U.S. Expands Its Drone War Into Somalia

MQ-9 ReaperMark Mazzetti writes in the New York Times:

The clandestine American military campaign to combat Al Qaeda’s franchise in Yemen is expanding to fight the Islamist militancy in Somalia, as new evidence indicates that insurgents in the two countries are forging closer ties and possibly plotting attacks against the United States, American officials say.

An American military drone aircraft attacked several Somalis in the militant group the Shabab late last month, the officials said, killing at least one of its midlevel operatives and wounding others.

The strike was carried out by the same Special Operations Command unit now battling militants in Yemen, and it represented an intensification of an American military campaign in a mostly lawless region where weak governments have allowed groups with links to Al Qaeda to flourish.

The Obama administration’s increased focus on Somalia comes as the White House has unveiled a new strategy to battle Al Qaeda in the post-Osama bin Laden era, and as some American military and intelligence officials view Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia as a greater threat to the United States than the group of operatives in Pakistan who have been barraged with hundreds of drone strikes directed by the Central Intelligence Agency in recent years.

Article continues at The New York Times.

, , , , ,

  • Andrew

    This is how cowards conduct foreign policy.

    • MoralDrift

      When all is said and done the legacy of the American Empire will be one of cowardice both outwardly towards other nations and inwardly, the shameful conduct of our representatives and endlessly springing upwards from the citizenry is a constant lack of real attempts to turn the ship around. What we need is mutiny not discussion at this point.

      We dont deserve what America was played out to be.

    • SF2K01

      Considering this is kind of what we’ve been going towards for all of human history, I doubt it would have been categorized as cowardly. I suspect you would prefer they sent in a bunch of army regiments for some fisticuffs?

      • MoralDrift

        If one aims to kill, then one must also be in the melee, subject to death themselves. It has been this way since the dawn of man and although we have seen progress away from this in the form of ranged weapons and aerial bombardment, there was always the remote possibility of death for the assailant.

        Drones are unprecedented in that the offensive party has literally no risk of injury, it is a battle so lopsided it does not meet the threshold of battle and becomes assassination or murder. To conduct widespread assassination (to be polite) is cowardly. Carpet bombing, nuclear weapons, etc are orders of magnitude more deadly for now but they at least had the thin moral sheath of being in the crosshairs of AAA or a retaliatory nuclear strike…drones are beyond the pale.

        • SF2K01

          It’s my suggestion that this idea is an imaginary code idealizing the past forms of warfare. We’ve had the ability to kill people from afar the moment someone picked up the first sling and threw the first spear. Why did they do it? Because it got them a better chance at winning/killing, not asking whether it was fair that the other guy did or didn’t have one as good as yours (to beat someone, you had to be better than them at killing the opponent). Anything that gave the smallest advantage was a step forward; the entire benefit of new weapons was that the previous guy didn’t have them. Then the guy figured it out, made copies, and you had to make something better. You better believe if they had the same tech, the people we’ve fought throughout history would have no qualms about doing the same to you.

          The same is true for all the weapons you mentioned which were deployed when the other side was literally defenseless against them. The only difference is greater range today than in the past, and drones are no different than long range intercontinental missiles. By your argument, drones are actually a step up from those missiles since they require a much closer proximity for proper remote operation.

          • MoralDrift

            You put forth a valid argument. The problem, in my view, is that a drone piloted from Colorado that strikes someone in Pakistan is such a large step as to become no longer warfare but simply killing. As for ICBM’s the men manning the silo know that in the event of a strike they are toast, while the drone pilot has zero threat. it really is unprecedented.

