one happens to be.
Some of you good people may have seen the article in the New York Times by a Mr. Scott Shane regarding the use of drones in the war OF terror. (It is not a war ON terror any more, but a true war OF terror. Or so it must seem to those who are on the receiving end of the drone strikes.) In truth, even the "special forces" raids in the dead of night must also seem a war OF terror to those whose homes are broken into by heavily armed foreigners, aka US/NATO troops. 

Full disclosure; I have not read the article by Mr. Shane. The reviews of it so far have basically said his article is a "justification" for the use of drones. He tells us that government officials, mostly un-named of course, believe that drone use is more "moral" and a "nicer" way to kill other people. Yeah, sure thing sparky. Dead is dead, no matter how one ends up dead. I doubt the surviving family members of the drone strikes feel any relief that their family member(s) were killed by drone rather than an actual human being at relatively close range. As I said, dead is dead, no matter how you end up dead. "Our" killing of "suspected"(!!) militants just increases the number of people who will now hate and despise the USA/NATO for the rest of their lives. Yes, we make enemies even faster than we kill them. Not quite how I'd go about trying to win the "hearts and minds" of other people, but then, I am just an old working class guy who is now unemployable due to disability and not some high ranking governmental official or military type. After all, why should any form of common sense enter into the foreign relations the USA has with other countries? No reason at all it seems, as our recent and current leaders seem to have little or no use for any form of common sense. At least they do not display any such common sense by way of their public statements and policies. Funny thing about that common sense, it does not seem to be so common of late here in the USA. Maybe we no longer teach it in schools, the way the Texas Republican party wants to eliminate the teaching of critical thinking in all Texas schools. Yes, that IS a real position that the Texas elephant gang made public. They may have pulled back from that, but I have seen nothing to indicate any such pull back. I know, that means that critical thinking will, if the elephant gang wins, no longer be taught to Texans. Hell, I was wondering if they ever were taught the subject. 

Another article or three popped up after the last rant here regards drones. It seems that the US Air Force(farce) WILL be awarding medals to the drone "pilots" after all. Yes, they will be eligible to be awarded such medals as the Distinguished Flying Cross among other possible awards for their "bravery". Yes, "bravery" IS in quotes. Just how "brave" does one need to be to kill from a distance of hundreds, if not thousands of miles, by remote control? You all can debate that among yourselves if you wish, for me, there is NO bravery at all involved in such killing. And as a combat veteran, I will go out on my limb and say that remote control killing is cowardly. There, I said it. The drone killers are cowards. If you think other wise, OK, but you will never convince me you are correct and I am wrong. No way, no how.

On an unrelated note, a list of "code" words has made the rounds recently. While a few seem to treat this list as new, I beg to differ. I have a copy of these words from an article posted at the Activist Post dated 28 February 2012. Yes, the same list as has recently popped up on the web. Why it made so little "noise" back in February I do not know. Odd in a way. Any way, a Mr. David Lindorff had an article recently on the web where he "incorporates" many words from said list into his article. Personally I think he did it wrong. OK, who the hell am I to be critical of his work? Well, nobody actually, just an old working class guy. I do think he could have, should have for a "professional" writer, done it much better. All he did was inject at random, in various places in an article that did not deal with the word list. He just "sprinkled" various words from the list at random all throughout the article. It made for a very odd read, as the "code" words would pop in like this power with no rhyme or reason and did not add to the sentence they were stuck into. See, the word power did NOT add to the last sentence. Why not do like this; then we have the power grid to deal with.....? At least it would have read better or easier. But, again, who the hell am I to be critical of an "accomplished professional" writer? Again, nobody at all, just an old guy from the working class, not an "educated" person with "credentials". OK, I need to stop picking on poor Mr. Lindorff. Hell, he might sue me if he ever read this post. Oh well, what the hell, if he can't take a joke or handle criticism he needs to be less public. Yes, I am still being somewhat snarky. Somewhat? OK, ok, I'll stop. 

An experiment with "listed" words follows. Hope it doesn't totally suck on toast.
The street gangs in the town recently discussed an attack on the local power grid. The leadership said it would be an exercise for the newest members. It would allow the top members to see who among the new members might take the hostage with the fewest shots fired during the evacuation of the complex. They may also have the opportunity for looting and explosion recovery. The participants would try their skills at making pipe bombs and chemical fire during the routine. They may also try to collapse power lines and also computer infrastructure as an extra credit portion of said exercise in breaking the National security.

