Barack Obama

It's Not a Kill List. It's a "Disposition Matrix."

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Terrifying highlights from The Washington Post's new report on the Obama administration's drone-driven targeting killing program and the Obama-approved kill list — sorry, "disposition matrix" — that guides it:

We have a kill list with an Orwellian name: "Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the 'disposition matrix.' The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the 'disposition' of suspects beyond the reach of American drones."

The current list is intended as a starting point, and will be with us for a long time: "Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation's counterterrorism ranks: The United States' conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years."

We've killed a lot of people with drones already: "The number of militants and civilians killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by certain estimates, surpassing the number of people al-Qaeda killed in the Sept. 11 attacks."

We don't know how to stop killing people with drones: Counterterrorism experts said the reliance on targeted killing is self-perpetuating, yielding undeniable short-term results that may obscure long-term costs. 'The problem with the drone is it's like your lawn mower,' said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Obama counterterrorism adviser. 'You've got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.'"

We're building a big, entrenched bureaucracy around our targeting killing operations: "Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it."

President Obama attends frightening-sounding weekly meetings to discuss terror threats: "Obama approves the criteria for lists and signs off on drone strikes outside Pakistan, where decisions on when to fire are made by the director of the CIA. But aside from Obama's presence at 'Terror Tuesday' meetings — which generally are devoted to discussing terrorism threats and trends rather than approving targets — the president's involvement is more indirect."

Obama also approves the names on the kill lists personally: "The lists are reviewed at regular three-month intervals during meetings at the NCTC headquarters that involve analysts from other organizations, including the CIA, the State Department and JSOC. Officials stress that these sessions don't equate to approval for additions to kill lists, an authority that rests exclusively with the White House."

Read the entire Post story here

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  1. ‘You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.'”

    Jesus Christ, who are these people?!

    1. I read that line and paused for 10 minutes….holy…fucking…shit…

      1. “Your ass is grass and I’m the mower” has taken on new meaning

    2. Someone the other day was trying to argue that the US had a moral obligation to its citizens to kill with drones regardless of due process. When people are grass and government is the mower, where is the morality?

      1. There is nothing moral about war. There is NO due process in war. Never has been, never will be. You are trying to apply peacetime principles to actions of war. Not relevant.

        1. Incorrect. The government is trying to applying wartime principles to peacetime police actions.

          1. You are correct AD, that is in actuality, what is occurring. The government thinks, however, it is at war and is acting as such. Reason is having the WRONG discussion. It’s not about droanz and kill lists. That’s the same thing as A-10s and target lists. IOW…war.

            The discussion we need to be having is whether the executive currently has authorization to be killing anyone. The real problem is killing people without a declaration of war.

            As I said in a thread the other day, The executive has no authority to kill anyone until that declaration occurs. After receiving it he can kill withing the bounds of the Law of Armed Conflict. That declaration is a switch between what’s authorized peacetime (due process) and what’s authorized in war. When given, that declaration unleashes incredible executive power that it doesn’t normally have. It means that the elected legislature has analyzed and debated the issue and determined there is no other course of action other than going to war and they are stepping up to the responsibility of all that means.

            Reason needs to shut the fuck up about droanz and kill lists and address the real issue here, and that’s conducting wartime actions without the authority to do so.

            1. Isn’t that what they are doing by pointing out the nature of the drone strikes and the kill lists?

              Bringing to light how these acts of war are being used against people that we are not at war with. Showing that the executive branch attempts to give itself the fig leaf of “due process” legitimacy by claiming their process is Due Process even though no court is involved.

              The discussion about the drones is not really a discussion about the technology involved, but about the decisions and methodology that are being used to prosecute this “not war”.

              If they were sending small assassination squads into countries and killing the same people, we would still be talking about it in the same manner because it is the very fact these are not acts of war, but targeted killings of non-state actors that is the problem.

              1. Isn’t that what they are doing by pointing out the nature of the drone strikes and the kill lists?

                If that is their intent, they are doing a fucking piss poor job of articulating it. There isn’t one word concerning declaration or authorization in the entire article.

            2. —That declaration is a switch between what’s authorized peacetime (due process) and what’s authorized in war. When given, that declaration unleashes incredible executive power that it doesn’t normally have.—

              This is a commonly held belief, but in my opinion is wrong. It has become common practice, but there is no authorization in the Constitution for the President to be anything other than Commander in Chief, that is, tho Top General. We still retain civilian control of the military and that control correctly lies in Congress. It is the job of the Congress to set the goals of the the war and the overall strategy for achieving those goals (obviously with the input of military commanders). The President is set up as Commander in Chief to establish a clear chain of command and a single point of contact to prevent confusion. We do not relinquish control of the military in times of major crises.

