Peace on Earth Air Strike in Yemen

What Siun dubbed our Fourth War continues to heat up, this time with air strikes that reportedly kill Anwar al-Awlaki, the cleric who communicated with Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan via email in the months leading up to the Fort Hood killings.

Backed by U.S. intelligence, Yemeni forces struck a series of suspected al-Qaida hideouts Thursday, killing more than 30 militants in its stepped-up campaign against the terror network, the government said. A radical Muslim preacher linked by U.S. intelligence to a gunman who killed 13 people at a U.S. Army base is believed to have been killed in the airstrike, a security official said on Thursday.

“Anwar al Awlaki is suspected to be dead (in the air raid),” said the Yemeni official, who asked not to be identified.


Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee said airstrikes in the eastern Shabwa province targeted an al-Qaida leadership meeting that was organizing attacks. It said top al-Qaida officials were at the meeting, though it was unclear whether they were harmed.

Don’t get me wrong. I suspect there are far more dangerous members of al Qaeda in Yemen right now than in Afghanistan. If so, we’re at least targeting the guys we’re supposedly at war with.

Still, the convenience of killing al-Awlaki now, at  a time when we’re investigating his communication with Hasan, after we’ve been tracking him closely for seven years, along with the way this strike fits into the “30 casualties” formula, makes me a wee bit suspicious.

126 replies
  1. Leen says:

    How many alleged al Queda members are we going to kill? How many have we killed? So you get blown to kingdom come due to communications? Our country is on a rampage.

    And our military bases keep being built on their lands, and Israel continues to do exactly what they want. When the fuck are we going to deal with the root causes of the anger and hatred in the middle east?

    At this point it does not look promising

    • ezdidit says:

      Granted, exigencies of politics require this horror — for now. But the imperative of disproportionate response (to the terror on our shores) cannot be easily reversed. Still this will forever remain Bush’s war for oil. Until we are able to generate sufficient power through wind, solar, geothermal, waveform and nuclear. First, we need a power grid, and I’m not sure even that will be forthcoming with big oil arrayed against it.

        • nextstopchicago says:

          I don’t even buy the “sufficient power” thing. We live in a country where every big box store with it’s side-sliding automatic doors replaced a Woolworth or a Kmart with energy-efficient revolving doors. Most offices are heated to a higher temperature in the winter than the setting to which they’re cooled in the summer. My governor, supposedly a progressive, just denied funding to the mass transit agency that moves hundreds of thousands of people each day in Chicago, while okaying funding for two brand new limited-access highways in the exburbs – virgin pavement through farmfields on courses not even served by major roads today.

          We have no energy shortage, no energy cost issues. With virtually every step, we welcome the opportunity to squander energy.

    • temptingfate says:

      The military is not going to get hundreds of billions each year while losing track of over a trillion in the last decade by figuring out how to make peace. Imagine how many houses, cars and vacations are rolled up in a trillion misplaced dollars. You have to spend money to siphon money.

      Plastic wasn’t the future, it was weapons and the process of acquiring them. Fomenting hatred and revenge is a means to an end.

      I know, preaching to the choir.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      That was my first thought, as well. But I’m trying to figure out exactly what they hope to gain.

      The prosecution has a win WITHOUT even entering the emails. They can get capitol murder charges just from the security tapes and the statements of the survivors. You don’t need to prove motive when you’ve got it on tape.

      No matter how much I distrust the government in the war on terror, I don’t see a benefit for them re: Hasan.

      So for me, the evidence weighs heavily toward the goverments story. Yemen asked us to hit, we saw AQ folks there that we’d like to hit and decided we could work together on this.

      Boxturtle (And another front in the war on terror becomes public)

      • bmaz says:

        I disagree. If you remove the “terrorist” angle that the Awlaki connection seems to be the only solid evidence of, Hasan can be defended to a jury as temporarily insane. Would that defense work? Probably not, but it is by far the best one available, and now he has been prevented from fleshing it out by eliciting evidence and/or testimony from Awlaki himself.

        There is one other key point that has not been mentioned here. Al-Awlaki was an American citizen, born in Las Cruces New Mexico, was a religious cleric and had been convicted of no crime. The US government just targeted for political execution one of its own citizens and carried it out. That is rather, um, startling.

        • Leen says:

          How many folks at Walter Reed have said that they were concerned about his stability? How many times did he ask to be discharged?

          I remember one of the first reports on MSNBC that I heard I believe it was Matthews who mentioned that they were unsure of how many people Hasan hit and how many were hit by “friendly fire” (hate that term). By the officers.

          Have never heard another report about that. They have to know whose bullets killed whom.

        • Siun says:

          Stunning bmaz, isn’t it … the extra judicial killings with no apparent concern, in fact often boasted about as if trials and due process were some odd anachronism.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes, agreed. But I am just blown away that there is no focus on the US Citizen aspect. We needed a special court approved warrant from the FISA Court to wiretap the guy because he was a US citizen, but can just assassinate him willy nilly with a robot in the sky? That is way fucked up.

            • sfriendly says:

              The reason a warranted is required for surveillance of communications within the US is because our law applies to us in our jurisdiction, and because our law requires that law enforcement agencies, not the military, perform any domestic surveillance. This law of ours is probably not followed well enough here at home. However, outside of the jurisdiction of our law, there is no need for warrant, more an executive finding or order within the war powers or operational powers explicitly granted by Congress in specific acts.

              For my part, if the military knew that Qaida figures in Yemen needed to be killed, I’d prefer that:

              1) they be killed by soldiers on the ground to reduce innocent deaths to a major greater extent,

              2) they be killed by Yemeni soldiers if possible to respect the sovereignty of Yemen and the reality that Yemenis don’t like to know that the US military is operating with impunity in their borders, this makes them angrier at us,

              3) that the US military and/or the government of Yemen make public the information available in some detail about why these figures needed to be killed at least after the fact.

              • bmaz says:

                You must be new here. Welcome.

                But please be advised that we are a tad more sophisticated than that around here and when it is a US citizen involved and targeted, even overseas, there is indeed the necessity of a FISA warrant and there was, indeed, one specifically in place for Awliki. Please do not misinform readers.

              • eCAHNomics says:

                Presumably all of them. You’ll have to ask John Yoo (or was it Bybee) who called them quaint for a more precise report on what he meant.

                • skdadl says:

                  I think that “quaint” was Gonzales’s term — you know, that distinguished scholar of international law Alberto Gonzales?

