Obama Apparently Was Hoping for a Trifecta

Qaddafi last Saturday, Osama bin Laden Sunday, and Anwar al-Awlaki on Thursday.

A U.S. drone strike in Yemen Thursday was aimed at killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical cleric who is suspected of orchestrating terrorist attacks on the U.S, but the missile missed its target, according to Yemeni and U.S. officials.


The attempt to kill Mr. Awlaki was the first known U.S. military strike inside Yemen since May 2010, when U.S. missiles mistakenly killed one of Yemen President Abdullah Ali Saleh’s envoys and an unknown number of other people.

Lucky for Obama, batting .333 is still a great average.

Oh–and too bad about all that collateral damage.

Two lessons for Obama: 1) Navy SEALs are far more effective with far fewer mistakes than drones, 2) that adage about celebrities dying in three? It doesn’t actually raise your odds in military strikes.

  1. tjbs says:

    Constitutional president in control of the Magnificent Mindless “Merican Murder Machine.

    Hal, does anyone remember Hal on spaceship earth.

    We be nuts, murderous insane bloodlusting nuts.

    • AlanSF says:

      If we keep on assassinating, eventually we’ll kill the people we want. Seems like a reasonable strategy.

  2. emptywheel says:

    Serious question: Has anyone seen anything to explain the big drops in crude prices?

    Because if you REALLY wanted to do a reset in the Middle East, you might flood the market with crude, neutralize the big problem you rely on Saudis for (AQ), and try to free up some excess capacity elsewhere to bridge a period in which you end that special relationship w/Saudi Arabia.

    I know. Eleventy dimension chess is just a myth.

    • Elliott says:


      The President actually did put together a task force to monitor speculation and fraud in the oil markets. And some Senate Democrats have made noise on this as well. Perhaps they spooked the speculators.

    • MadDog says:

      As an aside, funny how a big drop in crude oil prices never shows up at the gas pump.

      Another episode of American Robber Baron Capitalism: “Heads we win, tails you lose!”

    • Scarecrow says:

      Some possible factors: Dr. Doom, the economist Roubini told his followers a couple days ago to get out of commodities, and there was a large move out of all kinds, including oil. Also, rumors of Greece possibly defaulting and leaving the Euro caused minor panic in Europe. Euro fell sharply against dollar. Oil is priced in $$. All signaled to get out of high forward positions.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Is it pure profit taking at the speculative peak? Fuel at over $4/gal. tends to piss off a lot of voters, but since when has that stood in the way of corporate profits. The lower prices will certainly dampen enthusiasm for reform of all kinds, especially reforming the way oil companies and America’s biggest corporations pay no or little tax.

    • joanneleon says:

      Re: the drop in oil prices

      I figured that because of all the talk from the admin about lowering or doing away with oil subsidies, somebody tamed the speculators.

      Also there has been some news this week about CEO salaries going up during the recession and three oil companies are at the top of the salary list.

  3. bmaz says:

    I think it is fascinating that the original plan appears to have been for a doubleheader, so to speak, on Saturday. Because the original date for the OBL operation was for Saturday, but had to be pushed back a day due to weather concerns.

  4. joanneleon says:

    There was another drone strike today too, in Pakistan. The numbers killed varies depending on which article you read, anywhere from 8 to 15. I don’t know who the target was.

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A suspected CIA drone strike targeted a militant stronghold area in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan’s borderlands yesterday, killing 15 people, according to news reports.

    Missiles pounded the town of Datta Khel, near what US officials believe is the headquarters of the Haqqani network, an Afghan insurgent force that has staged deadly bombings in Afghan cities and regularly attacks NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan.

    The Associated Press, quoting Pakistani intelligence officials, said the strike targeted a vehicle suspected of carrying foreign militants and damaged a nearby restaurant and home.

  5. bobschacht says:

    Actually, the trifecta is a bad idea. You don’t need to trump the same card 3 times; you’ll need those other trump cards later. So Obama should count his blessings that the drone strike missed Al Awlaki. They’ve gotta build him up a little more, anyway, before they take him out. Most people now don’t have any idea who he is.

    Bob in AZ

  6. Acharn says:

    … Navy SEALs are far more effective with far fewer mistakes than drones, …

    I wish it were so, but if you look at the history of the night raids in Afghanistan you’ll see they have as bad a record of killing children, teenagers out picking up firewood, and pregnant women as the drones. Well, maybe not quite as bad, but we don’t really have enough information to run a statistical analysis. Anyway, the tactics of the Special Operations Command in Afghanistan are some of the reasons the Afghans hate us so much.

  7. BayStateLibrul says:

    Talking about a Tifecta…

    How about this Exacta for a dozen mint juleps?

    4 and 6 or 6 and 4.

    Stay Thirsty and Comma to the Top.

    Bmaz, Uncle Mo is a no go (scratched).

    • eCAHNomics says:

      But then O should prolly pace himself. Wouldn’t want to run out of assassinees before 10/12, would he.

  8. pluege says:

    when you operate outside the constraints of the rule of law and morality many things are possible…kinda of like terrorists do.

  9. allan says:

    Commodities are a “crowded trade”.
    As in, when everyone heads for the doors, it gets ugly (for those who have long positions).
    If the USG really wanted to depress oil prices long term,
    you would see a $2/gal tax, with the proceeds going into renewable.
    As if.

  10. nonpartisanliberal says:

    Why can’t this guy be arrested, extradited and brought to trial? He is an American citizen and certain principles of due process ought to prevail.

