Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News. The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones -- "areas of active hostilities" in Pentagon parlance -- which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible. That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.

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The Obama administration put in place a rule that no drone strike could take place outside a war zone unless there was a "near certainty" that no civilian would be harmed. Obama also put the White House in the decision loop on most strikes against high-value targets.

And, outside a war zone, the military or the CIA had to show that the target posed an imminent threat to the United States.

These and other rules -- along with a general policy preference by Obama -- led to a dramatic drop in drone strikes toward the end of the Obama presidency. The drop was also due to the fact that the al Qaeda threat in Pakistan diminished considerably.

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"Trump also appears to be reversing a policy preference by Obama to get the CIA, for the most part, out of the drone-killing business. A drone strike in Syria last month that killed Abu Hani al-Masri, a longtime terrorist with ties to Osama bin Laden, was the work of the CIA, U.S. officials told NBC News. Previously, the CIA had not been carrying out drone strikes in Syria.

However, a group of former Obama administration officials and others sent Defense Secretary James Mattis a letter over the weekend urging that protection of civilians remain a top priority as the government reconsiders counter terrorism policies.

"I am concerned that loosening standards will harm our ability over time to carry out these operations, because it will affect our standing with the countries in which we need to operate," said Matt Olsen, a signer of the letter and the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center.

"I think these rules proved effective operationally -- I never saw an instance where we missed an opportunity to carry out a strike because of too much lawyering."

#1 | Posted by Corky at 2017-03-14 03:39 PM | Reply

WE SHOULDN'T DRONE PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#2 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-03-14 03:39 PM | Reply

Wow, who would have thought he would have as a policy tolerate more civilian deaths?

#3 | Posted by 726 at 2017-03-14 03:45 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

The WH is currently looking for 14 year old gamers to do drone strikes in a work at home program.

#4 | Posted by Corky at 2017-03-14 04:04 PM | Reply

LOL! Since when did Corky oppose drone strikes?

Must've started on inauguration day. hahaha.

#5 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-03-14 04:49 PM | Reply

#4 Are you kidding? He is going to outsource it to India.

#6 | Posted by 726 at 2017-03-14 04:56 PM | Reply

Opposing expanding the rules for strikes is not the same as supporting using strikes rather than troops where possible.

But then, idiot sheep have a hard time with nuance.

#7 | Posted by Corky at 2017-03-14 04:57 PM | Reply

Sounds like all that happened is The War Zone increased.

Drones are Obama's -------.

#8 | Posted by Prolix247 at 2017-03-14 07:46 PM | Reply

"Drones are Obama's -------."

No, responsibility has been transferred away from Trump. Now, if there are civilian casualties and deaths, Trump can deny all responsibility because he won't be signing off on the mission. He is a coward afraid of the responsibilities of the Presidency. Obama always accepted the responsibility, he wasn't a coward.

#9 | Posted by danni at 2017-03-14 07:58 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

www.thenation.com

It was ten years ago this month, on February 4, 2002, that the CIA first used an unmanned Predator drone in a targeted killing.

OOPSIE DAISY That makes it DUBYA'S tar baby.

#10 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-03-14 08:03 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"WE SHOULDN'T DRONE PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Laura, you drone on here all the time.

;-)

#11 | Posted by sentinel at 2017-03-14 08:25 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

is not the same as
#7 | POSTED BY CORKY

I'll leave you neocons to argue the nuances of killing brown people.

#12 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-03-14 08:49 PM | Reply

But then, idiot sheep have a hard time with nuance.

#7 | POSTED BY CORKY AT 2017-03-14 04:57 PM

Nice to see you engage in a moment of self-reflection.

#13 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-03-14 08:53 PM | Reply

#10 - try to explain away how Obama increased their use. He could have halted the program all together.

But I get it, Trump...

#14 | Posted by Prolix247 at 2017-03-14 08:56 PM | Reply

Rwinger... and their favorite sheep, can't even spell nuance, much less use it in a sentence.

#15 | Posted by Corky at 2017-03-14 11:24 PM | Reply

#14 - Again, my coward nips me in the night,

Nuance is the difference of dying immediately or suffering.

Being in a war zone or not.

Fate is not up to you or me and arrogance does not save lives.

War is the Failure of Politics.

That is what is occurring.

What have YOU done to stop the strife?

#16 | Posted by Prolix247 at 2017-03-14 11:39 PM | Reply

"try to explain away how Obama increased their use. He could have halted the program all together."