                  It’s my understanding that, taken all together, the Geneva Conventions, especially capped off by the CAT, pretty much protect all human beans from all sadistic maltreatment by anyone, pretty much on the basis of their being human beans. We’re working on similar rights for the animals.

                • sfriendly says:

                  Both of those ridiculous men would be deserving of the ancient punishment of banishment or exile, if our laws allowed for such. It’s just that when you refer to first “due process” or notions that come from US constitutional law, and then one or more of the Geneva conventions which are (in really limited understanding) binding treaties on the conduct of militaries and governments during warfare and occupation of extra-territorial lands, I don’t know what you mean. I think you are saying that you think the US should conduct itself honorably and extend the same reasoned moral notions of due process and civil protections to situations in foreign lands where we have the option to kill people with impunity. To some extent, I have long agreed with you, if this is what you mean. I don’t think though that it is realistic to rigidly expect capture and civil trial (where? here? did this assassinated priest break a US law?) in a lot of cases. What’s more, the US does have a right, despite our awful history in the Middle East and Central Asia, to protect ourselves against the relative handful of actual terror organization figures plotting and acting against our civilian population.

                  I guess what I am asking is whether or not any of the Geneva Conventions have any article against a nation killing people with military force who are actually trying to attack the nation’s civilian population.

                  Again, I really wish that it was the government of Yemen who captured or killed or contained these AQ members – they should be able and willing to control international terrorist organizations operating in their borders – and I really, really wish that the US wasn’t operating exclusively through air strikes which kill indiscriminately and enrage people – but I don’t think it was fundamentally wrong to kill these AQ figures.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          A temporary insanity defense is the hardest defense to make and it almost never works. I can’t recall the last success in Ohio. Assume we’d actually captured the fellow, would he say Hasan was crazy? Would he believed by a jury? Would his lawyer let him on the stand at all? If I’m a prosecutor, I’m not much worried about temporary insanity.

          I’m sure the defense will have a psych exam and try to find someone who’ll say Hasan can’t be tried. It’s their only hope.

          Your second point is news to me. That would seem to open up a number of legal angles for a court attack against ObamaCo. Awlaki is not convicted of anything, I’m not even sure there are charges against him. He’s US citizen, entitled to the protection of US law. Is there USA who has the guts to take on that case? Probably not. Or will ObamaCo argue that if a US citizen is outside US jurisdiction, they can kill with impunity?

          Boxturtle (If the latter, Congresscritters should travel cautiously)

          • bmaz says:

            No no, Awlaki does not apply to the insanity defense himself as far as testimony or evidence, but the insanity defense is all but impossible to argue if the case is made that Hasan is a terrorist who plotted with Awliki. Awliki’s value is in being able to affirmatively dispute the claims made about him by the government and refute allegations as to the nature of his contacts with Hasan. There were two people that had other than hearsay information on said contacts, Awliki and Hasan. Hasan has the right to not take the stand, and if he does, he is subject to cross examination; but he could have accomplished his purpose through Awliki. Now he cannot. This is a huge loss to Hasan if you ask me.

            • BoxTurtle says:

              Hmm…I hadn’t looked at it that way. But I don’t think the defense has lost as much as you do. He would be an easily impeachable witness in the eyes of the jury and he’d have to explain how the emails were innocent and any other inconvienent facts the government would like to introduce.

              As a defense atty, I’d think his testimony would hurt more than help. The testimony I want is from Hasan’s military shrinks. If I can get even one of them to say on the stand Hasan can’t stand trial, I’m on my way to a deal that might save my clients life.

              As defense atty, I might also raise the same point you do and argue the government has denied my client a fair trial by whacking a witness. Lot’s of case law about that says you can’t whack witnesses. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

              As prosecutor, I got Hasan cold on murder. I can drop the terrorism charges, charge him with mass murder, run the tapes for the jury and be home for dinner. Defense can argue crazy until they’re blue in the face, I got army shrinks with unimpeachable credentials that say he’s not.

              Boxturtle (In fact, the hit may have given the defense the chance they needed)

              • Leen says:

                “whack a witness” program. Sure seemed to be a lot of his co-workers/others reporting that his sanity was questionable during the week of coverage just after the shootings

      • PaulaT says:

        Maybe they’re not as blind to polling as they pretend to be and are hoping to distract attention from the messes they are cooking up here at home.

    • Mary says:

      Pretty much my first thought too.

      Killing off the witnesses is an approach that’s been around for a long time – just generally not as an operation run out of the Executive branch that controls the Dept of Justice.

  2. skdadl says:

    The BBC hed says “dozens killed,” although they also repeat the “at least thirty suspected militants” formula. I wonder how long before we get reports of collateral damage. Last week’s strike is believed to have killed a score of children at least.

    Another Canadian soldier died in Afghanistan yesterday. I don’t know whether you keep count, but we do — he was the 134th. He had a blog and a Flickr account. He wrote earlier this month about how much he enjoyed celebrating Eid with the Afghan national army platoon our guys were patrolling with. One of them died too, and another was seriously injured.

    In a couple of days, the Canadian’s cortège will drive through my town along what is now called the Highway of Heroes, about 100 miles long, from Trenton CFB to the coroner’s office in Toronto, and people from towns all along the way will go out to stand on the bridges and overpasses, about fifty of those, as the procession goes by (the whole thing is carefully timed). The police will block the access roads and then stand outside their cars and salute; the paramedics and the fireguys will park on the bridges and stand to attention on top of their trucks. The firetrucks will wail, and the oncoming traffic will honk and blink. People will wave flags and salute and cry, and it is all such a bricklefritzin’ heart-breaking waste.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Here we just get a short notice in the local paper and sometimes some TV coverage. If they get the funeral done in time for the 6:00 news.

      It’s very important not to rile the population, doesn’t your government realize this?!? Is your government so cash-strapped and without wealthy supporters that they can’t even buy the opinions of the newspapers? Your papers are hurting for revenue as much as ours are.

      And that highway of honor?!? Good lord man, don’t you realize how easy that is to handle? You deliver the bodies to a secured airbase in an out of the way area (We use Delaware, our second smallest state), you do NOT permit the media, you fly them in unmarked planes to the local Funeral home.

      You’re going to start spreading the riling south and we just can’t have that.

      Boxturtle (Channelin’ Cheney, and he aint even dead yet!)

