Obama’s Kill List–Drones–Remotely Piloted Aircraft–RPAs–Killing Machines–We Don’t Torture Terrorists–We Kill Americans, Civilians and Children in Undeclared Wars–Obama is Judge, Jury, and Executioner–Hope, Change, and Murder, Inc.–The Mass Murderer In The White House–Videos

Posted on February 14, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Crime, Diasters, Drones, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Narcissism, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Raves, Regulations, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf

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Congress launches ‘Attack of the drones’

By Michael Isikoff National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the  September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.

The secrecy surrounding such strikes is fast emerging as a central issue in this week’s hearing of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, a key architect of the drone campaign, to be CIA director.  Brennan was the first administration official to publicly acknowledge drone strikes in a speech last year, calling them “consistent with the inherent right of self-defense.” In a separate talk at the Northwestern University Law School in March, Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses  “an imminent threat of violent attack.”


But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a more expansive definition of self-defense or imminent attack than described  by Brennan or Holder in their public speeches.  It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.

Michael Isikoff, national investigative correspondent for NBC News, talks with Rachel Maddow about a newly obtained, confidential Department of Justice white paper that hints at the details of a secret White House memo that explains the legal justifications for targeted drone strikes that kill Americans without trial in the name of national security.

“The condition that an operational  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,” the memo states.

Read the entire ‘white paper’ on drone strikes on Americans

Instead, it says,  an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American  has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is  no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”

As in Holder’s speech, the confidential memo lays out a three-part test that would make targeted killings of American lawful:  In addition to the suspect being an imminent threat, capture of the target must be “infeasible, and the strike must be conducted according to “law of war principles.” But the memo elaborates on some of these factors in ways that go beyond what the attorney general said publicly. For example, it states that U.S. officials may consider whether an attempted capture of a suspect  would pose an “undue risk” to U.S. personnel involved in such an operation. If so, U.S. officials could determine that the capture operation of the targeted American would not be feasible, making it lawful for the U.S. government to order a killing instead, the memo concludes.

The undated memo is entitled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa’ida or An Associated Force.”  It was provided to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees in June by administration officials on the condition that it be kept confidential and  not discussed publicly.

Although not an official legal memo, the white paper was represented by administration  officials as a policy document that closely mirrors the arguments of classified memos on targeted killings by the Justice Department’s  Office of Legal Counsel, which provides authoritative legal advice to the president and all executive branch agencies. The administration has refused to turn over to Congress or release those memos publicly — or even publicly confirm their existence. A source with access to the white paper, which is not classified, provided a copy to NBC News.

“This is a chilling document,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, which is suing to obtain administration memos about the targeted killing of Americans.  “Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen. … It recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it’s easy to see how they could be manipulated.”

In particular, Jaffer said, the memo “redefines the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the white paper. The spokeswoman, Tracy Schmaler, instead pointed to public speeches by what she called a “parade” of administration officials, including Brennan, Holder, former State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh and former Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson that she said outlined the “legal framework” for such operations.

Pressure for turning over the Justice Department memos on targeted killings of Americans appears to be building on Capitol Hill amid signs that Brennan will be grilled on the subject at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

On Monday, a bipartisan group of 11 senators — led by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon — wrote  a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to release all Justice Department memos on the subject. While accepting that “there will clearly be circumstances in which the president has the authority to use lethal force” against Americans who take up arms against the country,  it said, “It is vitally important … for Congress and the American public to have a full understanding of how  the executive branch interprets the limits and boundaries of this authority.”

Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs

The completeness of the administration’s public accounts of its legal arguments was also sharply criticized last month by U.S. Judge Colleen McMahon in response to a  lawsuit brought by the New York Times and the ACLU seeking access to the Justice Department memos on drone strikes targeting Americans under the Freedom of Information Act.  McMahon, describing herself as being caught in a “veritable Catch-22,”  said she was unable to order the release of the documents given “the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws while keeping the reasons for the conclusion a secret.”

In her ruling, McMahon noted that administration officials “had engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of citizens.” But, she wrote, they have done so “in cryptic and imprecise ways, generally without citing … any statute or court decision that justifies its conclusions.”

In one passage in Holder’s speech at Northwestern in March,  he alluded – without spelling out—that there might be circumstances where the president might order attacks against American citizens without specific knowledge of when or where an attack against the U.S. might take place.

