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U.S. Drone Attack Strategy Against Al-Qaeda May Be Wrong

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the fighting-fire-with-gasoline dept.

The Military 433

An anonymous reader writes "A new study (abstract) in the journal Informational Security evaluates the U.S. military's strategy for killing off al-Qaeda's leadership using remote drone strikes. The study argues that the strategy is ineffective, calling into question both the military's rationale for doing so and the allocation of defense funds to run it. Essentially, there are two different types of terrorist organizations: those held together by a small number of charismatic leaders, and those who have developed their own bureaucracy, almost like a business. 'Companies don't fall apart when they lose their CEO or CFO; other people are being trained to do that job and there are institutional mechanisms preserving the knowledge the CEO brought to the table. Also, rules create clear lines of succession, so destabilizing struggles over who gets to take over the group's leadership become less likely.'

Intelligence on al-Qaeda indicates it's more of a bureaucratic group — unsurprising, since terrorist organizations that have been around for a while tend to evolve that way. Since the drone attacks started, there has been no significant correlation between successful strikes and a reduction in al-Qaeda attacks. 'The case for the drone program, at its heart, is that killing significant numbers of underlings AND a small number of high-level leaders is severely weakening the group's operating ability. Jordan's study suggests that al-Qaeda just isn't the kind of group that can be beaten that way.'"

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The Air Force never wins wars. Film at 11. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064883)

Sorry to anyone listening at Fort Meade.

If you have the opportunity (1, Funny)

Dr_b_ (112464) | about 2 months ago | (#47064915)

The solution is to eliminate all members and the supporting population.

Re:If you have the opportunity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064987)

Using laughable intelligence from foreign powers and bad actors, using signature kills, and making errors that murder innocent civilians effectively turns a non-supportive population into a supportive population IS the problem. Your final solution will just create more opportunities for people to become supporters of the terrorists (and not the USian ones that are raining down death on everything remotely from thousands of miles away), so you're really suggesting genocide. Good luck with that.

Re:If you have the opportunity (1, Informative)

drakaan (688386) | about 2 months ago | (#47065041)

*WHOOSH*

Re:If you have the opportunity (0)

operagost (62405) | about 2 months ago | (#47065731)

Would you expect anything other than WOOSH from someone who uses "USian"?

Re:If you have the opportunity (1, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47065323)

Right. Strategic bombing was always a dumbass move.

Re:If you have the opportunity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065849)

Strategic bombing involves a beatable enemy with clearly definable material & infrastructure. "Ending terrorism" is about as likely as "ending drug abuse", you'll never do it and you'll do a massive amount of damage in the process of trying. You mitigate its effects (building design, reasonable security measures, arrest/prosecution, etc) & try to remove the impetus for those committing it (listen to complaints from the region, stabilize economy, prevent collateral damage, etc) and accept that there will still be a few crazies who will commit. Most of the areas where terrorism flourishes are war torn or in economic shambles, removing those two factors and 98% of the worlds terrorists will vanish within a generation. Simply bombing them is a great way of making more terrorists, as you almost certainly have significant numbers of innocent casualties, making more people in the area sympathetic to their cause and don't remove any of the reasoning behind why they are doing it in the first place.

Re:If you have the opportunity (1)

billstclair (470179) | about 2 months ago | (#47065549)

The US Army: creating terrorists since 1968, or was it 1945?

Re:If you have the opportunity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065579)

Since 1776.

Re:If you have the opportunity (5, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | about 2 months ago | (#47065107)

Nuke the site from orbit. It is the only way to be sure.

Re:If you have the opportunity (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065263)

Nuke the site from orbit. It is the only way to be sure.

Well, that would be rather harsh towards Maryland and Virginia, wouldn't it?

Re:If you have the opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065269)

This isn't the place you've chosen to live in, or to be clear, the MMORPG you like to play to compensate for your scumbag life, did you notice that?

Re:If you have the opportunity (1, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 months ago | (#47065231)

I can't imagine that killing off AQ leaders doesn't hurt them some, which is good.

So, keep droning them and add in other measures that even more effectively kills them, weakens them and brings them down.

There is no one single method that will eliminate them, so use all tools at your disposal.

Re:If you have the opportunity (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47065247)

If you killed Elon Musk, would Tesla thrive?

Re:If you have the opportunity (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 months ago | (#47065337)

If you killed Elon Musk, would Tesla thrive?

Well, if you whacked him, and the VP, and the next to him, etc. You'd certainly cause the company to stumble, and if you get enough of them quick enough in a small company, sure, it might fail.

Re:If you have the opportunity (5, Insightful)

mfh (56) | about 2 months ago | (#47065389)

If anything happened to Musk as of right now, Tesla would be divided and absorbed into the old model. He is a visionary and visionaries have to be protected like you protect the King in a game of chess. Look at what's happening to Apple.

Re:If you have the opportunity (4, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47065355)

Imagine you're at a wedding.

