Drones

Obama Administration Working on Drone War Transparency… By Offering Numbers of People Killed

Don't hold your breath on the government identifying who they're actually killing-often they don't know

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White House

The White House announced it would work toward releasing casualty reports from its drone war across the Muslim world, providing the number of people who were killed since 2009, and whether the government classified them as terrorism suspects or civilians. It won't include names or other identifying information because often the U.S. does not have such information. The U.S. is known to use a broad definition for terrorism suspects so whatever number is released as the civilian casualty count will almost certainly be depressed.

The Obama administration, which has called itself the most transparent in history, didn't make the announcement on its website but rather in remarks given to the Council of Foreign Relations by President Obama's counterterrorism and homeland security advisor on Monday.

The announcement comes just a couple of days after U.S. airstrikes (including drones) killed about 150 people in Somalia. The U.S. insists the target was a terrorist training camp but there has not been independent corroboration of that.

As Glenn Greenwald noted today, no one knows the identity of the people killed by the U.S. in Somalia this weekend, but are at the same time often convinced those people were militants or terrorists merely because the government said so. Greenwald observed there would be "widespread Democratic indifference to the killing of foreigners where there's no partisan advantage to be had against the GOP from pretending to care."

The New York Times ran an op-ed calling on President Obama to impose limits on the largely unrestrained drone program before handing it over to his successor, in part because that person "may see the world very differently from him."

The authors of the piece argue the 2016 election cycle has illustrated that "powers this far-reaching should not rest solely on the character of the president and his advisers." This after acknowledging that 1,000 of the 5,000 people estimated to have been killed by drones during the Obama administration could have been civilians.

The tortured logic of the op-ed illustrates how powers like the power to kill indiscriminately around the world are won by presidents and secured by them—the rejection of rules-based politics that limit government power in favor of worshipping of cult of personality politics.

In his article, Greenwald also noted the "implicit devaluing of lives" that comes from the invisibility of places like Somalia in mainstream political discourse. It gets more frightening in the context of voters' calculus, especially those voters that insist they oppose aggressive U.S. foreign policies. They acquiesce to candidates like Hillary Clinton because of the privileges and entitlements such candidates promise Americans.

In other words, they accept the devaluing of foreign lives when offered the prospect of an increase in the luxury of their lives in the West, the richest civilization in the history of humanity. And that trade-off, as much as almost any other, has closed off mainstream political discourse to most anti-war and non-interventionist sentiment.

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  1. “As Glenn Greenwald noted today, no one knows the identity of the people killed by the U.S. in Somalia this weekend, but are at the same time often convinced those people were militants or terrorists merely because the government said so. Greenwald observed there would be “widespread Democratic indifference to the killing of foreigners where there’s no partisan advantage to be had against the GOP from pretending to care.””

    Actually the talking point

    1. DAMMIT. The talking point I’m seeing is that if only those bastard GOPers in Congress would defund all the killing we’d all be living in paradise and Obama would be a saint.

      1. Obama wants to stop killing poor people and their families in poor 3rd world countries, but the Republicans won’t let him stop. I really believe that too. And the Norks have a nuclear device that will fit in your pocket.

        1. They are LITERALLY holding his thumb on the trigger of that Reaper. I can’t even with these Rethuglikkkans right now.

          1. Are you guys for real? Jesus, we need to start buying baby powder in bulk to combat the epidemic of acute Team Red diaper rash in these comments.

            1. I hope you’re not one of those types that thinks disparaging one side means I support the other. That would be a really stupid thing to assume.

              1. That would be a really stupid thing to assume.

                Hugh’s Modus operandi.

            2. Perhaps you should read the linked Editorial to see the argument people are reacting to

        2. “Is that a nuke in your pocket, our are you just happy to see me?”

  2. When Sanders isn’t discussing free stuff, what’s his foreign policy position been? I only get Sanders in soundbites, and it’s all free stuff, all the time. Am I correct in continuing to presume that Sanders represents the and-this-time-we-mean-it candidate for former Obama supporters?

    1. Yes. Bernie will need those troops at home in order to “persuade” the people to go along with his ideology.

      1. You have to keep those toilet paper queues orderly.

      2. Somebody has to fight the war on deodorant.

    2. “I only get Sanders in soundbites, and it’s all free stuff, all the time.”

      Bernie Sanders drinking game: every time he promises to give away something for free, take a drink of someone else’s beer.

