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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More collateral than damage

Like it or not, the US is clearly guilty of large-scale terrorism:
The drones came for Ayman Zawahiri on 13 January 2006, hovering over a village in Pakistan called Damadola. Ten months later, they came again for the man who would become al-Qaida’s leader, this time in Bajaur.

Eight years later, Zawahiri is still alive. Seventy-six children and 29 adults, according to reports after the two strikes, are not.

However many Americans know who Zawahiri is, far fewer are familiar with Qari Hussain. Hussain was a deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban, a militant group aligned with al-Qaida that trained the would-be Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, before his unsuccessful 2010 attack. The drones first came for Hussain years before, on 29 January 2008. Then they came on 23 June 2009, 15 January 2010, 2 October 2010 and 7 October 2010.

Finally, on 15 October 2010, Hellfire missiles fired from a Predator or Reaper drone killed Hussain, the Pakistani Taliban later confirmed. For the death of a man whom practically no American can name, the US killed 128 people, 13 of them children, none of whom it meant to harm.

A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.
I'm not entirely sure such indifference to collateral damage is correctly described as not meaning to harm anyone except the targeted individual. Regardless, it's become abundantly clear there is no such thing as "targeted killing" that doesn't involve soldiers on the ground pulling the trigger. And I suspect in less than ten years, cheap DIY drone technology will drive US politicians almost entirely underground as they become the targets of those they have so ineffectively targeted.

Unless, of course, cheap, but powerful ground-to-air laser technology renders drone technology completely useless.

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103 Comments:

Anonymous kh123 November 26, 2014 4:37 AM  

On a simpler note, in comparison to the previous take-to-the-street sign waving that used to be a weekly occurrence over something like this, the relative quiet from the hoards of anti-war protesters several years back... is conspicuous.

Perhaps because the press needs to move on to newer wars and prose poems; or because Twitter has become much more streamlined and inundated with causes and memes to distract; or maybe the coffee's thinner and the wifi not as hot at the local Starbucks. Maybe the job market's brought home even to the thickest of the thick the reality that no matter the pain, another's toothache just don't ail you the same...

Either way, seems folks can't bother with the same level of outrage "for the childrens," especially of this particular demographic rival.

Anonymous kh123 November 26, 2014 4:39 AM  

..."Burn this muthafucka down." Have to admit, it's catchier and easier to follow through on.

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 6:04 AM  

When you think about it, 9/11 was a disaster from a 4GW perspective: if you attack Amcericans after they fought Serbia to protect Muslims, what incentive do they have to not kill you?

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 6:08 AM  

Similar to those Turkish blowhards who flayed that Cypriot prince who fought against an Ottoman siege, after they promised they wouldn't harm them, should he surrender. Heckuva job fellas.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 November 26, 2014 6:15 AM  

I imagine micro wave MASER and focused EMP weapons already make them useless. But being able to boil brains on the inside of a skull from a kilometer away might not be something they want to let on about. Drones that could deliver 2 lbs of C4 wouldn't be in toy shops if there weren't counter measures already in place. IMHO.

It's a David Kelly sort of non news story. While people are being afraid of drones there's stuff that could melt the flesh off their skeletons that wouldn't burn the chair they are sitting in. The magician/ marionette men want diverted attention.

ie. they've fallen for their own sophistry. The fowler taken in their own snare. Having hoaxed their constituents they've lost their base. Duping and dumbing down came at a terrible price.

Anonymous VD November 26, 2014 6:55 AM  

When you think about it, 9/11 was a disaster from a 4GW perspective: if you attack Amcericans after they fought Serbia to protect Muslims, what incentive do they have to not kill you?

Depends what your strategic goal is. If the goal was to intensify the war with the West and create more jihadists, it worked. Based on what Osama SAID he wanted, he was successful. Of course, we can't know if he was telling the truth or not.

The primary goal of the jihad isn't gaining control of Europe or America. Their primary goal is to take control of Saudi Arabia. But to do so, they first need to delegitimize the monarchy and isolate it from its Western support.

Blogger Alexander Thompson November 26, 2014 7:03 AM  

But I don't care about Pakistan. Or the people who live there.

Blogger Outlaw X November 26, 2014 7:05 AM  

The West is entering the dark ages. Culturally, morally, spiritually and technologically. The transportation, educational, agricultural and industrial infrastructure have broken down past the point of no return. And we did it to ourselves.

Anonymous Eric Ashley November 26, 2014 7:11 AM  

This is not terrorism. Its collateral damage.

Blogger ScuzzaMan November 26, 2014 7:35 AM  

"I'm not entirely sure such indifference to collateral damage is correctly described as not meaning to harm anyone except the targeted individual. "

It is for certain sure that the US Department of Justice (sic) would not accept such an excuse from you, were you to kill 128 people, 13 of them children, "defending" yourself from one man.

The hypocrisy is, however, merely thin icing on this layer cake of murderous mendacity.

The purpose of pursuing terrorists is not to protect the lives of American citizens but to maintain those same citizens in a state of perpetual terror.

Anonymous Porky November 26, 2014 7:39 AM  

To be fair, Obama only claimed to be "really good at killing people".

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 7:45 AM  

You need one more qualifier wrt lasers: "Cheap, but powerful"...and "not needing much in the way of care and maintenance." It's that last one that's going to kill them.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 7:46 AM  

"The primary goal of the jihad isn't gaining control of Europe or America. Their primary goal is to take control of Saudi Arabia."

The Arabian peninsula in general. But if you have Saudi, you have the rest.

Anonymous Stilicho November 26, 2014 7:47 AM  

There is no moral difference and little practical difference between attacking these terrorists with drones or with F18s. More, but not perfect, precision can be achieved with ground troops but it is far more difficult to get them in striking distance, support them through the mission and extract them when it's over. The problem is not the use of drones, the problem is the entire approach to this conflict where individual terrorists are targeted but their support networks, including some nation states, are left alone. Meet the hydra we created.

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 26, 2014 7:52 AM  

And I suspect in less than ten years, cheap DIY drone technology will drive US politicians almost entirely underground as they become the targets of those they have so ineffectively targeted.

There are historical models that suggest that under those circumstances, the real power would drop a step or two down the ladder. Our politicians would only be acting in a figurehead capacity.

