The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The assassination question

Would it be ok for the Taliban, which is at war with the US, who invaded their country, to bomb a wedding or funeral the President, a cabinet minister or other US leader was at, even if that meant many innocent civilian casualties?


The assassination strategy


The Fed’s Increase in the Discount Rate


  1. Suspenders

    “All’s fair in love and war”

  2. paperwight

    Yes they can, but they have to use technologically advanced drones or cruise missiles to strike from a distance. They can’t use “homicide” bombers or some other technologically crude, sneaky, barbarous wog trick.

    The law, in its majestic equality…

  3. Lori

    Hear! Hear!

  4. John

    A long time ago, I remember someone asking the Israeli government why they just didn”t assassinate Yasser Arafat, who was causing them so much trouble. The very adult response was that Arafat was the enemy they knew, understood and had developed means of dealing with. Assassinating him would have meant replacement by a whole new actor with a huge learning curve and thus not an effective tactic within a broader strategic outlook.
    Much the same reason that torture is an ineffective tactic.
    Much the same reason that removing Saddam was not necessarily the best choice for the Iraqi people. We effectively assassinated him with horrendous collateral damage that will probably never justify any benefit accrued by his removal.
    But to a 14 year old boy playing a video game or an adolescent checkers player, the bang bang is always worth it. It’s always tactical, blow ’em up, kill ’em torture ’em, with no strategic thinking beyond the next move and everything done from a gut level.
    The chess players are not in the game now.
    And this is not even approaching the question at the level of morality.

  5. Mad Hemingway

    They’re over here because we’re over there.

    I’m reading “JFK and the Unspeakable”. It seems that no matter who’s president, the Pentagon and the CIA run things. So that means there will always be an “enemy”, whether or not they did anything to the US.

  6. TW Andrews

    By what definition of “ok”?

  7. I remember during the Raygun administration when we (our government) bombed Muammar Khadafi’s palace and killed his daughter but then the RR administration denied we were trying to kill him.

    Some comedian (Maher?) said “Come on! That’s his house, it’s where he lives.”

  8. DancingOpossum

    For that matter, would it be OK for another country to preemptively invade and occupy the U.S., on the grounds that we constitute an eminent threat? God knows we’ve given ample evidence of being an unhinged bully and super-threat.

  9. hillbilly diaspora

    The old saying goes:

    A terrorist is somebody who has a bomb but doesn’t have an airplane.

  10. count me in the “war is hell, and all’s fair in love and war” camp.

    of course it’s “ok.” by which i mean: killing is always wrong, but killers can’t complain when someone strikes back.

  11. jawbone

    Simple answer to complex question:

    Of course it would be wrong for those we attack, murder without judicial review arrest without due process, torture, keep incommunidaco, invade, tell what to do, yada, yada, to do the same thing to us in the US.

    That’s what being the meanest junk yard dog is all about, ya know? That American Exceptionalism?

  12. Celsius 233

    Blowback is blowback; what goes around comes around; kharma and all that jazz.

    What is sown, is then reaped, no?

  13. Lex

    Yes. Of course it would. We sort of declared war on “terrorism” and all those who use the tactic (or fit a convenient profile so we can pin it on them), so it’s only logical that our sworn enemy will retaliate violently.

    The bigger question is that if terrorism is such an existential threat, how come so few American weddings get bombed? How come city council members don’t get assassinated? Where are all the bombed shopping malls?

    Just like the entire Cold War was a propaganda cock up, so is this War on Terrorism. Scare the hell out of the American people has been the name of the game for six decades; if they weren’t scared shitless they might not be so quick to give away their power, their freedom and their dignity for the sake of power player games.

  14. Bobby the Lip

    Wait a minute…was that a rhetorical question?

  15. No, of course not. They hate America.

  16. Nonono, you’re missing the point. For once, lambert is right. It is Hi Treezon to even suggest the possibility of equal rights in this situation. The argumentum ad civilisationem is sehr verboten here. ALERT ALERT ALERT.

  17. b.

    “The very adult response was that Arafat was the enemy they knew, understood and had developed means of dealing with.”

    It all makes sense now. There is no point in assassinating known, verified enemies, hence you have to assassinate suspects, possible, candidates, and ten year old potential future terrorists. In Barack “Bygones” Obama’s war, there is no collateral damage, it is all about looking forward.

  18. Celsius 233

    @ b.;
    Well that doesn’t really work either. You’d have to wipe out an entire blood line for that to be effective.
    Rather, we’re creating generations of jihadists; because unlike us; they’ll never forget!
    We’re going to get blowback for generations; we’ve planted many seeds!

  19. Celsius 233

    Addendum; my first reaction, that morning of 9/11: We’re getting payback for our foreign policies in the Middle East.
    A friend told me to shut up because what I said could get me in big trouble.
    I told him to fuck off; because what I said was the truth and fuck all if somebody didn’t like it!

  20. For once, mandos writes a comment that’s short and doesn’t climax with a florid display of learned helplessness. I must be a salutary influence. You’re welcome.

  21. What are you talking about? If there’s anything I’ve ever written that actually truly qualifies as “learned helplessness”, it was that.

  22. b.

    Question: If a US citizen stages his own private 911, is that terrorism?

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