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Congratz to the US Military Forces!

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But the point of the matter is that it is avoidable, for the fact that there are operations where it doesn't happen. -wraith808 (May 02, 2011, 10:47 AM)
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I suppose "collateral damage" is often avoidable in what used to be called "surgical strike" operations (haven't heard of those in a while! Are they all out of fashion now?) when a small, specialized team is sent to perform a small, focused task, like apprehending or killing OBL.

It is never avoidable when you launch a full-scale war like in Iraq or Afghanistan, or even limited air strikes such as in Libya.
-tranglos (May 02, 2011, 04:09 PM)
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Even in those cases, it is still avoidable.  It just takes a lot more work, and a lot more will.  And you need to limit scope of the operation to the absolute minimum needed for operational success.  It's just that our will to take those risks is very limited, especially because of the risks to servicemen when you start limiting rules of engagement based upon having zero civilian casualties, and the risks to operational success when you start limiting the scope of weaponry utilized.  Then you also have the human element of the soldier on the ground, and there's also the element of the unknown, and the willingness to scrub a mission when the unknown is put into play.

It's difficult to be sure, and can sometimes seem insurmountable in the face of obstacles.  But if you have the will and that is your primary objective, you can do it.

So, what would you advocate? I ask this not with any sarcasm, I am truly curious as to what you think the alternative should be.
-edbro (May 02, 2011, 10:46 AM)
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That really depends on the context. It is one thing to trace and take out a person with a significant history of violent terrorist attacks (but first we'd have to agree on the terms here), and quite another to start bombing the heck out of the Taliban, for example, even though they offered to deliver OBL to Bush back in September 2001. (And no, GWB did not bomb the Taliban because he was a feminist or pitied the loss of ancient Buddha statues!)

When one party launches a military assault on a country, inflicting heavy civilian casualties, what should be done? Should it go unanswered, which would invite more attacks?
-edbro (May 02, 2011, 10:46 AM)
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Again, we'd have to agree - very carefully - on all the terms in your description. 9-11 was not a military assault, for one thing. Heavy casualties, yes, but many more died in Afghanistan, and even more in Iraq. Does the response not have to be (a) proportionate, and (b) directed at the actual guilty party?

Next, we should really ask ourselves why we are being attacked in the first place. No-one is born a suicide terrorist. Or a religious fundamentalist. These people have serious grievances. I disagree with their tactics, but we should at least understand what drives them to do what they do.

(Curiously, not long after 9-11 GWB did exactly what OBL wanted done: removed the US troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. Troops on Saudi land was one of Osama's major grudges against the US. So Osama got his wish, though of course Bush's move wasn't billed like that.)

I should also remind you that a lot of the collateral damage is caused by cowards who take refuge in population centers and who use women and children as human shields.
-edbro (May 02, 2011, 10:46 AM)
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One, I wonder how much of that is propaganda. We only know our side of the story, or what the military commanders want us to know. Remember Jessica Lynch? That was all a fabrication. (Not a "human shield" scenario, but a similarly convenient good guys - bad guys story, all made up.)

Two, if you're about to shoot a bad guy, but he's grabbed your {mother|father|sister|son} and is holding a knife to their throat, will you still shoot? Most people probably won't. The police won't shoot either in such a case. But when it's a war in a distant country, suddenly it becomes OK. Collateral damage is the same, except the dead people live in faraway countries and are not our families, so we paper it over.

People say "Well, it's a war, these things happen", but to me that means we shouldn't be doing that in the first place. We all say war is wrong, but somehow that never stops us. And that's without even approaching the issue of false pretenses for wars, the question of who profits or the question of the end result. Did we get what we wanted in Iraq? Do the Iraqi people think it was worth the price they paid?

I should really shut up now :-) I love how this thread has remained polite and civil despite disagreements, which would never have happened on most sites where politics is the subject, but I don't think we should push it, and I'd hate to be responsible in a smallest part for any hard feelings here. I'll read on, but won't post here after this. Especially as this gentleman says it much more eloquently than I ever could:

Michael Moore's tweets for the last 24 hours:

Monday, May 2nd
"The monster we created-yes, WE-in the 1980s by ARMING, FUNDING, &TRAINING him in the art of terror agnst the USSR, finally had 2 b put down."

