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Originally published in Tikkun Daily

Peter Bergen, CNN's national security analyst, has suggested that al Qaeda is winning the honesty war against the United States in a piece entitled "Is al Qaeda outdoing the U.S. on truth telling?"

While on first blush the suggestion might seem like partisan slander, a look at Bergen's argument reveals an unsettling truth: we may be losing the honesty war to al Qaeda due to our secret, and unaccountable, drone program.

To make his point, Bergen compares two recent, and accidental, civilian massacres by each side, and how each side dealt with the situation. Unfortunately for the Obama administration, Bergen's example demonstrates how we have become a nation so secretive in the region that we are incapable of apologizing for our mistakes, much less acknowledge them:

When Gen. David Petraeus was U.S. commander in Afghanistan in 2010 he issued guidance to his troops, one of the key points of which was to "be first with the truth."

Yet, in Yemen where the U.S. has been fighting a small, undeclared war for the past four years, we have now arrived at the ironic point where America's main enemy there, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is doing a better job of truth telling than the U.S.

In a video message released on Sunday, a leader of al Qaeda in Yemen apologized for an attack on a hospital in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa earlier this month in which civilians were killed ... "We confess to this mistake and fault. We offer our apologies and condolences to the families of the victims," said the al Qaeda leader.

Bergen's example is contrasted with the U.S. military's recent, tragic drone strike against a wedding procession in Yemen on December 12. The strike killed scores of innocent civilians on their way to a joyous celebration and sparked outrage in Yemen.

More outrageous, however, is that the Obama administration, unlike al Qaeda, has said nothing about the incident. No acknowledgement. No apology.

Nothing.

As Bergen notes, the Obama administration is hamstrung by its secret drone program – a program which prevents the Obama administration from telling the truth, particularly when it errs.

This gets to a key problem of the secretive American drone program. Its clandestine and unaccountable nature means that when the U.S. does make a mistake, as it inevitably will, instead of apologizing and making some kind of compensation to the civilian victims of a botched strike -- a common practice when the U.S. military inadvertently kills civilians in wartime -- American officials instead say ... nothing.
Now, al Qaeda apologizing for its December 5 mistake is self-serving. Such admissions are meant to shore up and protect public support for their activities. However, the U.S. massacring Yemen civilians, and then not even acknowledging that it has done so, much less apologize, does more to shore up support for al Qaeda than anything the organization could do itself.

Meaning: our lack of honesty about a drone program which continues to kill innocent civilians makes us not only ruthless in practice, but in appearance as well.

More so than al Qaeda in the eyes of those in the Middle East. So much for winning hearts and minds.

                                                                    --§--

What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.


Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 07:24 AM PST.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

    by David Harris Gershon on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 07:24:38 AM PST

  •  And Fox Cable "News" is more honest (7+ / 0-)

    than CNN who wouldn't know the meaning of the word if it flew up and hit their lying asses in the face.

    Back to reading your diary.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 07:48:50 AM PST

    •  Afraid "CNN are cretins" doesnt change the (8+ / 0-)

      conclusion here. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Heck, even Newt Gingrich was right once this month. The US is all about tactics, in the military and elsewhere. Strategy? Whats that? We're losers.

    •  We're in agreement about our general feeling (7+ / 0-)

      with regard to CNN. Curious what you think about the actual article.

      "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:01:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  After reading the comments, I think most (10+ / 0-)

        people are missing the article's intent. The U.S. is no longer seen as a "bright light on a hill"; we are now seen as an inhumane killing machine. We are not even human enough to express regret for slaughtering the innocent members of a wedding party.

        Even al Quaeda gets it...

        Re: the knee-jerk reaction to this article; the natural instinct of many people on this site is to unleash nasty attacks on any person or entity that offends them...it's making the rec list titles look like a list of petty and vindictive screeds.

        Can't we get back to debating the merits of issues instead of unleashing all the personal attacks?

        •  "Even al Quaeda gets it..." (5+ / 0-)

          yep - they use children as human shield, but because they apologized once, they have the moral high ground.

          jeez.

          I used to read redstate and FR to see what attacks the other side was using so I could understand their point of view and prepare for any potential conversations, it's no longer neccessary because I read DK.

          (the last comment not pointed directly at you, but DK's democrat and BO bashing as a whole.)

