Archive for War on Terror

Another Thing Obama Doesn’t Know?

We’re vaporizing Pakistani grandmas—is that what President Obama means by American exceptionalism?

Nine-year-old Nabila Rehman rested her head on the table.

Nabila, a shy girl with startling hazel eyes and red streaks in her dark hair, along with her father Rafiq and 13-year-old brother Zubair, have told the story of the day when a drone fell from the sky in their village in North Waziristan so many times. By Tuesday morning the tale was rote — even if this particular retelling was before U.S. lawmakers, at a briefing which was the first opportunity for members of Congress to hear directly from Pakistani victims of American drones.

It was October 24, 2012, the day before the Islamic holy day of Eid-al-Adha in North Waziristan. Zubair, Nabila, their little sister, five-year-old Asma, and some of their cousins were all in the fields beside their house as their grandmother, 67-year-old Momina Bibi, showed them how to tell when the okra was ripe for picking.

Zubair knew the drones were circling overhead; he has known their distinctive buzzing since he was even younger — a methodical zung, zung, zung, he says.

“It’s something that even a 2-year-old would know,” he said in Pashto, speaking to Al Jazeera through a translator. “We hear the noise 24 hours a day.”

Before the missile hit, he remembers hearing two clicks, like a trigger being pulled. Suddenly, day seemed to turn to night as they were enveloped in darkness and heat. Their grandmother, Momina Bibi, was thrown 20 feet away and killed instantly.

Zubair, Nabila and the other children wounded in the attack were taken to a hospital. Zubair had shrapnel lodged in his leg — an injury that would take expensive laser surgeries to heal — while Nabila looked down to see her hand bleeding.

“I tried to bandage my hand but the blood wouldn’t stop,” she said. “The blood kept coming.”

The Rehmans traveled halfway across the world, from their remote village of Tappi, to tell their story, and to urge lawmakers to put an end to the covert CIA program of “targeted killings” in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. They also participated in an Amnesty International report about casualties of drones and a documentary by filmmaker Robert Greenwald, called Unmanned. According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 376 total strikes have taken place in Pakistan, killing up to 926 civilians, and as many as 200 children.

The Obama administration, for its part, until recently did not even acknowledge the existence of the program.

See? He probably doesn’t even know. He didn’t know bubkes about Benghazi, about the IRS, about the NSA, about EdselCare—what’s he going to know about a grandma picking okra with her grandkids?

Ultimately, only five members of Congress arrived at the briefing to hear their testimony Tuesday morning: Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, who organized the briefing, along with Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Rush Holt, D-N.J., John Conyers, D-Mich., and Rick Nolan, D-Minn.

I’m actually kind of ashamed only five congressmen showed up, none of them Republican. Still, maybe one of the Democrats can get word to Obama, and he can find out whose ass to kick.

From another account:

“What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village,” al-Muslimi said, “one drone strike accomplished in an instant: there is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America,” adding that he has ”seen al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula use U.S. strikes to promote its agenda and try to recruit more terrorists.”

The drones are an important tool in counterterrorism, no doubt. But President Obama has a Big Problem here. Under President Bush, a rabidly ruthless press would hound him until he changed policy (see the successful surge in Iraq). This press corps is complicit—accessories before, during, and after the fact.

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Speaking Truth to Power

Just keep smiling, sweetie. You can say anything you want as long as you keep smiling.

She thought the Taliban reacted angrily to female empowerment. Hoo boy, is she in for a rude awakening:

The “Bravest Girl in the World” has stood up to President Barack Obama.

Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old shot by the Taliban for promoting girl’s education in her native Pakistan, confronted Obama at the White House on Friday about U.S. drone strikes.

In a meeting that included first lady Michelle Obama, the young activist challenged one of Obama’s premier counterterrorism strategies.

“I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism,” she said in a statement released today. “Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

Well, she’s young. She would believe that. And this:

“I want to become a prime minister of Pakistan, and I think it’s really good. Because through politics I can serve my whole county. I can be the doctor of the whole country,” she said.

She’s a wonderful, remarkable young woman. I’m glad she survived the Taliban’s bullet. (Let’s hope she’s as lucky with the impending offensive from the Democrat-media complex.) But the Taliban has many, many more bullets. Which is why I’m glad we have many, many more Hellfire missiles.

