I continue to be dumbfounded by the Obama Administration's escalating drone war in Pakistan and other nations. On the one hand, we have a President who argued persuasively that our war on terror, by its ham-handedness, was actually creating more terrorists than it eliminated by giving people more reasons to hate America. On the other hand, we have the exact same administration escalating Bush's drone war by a factor of six. The same children of the sixties that likely marched against the bombings in Cambodia are now bringing random, robotic death from the sky to countries we have not actually declared war on.
a Washington Postinvestigative report published last week raises questions about whether bureaucratic "mission creep" has cut the program loose from its original justification. "Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing," the Post's Greg Miller writes, "transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war." He reports "broad consensus" among Obama terror-warriors that "such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade."
I could be convinced to use drones to knock off a few top managers with irreplaceable impact on the war, sort of like taking out Patton or Rommel in WWII. But now we are taking out corporals, or the terrorist equivalent. And ever time we kill one (with a few innocents thrown in the mix, which Obama has relabeled as combatants by definition) we are probably creating two new terrorists.
This targetted killing is an expansive and scary new power. The Administration owes us a reckoning, a justification which demonstrates that these drone strikes are really having some sort of positive effect. Right now, it is hard to see, with Libya, Mali, Egypt, Syria blowing up and Afghanistan no closer to peace than it was four years ago. What are we getting in exchange for president taking on this dangerous new authority?
PS- the report linked notes that the death toll from drone attacks is approaching 3,000. What happened to the press, which was so diligent about reporting all these grim milestones under Bush. It is just amazing how far the press and the Left have gone in the tank, against their stated ideals, for Obama.
Update: Killing of 16-year-old American in drone strike blamed on his ... having a bad father. It was his fault!
ADAMSON: You said it is important for the president to do what needs to be done in terms of members of al Qaeda and people who pose a threat. Do you think that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s son who is an American citizen is justifiable?
GIBBS: I’m not going to get into Anwar al-Awlaki’s son. I know that Anwar al-Awlaki renounced his citizenship…
ADAMSON:…His son was still an American citizen…
GIBBS:…Did great harm to people in this country and was a regional al Qaeda commander hoping to inflict harm and destruction on people that share his religion and others in this country. And…
ADAMSON:…It’s an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial. And, he’s underage. He’s a minor.
GIBBS: I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business. [emphasis added]
And this practically qualifies as Nixonian:
ROBERT GIBBS, Obama advisor: This president has taken the fight to Al Qaeda.
LUKE RUDKOWSKI, We Are Change: Does that justify a kill list?
GIBBS: When there are people who are trying to harm us and have pledged to bring terror to our shores, we have taken that fight to them.
RUDKOWSKI: Without due process of law?
GIBBS: We have taken that fight to them.
Update 2: here is an interesting quote
Counterterrorism experts said the reliance on targeted killing is self-perpetuating, yielding undeniable short-term results that may obscure long-term costs. 'The problem with the drone is it’s like your lawn mower,' said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Obama counterterrorism adviser. 'You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.'"