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From Chris Hayes at MSNBC:

All right, this week, a scoop, a new bit of information that caught my eye in Newsweek by reporter Daniel Cladman that suggest the White House is about to do something it has resisted for years. The President is now about to deliver a speech, probably three weeks, on drones, Guantanamo , the national agenda and legal foundation for the continued global war on terror. He writes, "In coming days, Obama plans to lay out a legal framework for the administration's evolving strategies on targeting, detention and prosecution. The delicate process of putting together such a major Presidential statement has apparently taken months and involved arduous wrangling. There is also increased domestic pressure on the President to close Guantanamo, where it has now been 100 days since 102 prisoners held there launched a hunger strike. Today, protesters demanding closure of Guantanamo submitted a petition to the White House, a former military prosecutor at Guantanamo and the person who started an on-line petition on-line.

If it's only half as good as his 'Race Speech' (a.k.a. A More Perfect Union) was during the '08 campaign, it should still be historic. Can't wait!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Has he stopped blowing people up (7+ / 0-)

    or done anything to lessen the burdens of those suffering at GITMO, or made any new policy that would lessen the tendency for those related to those being blown up and or tortured to resort to terrorism in retaliation, thereby creating a permanent "need" for the GWOT, or has he  made any attempt to protect whistleblowers that release important information regarding bad for people policy... while wrangling over this speech?
    I don't think so, but I'm open to information I may not be aware of.

    •  Now that would be awesome. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Burned, enhydra lutris, BigAlinWashSt

      I think he's already historic in blowing people up in countries we're not at war with though.

      •  I think you'd think differently if (9+ / 0-)

        you realized that it could have been you or a member of your family that died in a terrorist attack if the president had not been killing them this whole time. He's doing his duty, and he's doing it without sending troops on the ground in. Works for me.

        •  Works for me too, but I want him to cut back (7+ / 0-)

          on drone use for attacls. If anything, use them extremely sparingly when they're totally confident of no innocent casualties.

          I haven't read much about drone strikes in the last few months, so I think they may have cut back without telling anyone. Or they could be keeping them more secret.

          I want them to close Gitmo. Period. I hope he can find a means to do that.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Sat May 18, 2013 at 07:52:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The test for me is not confidence in zero (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fou, doroma, ericlewis0, Rogneid, sebastianguy99, FG

            innocent casualties. The test for me (and I believe Obama) is whether the attack is justified in terms of saving lives. How sure are we that there are bad guys there? How bad are they? What are civilian casualties expected to be? Can we wait and do this at another time? And so on. Killing innocents is an ugly business that I know Pres Obama does not enjoy. But we must remember that the result of NOT firing will sometimes be mass American casualties, and that the president has a sworn duty to protect us.

            •  If it's that particular hypothetical, that's one (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              But in the war in the Afpak border region, I don't think it's that cut and dried and I don't think they usually know just how imminent an attack is. To some degree, they're profiling from the air. To me, more precision would be more psychologically devastating to al Qaeda.
              Civilian deaths just makes more al Qaeda and makes the Taliban hate us more.

              You can't make this stuff up.

              by David54 on Sat May 18, 2013 at 08:09:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The whole "when we kill them they (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiveroftheWest, sebastianguy99

                hate us more" meme falls flat with me. I think the small number of actual terrorists that exist would be after us no matter what US policies were. Sure, stationing troops in Lebanon, supporting Israel, attacking with drones, etc. all are things that make them mad. But if we had not one troop in the Middle East and never did anything to them my sense is that we'd still be the devil to fanatics. If we can kill the worst of them with minimal loss of innocent life I'd say that is the least bad option for us (plus, pull out as many troops as possible from the region and never go back).

            •  Actually no. (0+ / 0-)

              The president has a sworn duty to protect the constitution, not us.
              The military swears to protect us.  It's not a distinction without a difference.  Two separate entities, and when the president orders the military to attack, he must do so with his sworn duty in mind.  If he orders an unconstitutional order, it is also incumbent on the military to not obey.  The constitution trumps all.  Or was supposed to.  

              Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

              by Nada Lemming on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:14:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Myth, bogus fearmongering. OMG, they (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BigAlinWashSt, joanneleon

          gonna nuke NYC! uh, huh.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sat May 18, 2013 at 09:03:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. They're just going to do what (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ericlewis0, sebastianguy99

            they usually do. Blow up train stations, airplanes, etc. That is what terrorists do. They don't paint park benches.

            •  Persons living in poverty in Pakistan who (5+ / 0-)

              are but alleged to be associated with an organization which is alleged to be affiliated with A.Q. have, afaik, not yet blown up zip shit in the US. Are you perhaps thinking of well financed german resident saudi ex-pats and that ilk?

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Sat May 18, 2013 at 10:49:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And these endless wars (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Annalize5, Burned

              and erosion of rights and a trillion dollars on Homeland Security did exactly what to prevent the latest terrorist attacks?