            As I said, your argument is valid, and maybe I am standing up for some kind of imaginary code that never existed, but I will continue to do so as the precedents we are setting are beyond dangerous. A world where remote controlled death bots are routine is not a world I wish to inhabit. If you want to kill somebody you better find a human being to do it as the human can always opt out if the job is immoral where the machine will always execute the mission.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PP27FOUX7TCQ5ORPKUWAT2R5V4 Ray

            I’m not sure what makes war more acceptable if it’s people
            fighting each other on the battlefield vs drone operators in Nevada bombing
            targets in Pakistan. A pilot dropping guided bombs from 20,000 feet against AK-47 armed insurgents doesn’t really have to worry about their personal safety.
            Maybe drones open up the door for abuse because politicians aren’t worried
            about losing public support but that’s the policies of the government. If the government was determined they would just used manned aircraft in place of unmanned aircraft. I don’t see anything particularly
            diabolical about the concept of drones. I think it would be more beneficial to
            look at how the weapon is being used rather than the weapon itself. Also as of
            right now drones are still only firing when told to by a human operator.

            Just for the sake of argument humans are much more prone to
            error than machines are. Just look at commercial airline crashes, something
            like 90% of them are attributed to human error. Even before the creation of robots there’s
            been plenty of people who could be lead into committing atrocious war crimes. At least
            with robots you wouldn’t have to worry about them being scared and accidentally
            shooting someone innocent or being filled with hatred over the loss of friends
            and killing civilians in revenge. They’ll be problems with robots especially if we ever make them
            completely autonomous but hopefully over time they’ll be able to fix most of these problems and make them less prone to error as humans are.

          • MoralDrift

            all very good points…I still feel the need to resist such machinations. I would be very interested to see psychological evaluations of drone operators vs bomber pilots. I have heard of bomber pilots feeling remorse in the past…would drone operators feel the same? I cant say but it would be interesting to look into.

          • Krobertson1270

            War today is not about honor or glory like the days of old, if one side as the ability to drop bombs without a risk upon their lives why not do that as general Patton would say war is not about dying for your country it’s about making that son of bitch die for his. War is about winning not fighting fair, it’s only loser who fight fair. But in reality this is terrible what the government is doing we have no right to stage these attacks in all of these countries.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            I like to believe that honor (that imaginary code you’re talking about) still exists and has for a long time… I’m however not so sure it has ever existed where it really mattered, on battles of scale such as the ones going on now.

          • SF2K01

            The whole idea of codes of honor are generally later inventions to idealize the past, or to manipulate the people under those idealizations (e.g. the myth of the Samurai code which was completely bs’d as an ancient code to make the Japanese WWII fighters do a better job). We humans have some kind of need to view the past with rose tinted glasses, but I’m trying to keep em off.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            hmm, I see your point, but I think i prefer rose tinted glasses to blood tinted glasses… maybe a little naive of me

          • SF2K01

            Actually you just reminded me of a cracked article I read a bit ago ( http://www.cracked.com/article_19271_8-filthy-jokes-hidden-in-ancient-works-art_p2.html ) #1 talks about the kinds of messages ancient people would leave their enemies engraved in the rocks they were slinging at each other. Messages like “I hope this rock hits you in the dick,” and honestly, that’s pretty much the least dickish thing I read about ancient peoples.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Well i never questioned if ancient peoples still had a sense of humor.

  • Andrew

    This is how cowards conduct foreign policy.

  • Mr. Coffee

    Oh. Good. Another war.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      “its not a war if there arent troops on the ground” … or in other words… “its not a war, its an invasion”

  • Mr. Coffee

    Oh. Good. Another war.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HLDVFLOTKM37YKOG5B6FEZPA2I Jon
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HLDVFLOTKM37YKOG5B6FEZPA2I Jon
  • Anonymous

    When all is said and done the legacy of the American Empire will be one of cowardice both outwardly towards other nations and inwardly, the shameful conduct of our representatives and endlessly springing upwards from the citizenry is a constant lack of real attempts to turn the ship around. What we need is mutiny not discussion at this point.

    We dont deserve what America was played out to be.

  • KxBk6U

    The airstrike makes Somalia at least the sixth country where the United States is using drone aircraft to conduct lethal attacks, joining Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.

    All of this is perfectly legal, of course, thanks to the broad, open-ended, unlimited in scope, time, or place Authorization For The Use Of Military Force that Congress passed in October 2001. While it’s certainly advisable that the President have discretion in going after al-Qaeda and its associates, one does wonder if it isn’t about time for Congress to review that AUMF and examine whether some limits need to be placed on it. At this point, it can be used to justify virtually any action anywhere in the world as long as the President says he’s going after al-Qaeda. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

  • KxBk6U

    The airstrike makes Somalia at least the sixth country where the United States is using drone aircraft to conduct lethal attacks, joining Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.