I know it's tempting to say we are already there but in truth we are not...not yet anyway. Yes, Obama has tried his level best to completely ignore all of his responsibilities. However, they still as yet manage to intrude on his Tee Time. There is not yet an American version of Sir Humphrey Appleby but we are headed there.

Sir Humphrey: My job is to carry out government policy.
Hacker: Even if you think it's wrong?
Sir Humphrey: Well, almost all government policy is wrong, but… frightfully well carried out..

Anonymous DJF November 26, 2014 7:57 AM  

A big problem with drone warfare is that you don’t control the ground when you are done and therefore you don’t control the information flow. The people on the ground control the information and even if you don’t kill a single non-combatant they can claim anything they want.

So even if drone warfare was 100% accurate the people on the ground can make it look like mass murder.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 8:02 AM  

"Meet the hydra we created."

Well...we had some help.

Thing is, though, that when we're talking family and clan support structures for forces that wage war in an illegal manner, the proper target - the MOST proper target - for reprisal are those families and clans. But we're incapable, generally, of making that leap.

Blogger ScuzzaMan November 26, 2014 8:10 AM  

Tom,

We hung people for reprisals against families and clans.

I doubt I could be persuaded that they are ever "the MOST proper" response ... to anything.

Fukuyama is spinning in his futon.

Blogger Hd Hammer November 26, 2014 8:30 AM  

Americans after they fought Serbia to protect Muslims, what incentive do they have to not kill you?"
This assumes Americans fought to protect the Muslims, and I don't know whether this is necessarily true.
The West also unfortunately distinguishes between "real" Muslims and otherwise

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 26, 2014 8:58 AM  

the MOST proper target - for reprisal are those families and clans.

Quite true. It was the secret to Saddam's success.

Not that it was a secret, you understand.

Blogger njartist November 26, 2014 8:59 AM  

@ Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 7:45 AM
You mean something like this?

Anonymous KJ November 26, 2014 9:02 AM  

drones + chemistry = really bad day

Anonymous VD November 26, 2014 9:12 AM  

This is not terrorism. Its collateral damage.

Don't be ridiculous. It's not "collateral" when you're killing far more innocents than you are targets. If it was proved that the 9/11 attackers were targeting one guy in one of the Twin Towers, would you argue that it wasn't terrorism?

Anonymous Sarcophilus November 26, 2014 9:14 AM  

Ask a "Christian" if such is acceptable, and if they say yes, then ask why the problem with bombing abortion clinics and assassinating abortionists? Since niceties like the law, due process, or even two dozen dead innocents per target don't matter. At the bema seat they will have to answer the question. It was only two weeks after Dick Cheney said "we had to break the law to save innocent lives" that George Tiller was extra-judicially killed, to use the same euphemism.

And the converse hypocrisy - ugly pictures of dead children are a staple, but they won't look an what happens to a human body during or after an abortion.

Blogger James Higham November 26, 2014 9:23 AM  

Drone attacks on pollies - interesting concept we could do with over here.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:28 AM  

Then we're fools, Scuzza, as foolish as we'd be for not reprising against someone using a hospital as an ASP, by any means calculated to be effective, to include sending the otherwise protected wounded in that hospital into the afterlife.

Try this, some enemy does a firestorm-causing, but conventional, bombing of, oh, inoffensive Lexington Kentucky, killing in the process several tens of thousands of innocent women and children. We then announce we shall repirse and do reprise, perhaps with nukes, obliteraing a city twice as big, killing three times more. The enemy ceases to try carpet bombing inoffensive cities.

Are we more moral for using aerial and nuclear means to reprise, as opposed to ground?
If we do not reprise, are we not saying the enemy can do as he likes without consequence and without regards to the law of war?
If that is the case, are we not undermining the law of war?
Conversely, why is a factory that produces munitions a suitable target while a family residence that produces IEDs not a suitable target?

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:28 AM  

It can't be a secret, CS, if it's to work.

Anonymous Sarcophilus November 26, 2014 9:29 AM  

There is only one distinction between terrorism and collateral damage. In the latter case, the killing is not intended, but that makes it worse. The terrorist at least recognizes the humanity of his targets - he wants to kill them. The drone operator doesn't see the humanity of his victims, they are just inconvenient life and in the way and it doesn't matter if they are killed. It takes the mind of a serial killer or sociopath to do that. Even the words show this. Terror is something only humans can experience. "Collateral damage" sounds like they dented a car or ruined a garden.
Those whose souls have become evil are to be feared and fought. And it takes guts to shoot even such an enemy.
But the larger problem is people without souls - the warrior drone and robot is not the metal flying above, but the blob of flesh in the chair with a brain and hands on the controls but no soul. Terminators are here, only without the metal endoskeleton. They too appear human. Compare what the militarized police think of citizens.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 November 26, 2014 9:31 AM  

I'd hate to say it but if they really wanted to engage in targeted killing with drones, they'd have equipped them with high caliber bullets and just aim for the head. We have the facial recognition technology along with the ability to do this yet our government insists on bombing children to "get the bad guy".

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:32 AM  

That's not really the calculation, though it is something that can be factored in. The real calc is good to your cause versus harm. (Proportionality versus Necessity, where Necessity is pretty much indistinguishable from "Advantage.") There are some, even many, individual targets the ofing of which does us more good (potentially, this isn't science) than the harm we might do to humanity, even if that harm will be total to the two wives walking behind him.

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 9:32 AM  

"killing in the process several tens of thousands of innocent women and children."

It's almost like those not involved in that set aren't people. Lol.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:33 AM  

I don't know if those are powerful enough for drones, NJ, though perhaps they are or can be made so for attacks on pilots' eyes.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:35 AM  

War causes all kinds of perversions of normal values, Tommy. This doesn't surprise you, does it?

Anonymous trev006 November 26, 2014 9:44 AM  

Colonel,

Thing is, though, that when we're talking family and clan support structures for forces that wage war in an illegal manner, the proper target - the MOST proper target - for reprisal are those families and clans. But we're incapable, generally, of making that leap.

This shows a regard for different cultures that the multiculturalists are incapable of making. For that matter, your writing generally shows sensitivity towards other cultures- you give Muslims more nuance in Caliphate than Southerners get in 12 Years a Slave. Of course, the Saudis are very well aware of this culture as well- the simple practice of holding a male relative accountable for the crimes of a terrorist generally keeps terrorism low there.

