August 14, 2010

"While the stealth war began in the Bush administration, it has expanded under President Obama, who rose to prominence in part for his early opposition to the invasion of Iraq."

"Virtually none of the newly aggressive steps undertaken by the United States government have been publicly acknowledged. In contrast with the troop buildup in Afghanistan, which came after months of robust debate, for example, the American military campaign in Yemen began without notice in December and has never been officially confirmed."

56 comments:

prairie wind said...

If only I had a glimmer of hope that this Commander in Chief knows what he's doing.

What I wouldn't give to have that idiot Bush in charge.

Seven Machos said...

Never try to outsmart a Sicilian and never start a ground war in Yemen.

El Pollo Real said...

Ought this merit a new "Obama is like LBJ" tag?

wv = ireazon--what you gain when you byte the Apple

Lawler Walken said...

Not so stealthy if it's being reported in the NY Times and picked up by bloggers. I can't decide if the "began in the Bush administration" is simply to give cover to Obama --hey Bush did it-- or designed to convince us that Obama is a smarter, craftier war fighter than Bush. Obama the Ninja. Not Bush the Cowboy.

Seven Machos said...

Every day that we do not suffer an attack against our interests at home or abroad and every scumbag terrorist douche we kill is now a credit to the Obama administration.

I do not like President Obama politically, but we let's never complain when the man does something we approve of.

Pastafarian said...

Seven, I agree that Obama shouldn't be criticized for doing something right, and taking the fight to the enemy is doing something right. Still, lobbing cruise missiles, as Clinton did (albeit at aspirin factories, and at opportune times in the news cycle) can only have so much effect.

At some point, you need boots on the ground to accomplish anything.

In this operation's defense, something about this incident described in the article (where the Yemeni government official was accidentally killed in one attack) doesn't smell right.

The odds that he'd be there, in that location, at that moment, negotiating with Al Quaeda...and that he'd be one of the 10 or 20 casualties...that seems pretty unlikely.

More likely: He was negotiating with Al Quaeda that day, somewhere else; and immediately after the raid, Al Quaeda killed him and planted him at the site of the raid. Certainly, they need to communicate better; but with covert operations, that's probably pretty challenging. Particularly when your allies apparently spend a lot of time hanging out in Al Quaeda hide-outs.

Balfegor said...

It was a secret mission by the United States military, according to American officials, at least the fourth such assault on Al Qaeda in the arid mountains and deserts of Yemen since December.

American officials! Why are you talking to these reporters? Why do you still have jobs? Shouldn't Obama have fired you for this?

Yet such wars come with many risks: the potential for botched operations that fuel anti-American rage; a blurring of the lines between soldiers and spies that could put troops at risk of being denied Geneva Convention protections;

I don't think spies or soldiers fighting out of uniform are entitled to Geneva protections. Are they?

a weakening of the Congressional oversight system put in place to prevent abuses by America’s secret operatives;

Wait, public ignorance != Congressional ignorance. I'd be pretty shocked if Congress were actually unaware that this is going on. I'm sure they'll pretend they were totally ignorant if things turn sour -- cf. Pelosi desperately insisting no one ever told her about coercive interrogation techniques -- but I'm also pretty sure they know about this.

and a reliance on authoritarian foreign leaders and surrogates with sometimes murky loyalties.

Well, that's no different than American policy for basically the last seventy years, is it?

GMay said...

7M,

True, however Ft. Hood was a successful attack and we have two other attempts on our soil that failed due to incompetence and not due to vigilance. Perhaps that motivated the admin to finally get serious.

I have little problem with what's going on in Yemen and I'm glad to see Obama seemingly growing up to more robust forms of outreach.

My problem is with the media who is giving him a free pass (as usual), as well as the anti-war block that seems to take a break whenever there's a Democrat in the WH.

Seven Machos said...

I remember when I first started working for the State Department. I was explaining to a friend back in Chicago where I might go. "There are assignments you bid for all over the world -- France, Mexico, Yemen..."