It’s sad I’m stuck in that way of thinking, but it is what it is.


He the People

Consider this a companion piece to the one below:

President Obama’s admirers—who include most of the press corps, the Nobel committee and President Obama—believe above all in the power of his oratory: A “major speech,” in Philadelphia, Tucson or Cairo, can always calm troubled political waters. Which makes the silence of this wordiest of Presidents all the more unusual and dangerous amid the political uproar over National Security Agency antiterror surveillance.

In the 11 days since the story broke, Mr. Obama has offered only one brief and elliptical defense of the NSA programs. “I welcome this debate,” he said, adding that “We’ll have a chance to talk further during the course of the next couple days.”

Mr. Obama went on to spend the next couple days avoiding the debate he said he welcomed. Between fund-raising appearances in Miami Beach and Santa Monica, he squeezed in an event welcoming the women’s professional basketball championship team to the White House, an Ed Markey for Senate rally in Boston, and a celebration for gay pride month. The core national-security obligations of the Presidency? Nada.

With Mr. Obama’s face on the surveillance milk carton, the case for data-mining and digital eavesdropping has fallen to NSA chief Keith Alexander and the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees. Meanwhile, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper continued his pattern of doing more harm than good with his line about answering congressional questions in “the most truthful or least most untruthful manner,” which helps to explain why people are skeptical of U.S. spooks.

If Mr. Obama wants to maintain public support for the U.S. antiterror architecture he inherited and has robustly used, he is going to have to publicly defend it in the context of American interests and values. Without such a defense, the political vacuum will be filled by speculation and demagoguery as it has been for nearly two weeks.

As a Senator, Mr. Obama might have joined the demagogues. Yet as President he has largely erred on the side of keeping the country safe, which confirms the truism that the world looks different from the Oval Office than from an Iowa fairground. He has bombed terrorists to death by the hundreds even as his rhetoric continues to suggest that he has saved the nation from George W. Bush’s antiterror tyranny. This contradiction between his talk and action is now undermining support for Mr. Obama’s powers.

All of this follows an unfortunate national-security pattern: Mr. Obama ramped up the Afghan campaign while undercutting the counter-insurgency strategy from the start, and he barely spoke of it again except to trumpet withdrawal. He threw in with the Europe-led Libya coalition at the last second, only to abdicate once Gadhafi fell and to the point that a U.S. Ambassador was murdered without consequence.

Last month he all but declared the war on terror wrapped up. And then last Thursday he left the explanation for his abrupt change of heart to (lightly) arm the Syrian rebels to his deputy national security adviser.

When the going gets tough, the tough go to Germany and give a speech (another one!) in front of the Brandenburg gate.

I don’t want to say that President Obama is a narcissist, but if he were any more in love with himself, he’d have to leave Michelle to be with his “soul mate”.


What if Bush Had Done This?

Oh wait, he did!

The U.S. government has obtained a top secret court order that requires Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of Americans to the National Security Agency on an “ongoing daily basis,” the UK-based Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.

The four-page order, which The Guardian published on its website, requires the communications giant to turn over “originating and terminating” telephone numbers as well as the location, time and duration of the calls. The order, published on the newspaper’s website, does not require the contents of conversations to be turned over.

CNN has so far been unable to independently verify the authenticity of the document.

If genuine, the order gives the NSA blanket access to the records of millions of Verizon customers’ domestic and foreign phone calls made between April 25, when the order was signed, and July 19, when it expires.

Verizon spokesman Edward McFadden declined to comment on the report.
According to the document published by The Guardian, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Judge Roger Vinson signed a “Secondary Order” granting an FBI request for access to the records.

“As far as we know, this order from the FISA court is the broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued: it requires no level of suspicion and applies to all Verizon subscribers anywhere in the U.S.,” the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement released shortly after the story broke.

Reacting to Wednesday’s disclosure, the American Civil Liberties Union called for an immediate end to the order and a congressional investigation into the move.

“It’s a program in which some untold number of innocent people have been put under the constant surveillance of government agents,” Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director, said.

“It is beyond Orwellian, and it provides further evidence of the extent to which basic democratic rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence agencies.”

As an AT&T subscriber, I’d like to thank Judge Vinson. Verizon customers can’t be trusted. And don’t get me started on T-Mobile and Sprint subscribers. Line ‘em all up against the wall and shoot ‘em.