    All of this is perfectly legal, of course, thanks to the broad, open-ended, unlimited in scope, time, or place Authorization For The Use Of Military Force that Congress passed in October 2001. While it’s certainly advisable that the President have discretion in going after al-Qaeda and its associates, one does wonder if it isn’t about time for Congress to review that AUMF and examine whether some limits need to be placed on it. At this point, it can be used to justify virtually any action anywhere in the world as long as the President says he’s going after al-Qaeda. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

  • Anonymous

    Considering this is kind of what we’ve been going towards for all of human history, I doubt it would have been categorized as cowardly. I suspect you would prefer they sent in a bunch of army regiments for some fisticuffs?

  • Anonymous

    If one aims to kill, then one must also be in the melee, subject to death themselves. It has been this way since the dawn of man and although we have seen progress away from this in the form of ranged weapons and aerial bombardment, there was always the remote possibility of death for the assailant.

    Drones are unprecedented in that the offensive party has literally no risk of injury, it is a battle so lopsided it does not meet the threshold of battle and becomes assassination or murder. To conduct widespread assassination (to be polite) is cowardly. Carpet bombing, nuclear weapons, etc are orders of magnitude more deadly for now but they at least had the thin moral sheath of being in the crosshairs of AAA or a retaliatory nuclear strike…drones are beyond the pale.

  • Anonymous

    It’s my suggestion that this idea is an imaginary code idealizing the past forms of warfare. We’ve had the ability to kill people from afar the moment someone picked up the first sling and threw the first spear. Why did they do it? Because it got them a better chance at winning/killing, not asking whether it was fair that the other guy did or didn’t have one as good as yours (to beat someone, you had to be better than them at killing the opponent). Anything that gave the smallest advantage was a step forward; the entire benefit of new weapons was that the previous guy didn’t have them. Then the guy figured it out, made copies, and you had to make something better. You better believe if they had the same tech, the people we’ve fought throughout history would have no qualms about doing the same to you.

    The same is true for all the weapons you mentioned which were deployed when the other side was literally defenseless against them. The only difference is greater range today than in the past, and drones are no different than long range intercontinental missiles. By your argument, drones are actually a step up from those missiles since they require a much closer proximity for proper remote operation.

  • Anonymous

    You put forth a valid argument. The problem, in my view, is that a drone piloted from Colorado that strikes someone in Pakistan is such a large step as to become no longer warfare but simply killing. As for ICBM’s the men manning the silo know that in the event of a strike they are toast, while the drone pilot has zero threat. it really is unprecedented.

    As I said, your argument is valid, and maybe I am standing up for some kind of imaginary code that never existed, but I will continue to do so as the precedents we are setting are beyond dangerous. A world where remote controlled death bots are routine is not a world I wish to inhabit. If you want to kill somebody you better find a human being to do it as the human can always opt out if the job is immoral where the machine will always execute the mission.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    “its not a war if there arent troops on the ground” … or in other words… “its not a war, its an invasion”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PP27FOUX7TCQ5ORPKUWAT2R5V4 Ray

    I’m not sure what makes war more acceptable if it’s people
    fighting each other on the battlefield vs drone operators in Nevada bombing
    targets in Pakistan. A pilot dropping guided bombs from 20,000 feet against AK-47 armed insurgents doesn’t really have worry about their personal safety.
    Maybe drones open up the door for abuse because politicians aren’t worried
    about losing public support but that’s just the policies of the government. I don’t see anything particularly
    diabolical about the concept of drones. I think it would be more beneficial to
    look at how the weapon is being used rather than the weapon itself. Also as of
    right now drones are still only firing when told to by a human operator.

