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July 24, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Drone strikes are getting the job done

Another view?

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I can only make one comment regarding Archie Weitman’s letter, “Drones effective at cutting casualties”: Bravo, excellent.

Mr. Weitman has hit the nail perfectly on the head. Targets of drone strikes are people who have declared war (holy or otherwise) on our United States.

Because of our foreign policy and alliances, these people hate our government. Because of our progressive Western lifestyle, these people hate Americans and wish to destroy us. An American citizen joining one of these targeted groups becomes a traitor in time of war.

What penalty should such a person pay? Anyone who believes in mercy, lengthy due process, or even reconciliation, for these people, needs to learn the true meaning of the term “infidel” and what that word means to someone with radical religious beliefs.

In the Vietnam war, we dropped more tons of bombs than in World War II and still did not achieve the desired results. Drone strikes seem to be doing much, much better.

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  1. Who do we thank for drones? President Bush or President Obama? Drones kill guilty and innocents alike without discrimination. They are a pax on the US. Obama uses them more extremely than Bush did as is customary of presidents who take the license further. Call me old fashion, but if this is the latest in technological warefare, the US is moving backwards into the dark ages.

    CarmineD

  2. Carmine: "pax" means "peace", and drones are keeping the US "peaceful" on the home front. Perhaps you meant "pox". Cheers!

  3. "Drones kill guilty and innocents alike without discrimination." per CarmineD

    War kills guilty and innocents alike! Terrorism kills mostly innocents. Other than knee-jerk opposition to anything President Obama does, what alternative do you suggest?

  4. I often wonder if some of our commenters here who write for the LVS had a father, brother,son,husband or wife,fighting on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan would feel different about drone strikes?

    Drone strikes save countless American lives and prevent for a less number of wounded troops. Some of these same commenters never mention the suicide bombers who kill everyone and anyone who gets in the way.

    Remember one thing these same terrorists would have no problem of detonating a dirty bomb(nuclear) in our country killing hundreds of thousands of Americans.

    Drones save lives,and i'm all for saving lives of our precious young people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect us.

  5. I hate agreeing with Weber but, in this case, I find myself in synch with him as to Osama Obama's use of drones to "abort" Jihadists. It's the one form off abortion that does not turn my stomach. As for "knee jerk opposition?" Weber should look unto himself and his disavowal of anything Conservatives propose.

  6. "Carmine: "pax" means "peace", and drones are keeping the US "peaceful" on the home front. Perhaps you meant "pox". Cheers!"

    Thank you Gary. I did.

    CarmineD

  7. There are two very distinct issues here: 1) the use of drones as weapons to minimize US casualties, and 2) the assassination of US citizens by fiat.

    I have no problem at all with using drones like any other piece of technology to reduce our casualties. I would be very upset if such steps were NOT taken when possible.

    I DO have a very big problem with assassinating US citizens based solely on the word of some member of the Executive branch, no matter what technology is used! If administration lawyers and advisers can find ways to justify the assassination of US citizens on foreign soil, what else will they find to justify if it becomes expedient?

    I have said for a long time now that President Obama is little more than Bush Lite in many ways, this is just another example and should not be tolerated by the American people. Congress needs to remind this President, and future ones, that the President is bound by the Constitution and can not act by fiat alone without oversight.

  8. "War kills guilty and innocents alike! Terrorism kills mostly innocents. Other than knee-jerk opposition to anything President Obama does, what alternative do you suggest?" Jim Weber

    For starters, how did the US bring down Sadam Hussein and Osama bin Ladan.

    I was against sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. A US Commander-in-Chief should never send American troops to fight on foreign soil UNLESS and UNTIL he/she has walked the battle field of the American dead and dying.

