Did you catch President Barack Obama’s first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term last Thursday? Well if you didn’t, all you need to know is that it only took the Administration six days to let Americans know—as if they didn’t already— that what the President says and what his Administration does are very, very, different.
Representative of a dramatic shift in the Obama Administration’s approach to foreign policy, the President claimed he was working to restrict the use of unmanned drone strikes.
Some key quotes from the speech:
“Beyond the Afghan theater, we only target al-Qaida and its associated forces. And even then, the use of drones is heavily constrained.”
The Administration much prefers to “detain” terror suspects.
It also has “respect for state sovereignty” and other nations’ ability to handle terrorists.
And a subsequently released fact sheet sealed the deal, saying, “[T]he United States will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons. It is simply not the case that all terrorists pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons; if a terrorist does not pose such a threat, the United States will not use lethal force.”
Behold, via CNN:
The Pakistan Taliban’s No. 2 leader was killed in a drone strike Wednesday in the country’s tribal region, a local tribal official and an intelligence official confirmed to CNN.
He was Wali-Ur Rehman Mehsud — second in command to Hakimullah Mehsud, the militant group’s leader. The Pakistan Taliban’s spokesman told CNN he could neither confirm nor deny the information. The sources said Rehman was killed along with his close aide, Fakhar-ul-Islam, and two Uzbek nationals whose identities the sources didn’t know.
This is the same strike reported earlier by intelligence officials in Pakistan, who said seven people were killed and one other was injured in the attack at a compound near the town of Miranshah in the North Waziristan district.
Pakistani officials criticized the strike in a statement, saying the U.S. drone strikes “are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives, have human rights and humanitarian implications and violate the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law.”