Aggie and I have trouble nailing exactly which presidents Obama resembles in his demeanor and policies. But I think I can safely say it’s all of them.

He’s like Bush in continuing most of his policies—foreign and domestic—against terrorism and Islamic extremism; he’s like Clinton in Big Government, nanny-state interventionism; Bush 41 in muscling Israel to concede territory and security; Reagan… not at all; Carter in economic malaise and low morale; and Nixon in all other ways. Oh yeah, Eisenhower in his obsession with golf, and Truman in winning an election he should have lost. And Kennedy in giving grandiloquent speeches in Berlin that amount to next to nothing.

PS: And Roosevelt in wasteful government projects and packing the court.

PPS: And Herbert Hoover, naturally.

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The Obama Doctrine

Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out:

The CIA did not always know who it was targeting and killing in drone strikes in Pakistan over a 14-month period, an NBC News review of classified intelligence reports shows.

About one of every four of those killed by drones in Pakistan between Sept. 3, 2010, and Oct. 30, 2011, were classified as “other militants,” the documents detail. The “other militants” label was used when the CIA could not determine the affiliation of those killed, prompting questions about how the agency could conclude they were a threat to U.S. national security.

The uncertainty appears to arise from the use of so-called “signature” strikes to eliminate suspected terrorists — picking targets based in part on their behavior and associates. A former White House official said the U.S. sometimes executes people based on “circumstantial evidence.”

Though the Obama administration has previously said it targets al Qaeda leaders and senior Taliban officials plotting attacks against the U.S. and U.S. troops, officials are sometimes unsure of the targets’ affiliations. About half of the targets in the documents are described as al Qaeda. But in 26 of the attacks, accounting for about a quarter of the fatalities, those killed are described only as “other militants.” In four others, the dead are described as “foreign fighters.”

In some cases, U.S. officials also seem unsure how many people died. One entry says that a drone attack killed seven to 10 people, while another says that an attack killed 20 to 22.

Yet officials seem certain that however many people died, and whoever they were, none of them were non-combatants.

Because they’re, like, totally sure.

Kinda funny (if you’re weird like me) that President Obama, who believes in prosecuting terrorists and enemy combatants in the local county courthouse, executes anonymous victims based on “circumstantial evidence” and “behavior”.

And they know—just know—that the vaporized victims had it coming.

I think this is deserving of one of our rare “What If Bush Had Done This?” Award?™

PS: Remember in 2008 when candidate Obama said we should take the War on Terror to Pakistan? A promise made is a promise kept.


Same Shiite, Different Name

Boy, am I glad Aggie is away this week. Her delicate sensibilities would be horribly offended by this sort of hate speech:

The Prime Minister told MPs he would do more to tackle the “conveyor belt to radicalisation” which is poisoning the minds of young Muslims.

Mr Cameron also confirmed a Telegraph report that he is looking at finding ways to allow spies to monitor people over the internet without the need for Commons vote.

In his first Commons statement since the brutal murder in Woolwich, south London last month of Drummer Lee Rigby, Mr Cameron said it was important to learn the lessons from the attack.

He told MPs: “it is not simply enough to target and go after violent extremists after they’ve become violent. We have to drain the swamp in which they inhabit.”

This meant stopping young Muslims becoming radicalised on university campuses and preventing extremists from taking over Islamic centres. He said: “It means going through all of these elements of the conveyor belt to radicalisation and making sure we deal with them.”

Swamp? Really? Isn’t that a little insensitive?

And doesn’t it remind you of someone?

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said Wednesday that the campaign would combine military, political, intelligence and diplomatic initiatives to “drain the swamp they live in.”

Cammy gets all Rummy! Who’d a think it?

Of course, that was Afghanistan, and that was almost 12 years ago, but bully for British for catching up. A little too late for at least one British drummer boy, but let’s not be uncharitable.

Meanwhile, one of the swamp rats has a new name:

With everyone finally in place, Michael Adebolajo was shepherded into court between two security officials behind the glass-screened dock which can clearly accommodate up to perhaps a dozen defendants at any one time.

With a left arm heavily bandaged and possibly in plaster, and his right arm gripping the Koran, a supporter in the public gallery tried and eventually succeeded in making eye-contact with him, whereupon the defendant began blowing a series of kisses which he would continue to do throughout the proceedings from time to time.

