Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I think that there’s a perception somehow that we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly

Yesterday, Obama answered questions on Google+. The White House website still has no transcript; the Bushies were much better about this sort of thing.

He was asked about drones and acknowledged for the first time that the US is bombing people in Pakistan.

NEITHER WILLY NOR NILLY: “I think that there’s a perception somehow that we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly,” he said, deploying the sort of folksiness we haven’t heard in government statements about killing foreigners since Rumsfeld.

DEFINE “HUGE”: “Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” he said, deploying the sort of dismissiveness about civilian casualties that we haven’t heard... well, actually government statements have always been dismissive about civilian casualties.

OH, THERE’S A LIST, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US THERE’S A LIST: “This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists who are trying to go in and harm Americans, hit American facilities, American bases, and so on.” Did he mention there’s a list?

DRONE LEASHES: “It is important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash.”

He explained that using flying robots to kill people in Pakistan was really all about respecting Pakistan’s sovereignty: “But understand that probably our ability to respect the sovereignty of other countries and to limit our incursions into somebody else’s territory is enhanced by the fact that we are able to pinpoint strike on al Qaeda operatives in a place where the capacities of that military in that country may not be able to get them. For us to be able to get them in another way would involve probably a lot more intrusive military actions than the one that we’re already engaging in.” Obviously the possibility of just not killing people in Pakistan is off the table; that’s just crazy talk.

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