Drone strike bias

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
Maybe I'm bias'd, but I like technology (You know this is a tech forum, right?). It seems to advance things and make some shit more effective/easier. So, naturally, drones seem pretty boss. Kill people from far away (like many forms of warfare now) but without the limits of having the pilot in the seat. Essentially no soldiers are spent on operations and there's very little risk of our troops. Lots of other interesting benefits. Sounds nice.

So, why is it people are so against these things? If you can sum it up without being like, "Well, they do Y and OBAMA IS A LIAR-TRAITOR-THIEF-UNCONSTITUTIONAL-PI-..." then that would be great.

I'm not sure if maybe the missiles/bombs/explosives they use are excessive and that's why they're not so great? I don't really understand what's against drones themselves. As the technology improves, I would assume that they would only become more effective.

I read a lot about civilian casualties and the numbers vary a lot (From 0 to THEY'RE ALL CIVILIANS). So, maybe that's why people are against them (But I don't know of many wars where civilian casualties are low?)? Or maybe it's because people watched the Terminator series and are afraid of Skynet becoming self aware?
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,879
4,265
126
As far as Americans are concerned it's a question of due process. Not everyone agrees on when (or ever) a US citizen may be a legitimate target. The next concern is that the process comes down to a president having literal life and death power with no accountability, indeed no review process after the fact.

A more general argument is that the US does not limit strikes to areas where we have declared military action. Case in point is Pakistan, where there is no formal aggression, but we strike within their borders anyway.

Then there is the question of collateral damage as you've noted.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
As far as Americans are concerned it's a question of due process. Not everyone agrees on when (or ever) a US citizen may be a legitimate target. The next concern is that the process comes down to a president having literal life and death power with no accountability, indeed no review process after the fact.

A more general argument is that the US does not limit strikes to areas where we have declared military action. Case in point is Pakistan, where there is no formal aggression, but we strike within their borders anyway.

Then there is the question of collateral damage as you've noted.

The problem I am having with what you're saying: Is this really a drone problem (i.e. We kill with a gun instead of the more humane knife argument) or a POLICY problem? This sounds more like policy.
 

Drako

Lifer
Jun 9, 2007
10,706
161
106
I actually can't believe that anyone would think that the feds killing someone with a drone on US soil is a good thing, but I guess I'm old fashioned that way.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
I actually can't believe that anyone would think that the feds killing someone with a drone on US soil is a good thing, but I guess I'm old fashioned that way.

At least I know who is going on my ignore list. Thanks for not contributing to my thread.
 

Drako

Lifer
Jun 9, 2007
10,706
161
106
At least I know who is going on my ignore list. Thanks for not contributing to my thread.

Wow, you whine a lot.

Ms. Trident is now on the "enemies of the state" list, and is hereby scheduled for extermination via drone. :biggrin:
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,879
4,265
126
The problem I am having with what you're saying: Is this really a drone problem (i.e. We kill with a gun instead of the more humane knife argument) or a POLICY problem? This sounds more like policy.

It's sort of both. The principle isn't agreed upon, but the collateral damage exists. If we had a magical arrow that only struck the person or people involved, it would remove that argument. National sovereignty and citizen rights issues would still remain.
 

randomrogue

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2011
5,462
0
0
Drones are fine and dandy when we're the only ones who have them and we're killing people on the other side of the planet. It's not so funny though when everyone has them and they're killing you.
 

Arglebargle

Senior member
Dec 2, 2006
892
1
81
Better hope the circuit boards in those missles weren't made by Tycho on third shift. 'Cause they might go somewhere other than intended. Your fine tech can be seriously compromised by bad production practices and other corporate shenanigans.

If drone strikes are being used based on operational intelligence that says, 'Well he's usually at this place on thursdays', that could be considered an issue, but it is a policy one.

What happens when drones and missles get cheap and easy to get, and anyone can use the same rationale? And in a decade or two, drones are going to be real inexpensive, comparatively.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
It's sort of both. The principle isn't agreed upon, but the collateral damage exists. If we had a magical arrow that only struck the person or people involved, it would remove that argument. National sovereignty and citizen rights issues would still remain.

I don't see how it is both. It sounds exactly like policy. We do have magical arrows that strike only the person or people involved. Drone strikes can be that IF you place certain policies around the use (i.e. No use of X ammunition in Y radius of non-targets). That's policy. It's the same as with any other weapon.

