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Like the Justice Department memo authorizing the assassination of American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki without due process, the Obama administration's "drone rule book" is so secret that the government can neither confirm or deny its existence, except on the front page of the New York Times.

Scott Shane's recent report on the drone program confirms the "drone first, come up with the justification later" approach the Obama administration takes toward drones, reveals the rush to write down the amorphous rules for who gets droned and when, and demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of refusing to confirm or deny a program that administration officials are comfortable discussing with the New York Times
.

The drone program is so secret that:

The draft rule book for drone strikes that has been passed among agencies over the last several months is so highly classified, officials said, that it is hand-carried from office to office rather than sent by e-mail.
(an admission in and of itself about how, even pre-Petraeusgate, highly-placed government officials knew their e-mails were vulnerable.) Yet, the vast majority of the quotes in the New York Times are from "administration officials" or "officials involved in the discussions" who have to give their "authorized leaks" about the hand-delivered secret rulebook on the condition of anonymity because:
Despite public remarks by Mr. Obama and his aides on the legal basis for targeted killing, the program remains officially classified. In court, fighting lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times seeking secret legal opinions on targeted killings, the government has refused even to acknowledge the existence of the drone program in Pakistan.

Putting aside the glaring hubris of rushing to write down rules once it is possible someone else will wield the power of being judge, jury, and executioner in the morally-suspect, ethically-fraught business of droning even your own citizens, it is worth remembering that Congress - not the executive - usually writes the rules (otherwise known as laws), so that the rules will involve public input, and better yet, accountability.

It is almost a tacit admission that the Obama administration has been operating the drone program without a legal framework that any President - current or future - could follow. So until the secret-but-selectively-leaked "rule book" is complete, the status quo for THIS President is unregulated, unaccountable, secret and unilateral authority to pick people off using drones. In other words, a sort of "until, I reign myself in, I can do whatever the f**k I want" approach.

And, by the way, as noble as it sounds for Obama to do future presidents the courtesy of creating a rule book for drones, the next president could simply in secret and unilaterally change the rule book to whatever he or she wants. A fact Obama knows well. (See the secret interpretation of PATRIOT Act Section 215).

However, instead of allowing real public input and debate on a program that has resulted in the deaths of at least two American citizens, one innocent American teenager, and an ever-changing but likely unacceptably high number of innocent civilians, the Executive branch has chosen to selectively inform the public when it is most advantageous.

The super-secret but front-page news drone program is in desperate need of whistleblower. But, considering the government's draconian crackdown on whistleblowers using the Espionage Act and Congress' refusal to protect intelligence community whistleblowers in recent legislation, such a whistleblower is unlikely to come forward.

Thus, the public is left relying on "anonymous administration officials," who are no doubt only telling the parts of the story that won't land them in the unemployment line, or worse, on trial for Espionage.

And this from an administration "committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, if the DoJ is writing memos justifying (29+ / 0-)

    new and ongoing war crimes, that definitely explains why they can't find time to prosecute past war crimes . . ..

    Or maybe Mr. Holder is just angling for a faculty position at Berkeley when his current gig is up.

  •  Not a fan of the ACLU..... (0+ / 0-)

    ....but the administration really should have rules and procedures about these things  -- even if they're kept within the intelligence community.

    That's a stunning lapse.

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:08:47 AM PST

  •  We have strategic bombers. (4+ / 0-)

    But you're worried about drones?

    •  Drones are much more (11+ / 0-)

      terrifying and consequential.  They can hover in the air 24/7, and are much more nimble.  They are a cruel and insidious class of weaponry that has much more potential for very bad things than we are even seeing today.

      These weapons need to be tightly and transparently regulated.  Not a joke.

      "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

      by La Gitane on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:54:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (4+ / 0-)

        The US has maintained 24 aerial dominance for decades.  Drones certainly reduce the cost of such activity, but it's a cost that Americans have born throughout the Cold War.

