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Tue May 1, 2012, 09:47 PM

The Efficacy and Ethics of U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy - John Brennan

From John Brennan's speech yesterday at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where for the first time a U.S. senior administration official admitted to the use of remote-controlled drones in combating Al Qaeda under the legal authority of the AUMF.

Second, targeted strikes are ethical. Without question, the ability to target a specific individual—from hundreds or thousands of miles away—raises profound questions. Here, I think it’s useful to consider such strikes against the basic principles of the law of war that govern the use of force.

Targeted strikes conform to the principle of necessity—the requirement that the target have definite military value. In this armed conflict, individuals who are part of al-Qa’ida or its associated forces are legitimate military targets. We have the authority to target them with lethal force just as we targeted enemy leaders in past conflicts, such as German and Japanese commanders during World War II.

Targeted strikes conform to the principle of distinction—the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and that civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted. With the unprecedented ability of remotely piloted aircraft to precisely target a military objective while minimizing collateral damage, one could argue that never before has there been a weapon that allows us to distinguish more effectively between an al-Qa’ida terrorist and innocent civilians.

Targeted strikes conform to the principle of proportionality—the notion that the anticipated collateral damage of an action cannot be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. By targeting an individual terrorist or small numbers of terrorists with ordnance that can be adapted to avoid harming others in the immediate vicinity, it is hard to imagine a tool that can better minimize the risk to civilians than remotely piloted aircraft.

For the same reason, targeted strikes conform to the principle of humanity which requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering. For all these reasons, I suggest to you that these targeted strikes against al-Qa’ida terrorists are indeed ethical and just.

62 replies, 5289 views

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Reply The Efficacy and Ethics of U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy - John Brennan (Original post)
Bolo Boffin May 2012 OP
DCKit May 2012 #1
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #34
gratuitous May 2012 #2
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #3
gratuitous May 2012 #4
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #5
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #38
morningfog May 2012 #6
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #7
morningfog May 2012 #8
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #11
morningfog May 2012 #20
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #21
morningfog May 2012 #24
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #26
morningfog May 2012 #27
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #35
Vattel May 2012 #9
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #12
Vattel May 2012 #14
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #15
Vattel May 2012 #16
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #17
Vattel May 2012 #22
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #23
Vattel May 2012 #33
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #36
Vattel May 2012 #60
Tierra_y_Libertad May 2012 #10
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #13
EFerrari May 2012 #18
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #19
morningfog May 2012 #25
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #28
morningfog May 2012 #29
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #30
EFerrari May 2012 #31
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #39
whatchamacallit May 2012 #45
bemildred May 2012 #32
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #37
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #40
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #41
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #44
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #61
JDPriestly May 2012 #42
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #46
whatchamacallit May 2012 #48
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #49
whatchamacallit May 2012 #50
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #52
whatchamacallit May 2012 #53
DisgustipatedinCA May 2012 #54
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #55
whatchamacallit May 2012 #56
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #57
whatchamacallit May 2012 #58
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #59
JDPriestly May 2012 #62
whatchamacallit May 2012 #43
Bolo Boffin May 2012 #47
whatchamacallit May 2012 #51

Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:27 PM

1. Sorry, y'all lost me a long time ago.

 

Then, doubly so when you killed about a dozen young men and boys picking fruit.

FU.

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Response to DCKit (Reply #1)

Thu May 3, 2012, 03:48 PM

34. Don't you know the boys were terrorists disguised as children? Hope

 

I don't need the icon.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:35 PM

2. I would expect nothing different from a murderer

There has always been and always will be very good reasons for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It would be news if the perpetrators didn't try to paint themselves as ethical and just. Look at despots down through history. There has always been someone to explain why the victims didn't deserve any consideration, any innocents who got too close were just unlucky (and it's not our fault), and we're not inflicting unnecessary suffering. Just necessary suffering, I guess.

Dress it up anyway you want, Mr. Brennan. It's still a crime against humanity.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #2)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:38 PM

3. "why the victims didn't deserve any consideration"

Please point out in Brennan's speech where he said any such thing.

Because I see him saying this:

As the President and others have acknowledged, there have indeed been instances when—despite the extraordinary precautions we take—civilians have been accidently injured, or worse, killed in these strikes. It is exceedingly rare, but it has happened. When it does, it pains us and we regret it deeply, as we do any time innocents are killed in war. And when this happens we take it seriously. We go back and review our actions. We examine our practices. And we constantly work to improve and refine our efforts so that we are doing everything in our power to prevent the loss of innocent life. This too is a reflection of our values as Americans.