Drones are fine and dandy when we're the only ones who have them and we're killing people on the other side of the planet. It's not so funny though when everyone has them and they're killing you.

I don't see how this is relevant, at all. Many other countries in the world have drones (See: France, Germany, and any other country with a well funded military). You could make the same argument about any weapon used to kill other people.

Better hope the circuit boards in those missles weren't made by Tycho on third shift. 'Cause they might go somewhere other than intended. Your fine tech can be seriously compromised by bad production practices and other corporate shenanigans.

If drone strikes are being used based on operational intelligence that says, 'Well he's usually at this place on thursdays', that could be considered an issue, but it is a policy one.

What happens when drones and missles get cheap and easy to get, and anyone can use the same rationale? And in a decade or two, drones are going to be real inexpensive, comparatively.

This stems from an irrelevant argument. (i.e. You better hope your gun doesn't jam. You better pray your gun doesn't spray ammo to the other side. You better hope your knife doesn't bend or break. You better Z your Y doesn't X.)

And yes, that is a policy issue. That is not a drone issue. You could call an incorrect strike with a tank or with a team.

Doubt it. I really don't think military level missiles are going to ever be 'cheap' in civilian terms. Similarly, I don't think they're going to sell missiles to civilians freely (Hell, I imagine that's under some sort of weapons ban).

I'm not trying to shoot you all down here, but it sounds like invalid arguments. Most of them aren't even related to drones themselves but stem from a greater idea of how to use weapons in general. (Again, POLICY)
 
Last edited:

irishScott

Lifer
Oct 10, 2006
21,568
3
0
It's entirely a policy problem. No one has issues with the drones themselves, it's how they're employed that's the issue.
 

blankslate

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2008
8,601
483
126
As far as Americans are concerned it's a question of due process. Not everyone agrees on when (or ever) a US citizen may be a legitimate target. The next concern is that the process comes down to a president having literal life and death power with no accountability, indeed no review process after the fact.

A more general argument is that the US does not limit strikes to areas where we have declared military action. Case in point is Pakistan, where there is no formal aggression, but we strike within their borders anyway.

Then there is the question of collateral damage as you've noted.

Pretty much this.

I have heard the suggestion that people who are American citizens who have allied themselves with terrorists should be tried in absentia with and then if "convicted" notified somehow that he has been convicted and given a period of time to surrender himself into U.S. custody.

If he doesn't then he accepts the risk of being hit with a Hellfire missile.

The apparent lack of due process and the seemingly (to me at least) excessive collateral damage is very disturbing.

I've heard that over a hundred children have been killed in drone strikes. maybe it's only a fraction of that. Even if it is, that kind of "collateral damage" can be a source of blowback.

Who knows if some relative a person considered "collateral damage" might be the next terrorist mastermind responsible for a future attack on Americans that has a massive amount of fatalities?
 

Emos

Golden Member
Oct 27, 2000
1,989
0
0
As far as Americans are concerned it's a question of due process. Not everyone agrees on when (or ever) a US citizen may be a legitimate target. The next concern is that the process comes down to a president having literal life and death power with no accountability, indeed no review process after the fact.

A more general argument is that the US does not limit strikes to areas where we have declared military action. Case in point is Pakistan, where there is no formal aggression, but we strike within their borders anyway.

Then there is the question of collateral damage as you've noted.

I do have concerns that using our drones to strike targets in countries that we are not formally hostile with can cause some long term blowback. Even though I don't trust Pakistan at all as an "ally" I can see them being justifiably upset with a foreign nation conducting military strikes within their borders. Perhaps there is an agreement between Washington and Islamabad to conduct these drone strikes however....
 

Puddle Jumper

Platinum Member
Nov 4, 2009
2,835
1
0
My problem with drone strikes is the bar for using them seems to be much lower than regular airstrikes were in the past. Ultimately it doesn't matter if an Apache or a Reaper delivers a hellfire to a target but I don't see any reason that a lack of a pilot in the Reaper should make it acceptable to use against US Citizens within the US while it would never have been acceptable to use the piloted Apache that way.
 

irishScott

Lifer
Oct 10, 2006
21,568
3
0
My problem with drone strikes is the bar for using them seems to be much lower than regular airstrikes were in the past. Ultimately it doesn't matter if an Apache or a Reaper delivers a hellfire to a target but I don't see any reason that a lack of a pilot in the Reaper should make it acceptable to use against US Citizens within the US while it would never have been acceptable to use the piloted Apache that way.

