With an election looming, Barack Obama is politicizing everything under his control- including programs which would best be kept quiet. Drones have become the new plaything for Obama. They offer are seemingly cleaner approach to war. Drones were developed under the Bush administration and expanded under Obama. A recent NY Times article disclosed a surprising amount of information, including one stunner- that it is Obama himself who decides who dies. Our President personally authorizes the assassination of persons believed to be involved in terrorist activities.
It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
Keeping them alive is bad, killing them is better
They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing.
Just wars and Christian philosophers
…echoing the president’s attempt to apply the “just war” theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.
Aides say Mr. Obama has several reasons for becoming so immersed in lethal counterterrorism operations. A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.
Terrorist bombs and drones are not so different and drones are new Gitmo
Drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants; in his 2010 guilty plea, Faisal Shahzad, who had tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, justified targeting civilians by telling the judge, “When the drones hit, they don’t see children.”
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss
Mr. Craig assured him that the new president had no intention of ending rendition — only its abuse, which could lead to American complicity in torture abroad. So a new definition of “detention facility” was inserted, excluding places used to hold people “on a short-term, transitory basis.” Problem solved — and no messy public explanation damped Mr. Obama’s celebration.
A few sharp-eyed observers inside and outside the government understood what the public did not. Without showing his hand, Mr. Obama had preserved three major policies — rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention — that have been targets of human rights groups since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The innocent death toll is low because if you're dead, you're deemed guilty
It is also because Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
Which won't be of any help if you're already dead.
Obama had no intention to close Gitmo
Walking out of the Archives, the president turned to his national security adviser at the time, Gen. James L. Jones, and admitted that he had never devised a plan to persuade Congress to shut down the prison.
The God Complex
But the control he exercises also appears to reflect Mr. Obama’s striking self-confidence: he believes, according to several people who have worked closely with him, that his own judgment should be brought to bear on strikes.
Kill, don't capture. It's less complicated.
Yet the administration’s very success at killing terrorism suspects has been shadowed by a suspicion: that Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding, in effect, to take no prisoners alive. While scores of suspects have been killed under Mr. Obama, only one has been taken into American custody, and the president has balked at adding new prisoners to Guantánamo.
“Their policy is to take out high-value targets, versus capturing high-value targets,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the intelligence committee. “They are not going to advertise that, but that’s what they are doing.”
It's terrible to waterboard one man, but not to kill his whole family
But not this time. Mr. Obama, through Mr. Brennan, told the C.I.A. to take the shot, and Mr. Mehsud was killed, along with his wife and, by some reports, other family members as well, said a senior intelligence official.
We're still vulnerable because we're stupid.
And it was clear to everyone, Mr. Holder said, that he was simmering about how a 23-year-old bomber had penetrated billions of dollars worth of American security measures.
When a few officials tentatively offered a defense, noting that the attack had failed because the terrorists were forced to rely on a novice bomber and an untested formula because of stepped-up airport security, Mr. Obama cut them short.
“Well, he could have gotten it right and we’d all be sitting here with an airplane that blew up and killed over a hundred people,” he said, according to a participant. He asked them to use the close call to imagine in detail the consequences if the bomb had detonated. In characteristic fashion, he went around the room, asking each official to explain what had gone wrong and what needed to be done about it.
One word. Profiling.
The Yemeni reversal
Mr. Obama had drawn a line. But within two years, he stepped across it. Signature strikes in Pakistan were killing a large number of terrorist suspects, even when C.I.A. analysts were not certain beforehand of their presence. And in Yemen, roiled by the Arab Spring unrest, the Qaeda affiliate was seizing territory.
Now Obama is actively killing not simply known Al Qaeda members, but “suspects” as well.
Two American birds dead with one stone
Mr. Obama gave his approval, and Mr. Awlaki was killed in September 2011, along with a fellow propagandist, Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but was traveling with him.
It's ok to embarrass Bush, but not me
In the wake of Mr. Awlaki’s death, some administration officials, including the attorney general, argued that the Justice Department’s legal memo should be made public. In 2009, after all, Mr. Obama had released Bush administration legal opinions on interrogation over the vociferous objections of six former C.I.A. directors.
This time, contemplating his own secrets, he chose to keep the Awlaki opinion secret.
It's the new world standard
Justly or not, drones have become a provocative symbol of American power, running roughshod over national sovereignty and killing innocents. With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.