  3. Alt-text: “EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!”

  4. Dear lord don’t read the comments at NYT. This op-ed is unapologetically saying that it’s okay that Obama illegally assassinates Americans but it wouldn’t be okay if a Republican did. The comments consist of the wrist “but Bush” derp I’ve ever seen. Doesn’t matter that Obama expanded the Priam and has gotten militarily involved in more countries than Bush. Hillary’s ten times more hawkish than him! We’re doomed.

    1. “I’m sorry I hit you… its just that goddamned Johnson and that goddamned war.”

  5. Open letter to whoever makes Reason‘s financial decisions:
    I understand the need to make your website profitable, and, the gods know that I don’t ever contribute money, but can you please find some other ad company to pay you? The “Promoted Stories” ads are horrible. Just horrible. I mean, man, they are bad.
    Thank you.
    Sincerely, DenverJ.

    1. I’m really interested to know what diabetes breakthrough will bankrupt the diabetes industry (that’s a thing?).

      1. I haven’t read it. I see it too. Diabetes ads really rub me the wrong way. My wife died from diabetes. But that’s just me. What gets me is all the ugly photos of ugly people. It’s like those tabloids at the check out.

        1. Oh, and there absolutely is a diabetes industry.

        2. I would pick the wrong one. My apologies.

          1. Not your fault. It’s my issue, I shouldn’t have said anything about it.

        3. I figure ads are designed the way they are because they’ve been proven to work. And what gets me is the number of ads with pictures of ugly feet and toes!!!!!!!! WHO IN THE HELL CLICKS ON THAT STUFF??

          1. I’d sure like to know why eye docs are frightened of the farmer leaning on the rake handle.
            But not enough to click on it.

          2. One does not use a company, one installs a company’s SDK (maybe more than one) that plugs into API for company ad network, which connects to other ad networks, and more ad networks, and some malware scripts, and some guy in Korea port scanning. All with cookie-trackers in your browser, all running scripts waiting for responses to/from said cookies. Ad shit is that bad.

            I just poked around, and Reason seems alright for some things, like crossdomain is nice and tamped down (don’t look at cnn’s…gah). But Ghostery on the blog page pulls 50+ networks. That’s a lot of horseshit scripts and hundreds of network calls to load one damn page on Reason.

            1. Yeah, I hovered around the fringes of that world for a few yrs. I did some (really basic) SEO local stuff for a while. Did some other grey hat spamming of Craigslist, too. Went back to honest work. The one that crashes my crappy Windows phone browser is trc.taboola. The new ads above the comments are distasteful and gouache, but they don’t make my phone panic like the one at the top of the page.

            2. “…That’s a lot of horseshit scripts and hundreds of network calls to load one damn page on Reason.

              Just tried a couple of refresh clicks, and all that stuff happens in what looks to be well under one second.
              Get off my lawn; I can remember taking a sip of coffee waiting for a page to load.

              1. (makes dial up noises)

                1. Shouts: Get off my lawn!

    2. All I get on the mobile site is something calling itself “Revcontent”, whatever that is.

  6. Appropriate alt text, Ed. Obama does a fine job of keeping the Brown Hordes from overpowering this great nation.

    1. what does “phoot” mean?

  7. At least we know he’s registering his drones with the FAA.

  8. The New York Times ran an op-ed calling on President Obama to impose limits on the largely unrestrained drone program before handing it over to his successor, in part because that person “may see the world very differently from him.”

    I remember in 2012 when it looked – for a brief moment – like Romney might win the election that Obama suddenly made it a top priority to draw up guidelines for use of the Presidential Secret Word Of Power just in case it might be, uh, helpful for the next guy to know the rules. A short time later, after somebody apparently realized they were looking at the newspaper upside down and the polls actually showed there was no danger whatsoever of a President Mittens, the whole Top Priority thing got shoved in a junk drawer somewhere in the White House butler’s pantry. Maybe the NY Times can get it dug out, dusted off, sent back up the line to Obama just for shits and giggles.

    1. Yeah, I remember that, too.

  9. NOBEL PEACE PRIZE !!!!!!!!!!

  10. Seriously. Fuck the all the people who voted for this lying, totalitarian POS. Just because someone has more melanin in there skin does not mean they are going to be a more peaceful, and better leader.

    1. I didn’t vote for president in 2008. I voted ask the down ticket things, except a couple local things I hadn’t researched enough-left those black, too. Even though I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either McCain or Obama, I remember still feeling… pride? that America had elected a black man, even if it was a black man I disagreed with.