What drones did was make air strikes comparatively cheap. In a traditional air strike you've got to contact the pilot and his whole local chain of command, who then have to prepare/arm the aircraft, take off, go hit the target, and come back.

Now you can just have drones on long-term orbits. Need an air strike? Call in the nearest orbiting drone, and it can be done from a CIA bunker with no need to inform an outside chain of command. Plus, drone are much quieter. This makes the temptation to use them much greater.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
I do have concerns that using our drones to strike targets in countries that we are not formally hostile with can cause some long term blowback. Even though I don't trust Pakistan at all as an "ally" I can see them being justifiably upset with a foreign nation conducting military strikes within their borders. Perhaps there is an agreement between Washington and Islamabad to conduct these drone strikes however....

I've read that drone strike attacks were actually asked to be increased at one point back in 2008 or 2010 by someone in Pakistan. That is a separate topic however.

My problem with drone strikes is the bar for using them seems to be much lower than regular airstrikes were in the past. Ultimately it doesn't matter if an Apache or a Reaper delivers a hellfire to a target but I don't see any reason that a lack of a pilot in the Reaper should make it acceptable to use against US Citizens within the US while it would never have been acceptable to use the piloted Apache that way.

Yes, the bar is lower because they're more accessible (This is true with regards to most technological advances). Your second part degrades into an off topic point about policy changes. I believe with or without drones (Admittedly, the advance of new technology does sometimes advance policies that would have otherwise been tabled or put off) the policy change would have come around. We just would be saying, "We're not using drones; we're using X."

What drones did was make air strikes comparatively cheap. In a traditional air strike you've got to contact the pilot and his whole local chain of command, who then have to prepare/arm the aircraft, take off, go hit the target, and come back.

Now you can just have drones on long-term orbits. Need an air strike? Call in the nearest orbiting drone
, and it can be done from a CIA bunker with no need to inform an outside chain of command. Plus, drone are much quieter. This makes the temptation to use them much greater.

Bolded is why I like drones. The last part is a policy issue (Which is experienced with all new forms of warfare that create a way to make it cheaper and faster). Since we are capable of delivering fire power quicker than before with much less cost then naturally there is less time to react with the current policy. I think that's a policy point and could be easily addressed (i.e. You are only allowed to do drone strikes with consent of Y party/parties under Z conditions)

EDIT: I wish I was a bit older so I could remember having read what people were saying about the new stealth bombers when they came around. I'm sure people thought they were unethical because they were virtually undetectable and could drop a bomb on someone without any way to retaliate. I feel that similar arguments would have been made.
 
Last edited:

davmat787

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2010
5,513
24
76
I've read that drone strike attacks were actually asked to be increased at one point back in 2008 or 2010 by someone in Pakistan. That is a separate topic however.



Yes, the bar is lower because they're more accessible (This is true with regards to most technological advances). Your second part degrades into an off topic point about policy changes. I believe with or without drones (Admittedly, the advance of new technology does sometimes advance policies that would have otherwise been tabled or put off) the policy change would have come around. We just would be saying, "We're not using drones; we're using X."



Bolded is why I like drones. The last part is a policy issue (Which is experienced with all new forms of warfare that create a way to make it cheaper and faster). Since we are capable of delivering fire power quicker than before with much less cost then naturally there is less time to react with the current policy. I think that's a policy point and could be easily addressed (i.e. You are only allowed to do drone strikes with consent of Y party/parties under Z conditions)

EDIT: I wish I was a bit older so I could remember having read what people were saying about the new stealth bombers when they came around. I'm sure people thought they were unethical because they were virtually undetectable and could drop a bomb on someone without any way to retaliate. I feel that similar arguments would have been made.

I think the question is, should the bar be lower just because drones are cheaper and/or more accessible? On the surface, I think not.

As for your edit, I can't recall ever hearing any arguments against stealth technology on the grounds they are unethical for any reason. Of course the idea that a stealth aircraft could or would be used against American citizens was a completely foreign idea back then. Welcome to pre and post 9/11 thinking.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
I think the question is, should the bar be lower just because drones are cheaper and/or more accessible? On the surface, I think not.