      • skdadl says:

        BoxTurtle, the whole thing started as a genuine grassroots movement. Our governments, Liberal and then Conservative both, were embarrassed at first by the dead bodies, just as the Bush regime were. They tried selling us a line about the families’ need for privacy, which of course the families do deserve, although there’s privacy and then there are prissy cover-ups.

        I think it was Legion people and then some of the emergency workers who started spreading the word about the timing of the procession from Trenton. People just started turning up, the cops and the fireguys and paramedics quite dramatically.

        So then the government did a sudden 180-degree turn and co-opted the movement. They renamed the highway — Highway of Heroes/Autoroute des héros — and pretended they’d been in favour of public honours the whole time. They’re taking credit for it now. The schedule is published.

        I don’t know — the tribute from ordinary people still moves me, but I know a lot of lefties who are furious at the co-optation. Sometimes it feels as though cynical politicians can spoil anything, eh?

    • mafr says:

      what about all the ads on tv for military recruitment.

      It ends with the graphic “Fight”

      We are going backward in Canada.

      This bunch would dismantle our health care system if they had half a chance.

    • Petrocelli says:

      Some Radio Stations also give updates, so people can know when to rally and show support for our troops.

      I often ask these rabid cheerleaders … for the first time in our History, suicide bombers are targeting Canadians, why are we keeping our children in harm’s way ?

      It will be interesting to see if Iggy uses the torture scandal to bring down the HarperCons™

      • skdadl says:

        Yes, Loo Hoo. I don’t know why this one hit me so hard, but it did. Maybe because he was a blogger, and he was just cooking up a goat stew a few days ago, really enjoying it?

        They’re just kids. He believed in what he was doing, and I respect him for that, but he should not have been there.

        We are wrecking the lives of the Afghans, to no good purpose. We are wrecking the lives of Yemenis, to no good purpose. Westerners have been stupid about Africa, the ME, and Central Asia for over two centuries, and it’s time we wised up and stopped ruining their lives and cultures.

          • skdadl says:

            “All for one and one for all.” That’s the Wheelhouse, eh?

            I like ’em all, fatster. (I sometimes have this funny feeling that I was you in an earlier life, or vice versa.) Did you know that Robeson once sang across the border to a Canadian audience, at a time when your peeps, I think, not ours, were preventing him from travelling? Great man, both the talent and the moral and the public strength.

            • skdadl says:

              PS: Great as Beethoven was and always will remain, the inspiration for the song was Schiller’s words, and Schiller was a flower of the Enlightenment, one of those people who occasionally make you feel so deeply proud to be a human bean. When people honour that song, I hope they remember to honour Schiller equally with Beethoven.

  3. Leen says:

    “Nevertheless, reports of fatal air strikes in Pakistan emerge every few days. Such stories are often secondhand and difficult to confirm, as the Pakistani government and the military have tried to wall off the tribal areas from journalists. But, even if a precise account is elusive, the outlines are clear: the C.I.A. has joined the Pakistani intelligence service in an aggressive campaign to eradicate local and foreign militants, who have taken refuge in some of the most inaccessible parts of the country.”

    Read more:


    “We don’t count” That is what our military learned during Vietnam. Don’t show the American public the pictures and DON’T COUNT the people we kill directly or by proxy.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Of course we count. We kill 30, everytime. And there’s no suffering involved or gory bodies, with a US rockets death is just like turning out a light. And we use special rockets that do not hurt anybody but terrorists.

      Boxturtle (Xmas cynic)

  4. Leen says:

    Remember when Obama said to the folks in that region in his speech in Cairo that he was “carrying a message of peace from the American people” or some thing like this horseshit.

    Just tough to believe in Obama when he sends in drones and not doves to deal with the hatred and anger that is felt by so many towards the U.S. in that part of the world.

    Doves not drones. Wonder what the ratio is for young men who join the ranks of the Taliban or al Queda when we murder their members with out any “actionable intelligence” that they have directly done harm to the U.S.

    Wonder how many are recruited after an attack like this?

  5. Sara says:

    There are at least three small wars going on in Yemen right now — maybe more.

    There are several tribal groups in Yemen which ate Shia, though most of Yemen is Sunni. They are located in the north, along the Saudi border, and for some time the Saudi’s have believed they were infilitrating Saudi territory, and smuggling arms to the Shia minority in the NE of Saudi Arabia with Iranian support. Last summer according to the Saudi Press, several Saudi officials and border guards were murdered, and the Saudi’s sent both their Air Force to bomb the camps of the infilitrators, and ground troops to cross the border and raid these camps. The Saudi’s claim to have captured prisoners who have provided evidence of the smuggling and sponsorship, etc., — it is one to follow as it develops. This is something of an aspect of a long running civil war in Yemen — remember up until the 1990’s, Yemen was divided into North and South Yemen, with North Yemen being Communist Dominated. In the bad old days before the Wall came down, it was East Germany that had the franchise for providing communist guidence to North Yemen. Lots of memoires of Former Stasi contain commentary on their lovely days of being stationed in Yemen representing E. German and Soviet interests. Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt were involved with fighting the Communist Tribes in those long ago Cold War days. My impression is that these long ago Cold War conflicts were built upon long existing tribal conflicts that had little to do with the state of play in the Cold War. Very likely the current Sunni/Shia conflicts incorporate some of the history of that old conflict. Likewise it is important to remember that in the last decade of the Cold War Somalia switched sides (depending on who was putting arms on offer) three times, as did Ethopia, which always seemed to be the reverse mirror image of what was the state of play in Somalia and Yemen. Clearly there is a possibility that the recent efforts to infiltrate Saudi territory and the smuggleing are essentially an extension of this messy and long lasting conflict that extends across NE Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Why it is of interest is essentially geographic — the conflict lands pretty much control access to the southern approach to the Suez Canal. No way the US, NATO, or even present day Russia and China are going to allow some sort of al Quada franchise to close those waters to International commerce.