    CarmineD

  9. Here we go again. If Obama did nothing those on the right would scream and holler. By killing our enemies (foreign and domestic) they still scream and holler. It doesn't matter what President Obama does, the right will always be paranoid, pissed and argue out of both sides of their mouths. It's the nature of the beast, confused people living in their communications bubble and not dealing with reality very well. You can't tell people we need a smaller government but put bedroom police in their homes to monitor sexual activity. You can't say you stand with women when you won't vote in favor of women's rights concerning rape, violence or salary. You can't tell people there is a need for better education and layoff teachers by the thousands. You can't complain about crime while laying off police officers. You can't call others job creators when they create no jobs. You can't say the president has killed the economy when profits are higher then ever and Wall St. has rebounded. You can't call a corporation people when not one of them is held accountable for our financial disaster.

  10. "Because of our foreign policy and alliances, these people hate our government. Because of our progressive Western lifestyle, these people hate Americans and wish to destroy us."

    Corrick -- you failed to neglect another very good reason those people hate our government. We invaded their countries. As I posted at your link, the Fifth Amendment prohibits taking any person's live without due process of law. I've also read that leaked summary memo justifying it. It reminded me of my bible-thumping days -- one can prove anything desired with enough verbiage.

    "Drone strikes save countless American lives and prevent for a less number of wounded troops."

    samspeaks -- right, keep parroting them headlines and White House speeches. Rah-rah-rah. Now explain what part of our Constitution empowers our president to assassinate our fellow citizens without the due process that same Constitution he swore an oath to support, protect and defend.

    "I DO have a very big problem with assassinating US citizens based solely on the word of some member of the Executive branch, no matter what technology is used! If administration lawyers and advisers can find ways to justify the assassination of US citizens on foreign soil, what else will they find to justify if it becomes expedient?"

    boftx -- taking what you posted to the next level, what's the difference between using a drone and a sniper? The Fifth Amendment's due process requirement means a court examines the evidence, hears all sides, then rules. The noise from Congress is another secret court to decide these matters, and secret courts are just star chambers. Where's the appeal? Bottom line is as you said -- what's become "expedient." That, with the increased of drones on our own soil, isn't just a slippery slope, it's a slide with disaster waiting at the bottom.

    "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902--1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested." -- Major General Smedley Butler, a Marine and one of only 19 people to be TWICE awarded the Medal of Honor, from a 1935 issue of the socialist magazine "Common Sense"

  11. "You can't say the president has killed the economy when profits are higher then ever and Wall St. has rebounded. You can't call a corporation people when not one of them is held accountable for our financial disaster." Vernos Branco

    But it's perfectly fine for President Obama to appoint Jacob Lew to the US Treasury. He's a former management executive of Citigroup in charge of a group of renegades that paved the way for the country's housing collapse AND he accepted a $ONE MILLION bonus from the company, at the same time the US gave the company billions for a bail out. If that's not enough, Jack Lew invests his ill-gotten money in off shore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, to shelter from taxes. And the President, Harry Reid and a host of other Dems scourged Romney for all the above before and during the election.

    More of President Obama's hypocrisy.

    As Senator Obama and candidate Obama he denounced Bush and the Bush Adminstration for waterboarding. Eric Holder too. BUT now it's perfectly fine to drone Americans, without due process, and kill innocents by the hundreds BECAUSE the President says so.

    As Senator, Obama cast the vote to squash Immigration Reform in 2007 by voting to eliminate and water down the Guest Worker program. Why? Trumka and the AFL-CIO told Obama to do so. Now, President Obama is impugning Republicans for slow walking Immigration Reform. Daring the GOP that if they don't get it done, he will.

    If it weren't so egregious, it would be funnier than the comics and the keystone cops combined.

    CarmineD

  12. President Obama thumbs his nose at the Constitution, the other two co-equal parts of the government, and the minority party, and says I'm doing it my way. And the sheep and lambs fall in line. Unbelievable.

    CarmineD

  13. I understand Americans not liking drone strikes, but I ask them to offer an alternative. If we involve a court or any authority besides the President signing off on strikes, we negate one big advantage of drones... the fact that they can strike right when we know where the target is and the target cannot see the strike coming.