And again:

Yes, war is hell. It is awful. It involves human beings killing other human beings, sometimes innocent civilians. That is why we despise war. That is why we want this war against al-Qa’ida to be over as soon as possible, and not a moment longer. And over time, as al-Qa’ida fades into history and as our partners grow stronger, I’d hope that the United States would have to rely less on lethal force to keep our country safe.

Until that happens, as President Obama said here five years ago, if another nation cannot or will not take action, we will. And it is an unfortunate fact that to save many innocent lives we are sometimes obliged to take lives—the lives of terrorists who seek to murder our fellow citizens.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #3)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:54 PM

4. It's right there

"Targeted strikes conform to the principle of necessity." See any mention of due process? Evidence? Treaty obligations and considerations? No? Just "the principle of necessity." As I said, despots down through history have used this same excuse. The United States is supposed to be different, with a chief executive who swears an oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Without the Constitution, and its attendant treaty obligations, we aren't the United States of America, but just another tin-pot regime, justifying its own depradations by an appeal to "necessity" while creating its own definition of what makes for "proportionality" or "unnecessary" suffering.

As I also said, I've heard killers use the same logic time and again, and it is certainly no surprise to hear yet another psychopathic appeal to "ethics" as justification for wanton murder without consideration for the victims, except that their deaths conform to the principle of necessity.

Trim the Constitution to suit yourself, but I'll leave it intact, thank you. I've already been accused today of throwing a pity party for Osama bin Laden, and I'll say it again: As a believer in the rule of law, I'd advocate for due process for the devil himself, because that's what ensures it for me should I be accused of a heinous crime. That's what being an American is supposed to be about. Not some "principle of necessity," whatever in hell that means.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #4)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:58 PM

5. Nothing you pointed out said innocent victims deserve no consideration, which is what I asked.

Perhaps you should actually read and deal with what Brennan is saying rather than issue blanket condemnations.

Here's the section of the speech you'll want to deal with:

This leads me to the final point I want to discuss today — the rigorous standards and process of review to which we hold ourselves today when considering and authorizing strikes against a specific member of al-Qa’ida outside the “hot” battlefield of Afghanistan. What I hope to do is to give you a general sense, in broad terms, of the high bar we require ourselves to meet when making these profound decisions today. That includes not only whether a specific member of al-Qa’ida can legally be pursued with lethal force, but also whether he should be.


And on from there. The Constitution you're touting does give the President the authority and the responsibility to protect the nation with the military, but there is more there.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #4)

Thu May 3, 2012, 03:58 PM

38. +1,000,000,000 x 1,000,000,000 - n/t

 

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 07:37 AM

6. Brennan is a liar and can't be trusted.

He claimed not a single collateral death had been cause by drone strikes. It was a bullshit lie, and he knew it.

He added that in the last year, “there hasn't been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we've been able to develop.”

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/29/news/la-pn-al-qaeda-strategy-20110629

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Response to morningfog (Reply #6)

Wed May 2, 2012, 04:07 PM

7. Brennan is the source for all the information we've been discussing.

All of it. Please tell me you aren't cherrypicking what you want to believe from Brennan.

And Brennan stood by that statement Sunday when asked about it on This Week:

STEPHANOPOULOS: This was a raid. Most of the attacks against Al Qaida over the last couple of years have been by unmanned drones. And they have decimated the top leadership. Are you concerned, though, that this is a technology that is now going to be exploited by our enemies? And do you stand by the statement you have made in the past that, as effective as they have been, they have not killed a single civilian? That seems hard to believe.

BRENNAN: Well, what I said was that over a period of time before my public remarks that we had no information about a single civilian, a noncombatant being killed. Unfortunately, in war, there are casualties, including among the civilian population. We've done everything possible in Afghanistan and other areas to reduce any risk to that civilian population. Unfortunately, Al Qaida burrows within these areas, you know, safe havens as well as areas where there are civilians, but we've been very, very judicious in working with our partners to try to be surgical in terms of addressing those terrorist threats. And the president has told us, we want to make sure that we protect the American people. And unfortunately, sometimes you have to take life to save lives, and that's what we've been able to do to prevent these individual terrorists from carrying out their murderous attacks.