    There was a fascinating story that came out of Saudi Arabia last summer that has not gotten a great deal of play in the US Press, but deserves a good deal more than it got. This is the failed attempt in August 2009, to assassinate by suicide bomber, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a fifty something half brother to the current King Abdullah, who was/is in charge of the special reform and re-integration program for former terrorists, former al-Quada members, and those released to Saudi Arabia from Gitmo. He was apparently targeted by Al-Quada in the Arabian Peninusla (a merger of the Saudi branch and the Oman and Yemen branches)which recruited a former Gitmo prisoner, returned and supposedly re-habed in Saudi Arabia’s program, to suicide bomb bin Nayef. The bomber got an appointment with the Prince, promising that he could bring many former al-Quada and Gitmo types into the program from Yemen, his gut was stuffed full of explosives which he set off in the Prince’s office — but apparently the Prince had bent down behind his desk just at the moment the explosives were set off by cell phone, and while he was wounded, he survived. The former Gitmo type recruited to do the bombing, safe to say, did not. He made a holy mess of the place.

    In the wake of this, the Saudi Airforce started bombing camps in Yemen that according to Saudi intelligence, had something to do with the network in which this bomber formerly existed. Since last August there have been periodic stories in the Saudi press about both the bombing and the Saudi Airforce strikes. Whole story gives the term “gut check” an entirely new meaning. Perhaps this is a new job for Proctologists. (How long till we see them stationed at Air Port Security???)

    The third set of attacks — and we know about several — have been stand off attacks by the US using cruise missiles and drones of al-Quada camps where fighters who left Waziristan last spring and summer as the Drone and the Pakistani Army actions in Swat, and then in the FATA increased, are reported to be living and training. Pakistani Press has had several stories about Pakistani Intelligence handing off such information to the US and the Saudi’s, and the attack on al-Awlaki would seem to be within this pattern.

    At least one of the overall problems seems to be serious infiltration of the Yemen Security Services and Army by al-Quada in recent years, to an extent that no one really trusts any official part of the Yemeni Government. There are reports that King Abdullah has sent hundreds of millions to Yemen in the last month or so to try to “buy up” the Yemen Intelligence Service, and clean it up, but who knows whether he had actually made a clean purchase. Abdullah is also interested, tiz reported, in getting Egypt back involved in Yemen.

    The Saudi’s see this as a possible aggressive plan by Iran, and they see the fact that the Iranian Government is now holding under house arrest a good part of bin Laden’s personal family (one wife, and seven children apparently) — and using that as leverage to get al-Quada in Yemen to act in their interests, as very much part of what is behind the recent attacks on the Saudi Prince, and on Saudi territory. That is the Saudi interpretation. You have to break it down of course and look at all the other interests, world-wide and regional, that may be involved.

    • Casual Observer says:

      Excellent stuff. I’ve been reading up on Yemen, trying to figure out wtf is going on.

      1. Saudis fighting Houthis
      2. Yemen fighting Houthis (includes using al qaeda troop assistance)
      3. US bombing al qaeda
      4. Yemen now attacking al qaeda

      I think the shit is hitting the fan now, within past several months, because Yemen may be seen as nearing collapse, becoming a failed state.

      • Sara says:

        “I think the shit is hitting the fan now, within past several months, because Yemen may be seen as nearing collapse, becoming a failed state.”

        Yes, it is possible that collapse could be near, but I also am holding with interest the report that the Saudi King recently spent hundreds of millions to buy up the Yemen Intelligence Service. The Saudi Royal Family and the Kingdom really don’t have all that much love for those who would off one of the Princes in the Royal Line. I assume it possible that in buying up the intelligence service, they may have acquired quite a fount of information.

        Over recent years I have occassionally read with interest the Long War Journal — which I disagree with in many ways, but seems to have loads of sources in the intelligence world, and gets information of a fairly factual nature early and with some clarity. They have up today a piece on today’s raid reporting this was a fairly substantial decapitation raid, taking out #1 and #2 in the Al-Quada in the Arab Penisula, #2 being a returned Gitmo type, who previously had broken out of a Yemeni Jail, and about thirty addition persons, all in Al-Quada leadership, who were meeting in Alwaki’s house. Something tells me that if it is true Alwaki opened his house to this crowd to hold a meeting, the question of his nationality, or any matter of whether the US has an obligation to protect him, is rather beside the point — but we will see what further reports lay out for us. To read the article, go to….

        and sort the issues out for yourself. As I say, I have some serious differences with aspects of this site, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have decent sources.

    • fatster says:

      Yeah, and what’s got me freaked is the possibility that US involvement will turn them all into one great big war.

  6. marcos says:

    The USG is just cranky that some guys in a dinghy were able to score points on the US Cole. That now requires that the military actually do its job when not in combat, that is, to always defend those expensive ships that we buy for them.

    That heads did not roll for shortcomings in security that led to the Cole incident really demonstrates the extent to which the “war on terror” is a tool of domestic control rather than any legitimate thing that can be won.

  7. Beerfart Liberal says:

    and in despair I bowed my head
    there is no peace on earth i said
    for hate is strong
    and mocks the song
    of peace on earth good will to men

  8. sfriendly says:

    As an anti-war leftist who protested the Iraq war before it ever began, and opposed the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 – though in hindsight I may have been very wrong about that – I am not completely opposed to the strikes against actual active, effectual Qaida members in Yemen or anywhere else for that matter. al-Qaida actually is active against the civilian population of the US, and has caused us horrible injury. If there is to be a use of the bloody imperial instrument referred to as the “US military”, then let it be against something actually a threat to us. By that, I do not refer to the innocent men, women, and children who are destroyed in these air strikes we rely on, but the actual figures in Qaida and groups like that who really are trying to kill innocent people in the US.

    To make it further clear, I’d like to see less reliance on drones and acceptable levels of civilian deaths in air strikes. I say, the fight against groups like Qaida – I didn’t say Taliban, I said Qaida – is important enough to actually put our boots on the ground. Send in soldiers, flesh and blood soldiers who can be injured, into these places where Qaida is found, and have them shoot the more precise bullets and grenades at the actual terrorists, sparing the innocents normally killed in air strikes. If its worth our killing anyone, its worth the risk to the lives of our own soldiers to do the killing in a way that greatly reduces the deaths of foreign innocents.

    • bobschacht says:

      Send in soldiers, flesh and blood soldiers who can be injured, into these places where Qaida is found, and have them shoot the more precise bullets and grenades at the actual terrorists, sparing the innocents normally killed in air strikes.

      Have you seen much of such fire fights where these “more precise bullets and grenades” have been fired? If you have, I’ll bet you wouldn’t have used the “more precise” phrase. I’ll bet that as many civilians get killed by these “more precise bullets and grenades” as get killed by the predator drones.

      War is hell, whether fired from rifles or from predator drones.

