Drone Strike in Yemen Likely First of Trump Administration

The global war on terror never missed a beat.


World Can't Wait/flickr

Among its last official acts, the Obama administration released a report on U.S. killings (understood to mostly be drone strikes) outside of "areas of hostility," which mostly just included the government's official estimate of a kill count. It was the first such annual report—Barack Obama did not bother to require it until last summer. Along with a report released over the summer that covered 2009 to 2015, the preliminary final kill count of the Obama administration, which is between 2803 and 3022 alleged "combatants" and between 65 and 117 victims the government identified as "non-combatants." The numbers are far lower than any non-governmental estimates.

But those numbers aren't the final numbers for the Obama administration. The numbers cover the period ending December 31, but the Obama administration lasted another 20 days. A U.S. strike in Yemen on January 9 killed one person, according to the Defense Department, which identified the target as "terrorist leader" Abd al Ghani al Rasas. A second strike on Friday, Donald Trump's first day in the Oval Office, killed three alleged militants, according to the Associated Press, which reported that Yemeni government officials (who often feed U.S. intelligence information on targets) attributed the strikes to the U.S.

The Defense Department has not yet issued a statement on the incident—it waited a day longer, 4 days, to announce the previous incident. Conversely, the Associated Press did not appear to report on the January 9 strike. The tweet about Friday's strike also appears to be the first time the AP tweeted a headline using the term "alleged militant" to describe the victim of a suspected U.S. strike—neither could I find any other articles on the AP's websites using the appropriate term "alleged militants" in headlines about U.S. strikes (stories about foreign actions include the term). The AP is always sure to include alleged or suspected in the text of the articles—none of the targets killed by the U.S. are known to have been first convicted in a court of law. While the Obama administration insisted due process was offered to targets, some of whom the U.S. cannot positively identify, through an in-house process associated with the decision-making mechanisms for a drone strike, such a standard shouldn't be legitimized by neglecting to note targets can only be alleged militants.

The U.S. air campaign in Yemen is not making any friends outside the government (and now the government-in-exile) in Yemen. Before the country collapsed into civil war, in part because of the destabilizing effect of U.S. interventions, Obama pointed to Yemen as a model for U.S. counterterrorism overseas. Instead it has created more anti-American feelings in the country and the region.

"Who do we talk to? America? Where is America?" the AP quoted the survivor of one drone strike who was interviewed for a documentary on drone strikes in Yemen produced by the human rights group Mwatana. That strike, in 2014, occurred in the same province in Yemen as the two strikes this months. "They would kill two or three from al-Qaeda on one hand and 10 or 15 civilians on the other hand. Where is this al-Qaeda they claim to be killing?"

The civil war in Yemen, meanwhile, rages on, with the U.S.-backed Saudi government continuing to bomb the country in an effort to return the deposed government to power. At least 66 people were killed Sunday in coalition airstrikes.

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  1. Ooooh. Good.

    Well, not good, because I hate drone strikes. Good because we get to see the anti-war left again now.

    1. Now that we have an out-and-out fascist in office, can’t you and I bury the hatchet about Obama pulling hundreds of thousands of troops out of the ME and keep our eyes on destroying the fascist insect?

      1. Did somebody order a word salad for lunch?

        1. Asking Amsoc for military or foreign policy analysis is like asking a sheep about quantum mechanics. You just make yourself look stupid because of your expectations of a rational answer.

          1. Who asked amsoc for anything?

          2. Yeah, I consistently oppose large scale military deployments and increases in military spending. Since there are so many libertarians here who get their paychecks from the US military, this sticks in their craw. C’est la vie.

            1. “I excuse military action by politicians I like, and am totally ignorant of military policy but lecture others because I’m an self-righteous moron.”

              Fixed it for you.

            2. So it isn’t the meddling in foreign countries that you oppose, or the extra judicial killings, or the innocent collateral damage of the drone strikes.