          •  Sometimes, I get really frustrated having (7+ / 0-)

            to explain the obvious:

            ...because they apologized once, they have the moral high ground.
            They have the moral high-ground with the people in that region, not with me...they know they can win hearts and minds after a mistake if they act humanely...their culture has proper methods for dealing with that type of problem...something the U.S. does not seem to understand.

            And this:

            I used to read redstate and FR to see what attacks the other side was using so I could understand their point of view and prepare for any potential conversations, it's no longer neccessary because I read DK.
            ...is just a cheap shot.
            •  The people in that region are idiots and cowards (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              emelyn

              for believing a mother fucking thing al quads says

              the people who believe al quads are like our tea baggers

              and al quada are a militant kkk

              and the author of this diary is disgusting for even remotely suggesting that we are less honest about killing than al quada

              an absurd comparison

        •  President Obama's treatment at Mandela's memorial (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emelyn

          service didn't seem to indicate that we are hated by the world, despite what American progressives want to believe.  Even after "OMG! NSA spied on EU Parlaiment!!!" stories, the Danish PM eagerly takes a "selfie" of her and President Obama, and another EU leader, Cameron, also buddying up to the President.  And the President got the loudest ovation from the masses of any speaker on that occasion, despite drone attacks launched by the same President.  Didn't see much evidence of "World hates US" there, sorry to break it to you.

  •  US has a misguided view of counterinsurgency (8+ / 0-)

    There are two models for counterinsurgency. One is oriented toward "winning the hearts and minds" through economic development, anti-corruption, and defense against outsiders. The second is to paralyze opposition through terror.

    Al Qaeda has substantial advantages. They appeal to nationalistic and traditional strains. They execute rough justice on corrupt local leaders. And, as the diarist points out, they are willing to actually engage the population as equals.

    The US has squandered any advantages it might have done. There are positive ways to appeal to traditionalist and nationalist strains, but we have not done so. We have promoted the warlords and their corrupt practices. And we never apologize, because apologies suggest that there is some system and humanity to the application of terror. The objective of terror is to shut off the range of human emotions and replace them with fear and anger, to paralyze and polarize.

    I am not opposed to the use of drones per se. They are more discriminate than B-52s and cluster bombs. But in the hands of a power that will not apologize, they are counterproductive.

    •  Regarding 'counterinsurgency,' I agree that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, YucatanMan

      it has become counterproductive with the use of drones.

      "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:00:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What we're doing in Yemen isn't counterinsurgency. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ

      It's counter-terrorism.

      We don't have any objectives there beyond weakening and destroying operational terrorist groups.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:14:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It could be argued that, strategically, they are (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell, Johnny Q, YucatanMan

        one and the same in Yemen.

        "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

        by David Harris Gershon on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:33:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not correct (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, YucatanMan

        Counter-insurgency is the correct term whenever there is an armed, organized opposition engaged in warfare directed primarily against military targets. Insurgents have clear political goals. This is the case in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and many other places.

        Counter-terrorism is directed against small groups whose primary targets are civilians. Terrorists rarely have clear political goals, meaning that one cannot negotiate with them. The Second Intifada is a good example of a terrorist campaign (though it certainly had a clear political goal, namely the end of the Occupation), since it was directed primarily against civilians by lone wolf actors. Intelligence and good police work are the proper counter-terrorism strategies.

        Granted, one can argue that some groups that are really insurgents are acting as terrorists. But the United States is trying to label all opponents generically as "terrorist."  This is a mental trap, one that has paralyzed negotiations between Israel and Palestine. I suggest avoiding it.

        •  The Yemeni government is doing counter-insurgency. (0+ / 0-)

          We're not. There is overlap between the American mission and the Yemeni government mission, but conceptually, strategically, and operationally, they are two different things.

          The Yemeni government is fighting a rebellion. The US is fighting AQAP, a small group whose primary targets are civilians.

          And rather than avoiding the term "terrorist" entirely, a better response to the misuse of the term would be to use is properly, and I'm doing here.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 11:35:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  To the extent that the US is propping up... (0+ / 0-)

            To the extent that the US is propping up the Yemeni government, directly or through Saudi Arabia, it is engaged in counter-insurgency.