      Bob in AZ

    • sfriendly says:

      Sadly, Israel will now have drone technology on par with the US, and is presumably already using these weapons against Palestinians in different capacities.

  9. applepie says:

    I don’t need some company spook justifying the use of American robotics to slaughter poor kids and women. Bottom line is Americas military is rapacious, unaccountable, and continuing to endanger all Americans by slaughtering civilians.

    Remember your taxes are paying for this escalation in the depravity of war and the research to expand the death circle continues unabated. And the kingdom of Saud is as close to American war industrialists as a couple of protons flying underneath the large hadron collider.

    More blood on Obama’s hands. More blood on America’s hands. The wars must not end? WTF.

  10. gnomedigest says:

    The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF)
    Never have to declare war again!
    -brought to you by your public servants at the United States Congress

    Only Congress can declare war. An inconvenience Empire and apparently the Congress can do without. Especially when there is such an easy solution: Give yourself indefinite authorization for something else and call Wars that.

  11. alank says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I suspect there are far more dangerous members of al Qaeda in Yemen right now than in Afghanistan. If so, we’re at least targeting the guys we’re supposedly at war with.

    This is utter bollocks and cods wallop. The U.S. is our own worst enemy who just happens to have been waging wars of aggression in the Levant for some considerable time.

  12. milly says:

    Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan were against the war.

    Both hate NAFTA. Both speak up for the working man. Have the parties merged into just right and left. And a few people who think independently?

  13. alan1tx says:

    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

    Sweet dreams.

    • sfriendly says:

      I disagree with you, completely. “Rough men” as you put it have existed throughout human history, including the most of human history where people couldn’t sleep so comfortably. People sleep peacefully in modern beds because law and far less rough civilian control over these “rough men” exists and keeps them in order on pain of incarceration if they break the law and act on their own. The modern advance of sustained peace is kept not by “rough men” but the majority of people who are not “rough” but who act together to reduce and contain the violence of “rough men”. Let’s not mythologize or render suddenly moral violence. It’s always a tragedy no matter what.

    • Leen says:

      “tough men” make billions while Americans are put to sleep. Millions die and are turned into refugees due to those rich folks manipulation of some of those “tough men and women” who think they are joining the military either to go to college or what they are told is to protect Americans. Being told by many of those rich folks who run with their tails between their legs when it comes time for them to serve (Bush,Cheney, Liarman) and do not hesitate to send other people’s family members off to unnecessary and immoral wars based on a “pack of lies”

      Sweet dreams because to believe in the American dream you have to be as George Carlin said “asleep” to believe in it.

      • alan1tx says:

        Google wasn’t even any help.

        Security Police // University of Notre DameNotre Dame Security Police provides important services to the community, but nothing we do can replace your actions in maintaining security and safety on … – Cached – Similar
        About NDSP // Security Police // University of Notre DameNotre Dame Security Police. Hammes Mowbray Hall Notre Dame, IN 46556 574-631-5555 [email protected] … NDSP is a service organization whose product is safety. … – Cached – Similar
        NDSP – What does NDSP stand for? Acronyms and abbreviations by the …Acronym, Definition. NDSP, National Dam Safety Program (US FEMA). NDSP, North Dakota State Penitentiary. NDSP, Non-DoD Schools Program … – Cached – Similar
        FEMA: About the National Dam Safety ProgramJun 30, 2009 … For 30 years, the Federal Government has been working to protect Americans from dam failure through the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP). …

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If being a bad person were sufficient reason for being targeted by drone, drones would fill the skies between Arlington and C Street. If thinking about acting on the evil inside you were sufficient cause to strike at you from half a world away, half the world would be empty.

    To justify these killings as anything but unlawful, they need to be of people who have the immediate intent, motive, means and opportunity to harm Americans and vital American interests, or have already done so.

    Even then, restrained judgment is necessary, because that standard, standing alone, might apply to the board rooms of some of our most esteemed companies. Enabling the continued deaths of 45,000 health care-less Americans is a pretty high standard to beat. Which means it would be responsible statesmanship to explain who the targets were and specifically what they did to merit the Red Queen’s justice: sentence first, verdict afterwards. And yes, that would require admitting to the killing and maiming of those nearby, and why that was imperative, too.

    • temptingfate says:

      This is not an attempt to disagree with anything you said a sort of clarification.

      The problem with intent is that it’s hard to determine even when the person is still alive. Even when it comes to past actions the lack of any judicial restraint means that a couple of analysts can get together and come to an agreement. Judge, jury and executioner. Americans have been convicted and executed by the US legal system and later found to be innocent on many occasions. What we have here in no way resembles that level of burden-of-proof for actions taken much less predictions of what people might do in the future.

      I can start a club to take over Mars and build the world’s highest ski resort but that doesn’t mean my club will have the ability to follow through.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Hence, my reference motive, means, opportunity and intent. As you say, I may want to do mischief or date a film star. I might even have a credit card with more than $1000 balance (which would pay for 2/3 of a bottle of champagne in South Beach). But it doesn’t mean I have the credible ability to do as I please.

        The US too often seems to adopt Cheney’s 1% rule: whatever Big Dick is afraid of, whatever fear he can most market, gets taken out, regardless of whether it’s a gnat, an existential threat to society or somewhere in between.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Agreed. Unfortunately, to even ask for such reasons would call up questions of “national security”, so we’d all better just STFU, if we’re gonna be good Americans!

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The political calculus that “30” dead is too few to mention, too few to become a political liability, assumes that Americans can’t count. It’s “only 30” because that’s the number the Pentagon releases, not the body count on the ground. It also avoids arguments like those in Arsenic an Old Lace:

    “Johnny, you can’t count the one in Indiana; he died of pneumonia.”
    “He wouldn’t have died of pneumonia if I hadn’t shot him.”

    And it’s “only 30” if there’s one incident. When you have dozens, it becomes hundreds of dead and maimed, thousands in mourning, and tens of thousands of new recruits.

    If this and the prior administration spent as much time strategizing about how to defeat a specific enemy (which includes more than just killing the ones you can find and releasing the news at opportune moments), instead of co-opting the American people with propaganda, we’d be much safer.

  16. fatster says:

    You will be shocked, shocked!, to learn this:

    Pentagon sees big savings in replacing contractors with federal employees
    By Walter Pincus
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    “The Defense Department estimates it will save an average of $44,000 a year for every contractor it replaces with full-time federal personnel to perform critical defense jobs, according to the House-Senate conference report on the fiscal 2010 defense appropriation bill.”


