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by srothstein
Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:20 am
Forum: Off-Topic
Topic: Extrajudicial Killing
Replies: 38
Views: 2368

Re: Extrajudicial Killing

PriestTheRunner wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:59 am
So as long as the politicians keep their hands clean by simply not being near enough to action, they can't be a target?... That doesn't seem to make any sense. If North Korea invaded Seoul, Kim Jong-un isn't in 'the war zone', he would be in Pyongyang (most likely) or one of the hidden military installations. How, exactly, would it be unethical for us to send a decapitation team to attempt to eliminate him (which has long since been the stated plan, among others) in an effort to shorten the war.
I am not quite making myself clear on this, I guess. I agree that the leaders are guilty but I disagree on whether or not they are targets if they stay far away. This is not because of the current and recent states of illegal war we find ourselves involved in. It is because I have a, for lack of better wording, finely developed sense of fairness about how things should be done. I have studied, at least a surface look, some of the philosophies of war as well as having studied morality and ethics. I once had an interesting conversation with a psychologist after testing for a police job. He noted that I seemed to have a very black and white view of how things should be done. Right was right and wrong was wrong with very few shades of gray in-between. While we were discussing this, he did mention that this seems to be common with experienced police officers. This is relevant because I admit that I have a set of opinions on how a war should be fought. I know what I think is right and what isn't.

Examples of this include what I think are valid military targets. In war, military bases are obvious targets. I think any elected politician is also a valid target, from dog catcher up to president. Actually, any government employee is a target, as is any government building other than schools and hospitals. Then we get into all of the civilian structures that are valid targets, like railroad yards, manufacturing plants, financial centers, etc. And with all of this as valid targets, I find booby traps, assassination teams, and snipers to be immoral. They just don't seem fair to me.

All of this is also complicated by a very strong pragmatic sense. As a cop, when deadly force is justified, I have always wondered if there is such a thing as excessive force. As a soldier, if you go to war, I have always thought it should be an all-out war. I don't believe in "limited" war. And I have very few qualms with the old saw that if you are in a fair fight, you are doing something wrong.

Yes, if I were president and had a chance to end a war, or even to prevent a war, by assassinating the leader of the nation, I would take that chance. But just because I am pragmatic enough to do this, it doesn't mean that I find it moral or ethical. Wrong is wrong, whether I do it or my enemy does it.

And I guess what it also means is that I recognize just how thin the veneer of civilization is on people. Well, at least on me I know it is thin. I want to be civilized and I try to be civilized, but I know I would get very savage very quickly in certain cases. One case would be if I went to war, especially against my own government. Another would be if someone ever hurt my kids or grandkids. They are sacred to me.
by srothstein
Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:13 pm
Forum: Off-Topic
Topic: Extrajudicial Killing
Replies: 38
Views: 2368

Re: Extrajudicial Killing

Gator Guy wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:23 pm
If we use snipers to kill "high value targets" by surprise, we can hardly complain it's unfair or unethical for our opponents do the same.

If we use UAV/RMA to deliver missiles or bombs, we can hardly call our opponents cowards for using IED, when that's the technology they have.
I think we agree more than you think. I was saying that I think assassination is not ethical. I did not specify which side it was unethical for. I agree that we cannot complain about people doing to us what we do to them. I have always hated the hypocrisy of politicians who complain when the other side does exactly what they did when they were in charge and that concept applies to war also.

I don't particularly care for snipers except in a known war area. It is not assassination, IMO, to target the leaders of a combat unit coming at you. It is assassination to send a sniper out to kill a leader who is not in combat. While I do not have a problem with the moral guilt of the politicians who order the killing being as great (and even greater in some cases) as the guilt of the person who did the killing, I still have moral reservations about hunting them down and using assassination as a tool. This is one of those cases where I want us to not sink to the level of the enemy and to maintain the high moral ground.

And yes, I do realize that this is not always possible. If I were in charge and found the only way to stop something was to assassinate the leader of the opposition, I would probably order it done. It would not make it right, but I can understand the pragmatic side of the issue also. And I would be even more guilty than the person who actually did the shooting because I know it is wrong.

I am not sure I agree with the logic of a UAV being morally equivalent to an IED though I can see your point about the technology difference inherent in the tools. I have a problem with hidden booby traps like IEDs. I have the same problem with our dropping mines to seed an area without marking it or letting people know. I recognize the necessity and usefulness of land mines, but I don't like them and also recognize the immorality of their use.
by srothstein
Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:39 pm
Forum: Off-Topic
Topic: Extrajudicial Killing
Replies: 38
Views: 2368

Re: Extrajudicial Killing

Gator Guy wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:38 am
On the other hand, I'm not so opposed to assassination as an instrument of foreign policy, the same as waging war. If it's moral to kill front line troops, then it's moral to kill military commanders. It's more effective to target and kill a military commander than the troops he commands. It's also ethically superior if the troops are conscripts and would rather be home with their families. This also applies to political leaders who declare war or exert control over the military. Killing them is more bang for the buck than killing a grunt, and at worst ethically equivalent, despite what those politicians want us to believe.
I understand your point about the ethics of it, though I personally disagree. Of course, ethics and morals are always a personal option to be decided individually. I find an ethical difference in killing someone in open combat as opposed to a hidden attack from which he cannot defend effectively. You have a very good point about the use of conscripts though and it is hard to argue that we should kill troops who are fighting us because they are more afraid of their own supervisors than they are of us.

I will point out that killing leaders and politicians may not be more effective than killing the soldiers. In a military like the Russians have, killing leaders is very effective (well, according to my training). They have a policy of not automatically moving people up so that a company gets stopped when the commander gets killed, until a new commander arrives. This may have changed since my training was a few decades ago. In our military, it has been proven to not be very effective. We train our soldiers to think and show initiative, but even more importantly to automatically move up as needed in combat.

Politicians are a whole different story. I wholeheartedly would like to see more of them on the front lines, though I know it is not practical. Even there though, we have a policy of automatically moving up to keep a functioning government. Look at the chain of succession for the President as one example. Killing the president would do nothing to stop the government, though it might slow it down for a day or two.
by srothstein
Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:12 am
Forum: Off-Topic
Topic: Extrajudicial Killing
Replies: 38
Views: 2368

Re: Extrajudicial Killing

The difference is actually very easy to see. Notice who is most upset about the KSA killing. This same group is also not upset about anything Obama did and generally ignores the Constitution. In this case, they are upset because the current president is not upset about it. This is American politics being played out. I do not see very many conservatives upset about the killing, though I am not sure if it is because they support the president, they see the hypocrisy, or they see what happens in other countries to their citizens as none of our business.

Another case I recently saw of the same thing was the judge who said the president had no authority to issue an order that goes against the written immigration law. I was wondering how we could get the case about ending the program created by Obama that went against the immigration laws in front of him. A different judge said it was unconstitutional to enforce immigration laws the way they are written.

This is a sign of how divided our country has become. Our major media is very biased in its reporting and is actively trying (IMO) to help manipulate public opinion. Unfortunately, I see very little sign of anything getting any better in the near future.

To address the killings more directly, I will point out that assassination has long been used as a tool by various governments. It has also been long used by our government, even though its public acknowledgement is more recent. In a lot of cases, the assassination has been disguised by a kangaroo court or by other laws, such as the historical policy that an enemy soldier caught in our uniform was automatically a spy and could be executed on the spot. The US has also tried to, as a general rule, to cover it with a trial and capital sentence. This is the kangaroo courts I was talking about.

I disagree with assassination as a policy but I am not sure anyone could ever do anything to stop it.

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