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Targeted assassinations: nothing new in the Middle East

By dash2 in News
Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:09:50 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The US looks set to rescind its prohibition on CIA-sponsored assassinations. This article, by Robert Fisk in the (UK) Independent, takes a look at how other states in the Middle East have used the policy, and some of the consequences.


There's nothing new under the sun, folks. Both Israeli and muslim regimes in the Middle East have been murdering their enemies for a while - often in a "war against terrorism". (And sometimes in a war against terrorism.)

Robert Fisk doesn't think much of this practice. What do K5ers reckon? Is it morally justifiable? Would it work?

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Poll
Targeted assassinations...
o ... are morally justifiable and can help us defeat terrorism 24%
o ... would help defeat terrorism, but would put the US on a level with the people it's fighting 11%
o ... wouldn't work anyway 29%
o ... of high-ranking Slashdotters could win K5 new readers 34%

Votes: 61
Results | Other Polls

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Targeted assassinations: nothing new in the Middle East | 60 comments (52 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
It's absolutely morally justifiable (4.60 / 5) (#1)
by Neuromancer on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 07:58:13 AM EST

Why is the life of a political figure involved in a conflict any more valuable than that of a soldier? It bothers me madly when characters in movies and video games have no qualms about the wholesale slaughter or thousands of minor characters, but they're too noble to kill the leader of the attack! We'll kill thousands of soldiers in the field, but their leader goes to trial and sits in a prison? It sounds rather backwards to me.

Did you read the article? (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by Skwirl on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 09:41:27 AM EST

This isn't about Rambo finally cornering his archnemesis and having qualms about shooting an unarmed man. This is about undercover agents planning ambushes and planting bombs in neighborhoods, not warzones. You know, basically what terrorists do, except a little less randomly. Not to mention, there's historical precedent for the idea that sometimes it's strategically useful to assassinate your friends.

"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]
Uhmm (4.50 / 2) (#15)
by Neuromancer on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 11:55:39 AM EST

Maybe you don't understand me. I think that it's morally equivalent to some degree. It's more of a rhetorical question than a suggested course of action. Spies have been around for a long time, as well as all sorts of this shit. Personally, while I can't say I approve of Israel coverly killing people, I CAN say that it's better than them carpet-bombing them, can't you?

As for killing your allies, that's not really the meat of the article, now is it? I'd prefer a PAC, but, again, there's a whole lotta spying going on, so if they're going to kill political leaders rather than just each other, we should remember that it's political leaders who decide to send these spies out in the first place.

Please never send me another "did you read the article" comment. I wouldn't have bothered to post if I hadn't. I'm not interested in someone getting holier than thou with me. No offense.

[ Parent ]
Sorry (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by Skwirl on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 11:54:22 PM EST

I was just trying to devine the relevancy of your argument, since the Fisk shows that clumsy assassination policies can be just as bloody as carpetbombing (The Syrian "campaign cost the lives of up to 20,000 Syrians. ") The Hollywood analogy, in my opinion, doesn't work since they're usually trying to portray some hero's inner struggle in a trite attempt to save the plot with some last-minute character development. In reality, the guy ordering the assassination isn't the guy that's going to carry it out. Personally, I'm not comfortable with giving my leaders the sole choice of who can live and who can die.

"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]
NP (none / 0) (#28)
by Neuromancer on Wed Sep 26, 2001 at 07:22:35 AM EST

Heh, it's no problem man.

I'm just a few vitamins short of a good mood this week (I literally have a problematically high tolerance for pain, where I forget to eat and get medical attention and things like that).

I agree with you partially, assasinations do end up stirring up more trouble than they're worth, but at least most of the people involved volunteered to be involved, you can hardly say that about a bombing campaign

[ Parent ]
FFS. (none / 0) (#30)
by dash2 on Wed Sep 26, 2001 at 08:14:52 AM EST

You are arguing about international politics using video games metaphors.
------------------------
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
[ Parent ]
Assassination is Good (2.75 / 4) (#5)
by wiredog on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 08:56:00 AM EST

And Legal, in this case. Under the laws of war the enemies military and political leadership are legitimate targets. Every bit as legitimate as soldiers in the field. I would rather we killed the leaders than the followers. It can have many beneficial effects. If the leaders are the primary targets, it can make people reluctant to lead. It can also disrupt command and control.

Targeting the leaders is a common tactic in combat, you look for the guy that has an antenna waving over his head, the commander will be next to him, and drop a mortar round on him. Do this enough and there is no one left to give orders.

