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Qingu's avatar

Are you not voting for Obama because of the drones?

Asked by Qingu (21072 points ) November 5th, 2012

It seems a lot of liberals are not voting for Obama largely because they oppose the CIA-drone war in Pakistan (and Yemen and other countries).

The administration says that very few civilians have been killed. But independent observers claim that perhaps 1,000 innocent civilians have been killed by drones during Obama’s four years in office.

___________

I also oppose the drone campaign, but I’m still voting for him, because:
• About as many innocent civilians (~800) were killed by US forces in one week during the battle of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004.
• The US military killed about 7,000 civilians during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. We’ve killed tens of thousands more during the occupation.
• Obama’s Afghanistan strategy lowered NATO’s share of civilian casualties from 50% of the total to 10%.

Nothing justifies killing civilians in warfare, but Obama’s policies have drastically reduced the number of civilians killed from the previous administration—perhaps by two orders of magnitude. And I don’t think the fact that drone robots shooting missiles at civilians is worse than when frightened 18-year-old army privates at Iraqi checkpoints fire bullets at civilians.

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35 Answers

tom_g's avatar

I am not a fan of drones, but I suspect any “liberal” holdouts would be subject to this formula if Romney wins:

liberal with drone-issues + 4 years of Romney presidency = lesser of 2 evils next time

zenvelo's avatar

I am voting for Obama despite the drone usage.

One of these days we have to wake up to the fact that Pakistan is hostile. Not that part of Pakistan is hostile, but that the whole country is, despite lip service by the Pakistani government and the wishes of individuals who are friendly. In the meantime, drones are a very effective way of dealing with cross border hideouts.

And it’s a good way of dealing with terrorist leadership in Yemen and other places.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The drones are a non issue.
Does anyone seriously think Romney would not use drones? Ridiculous.

Qingu's avatar

@LuckyGuy, the issue, as stated by some liberal acquaintences, is that the drones are such an issue for them that they are sitting out this election, or else voting third party.

glacial's avatar

@Qingu I know I’m preaching to the choir, but that is so absurd! Using one’s vote to punish the incumbent is a message that will never be received, unless the candidates are otherwise politically identical.

flutherother's avatar

I’m not American and so I won’t be voting but I would give my vote to Obama despite his drones policy not because of it.

It is a perfect example of taking a good idea too far. It began as a way of killing Al Qaeda leaders who posed a direct threat to the West. By the time they were eliminated the drones policy had acquired a momentum of its own and was difficult to stop. The drones now target any group of ‘militants’ and it seems they often hit civilians as well. After eight years of death from the skies and uncountable mistakes the civilian population in the area lives in fear as a recent report has found.

What I found particularly disturbing was that drones often strike twice, the second attack targeting the rescuers of those hurt by the first. Definitely a case of mission creep.

poisonedantidote's avatar

“very few civilians have been killed” that is a very Orwellian way of saying civilians have been killed.

Qingu's avatar

Of course civilians have been killed, @poisonedantidote. But far less civilians have been killed under Obama’s foreign policy than under Bush’s.

By “far less” I am not talking about “half,” I am talking about something like one for every hundred.

These aren’t just statistics. They’re human lives. And I find comments like yours infuriating, since if you actually cared about the lives of innocent civilians you’d think it would be important to reduce the number by that much—even if it doesn’t get reduced all the way to “zero.”

Nullo's avatar

Nope. I’m not voting for him for his disregard for the Constitution.

Qingu's avatar

@Nullo, can you be more specific?

And who are you voting for?

FutureMemory's avatar

@Nullo Nope. I’m not voting for him for his disregard for the Constitution.

Probably the part that says black people are only 3/5 human, right?

tom_g's avatar

@Qingu and @FutureMemory – I think @Nullo was referring to the USS Constitution old naval ship/museum. Obama hasn’t even given this ship one thought since he has been president. @Nullo wouldn’t have come in here and dropped a one-liner about the president disregarding the Constitution of the United States. That would be silly.

zenvelo's avatar

For three and a half years I have been hearing that Obama has violated the Constitution. But if that were really really true, don’t you think the House would have passed articles of impeachment when they took over the House in January 2011?

The only provision he violated was that African Americans were not citizens before the ratification of the 14th Amendment.

