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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JimWhiteGNV Very rough night for #Gators baseball. Best pitching staff in college and Sully has gotten in their heads so badly they looked horrible.
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emptywheel @jcenters https://t.co/Vqfaag5okF They also have a Camp Bacon I've never attended. http://t.co/CusU90izU9
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emptywheel @jcenters They have a bacon of the month (or quarter) club.
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emptywheel Bacon? That's what I send. RT @lizzieohreally: the best colleagues are colleagues who send you a care package from Zingerman's.
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emptywheel @hannahgais Some of us are PhD certified in that stuff. @eamonhamilton
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bmaz JetBlue sued by ex-pilot who had midair meltdown http://t.co/JUnvCptcyh Welp, this looks like an ill advised lawsuit.
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emptywheel @armandodkos Yup. What I'm saying is facts are already, I believe, public that explain what Gowdy is doing. @blakehounshell @laurennfrench
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bmaz @FedcourtJunkie Sounds right. Still kind of stunning rejection of her case, no? Wasn't it expected to get at least some traction?
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emptywheel @armandodkos She shouldn't have done that, but subpoena was 2 years late. @blakehounshell @laurennfrench
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emptywheel @armandodkos Fairly certain she said publicly she got rid of emails years ago abt same time subpoena issued @blakehounshell @laurennfrench
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emptywheel @billmon1 Trained Seals. A bipartisan hobby.
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emptywheel @billmon1 In 2008 Schumer promised me they'd reverse BK reform once they got the #s (admitting it'd save homes). It's not gonna be that?!?!
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