So "bullshit lie and he knew it" seems like you're overstating the case there. The only way it could be a lie, bullshit or otherwise, is if he knew, and he's saying they had had no credible information to the contrary in that time period of "nearly in the last year". You are aware that more people than those in the American government can lie?

But he is admitting to having information about civilian deaths now. I assume you will trust him on that statement.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #7)

Wed May 2, 2012, 08:50 PM

8. He is admitting to deaths because his lies were exposed. He is a fraud.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #8)

Wed May 2, 2012, 09:57 PM

11. He is standing by his statement from June 29, 2011.

Since he is such a fraud in your estimation, his arguments and logic should be quick work for you to expose as deficient. I await your demonstration.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #11)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:26 AM

20. He knew it was false at the time he made it. His little dance was not impressive.

Last edited Thu May 3, 2012, 07:19 AM - Edit history (1)

Anyone paying attention in 2011, including Brennan, knew there had been hundreds of civilian deaths. It was well documented. He's trying to walk it back by setting some time frame nuance on it now.

Defend it if you want. He is a liar.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #20)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:29 AM

21. We've established that this is what you think.

Support your assertion if you like, but just repeating it again and again isn't actually proof.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #21)

Thu May 3, 2012, 07:29 AM

24. Here:

C.I.A. Drones Kill Civilians in Pakistan (March 17, 2011)
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/world/asia/18pakistan.html


US drone crew blamed for Afghan civilian deaths (May 29, 2010)
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9G0KRM00.htm

US drones killed 123 innocent Pakistanis in January alone (Feb. 1, 2010)
http://www.sify.com/news/us-drones-killed-123-innocent-pakistanis-in-january-alone-news-international-kcbskheegab.html

Pakistan drone war takes a toll on militants -- and civilians (October 29, 2009)
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/OPINION/10/29/bergen.drone.war/

It was widely known and widely reported. Brennan lied and then got caught. You can keep defending him and the propaganda, but you look silly or like intentionally ignorant. The first link is the most relevant, it even covers the "timeframe" bullshit used by Brennan.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #24)

Thu May 3, 2012, 07:43 AM

26. Three of your links are outside the time frame Brennan specified.

And since we are judging the veracity of what Brennan said, we have to go by what he actually said, right? Giving the time frame implies that there was information about innocent deaths outside that timeframe that the Americans had.

The only one of your links within the time frame specified by Brennan (August 2010-June 2011) says this:

But American officials on Thursday sharply disputed Pakistan’s account of the strikes and the civilian deaths, contending that all the people killed were insurgents. “These people weren’t gathering for a bake sale,” an American official said. “They were terrorists.”


So as per Brennan's statement, the American intelligence information said all insurgents. Even the Pakistani intelligence official (the source of 26 out of 32 people, 11 of whom were Taliban) was downplaying larger reports of casualties on the ground, according to the reporter. The Americans believing their own information rather than what the Pakistani official said fits what Brennan stated on June 29, 2011.

Was Brennan wrong about innocent deaths in drone strikes during this time? Maybe, maybe not. But did he lie on June 29, 2011 when he said that "nearly for the past year there hasn’t been a single collateral death"? If he thought this to be true and had good reason to think so, then you can't say he lied.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #26)

Thu May 3, 2012, 07:44 AM

27. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Too funny. I'm done with your pimping for propaganda.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #20)

Thu May 3, 2012, 03:51 PM

35. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. That Eichmann Brennan

 

was CIA Director George Tenet's Chief of Staff.

What a PoS - making me ashamed all over again to be an American

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 08:55 PM

9. Proportionality? What tripe.

"We better kill innocent people as collateral damage because just maybe our target would otherwise be part of a terrorist attack that kill innocent people." Is that Proportionality?

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Response to Vattel (Reply #9)

Wed May 2, 2012, 09:59 PM

12. You use quotation marks, but I fail to find that quote in his remarks. n/t

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #12)

Wed May 2, 2012, 10:25 PM

14. It was not a quote (obviously).

Apologists for the military are rarely honest enough to say something like that.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #14)

Wed May 2, 2012, 10:29 PM

15. Obviously, because Brennan expresses exactly the opposite as I quoted in Post 3. n/t

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #15)

Wed May 2, 2012, 10:36 PM

16. I'm not sure I see your point.

Do you think he doesn't believe that it is justified to kill innocent persons as collateral damage in strikes aimed at members of Al Qaeda? Do you think he could really show that such strikes actually save more innocent lives than they take?

