At the Danger Room, Spencer Ackerman writes You Can Order Hundreds of Drone Strikes and Still Be Called ‘Wet Nurse’ of Terrorism:
|To some, John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, is the bureaucratic equivalent of the angel of death. As Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, Brennan presides over the secret rules that authorize the CIA and the military to kill suspected terrorists. Yet there’s a small but vocal contingent of self-appointed counterterrorism experts who consider Brennan the “wet nurse” of Islamic extremism — despite all the terrorist deaths he’s helped authorize.
Brennan has been Obama’s single most important adviser for shaping the campaign of drone strikes and commando raids that have become the centerpiece of the president’s national security strategy. He operates the so-called “disposition matrix,” a secret list compiling intelligence on terrorism suspects and options for killing or, less often, capturing them. Brennan, a former top CIA official, is the one who brings Obama the names of specific suspects for presidential approval. He’s also acted as a de facto ambassador to Yemen, a crucial battlefield for the drone campaign.
Privately, Brennan has expressed doubts about the long-term efficacy of the drone war — even as it spreads from Pakistan to Yemen and perhaps elsewhere. But publicly, not only has Brennan defended the drone program, he’s claimed that “there hasn’t been a single collateral death” from drone strikes, which is difficult to square with what little evidence from the drone campaign is on display.
Accordingly, Brennan’s nomination is attracting criticism even before Obama announces it on Monday afternoon. Mary Ellen O’Connell, an international law expert at the University of Notre Dame, sent out a statement urging the Senate to vote against sending Brennan to the CIA on the grounds that the drone program is among “the most highly unlawful and immoral practices the United States has ever undertaken.” Council on Foreign Relations scholar Micah Zenko doesn’t explicitly oppose Brennan’s nomination, but called the claim that the drone strikes haven’t killed civilians “preposterous and in no way supported by reality.” Brennan withdrew as Obama’s choice to head the CIA once before, in 2008, when he came under criticism for alleged involvement in the CIA’s Bush-era torture efforts.
But as much as Brennan has become synonymous with the drone strikes, in some quarters, he’s considered a terrorism apologist. [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—The "Mac is Back" Tour:
|This was the question as the posted start time for the Hanover stop of John McCain's "the Mac is back" tour approached: Would McCain circa T Minus 1 outdraw Biden circa T Minus 9 Months?
McCain would be appearing in the Dartmouth College room Biden spoke in last spring, but his staff had used curtains to block off maybe one third of the room for McCain and his audience, and were frantically urging attendees to move toward the small stage that had been set up. In the end, McCain did outdraw Biden somewhat, and one of the curtains was removed. But en route to that moment, the McCain campaign revealed the stagecraft of campaign events more blatantly than I have ever seen, revealing in the process that they wanted the crowd to be uncomfortable if it would look good for the cameras. So people were forced to stand in a room that could have accommodated them in chairs, and harangued to crowd together long before the candidate arrived, and forced to listen to some of the same godawful songs more than once due to McCain's lateness. One man even took a break from urging people toward the stage and tried to lead them in call-and-response cheers. ("Who do we want for straight talk? McCain!" etc - he gave up pretty quickly.)
Despite the view of the McCain supporters standing next to me that, being a military man, he would surely be on time, McCain, wife Cindy, and the governor of Vermont were nearly 40 minutes later than his planned arrival time (as opposed to the posted start time, 15 minutes before that). Delivery of the line "without a doubt, Mac is back" fell to Governor Douglas, who then had to encourage the crowd to applaud policy items such as middle-class tax relief but found applause came easier for the hoary old "straight talker" line. Cindy McCain did the feminized relational work of apologizing for their lateness, and then McCain took the microphone. For like fifteen minutes.
We hit on a wide range of topics in today's Kagro in the Morning show. We talked gun issues and coalition politics with Greg Dworkin, then the platinum coin issue and Senate Dems on Lieberman vs. Rs on Hagel with Armando. Plus, the (supposed) coup against Boehner, the rash of New Years' "celebratory gunfire" casualties; frackers who are poisoning Pennsylvania, then dumping their sick & uninsured workers on the local hospitals, and; a recap on the "time out" on filibuster reform.