Posted by: quiscus | July 16, 2009

July 16, 2009

1.  “The Democrats’ Selective Amnesia on Assassination

But in that brutal apparent contradiction is the truth: the U.S. does not have a ban on assassinations as long as government lawyers can figure out some legal acrobats for the president to use in sidelining the ban. Every president from Reagan to Obama has reserved the right to assassinate “terrorists” by claiming it as a military operation or a preemptive strike.

It is pretty clear that when the Bush administration took over, it picked up the Clinton administration’s policy on assassination and ran with it — albeit with more of a missionary zeal for killing and a removal of some of the layers of lawyering. In short, the Bush team expanded and streamlined the longstanding U.S. government assassination program.

Throughout the 1990s, the question of covert assassinations was a source of major discussion within the Clinton White House and it is clear assassinations were attempted with presidential approval.

Obviously, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees should investigate the assassination policy under the Bush administration. Cheney’s role is central to that. Prosecutors should also be authorized to do the same. If there is a nefarious program that the public is unaware of and was unlawfully concealed, it should be brought out into the light. But, the truth is that a real investigation — one that actually seeks to get to the broader truths of these matters — would require investigating the current assassination program under Obama and the roots of the program that preceded the day when George W. Bush took power. That means looking at the Clinton White House and further back. It means looking at both Democratic and Republican assassination teams. The sad fact is that nobody on Capitol Hill has demonstrated in any way that they have the political courage to do that.”

2.  “Will Future US Military Vehicles, Robots Feast on the Flesh of the Slain?

The real downside to the Pentagon’s planned army of merciless killbots, besides the inevitable robot rebellion (which the Pentagon is spending billions trying to head off) is all that fuel. Robots need really big batteries, or internal combustion engines, or something. No matter how they’re powered though, it’s not free. Until now.

A Pentagon contractor in Maryland is now working on a robot that can forage for its own food. It could use any biomass in the area. And lets face it, in any really big war there’s plenty of biomass just lying around all shot up or bombed to death and not doing anything for the war effort. So the robots, and potentially vehicles based on the same design, will be feeding off the flesh of slain humans to continue on their mission to slay humans and feed off their flesh.

Besides the obvious ethical issues of creating man-eating, killer robots (which presumably don’t concern the Pentagon any more than the non-man-eating but still killer robots did), the plan will also raise serious concerns about the reliability of body counts. It is difficult enough to get an accurate death toll out of the military when villages present the bodies to local officials. Imagine the skepticism if the villagers have to explain that Pentagon battle droids consumed all the slain villagers and sped off for more mayhem.”


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