“The Constitution does not  require the president to delay action until some theoretical end-stage of planning, when the precise time, place and manner of an attack become clear,”  he said.

But his speech did not contain the additional language in the white paper suggesting that no active intelligence about a specific attack is needed to justify a targeted strike. Similarly, Holder said in his speech that targeted killings of Americans can be justified  if “capture is not feasible.” But he did not include language in the white paper saying that an operation might not be feasible “if it could not be physically effectuated during the relevant window of opportunity or if the relevant country (where the target is located) were to decline to consent to a capture operation.” The speech also made no reference to the risk that might be posed to U.S. forces seeking to capture a target, as was  mentioned in the white paper.

The white paper also includes a more extensive discussion of why targeted strikes against Americans does not violate constitutional protections afforded American citizens as well as   a U.S. law that criminalizes the killing of U.S. nationals overseas.

It  also discusses why such targeted killings would not be a war crime or violate a U.S. executive order banning assassinations.

“A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination,” the white paper reads. “In the Department’s view, a lethal operation conducted against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States would be a legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban. Similarly,  the use of lethal force, consistent with the laws of war, against an individual who is a legitimate military target would be lawful and would not violate the assassination ban.”

Ask the experts: Drones

By Sydney Sarachan
“…How precise are drone attacks?RC: Pretty precise is my understanding.  If you think about it, a drone pilot first sits outside of a structure doing surveillance for a long time.  Upon getting the order, he or she delivers the missile from relatively nearby.  That is why some experts (for instance, American University’s Kenneth Anderson) argue that drones strikes may be more consistent with limits on collateral damage. It may also explain higher observed rates of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in drone pilots. Of course, even manned missile attacks are often preceded by on-the-ground reconnaissance that paints a specific target.CF: This depends upon the kind of drone attack. In Pakistan’s FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) they are all intelligence-led (as opposed to “troops in contact”). On this, please see the other pieces I have written on this: Drone Wars  and Drones Over Pakistan – Menace or Best Viable Option?JF: Drones are extremely precise. The debate over their use has been whether they are accurate: whether they target the right people. In terms of precision, they do hit the targets we give them very consistently, we just don’t always know who that target is.RN: Since the answer to this question depends on how many civilians are killed or injured for each targeted “militant” who has been killed, it can’t be answered without answering the question of how many civilian casualties there have been.NW: Although missiles launched from drones may be more precise than some other weapons systems, they are known to have caused the deaths of hundreds of civilian bystanders.  The issue is less one of technical precision than it is the standards under which the U.S. government decides who may be targeted and how it protects civilian bystanders from death or injury, as it is required to do under international law.  Outside the context of armed conflict, the use of lethal force is illegal unless it is a last resort to avert a concrete, specific, and imminent threat.  Further, the government is obligated to take all feasible precautions to protect civilian bystanders from harm.  But those aren’t the standards that the government is using. The New York Times has reported that the U.S. “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”  Regardless of the theoretical precision of drone attacks, when the government uses such flawed reasoning it will inevitably cause civilian bystander deaths, in violation of international law. …”
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Obama’s Tuesday Murder Meetings, Kill List, Deadly Drone Deaths and DOD Drone Snuff Porn– Not YouTube Video– Behind Attacks on Americans–Blowback Blowsup U.S. Interventions In Middle East and Southeast Asia–Videos

Posted on September 19, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Foreign Policy, government spending, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Narcissism, People, Philosophy, Psychology, Regulations, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Glenn Beck says Obama Planned Embassy Attacks American people being set up ! 

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Panel discuss anti-American violence in Libya.

‘Anti-Islam film a pretext, US ambassador killing shows Libya intervention fail’ 

Escobar: US could drone Libya to death 

 

Finally The Truth  Muslim Protests About NATO Drone Strikes, Backing Saudi Jihadists

Obama’s kill list revealed 

Should Obama Continue Drone Attacks In Pakistan? – Hamad Mir 

‘US has supported Arab uprisings, and now it’s blowback time’ 

America’s War Drones Kill Over 800 Civilians – 200 Children – Casualties Of War??? 

If A Foreign Drone Killed Your 16 yr Old Family Member….Tell Me, How Would You Feel? 