What's the difference, morally, between targeting a company commander, or divisional HQ, and targeting the Commander in Chief?

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle

Which laws of war? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 10:02:36 AM EST

From www.encyclopedia.com:

"In 1998 the members of the UN General Assembly
voted in favor of a treaty authorizing a permanent international court for war crimes. The United States, China, and five other nations opposed the treaty, and 21 nations abstained. The court, to be called the International Criminal Court and to be located at The Hague, will prosecute war crimes, genocide, crimes of aggression, and crimes against humanity. The treaty had been signed by 92 nations by 1999; 60 of the signatories must ratify the treaty for the court to be established."


Which is easily explained by:

"U.S. Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms declares any International Criminal Court Statute "dead on arrival" in the United States Senate unless the United States has control over the court. " March 26, 1998.

So which laws of war is the US following?

What you are saying is that the US will use "the laws of war" to expedite what should be a police operation and thus be allowed to carry out extrajudicial killings.

This is not a war, and people should be aware about that. It is a magnified police operation in which some people obviosuly have decided that they can't afford to pay attention to nieceties like the Geneva Convention ("collateral damage").

If there is a country that should not dare invoke legality is the US, that time and time again has refused to endorse any permanent international court that would begin to set legal precedents and legal history in dealing with war crimes.



------------------------------------
"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Hol
[ Parent ]
Geneva Conventions (none / 0) (#12)
by wiredog on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 10:51:05 AM EST

The Geneva Conventions define the type of allowed targets and weapons. Not that the enemy has been following them.

About police actions. Many local police departments have snipers used in hostage rescue and terrorist situations, so even under "police rules", where you can shoot first to protect innocent lives, assassination would be allowed. In the US the police are, except for SWAT/hostage rescue, non militarized. The situation in parts of Europe is a bit different with the police often carrying weapons that, in the US, are considered military issue. The police that the anti-globalization protestors tangled with in Italy were what the US would consider to be military.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]

Re: Geneva Conventions. (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by physicsgod on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 12:06:29 PM EST

The Conventions specifically state it's not OK to violate them just because the other side does. However they also state they're not in effect if one or more sides is not a signatory.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
You don't see militarization? (none / 0) (#46)
by lucidvein on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:01:04 PM EST

In the US the police are, except for SWAT/hostage rescue, non militarized. The situation in parts of Europe is a bit different with the police often carrying weapons that, in the US, are considered military issue. The police that the anti-globalization protestors tangled with in Italy were what the US would consider to be military.

While this may be true in most cities, the trend is toward militarization. Police in Seattle and Oakland have been training for years with situations that compare to urban warfare.

If these photos don't look like militarization of a local police force, what is wrong with my impression? WTOir

The lack of direction and training is why the WTO protests became such a debacle. But Seattle's local police have been to several seminars since then on handling these situations. I must say they are getting better, to some degree. But there is also a danger in all this training and gear. They will want to use it. Recent events such as the N30 anniversary and Mardi Gras violence have shown the disturbing schizophrenia of our law enforcement. Very well maintained and orderly crowd monitoring, followed by overpowering use of force, tear gas and unjustified arrests.

It would be disturbingly apropriate if we received the same type of police that we have been training for other countries via the School of the Americas.

[ Parent ]

War is just many assasinations (none / 0) (#57)
by wnight on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:41:41 PM EST

IMHO, any time you're willing to kill enemy soldiers, you're morally obligated (by the "murder is bad" morality) to try to kill the leaders.

Usually, soldiers would rather not be at war. They're often draftees.

Not only is it more effective to shoot the people giving the orders, it's also more sensible. If you shoot soldiers, they'll draft more. If you shoot the leaders, there's less people willing/capable of stepping into the position. You can also be sure that the leader is a volunteer.

My only qualm about assasination is that it's very effective and would be used too much, when we weren't willing to kill soldiers (ie, go to war.)


[ Parent ]
Tit for Tat.... (4.66 / 6) (#11)
by Elkor on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 10:27:40 AM EST

I can get behind political assasination because I am not a politician, thus not in danger of being assassinated.

I can understand why Carter enacted the ban in the first place though. Consider (presume to be true):

  • Every Country has at least one Black Ops team (BOT).
  • Every BOT is capable of assassinating anyone they want (given enough time to plan/prepare).
  • It is unlikely the BOT will be able to hide the fact it was them that did the deed.

