Les frères Jonas sont ici ; ils sont là quelque part. Sasha et Malia sont de grandes fans. Mais les gars, allez pas vous faire des idées. J’ai deux mots pour vous: « predator drones ». Vous les verrez même pas venir. Vous croyez que je plaisante, hein ? Barack Obama
Son visage sérigraphié était devenu une icône, son slogan «Yes we can» l’énoncé d’une nouvelle Amérique. Candidat courageux, Barack Obama avait choisi de s’adresser à l’intelligence de ses électeurs, et non à leurs tripes. Jeune, noir, il était devenu le président de la jeunesse, des femmes et des minorités. Emportant en 2008, près de 53% des voix de ses concitoyens, un des meilleurs scores pour un démocrate. Quatre ans plus tard, Obama se bat le dos au mur dans des comtés perdus de l’Ohio qui pourraient faire la différence dans une élection serrée comme jamais. Son rival est pourtant une caricature de républicain milliardaire, blanc et conservateur, sans souffle, ni programme. Ce désamour peut apparaître injuste. Le New York Times de samedi, soutenant «avec enthousiasme un deuxième mandat pour Obama» dans son éditorial, dresse une longue liste des achèvements (sic) du président démocrate. Son plan de santé pour tous, le sauvetage du secteur automobile, la mort de Ben Laden, les droits des étrangers, des sans-papiers et des homosexuels. En face, Mitt Romney représente l’aile dure tendance taliban du Parti républicain, prête à faire régresser leur pays à l’âge de pierre. Mais, comme le montre notre voyage le long de l’Interstate 95, qui délinée l’Atlantique de la frontière canadienne à Miami, il ne faut pas désespérer de l’Amérique. Les Etats-Unis sont certes désunis et déprimés, mais les Américains sortent de leur dépression. Obama, pour son pays (mais aussi pour nous autres étrangers), demeure sa meilleure promesse. Libération
Nous vivons dans le pays qui détient le record d’«Obamania», selon une étude d’opinons mondiale faite par la BBC, où il ressort que le président américain sortant recueille l’adhésion de 2 Français sur 3, dont moins de 5% en faveur de Mitt Romney. Les Français, comme les autres Européens, ont raison: nous avons intérêt à la continuité, à la réélection de Barack Obama, et beaucoup à craindre de l’élection de Mitt Romney. Jean-Marie Colombani
Les Européens n’ont plus les mêmes rêves qu’en 2008 dans cette élection américaine qui oppose Barack Obama à Mitt Romney mais s’ils pouvaient voter, c’est encore Obama qui remporterait le scrutin haut la main ! Selon une enquête menée par le German Marshall Fund, il écraserait son concurrent avec 75% des voix, contre seulement 8% à Mitt Romney. Un score qui frôle même les 90% en France et en Allemagne. Malgré une chute de 12 points entre 2009 et 2012, la cote du président américain reste à un niveau exceptionnellement élevé: 71% des Européens approuvent la façon dont il gère les affaires du monde. Publiquement, les dirigeants européens gardent un silence prudent. A l’exception de la France, qui a clairement affiché sa volonté d’une victoire de Barack Obama, notamment par la voix de son Premier ministre Jean-Marc Ayrault qui la « souhaite totalement ». Le Parisien
A BBC World Service opinion poll has found sharply higher overseas approval ratings for US President Barack Obama than Republican challenger Mitt Romney.An average of 50% favoured Mr Obama, with 9% for Mr Romney, in the survey of 21,797 people in 21 countries. Only Pakistan’s respondents said they would prefer to see Mr Romney win November’s election.France was the most strongly pro-Obama (72%). The BBC
En une semaine, il est passé de Jane Fonda à Docteur Folamour. Mitt Romney
On September 30, 2011, a drone flying over Yemen set a new precedent. Without a trial or any public court proceeding, the United States government killed two American citizens, Anwar Al Awlaki and Samir Khan. The target of the attack was Awlaki, a New Mexico-born Yemeni-American whose charismatic preaching inspired terrorist attacks around the world, including the 2009 killing of 13 soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas. Civil liberties groups argued that a dangerous new threshold had been crossed. For the first time in American history, the United States had executed two of its citizens without trial. The Obama Administration cited a secret Justice Department memorandum as justification for the attack. Its authors contended that Awlaki’s killing was legal due to his role in attacks on the United States and his presence in an area where American forces could not easily capture him. David Rohde
After the global outrage over Guantánamo, it’s remarkable that the rest of the world has looked the other way while the Obama administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several different countries, including killing at least some civilians. (…) It is the politically advantageous thing to do — low cost, no U.S. casualties, gives the appearance of toughness. (…) It plays well domestically, and it is unpopular only in other countries. Any damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term. Dennis C. Blair (ancien directeur du renseignement)
