Small Wars Journal

Drone Worrier

Drone Worrier by Mark Thompson of Time’s Battleland. On Tuesdays, President Obama and his national-security team put together a "kill list" of suspected terrorists the CIA or U.S. military can target.

Thompson writes, "Call it the legacy of terror, where national armies – easily monitored, easily targeted – have often been replaced by small groups of individuals, far tougher to track but retaining the capacity to do great damage. It’s simplistic, but true: Congress doesn’t want to be engaged in the messy business of declaring war. Besides, terrorists can be fleeting targets where consultation between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is impractical. The public has grown tired of tending to the national-security garden."

He goes on to say that the current state of affairs is a "slippery slope" when it comes to Presidential power and the military writing, "No one – at least no one with any chance of living in the White House in the foreseeable future – wants to find out precisely how the U.S. public would react to a second 9/11. So Obama is – under the post-9/11 authorization for the use of military force – methodically whittling away at those who would do American harm — as well as those the CIA and President believe might do the nation harm. 9/11 showed that suicidal zealots, no matter where they are today, can attack the U.S. tomorrow. That broadens the President’s rifle scope to include the entire world. It’s a slippery slope."

Thompson concludes by pointing out where the U.S. drones might end up next: "Timbuktu, that West African town on the southern fringe of the Sahara Desert — that for generations has meant in the middle of nowhere – has been taken over by Islamic militants waging war against the government of Mali."