"Yemen!" he replied incredulously. "Where will you live? One Yemen Place; Yemen, Yemen?"

Seven Machos said...

GMay -- Agreed on all accounts.

Methadras said...

The covert war against terrorism has been going on in over 90 countries. Bush started it and I hope President Barely continues to follow through. I believe in giving credit where its due, but in the totality of things, I really hope that Obama has this as some sort of redemptive value.

Maguro said...

I wonder how many of these guys we kill rather than capture because Obama doesn't want to deal with the hassle of imprisoning and interrogating them. Seems like a sub-optimal approach...probably a lot of valuable intelligence being lost.

PatCA said...

A friend of mine in the reserves got called up 9/12/01. She came back a year later and said, there's stuff going on all over the world. Don't worry, you're safer than ever.

That people are trying to cripple this mission astounds me. They are my enemy.

Synova said...

It's easier to get cooperation from Islamic nations, or *anyone* else for that matter, if they don't have to publicly act like America's lap dog.

Oh, and I thought this was sort of rich...

"Yet such wars come with many risks: (...) a blurring of the lines between soldiers and spies that could put troops at risk of being denied Geneva Convention protections;.."

Sort of got the giggles from that.

We've got no expectations whatsoever of having Geneva protections in any case, but everyone else gets them no matter what they do.

Har. Har. Har.

XWL said...

Seems like the news here isn't that the Obama Administration continues many of the counter terrorism tactics started by the Bush Administration, rather the news is that the New York Times is doing a big, splashy multi part series with a catchy title (THE SHADOW WAR), that strikes a critical tone towards the Obama Adminstration and the CIA.

The New York Times isn't intersted in reporting news, but rather shaping the battlefield, so to speak. If Obama has lost the NYT, then he might even struggle to gain his party's nomination in 2012.

Let's see if the next article in this series casts the State Department as valiantly struggling against meddling from other departments under the firm leadership of the Secretary of State.

Then it will be clear, that this is really about a civil war within the Democratic Party, and nothing to do with terrorism.

dick said...

I read this article and what struck me was that this sounds just like the activities of the Pentagon, the CIA and the FBI that brought about the Church Commission back in the Carter days when the CIA was crippled by the administration and the legislature. I was just wondering who will call for the oversight and calling on the carpet of these CIA people, these mercenaries and these troops who are being used like this. When will San Fran Nan start telling us about all the actions she knows nothing about that the CIA is doing.

Agreed that once again the NYT definitely does not have our best interests at heart when they print a story like this. They went after Bush far more than they are going after this story but even what they are doing here is putting the lives of our servicemen and women as well as our intelligence agents at tremendous risk. Someone needs to stomp on them big time and stop this stuff.

dick said...

I wonder what the FBI is up to now. Seems that if all these other agencies are running loose that the FBI is probably up to something as well. If Bush were still in office that would also be on the front page, whether they are doing anything or not.

John Lynch said...

Have we lost anyone in Yemen since December?

If not, and it's hurting the enemy, what's the problem?

Fen said...

I dont have a problem with it.

But I'm sure the Libtards who've been shouting "illegal war" for the last 10 years dont either.

Seven Machos said...

Fen -- You and I both know that Robert Cook and his nutty ilk think Obama should be shot like a Kulak for his "illegal" wars. That said, there is no question that the left used the "illegal war" crap as a way to drum up opposition to Bush.

It's much like Best of the Web Today's observation that homeless people suddenly become a problem under Republican power and then just as suddenly disappear when Democrats are in power.

Fen said...

"For the first time in our history, an entity has declared a covert war against us,”

And when was that, Congressman Smith?

Re-reading the NYTs article, I'm struck by how they try to frame this as a "new" war and a "new" strategy.

Its as if Bill Clinton never ordered a surgical airstrike...

