|The village of Kafr Daryan, with a report in Indonesian accusing "Crusader invaders" of targeting civilians for death there. Arrahmah.com. Sorry, that's what they're calling it. I'm sure you'd rather they didn't. One weird trick for stopping people from talking like that would be not killing civilians.|
Sorry to hear about the armed maniacs in your house. I mean, I guess the Secret Service guys were supposed to be there, but the other one...
I'll get down to the point: Last May, you told us
America does not take strikes to punish individuals; we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat. And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured -- the highest standard we can set.Which I for one felt pretty good about. Indeed, I wrote a bit about it at the time, bragging, as is my wont, about how well I had understood where you were evolving to this time. That you wanted it understood that the strike against Anwar al-Aulaqi was not an execution following from an illegal judgment but a very narrowly targeted battle maneuver, in the first place, and much more important that our forces were now going all out to avoid killing those who didn't belong in the battle.
I was glad not only because of my own feelings about killing innocent people, which are pretty strong, but also because I think it's a prerequisite for you to achieve your war aims, because every time your operations kill a civilian they create ten people who hate the US forever, or twenty, or a million, and even more because I want you to feel the same way I do. And you did! In a manner of speaking:
it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war. And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.Haunted, huh?
But today I hear via my friend Oui (to whom I am constantly attempting to prove, as yet unsuccessfully, that you are really not Senator Palpatine) that the haunting can be tempered by certain legalist arguments, according to one Caitlin Hayden (and she's a relative, isn't she, helping out in the family business, of the ex-NSA head, now a partner in the Chertoff Group and FSM knows what kinds of incestuous Republican combinations) spokesing for the National Security Council, as reported by old Michael Isikoff for Yahoo:
The “near certainty” standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time,” Hayden said in an email. “That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”Which Mr. Isikoff takes to mean that we're not going to be terribly haunted if, or rather when, one of those smart Tomahawks accidentally destroys a home for displaced persons, with the women and children in it. It won't be a regulation haunting, you know, just an informal one, without uniforms.
Is that the case? Do you now have an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel that does this? If so I don't want to know. But I'd very much like to hear from you in non-attorney language, which you use so well, what's going on.