    We face an enemy that murders with no rules, that cannot be dissuaded by anything except being killed, that doesn't operate under state sponsorship, that will use nuclear and biological weapons if they obtain them, will murder civilians and want to rid the earth of us and the way we live.

    Maybe, after 12 years, people are forgetting 9/11/2001. 3000 murders in a couple of hours... more if not for brave Americans.... and many, many more if they had more deadly weapons.

    I don't like any President calling drone strikes alone, but I like the alternative even less.

    I'm open to hear alternatives so speak up.

    Michael

  14. ByKillerB,

    "Samspeaks--right keep parroting them headlines and white house speeches.Rah-rah-rah.Now exlpain what part of our constitution empowers our president to assassinate our fellow citizens without the due process".

    US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan who has 18 different e-mails with American born and Yemeni based al-quadi terrorist Anwar Al- Awlaki.In these e-mails Awlaki gave Major Hasan spiritual guidence to shoot US troops,which is what he did in Fort Hood texas. Major Hasan is charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. Major Hasan may be you fellow citizen,to me he nothing more than traitor and killer.

    See if you can convince the families of the soldiers killed and wounded at Ford Hood Texas on this tragic day of Nov.5th.2009 that Anwar Al-Awaki is regarded as a fellow citizen and not a traitor and killer.

    You accuse me of parroting, how about you stop parroting about Major General Smedley Butler. I beleive you have used him in at least 4 different posts in the past year.Time for some new material.

  15. As I stated earlier, there are two *distinct* issues in play. It appears that people are needlessly combining the two.

    The use of drones to take out enemy targets is perfectly okay, just like using bombs or lobbing a cruise missile at them would be.

    It is the use of any technique, whether it be a drone, sniper, or a ninja with a knife, to assassinate a US citizen solely on the word of a government official, even if that official is the President, that is repugnant!

  16. Correction, I meant to say Anwar Al-Awaki may be your your fellow citizen,not Major Hasan.

  17. samspeaks,

    Few intelligent Americans would deny that Al-Awaki might well have been a traitor. But that does not mean that he should have been subject to summary execution at the whim of some official, no matter highly placed that official might be. At the very least there needs to be oversight, including approval, by some entity outside the Executive branch.

    The method of Al-Awaki's assassination is immaterial. What matters is that he was a US citizen targeted by some governmental entity. The Constitution must apply to every citizen equally. That is why I support the ACLU even when they defend groups such as the American Nazi Party in free speech cases.

  18. samspeaks - "You accuse me of parroting, how about you stop parroting about Major General Smedley Butler. I beleive you have used him in at least 4 different posts in the past year.Time for some new material."

    Smedley Butler is a classic example of how we create enemies by involving ourselves in the affairs of other nations. The United States has always used its military to coerce or threaten others to see things our way. A brief study of our history should convince non believers.

  19. Vernos,

    In your opinion these many years later, should we have stayed out of the Afghanistan conflict when the Soviet Union invaded? Should we become completely isolationist and not interfere with aid, military or otherwise in any other nations?

    Michael

  20. At 927.a\m. boftx commented: "There are two very distinct issues here: 1) the use of drones as weapons to minimize US casualties, and 2) the assassination of US citizens by fiat."

    Wrong. You assume that there are two totally independent groups here, boftx: one is people trying to create US casualties. Another, totally independent, is that of American citizens being assassinated by fiat. Anwar al-Awlaki and his son were possible members of BOTH groups. Were they actually? We'll never know. That is the allegation, but it lacks the Constitutional requirements for a treason conviction. The Queen of Hearts cried "Off with their Heads!" - no judge, no trial, no defense counsel, no verdict, no appeals, nothing - and with only a bang both disappeared in clouds of greasy smoke

    Drones have no innate intelligence. They are controlled by humans located somewhere on the planet. They are cheap - some under about $300. They are becoming plentiful. They need not actually FIRE missiles - the Japanese introduced the concept of the kamikazi pilots. Drones, by definition, don't even need to carry a pilot. Do we want to hear bangs and watch members of our communities, and anyone in their vicinity, disappear in other clouds of greasy smoke? When that happens, it may just have been the action of a foreign enemy. BUT - it could as easily be the action of disgruntled fellow citizens. Or it may just be another Queen of Hearts...