              We're creating more enemies and more terrorists with these policies.  We're not getting safer. We're becoming less safe with these wars. And we're sacrificing two hundred years of essential rights and we're draining the resources that are needed to have a decent quality of life.

              "Justice is a commodity"

              by joanneleon on Sat May 18, 2013 at 01:29:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  We cannot count how many terrorist (0+ / 0-)

                attacks were not done by people we have killed and operations we have disrupted. Obviously, if a drone attack prevents 3 future attacks, no one will ever be able to verify that. You know this (or certainly should). We do know that we've killed a lot of people who joined up with violent jihadist groups, and we know that those types of people eventually commit acts of mass murder. Do you think that the mentality that produced 9/11 no longer exists in the Middle East? You think that there are not people there who would like to kill you?

        •  You have no idea how I think. (0+ / 0-)

          Why are you so willing to sacrifice the constitution?  Why are you so afraid of people in the middle east?  

          I know the use of drones creating more terrorists holds no water with you but it certainly does with the Pakistan government.

          If we weren't blowing people up over there, you would have less fear of them blowing you up here.

          But carry on with your love for killing people over there.

          •  I'm not "so afraid" of Islamic terrorists. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I know that they want to kill us, and I am glad we are killing them and making their planning of attacks very difficult. Most of the time, I don't think of them at all. But it is simply ignoring fact for anyone to say that Islamic terrorism does not exist, or that if we did nothing that they would not attack. We know, for a fact, that such things exist and exist for the sole purpose of killing westerners. This is really not too complicated.

          •  You are naive aren't you? Pakistan is in on it. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sviscusi, FG

            Where do you think some of the targeting comes from? There have been reports of deals made with them where we take out someone they want dead in exchange for other considerations.

            There is nothing in the Constitution forbidding self defense. I see no nobility in either hyping the threat or terrorism as some do, or denying it as too many on the Left do.

            The idea that these people,who abuse women as a matter of faith, are somehow just good guys pushed to suicide bombing/chopping off heads by extraneous forces is an insult to reality.

            Drones are weapons. We could easily kill innocent people using any other weapon in our arsenal. Downing the drone fleet, which the MIC isn't going to let happen, is no guarantee of saving lives or abuses of the Constitution.

            The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

            by sebastianguy99 on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:07:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  well he's at least more transparent about it. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, SpecialKinFlag

        only because we know he does it by his own words.
        I'm not sure of the actual counts by this or any other less transparent admin.

      •  Did you skip history class? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueyedace2, jan4insight

        The US has been blowing people up in countries we are not warring against pretty much non-stop since the Spanish=American War of 1898.

        Philippine Insurrection between that war and WW1.

        Boxer Rebellion in China in 1903.

        Pancho Villa in Mexico pre WW1

        The Bolsheviks in Russia 1918-1920

        Pretty much everywhere in South/Central America and the Caribbean between wars.

        Countless places during the Cold War.

        ---The drone actions outside the Afghanistan theater of war (which included Pakistan strikes) are actually about average or even below, in terms of "historic" comparisons to previous American Presidencies, when discussing actions taken outside war zones.

        •  yes, I read my history . . . (6+ / 0-)
          The US has been blowing people up in countries we are not warring against pretty much non-stop since the Spanish=American War of 1898.
          and progressive activists have been protesting against every one of them--rightly so. Including me, since 1983.

          Sad to see progressives justifying illegal militarism now, instead of opposing it.  Apparently "blowing people up in countries we are not warring against" is OK--even laudable--if its being done by a Democrat.  If DUBYA were still in office doing the same thing, of course, we'd be screaming and yelling and want his head on a plate.

          (sigh) Too many of us are just as brainlessly partisan as Red State.  Same bird, different feathers.

        •  I read history too and there are many villains. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tony Situ

          This idea that some on the Left advance that the world was a nice rational, peaceful  and just place before the United States messed it up is as nutty as anything the wingnuts can come up with.

          The history I have read has human beings killing each other, continuously, on every inhabited piece of land on the planet. The concepts of tribalism, imperialism and colonization predate the United States and the rise of the West. For example, do you understand the difference between Sunnis and Shites? If you are reading history, then you should know the relevance of differences to conflict in that part of the world.

          So while that list of yours is true, it is insufficient by any historical measure.

          The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

          by sebastianguy99 on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:21:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Wrangling (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Annalize5, Burned


      Why is it so arduous to just go out there and tell the truth?

      Sounds to me like it's going to be a lot of spin.

      And this president has shown us, time and time again, that his speeches mean basically nothing.   What you have to listen to with this president is what he does.

      What he needs to do is to release the rest of the legal justification information for his global war wherever he feels like waging war, and ditch this idea that the AUMF gives him the right to wage endless war all over the planet, which is what his military officials just told a Senate committee yesterday.  The war on terror is over.  Instead of overthrowing governments for oil and other resources, for war profiteers, it's time to do nation building at home.