La popularité de ces aéronefs sans pilote n’est pas compliquée à comprendre. Ils ne sont pas chers, ils maintiennent les Américains hors des zones dangereuses et ils tuent ‘les méchants. Ils peuvent bien tuer des civils ou violer les lois, peu importe aux Américains. [Au contraire, cela] renforce son image d’homme (…) qui n’a pas peur d’utiliser la puissance américaine. Michael A. Cohen (Foreign Policy)
Qu’est donc devenu cet artisan de paix récompensé par un prix Nobel, ce président favorable au désarmement nucléaire, cet homme qui s’était excusé aux yeux du monde des agissements honteux de ces Etats-Unis qui infligeaient des interrogatoires musclés à ces mêmes personnes qu’il n’hésite pas aujourd’hui à liquider ? Il ne s’agit pas de condamner les attaques de drones. Sur le principe, elles sont complètement justifiées. Il n’y a aucune pitié à avoir à l’égard de terroristes qui s’habillent en civils, se cachent parmi les civils et n’hésitent pas à entraîner la mort de civils. Non, le plus répugnant, c’est sans doute cette amnésie morale qui frappe tous ceux dont la délicate sensibilité était mise à mal par les méthodes de Bush et qui aujourd’hui se montrent des plus compréhensifs à l’égard de la campagne d’assassinats téléguidés d’Obama. Charles Krauthammer
Les drones américains ont liquidé plus de monde que le nombre total des détenus de Guantanamo. Pouvons nous être certains qu’il n’y avait parmi eux aucun cas d’erreurs sur la personne ou de morts innocentes ? Les prisonniers de Guantanamo avaient au moins une chance d’établir leur identité, d’être examinés par un Comité de surveillance et, dans la plupart des cas, d’être relâchés. Ceux qui restent à Guantanamo ont été contrôlés et, finalement, devront faire face à une forme quelconque de procédure judiciaire. Ceux qui ont été tués par des frappes de drones, quels qu’ils aient été, ont disparu. Un point c’est tout. Kurt Volker
Le blouson de pilote, ressorti pour l’ouragan Sandy, aura décidément été comme un gant au Commandant-en-chef Obama!
A l’heure où, après avoir en vain diabolisé et qualifié de « faucon » un Mitt Romney en pleine remontée dans les sondages, nos médias nous bassinent de prétendues démonstrations pour prouver pourquoi est importante pour le monde la réélection du plus rapide prix Nobel de la paix de l’histoire et premier candidat à un milliard de dollars (pardon: le « Kennedy noir ») …
Nouvelle remise des pendules à l’heure avec la tribune d’un proche du sénateur McCain sur le vrai bilan de celui qui aura liquidé plus de monde avec ses drones que n’en aura incarcéré la prison de Guantanamo qu’il avait pourtant promis de fermer…
The Washington Post
October 26, 2012
As documented in the recent Post series “The Permanent War,” the United States increasingly relies on drone strikes as a principal and permanent component in fighting global terrorism. This is effective at killing terrorist leadership and is relatively painless politically at home, as it does not require massive military engagements or put U.S. soldiers or pilots at risk. There appear to be no short-term consequences.
Yet as necessary as some drone strikes have been — and will be in the future — over-reliance on drones raises problems. In establishing a long-term approach, a good rule of thumb might be that we should authorize drone strikes only if we would be willing to send in a pilot or soldier to do the job if a drone were not available.
There are four principal issues with excessive reliance on drones.
The first is moral. More people have been killed in U.S. drone attacks than were ever incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. Can we be certain there were no cases of mistaken identity or innocent deaths? Those detained at Guantanamo at least had a chance to establish their identities, to be reviewed by an oversight panel and, in most cases, to be released. Those who remain at Guantanamo have been vetted and will ultimately face some form of legal proceeding. Those killed in drone strikes, whoever they were, are gone. Period.
The second is consequences. U.S. reliance on drone strikes allows our opponents to cast our country as a distant, high-tech, amoral purveyor of death. It builds resentment, facilitates terrorist recruitment and alienates those we should seek to inspire. Drone strikes may decapitate terrorist organizations, but they do not solve our terrorist problem. In fact, drone use may prolong it. Even though there is no immediate retaliation, in the long run the contributions to radicalization through drone use may put more American lives at risk.
Third, our monopoly on drone warfare will not last. Others, from European allies to Russia, China and Iran, are acquiring and beginning to use drones for surveillance — eventually, they will use them for killing as well. What would we say if others used drones to take out their opponents — whether within their own territory or internationally? Imagine China killing Tibetan separatists that it deemed terrorists or Russia launching drone strikes on Chechens. What would we say? What rules would we urge them to abide by?
