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Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent - "disp

Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent Complete with a newly coined, creepy Orwellian euphemism – 'disposition matrix' – the administration institutionalizes the most extremist powers a government can claim


A primary reason for opposing the acquisition of abusive powers and civil liberties erosions is that they virtually always become permanent, vested not only in current leaders one may love and trust but also future officials who seem more menacing and less benign.

The Washington Post has a crucial and disturbing story this morning by Greg Miller about the concerted efforts by the Obama administration to fully institutionalize – to make officially permanent – the most extremist powers it has exercised in the name of the war on terror.

Based on interviews with "current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies", Miller reports that as "the United States' conventional wars are winding down", the Obama administration "expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years" (the "capture" part of that list is little more than symbolic, as the US focus is overwhelmingly on the "kill" part). Specifically, "among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade." As Miller puts it: "That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism."

In pursuit of this goal, "White House counterterrorism adviser John O Brennan is seeking to codify the administration's approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced." All of this, writes Miller, demonstrates "the extent to which Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war."


President Romney Can Thank Obama for His Permanent Robotic Death List


It’s a good thing that Mitt Romney endorsed President Obama’s counterterrorism agenda. Should he win the election in two weeks, Romney will inherit an institutionalized, bureaucratic machine for using lethal robots to target and kill suspected terrorists and their allies. Killing Osama bin Laden was a one-time event; this “Disposition Matrix” is Barack Obama’s real national-security legacy.

The Matrix, as detailed in a blockbuster Washington Post expose, is a master list maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center of suspected terrorists around the world, matched with methods for dealing with them. Most often, that means killing them; and most often, that means using an expanding fleet of armed drones to do so, taking off from hubs in the Arabian Peninsula, eastern Afghanistan and Djibouti’s Camp Lemonnier. Despite bin Laden’s death and the supposed disruption of al-Qaida’s old leadership, the Matrix keeps adding names, as fast or faster than the drones drop bodies.

Maybe the White House still believes, as Obama aide Ben Rhodes recently contended, that the Arab Spring will “undercut the al-Qaida narrative.” But the constellation of U.S. counterterrorism agencies is settling in for the long haul: a war that expands worldwide and shows no sign of ending. “We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America,’” one tells the Post’s Greg Miller.

There’s a rhetorical consensus in Washington that, as Romney said at Monday’s debate, the U.S. “can’t kill our way out of this mess.” It’s spoken so often it’s a cliche. But in practice, killing appears to be the mainstay of U.S. efforts: nearly 3,000 people have been slain by drone strikes, according to a Post online database, including an undisclosed number of civilians. And the security agencies are preparing for even more.

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