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Targeted Killings

Lately I have been noticing a number of articles, blogs, etc., regarding “targeted killings”.  Now, for anyone who has been living in a paper bag for the past few years, targeted killings are when a drone aircraft (usually a Predator) flies to a given location and fires a missile at said location.  It is all very clinical — and very fatal.  Boom, the bad guys are dead and we all live happily ever after.

I am sure that, in spite of the reassurances from our military, civilian leaders, and CIA, that ever so often an innocent person also meets his maker (or, more likely, is simply turned to dust).  Using a bomb or guided missile to kill a person is not very clinical.  It is not exactly like using the firing squad, hanging, electric chair, etc.

Now, when we killed this bad guy, he may have been home visiting his wives, playing with his small children — who, as a result of their early, and unplanned, introduction to the business end of a Hellfire Missile will never grow up to discover the cure for cancer, global warming, the secret for mideast peace, etc.  Why?  Well, we in our wisdom killed him.

I remember a number of years ago when some Palestinians captured a number of Israeli athletes at the 1976 Olympics and, as a result of a botched rescue attempt the Palestinians as well as the Israelis were killed.  The Israelis, to extract their revenge, sent the Mossad (Israel’s CIA) on a killing spree in Europe.  They did indeed strike fear into the hearts of the bad guys, but, eventually something went very very wrong.  They went to Norway to get one of the men on their hit list.  Unfortunately, the person they killed was a Middle Easterner who, in an effort to get away from all the Middle East violence, moved with his wife and children to Norway.  There, the Israelis killed him.  The Norwegian intelligence service found the Mossad hit team and had them imprisoned.  Thus ending the Israeli killing spree.  The Israelis received lots of bad publicity and lost a lot of their best agents.  Was all this worth it?

I can’t answer that question.  In the case at hand, the US is going on an accurate, and very effective killing spree.  Are we doing the right thing?  I think that most would regard that as a silly question.  We seem to have reduced the scum of the earth — the Islamic radicals — into a very ineffective organization.  We have killed their leaders.  They are on the run.  It is hard to judge, but it does seem to me that we are doing the right thing.

It is good that in our free society people can bring up opposite points of view without fear of reprisal.  So far, the opinions that I have read are intelligent and thought provoking.  I hope they will continue.  But as of right now,  I wish the President, the CIA, and Military lots of luck and to continue the good work!  But, never forget, eventually this will probably cause some huge embarrassments.

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2 comments on “Targeted Killings

  1. There are really aren’t any good options out there.
    The best way is to go after the people directly responsible, which is what Israelis tried to do. It is better to arrest and try them in court, as those same Israelis did with Nazi criminals, but it is not always possible. These people tend not to stay in the countries where they could be easily arrested and extradited. For example, an attempt to arrest al-Awlaki in Yemen would probably lead to casualties on both sides.

  2. I can remember Sunday, December 7, 1941. I was so happy that we would be going to war. (I was ten.) I was sure we would win in short order. We would save the
    Chinese from the Japanese. (Yes, I called them Japs.) And we would save the English
    from the Germans. Well it didn’t turn out to be so easy.
    The American Civil War was an all out war with huge loss of life. World War I was
    an all out war for Europe with an even more appalling loss of life. And World War II
    was an all out war for Asia, Europe, Australia and most of North America. It brought
    such innovations as fire bombing and atomic weapons. Since those wars, we have
    had limited wars so the killing has not been as extensive. Since Viet Nam, we’ve had
    no draft, which further reduces the loss of life.
    I mention all of this because some people object to the drone strikes in Pakistan
    and Yeman. The New York Times is concerned about having the President make the
    decision of who goes on the “kill list”. It seems to me that it is morally justified to use
    a drone with a hellfire missle to kill as few innocent people as possible while we are killing someone who is trying to kill as many people as he can. So I would say that
    the drones are an improvement over the B-17s, B-29s, ICBMs, and Cruise missiles.
    The New York Times feels that it should not be left to a politician to decide who
    goes on the “kill list”. But should we leave it to the generals? Both Lee and Grant
    at times felt that they caused unnecessary loss of life. President Truman said that
    “The buck stops here”. He was the one who decided to drop the atomic bombs.
    There is no better way than to have a serious, responsible, moral President take
    responsibility for these decisions. ,,,, We just have to be sure we continue to have
    such Presidents.

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