FutureMemory's avatar

Just more conservative lies, pay him no mind.

tinyfaery's avatar

Obama pissed me off so many times in the past 4 years that I decided I would never vote for him again around 2009. The drone strikes just add to it. I shouldn’t be voting Dem or Repub anyhow. I am a socialist. Go Roseanne!

DrBill's avatar

no, I don’t pay attention to drones, it’s the other two dozen reasons that are reason enough.

Qingu's avatar

@tinyfaery, I doubt that you’re more liberal than me, so I imagine you just have a higher standard for what presidents must do to avoid pissing you off.

If I recall, one way Obama has pissed you off was by—despite successfully repealing DADT—not doing it faster with an executive order, or something?

tinyfaery's avatar

@Qingu I’m not a liberal, nor do I call myself one. I don’t know why you are always giving me grief. I am so far to the left, I’m off of the American political spectrum. Do I have to disagree/agree with you on everything to have my own opinion?

And, DADT is of no consequence to me. I thought gays were smarter than to enter the armed forces and wage needless, senseless war. Guess I was wrong. But, I’ll take a guess and say you don’t agree with that either. After all, you are a liberal.

augustlan's avatar

If I remember correctly, @tinyfaery would vote for Obama if her one vote was important enough to keep Romney out of office. She’s in CA, though, and the state will go blue without her vote.

I’m no fan of killing civilians, obviously. But drones have killed far fewer and have kept our own citizens out of harms way (by eliminating the human element on our end). I’ll take drones over human firefights, any day. Ideally, of course, we’d be killing no one, ever. I’ll vote for Obama.

dabbler's avatar

I’m voting to re-elect the president. The alternative would clearly be abominable.
However there are a few things that have pissed me off about our current POTUS:
– drones
– NDAA provisions for military imprisonment of U.S. citizens and other apprehended on U.S. soil & Renewal of the PATRIOT Act.
– lack of reform of financial regulation to prevent recurrence of recent meltdown.

There is every reason to think that for each of the topics that pissed me off Romney would be worse or far worse.
There are lots of reasons I like the POTUS, and on each of those fronts there is every reason to think Romney would apply contrary policies.

The choice between the two is easy.

@tinyfaery I wish we had a viable multi party system, instead of a two-party one. According to a survey I saw online my policies align with RoseAnne’s more than any other candidate. I’d have easily voted for Kucinich any chance I could have.

ucme's avatar

I’m not voting for him because i’m not from eeh-merry ka, if I were I would.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Neither of the two leading candidates will stop using drones if elected. For liberals to sit out this election or vote third party in protest against Obama’s use of them is counterproductive, at best. It will only better the chances of Romney. Idiots. I wouldn’t be surprised if this little idea came from the Romney camp itself.

The fact is, zenvelo above is right. The Pakistani government that our government supports might have control of certain parts of Karachi on a good day and it is a fantasy that they have any control at all outside of the capital city. There are more powerful elements in the Pakistani military, which allow the Pakistani government to exist, that are hostile to the US and can barely put up an amiable diplomatic facade in order to get the billions of dollars in US military and foreign aid. I agree that drones are a good way to deal with cross-border incursions of enemy elements. In this instance. But we will probably see more of this in the future, and this is why:

If this country continues to use its military globally to enforce its interests, it will require more and more ground personnel in localized warfare. This came dangerously close to forcing the US government to enact a military draft in 2003 when it became evident to the US government that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not going to end quickly. But the draft didn’t happen. After much deliberation, they instead lowered the standards of recruitment, established more generous re-enlistment awards and ordered the re-treading of experienced combat soldiers back in-country, which over time plays havoc on military personnel morale. Anything but a draft.

The reason for this is that the government is a good historian. They not-so-fondly remember that every major campus in the US and Canada, and many abroad, were shut down by student protests. One protest interest married and fought with another and, in the summer of 1967, 130 cities burned. The Democratic Convention in Chicago was nearly brought to a standstill by violence and panic on the part of local authorities in the summer of ‘68. It brought the war into our living rooms. Nearly everyone knew of someone who had been killed or wounded in Viet Nam. It gave us spectacles such My Lai, the Kent State Massacre, and the Weathermen. Time Magazine published the names and photos of over 50 young, dead GIs every week. Average age: 19. And this was a small military action compared to Korea and WWII.

This country was torn to shreds during this period and elements in our government have vowed to never let this happen again. With the laws made since, and the rights that have been removed, if the people ever arose like that again, the authorities would be much more brutal this time and America as we know it would certainly not survive. This is why we have drones. And this is why we will continue to make many more, more powerful, much smaller and more efficient ones, and we will use them more, and in a growing number of theaters with increasingly less restrictions.