Of course, it works the other way, too: if your bombing kills people who had nothing to do with the situation, it has the potential of turning formerly neutral relatives into implacable fanatics. (Assuming they weren't already.) At that point you have the choice between the Hama and de-escalation models again. But using a Hama-style model carries its own costs- Russia is under economic sanctions and excoriated worldwide right now, and for far less than Hama-style tactics. Anyways, if America starts a more devastating campaign, I can't see why the Saudis wouldn't invite the Chinese into the Middle East as a counter balance. Scorched earth policy has diplomatic consequences, and the Japanese Empire could tell you all about that.

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 9:48 AM  

"War causes all kinds of perversions of normal values, Tommy. This doesn't surprise you, does it?"

Physical strength is insufficient in resisting death by firestorm. I don't see why women and children ought to be specified, when "innocents" would suffice.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:53 AM  

It's _always_ a tough calc, Trev, and even calling it a "calc" is misleading, since so much is unknown and cannot be known. One thing to take into account is that one should never do an enemy a small injury. Another is sheer terror. If a particular clan is being troublesome, pulling a Lidice on a village of that clan may well be suficient to cause the rest to back off, and may even be the morale thing to do. The only morale thing to do? Quite possibly, if the only alternative is to wage serious war throughout the entirety of the villages and towns of that clan and, worse, do so over and over and over again, quite possibly to no good purpose at all.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:55 AM  

Because the sub-thread subject, Tommy, was reprisals on family and clan structure. When the men are fighting and the women and kids are the support structure, they _are_ the targets of the reprisal. Thus, was keeping within the implied limitations of the sub-thread. I suppose I could have mentioned old men at death's door anyway, but why bother?

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 26, 2014 9:56 AM  

It can't be a secret, CS, if it's to work.

And that is the truth of Tom.

Arabs "get terrorism". They understand it bone deep. Hell, I think they understand it genes deep, which maybe why they keep trying to use it against us.

Which is proof they don't get, "us." Terrorism doesn't frighten our particular haplogroup at all. It doesn't propel us deep underground and have us warning our children that, "the nail that pops up first, is first one nailed down."

It just sends our haplogroup into nordic hyper-rage.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:02 AM  

Could be genes, could be memes. In this case, I suspect it's both. In any case, they simply CANNOT understand why it doesn't work on us, because it would work on them. I refer there to random, as opposed to specific and genocidal terror, of course, since those often do work on us.

Blogger Chris Mallory November 26, 2014 10:04 AM  

"inoffensive Lexington Kentucky,"

I take it you have never lived in Lexington, Kentucky. It is a fairly offensive city.

What about Richmond, Kentucky just a few miles to the south? Is it an "offensive" city since it is home to the Army depot housing most of our chemical weapons.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:05 AM  

No, but I did look into a law firm there. On the surface, it seemed a nice enough place.

Anonymous Joseph November 26, 2014 10:05 AM  

Think of a single-use drone that is armed with a hypodermic needle, or some-such.

Now think of the description in Revelation, of a locust armored like a horse for battle, with the fact of a man, and the stinger of a scorpion.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:07 AM  

I had to look up Bluegrass Army Depot. Richmond could be a legit target, yes

Anonymous KJ November 26, 2014 10:10 AM  

To add to the chemistry + drone thought.
Chemical weapons have long suffered from an inability to be able to target them properly. With the creation of small drones that can have a payload of 1lb to 5lb. Imagine chlorine gas, in a small tank hanging from a small drone flying a pre-programmed path over ferguson cops. If the impact is more about fear and less about immediate injury the payload could be changed to U235 strips which could be ignited pre-flight or on the way.
The combination of such technologies would be ugly and also quite simple since the drones involved wouldn't need to be real expensive and the release mechanisms could all run off an arduino chipset. WMD for the masses if you will.

Anonymous daddynichol November 26, 2014 10:14 AM  

The company I work for designs and builds small, electrically powered UAVs (flying wings) used for NDVI crop imaging in ag. They're made of foam, fiberglass, carbon fiber and poly carbonate. Weight: 6:5 pounds. Speed: Cruise 40 MPH. Flight time: 40 min. Payload: 3.5 lbs. Above 400 ft. they're very hard to see and hear, plus I don't believe they would present much of a radar profile. If the tech wizards want to disable one or shoot it down, they would have to know when and where it is before it shows up. Also, there's not enough detection systems out there to cover all areas at once.

The can be easily programmed to fly a mission at varying altitudes, speed, direction, etc without any input from the ground. Cost: Under $13,000 per unit.

We use them to determine crop health in commodity crops, vineyards, almond groves and a host of other types of ag products.

Before anyone gets hinky about potential terror applications, remember that cell phones can be considered terrorists weapons due to their ability to be used to trigger explosives, coordinate attacks, etc. Vehicles are made into rolling bombs, clothing can conceal a suicide bomber and a pressure cooker is not just for canning anymore. RC planes have been around for decades, yet I don't recall any being used for an attack. Also, it really is a fairly simple task to make any Cessna single engine plane into a UAV. The technology is out there on-the-shelf right now.

Sleep well tonight.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:15 AM  

It's not so much that you can't target them properly as that they're often subject to vagueries of wind and weather - the possibility is always there, even while being nearly as much of a pain in the ass to the side using them as to the side they're used on, and sometimes moreso. Frankly, there's just not a lot of advantage unless the side they're being used on has no ability to use them back and little or no ability to defend themselves.

And, just FYI: A) There are a number of techniques for their use that make them more useful. B) They aren't really WMD unless used en masse.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:17 AM  

"The technology is out there on-the-shelf right now."

I don't expect civilian drone to be especially effective, directly. They will likely have the more important effect of multiplying the enemy's difficulties and having him spread out, hence weaken, his overall effort.

Anonymous Stilicho November 26, 2014 10:22 AM  

Thing is, though, that when we're talking family and clan support structures for forces that wage war in an illegal manner, the proper target - the MOST proper target - for reprisal are those families and clans. But we're incapable, generally, of making that leap.

Precisely. In tribal societies, tribal groups are also the military units. It was always beaten into our skulls in various "guerrilla" warfare training that we had to use and leverage existing groups/structures in order to be effective. The average American expects war to be a series of set piece battles exclusively between opposing armies. 1 GW by Lind's categorization. And, historically, even 1 GW was hardly "pristine" since civilians were often targets and various other groups participated in the festivities.