Yeah, and he could have let Al Quaeda and ISIS kill thousands more Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis. He could have sent in Green Berets and lost many of them. I was totally against invading Iraq and it has turned out to be the disaster I thought it would be but the Pottery Barn Rule is still there and drones help us live up to our responsiblities with fewer casualties. Reality in the ME just doesn't fit our ideas of what it should be, in Vietnam we finally got tired and just left the S. Vietamese to be murdered along with 1,000,000 Cambodians. Is that what you propose we do now? Folks like me were called traitors for predicting the quagmire we would create by listening to George Bush and invading Iraq but now it is mostly us who resist the urge to just leave those people, who cooperated with us, to be killed by radicals. Hell, the translators who risked their lives of us are not being told they can't immigrate to America and are being murdered, beheaded by ISIS. I am really ashamed of America.

#17 | Posted by danni at 2017-03-15 08:16 AM | Reply

is not the same as
#7 | POSTED BY CORKY

I'll leave you neocons to argue the nuances of killing brown people.

#12 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-03-14 08:49 PM | Reply

Her hypocrisy knows no bounds.

#18 | Posted by lfthndthrds at 2017-03-15 08:21 AM | Reply

Remember when Imaginary OBAMA was going to drone us into Muslim/atheist/communist/socialist/homosexuals?
Of course, Dandy Paul was on TV lecturing us on how we need to have drones taking out people stealing bubble gum, but it was really Imaginary OBAMA who was behind it all.
Now we have that "not racists" AG named Beauregard who is eager to put a drone in every bedroom, (cause freedumbz) and the Trump Stasi on every street corner, (cause weed is the devil).
Glad that's all over with and now Drones and surveillance are in no way unconstitutional or oppressive

#19 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2017-03-15 10:38 AM | Reply

Droning is a very effective way of reducing the bad press of flag draped coffins returning home, but less precise at limiting civilian deaths.

If your goal is to kill brown people without getting soldiers killed it is a great tool.

But you end up killing innocents which will in the long run create more people who hate us for "our freedoms".

#20 | Posted by 726 at 2017-03-15 11:07 AM | Reply

let's compare casualty numbers of the bush admin to the obama admin.

let's see how trump compares when he's had his way

#21 | Posted by klifferd at 2017-03-15 11:07 AM | Reply

Omg, really? Obama was the poster child for drone strikes in the middle of his presidency and only started doing away with them to favor the Democrat party image. Anyone who actually vests any emotion like this as if it has anything to do with Trump is just a partisan fool that should never be listened to. The rules were coming back no matter who won office. Obama is a CLEAR example of that type of mentality.

#22 | Posted by humtake at 2017-03-15 11:19 AM | Reply

"...the Democrat party image." - #22 | Posted by humtake at 2017-03-15 11:19 AM

In America there is no such thing as the "Democrat party."

Elementary school aged children know the difference between a noun and an adjective.

Which explains why you don't.

#23 | Posted by Hans at 2017-03-15 11:25 AM | Reply

Elementary school aged children know the difference between a noun and an adjective.

Does that mean I can't refer to individuals in the Democratic Party as "Democratics"? :-)

#24 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-03-15 11:32 AM | Reply

"Does that mean I can't refer to individuals in the Democratic Party as "Democratics"?" - #24 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-03-15 11:32 AM

Correct.

Congratulations.

You get promoted to middle school.

:-)

#25 | Posted by Hans at 2017-03-15 11:39 AM | Reply

Droning is a very effective way of reducing the bad press of flag draped coffins returning home, but less precise at limiting civilian deaths.

#20 | POSTED BY 726 AT 2017-03-15 11:07 AM | REPLY

Not really. Drones have high persistence, long surveillance times, and shoot missiles with 18 pound warheads. Before that, we used much less intel to fire off Tomahawks with 1,000 pound warheads. Before that, we went in strike fighters with 10,000 pounds of bombs. Before that, we sent in heavy bomber waves with 5,000,000 pounds of bombs.

#26 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2017-03-16 10:08 AM | Reply

Sounds like all that happened is The War Zone increased.
Drones are Obama's -------.

#8 | POSTED BY PROLIX247

If that's what you think, you're an idiot.

#27 | Posted by Sycophant at 2017-03-16 01:52 PM | Reply

Sounds like all that happened is The War Zone increased.
Drones are Obama's -------.

#8 | POSTED BY PROLIX247

If that's what you think, you're an idiot.

#27 | Posted by Sycophant at 2017-03-16 01:52 PM | Reply | Flag

I have prolix plonked so this doesn't pertain to you. Drone killing started under Dubya so if anything it's Dubya's tar baby. What a dumbass.

#28 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-03-16 01:57 PM | Reply

War is the Failure of Politics.

That is what is occurring.

What have YOU done to stop the strife?

#16 | Posted by Prolix247

What is occurring is bankers and war profiteers getting rich off of death and destruction, same as they've always done.

And the drain the swamp president just hired a bunch of bankers, oil men, and warhawks. YOu don't have to be nostradamus to see what's coming next.

#29 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-03-16 07:04 PM | Reply

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