As for your edit, I can't recall ever hearing any arguments against stealth technology on the grounds they are unethical for any reason. Of course the idea that a stealth aircraft could or would be used against American citizens was a completely foreign idea back then. Welcome to pre and post 9/11 thinking.

I don't really get what you're saying. You went from, "the bar is lower" (Airstrikes are functioning more efficiently with a lower cost. A lower bar to entry on doing a strike.) to "We attack US citizens because the bar is lower now". I think, that's not true at all (And that seems like policy but I understand where it stems from (Cheaper/faster/better technology)). I really don't feel those are 1-1 correlated.

I don't think the US was waiting for drones to become more efficient before they decided on a policy change that would attack certain US citizens. I really don't feel that people we're like, "Oh man, as soon as the Y comes out we're going to push legislation to kill US citizens." I feel that's not the case. Similarly (To counter the other side of the 1-1 correlation), I don't think that drone advances brought on new legislation that was for attacking US citizens. It looks more like, "we've decided that we have certain targets that we want to wipe out. Some of them might be US citizens. We want the authority to do that now."
 

Arglebargle

Senior member
Dec 2, 2006
892
1
81
....
This stems from an irrelevant argument. (i.e. You better hope your gun doesn't jam. You better pray your gun doesn't spray ammo to the other side. You better hope your knife doesn't bend or break. You better Z your Y doesn't X.) ....

No, this stems from knowing people who worked there and hearing about Tycho's actual actions.

Like substituting non mil-spec materials, using badly calibrated equipment because it was too expensive to fix, actually sending out non-functioning boards in some cases. It was all about shipping on time, and getting that quarterly bonus.

Military-Industrial Complex stuff. Limited suppliers. Etc.

This applies somewhat to the tech side: How much error are you willing to accept for your drone strikes? And who vettes it? I doubt that the CIA, having hit someplace they did not intend, is going to give out a public 'Oooops' apology. They will claim deceased terrorists. It is something of a pro forma response.

Pretty sure each one of those drone strikes counts as an act of war. It's just that given our relative positions, Pakistan isn't going to declare war. Their populace is not going to like it though.

As far as the tech goes though, there's little functional difference on the ground between a drone strike and a bunch of bombs from a B52. The drones and missles are a technological step up for sure, and one that avoids nasty public responses that might result stateside, from such events as an airplane being shot down, and an aircrew captured.

Missles aren't going to be in common useage, but a cobbled together $100 drone has already lead to a slaughterhouse being caught dumping a river of blood into a local creek. The fields of RC controlled planes and easily controlled drones are quickly approaching one another. It's not going to take much to rig one up with something deadly, and fly it towards someone you're cranky with.
 

benzylic

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2006
1,547
1
0
I do have concerns that using our drones to strike targets in countries that we are not formally hostile with can cause some long term blowback. Even though I don't trust Pakistan at all as an "ally" I can see them being justifiably upset with a foreign nation conducting military strikes within their borders. Perhaps there is an agreement between Washington and Islamabad to conduct these drone strikes however....

There was at one point, and might be still. Some drones were based at airstrips inside Pakistan a couple years ago. There was an outcry once Pakistanis found out about it and I think the Pak govt publicly said they kicked them out, but you never know. I feel Pakistan publicly speaks out against the drones to appease their citizens but behind closed doors they are ok with it since you would have to assume that many of the targets of the strikes are likely to cause problems for Pakistan as well.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
There was at one point, and might be still. Some drones were based at airstrips inside Pakistan a couple years ago. There was an outcry once Pakistanis found out about it and I think the Pak govt publicly said they kicked them out, but you never know. I feel Pakistan publicly speaks out against the drones to appease their citizens but behind closed doors they are ok with it since you would have to assume that many of the targets of the strikes are likely to cause problems for Pakistan as well.

This. I believe this is the case from what I've read.
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,398
19
81
They don't say "civilians" they say collateral damage which mean innocents and drones makes this highly more likely than a Seal shooting a terrorist in the face because of drop time where children/ppl can move under target and explosive radius which kills a large area.. FYI -it's wrong to kill innocent people.

As far as Americans are concerned it's a question of due process which I don't expect you to understand given the shape of public schooling these days. Perhaps when you get into university they will teach you something about history.
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,398
19
81
Pretty much this.

