The following comes from a June 18 posting by Robert George on First Things.

Since assuming office (and receiving his Nobel Peace Prize) in 2009, President Obama has massively increased the use of unmanned predator drones in what used to be known as the war against terror. According to Chris Kirk, writing in Slate, Obama has authorized five times the number of drone attacks authorized by President Bush. Liberals, who would be screaming bloody murder if it were Bush, have gone strangely (well, not so strangely) quiet about this, while conservatives are cheering on a president whose other policies they abhor….

Having a valid military target is in itself not a sufficient justification for the use of weapons such as predator drones. Sometimes considerations of justice to noncombatants forbid their use, even if that means that grave risks must be endured by our own forces in the prosecution of a war….

On the lethal side effects of the Obama drone strategy, see this article by Clive Smith.

To see original story on First Things, Click here

 

READER COMMENTS

Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 6:59 AM By Eowyn
We need to worry about drones WITHIN America. There are 63 active drone sites in 20 states scattered across the United States — and the drones are getting armed. Since I cannot post a URL link, I suggest you “google” Fellowship of the Minds, then click the “Police State / NWO” page under the masthead. Once you’re on that page, scroll down and click “Armed drones are coming to your city.”


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 6:59 AM By tom byrne
Ius in bellum is an important Catholic concept, but please don’t indulge the nonsense that Islamic radicalism needs an outside impulse or irritant. It’s never needed one before. And going after the terrorist leadership in tribal societies wherein everybody is expected to rally around the leadership will pose risks to civilians no matter the means employed. On the other hand: Obama doesn’t much care for innocent human life over here, so why expect concern over there?


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 7:03 AM By JLS
What about thinking how to use drones other than as weapons? But then that would leave the lawyers with nothing to think about.


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 8:02 AM By Denise Riggio
Catholics must ‘think’ Catholic, that is with the mind of Christ, and then act accordingly. We are not to think as those who hold strictly to the so-called liberal or conservative views in all things. We can hold only to those ideas and actions that are in union with our Catholic faith and this includes most especially acts that concern human life. Obama works at so many levels of evil I’m not sure if there is anything a Catholic could find to agree with in his presidency.


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 9:07 AM By Nightingale
When are they going to start using drones at home for surveillance?


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 10:16 AM By MacDonald
I remember when the Catholic Church tried to outlaw the crossbow because it made killing from a distance too easy, and thus too tempting. Obviously, the Church’s attempt to rein in our violent tendencies did NOT work. (This innovation [the crossbow] was considered so disgraceful that Pope Innocent II in 1139 declared the crossbow “hateful to God and unfit for Christians.”)


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 11:00 AM By Francis
JLS: When Predator was developed in the early Clinton years, it was purely a surveillance system. Program objectives were: Keep costs low by using off-the-shelf components, maximize “on-station” time by carrying as much fuel as possible, get it into service over Bosnia ASAP. I was very surprised when the CIA decided to forgo much of the on-station time in favor of carrying Hellfire missiles. Goes to show that it is impossible to predict the good and evil outcomes of technological development.


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 11:04 AM By Bud 
What goes around, comes around! Do any of the O’Bama lovers realize that based on his dictatorial declarations he could stifle any demonstrations he choses to. He is such a liar that he would justify it in his sick mind!


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 11:15 AM By Brian S.
Gosh, MacDonald, bans on crossbows didn’t work, so the Church is a failure? That man has been willing from the first pair of brothers to now to wantonly kill each other is proof that the Church’s insistence on just war is important, not a reason to give up the fight. The creation of ever-more-horrible means of destruction since 1139 should be used to illustrate our depravity, and need to fight for justice, not numb us to the wisdom offered by Innocent then, or Benedict today.


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 11:56 AM By Francis
Interesting that we question the ethics of drone attacks exactly 40 years after the famous napalm attack on Trang Bang village in Viet Nam. “Asymmetric warfare” and technologies that cause massive collateral damage were indefensible then, and drones have made the situation even more asymmetrical. If liberals and peacenick Catholics seem oddly silent, it’s because Romney has done a good job of convincing them (per his statements up to and including June 4) that he would be even more aggressive.


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 12:01 PM By JLS
Francis, keep on with your studies; consider Solomon’s “There is a time for war, and a time for peace”. Consider Jesus, that the function of rulers is to make war and peace. Consider Tolstoi’s explanation of it. Consider the Circus Maximus. Consider the creation of Catholicism over two millenia. Consider the end of time. Consider the rank absurdity of the Predator being “purely” a surveillance system … Francis, what I’m explaining to you is that there is a need to use reason and not simply believe whatever somebody tells you to believe. There is more to thinking that imitating the mental exercises of someone else: Try Aristotle and see how it goes.


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 1:37 PM By MacDonald
Brian S., I actually agree with you completely. My mention of the attempted crossbow ban was just an ancient reminder that the Church has tried to make mankind LESS violent, not MORE, and that we’re still fighting the battle…no pun intended!