      •  'terrifying" is the key word and if that doesn't (0+ / 0-)

        qualify as an act of terrorism I don't know what does, especially when you hear about the lives of people living under that threat day and night.
         Kids afraid of loud sounds, people afraid of being near any groups no matter what their purpose is, community meeting, marriage, funeral...anything can get them blown to bits. What can they do when they get outraged by family and/or friends being killed by strangers in the USA?
         How do they get here to enact revenge, inter-continental camel ? toyota land cruiser ?
        Of course they would need financing from terrorists organizations to pull any stunt and just why would they even listen to them?
         Oh yeah, the dead and the ongoing terror.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:30:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Strategic bombers require pilots and (11+ / 0-)

      place the operators at risk - albeit minimal.  The drones are operated by non-uniformed personnel who do not enjoy the privileges of uniformed combatants and may be liable for prosecution for war crimes as a result.

      Further, no one would dispute that flying a B-52 over and dropping a trainload of bombs is an act of war . . . drones allow some wiggle room both for our government and the governments of the countries that permit us (however reluctantly) to bomb their own civilian populations

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by bobdevo on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:59:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  one can only be worried (12+ / 0-)

      by one at a time?

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:48:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Strategic bomber pilots (5+ / 0-)

      are not sitting in an air conditioned room in Nevada and they don't drive home to have dinner with their family when their killing shift is over.


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:34:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  The sterilization of war (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon, aliasalias, CIndyCasella

          "Star Trek"- A Taste of Armageddon

          http://youtu.be/...

          I'm finding your cold, calculating position truly distasteful.

          When the consequences of war are moot, then war is all we will have.

          Recall Bush wouldn't allow pictures of our dead veterans to be taken or even shown???

          Why was that again?

          To control and lessen public opinion on his illegal aggressions.  

          War Made Easy:

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:05:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The consequences of war are moot? (0+ / 0-)

            Tell that to the poor bastards on the other side of the use of force, or a squad in the field under fire.  UCAVs don't magically elevate airpower to a decisive degree over other elements of combined arms.  They're simply a new way of doing what has historically been one of the least risky jobs in war.

            •  That obvious to all of us here... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joanneleon, CIndyCasella

              A point you seemingly chose to ignore, belittle and never address.

              "Least risky" has become, NO RISK.

              That isn't war, it's annihilation at the end of a joystick.  

              -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

              by gerrilea on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 01:23:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ops, should say, "that WAS obvious"...etc...n/t (0+ / 0-)

                -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                by gerrilea on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 01:24:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The risk has been declining for decades. (0+ / 0-)

                To the point where the US suffered only 24 fixed wing losses over the course of eight years.  We've come to the point where accidents are more of a danger to pilot than hostile action, but more importantly the US did not hesitate to employ airpower for eight years during a little side show call Vietnam, when loss rates were order of magnitude higher.

              •  It's irrelevant to the question at hand. (0+ / 0-)

                The issue is whether or not drones are some sort of especially pernicious development in the history of warfare.  They're not.  You can argue that modern war itself is more pernicious.  I'd disagree, and point to the extraordinary carnage sixty years ago and ask if anyone wants to go back to that.  But that's a different discussion entirely.  And I don't think peace activism requires a theory that prefers the men and women we send to war to endanger themselves unnecessarily.

                •  Again, it isn't war, it's annihilation at the end (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  aliasalias, CIndyCasella

                  of a joy stick.

                  Include in said is what has become a mercenary force  called the CIA that can be utilized by any president without a declaration of war.

                  Did you forget that part?

                  -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                  by gerrilea on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:04:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  As opposed to the regular forces? (0+ / 0-)

                    They're deployed all the time without declarations of war, authorizations to use force, etc.

                    "Annihilation at the end of a joy stick" is an unwieldy turn of phrase.  I'll continue to use "war" if you don't mind.

                    •  Then I get to use the term war crimes (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      aliasalias, CIndyCasella

                      and crimes against humanity and point you to the LOAC:

                      http://usmilitary.about.com/...

                      Clearly we've violated all three principles, constituting war crimes & crimes against humanity.  And we don't get to "redefine" the terms to suit us, unless the Constitution is null & void.

                      I'm still searching that damn piece of paper, I can't seem to find where the POTUS gets to declare war or his private mercenary forces in the CIA can invade and attack another country...

                      Could you show me?

                      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                      by gerrilea on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:49:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Good question. (0+ / 0-)

                        50 USC § 413b.

                        There may come a day when LOAC is interpreted to render illegal what is widely viewed as lawful today, but I imagine that would happen after international law gets around to condemning the conduct of the Allies during World War II.  