And what of those who consider us enemies? Will we see Al Qaida flying drones over the US and visiting us with the same?
From a commenter on the story:
On the one hand, one admires President Obama's resolve and clear vision of the mission, as he has defined it. On the other hand, one cannot help but draw the unavoidable conclusion that the policy of pre-emptive assassination has, perhaps forever, changed what were once considered American values.
History will ask uncomfortable questions about this lamentable new direction.
Glenn Greenwald is not happy about this either:
For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic, a term I use advisedly, but I discuss that in the separate, longer piece I’ve written. For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).
Sociopathic, eh, Glenn? Welcome aboard.
It is estimated that at least 2,345 people have been killed in drone strikes in northwest Pakistan. 300 innocents are thought to have been killed in drone attacks.
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan says civilian deaths are “exceedingly rare” but then when everyone who is killed is automatically considered guilty it's not hard to see how one might assert that.
Drone attacks may be politically expedient at home but they are not making friends abroad.
The meeting was organized as a traditional jirga. In Pashtun culture, a jirga acts as both a parliament and a courtroom: it is the time-honored way in which Pashtuns have tried to establish rules and settle differences amicably with those who they feel have wronged them.
On the night before the meeting, we had a dinner, to break the ice. During the meal, I met a boy named Tariq Aziz. He was 16. As we ate, the stern, bearded faces all around me slowly melted into smiles. Tariq smiled much sooner; he was too young to boast much facial hair, and too young to have learned to hate.
The next day, the jirga lasted several hours. I had a translator, but the gist of each man’s speech was clear. American drones would circle their homes all day before unleashing Hellfire missiles, often in the dark hours between midnight and dawn. Death lurked everywhere around them.
When it was my turn to speak, I mentioned the official American position: that these were precision strikes and no innocent civilian had been killed in 15 months. My comment was met with snorts of derision.
At the end of the day, Tariq stepped forward. He volunteered to gather proof if it would help to protect his family from future harm. We told him to think about it some more before moving forward; if he carried a camera he might attract the hostility of the extremists.
But the militants never had the chance to harm him. On Monday, he was killed by a C.I.A. drone strike, along with his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed Khan. The two of them had been dispatched, with Tariq driving, to pick up their aunt and bring her home to the village of Norak, when their short lives were ended by a Hellfire missile.
Tariq was turned into what's called “bugsplat.” In Obamaworld, Tariq is guilty because he is dead.
One wonders what Thomas Aquinas would have to say about that.
Barack Obama is a one man death panel. It strikes me as unseemly for the President of the United States to be personally deciding who dies in the fury of pre-emptive assassination, especially when the attacks take innocents as well. This could well come back to haunt us in the future.
Glenn Greenwald again
Repulsive liberal hypocrisy extends far beyond the issue of Guantanamo. A core plank in the Democratic critique of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault was the notion that the President could do whatever he wants, in secret and with no checks, to anyone he accuses without trial of being a Terrorist – even including eavesdropping on their communications or detaining them without due process. But President Obama has not only done the same thing, but has gone much farther than mere eavesdropping or detention: he has asserted the power even to kill citizens without due process. As Bush’s own CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden said this week about the Awlaki assassination: “We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him but we didn’t need a court order to kill him. Isn’t that something?” That is indeed “something,” as is the fact that Bush’s mere due-process-free eavesdropping on and detention of American citizens caused such liberal outrage, while Obama’s due-process-free execution of them has not.
Beyond that, Obama has used drones to kill Muslim children and innocent adults by the hundreds. He has refused to disclose his legal arguments for why he can do this or to justify the attacks in any way. He has even had rescuers and funeral mourners deliberately targeted. As Hayden said: ”Right now, there isn’t a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel.” But that is all perfectly fine with most American liberals now that their Party’s Leader is doing it.
Curiously, it wasn't very long ago when the Obama administration refused to come clean on the drone program for reasons of national security:
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its refusal to release information regarding the drone strike program. The lawsuit demands documents detailing the legal rationale for the fact that “media reports reveal that at least three American citizens have been killed over the last four months by unmanned aerial vehicles — commonly known as `drones’ — on the basis of unilateral decisions made by the executive branch.”
As Glenn Greenwald has been pointing out, the Obama administration has responded with the Orwellian argument that it can’t honor the ACLU’s request, because even the answer to the question of whether such documents exist is classified info. As the above polling demonstrates, the uncomfortable truth of the matter is that the administration doesn’t have to worry about public opinion on these questions at all.
