Drone Strike Comments

Thank you, friends. There’s very thoughtful commentary here below. I’m impressed with your thinking and your writing.


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46 Responses to Drone Strike Comments

  1. cdisarcina says:

    NYT Claim: The administration says the use of drones has taken many enemy combatants off the battlefield and reduced civilian casualties.

    I guess there wouldn’t be all of this fuss if someone had used the drones to take out Hitler.

  2. primav01 says:

    This story made multiple claims that were definitely fact based, as well as some that were more opinionated. The stated claim that “Drones have obvious advantages.” by the author, to me, seems sort of arrogant. Although these drone strikes obviously have their advantages such as their effectiveness of keeping their operator safe while still completing a task, they also have many in-humane disadvantages. These disadvantages can be things like the possibility of many civilian casualties because of these strikes. Also the fact that our government can make the executive decision to carry out a drone strike without any real due trial, meaning we can send a drone over to kill someone who we believe to be a terrorist without any true notice or warrant to do so.
    -Dan Primavera

    • davidbdale says:

      Arrogance is not an objection to a claim, Dan.

      You acknowledge yourself that drones have obvious advantages. It’s a different objection altogether to claim, as you do, that drones also produce civilian casualties and deny due process to suspected terrorists.

      If you want to claim (an evaluation claim) that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and proposal (a proposal claim) that we refrain from killing anyone who hasn’t had a fair trial, you can do so. Others will find your claim arrogant, but it won’t be a refutation of your claim to call you arrogant.

      Editorials are opinion writing. They’re supposed to be opinionated. They appear on the Opinion Pages.

  3. mmiddleton1 says:

    The New York Times article includes the proposal claim “Officials say they only target belligerents covered by the 2001 legislation, but the public has no way of knowing under what criteria these targets are chosen.” This claim is a little hazy to me. I am confused what would cause someone to fall under the category of being a “belligerent”. Also why would the statement of the public not knowing the criteria help the argument. If anything I feel worried something I do would cause me to be considered “belligerent.”

    • davidbdale says:

      I wouldn’t call the claim you cite a proposal, Mike. It’s an evaluation claim made by the editorial writers that evaluates the claim made by “officials”: that they target only permitted belligerents and questions the validity of that claim since no evidence is provided that it’s true. The editorialists’ claim isn’t hazy. But the claim of the official is.

      The officials claim that some belligerents are “covered by the 2001 legislation.” You call belligerent a “category,” which is right. What you question is what makes someone a belligerent, which is only hazy here because no definition of belligerent is provided by the officials. The author agrees with you that the public is not clear what qualifies as belligerence.

  4. justinbaker2007 says:

    I think that the whole drone strike situation is awful. It shows that the technology America has is so incredible. If America has had this technology for years already, it would not surprise me what we have right now. I have such a lack of trust in our government. I do not believe they share anything with American citizens. “For years, Mr. Obama has stretched executive power to claim that the 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda gives him the unilateral authority to order people, including American citizens, killed away from any battlefield without judicial oversight or public accountability.” This is a claim of fact that America has been doing this undercover deed for years already. It makes me question what else does our government do undercover?

    • davidbdale says:

      Yes, it’s scary to imagine our capabilities and the uses to which they might be put, Justin. Your analysis that the long quote you cite is “a claim of fact” is too broad and unclear. It’s certainly more than a single claim of fact (See Assertions and Denials). Several claims are made within it: for years, stretched, to claim, authorization, gives authority, to kill, away from battle, US citizens, without oversight, without accountability. Do you mean to affirm all these “facts”? Can you identify which of Mr Obama’s claims the editors object to?