              For precedent, we can look all of the way back to the Revolution. Washington consistently had to get the approval of the Congress for the actions that he wanted to take. He would report results to the Congress and get further guidance, but the Congress was clearly in control of the prosecution of the War.

              With the now apparently accpted practice of granting carte blanche to the President during times of War, we get these results.

            3. Nope, Reason is doing that. It’s Administration defenders (and, from what I understand, people like you) who insist that, contrary to all my reading, that Reason is making it about the technology instead of the way it is being used.

              1. JT (assuming you were responding to me)

                Bullshit. Read the first two paragraphs.

                he Obama administration’s drone-driven targeting killing program and the Obama-approved kill list …

                We have a kill list with an Orwellian name:

                Find me one line that talks about the lack of authorization in the entire article.

                The bottom line is…There would be ABSOLUTELY no problem with the actions being taken, IF, AND I STRESS IF, Congress had declared war upon the people being struck.

                1. If you mean a constitutional problem, I’ll buy your argument, but from a moral or ethical point of view, even if war has been declared (although I’m not sure on whom you would declare it to justify drone attacks), an indiscriminate policy of attacks which are known to target civilians and are of questionable military value is highly problematic.

                  1. You are misinformed. NO ONE is “targeting” civilians and if they were of little value they wouldn’t be targeted.

                    War declaration: Those with ties to Al Qaeda.

                    There is no requirement the declaration be against a nation-state or be geographically constrained.

                    1. (1) If we’re not targeting civilians, why was Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16 year old son killed? Not a rhetorical question. I’m legitimately curious if you have any insight into that.

                      (2) Isn’t the fact that the Obama administration is giving his Kill List Committee a happier sounding name a tacit admission that what’s going on is of questionable legality, and hence relevant to your argument about the lack of a declaration of war?

                      (3) Reading the 2002 debate on Ron Paul’s proposed declaration of war, I was struck that most of the counter arguments had to do with petty concerns. E.g., Iraqis living in the US would become enemy combatants. Insurance policies (which insurance policies?) would be invalidated. It seems like all of this detritus could be fairly easily cleared away by Congress if they so wished, making a formal declaration of war more possible. What do you think about that?

                    2. 1. Any child killed is collateral damage. They are not being specifically targeted. Before any strike, drone or manned, against a specific individual on the ground (I’m not talking about close air support) the strike vetted through the command center. There they essentially do a cost benefit analysis between the value of the target and the potential for collateral damage. If the potential of killing innocents is too great, the mission is scrapped. There is a lawyer present to advise the commander of the legalities, IOW the LOAC, of the strike.

                      2. I don’t know. I don’t know if Obama realizes he’s not playing IOW the Constitution and is trying to cover his ass because of this or if he, somehow, really believes he has the Constitutional authority to do what he’s doing. A “happier” name, may simply be for political reasons.

                      3. Not familiar enough to comment on. But, as long as it doesn’t violate the Constitution, they can construct the declaration however they wish, with any dispensations they wish.

        2. I’m pretty sure that even war has the principle of “don’t have the CIA do it covertly, but have the uniformed military do so.”

          Violated all the time, granted, but it is a principle of war. There are a few other moral principles claimed during war, again oft violated.

        3. Well war, under international law, has to be waged by uniformed combatants. Since these drones are run by the uniformed civilian CIA, it seems they can’t claim that this is war (and if they do, they are admitting a violation of the law of war).

        4. You’ve never been in a war, huh?

          1. That was in reference to

            “There is nothing moral about war. There is NO due process in war. Never has been, never will be. You are trying to apply peacetime principles to actions of war. Not relevant.”

          2. Sure have.

  2. I want my country back!

    1. Rat fucking teabagger!!!

      1. It’s not a rat! It’s a squirrel with a disease that causes the hair to fall out of its tail!

      2. And I’d say the same thing if W or Mitt-the-Twitt was using them too!

  3. We aren’t killing people, we are deleting rouge programs from the matrix.

    1. But then how will people get red cheeks?

  4. just stop. just stop.

    It’s not that difficult.

    1. Yes it is.

      Every strike creates new people who want to kill Americans. So now they need to be killed. But killing them creates more fractured families with a desire for revenge, and now they must be killed.

      It will never stop.

      1. You can’t stop mowing the lawn or you’ll get dandelions! You don’t want dandelions, do you? Do you?!?!?

    2. How can we stop? The grass will grow back!!11!

  5. So, they have a big bureaucracy doing it but are streamlining the process. Sweet.
    Really. Fucking. Sweet.

  6. The story is still incomplete because it gives the impression that the process of killing (or capturing, in some cases) the people on the list doesn’t have collateral damage. It implies that only people on the list are affected.