/via wiki

"On August 20, [1998] Clinton ordered the military to fire cruise missiles at the camp and a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, where bin Laden was suspected of manufacturing biological weapons. While the military hit their targets, bin Laden was not killed. The CIA estimated that they had missed bin Laden by “a few hours.”

So whats the purpose of the NYTs "new" meme? DHOTUS criibed some notes from Clinton's old term paper, and we're expected to be impressed?

Gene said...

PatCA: A friend of mine in the reserves got called up 9/12/01. She came back a year later and said, there's stuff going on all over the world. Don't worry, you're safer than ever.

Actually, I never felt unsafe.

Chase said...

How many twisted articles like this one are necessary before you understand that the publisher, administrative and editorial boards of the New York Times are your enemies? From the false stories hiding the horrors of the early Russian revolution to the publishing of national security secrets that jeopardize American lives daily, the history of the New York Times is of one aim: aiding the destruction of American Democracy and Security.

Seriously - Arthur Sulzberger, Jr and his minions hate you and your families America. When will you get this?

When the Supreme Court finds that the Commerce Clause allows Congress to rule every single part of your life - what you can and MUST purchase, where you can and cannot live, whether or not you can even be allowed to drive or own a car, - something that the New York Times openly seeks?

The nice people at the New York Times would be perfectly happy to live under a Cuban style Communism and they would be perfectly happy to make you live under it - and be killed or imprisoned for opposing it - too.

Wake up.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"I can't decide if the "began in the Bush administration" is simply to give cover to Obama --hey Bush did it-- or designed to convince us that Obama is a smarter, craftier war fighter than Bush."

The New York Times is reporting that Barack Obama has ordered the United States Military to commit murders - with no due process - in places the US Military has not been authorized by the United States Congress to conduct a war.

These people have received no trials. There is no attempt here to capture these alleged terrorists. No trials are planned for these people. Barack Obama is merely ordering them murdered because that's more convenient for him politically. He can use the CIA to secretly commit these murders - so that his supporters are kept in the dark about the monster they've elected.

The president is a murderer and a war criminal. He should be brought to justice because even the President of the United States does not stand above the law.

Any Democrat who supports or votes for Barack Obama is an accomplice to these illegal government killings.

How can you people who voted for this guy sleep at night?

Youngblood said...

I'm not really against secret wars. My problem is that the CIA has be historically pretty bad when it comes to actually winning them.

edutcher said...

On the one hand, I do believe The Zero really gets off on the almost-absolute power being CinC gives him.

OTOH, that this appears in the Gray Lady is another sign the Lefties are falling out of love with the Messiah.

Balfegor said...

It was a secret mission by the United States military, according to American officials, at least the fourth such assault on Al Qaeda in the arid mountains and deserts of Yemen since December.

American officials! Why are you talking to these reporters? Why do you still have jobs? Shouldn't Obama have fired you for this?


That's how he got to be TOTUS.

Yet such wars come with many risks: the potential for botched operations that fuel anti-American rage; a blurring of the lines between soldiers and spies that could put troops at risk of being denied Geneva Convention protections;

I don't think spies or soldiers fighting out of uniform are entitled to Geneva protections. Are they?


Last I heard, the Geneva Convention held that soldiers out of uniform are considered spies.

And spies may be shot.

rhhardin said...

The deal is go where the bad guy organizers go. That's the real war on terror.

Democracy building is mission creep.

All you'd like is that the local government gets strong enough to do the job themselves, whatever form it has.

If they meet their sovereign responsibilities, then we leave them alone. Otherwise it's up to us.

It's a new feature of ancient grudges with modern weapons.

Clyde said...

Y'know, while we have this shadow war thingie going on, how about a Predator drone for that Wikileaks asswipe, Julian Assange? Seriously. He's endangering the lives of our troops and our allies. I would consider him getting incinerated by a missile to be a good use of my tax dollars.

HDHouse said...