He told the magistrate that he wished now to be known as Mujahid Abu Hamza and the magistrate duly addressed him by that name in all subsequent exchanges.

The charges were read that, on May 22nd 2013 he murdered Drummer Lee Rigby and that he also attempted to murder two police officers identified only as E48 and D49 and that he was in possession of a 9.4mm KNIL model 91 revolver with which he was unthreatening unlawful violence.

Abu Hamza: no accident he chose that name. Lotta swamp rats carry it.


I Miss These Guys

I don’t miss George Bush so much. I generally supported his policies, but found him too deferential to the liberal establishment.

His enforcers, however, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld—them I miss:

Donald Rumsfeld, who served as defense secretary under Bush from 2001-2006, said Obama has “blamed the Bush administration for practically everything since he took office.”

Rumsfeld said the United States has not engaged terrorism ideologically in the same way it took on Communism during the Cold War.

“I gave us a D-minus, and I’m an easy grader. I would give this administration an F, because they won’t even use the words,” said Rumsfeld.

“Until today, I haven’t heard people use the word jihad. I haven’t heard the people in the Obama administration talk about the fact that there are people that are determined to kill innocent men, women, and children that are attacking the whole concept of the nation state,” said Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld also took issue with Obama’s assertion that al Qaeda had “been gutted.”

“That just simply isn’t true. Al Qaeda is still effective. We have killed or captured any number of al Qaeda leadership, and they get replaced.

Drones were not started by the Obama administration; there were drone attacks during the Bush years as well.

“We had very few when I came into office. They were increased, and this administration has the benefit of those unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Rumsfeld.

But Rumsfeld said that it is a very tough issue, and agreed with Obama’s statement that the administration would consider options for making drone strikes more transparent, like an independent oversight board, or a special court to approve the attacks.

“Going to the Congress and discussing it with them and getting them on board for some policy – that makes sense to the American people, so that he has that kind of support. He will need it,” said Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld said there is one particular rule he would give to Obama.

“When I was a Navy pilot, the rule if you’re lost is to climb, conserve, and confess. Get some altitude. Take a deep breath, and get on the radio and say, you’re lost,” said Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld said the administration changes its tune “week after week after week, whether it’s Benghazi or whether it’s the Internal Revenue Service.”

“What you need to do is get the people in the office, sit them down, and find ground truth, because the currency a leader has is credibility,” said Rumsfeld.

President Obama has followed most of that advice. He got the people in the office, sat them down—and concocted a cover story. Benghazi happened because of a YouTube video, and the myriad abuses by the federal government happened because of a few rogue junior personnel. That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

Watching Lois Lerner take the Fifth.


Chris Stevens Could Not Be Reached For Comment

President Obama knows how to win a war: declare victory and go home.

The president addressed the law, known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), toward the end of an hour-long speech largely devoted to explaining and defending his administration’s lethal drone program. He even referenced the fact that America is at war in defending the legality of the drone strikes.

But Obama made clear that his ultimate goal is to update, and then repeal, the use of force law, saying he wants to fight terrorism without keeping the country on a “perpetual war-time footing.”

“The AUMF is now nearly twelve years old. The Afghan War is coming to an end. Core Al Qaeda is a shell of its former self,” Obama said. “Unless we discipline our thinking our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.

“So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further,” he said. “Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”

Is the Afghan War coming to an end? Not for Afghans. Is “core Al Qaeda” a “shell”? (And isn’t that an oxymoron?) Does it matter, if Islamist terrorism carries on apace anyway? I don’t live in the same world he seems to.

If he doesn’t want to use the powers at his disposal, that’s his decision. But why tie the hands of future presidents who will face challenges Obama can’t even imagine? He seems to think his authority needs to be projected into the indefinite future.

But it is on Guantanamo that the president displays his best sleight of hand (tongue):

GTMO has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law. Our allies won’t cooperate with us if they think a terrorist will end up at GTMO.

During a time of budget cuts, we spend $150 million each year to imprison 166 people — almost $1 million per prisoner. And the Department of Defense estimates that we must spend another $200 million to keep GTMO open at a time when we’re cutting investments in education and research here at home, and when the Pentagon is struggling with sequester and budget cuts.

As President, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries or imprisoning them here in the United States.

