But the most disturbing aspect of the latest NYT insider’s account of the war on terrorism, no doubt timed to shore up Candidate Obama’s national-security credentials for his re-election campaign, is the selection process for drone targets. Apparently President Obama personally selects the targets and approves each operation. This is both an incredible misuse of presidential time and a serious distortion of proper war management. Does no one remember the problems created when Lyndon Johnson took a similar hand in the Vietnam war? First, this president has no military background or expertise that would make him particularly good at this, meaning that he is likely to make errors of commission (picking the wrong targets) and omission (not hitting the right targets). Second, the Defense Department and the CIA will become excessively responsive to Obama’s agenda, which will predictably conflict with the best intelligence and military judgment. Third, a President’s micromanagement of targeting will draw his attention to tactical issues and away from the more important strategic issues — which is unintentionally revealed several times in the Times piece.
Lastly, if President Obama is picking targets, and has no military background or experience, one is left to ask what criteria the president does use. The laughable answer given in the Times piece is that Obama is a student of Aquinas and Augustine and Catholic just-war theory. I hate to say it, but I wonder whether this was proffered because of the Obama administration’s terrible relations with Catholics right now, because I saw no signs in the article that Obama is in the least bit familiar with Catholic just-war theory, and his background of teaching and practicing civil-rights and constitutional law in Chicago would never have exposed him to it. As someone who has spent some time reading, thinking, and even (right now) writing about Catholic just-war theory, it could actually lead to a much broader use of drones than Obama contemplates (which is the opposite of the article’s thrust) or it is just irrelevant to the modern just-war theory. But in either case, the idea that Obama is applying Catholic just-war theory to pick out drone targets is simply not believable or deeply mistaken.
I’m not as concerned as Yoo because I know that Obama doesn’t pick the drone targets any more than he personally killed bin Laden.
Obama only takes credit for the selection of drone targets.
Craven politicians that are driven by political optics always make sure that they have a back door. Plausible deniability is fundamental to modern political calculation.
The real Obama was revealed by Michael Mukasey in this Daily Caller report on his interview with Sean Hannity:
Former U.S. Attorney Michael Mukasey told Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity on Friday night that the Navy SEAL mission to kill Osama bin Laden was preceded by “a highly lawyered memo” from CIA Director Leon Panetta — one designed to insulate President Barack Obama if the operation failed.
As Mukasey first suggested in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, the Panetta memo appeared calculated to shift any future blame to Naval Special Operations Commander Adm. Bill McRaven.
“The president had a fallback if this didn’t work out,” Hannity said Friday. “He had a ‘CYA’ [Cover Your Ass].”
“There was a memo from Leon Panetta that described the authority that was given to McCraven,” Mukasey explained. “And it was to proceed according to the risks, only according to the risks that had been outlined to the president. And if he encountered anything else, he had to check back. And you better believe that if anything else had been encountered and the mission had failed, then the blame would have fallen on McCraven. That’s what that’s about.”
In a further example of Obama’s fecklessness, the gutless boy-king has left an ally in Pakistan to rot in prison:
A Pakistani doctor accused of helping the CIA track down Osama bin Laden was sentenced Wednesday to 33 years in prison for treason, officials told CNN.
Shakeel Afridi was also fined $3,500 for spying for the United States, said Nasir Khan, a Khyber Agency official, and Fazal Mehmood, an official from the tribal court that handed down the sentence.
The court heard the case against Afridi for two months. The doctor was not afforded a chance to defend himself, which is in accordance with the laws of the tribal justice system, the two officials said.
Must be more of that “smart diplomacy” we all heard about in the 2008 election. It is a miracle that we have any allies left who would still trust anything we say or do.
The Drone King leads from behind…that’s just how he rolls.
But he got bin Laden.