                        •  It's lawful to target and kill innocent civilians (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          aliasalias, CIndyCasella

                          then posthumously declare the victims terrorists?

                          We did this during WWII?

                          Funny, the code you provided shows it went into effect in 2011,

                          Of the 300+ drone attacks since 2003, and 298 of them occurring since 2009, isn't it a bit late to "codify" these unconstitutional actions?

                          This sounds just like the retroactive immunity given to the Telecoms.

                          Who "widely views" these things as lawful?

                          Please don't claim Holder, he's the one who claimed "due process" was whatever the government wants it to mean:

                          http://www.motherjones.com/...

                          "'Due process' and 'judicial process' are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security." Holder said. "The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process."

                          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                          by gerrilea on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:47:55 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't accept your characterization. (0+ / 0-)

                            And I'm not interested in a hypothetical.  You have a view that certain unprosecuted acts amount to war crimes.  The relevant convening authorities and criminal investigators tasked disagree.  That's who "widely" disagree with you.

                            You asked for the law authorizing the President to employ NSC special activities.  That's the law.  I'm not sure why you think it went into effect in 2011; the language explicitly describing the President's authority to employ covert action dates back to 1991.

                          •  These are not hypotheticals, they are occurring (0+ / 0-)

                            as we speak.

                            You see, I do know that "laws" are only enforced when it suits some agenda, not because it's the law.  Who stands in judgment when the State fails to do it's sworn duty in this case?

                            We know that in the Trayvon Martin case, the Fed's stepped in when the State failed to prosecute.

                            Who does this with the Federal Gov't?  So, your position is demonstrably incorrect here.

                            The powers granted to the POTUS cannot violate International Treaties we've signed on to.  The quoted section of Code you gave me doesn't grant him or his operatives immunity from prosecution for war crimes, period.

                            See Nuremberg Trials please. They've escaped prosecution because we still have the most powerful military on the planet.  When that changes, and sadly, history proves these types of institutions cannot last forever, when it crumbles, they can be held accountable for the actions today.

                            Then tell me those men & women that have been mislead  and lied into doing "a job" is legitimate.

                            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                            by gerrilea on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:56:52 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

  •  Badges? They don' need no stinkin' badges... (12+ / 0-)

    and they don' need no stinkin' Rules . . .

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:54:34 AM PST

  •  Ahem... Terrorist, terrorist, terrorist! (10+ / 0-)

    Say the magic words and get out of jail free!  An equal opportunity word that works no matter who you are, or why you're bombing/arresting without due process.

    /snark

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

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:59:07 AM PST

  •  Sounds a lot like Calvin ball (10+ / 0-)
    And, by the way, as noble as it sounds for Obama to do future presidents the courtesy of creating a rule book for drones, the next president could simply in secret and unilaterally change the rule book to whatever he or she wants.

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:00:12 AM PST

  •  There is no justification (7+ / 0-)

    It could be argued there is justification in declared wars, it could also be argued otoh that that also is a war crime, but there is no possible legal basis for drone use in countries with which the US is not at war with.

    In fact, the only way to describe assassinations without even a kangaroo trial in absentia (or some such marginal / farcical justification) legally would be pre meditated murder.   Illegal under both US and International law, obviously.

    It's no different legally from a school shooter, or postal worker that goes on a well planned killing spree, and no matter how many memos they write or don't write, it will always be just the same as that, until some law is passed first in the US congress and second internationally, and third, in whatever country is the target du jour.

    The first of those could well happen, though the fact that they haven't even tried, means it's not damn likely, but never the last two.

    •  The monopoly of legitimate violence (0+ / 0-)

      that the state enjoys is made lawless by extrajudicial killings.

      I know He Got Osama. Not even a sham of a trial.

      I wish the president well in his endeavors. This may be the toughest of the lot to clean up - if there is a will . . .

      Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

      by semiot on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:33:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Q: How do you tell militants from civilians (10+ / 0-)

    in a drone strike?

    A: The militants are the ones who got killed.

    •  That, in fact, is one of the justifications (5+ / 0-)

      given by this administration.  Every male over a certain age is "assumed" to be a terrorist, from a comfy swivel chair in a room thousands of miles away, being watched on a computer screen.  