Isn’t Gitmo subject to sequester cuts? Why should these guys not have to “pay their fair share”? Most of them are on a hunger strike, anyway, so the food budget could be cut.

But it takes a Code Pink moonbat to call out the president’s hypocrisy:

And given my administration’s relentless pursuit of al Qaeda’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should have never have been opened. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Excuse me, President Obama —

THE PRESIDENT: So — let me finish, ma’am. So today, once again —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: There are 102 people on a hunger strike. These are desperate people.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m about to address it, ma’am, but you’ve got to let me speak. I’m about to address it.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You’re our Commander-In-Chief —

THE PRESIDENT: Let me address it.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: — you an close Guantanamo Bay.

THE PRESIDENT: Why don’t you let me address it, ma’am.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: There’s still prisoners —

THE PRESIDENT: Why don’t you sit down and I will tell you exactly what I’m going to do.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: That includes 57 Yemenis.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, ma’am. Thank you. (Applause.) Ma’am, thank you. You should let me finish my sentence.

I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen so we can review them on a case-by-case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: — prisoners already. Release them today.

THE PRESIDENT: Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and our military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: It needs to be —

THE PRESIDENT: Now, ma’am, let me finish. Let me finish, ma’am.

President Obama has been chief executive for 1,465 days—and just now discovers he has the powers to do what he’s been demanding be done all along? And rejects the powers that Congress granted the president to command forces against our foes in the war on terror?

I knew he was ass-backward, but this ass-backward? I guess that explains his posture.


Abdulrahman, Samir, and Jude

Has anyone here seen my old friend Anwar?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I just turned around, and he was gone:

Four American citizens have been killed in counter-terrorism drone strikes since 2009, the Obama administration acknowledged for the first time Wednesday.

Attorney General Eric Holder disclosed the previously classified information in a letter to a top senator that also included the names of those killed and the revelation that only one was directly targeted in the strikes that began in 2009. He did not specifically call them drone strikes – rather, he referred to “counterterrorism operations” – but most of the individuals he mentioned are known to have died in drone strikes.

The targeted individual, Anwar al-Awlaki, was a radical Muslim cleric whom U.S. officials said was involved in planning Al Qaeda operations and terror attacks. He was killed in September 2011 in Yemen.

The acknowledgement came ahead of a major counterterrorism policy speech by President Obama scheduled for Thursday.

Holder said in the letter that the Obama administration is “aware” of three other U.S. citizens killed in such counter-terrorism operations besides al-Awlaki: Samir Khan, Jude Kennan Mohammed and Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki, Holder said.

However, Holder wrote, “these individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States.”

I believe we used to call that “collateral damage” in the old days. I don’t want our readers to think I’m unmoved by the extrajudicial killings of American citizens. But if I’m to be honest, I can’t condemn President Obama for that which I did not condemn President Bush: namely, prosecuting the war on terror.

But where’s Code Pink?

Again with the bloody hands (see post below)! Aggie, it never occurred to me that the radical left shared this, too, with Arab terrorists. Ideology, sure, but imagery… how did I miss it?

Anyway, our condolences to the Khan, Mohammed, and al-Awlaki families.


Sick Falk

If a man can’t blame terrorism on: “The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world.”

Then the terrorists will have won.

The United Nations official who angered critics by blaming the Boston Marathon bombing on “American global domination” will keep his post, because not enough other countries took offense at his comments.

“Professor Falk is appointed by member states of the Human Right Council in Geneva and not by the secretary-general,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told Fox News. “So it is within the domain of the Human Rights Council and member states to determine the appointment and work of special rapporteurs. It is up to them to decide.”

Falk, an 82-year-old professor emeritus at Princeton University, is no stranger to controversial statements that put America in a negative light. In a 1979 Op-Ed for The New York Times, he pronounced incoming Iranian dictator Ayatollah Khomeini a moderate.

“The depiction of him as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false,” he wrote of the man who turned Iran into a radical theocracy.

In 2004, writing the foreword for a book critical of the Bush administration’s handling of 9/11, Falk hinted that the U.S. government was behind the attacks.

“There have been questions raised here and there and allegations of official complicity made almost from the day of the attacks, especially in Europe, but no one until Griffin has had the patience, the fortitude, the courage, and the intelligence to put the pieces together in a single coherent account,” he wrote.