    Now, what would you do if you were the prez and found out the leader of Country A had ordered his BOT to kill you? Odds are you would then order the leader of Country A capped in retaliation.

    Now flip it. Suppose you are thinking about ordering the prez of Country A killed. Further suppose that you know he will find out it was you that ordered it. Knowing that he will order you killed if you order him killed, would you still order him killed?

    Last step, knowing that Country A has a tendency to order opposing leaders capped, and you are thinking about pissing off Country A, wouldn't it make sense to order the death of that leader as a pre-emptive strike, knowing that they are probably going to order you killed?

    Every Countries' leader has to worry about fruitcakes, nutjobs and terrorists gunning for them. Why would they willingly and knowingly broaden the pool of potential attackers?

    As it stands, there is a stand-off between the leaders. A "gentleman's agreement" to let traditional methods (negotiations/armed conflict) settle disputes instead of seeing which country has enough idiots willing to step in front of the firing squad.

    I just hope that the Secret Service has been brushing up on their skills.

    Regards,
    Elkor


    "I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
    -Margo Eve
  • Not Carter (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by finial on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 01:46:03 PM EST

    It was Ford that enacted this Executive Order, not Carter.

    [ Parent ]
    Sorry... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Elkor on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 05:13:04 PM EST

    I was taking someone elses post as truth that it was Carter that enacted the measure.

    Guess that is what I guess for not independantly validating facts. :)

    Regards,
    Elkor


    "I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
    -Margo Eve
    [ Parent ]
    Morally justifiable, perhaps. (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by Dlugar on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 11:19:48 AM EST

    Would it work? No. And that seems to preclude any debate of whether it's morally justifiable or not.

    If we kill one corrupt, lousy leader, another corrupt, lousy leader will take his place. That's about all there is to it.

    Dlugar

    And...? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Ken Arromdee on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 11:55:02 AM EST

    If you kill an enemy soldier, that doesn't stop another soldier from taking his place. Why should we suddenly start worrying about this with leaders?

    [ Parent ]
    Soldiers run out. (3.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Dlugar on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 02:08:05 PM EST

    If you start massively killing soldiers (i.e. war), then eventually they run out of soldiers (i.e. end of war). Leaders are quite a different barrel of monkeys: first of all, it's a lot easier to find willing leaders than it is soldiers to fight in your army, and second we're talking about a few strategic assassinations, not mass murder of the leaders we don't happen to like that decade.

    However, if you're suggesting, like the poster below you, that we simply keep killing leaders until they run out of them ... I'd be willing to concede that that might work. The problem is that by doing this you'll likely piss a lot of other people off, especially those who don't particularly agree with your definition of "corrupt, lousy leader".

    Dlugar

    [ Parent ]
    But... (3.33 / 3) (#17)
    by wiredog on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 12:35:41 PM EST

    If we kill one corrupt, lousy leader, another corrupt, lousy leader will take his place.

    And then we kill him, and then the next, and eventually people decide that the job of "corrupt, lousy leader" isn't worth it.

    If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
    [ Parent ]

    Excellent plan! (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by eric.t.f.bat on Wed Sep 26, 2001 at 08:19:45 AM EST

    And then we kill him, and then the next, and eventually people decide that the job of "corrupt, lousy leader" isn't worth it.

    Excellent idea, really excellent! I think this has a good chance of changing the face of world politics. Only... could you perhaps give me one single example from anywhere in history of this idea actually working?

    : Fruitbat :



    [ Parent ]
    Didn`t the CIA kill JFK? (3.00 / 4) (#18)
    by pallex on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 12:44:19 PM EST

    Or are we still supposed to believe in the `magic bullet` theory?

    Morally justifiable? (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Delirium on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 02:18:32 PM EST

    Well, that's a rather difficult question to answer, as it depends on your entire system of morality. If, for example, you subscribe to a utilitarian system in which any action that increases the overall good is morally justified, then assassinations could in some cases be justified (if, for example, an assassination could take the place of a war). At the very least I think it's safe to say that for a utilitarian, assassination as a concept can be morally justified (and in fact might be a moral imperative if the alternative is greater suffering).

    On the other hand, if you subscribe to a more individualist system of rights, it's difficult to see how assassination could ever be morally justified, as it is in effect an extra-judicial execution - a judgement of "guilty" followed by the death penalty without any sort of a trial.