      It's absurd, but that's what they have claimed.  The wedding parties with women and children are harder (for them) to defend, so they'll just say it didn't happen.  Until official forces show up on the scene and see all the death and destruction.

      "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 Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:50:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Al-Awlaki is a bad poster child for drone venality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    artmartin

    I don't think his killing helps your argument. A couple Awlaki quotes:

    ... I eventually came to the conclusion that jihad against America is binding upon myself, just as it is binding on every other able Muslim.
    Nidal Hasan is a hero.
    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:30:44 AM PST

    •  it's the worst (14+ / 0-)

      that make the best examples, for the principle. just as it was easy to be outraged at the execution of troy davis, but on the principle of opposition to capital punishment we also had to be outraged at the execution of lawrence russell brewer. al-awlaki deserved full due process, not because of who he was but because of who we should be.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:46:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        semiot, aliasalias

        Try as I might to be a good pwog, I just keep getting hung up on that whole "due process" thing, even in the face of terribly damning quotes in the infallible New York Times. I have tried mightily to trim my constitutional ideals to fit this year's or this administration's fashion, but I have failed time and again.

        At this point, I must concede that it's a character flaw, as so many otherwise canny and decent people clearly have no problem whatsoever with the random remote control extermination of persons around the globe.

        I quietly await my turn in the barrel, when enough of the right people decide that I am an enemy of the state with no right to trial or counsel, opportunity to confront the witnesses or evidence against me, or regular rules of criminal procedure. Let freedom reign!

        •  There needs to be transparency and accountability (0+ / 0-)

          in the use of drones (just as in trials of alleged terrorists) and law enforcement is preferable to assassination, but I would be willing to make an exception for those cases where that is not possible. Such as in a lawless no-man's land, where the nominal authorities are either unwilling or unable to exercise their authority. Again, only if there is oversight. The current situation is unacceptable.

          I have also been assuming that drones are more precise and inflict fewer civilian casualties than the alternative, but I'm beginning to wonder about this as well.

    •  So you think American citizens should be killed (8+ / 0-)

      for what they say, ericlewis0?

      Good to know you are a strong free speech advocate.

      Okay, but the guy was a propagandist, and was probably guilty of something. Not that he should have been killed for it, but some sort of trial and punishment were in order. So, he is bad example, you say, doesn't tug at your heart strings. Understood.

      How about his kid killed in a separate targeted attack? How about that for venality? Good old USA in the kid killing business?

      If I figure right, the teenager's death doesn't move you either. Because after all, if the president orders their death - they must be bad. Even the collateral damage at funerals and the "double tap" victims who may have been rendering aid to those recently blown up.

      And you realize the next president will have the same powers? And they might be a right-winger, even farther to the right than our current president, I mean.

      As far as efficacy, drones are creating new enemies faster than they can killed. There is no reason to support their use unless you just want to cheer a new way to kill people.

    •  Due Process (9+ / 0-)

      Whether or not Al-Awlaki committed a crime - much less a crime deserving a sentence of execution - is something that should have been decided by a jury of his peers, or so says the Constitution.  

      Demanding due process is not an endorsement of hateful speech.  

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:05:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I read things every bit as vile (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea, CIndyCasella, aliasalias

      on teaheader web sites. Kill them? And their families? And anyone who may just randomly be walking by their house?



      Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. Rosa Luxemburg

      by chuckvw on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:08:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  so that made him an 'imminent threat'? did those (0+ / 0-)

      statements pose any danger to the USA, and what about when his father went to the courts (with the help of the ACLU) to ask what charges America had against his "loud mouth son", only to hear there were none that he could know about.
      This is killing someone in a foreign country for speech, and someone that has no means of endangering Americans other than providing examples of why people have a damn good reason to want to harm the USA.

      Also what about his (American) 16 year old son that was blown to bits weeks later, what was his crime? Was Robert Gibbs right that he just had the wrong kind of father?

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:06:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  even if the administration did have a "rule book", (9+ / 0-)

    it wouldn't make the program any less illegal.

    They don't get to write the rules; Congress does; and even then, there's that Constitutional requirement for due process, which they must all obey. You can't zap people without giving them a trial.

    Except our exalted elected representatives have completely abdicated their responsibility to exercise control and oversight of the executive branch.