Anonymous daddynichol November 26, 2014 10:26 AM  

Tom, you're correct on the potential use for non-military systems. They certainly could be used to rattle the confidence when a dozen come from varied directions and do nothing more than buzz or harass. As for wind, we've flown ours in winds in excess of 35 MPH. However, it burns thru the battery capacity fairly quickly. Due to the very nature of the use and mission, civilian UAVs are not well suited for aggressive battlefield conditions, but then again, the sand monkeys of the ME do quite will with Toyota pickups.

If you would ever want to see one of ours fly, I'd be happy to let you program it, launch, fly the mission and return. All operations automated and flown using a tablet or smartphone.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:34 AM  

I suspect the survey, once I crashed it, would be a little tough on the bankl balance.

Anonymous KJ November 26, 2014 10:37 AM  

Tom -- I assumed wind and weather problems but should have specified under targeting. The ability to have a localized release at a small scale would take a lot of that away. Especially if the purpose is terrorism vs battlefield control. (I'll defer to your expertise there however since I'm just a chemist).
As far as WMD vs "WMD" which I shall call real destructive force vs political talking points. You are correct the chance of a major devastation from 2lb's of mustard gas isn't that great. So it wouldn't count as a classical WMD. In the modern world of the pipe bombs being considered "WMD" it would get reported as such.
Also I'm only referencing stuff that was available in WWI because that chemistry is very well known and simple everywhere. The newer stuff would be much more potent of course.

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 26, 2014 10:44 AM  

Family based warfare.

I'm beginning to wonder if the next generation of warfare isn't going to be heavily dependent on biological constructs targeting sub-haplogroup 'whichever' with a couple of very distinct RFLPs.

Creepy as it is, we aren't too far from that now. On the far side of 2050, it will probably be pretty easy.

Targeted tribal warfare.

Anonymous daddynichol November 26, 2014 10:46 AM  

Tom, no worries. Anything goes awry, is on me.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:51 AM  

It might be useful, yes, but mostly in the way chem is usually useful, by the threat of it being a pain in the ass and a distraction.

Potent is an interesting question, where the answer is another question: "Potent to do what?" Do you want to kill? To terrorize? To knock out a bunch of people for either hostage rescue or prisoner snatching? To inconvenience them more than us? To incapacitate / injure, thus overstraining their medical apparatus? To make his equipment to dangerous for him to use until deconned? And for several of this, the subsidiary question is, "For how long?" ISTR that the reason blister agents have stuck around for nearly 100 years is that they remain highly effective, maybe even the best, at producing casualties, even though they're not really very deadly. We can kill people much better with a non-persistant nerve agent than a blood agent, but even non-persistant nerve hangs around a while, while a blood agent lifts off within 10-12 minutes, IIRC, so that you can then pass through the area without taking defensive measures, which allows a much quicker pass through.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:53 AM  

Ooo..let me explain further the depths of the problem; I don't use a smartphone or tablet, though at least I own one of the latter, gathering dust on a bookshelf.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:54 AM  

"Targeted tribal warfare." Maybe. especially if they can't retaliate and they've really pissed off someone with the capability. Retaliation, or the possibility of retaliation, will make them less useable, if the user can be identified.

Blogger Factory November 26, 2014 10:59 AM  

"Unless, of course, cheap, but powerful ground-to-air laser technology renders drone technology completely useless.


Look at Russia for that one. Since the 80's.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 11:05 AM  

They've had the capability in the form of very powerful, at least mobile at sea, lasers, but I don't know that that's quite what Vox means, nor that they're all that cheap, or sufficient reliable or low maintenance. Then again, acorns and oaks, i suppose.

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 26, 2014 11:13 AM  

We aren't Dinosaurs Tom. We are Triassic Archosaurs.

I am now picturing a world where everyone has a permanent future tech counter terrorism "insulin pump" installed.

Your bioware 7.2.11.4 patch is ready to install Mister Kratman.

Still waiting Mister Kratman....

Seriously install right now.

Look Tom the fact that you can read this at all is kind of miracle but if you wait another twenty minutes....

Anonymous Eric Ashley November 26, 2014 11:19 AM  

Not ridiculous. I understand you suffer under the limitations of being a libertarian.

Terrorism is the deliberate targetting of civilian populations for political goals.

So, despite claims, the Pentagon attack was not terrorism. It was a legit target.

And to make my case even stronger, we have the deliberate use of human shields by many terrorists.

=================

David Drake, in his intros, always mentions his computer woes which are always extensive. Is there a League of MilSF coda about hating technology?

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 11:22 AM  

Not sure. It's not in the bylaws for the Evil Legion of Evil, that I've seen. I think it's mostly that Dave and I are kinda old now.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 11:24 AM  

"We aren't Dinosaurs Tom. We are Triassic Archosaurs." Maybe, but there are important ways in which war never has and never will change.

Anonymous rustypaladin November 26, 2014 11:32 AM  

A hellfire killed 128 people? Were they gathered in circle holding a sign saying "insert Hellfire here"? I doubt one, or even two Hellfires, could do that much damage. They are, primarily, an anti-armor weapon. They just don't have that much "boom". My money is on secondary explosions caused by the target storing bomb making materials in the target's house. If you care for your family, don't build bombs in your kitchen.

Full disclosure: I'm a retired Apache Armament Systems Repairer.

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 26, 2014 11:35 AM  

Maybe, but there are important ways in which war never has and never will change.

True enough.

Hear now the woes of the infantryman. He rises when there is yet an hour for sleep. He is driven as an ass blindly in the night. He eats that which the jackal disdains and obeys without yield commands that make no sense...

from a Nineteenth Dynasty Egyptian tablet.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 11:35 AM  

We've developed AP warheads for the Hellfire, to include Thermobaric, so 128 isn't outside the realm of possibility. See, eg, the AGM-114N.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 11:36 AM  

Yep.

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 11:42 AM  

"Terrorism is the deliberate targetting of civilian populations for political goals."

Pretty narrow definition. Just because their goal isn't to kill civilians, the killing of civilians is the main effect of the attack and not just spillover. It's a reasonable claim.