    Now which of those systems is the proper way of looking at the issue is a question I don't think you'll find an easy resolution to. Whether the good of the individual or the good of the whole is the important moral consideration is one of the primary fundamental questions philosophers of applied ethics have been arguing for centuries. If you pick one or the other system (or a combination, or one of the alternate ones I haven't mentioned) many problems - abortion, death penalty, affirmative action, etc. - become much easier to solve within that agreed-upon framework (though sometimes there are still major snags). But since usually nobody can even agree on the fundamental set of criteria for determining morality, reaching an agreement on whether an action like assassination is moral or not is probably impossible, since it is essentially a question of whether violating one person's rights is justified if doing so works for the overall good.

    [Note that I'm talking about assassination as a concept here, not any specific implementation of the concept. Many assassinations might end up not working for the overall good in addition to violating someone's rights, so there's no question that they're a bad idea no matter how you look at it. What I'm interested in is what if they do work for the overall good - say in an extreme case in which an assassination would save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and this is known beforehand. Is that action then morally justifiable?]

    War (4.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Ken Arromdee on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:53:19 PM EST

    If an assassination is an extrajudicial execution, then a war is likewise an extrajudicial execution. It's silly to say we're allowed to kill enemy soldiers, but god forbid we ever touch a leader.

    [ Parent ]
    Except (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by physicsgod on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 03:35:02 PM EST

    War is generally two-sided. You kill enemy soldiers not because they're enemy soldiers, but because you believe they'll kill you if they have the chance. In fact it's considered bad form, not to mention illegal, to kill somebody who can't kill you, enemy soldier or no.

    --- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
    [ Parent ]
    Bad choice of words and meaning (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Highlander on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 05:52:51 PM EST

    Killing 20,000 people(quote from Fisk's article) can hardly be called "targeted assasinations".

    To put it simply, if it needs more than one targeted assasination, the assasination idea will be a bad one.

    I think it is a bad idea to remove political leaders, as there will be no one left to negotiate with. With Bin Laden, I think what really moves the thing is his money, but locking Bin Laden up in some way, will not score a home run, since the money is probably managed by his deputies. I think you should ask Arabs instead why Bin Laden doesn't go martyr himself, if martyrdom is such a great thing.

    Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

    The Executive Order bit (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 07:44:20 PM EST


    [I posted the following as a comment to "On assassination", a story which didn't make it. It's not Carter or Ford who imposed the ban on assassinations, and even mainstream news organizations have gotten this whole bit awfully wrong. Therefore I went to the primary sources]

    As a matter of fact, Congressman Bob Barr proposed a bill on January 3rd called Terrorist Elimination Act of 2001 (H.R. 19) that would nullify an Executive Order #12333 from 1981 given by President Reagan. This quoted part 2.11 is nullified by the bill (among other things):
    No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.

    Congressman Barr has urged the Congress and the President to pass this bill after these attacks in a story linked on his homepage.

    My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
    Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
    Meatgazer Frau gr3y


    Disappointing (4.40 / 10) (#27)
    by decaf_dude on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 11:55:07 PM EST

    We all scream how civilised we are and how backward and corrupt those 3rd world countries are, yet at the first sign of violence (which most of them live with on a daily basis), we're reduced to animals, no better than those who slammed an airplane into the WTC. It's not OK for the terrorists to kill innocent people in their political struggle, yet it is somehow OK for us to kill innocent people in revenge?

    If there was a murder, would you find it acceptable for the relatives of the victim to go out and kill whoever did it? What if they kill an innocent person? What if that innocent person's relatives now go out and revenge, killing another innocent person? Now, the relatives of that person would go on a revenge spree, triggering more violence... See where I'm going?

    I'm disgusted with my fellow humans, today even more than usual. Some are willing to kill 6,000 innocent people in pursuit of their political goals, some are willing to raze a country or two to the ground without even a shred of evidence of guilt presented. Some, in the infinity of tragicomical ignorance, attack and harass people who *appear* to share the ethnic origin as the attackers. Aren't you people ashamed of yourselves?

    --
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


    Civilization??? (none / 0) (#34)
    by loucura on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 03:13:57 AM EST

    We all scream how civilised we are and how backward and corrupt those 3rd world countries are, snip...

    Anthropologists (The reputed experts on civilizations) only subcribe to one definition of civilization, that is: Civilization: A society having a distinct division of labour.

    Afghanistan is not civilized because it has no clear divisions of labour, there are only the Taliban, and the starving.