Well, how was that? Please do let me know what you think of the above "experiment" as I would like feedback on it. All the words in italics are on the "watch" list or "word list" that the Feds  are supposedly monitoring the entire net for. Yep, this post may get me "noticed" by DHS or the FBI or who knows what alphabet soup outfit. Well, like I give a flying rats hind end. Actually, if any of you have a spare flying rats hind end please let me know, we are rather short on them here at this time. Any reasonable offer will be considered. Honestly.

OK, my point is this; go to Information overload and after you read the article, just take a few seconds to compare with my experiment above. I promise to not ask such in the future, or tallest not for some time as I understand that I am imposing on you all. Hey, you do not have to follow the link unless you wish to. I would never even try to "order" or "boss" anybody, particularly not any readers of this old corner stop. I may try again at some future time to do more with the "listed" words in a post. No, I am not even considering a move to pure fiction writing. I have little enough talent for ANY writing as it is. For some excellent story telling, check the site and link here for Bill the Butcher. There is a man who can write! He is very inventive and always a very good read. Warning, at times he does weave in a moral or three, but still a very good read. Damn good read actually. Check his site, you will not be sorry.

Thank you all for you valuable time with this post. Again, I promise to not ask your help like I did this time, at least not for some lengthily period of time. Honest. Really.
As always, thank you for stopping by and for your time.
semper fi


Bill the Butcher said...

Hi, Charlie, thanks for the praise, but that's not why I'm responding. I don't know if you've seen this rebuttal to Scott Shane:


Incidentally, in a recent story which you read, I'd talked about an autonomous drone which runs amok. Today I came across this article:


Being a prophet isn't something I enjoy, because I never seem to predict anything good :/

Bill the Butcher said...

Incidentally your "experiment" was quite all right. It did come across as slightly stiff but I don't see how it could have been otherwise given the parameters. At least it hung together coherently and made complete sense.

john francis lee said...

If you want read the Becker/Shane article I put it here, Charlie ... in what I regard as an easier to read format. As well, after a while the NYTimes stops making what it's already printed available for free ... although clicking on the link in my rendition still seems to lead to the whole thing.

Thanks for the links to the other two, Bill. The one from global research is a real nightmare. I had seen the Hammond in Foreign Policy Journal, although I just gave it the once-over. I don't really require a proof of the immorality of drone warfare.

It is predicated on assassination - extra-judicial murder, no charge, trial, or sentence - being 'OK". And collateral murder along with it ... is 'OK', too.

I like to link to Alice's evidence to remind 'em that little girls in pinafores can see through that one in one New York (Old York?) minute.

Assassinations are clearly wrong.

So is torture, but "we're" over that one as well. Same guy 'helps' with that one, too ... "John O. Brennan, who is variously compared by colleagues to ... a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama".

And so is aggressive warfare - the supreme crime according to US at Nuremberg, but now - "we've" embraced that one, too.

The USA is on the skids, and they're well greased. If Obama or Romney (and who else is likely to win?) is elected in November ... it can only get worse.

The stock market is starting to tank. Maybe we'll 'get lucky' and the crash of the economy will 'save us'.

charlie ehlen said...

First off, you are most welcome sir. In my opinion, you are a masterful story teller/writer. It is the least I can do to direct traffic to your site.
Your story on the Dragon was prophetic and an eye opener. The US IS working on fully automated drones. Death by computer is in our future it seems.
Thank you for the praise on my feeble attempt to use "code" words. I did not plan on doing it, it really was a made up on the fly thing. If I were to actually sit and try to compose something I might do better. Probably not much better as I am not that inventive with words. Some folks have that sort of creativity and some don't, I do not have it. I may try later to work in more of the "code" words in another rant.
Yes, it could be seen as a warning......LOL.

charlie ehlen said...

Thanks for the links.
I chose to not read the Shane bit. I detest the use of drones as killing machines and did not feel like I needed to read an article that was basically praise for that use. Yes, I did rely on a few reviews of the article, but I tend to trust those who did review and write about the article. Yes, I should read the article before I comment on it, I suppose I may be getting lazy in my old age. Not an excuse, just an observation.

john francis lee said...