What a nice set of scary comments to read first thing on Sunday morning. Permit me to summarize:

1. Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
2. We can agree with him or not but some will hate him no matter what.
3. Secret wars are fine but only if you agree with them.
4. The NYTimes is the enemy.


does that sum up the thinking so far?

Beldar said...

@ Pollo (8/14/10 10:17 PM): The parallel wouldn't be to LBJ, but to Nixon (who launched secret wars in Cambodia & Laos). Just Google "Kent State massacre."

Of practical necessity, some of what is done by the Commander in Chief to keep the nation safe must be done covertly, and certainly it must be done in many countries besides Iraq and Afghanistan. That's one reason why it's important to elect a president who can reasonably be expected to exercise sound judgment with respect to the covert operations that he authorizes. I have zero confidence in Obama's judgment on such matters, and indeed, I profoundly distrust it: It's almost impossible that anyone as obviously naive as he is about the entire world and America's role in it could exercise sound judgment. I just hope that Gen. Patraeus is as wise as he's now reputed to be. But ultimately he has to either do what Obama decides to do, or resign.

HDHouse said...

Beldar said...
@ Pollo (8/14/10 10:17 PM): The parallel wouldn't be to LBJ, but to Nixon (who launched secret wars in Cambodia & Laos). Just Google "Kent State massacre."

Why don't you talk to people who were alive and active back then..there are a few of us you know...and the Nixon Wars were cross border bombings for the most part against a well armed and organized traditional army that fought any number of battles that the commanders could understand. That they didn't get insurgent warfare and we just tried to bomb them into submission with no gain or positive result brought about the discontent - that and Nixon was a criminal and a liar.

phx said...

Every day that we do not suffer an attack against our interests at home or abroad and every scumbag terrorist douche we kill is now a credit to the Obama administration.

I do not like President Obama politically, but we let's never complain when the man does something we approve of.


The only trouble with this thinking is that people then think it's the president to blame when the terrorists hit us. And the will hit us again. It's not realistic to expect that we won't get hit.

As much as I think Bush was not intelligent enough to be President I don't blame him for 9/11. I don't think there was anything anyone could do to prevent that.

jr565 said...

Seven Machos wrote:
Every day that we do not suffer an attack against our interests at home or abroad and every scumbag terrorist douche we kill is now a credit to the Obama administration.

I do not like President Obama politically, but we let's never complain when the man does something we approve of.


I think in fact Obama does need to be criticized, even if he ultimately ends up doing what we want to do in the War On Terror. If his actions cause the far left to have fits, all the better (though in truth I think many of them are only outraged if the actions are done by a conservative, so are not in fact arguing from a moral position). However, he and the democrats have relentlessy demagogued Bush at every turn, trying to undermine our wars, particularly in Iraq, and trying to deligitimize our armed forces and the occasional need for the use of force to deal with issues. And they should never be allowed to get away with it. Their villainy should be thrown in their face again and again.
That being said, IF, and its a big IF, OBama does actually continue with the war on terror, expands operations and doesn't leave theaters of operations in defeat he'll probably find that his enemies on the right end up being his biggest supporters on this one issue.

traditionalguy said...

This exposure of Obama as a commander in a war against Al Quaeda by the NYT does portend a Democrat/Clinton rising from within the soon to be decimated Democrat political class. At this rate of weakening, the Jeb Bushites will soon make their play. Hold on to your hats, Tea Partiers. The number of serious writers in the media using you as a pawn in their game to define other candidates as superior to everything Palin is about to suddenly increase. Also, good job Obama.

prairie wind said...

edutcher: I do believe The Zero really gets off on the almost-absolute power being CinC gives him.

beldar: I have zero confidence in Obama's judgment on such matters, and indeed, I profoundly distrust it: It's almost impossible that anyone as obviously naive as he is about the entire world and America's role in it could exercise sound judgment.

Thank goodness some of you are still awake. While it may look as if O is doing something right, don't forget everything we know about him. He is not wise enough for this job. Has he done anything so far to make you confident that he knows what he's doing? No.

