Drones: The new direction of war

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Fraggle Rocker, May 13, 2013.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member


    In the first place, that report wasn't "my source" for any percentages - I haven't posted any such percentages, and I linked to the blog that report is a small part of for another reason altogether: namely as an illustration of how poorly supported the numbers you have been posting are. Read the various articles, papers, etc linked through that site, and you maybe you will stop referring to the systematically biased guesswork estimates of the NAF as "facts".

    In the second, the Lindsey Graham quote directly contradicts the basis for at least two of the three estimates used in the "average", including specifically the NAF estimate which would be invalidated even on its own terms (even accepting its own dubious definitions of "non-combatant" and "civilian", say). And that quote is the closest thing we have to high level information on this topic. In the past, of course, the politicians sitting on the relevant committees have been systematically uninformed and misinformed by the military itself in the first place - we should allow for the likelihood that Senator Graham has been provided false numbers and dramatically inaccurate information about sensitive matters such as mistaken or accidental casualties. 4700 should be our rock bottom minimum base for beginning a sound estimate, if we are sober and conscientious here.

    Lower than what? The military prefers to compare drone strikes to things like bombs and missiles, for obvious reasons. And since we have never been provided with accurate info from the military about the collateral killings from bombs and missiles anyway, claims of being lower than whatever those numbers really are mean little.

    They are using those things for assassinations. Compared with other assassination methods (sniper rifles, car bombs, etc) they seem to have higher levels of collateral damage, not lower. They miss a lot, kill other people a lot, we know this.
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  3. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Your/Fraggle Roccker's nonsensically wrong civilian/military casualty rate claim is the only thing we are discussing. You didn't post the number, but you took up defending it/attacking mine. Did you forget what the discussion was about?

    Not quite sure where you are getting that, but clearly your source pretty well agrees with me, not your/Fraggle Rocker's nonsensically wrong claim.
    It's your source - if you don't accept it, why even bother posting it? So I guess I'll have to repeat my request: do you have a source for your claims or not? It would seem we're back to a place where the only available evidence supports my claim, not yours, so you have to ignore all evidence and make up your own "facts".
    Targeted killings is one use, yes, but not the only use. They are used for a wide variety of airstrikes. Their growing availability has led to an expansion of their role.
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  5. darksidZz Valued Senior Member

    Drones seem useful but I'm not sure they really are. I mean they cost a fortune, they use oil, etc. Seriously I think they're going to pop out of existence pretty fast once we have oil shortages that don't go away.
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  7. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    No. Drones cost much less to purchase and operate and use much less oil than the airplanes they replace.
  8. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    The US has a strategic oil reserve.
  9. leopold Valued Senior Member

    i didn't know, that's why i used the word "might".
    not specifically, but i did mention "navy man" and "within 12 miles".
    i assumed you would know what i was referring to.
    i believe the requirements are set by the military and congress passes the bill.
    the requirements for civilian medals might be set by congress.
    that's right and they don't do this stuff sitting behind a desk.
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So your insistence on laser guided precise targeting as guaranteeing a very low level of collateral damage is what - no longer operable?

    Of course, as posted. My links were to fairly obvious evidence that your numbers are poorly supported - all my links are to evidence of problems with them, including hints and clues to how they should be adjusted by someone attempting a more realistic estimate, which you can discover by reading my links entire rather than finding your number in one of them and ignoring the rest of the content.

    Part of that content, for example, was mention of the assumptions behind the classification of casualties as "non-civilian", which included the apparent classification of all adult male kills (certainly all armed adult male kills, they are of course not forthcoming with details) as "non-civilian" and therefore not collateral. Even presuming their reports are honest and complete (which would make them dramatically unique in the fifty year history of this issue when dealing with the CIA or US military info), that kind of criteria demands reasonable adjustment if one wishes to estimate in good faith. We have evidence they are neither, of course, both from a half century of experience and such hints as Senator Graham's well informed number.

    I defended it as being in a rather more likely order of magnitude - yours less then 1, Fraggles in the tens.
  11. leopold Valued Senior Member

    what exactly is "collateral damage"?
    would bombing a farm be termed "collaterel damage"?
    or is it damage to something other than the target?

    collateral damage, the political correctness of the military.
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Unintentional killing of civilians or damage to civil property. The distinction is not easily made. If you bomb a military headquarters and kill the janitor who keeps the place clean so the officers can do their work, is he collateral damage?

    Usually. But what if all the food it produces is used exclusively to feed soldiers?

    Well if it's simply a mistake due to bad intelligence or sheer incompetence, that's not collateral damage. The essence of the phrase is to acknowledge that the weapons of war are not precise enough to destroy the convoy of military vehicles on the bridge, without also killing the civilians who are taking their vegetables to market.

    Well we actually do need a term for this phenomenon. Nonetheless it wasn't coined until the 1980s, so I wonder how soldiers talked about it in the past?

    How about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The whole point was to convince the Japanese civilian population to put pressure on their government to halt a war it could not win. The U.S. had to target these civilians directly in order to make that point, by demonstrating our far superior weaponry that would win the war ultimately.

    So were these people legitimate military targets? Or were they collateral damage?

