Obama’s Counterterrorism Speech

by lizard

Yesterday, Eric Holder submitted a letter, at the behest of president Obama, acknowledging that his administration has killed 4 US citizens:

Ahead of a major speech on counterterrorism policies tomorrow, the administration of President Barack Obama has officially declassified information related to drone strikes against four American citizens and also acknowledged for the first time that they were killed by the United States.

A letter sent to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee by Attorney General Eric Holder reads, “The President has directed me to disclose certain information that until now has been properly classified. You and other members of your Committee have on numerous occasions expressed a particular interest in the Administration’s use of lethal force against US citizens. In light of this fact, I am writing to disclose to you certain information about the number of US citizens who have been killed by US counterterrorism operations outside of areas of active hostilities.”

“Since 2009,” the letter continues, “the United States, in the conduct of US counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and its associated forces outside of areas of active hostilities, has specifically targeted and killed one US citizens, Anwar al-Aulaqi. The United States is further aware of three other US citizens who have been killed in such US counterterrorism operations over that same time period: Samir Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Kenan Mohammed. These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States.”

Later today, president Obama’s “major speech” will be delivered. Consider this post an open thread.

  1. Big Swede

    Brace for it.

    Obama is closing Gitmo.

  2. JC

    Bush: “global war on terror”

    Obama: “a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America”

    Spot the difference…

  3. Dave Budge

    The short versions is “I’m going to be more selective in my extra-judicial killing of Americans and, BTW, sorry about the collateral deaths. We promise we’ll only do that when we have to.”

  4. lizard19

    Obama made a speech tonight because there is pressure building he can’t ignore. people of principle need to keep up the pressure.

    • Steve W

      That’s true Liz, but it’s also the legacy thing as well. So now’s the time to exert even more pressure.

      Of course, there will be an opposite reaction from the national security state.

      • Pogo Possum

        “Obama made a speech tonight because there is pressure building he can’t ignore.”

        No, Lizard, Obama made the speech as a damage control tactic to shift the conversation away from illegal targeted IRS audits of the administration’s political enemies, subpoenas of news reporters phone records and Benghazi.

        With journalists and average citizens lining up claiming they were unfairly audited for their polical views and/or news comments, and members of the administration taking the 5th like a bad Watergate sequel, the Gitmo and Drone attacks are much more managable issues that help pull all the Nixonian Impeachable Offenses and “what did he know and when did he know it” headlines off the front pages.

        • lizard19

          if that’s the case, and you may be right, that’s a sad sign for this country. I think it’s absolutely disgusting that killing people, including civilians and Americans, in countries we are not at war with, and holding people without charge for a decade, are perceived to be “much more manageable issues” than politically motivated IRS audits.

        • JC

          “illegal targeted IRS audits”

          Are you a special prosecutor? Or are you just playing judge and jury? Or are you just jumping up and down yelling “illegal, illegal” because it makes for nice political posturing?

          Oh, and if you want to maintain that the IRS actions were “illegal” can you cite some federal law to back up your assertion?

          • Pogo Possum

            Here you go JC. If it was illegal for Nixon then it should be illegal for Obama. Right?

            ”The Senate Judiciary Committee cited his (Nixon’s) IRS manipulations, including his pursuit of those on his “enemies list,” in the articles of impeachment accusing the president of high crimes and misdemeanors in the Watergate scandal and of actions “subversive of constitutional government.”

            Article 2,(Articles of Impeachment) Abuse of Power, said: “He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.” “


            • JC

              WaPo doesn’t agree with you. So again, you’re playing judge and jury, and amplifying the issue for political reasons.

              • Pogo Possum

                Not exactly JC. Here is what WaPo actually said to the issue of legality and illegality:

                “Did the IRS’s conduct take a step beyond mere “wrongdoing” and venture into criminal territory? In short: We don’t know yet. ”

                WaPo does argue that it may be difficult to prove that criminal conduct occured without key evidence or testimony. But the lack of a conviction does not mean a crime hasn’t taken place.

                That’s what Special Prosecutors are for, to ferret out the truth.

                So far the IRS, Treasury Department and Obama have fallen back on Nixon’s defense of “We are not crooks” and at least one official has already taken the 5th. You take the 5th .
                when you attempt to shield yourself against self incriminating evidence involving criminal activity. So at least one official believes criminal activity has occured.

          • Dave Budge

            JC, as one of my contemporaries who lived through Nixon (and likely thinks as low of him as I do) I would think that you would be more suspicious of all of this. I have no idea if anyone broke the law but there is a stench that I find impossible to deny.

            Having lived in Chicago for a long time and knowing the practices of the people with whom Obama is surrounded, my default position that the White House is a fucking rat’s nest of political corruption. I could be wrong. It seems to me, however, that they’re either corrupt or wholly incompetent. Either way someone needs to be held to account.

            • JC

              well, I have to agree here with you Dave. Corruption runs rampant, and not all of it is illegal. My point to Pogo is that he is just responding in a predictable political way. If O would appoint a special prosecutor, then we could get to the illegalities of the situation. As it is, we have republicans agreeing with dems that they don’t know if what happened was actually illegal (see the link in my reply to Popo).

              I don’t really know if Chicago has anything to do with the style of politics happening in DC right now. Again, that’s an easy generalization. As to corrupt or incompetent, both would be my guess.

              sI think most people who have read me here and elsewhere know, I have great distaste for the state of our union. It’s just that I don’t think it helps to try and polarize the reality with political pandering and whoopla.

              • Pogo Possum

                Your own link admits criminal wrong doing may have occured JC and it sounds like you are staunchly denying any criminal activity occured without all the facts on the table plus discouraging investigations into allegations of criminal violations. Sounds like you are doing your own “political pandering” and polarizing.

              • JC

                “illegal” ≠ “criminal wrong doing may have occured [sic]”.

                Again, you are playing the role of judge and jury when cry “illegal.” If O doesn’t appoint an independent special prosecutor, then he deserves all the flak he gets when Congress goes after him.

              • mike

                It’s hilarious that you pooh pooh the long history of Cook county politics… I recall Mike Royko trashing this corrupt entity 40 years ago…and he was a blue collar guy like me and a Democrat. I was a Demo then as well, now I’m just a befuddled independent who only believes the bs that comes out of these peoples mouths…oh wait, I don’t.

            • Dave Budge

              I think it’s helpful to polarize the people against the political class.

              • JC

                Then let’s lump dems with republicans and libertarians together as “the political class,” along with their funders (can you say “plutocracy”???). Again, my point to make with PoPo is that he is not targeting the political class. He is targeting dems. I hate the political class as much as anybody.

  5. Until Congress reasserts its pre-October, 2002 authority/duty to authorize war, the CIA and Pres. Obama will drone, assassinate, torture, rendition, etc. anyone, anytime with impunity. What president would cede that kind of imperial power? What president had control of the CIA?

  6. Pogo Possum

    I thought you might like this Lizard :-)

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