    1. The story is still incomplete because it gives the impression that the process of killing (or capturing, in some cases) the people on the list doesn’t have collateral damage. It implies that only people on the list are affected.

      I have been told time and again that the people would not be collateral damage if they would stop allowing the terrorists to live amoung them. They have no one to blame but themselves if they are “inadvertently” killed in a drone strike.

      1. Well, what if they don’t support the terrorists? Like Michael Moore’s point that the really tragic think about 9/11 was that Al Qaeda was obviously upset at GWB but most of the killed were New Yorkers who didn’t even vote for him.

      2. Just like we’ve been told time and again that if you don’t want your house mistakenly broken into and your dog shot by police, you shouldn’t live anywhere close to someone that the police want to go after.

        1. Just like we’ve been told time and again that if you don’t want your house mistakenly broken into and your dog shot by police, you shouldn’t live anywhere close to someone that the police want to go after.

          See, you do understand.

  7. Barack Hussein Obama has put the machinery in place to turn the US into the Soviet Union of old. One can only hope that hell exits and that Barack finds his way there as quickly as possible.

    1. Yeah, but it’s OK because Obama worries about leaving loaded weapons lying around for his successors.

      He WORRIES, man!

      1. Obviously he needs to find a way to be President for Life, because he and only he has the moral vision and restraint to wield the Presidency properly.

        He’s going to demonstrate that moral vision and restraint soon, right?

    2. I’m pretty sure the machinery was already operating under the previous administration. I’m kind of sick of people coming along who pretend that it was only when the guy they don’t like got into office that all the badness started. Obama has, in the main, merely continued and expanded on the policies of his predecessor. And what exactly is the point of the middle name being thrown out? Seriously?

  8. We’re building a big, entrenched bureaucracy around our targeting killing operations: “Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it.

    What could possibly go wrong with this policy?

  9. Oh, *disposition matrix*!

    No wonder DWS didn’t know about the “kill list”.

  10. ‘You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.’

    You know what you don’t have to mow? A parking lot. LAUNCH THE NUKE DRONES!

  11. A minor pedantic point, but hey, this is the internet:

    surpassing the number of people al-Qaeda killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

    What a completely meaningless metric. Why include it?

    1. “You can’t kill any more of them until they kill more of us FIRST! Those are the RULES!”

      /idiot

    2. That part is weird, and irrelevant. The policy is right or wrong. It’s not about “we get to brazenly kill them by any method, but only up until we’ve made it *fair*.” Especially when it’s a bizarre way of “fair” counting only people killed via this one method.

      And probably a criticism made by the same sort of people who criticized keeping score and body counts during Vietnam.

    3. What a completely meaningless metric. Why include it?

      Because so many people use that specific attack as the moral justification for our continuing operations.

      Trying to pretend quite a bit of this isn’t little more than a tit-for-tat mission of revenge clouds the issue.

  12. It’s Not a Kill List. It’s a “Disposition Matrix.”

    Someone spelled ‘Dominatrix’ wrong.

    1. My dominatrix doesn’t have any drones. I’ll have to speak to her about that…

  13. Star Chamber justice is back, bitches. So much for that rule of law thingy we supposedly enshrined in the Constitution.

    Now that we’ve disposed of that, if I keep a disposition matrix of people, should I be using Excel or what?

    1. You need to contract Lockheed Martin to implement a database that is compatible with the DMV systems in all 50 states.

      1. BULK
        INSERT DispMatrix
        FROM ‘c:\HAmpersandRRegList.csv’
        WITH(
        FIELDTERMINATOR=’,’,
        ROWTERMINATOR =’\n’)
        GO

        1. Is that list sorted alphabetically? If so, I have bad news for you, Almanian.

          1. *changes handle to ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ9*

        2. Hey it could be a brand new COBOL system, like this one in NC for Medicaid. WTF, Computer Sciences Corporation and North Carolina? Dems deserve to lose the governorship just for this.

          1. Man, that would’ve made my dad’s heart glad to see that. He loved him some COBOL.

  14. Should be very interesting to see how that all works out. Wow.
    http://www.Anon-Whiz.tk

  15. And on the November 6 circus front….
    The leftists are still despicably and moronically hairsplitting the difference between W and their deity, too emotionally blinded to see Obama is precisely the same bureaucratic fascist.
    The “undecideds” are actually many who won’t show at the polls.
    The right weren’t going to vote for the chief anyway, but they’ll think this is really cool.
    No net gain for either team.