Anonymous Stilicho November 26, 2014 11:54 AM  

I think what we need for multiple, smaller, low-level drones is... a better shotgun and a specifically designed round. Just think of 'em as sporting clays that shoot back.

Hey Cheddarman...a bigger caliber shotgun and a heavier round is going to need your toy attached to it.

Anonymous Troll November 26, 2014 12:19 PM  

Drones are the most overate thing out there. Even backward nations like Iran can hack US drones. You don't need cheap lasers. You just need a basic level of ability to do electronic warfare. Don't confuse what the US can do to a nation of Goat herders to what it can do to a real nation.

There have been efforts to use drones against Israel. None of them have been very successful. At best they serve as cheap guided missiles. But they don't strike as much fear into Israeli hearts as cheap guided rockets do.

When drones get to the point where they don't have to phone home and can still seek out and target individuals, then maybe they will be scary. Until then, A man who is willing to die and knows how to use a rifle is more dangerous.

Anonymous Dumb founded November 26, 2014 12:52 PM  

No doubt Obama understands Justified Anger:

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/11/25/Obama-Lectures-America-About-The-Justified-Anger-Towards-Law-Enforcement-In-Minority-Communities

Anonymous cheddarman November 26, 2014 12:57 PM  

Tom Kratman, have you ever considered the thought/possibility of a crucifixion drone?

I suppose it would have to be a terminator type robot, but that would scare the hell out tranzis and jihadis.

sincerely

cheddarman

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 1:02 PM  

Got to admit, hadn't really thought about that one.

Anonymous cheddarman November 26, 2014 1:02 PM  

"Hey Cheddarman...a bigger caliber shotgun and a heavier round is going to need your toy attached to it."

so I could build crucifixion drones with Kratman, and destroy them with Stillicho....i guess there is a future for me at Lockheed-Martin

Anonymous VD November 26, 2014 1:52 PM  

Not ridiculous. I understand you suffer under the limitations of being a libertarian. Terrorism is the deliberate targetting of civilian populations for political goals. So, despite claims, the Pentagon attack was not terrorism. It was a legit target.

Still ridiculous. You're suffering under the limitations of not being able to use a dictionary. First, as Lind repeatedly points out, one side arbitrarily declaring some "rules" that permit it to knowingly slaughter large quantities of civilians, then claiming that the other side has violated those nonexistent "rules" is both absurd and unconvincing.

He also observes that "terrorism" is usually what the losing, outdated side calls the new tactics that render its advantages useless. Armored knights also considered crossbows and muskets to be terrorism. Let's look at the actual definitions.

Terrorism is: 1) "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes."

2) "systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal."

3) "The unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims:"

No mention of civilians, is there? By the dictionary definitions 1 and 2, the USA is actively engaged in terrorism AND is knowingly slaughtering large quantities of civilians in the process.

You have no case whatsoever. You're just making up your own definitions in order to defend an intellectually indefensible position.

Now, definition 3 (Oxford) actually exposes the core of the matter: "The unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims"

Translation: Terrorism is when the State complains that a non-State actor is encroaching upon its self-proclaimed post-Wesphalian monopoly on violence.

Blogger ScuzzaMan November 26, 2014 1:54 PM  

Maybe we are fools, Mr Kratman, in the light of the world's idea of wisdom. I kind of thought that was the point of Christianity, so as a Christian I subscribe to the idea that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (in their own eyes).

We may legitimately argue that it is foolishly naive to even entertain ideas of just war and of laws of war, it being inherent in the very nature of war that the innocent suffer (i.e. war is inherently unjust) and that what is otherwise unlawful (murder, wanton semi-random destruction on an indiscriminate industrial scale, illegal immigration, etc) become not only lawful but a patriotic duty, in war.

But so too is it foolish, by such measure, to turn the other cheek. Perhaps even moreso.

Nonetheless, we not only hanged people for reprisals but we claim to hold to the same moral strictures, that led to us doing so, today.

If we are openly repudiating those standards then we ought to be able to describe what will replace them, and be willing to submit ourselves to those same new standards. Yet there is one nation which stands above all others in both military power and the demonstrated willingness to deploy that power in service of its claimed ideals, including the laws of war, which refuses to submit itself and its servicemen to those same laws.

Arguments based on the presumption that one nations wars are inherently legal while their non-nation-state opponent's are inherently illegal, would seem thus to be lacking in logical consistency.

(here it seems apt to note that the demonstrable function of the UN Security Council is to baptise the wars of the powerful while demonising the wars of the lesser actors. As our host so often notes, to DISQUALIFY! DISQUALIFY! DISQUALIFY!)

What is wrong with dropping a hellfire missile on a family IED factory? The women and children you kill thereby have no culpability in the act. Especially when it has been repeatedly demonstrated that the "intelligence" that drives the targeting decisions in these cases is woefully inadequate, making the act akin to throwing darts at a map blindfolded, The response is disproportionate and the laws of war to which you resort demand proportionality. If I create IEDs in my basement the German police will visit me before the US Air Force. If the local police in Fallujah are unable to do that job of criminal law enforcement, one would have to ask, who is culpable for that present reality?

The answer as of today is, that same US Air Force.

Hmmm ... I'm sure you see the problem.

I dont hold to just war theory, considering it a fiction created by the courtier class to flatter and deflect criticism from the powerful. But if you're going to hold up the law as your fundamental principle then the onus is upon you to show that the laws themselves are just, that the mechanisms for enforcement thereof are disinterested and applied to all without fear or favour, and that the outcomes actually provide justice and secure the common weal.

Good luck with that.

Blogger ScuzzaMan November 26, 2014 2:06 PM  

@Stillicho:

200 years ago the ratio of civilian casualties in war was 5 to 10%.

Now it is 90 to 95% ... yes, even (and especially) for we "civilised just warriors".

Your comment is simply not borne out by the facts of history. Civilians have become the primary targets in modern warfare and this fits, as VD points out, the only sane definitions of terrorism.

If the word has any meaning at all, then we are its most ardent and dedicated proponents since Genghis Khan.

Blogger rycamor November 26, 2014 2:33 PM  

Outlaw X November 26, 2014 7:05 AM
The West is entering the dark ages. Culturally, morally, spiritually and technologically. The transportation, educational, agricultural and industrial infrastructure have broken down past the point of no return. And we did it to ourselves.


