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
bmaz @papicek @emptywheel Schumer has been preparing for this day for looong time. Not just cash he'll dole out in 2016, but that he has in past
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emptywheel RT @almuslimi: #exclusive : Yemeni factions heading to #Morrocco tmrw morning 4 new round of negotiations . Special plane wl take thm frm S…
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emptywheel RT @ReutersLegal: Judge rejects verdict in #kleinerperkins gender discrimination trial, asks jury to resume deliberations. #ellenpao http:/…
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emptywheel "CIA 'recruits' select members of Congress. They get special briefings; they are brought “inside” the circle." http://t.co/YZ1hGw1b6L
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bmaz @Ali_Gharib Because Hillary's server is down?
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emptywheel By comparison, Patty Murray has less than $2M on hand. https://t.co/NJZvGWWCUF Durbin less than $750K. https://t.co/8xoxha1rNa
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emptywheel So Chuck Schumer has $13.4M cash on hand. https://t.co/9WUjCyLymG How much more will he raise/spend for Senate colleagues in 2016?
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emptywheel @charlie_savage One other Q is whether, if 2nd rules on "relevant to" language, it would affect 214 as well? @JameelJaffer @OrinKerr
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 I saw. Now you gotta figure out what other MI brews they're gonna colonize.
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Grapefruit. It's the New Harbinger of Spring. (Steal that!)
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Grapefruit fragranced $$ changed hands. It's sunny (and warm, if you're from either CO or MI). Of course they're boozing.
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emptywheel @granick FYI, also related. https://t.co/JBHbcqHjzt Taking Minimization Procedures out of FISC hands. BC FISC is too strict.
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