  16. So is this “Kinetic Military Action” or is that term no longer “operative”?

  17. Star Chamber justice is back, bitches. So much for that rule of law thingy we supposedly enshrined in the Constitution.

    The Constitution is dead. It was a great idea. It didn’t take long to fuck it up.

  18. The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down

    And then they bring the drunken blindfolded monkeys in to throw the darts.

  19. And Congress and Supreme Court are silent. Does he have to give back his Peace Prize if he goes over the 3,000 kill mark? 5,000?

  20. “Vengeance is a water vessel with a hole. It carries nothing but the promise of emptiness.”

  21. “Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it.”

    Hope and Change!

    1. Piece Prize!

    2. Beans and franks!

  22. XOON
    OXOO
    OOXT

    1. x=1,
      er, Not In My Number!

  23. I’m guessing 50 years maximum before there is a “disposition” within US borders.

    1. I’m going to say within the next administration. Within 4 years we’ll have a drone strike in the contiguous US.

      Drug war + war on terror + porous southern border = drone strike.

      1. How long before drone strikes replace SWAT raids?

        Officer safety, you know.

        1. My sheriff’s office is a pioneer, having already purchased a drone. Conveniently unspecified is whether they got the one with hardpoints on it.

          Of course, they’re about as competent with it at this point as you might expect.

        2. My county sheriff has a drone. They tried to get all synergistic and use the drone and the SWAT team in a training exercise.

          They crashed the drone into a SWAT armored vehicle. I’d link, but squirrels prohibit. Search ‘montgomery texas sheriff drone crash’.

          1. That is a beautiful thing.

    2. I’m guessing there are people in the CIA who can tell you there already have been dispositions within US borders.

  24. Interesting article that can remind those warmongers about the actual human consequences of drone strikes:

    http://www.homolog.us/blogs/20…..w-schools/

  25. And you thought Nixon’s Enemies List was bad.

  26. The number of militants and civilians killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by certain estimates, surpassing the number of people al-Qaeda killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.”

    Omelettes, eggs, fuck you.

  27. Obama seems to missed lesson #1 on leaders committing war crimes- don’t announce that you actually know about and personally manage the process. You need to be able to blame it on rogues in middle management.

  28. It’s Not a Kill List. It’s a “Disposition Matrix.”

    Oh, well, gee. I feel much better now.

    “Kill List” was so Internet 1.0

  29. Here is the part I don’t get. Every combat Soldier and Marine I’ve talked to who has returned from deployment over the past couple of years has complained bitterly about the Rules of Engagement. Sometimes they literally cannot return fire even when being fired upon. During major attacks, requests for air or artillery support go way up the chain of command and take forever, and are often denied despite people dying on the ground, (In the first Gulf War and the early days of Iraq and Afghanistan, calls for fire were fulfilled instantly without command permission)

    So we can’t kill people actually trying to kill our troops in the field. Meanwhile, the President and staff can casually order the deaths of people not shooting at our soldiers (and anyone who happens to be nearby).

    WTF? This is insane.

    1. Not if you assume that the sort of people in the administration right now consider the sort of people in the field right now as enemies.

    2. You really shouldn’t read Michael Yon. It will upset you further.

      “America’s Dumbest War”

      http://www.michaelyon-online.c…..r-ever.htm

      “…I don’t think that the American citizens would be happy if they knew that their soldiers were being prohibited from defending themselves in any way because of politically driven orders, but that is precisely what is happening in this war right now even as I write this letter. The soldiers of the U.S. never engage the enemy unless we know that we have [and] will always have the tactical advantage in defending ourselves, that advantage is the use of close air support and air weapons team. To take those weapons away from us is to level the playing field for the enemy and thus exposing our soldiers to more danger. In the school house they teach us that the minimum ratio that we are to engage the enemy with, is a 3:1 ratio. In other words, we have the highest probability of winning because we don’t fight fair. The sound tactical principles behind this teaching have saved lives. The very presence of aircraft over our foot patrols has also saved lives and now our chain of command is being told by our political leadership that this is now not allowed. If we are not partnering with the ANSF and we are not actively patrolling to prevent our enemies from massing their attacks on our COP and we can’t drop a bomb on the enemy that we have positively identified, than what the hell are we doing here?”

  30. I would appreciate it if someone did a video montage of drones blowing up villages all over pakistan, yemen, mixed with clips of Obama hugging babies, throwing pitches @ baseball games, playing golf, hamming it up for the press… set of course to the tune of ‘Killing Me Softly’… the original, not that Fugees shit.

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