You have a Pakistani friend, nice girl. Moved here to get away from all this bullshit.

She invited two of her cousins. They have friends as well, who were invited. One of those friends is a suspected--but not proven--terrorist. He's on a list of people who may or may not be associated with a terrorist cell which may or may not exist and may or may not be associated with Al Qaeda.

A missile comes in. You're at the edge of the crowd, fortunately; you get scraped up a little, but you're fine. You find yourself surrounded by the wounded, by pieces of bodies. The mangled upper half of your cute Pakistani friend lies beside you, silent, bloody, almost unrecognizable. There's nothing left of the maybe-could-be-might-not-be-terrorist, of course: we got him.

This is the story of many. For many more, there is no story: they were too close.

Re:If you have the opportunity (-1, Troll)

Jiro (131519) | about 2 months ago | (#47065839)

The problem with this is that failing to attack terrorists who hide among civilians give terrorists greater incentive to hide among civilians. You end up with fewer innocents killed from attacks on terrorists and more killed by terrorists. The people killed by the terrorists have their own life stories which are just as sympathetic as those of the innocent bystanders when the terrorist is caught at a wedding.

Re:If you have the opportunity (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 2 months ago | (#47065467)

I would assume that at the very least, it could give some potential candidates second thoughts abound joining the upper ranks.

I wouldn't exactly feel comfortable and secure as an Al-Quaeda leader.
On the other hand, I wouldn't feel very comfortable with blowing myself up in the middle of a crowded space either, so ho knows how the terrorist mindset ticks.

Re:If you have the opportunity (1)

iainr (43602) | about 2 months ago | (#47065613)

It depends on the leader. In N.I. the british army had a policy of leaving one IRA leader alone because his signals security was so bad. if they're have arrested or killed him they'd have lost a huge intelligence lead as whoever replaced him would probably be more competent. At one point this got to the stage that one of them was shagging his wife to keep her quiet as she was threatening to leave him and this was affecting his "work". This isn't new, the OSS produced a manual on sabotage in WWII which included advice for agents in french industries to try and get incompetent managers promoted in order to reduce efficiency.

Re:If you have the opportunity (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47065379)

You've convinced me. Clearly the only solution is genocide on a greater scale than even Hitler managed.

Re:If you have the opportunity (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 2 months ago | (#47065583)

You jest but that's not far from the truth. That's unacceptable to modern morals, of course (as it should be) but maybe that means that you should avoid starting such actions in the first place. Don't start a fight you're not prepared to finish.

May be wrong? (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 2 months ago | (#47064919)

Yeah it might* be wrong, it also might* be completely retarded but that doesn't stop them.

*is

Correlation vs correlation (4, Insightful)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 2 months ago | (#47064933)

OK, so "there has been no significant correlation between successful strikes and a reduction in al-Qaeda attacks".

Am I the only one thinking things might have been much worse if no terrorist leaders had been taken out at all?

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

Wizardess (888790) | about 2 months ago | (#47064967)

Nope, you are not alone.

{^_^}

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

GWXerog (3151863) | about 2 months ago | (#47065007)

Eventually they'll run out of employees

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 2 months ago | (#47065257)

Eventually they'll run out of employees

Unless the drone strikes polarize them even more and cause people to join their cause out.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 months ago | (#47065017)

OK, so "there has been no significant correlation between successful strikes and a reduction in al-Qaeda attacks".

Am I the only one thinking things might have been much worse if no terrorist leaders had been taken out at all?

There's only one way to handle this. The US is a bunch of pansies with girlie underpants.

Drone Strike every leader, and at the same time hit every second-in-command
You will miss a few leaders so now you must drop heavy artillery all over their compounds
You will have missed a few followers so now you must drop nuclear weapons all over their towns
You will have missed a few sympathizers so now you invade the country and kill everyone using your might at land and sea.
Anyone who lives should be put in prison.

Victory!

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#47065093)

OK, so "there has been no significant correlation between successful strikes and a reduction in al-Qaeda attacks".

Am I the only one thinking things might have been much worse if no terrorist leaders had been taken out at all?

Absolutely. I don't believe that the removal of certain individuals will stop them but it will add to their "management overheads", someone else will have to take control, people trust them and so on. If we're really lucky it could lead to power struggles and in-fighting within the group

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47065217)

'Companies don't fall apart when they lose their CEO or CFO;

I find it hard to believe that if you keep killing the CEO and CFO of a company, the performance of that company will not suffer.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 months ago | (#47065465)

Yeah. At some point, no one is going to want to be CEO/CFO.

Massive CEO/CFO churn is a sign of a company in deep, serious trouble. Companies can handle occasional sudden losses of key personnel, but if it happens on a regular basis - that company is fucked.

It's also going to be bad for morale if the CEO/CFO keep getting whacked. Now, in the short term the company might have enough succession/disaster recovery plans to keep continuity going, but if the CEO/CFO in a company keep dying (as do the CEOs/CFOs of all other companies in the same industry), the employees are eventually going to say, "Fuck this, time for a career change."