  5. briannewaters3 says:

    The following claim was found in the editorial: “Now an overdue push for greater accountability and transparency is gathering steam, propelled by growing unease that America’s drones hit targets in countries with whom it is not formally at war, that there are no publicly understood rules for picking targets, and that the strikes may kill innocent civilians and harm, not help, American interests.”
    This causal claim is suggesting that this push for greater accountability and transparency is becoming a bigger issue because people are more uneasy about drone hits on countries not formally at war, a lack of set rules for picking targets, and strikes causing more harm than good. The editorial suggests that this questioning should have been occurring long ago when using the word “overdue.” These drone strikes have been going on for years but they have just really come to the public’s attention very recently. Citizens are now aware of what these drones are doing and are worried that they are being used properly and in our best interest which has caused more accountability from our government.

    • davidbdale says:

      I see what you’re up to here, Brianne, and I approve. I’ve added some red emphasis to your comment. You’re trying to emphasize the claim contained in the one word overdue. Let me demonstrate an easier way to do that. Start like this:

      The editorial makes the evaluation claim that the push to make the government accountable for its drone strike program is overdue. Of course that small claim rests on other claims:

      • that the government has a drone strike program
      • that the program is at least in part accountable
      • that some are pushing for greater accountability
      • that they are right to do so
      • that they should have done so earlier

      The rest of the details:

      • that drones hit targets in countries with whom it is not formally at war
      • that there are no publicly understood rules for picking targets
      • that the strikes may kill innocent civilians
      • that the program might harm, not help, American interests
        aren’t part of the overdue claim at all. Instead, they’re part of a different set of evaluation claims that explain why some are demanding accountability.
  6. “For years, Mr. Obama has stretched executive power to claim that the 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda gives him the unilateral authority to order people, including American citizens, killed away from any battlefield without judicial oversight or public accountability.” – Drone Strikes Under Scrutiny

    This is a consequential claim because the presidents direct orders to eliminate targets causes people to question the legality of his actions.

    • davidbdale says:

      If it is a consequential claim, Rory, the consequence is well hidden. I do think the editorial writers question the legality of the President’s actions, so there’s a consequence involved.

      However, they don’t say, the President’s actions cause people to question his authority.

      Instead, they say, the President has used military force in a way that seems to stretch the power granted him by the 2001 authorization to use force, so WE question the legality of his actions.

      Is that the consequence you had in mind?

      Grammar notes: “the President’s direct orders”
      “direct orders . . . cause people”

  7. billykluge says:

    In the New York Times article Drone Strikes Under Scrutiny, the author make the consequential claim “The United States has conducted more than 400 total strikes in at least three countries — Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — killing more than 3,000 people in its war on Al Qaeda, according to a report by Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.” This claim shows how the United States has been using these drone strikes on numerous occasions and has already taken out 3,000 people. There have been a large amount of strikes but taking out taking out this group of people without risking American soldiers is better than sending out armies of people to kill.

    • davidbdale says:

      Hey, Rory. I know it’s hard to punctuate correctly in the Comments area, so I’m not criticizing here, but I do want to point out that when you cite sources in your essays, the right punctuation for an article in a publication will be:

      In the New York Times article “Drone Strikes Under Scrutiny,” the author make the . . . .

      Thank you for tolerating me there.

      The claim you cite is certainly consequential in that it asserts: 400 strikes have caused 3,000 deaths.

      Beyond that, you might evaluate the claim positively (Hey, that’s a lot of dead terrorists!) or negatively (Wow. Is it really possible all those people had to die?) If the unknown rules of engagement for these sorts of strike is that they have to target terrorists whose threat is imminent, it’s hard to imagine that threshold being met 3,000 times. In other words, how many of the 3,000 were collateral to the 400 real targets?

      Keep in mind here, close examination of claims is different from arguing. You and I might be completely on the same side of an argument but dispute the veracity or strategic desirability of particular claims. We may be arguing, but only about claims, not about the war on terror.

      Grammar note: Be careful with how. You don’t mean “This claim shows how the US . . . .” You mean: “This claim shows that the United States has been using . . . . ”

      Grammar note: Be careful with number and amount. You don’t mean “There have been a large amount of strikes. . . .” You mean: “There have been a large number of strikes . . . .”