    • temptingfate says:

      Low paid mercs get $150,000 and an army private gets $24,000. This is how the Defense Department looses all that money. They loose a $100,000 on every contract but make it up in volume.

    • Sara says:

      ““The Defense Department estimates it will save an average of $44,000 a year for every contractor it replaces with full-time federal personnel to perform critical defense jobs, according to the House-Senate conference report on the fiscal 2010 defense appropriation bill.””

      Fatster, what you link to here is profound and revolutionary. To understand the meaning of it, you need to have read Tim Shorrock’s book, “Spies for Hire” and/or Thomas Frank’s recent “The Wrecking Crew.” — and it gets at parts of the dirty underside of the Blackwater issue. I particularly like the items mentioned more deeply into the article, the plan to hire more inspectors and auditors, perhaps to clawback some of the ill gotten gains of recent years.

      This is a perfect example as to what I was focused on in another thread here, the matter of Obama putting priority in his first year on reshaping the budget, appropriations, and spending authorities as a means for changing policy. There is change like this in virtually every departmental and agency budget, and we need to detail them so we know with some precision the changes made or at least intended.

      • Petrocelli says:

        Do you have any friends in the State Dept. ? They are in an upheaval over there, all for the better.

        HRC is well loved !

        • Sara says:

          “Do you have any friends in the State Dept. ? They are in an upheaval over there, all for the better.

          HRC is well loved !”

          Used to but like me most of my friends are retired.

          During the 70’s and much of the 80’s, the Director for Middle East Research in the I & R Division was my former Professor at Antioch College. He was from a Detroit-Lebanon Immigrant Family, 2nd Generation, used his GI Bill to get a Harvard PhD in Anthropology, and did his field work in Syria and Lebanon. Took two courses from him — Law and Culture and Religion and Culture — both part of my triple major in Sociology, Anthropology and History. Both courses were threaded with Vic’s field work in the Middle East which was quite contemporary in the late 50’s and early 60’s. During the Religion section we were lucky to get another Former Antiochian, Clifford Geertz to spend a week or so on campus, and take us through his field work in Indonesia. Had several chances for goodly visits with Vic when he was at State, and appreciated something of his critique of how things worked over there. Have other friends who served in the Foreign Service — but they were not so interested in talking out of school.

          Hillary, because of her independent status, and WH access gives them a great opportunity to do deep reform at state, particularly because they are no longer oppressed by the likes of Jesse Helms (he ruined the department even though it was weak when he started in on them), as between John Kerry and Lugar they have a Chair and Ranking Member who are supportive and want deep going change…and who prefer to work together rather than fight partisan battles. And it really is the first time since the Carter Years to go out and hire some smart people rather than Ideologues, and put them to work.

          • bobschacht says:

            Thanks, Sara! I’ll take that as a nice Christmas present. Much needed.

            I hope you and all the other Firepups will have a joyous Christmas! You are all my daily contact with sanity!

            Bob in AZ

          • bmaz says:

            I have only one real friend at State, but from what he relates, Clinton is actually pretty well liked and respected among the lifers there.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              The impression I have is that compared to Rice, Mrs. Clinton is regarded as a breath of rationality and objectivity.

          • nextstopchicago says:


            What do you and your friends make of the Honduras fiasco, the Carmen Lomellian OAS post held hostage to Demint’s Honduran friends, and then Lomellin herself being told to give the whitewash talk for the nex government?

            I would have traded quite a lot to avoid the overthrow of a democratically elected government in the Americas on Obama’s watch. Even B. Clinton managed to reinstate Aristide, over Helms and the rest of them, clumsily, without any real message on the importance of democracy, but he got it done. Honduras was a major step backwards in my mind.

            (edited to say I’m genuinely curious what you think. It always sounds sarcastic when someone writes “what do you think?” and then goes on to give a scornful summary of what he thinks. But I don’t mean it that way. I’m curious if you have any thoughts on the sitch.)

            • Sara says:


              What do you and your friends make of the Honduras fiasco, the Carmen Lomellian OAS post held hostage to Demint’s Honduran friends, and then Lomellin herself being told to give the whitewash talk for the nex government?”

              Actually I don’t think all that much about Central and South America — not where I have any particularly useful background. I don’t do Japan, South and Central America or parts of Africa.

              DeMint seems to be a serious sad case — so far right that the Club for Growth will never primary him, but in South Carolina I doubt if this generation will see the election of a Democratic Senator — just isn’t in the cards. Which means idiots like DeMint sit there as potential committee chairs in the Senate should the Republicans ever get back control of the body. He clearly likes Military Dictatorships better than elected Presidents, and isn’t about to listen to Hillary Clinton’s lead in expressing US Foreign Policy.

              Sideline on this topic…

              Been following the story on MPR on the Northwest/Delta flight where someone tried to apparently blow up the plane just as it was landing in Detroit today. Flight was from Nigeria to Amsterdam to Detroit, and the bomber apparently lit some sort of explosive just as the plane was lining up with the runway to land. Now they are saying he had explosives taped to his leg, got on in Nigeria, and is a member of al-Quada, and the explosives came from Yemen, but the reporters are saying the story isn’t nailed down yet. Passengers and crew jumped the guy so hard he landed in the hospital. Initial reports frequently are wrong, but if this was al-Quada in the Arab Peninsula, it could quickly flare. But if reports are reasonably correct, Detroit will get a Terrorist Trial, or guilty plea akin to the Shoe Bomber, and Florence Colorado will get one more resident. They say about 250 persons were on the flight.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Dr. of the Obvious. But on whose toes would such a sound, financially and politically prudent policy step and what would they do to avoid a loss of power or revenue?

        • MadDog says:

          It wouldn’t surprise me that “Blackwater acquiring a bomber” was accurate, but I wouldn’t take the next step and paint them into the Yemeni airstrike picture (and I’m not suggesting you have made that leap).

          However, for those who would take such a leap, I’d remind them to keep the principle behind WO’s name in mind: “…the simplest explanation or strategy tends to be the best one…”

          If the US Air Force did the deed, it likely was F-15s or F-16s from airbases in Iraq, then overflying/refueling Saudi Arabia with their permission (the news articles all agree that Saudi intelligence was involved), and then on to Yemen.