      1. You felt “Pride” in that you chose your Commander in Chief according the color of his/her skin ?

        1. He just said he didn’t choose McCain or Obama.

          Reading’s tough, I know.

          1. Go back to polishing your shitty, mass produced sports cars. Some of us need to work on our Rat Rods, and Ricer’s =D

            1. At least mine’s running 😉

                1. I like you.

        2. I didn’t choose him. I felt some pride that our country had gotten to the point that a black man, however wrong his positions, could be elected president. I thought maybe the “America is racist” meme could be laid to rest.
          Read what I actually said, please.

          1. I did. I’m not shitting on you. I just find that voting for someone according to their “Race” is completely insane to me.

            1. I agree, and I understand that many people voted for Obama simply because of his race. But, desegregation was just two generations back, and I genuinely think that it’s admirable that a majority of Americans, including white Americans, would vote for the black statist asshole instead of the white statist asshole , although in all fairness, the black one ran on an anti war platform that he has not quite lived up to.

              1. Well they were both Statist assholes, and we would have gotten “Romenycare” or “Obammacare” with foreign adventurism as the icing on the cake. Does the color of your corrupt warlords skin really make a difference ???

                1. Dude. All I said was that I found it pleasant that America has decided that race wasn’t important anymore. Or that’s what I meant. Or something. Shut up, you’re othering me.

                  1. Do I need to repeat what you “said” ?

                    “Dude. All I said was that I found it pleasant that America has decided that race wasn’t important anymore”

                    Tell that to all the people who are suffering economically, or who are struggling to start a business, and being thwarted by this current administration.

                    1. Tell that to all the people who are being driven into the Black Market.

                    2. The fact that we elected a black fascist instead of a white fascist doesn’t strike you as memorable?

                    3. Also, the term “black market” is problematic.

                    4. And that has shit to do with Obama’s race. It’s Obama’s policies.
                      Last time, fuck wit: I disagree with Obama’s policies, but I’m happy that America doesn’t care anymore if they elect their dictators from white or black people.

                    5. “but I’m happy that America doesn’t care anymore if they elect their dictators from white or black people”

                      For you and your dicktators. =D

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krxMnE_0O0Q

                    6. Hey Tulpa maybe this is more to your licking. =D

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlozALOHG7E

                    7. Hey man. Fuck off. That is all.

  11. “It won’t include names or other identifying information because often the U.S. does not have such information.”

    “The Obama administration, which has called itself the most transparent in history, didn’t make the announcement on its website but rather in remarks given to the Council of Foreign Relations”

    prominently displayed in a file cabinet, in the basement of a condemned library, with a sign on it that said “Beware of the Leopard 11111”

    1. Don’t make me read my poetry at you.

      1. I already have been driven insane with the Vogon poetries Biggie. Poetry away. =D

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxPeIiU2kx4

    2. I knew I was in the right place.

      *Downs two pints of bitter and waits for the next hoopty frood to fly by*

      1. + 1 Pursuit Special =D

  12. Every vote for Kasich is a vote for Trump.

  13. In other World Peace news:

    “Ukraine and Turkey’s navies launched a joint military exercise on Monday, as Kiev and Ankara continue to grow closer in the face of their respective stand-offs with Russia….

    “According to a Facebook post by Ukraine’s Navy, Ukraine and Turkey sent two frigates and a degaussing vessel into the Sea of Marmara on Monday to practice tactical maneuvering, anti-aircraft combat and communication.”

    1. According to a Facebook post by Ukraine’s Navy

      Srsly? OMG! RFLMAO. Click if u liek.

  14. Rubio going down in flames tonight! Hahahahahahahahaha

    1. As much as I hate Trump I would love to see Rubio and Kasich get their asses handed to them in Florida and Ohio respectively. They should have quit a week ago. But no, let’s keep splitting up the vote even though they have no chance, ’cause ego. Shitheads.

      1. Morons with no concept of the bigger picture.

      2. I hope he cries when he drops out.

      3. I have already stated that I don’t think either Rubio or Cruz will drop out before the convention. Bets? (Palin’s Buttplug not eligible because I don’t believe he really paid Playa)

        1. * donated to reason to pay off bet with Playa

          1. Don’t welch on your bet Tulpa. =D

              1. Tulpa would say that. Tulpa =D

                1. Well, if I’m Tulpa, then I know for a fact that I haven’t paid PB’s bet.

                  1. Disgrace.

        2. I think Rubio and Kasich consider themselves to be the only acceptable candidates to the party bosses and they figure if they just hang around it will be handed to them. They think they’re entitled. Just like Hillary. I made a couple post on a local Columbus news nbc affiliate today that were critical of Kasich but by no means could be considered uncivil even by the new cry baby standards. Both were removed promptly.