            I take your point that Al Qaeda is one player in many opponents of the Yemeni government, and that the US is primarily concerned with AQAP. But when the US--indeed, Barack Obama himself-- directly intervened to keep a Yemeni journalist (Abdulelah Haider Shaye) in jail to keep him from reporting about drone strikes, we clearly were not conducting counter-terrorism. We were meddling in the internal politics of Yemen. And we are doing so in ways that make it clear we are no longer engaged in simply engaging AQAP.

            Washington is frequently deluded about what it is actually doing. Read Jeremy Scahill's take. I think you may change your mind as to what is actually going on. Scahill calls it a counter-terrorism effort... but what he shows is that US resources are used to suppress a much broader insurgency. Whatever one calls it, US efforts are creating a much broader opposition than would have been achieved without intervention.

            •  Your argument keeps changing. (0+ / 0-)

              Initially, you were claiming that American military operations in Yemen were counter-insurgency, and saying that the types of operations the American military was carrying out - that is, the drone strikes - was not a good tactic for counter-insurgency.

              Now, you seem to be saying that the US is supporting the Yemeni government, so by some transitive property we're involved in a counter-insurgency. Well, whatever - that doesn't really have very much to do with what you were originally saying.

              The rest of your comment doesn't really make much sense. Because we didn't want a journalist to report on drone strikes, that means we aren't doing counter-terrorism? Huh? If we're trying to keep the drone strikes covert, they're being used for counter-insurgency and not counter-terrorism?

              Are you just using "counter-terrorism" to mean "good" and "counter-insurgency" to mean "bad," and insisting that what the US is doing is bad? Because it's tough to read what your saying as actually being about counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 06:06:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Obama is making more enemies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan

      Drones killing innocent civilians are making more terrorists and allowing terrorists to justify their actions against America and its allies.

      •  Every drone strike, whether it hits civilians or (0+ / 0-)

        not, is a recruitment poster for AQ and other miscellaneous terrorists.

        The itchy trigger-fingers of the video war jockeys should be permanently laid off. They've shown they are far too prone to mistakes and indiscriminate killing. That hurts American interests and does nothing to protect us.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 11:31:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have to ask this question... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          Let's take the premise that there is a group of dangerous people who do need to be captured or killed.

          Let's assume that these people are so heavily armed that normal police methods are impossible and, further, that they are in terrain that is for one reason or another so dangerous that insertion of troops is not feasible. We have the experience in Mogadishu, for example, of having troops that were there for a humanitarian mission become the targets of Al Qaeda.  

          Then by what means are the dangerous people captured or killed? Ground invasion? B-52s?  Or... could drones be an acceptable approach, even if they are presently misused?

          I would argue the latter, and that the misuse arises primarily out of the lack of due process in their use. Suppose that the targets of drone warfare were chosen by civilian justice officials from several countries. Suppose that the targets were advised to surrender. And then, and only then, that drones were used to kill these dangerous people.

          There would be mistakes, of course, and some innocent people would get hurt. That's normal for any kind of police work. But there would be transparency and clear accountability.

          I think it's a mistake to automatically declare drones to be bad. I think they are a step forward toward far more narrowly targeted low-intensity conflict.  They could be a good thing. Just not while one man, or even a secret committee, gets to decide who dies based on evidence that will never see the light of day.

          •  If they are outside our borders, it is not up to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil

            us to be trying to capture or kill them.

            If we are legitimately in another country, legally, legitimately, and there is a danger of attack on our personnel or forces, we have a right to defend ourselves from an actual attack, of course.  

            But preemptive attacks on people who do not presently pose any danger based on bought information, rumors, tribal disputes and "profiles" of activity seen from half a world a way, in my opinion, are not justified. These are all ways in which we have targeted our strikes and, coincidentally, killed hundreds if not thousands of innocent men, women and children.

            Where would we draw the line? A rumor that a house contains someone who might rob a bank in a foreign nation? Who might want to kill a policeman in a foreign nation? Who might want to blow the gates off our embassy in a foreign nation?  

            How many children within that house are we justified in killing in order to prevent something that might happen sometime in the future?  Is preventative killing a policy that a democracy should pursue?

            Until there is action, there are only rumors and profiles. It is very very bad policy and precedent to be killing people based on rumors, profiles, and conjecture about future actions.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 04:37:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you not aware that AQ formally declared war (0+ / 0-)

              on the US and then carried it out by blowing up embassies, attacking the USS Cole, taking down the WTC, attacking the Pentagon, and trying to attack the Capitol building?  We do have "business" taing them out, wherever they are.  Thank God the purist left I not in charge of national security.  OBL would be chilling in Kabul right now, along with the rest of AQ leadership (that, in the real world, Obama terminated), free to plan, train for, and carryout more attacks.