Then there is the question of national identity: What do we want to be as a nation? A country with a permanent kill list? A country where people go to the office, launch a few kill shots and get home in time for dinner? A country that instructs workers in high-tech operations centers to kill human beings on the far side of the planet because some government agency determined that those individuals are terrorists? There is a “Brave New World” grotesqueness to this posture that should concern all Americans.
This is not to say that the United States should never use drones for targeted attacks. We should. But we should also be creating standards and practices that are entirely defensible, even — and perhaps especially — if others were to adopt them.
There is no doubt that the United States is under threat from terrorists who would not hesitate to kill innocent Americans. The Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi should not have surprised us. The American people need to understand that we are in an armed struggle and that we must be prepared to meet and defeat our enemy with whatever force is necessary.
Yet exactly how we conduct this warfare matters considerably. Ultimately, the objective is to bring humanity together on the side of humanity. Our current use of drones does not meet this standard.
Standards such as U.N. approval and adhering to “international law” ring hollow, as they do not deal with the reality we face. Russia is single-handedly blocking U.N. action on Syria. International law — where it exists — is followed by law-abiding countries but used as a shield by those who reject the whole premise.
A more useful standard comes from our country’s basic approach to warfare. For a conventional military engagement, we would take into account the costs and risks of: sending a force to carry out the strike; generating public support; seeking congressional authorization; attracting allies to the cause; the regional effects of military action; and the duration and end of the mission, not just the beginning.
We must be careful not to adopt rote formulas for restricting drone use. But we also must avoid writing blank checks. Applying the general considerations used in launching military operations should be the start of a new doctrine guiding drone warfare as well.
Unmanned aerial vehicles
America uses drones a lot, in secret and largely unencumbered by declared rules. Worries about that abound, not least in the administration
Nov 3rd 2012
DRONES are hardly synonymous with harmony. But in the last election debate neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney disagreed over what is now America’s main tactic in fighting the long war on terrorism: ever-greater use of armed drones for targeted killings in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the badlands of Yemen and Somalia, and, no doubt before long, north Mali, where an al-Qaeda affiliate has recently taken root. Just a few days before the debate, the CIA’s director, David Petraeus, reportedly asked the White House for a big expansion in the agency’s fleet of missile-carrying drones. It is part of the agency’s decade-long evolution from an intelligence organisation to a paramilitary one.
In Djibouti, an impoverished mini-state on the Gulf of Aden, America has turned a former French Foreign Legion outpost, Camp Lemonnier, into the most important base for drone operations outside the war zone of Afghanistan. According to an investigation by the Washington Post, Predator drones take off round the clock on missions over nearby Somalia and Yemen. Their pilots are in Creech, an air force hub 8,000 miles away in Nevada. The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) runs Camp Lemonnier; the CIA is believed to have a more secret site elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. Aircraft from both bases often work together, as in the attack last year that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who became an al-Qaeda planner and propagandist.
After Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans do not want to spend blood and treasure in fighting big insurgencies on the ground. So drone strikes seem certain to stay the centrepiece of counter-terrorism efforts for many years to come and may well increase in reach and scale. America will invest $1.4 billion on new construction at Camp Lemonnier alone. Hugely enlarging the scope of drone operations (see chart) has been politically useful for Mr Obama. The ruthlessness of the campaign, plus the killing of Osama bin Laden, blunted Republican charges that he is soft on national security.
Because drones can loiter over potential targets for hours before firing their missiles, they are more discriminating than either fast jets or helicopter-borne special forces. Nor are their pilots put in harm’s way. Yet it is disturbingly unclear how many people the attacks have killed (some estimates suggest more than 3,000). The vast majority appear to have been militants, but some have been unlucky civilians. The distinction may also be blurring. New looser rules allow so-called “signature” attacks on unnamed fighters; that can easily mean any male of fighting age in an insurgent-held area.
It would be surprising if some aspects of the drone programme did not jar the president’s sensibilities. The former law professor has decried “bending the rules” in the fight against terrorism, or thinking that the ends justify the means. He worries about a “slippery slope into a place where we’re not being true to who we are”. The attorney-general, Eric Holder, argued in March that the administration’s counter-terrorism efforts, including the use of “technologically advanced weapons” were rooted in adherence to the law. The Pentagon and the CIA have deployed their general counsels to explain how their drones are always operated legally.