      Does your own evaluation claim at the end mean to assert that the advantage of drone strikes is that it doesn’t place our own armies at risk? It doesn’t exactly say so. “better than sending out armies” might mean armies are expensive or they broaden the conflict or . . . .

  8. kaileewhiting says:

    The editorial makes a proposal claim that “At a minimum, United States rules should specify that no one can be killed unless actively planning or participating in terror, or helping lead the Taliban in Pakistan or Al Qaeda.”
    The editor is unclear in what actively planning or participating in terror entails. It might be comical to say, but could we kill the group of boys planning on terrorizing the girl’s party next door with water guns? It’s not clear how one decides if a person is “actively planning or participating in terror”.
    Of course the editor is not talking about drone strike on neighborhood boys, but needs to expand on what exactly is participation in terror or Al Qaeda. The claim, other than that brief part, gives us a proposal that might help with the unintentional drone strike deaths.

    • davidbdale says:

      Kailee, the question you raise is very important and you’ve addressed it as carefully as possible. What’s more, you’re completely correct that the editors have not provided the specifics of how to determine an imminent threat.

      My new question for you is, “Is it the obligation of the editors to provide the details?” Let’s take a silly example (not as silly as terrifying water guns, but still silly 🙂 ).

      Say the state police have started confiscating and auctioning off the vehicles of drivers arrested for drunk driving. The value of this policy as a powerful deterrent is clear. But say the editors of the local paper object to the procedure, if not the policy, saying: “At the very least, the police should have to prove the suspect was actually drunk.” Would it be a reasonable objection to their demand to say: Well, you haven’t specified exactly what you mean by drunk, and you also haven’t clarified what would be a satisfactory proof of drunkenness. Is a field sobriety test enough for you? Or do you require a breathalyzer? Or is a blood test required?

      Do those editors “need to expand on what exactly is” drunkenness?

      • kaileewhiting says:

        If the editors were to expand on what exactly is drunkenness, they could say “the legal limit” or something of the like. But with an issue such as drunk driving, the limits are pretty clear cut. We already have laws in each state telling us at exactly what level someone is considered drunk at. So I don’t think the objection of needing to specify exactly what drunk means is a valid objection. But when it comes to terrorism, I think it is harder to find those clear cut lines.

        • davidbdale says:

          Thanks. This is fun. I don’t disagree with you at all that there are blood alcohol levels established by law that define drunkenness for traffic law purposes. And I also agree that we have not begun to define terrorism. Both are different issues than the one I’ve raised.

          Whether my analogy is a good one or not, my point about the terrorism claim is this: When the editors say that at a minimum nobody should be drone struck unless actively planning or participating in terror, they’re not required by the argument to explain what they mean by terror or how it is to be determined.

          When I say that at a minimum nobody’s car should be taken unless she was actually driving drunk, that’s a sufficient claim. If you take somebody’s car because she looked drunk and there were empty beer cans in the back seat, that would violate my proposal claim. If you kill a US citizen in Pakistan with a drone strike because he was seen meeting with suspected terrorists, that would violate my proposal claim.

          At any time we can also argue about what really defines drunkenness or terrorism, and how to evaluate them, but the validity of the proposal doesn’t depend on those details.

  9. tbrody92 says:

    “When a Democratic president acts badly, he is challenged by neither party. The warlike Republicans applaud him and might even praise him for being bipartisan.”-Comment on the NY Times article

    The commenter’s first claim, without saying it, is that the drone strikes are an example of the President acting “badly.” His second claim is that when a Democratic President makes bad choices, he is not challenged, and sometimes even applauded, by the Democrats and/or Republicans, Republicans specifically applauding in regards to being bipartisan. Also unsaid is the claim that Republicans would be persecuted for the same events and decisions.
    The claims, summed up into the umbrella claim of “Democrats can get away with more compared to Republicans,” is an evaluation claim.

