Exactly what’s going on?
No sooner does Obama make a speech about restricting the use of drones does he kill again:
It took all of six days for President Obama to undermine his own new rules about restricting drone strikes.
On Wednesday morning, Pakistani security sources reported that a U.S. drone strike killed four people near the North Waziristani city of Mirim Shah. One of them, apparently, is Wali ur-Rehman, the second in command of the Pakistani Taliban, although the group for now denies Rehman is dead. Still, if you listened to Obama’s big speech on counterterrorism Thursday, you could be forgiven for thinking that the drones weren’t going to target the Rehmans of the world anymore.
“Beyond the Afghan theater, we only target al-Qaida and its associated forces,” Obama said at the National Defense University, “and even then, the use of drones is heavily constrained.” Among those constraints: preferring to “detain” terrorists instead of killing them; “respect for state sovereignty”; and the inability of other governments to handle the terrorists. Perhaps most importantly, Obama underscored, the drones will for now on only target “terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people.”
In case the point was lost on anyone, the White House released a “fact sheet” clarifying whom it will and will not kill in the future. “[T]he United States will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons,” it stated. “It is simply not the case that all terrorists pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons; if a terrorist does not pose such a threat, the United States will not use lethal force.”
Did Wali ur-Rehman pose a “continuing, imminent threat” to U.S. persons?
This regime, which characteristically cannot wait to claim credit for anything, refuses to even acknowledge the newest assassination:
Six days after President Barack Obama addressed criticisms about the use of drones to kill suspected terrorists and signed new guidelines regarding their usage, the White House declined to confirm the newest report of a drone strike.
The Associated Press, Reuters and other news outlets reported on Wednesday that a U.S. drone strike on Wednesday killed Pakistani Taliban leader Waliur Rehman. But White House press secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t confirm those reports at Wednesday’s press briefing.
“I cannot confirm reports that this individual is dead,” Carney said in response to a reporter’s question.
Carney went on to address the speculative death:
Carney, however, then addressed Rehman’s hypothetical death: “I would simply say that his demise would deprive the TPP [Tehreek-e-Taliban] of its second-in-command and chief military strategist.”
That statement prompted further questions from journalists about why the administration was addressing a death they didn’t know existed. Carney said he chose to address what’s known about the individual, but he was “not in a position to confirm reports of his death.”
Let us remember that these killings are ordered directly by Barack Obama, via his personal “kill list.”
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.
Obama’s policy has up to now been clear: “if you’re dead, you’re guilty”
That presumably includes the 200 children Obama has reportedly killed in drone strikes.
WASHINGTON — Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show.
Obama has killed four Americans, one of them a 16 year old American:
Abdulrahman al-Awlaki wasn’t on an American kill list. Nor was he a member of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Nor was he ‘an inspiration,’ as his father styled himself, for those determined to draw American blood; nor had he gone ‘operational,’ as American authorities said his father had, in drawing up plots against Americans and American interests. He was a boy who hadn’t seen his father in two years, since his father had gone into hiding. He was a boy who knew his father was on an American kill list and who snuck out of his family’s home in the early morning hours of September 4, 2011, to try to find him. He was a boy who was still searching for his father when his father was killed, and who, on the night he himself was killed, was saying goodbye to the second cousin with whom he’d lived while on his search… He was a boy among boys, then; a boy among boys eating dinner by an open fire along the side of a road when an American drone came out of the sky and fired the missiles that killed them all.
So what’s really going on? Why does Obama suddenly feel a need for drone oversight?
Proposals to vet future US drone strikes risk creating “kill courts” according to human rights campaigners who say Barack Obama’s promise of new legal oversight does not go far enough to end what they regard as extrajudicial executions.
The president has asked Congress to consider establishing a special court or oversight board to authorise lethal action outside warzones under a new counter-terrorism doctrine which he says will end the “boundless war on terror”.
But responses to his speech from leading campaign groups, though broadly welcoming, highlight how little change Obama is proposing to the underlying principle that the US has a legal right to kill suspected terrorists abroad without trial.
In his speech on Thursday, Obama suggested that in the future drone attacks would be limited, and that they would be carried out primarily by the US military rather than the CIA.
Maybe these drone strikes aren’t so effective:
U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions are an ineffective solution to the problems they try to address, a new report by the International Crisis Group concludes.
Since 2004, the U.S. has used drones to target militants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a restive semi-autonomous region on the country’s border with Afghanistan. According to an Obama administration official, at least 20 of al Qaeda’s 30 top leaders were killed by CIA-led drone strikes in the region.
In its report, the International Crisis Group argues, however, that while the drone policy has yielded short-term successes, it fails to deter militant groups in the long-term. According to the organization, as long as FATA remains “an ungoverned no-man’s land,” the region will be a hot-bed for jihadis.
Maybe the Pakistanis aren’t happy that the drone wars continue:
Leaders in Pakistan are outraged at reported U.S. plans to continue controversial drone strikes against suspected al-Qaida-linked sanctuaries on Pakistani soil. They are calling it “close to a perpetual war,” and say it is exactly opposite to what President Barack Obama stated in his inaugural speech on Monday.
U.S. drone strikes on targets in Pakistani regions along the border with Afghanistan remain highly controversial and are deeply unpopular in Pakistan.
The Washington Post reported last week that U.S. officials have nearly completed a counterterrorism manual that would establish stringent rules for lethal “targeted-killing operations” through Obama’s second term.
However, the newspaper quoted unnamed officials as saying that before the CIA is asked to comply with the new counterterrorism guidelines, the agency would be allowed to continue sending unmanned drones to fire missiles at suspected al-Qaida, as well Taliban, targets in Pakistan for at least another year.
Maybe the Pakistanis really disdain this policy:
Obama justifying drones on innocent civilians is just as bad as that insane person justifying his heinous act of murdering a British soldier
Or maybe Obama’s kill policy is merely radicalizing another generation of terrorists:
Swat Valley, Pakistan (CNN) — The Sabaoon School for boys in northern Pakistan is anything but average.
Nestled amid the bucolic charm of the Swat Valley’s fertile terraced fields and steeply rising crags it looks idyllic. But if you get up close, a harsher reality becomes clear.
Two army check-posts scrutinize visitors entering the sprawling site. Once inside, the high razor wire-topped walls around the classroom compounds create a feeling reminiscent of a prison.
The boys here, aged 8 to 18, were all militants at some point. Some are killers, some helped build and plant improvised explosive devices, and others were destined to be suicide bombers until they were captured or turned over to the Pakistani army. All of them are at the school to be de-radicalized.
Ninety-nine percent of the boys, I am told, have never heard of Osama bin Laden, despite the fact he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in the next valley over from here. What has radicalized these boys instead, the school’s director says, is what turns teenagers the world over to crime: poverty, poor education, limited prospects and often lack of parental control.
It is in this setting that the boys have made ready recruits for Taliban scouts who wean them on tales of the U.S. drone strikes that have killed scores of Pakistani women and children over the past few years.
Barack Obama has never been one to readily accept the mantle of responsibility (Google IRS scandal). I suspect that his collar is feeling more and more snug with each death, anticipating an invitation to the Hague for a Court appearance. He’s desperately needs someone else to take the heat. Watch for Holder to retroactively put Obama under the oversight panel.
Obama has set the precedent for killing Americans without due process.
Ever notice that once you dig a hole there’s never enough dirt to fill it back?