That is the future. If you don’t like it, HELP MAKE IT AN ISSUE, and change it. But by sitting out this election or voting third party in protest will only make it easier for a Republican to more quickly expand the drone policy.

syz's avatar

I find @Nullo‘s comment fascinating, considering the Bush atrocities (the Patriot Act, torture, etc., etc., etc.).

Who knew? Alternate realities do exist.

Nullo's avatar

@Qingu I am, of course, referring to the abuse of executive orders.
@syz I find it fascinating that you think I rubberstamp everything. How very peculiar.

Qingu's avatar

Which ones?

SavoirFaire's avatar

My wife has decided not to vote for Obama over the way he has handled Libya. I don’t mean the Benghazi attack. She had decided long before that and finds the Republicans’ attempts to politicize the tragedy to be absurd. But she has disagreed with the military strategy there since the beginning, including the use of drones.

Qingu's avatar

@SavoirFaire, did she vote for Romney? Do you live in a swing state?

serenade's avatar

Obama lost my voted during the 2008 DNC when a journalist on a public sidewalk was arrested for filming lobbying activities, and we heard boo from Obama on the matter.

What’s that? It’s unreasonable to expect the President to comment on matters of municipal law enforcement? I must be acting stupidly.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu She isn’t voting on the presidential line at all. And yes, we live in a swing state. It comes down to her not being all that worried about Romney winning. I don’t mean she thinks it’s unlikely; I mean she doesn’t care if it happens. On the issues most important to her (and that she thinks they are likely to be able to affect in the coming years), she sees few differences between the major candidates. And since she doesn’t feel comfortable voting for either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, she’s focusing on our state and local races this year.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Pedro: Do you think people will vote for me?
Napoleon Dynamite: Heck yes! I’d vote for you.
Pedro: Like what are my skills?
Napoleon Dynamite: Well, you have a sweet bike. And you’re really good at hooking up with chicks. Plus you’re like the only guy at school who has a mustache.

Nullo's avatar

Nice article here.

Qingu's avatar

@serenade, yep, that’s an incredibly stupid reason not to vote for Obama.

There is a lot more at stake in this election than whether or not the president has taken the time to comment on local civil liberties infringement.

serenade's avatar

@Qingu, OMG, you are so right! How did I not see this before you told me? Now it all makes sense. You know, you have a wonderful gift for discerning how everything should be in the world, and how people should respond. I think you would do the world a great service to maybe start a blog or some kind of publication so that we can better understand what you think is stupid. That way, we can all think and act more like you do. Surely, that would make the world a better place.

Now that I think about it, you could maybe have a color-coded system of the severity of stupidity—you know, kind of like the DHS terror threat levels—with demarcations such as “mildly stupid,” “plain stupid,” “incredibly stupid” (naturally), and perhaps “extremely stupid.” I know this is just my idea and not yours (Really, I’m sure your iteration would be brilliant, because I can’t think of anyone who spends more time explaining what things are stupid and why.) So, I know it’s a feeble crumb of intellectual effort, but I can only aspire to resemble a facsimile of your monumental intellect. Perhaps, you would consider a milder degree of derision in your next brilliant comment.

Qingu's avatar

I’ll consider it once you explain to me what is not “stupid” about voting based on the single issue of whether or not a candidate responds personally to a single instance of a local civil rights violation. Because it seems pretty goddamn stupid to me.

Here is a list of other issues that are up for grabs this election:
• 1–3 supreme court nominations
• appointments to FEMA, EPA, the Fed, and various powerful government institutions
• implementation of Obamacare, which will help people like my close friend afford insurance
• war with Iran, Syria, Pakistan, negotiations with Russia and Arab Spring—Romney’s advisors are all holdovers from Bush
• Whether or not we spend $2 trillion more on military hardware
• Whether we pay our debt by taxing rich people or cutting social spending for poor people
• Whether or not we “double Guantanamo,” as Romney has promised to do

I stand by my statement. Voting based on none of this whatsoever, and solely based on a completely unrelated fucking incident with a journalist taking pictures, is “stupid.” And believe me, I’m already mincing my words when I call it stupid.

serenade's avatar

See? I knew it would sound better coming from you. And how can I forget “pretty goddamn stupid”? So embarrassing.

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