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 2 months ago | (#47065615)

Except the CEO was that was killed was your dear buddy and they also got some collateral damage like your sister and nephew and the point of the company is to attack those who did the killing.

You have to look at the bigger picture. I'm no pacifist but this stuff is not helping.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 months ago | (#47065683)

Yeah. At some point, no one is going to want to be CEO/CFO.

Massive CEO/CFO churn is a sign of a company in deep, serious trouble. Companies can handle occasional sudden losses of key personnel, but if it happens on a regular basis - that company is fucked.

It's also going to be bad for morale if the CEO/CFO keep getting whacked. Now, in the short term the company might have enough succession/disaster recovery plans to keep continuity going, but if the CEO/CFO in a company keep dying (as do the CEOs/CFOs of all other companies in the same industry), the employees are eventually going to say, "Fuck this, time for a career change."

On the other hand, the motivations for a terrorist organization are not the same as they are for a corporation, regardless of how similarly they operate. CEOs expect their 72 virgins now, not after they die.

Religions and ideologies usually consider hardship to be a vindication of what they're doing, not something to slough off onto employees, investors, or future quarters.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065131)

Not if the leader who was taken out was less effective of a leader than the people he replaced. In a real buearacrasy, taking out people in the middle and top can actually help the organization at least as often as not.
What if the leader in question is in fact being given up to you by his internal political rival whose internal politics were causing a rift?

Re:Correlation vs correlation (4, Insightful)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 2 months ago | (#47065315)

You're not thinking at all, you're just emoting.

If you were thinking you would realise that drone strikes on a civilian population - on women, on children, on funerals, on weddings - recruit a thousand terrorists for every one they kill. Of course the CIA and the military promote this policy. More terrorists means more money for the CIA and the military, terrorism and counter-terrorism are inherently symbiotic. But foreign policy should not be dictated by the needs of inter-agency pissing matches in Washington DC.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (3, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 months ago | (#47065819)

You're not thinking at all, you're just emoting.

If you were thinking you would realise that drone strikes on a civilian population - on women, on children, on funerals, on weddings - recruit a thousand terrorists for every one they kill. Of course the CIA and the military promote this policy. More terrorists means more money for the CIA and the military, terrorism and counter-terrorism are inherently symbiotic. But foreign policy should not be dictated by the needs of inter-agency pissing matches in Washington DC.

Agreed, but it's not about pissing matches. It's about the ability to project power to get what you want, using those counter-terrorism and other agencies. It's also about using the blowback to demand ever more power. Hegelian Dialectic anyone?

The US's core policy of manipulating governments and societies in the Middle East to secure energy sources and stave off competitors isn't going to change any time soon. So the coercive tactics used in that policy likewise will not change. We'll just go on pissing off local populations, creating more terrorists, and treating it as a problem to be managed, like industrial waste.

I don't see the situation changing unless the US changes it's foreign policy, or the locals give up national pride and radical Islam.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 months ago | (#47065363)

OK, so "there has been no significant correlation between successful strikes and a reduction in al-Qaeda attacks".

Am I the only one thinking things might have been much worse if no terrorist leaders had been taken out at all?

If there is no significant correlation between successful strikes and a reduction in al-Qaeda attacks, then, no, things wouldn't be worse. It would be the same.

The bigger issue that no one wants to admit is that we are dealing lunatics and engaging them, is a mistake. During World War II, both Germany and Japan eventually admitted defeat and gave up. But that's because you were dealing with people who were somewhat rational. The people we are dealing with today are literally insane. No amount of military action will ever convince them to quit. As a result, You only have 2 choices:

Kill every last one of them

Contain and isolate them

Re:Correlation vs correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065823)

But that's because you were dealing with people who were somewhat rational. The people we are dealing with today are literally insane. No amount of military action will ever convince them to quit. As a result, You only have 2 choices:

Kill every last one of them

Contain and isolate them

Or here's a better, more rational solution: Stop listening to your own propaganda ("they hate your freedom", "they're insane", "they're animals", etc), stop invading and bombing other countries ("liberating" the hell out of them) and most of all stop being a global prick.

Perhaps try to find and fix the root cause of the problem, not just deal with the perceived symptoms - but shit, that's just not the American way, is it now?

Re:Correlation vs correlation (5, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | about 2 months ago | (#47065369)

Probably not, but that doesn't make it correct. The drone murder of innocent people, which has been widespread and widely reported, is the best recruiting strategy for terrorists money can buy. I fear that much more than not replacing replacable leaders.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47065401)

OK, so "there has been no significant correlation between successful strikes and a reduction in al-Qaeda attacks".

Am I the only one thinking things might have been much worse if no terrorist leaders had been taken out at all?