    Just for the sake of argument humans are much more prone to
    error than machines are. Just look at commercial airline crashes, something
    like 90% of them are attributed to human error. Even before the creation of robots there’s
    been plenty of people who could be lead into committing atrocious war crimes. At least
    with robots you wouldn’t have to worry about them being scared and accidentally
    shooting someone innocent or being filled with hatred over the loss of friends
    and killing civilians in revenge. They’ll be problems with robots especially if we ever make them
    completely autonomous but hopefully over time they’ll be able to fix most of these problems and make them less prone to error as humans are.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I like to believe that honor (that imaginary code you’re talking about) still exists and has for a long time… I’m however not so sure it has ever existed where it really mattered, on battles of scale such as the ones going on now.

  • Anonymous

    all very good points…I still feel the need to resist such machinations. I would be very interested to see psychological evaluations of drone operators vs bomber pilots. I have heard of bomber pilots feeling remorse in the past…would drone operators feel the same? I cant say but it would be interesting to look into.

  • Anonymous

    all very good points…I still feel the need to resist such machinations. I would be very interested to see psychological evaluations of drone operators vs bomber pilots. I have heard of bomber pilots feeling remorse in the past…would drone operators feel the same? I cant say but it would be interesting to look into.

  • Krobertson1270

    War today is not about honor or glory like the days of old, if one side as the ability to drop bombs without a risk upon their lives why not do that as general Patton would say war is not about dying for your country it’s about making that son of bitch die for his. War is about winning not fighting fair, it’s only loser who fight fair. But in reality this is terrible what the government is doing we have no right to stage these attacks in all of these countries.

  • GoodDoktorBad

    All the comments here make good points, however cynical they may or may not be. 

    Men and drones are servile beasts. They essentially do what their leaders tell them to do. It’s always been this way. At best the average soldier is a drone and is treated as such by its superiors and even more so by its enemy. The soldier can be honorable with good intentions, but are inherently naive and subject to the whims and motivations of the commander and chief. Ultimately, when free will is subordinated, the soldiers honor is only as good as their leaders honor. 

    Unprovoked deadly aggression is ultimately murder, period. We have no business vilifying others if we behave even worse. Hitler or any other of a host of murdering tyrants have nothing on the good old USA or its leaders, past or present. Sorry, no moral superiority can be argued by any sane individual armed with a few obvious facts. Consider the ratio of dead men on opposing sides. Not that I would wish for more American dead, but it shows that this is much less a war that it is a culling. It’s a smash and grab. It’s depopulation. It’s a bank robbery where all the employees are killed and even the robbers are expendable drones. It’s bloody and callous slaughter. 

    Mass murder. Bush, Obama, etc. could easily share a cage with Charles Manson, the only difference being Charles Manson would be the lesser criminal of the group. None of them ever shed blood, they just used their position to have others do it. Diabolical and charismatic demons all. 

    Predator drones are pop pop popular. Cool like the Sky-net drones in The Terminator. They “get er done”. 
    Everything these days popularizes madness and death. It’s very exciting.  Wheeeeeee! 
    With the exception of US soldiers, we know nothing of war here. That’s why it’s seems so damn cool.
    Like a movie or a video game….. guess what, it’s not a fuckin’ video game!

    Stuff blows up. Cooool! 

    Get the bad guys! Yaaaaaay!

    Heads roll….wheeeeeee!

    Bang, bang , bang. We love power. It gets us off. It’s just like in the movies, they die by hundreds and thousands and we stand triumphant! Sing a happy tune -fuckers…

    The crowd roars. We laugh, the bad guy got what he deserved. Good for our hero. Soooooo glad he’s on our side.

    Arrogance, pride, greed, aggression, wrath, comfort, complacency. Sure ingredients for a poison feast.
    Sooner or later  it’s a feast that we all may have to eat. What goes around comes around. Pass the hot potatoes. Look out…there a scorcher.

    …..

    • Mr Willow

      “Ultimately, when free will is subordinated, the soldiers honor is only as good as their leaders honor.”

      Perhaps one problem is that the soldiers presume their leaders are honourable at all.