    I do not agree with the claims made in this comment. Since when have Republicans ever applauded bipartisanism? The only example I can think of is Chris Christie during the Superstorm Sandy aftermath. Secondly, Republicans have challenged countless decisions by Obama: Obamacare, favoring the middle class, etc…does this mean that these decisions must be *gasp* correct ones? The horror!

    • davidbdale says:

      That’s nice, Taylor. You’ve well identified the first claim.

      The second claim doesn’t seem to me to ever say the Democrats applaud (they simply don’t challenge). Surely there must be something about the way the president “acts badly” that explains the “bipartisan” part of the claim (a particular sort of bad behavior that others might characterize as “Republican”?).

      I agree completely that the author implies Republicans would not escape criticism for similar “bad behavior.”

      Hmmm. Republicans don’t have to applaud bipartisanship exactly, to fulfill this author’s claim. The “bipartisanship” label could be the author’s; those who praise the President might just say: That’s the kind of bold behavior we would expect from a Republican!

      Hmmm. Wasn’t it mostly Democrats who praised Christie for his post-Sandy embrace of the President? Or denounced his bald opportunism?

      Regarding Obamacare and other “bad” behavior, I repeat my earlier observation about the type of behavior the author labels bad in the first sentence. The clue is “warlike” Republicans. Health care has no place in this discussion; only aggressive warlike policies.

  10. adkins70 says:

    “John Brennan, the counterterrorism adviser most responsible for the program, faces a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday as President Obama’s nominee as C.I.A. director.”

    The author claims that John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for CIA Director, is most responsible for the program. That is to say that not the president who gives the order, nor the team that created the drone, are as responsible for the killing of those whom the government deems worthy of elimination. The claim is unwarranted as Brennan uses his team to determine who they believe is a safety threat to America, while Obama permits them or denies them the ability to follow through with their plan. Is it the soldier’s fault for identifying the target and eliminating them, or the commander’s fault for giving them the “ok”?

    • davidbdale says:

      Yes, Brent, you’re right. The author claims Brennan is more responsible than the president and the drone designers for the (here’s where we might deviated a bit) intelligence and analysis that determine the worthy targets.

      Then the responsibility shifts to the president to weigh the intelligence and advice and give the order to eliminate the target.

      Then the responsibility shifts to the military to arm the drones, dispatch them to the target, and fire the missiles.

      Does that sequence sound reasonable?

      Both our scenarios exonerate Brennan and his team of the killing. Both place the responsibility at the Commander-in-Chief’s feet.

      Your Rhetorical Question (stop using them as soon as you can break the cycle of addiction, please) blends the CIA’s intelligence gathering (“identifying the target”) with the soldier’s firing of the missile (“eliminating them”). They should be left separate.

      We only diverge in your equating “responsible for the program” with “responsible for the kill order.” I think the confusion is yours and that the original author doesn’t hold Brennan accountable for the deaths, since the CIA doesn’t fire the missiles.

  11. jodidziedzic says:

    “At a minimum, United States rules should specify that no one can be killed unless actively planning or participating in terror, or helping lead the Taliban in Pakistan or Al Qaeda. Killing should be authorized only when it can be demonstrated that capture is impossible. ”

    These solutions seem to be reasonable. Although, how would it be definitely known that this person is actively planning or participating in terror? At that point, would there be a trial held to discuss the reasoning behind this assumption? Deciding that killing should only be authorized when it can be demonstrated that capture is impossible is fair. These two things should work hand-in-hand though, so that it is clear as to exactly why this attack is being sentenced.

    “Standards for preventing the killing of innocents who might be nearby should be detailed and thorough.”

    If these rules were to follow through, it would appear that they would be the most proper and thought out things to do.

    • davidbdale says:

      Yes, Jodi, you’ve put your finger directly on the problem. The rule is completely reasonable, but how can it be followed? I might just as fruitlessly tell you, “Please take my child to the amusement park, but be certain that he’s safe.” I can’t even put him in a car and be certain that he’s safe. How will I ever get him onto a roller coaster?