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Response to Vattel (Reply #16)

Wed May 2, 2012, 10:46 PM

17. My point is that you manufactured a hideous position to paint Brennan as worse than he is.

Has there ever been a war fought in which innocent people, non-combatants were not killed?

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #17)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:55 AM

22. Nonsense. You missed the point of my snarky imaginary quote.

Here's what I should have said to avoid the standard DU "you made up that quote" silliness: The problem that I have with the justifications for collateral damage made by people like Brennan is that they don't seriously address the issue of proportionality. Brennan should address whether, relative to other possible uses of resources, attacking Al Qaeda at the cost of killing innocent people as collateral damage is really the best way to help innocent people. My prediction: you will never see him seriously discussing that issue.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #22)

Thu May 3, 2012, 07:05 AM

23. "My prediction: you will never see him seriously discussing that issue."

I submit to you that he was seriously discussing the issue in this speech. He speaks of the effort to minimize the deaths of innocents throughout the speech, and why drone strikes are more suited than other options to do this.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #23)

Thu May 3, 2012, 03:40 PM

33. Minimizing deaths relative to other military strategies is a different issue.

You are correct that he seriously discussed that one.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #33)

Thu May 3, 2012, 03:52 PM

36. This is how I understand proportionality. From the ICRC:

Rule 14. Launching an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, is prohibited.


http://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_cha_chapter4_rule14

This is what you mean when you say proportionality, right?

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #36)

Thu May 3, 2012, 06:51 PM

60. That is proportonality as legally defined.

I was speaking of the broader moral notion from just war theory.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 09:01 PM

10. Why isn't this murderer in the dock instead of talking about ethics?

Although he does sparkle at blaming the victims.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #10)

Wed May 2, 2012, 10:01 PM

13. "he does sparkle at blaming the victims" -- I didn't see this.

I've watched through the talk twice now. Perhaps you could give me a time mark in the video when this happens?

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 10:50 PM

18. Great. I look forward to the installments

on rendition and torture, both supported by this slime bucket, as was the immunzing of telcoms for their felony wiretapping of Americans.

Collect them all.

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #18)

Wed May 2, 2012, 11:33 PM

19. Brennan opposed waterboarding.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/magazine/17Terror-t.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all

After Sept. 11, Brennan helped set up the Terrorist Threat Integration Center and served as its first and only director. But his steady rise reached a peak. When the center was refashioned as the National Counterterrorism Center, bringing together experts across the government to coordinate the war on terror, he served as interim director but was never given the permanent job. Brennan, unhappy, left government in 2005 and went on to write a proposed op-ed essay that he titled, “Mr. President, You’re Wrong on Iraq.” In keeping with C.I.A. rules, he submitted it for classification review by the agency before distributing it to any newspapers for publication. A copy found its way to the White House, where it angered top officials. Brennan ultimately thought better of the article and withdrew it from C.I.A. review, but it was too late to salvage his standing at the White House. “He was dead to them,” says a friend and fellow senior official, who did not want to be named discussing internal matters. An attempt to later make him deputy director of national intelligence was killed by the White House. Obama presented another chance. “This is redemption,” the friend says.

...Most of those people, of course, were in the moderate camp inside the Bush administration, not the Cheney cadre, or like Brennan they present themselves as simply career professionals who followed orders or who even quietly dissented from the most extreme policies of the last eight years. “I was somebody who did oppose waterboarding,” Brennan told me. “I opposed different aspects of the enhanced interrogation program. But there were some aspects of it that I concurred with.” For instance, he offered, “if you grab somebody by the lapels, and you say, Oh, my goodness, you’ve violated their rights as a person, well, I’m not going to go that far.”

Time and circumstances have changed as well. “Four years ago, I would have said — and I did say — the agency’s detention program needed to continue,” Brennan said, referring to the secret “black site” overseas prisons run by the C.I.A. “There have been a lot of developments and changes, so the things I might have advocated three or four years ago, because of the changed conditions, because of a new administration, whatever, I wouldn’t necessarily advocate them now at all. I’ve changed my views.”


So, yes, a complex person.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #19)

Thu May 3, 2012, 07:30 AM

25. Are you Brennan's PR rep?

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Response to morningfog (Reply #25)

Thu May 3, 2012, 07:46 AM

28. No.

Does it surprise you that someone might want to have a respectful discussion based on facts about what an Obama administration official said about this important topic?