How would things be worse? Keep in mind, our actions in the middle east over the past decade have killed hundreds of thousands of people directly... and probably many more indirectly. How many innocent foreigners are you willing to sacrifice to save 1 US citizen? 3000 people died in 9/11 and we've killed at least 100x that to prevent another attack. It seems just a tad over board to me.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065403)

Am I the only one thinking things might have been much worse if no terrorist leaders had been taken out at all?

Maybe not the only one, but I disagree.

You're thinking like a military tactician; not as a religious/political/get-out-of-our-country fanatic.

Killing their leader only increases their resolve against the Great White Satan and increases their need to get the invaders out of their country.

When we kill one of their leaders a new one pops up and makes the old one a martyr to the cause.

If killing the leaders was effective, Israel would be a wonderfully safe Middle Eastern country. But instead, the cycle of violence continues and will continue probably forever.

The only time when violence can solve the problem is going all Roman Empire: kill every last man, woman, and child. Burn everything down and then salt the Earth.

The Roman never had any more problems from their enemies.

That is the only way to end the cycle of violence - extermination of the other.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (3, Insightful)

r1348 (2567295) | about 2 months ago | (#47065445)

You're not the only one, but you're wrong. The "collateral damage" is effectively supplying terrorist organizations with unlimited manpower.
Cut their fundings instead, this might also lead to some surprising discoveries...

Re:Correlation vs correlation (1)

monkeypushbutton (3537595) | about 2 months ago | (#47065489)

there has been no significant correlation between successful strikes and a reduction in al-Qaeda attacks

Isn't this just because the number of attacks (sample size) is so small it would be hard to obtain statistical significance even if the attack rate were reduced to zero?

Re:Correlation vs correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065527)

You are in the minority.

Re:Correlation vs correlation (0)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47065689)

Don't forget tigers. Without those drone strikes, I'm totally sure there would be tigers.

Yes, you pretty much are... (1, Interesting)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 2 months ago | (#47065837)

Am I the only one thinking things might have been much worse if no terrorist leaders had been taken out at all?

Yes, you pretty much are...at least, I hope so, because you're wrong.

Groups like A Queda need an external focus. Without an enemy, they aren't going to be able to motivate their rank-and-file every day, and the US is kind enough to provide that focus. Drone attacks are only part of it - the US is busy mucking about all over their back yard: Libya, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria...

Before anyone says "but 9/11", let me: Why did they pick the US as a target? Because the US has been mucking about in their countries for decades.

Go home, leave them alone and let them rot in the desert. Especially now that the US could realistically stop buying Middle-Eastern oil, the US has an incredible opportunity to just pack up and leave.

Sorry if this question sounds arrogant (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about 2 months ago | (#47064937)

But why not just bribing (The ultimate weapon) them?
It works everywhere else.
You can bribe politicians
You can bribe lawyers and judges
You can even bribe the police.
Every f... where on the planet.

Is Al-Queda more diciplined.. ehm or civilised than everybody else?

Re: Sorry if this question sounds arrogant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065119)

Uh, you're suggesting actively trying to give money to the people that want to kill you, money that will no doubt be spent on new and more effective ways to kill you? This strategy does not seem optimal.

Re: Sorry if this question sounds arrogant (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about 2 months ago | (#47065741)

No... Bribe not give.
I know the idea sounds imorral atleast.
But lets be realistic, corruption seems like an acceptable way to go about things now a days.

To get rid of Al-Queda. Bribe number two or three from the top. Not the leader of cause.
Let the scorned "middle mangers" sell out the organization.

Far better would be capturing the leaders (1)

Wizardess (888790) | about 2 months ago | (#47064939)

It would be far better to capture the leaders and use the information we can get from them to unwind the organization from the top. But that means soldiers might get killed doing something constructive rather than for trivia as we've been doing in Afghanistan. With drone attacks there is no danger some terrorist might get a bent pinkie fingernail and scream about it. There is also no danger we'd actually be able to stop the threats.

Color me cynical about the twits in DC.

{^_^}

Wait, so dropping bombs on people isn't working? (5, Insightful)

terevos (148651) | about 2 months ago | (#47064945)

So let me get this straight.... Dropping bombs on people doesn't make them stop attacking you?

Whenever I get into an argument, I just punch the other guy in the face. That usually stops the argument and everyone walks away with a happy smile.

Re:Wait, so dropping bombs on people isn't working (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47065375)

Imagine if you got into an argument, whipped out an AK-47, and razed a half circle. You're in an open restaurant, the guy who pissed you off is dead, there's half a dozen others dead and dozens wounded, many dying, a few maimed for life.

Re:Wait, so dropping bombs on people isn't working (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47065381)

So let me get this straight.... Dropping bombs on people doesn't make them stop attacking you?

Well, it worked for Germany and Japan. Of course we dropped a lot more bombs on them....

Re:Wait, so dropping bombs on people isn't working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065475)

well punching a guy and killing him are different, if you're in an argument and kill the other party then you win the argument....for some definition of win.