But that was before the re-election campaign began.
Brian, I was talking about the two “Peace Keeping” events that happened during his Terms of Office such as Somolia and Kosovo. But you are correct on that reguard, then again even after the 1993 assault on the World Trade Center by AQ and the 1996 AQ declaration of War against the United States the President and the RINO’s on the Hill choosed to not treat Kosovo as the war it should have been and treated as AQ as a minor annoyance to InterPol forces. However, Clinton did approve for detainment and questioning by Delta Force and CIA operatives in Somolia and Kosovo on what the admin deemed critical targets. However, we all have seen his use of the Military being treated as a Peace Keeping force to skirt around the Congress to avoid declaration of War and how little the info gathered was heeded. There were red flags popping up saying that AQ was wanting to hit the United States hard as soon as 1999 and were helping some Somolian rebels/pirates in getting gear and training…
I apologize, I had my ears pinned back. You are very correct. Clinton’s NATO misuse in the Balkans ignored the regions intrinsic, violent cultural divisions. Clinton, Powell and Lake lacked the fortitude or conviction to mount the punitive operations that should have been taken in Somalia. I agree that the Left is far too ready to use the U.S. military as a global “Meals on Wheels”program. Failing to consider that no amount of humanitarian aid will offset a mind set steeped in hatred for the Christian West. Pakistan comes readily to mind. Use of military force to produce desired results when sanction fails is far too easy for the Left to abuse. Wilson’s actions against Huerta, were those of a phony moralizing progressive, not unlike Carter, Clinton and now Obama.
The prosecution of the war against radical Islam must occur at any and all levels. Eliminating any effective member of AQ and the myriad cells associated with them is and should be attempted with any and all resources available to our military. We should take the destruction of any member of the enemy’s command structure any way we can get it. Capture and interrogation should be attempted wherever, whenever possible. The human intel generated should be valued as much as any other weapon system, regardless of the difficulty entailed in its production. AQ cadre is steadily being cornered and reduced in the Tribal areas. Abu Yahya al-Libi , claimed as AQ’s
deputy commander met his end at the wrong end of a drone strike Tuesday. As hard as it is to argue against the results of the semi-covert drone war, one hopes that the current administration will support the war at all levels, not only the politically safe options.
I find it hard to believe that OBAMA want to make a deal with the TALIBANS
supported by the ALQ after sending them drones IN PAKISTAN,
ONE OF THEM DIE and replace by 10 more, will they have enough money to spend
on DRONES forever?, not counting the elevation MOUNTING of hate and revenge
directed at the whole NATION here creating a great danger for civilian, and more because of
THE OPEN BORDERS WHERE INFILTRATORS ARE COMING AND JOINING THE ONES ALREADY AT WORK AIMING TO HURT AMERICA,
should we see in a near future the drones being launched right here to exterminate a group of those haters, or should we focus on closing the borders first by spending on doing a good job on it instead of spending on drones going in foreign COUNTRIES, WHILE THE WAY OF LIFE IS DEGENERATING RAPIDLY IN HERE AT HOME, BY HATE PROPAGANDA INCITING THE YOUNG TO HATE OTHER AND USE THEIR MOB POWER TO DESTROY WHO THEY HAVE BEEN TEACH
THOSE WHO ARE NOT LIKE THEM MUST BE HURT OR KILLED,
THAT IS A NEW GENERATION OF FUTURE ENEMIES TO BE DEFEATED ,
WHICH ARE ALREADY AT WORK and organize as mobs, as occupiers as owls, and more of
Obama isn’t the first to drive a settlement effort with airpower. Johnson and Nixon both used aerial campaigns to bring N.Viet Nam to the table. That he would expect AQ to respect any agreement made with the Taliban is a bit much. Dealing with people who prize perfidy as a virtue and expecting a resolution to a war waged by fanatics, rooted in centuries of Jihad, is a fool’s errand. There is nothing we can do to lessen the hatred of radical Islam for the west.As you say, that hatred is not to be vanquished for generations. The only power they recognize is that which arrives at muzzle velocity. I do not see this reality being accepted outside of the military and a small percentage of the right in America.