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #28)

Thu May 3, 2012, 07:49 AM

29. I am interested in an honest discussion, which neither you nor Brennan seem capable of.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #29)

Thu May 3, 2012, 08:31 AM

30. I'm quite capable of an honest, respectful discussion.

Start having one with me and you'll see it's true.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #19)

Thu May 3, 2012, 10:42 AM

31. No, he did not.

I reposted Greenwald's rundown earlier this week in Good Reads.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101626792

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #31)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:05 PM

39. Yes, he did, as your own link to Greenwald states.

http://www.salon.com/2008/11/16/brennan/

In November, 2007, Brennan — in an interview with CBS News’ Harry Smith — issued a ringing endorsement for so-called “enhanced interrogation tactics” short of waterboarding...

In fairness, Brennan, over the last couple of years, as he’s become more attached to Obama’s campaign, has several times said that waterboarding specifically is wrong, that it is “inconsistent with American values and it’s something that should be prohibited.” In a 2006 PBS interview, he said that “the dark side has its limits”; that ”we’re going to look back on this time and regret some of the things that we did, because it is not in keeping with our values”; and, to his credit, he urged that there be much greater openness in debating policies such as eavesdropping and interrogation.


Everything Greenwald quotes is consistent with what Brennan has said about his past and present views.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #39)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:30 PM

45. The Obama/Brennan connection is troubling at best

Neocon Imperialism lives!

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Thu May 3, 2012, 10:45 AM

32. Butt covering. nt

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Thu May 3, 2012, 03:56 PM

37. Everybody on DU needs to know this lying sack of shit Brennan

 

was CIA Director George Tenet's Chief of Staff back in the late 90s, early 00s.

He has enabled and collaborated in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_O._Brennan

How dirty and ashamed his talk makes me feel to be an American. I'm really going to have to hold my nose when I vote in 2012.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #37)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:05 PM

40. "back in the late 90s, early 00s."

That would mean he got that position under Clinton, right?

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #40)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:08 PM

41. Do you know how to read? Tenet was his

 

friggin' boss. You know, the guy who told GWB that WMD in Iraq was a 'slam dunk'?

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #41)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:21 PM

44. I do know how to read. Both Tenet and Brennan got their jobs under Clinton, right? n/t

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #44)

Thu May 3, 2012, 07:04 PM

61. What possible difference could it make who gave those

 

serial liars their access to lethal weaponry and mechanisms? Tenet and Brennan have brought the name of the U.S. and every one of its citizens into lasting shame and disrepute. They can circle the wagons all they want in Washington, D.C. for all I care, but it won't wash the blood off their hands.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:10 PM

42. And who is going to enforce these rules?

A rogue dictator with a batch of killer drones?

An American president confronted with massive demonstrations?

This all sounds wonderful, but we are dealing with human beings with passions. Human beings who make terrible mistakes.

The problem with a drone strike is that the person being killed is given no opportunity to surrender, to retreat, no opportunity to negotiate, no opportunity to demonstrate mistaken identity or the rightness of his cause.

Drones kill absolutely with no respect for the right of the person being killed to reconsider his own action.

Death is a human experience, but drones take the human element out of the killing. They dehumanize the death for the person doing the killing. They imbue the killer with a god-like power. That would be OK if the killers really were God or at least gods. But they aren't. They are human. And that means they make mistakes.

It's no wonder that a guy like Brennan would love drones.

But it does not change the fact that drones are an abomination -- the utmost in arrogant militarism.

We live in an age of horror.

I could go on and on, but let's leave it at that.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #42)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:31 PM

46. We are. And according to Brennan, this administration is.

"The problem with a drone strike is that the person being killed is given no opportunity to surrender, to retreat, no opportunity to negotiate, no opportunity to demonstrate mistaken identity or the rightness of his cause."

Brennan is asked about this.

Tara McKelvy: Hi, my name is Tara McKelvy, I’m a scholar here, and I’m a correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and you talked a little bit about the struggle that you have in this process of the targeted strikes, and General Cartwright talked to me about the question of surrender, that’s not really an option when you use a Predator drone, for instance. I’m wondering if you can talk about which kinds of issues that you found most troubling when you think about these strikes.

