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
emptywheel Look at all this outrage over outrage over a lion but not a peep about unarmed black people being killed. https://t.co/UGo6ZZCElE
bmaz RT @NickBaumann: Bruce Ivins died 7 yrs ago today. Read @SteveEngelberg on why he may have been innocent of Anthrax mailings: http://t.co/V
emptywheel @KellyCDenver Maybe Tommy was using TextSecure, which I understand only terrorists and ball deflators use.
emptywheel @KellyCDenver Right. I had assumed he was using an iPhone, which would explain that. But apparently a Samsung.
emptywheel @daveweigel Obama did very well by creating the image of omnipresence too.
emptywheel Noted: AT&T can't reconstruct texts 2 months after Samsung phone destroyed. https://t.co/XkxbvLzqRf
emptywheel @Krhawkins5 Like you wouldn't take the endorsement of a dead man if it'd help you get elected?
emptywheel Is anyone worried about Carly Fiorina, as the only woman stuck at this frat house? https://t.co/HM6Otggkhg
emptywheel @JasonLeopold It hurt my head. Still does. @Krhawkins5
emptywheel @JasonLeopold But David Cole said theirs was the definitive version. @Krhawkins5
emptywheel @JasonLeopold I'm particularly interested when they learned. Or invented that and filed it back thru. @Krhawkins5
January 2013
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