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 6:03 PM By JLS
Jesus banned some but not all swords for the Church. Crossbows would seem to be in the same category, along with radiation, biological weapons, chemical weapons and not least human weapons. But He did not ban all weapons. Is the latest weapon craze the cyber weapon which now has the capability to stop people from babbling? If only King Nimrod had such a weapon, today’s world might be much different.


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 10:26 PM By Cole Thornton
Use the drones to launch attacks against those leaving Mass during the distribution of Communion!


Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 11:04 PM By Francis
JLS: I don’t need to believe what anybody tells me about Predator nor do I need to imitate anyone else’s mental “exercises.” What I wrote about Predator is what I know from experience: I designed one of the communication subsystems onboard it. At the time, I was very happy to work on that system and other surveillance systems which I expected to reduce the need for war. I assumed if everyone knew his adversary’s capability, all would use reason, realize the outcome beforehand, and there’d be no point in taking it to the battlefield. The problem, however, is not in the technology nor with reason. The problem is our collective inability (unwillingness) to check our egoistic urges by reason and faith. I believe this is what Irenaeus and the Church fathers meant by “original sin.” I’m not aware of Jesus “banning” some swords but not others as you wrote (perhaps you could be more specific?). When Peter cut off the slave’s ear, Jesus merely told him “put your sword in its place” not “you shouldn’t have that kind of sword.” So it appears God’s kingdom isn’t about rules that we can have one thing but not another. Rather, it is that by grace we will put swords and Predators in their place. As for reading Aristotle to study just war, I think that would miss the basis papal objections to US military behavior. Aristotle checks ego by reason, but not by Christian faith. It is a serious mistake to assume, as I did when I was younger, that reason alone can trump ego.


Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 7:13 AM By Larry
This does not seem to be a debate over the Catholic “Just War” teachings and their applicability to the War on Terror–but rather over the just methods of waging an otherwise just war. That’s a pretty deep and complex area. In general, the law of war recognizes that a war cannot be fought under the same constraints which police departments face in battling crime. For instance, local police are obligated to give a cornered criminal an opportunity to surrender before they open fire, whereas soldiers on the battlefield are not required to announce their presence to enemy units before attacking. Indeed, they cannot operate under such limitations. In order to second-guess the use of the drones, we would have to know what the operators and unit commanders knew about the targets before they ordered use of the drones–which is beyond our competence. All we can do from this distance is try to articulate principles which take into consideration the dangers which our troops and population face in this war.


Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:52 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Guess I will have to start watching the skies more! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher


Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 1:45 PM By max
“Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 10:26 PM By Cole Thornton —-Use the drones to launch attacks against those leaving Mass during the distribution of Communion!” WELL, isn’t that a fine how do you do! at least olce cole suggests waiting until after they have contributed to the collection…


Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:43 PM By JLS
Francis, now is a good time to study something for the benefit of developing your use of reason apart from technical matters … Thus, Aristotle. Aristotle is not a librarian like Maguire, but a philosopher … he teaches the process of reasoning. If you designed technical things, then you have the capacity to develop your reasoning capabilities in religious matters. Jesus told St Peter that the two swords among the apostles were sufficient. Your blog is sprinkled with pop terms such as “egoistic” which short circuits the development of religious depth.


Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:04 PM By Dana
Nightengale, who needs drones when the gov’t has such useful tools as television, telephone and the internet? tap, tap, tap by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes…


Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:22 PM By Francis
JLS: Actually, I already have a well-qualified teacher, as well as a paying job that takes much of my time. So this is not a good time for me to undertake yet another once-through with Aristotle. I find odd that you talk about developing “reasoning capabilities” in connection with religious matters. Don’t you mean in connection with “theological” or “dogmatic” matters? And, I’m STILL not entirely sure how you connect Jesus’ words to Peter with drone attacks or asymmetric warfare in general. Perhaps you can supply us a reference to scripture? Aristotle himself would have insisted that unclear speech or ambiguous rhetoric fails its intended purpose.


Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 12:01 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Francis, 11:04 PM “I designed one of the communication subsystems onboard it. At the time,” No one person designs systems and you know it! Had you written “I worked on systems design on onboard, that would have been acceptable! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher


Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 1:13 PM By max
KENNETH—-maybe you and archbishop khai worked on the drone systems together? you guys seem to have just done about everything else…at least from what you post in here.


Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 2:21 PM By Francis
Kenneth: I wrote “subsystems,” not “systems.” Specifically, I designed the satellite uplink power amplifier. It consists of a solid state preamplifier, a TWT (tube) amplifier and a power converter. Of those parts, I designed the TWT and the overall subsytem. Other people designed the solid-state amplifier and the power converter. Is that acceptable? I think that is more detail than most people would care about. It doesn’t really matter WHAT I designed, the point is that I know what the program’s initial objectives were (they were stated publicly), and they changed after my part was completed. My further point is that drone attacks are not fundamentally different from attacks by helicopter gunships, crossbows, trebuchets or any other “stand-off” weapon that allows an aggressor to attack without risk of retaliation.