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Explosions at the Boston Marathon


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#46 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:00 PM

Another way of looking at it is that the United States is beginning, still in quite a small way, to resemble the rest of the world.

 

This is exactly how I'm looking at it.

this statement makes little sense to me. what does it mean?

 

I think many Americans have enjoyed the luxury of complacency. Largely unaffected by the religious persecutions, financial perils, and infrastructural failures suffered by much larger populations. Things become quite urgent when they happen on your doorstep.

 

This, of course, is on a scale of varying degree especially for those who have lived in NY for many years.

I think that's factually inaccurate. Though I'm not going to presume that this is what Wilf meant.

 

A new leaf?  :P



#47 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:03 PM


As much as the London blitz was horrific, it can't be considered a terrorist attack. Both countries were engaged in a declared war.
 
If that's the standard, the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagisaki killed about a million (eventually).
 
Call it attacks on civilians.

 

There are no nice, easy distinctions to be made ay more.  The blitz deliberately focused on non-military targets.  I'd think of it as an act of terror within the context of a declared military conflict.  One of many such acts of terror.  And of course the other side of the coin is that traditional declarations of war cannot be made when one side doesn't represent a country: nevertheless, I think it's clear enough that the United States has been at war with the Taliban (not Afghanistan) and Al Qaeda for some years.



#48 Adrian

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:03 PM

call it time management.

 

Another way of looking at it is that the United States is beginning, still in quite a small way, to resemble the rest of the world.

 

This is exactly how I'm looking at it.

this statement makes little sense to me. what does it mean?

 

I think many Americans have enjoyed the luxury of complacency. Largely unaffected by the religious persecutions, financial perils, and infrastructural failures suffered by much larger populations. Things become quite urgent when they happen on your doorstep.

 

This, of course, is on a scale of varying degree especially for those who have lived in NY for many years.

I think that's factually inaccurate. Though I'm not going to presume that this is what Wilf meant.

 

A new leaf?  :P

given how these usually go, call it time management.


I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#49 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:05 PM

Fair enough.

 

Wikimisleadia, for once, makes a clear distinction between declarations of war and authorized military engagements here.



#50 Adrian

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:07 PM

Fair enough.

 

Wikimisleadia, for once, makes a clear distinction between declarations of war and authorized military engagements here.

it's actually a shame that the one guy here who is qualified to talk about distinctions between mass murder, terrorism, just war, unjust war, declarations of war, military engagements, and appropriate v. inappropriate (ugh) civilian casualties, can't.


I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#51 Orik

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:17 PM

There are no nice, easy distinctions to be made ay more.  The blitz deliberately focused on non-military targets.  I'd think of it as an act of terror within the context of a declared military conflict.  One of many such acts of terror.  And of course the other side of the coin is that traditional declarations of war cannot be made when one side doesn't represent a country: nevertheless, I think it's clear enough that the United States has been at war with the Taliban (not Afghanistan) and Al Qaeda for some years.

 

I don't think there's much left of the particular group called Al Qaeda that was behind the 9/11 attacks, it's now just used as a generic label for various organizations with similar world views. Therefore you can say the US is at war with a world view, but not a specific group. The taliban is a different story but they seem to operate as a local militant organization in their home turf, rather than a terrorist group (yes, I know there are links, but I'm not sure they're stronger than the links between the US and any friendly western country). 

 

I think many Americans would view an attack as domestic if it comes from a militia source, but as foreign if it comes from an islamic related source, even if the perpetrator is a US resident in both cases. 


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#52 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:23 PM


it's actually a shame that the one guy here who is qualified to talk about distinctions between mass murder, terrorism, just war, unjust war, declarations of war, military engagements, and appropriate v. inappropriate (ugh) civilian casualties, can't.
 
 

You might argue that he's more valuable doing what he's doing.
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#53 Rich

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:25 PM


As much as the London blitz was horrific, it can't be considered a terrorist attack. Both countries were engaged in a declared war.
 
If that's the standard, the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagisaki killed about a million (eventually).
 
Call it attacks on civilians.

 

There are no nice, easy distinctions to be made ay more.  The blitz deliberately focused on non-military targets.  I'd think of it as an act of terror within the context of a declared military conflict.  One of many such acts of terror.  And of course the other side of the coin is that traditional declarations of war cannot be made when one side doesn't represent a country: nevertheless, I think it's clear enough that the United States has been at war with the Taliban (not Afghanistan) and Al Qaeda for some years.

As did the British bombing of Dresden, but these are between countries at war and neither specifically targeted civilians. One could argue the US bombing of H & N were more deliberate attacks on civilians than London or Dresden. Still in a declared war none of those rise to war crimes or terrorism.

 

However, the terrorist attack of the WTC (et al) is not the same. No one was at war at the time and civilians were the target and the ammunition. Nothing has been clearer since the Holocaust. 