    [ Parent ]
    Let me get this straight: (2.00 / 1) (#35)
    by decaf_dude on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 03:53:12 AM EST

    Their civilisation is different than yours, you can't figure it out despite watching CNN all day long, therefore their civilisation is non-existant. Am I correct?

    How much do you know about Taleban or Afghanistan as a whole (aside from the info you got on that CNN Special Report)? When was the first time you learned where Afghanistan is on the map? Do you know where Afghanistan is on the map? Hang on, you appear to be an expert on the topic, would you happen to know what Taleban means and in what language? Perhaps you could enlighten us on their governing structure, both civilian and the military and how the two relate...

    --
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


    [ Parent ]
    uh, their freaking name? (none / 0) (#50)
    by Kalani on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:12:26 PM EST

    "Student" or "Religious Student" does not accurately describe the Taleban. I don't understand why you'd claim that the parent above your post was ignorant and then only cite the meaning of the Taleban's name as evidence (the geography thing I grant you).

    If you're going to put down CNN, you might as well give the guy a point of reference (since you assume he hasn't done any research on this subject). How about http://www.institute-for-afghan-studies.org/ ?

    Calling the Taleban "civilized" would be like calling Bill Clinton "monogamous."

    -----
    "I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
    --Richard Feynman
    [ Parent ]
    There is no civilization. (none / 0) (#42)
    by physicsgod on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 03:44:51 PM EST

    Not on a gloabal scale. There is no law, no trusted impartial third party to settle disputes and empowered to enforce the settlement. There is no means of defence except self-preservation. Now if we had an international judical system with real power this whole thing would have been solved. The UNPD would have investigated the crimes, identified a suspect, brought up charges, and gone into Afganistan to arrest bin Laden, who would be waiting trial in a jail somewhere. Since there isn't any UNPD it's up to the Taleban to keep bin Laden from attacking the US, and if they are unable or unwilling to do that the US is allowed to take care of the matter.

    --- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
    [ Parent ]
    This is very true (none / 0) (#43)
    by PhillipW on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 05:45:29 PM EST

    However the United States government doesn't want these rules to apply to themselves as it is a supposed sacrifice of sovereignty.

    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    Except it has. (none / 0) (#44)
    by physicsgod on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 06:49:02 PM EST

    Back around the 1830's (sorry, can't find a link) a British military expidition crossed the Great Lakes to destroy a band of anti-british rebels operating from the US.

    --- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
    [ Parent ]
    Hmmm. (none / 0) (#51)
    by PhillipW on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:40:21 PM EST

    I personally have never heard of this. But I do not think that the current US government would allow this to happen.

    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    Well (none / 0) (#52)
    by physicsgod on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 10:52:54 PM EST

    The current US government would probably take care of such a group itself. If the group was one the US supported then it would prevent another country from doing anything, at which point the situation becomes a war.

    --- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
    [ Parent ]
    Dude, RTFM (none / 0) (#53)
    by JazzManJim on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 07:02:26 PM EST

    It's as true in war as it is in computer science.

    Just stop and listen to what the Bush Administration has been saying all along. Or, failing that, read this because I'm really tired of typing the same obvious thing over and over again.


    -Jimmie
    "Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
    (Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
    [ Parent ]
    Killing innocents (none / 0) (#58)
    by wnight on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:58:24 PM EST

    The whole idea behind assasinating leaders is that you don't kill innocent people.

    If you invade the country with tanks, who will try to stop you? The leaders, personally, or thousands of conscript soldiers?

    Wouldn't it be better to find whoever is really responsible for the actions taken and remove them personally?

    Now, if you could easily extract them, and they could serve trial, that'd be good, but if you can't and their death would prevent others.

    And, as for the civilization of Afghanistan... A majority of their citizens are said to want the Taliban removed. They have for years (pretty well as long as they've been in power). You can count on every woman wanting them removed, and a large number of the men. If you have qualms about removign a legitimate government (there is really no such thing, they all rule with threats of violence) the Taliban kicked out the "rightful" rules.

    Not that I think we should try to restore the rightful rulers... If we really care about the Afgani people we'd move in, after assasinating the Taliban leaders (or removing them with surgical attacks, as much so as can be accomplished.) And rule from afar.

    Nobody has succeeded in taking Afghanistan without bloody war, but that's no different than any guerilla army. In this case, we'd have the support of the people.

    I say we move in, remove all local government, and then put plans in place to return the country to local leadership in fifty years, with UN oversight.


