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John Brennan, Former C.I.A. Spymaster, Steps Out of the Shadows - The New York Times
ency around drone strikes made it hard to understand, let alone defend, United States policy. “The biggest conflict I had with my leadership was drone strikes,” says one former diplomat who worked in South Asia during Obama’s first term. “Official U.S. government policy is that you can’t talk about them, because they don’t exist,” the diplomat continued. “I quickly realized that I couldn’t be a credible representative of the U.S. government without talking about what was on the front page of every single newspaper.” Under Obama, the justification for holding such unaccountable power was the good character of the president and his staff. “Do I want this system to last forever? No,” one senior Obama official told The Washington Post in 2012, referring to the drone program. “What is scary is the apparatus set up without John to run it.”

If McDonough could not talk about signature strikes, perhaps he could talk about drone strikes against “high-value targets,” named and known terrorists.

“Again, that sounds to me like a question that I’m not in a position to respond t
NYT  CIA  wot  obama  GeorgeWBush  DonaldTrump  drone  afghanistan  iraq 
october 2018 by Kirk510620
How foreign intelligence services help keep America safe | Brookings Institution
en these many advantages, it is not surprising that liaison services have had frequent successes in penetrating terrorist movements, often using their own nationals as assets while limiting their support activities. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, and Pa
BrookingsInstitution  intelligence  foreignpolicy  counterterrorism  middleeast  militarycooperation  wot 
may 2017 by Kirk510620
‘We Have No Idea What War Is’
Rosa Brooks discusses her tenure at the Pentagon, and the ever-expanding role of the American military.
law  military  war  TheAtlantic  terrorism  RosaBrooks  wot  drone  peace 
august 2016 by Kirk510620
Barack Obama and the Powell Doctrine, Reconsidered | Foreign Policy
y, of course, that the United States act alone in such interventions. Nor is it required that the long-term commitment of troops to a country be wholly, primarily, or even partially a U.S. obligation. But an effective stabilizing force needs to be present — particularly in a situation where the intervention is meant to address threats that have emanated from local problems that have a long history or have otherwise been protracted in nature. Even overwhelming application of military force can’t undo history, culture, or structural problems with deep roots. Indeed, there are certain circumstances where stabilization is just not a possible outcome, and we must plan for those accordingly, limiting our objectives. As my colleague Tom Ricks has suggested, in Afghanistan this might have meant focusing on securing the area around greater Kabul and not seeking to venture further to try to secure what few Afghan governments ever could. Another conclusion, and a lesson that must be particularly bitter for the president, is that the long-term stabilizing role can only be undertaken by a truly capable force. The president has frequently argued that a centerpiece of his plans to extricate America from its involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan was turning such responsibilities over to local militaries. But in both cases, even after huge investments in training and equipping local forces, America has failed to adequately cultivate forces to which the baton
FP  obama  afghanistan  iraq  wot  ColinPowell  strategy 
october 2015 by Kirk510620
A Conversation with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter | Foreign Affairs
ecessary. [But] working with partners is in many cases essential to getting a lasting result. You mentioned Yemen. Again, you have to go back to asking, what are American interests [there]? Our interests are first of all to combat al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has the intent, and actually has attempted, to carry out attacks against the United States. We continue to prosecute those operations in Yemen despite the civil war. And our other interest is in helping Saudi Arabia to protect itself. In both of those instances, we are applying military power ourselves. With respect to the greater situation in Yemen, we are supporting a political process that’s led by the UN. We’re not involved in that civil war militarily, but where our interests 
are touched, we do act, and we do 
act militarily. What can really be accomplished in 
the fight against ISIL in the foreseeable future?
SecDefCarter  defense  strategy  isis  middleeast  wot  russia  ukraine  military  china  northkorea  foreignaffairs  dod 
august 2015 by Kirk510620
The era of American drone supremacy is fading -
o on. The threat of drone multipolarity is real – and potentially endless. Yet America’s moral suasion would be worthless. Likewise, Washington would have scant legal grounds to object. America’s instinct is to claim a US exception for drones. Much the same argument is used for the International Criminal Court, whose strictures apply to soldiers everywhere except American ones. Because the US is democratic and universal, it alone can be trusted to operate drones responsibility. There is much truth to the argument. Hand on heart, most people would trust Mr Obama to use drones over Xi Jinping, Mr Putin or a Gulf prince. Alas, it would hold no water with precisely the regimes that are most feared. And thus we approach a strange crossover moment. Just as others are acquiring the technology, the US is drawing up the rules. Before Mr Obama leaves office, he will put drones on a firmer legal footing. The frequency of US drone strikes has been dropping off but terrorist threats continue to spread As Stimson and others recommend, control over drones is likely to shift from the CIA, which is secretive, to the Pentagon, which is less so. Mr Obama is also likely to set up an independent panel to oversee the US president’s use of drones. He may even promise to acknowledge each strike and publish details about what happened, civilian deaths included. That too, is seen as an important plank in putting drones on a legal footing. Transparency is the order of the day. Whether it will be enough to constrain others is an open q
obama  GeorgeWBush  military  defense  wot  drone  uav  foreignpolicy  FT 
june 2014 by Kirk510620
Study: U.S. Soldiers Not Adequately Equipped for War - Blog
United States $1.2 million to send one soldier to fight in Afghanistan for one year. American troops, despite that large investment, are not being equipped or trained to overmatch their enemies, says a new report by the National Research Council. The Army champions its soldiers as the most important weapons in its arsenal, but yet continues to shortchange them in how they are equipped and trained for war, says the report, titled, “Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields.” The 255-page study, released May 10, began three years ago at the request of the assistant secretary of the Army. A group of retired officers and researchers who participated in the study concluded that the Army's procurement methods and policies have not caught up to the realities of combat. Testimony from hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were interviewed for the study reveals that the current “suite of equipment and support does not afford the same high degree of overmatch capability exhibited by large weapons platforms,” says the report. Soldier weapons and gear are designed to be technologically advanced, but often do not take the “human dimension” into account. As a result, equipment designs do not “adequately include the complexities of individual soldier tasks
military  army  wot  weapons  strategy 
december 2013 by Kirk510620
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