      Even what sounds exactly like hatching a plan to blow airliners out of the sky might just be a training mission and therefore not a real threat, and also not imminent. So we need to prove a real and imminent threat. But, as you suggest, there can’t be a trial without the suspect’s participation, which we can’t do without capturing him. So we can’t kill him without capturing him, but we’re only allowed to kill him if capturing him is impossible.

      There won’t be any drone strikes at all if we follow the first set of “minimum rules,” so there will also be no collateral damage.

  12. kenyahkayy says:

    The claim that, “Officials say they only target belligerents covered by the 2001 legislation, but the public has no way of knowing under what criteria these targets are chosen,” is worrisome to think about because as it states, the public has no way of knowing the criteria. If that much is a secret, one has to wonder what else is a secret, and how are they sure that they aren’t killing innocent people. Can they be?

    • davidbdale says:

      Kenyah, I deleted some wordiness from your comment. Is the claim worrisome? The answer is tricky. That the public has no way of knowing how belligerents are selected for elimination might be worrisome (particularly if you feel vulnerable), but only if you believe the claim. Do you see what I’m getting at? The claim is just a claim, someone’s assertion that something is true. It’s hard to be worried about someone’s argument.

      But if we believe the argument is true, we’re no longer worried about the claims, we worry about the facts. If I believe my government is killing people for reasons I can’t know, then of course I’ll be worried. How can I avoid being killed if I don’t know what rules to keep?

  13. kovnat77 says:

    “An investigator for the United Nations Human Rights Council said last month that he would study the “exponential rise” in drone strikes in counterterrorism operations. More than 50 nations have or are trying to get the technology. The United States will set the standard for them all.”

    The last paragraph of the article on drone strikes illustrates the reality of the “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” complex. The claim that makes readers shake in their boots, hints to the looming terror of every nation having drones, waiting by tiny screens prepared to deploy and destroy an “enemy” with the flick of a mouse, the soft click of a button on a keyboard. “More than 50 nations have or are trying to get the technology” this plants the seeds in ones brain of weather or not this technology SHOULD be given to any or all of the 50 nations hoping to get power on their side.
    Another seemingly simple relation to this claim could be found in Dr. Seusses book Butter Side-Up, Butter Side-Down, which shows two different people with opposing opinions that escalate from argument to violence. Sounds like many other wars fought all over the world, the only difference is that those aren’t started over which side of the toast you spread butter on.

    • davidbdale says:

      Punctuation notes first, Sammy. When you decided to quote this passage, you rightly placed it between quotation marks, which created a quote-within-a-quote for the words exponential rise. Those words require single quotation marks: ‘exponential rise’, not double.

      Movie titles, like book titles, go into italics instead of quotation marks. You don’t have access to italics in comments, which makes this messy, but you can code for them if you’re feeling very prissy, as I do.

      Sadly, it’s very hard to show the code, since keying it enables it and makes it invisible, but the result is:
      Result: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

      But enough of that. You bet: fifty nations employing remote-control missile strikes to take out their enemies on foreign soil (our soil!) is altogether terrifying. About as terrifying as it must be right now to be an enemy of the United States plotting terror in Pakistan.

      Hmmm. Is the question whether (not weather, please) nations should “be given” drone strike technology? They’ll develop it if they can. They’ll buy it if they want it and can’t develop it. Since it’s operated remotely, there might be no reason to let any country do it “on its own soil” so to speak. Here’s a thought: maybe the US or other technology owners will do “hits” for other governments?

      You’re right. Nobody’s been killed for buttering the wrong side. But people have been killed over cartoons that offend “true believers.” Someone as willing as Dr. Seuss to confront ludicrous human hypocrisy could easily spark a holy war today.