We’ve told you about Falk before, plenty of times:

I’m glad to see the entire corrupt body of the United Nations can’t bring itself to condemn a man who blames “American global domination” for the for the lifeless body of 8-year-old Martin Richard.

They restoreth my faith in them every day.

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Gitmo Prisoners Do Their Part for Sequester

The money we save on food will cover President Obama’s golf outings!

Eighty-four of the 166 prisoners held at the US-run Guantanamo Bay facility are now on hunger strike, US military officials have said.

The prisoners are protesting against their indefinite detention. Most are being held without charge.

Sixteen of the 84 prisoners are being force-fed and five are being treated in hospital. None has a life-threatening condition, according to the military.

Guantanamo officials deny claims that the strike began after copies of the Koran were mishandled during searches of prisoners’ cells.

Wait. When there were reports of Koran desecration in the Bush years, it was all over the news. Even when there was no evidence. Now, nothing. Shows how much the Left loves civil liberties. All they do is hate. Hate Bush. Hate whatever.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make a big ol’ sandwich and eat it with a big ol’ glass of milk. I’ll toast the enemy combatants.


Mark Steyn: Right Again

Talk about your standing headline!

For a war without strategic purpose, a drone’ll do. Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen born in New Mexico, was whacked by a Predator not on a battlefield but after an apparently convivial lunch at a favorite Yemeni restaurant. Two weeks later, al-Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman was dining on the terrace of another local eatery when the CIA served him the old Hellfire Special and he wound up splattered all over the patio. Abdulrahman was 16, and born in Denver. As I understand it, the Supreme Court has ruled that American minors, convicted of the most heinous crimes, cannot be executed. But you can gaily atomize them halfway round the planet. My brief experience of Yemeni restaurants was not a happy one but, granted that, I couldn’t honestly say they met any recognized definition of a “battlefield.”

Al-Awlaki Junior seems to have been your average anti-American teen. Al-Awlaki Senior was an al-Qaeda ideologue, and a supposed “spiritual mentor” to everyone from the 9/11 murderers to the Fort Hood killer and the thwarted Pantybomber. On the other hand, after September 11, he was invited to lunch at the Pentagon, became the first imam to conduct a prayer service at the U.S. Congress, and was hailed by NPR as an exemplar of an American “Muslim leader who could help build bridges between Islam and the West.” The precise point at which he changed from American bridge-builder to Yemeni-restaurant take-out is hard to determine. His public utterances when he was being feted by the New York Times are far more benign than those of, say, Samira Ibrahim, who was scheduled to receive a “Woman of Courage” award from Michelle Obama and John Kerry on Friday until an unfortunate flap erupted over some ill-phrased Tweets from the courageous lass rejoicing on the anniversary of 9/11 that she loved to see “America burning.” The same bureaucracy that booked Samira Ibrahim for an audience with the first lady and Anwar al-Awlaki to host prayers at the Capitol now assures you that it’s entirely capable of determining who needs to be zapped by a drone between the sea bass and the tiramisu at Ahmed’s Bar and Grill. But it’s precisely because the government is too craven to stray beyond technological warfare and take on its enemies ideologically that it winds up booking the first lady to hand out awards to a Jew-loathing, Hitler-quoting, terrorist-supporting America-hater.

What happened to the Twitter-hacking cover story? I guess no one bought it, especially after her intemperate response to the withdrawal of the award.

Steyn has his point and I have mine. The reason Rand Paul filibustered is the same reason some of us cheered his filibuster, even if we support drone warfare. No one else was asking the questions.

The press, which dug its teeth into Bush’s ankle, curls cozily in Obama’s lap, snoring and farting softly. They like it when he scratches behind their ears, but they give in completely when he rubs their tummies.

We were told the Patriot Act was the first boot-step toward martial law, yet it was renewed under Obama with barely a yap. Now Obama gaily obliterates Americans (albeit enemy Americans) and their teenage sons from the sky, and no one thinks to ask where the line is? Getting an answer out of Holder was like pulling teeth, and it’s no wonder: no one in the media had pressed him to do so before.

I loves drones—I want one over my house to nail the bastards who don’t clean up after their dogs—but their employment is well beyond anything imagined by even the most fervent sufferer of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Bring ‘em on, I love it. Let’s just be honest with ourselves about what we’re doing and to whom.


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