    This has all the earmarks of a Pandora's box we will come to deeply regret having opened, but by then it will be far too late. Never happen here? Remember, the US is the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons on human targets - and that also was to minimize casualties.

  21. renorobert,

    No, I am not assuming there are two independent groups.

    I agree that it is possible for a single person to be members of both of the groups you postulate. What I am saying is that a member of the set of US citizens has certain rights that apply regardless of membership in any other set.

    If I understand the rest of your comment correctly, you and I are in agreement in that neither of us believe that our government, and in particular the Executive branch, should be allowed to play the role of the Queen of Hearts when it comes to US citizens.

    That said, it might make for an interesting debate if one were to extend the concept of the castle law to this area. That is, if a home owner (or renter) has the right to kill an intruder who more than likely a fellow citizen, then how much of a stretch is it to say the President has the same right to kill "intruders" who might be US citizens? Personally, I think there needs to be a distinction drawn between the rights of citizens vs. the actions of the government. But even that could open a can of worms for yet other discussions.

  22. "Obama won twice. He's the boss. Let's wish him success. If he fails, we also fail." By Bite

    Winning doesn't make wrong into right. Checks and balances. 3 Co-equal parts of government: Executive, Legislative, Judicial. Not dictatorship. President Obama is one part. Not all 3 in one.

    CarmineD

  23. If we can throw out the Constitutional right to due process based on the actions of a US citizen who kills other US citizens, then we can do the same for the 2nd Amendment. Just takes a Presidential decision. Send in the drones.

    What other Constitutional laws can we allow the President to just throw out the window now or in the future?

    We can keep justifying and pushing the envelop until there is no Constitution left.

    How about the separation of church and state, then we could really ratchet up to a holy war between the holier than thou's. Plus, everyone could be forced to be of a particular religion.

    Killer B gives some very good hints as to what has gotten us into this problem in the first place, and why we are seen as evil.

    If we stopped installing and/or supporting dictators and despots around the world, with the resulting injustices they impart on their people, perhaps we wouldn't be indirectly spawning the efforts of those who have come to hate us.

    Get to the roots and reverse it. Goodwill goes along way, but we have much to atone for before it takes effect.

    Here is an interesting blog on why we are so hated.

    http://talkingloudandsayingnothingparts3...

  24. Vernos paints with a broad brush. I am a Conservative and have publicly stated, more than once, I agree with Osama Obama on using drones to "take out" those who would do us harm. Pay attention, vernos. But, from some of his posts, I get the idea he is a "hate-America-first" leftie. The USA has done wrong but more right than wrong and has freed more people on this planet then any other country and what do we get for it? Very little even in the way of thank yous. "No good deed goes unpunished," I guess.

  25. wtplv - "In your opinion these many years later, should we have stayed out of the Afghanistan conflict when the Soviet Union invaded?"

    Yes, remember the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan sunk their economy and caused the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. History proved, as in other situations, our so-called allies turned against us. We are bribing "allies" with billions who will take the money and allow enemies to live within their borders. How many of our enemies have we funded who turned in the end?

    lvfacts101 - "I get the idea he is a "hate-America-first" leftie."

    Of course you get that feeling. You can't tell a delusional person they are being delusional and paranoid. If I hated these United States as you believe, I wouldn't have served. I would rather paint with a broad brush than live in a self imposed prison of a narrow minded world, closing off alternative ways of thinking.

  26. What Jack Corrick is suggesting is that our president and his advisors are free to murder American citizens at will; and he can do so without that person having been charged, without access to counsel and without access to due process of law. Representative Kevin Yoder, a Republican from Kansas recently asked the director of the FBI if the recent DOJ memo authorizing such drone strikes when approved by our president included Americans here in the United States. The director of the FBI Did. Not. Know! This fascist idiocy flies in the face of two hundred years of American jurisprudence; and moreover places our president on the same level as that paragon of human rights and champion of justice, Bashar al-Assad of Syria. This is wrong; and it does not matter which president began this scurrilous and indefensible practice, Barack Obama, George Bush or George Washington.