      • kovnat77 says:

        I will definitely take note of the punctuation points you gave me, although i will say, i was rushing, so i knew it was bound to be a bit sloppy. I get most nervous about citing things, so i appreciate you putting corrections for that as well, now i have a reference!

  14. kmbuttari says:

    While I think the technology and effectiveness of the drones is phenomenal, I believe the whole situation is incredibly dangerous. If the wrong people get drone technology and can use it to the US’s level of effectiveness, it could be devastating to the entire world (anyone can bomb any where at any time from any location).

    • davidbdale says:

      “Bomb” is a little bit of overstatement, but I get your point, Kevin. Just one thing though. You can be pretty sure the targets of the first few hundred drone strikes are convinced the “wrong people” already have access to the technology. Can anybody really be trusted with this power?

  15. rickc1030 says:

    “A Pakistani citizen, living in the US and suspected by India or plotting against India, is assassinated by an Indian drone, or more realistically by agents from India. When questions are raised about the legality of this action in the Indian parliament, the answer is offered that as the man is not an Indian citizen, he is not protected by the Indian constitution. Would the US find this explanation satisfactory?” (A comment by a NYT reader)

    This is really the question we need to ask ourselves. This is a resemblance claim in the sense that it’s essentially a mirror situation of the article but the roles are flipped and the terrorist plotting against another country is on our front lawn. India’s drone strike comes in and immediately finishes off the target… and collateral Americans. India does not want war with us but now our blood is on their hands and being Americans, we’re fueled with rage and ready to declare war. This is the beginning of a never ending cycle, or one that will exist until practically everyone is dead. To answer Rohit’s fantastic question, no, the United States would not take this explanation of “self defense” satisfactory at all.

    • davidbdale says:

      Yes, it is a resemblance claim, Rick, or at least it would be if the author hadn’t been sloppy or gutless and phrased her clear claim as a rhetorical question.

      Your refinement—that the drone strike takes out collateral Americans—essentially changes the question from “how do we react when this happens on our soil?” to “how do we react when this happens to us?”

      It also creates a reasonably similar parallel to real situations: missile strikes between Israel and Palestine, for example, with one important difference: the less-precise missiles in those cases aren’t as precise don’t target specific individuals.

      So, let’s say NO, the US would not accept this explanation. Now, how would the US react if India responded by saying: “Well, if you want to stop being killed accidentally by our justifiable drone strikes, stop harboring terrorists who plot against us!” as we say to Pakistan when they object to us that our strikes kill noncombatant Pakistanis?

  16. jpassalacqua says:

    The drone strike controversy leaves me with a strong feeling of unease that the military has the legal power to kill any single person they want without reason. The use of these drones is to eliminate any terrorists threats to our country. People commenting on the editorial are claiming that the drones cause more harm than good and can kill innocent people as well. The technology developed for these drones is extremely far ahead of what the public has access too. There may be military technology being developed that can eliminate innocent casualties and simply take out one specific target at a time. This could eliminate the fear that innocent people would be accidentally harmed from the drones.

    • davidbdale says:

      You’re right, Joe. Comedians are joking now that we’re all in danger of drone strike death, but the technology to kill us by surprise is certainly there, arrest and due process are apparently no longer required, and our US citizenship is not an impenetrable shield.

      As you suggest, technological enhancements may limit collateral damage. At least all —all!—we’d have to worry about then would be that our own government had perfect intelligence, analyzed it correctly, and didn’t make a bureaucratic mistake in ordering our execution from the sky.

  17. lebano55 says:

    Original comment: We are going crazy, soon will be nations fighting with drones to each other. America hypocrisy is out of controle. I am progressive, but I am totally against violence. Our future will be very dangerous. The seeds planted since 9/11/2001, will florish without controle. Drones killed thousand of innocent civilians from other nations. We have no rights whatsoever to use our military arsenal to show how bully we can be. Shame on America!

