“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

US Drone Wars - What is the cost?



    In Washington, Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Navy warships that had been assigned to escort American and British vessels through the strait, a precaution after the seizure of the Maersk Tigris, which is registered in the Marshall Islands, were no longer doing so.

    The apparent stand-down in the strait, where American and Iranian forces once battled each other in the 1980s, appeared to reflect efforts by both sides not to allow any show of military bravado to complicate and possibly sabotage multilateral diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement on Iran’s contentious nuclear program. Those negotiations face a June 30 deadline.

    “It’s definitely among the quickest ‘make nice’ episodes in U.S.-Iran relations since the 1979 revolution,”
    said Cliff Kupchan, chairman of the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting firm in Washington.
    “Neither the U.S. nor Iran is going to let regional conflict bring down the deal.”

  2. .

    The article that follows provides a brief history of body's kind of a long article.

    In the twenty-first-century world of drone warfare, one question with two aspects reigns supreme: Who counts?

    In Washington, the answers are the same: We don't count and they don't count.

    The Obama administration has adamantly refused to count. Not a body. In fact, for a long time, American officials associated with Washington's drone assassination campaigns and "signature strikes" in the backlands of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen claimed that there were no bodies to count, that the CIA's drones were so carefully handled and so "precise" that they never produced an unmeant corpse -- not a child, not a parent, not a wedding party. Nada.

    When it came to "collateral damage," there was no need to count because there was nothing to tote up or, at worst, such civilian casualties were "in the single digits." That this was balderdash, that often when those drones unleashed their Hellfire missiles they were unsure who exactly was being targeted, that civilians were dying in relatively countable numbers -- and that others were indeed counting them -- mattered little, at least in this country until recently. Drone war was, after all, innovative and, as presented by two administrations, quite miraculous. In 2009, CIA Director Leon Panetta called it "the only game in town" when it came to al-Qaeda. And what a game it was. It needed no math, no metrics. As the Vietnam War had proved, counting was for losers -- other than the usual media reports that so many "militants" had died in a strike or that some al-Qaeda "lieutenant" or "leader" had gone down for the count.

    That era ended on April 23rd when President Obama entered the White House briefing room and apologized for the deaths of American aid worker Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto, two Western hostages of al-Qaeda. They had, the president confessed, been obliterated in a strike against a terrorist compound in Pakistan, though in his comments he managed not to mention the word "drone," describing what happened vaguely as a "U.S. counterterrorism operation." In other words, it turned out that the administration was capable of counting -- at least to two.

    And that brings us to the other meaning of "Who counts?" If you are an innocent American or Western civilian and a drone takes you out, you count. If you are an innocent Pakistani, Afghan, or Yemeni, you don't. You didn't count before the drone killed you and you don't count as a corpse either. For you, no one apologizes, no one pays your relatives compensation for your unjust death, no one even acknowledges that you existed. This is modern American drone reality and the question of who counts and whom, if anyone, to count is part of the contested legacy of Washington's never-ending war on terror.

    A Brief History of Body Counts... Counts the Bodies in the Drone Wars?


  3. Who counts ?

    For Iraq, I nominate Rufus.

  4. Jeez, Quirk, when I asked what you would do about the situation in Iraq, you droned on for three or four paragraphs then concluded you'd do about as Obama was doing.

    I have missed it if Deuce has answered the same question when put to him. He said once we had to 'do something' IIRC.

    rat at least has his 'rat Doctrine'.

    1. To demand that there be no collateral damage is the same as demanding that the West do nothing at all.

      In Gaza Hamas was hiding behind the women and children, firing missiles at Israel from Mosques, schools, and hospitals.

  5. .

    It would be nice if whenever you start off with a statement like this you preface it with "As I recall..." This would save us the trouble of reading it.


    1. It is what you said.

      You've been diagnosed with Stockholm Syndrome by the folks at Max Planck Institute of Brain Research in Dresden, Germany.

      Just got the analysis of your recent writings back from them today.

    2. Got the analysis of rat's writings back today as well.

      "We don't know what to make of this......never have seen anything at all like it."

      There was more too, but that was the main gist of it.

  6. Evolution
    A Surprise for Evolution in Giant Tree of Life

    Researchers build the world’s largest evolutionary tree and conclude that species arise because of chance mutations — not natural selection.

    I think the 'standard view' has been that natural selection works on chance mutations.

    Being not well read on the subject, I do find it amusing that anyone could pretend to truly understand the arising of some of the creatures present at this Bar.

  7. To choose at random, consider Noble Ash for instance..........

  8. If you were watching Fox News, you would be hearing about the truly marvelous childhood and boyhood of Dr. Ben Carson.

    When he was young, his mother, who could not read, got him, and the others, off the streets of Detroit by making them go read books at the Library, and writing book reports about the books.

    It was only later that he realized that she could not read herself the reports they had written.

    He has received the highest civilian award our nation has to offer.

    A truly remarkable man.

    He's got my vote.

  9. Replies
    1. Because he overcame the right way. Because he is a marvelous surgeon. Because he won the highest civilian award our nation has to offer. Because he is a remarkable man.

      What kind of jackass comment is that - 'because he can read'

      >>>He has received the highest civilian award our nation has to offer.

      A truly remarkable man.<<<

      He deserves it.