              "It's not our business to go after people outside our borders" = "We can't go after OBL since he's outside our borders, so he gets away with any and all attacks he launches".

              •  Nice parsing of the comment. I see you didn't (0+ / 0-)

                include anything which I clearly stated in contrast to your limited extract. Misquote me, put an unsaid word and words into quotes, all are tactics of distortion. Your argument is against something I did not state.

                I'm aware that some people do not do nuance well. Thank you for providing a poorly written example.

                "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                by YucatanMan on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 06:55:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  People who threaten us can be outside of the US (0+ / 0-)

              This is especially true in an age of missiles, but terrorist groups are also clear and present dangers.

              I am not, as the latter half of your argument suggests, speaking of "pre-crime," i.e., threats that have not materialized. But Al Qaeda killed (or, rather, trained people to kill) many Americans in 1993 (Mogadishu) and 1997 (Cole bombing). Then came the Embassy bombings.  

              Once a group has established itself as both violent and anti-American, it becomes our business wherever they are.  

          •  I forgot to add: If killing others based on (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil

            presupposed future possible activities is American policy, then it is incumbent, isn't it, on our leaders to immediately admit when they've killed innocents?

            What is gained by our nation pretending no one knows who blew up the latest wedding party when the entire rest of the world already knows?  The only people being deceived and misled are the American people.  The rest of the world's media tell them that the American drones have slaughtered yet more innocents.

            Why do our leaders persist in this pretend denial of involvement?  It's profoundly immoral and undemocratic to conduct such 'secret wars' and keep information from the American public.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 04:42:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think I have answered this, Yucatan Man (0+ / 0-)

              You ask:

              What is gained by our nation pretending no one knows who blew up the latest wedding party when the entire rest of the world already knows?  
              I said, noting that the US has adopted terror as its strategy:
              we never apologize, because apologies suggest that there is some system and humanity to the application of terror. The objective of terror is to shut off the range of human emotions and replace them with fear and anger, to paralyze and polarize.
      •  Then where are they? (0+ / 0-)

        I've been hearing this theory - drone strikes create terrorists - for years now. Can you point out for me some examples of terrorist attacks that have been carried out by people responding to drone strikes?

        Because when I look at the terrorist attacks that have been carried out agains the US, the vast majority of them are coming from Saudis, Egyptians, Emiratis, Kuwaitis, and people from other US-allied countries that have never been the subject of drones strikes, while none are being carried out by Pakistanis, Afghans, Iraqis, Yemenis, or Somalis, whose countries have been hit by drone strikes.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 06:10:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It can easily presented the OTHER way.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phenry, Diogenes2008, emelyn

    ....at least by propagandists, anyone who gets blown up in a drone attack suddenly becomes a member of an innocent wedding party....I can't remember the last time they blew up anyone who wasn't an innocent wedding-attender...

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:04:08 AM PST

    •  We make it as easy as possible for them (6+ / 0-)

      Thanks to Bradley Manning (remember her?) we KNOW the US 'tactics' in Iraq included jollies like strafing first responders trying to pick up the wounded after one of our attacks. (The kind of thing we always bleat about when the enemy engages in it.) Why should anyone believe anything we say now even if we tell the truth?

      •  Killing first responders is a war crime, per the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil

        Geneva Conventions.

        Among other things disclosed by Bradley/Chelsea Manning was the helicopter gunship murders of journalists and innocent unarmed families trying to help people who had been shot in an area where there was no battle taking place at all. The laughing men in that helicopter would be put on trial by an honest and decent nation.

        He also revealed US Government duplicity in spiriting "contractors" out of Iraq to avoid investigations and prosecutions after they'd engaged in senseless killing of unarmed Iraqi civilians. This particular disclosure so outraged the nascent Iraqi government that it scotched Obama's plans to permanently station a large contingent (10,000 to 12,000 was reported) in Iraq.  

        Because that number of US troops is no longer permanently stationed in Iraq, American lives are being saved from the continuing bombings and sectarian strife. It is clear that Manning's disclosures may have harmed the administration's interests, but have saved American lives.