          1. This assessment seems correct.

          2. I don’t know about Kasich, but Rubio is definitely surfing waves of egomania. His thirst for power radiates like a fever. He’s the epitome of a career-crooked-crony-politician. Florida’s best!

            He’ll probably be my next governor.

        3. @DenverJ
          I’ll take that action. How much was the Playa bet?

          I think Rubio stays in through FL to lay groundwork to maybe? run for governor. Finishing second in his home state is going to be the end of this run. He’ll be back after he punches his governor ticket. Bet on it.

          1. I don’t know, the Tulpa bet was between BP and Playa, I think. But I think it was a $20 donation to Reason.
            I’m down with that. When’s the Florida primary?
            I’ll bet a $20 donation to Reason that neither Cruz nor Rubio drops out before the convention.

            1. Agreed. Primary is next week. Full disclosure, I’m voting against Rubio.

              1. Good. He’s horrible.

                1. You really don’t think he will stay in if he loses Florida?
                  Well, that’s the bet I guess.
                  Come on guys, we could raise a lot of can for Reason. Bets on when a specific candidate gives up.

                  1. When. When he loses FL. Hell, he could come in third if Cruz plays his cards right. Kasich is looking better in OH than Rubio in FL.

                  2. Aren’t recycled aluminum prices way down this year? How much beer will you guys be drinking to raise the “lot of can”?

      4. I look at it this way: I’m locked in a cage by Hannibal Lector and there’s a grizzly bear outside tearing at the wall trying to get in. I can attempt to scare the bear away, but then I’m stuck in the cage. If I don’t scare the bear away, he’s going to get in. My only hope is to let the bear tear a hole in the wall big enough for me to get out but not big enough for the bear to get in and then try to scare the bear away. The problem is trying to figure out just the exact moment to start trying to scare the bear away – too soon and the hole’s not yet big enough for me to get out, too late and the bear can’t be stopped from coming in.

        If Trump loses or if he wins and turns out to be a disaster, the GOP is just going to say “see, this is what happens when you don’t let the adults make the decisions” and we get another generation of Bushes. If Trump wins and is a “success”, it will be because of compromising with the GOP and its “principles” and we get a generation of something worse than the Bushes. The only hope maybe is seeing the GOP so badly split there’s no repairing it and the Dem Lites split off one way and the Moral Majority the other and the Original TP/Libertarian/Get Off My Lawn types are left with the big middle. Maybe Ted Cruz gets the nod but has a road-to-Damascus moment where Ananias just punches him in the dick and tells him to quit pestering people.

        1. Oh I think no matter what happens the GOP is toast. There is not going to be a reconciliation. I think that’s part of why they’re talking so much about the brokered convention. Party bosses figure they’re screwed either way so they might as well do what they want. Will be interesting to what extent it fractures. Neocons, Socons, Paleocons, Populist, Libertarians. There’s obviously a lot of overlap as well as nuances.

        2. That makes my head hurt. But, you’re absolutely right. It’s brinkmanship, and can either lead to total victory or total loss, but nothing in between.
          I figured out that neither would concede all by myself, but then read some stuff by *experts* agreeing with me, and explaining why my gut feeling was right. I posted a link a couple days ago, too drunk/lazy to do it again.
          Confirmation bias.
          What’s the bet? I have twenty dollars donation to Reason that neither Cruz or Rubio drops out before the convention.
          I’m not a betting guy, but there is phrasing that I should use to include another bet as to whether Cruz and Rubio splitting the anti-Trump vote leads to Trump winning.

      5. I assume Trump is paying them to stay

        1. Maybe just Kasich, Rubio could be dumb enough to stay on his own accord

  15. “Call it censorship until you’re blue in the face, but, like cancer spreading through the body, BDS’s opinions will continue to poison the minds of millennials. When the Founding Fathers signed our constitution into U.S law in 1787, they dreamed of free speech being something that would be used productively to positively influence our government and prove productive to America’s growth. Had they expected the right to free speech to be so horrifically abused, I firmly believe the First Amendment would’ve been worded very differently.”

