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Comment Re:If not China, why US? (Score 1) 445

Perhaps it's because the US isn't bent on bent on eliminating every kind of internal resistance? You know, US operatives might be employing morally questionable methods every now and then, and there may be accounts of US soldiers breaking the law - but their intent is still to fight terrorism, not to smash peaceful, democratic dissent.

Comment Re:Video (Score 1) 1671

A better solution, given that they did have ground assets in the area at the time (as evidenced by the arrival of a group of IFVs shortly after the engagement) would have been to let the ground forces intercept the van. They have the option of stopping it without killing the people inside.

Remember though, this incident occurred 3 years ago - back then, intercepting the van might not have been possible without seriously endangering the lives of allied troops or civilian. I generally agree with you, but if trying to deal with it peacefully places more lives at risk than those of the presumed insurgents, finishing the job might be a better idea.

Comment Re:1 American life 100 non-Americans (Score 1) 1671

And remote drone stuff is basically video games turned real - you are not in the shit so it doesn't affect you *nearly* as much.

On the other hand, UAVs also have their benefits. You know you won't die if your drone gets shot down, so you can take a risk and identify your targets instead of engaging everything that looks hostile just to make sure they won't engage you first.

Comment Re:Video (Score 1) 1671

Then they were wrong - but then again, what can you expect from conscript training.

The types of .50 BMG fired by anti-materiel rifles tend to be outlawed by the St. Petersburg Declaration, which restricts the use of incendiary and explosive ammunition below a certain size against human targets. Your country might have signed it, but the US hasn't, so for them, it's perfectly legal to use their M82s against human targets.

Comment Re:Video (Score 1) 1671

And there was no excuse for blowing away the minivan trying to carry off the wounded survivor.

Yes, there was. "Better safe than sorry" - once recovered, the guy would likely have been fighting US troops once again. This isn't a regular war where professional soldiers are fighting each other; this is a group of terrorists and insurgents targeting lawful combatants as well as civilians with everything they've got, at every opportunity.

Comment Re:Video (Score 1) 1671

There are also maximum calibers on guns allowed to fire on human targets, above which the gun is classified supposed to be fired at vehicles and equipment.

Wrong.

The controversy over certain types of anti-materiel rounds occurs due to the fact that some of them contain explosive and incendiary components, which are outlawed under the St. Petersburg Declaration (which deals with explosive and incendiary ammunition - and which the US did not sign). It's perfectly legit to fire ammunition of any size at human targets.

Comment Re:Video (Score 1) 1671

[Citation please]?

30mm rounds are perfectly legit to use against human targets. So are .50 BMG and other types of anti-materiel ammunition. The Geneva Convention (which, by the way, only is in effect in conflicts in which both parties have signed it - and the insurgents certainly haven't) does not outlaw using disproportionate force, and neither does it limit the size of bullets.

Comment Re:Video (Score 1) 1671

Strangely though, I don't see anything wrong with the video (and yes, I've watched it).

The video shows a group of clearly armed men (don't just look at the people with the arrows pointing at them) apparently being accompanied by two guys carrying unidentified black objects (which later turned out to be cameras). One of them was setting up an RPG launcher. The soldiers did exactly what they were supposed to do - they engaged the insurgents. It may be a tragedy that the two journalists got killed, but remember, they weren't held hostage - they were voluntarily accompanying insurgents, and that they got shot was solely their fault. War's a dirty business, there's nothing you can do against that.

I agree though that the treatment of both Reuters and the Wikileaks editor wasn't right - they should have taken responsibility for the two dead journalists and approved the FIA request. It's not like national security's on the line, here.

Comment Re:Eh? (Score 1) 478

Ah. I stand corrected; thank you. I've heard about the execution being costly, but been wondering about how one could possibly be as costly as a lifetime in prison.

However (and I hope I'm correct this time) - isn't the life sentence which currently is the alternative to execution in the US one that allows for parole after 25 years? If we abolished the death penalty in favor or life without parole, wouldn't things end up with just as costly court processes *and* support costs for the criminal in question?

Comment Re:the cure is (Score 1) 478

That's poor logic.

File-sharing does, quite contrary to what the RIAA says, no harm. It's no violent crime, and while it may be morally wrong, for most of it, piracy does not even translate into lost sales.

On the other hand, pedophilia causes permanent damage to it's victims (if only indirectly through supply and demand), and in a highly despicable way, too. I think the difference is obvious.

Comment Re:Eh? (Score 1) 478

The death penalty is only more expensive than life because we make it so.

Don't take me wrong, I strongly believe that the death penalty, while important, should be reserved for those where proof of guilt is absolute. But on the other hand, there's far too much emphasis on not causing the executionee any suffering. We aren't talking about some white-collar criminals or marijuana users here, but heinous, vile individuals, murderers and serial rapists. We don't cry "inhumane" when our soldiers or policemen die from a bullet wound - why should we when our criminals get executed by firing squad?

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