#54 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:25 PM

 

I think many Americans would view an attack as domestic if it comes from a militia source, but as foreign if it comes from an islamic related source, even if the perpetrator is a US resident in both cases. 
 

I may be wrong, but I think that all Wilfrid meant by "domestic" was, "on U.S. soil".
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#55 Orik

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:32 PM

 

I think many Americans would view an attack as domestic if it comes from a militia source, but as foreign if it comes from an islamic related source, even if the perpetrator is a US resident in both cases. 
 

I may be wrong, but I think that all Wilfrid meant by "domestic" was, "on U.S. soil".

 

Yeah, I just saw that. I guess it is a relative innovation that there's impact inside the US from what would once be an overseas conflict.


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#56 Adrian

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:34 PM


it's actually a shame that the one guy here who is qualified to talk about distinctions between mass murder, terrorism, just war, unjust war, declarations of war, military engagements, and appropriate v. inappropriate (ugh) civilian casualties, can't.
 
 

You might argue that he's more valuable doing what he's doing.

you think what he's doing is more valuable than posting on mouthfuls? be serious sneak, it's not like he's a securities litigator.


I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#57 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:44 PM

I don't think there's much left of the particular group called Al Qaeda that was behind the 9/11 attacks, it's now just used as a generic label for various organizations with similar world views. Therefore you can say the US is at war with a world view, but not a specific group. The taliban is a different story but they seem to operate as a local militant organization in their home turf, rather than a terrorist group (yes, I know there are links, but I'm not sure they're stronger than the links between the US and any friendly western country). 

 

I think many Americans would view an attack as domestic if it comes from a militia source, but as foreign if it comes from an islamic related source, even if the perpetrator is a US resident in both cases. 

 

I was thinking of the period when Al Qaeda was assumed to have a centralized command, but that time may well have passed.

 

I deleted "domestic" from my earlier post, as all I meant by it was attacks occurring on "US soil" (ETA: Thanks, Sneak).  The finger-wagging on the interwebs has indeed de-evolved into "tea party dunnit" and "Islam dunnit" camps. 



#58 Nathan

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:47 PM


As much as the London blitz was horrific, it can't be considered a terrorist attack. Both countries were engaged in a declared war.
 
If that's the standard, the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagisaki killed about a million (eventually).
 
Call it attacks on civilians.

Civilians can't be specifically targeted. However major cities are fair game, since they house the leadership and strategic commands - and possibly military targets (both offense and defense). If civilians were the target both the United States and Germany would have been brought to trial for war crimes. Neither was, but Germany was brought to trial for war crimes based on the holocaust, which specifically targeted civilians.

 

Not so simple.  under IHL (international humanitarian law, also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict) military kinetic action must follow the principles of distinction, necessity and proportionality.  This essentially means that the action must be a. directed at a military target (command and control centers may qualify..i.e. Hitler even though he didn't wear a uniform most of the time); b. necessity (there must be a military purpose to the attack) and c. proportionality.  This means that the effects of the attack (including collateral damage) must be proportional to the value of the military objective.  in other words, you don't blow up a city block full of civilians to kill one foot-soldier.  such action may, however, be legitimate if the purpose was to, say, take out the control center for the entire enemy war effort. 

 

put differently, taking a kinetic action knowing that civilians will inevitably die , does not in itself constitute a war crime.  belligerents are permitted to carry out proportionate attacks against military targets even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur.  the crime is when the predicted incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage -- violation of proportionality

 

WWII is a difficult example because you had a total world war with existential consequences (see the eastern front especially).  some Nazi commanders were indeed tried and convicted for indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets (and the allies did prosecute some of their own for war crimes)....the area bombings of cities is still controversial....but consider that the German munitions infrastructure was largely located in urban areas (at least initially) and that the munitions of the time were not very precise (the Noren bombsight notwithstanding)...making area effect bombing necessary.

 

eta: speaking only for myself and not for the Department of Defense.  however, I will note that the foregoing is simply the standard academic explanation of IHL.


Blatantly Obvious Disclaimer:

My opinions are obviously my personal opinions. Not yours. Not universal.


#59 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:47 PM

As did the British bombing of Dresden, but these are between countries at war and neither specifically targeted civilians. One could argue the US bombing of H & N were more deliberate attacks on civilians than London or Dresden. Still in a declared war none of those rise to war crimes or terrorism.

The bombing of London was explicitly targeted at civilians. Remember, Churchill's political support was uncertain when he took office, and there were many British politicians prepared to negotiate with Hitler if Churchill lost public support. As it turned out, the blitz had the opposite effect and solidified public opposition to Hitler.

#60 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:53 PM

Yeah, there's nothing like bombing someone's house to make you unpopular.
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