    • RevolutionNow

      That is all true, however, it doesn’t mean a thing.  We will continue doing this until we can’t anymore.  We all know the war is stupid, murder is murder, and the soldiers signed up for the wrong reason, we are being robbed blind and nobody is being held accountable.  Those statements have all been beaten to death.  When everybody has had enough, that will be it.  It’s not about putting an end to a government who does these things to only have that replaced by groups who wish to do the same thing.  No, when everybody is done with the violence for good, we will be done.  For now, the question isn’t “Why are they doing this” or “How dare they…” it’s “When will everybody have enough?”  I’ve had enough.

      • GoodDoktorBad

        These statements have not been beaten to death. Indeed, they have barely been “beaten” at all, certainly not by anyone who follows mainstream media or the flat statements and lies spewed forth by our wonderful leaders. What I and others say here is a drop in the bucket, true enough. But the word needs to be spread regardless. I don’t know when people will have had enough, but I’ll keep using whatever powers I have at my disposal to help toward that goal. 

        If you’ve had enough then stand up, speak the truth as best you can to anyone, anywhere who can hear.
        Validate, testify, employ the mighty pen……do what you can… or just lay down and wait for your life to end.
        You have the same choices we all have.

      • Krobertson1270

        When will we have enough, no offense to that response but war has been the part of human culture as long as people been able to walk. War will always be around, its not going away. Also to say war is stupid must be a joke, it took a war to end the holocaust, and other genocide. It today’s world force sometimes has to meet force, its a very sad world we live in and war should be the last option on the table and it hasn’t been in a very long time it’s only been a first option. Soldiers sign up for many reasons like you have many reasons to do whatever you do, they’re human just like you and me trying to do something in their lives just in another path. But like GoodDoktorBad if you had enough stand up and start voicing for change within your government. Because if America keeps down this path it’s only going to get worse and involve thousands of more people.

        Sorry for bashing so much just had to rant alittle

    • MoralDrift

      thank you, that was awesome

    • wizard troll

      seems like the elite are trying to install marshal law by taunting other groups into attacking the home land, so they don’t have to do it themselves. Creating some fear remotely. Once we get more attacks in US soil, emergency law will be implemented and the total spartan like police state will be complete and ready to attempt world domination.

  • Anonymous

    All the comments here make good points, however cynical they may or may not be. 

    Men and drones are servile beasts. They essentially do what their leaders tell them to do. It’s always been this way. At best the average soldier is a drone and is treated as such by its superiors and even more so by its enemy. The soldier can be honorable with good intentions, but are inherently naive and subject to the whims and motivations of the commander and chief. Ultimately, when free will is subordinated, the soldiers honor is only as good as their leaders honor. 

    Unprovoked deadly aggression is ultimately murder, period. We have no business vilifying others if we behave even worse. Hitler or any other of a host of murdering tyrants have nothing on the good old USA or its leaders, past or present. Sorry, no moral superiority can be argued by any sane individual armed with a few obvious facts. Consider the ratio of dead men on opposing sides. Not that I would wish for more American dead, but it shows that this is much less a war that it is a culling. It’s a smash and grab. It’s depopulation. It’s a bank robbery where all the employees are killed and even the robbers are expendable drones. It’s bloody and callous slaughter. 

    Mass murder. Bush, Obama, etc. could easily share a cage with Charles Manson, the only difference being Charles Manson would be the lesser criminal of the group. None of them ever shed blood, they just used their position to have others do it. Diabolical and charismatic demons all. 

    Predator drones are pop pop popular. Cool like the Sky-net drones in The Terminator. They “get er done”. 
    Everything these days popularizes madness and death. It’s very exciting.  Wheeeeeee! 
    With the exception of US soldiers, we know nothing of war here. That’s why it’s seems so damn cool.
    Like a movie or a video game….. guess what, it’s not a fuckin’ video game!

    Stuff blows up. Cooool! 

    Get the bad guys! Yaaaaaay!

    Heads roll….wheeeeeee!

    Bang, bang , bang. We love power. It gets us off. It’s just like in the movies, they die by hundreds and thousands and we stand triumphant! Sing a happy tune -fuckers…

    The crowd roars. We laugh, the bad guy got what he deserved. Good for our hero. Soooooo glad he’s on our side.

