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Droning on and on

(Deep apologies for my disappearance yesterday.  I had unexpected extended-family duties)

It wasn’t apparent until Sunday but Obama’s Kill Team (the 100 or so administration officials who participate in the Tuesday Nomination Meeting) are using PreCog technology to identify their victims targets:

U.S. drone targets in Yemen raise questions

There is little doubt among U.S. intelligence officials that Kaid and Nabil al-Dhahab — brothers who reportedly survived a U.S. airstrike in Yemen on Memorial Day — are associated with the al-Qaeda insurgency in that country. Less clear is the extent to which they are plotting against the United States.

“It’s still an open question,” a U.S. counterterrorism official said. The siblings were related by marriage to Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda operative killed in September, but they have not been connectedto a major plot. Their focus has been “more local,” the official said. But “look at their associations and what that portends.”

Then this at FireDogLake by Dissenter, How Coverage of Obama’s Role in Drone Executions Provokes Liberal Outrage.

The post itself is great – Dissenter is doing a terrific job, not just sharing links (like me) but his commentary is heartfelt and important:

Hayes set up the segment by mentioning that a policy of kill or capture of terror suspects has largely transformed into a policy of just killing the suspects. The issue had been “bubbling a bit” but just this week, Hayes said, it “felt like it really kind of entered the national conversation assertively for the first time this week.”

“Up with Chris” is a progressive show. Many of the viewers carry an expectation—albeit an unreasonable one—that Hayes will not wholly criticize Obama because there is a Republican presidential candidate named Mitt Romney out there trying to defeat Obama in the presidential election. There also are Republicans running to defeat Democrats, voters are being suppressed in states to help Republicans win and discussion of Obama and drones is destructive to the progressive cause. And that is why the segment got under the skin of many liberals and also why it was so critical that Hayes did this segment on his show.


Then, Hayes had Scahill address what really upset liberals the most: the fact that Scahill would say with a straight face Obama was a murderer for killing innocent people with drone strikes.

Think of the above as Part One in a two part piece….

Scahill says he was “called a terrorist, a neo-Nazi, a traitor and a racist” after his appearance. He was told that he wants Romney to be president.

This is what liberal or Democratic Party supporters who defend President Obama from his critics are saying these days when the issue of drones is raised. Or, in some cases, they aren’t saying anything at all. It doesn’t matter to them that innocents are being killed who may not be terrorists. The loss of human life is less significant than the fact that the Republican Party is plotting nefariously to beat Democrats and is perhaps engaged in illegal conduct.

These liberal or Democratic Party supporters, for some reason, think there has to be a choice made between opposing voter suppression and opposing drones. That doesn’t really seem right. Also, the reaction is pretty authoritarian when one considers that much of the outrage includes a demand or passive threat. They want Hayes to never feature people like Scahill again or cover the issue of drones again. Wide-ranging debate is too much for them. (Keep in mind Jacobs and Trevino were pro-military and given opportunity to share their pro-war views. No liberals called for them to be banned from Hayes’ program.)

It cannot be understated. The identities of the people being killed are not certain to US officials and yet they are carrying out operations that we are supposed to believe kill terrorists, not innocent civilians. Who “these guys” are that are being targeted is contested, which makes it hard to assess this program as something that is helping to kill “terrorists.” Just how many actual terrorists are being killed is debatable.

For Part Three, we should visit the comments (for more on this – Corrente)

The whole thread is pretty fascinating but in my opinion TBogg opened a huge can of worms with comment #167:

The question is:

When to act? Before the attack, minutes prior to the attack, or in retribution afterwards?

This isn’t an easy decision to make (as the article went to pains to point out), but to take the ability to prevent an act of terror before it happens off of the table is irresponsible. Your choice: an airliner full of innocent people or another Al-Awlaki. And, no, the choice can’t be: war is bad.

As I replied in the following comment (#168)

Isn’t that what the PreCogs were trying to work on in The Minority Report?

And for some quick (quote-free links)

Lambert, writing at Naked Capitalism Obama’s and Brennan’s Kill List shares a video and a petition

CounterPunch Diary: There’s a Cancer on the Presidency, Called Barack Obama, by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

Scahill: Obama has ‘murdered’ people with drone strikes

The Cumulative Propaganda of Media Coverage of Drone Assassinations

Axelrod denies attending national security meetings

Things that are worse than White House Blow Jobs Including Things that Actually Deserve Impeachment:

This from the New York Times:

Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will

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.

“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”

I don’t know how to pick and choose from this report — I’m so shocked I’m tempted to copy and past the whole thing.

But, Charles Pierce at Esquire – Obama’s Kill List and the End of the Post-9/11 World did a pretty good job so I’ll give him some credit here:

The big story on the front page of The New York Times today about the decision-making process involved in putting together the White House “kill list” — and I’m old enough to remember those romantic days when the only one involved was Gordon Liddy and the only name on the list was Jack Anderson’s — is not about the means of killing and the relative merits of killing from afar, or even about what the story refers to as the president’s “own deep reserve” about the possibility that he might have to drop a Hellfire or some teenagers. (Let’s face facts: If he didn’t have a “deep reserve” about this, he’d be a sociopath and, as it is, the available evidence indicates that he seems to overcome his deep reserve fairly readily.) It’s really not about what he does. It’s about what we tolerate.

Read these articles then tell me: Are we going to tolerate this?