Do we have any reason to think that he has matured during the last couple of years? No.

Do we have any reason to think that he's really paying attention to what is going on? No.

Don't forget that.

Lincolntf said...

When Bush does a thing he's a war criminal and tyrant. When Obama does the same thing, but more of it (Yemen, drone strikes, Patriot Act...), he's a healer and Peace Prize winner.

Liberals are the stupidest, basest people on Earth.

AllenS said...

I've got news for the New York Times. Stealth war started before Bush.

roesch-voltaire said...

Amazing how complex this Hitler/Muslim president is to continue secret missions to kill our real enemy--Al Qaeda.

DADvocate said...

This comes out just as another blogger I read said he was still going to vote for Obama because a vote for the GOP was "is a vote for global warfare" among other things. I wonder if a Dem backed global war is OK.

Pogo said...

In which we find once again that for Democrats there is no principle but power.

They say things like 'US out of Iraq' not because they believe the words, but because the masses do. There is no aim but state power, there are no beliefs but state power. All else flows from that.

DADvocate said...

...Nixon was a criminal and a liar.

Amen. I had the pleasure of protesting against Nixon himself at a Billy Graham Crusade days after the Cambodia bombing in 1971. My father was part of the group of protesters also and was arrested for disturbing a religious service. He was later exonerated from all charges.

Nixon didn't just hurt the GOP. He hurt the entire political system by playing the politics of division as well as being a crook and a liar.

Big Mike said...

@El Pollo, I second the motion. How about it Professor? Shouldn't you be adding an "Obama is like LBJ" to your set of tags?

@Balfegor, some of these leaks originate in the Oval Office, or at least happen with the tacit approval of the man who sits behind the Resolute desk. In this case, the al Qaeda members in Yemen and the Yemeni government certainly knows what's going on, so this leak may be political -- it's not unusual for a President whose domestic policies are failing to try to turn the spotlight on foreign successes. But you're right -- the relevant members of the House and Senate are certainly aware of what's going on in Yemen. Any statement to the contrary is merely Kabuki theater.

@HD, number 4 is always right.

c3 said...

Instead of “the hammer,” in the words of John O. Brennan, President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, America will rely on the “scalpel.”

Unfortunately on the ground and in the house that experiences the "scalpel" it feels like a "hammer".

And the you can bring in a photographer, take some wonderful pictures and then write a story that appeals to the entrenched biases of the "Arab street"

Its a messy business

El Pollo Real said...

Y'all are missing my point about LBJ. Johnson was the one who reversed Kennedy's draw down in forces in Vietnam despite telling the American people that "American boys shouldn't fight Asian boy's wars." Try googling the number of troops sent to Vietnam beginning in 1965. That was stealth war.



I was told if I voted for Goldwater we would be at war in six months. I did and we were

William Manchester The Glory and the Dream p. 1031

John Lynch said...

I understand the position that fighting a war without telling anyone and without Congressional approval seems to be illegal.

My response is that a war where all the legal requirements were met (Iraq) was STILL declared illegal by many of the same people who complain about covert operations in Yemen.

"Illegal war" is a phrase that has lost any meaning except to identify the accuser as a certain kind of tiresome leftist. To these people, wars can never, ever be legal because there's always someone who objects.

That said, the power of the executive to wage secret wars without Congress approving (and maybe they did approve it- secretly) IS something to be worried about. Yemen may not rise top that level. The NYT seems to be in the same league as those who used to rail about "Plan Columbia" (which worked).

Beth said...

it's not unusual for a President whose domestic policies are failing to try to turn the spotlight on foreign successes.

That was my first thought, Big Mike. After days of "Obama is a big secret Muslim!" this story conveniently changes the news cycle to "Obama is kicking Muslim ass!"

edutcher said...

HDHouse said...

What a nice set of scary comments to read first thing on Sunday morning. Permit me to summarize:

1. Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

Just like some guy called Dubya

2. We can agree with him or not but some will hate him no matter what.

It's what the Lefties do best.