        I know which I find more important.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 11:37:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The successful operations don't make as much news (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftykook, jayden, Diogenes2008, Tony Situ

      but they do get reported if you look hard enough.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:15:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course al Qaeda's apology is self-serving. (0+ / 0-)

    It's supposed to be self-serving.

    We should be similarly self-serving, because it serves ourselves well to be.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:13:14 AM PST

  •  They've been reading their Mao (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, DrTerwilliker, jayden, Johnny Q

    Not a bad idea, most people fighting a war should read him.

    Should also read Che, Rommel, and Patton.  (At which point you'll realize that American strategy pretty much has always been "Hit them until they stop moving, then hit them again.")

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:28:48 AM PST

  •  Al Qaeda is more honest than most of us - so what? (9+ / 0-)

    Al Qaeda are the worst human beings in the world for many, many reasons, but telling fibs? No. I think most people would agree that al Qaeda has been pretty up front about being conscienceless murdering bastards. The question is why that's worth writing a diary about.

    There's just no gettin' through to people.

    by phenry on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:57:07 AM PST

  •  Oh fuck this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diogenes2008, emelyn

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 09:11:39 AM PST

  •  In the particular case of Yemen... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, Koopatroopa, Trobone, Diogenes2008

    US statements are limited not only by a policy of "neither confirm nor deny, blah blah" but also by an overriding concern for the repercussions any statements of culpability will have on the fragile Hadi government.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:10:01 AM PST

  •  I don't get it. So according to Sharia, when you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emelyn

    blow someone up by mistake, so long as you pay reparations, it is OK.... that's according to AQ.

    But when an INFIDEL blows the wrong people up by mistake, we can't just pay reparations to make it right?

    Does AQ and the Taliban have the same Sharia?

    It's a dangerous precedent AQ is setting here, justifying blowing up "the wrong" people so long as you pay.

    Because WE have both a SHITLOAD of bombs, and a SHITLOAD of money, another to accidentally blow up the entirety of the AQ and Taliban realm, and then pay reparations to the handful who survive.

    Unleash the B52's!!! Let slip the dogs of war!!! ... then get out your checkbook.

    Oh yeah, CNN is pathetic, but they don't "mean" to be, while Fox is pathetic AND they mean it. :)

    •  This: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester, BradyB, Tonedevil
      Because WE have both a SHITLOAD of bombs, and a SHITLOAD of money, another to accidentally blow up the entirety of the AQ and Taliban realm, and then pay reparations to the handful who survive.
      Is exactly what the US has been doing for generations ... minus the "reparations" bit.

      It is not working out well.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 11:35:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama's drone program harms the American (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, his panic, Tonedevil

    public's interests. There's no way around it. "Clandestine" bombing increases resentment and hatred. Pretending it didn't happen and we didn't do it only increases the chances of terrorism.

    We learned nothing about blowback in the last 30+ years.

    If Obama is going to authorize drone strikes, then he and the administration should own up, immediately, to any and all mistakes and make what reparations are possible.  That the CIA conducts these strikes and other military actions is really beyond the pale. Secret wars have no place in a democracy.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 11:27:04 AM PST

  •  While the whole tenor and tone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil

    of the CNN piece is like manna to the Tea Party, it does point to a few things that ought to be more widely understood.

    Americans have almost no inkling of an idea of their own reputation abroad.

    Most US citizens don't travel abroad, and take their cues from a mainstream media that fawns and panders to the idea of "US Exceptionalism".

    This black and white view of the world, and US Foreign Policy is inaccurate, and dangerous.

    It may be unpalatable, but the United States is not seen as a "shining beacon of hope for a free world" anywhere except in the United States.

    During the Bush era, for example, the US Administration was feared and mistrusted even in Europe ... even in the UK, dammit.

    We thought Bush was making the world a more dangerous place for everyone, and we still think he should present himself in The Hague.

    When Obama was elected, much of the world breathed a huge sigh of relief. That remains, but the activities of the NSA and the Drone policy is again damaging the reputation of the United States.

    Quite frankly, this country gives the impression of conducting a dangerous insurgency in every territory that it operates in, with little apparent control from the elected government.

    That is not a good thing!

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 11:32:04 AM PST

  •  FUCK CNN nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emelyn, Tonedevil

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 12:29:51 PM PST

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