I don't blame you, Charlie. Things are definitely not what they seem. There was no real 'new' information on the 'facts' in that article ... it was all about spinning the facts everyone knew already. To tell you the truth, I cannot tell if the NYTimes set out to 'help' or 'hurt' President Drone.

You might think that their attempt to convey the 'reluctant assassin' image was yeomanly work for 'team Obama'. Make him look tough ... but, gee, he really hates to kill the little kids ...

Or you might be so appalled at that 'reluctant' serial assassin image that you'd conclude that the NYTimes was trying to politically assassinate Obama, under guise of being 'supportive' ...

The NYTimes has a reputation as a 'liberal' rag ... which it was, with all the accompanying connotations, under the present Sulzberger's father ... but this Sulzberger is an unabashed neocon, and the neocon outlook now seems to be that they see no downside.

Worse comes to worst ... Obama wins. They own him. So in the meantime try and stab him in the back without appearing to do so ... maybe you'll get lucky and an even more pliable candidate will be the victor.

I read this morning that Obama said : '"I strongly condemn today's barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria. ... these attacks against innocent civilians, including children, are completely outrageous."'

His own attacks barbaric, terrorist attacks on Afghan, Pakistani, Yemeni, Libyan, and Somali civilians - including children - are not!

There is no 'moral equivalence' between the US/Israeli Wehrmacht and it's enemies!!

Even implying there is lays bear your terrorist soul and opens you up to ... The Lord's burnin' rain!!! ... in the words of Gram Parsons.

To Holy, Righteous, Drone Attack!!!!.

Obama 'vowed to help "bring to justice" those behind the "barbaric terrorist attack"'. 'Justice' is code for ... The Drones.

The world is upside down, broken, and bleeding. And if there were a King ... not all of his horses nor all of his men could put our sad 'civilization' together again.

charlie ehlen said...

Further reply to your comments follow.
According to the "Global Research" article here is a quote from a D.C. based think(?) tank; "It is of strategic value for the US to refrain from providing justification {for the drone strikes} because to acknowledge any legal framework is to implicitly agree to be bound by its terms." WOW! So, if I read this correctly, by NOT giving "justification" for the use/misuse for drones, "we" can do as "we" wish, no "strings" attached. Is this hubris? Arrogance? Both? Or something else?
Also, from the same article I give this lifted directly from it. The New York Times article tried to make "the moral case for drones". Yeah, there ya go, a "moral case" FOR using drones to kill. Killing by remote control is now "moral"?? Well, I suppose that xtian morality sure has changed a great deal, or, are the "true" colors of the stain "faith" now on public display. Yes, the last sentence IS a small denigration of the xtian religion. I refuse to call it "christian" and/or to "capitalize" its foul name. Just as I refuse to "capitalize" congress as it refers to that gang of crooks who meet in Washington D.C.. Now, if and when there are more members of that outfit that it will take more than five fingers to count, I might be tempted to use a capital "C" when talking about that gang.
If somebody does not like this, well, too bad. Freedom of speech folks. It works both ways........LOL.

charlie ehlen said...

Great comment sir.
Of course, any time a member of the zionist entity is killed, even by total accident, the US will aid the zionist entity in any and every way to find and kill the "bad guys" who are responsible.
OK, a question for "dear leader". Where was he when a US citizen was killed BY the zionist entity while in international waters just a few short years ago? Yes, I mean the Turkish ship that was trying to run the blockade of Gaza. A US citizen was executed by members of the zionist entity and "president PIECE prize" did nothing! Damn coward. No doubt a president Romney would do even less about a dead American as long as the killer(s) was from the zionist entity.
America, what a country.

charlie ehlen said...

I meant to give you more credit for at least two of your recent stories.
You inspired my previous rant with your story "Drone pilot". That was the spark, if you will, that prompted me to rant on about the drones and their use.
After a few other stories, your "The Dragon" really got to me. The story tells of a fully autonomous drone that has "gone rogue". A most cautionary tale indeed sir.
As I said, you are a master story teller. I don't know where you place old Joe Conrad asa writer. I find him to be an excellent story teller. In my humble opinion, you are very much like Mr. Conrad. You are of his level of master in my opinion. You certainly DO know how to tell a story sir.

john francis lee said...

