16 words

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.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @lmbrownlee1 Oh, I can't do that anymore. I can beer and benghazi, but not tequila.
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JimWhiteGNV @joanneleon @emptywheel Younger daughter's boyfriend is a delivery boy for a wine store. At 17 years old...
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emptywheel @JimWhiteGNV Oh, you're going to like what I'm writing. You're going to like it very much.
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JimWhiteGNV “@KatieIsSoWhite: Car goals http://t.co/5kcdFDplXe” Probably some truth in advertising there.
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emptywheel RT @conor64: House Republicans spend months investigating aftermath of illegal war with laser focus on one part that broke no laws.
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emptywheel RT @HanniFakhoury: Ireland asks European Commission to support Microsoft in case involving US warrant to seize emails stored abroad: http:/…
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emptywheel Should I write my expose of this report, "What it would look like if Alan Grayson had been on the committee"?
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emptywheel @THE_REAL_TRENCH Already a thing.
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JimWhiteGNV @emptywheel I suggest a pair of those large animal vet gloves that go up to the shoulders.
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emptywheel Aw hell. I'm gonna have to give this Benghazi report a close scrub. SEND BEER!
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bmaz @BaburRealer @mattdpearce This is not unusual.
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emptywheel Why does Benghazi report source an event it claims took place in September to an August report? Damnit, I'm going to have to read it now.
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