16 Words: The New York Times has learned that the US recently sought a drone base in Niger

Ten years ago today, George Bush would lay the ground work for a war with these 16 words.

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa

Those words were based on a dubious claim that Iraq had tried to purchase yellowcake from Niger.

Today, the NYT reports that the US wants a drone base in northwest Africa, probably Niger.

The United States military command in Africa is preparing plans to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.

If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of that country.

As Micah Zenko just noted on Twitter, this base would provide access to conduct drone strikes all over Northern Africa.

And even as the Administration rolls out another front for its drone way, it refuses (or at least refused, as of a few weeks ago) to tell Congress who it is targeting based on what authorization. As Jack Goldsmith has pointed out, conducting drone strikes under such circumstances is not as legally sound as the Administration’s use of drones to strike core al Qaeda targets.

Ten years ago today, Bush’s 16 words launched us towards an illegal war in Iraq. On this anniversary, we need to ask what kind of illegal wars a base in Niger would lead to.

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3 Responses to 16 Words: The New York Times has learned that the US recently sought a drone base in Niger

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @laurenist: Chuck Hagel: another unemployed veteran who had trouble transitioning into the civilian sector...
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bmaz @JimWhiteGNV @BarackObama Who said anything about ending wars?
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bmaz RT @AllThingsHLS: This is the most dysfunctional and disloyal administration since that of Millard Fillmore. http://t.co/qQ9DVWRcTX
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JimWhiteGNV Has anyone explained to @BarackObama that he can't win another Nobel Peace Prize by ending wars he starts or escalates?
43mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @lhartman Nah. Maybe once Hagel does his I can write a really long book review.
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emptywheel @p2wy Are we allowed to rehash old propaganda on the event of your 50th?
51mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel .@foyp I think rather than "Night Operations" they should call it "Tooth Fairy Visits," if we're going to employ euphemisms.
56mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Prediction: Chuck Hagel's autobiographical novel will hew closer to the truth than Gates' or Panetta's did.
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emptywheel RT @icontherecord: Becky willl answer your questions today at 2PM EST at http://t.co/Ooezs0AOE4.
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emptywheel @joanneleon Actually don't think that is universally true. I think there's tremendous cognitive capture though.
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emptywheel @joanneleon Not even just that. Willingness to keep failing using same method would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.
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emptywheel As Obama Embraces Multi-Fronted War, He Fires Chuck Hagel https://t.co/HRfHNfWZcH Can someone figure who'll pay for this now?
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