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Targeted killings

NL_engineer

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O the experts are always right  ::)

I think he should go back to teaching, or at least research what he is commenting on  ::)


Well I think this guy is good at one thing: and that is bringing back the "Soldiers are Baby Killers" statements  ::), and I bet he is one of those who wants us to invade Sudan  ::)
 

McG

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Wonderbread said:
This is why neutralizing enemy political leaders is important to our cause - whether this be through discrediting them, arresting them, or targeted killings.
I would seriously question the notion that politicians are legitimate targets … unless of course they were part of the military personnel (such as in a junta).

OldSolduer said:
The senior Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership target women and children. They use women, children and mentally deficient people as suicide bombers. We should be targeting them and killing them without mercy.
The TB have not used the mentally handicapped as bombers (that was Iraq) and gone are the chivalrous days where a woman’s sex ensured she could be niether a legitimate target nor combatant. 

OldSolduer said:
We should be targeting them and killing them without mercy.
Reprisals (or vengeance killings) are not legal & not permitted within CF policy.  We kill for military necessity (ie. must be done to achieve the mission with minimum consumption of manpower & resources).  Destroying the bomb-making network is necessary.  Sometimes that may require members of the enemy get killed. 

Seven dead bombers, responsible for the deaths of 27 soldiers, will not be killing any more soldiers.  That's a pretty impressive tactical effect.
 

TrexLink

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Legally, we are not at war. No declaration, no war.  Technically, we are involved in a stabilization operation.  (Like Korea was a 'police action'.)

Targeting politicians - it depends if the politician is in the chain of command.  The GG, despite her titular status as Commander-In-Chief, has no control over the CF and can hardly be considered a legitimate target.  POTUS on the other hand is a CIC who actually influences the conduct of operations and, as far as I am concerned, is therefore a legitimate target.  Taliban leaders?  Fair as fair can be.

Sir Thomas More wrote Utopia in the 1500s about a fictional, idealized nation.  More noted that in time of war, the Utopians offered a huge reward for anybody who would off the other side's leaders. They also send hit squads after them in battle.  More justified their conduct as follows:  They think it likewise an act of mercy and love to mankind to prevent the great slaughter of those that must otherwise be killed in the progress of the war, both on their own side and on that of their enemies, by the death of a few that are most guilty; and that in so doing they are kind even to their enemies, and pity them no less than their own people, as knowing that the greater part of them do not engage in the war of their own accord, but are driven into it by the passions of their prince.

Works for me.
 

McG

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TrexLink said:
Taliban leaders?  Fair as fair can be.
Absolutely.  The CO is as much a combatant as the rifleman (at least legally).
 

Fusaki

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I would seriously question the notion that politicians are legitimate targets

What I was trying to get at is that politicians are a vital part of the enemy war machine and therefore are moral targets. When so much of a counter-insurgency is dependant on the views of the population, neglecting to actively undermine the authority of enemy politicans is neglecting to deal with an insurgency at it's source. A bullet in the head of one important enemy politican could potentially save the lives of many working below him, not to mention the lives of our own soldiers.

The more important argument is whether or not targeted killings make tactical sense - whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. In this, each particular situation will dictate.
 

Greymatters

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Wonderbread said:
What I was trying to get at is that politicians are a vital part of the enemy war machine and therefore are moral targets. When so much of a counter-insurgency is dependant on the views of the population, neglecting to actively undermine the authority of enemy politicans is neglecting to deal with an insurgency at it's source. A bullet in the head of one important enemy politican could potentially save the lives of many working below him, not to mention the lives of our own soldiers.

The more important argument is whether or not targeted killings make tactical sense - whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. In this, each particular situation will dictate.

You forget who it is who wrote and approved the rules of warfare, Geneva conventions and other significant guidelines - the politicians.  And they do not approve of targeting other politicians, as it sets a bad precedent.  In their minds, its difficult to negotiate with your opponent if they keep getting killed.  Unfortunately, their rules rarely work well when dealing with an opponent who does negotiate, or who uses political talks as a delaying tactic prior to further attacks. 

From the military viewpoint, killing the head (regardless of political or military status) is important but must be balanced against other considerations - namely avoiding making the leader into a martyr whose death would further inspire the population.  Its also hard to get someone with actual recognized authority to sign the surrender papers if you keep shooting them.

 

Yrys

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Greymatters said:
From the military viewpoint, killing the head (regardless of political or military status) is important but must be balanced against other considerations - namely avoiding making the leader into a martyr whose death would further inspire the population.  Its also hard to get someone with actual recognized authority to sign the surrender papers if you keep shooting them.

I'm no SME, just a civilian. But even if some Talibans leaders would surrender, since they're not government of a country, but
leaders of an ideological movement, wouldn't someone else just take their places ?

Just wondering...
 

daftandbarmy

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Unfortunately, COIN ops is frequently more about taking the moral than the geographical high ground. A targeted assassination program, with no effort made to effect arrest as per the various rules of engagement and the principles of minimum force, sometimes is (unfortunately) not the way to gain brownie points in the long term with the population you are hoping will reject the insurgents.

The British Army's experience in NI showed that this was always a fine line to walk, and court cases are ongoing where very bad men and women were shot and killed while clearly being engaged in terrorist activity e.g.,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/jul/20/northernireland.northernireland

and

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/700831.stm

It is absurd to think that the families of the Loughall bombers, all of whom were (thank God) ruthlessly exterminated by the SAS and RUC, even have a case is astonishing. I'm convinced that more of my troops are alive today because these scumbags were ambushed and removed from the gene pool.

