The Double Tap, not just for Assassins anymore

20130713-134015.jpgRead more: It Is Now Common Knowledge That US Drones Bomb Civilian Rescuers
The title’s misleading, actually what it’s reporting is the supposed common tactic of striking first responders to a missile strike with a second strike. This tactic called the Double Tap after the Assassins supposed rule of always putting two bullets in the kill zone to ensure the ‘client’ is ‘terminated’ is/was supposed to be a preferred TERRORIST tactic.

From a very cold metric it does many ‘good’ things from the view of the ‘operator.’

    • Increased kill % of those targeted
    • Kill those who might have been ‘shielded in some way
    • Kill shocked/ wounded target wandering around looking for compatriots
    • Kill fellow travelers who flock in from nearby to help
    • Kill sympathizers who come to help
    • Reduce the likelihood of good Samaritans leaping in to save dying ‘baduns’ ( let the bad guy bleed out)
    • Increase the ‘cost’ of letting (however reluctantly) militants use ‘your’ village as shelter
    • Increase the image of US war fighting ferocity
None of the above means our use of the tactic is: lawful, moral, ethical, or well reasoned. I would say that in general it makes the Drone Campaign vastly more repugnant, and degrading to the side (us) using the tactic if it is indeed used to strike those who have not been narrowly targeted, used in the sense of a standard non specific sweep up practice.

The use of drones in general outside of the battlefield to me becomes more and more problematic the further it moves from an area of active combat. However, with strict targeting it may just be necessary if distasteful tactic. And, If Double Tap is used in a combat zone then I’d see it as acceptable, little or no different from artillery. But if used for covert assassination strikes the DT used indiscriminately without specific targets may be a crime, it certainly is antithetical to our ( or what should be our ) moral standing in the world.

So I see DT as a real problem, but I have to point out that the trembling mention/implication that drone strikes are some how more indiscriminately lethal than manned aircraft strikes is laughable. The issue is that there are vastly more drone strikes these days and while drones are used in close battle, manned aircraft are more frequently tasked for that support. The weapons used are the same except that manned aircraft can and do carry larger more indiscriminate weapons, but generally in combat situations were the civilians are under cover or absent. The drones far from the battlefield are bound to get more ‘collaterals’ and as the enemy avoid all out battle and the effort is mainly about interdiction/suppression we are going to get this disturbing apparent trend.

Once more showing that it is easy for activists to use statistics to make an ugly truth worse than it is. It also points out why the broad drone campaign is problematic as it draws on and why DT beyond the battlefield may be as stupid as as it is abhorrent.

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