Care to expound on that a little more, Outlaw?

transportation -- curious that you mention this on the day I receive the most botched delivery I have ever seen. Wife ordered some nice dishes from Bed, Bath & Beyond, and they showed up via FedEx in a "Tempur-Pedic" box, stacked with almost no cushioning, no "Fragile" label on the outside, and of course literally half the dishes were shattered. It really does feel like incompetence is encompassing our nation.

agriculture -- For awhile now I've had the sense that big Ag is squandering the last of our topsoil for one last big hurrah before... what, I don't know. I've been reading reports of accelerated topsoil loss all over the place lately. Is that what you're getting at, or is there more to the story?

education -- Well that one's obvious, and a no-brainer, literally.

industry -- Nate's been talking about an industrial rennaissance in the Deep South, but I don't know about the rest of the country. Obviously we have shuttered thousands of factories and shipped jobs overseas. Past the point of no return? Not yet sure I see that.

Anonymous Stilicho November 26, 2014 2:36 PM  

Scuzza, history didn't begin 200 years ago. Neither did 1GW. For that matter, care to calculate the ratio of civilian to military casualties during WW2?

Blogger ScuzzaMan November 26, 2014 2:43 PM  

It was a randomly chosen point in time, only barely sufficiently long ago to make the point.

I've seen research that shows the 20th century as the major period of increasing civilian casualties, that for centuries in the west the ratio remained more or less stable. It rose in WW1 (cant remember the figure), rose again in WW2 (I think it was 45%) and rose again in Korea and Vietnam.

I am aware history didn't begin 200 years ago. I even mentioned a guy who practised 100% civilian casualties as his default in the event of resistance, 8 centuries ago.

But somehow Genghis Khan doesn't feature on our lists of idealised role models for the modern major general ... he's the kind of guy our military and political leaders use as the archetypal evil to which they compare their next victims.

Anonymous Anubis November 26, 2014 2:45 PM  

Who wins in a fully ethical war when one side uses children as shields and hides ammo in hospitals, while the other is afraid to put bacon on the bodies of suicide bombers because it would offend people?

Anonymous Stilicho November 26, 2014 2:50 PM  

Ghengis... what does that have to do with what I said earlier which sparked your comment to me? War has always been a brutal business. Any brief respite made possible by Christian gentlemen was just that: a brief respite that only applied when there were Christian gentlemen on opposing sides... and not always then.

Blogger Dewave November 26, 2014 3:00 PM  

"200 years ago the ratio of civilian casualties in war was 5 to 10%."

Do you believe this to be true of the Romans vs Boadicca or the Gauls? What about The 30 Years War, Swedish Deluge, Albigensian Crusade, WW II, etc?

There was a brief period, in one small corner if the glibe, from the treaty of Westphalia to WWI, where warfare was limited to professional state armies operating on well defined front lines. Civilians could and did flee potential violence en masse and the armies targetted each other, not civilians.

But that is clearly the exception, not the rule.

Anonymous Dumb founded November 26, 2014 3:02 PM  

"while the other is afraid to put bacon on the bodies of suicide bombers because it would offend people?"

Why waste the bacon. Just use bacon fat.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 4:05 PM  

Ah, Scuzza, this is getting a little more complex than I really wanted to get into. Nonetheless, with no particular warm and fuzzy about the prospects of getting through, I'll at least try to correct some misconceptions.

1. Christianity isn't a suicide pact.
2. Reprisals _are_ Christian in their intent, and usually in their practice, because their intent is to enforce the laws of war, thereby reducing suffering and limiting the hatred that makes the restoration of peace more difficult. Fairlure to engage in them, where called for, is profoundly unChristian.
3. You seem unaware of the concepts of Jus in Bello and Jus ad Bellum. The former concerns conduct in war. It is that which the law of war seeks to govern, to limit suffering to the necessary (= advantageous; it is "necessary" to gain advantage in war) and thje proportional. Jus ad Bellum concerns righteousness in going to war. One can be quite wrong in going to war, and still righteous in the conduct of it.
4. We do not hang people for legitimate reprisals. We may look to see whether something called a reprisal was legitimate, and hang them for that, if it was not, but not for legitimate reprisals.
5. Yes, it is foolish to take something clearly designed to govern within a civil society and try to apply it to the least civil non-society available.
6. We have a choice; we can attempt to force the enemy to abide by the laws of war, laws tested over centuries and proven to reduce suffering, or we can neglect to do so and let him inflict greater suffering, or we can just toss them and lets see who can exterminate whom down to the least little baby sucking on mama's tit the most efficiently.
7. Where did you a) gett the idea that women and kids in a family bomb factory are not working on making bombs? Where did you get the idea that it would matter if they were not, provided that the advatage we seek is proportional to the harm we shall do?
8. Finally, the options are hold to just war theory, and restrain from unjust wars, or toss it and we can just have the free for all we'd been having for the many thousands of years before we developed the idea of just war. I'm _not_ sure you see the problem with that.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 4:07 PM  

Oh, and you really ought to study the subject, and military history, before commenting. The populations of Carthage and Corinth, to say nothing of Magdeburg or, indeed, the entire German people at the time, would be most surprised to discover that military casualties exceeded theirs.

Blogger Doom November 26, 2014 4:21 PM  

Terrorism? You must jest. That has been, and will be, used by every major power on earth until the sun rises on Christ's reign. Even then I wouldn't count it out. Cry me a river, you who live on the river of blood through the social norms that have allowed things like patents to be upheld and viable sources of income. Pick which you prefer, and then go for it.

Like it? Who does. Not even God prefers it. Even God has done it, and on a scale that should bewilder and cause folk to tremble. For me, it sounds too much as if too many are shedding tears for the devil and his kin. I guess if you wish to go that way, go it alone. Just remember the costs and prices. Collateral damage in a viper's pit is all good in my book. Then again, so are a bunch of dead politicians. I can't see how either is a problem as I prepare my groin for the kick from their corruption and ineptitude that will probably make both considerations irrelevant.

Yum!

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 4:35 PM  

"Collateral damage in a viper's pit is all good in my book."

So you agree with 9/11?

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 5:04 PM  

Will you make the case that the WTC and Pentagon were viper's pits, Tommy? If not, the one thought really doesn't flow from the other.