The reality of border security is that as it worsens the DHS and DOJ are not going to defend us from threat of Islamic terrorists allied with drug cartels. Federal regulations cause needless departmental conflict and act to degrade the effectiveness of security efforts. The Left values the the presence of illegals as a source of fraudulent votes to leverage elections in states with high illegal populations. Border states are beginning to take what steps they can. Purging voter rolls and requiring photo ID are steps that need to happen. Texas DPS units are acting as task forces with local LEOs to prevent the cartels from establishing a buffer zone in the border counties. There is and has been limited use of drone surveillance on the border. But it is like the other Federal efforts, inconsistent. Drone technology is becoming readily available to military users and inevitably to our avowed enemies. Col. Ralph Peters has written some very good analysis of the role that drones will have in future warfare.Domestically, Congress needs to get out in front of drone use and establish a legal limit on their use that prevents the loss of 4th amendment rights.
yes, with the STATES using their power tools, making them stronger and able to fix problems,
I see MITT ROMNEY APPROVAL THERE AND COLLABORATION.
BUT WITH OBAMA’S RESTRICTIONS, AND ENTITLEMENT LONG ARM
EXTENDING SPECIALLY INTO TEXAS HARD HEAD GOVERNMENT WHICH ARE GOOD FOR BUSYNESS, THE FEDERAL AGENCIES CREATED MORE PROBLEMS AND BLOCKAGES MOST OF THE TIME, CREATING A NASTY ENVIRONEMENT IN
MANY STATES WHO DID NOT WANT TO BE SUBMIT TO THEM AND ALSO NOT WANTED TO BE CONTROLLED
BY THOSE AGENCIES WHO DON’T BOTHER YOU IF YOU PAY THEM BEFORE THEY LEAVE,
THEY SEEM TO WORK FOR THE HAND OUT ONLY, WE HAD SO MANY STORIES GIVEN BY DIFFERENT SECTORS OF BUSINESSES INCLUDING THE FARMERS BEING SO DEPRESS FROM THEIR AGENCIES TRYING TO CONTROL EVERYTHING THEY DO, INSTEAD OF ENCOURAGING THEIR HARD WORK,
WHICH BENEFIT ALL THE NATION AND MORE OTHER COUNTRIES, THEY ARE SO PRECIOUS, THEY SHOULD BE LEFT TO DO WHAT THEY KNOW BEST, THAT IS TO FEED THE PEOPLE
IN ALL ASPECT OF LIFE.
Conservative leaning states have found Obama’s agencies less than helpful and some cases negligent in their responsibilities. The Feds response to last years fire season in Texas was an example of Cook Co. style politics . We have an absentee CinC, who spends the bulk of his time campaigning and playing golf and is using the fire and forget nature of drone warfare, at the expense of any other methods, to make a visible, politically safe and apparently proactive effort to fight a war that he only came to acknowledge and accept when he could no longer avoid it. If one looks at the spectrum of tactics and strategies used by the IDF it is apparent that their success is based on the generation of actionable intel followed by proportional action against the targeted threat. This is the nature of their continued existence. They cannot afford posturing or lip service to a stated doctrine. We are stuck with the grand daddy of all blowhards who makes out the frag order on the way to the tee box and passes it off as grand war strategy. Hurry November.
News that might have been missed:
And now, only one senior al Qaeda leader left.
Including Osama bin Laden. Any complaints? Besides the President’s golf, of course, which is of paramount importance . . .
I remember when Israel’s IDF started pinpoint targeting of leaders of Hamas.
They hit a leader and within a day or two a new leader was announced.
Soon they hit him.
A week or so later a new leader was announced.
He, was killed via a pinpoint accurate missile.
Then Hamas pretended like they didn’t have a leader.
Did that mean they ”went away” and were no longer a threat to commit terrorism against innocent women and children in Israel?
It only meant they were learning not to name their new leader.
Al Qaeda is still around.
It still has leaders.
They just aren’t going to name them.
Now, considering we have killed everyone who could have ratted the next-generation of al Qaeda leadership out, what do we do?
If Obama gets his way he is going to declare victory and stop protecting us from their next attack.
I’m proud of Israel that they are NOT THAT STUPID.
And he’s counting on you all being that stupid, too.
Until the next attack, that is.
Replacements don’t mean all that much when the only candidate left is the guy whose previous job was cooking the falefel.