    Or, as I have suggested, was this simply the most onerous act of terrorism ever perpetrated?
    Terrorism: a form of extortion, a deliberate attack on civilians and their infrastructure, with the hope of terrorizing them into adopting a policy which they would never voluntarily adopt under any other circumstances.​

    Not everyone agrees with this analysis, but whether it was intended this way is irrelevant since its phenomenal success stands as an inspiration to every terrorist on earth.
  13. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    The concepts are not mutually exclusive, but by all means please explain your [il]logic for why you think they are.
    Ahh, back to the same tactics you used in other threads: You post sources that contradict your own claims, then claim that they support your claims. I wonder if anyone is buying that here either?
    Wrong. Again I wonder if you read your own sources, because that's not in your source! The NAF's count was the worst according to you and it came from media reports, with the criteria that at least two sources at to explicitly label them some form of "militants" to be counted as such. The NAF's criteria is quite sensible and does not contain the flaw you cite.
  14. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    No, it certainly isn't collateral damage to kill an employee of the facility you are bombing. What constitutes collateral damage really isn't that difficult of a concept.
    Wrong. The entire point of collateral damage is that it is accidental killing of civilians (or damage to civilian property). So, for example, the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was collateral damage.
    This is evidence of the changing nature of warfare; the fact that as practiced by Western countries, war is becoming more civil. Prior to WWII, it was accepted that civilians were legitimate targets because the wars were so big that full engagement by the civilians in the war effort was necessary to fight the war. But WWII saw some of the worst destruction of civilian areas ever and at the same time people realized that it didn't really help the war effort much. So the idea that civilians were legitimate targets was outlawed and phased-out over the next few decades. Not everyone follows this new standard of conduct though.
  15. leopold Valued Senior Member

    i assume they didn't.
    take WW2 and germany or japan:
    our soldiers were given the order "if it's japanese, destroy it" or "if it's german, destroy it".
    it's impossible to have collateral damage under those assumptions.
    the civilians of tokyo paid a heavier price than the civilians of hiroshima, plus hiroshima was an legitimate target.
    nagasaki wasn't a legitamate target, in my opinion.
    tokyo and hirohima however were.
    in my opinion a military man can't be convicted of terrorism in times of war, that's what civilians are for and that makes them legitimate targets too.

    you must also remember that war is a nasty ugly business, it isn't meant to be prepackaged and easy to swallow.
    i'm sure our military planners have devised, and executed, horrendous plots that have led thousands of innocents to their deaths.
    this is one of the reasons all out war must be avoided, at all costs.
  16. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    How do you feel about drug testing for drone pilots? Or any other individual entrusted with devices of lethality.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I'm beginning to think your failure to deal with my claims or recognize their supporting evidence is from a failure to comprehend them, rather than dishonesty as I first assumed.

    My links are to supporting evidence for my claims. You have not dealt with either those claims or that evidence, yet, in any of your posts.

    I never said the NAF count was the "worst", and I specifically said that it wasn't the worst you could have used, above. Do you realize how much of your posting is simply confusions of that kind?

    My objections to the NAF count are based on exactly the methodology you described and linked: you have apparently not considered what it means to restrict the count to "credible" media reports, take a majority vote of such reports, or accept the language of such reports as data.

    And it doesn't help that they publish disclaimers to some extent. We saw in the Iraq War, for example, how the Iraq Body Count folks set out to get at least one incontrovertible number by restricting their counts to the solidly verified - and then had that number taken as an accurate estimate of the total casualties by the war critics, while being vilified as biased by the war advocates: both "sides" missing the point that the number was a gross underestimate, deliberately designed to be so.

    Whether the NAF gross underestimate is deliberate is less clear - unlike the IBC folks, they do not insist on the fact that they are underestimating.

    Note their total count is much less than Senator Graham's figure and other such clues, and there are obvious aspects to their methods that would almost certainly produce large undercounts, but they do not specifically deal with that issue as the IBC folks attempted to.

  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yes, even Dresden! They didn't go to that extreme in Japan. They were very careful not to bomb Kyoto.

    But we've established the concept of war crimes so we can convict them after the war is over.

    If you don't trust 'em, don't hire 'em. I certainly don't want to work for a manager with such poor "people skills" that he's not sure who he can trust. That guy should be sweeping floors for a living.

    Besides, the inactive residue of many drugs lingers in the blood or urine long after it was ingested and the effects have dissipated. Using these tests, they frequently bust people for something they did two weeks ago, when they were not even at work and should be free to do whatever the hell they want!
  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

    there were many other cities that suffered the same fate, thousands of innocents perished in each case.
    only because we couldn't.
    most of americas attention was focused on germany, and especially the atlantic wolf packs which were sending 10s of thousands of tons to the bottom.
    they were apparently careful about not bombing hiroshima and nagasaki too.
    only the military knows why that is.
    technically there is no law in war, but there are rules.
    you don't bomb hospitals or rescue ships.
    you don't machine gun the survivors of the ship you just sank.
    there are others.
    the military also has its own legal code, military men cannot be tried for murder in times of war for example.
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The US made many serious and fully attentive efforts to start firestorms equivalent to Dresden in Japanese cities, failing only because the architecture was different and the fire-fighting abilities of the Japanese superior.

    Note that even in the atmosphere of racist and jingoistic self-righteousness prevailing in the US at the time, even in a war as well-justified and "defensive" as WWII, the military downplayed its targeting of civilians and undercounted the civilian casualties of its assaults. Only many years later did a large contingent of ordinary American citizens gain an accurate view of the civilian toll from American tactics in the various theaters of that war.

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