Staying true to America’s principles is one worry. Providing a template for other countries is another. China and Russia have similar technologies but their own ideas about what constitutes terrorism. In April the White House’s counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, a former senior CIA officer who opposed both the Iraq war and interrogation techniques such as water-boarding, gave a long and thoughtful speech on Mr Obama’s strategy. Mr Brennan said that the president was always urging his national security team to be as open as possible and went into some detail about the “extraordinary care” that was taken to ensure that attacks were both legal in terms of American and international law, as well as ethical in the wider sense.
In September Mr Obama himself went on television to give an account of his approach. He set out five rules. The target must be “authorised by our laws” and represent a threat that is “serious and not speculative”. The need for attack must be urgent. Planners must be “very careful” about avoiding civilian casualties. And despite the legal justification for stopping American citizens in al-Qaeda’s ranks from carrying out plots, “they are subject to the protections of the constitution and due process”. He did not mention another principle that some lawyers regard as indispensable: the consent of the country where the attack is to take place.
Should Mr Romney win, he will inherit a counter-terrorism “playbook” from Mr Obama—a set of rules that, in effect, institutionalises the use of armed drones—and the prototype of a “disposition matrix”—a database of terrorist suspects and a menu providing options for dealing with them. Mr Brennan is said to want the rules to be better codified and more transparent. The JSOC, which has a clear chain of command and legal accountability, could take the lead on drone attacks from the CIA.
But Kurt Volker, a former American official close to Senator John McCain, sees a bigger problem: drones have made killing too easy. In a recent article he asked: “What do we want to be as a nation? A country with a permanent kill list? A country where people go to the office, launch a few kill shots and get home in time for dinner? A country that instructs workers in high-tech operations centres to kill human beings on the far side of the planet because some government agency determined that those individuals are terrorists?” The debate over drones is only just starting.
Obama Finds Predator Drones Hilarious
May 3, 2010
Some topics are a little too touchy for even the most taboo-flaunting, back-slapping stand-up comedy routines. President Obama’s jokes killed at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday. But his administration’s highly controversial Predator Drone program does a much less humorous kind of killing.
Operating for years in Afghanistan and Pakistan as an officially secret counterterrorism program, the drones have drawn controversy for their notoriously high civilian casualty rate, the anti-American rage they provoke in the region, and for the dubious constitutionality of assassinating foreign nationals. So when Obama incorporated a Predator Drone joke into his Correspondents Dinner routine, it raised some eyebrows:
« The Jonas Brothers are here; they’re out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys, don’t get any ideas. I have two words for you, ‘predator drones.’ You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking. »
Inappropriate On Every Level Salon’s Alex Pareene retells the joke. « It’s funny because predator drone strikes in Pakistan have killed literally hundreds of completely innocent civilians, and now the president is evincing a casual disregard for those lives he is responsible for ending by making a lighthearted joke about killing famous young celebrities for the crime of attempting to sleep with his young daughters. (Really, everything about the joke is inappropriate. That’s why you shouldn’t analyze humor too much.) »
Undermining His Own Agenda The American Prospect’s Adam Serwer explains it’s no laughing matter:
The Obama administration has spent a great deal of time on outreach to Muslims worldwide, and on dialing down the volume and rhetoric of the prior administration in order to defuse al-Qaeda’s narrative of a clash of civilizations between Muslims and non-Muslims. So you have to wonder why in the world the president’s speech writers would think it was a good idea to throw a joke about predator drones into the president’s speech during the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, given that an estimated one-third of drone casualties, or between 289 and 378, have been civilians. It evinces a callous disregard for human life that is really inappropriate for a world leader, especially a president who is waging war against an enemy that deliberately targets civilians. It also helps undermine that outreach by making it look insincere. It’s already hard enough to convince Muslims that the U.S. isn’t indifferent to civilian casualties without having the president joke about it.
What If Bush Had Made That Joke? Conservative Blogger William Teach poses the hypothetical, « just imagine Bush telling THAT joke and what the media would be printing the following day. »
…Well, He Kinda Did Salon’s Glenn Greenwald compares Obama’s drones joke to President George W. Bush’s highly controversial 2004 White House Correspondents Dinner jokes about looking for the weapons of mass destruction that his administration had falsely claimed as justification for invading Iraq. Greenwald writes, « What was funnier: Bush’s WMD joke or Obama’s Predator drone joke? I wonder how these people would vote: http://is.gd/bSgyA »
Why Obama Should Drone Strike The Jonas Brothers Salon’s Alex Pareene writes, « It seems like a no-brainer that the people directly responsible for tragedies should not deliver jokes about those tragedies. That’s why Mel Brooks can tell Hitler jokes and Germans can’t. » However, « The concept of the president personally ordering the assassination of the Jonas Brothers is, you have to admit, kind of funny. Such a terrible act would also neatly drive home the problem with drone strikes and the Presidential Assassination Program in a way that Americans and the popular press would really grasp. »