Obama Drone Strikes Are ‘Mass Murder’ – Jeremy Scahill 

Jeremy Scahill: ‘Sad Day for America’ 

YouTube videos of US unmanned drone attacks in Afghanistan- RT 100105

 

Are US Drone Attacks Justified? Obama Legal Adviser Koh Says Yes 

The Seven Deadly Sins of John Brennan

BY MICAH ZENKO |SEPTEMBER 18, 2012

“…3. We don’t kill civilians.

Stephanopoulos: “Do you stand by the statement you have made in the past that, as effective as they have been, they have not killed a single civilian? That seems hard to believe.”

Brennan: “What I said was that over a period of time before my public remarks that we had no information about a single civilian, a noncombatant being killed. Unfortunately, in war, there are casualties, including among the civilian population.… And unfortunately, sometimes you have to take life to save lives.” (This Week with George Stephanopoulos, April 29, 2012)

In his public comments, Brennan is clear that the Obama administration endorses a drone-first eliminationist strategy for dealing with al Qaeda — and any “military-age males” nearby. This requires a tremendous amount of killing. In June 2011, Brennan claimed: “There hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.” He later, however, provided a statement to the New York Times that the newspaper said “adjusted the wording of his earlier comment”: “Fortunately, for more than a year, due to our discretion and precision, the U.S. government has not found credible evidence of collateral deaths resulting from U.S. counterterrorism operations outside of Afghanistan or Iraq.”

Brennan did not clarify what constituted “credible evidence,” but as Justin Elliott and I myselfquickly pointed out, there were many public reports — from Pakistani and Yemeni reporters and anonymous administration officials — of civilians killed by U.S. drone strikes. Either Brennan did not receive the same reports of civilian casualties as other administration officials did (an implausible notion), he lacks Internet access to read these anonymous comments (equally implausible because Brennan closely responds to critics of targeted killings in his following media appearances), or he was lying. Regardless, his belief in the infallibility of the find-fix-finish cycle defies an understanding of the inherent flaws and limitations of even the most precise uses of lethal force. …”

“…4. Yemenis love U.S. drone strikes.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, we see little evidence that [drone strikes] are generating widespread anti-American sentiment or recruits for AQAP. In fact, we see the opposite: Our Yemeni partners are more eager to work with us.… In short, targeted strikes against the most senior and most dangerous AQAP terrorists are not the problem –they are part of the solution.” (“U.S. Policy Toward Yemen,” speech, Aug. 8, 2012)

Based on his education and deployments with the CIA, Brennan is said to have a deep knowledge of the Middle East; he speaks Arabic; and he enjoys contact with many senior officials in foreign intelligence and interior ministries — which explains his de facto role as White House liaison to Yemen. As Brennan says, “I find the Arab world a fascinating place.”

Although he might have unique insights into the Arab mind, actual Yemenis and journalists reporting from the country (see here,here, and here) say that Yemenis hatedrones strikes. There is also a strong correlation between targeted killings in Yemen since December 2009 — primarily conducted by U.S. drones — and increased anger toward the United States and sympathy or allegianceto AQAP. In 2010, the Obama administration described AQAP as “several hundred al Qaeda members”; two years later, it increased to “more than a thousand members.” Now, AQAP has a “few thousand members.” After a drone strike reportedly killed 13 civilians in early September, Yemeni activist Nasr Abdullah noted: “I would not be surprised if a hundred tribesmen joined the lines of al Qaeda as a result of the latest drone mistake.” Let’s hope Brennan and Abdullah can agree to disagree. …”

“…6. Drones are just a part of U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

“[Obama] has insisted that our policy emphasize governance and development as much as security and focus on a clear goal to facilitate a democratic transition while helping Yemen advance political, economic, and security reforms so it can support its citizens and counter AQAP.… This year alone, U.S. assistance to Yemen is more than $337 million. Over half this money, $178 million, is for political transition, humanitarian assistance, and development. Let me repeat that. More than half of the assistance we provide to Yemen is for political transition, humanitarian assistance, and development.… Any suggestion that our policy toward Yemen is dominated by our security and counterterrorism efforts is simply not true.” (“U.S. Policy Toward Yemen,” speech, Aug. 8, 2012)

There are a couple of problems with Brennan’s math. First, he excludes the vast costs of maintaining the manned and unmanned aerial platforms, nearby naval assets, and U.S. military targeters and trainers stationed in growing numbers at the al-Anad Air Base. It also does not include the covert aid funneled to members of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi’s regime and others who support U.S. interests in Yemen. Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh carefully manipulated the presence of suspected international terrorists within his country in order to maintain Western support crucial for his survival, and he reportedlyreceived hundreds of millions of dollars in covert assistance. Some Yemeni officials, analysts, and journalists such as Sam Kimball now claim that under Hadi, “the Yemeni government is fully aware of a number of al Qaeda cells — and their existence is tolerated and their crimes covered up.”

