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We know it's been a few days since Barack Obama's boldly redefined / slightly modified / utterly capitulated in the War On Terror, but since Yr. Editrix said that a good "think piece analysis" is allowed to be late, here is a Sunday morningish Wonket thinky piece on Barry's bigdrones -n- Gitmo speech at the National Defense University the other day. So is this a nice-time story, an Obama is morally weak story, or a BORE-ing, could we bring back the shouting lady please story? It most certainly is! We just aren't sure when we should schedule the parade for the end of the War on Terror and Other Abstractions.


To start with, the President won the hearts of literally hundreds of nomenclature nitpickers when he FINALLY acknowledged the God's Honest Truth about the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, calling them "remotely piloted aircraft, commonly referred to as drones." Rejoicing was presumably heard from those who insist that language be precise, even if the actual weapons systems blow up the occasional wedding:

A remotely piloted aircraft — a Predator or a Reaper — is not a drone, Air Force officers will tell you, and to call it that is practically like spitting on their shoes. A drone, the patient ones will explain, is a target for training. It’s nothing like a complex weapon of war or surveillance.

Obama's careful phrasing, however, is not expected to placate those sticklers for accuracy who write letters to the editor that carefully narrow the gun control debate down to the vital differences between "automatic" and "semi-automatic" or "clips" and "magazines." And of course, throughout the rest of the speech, Barry went and called them "drones" anyway. Which is just so very typical -- he hints he's going to correct the linguistic or policy errors of the past, then makes no real changes. INPEACH!

So what actual changes to the use of semi-robotic death planes did Bamz announce? Is the Global War On Terror over, or at least getting an acronym that doesn't sound like a cat with a hairball? (And props to whoever suggested "Total War Against Terrorism.") Is the CIA going to get out of the private war business and return to its traditional mission of trying to keep Alex Jones from handling sharp objects? Maybe! But probably not! Defense wonk Mark Mazzetti (whose publisher -- ahem! -- has not gotten back to our request for a review copy of his new book about drone war) didn't see much in the way of detail:

one of the big outstanding questions is just how transparent the Obama administration will be about drone strikes in the future. Will administration officials begin to publicly confirm strikes after they happen?

There was no mention of this in the speech, and it is telling that the president did not mention the C.I.A. at all. It seems quite certain that past operations in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere are not going to be declassified anytime soon.

Also, moving operations from the C.I.A. to the Pentagon does not automatically mean that the strikes will be publicly discussed. The Pentagon is carrying out a secret drone program in Yemen right now, and it is very difficult to get information about those operations.

So maybe there is not a lot of there there? Foreign Policy's Rosa Brooks gave the speech "an A+ for honesty, style, symbolism, impact, and moral seriousness, and a B+ for precision on the key legal issues," so that is good, maybe. Others weren't quite so kind; neckbearded onanist Ross Douthat is Very Concerned that Barry's "Reinhold Niebuhr act" was a nice display of worry about questions of legality masking no real change, plus it might encourage women to be sluts. Serious Thinker Dick Morris announced that the speech would have been much better if it really were nothing but empty words, because in reality, Obama "unilaterally surrendered in the War on Terror." Thanks for that clarification, Dick! Pam Geller thinks -- and we use the term loosely -- that Bamz's unremarkable suggestion that law enforcement should "work with the Muslim community" to prevent terrorism really translates to "partner with Muslim Brotherhood groups" to destroy America from within, which for godssake is HER job, dammit. Stay paranoid, my friends.

Also, too, Barry said he wants to close Guantanamo. This part of the speech had some specific proposals, which means that at least we can objectively tell when the House GOP is blocking them. We sure would like to Gitmo git gone, and are confident that the fact-based observations like "No person has ever escaped from one of our super-max or military prisons in the United States" will be sufficient to soothe Barry's more excitable critics. As Jon Stewart said the last time around, if there's one thing Americans are really good at, it's putting people in prison. This is of course news to Dick Morris, who says, yeah right, like anyone in their right mind would "volunteer their backyards" for such a purpose. Why does Dick Morris hate prison-jerb creators?

We really would like to hope that some changes are actually on the way, and we really liked the "Keep Calm and Carry On" tone that Barry wrapped up with. We aren't sure that trying to ratchet from Constant Fear Status will sell in all quarters.

Maybe we can do something about drones and Gitmo once we finally outlaw Obamacare forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.

[HuffPo / Foreign Policy / NYT / Slate / Droney the friendly drone stolen from a bad scan of a Tom Tomorrow design]

Remember, Pacific Northwest Wonkers, Yr Doktor Zoom will be attending the reader-organized Seattle Drinky Thing next Saturday, June 1; details at this here linky. "Sundays With The Christianists" returns next Sunday, avoiding a hangover by getting itself written in advance.

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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