    The Constitutional proviso that only Congress has the power to declare war is obsolete. These days, the president has so many warmaking instruments at his sole command that he can unleash at the drop of a hat. Cyberwar, drone war, infowar, etc.

    The president can move with lightning speed and Congress is left in the dust. And they don't even bother to do post-mortem investigations into what the president did.

    There is zip, zero, zilch stopping Obama from waking up tomorrow, suddenly deciding that everyone in Cincinnati, Ohio is a terrorist, and dealing with them the same way he's dealing with "terrorists" in Yemen.

    Not that I expect this to happen--my point is just that nothing but the whims of one man prevent it from happening. That is rule of men, not of laws, and America was founded precisely as a bulwark against that happening.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:43:42 AM PST

  •  Pink Mist (7+ / 0-)

    Coming to a school, soccer field, mall, protest near you.  

    Fuck drones.  

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:58:27 AM PST

  •  Drone victims based on faulty bounty hunter intel. (9+ / 0-)

    Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve:

    Just as with Guantánamo Bay, the CIA is paying bounties to those who will identify "terrorists". Five thousand dollars is an enormous sum for a Waziri informant, translating to perhaps £250,000 in London terms. The informant has a calculation to make: is it safer to place a GPS tag on the car of a truly dangerous terrorist, or to call down death on a Nobody (with the beginnings of a beard), reporting that he is a militant? Too many "militants" are just young men with stubble. At least 174 have been children.

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by CIndyCasella on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:21:44 AM PST

  •  Obama himself asked for the drone rules (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot

    From the NYT...

    WASHINGTON — Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.

    -cut-

    Though publicly the administration presents a united front on the use of drones, behind the scenes there is longstanding tension. The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes; Justice Department and State Department officials, and the president’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, have argued for restraint, officials involved in the discussions say.

    -cut-

     The attempt to write a formal rule book for targeted killing began last summer after news reports on the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, revealed some details of the president’s role in the shifting procedures for compiling “kill lists” and approving strikes. Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized, a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency.

    “There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.

    cont...

    I think it's very positive that these rules are being codified, since it's hard in general to support more than a very limited and transparent use of drones. Since they've been in use since 2002, developed during the Bush years, one can only wonder what's happened with it then. Horrifying. I respect that the President wouldn't want the drone program to fall into other, more hawkish hands. To me, it sounds like this is his idea, to have more drone rules on the books.

    "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

    by mahakali overdrive on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:34:56 AM PST

    •  As for future Presidents changing the rules (0+ / 0-)

      How does anyone get around that?

      Honest question because I don't know the answer here.

      Is the point of an election not, in part, saying "I trust you to represent me, including to protect me"?

      I think that's why it was so hard to swallow the stuff Bush did; total frustration that there was no way to get around what he was doing.

      The UN checking in is a good step, I feel. Otherwise, have the rules not always been changed and is this not the very nature of war itself? I'm entirely anti-war. But if having to be strategic and the CIC, each one is subject essentially to their own laws, aren't they, without violating international laws?

      So I don't see how it's different here whatsoever. And I say this as someone definitely not in favor of drones.

      "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

      by mahakali overdrive on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:47:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know how Drones could land in more (0+ / 0-)

      "hawkish hands" than those of Obama,where there have been records set one year after another and it has been 'horrifying" for victims of over 300 strikes and over 2,500 deaths under Obama.
      I don't know of Bush ordering strikes on weddings, funerals, and on first responders but that has been method of operation for the Obama administration (from the CIA report).

      The result is that, for so many, it is genuinely inconceivable that a leader as noble, kind and wise as Barack Obama would abuse his assassination and detention powers. It isn't just rank partisan opportunism or privilege that leads them not to object to Obama's embrace of these radical powers and the dangerous theories that shield those powers from checks or scrutiny. It's that they sincerely admire him as a leader and a man so much that they believe in their heart (like Obama himself obviously believes) that due process, checks and transparency are not necessary when he wields these powers. Unlike when a GOP villain is empowered, Obama's Goodness and his wisdom are the only safeguards we need.