    At this point, action is inevitable, too many people are calling for it. What we need to do is make it useful actions. And instead of going in bombing them a bit and leaving, we need to setup a stable system. I don't think they're ready (too many religious morons) for that system to be local, so in two generations after decent schooling and nutrition, etc, we'll examine the case again.

    And yes, anyone unbiased can look in, say that the leaders have no mandate from the people, and the religion they preach is violent and oppressive. It is, objectively, of no value. If you can't see that, you're a simpering appologist, willing to forgive anything as long as it's done by non-westerners.


    [ Parent ]
    CIA Legality (none / 0) (#32)
    by Devil Ducky on Wed Sep 26, 2001 at 11:08:17 AM EST

    It is not against any rules for the CIA to sponsor an assasination.

    It is only illegal for them to sponsor an assasination of a political figure. I don't know who they'd want to kill other than politicals... but they could.
    Perhaps some rebel leaders (better get bodyguards Leia), or some terrorists, if they wanted to they are currently allowed to selectively lighten the world population...

    Also, I have heard a lot of the talking heads mentioning assasination, but none of the aware ones are speaking of anyone changing any rules about it.

    Devil Ducky

    Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
    Day trading at it's Funnest
    How charmingly naive. (3.50 / 2) (#33)
    by RobotSlave on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 07:52:16 PM EST

    First, go look into the etymology of the word "assassinate."

    Come back when you can point out at least two parallells to the Current Situation.

    Now consider this:

    If the executive branch were to reverse the ban on political assassination, would it be a good idea to publicise the fact, thereby putting potential targets on alert, or would it be wiser to keep the reversal secret in the interest of National Security?

    The ban has already been lifted, kids.

    Don't tell me it isn't legal-- invoking National Security in the US is like invoking martial law-- that is, all the rights you though you had, constitutional or otherwise, can be disregarded by the government in order to put down a percieved threat.

    Would it be a good idea? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Ken Arromdee on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:51:16 PM EST

    If the executive branch were to reverse the ban on political assassination, would it be a good idea to publicise the fact, thereby putting potential targets on alert, or would it be wiser to keep the reversal secret in the interest of National Security?

    Would it be a good idea? Of course it would. It's like asking if it would be a good idea to declare war on countries before attacking them. It's harder to make a sneak attack if you do, right?

    The biggest problem with assassinating enemy leaders is that since assassination is done in secret, it's easy for our government to do without any real oversight. The CIA can try to assassinate someone whose country we would never be willing to go to war with, and that *is* wrong. If we want to prevent this, we have to let the general public know that we will do it, and who we will do it to.

    [ Parent ]

    Nope. (none / 0) (#47)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:04:34 PM EST

    "It's like asking if it would be a good idea to declare war on countries before attacking them.

    I see. Like the way the US declared war on Iraq before initiating Operation Desert Storm?

    Don't you understand that if there's assassination to be done, then the US government would prefer to do it without oversight, whether or not you think that's a good idea?

    Note that I did not ask you whether you thought political assassination of "someone whose country we would never be willing to go to war with" is right or wrong. Why you expect the US govenrment to ask you is beyond me.

    No, this is not the way they taught you government works in grade school. This is the way the world actually works. There is a name for this. Do you know what it is? I'll give you a hint-- it begins with an "r" and ends with a "k."

    I don't like it, but I'll be damned if I'm going to close my eyes and pretend that nothing bad could possibly come out of America, because it is a Democracy composed of Free people with Unparallelled Access to Govenrment, and with a press at Liberty to say anything it wants.

    [ Parent ]

    Hmph. (none / 0) (#49)
    by Ialdabaoth on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:21:43 PM EST

    Ah yes, the ever-popular realpolitik. One wonders why we bother with politicians at all; they seem to do nothing but cause trouble to honest people. Then again, the same could be said for clergymen, but that's the subject of another rant. The Republic is dead. All hail the Republic!
    *******
    "Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

    --paraphrase of Aleister Crowley
    [ Parent ]

    Er, no (none / 0) (#54)
    by ckm on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:05:58 AM EST

    The real reason why assasination was banned, was that, in the wake of the post-Nixon fallout, the government feared that it's extra judicial assasinations might become public knowledge, thereby leading to great embarassement, and public anger.