Blogger OldFan November 26, 2014 6:35 PM  

When Terrorism (the baseline strategy of the enemy) is compared to Firebombing of Cities (our baseline strategy for WW II and WW III) the moral distinctions begin to get fuzzy.

The raving Islamic lunatic that wants every Jew and Christian dead (even though he cannot do that - yet) must be compared to Bomber Harris and Curtis Lemay- who could have accomplished the virtual extinction of the entire population of their opposing nations with the means at their disposal (in an additional 10-16 months of WW II). They had the means and motivation, but it proved unnecessary in the end, luckily (my parents were on the receiving end of that as children)

So, the only apparent limits on this sort of thing are the means - or the enemy giving in. Biological weapons - soon to be available to anyone with $10M and a PhD in the right type of Biology - will put mass slaughter capability in the hands of non-state actors and no surrender is possible or required.

No need to wonder what will happen then, as John Ringo has already written the 4th volume of that series about a 'zombie' plague that kills 99.999% of the human species.

Instead of responding in kind to aerial bombing of cities and poison gas, the civilized world would have done better by declaring that everyone associated with those actions would be executed immediately upon capture. (Oooh, there's an idea for a Steampunk novel)

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:05 PM  

Won't work, OF. Whatever the enemy's flaws, he is not really all that afraid to die. If you want to deter him you must present him with the prospect of targets - either specific or genocidal/civilicidal - terror, in return.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 9:05 PM  

rather, targetted

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 9:56 PM  

"Will you make the case that the WTC and Pentagon were viper's pits, Tommy? If not, the one thought really doesn't flow from the other."

I was being facetious but yes, NYC is probably some sort of viper's pit.

"The raving Islamic lunatic that wants every Jew and Christian dead (even though he cannot do that - yet)"

I like how you get to speak for your enemy. Are you Jewish by any chance?

Even if you were right, what about those terrorists who DON'T want every Jew or Christian dead?

Do you ever speak without a forked tongue?

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 10:07 PM  

This is one of these posts that are utterly full of dogshit but it's suprisingly difficult to explain why.

He knows that it's a hard sell to convince people that bombing civilian targets is the same, regardless if it's by bomb vest or bomber. So he creates this distinction almost out of whole cloth.

To attack his position, you have to make a statement along the lines of "not all suicide bombers want to exterminate non muslims", which makes you sound defensive and having low standards.

Bottomline is: we were talking about terrorism in general. Whether they want to exterminate people or not was not specified. Murdering a bunch of civilians = terrorism.

Going by your logic, the Chechens, who killed kids in Beslan and in that Muscovite theater were equal to your bomber pilots because they merely wanted independence from Russia. (a goal more reasonable than unconditional surrender, which was your goal in WW2)

Going by your arguments, Hamas bombers who kill Israeli civilians are comparable to those pilots because they don't want to murder all kuffar, just those who still defend the State of Israel.

I hate these kind of posts.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:24 PM  

"one side arbitrarily declaring some 'rules'"

Wouldn't phrase it quite that way. The rules were declared - rather, developed and recognized - long ago, long before the current campaigns. Indeed, they weren't so much declared as grew up around practices found to be sufficiently beneficial to both sides, _in_Western_war. Some have tried to add new rules, the Add. Prots to GC IV, for example, but they're preposterous nonsense, masquerading as laws of war. Sadly for those, indeed for the whole silly-assed Tranzi treaty regime, something does not become "customary" by a bunch of non-warmaking nation's politicos signing a treaty. It becomes customary by becoming, in fact, a custom, which is to say being tested in real war, and found useful enough to both sides. This is a necessary precondition because "rules" that have not been tested will be discarded when inconvenient.

However, the presumption of war should probably be no rules. That's its natural state. The current enemy seems to feel that way and it is his choice, it is the choice of any participant, to set the lowest level of war law to which they will adhere. However, because of that, equally any other party can also set the lowest limit, can set it to the level of rape and kill and pillage and burn to his heart's content, and the party who doesn't want to accept any more restrictive rules has no real logical complaint.

In short, we have a body of rules to which we will adhere if the enemy does. If they do not, fuck 'em, their choice and we can then do whatever we like, to include doing enough to persuade them to follow those customary rules, if we want to. Or we can exterminate them if we choose. No rules means NO rules.

That's one of my real choking points with 4GW theory, the idea that its grown up as a response to western strengths and western ruthlessness. Don't buy it; it's grown up because of the perception of western weakness and lack of ruthlessness. If, on Sept 12, 2001, we'd pretty much exterminated the population of Saudi Arabia, and obliterated Cairo, Beirut, and Dhubai, one rather doubts there'd have been a repeat, or, indeed, that there would have been a country in then world that would not have bent over and greased its ass for us on command.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 10:31 PM  

"Murdering a bunch of civilians = terrorism"

Again, a loaded and not really appropriate word. Murder is a legal term. Not all homocides are murder. Not all homocides of innocents are murder.

It might help if we discard the notion that terrorism is inherently immoral. The terror of civilicide that kept us and the Soviets from nuking each other until we glowed? How was that threat immmoral, given that we're still here? The 200 or so Spaniards who died in the Madrid bombings? I doubt there's ever been a better case of proportionality and necessity in near perfect harmony. For those 200, the enemy knocked Spain out of the war, and with it a whole bunch of willing, and in many cases unusually effective, Latin allies. We'd have done worse in 1942, say, to knock Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary out of the war.

Blogger Tommy Hass November 26, 2014 10:55 PM  

Sure, sure, I wasn't trying to be very precise here.

"Killing" would've been a better term.

I also didn't speak about whether or not terrorism is immoral, but on the moral equivalence of bombing cities to kill the civilian population and suicide bombings on civilian targets.

Blogger Tom Kratman November 26, 2014 11:14 PM  

well...there is another factor in the moraity of atrocity: Does it have a fair chance of working? If it doesn't, if the person engaged in it is just indulging his sociopathic fantasies, the fantasies where the rest of us are mere stagte props in the play he is writing for himself to star in, then it's almost certain to be inherently immoral. Within that there's also room for honest mistake, as in the generally failed attempts at terror bombing in both world wars, but which everyone believed beforehand would work. (Note, again, "generally;" Copenhagen did, after all, surrender to the threat of being bombed.) A useful comparison might be the British blockade of Germany in WW I and the pretty lightweight German bombing campaign against the UK in that war. The blockade worked, contributing to German collapse by 1918, and killed quite a few German non-combatants in the process. The bombing campaign was essentially useless and killed few. The many times more Germans starved to death or weakened enough by malnutrition to succumb to disease were not a waste. The relatively few Brits killed by the bombing were wasted deaths.