I have heard the suggestion that people who are American citizens who have allied themselves with terrorists should be tried in absentia with and then if "convicted" notified somehow that he has been convicted and given a period of time to surrender himself into U.S. custody.

If he doesn't then he accepts the risk of being hit with a Hellfire missile.

The apparent lack of due process and the seemingly (to me at least) excessive collateral damage is very disturbing.

I've heard that over a hundred children have been killed in drone strikes. maybe it's only a fraction of that. Even if it is, that kind of "collateral damage" can be a source of blowback.

Who knows if some relative a person considered "collateral damage" might be the next terrorist mastermind responsible for a future attack on Americans that has a massive amount of fatalities?

I bet some of these kids/teens who's family was blown up are going spend every resource they have to get in USA on a student visa or whatever just for the right time to kill as many Americans as possible. We have seen nothing yet IMO.
 

Newbian

Lifer
Aug 24, 2008
24,780
845
126
They don't say "civilians" they say collateral damage which mean innocents and drones makes this highly more likely than a Seal shooting a terrorist in the face because of drop time where children/ppl can move under target and explosive radius which kills a large area.. FYI -it's wrong to kill innocent people.

The problem here I feel are two issues.

First off drones risk no American lives unlike sending in Seals or other military units in hostile territory and as other people have pointed out as technology advances such as stealth airplanes this helps to pinpoint the target easier then simply bombing a large area or sending in large amounts of troops.

That's a good thing because it's cheaper on both lives and costs loss in the long run since they get shot down less often.

And the other item is the deal with how you determine innocents.

Do you believe people offering shelter and aid to such terrorists should be considered innocent?

If less people are willing to assist these terrorists then they should have a harder time hiding among groups of people thus the body count should go down.

Not to mention they go for the target with minimal causalities so they simply do not shoot a building up with hundreds of people in it.

As far as Americans are concerned it's a question of due process which I don't expect you to understand given the shape of public schooling these days. Perhaps when you get into university they will teach you something about history.

It really depends on where the person is I would go with here.

On foreign soil with their government's permission or in one of the middle east areas with the current situations going on and they are assisting the terrorists go for it I say as they have lost their rights to a court date as it could be very expensive to grab this person for trial and they have declared their allegiance.

As for targeting them on American soil I do not care for it as we have the government agencies / police force in place to generally take care of the person thus the cost and risk of life is often a lot less risk not to mention the information they could supply could be helpful and is worth the risk here.
 
Last edited:

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
463
126
Maybe I'm bias'd, but I like technology (You know this is a tech forum, right?). It seems to advance things and make some shit more effective/easier. So, naturally, drones seem pretty boss. Kill people from far away (like many forms of warfare now) but without the limits of having the pilot in the seat. Essentially no soldiers are spent on operations and there's very little risk of our troops. Lots of other interesting benefits. Sounds nice.

So, why is it people are so against these things? If you can sum it up without being like, "Well, they do Y and OBAMA IS A LIAR-TRAITOR-THIEF-UNCONSTITUTIONAL-PI-..." then that would be great.

I'm not sure if maybe the missiles/bombs/explosives they use are excessive and that's why they're not so great? I don't really understand what's against drones themselves. As the technology improves, I would assume that they would only become more effective.

I read a lot about civilian casualties and the numbers vary a lot (From 0 to THEY'RE ALL CIVILIANS). So, maybe that's why people are against them (But I don't know of many wars where civilian casualties are low?)? Or maybe it's because people watched the Terminator series and are afraid of Skynet becoming self aware?
Personally I like the expanded use of drones. I do not however think a civilian agency like the CIA should be firing ordnance under military rules. If the justification is military law, then it should be uniformed military personnel. Civilian agencies should not be killing ANYONE without due process as they do not (to my knowledge) fall under the laws of war except in very narrow definitions such as espionage and sabotage. In general, if custody can be obtained, then American law (and applicable foreign law where stricter) should be followed. This will be a gray area, of course; in theory we could have extradited bin Laden, but as Pakistani government forces were protecting him that obviously isn't an option.

I'm fine with our military firing ordnance from drones at targets which are legitimate under military law, regardless of whether they are American citizens. This distinction would also remove the question of drones being used as weapons platforms on American soil.