Amazing article by Doug Noble from Upstate Drone Action Reports, Charlie. I found it, unsourced, as is their wont, at Counterpoint and reposted it, sourced, as is my wont :

Assassination nation

' This striking new transparency, the official acknowledgment for the first time of a broad-based US assassination and targeted killing program, has resulted from the unprecedented and controversial visibility of drone warfare. Drones now make news every day, and those of us who have been protesting their use for years have heightened their visibility in the public eye, forcing official acknowledgment and fostering worldwide scrutiny. This new scrutiny focuses not only on drone use but also, and perhaps more importantly, on the targeted killing itself – and the “kill lists” that make them possible.

' The purpose of this article is to reframe the current attention on killer drones and Obama’s “kill list” within an historical perspective. The goal here is not to discourage the escalating protest against killer drones or against Obama’s targeted assassination program around the globe. As stated at the outset, the unprecedented visibility of these nefarious activities and of the outraged public response to them is precisely what is needed at this time. This heightened awareness also affords a perfect opportunity to revisit the extraordinary history of US assassination and targeted killing that has led directly and explicitly to these activities. '

Bill the Butcher said...

I can't talk of Conrad - I've hardly read him. But I'm honoured to think you'd compare me to anyone who's that famous :/

Here's what I wrote elsewhere on the "legality" of drones as described in that article:

...here are a few interesting lines:

”It is of strategic value for the US to refrain from providing justification [for the drone strikes] because to acknowledge any legal framework is to implicitly agree to be bound by its terms. By remaining formally unaccountable to international frameworks, the US can operate unimpeded by the red tape of the international legal community...It is also important to note that a lack of public justification does not mean the US is not acting in accordance with international legal frameworks.”

Does this make sense to anyone with half a brain? A comparison would be my taking a gun to your head and saying, "I'm going to shoot you unless you give me all your money. I'm perfectly justified in doing this, but I will not explain my justification, because if I do, I will be compelled to be bound by laws which may not allow me to put this gun to your head and order you to give me all your money."

charlie ehlen said...

Thank you for the link.
The thing with drones is this, my own opinion of course, they make war too damn easy. US troops can now stay "safe" at home and kill by remote control.
Read any military history/tactics/strategy and you find that even the generals are not exactly all that willing to waste troops. It takes time and money to train troops to be killing machines. Now the drones make even pilot training much cheaper and the killing is so much easier.
War should NOT ever be so easy. War should be the LAST resort, period. OK, maybe I am very biased having been in a war zone and in combat. Well, war is NOT pretty and it is NOT in any way "glorious". Yes, there are moments of absolute bravery, but not anything can remove the vileness of war. No brave act can undo the final outcome of a war. That outcome is that no side really ever "wins" any war. One army may triumph over another, usually one side gets so short on men and material that they must end the war. Even the "winners" do not really win very much. OK, off my soap box, for now.

charlie ehlen said...

The line about how "we" should refrain from providing ANY justification for using drones is one of the most absurd statements I have read in some time. IF, and it is a huge IF, "we" were to use some justification or other, that could mean that "we" would then be bound by some rule(s). OK, basically, the current gang who run the White House want NO rules at all. Well, that sure sounds ever worse that the Mafia. Yes, the mafia has/had rules and a valid chain of command even. Violations of their rules was dealt with quite hardly.
No rules allows Gobomber/DOBO/Obama-fay to do as he wishes when t hey "decides" to. No rules except what ever it is HE deciders at any given moment. Wow, and as we all know, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are just "pieces of old paper". Way to go Barry. You have now gone even lower than the chimp W. Shrub. What a ;legacy that is.
Yes, the above is meant to be very cynical and even a bit sarcastic.

Oh, and Bill, I put you with Conrad as a damn good story teller and writer. Like you, English was NOT his first language. If my old brain remembers correctly, he was born i what is now Poland, if it wasn't Poland when he was born. You ARE a damn good story teller sir.

david g said...

Hey, Charlie, you've been cooking up a storm here. Lots of great comments and support.

