National Security

Drone Strikes Could Drastically Increase Soon

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Strikes carried out by American drones dropped off precipitously during President Obama's first term in office, from over 100 in 2010 to less than half that in following years, because the authority to carry out strikes was transferred from the CIA to the Pentagon.

Trump has quietly reversed the Obama-era reform and given the CIA authority to carry out drone strikes again

President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing U.S. officials.

The move would be a change from the policy of former President Barack Obama's administration of limiting the CIA's paramilitary role, the newspaper reported.

The White House, the U.S. Department of Defense and the CIA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

There's so much that could be said about this it's hard to know where to begin, but I am immediately reminded of Code Pink's ridiculous, tone-deaf, PETA-esque protests of President Obama and The Intercept's more recent estimation that Hillary Clinton would be a great warmonger while Donald Trump would be a peace dove. I'm reminded of Senator Rand Paul engaging in anti-drone filibuster marathons only to emerge the next day and say he'd be Okay with using a drone against petty liquor store thieves.

It remains to be seen if Trump's inevitable, deadly blunders like the one recently seen in Yemen will be met with as much zealous opposition as President Obama was met with when he actually reformed the system. Our measures of hypocrisy will be tested in the coming years.

This is purely speculation, but the disastrous raid in Yemen could be one major reason why Trump is transferring more authority to the CIA whose operations can more easily be kept secret. Yemen forbid American forces from launching ground assaults after the recent raid.

  • bphoon

    I really think the point about the CIA’s operations being easier to keep secret is central to this decision. And it’ll work right up to the time some “rogue” CIA analyst or some such decides to leak something.

  • muselet

    Expect more drone strikes, more casualties among innocents, less transparency, no accountability and no end of crowing from Donald Trump about how his tough! anti-Muslim policies … excuse me, anti-Radical Islamic Terrorist! (scary! scary!) policies … are making us safer.

    We can also expect continued silence from the Never Hillary Left.

    And none of this should come as a surprise to anyone.

    –alopecia

  • Villemar

    But but but Obomba was a bloodthirsty warmonger who invented drones on January 21, 2009 for the sole express purpose of murdering elevendy million brown babies for lulz and starting a googleplex kajillion illegal wars! And Killary was going to increase that a quadrillionfold!!!111!!1!!1!!111!!!

  • Scopedog

    ….but I am immediately reminded of Code Pink’s ridiculous, tone-deaf, PETA-esque protests of President Obama and The Intercept’s more recent estimation that Hillary Clinton would be a great warmonger while Donald Trump would be a peace dove.

    You and me both, Ashby. Of course, the sound of crickets is coming from that particular corner right now….

  • Aynwrong

    This sounds like another pass the buck move on Trump’s part to me.

    • Scopedog

      Truman: The buck stops here.

      Ol’ Yellow Stain: The buck should stop waaaayy over there; I don’t want it anyway near me.

      • Christopher Foxx

        “But it’s a great buck. A beautiful buck. The best buck ever. Believe me!”

  • ninjaf

    So, he is giving this power to these people he has equated to Nazis and mocks their findings as untrustable? But they are good enough to be trusted to launch drone strikes without oversight?

    • Aynwrong

      Good point. It kind of reminds me of Conservatives view of the death penalty. They’re typically obsessed with limiting the power of the government but when it comes to the irrevocable decision to execute someone they’ve got nothing but faith the state will get it right. Because the American criminal justice system nerve gets anything wrong.

  • I want to laugh at the you-know-who’s over this, but I can’t laugh at the deaths of innocents