              You’re perfectly fine with illegal state-sanctioned murder as long as it’s done cheaply and with relatively fewer US bodies in the immediate vicinity.

              1. “You’re perfectly fine with illegal state-sanctioned murder as long as it’s done cheaply and with relatively fewer US bodies in the immediate vicinity.”

                You mean should the extent and cost of a military campaign be weighed as part of the overall consideration of whether it should be launched? Is that even a serious question? That’s why you can’t tell the difference between a NATO bombing campaign and an invasion of Iraq. Pathetic. You really need to get some new moves to excuse all right-wingers everywhere for culpability in the commission of murder now that a right-wing fascist is in office. It’s time for a whole new raft of excuse-making. You’re going to need it!

                1. It’s time for a whole new raft of excuse-making.

                  There’s only one person here making scumbag excuses for bad military policy.

                  That’s why you can’t tell the difference between a NATO bombing campaign and an invasion of Iraq.

                  Hey look, an idiotic strawman that doesn’t actually access the point people make about Libya, what a surprise.

                  You mean should the extent and cost of a military campaign be weighed as part of the overall consideration of whether it should be launched?

                  There’s also these magical considerations that you’ve conveniently forgotten, like “whether it’s a good idea to engage in a military campaign in the first place” and “whether said campaign was actually beneficial”. You know, those considerations you just blatantly ignore so you can furiously masturbate to the Obama Administration.

              2. America first, bro.

      2. It takes a fascist to know a fascist I guess.

  2. “The numbers are far lower than any non-governmental estimates.”

    No, they’re just alternative facts.

    1. There are an infinite number of numbers to choose from. And if you really believe that one number is better than any other than that makes you a numericist.

    2. “You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views.”

      Doctor Who

    3. This is one of those things where everybody has an agenda to push. I don’t trust anyone’s numbers.

    1. I wonder if I can think of anything else that is uncompetetive?

      1. Participation trophies?

      2. Yesterday’s NFC Championship game?

      3. The Lakers?

    2. Apparently my autocorrect doesn’t know merger. Obviously more Microsoft whitewashing.

  3. What’s the over/under on how many days it takes them to reanimate poor Cindy Sheehan?

    1. Cindy Who?

    2. Hopefully sooner rather than laer, Casey ain’t getting any deader.

    3. She’s crazy, but consistent. Or, at least she was. Haven’t heard about her in a while. She turned on the left, and then they turned on her.

    4. I’m not so sure anymore that we’re going to see a reemergence of the anti-war left. They have bigger priorities right now, like being offended by everything and demanding more free shit.

      1. I’ll take that wager.

      2. This. Unless Trump invades another country I don’t see them raising a stink over the status quo of peppering the ME with drone strikes.

        Their focus will be entirely on identity politics wedge issues.

      3. And opposing a fascist. Don’t forget that one.

      4. I’ll take the under on 30 days before we see Leftist outrage about brown children murdered by drones.

    5. She never really went away, the media just started to ignore her. And then she went after Hillary for being a warmonger and became a black-faced traitor to women everywhere.

  4. Color me surprised. Turns out the new boss is the same as the old boss.

    1. With the kind permission of SugarFree:

      “You did it” the Hat sighed in relief.
      Donald rolled over and emitted a staccato burst of squeaky farts. A slight snore began to sound.
      “My finest work yet” proclaimed the Hair.
      “I can’t figure how you got that joystick set up on the simulator ? I mean, I can see how he bought into how he was flying the drone to decimate ISIS himself?” The Hat wriggled on its shelf. “Do you suppose Melania will wear me again soon?” it added wistfully.

      “Don’t get greedy” the Hair admonished.
      Donald, asleep – mumbled “YUGE strike on ISIS..I did it?My way?” Snoring resumed.
      “Aren’t you worried he will take this too far” the Hat whispered.
      “Nah, I had a chat with a DDI’s toupee ? we will make sure there is some sort of real drone strike around his video game time” the Hair added with a little tone of smug.
      “Can you reach that glass of Scotch over there and tip some toward me”
      “No way, man. Today took everything I had” the Hair admitted.