      Thus, when Obama orders someone killed, no due process is necessary and we don't need to see any evidence of their guilt; we can (and do) just assume that the targeted person is a Terrorist and deserves death because Obama has decreed this to be so. When Obama orders a person to remain indefinitely in a cage without any charges or any opportunity to contest the validity of the imprisonment, that's unobjectionable because the person must be a Terrorist or otherwise dangerous - or else Obama wouldn't order him imprisoned. We don't need proof, or disclosed evidence, or due process to determine the validity of these accusations; that it is Obama making these decisions is all the assurance we need because we trust him.
      Similar sentiments shaping the Bush era

      This mindset is so recognizable because it is also what drove Bush followers for years as they defended his seizures of unchecked authority and secrecy powers. Those who spent years arguing against the Bush/Cheney seizure of extremist powers always confronted this mentality at bottom, once the pseudo-intellectual justifications were debunked: George Bush is a Good man and a noble leader who can be trusted to exercise these powers in secret and with no checks, because he only wants to keep us safe and will only target the Terrorists.

      (emphasis mine)http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:32:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  +4/Rec'd for "Droned" -- new verb. /nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:35:30 AM PST

  •  unprecedented... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea, semiot

    "an unprecedented level of openness in Government."

    Funny how that word can be interpreted in many ways.

    Nothing about the word means 'more' or 'less' or 'none'.

    But we see the reality.


    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

    by No one gets out alive on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:29:37 AM PST

  •  looking for the evidence to back up the title (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot

    which certainly implies that the New York Times got it wrong, by claiming that the supposed secret rule book that the Times reported on does not "exist."

    But there is no evidence at all in this diary that backs up the title, and in fact, your diary is about something else altogether then whether the rule book exists or not.

    As far as this: "the Obama administration's "drone rule book" is so secret that the government can neither confirm or deny its existence"

    There is nothing in the NY Times story about that. What is in the story is that the drone program in Pakistan ITSELF is "so secret the administration will neither confirm nor deny."

    The NY Times did not attempt to get a confirmation or denial about the "drone rule book," at least such is not reported in this story.

    There is also nothing in the New York Times story about "authorized leaks" -- despite your use of that term in quotes, which certainly gives your readers the impression the NY Times reported that the leakers were "authorized."

    Instead the story cites "two administration officials" as sources, and specifically quotes only one official, who it identifies as "speaking on condition of anonymity."

    Four other people, including Obama, were quoted in the NY Times story.  so, in fact, despite your claim, the "vast majority of quotes" in this story are from identified sources.

    I expect there's plenty more "slips 'tween the cup and lip" as far as reporting the facts in the NY Times story, but I'll stop there.

    I know you don't care much about details, that your feelings about how things must be are more important to you than facts, but I hope Daily Kos readers take the time to read the story itself, instead of just this flawed and emotional (and careless) intepretation of it. It's an interesting story.

    •  The title is a reference to the Obama (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, allenjo, Garrett, aliasalias

      administrations "Glomar" responses to FOIA requests about the drone program: that the government "cannot confirm or deny the existence of the program" but is willing to tell the New York Times about it.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:25:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  but is willing to tell the New York Times about it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias

        Shouldn't we bring as citizens a charge against those who told the NY Times under the Espionage Act?

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

        by allenjo on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:54:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So what about drone execution policy? (0+ / 0-)

      Process is important. I see in this diary that there is little to speak for it. I see little more in the NYT story.

      When are we going to move beyond what looks like willy nilly? Working on it. How about suspending it until it can be conducted constitutionally?

      He Got Osama. How far are we willing to stretch that predicate?

      Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

      by semiot on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:51:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "authorized leak" = (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea, semiot, aliasalias

    "according to two administration officials."

    The rule book doesn't exist, there was only an"attempt" at creating one:

    The attempt to write a formal rule book for targeted killing began last summer after news reports on the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, revealed some details of the president’s role in the shifting procedures for compiling “kill lists” and approving strikes. Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized, a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency.
    I usually get emotional when I see photos of children killed,especially by drone strikes, is it just me?

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:19:14 AM PST

  •  This story epitomizes for me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena, aliasalias

    the cynicism of the current administration, in which the main concern is pretending for the next administration that there has been a rule of law under this one - so that the next one can better be criticized.

    Play chess for the Kossacks on Chess.com. Join the site, then the group at http://www.chess.com/groups/view/kossacks.

    by rhutcheson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:12:49 PM PST

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