Yes, it’s more of the OBomba administration bending, folding, spindling and mutilating our Constitution in a broad attempt to codify, reify, torture into somebogus ‘legal’ girdle, and extol the practical virtues of extrajudicial murder, ‘short term’ rendition/disappearance into foreign black prisons, etc. of anyone they think deserves the fate they choose. And yes; Miller mentions ‘arresting bad guys as well. (And yes; that first sentence should have been put out of its (or your) misery; sorry.)
The first of three parts of Greg Miller’s description of the evolving program and ‘flexible’ protocols that were published in the Washington Post last week were in effect a companion story to the original Terror Tuesday report printed in the New York Times at the end of May, and may have the been the first time OBomba admitted that there really is a secret kill list, and that he’s really fucking proud of it. We were, you’ll remember, urged by the authors to pity Our Poor, Beleaguered President for the hardship targeting people for death by drone caused him.
My best guess is that it was received well, and he gave the green light to the various ‘anonymous sources’ quoted in Miller’s piece. The way he writes the piece takes back some of the narrative of the Times piece; who knows, maybe some of the imagery didn’t sell that well in print, like the ‘choosing among the deck of cards’, or the teleconferences with real-time satellite images of potential targets someone might consider behaving in ‘signature strike-worthy’ ways. Perhaps even a group near the target was ‘moving in a tactical fashion’ or removing the corpses of civilians for later burial. Ka-Pow!
Consider Miller’s clinical language:
“The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.
Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years. Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.”
Which readers recoiled when ‘a senior administration official was quoted as saying, “We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us; it’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’? Or did most nod sagely in silent agreement?
Miller ‘mentions’ that CIA Tip-Top David Petraeus wants to expand the drone fleet (he doesn’t like being so hampered by the smaller fleet at his disposal now that he’s at the CIA, poor dear), and even freely admits that the CIA intends to ‘become a para-military force’! And in Part I, Miller says that not only does the CIA have its own kill-lists and potential target ‘disposition problems’, but so does the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). OBomba still runs the Terror Tuesday kill-mornings, but he only chooses targets outside of Pakistan (WTH?). Given that these tactics are now seen as necessary and useful in decimating the new #2′s, #4′s and whatnot, and that to these folks everyone ‘associated with identified targets’ are seen as nails to their hammers, we understand why former CIA analyst and Obama counterterrorism adviser Bruce Riedel said, “You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.” He likely meant as well that these killings create new enemies for the US. He’s catching on, at least.
So. Given that the administration recognizes that counterterrorism efforts will last a Very Long Time (perhaps forever if we don’t stop them), and that even future administrations will need these ‘flexible dispositions’, I’m certain OBomba was pleased to hear Mitt Romney say during the third ‘debate’ that ‘we can’t kill our way out of this’, and that his opponent was right in increasing drone strikes. It must have made sense to him that day; I’d heard that he was sorta the Hippie Peace candidate in that debate.
That means that it’s official that the United States is in the process of institutionalizing extra-judicial assassinations, but that in this process, the military, intelligence agencies, and unitary executive President have joined forces in the Permanent War on Terrorism. And if I’m not mistaken, this is another giant step toward what Sheldon Wolin called Inverted Totalitarianism. Even if Romney were elected, it’s not possible to think he’d jettison all these special work product, is it?
Arthur Silber brought up Hannah Arendt in a recent piece about this hideous Next Generation Terror Tuesday, and wrote of she and various other people having debunked the myth that the German people didn’t know what Hitler was really doing to all those he felt like eradicating; I don’t claim to know what they did know, but I’d have to guess many either knew full well, or strongly suspected what was going on. All of which brings up a version of his question:
How many Americans will refuse to believe that the United States of America is now an Assassination Nation, and how will history treat us if we are so comfortable in our self-assigned red-blue comfort zones that we don’t refuse to vote for either of two candidates who will likely keep all this going, or even expand it? The question makes me shiver.
Arendt said wisely:
“The history of humanity is not a hotel where someone can rent a room whenever it suits him; nor is it a vehicle which we board or get out of at random. Our past will be for us a burden beneath which we can only collapse for as long as we refuse to understand the present and fight for a better future. Only then—but from that moment on—will the burden become a blessing, that is, a weapon in the battle for freedom.”
~ Hannah Arendt, “Moses or Washington” (March 27, 1942)
Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.
~ Edward Said
As an antidote to the killing and torture, and a plea that more of all of us on the planet remember and embody these thoughts:
(We all wish you love and peace on your next journey, Southern Dragon. And may those with whom you shared love find comfort soon.)