Finally, Brennan’s boasts that U.S. civilian and military assistance is evenly split is nothing new. Between 2007 and 2011, U.S. (overt) aid to Yemen was $642 million: $326 million in security assistance primarily for counterterrorism and border security, and $316 million in civilian assistance for development and humanitarian work. If this alleged 50-50 foreign aid to Yemen strategy led to the collapse of the Saleh regime, widespread anti-American sentiment, and the tripling of al Qaeda, why would it work this time around?”

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/18/the_seven_deadly_sins_of_john_brennan?page=0,2

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Posted on June 2, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Economics, government, government spending, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector, Security, Technology, Transportation, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Obama’s Kill List–On Terrorist Tuesdays Obama Targets “Innocent” Civilian and American “Terrorists”–Deeply “Offensive”–Murder Boards Replace Water Boards!–Progressive Neocons Cheer–Videos

Posted on May 31, 2012. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Federal Government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Security, Strategy, Technology, Video, War, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

UPDATED June 14, 2012

Obama defends his Leaky Kill List and Drone Attacks

“…President Barack Obama strongly denied Friday that his administration deliberately leaked classified national security information.
Obama responded to a mounting controversy over two blockbuster stories in the New York Times, both of which divulged highly sensitive details about his national security policies. One story focused on Obama’s so-called “kill list.” Another looked at his ordering of cyberattacks against Iran.
Over the past week, Republicans and Democrats have condemned the leaks, with key members of Congress pledging to investigate them.
Some Republicans, most prominently Senator John McCain, have accused the White House of purposefully leaking the information in order to play up his national security record in an election year.
The Times, for its part, has denied that it was the recipient of any planted leaks. Managing editor Dean Baquet told The Huffington Post that the stories were simply the result of good reporting.
Obama forcefully rebuked the accusations at a Friday press conference in the White House. …”

How Obama Maintains His Secret ‘Kill List’

Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s Secret Kill List “The Most Radical Power a Government Can Seize” 

Ok For White House To Leak Classified Info, But Not Whistleblowers?

Former CIA Director Against Drone Strikes

Obama Drone Strikes Are ‘Mass Murder’ – Jeremy Scahill

Obama Denies National Security Leaks Came From White House

Reality Check:  President Obama’s “Kill List” and What It Means For You 

Remote Control War

Drones In America 

Judge Napolitano : 30,000 Drones In U.S. Skies to spy on you violates Constitution (May 14, 2012) 

Judge Napolitano: Killing US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki is Unconstitutional & Against American Values

Obama Death Panel Puts Americans on ‘Secret Kill List’

Judge Napolitano Asks ‘Who Will Obama Illegally Kill Next?’ 

As U.S. Drone Strikes Escalate in Pakistan, “Kill List” Stirs Fears of High Civilian Toll 

Obama’s kill list revealed

Obama is Out-NeoConning the NeoCons [Kill-List, Drone Strikes, No-Trial] 

Obama Kill List

Obama Kill List

“…”Memorial Day weekend brought news of more U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan as The New York Times raises new questions about President Obama’s so-called “Kill List” of terrorists targeted for assassination. An extensive report in Tuesday’s paper looks at the use of targeted attacks to take out terrorism suspects in other parts of the world, an increasingly important part of the government’s anti-terrorism policies that Barack Obama himself has taken personal responsibility for. According to the story, the President approves every name on the list of terrorism targets, reviewing their biographies and the evidence against them, and then authorizing  “lethal action without hand-wringing.”
As the president has slowly drawn down American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, the use of drone attacks to take out senior leaders of al-Qaeda and the Taliban has become the primary tactic for fighting terrorism overseas. However, it raises a lot of legal and ethical questions about extra-judicial killings of individuals, particularly those who happen to be American citizens…”.* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down. …”

US justifying killing any American citizens ACCUSED of terrorism… Wow not even in Banana Republic! 