    It has little, or nothing to do with either morals or a concept of law. The US gov't. (or any other gov't.) has never given up the right to hunt down it's enemies, however that is defined. It's even a right guarenteed in the UN charter. That's one of the reasons it's an executive order rather than an act of Congress.

    And don't think that's actually kept the US from terminating people in the last 20 years. They still did it, albit indirectly. Like suggesting to the Isrealis or the French that they would like a certain individual out of the way. Strangely enough, that individual would disappear...

    How do I know all this? Well, my father was a US diplomat for 30 years, and was responsible for, among other things, negociating the Helsinki accords on human rights. I have heard many, many, many discussions about this around the dinner table, with past and present leaders of several nations, including the US.

    Chris.

    [ Parent ]
    Er, what you mean, then, is: yes. (none / 0) (#55)
    by RobotSlave on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:48:39 AM EST

    Did you somehow misread my post? If so, could you point out the part you didn't understand?

    Did you bother to read the thread before posting? If not, why not?

    Can you tell us more about the etymology of the word "assassin?"



    [ Parent ]
    I disagree with you. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Ialdabaoth on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:09:41 PM EST

    While it is reprehensible to initiate force against another person, the person who initiates force must be met by force, either by the victim, those loyal to the victim, or the government.

    It is moral to counter force with force. Initiation of force to achieve a goal is an animal's method. Humans who use this method are worse than animals, as the animal doesn't know any better.
    *******
    "Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

    --paraphrase of Aleister Crowley

    Clarification (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ialdabaoth on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:14:46 PM EST

    This was meant to be a reply to Decaf_dude's post, entitled Disappointing.
    *******
    "Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

    --paraphrase of Aleister Crowley
    [ Parent ]

    No mention of the Ishmaelian sect? (none / 0) (#37)
    by Ialdabaoth on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:12:44 PM EST

    I'm surprised that neither dash2 nor Mr. Fisk mention the Ishmaelian sect of Islam, which under Hassan i Sabbah became the Order of Assassins during the Dark Ages.
    *******
    "Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

    --paraphrase of Aleister Crowley

    You score one out of two. (none / 0) (#48)
    by RobotSlave on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:08:51 PM EST

    See my earlier post.

    [ Parent ]
    Why? (none / 0) (#56)
    by dash2 on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:17:55 AM EST

    I can't see that it is relevant in the slightest.
    ------------------------
    If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
    [ Parent ]
    News? (1.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Kasreyn on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 07:59:26 PM EST

    One link and a couple paragraphs == MLP category, my friend.

    Wish I'd been there to vote you down! =)


    -Kasreyn


    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    Assasination is a fact of life (none / 0) (#59)
    by Tyke on Sun Oct 07, 2001 at 10:22:12 PM EST

    Lets face it, all states practice assasination, even so called progressive european states. The French are past masters at the art of terror as are the British for instance France's sinking of the Greenpeace ship in new zealand with loss of life, or Britains targeting of provo's in Gibralter not to mention countless other documented instances. You just cant get away from it, assasination and terror are just tools in a states armoury. Only a fool would think it morally acceptable,but as to its utility, well only time can tell. It certainly is the case that many assasinations only lead to circumstances that the assasins did not anticipate. A weapon to use with great caution id say.
    Beware of looking too deeply into the abyss, lest the abyss look deeply into you F.Nietzche
    Just one last comment (none / 0) (#60)
    by Tyke on Sun Oct 07, 2001 at 10:58:06 PM EST

    Yes, the ishmaeli's. Hassan i Sabbah was it is true a leader of a sect of shia islam that in the time of Marco Polo had gained a very definite reputation for assasination. The real similaritys begin in his title "The old man of the mountain" he lived in an unasialable castle in what is now Syria called Alamut, the point about alamut is that its surrounded by bone dry mountains an desert and was never taken by either crusaders or Arabs. Hassan and his sucessors it would seem sent their acolytes to join anonymously the courts of sultans and kings, and once in place enabled the ishmaeli leader to order their assasination at any time. They where legendary for their fanatacism and willingness to martyr themselves for their cause, usually being killed imidiatly after an assaination. I think its an interesting question as to whether Osama bin Laden is concious of the myth of Hassan and his early exponents of terror an martyrdom. Certainly any invasion of Afghanistan would be akin to attacking "The old man of the mountain" in his mountain fastness possibly with the same futile results.
    Beware of looking too deeply into the abyss, lest the abyss look deeply into you F.Nietzche
    Targeted assassinations: nothing new in the Middle East | 60 comments (52 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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