Monday, May 11, 2009

Killing Civilians OK -- Torturing Terrorists is Bad

That's the logic of the Obama administration and many of its supporters. According to recent testimony before a House Armed Services Subcommittee, counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen laid out statistics showing that since 2006, the U.S. drone campaign has a 2% success rate at eliminating terrorist targets. That's right -- 2%.
Since the drone strikes began in earnest in 2006, the U.S. has killed 14 mid-level Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. In the same time frame, the strikes have killed 700 Pakistani civilians

Much of this of course occurred under the Bush administration, but Obama has accelerated the strikes and shows no sign of abandoning them. So there you have it. It's ok to mark people for assassination -- suspects who in most cases have been convicted of no crimes -- fly drones into another country, launch missiles at them and kill anyone who happens to be in the area. It's ok to do this despite the fact that we are mainly killing a bunch of civilians and helping destabilize Pakistan. But torturing a known member of Al Qaeda such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for information needed to protect the U.S. is somehow "un-American," undermining "American values," "barbaric," against the "rule of law," 'inhumane," "abusive," and most laughable of all, a "war crime." 

I know this will be difficult to grasp for the terrorist rights crowd since it involves logical reasoning rather than emotion and moralism, but the the reason we can justify assassinations that kill 2% enemy targets and 98% civilians, is that we have determined that it is a military necessity. There is apparently no other way to get those targets. In the same way, the Bush administration determined that it was necessary to use extreme measures in order to extract information from captured terrorists. In either case, the administrations making the decisions could be wrong. Maybe assassination & torture aren't really necessary. But those are the types of decisions that get made during wartime.  War is ugly, not neat and tidy. 


1 comment:

  1. The hypocrisy is stunning isn't it. That and the double standards. Fortunately for hussein, most of his fawning ass-kissers are too stupid to see it.