Feb
05
2013

NBC: here’s the Obama administration’s white paper legitimizing drone strikes!

NBC News has gotten its hands on a white paper that’s being used to legitimize the Obama administration’s drone policy, and it’s a… doozy. Short version: members of terrorist groups actively attacking the United States (or our interests) can expect to be shot on sight; and that includes the members of terrorist groups that happen to also be American citizens.  And the administration does not have the inclination,  and does not feels that it has the need, to particularly clear with anybody their taking the shot if a suitable target hoves into view.

Mind you, I don’t disagree with the basic argument*… but then, I’m a neoconservative.  I knew that my faction had won the foreign policy debate – shame it’s no longer being implemented by somebody competent – but I didn’t realize that it was this comprehensive a win.  I in particular never expected to encounter this argument from this White House:

…the condition that an operation leader present an “imminent” threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.  Given the nature of, for example, the terrorist attacks on September 11, in which civilian airliners were hijacked to strike the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, this definition of imminence, which would require the United States to refrain from action until preparations for an attack are concluded, would not allow the United States sufficient time to defend itself.

(pause)

Yes.  From there it really is only a short jump to concluding And that’s why it was all right to topple the Hussein regime in Iraq.

Read the whole thing – and, if you’re a member of the antiwar movement, I have a personal request: video record yourself reading it.  I’ve never actually watched somebody’s soul die a little, inside, and I’m morbidly curious to see what it looks like.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: I also should note: anybody can inflict pain. Being truly unpleasant requires only modest talent.  Skill at inflicting mental cruelty is something that can be acquired through mere perseverance.  But to use Hamdan v. Rumsfeld as your primary justification for drone strikes?  That is the sadism one would expect from an artist.

*I have a problem on a practical level, though: drone strikes kill, but do not capture.  There is a limited amount of information that you can get out of a burning corpse, and still less out a grease stain on the wall.

8 Comments

  • Jeffstag says:

    I’m sure they’re working very hard on how to capture with drones. The methods that come to my mind tend to skew closer to Wile E Coyote than are probably workable. Of course, non-lethal drone capture opens up a whole new world of capturing fugitives, bail-jumpers, illigal border crossers, tresspassers, suspects, persons-of-interest, shifty characters and cute girls from down the street….

  • BigGator5 says:

    “Make dreams, not war!” -Code Pink

  • jbird says:

    Is there a reason we can’t at least try these people in absentia to give a slight nod to the fact that they are Americans? Maybe pass legislation that a conviction on treason or taking up arms against the US can result in the revocation of citizenship. Then we’re all good again. . .

    • sicsemperstolidissimum says:

      Meant to put the below in as a reply to you. Mea culpa.

    • Crawford says:

      There were around half a dozen US citizens killed while serving in the Waffen SS; more killed while serving in the regular German army. There were US citizens in Mussolini’s army, and likely in the Japanese military as well.

      The ones who surrendered to US forces got trials. The ones who didn’t were treated like anyone else in their unit.

      The requirements in the document include “not practical to capture”. If they’re in the US, they can be captured. If you want to face trial in a US court, stay in the US. If you leave the US to wage war on the US, why should you expect to be entitled to a trial?

  • sicsemperstolidissimum says:

    Consider ACW and the Lieber Code. If the union didn’t need that sort of stuff to fight confederates, I don’t see why we would now for this. I think your suggestion is entirely unnecessary.
    .
    Also, if that was used for this, consider what other sorts of fun could be had by doing that sort of thing. (In this case, fun should read something like abuse.) For example, stripping recreational drug users of their citizenship and residency. (Then, maybe we could lock them up and use them to extort countries with legalized drug use and no capital punishment. Start with the one with the lowest population, and say ‘take them or we will kill them’.)

  • antisocial says:

    For a moment I had a thought – “Killing is OK but torture is not”. Then I had another thought – “Club GITMO is still open”.

    So a win-win.

    Take that lefties. I wonder where Cindy is?

  • Catseyes says:

    Couple this paper with fact that the EPA is flying drones over the midwest and you get very uncomfortable very quickly. Where’s my EMP gun? I want it and I want it NOW!

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