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Open Thread for Night Owls
Micah Zenko is a fellow for conflict prevention in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of the book, Between Threats and War: U.S. Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War World (2010) At his blog, Politics, Power and Preventive Action, he writes:
Since 9/11, the United States has attempted targeted killings in four other countries: approximately three hundred in Pakistan, thirty in Yemen, twenty in Somalia, and one in Syria. These attacks were primarily conducted by armed drones, but also by ship- and aircraft-launched cruise missiles, AC-130 gunships, and special operations raids. Although estimates vary, perhaps three thousand people were killed in these attacks, including suspected al-Qaeda members, local militants, and some unintended civilian victims.
Micah Zenko
By any common-sense definition, these vast targeted killings should be characterized as America’s Third War since 9/11. Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan—where government agencies acted according to articulated strategies, congressional hearings and press conferences provided some oversight, and timelines explicitly stated when the U.S. combat role would end—the Third War is Orwellian in its lack of cogent strategy, transparency, and end date.

The Bush and Obama administrations have contended that some—but not all—of their attempted targeted killings were covert actions, defined by law as “that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly.” For example, President Obama acknowledged drone strikes in Pakistan in January: “Obviously a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan] going after al-Qaeda suspects.”  He added, “There’s this perception that we’re just sending a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly,” but “this thing is kept on a very tight leash” and not managed by “a bunch of folks in a room somewhere just making decisions.”

This is mere assertion. It echoes other senior administration officials’ repeated remarks about the legality, near-infallibility, effectiveness, and inevitability of targeted killings. The U.S. government has provided no information that would allow any review, scrutiny, or oversight of its 350-and-counting targeted killings. [...]

Last week, CIA director David Petraeus reportedly requested permission to expand drone attacks in Yemen to include “signature strikes” against anonymous suspected members of [Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula]. Since these attacks are covert, the administration will offer no public defense, although it begs Petraeus’s haunting question at the onset of the Iraq war in 2003: “Tell me how this ends?”


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006:

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, considered a rising star in Republican politics and a possible future presidential candidate, is obviously a quick study in the meta-GOP game of petty revenge and restricting access of information to the public (a double play!).

From the alternative Arkansas Times:

It's official. Gov. Mike Huckabee is refusing to provide routine media services to the Arkansas Times. The newspaper has been stricken from the e-mail lists for routine news releases, public scheduling and other items widely disseminated to members of the public and the media. [...]

The larger issue, of course, is not missed by the Arkansas Times, which notes: "The governor has decided to punish us for our opinions by withholding a publicly financed service." Yes, taxpayer money goes to fund a press office, which holds a responsibility to keep Arkansas residents informed of the governor's schedule, policy proposals and stands on legislative action. The burden is not on an outlet to "prove" its legitimacy; it's on the governor's office to make sure as many citizens as possible are aware of what their state government is up to.

In my ideal democratic (with a small "d") world, this kind of civic information would be posted on telephone poles and on Laundromat bulletin boards, at MySpace and at bus stops. Whatever it takes. Certainly, any resident, much less an information outlet, would be welcome on an email list. [...]


Tweet of the Day:

The GOP is now split between two major factions: The Far Right and the Right Off The Cliff. #p2 #ows
@Marnus3 via HootSuite


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