John Brennan: Well, as I said, one of the considerations that we go through is the feasibility of capture. We would prefer to get these individuals so that they can be captured. Working with local governments, what we like to be able to do is provide them the intelligence that they can get the individuals, so it doesn’t have to be U.S. forces that are going on the ground in certain areas. But if it’s not feasible, either because it’s too risky from the standpoint of forces or the government doesn’t have the will or the ability to do it, then we make a determination whether or not the significance of the threat that the person poses requires us to take action, so that we’re able to mitigate the threat that they pose. I mean, these are individuals that could be involved in a very active plot, and if it is allowed to continue, you know, it could result in attacks either in Yemen against the U.S. embassy, or here in the homeland that could kill, you know, dozens if not hundreds of people. So what we always want to do, though, is look at whether or not there is an option to get this person and bring them to justice somehow for intelligence collection purposes, as well as to try them for their crimes.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #46)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:40 PM

48. So comforting

If all that is required to snuff someone is untested "intelligence", we might as well just do away with due process completely, everywhere.

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #48)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:41 PM

49. You say the intelligence is untested. Does that mean it actually is? n/t

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #49)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:48 PM

50. It means

that given our abysmal track record of getting it right, some official's snap judgment, potentially flawed analysis, hunch, or say so, isn't enough for me when it comes to assassinating people in populated areas, with missiles.

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #50)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:52 PM

52. OK, that's what you think is going on.

Why should I care what you think is going on?

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #52)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:59 PM

53. You shouldn't

Continue with your affinity for the soulless.

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #53)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:11 PM

54. And the alert results are in

I'm guessing you'll be very surprised that your post was even alerted on, since it's non-controversial. But it was. And it survived with ease.

Thanks,
Juror4
--

At Thu May 3, 2012, 02:04 PM an alert was sent on the following post:

You shouldn't

REASON FOR ALERT:

This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)

ALERTER'S COMMENTS:

After several other insults in this thread from whatchamacallit, this one goes over the top.

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Thu May 3, 2012, 02:09 PM, and the Jury voted 1-5 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Not over the top.
Zorra.
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: In no way does this post go over the top. The poster being accused is arguing the bedrock liberal point of view. Also, the accused was answering some real snark "why should I care what you think is going on". These two are adults, and they can handle it.

Alerter, you're wasting time.
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: "over the top"! Doesn't get close to the top, let alone over. Over the top would be...never mind. Leave it.
Juror #6 voted to HIDE IT and said: Yes, I think this is rude.

Thank you very much for participating in our Jury system, and we hope you will be able to participate again in the future.

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Response to DisgustipatedinCA (Reply #54)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:18 PM

55. Saying I have an "affinity with the soulless" is insulting and over the top.

Whatchamacallit and I have history, of course. He's a 9/11 Truther and my arguments against that idiocy have frustrated him to no end.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #55)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:25 PM

56. Yes that must be it

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #56)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:32 PM

57. Perhaps you could start another thread about your belief that Osama bin Laden isn't dead

or whatever it is you're claiming about his death a year ago.

I'll issue the invitation to Creative Speculation in advance, though. You probably should keep it there.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #57)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:42 PM

58. I don't know what to believe

all my information comes from people who seem to be making it up as they go.

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #58)

Thu May 3, 2012, 05:43 PM

59. Feel free to discuss whether bin Laden is dead or not in another thread. n/t

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #46)

Sat May 5, 2012, 01:15 AM

62. Excuses. Excuses. I am not convinced.

These drones are simply another, newer, lethal toy for the military.

The drones make their victims look like -- victims overpowered by the high and mighty. They make the American military look like a bully.

A fight to a surrender humiliates the loser and destroys not just the person but diminishes the appearance of invulnerability of the loser.

Yes. A drone can get rid of a terrible person. (It can also kill innocent people -- collateral damage of the worst kind.)

But it does not defeat the ideas or cause of that person.

With Al Qaeda and terrorists in general, it's the idea, the cause as expressed in its extremist form by the terrorists that needs to be defeated. Killing individual leaders will not kill their ideas or cause. Killing the unarmed can (although it does not always) strengthen their ideas or cause.

There is a big strategic downside to the drones.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:19 PM

43. Only you would use the words of a POS Bush Tool to justify our crimes

Incredible. "Surgical strikes" are only as surgical as our intelligence is good, and we've seen how reliable that is. Hey, the evil-incarnate-super-villain-spectre who attacked us a decade ago, is dead. Didn't anybody get the memo?

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #43)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:37 PM

47. Brennan was first hired under the Clinton administration, right?

And was blackballed by the Bush Administration for his opposition to invading Iraq, correct?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=638824

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #47)

Thu May 3, 2012, 04:50 PM

51. Clinton's fuck-ups don't matter

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