"Which reporter has the courage to say it? "American-armed terrorist from the 80s, Osama bin Laden, was killed earlier today by America." "

"This caps off disastrous few months 4 Al-Qaeda. Non-violent revolts in Egypt, Tunisia, elsewhere were Al-Qaeda's WORST nightmare. Now this"

"RT @Oranj: 10 years, 2 wars, 919,967 deaths, and $1,188,263,000,000 later, we managed to kill one person. (Next time START w/ the Seals 1st)"

"RT @MLS122171 @MMFlint I think one of the correspondents on CBC last night said he was American armed. Good on him."

"@bencnn: #binladen's appeal in Muslimworld was often wildly overstated by those who had vested professional/financial/institutional interest"

"@Jamiefolk45: @MMFlint The war profiteers should erect a statue of Bin Laden as their greatest benefactor. He made them trillions!"

"RT @arnez8706 Obama: Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate, I was too busy making sure osama got killed"

"'Bin Laden buried at sea.' Total rip-off of last episode, 2nd season of "Sopranos" when Tony dumped Big Pussy overboard."

"OBL buried at sea according 2 Muslim tradition. Yes most Muslim funerals I've attended, we got in a chopper & tossed the deceased in L. Erie"

"BREAKING: All Repub candidates drop out of 2012 race, citing "aversion to losing badly." Would u make Pleasantville play the South Bronx?"

"Now that bin Laden's dead, can we put shampoo in our carry on? Can I keep my shoes on? Can we bring all the troops home?"

"He may be dead, but in a way, he won. We gave up our rights. We passed a PatriotAct. We spent trillions on needless wars. Fear now rules us."

"RT @me_irl Beloved character actor Osama bin Laden, star of TV's "Fox News", dies age 54

"From @jaketapper OBL's DNA was matched w/ that of his sister who died in Boston & whose brain was kept by the U.S. #inaccordancewithmuslimlaw"

Sunday, May 1st
"8 years to the day when Bush put on that costume and falsely declared 'Mission: Accomplished.'"

"A moment of silence for all who died on 9/11."

"So much death and destruction in the last decade... Let's hope this decade is led by actions like those in Tunisia and Egypt..."

"This is somewhat breathtaking -- and right while I was watching "Celebrity Apprentice" on "Mission Accomplished" Day. #coincidence"

"Will Obama need to present the OBL long form death certificate for Trump to believe it? At least bin Laden wasn't killed in Hawaii."

"Andrew Card, Bush Chief of Staff, on ABC now, defensive about why Bush couldn't get bin Laden -- the "War President" had nearly EIGHT YEARS."

"Pundit Hawks on all networks now still trying to stoke the fear: "This doesn't mean the war on terror is over! It could get worse!" #STFU"

"No matter what Obama says, bin Laden's not dead until Donald Trump see's his death certificate. #Deathers"

"From @Oprah : Does this mean the war is over? (Yes, say it is so, Mr. President.)"

"Wow. Horns honking in New York. Huge crowd gathering outside White House cheering Obama after speech."

"They killed him while he was in a mansion! As many of us have said forever, this multi-millionaire bin Laden was never in a friggin' cave."

"It is NOT partisan 2 point out Obama took 2 years 2 do what Bush couldn't do in over 7. It's the dif btwn stupid in charge or smart.

"STUPID pursues 2 reckless wars, let's OBL escape Tora Bora, keeps looking in caves. SMART sends in small strikeforce, no troops killed 2day."

"FOX News: Elderly Man on Dialysis Killed by Young African-American Male"

"Bin Laden already tweeting from hell: @GhostOsama: I retired as the world champion of hide and seek."

"I'm in New York tonight, no one's going 2 bed. It's 1am. There's so much happening Ground Zero packed so many remembering that horrible day."

"Cost of war to the U.S. since 2001: 1.2 trillion dollars. Interrupting Celebrity Apprentice: Priceless. (via Mike Olpin)"
* * * * *
"I don't think Bin Laden is hiding in some cave in Pakistan or Afghanistan ... have you ever known a multimillionaire to hide in a cave?" – Michael Moore, April 30, 2008

"Osama bin Laden is a multi-millionaire – and if there's one thing I've learned about the rich it's that they don't live in caves for 9 years. Bin Laden is either dead or hiding out in a place where his money protects him." – Michael Moore, October 7, 2010


"He may be dead, but in a way, he won. We gave up our rights. We passed a PatriotAct. We spent trillions on needless wars. Fear now rules us."
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The US is about the worst country to travel to or travel in (by air). It is much more pleasant to visit "communist dictatorships".


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