    Arrogance, pride, greed, aggression, wrath, comfort, complacency. Sure ingredients for a poison feast.
    Sooner or later  it’s a feast that we all may have to eat. What goes around comes around. Pass the hot potatoes. Look out…there a scorcher.

    …..

  • Mr Willow

    [i]”Ultimately, when free will is subordinated, the soldiers honor is only as good as their leaders honor.”[/i]

    Perhaps one problem is that the soldiers presume their superiors are honourable at all.

  • JoiquimCouteau

    It’s okay guys, they got no government, we can kill as many as we want because they’re just expendable sand niggers, there isn’t even any political fallout

  • Anonymous

    It’s okay guys, they got no government, we can kill as many as we want because they’re just expendable sand niggers, there isn’t even any political fallout

  • RevolutionNow

    That is all true, however, it doesn’t mean a thing.  We will continue doing this until we can’t anymore.  We all know the war is stupid, murder is murder, and the soldiers signed up for the wrong reason, we are being robbed blind and nobody is being held accountable.  Those statements have all been beaten to death.  When everybody has had enough, that will be it.  It’s not about putting an end to a government who does these things to only have that replaced by groups who wish to do the same thing.  No, when everybody is done with the violence for good, we will be done.  For now, the question isn’t “Why are they doing this” or “How dare they…” it’s “When will everybody have enough?”  I’ve had enough.

  • Anonymous

    thank you, that was awesome

  • wizard troll

    seems like the elite are trying to install marshal law by taunting other groups into attacking the home land, so they don’t have to do it themselves. Creating some fear remotely. Once we get more attacks in US soil, emergency law will be implemented and the total spartan like police state will be complete and ready to attempt world domination.

  • Anonymous

    The statements have not been beaten to death. Indeed, they have barely been “beaten” at all, certainly not by anyone who follows mainstream media or the flat statements and lies spewed forth by our wonderful leaders. What I and others say here is a drop in the bucket, true enough. But the word needs to be spread regardless. I don’t know when people will have had enough, but I’ll keep using whatever powers I have at my disposal to help that toward that goal. 

    If you’ve had enough then stand up, speak the truth as best you can to anyone, anywhere who can hear.
    Validate, testify, employ the mighty pen……do what you can… or just lay down and wait for your life to end.
    You have the same choices we all have.

  • Krobertson1270

    When will we have enough, no offense to that response but war has been the part of human culture as long as people been able to walk. War will always be around, its not going away. Also to say war is stupid must be a joke, it took a war to end the holocaust, and other genocide. It today’s world force sometimes has to meet force, its a very sad world we live in and war should be the last option on the table and it hasn’t been in a very long time it’s only been a first option. Soldiers sign up for many reasons like you have many reasons to do whatever you do, they’re human just like you and me trying to do something in their lives just in another path. But like GoodDoktorBad if you had enough stand up and start voicing for change within your government. Because if America keeps down this path it’s only going to get worse and involve thousands of more people.

    Sorry for bashing so much just had to rant alittle

  • Anonymous

    The whole idea of codes of honor are generally later inventions to idealize the past, or to manipulate the people under those idealizations (e.g. the myth of the Samurai code which was completely bs’d as an ancient code to make the Japanese WWII fighters do a better job). We humans have some kind of need to view the past with rose tinted glasses, but I’m trying to keep em off.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    hmm, I see your point, but I think i prefer rose tinted glasses to blood tinted glasses… maybe a little naive of me

  • Anonymous

    Actually you just reminded me of a cracked article I read a bit ago ( http://www.cracked.com/article_19271_8-filthy-jokes-hidden-in-ancient-works-art_p2.html ) #1 talks about the kinds of messages ancient people would leave their enemies engraved in the rocks they were slinging at each other. Messages like “I hope this rock hits you in the dick,” and honestly, that’s pretty much the least dickish thing I read about ancient peoples.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Well i never questioned if ancient peoples still had a sense of humor.

  • http://twitter.com/RyuBlanka Ryu Street Fighter

    usa is evil

  • http://twitter.com/RyuBlanka Ryu Street Fighter

    usa is evil

21