Blogger AdognamedOp November 27, 2014 12:08 AM  

"And I suspect in less than ten years, cheap DIY drone technology will drive US politicians almost entirely underground as they become the targets of those they have so ineffectively targeted."

Sen. Chuck Shumer's been on a crusade against those cheesy, quad propped toy drones that are all the rage these days, calling for regulations on the toy at his weekly press conference. The media of course, support the statist prick with reports of drones flying close to airports and planes, while failing to mention that those open areas around airports are popular spots for RC hobbyists.
I've taken my foam flyer to these spots and have seen some of the stuff hardcore hobbyists fly.
A gas powered, balsa wood WWII replica is faster and can carry more payload than those drone toys Shumer whines about.
A good brushless motor, some cheap foam insulation and a delta wing drawing can produce a decent aerial weapon but, I think future DIY drone tech will likely involve ditching the hovering toy design and the battery pack.

Happy Thankgiving All!

Blogger J Thomas November 27, 2014 12:46 AM  

For someone as smart as you, Vox, your response is surprising.

Clearly, "terrorism" is acting to "strike terror" into people, hoping for as much "collateral damage" as possible. At least in common/popular use, targeted assassinations are not "terrorism", however successful or unsuccessful.

If you want to use the word in a different sense than what is intended by common culture use, then articulate that. Otherwise, you're obfuscating.

The motivation is what makes it terrorism. Even if I accidentally kill others in an assassination attempt, because I wasn't trying to extract as much general damage as I can (as terrorists do), I am not a terrorist.

What makes a terrorist a terrorist is the general delight in terror!

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus November 27, 2014 3:36 PM  

J Thomas: "Clearly, "terrorism" is acting to "strike terror" into people, hoping for as much "collateral damage" as possible. At least in common/popular use, targeted assassinations are not "terrorism", however successful or unsuccessful."

There is no generally accepted definition of terrorism, however in common use assassinations can count as acts of terrorism, and maximizing damage is not a necessary component of terrorism. For example, if a terror group hijacks a jet, releases some hostages, say a pregnant woman and a mullah, and then starts executing the rest, it is still engaging in terrorism even though it has chosen to make casualties less than they could have been.

One reason there is no universally agreed definition of terror is that people like to define what they do as not terrorism and what their enemies do as terrorism. So, for example, if you have a lot of air and your enemies don't, you are likely to see air strikes as not terrorism and attacks on civilians carried out by forces available to your enemies as terrorism; your enemies are likely to have a different opinion on that.

At a higher level of chutzpah, there's simply calling what you do a different name. When they go after targets one at a time, it's assassination and terrorism; when we go after targets one at a time it's "targeted killings" and not terrorism. That doesn't pass the horse laugh test. There isn't even a self-interested but technically objective definition of what is permitted and what is not, just an ethnocentric attitude that if we do it it's all right.


J Thomas: "If you want to use the word in a different sense than what is intended by common culture use, then articulate that. Otherwise, you're obfuscating."

No this is wrong. There is no obfuscation; rather the "common culture" use you appeal to is one you just invented yourself.


J Thomas: "The motivation is what makes it terrorism. Even if I accidentally kill others in an assassination attempt, because I wasn't trying to extract as much general damage as I can (as terrorists do), I am not a terrorist."

No, this is nonsense. If you use enough explosive to blow up someone's house, when you could have used enough explosive to blow up their house and the houses on both sides of it, that doesn't make you not a terrorist.


J Thomas: "What makes a terrorist a terrorist is the general delight in terror!"

No, this is nonsense. Using terror to achieve a political objective is normal terrorism. Using terror for the pure delight of using terror would be abnormal behavior.

Anonymous Eric Ashley November 28, 2014 7:49 AM  

Still ridiculous. You're suffering under the limitations of not being able to use a dictionary.i

===Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thank you.

First, as Lind repeatedly points out, one side arbitrarily declaring some "rules" that permit it to knowingly slaughter large quantities of civilians, then claiming that the other side has violated nonexistent "rules" is both absurd and unconvincing.

===Any more absurd than calling the un Sharia world the House of War? You're in the position of a YEC complaining about the term 'hominid'.

He also observes that "terrorism" is usually what the losing, outdated side calls the new tactics that render its advantages useless. Armored knights also considered crossbows and muskets to be terrorism. Let's look at the actual definitions.

===If you're not bound by common usage, why should I be bound by past mistakes.....

Terrorism is: 1) "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes."

-====So when a homeowner points a shotgun at a burglar, that's terrorism....

2) "systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal."

====the local mayor's 'Clean Up the Streets' campaign is.....well, you see where this is going.

3) "The unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims:"
r
===Don Falcone imposing his mafia rule over the street merchants is terrorism....again, too broad a brush.

No mention of civilians, is there? By the dictionary definitions 1 and 2, the USA is actively engaged in terrorism AND is knowingly slaughtering large quantities of civilians in the process.

====One and two were bad jokes.
Three had some oomph to it.

You have no case whatsoever. You're just making up your own definitions in order to defend an intellectually indefensible position.

===My definition is sound. You don't like it because you're a partisan for deligitimiza tion of the State. As I said, you suffer under the limitations of being a libertarian.

Now, definition 3 (Oxford) actually exposes the core of the matter: "The unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims"

====There is no mention of guerilla warfare in this definition or of assasination of gov't leaders.



Translation: Terrorism is when the State complains that a non-State actor is encroaching upon its self-proclaimed post-Wesphalian monopoly on violence.

===It is a fact that the State will reach for the term 'terrorism' when convenient to it. But it, no more than you, define the term.

The attack on the Marines in Beirut or the plane hitting the Pentagon weire not terrorism. They were Acts of War aimed at legit targets.

Anonymous Eric Ashley November 28, 2014 7:53 AM  

I should have flipped my one and two responses.

Anonymous Eric Ashley November 28, 2014 7:59 AM  

To boil it down, the term is either too broad so as to be unneeded or useless, or I'm correct.

Sorry for the third post.

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