Regardless, as this case shows, we need to make sure we get it right on the moral, legal and PR fronts before we pull the trigger, or we risk losing the PR battle to the dirtbags.
 

Greymatters

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Yrys said:
I'm no SME, just a civilian. But even if some Talibans leaders would surrender, since they're not government of a country, but
leaders of an ideological movement, wouldn't someone else just take their places ?
Just wondering...

They can be replaced, but there's no guarantee that the new leaders will by followed by everyone or that everyone will listen to them...


 

TrexLink

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Greymatters said:
They can be replaced, but there's no guarantee that the new leaders will by followed by everyone or that everyone will listen to them...
There may also be some reluctance on the part of potential replacements to take the job if the last six retired as members of the Pink Mist Society...

Even more important - command abilities and staff abilities are hard to come by and take time to develop.  A good, solid, very competent spear-carrier does not automatically make a competent centurion.  The Confederates had a similar problem. They started the war with the best generals and kept losing them; replacements could be found, but they did not have the experience, the flair or the temperment to handle larger formations.  The gradual degredation of the leadership cadre may be the most important factor in the conflict.
 

OldSolduer

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MCG: I didn't say anything about reprisals. What I'm talking about is a policy that targets senior Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. You are telling me there is something wrong with that?

As far as I'm concerned, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are one and the same. What Al Qaeda does in Iraq is eventually mirrored in Afghanistan.

Take em out....all the way.
 

McG

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OldSolduer said:
MCG: I didn't say anything about reprisals. What I'm talking about is a policy that targets senior Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. You are telling me there is something wrong with that?
You said we should be "killing them without mercy" because they "use women, children and mentally deficient people as suicide bombers."  If that is not a statement for reprisal/vengeance killings, then you must have misstated your position.  There is nothing wrong with killing the TB leadership, but not for the reasons that you have provided.  Go back & see my comment on military necessity.

OldSolduer said:
As far as I'm concerned, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are one and the same. What Al Qaeda does in Iraq is eventually mirrored in Afghanistan.
Well, if you as a soldier cannot distinguish between the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation when it suits your argument, then it is no wonder that some in the civilian community have the same problem.
 

OldSolduer

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I stand by what I said. If killing senior Taliban leadership for using women and kids as suicide bombers isn't "necessity" what is?
I can differentiate between theaters of ops. I ahve spoken to Afghan vets and waht happens in Iraq will eventually make its way to Afghanistan.

That crack was uncalled for. Go back and see my comments.
 

McG

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OldSolduer said:
I stand by what I said. If killing senior Taliban leadership for using women and kids as suicide bombers isn't "necessity" what is?
Reprisal killings for violations of the laws of armed conflict are not necessity (in fact, you will find that such acts are themselves in violation of LOAC).  Destruction of the enemy command chain, elimination of technical network (ie. bomb-makers), cutting lines of sustainment (funding or kit) are all of military necessity.

... and again on the women part, they can be combatants.  We have women in our military.

OldSolduer said:
I can differentiate between theaters of ops. I ahve spoken to Afghan vets and waht happens in Iraq will eventually make its way to Afghanistan.
Tactics have a way of migrating.  Recognize that the TB in Afghanistan are not Sunni insurgents in Iraq (despite the fact that AQ has its fingers in both fights).  If you want to kill TB in Afghanistan for things that happened in Iraq, you will find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
 

OldSolduer

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Did I mention the word reprisal? No, I didn't.
You are twisting my words.
 

McG

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OldSolduer said:
Did I mention the word reprisal?
No.  You did not use the word reprisal.  Instead, you have described a reprisal. 
 

Old Sweat

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Try thinking of the issue in this light. International law prohibits reprisals, but it allows preemptive action to prevent an impending attack. In the former case, ie reprisals, aplogists for the murder of captured members of your regiment after Putot in 1944 have attempted to claim it was in retaliation for the deaths of some German POWs at the hands of a British regiment, although reprisals are clearly a war crime. The latter principle was used by the Israelis in 1967 to preempt the preparations for war by Egypt and Syria.

Now, in the case of a Taliban commander who is responsible for organizing attacks by suicide bombers and/or IEDs, it is illegal to punish him for his past activities. However an attack to prevent him from carrying out future operations is both militarily prudent and allowable under international law. It seems to me that as long as there is intelligence that more of these acts are likely to be employed, then preemption is warranted.

Is this verbal gymnastics? Not really. The laws exist and we must operate within them.
 

TrexLink

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Old Sweat said:
... in the case of a Taliban commander who is responsible for organizing attacks by suicide bombers and/or IEDs, it is illegal to punish him for his past activities.

?

Might you care to rephrase that a bit, please?
 

McG

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Old Sweat said:
... in the case of a Taliban commander who is responsible for organizing attacks by suicide bombers and/or IEDs, it is illegal to punish him for his past activities.
TrexLink said:
Might you care to rephrase that a bit, please?
It is illegal to launch an Op to kill someone as a punishment for his past activities against our forces (we could capture & put him on trial for past activities if they were in violation of LOAC).  It is perfectly legitimate to kill him so as to prevent a probable repeat of past activities against our forces.
 
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