Mr. Bergen is a might anxious to write AQ off. Zawahiri’s days are no doubt numbered. That does not in any way lessen the threat to the west if radical Islam is allowed to fester, AQ in the Mahgreb, Boko Haram and remnants of AQ and al Shabaab now in Mali. The press was quick to adopt the pronouncement that the GWOT was over. Citing reversals of AQAP’s fortunes does not remove them as a threat. If anything it does not recognize the resilience and fanaticism of the cult itself and the new crop of commanders that will continue to rise until the West eradicates them. That will require a commitment lacking in our current leadership who will continue to avoid the politically unpalatable actions required of them. AFRICOM should be stood up as a combat command and every resource available or needed be provided. Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopa and the Congo have forces that combined with intel and strike capabilities from U.S. units are quite capable of removing the cancer of radical Islam.
YOU HAVE a good argument in there, they are no fools for sure, it bring to mind what was said from one of their leader, I think it went this way or similar; YOU HAVE WEAPONS, WE HAVE TIME,
THAT is dangerous to think of, when you know their hate has the age of centuries ago. and now they succeeded to infiltrate the AMERICAS, ALL OF THEM
I think I’ll continue to trust the campaign against al Qaeda to a President with a proven record of effectively eliminating our nation’s sworn enemies, rather than to some untested guy who might be better qualified to run a large automobile dealership.
I suppose he does have some military-related credentials. Sort of.
yes and coming like a lion for AMERICANS. A FULL DELIVERANCE WHISPERING IN THE WHIRLWIND,
ALL AROUND AMERICA, LIKE A INSTANT REVELATION , FEELING SO STRONG IT WILL CARRY THE PEOPLE TO THEIR ONLY DUTY OF THE DAY, THAT SPECIAL DAY WHERE THE GOOD , WILL HAVE A VOICE SO LOUD LIKE A THUNDER IN THIS LAND OF GIANTS, THAT DAY WITH
THE REAL AMERICA. AS THE WHOLE WORLD WATCH
THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE MARCHING TOWARD THEIR DESTINY TO DEFEAT THE USURPERS THE DECEIVER, THOSE WHO HATE AMERICA,
THE DAY OF VICTORY FOR THE UNITED STATES TOGETHER AT LAST.
Trust whomever you wish. The depth of Obama’s commitment to engage and pursue the avowed enemies of this nation has yet to be seen. I suspect it will be measured in terms of a politically safe disengagement and another proclamation that the GWOT is over in time to make that claim before Nov.
Right. Whereas with Mitt Romney, we have a well-documented record to examine.
As does his worthy opponent who confronted genocidal anti-American terrorists years before he became POTUS, Lord of the Drones, Senator Barack Obama Attended Bill Ayers Barbecue, July 4, 2005
The point that those afflicted most by the glare of Obama’s turd polish miss is that he takes the low hanging fruit and runs to the nearest hot mic to inform the world of his latest feat. If he is as great a leader of men as he would have us believe then he will hound the jihadis into whatever failed state gives them refuge. He does not strike me as thinking in any form or fashion that the war on radical Islam will take generations to win. As you have shown the IDF doesn’t take off to make a tee time or to campaign/fund raise when an enemy committed to their extinction is at their door.
Are you so totally in the tank for Obama that you are willing to ignore the threat of a major attack here, abetted by the failure to secure our borders? Evidence is pointing to the Zetas aligning themselves with Hezbollah and sharing capabilities. The failed attempt on the life of the Saudi ambassador was broken up when the Iranian money launderer thought he was dealing with a Zeta operative. ICE has recovered Iranian martyrs literature from smuggling corridors into Arizona. Mexican gang members apprehended in S. Texas have tattoos in farsi. Cultural exchange? Ultralights are being used to fly drugs across the border in the same manner that they are used to infiltrate Israel. Perpetuating the flow of illegals as a front for voter fraud is not worth the life of one American. Your president and his DHS and DOJ hinder the efforts of state govt.s when they should be leading them. As to falafel cooks. Do you have even a basic idea of the level of indoctrinated, radicalized output of madrassas in countries supposedly allied with us?Gloat, crack wise and enjoy yourself, like your president, at the expense of others. When the American “Beslan” occurs you can make your arguments with the blood of the innocent on your hands. I pray that day never comes, but people like you bring it closer everyday. Myself, I will cling to the principles, religion and firearms that the Left eschews and dream of buying a bigger reloading press and wonder what the bag limit for candy-assed socialists will be when idiots like Bill Ayers finally push this country past the tipping point.