      I find it a bit odd that he chose to announce this speech at the end of this week too.  Has this speech really been in the works for months or did this White House decide that despite their talking points about how the scandals are a whole lot of nothing, they feel like they have to get out there with a big speech to do damage control?

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Sat May 18, 2013 at 01:27:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It'd certainly be great if (19+ / 0-)

    President Obama finally delivered some transparency on targeted killing and outlined a framework that brings it into line with U.S and international law (unlikely but great) but on Gitmo, we really don't need another speech, least of all one we have to wait three weeks for. 100+ are hunger striking, the government is food-boarding 30 of them, and President Obama has all the legal authority he needs right now to begin transferring the 86 prisoners who've been cleared for release.

    After he resolves the immediate crisis, he should then proceed to shut down the prison. It can be done: all it takes is political will, including the will to reject indefinite detention w/o trial.

  •  Depnding upon what he says, (15+ / 0-)

    it could help or hurt, given the poutrage in Congress over other things. I'll be looking forward to it, ericle, and thanks for the diary. See you in the nuz.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Sat May 18, 2013 at 06:36:53 AM PDT

  •  It all depends on the content. (11+ / 0-)

    If he's making a perfectly eloquent speech defending the status quo, I won't be the least bit excited about it.

    If he's using his considerable speaking skills to lay out an irrefutable case for closing Guantanamo, such that even republicans can't push back without looking like the hacks they are, then I'll rejoice (though I'd wish it had happened years sooner).

  •  These are difficult issues, but at least (11+ / 0-)

    we have a man in charge who knows the difference between right and wrong. We may be fine with our policies as long as Obama is in office, but what about the next president, or the one after that? It is critical that Obama set down a long-term US policy around drones and antiterrorism so that future presidents will (hopefully) not depart too far from his example. Perhaps this speech will be part of that effort.

  •  so he's gonna continue to defend the neocon agenda (4+ / 0-)

    National security blah blah blah protect our citizens blah blah blah fight them over there blah blah blah we're at war war war blah blah blah if the President orders it it isn't illegal blah blah blah.


    Heard it all before. Didn't really want to hear it again.  Especially from a goddamn Democrat.

  •  hopefully he makes it short, sweet and right ... (3+ / 0-)

    ... sigh, I can't even eat popcorn while listening, so much makes the whole stuff my stomach turn upside down.

  •  Sounds like this will be a major policy speech-- (5+ / 0-)

    If it's taken months, that means that many many lawyers have been involved.  Let's hope the right lawyers.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat May 18, 2013 at 08:47:37 AM PDT

  •  "OK guys, how do we get around constitution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, Lady Libertine

    and almost all my campaign promises on civil liberties and human rights?"

    Months indeed.

    •  Maybe he will talk about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine

      his Post-Constitution policies.  It will be known as the Post-Constitution Speech.

      Or how we need a new AUMF that gives him even more authority to kill Americans and wage war, assassinating people all over the globe.

      And wrap it up by blaming Congress for not being able to release prisoners from Gitmo who have been cleared for release but have no release in sight (even though the ACLU and others have laid out a clear path for things he can do without Congress).    On that note, I hope this speech does include an announcement that he has decided to take up some of those measures (assuming the prisoners are still alive in three weeks).

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Sat May 18, 2013 at 01:36:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   Speaking of drones: (0+ / 0-)

    I hope you take the opportunity to see this:

    May 17, 2013

    House Committee Judiciary | Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations

    1 hour, 20 minutes  

    Domestic Use of Drones

    I can't imagine living in a world in which the local police department could surveil at will, for god knows what reason, its citizens.

    In watching this panel of drone "experts" it made my blood run cold. It was more than obvious to me we have entered new territory with this one.  :(

    From the Electric Frontier Foundation

    Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

    The Fourth Amendment only protects you against searches that violate your reasonable expectation of privacy. A reasonable expectation of privacy exists if 1) you actually expect privacy, and 2) your expectation is one that society as a whole would think is legitimate.

    This rule comes from a decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1967, Katz v. United States, holding that when a person enters a telephone booth, shuts the door, and makes a call, the government can not record what that person says on the phone without a warrant. Even though the recording device was stuck to the outside of the phone booth glass and did not physically invade Katz’s private space, the Supreme Court decided that when Katz shut the phone booth’s door, he justifiably expected that no one would hear his conversation, and that it was this expectation — rather than the inside of the phone booth itself — that was protected from government intrusion by the Fourth Amendment. This idea is generally phrased as "the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places."]

    that's just the first paragraph.
  •  Just heard talk last night on Gitmo, someone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, ericlewis0

    saying on Maddow I think, that Yemen was getting ready to accept some of the prisoners. Apparently the new "president" there is not popular and is seeking to make friends by doing Obama a "favor." Previously they would not take them back.

    So it made me think it does look as if the president is getting nearer that goal of closing the place. I sure hope so.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:56:22 PM PDT

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