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Government The Military United States Politics

Military Drone Attacks Are Not 'Hostile' 892

Posted by Soulskill
from the napalm-hugs-and-frag-grenade-kisses dept.
sanzibar writes "Not satisfied with the legal conclusion of the DOJ, the Obama administration found other in-house lawyers willing to declare a bomb dropped from a drone is not 'hostile'. The strange conclusion has big implications in determining the President's compliance with the law. If drone strikes are in fact hostile and the Libyan campaign continues past Sunday, he may very well be breaking the law."
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Military Drone Attacks Are Not 'Hostile'

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  • by AlienIntelligence (1184493) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @07:32PM (#36487876)

    Enough (of the right) lawyers and you get to modify reality.

    That's pretty neat.

    "No, dropping a cinder block thru your windshield was NOT a hostile act,
    just clumsy, oopsie!"

    In all seriousness though, he's exploiting a loophole
    it seems, because the law was written in 1973, before
    drones existed.

    "It should come as no surprise that there would be some disagreements, even within an administration, regarding the application of a statute that is nearly 40 years old to a unique and evolving conflict. Those disagreements are ordinary and healthy," he added.

    -AI

  • Re:It's not a law! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, 2011 @07:39PM (#36487928)

    You're wrong, it is a law.

    War Powers Resolution [wikipedia.org]

    The War Powers Act was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate but was vetoed by President Richard Nixon. By a two-thirds vote in each house, Congress overrode the veto and enacted the joint resolution into law on November 7, 1973.

  • Re:It's not a law! (Score:5, Informative)

    by zill (1690130) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @07:45PM (#36487972)

    It's called the War Powers Resolution for a reason... it was a resolution, of Congress... which does not have the signature of a President... it was not vetoed... or even pocket vetoed... because it was never presented to a President for his signature... preventing any possibility of a veto override.

    As much as I loathe this President... I do have to give him credit for standing up against the WPA... it’s a shame he’s not competent enough to recognize the reality of the WPA and state it... rather than playing these games.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.

    It passed the House on July 18, 1973.
    It passed the Senate on July 20, 1973.
    President Nixon vetoed it on October 24, 1973.
    His veto was overridden by the Senate on November 7, 1973. Thus immediately the bill became law, without the need for Nixon's signature.
    And this [archives.gov] is a high resolution scan of the final bill.

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @08:00PM (#36488082)
    Maybe you were unaware that "the previous guy" disagreed on this point, and took a very careful view of complying with the "War Powers Resolution". In other words, unlike Obama, Dubya got congressional approval for his war(s). Whatever vague point you were trying to make, your post is factually misleading.
  • by demonlapin (527802) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @08:17PM (#36488144) Homepage Journal
    You (and a lot of other people) gave money to a guy whose political career consisted of being a first-term US Senator after a couple of years in the state legislature. What did you expect?

    Let's see if any Democratic group has the stones to mount a primary challenge. I'm not really impressed by any of the Republican candidates. See if you can get Hillary to give it another go.
  • Re:It's not a law! (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @08:46PM (#36488310) Journal
    Obama isn't trying to 'stand against' the WPA, he's trying to say it doesn't apply to him. He supported it in the past, and if he said it didn't apply, he would look like a hypocrite.

    The constitution says that only congress may declare war, but from the beginning, the US has engaged in conflicts without declaring war [wikipedia.org]. In fact, congress has only declared war five times. The original words in the constitution draft were that only congress could "make war," but it was changed to say only congress could "declare war," in recognition of the fact that sometimes the president should be allowed to fight without declaring war.

    No one knows where the line between what the president can do and what congress must authorize exists, though. The WPA is nothing more than congress's opinion, because they don't have the right to restrict the president further than the constitution.

    Now, if congress really cared, they could bring the matter up to the Supreme Court, and get an injunction prohibiting the president from further action in Libya. But they haven't, which is how you know their words are nothing more than an attempt to win cheap political points.
  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @09:49PM (#36488626)

    Except the US and NATO don't "indiscriminately" kill as they please, they put a ton of planning into every strike and try to conduct operations is with a minimal amount of civilian death and injuries.

    After all, the US and UK have been using inert bombs on radar and light structures for over 12 years, because an explosive would do too much civilian damage.

    Those ignorant of military history think all modern bombing and air strikes look like Sir Harris planned them and that because a B-52 can carry 35 tons of bombs, every time a B-52 is mentioned it must have dropped 35 tons of bombs.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpet_bombing [wikipedia.org]

    But the vast majority of airstrikes and bombings by the US and NATO since 1992 have been with smart weapons, guided missiles or single small (500 pound or 1000 pound) bombs

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_guided_munition [wikipedia.org]

    In Iraq/Kuwait in 1991 8.8% of air strikes were with PGMs, in the Kosovo War the number is up to 90%, in 2001 Afghanistan it drops back to 55%

    In Libya it looks like about 75-80% PGM, and of course anything from a Predator or Reaper drone is going to be a PGM, either a Hellfire (Laser or Millimeter wave radar) or a small JDAM (GPS and/or laser)

    http://theamericanaudacity.blogspot.com/2011/03/canadas-six-cf-18-hornets-deployed-to.html [blogspot.com]
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nato-runs-short-on-some-munitions-in-libya/2011/04/15/AF3O7ElD_story.html?hpid=z1 [washingtonpost.com]
    http://jha.ac/articles/a110.htm [jha.ac]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_guided_munition [wikipedia.org]

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @09:57PM (#36488658)

    Why Ron Paul? His political stances are not Libertarian, but evangelical conservative.

