Q and O’s Bruce McQuain raises a question regarding the use of UAVs to kill terrorists on other nations’ territories and comes up with the following:
Certainly the use of UAVs as a military asset that can both gather intel and be used to attack legitimate enemies makes sense. But we’re into a very gray moral area with “extra-judicial” and targeted killings in other countries.
The irony, of course, is the administration that arrogantly condemned its predecessor for secret jails and military tribunals and insisted that the judicial system be used in the war on terror instead now acts as judge, jury and executioner in these UAV killings.
I just wondered what we’d think if Pakistan began flying UAVs into the US and knocking off politicians who supported UAV strikes in Pakistan, calling them “war criminals” and all?
Think we’d find that outrageous, a violation of our sovereignty and international law and be whining to the UN about what was being done by that country (not to mention beating the war drums here at home)?
Deep breath here, because it is a fair question: How would we feel about it if the shoe were on the other foot? We’d most likely be righteously pissed off. But that’s hardly relevant to the discussion here, is it? Unless the discussion is about whether we should ever be able to respond in kind to eradicate threats to our own nation if it inconvenienced a foreign nation’s sovereignty.
In the United States I believe in, there wouldn’t be any whining to the UN involved, though. There’d be swift, brutal retaliation, regardless of whether the terrorists in question were hiding behind the skirts of a foreign nation. Said foreign nation would then be given 48 hours to hand over the terrorists, after which we’d be punching in GPS coords and warming up the ICBMs.
Of course the Pakis have a right to be annoyed that we keep offing terrorists that they’ve allowed to hide in plain sight in Pakistan, but the annoyance wouldn’t be there if they hadn’t been allowed to hide there in the first place, hein? Osama bin FishSticks had a quite comfy setup deep within Pockeeestahn, in plain view of military installations of a nation that was, allegedly, an ally of ours. We sure as hell paid the whore enough to stay as a whore, yet they decide to play both sides of the fence and, as a result, OUR national interests stay threatened.
What to do? Allow various nations that we subsidize to add insult to injury to provide safe houses to our most dangerous enemies, or should we do what we have been doing and sending in a rider on a pale horse to bump them off since our “ally” obviously has no interest in behaving like an ally.
War is not cricket and yes, at times you must reach the conclusion that, in order to achieve your objective, you must do what you would never put up with, were it done to yourself.
Were the terror bombings of Germany from ’43 to ’45 just? After all, how would we have felt if it had been the Germans bombing US, as they most assuredly would have, had they had the wherewithal to do so. Should we conclude from that that we should have abolished all bombing campaigns over Nazi Germany since we’d never put up with it ourselves?
War never changes. It’s always one side against the other, and only one side will remain standing when it’s all over.
And if you get bogged down in thoughts of “why should I shoot that guy across the field when I surely would resent it if he beat me to it?”, then you won’t be the one standing at the end.
At the end, it’s all determined by who has the biggest might and, in that respect, might really does make right.
If you’re hiding a massmurderer in your basement and you won’t hand him over, then your house is about to become a big cloud of rubble. Because if that is NOT our reaction, then we’ve already lost.
I surely do understand Pohkeestahni resentment at us roaming their airspace, taking out targets that they don’t have the stones and/or decency to take out themselves, but it’s utterly irrelevant. They’re a threat to OUR safety, and therefore they must be taken out.
But yes, Bruce McQuain, let’s just for the sake of argument imagine a world in which WE were harboring terrorists hurting other nations. Would those other nations be justified in launching attacks within OUR territory? They would. Take Fast and Furious, for instance. The Mexican government would be well within their rights to use extraordinary rendition to get Holder and Obama to Mexico where they could be tried for their crimes.
And we would resist it, of course, asserting our national sovereignty, and it could become a huge clusterfuck. But none of it is “wrong.”
It’s just the way the world works.
It’s not “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That doesn’t work in geopolitics.
It’s “do unto others BEFORE they do unto you.”
And that’s just the way it is.