My column on America’s warfare by targeted killings is here. The situation presents quite a quandary.
Obama didn’t create the Joint Special Operations Command, described by a retired lieutenant colonel as “almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine,” but he expanded and embraced it, and he codified a system of identifying “high value targets” for routine assassination anywhere on the global battlefield.
Who’ll stop this madness? Congress shows no interest in stopping it. The defense and intelligence establishment is behind it. JSOC has been the path to fame and promotion for generals like Petreaus, McChrystal and McRaven. The people love wars fought by hit squads and drones, wars that don’t produce American casualties. The culture celebrates SEAL teams and other bands of pumped-up warriors who blow up the bad guys.
The only one with a chance of getting the war on terror genies back in the bottle – reining in the NSA snoopers, demobilizing JSOC – is the president who said a month ago that “a perpetual war – through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments – will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.”