  27. An interesting set of posts this morning, JeffFromVegas. I see the agreement in our positions as being much less than 99.2%, however. Use of drones by US forces against non-citizens of the US is largely a moral issue - is it right or is it wrong? As such, it is subject to individual perspective and to debate. Personally, as I said above, that decision will come back to bite us (Americans), hard. Drone use against US citizens, or non-citizen residents is a totally different issue, By fiat the assassinations of al-Awlaki and his son, represents a negation of several Constitutional protections.

    As you cite, Rep. Charlie Dent introduced a resolution urging that aAulaqi' birth-citizenship be revoked because he "preaches a culture of hate. . . " and that he had effectively renounced his citizenship by engaging in treasonous acts. You indicate that he "...preached to three of the 9/11 hijackers... " and "presided at the funeral of the father of Nidal Malik Hasan."

    So much for the First Amendment freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly. Also for the Constitutional provisions applying to treason in Article III, Section 3.

    It seems certain that both al-Awlaki and his son were actually assassinated by drones.

    So much for all or parts of the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

    You cite Investor's Business Daily that the Justice Department stonewalled Liberman's committee probe into the Ft Hood massacre.

    Wrong. That was the Bush Justice Department in 2002, long before Ft Hood. It withdrew a Federal felony arrest warrant for Al-Awlaki (for passport fraud) and declined to say why, just that prosecutors "...got cold feet" - per World Net Daily, Feb 20, 2010. Per Fox News (Jan 4, 2013) "Fox News' reporting, which has not been publicly disputed by the bureau, suggests that after the 9/11 attacks the FBI tried to work with al-Awlaki or track him for intelligence purposes."(Don't just quote Wikipedia - you need to follow up on their references.)

    You also identify al-Awalki's citizenship as "U.S. and Yemen (dual)."

    True, but misleading. His U.S. citizenship was by birth, his Yemani citizenship was derived from his father. Note that his 16 year old son's citizenship appears to have been straight "born in the USA."

  28. JeffFromVegas: Quite a nice article that the NY Times printed, but irrelevant to my comments. As the times noted, al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico. That makes him a native-born American citizen regardless of where he may subsequently have traveled. He may have said he renounced that, but there is no evidence he ever did so formally as required by The Immigration & Nationality Act. He may have claimed Yemeni citizenship, as he could have had he maintained 10 years continuous residence in Yemen, but I've been unable to find evidence that he bothered with that formality either.

    I've looked at the link you provided. I'm not at all sure that a "MEMORANDUM OPINION FOR THE DEPUTY COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT" authorizes the President to suspend, by fiat, numerous sections of the Constitution intended to protect the rights of ALL Americans.

    Al-Awalki was killed in a "...CIA-led U.S. drone strike" (see Fox News at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/... ). Are you actually arguing that the CIA is, in fact, a part of the US military as defined by the Constitution, or of the "armed forces" as defined by Title 10 of the US Code? I'd have to heartily disagree. Neither mentions the CIA. While it be necessary for national defense, I can hardly see the CIA as equivalent to the uniformed services who have primary responsibility for armed defense.

  29. The assassination of Al-Awaki's son is the first instance I know about of a violation of the Constitution's Article III, Section 2 provision that "The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."

    All it took was for someone to say about al-Awlaki's son, "HE didn't actually do anything. But kill him anyway. Just look at what his FATHER did!"

    If we don't protect, right now, the civil rights of another person in an instance when it is difficult to do so, those rights will not be there when WE need them.

    "First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me." Martin Niemoeller, Protestant pastor, about the failure of Germans to speak out against the Nazis. Precise wording now uncertain. Date uncertain, perhaps 1946.See http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marc...