By Paul Wells - Friday, February 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
Paul Wells on the meaning of drones
Dick Cheney was on CBS the other day, explaining U.S. President Barack Obama’s failings yet again. “I think the president came to power with a world view that’s fundamentally different,” the former vice-president said. “[There was] the sense that he wanted to reduce U.S. influence in the world, he wanted to take us down a peg.”
There’s no point debating this. Millions of Americans do consider the Obama presidency an assault against the United States. They voted for Mitt Romney last November and it didn’t do them much good. As for those who like Obama, they’d have choice things to say about what Cheney did to U.S. influence. “I think the worst thing that we could do right now,” Obama aide Stephanie Cutter said, “is take Dick Cheney’s advice on foreign policy.”
So the most interesting part of Cheney’s interview was the part where he agreed with Obama. He was asked about remote-controlled drones as a device for killing suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens. “I think it’s a good program,” Cheney said. “I don’t disagree with the basic policy that the Obama administration is pursuing.”
By Paul Wells - Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM - 0 Comments
As you will have heard, rapper Lupe Fiasco got kicked off the stage last night at one of the endless rounds of tedious pre-inaugural events that have clustered around today’s second Obama inauguration like barnacles.
He was in the middle (or perhaps near the end, or maybe the beginning; we can only speculate) of an extended jam in which he was saying various disrespectful things about Barack Obama, when a bunch of really big guys came onto the stage and encouraged him to take it somewhere else.
When reading the statement from the organizers of the event, who protest that they “are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech,” it’s worth noting that Fiasco was the evening’s headliner and that his name was the largest design element in posters advertising the party. A lot of people attending it would not have known or cared that they were “honouring innovative visionaries;” they thought they were at a Lupe Fiasco concert. Which helps explain why it’s really hard to hear anyone “vocally dissatisfied” in the video of the “bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance.” Continue…
By Paul Wells - Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 11:15 PM - 8 Comments
U.S. military has massively expanded use of remote-piloted drone attacks within Pakistan since last autumn, and especially since Obama’s inauguration.
Problem: Some analysts say drone attacks are really, really bad counterinsurgency, because they leave the innocent with the guilty to die in the rubble, and grief and anger are an excellent recruiting tool for extremism. That argument is well canvassed in this piece.
But in fact, an understanding of the nasty blowback airstrikes can provoke seems to be driving some of the strategic thinking in Afghanistan. This piece says one reason Obama has sent 17,000 incremental troops to Afghanistan, and may well send more, is that more troops will “enable U.S. and allied commanders to reduce their reliance on the airstrikes and Special Forces raids that have inflicted growing civilian casualties…”
Is it possible that the efforts of all those freshly-arriving U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan could be undone by resentments fuelled by all those U.S. airstrikes in Pakistan? I doubt it’s possible to know the answer, but I still think the question is worth raising. Obama is to unveil his new Afghanistan strategy this week or next. Which is Yet Another reason why it would have been handy to have the banks fixed by now, if that were possible.