If Bob is attacking me and I kill Bob, Bob is no longer attacking me. If it's somehow not clear Bob is a single person in this scenario.

So dropping a bomb on a person stops that person from attacking you but may not stop the group he's a member of.

I think basically we're fighting the war like we're still trying to get Osama Bin Laden, but we got him, so it's time to change strategies a bit since the organization we're fighting has changed.

The powers that be dont (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064947)

want to beat them other wise you american pussies will stop being so shit scared of the terrorist bogeyman and may actually oppose how they are twisting your laws.

Am I the only one (5, Insightful)

kyldere (723002) | about 2 months ago | (#47064955)

Am I the only one who finds this article comparing terrorist orginizations to (US) corporations darkly humorous? ... Maybe I just haven't had enough coffee this morning.

Re:Am I the only one (2)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 months ago | (#47065019)

Am I the only one who finds this article comparing terrorist orginizations to (US) corporations darkly humorous? ... Maybe I just haven't had enough coffee this morning.

Now if you compared them to US defence corporations? ;D

Re:Am I the only one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065053)

The obvious solution is to drone on desks.

Re:Am I the only one (1)

operagost (62405) | about 2 months ago | (#47065855)

It's comparing their organizational structures to corporations in general, not just American ones.

Maybe just get out of the middle east altogether? (4, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 months ago | (#47064971)

No troops, no money, no sanctions, no weapons sales, nothing. Not to any mid-east country, including Israel.

Just buy their oil, and that's it. What other business do we have there? Let the chips fall where they may.

Why is the US putting itself in the middle of their ancient, perpetual, non-sensicle, squabbles?

I hate to say it, but: let the crazies kill each other, if that's what they want to do. They have been doing it forever, and US presence only gives them somebody else to blame.

  All those lives, all of those trillions of dollars, for what? We are no safer from terrorism. In fact, we may be more at risk.

Help one tribe, and you piss off another. Never fails. The "good guys" one day, are despotic leaders, and US haters the next. I think the US supported both Sadam, and Osama, at one point.

As the computer said in "War Games" : "The only way to win is to not play."

Re:Maybe just get out of the middle east altogethe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065055)

Ignoring global threats and not supporting their allies quickly enough was what got the U.S. involved in World War II on two different fronts on opposite sides of the planet. The US will not make the same mistake twice.

Re: Maybe just get out of the middle east altogeth (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 2 months ago | (#47065479)

That would mean involvement in Ukraine/Crimea. Not the middle East. Bullying smaller nations is an American past time dating backto our relations with the Iroquois.

Re:Maybe just get out of the middle east altogethe (5, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 months ago | (#47065517)

You are making the classic mistake of fighting the last war.

These are not the 1930s or 1940s. We are not fighting countries but loosely connected groups.

There is no way to win in the middle-east. Any involvement just makes us the bad guy.

Re:Maybe just get out of the middle east altogethe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065711)

And you're just wrong about how the US got into wars with Japan and Germany.

Re:Maybe just get out of the middle east altogethe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065057)

We not only supported Osama, we had the CIA and others train him in guerrilla warfare not that that came back to bite us or anything.

Re:Maybe just get out of the middle east altogethe (2)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 months ago | (#47065557)

As I said, we supported Sadam also. They were the "good guys" at the time.

Remember how we cheered "Arab Spring?"

As I understand it, even Kuwait hates us now. So why do we do it?

Involvement in the mid-east is a guaranteed no-win situation.

Besides, how is it our business? Other than buying their oil, what business is it of ours?

I think we should remove our embassies as well - the embassies only serve as targets for those crazies.

You kill a company by.... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47064981)

Burning it's assets and operating capitol. They know that the illegal drug trade is their only form of income, so you either try to burn all the poppy fields or you utterly flood the market with insanely cheap product to the point that they cant make any money.

Burning the land and Boiling the sea did not work in Vietnam, so it will not work in afganastan.

Re:You kill a company by.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065305)

CIA still uses the drug market as a main budget contribution to finance its BlackOps. Killing the drug market would leave a big hole in several major US intelligence agencies...

Killing va remote control and video game interface (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064991)

When you kill their friends and family via remote control and using a video game interface is it any wonder that there are more "terrorists" created every year?
Keep in mind that one person's "terrorist" is another person's "patriot", we should reverse all the Presidents' "Foreign Policy" which is really a Foreign Entanglement Policy.

It really is no wonder that the peoples of the Middle East refer to the USA as the Great Devil, I think I would too were I borne there.

Re:Killing va remote control and video game interf (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065399)

It really is no wonder that the peoples of the Middle East refer to the USA as the Great Devil, I think I would too were I borne there.

Who's gonna carry you all the way to the Middle East, and why would that change your opinion of the USA?