    • donbacon says:

      Probably he can’t be brought to trial because, as with OBL, the U.S. has insufficient evidence that he’s broken any laws so he’s merely anti-American and has to be assassinated for that.

      Plus look what it does for ratings. Many news observers are seen to comment on presidential activities as to how those activities affect re-election, and not on the efficacy of the activity itself.

      Plus trials are over-rated. Often they’re rigged.

    • EternalVigilance says:

      He is an American citizen and certain principles of due process ought to prevail.

      Obama’s “due process” consists of him deciding you’re guilty.

  11. mswinkle says:

    wasn’t Anwar al-Awlaki the same guy who dined at the pentagon months after 9/11?

  12. 4cdave says:

    Don’t read too much into the oil price drop. We knew there was some excessive pricing – February and March are the lowest consumption months in the year, yet the price went up. It’s interesting that it all happened in one day instead of over a week or two, but the details are really only important to traders.

    If there is any real improvement in the global economy, demand will grow and hit declining production, and the price will go as high as it needs to in order to destroy enough demand. Then the price will collapse, right after the economy. Production continues to drop, then we hit another price spike.

    Decry “speculation” if you want, but we allocate supply based on price. Speculation is just the mechanism. Or you can try to hold the price down and do formal rationing. Or you can hold the price down, let people buy what they want, and run out – allocation by scarcity.

    All the solutions are on the demand side, now. We need to reduce demand faster than production declines. Also see Jeffrey Brown’s “Exportland Model”. In order for there to be oil to import, there has to be some available for export. Exports can decline much faster than production, due to increased consumption in exporting countries.

    I don’t expect there to be regional air travel in five years, or that civilians will be able to buy fuel in ten years. We’re on a pretty tight schedule, here, and incrementalism just isn’t going to get the job done.

    • EternalVigilance says:

      the details are really only important to traders

      Decry “speculation” if you want

      That the pricing is determined by traders, and not the suppliers and consumers, suggests the run-up in oil prices is almost entirely speculative (just as it was in 2008, when Goldman basically announced they were going to push prices up and told their clients to get on the profit train).

      Wanna fix the problem with commodities speculators? Stop letting them bet with free money from Helicopter Ben’s printing presses – and force them to take physical delivery.

      • buffsr says:

        Yes. Classify oil as a national defense commodity and limit futures trading only to those that take delivery. Airlines, trucking, etc.

  13. donbacon says:

    Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Amendment V – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment VI – Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

  14. Mesa Mick says:

    All this talk about “playing nice” with those out to kill us is really, really sad. No wonder progressive, libserals and dems are seen as a bunch of peapants who bring bibles to handgrenade fights.

    As for trying to eliminate those whackos that will kill us just for grins, shooting and missing at them is almost as an effective move as blowin’ ’em yto bits with drones and bombs. As a matter of self defense I would prefer they hit their marks but we gottem scurrying around with fear in their eyes and that I think we all can agree on is a good thing for our general safety…

    • donbacon says:

      You don’t even agree with yourself. Are they trying to kill us or are they scurrying around in fear?

    • bluedot12 says:

      I think the organization of terror organizations causes most of the problem. They are organized outside ordinary lawful society and their is no recourse to them through law. Hence, they can kill with impunity and if we strike back some will invariably say we are the criminals and not them. I don’t agree with that thinking. If you kill thousands of people or threaten or incite others to do so, you must be brought to justice. If the country you operate in won’t or can’t do it, seal teams or bombs are ok with me.

  15. bluedot12 says:

    OIL. I personally don’t read too much into it or to other commodities,except silver. I think they will all head back up again after the correction. Silver seems to have been way out of line.

  16. davidg says:

    Well, I’m glad he went after these guys. I hope they continue to go after them. Drones, Seals… whatever it takes.
    OBL and Awlaki want to kill me – so I welcome someone killing them first. Gaddafi should have been dead a long time ago. Is it only the Republicans my fellow progressives can play hard ball with?

    • spanishinquisition says:

      “OBL and Awlaki want to kill me – so I welcome someone killing them first.”

      Why do you feel the judicial branch is outdated? For the time being at least – though Obama is doing his best to undermine this – we have the criminal court system to bring to trial alleged murderers and attempted murderers.

    • bobschacht says:

      …OBL and Awlaki want to kill me – so I welcome someone killing them first. …

      So, you too have drunk that Kool-Aid? They don’t really give a rats ass about you, unless it would help their larger goal of destroying the Capitalist/Democratic system. And you’re helping them in this strategic plan by being so willing to cast aside elements of the Constitution? Down that road lies us becoming more and more like Them. They’re counting on you, and many more like you, to do their work for them.

      Bob in AZ

  17. spanishinquisition says:

    “Lucky for Obama, batting .333 is still a great average”

    Great! Obama can have his own set of extrajudicial killing baseball cards. At one time torture was supposed to be bad, but now Obama is moving things so far to the right that outright killing is the new “moderate” stance.

  18. davidg says:

    Why do you feel the judicial branch is outdated? For the time being at least – though Obama is doing his best to undermine this – we have the criminal court system to bring to trial alleged murderers and attempted murderers.

    Have you checked out the judicial branch lately? Start at the top and work your way down.
    When these folks declare me as a target they instantly become a target too. Geeze, where are the guts in the left? C’mon people, try not to be a bunch of Pollyannas.

    • bmaz says:

      What the hell are you talking about? Who has “declared you as a target”? This is a bunch of rambling narrow minded and uninformed nonsense.