Arising out of the mega thread earlier, commenter Corner Stone noted, if I understood him correctly, that the problem with discussing the use of military force by the US government tends to get diverted into frog-hair splitting about which technology we should use to kill people, versus the policies that lead us to killing people on the other side of the world in the first place.
My reply to him:
I see somebody post something about drones being used to kill people on the other side of the world and how evil that is. I honestly don’t recall any elaboration on that point, even when specifically asked for it, but I’m sure that it’s happened. I don’t watch the blog all the time. Sometimes I pay attention to my wife and kids. Would that they wouldn’t always get in the way of blogging, but they’re pretty selfish that way.
I’ll put up a thread later where we can talk about foreign policy specifically as it relates to the “war on terror”*…
What questions do we as engaged citizens ask or should we be asking? What answers should we be looking for? What is the role of the military in addressing common national security challenges? What is the role of the military in this specific national security challenge? What other departments or agencies should address these issues? Hell—what constitutes a national security challenge (in the first place)?
*A construct I’ve never liked as it makes war against a tactic, and not a base cause and therefore is an open ended commitment to use weapons to resolve problems whenever they present themselves whether or not they are the appropriate tool.
As commenter FlipYrWhig stated:
…if we’re really doing this, it’s not even clear what “the debate” even is. Is it “what’s to be done to stop suspected terrorists?” or “given that drones exist and can be grievously misused, what’s to be done to make that misuse zero or close to zero?” or “given that the American government continues to do various indisputably awful things, how much responsibility do we bear for those if we voted for the guy at its head?”
ETA: What debate do the disputants even think they’re having?
The way some people want to hash it out, you’d think the starting point was “given that Obama cackles while bathing in the blood of innocents, how ought we best advance the demise of murderous American hegemony?” or “given that terrorists will kill you tomorrow if we do nothing, why do you want to do nothing?”
I know that this is already starting to look like I’m trolling the blog. I know that some of you are probably thinking I’m just doing this to fuck with you people in the hope of seeing some really epic commenter slap-fights.
Well, yes. Duh.
But I also think this is a discussion worth having. Presumably, I’m not the only one who thinks the answer to terrorist or potential terrorist attacks is neither use nukes nor do nothing. Surely there’s some continuum of operations that includes dropping flowers and chocolates on one end and glassing their capitol city on the other with diplomatic operations, development aid, busboys with silencers, SEAL Team 6, the 82nd ABN Division, and B-2 stealth bombers in there somewhere.
Presumably I’m not the only one who thinks that the correct answer to enemy forces trying to widen the battlefield to neighboring countries, with the collusion of the governments and people of those countries, should be met by targeting them where they may be found hiding even in those countries, and that nothing good comes of waiting till they stand in the middle of a field by themselves firing a weapon at my friends. But perhaps that question is better answered as part of a larger question–what are or should be the triggers for the use of various forces, and having made that decision, what does that imply for the military personnel we are sending into harms way to kill in our names? What duty do we have to them, both during the conflict and after it? How far should we be willing to go?
Are drones at their heart evil? Is there some moral flaw attached to them that does not pertain to other forms of force? If so, why? And what distinguishes one form of force from another?
I’d ask that we keep it polite and try to avoid the personal attacks, but this is Balloon-Juice, and that train left the station long before I started commenting here.