The Hydra (1)

Cmdr-Absurd (780125) | about 2 months ago | (#47065029)

Companies don't fall apart when they lose their CEO or CFO

So what this boils down to is the notion that head of organizations, be they terrorist or corporate (insert joke here), we overspend on resources directed at the top.
In targeting terrorists, we spend big bucks on weapons systems and focus intelligence attention at the top.
In the case of corporations, we pay huge salaries -- believing the heads to be irreplaceable.
In both cases, there are plenty of qualified, motivated individuals ready to do a hydra-like head regeneration of the top levels.

start shipping truck loads of money there (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47065043)

get the governments to support western investment into the business structure to put people to work. people who have a life tend to not become terrorists.

look at the US. military recruitment falls with a good economy

Re:start shipping truck loads of money there (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 months ago | (#47065597)

Much of the mid-east in drenched in oil. But what good does it do the common people? There is enormous poverty in Saudi, while a few billionaires enjoy all the money that comes gushing out of ground, and most of the population is dirt poor.

If the US sent money there, it would be grabbed by the leaders. That is what happened in Iraq.

Besides, how about using those trucks of money to help fix poverty in the US? You know, the country that has 50 million people who cannot afford health care? The country that is drowning in debt?

Whats the alternative? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47065051)

Invading the countries that they have their bases (and supporting tribes and religious leaders) turned out to be too expensive (in both american lives and money)

Re:Whats the alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065191)

You're assuming that you have to do something, even if it makes things worse in case you can't think of anything better do do. It's one of the worst traps most politicians themselves often fall into (and sadly, often it is even required for political survival, because it is very hard to sell "I didn't do anything because all other available/realistic options were worse).

Re:Whats the alternative? (5, Insightful)

Simulant (528590) | about 2 months ago | (#47065277)

IMHO,

Ultimately this is a culture war and will only be won over the long term. For starters we could push back against Saudi Arabia instead of coddling them. I don't see how anyone can expect to win a war against Islamic fundamentalist terror when the spiritual center of Islam is controlled by fundamentalists with unlimited funds from oil sales. We also need to promote a more equitable distribution of wealth, world wide. Poverty breeds violence, ignorance, and fundamentalists of many stripes.

We could quit behaving like hypocrites, ignoring blatant and obscene human rights abuses by our Islamic dictatorship "allies" because it's profitable in the short term.

We could quit pissing our pants at the thought of terrorism, accept that it may occasionally happen (as it always has), and carry on instead of over reacting. Islamic fundamentalist terrorism has never represented the existential threat to western society that some would have us believe. It may be a thorn in our side for quite some time but the pain and damage it inflicts is entirely absorbable.

We should quit using this pathetic war on terror as an excuse to destroy ourselves.

pseudocode for clarity: (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 months ago | (#47065109)

Freedom.exe
if (target == suspicious){
drone.attack(target)
check(target)
while (check(target)=="civillian casualty"){
spin(drone.attack);
}
}
git clone ALQUAEDA
leader==leader.name()
if (leader.status != 1){
leader.close();
global leader=new leader(extreme=1,militant=1,relig=1)
}
new attack(leader.lead(), adv_notify=0, proclaim_relig=1,antiwest=1)

Everything I needed to know in life I learned from (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 months ago | (#47065111)

Star Trek.

sadly enough, they could have learned that from listening to Major Kira on DS9. And lots of more lessons on how to run your group of resistance/freedom fighters/terrorists/guerilla/whatever underground organization.

The article in the 2nd link is a joke (3, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 2 months ago | (#47065113)

The article in the 2nd link (1st link only says "abstract" in the link) is a joke. Well, the people who wrote it are serious, but it's a joke. They honestly cited The Onion as a source for one of their points without mentioning that The Onion is a satirical site. Do they even know that? They offer no alternative. They only say that the whole drone strike idea isn't working.

I think this is another situation on Slashdot like talking about electric cars where some people don't understand what the real reason for them is. Slashdot talks about electric cars and then someone inevitably says "The manufacturing isn't carbon neutral. It spews tons of pollutants into the air. And the electricity that powers the cars isn't carbon neutral either. It doesn't reduce greenhouse gases to have electric cars." and so on. The point of electric cars is not at all to reduce greenhouse gases or that they are supposedly made in environment beneficial ways. The point is to reduce dependance on foreign oil, which just happens to mostly belong to countries that are US hostile and Western hostile.

The US government may claim that the strikes are to cripple Al Queda, but that's not the real point. The real point is to kill bad guys. Anwar al-Awlaki was a constant thorn in the US government's side, managing to even recruit US born terrorists to his cause. He's dead now. He can't personally recruit any other Americans or work to destabilize Yemen any more. Dead terrorists may be replaced by less competent terrorists. That's a win for the US. Younger people may not know, but the US and Western Europe have both tried the "let's do nothing" approach in the 70s and 80s and all that accomplished was that terrorists got emboldened to do even deadlier things because they believed that they'd never be held accountable. Killing some of them may convince some people who haven't joined that joining them may be a really bad idea. There's value in that.