3. Secret wars are fine but only if you agree with them.

What did HD have to say when the Gray Lady was leaking everything in sight five years ago?

4. The NYTimes is the enemy.

By George, I think he's got it.

Beldar said...
@ Pollo (8/14/10 10:17 PM): The parallel wouldn't be to LBJ, but to Nixon (who launched secret wars in Cambodia & Laos). Just Google "Kent State massacre."


Why don't you talk to people who were alive and active back then..there are a few of us you know...and the Nixon Wars were cross border bombings for the most part against a well armed and organized traditional army that fought any number of battles that the commanders could understand. That they didn't get insurgent warfare and we just tried to bomb them into submission with no gain or positive result brought about the discontent - that and Nixon was a criminal and a liar.


Nixon Wars????

There was only one I remember.

Beldar is right on the money.

Only the bombings were done covertly. The 'incursion', as it was called, was widely reported and the Lefties were outraged.

After Tet, it should be noted, Vietnam was a largely conventional war and HD's regurgitated propaganda of "That they didn't get insurgent warfare and we just tried to bomb them into submission with no gain or positive result brought about the discontent - that and Nixon was a criminal and a liar" is the standard Leftist tripe of the day.

PS Truth in advertising: I was a senior at Villanova at the time, so I remember it quite well.

PPS For an interesting take on what some of the troops thought of Kent State, try the book, "Charlie Rangers", about one of the LRRP companies.

Big Mike said...

@Beth, I swear, if I ever get back down to Nawleens I have to look you up.

Fen said...

Y'know, while we have this shadow war thingie going on, how about a Predator drone for that Wikileaks asswipe, Julian Assange?

Rest easy, we have a STA Team on it.

Beth said...

Big Mike, do! We'll have some beignets.

exhelodrvr1 said...

HDHouse,
You do realize that the bombings and port minings is what led the NV to take the peace talks seriously, right?

Hey said...

The funniest bit is that the NYT seems to expect that Republicans would be trying to interfere with covert action. It's only Democrats who are traitors by nature. Republican politicians and supporters will be cheering these actions on with the vast majority simply arguing that not enough is being done, more attacks, in more countries, with an utterly ruthless approach needs to be taken.

The primary complaint of Republicans would be that any staff are talking to an avowed terrorist propaganda arm in an attempt to derail this operation (namely the NYT), and that no one has taken effective action for this treasonous publication despite decades of assistance in crimes against humanity.

Good to see Mike Vickers playing a major role in the covert war. He was critical in Afghanistan in the 80s and combines malevolent ruthlessness with deep experience. Surprised that the Kos/jihad wing of the Democratic party hasn't had him removed for being too effective.

Also, since when do any American soldiers anywhere get treated according to the Geneva Conventions? The last conflict where that was adhered to with any reliability was WWI.

Joe said...

Obama strikes me as the anti-LBJ. Rather than meddling in every detail of a war, he divorces himself entirely from it. This wouldn't be a bad thing except for the tendency of the military to fuck things up and get lots of people killed in the process.

Lawgiver said...

Macho said,

Never try to outsmart a Sicilian and never start a ground war in Yemen.

The actual quote is, "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line"!

From one of the greatest movies EVAR!

El Pollo Real said...

Obama strikes me as the anti-LBJ. Rather than meddling in every detail of a war, he divorces himself entirely from it.

He already established himself as the anti-JFK so he can't be both.

No BHO is as ruthlessly partisan and sneaky as LBJ.

Gene said...

Youngblood: I'm not really against secret wars. My problem is that the CIA has be historically pretty bad when it comes to actually winning them.

The trouble with secret wars is that the only ones who don't know what's going on are the people in whose name they they are being conducted--the American people. The people being targeted, on the other hand, know full well there's a war against them.

I hate it when the American people are the last to know anything (or that some people argue that it's good for us not to know).