          If the US Navy did the deed, twould have been even more simple for F/A-18s from a carrier task force steaming off the southern Yemeni coast.

          And a further fact in the Navy’s favor is the recent cruise missile strikes in Yemen.

          Though both the US Air Force and Navy have cruise missiles, the Air Force tends to be the minor player with cruise missiles in comparision to the Navy (Note: as former Navy, I might be biased, but I think not. *g*).

          • MadDog says:

            …If the US Navy did the deed, twould have been even more simple for F/A-18s from a carrier task force steaming off the southern Yemeni coast…

            If the Navy’s F/A-18s did the Yemeni airstrike, it was likely those from CVN-68 Nimitz.

            As of Dec.23, 2009 (yesterday), the Nimitz task force was reported to be in that neck of the woods.

          • bobschacht says:

            How about this?
            * The CIA provided the intelligence.
            * JSOC provided the pilots and other needed personnel and equipment
            * A local government (Saudi Arabia?) provided the planes.
            * Obama signed off on it.

            Bob in AZ

    • bobschacht says:

      “Saving money” was never really the reason for outsourcing all those jobs, anyway. The reasons, such as they were:

      * It was assumed, a priori, that government is incompetent, and business always does things better. ca

      * They were trying to shrink the government in any and every way possible. One way to do that is to outsource government jobs so that the government itself forgets how to do things (Same for DOD, too.)

      * They were looking for ways to divert gov’t money to businesses, who could then lobby for more government money, and could donate money to politicians (government offices can’t do that).

      Bob in AZ

      • fatster says:

        Good points all, Bob, but I kinda have a different interpretation on #2. I don’t think they were concerned whether gubmint was incompetent or not–I think they simply wanted to own it, milk it for all the taxpayers dollars they could get, and turn it into another little army of lock-step madmen.

        • bobschacht says:

          I don’t think they were concerned whether gubmint was incompetent or not–I think they simply wanted to own it, milk it for all the taxpayers dollars they could get…

          I really do think that it is an article of faith for Republicans that government is incompetent. Ronny Raygun popularized the idea. That’s why they have to shrink the size of government, dontcha know. It is also why they wanted to privatize social security, and why they are so disparaging about healthcare becoming another “government run” welfare program. They really truly believe that government is fundamentally inefficient. This is also part of the slam against “government bureaucrats,” as if they have less heart than insurance company bureaucrats.

          Have a very merry Christmas, anyway. *g*

          Bob in AZ

  17. Oval12345678akaJamesKSayre says:

    Two US endless imperial colonial occupations, one in Afghanistan (note US bases along proposed US corporation gas and oil pipelines) and the other in Iraq (note US bases near major oil fields) and two murderous air strike wars against supposed “al-Queda/muslim militants/whatever” in Pakistan (murder by drone) and Yemen (murder by bombs). Who cares about civilians killed or maimed or wounded. this is Murder, Inc. Our military has illegallly intervening in third world countries for over a century now: since 1898.
    We invade, we occupy, we over throw democracies, we install and support vicious dictators, all so that we can get cheap raw materials, cheap gas and oil and cheap agricultural products.

    “Peace on Earth and goodwill towards Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis, and Yemenis” (This means you, Pres. Obama.

  18. MadDog says:

    And from Time:

    …Initial reports that the airstrike may have been the work of the CIA seem to have been mistaken: Yemeni authorities say it was their jets that conducted the dawn operation, in the province of Shabwa, 400 miles south of the capital Sana’a. In a statement, the Yemeni embassy in Washington D.C. said the strike targeted a meeting of “scores of Yemeni and foreign Al Qaeda operatives.” The meeting had been called to discuss retaliation for government raids in mid-December on al-Qaeda hideouts in Abyan and Sana’a provinces…

    A couple of things to ponder here:

    1. The snippet of “Initial reports that the airstrike may have been the work of the CIA seem to have been mistaken: Yemeni authorities say it was their jets that conducted the dawn operation…” might seem to be a denial that the US conducted this airstrike.

    After all, the never-wrong and fact-sure Time says reports that the CIA did the airstrike “seem” to be mistaken.

    Ummm…the CIA doesn’t have bombers to my knowledge…but the US Air Force and Navy do.

    2. The “seeming” accuracy of the airstrike calls into question the other part of Time’s snippet – “…Yemeni authorities say it was their jets that conducted the dawn operation…”

    Ummm…the Yemenis don’t have precision guided munitions to my knowledge…but the US Air Force and Navy do.

    Beware of Time (and MSNBC in the original news item that EW quoted) presenting US intelligence “spin” as news truth.

  19. Petrocelli says:

    I’m off as well … leaving a Large Pitcher of Chocolate Martini and a Bowl of Rum- Laced Eggnog for all my dear friends … Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa to all of you !

    If rotl shows up, my fav Chocolate Martini recipe:

    1 oz Absolut Vanilla Vodka [almost frozen]
    1 oz Creme de Cacao
    1 oz Bailey’s
    1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
    6 ice cubes
    Chocolate Flakes & extra Creme de Cacao for the Rim.

    Take a cocktail shaker and pour the Vodka, Creme de Cacao, Bailey’s Irish Creme and Chocolate syrup.
    Add the ice cubes.
    Shake well.
    Rub rim of glass with Creme de Cacao then dip into a shallow dish of Chocolate Flakes.
    Strain and pour contents of cocktail shaker into a martini glass. If your guests are really special, melt some chocolate and make swirly designs inside the martini glasses, then put them in the Freezer for half an hour before serving.

  20. skdadl says:

    Merry Christmas, Petro and MadDog, and anyone else who is bowing out at this hour. I luv you guys, even when I disagree with you, luv luv luv you.

    I’m not fully rational at the moment, though. I lost my sheepskin mittens when I went to liberate the duckling from the sexy butchers. I can’t think where I put teh mittens down, but they are gone. I’ve got the duckling, but I really need my mittens!

  21. fatster says:

    In the second link, Robeson does indeed acknowledge Schiller. (Plus, the second link has the version without those annoying scratches).

    Oh, we’re soul-sisters, skdadl. That’s the connection. And it’s a treasured one.

    BTW, when Robeson sang across the border to the Canadian audience, was he singing from, oh, say New Jersey, Indiana, or maybe even Florida? A mighty voice like that went a long way.

    And, of course, he always sang to the whole wide world.