      1. “How about some champagne?”

        “Melania!” the pair exclaimed.
        Melania ruffled the Hair sensuously. “You have done well.”
        The Hair emitted a slight purr and wrapped a tendril around Melania’s wrist.
        “None of that tonight, I have an?engagement” She pulled the Hat off the shelf and placed him on her head at a slight angle. The Hat gave a short gasp of delighted shock.
        Melania slipped out the door as the Hair writhed. Donald snored louder.

        “My way?”

        1. The Hat being a bit of a head slut is a good development.

      2. *rises to applaud*

  5. No mention of the B2 bombers sending a message over Lybia on Obama’s last few days in office.

  6. Wait until Comrade Trump hears about this!

    1. I would laugh my ass off if he recycled Obama’s old “I only found out about it when I read it in the paper, like you” line.

      1. The best part about that line is the POTUS totally acknowledges that The Deep State is an actual thing.

        The subsequent non-action is the POTUS totally approving the actions of The Deep State.

        1. Side question: Prior to, maybe, 3-4 weeks ago I’d never seen the term “Deep State”. Now, I seem to see it everywhere. Is this a new term or have I just been missing it somehow?

          1. I’m more familiar with it being used to in regards to Turkish politics, “the deep state” has pretty consistently been used for at least decades.

  7. Drone killing already? The Nobel Peace Prize committee is, I’m sure, preparing his award.

  8. The real facist in american history was elected for 4 terms yet he is cheered by the left?

    Go figure. Also they worry about trump yet support socialism which has led to 100 million dead

  9. Can we at least agree that this is something worth criticizing the Trump administration over? Hell, I’d even ask Mr. Trump, how wasting our bombs and drones to help the Yemeni government does anything to help America. Does it make our border more secure? Make American products more competitive? No? Then why are we wasting our money on those people?

    1. Agreed. The rest of reason the articles are mainly about being hysterical (pete and steve)

    2. No, it seems like something to criticize the antiwar left over, based on the comments.

      1. Why no criticize both.

        Fuck Trump for continuing Obama’s murder droning and fuck the antiwar left for sitting quiet over the last 8 years.

    3. Can’t criticize it unless it was actually on his watch. The article just said “Friday”. Yemen time is 8 hrs. ahead of DC time. Swearing-in was 11 AM, right? That’d be 7PM in Yemen. So if AP’s reporting local date & time, chances are it was Obama’s parting shot.

  10. Progressivism is totalitarian in nature. They must run life from the top down. Hopefully trump will scale back the use of drones and the war but wont hold my breath

  11. The only thing you’ve got to excuse this fascist in office is that Obama once dropped some bombs on Al Queda in Afghanistan. Shameless blame shifting from right-wingers masquerading as libertarians. So pathetic and sad.

    1. Meh. I’m still operating under the hope he can be reasoned with. We just have to figure out how to frame it in Trumpese: “So, Donald, we’re sending our drones to fight the Yemeni’s war? You know what? The Yemenis, they’re laughing at us. They’re saying ‘What a bunch of suckers. We can get these fools to kill anyone for us’. And they’re laughing at us.”

      1. Saudi Arabians, you mean.

        1. They’re laughing at us too. They’re all laughing at us.

    2. He did a little more than drop some bombs in Afghanistan you slimy piece of shit.

    3. Obama once dropped some bombs on women and children (and male teenagers classified as enemy combatants regardless of whether they are actually combatants or not) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia.

      How about you avoid the whole pathological lying thing for a couple minutes?

  12. Notice that little equivocation up there at the top? A militant is someone with a hard-nosed opinion, not necessarily someone who has or will take violent action.

  13. I’m shocked.

  14. As bad as it is, at least they don’t have to live in Jew York City.

    1. damn, wrong thread

      1. That comment works perfectly in literally any thread.

  15. Fri. at what Wash., DC time?

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