Re:The article in the 2nd link is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065309)

all that accomplished was that terrorists got emboldened to do even deadlier things because they believed that they'd never be held accountable. Killing some of them may convince some people who haven't joined that joining them may be a really bad idea. There's value in that.

No, since the U.S. foreign policies mean that there isn't anything worth living for them anyway, but there may be things worth dying for. You cannot effectively frighten people with death who you are not bound to live long anyway.

Re:The article in the 2nd link is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065397)

That childish mentality of breaking everything down into "bad guys" vs good guys, though.

Re:The article in the 2nd link is a joke (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47065405)

The Onion is serious business. Try reading it once, maybe you'll get a clue.

You don't always have to come out and say it to inform people.

Re:The article in the 2nd link is a joke (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 2 months ago | (#47065455)

The collateral damage to civilians makes drone strikes little more than murder. Drones really are the tools of cowards and they are the best recruitment for terrorists that money can buy.

Re:The article in the 2nd link is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065643)

Killing some of them may convince some people who haven't joined that joining them may be a really bad idea. There's value in that.

Your mistake is that you don't understand their motives and you try to project your way of reasoning onto them. Death won't convince anybody from joining, quite the contrary. Prospect of dying as heroes or martyrs for what they believe is a just cause is probably the greatest turn-on for these guys. You can beat them down only the hard way: Failure, Disrespect, Misery, Guilt: make their actions fail (I know, it's circular), make their leaders obviously corrupted, make their soldiers alive and disabled for life, and make them morally (in their own values) indebted to you. Their strength is their base in traditional values. But no system of rules is complete. Find the contradictions and shaky preconceptions in their moral system and then force them into paradoxical no win situations.

Garbage in Garbage out (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065125)

This study assumes they know who they are killing. Considering the number of wedding parties they have struck and also admissions that they sometimes do not even know the names of who they are killing there is an alternative conclusion. You do realize that it is common knowledge that they record all the phone calls, text messages etc. so it is very unlikely unless you have a very stupid terrorist that they are going to pick up the phone and talk about some terrorist plot. The NSA cannot listen to a phone call that never took place. The alternative conclusion is that they are often killing the wrong people. Killing people bases on evidence that would not be considered strong enough to uphold a parking ticket.

But But But... (3, Funny)

CajunArson (465943) | about 2 months ago | (#47065157)

We've been told that Al Queda isn't real and that there aren't really any terrorist organizations. It's all a neocon plot.

So basically, how can drone strikes or any other strategy be effective or ineffective against something that doesn't exist?

Could this be a funded report by Al-Qaeda? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065223)

Al-Qaeda is not totally stupid, they may have very odd ideals, but they have shown that even the Koran can be ignored if using western ideas will allow them to achieve their goals. I bet this is just once possible way for them to try and reduce attacks on them.

Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065285)

Only love can conquer. Kill them with kindness, don't make more martyrs.

Anti-Drone arguments are so frequently flawed. (5, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | about 2 months ago | (#47065327)

The problem with the VAST majority of criticisms against drone warfare is this: /They don't cite alternatives./

If an author has a problem with intervention policy. THAT is what the author should be targeting! Drones are incidental to the intervention policy and are off-point. If the goal is to persuade the audience against intervention, then the subject of intervention needs to be directly addressed.

If an author has a problem with drone warfare itself, then present the alternatives. If "boots on the ground" is a more effective way to ensure surgical precision and minimal collateral damage, advocate for that and present the supporting arguments, and preemptively address the counter-argument of the potential for taking casualties along the way as a necessary cost of preserving civilian life and reducing the amount of backlash that creates new terrorists. If the author believes that counterintelligence and local partnerships is more effective, then THAT should also be presented, citing past successes in reducing insurgency and improvements to civilian quality of life.

But if the author has a beef with drone warfare, and presents no alternatives, then they leave the massive hole in their argument of "If not drones, then what?". If the perception of drones is that they kill enemies and prevent us from losing soldiers in the process, and the author wants to do away with drones, then the audience is left to wonder: "Is this author really suggesting that we should lose our soldiers for no good reason, when we could have used drones instead?" Address that question head on!

Re:Anti-Drone arguments are so frequently flawed. (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 months ago | (#47065687)

The problem with the VAST majority of criticisms against drone warfare is this: /They don't cite alternatives./

Invest in the targeted country. Build up roads, improve healthcare and the education system, provide security locally. People turn to terrorist groups because they have problems, problems they feel the central government can't fix. Sure, they might spout something about global Islam, the Great Satan, or Pan-Arabism, but these are just outlets for their frustrations. The simple fact is you have to engage with local populations, speak with them, improve their community. This requires money and boots on the ground-which in turn means it may very well require some lives as well. People identify with people, they don't identify with drones. I actually considered this topic for my Master's thesis, how level of technology of a counterinsurgency force affects the perception of the local populace (drones, tanks/apcs, even how much armor and equipment the soldiers wear) but I went with a different topic because I wasn't sure how I would gather and quantify the data for that subject. But most of the research out there tells you that it is investment and engagement that reduces extremism, not killing people.