    • skdadl says:

      BTW, when Robeson sang across the border to the Canadian audience, was he singing from, oh, say New Jersey, Indiana, or maybe even Florida? A mighty voice like that went a long way.

      No, no — quite literally, he was singing across the border — as in: he was standing and singing on one side of the border and there was a large audience on teh other side, the two in mutual viewing distance, or however we put that.

      The description in the wiki entry seems kind of garbled to me, but it appears that this happened at least twice at the border between Washington state and BC, and then I’m pretty sure it happened here (ie: here is wherever I am *wink*), at the Niagara crossing.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Paul Robeson’s career was incredible. A nationally ranked athlete at Rutgers, top graduate of Columbia Law School, world-renowned performer and singer, and lifelong friend of the working man and woman. Little wonder that white America labeled him a threat and appreciated him far less than Europeans.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Oh, and Mr. Robeson was born in 1898, meaning he squeezed through, but didn’t break, the color barrier before Barry.

          • fatster says:

            Unfortunately, he couldn’t break the FBI barrier, either. Jedger was having hissy- and snit-fits all the time about Robeson. Huge file was kept on him, one of the largest, I believe. They hounded him. Such an outrage.

            That song about Christmas in the Trenches, 1914, is most moving. I’ve got to follow skdadl’s link to the young soldier’s blog before I call it an evening, and I’m preparing myself for that (being a disgustingly emotional person). In other words, not sure I could listen to the song you linked to tonight, too, but I will over the next few days. Haven’t heard it in a long time. Thnx.

            Oh, and could I get you a glass of Petrocelli’s Chocolate Martini? It’s good stuff.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    My favorite (melancholy) Christmas song is John McCutcheon’s ballad about Christmas in the Trenches in 1914, during a short and unrepeated truce. What a football match it must have been. No wonder the brass forbade its repetition.

    An excellent youtube version is here, for all the guys and gals cleaning sand out of their receivers and ears this holiday season.

  23. fatster says:

    In Blaine, WA, that’s where. I went there once during the Vietnam War era. At the Peace Arch. People were trying to visit their relatives who had fled to Canada and it was kind of tricky, because nobody knew what the border guards (US and Canadian) would do. So fitting that Robeson sang there.

  24. Jeff Kaye says:

    Fuck yes. If, per Sara, it comes out that the Yeminis “gave” the target, that’s for deniability.

    Of course this was an assassination, and as bmaz points out of a US citizen charged with no crime. Don’t kid yourselves, while Obama must sign off on this, he’s not in control. The Pentagon-intel-corporatists are running the show, and they operate much like the Mob, only crueler.

    They’ve set up Hasan to be the greatest terrorist attacker since bin Laden. They must keep the fear at high pitch.

    This is not a one-of-those-things coincidences.

    • nextstopchicago says:

      Though I’m skeptical, I don’t discount the darkest suspicions about the Yemeni strike. But I think it is worth pointing out that the Christian Science Monitor link above goes far beyond providing the excuse of Yemeni cover for the operation. The CSM actually quoting the cleric’s father saying that he doesn’t live there, that he was living with a different uncle, that the drone hit an al-Aulaqi house, but that al-Aulaqi is a large clan, and so that’s a bit like hitting a Smith or a Patel house in the US.

      roadstoiraq link above also suggests al Aulaqi wasn’t hit, though he seems to be going back to the same statement from his father, so no independent confirmation.

      • bmaz says:

        I didn’t see that before, thanks. Yeah, that gives some juice to the “who was the target” question. Awlaki is a pain in the ass, and a thumb in the eye, to the US government I suppose, but he IS a citizen and I have never seen hard charges or evidence of terrorism made against him. So I guess I will reserve judgment on what it all means until it is better sorted out. One thing is clear, the operation was a US driven operation all the way irrespective of the insignia on the aircraft doing the dirty deeds.

  25. Mary says:

    @10 – Not so much a benefit to them for Hasan, more a personal benefit to Obama re: the military IMO. It gives the military a way to feel that Obama was “tough” and “responded” to their loss with an eye for an eye.
    @17 – that is a very good summary on Yemen. They have also “lost” a few returned detainees ealier. Add in all those factors and it’s easy to see why the 70+ Yemenis form one of the real headaches re: the GITMO detentions. Esp since it now appears a solid chunk may have been originally purchased for human experimentation detained basd on information that was wholly or mostly from the crazy-guy detainee who has, apart from his craziness, now been identified to the courts as being completely unreliable for any purpose (other than the 8 year detention of his designated kidnap victims).

    skdadl – I’m so sorry. Echoing Loo HOo @77 as well.

    @53 – Agreed, although I guess under the AUMF they could also claim that they can carry out those killings on “members” of al-Qaeda, since they are treating it as a military unit. But then you have the issue of how do you know they are members of al-Qaeda. Like Zubaydah was a “member” or like Arar was, or el-Masri or …

    • nextstopchicago says:


      I think you’re on the mark on the relationship between Hasan and the drone strike. The benefit at trial seems slender. The benefit in terms of letting angry military men get their revenge seems much stronger. Really convincing.

      • bmaz says:

        Maybe, but I would not discount the trial angle either, at least to the extent Awlaki was a primary target as opposed to convenient collateral damage (and it does seem a little hazy still what the real primary targeting was). Honestly, to the extent Awlaki was the target, it could be a “twofer” with both trial and revenge playing parts. The discussion above by commenters, and what people, even attorneys, that do not have significant criminal trial backgrounds is overly simplistic and uninformed. Irrespective of anything else, I guarantee you the government does not want Hasan to be able to effectively plea insanity at trial; it would bring in all kinds of evidence potentially involving war crimes and, really, make a mess of the trial. The absolute key to that is to be able to conclusively posture Hasan as a terrorist. By both taking the only testimonial ability of Hasan, through Awlaki, to present a rational explanation of those emails (Hasan cannot be allowed to take the stand), that is HUGE; at the same time, they definitively paint the other end of the emails as a terrorist because he was killed as a terrorist. Maybe I am nuts, but were I Hasan’s defense lawyer, that is exactly how i would be viewing this.

  26. Hmmm says:

    Happy Boxing Day, all.

    BTW how come I am not seeing any mention at all of the Yemen strike in the coverage of the Northwest/Delta attack attempt, the one where the accused was trained in, and the incendiary/explosive device was sewn into his undies in… wait for it… Yemen?

Comments are closed.