    1. BDS=Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, FWIW

      1. I know, but untranslated acronym suggests something kinkier.

        1. I clicked on your link, and couldn’t read it because I had no idea what BDS meant, and the article didn’t explain. I had to google it (@first world problems). So I figured I’d give that info to anybody else who wanted to read the link. 🙂

  16. “Phoot”, Ed… really?

    Y’know, alt-text miscues like that never used to happen when Postrel was in charge.

  17. Oh goody. Body counts again. Einstein’s definition insanity something.

    1. Remember some of these are African Muslims so they only count as 3/5ths of a body.

  18. “It’s that time of year again when key players in the animation film industry meet in the French city of Lyon to try and bring together talent and funding.

    “Sponsored by the European Union’s Media programme, Cartoon Movie is neither a fair nor a festival ? rather, it is an opportunity for makers, producers and distributors to meet over pitching sessions with the hope of bringing films to life and to a screen near you….

    “One of the two completed films shown at this year’s Cartoon Movie was ‘Extraordinary Tales’ by Spanish filmmaker Ra?l Garc?a. Already out in the US, the film is seeking further distribution in Europe.”

    1. Extraordinary Tales was pretty good.

  19. Breaking: The Liberty Candidate did not, repeat did not win Mississippi nor Michigan.

    1. Trump lost?

      1. lol!

        Where’s Reason‘s Trump story now? It’s like they’re taking their cues from “conservolist:’ or whatever the TEAM RED media mechanism to downplay Trump’s victories is called.

        1. Well we’ve been bitching about non-stop Trump so maybe they’re giving it a rest but no primary post seems odd. Maybe someone forgot.

          1. The GOPe strategy is to downplay Trump success to “stop momentum”.
            Sad that a once great libertarian magazine takes it’s marching orders from TEAM RED.
            I miss the old cosmotarian Reason. RINOtarian Reason is just pathetic.

            1. As least half the writers will be voting for Hillary.

          2. LOL. Because Reason makes its editorial decisions by asking “what would the commentariat think?”

  20. I think there are two libertarian upsides to President Trump. The first will get me attacked by the usual suspects, but the maybe the second is something we can agree on.

    1) Enforcing immigration law, and stopping Muslim immigration, slows the dilution of the libertarian vote, slows government spending, and lessens the need for government surveillance.

    2) President Trump unites the right, the left, and libertarians in wanting to limit the power of the executive branch. Suddenly limited government looks good to lots of people who sneered at the idea before.

    1. As one of the “usual” suspects. I say that Government, no matter who controls it just fucking sucks.

      Free the Agora.

    2. Trump knows how to get people to do what he wants on their dime.
      He’s at least as anti-war as Bernie Sanders.
      20+ year history of seriously calling for the politically unpopular position of drug legalization.
      Impossible to corrupt-Trump is going to add a zero to his net worth by merely promoting the brand.
      All the right enemies. Destroys the GOP as we know it.
      Experience in negotiating favorable terms in bankruptcy.

      1. “Trump knows how to get people to do what he wants on their dime.”

        Just like every government official before him.

        1. With the use of violence, just like Bush, and Obama.

          1. Like when he pointed his guns at Jeb! and ordered him to spend and destroy Rubio. Or when he threatened the loved ones of every media org unless they covered him 24/7.

            1. Like when he used Government guns to force people to sell their land. I think it is called “Eminent Domain”

      2. Those last two are powerful arguments.

    3. I get where you’re coming from but I don’t think either of those are true. What libertarian vote? Government spending and surveillance is going nowhere. As far as the second one goes, you would think that would do it, but whenever their team is in power, they just don’t care and they don’t see or don’t care about the hypocrisy or consequences of “they’re guy” doing it. I want it and I don’t care how I get it is the thinking.

  21. How many people just figure, “gonna hate us anyway, why NOT cut the number of splodeydopes in waiting?”

    1. splodeydopes. Nice band name.

  22. Are you sure he wasn’t just talking about hoping for a new Bodycount album?

  23. I was gonna jokingly say”I googled it, not a real word.” Then I googled it. Funny, funny shit here. You people keep me sane.

    1. I know. This place is weirdly . . . broadening.

  24. Watching Hardcover Henry trailer. Holy. Shit.

    1. I assume you mean “Hardcore Henry.” Interesting. Only one other major film that I can think of was shot first-person, and it didn’t really work well: Lady in the Lake (1947).

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