A TSA-trained bomb-sniffing dog understandably confused an Atlanta woman’s stomach for a bomb. Or a steak. Or something. Hey mistakes happen. Remember 911!
Maybe because the strikes have killed more than 3,000 people within their borders, over 700 of which were civilians, including children. Pitch Interactive has put together a very good data visualization presentation detailing the strikes.
How much “collateral damage” would Americans tolerate within their borders?
A new study from Harvard calculates that the total cost of the Iraq and Afhanistan wars will exceed $4 trillion and may reach $6 trillion. And most of it isn’t paid for yet.
A total disaster for this country. And entirely self-imposed based on terrorism panic after 9/11.
…even though Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney weren’t culture warriors or evangelical Christians, in the popular imagination their legacy of incompetence has become a reason to reject social conservatism as well. Just as the post-Vietnam Democrats came to be regarded as incompetent, wimpy and dangerously radical all at once, since 2004 the Bush administration’s blunders — the missing W.M.D., the botched occupation — have been woven into a larger story about Youth and Science and Reason and Diversity triumphing over Old White Male Faith-Based Cluelessness.
Of all the Iraq war’s consequences for our politics, it’s this narrative that may be the war’s most lasting legacy, and the most difficult for conservatives to overcome.
– Ross Douthat, describing the impact of the failed George W. Bush wars. In my view, the republicans will not recover until the party can openly acknowledge and move past the Bush disasters.
Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.
We will meet that threat now with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.
Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures and we will accept no outcome but victory.
– George W. Bush, U.S. President, announcing the beginning of the wrong-headed Iraq War in 2003.
Is there any reason to believe that military drones will soon be hovering over Manhattan, aiming to kill Americans believed to be involved in terrorist financing? No.
But is it well past time for the United States government to specify, precisely, its views on whom it thinks it can kill in the struggle against Al Qaeda and other terrorist forces? The answer is yes.
The Obama administration’s continued refusal to do so should alarm any American concerned about the constitutional right of our citizens — no matter what evil they may or may not be engaged in — to due process under the law.
– Ryan Goodman, professor of law and co-chairman of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University.
Rand Paul has called out at least two of the Senate neocons: John McCain and Lindsey Graham:
“They think the whole world is a battlefield, including America, and that the laws of war should apply,” Paul said in an interview on Fox News about McCain and Graham, who had described Paul’s comments about drones as “ridiculous.”
“The laws of war don’t involve due process, so when they ask you for an attorney you tell them to shut up. That’s not my understanding of the way America works,” Paul told Fox. “I don’t think the laws of war apply to America, I think the Bill of Rights do and I think it’s a disservice to our soldiers that our senators up there arguing that the Bill of Rights aren’t important.”
This is truly an outrage. Attorney General Eric Holder, in response to a question from Senator Rand Paul, confirms that the Obama administration claims the right to militarily target Americans on US soil:
As members of this administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so. As a policy matter moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat. We have a long history of using the criminal justice system to incapacitate individuals located in our country who pose a threat to the United States and its interests abroad. Hundreds of individuals have been arrested and convicted of terrorism-related offenses in our federal courts.
The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.
“I got on the telephone with the president, who was in Florida, and told him not to be at one location where we could both be taken out.” Cheney kept W. flying aimlessly in the air on 9/11 while he and Lynn left on a helicopter for a secure undisclosed location, leaving Washington in a bleak, scared silence, with no one reassuring the nation in those first terrifying hours.
“I gave the instructions that we’d authorize our pilots to take it out,” he says, referring to the jet headed to Washington that crashed in a Pennsylvania field. He adds: “After I’d given the order, it was pretty quiet. Everybody had heard it, and it was obviously a significant moment.”
– Maureen Dowd, quoting Dick Cheney from a Showtime documentary on Showtime titled “The World According to Dick Cheney.” By the way, the 9/11 Commission found no documentary evidence that George W. Bush ever authorized Cheney to shoot down commercial airlines.
Big Dog has learned a new trick. Check this out:
(via Tech Crunch)
NBC has revealed a 16-page leaked memo, unsigned and undated, that describes the analysis used by the US Government to support killing US ctizens without trial.
Here is a brief summary from the New York Times:
It adopts an elastic definition of an “imminent” threat, saying it is not necessary for a specific attack to be in process when a target is found if the target is generally engaged in terrorist activities aimed at the United States. And it asserts that courts should not play a role in reviewing or restraining such decisions.
The white paper states that “judicial enforcement of such orders would require the court to supervise inherently predictive judgments by the president and his national security advisers as to when and how to use force against a member of an enemy force against which Congress has authorized the use of force.”
It also fills in many blanks in a series of speeches by members of the Obama legal team about the use of force in targeted killings, including remarks by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. at Northwestern’s law school in March. He asserted that the Constitution’s guarantee of “due process” before the government takes a life does not necessarily mean “judicial process” in national security situations, but offered little specific legal analysis.
And here is a preliminary take from the ACLU.
Of course, there is no way that this is legal. The damage done to the Constitution that began in the Bush Administration continues under the supervision of a Constitutional lawyer.
President Obama has refused to tell Congress or the American people why he believes the Constitution gives, or fails to deny, him the authority to secretly target and kill American citizens who he suspects are involved in terrorist activities overseas. So far he has killed three that we know of.
Presidents had never before, to our knowledge, targeted specific Americans for military strikes. There are no court decisions that tell us if he is acting lawfully. Mr. Obama tells us not to worry, though, because his lawyers say it is fine, because experts guide the decisions and because his advisers have set up a careful process to help him decide whom he should kill.
He must think we should be relieved.
– Vicki Divoll, former general counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and former deputy legal adviser to the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center, calling on President Obama to release his legal justification for killing American citizens without a trial.
It’s a uniquely American prudishness. You can write the most detailed, vivid description of an axe entering a skull, and nobody will say a word in protest. But if you write a similarly detailed description of a penis entering a vagina, you get letters from people saying they’ll never read you again. What the hell? Penises entering vaginas bring a lot more joy into the world than axes entering skulls.
John Brennan has repeatedly supported illiegal torture policies, and is a strong advocate of increased drone attacks without providing an explanation of the legal basis for their use. It is an outrage that Brennan is the president’s choice to head the CIA. Glenn Greenwald has the details in this article.
Here is an excerpt:
Prior to President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, a controversy erupted over reports that he intended to appoint John Brennan as CIA director. That controversy, in which I participated, centered around the fact that Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush’s programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program. As a result, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration, issuing a bitter letter blaming “strong criticism in some quarters prompted by [his] previous service with the” CIA.
This “victory” of forcing Brennan’s withdrawal proved somewhat Pyrrhic, as Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser, where he exerted at least as much influence as he would have had as CIA Director, if not more. In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama’s drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year. He also spouted complete though highly influential falsehoods to the world in the immediate aftermath of the Osama bin Laden killing, including claiming that bin Laden “engaged in a firefight” with Navy SEALS and had “used his wife as a human shield”. Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama’s most controversial and radical policies, including “signature strikes” in Yemen – targeting people without even knowing who they are – and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency.
As it typically does in the US National Security State, all of that deceit and radicalism is resulting not in recrimination or loss of credibility for Brennan, but in reward and promotion.
- CIA Nominee Brennan Has Obama’s ‘Complete Trust’ (npr.org)
- John Brennan chosen by Barack Obama as new CIA head (telegraph.co.uk)
- Official: Obama to tap Brennan as CIA director (cnn.com)