On Losing a CEO or top executive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065331)

This entire promise just sounds horribly forced and shoe horned. Stating that many businesses survive the loss of key leaders is beyond a weak argument. It's pretty overwhelmingly clear that losing key leaders is on the whole worse for an organization than keeping them. In particular, losing multiple key leaders in a relative short time span is almost without exception damaging to an organization. I get concerns and opposition to drone strikes, but that's not a license to twist and manipulate every angle you can to condemn them.

Leveraged Buyout? (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 months ago | (#47065419)

If they are run like a company, treat 'em like a company. Take them over, plant a new CEO (I hear Carly Fiorina is available), and let that CEO run them into the ground for a multi-million dollar golden parachute.

Or, turn them into a reality TV show. Anyone remember the movie "NETWORK" (I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore). Well, in that film, they made a TV show about a terrorist group, and the terrorists were so busy negotiating their contracts, they forgot all about blowing up shit.

Network, is surprisingly accurate about how right now is playing out. I suggest you watch it, and watch it a second time.

Absurd comparison. (0)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 2 months ago | (#47065425)

This is a ridiculous comparison to make. Corporate executives don't have to worry about a missile being lobbed into their BMW on their morning commute. Middle managers also don't have to worry about being caught up in the collateral damage.

There are legitimate arguments to be made against drone strikes, but I struggle to see how it isn't effective. Al-Qaeda clearly been forced to change the way it operates. That big open air meeting they held in Yemen, in broad daylight was their attempt to pretend that they're not intimidated. The fact that a drone strike followed the release of that video shows the reality of the situation they face. If nothing else, it brings the same level of fear to these terrorists that they inflict on their own fellow citizens.

Investment in CIA infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065473)

yes, there is a high fixed cost to develop the drones, and the control satellites, and spying equipment to use in afghanistan. thanks to that, expensive us soldiers in afghanistan can be outsourced to cheap us soldiers in the us. i imagine the kills from drone attacks could be much higher, if desired, with higher outrage from pakistan. the lower cost of drones allow a somewhat acceptable restricted killing, that would be economically infeasible if done entirely be a conventional us army.

Venture Capitalism for Terror (5, Informative)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 months ago | (#47065477)

They are just now realizing this? I read a book [wikipedia.org] written all the way back in 2004 that described al-Qaeda as not a terrorist group, but more like a venture capitalist firm. All of these groups-Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, all the local al-Qaeda groups- aren't all actually part of al-Qaeda. Instead, they come to al-Qeada with a plan and essentially ask them for money. If al-Qaeda agrees, they give them the money and let them claim affiliation. Cut off the head of al-Qaeda, the successor still has access to all the funds. Cut off the head of one of the other groups, and that group might fall apart (or just get a new leader), but all of the other groups remain unaffected. To take down terrorists groups you can't go for the head, you have to go for the base (see what I did there?). Go after the funding sources, whether that be blood diamonds, sheiks dripping in oil money, drug production, etc. Go after the recruitment base (predominately young, educated, ideologically motivated but politically or economically disaffected men) and the structure will collapse from the ground up. Drone strikes do nothing for the former, and do the opposite for the latter.

Remember what bin Laden did in the war against the Russians: he wasn't a fighter, he ran a support structure in Pakistan that funneled fighters, weapons, and money to the Mujaheddin. Why would you think he would have started an organization that did anything different?

Of course (3, Insightful)

Richy_T (111409) | about 2 months ago | (#47065529)

Of course it's a bureaucracy, it was created by the CIA.

Am I joking? I don't even know.

Silly me... (1)

peppepz (1311345) | about 2 months ago | (#47065577)

...I thought that that strategy could be wrong because of innocent victims and extra-judicial executions.

Hash Tag Them Insteads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065713)

It's clearly working against Boko Haram.

Incidentally, I wonder why this is considered "U.S. policy" and not "Obama's policy". Guess the liberal media doesn't want their boss looking bad.

Geneva Conventions, whassat? (3, Funny)

ikhider (2837593) | about 2 months ago | (#47065725)

As long as the drone targets are persons of color and poor ones at that, it does not matter about so-called "collateral damage". The US of A is militarily superior and therefore in their legal rights to do as they wish, without concern of consequences. We are on a mission to bring freedom and democracy to these people, and if it takes a lot of drones and a lot of collateral damage, than so be it. Here is an important link on the topic: http://drones.pitchinteractive... [pitchinteractive.com] ? These people in Pakistan/Afghanistan need to be educated about freedom, the hard way. http://www.clowncrack.com/wp-c... [clowncrack.com] America is doing all it can to correct these people and those who contest her policies are a bunch of unpatriotic cowards.

Is Bin Laden really death? (1)

Glazan (3663281) | about 2 months ago | (#47065857)

Everyone from my friends asks me this question.No body knows it, but I think he is death because the U.S.A wouldnt lie.
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