It will be needed because I fear that the Middle East is about to blow and I don't mean a new oil well either.

Nutenyahu doesn't know whether to attack Syria or Iran. Perhaps he'll use nukes on both nations and add Egypt in for good measure.

Yes, sir, we live in interesting times.

Take care, friend.

sierra said...

Hi Charlie,

Expect drone use in America to be on the rise. The war is coming home it seems. We need to find terrorists under every rock. Just most of the mass shooters are somehow related to military psy operations. It is not a typical event, but because of these events, more security all around will be required. Ho hum, just another day in the Empire. Cheers!

charlie ehlen said...

Great comment.
Yes, drones ARE coming to the "homieland" and sooner than many think. Plans are to use them on the borders and of course most every large/major city and surrounding metro areas of large cities here in the USA.
For the start, maybe, they will just be used for surveillance and not be armed. Any bets as to how soon the cops will have the drones loaded with missiles and/or machine guns/cannons? I'll bet that by summer of 2013 many major cities will have armed drones operated by the local cops. Oh sure, they will get training from the military/CIA, but armed drones WILL be in use here in the "homieland" by the end of 2013 if not sooner. I hope I am wrong, but if I am, I am wrong in setting the use of armed drones here in the USA later than they will be in use.
The old "big brother" of "1984" has nothing on this government.
We are being run into the ground by our own government.
America, we hardly knew ye.

Sierra said...

Hi Charlie, Yes, it seems the war of terror is coming home. Fallujah was practice and the countless villages of Afghanistan. We are all amped up and nowhere to go. The militarization of local police is a big red flag too. I just can easily imagine what will happen when they try seizures of weapons which is what will happen if they ban assault rifles it will be door to door search and seizure. You nailed it, America we hardly knew ye.

Sierra said...

Charlie, My husband corrected me. Guns will be grand-fathered in. They won't seize the guns already owned. They will ban new ones. Door to door search and seizure sounds like the nightmare scenario.

Bill the Butcher said...

Charlie, as a Vietnam vet, I'd appreciate your thoughts about this article.

charlie ehlen said...

Maybe it is just me, but he sounds a bit confused.
I don't subscribe to the idea of "survivors' guilt" any longer. Once I may have, but that was long ago.
He talks some about the failures that "we" have accumulated since Vietnam. Really? For myself, I tried to stay employed and to provide for my wife and myself. Our only child died six weeks after her birth. She was premature and even though the hospital and doctors did all they could, it ended with her death. Did I fail her? Did I fail my wife? Was Vietnam the reason? I don't know and I bet nobody CAN know the answers to those questions.
Yes, I am getting way too personal with this reply. Some of what I am telling here I have not posted about before. Well, to me this article is a jumble.
What is this about his calling so many as "Vietnam vets"? I don't get that at all.
One might say that all who have been to any war are "brothers in arms" and that might be true. Each war is different though. Not in the basics that all war is mass murder, but the politics behind each is a bit different. Well, until 9/11 they seemed to me to be different. Yeah, 9/11 "changed everything". Bull! All 9/11 did, my opinion, was to allow the powers that be to be more open with their aggression.
To me the article has a confused tone overall. That is not to "put it down" however. I feel confused some days and that is without even actively thinking about the current wars.
Did my generation fail America? Maybe so, but one cannot assign all the blame to those of us who went to the Vietnam war. What does he think of the hippies who sold out their supposed ideals? I wonder if he even considers them at all. I still hold some of the ideals of the 60's very close.
I have become more anti-war with every passing hour. He seems to yearn for the "excitement" of war. His bit on Africa and then the high ranking officers he pals around with. Very odd.
This reply may help you to understand why I have never been an active member of any group, veterans or otherwise, since my release from active duty in 1972. I try to not hold my views as absolute truth, my opinions are just that, my own personal opinions. Nothing more. If somebody agrees with me, fine, if they disagree, fine also. All I ask is that we keep our discourse here civil. So far, that has been the case.
Thank you for the link to the article. I am not a good one to judge/review the opinions of others it seems.
I am really not quite sure just what I do make of his ramblings. Maybe I need to read it again and study it some.
Oh well, those are my thoughts on it so far. If others read it they might leave a comment on it also.

Bill the Butcher said...

Sounded confused to me too.