US drones could be killing the wrong people because of metadata errors



Is there a difference between “killing the wrong people” and it being “wrong to kill the people” to begin with? It is not like any of these people get to see a day in court.


See, I have this hammer…


Don’t worry - it’s not like they use drones to kill white people. All the victims “enemy combatants” murdered “brought to justice” so far have been unambiguously brown.

…or perhaps, actually ambiguously brown? Either way, they look foreign, or at least have names or relatives who do. Or rather did, before we bombed them via remote control.


No, see, criminals deserve a day in court, but these people don’t need one because they haven’t committed crimes yet. Also, whatever possibility there might be of hitting the wrong targets, we can simply trust the military isn’t because it would be a waste of money and bad publicity if they were.

I was explained both in detail on this thread, which I offer here as an insight into the amazing arguments used to excuse this sort of thing.


When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.


Muhammad Al-Buttle is permanently unavailable for comment. The Ministry of Information Retrieval insists that no error has been made.


I have to admit, I think about this sort of thing every time someone starts talking about the Olympics and Russia’s human rights abuses. I’d never say that a conversation about gay rights isn’t a valuable one to have, but as a U.S. citizen, amidst all the looking-down-our-noses at Russia, I can’t help but think, “But wait–don’t we keep a forever-prison (or several) on foreign soil? And for those enemies we don’t hold without due-process, we execute them without trial using robot planes? And the massive spying?” Glass houses and stones and all that…


Ha! A person who’s not Snowden has made a fresh leak here. This is big news. A fresh leaker in the military industrial complex is leaking here. Now The Intercept is back online so I’ll read the article…


That our own increasingly unaccountable government does terrible things does not mean we poor bastards cannot point out terrible things that any other government does. If anything, honesty about the state of our own national affairs could uncynically be interpreted as compassion for the poor bastards ‘over there’ with their own out of control/corrupt military-industrial-entertainment complexes. Glass houses all around.

Wasn’t certain from your comment what your opinion of the drones, or the metadata analysis errors, or the resulting deaths, which have installed yet another new window in our glass house, is. I’d like to cheer for these small victories of actual transparency.

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With any luck (cynical luck) the program will start killing white people, hopefully Western white people with some degree of access or influence.

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Note to self: don’t borrow cell phones in Pakistan tribal areas.


Those are good points. Truth be told, I don’t know if my reaction is even really about the gay rights issue specifically, or perhaps just a larger feeling of sadness over how the U.S. is conducting its affairs these days. Maybe I’m upset because we’re calling out Russia, but we also deserve to be called out, and it’s not happening.

But I do agree, even a little bit of transparency in both cases is a good thing.


promptly turns off SSID broadcast on his wifi and lowers the power level the bare minimum

If I had a hammer…

In all fairness (ha!), the administration is debating the case of killing American citizens with drones…

“An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year”

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I think the solution here is an obvious one. Every man, woman, and child gets an neuro-implant that monitors their thoughts at all times and reports their standing to massive algorithms. It’s the only way to know for sure we can tell the Good Guys vs the enemies of the state.

…Also all the people in charge are always the Good Guys! Phew, I almost hit post without making sure that was stated.


I hope you kept a copy of your receipt for my receipt.

I already have a claim to that idea! It’s to be implanted through the fovea at birth and then sealed into the skull, and it contains an internal cranial taser for immobilising dissidents… see previously