“We’re Committing A War Crime! And It’s Clear That’s What We’re About!” 

Nobel Peace Prize Obama´s “Counter-Terrorism Chief John Brennan the Assassination Czar?” 

Obama admits drone strikes kill innocent Pakistanis 

The girl killed by Barack Obama – she never saw it coming

US is lying about civilian deaths from its drone attacks in Pakistan

US drone strikes in Pakistan have risen from one a year in 2004 to one every four days under President Obama. There have been no civilian deaths from US drone attacks in Pakistan since August 2010, says the US. They must know this is a lie. As this BBC Newsnight report makes clear, at least 100 have been killed, many of them women and children. The use of pilotless drones has increased dramatically under Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s presidency, more than doubling George Bush’s record.

Obama’s secret drone war explained by Reuters’ David Rohde – Fast Forward

Background Articles and Videos

Authors at Google: Peter Bergen

Obama Death Panel Puts Americans on ‘Secret Kill List’

David Swanson: US drone program killing civilians f.e. in Pakistan plead for justice 

White House Has a Secret Kill List! 

Jeremy Scahill on can the CIA kill whoever they want

END WAR In Pakistan US CIA-Xe Drone Strikes Kill Civilians; To Continue Strikes Even If Pak Against

Alex Jones: Government using drones against Americans

Pentagon drones flying domestic; declaring war on your privacy? 

GGN: Technocrat’s Vision for America, Feds Organize Most Terror Plots, Americans to be Drone Bombed

Mobsters- Murder, Inc. 

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

By JO BECKER and SCOTT SHANE

“…This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.

President Obama, overseeing the regular Tuesday counterterrorism meeting of two dozen security officials in the White House Situation Room, took a moment to study the faces. It was Jan. 19, 2010, the end of a first year in office punctuated by terrorist plots and culminating in a brush with catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas Day, a reminder that a successful attack could derail his presidency. Yet he faced adversaries without uniforms, often indistinguishable from the civilians around them.

“How old are these people?” he asked, according to two officials present. “If they are starting to use children,” he said of Al Qaeda, “we are moving into a whole different phase.”

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.

“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.”

Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve. …”

“…Moreover, Mr. Obama’s record has not drawn anything like the sweeping criticism from allies that his predecessor faced. John B. Bellinger III, a top national security lawyer under the Bush administration, said that was because Mr. Obama’s liberal reputation and “softer packaging” have protected him. “After the global outrage over Guantánamo, it’s remarkable that the rest of the world has looked the other way while the Obama administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several different countries, including killing at least some civilians,” said Mr. Bellinger, who supports the strikes.

By withdrawing from Iraq and preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan, Mr. Obama has refocused the fight on Al Qaeda and hugely reduced the death toll both of American soldiers and Muslim civilians. But in moments of reflection, Mr. Obama may have reason to wonder about unfinished business and unintended consequences.

His focus on strikes has made it impossible to forge, for now, the new relationship with the Muslim world that he had envisioned. Both Pakistan and Yemen are arguably less stable and more hostile to the United States than when Mr. Obama became president.

Justly or not, drones have become a provocative symbol of American power, running roughshod over national sovereignty and killing innocents. With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.

Mr. Blair, the former director of national intelligence, said the strike campaign was dangerously seductive. “It is the politically advantageous thing to do — low cost, no U.S. casualties, gives the appearance of toughness,” he said. “It plays well domestically, and it is unpopular only in other countries. Any damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term.”

But Mr. Blair’s dissent puts him in a small minority of security experts. Mr. Obama’s record has eroded the political perception that Democrats are weak on national security. No one would have imagined four years ago that his counterterrorism policies would come under far more fierce attack from the American Civil Liberties Union than from Mr. Romney.

Aides say that Mr. Obama’s choices, though, are not surprising. The president’s reliance on strikes, said Mr. Leiter, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, “is far from a lurid fascination with covert action and special forces. It’s much more practical. He’s the president. He faces a post-Abdulmutallab situation, where he’s being told people might attack the United States tomorrow.”

“You can pass a lot of laws,” Mr. Leiter said, “Those laws are not going to get Bin Laden dead.” …”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ei=5065&partner=MYWAY

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