    Paul has consistently been pro-religion. Has introduced laws to remove "any claim involving the laws, regulations, or policies of any State or unit of local government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion" from the jurisdiction of federal courts.

    Paul voted to end affirmative action in college admissions.

    Anti Same-Sex marriage, Paul calls himself "strongly pro-life" and anti-abortion

    Paul has asserted that he does not think there should be any federal control over education and education should be handled at a local and state level.

    Anti-EPA

    Anti-Civil Rights Act, etc, etc

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Ron_Paul#Civil_liberties [wikipedia.org]

  • by superwiz (655733) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @10:31PM (#36488822) Journal

    Dubya fed us a huge pile of lies for his favorite war, and completely dropped the ball on his less favorite one.

    Name 1 lie that Bush told. Or STFU. Did he have an intelligence report suggesting that Iraq was trying to get uranium? Yes. Did Iraq violate the armistice and thereby legally restarted the hostilities which ended in '93? Yes. Did Iraq lock missiles on planes patrolling the no-fly zone? Yes. Did Iraq take pot shots at planes patrolling the no-fly zone? Yes. Did Iraq prevent inspectors from unfettered access in violation of the armistice agreement? Yes. Did Bush ever definitively state that Iraq without a doubt had WMD's? No.

    The fact that Messiah-in-chief is more arrogant and less competent than ANY President in modern memory is at this point unquestionable. If you still don't believe it, you'll have to wait until the second coming. Because this time around, your lord and savior is not getting a second chance.

  • by FiloEleven (602040) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @10:52PM (#36488928)

    Yes, he opposes the Civil Rights Act on principle and offers a harsh judgment on its effects. Here is part of his statement in Congress on the Act's 40th Anniversary:

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business's workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge's defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife.

    Of course, America has made great strides in race relations over the past forty years. However, this progress is due to changes in public attitudes and private efforts. Relations between the races have improved despite, not because of, the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    The full statement can be read here [lewrockwell.com].

    This is yet another example of him holding his principles to a fault. In my opinion and experience his critique of the act is about half accurate. Certainly the Federal Government overstepped its bounds by forcing integration, and race quotas have historically been a hindrance to racial harmony. But at the same time, forced integration did a lot to familiarize different people-groups with each other and I suspect that the quotas were a big help to minorities in the beginning. There is of course no way of knowing how race relations would be today if the Act hadn't been put in place. My suspicion is that relations would be much better in some areas and much worse in others. I think the idea of trying to compare a hypothetical 50-year stretch of history to our own and calling one "better" is a folly, so stating that relations have improved "despite, not because of" the Civil Rights Act is weak sauce.

  • by Ksevio (865461) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @11:48PM (#36489228) Homepage

    MCCONNELL: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/10/25/126242/mcconnell-obama-one-term/ [thinkprogress.org]
    There's one for you, though it's pretty easy to tell if you follow American Politics much.

  • Re:hahahahaha (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @12:00AM (#36489290) Homepage Journal

    WAR IS PEACE

    That is all.

  • Re:Legally (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 19, 2011 @03:12AM (#36489840)
    Every discussion by the ratifiers of the Constitution points to the President as being Commander in Chief of a a war only after war has been declared by Congress. Tom Woods covers it well on his site [tomwoods.com].
  • by Znork (31774) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @07:09AM (#36490434)

    The value of goods produced and held is, as a whole, the wealth of the participants in the economy. Everything has some value to the holder, but it varies over time, often decreasing as things get old, eaten, worn out, etc.

    The interesting part is the allocation of resources towards producing that which maximizes the perceived wealth created and held, and when it comes to munitions they tend to be very expensive for the perceived wealth; using those resources for basically any other production would create more value and make the economy wealthier.

    The second world war was not essential to getting out of the depression, basically any other production on the same basis would have accomplished the same.

    Another misconception is that jobs are intrinsically good for the economy. Make-work jobs are in themselves merely a covert wealth redistribution scheme. As far as the wealth of the economy is concerned, although less palatable, simply taxing the employed and paying the unemployed to sit around doing nothing would be neither more or less valuable (if we assume that munitions have near zero value to the participants in the economy).

    Redistribution through building infrastructure or various public works is slightly less wasteful, but ultimately the least inequitable method of managing reduced demand would be to divide the actual work through more general reduced working hours, rather than the binary employed-unemployed tax-makework structure. In the end, as the whole point of an economy is to generate the most wealth for as little work as possible, it would be good to have a method to deal with the end-game in that function, just in case it turns out that demand for goods isn't infinite but balanced against the value of free time.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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