    Response: Yes. Shame on us. We are totally out of controle. All joking aside though, I don’t believe that these recent happenings concerning Drone targeting are going to directly cause a worldwide drone war, and I also feel that the author of this post isn’t quite justified in taking this article as a chance to spew his opinions on the classic “America: World Police” argument. The NY Times should do a better job of reviewing what content makes it into their comment section.

    • davidbdale says:

      I think I recognize this one, Steve. Did it come from someone named manderine? (He/she wrote more than one; all sounded translated into English.)

      I don’t expect worldwide drone war either, I guess, but does that mean we can’t have smaller scale concerns? You’re right this is no place for the classic “America is the the World Police” argument, but is that what manderine claims? I think manderine claims the US has killed thousands of innocents to prove how powerful it is. That’s pretty bad police work! 🙂

  18. smithk53 says:

    “At a minimum, United States rules should specify that no one can be killed unless actively planning or participating in terror, or helping lead the Taliban in Pakistan or Al Qaeda. ”
    This claim is a categorical claim because it states that if a person belongs to the category of people who: are planning or participating in terror or helping lead the Taliban in Pakistan or Al Qaeda, that we should have a rule to be able to use drone technology to kill those people.
    Among many other rules that exist for using drone technology, that should definitley be a rule. That rule is still too broad though. How can people thousands of miles away assume that someone is planning on participating in terror and then without warning kill that person? There should be some kind of warning at the very least for that person because if we start using this technology unfairly I can’t imagine what other nations will do to us when they finally get thier hands on this technology.

    • davidbdale says:

      I agree, Kirsten, this is a categorical claim of just the type you say. Let me help you streamline your sentence a bit though. I’ve struck the unnecessary words. In particular, in every sentence of this type (no matter how long), use the “that” just once.

      Better yet, eliminate the unnecessary if/then altogether, as in:

      This claim identifies a category—persons who are planning or participating in terror or helping lead the Taliban in Pakistan or Al Qaeda—and says they can be killed.

      Is the rule too broad? It’s only too broad if it includes too many people, but that’s not what you say. You say it’s not possible to know who’s planning terror. Presumably, if we could know who’s plotting, you’d let us kill them. So it seems for you the rule is not too broad, it’s just too hard to verify that we’ve correctly identified the target as part of the category.

      The idea of a warning shot is very entertaining, Kirsten, though ghoulish. “Stop planning terror. We have an eye on you from the sky. If you persist in planning terror, while we can’t seem to capture you, we will launch a targeted missile in your direction.”

  19. clarkn92 says:

    “For years, Mr. Obama has stretched executive power to claim that the 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda gives him the unilateral authority to order people, including American citizens, killed away from any battlefield without judicial oversight or public accountability.” This claim makes me question what America has been doing undercover that we have no idea about. What do they do undercover that we have no recollection of? It is scary to think that the government does so many things without letting citizens know about their decisions. I do not think it its fair that the government chooses to do certain things without letting the people know. It is hard for me to trust the government and their decisions when we as people are not given the information on what is really going on.

    • clarkn92 says:

      I also believe that this is an evaluation claim because it says that we question the legality of the president’s orders. It states how we feel about it and the end result.

      • davidbdale says:

        You’re right, it’s an evaluation claim because is says the the editors of the New York Times (not we) question the authority of the president’s avowed “executive power.”

    • davidbdale says:

      If I were really picky, Nicole (and I am), I’d say you no longer have to question what America has been doing undercover. We’ve been killing terrorists from the sky without warning after tracking them for weeks.

      When you say “It is scary to think that the government does so many things without letting citizens know about their decisions,” you’re only echoing again what has been clearly stated.

      When you say it’s unfair for the government to “do certain things” without letting people know, you are making an ethical claim of your own, but you’re also contradicting centuries of actual clandestine operations by most civilizations.

      Your final claim, that you don’t trust the government, is slightly different, but, like so much of your language here, is too vague to be very persuasive. See “Try to Say Something” for pointers on how to make your writing more specific and pointed.

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