Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Dark Side Of The Obama White House

obama book review

In "Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power," New York Times reporter David E. Sanger describes in quite extraordinary detail the Obama administration’s hitherto secret cyberwar campaign against Iran, its targeted drone strikes against Al Qaeda and affiliates, and any number of other covert ops, including of course the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. As he indicates in his subtitle, Sanger concludes that the biggest surprise of the Obama presidency is just how aggressive he has been in his application of military power.
But a case can be made that what’s even more surprising is Obama’s abuse of secrecy. Publicly an advocate of government transparency and oversight, Obama has nevertheless hidden the most controversial and unilateral aspects of his presidency — including new ways of waging acknowledged and unacknowledged wars — more thoroughly and effectively than anyone might have imagined.
Sanger does end up raising some profound questions here and there. For instance, Sanger asks:
“What is the difference — legally and morally — between a sticky bomb the Israelis place on the side of an Iranian scientist’s car and a Hellfire missile the United States launches at a car in Yemen from thirty thousand feet in the air? How is one an ‘assassination’ — condemned by the United States — and the other an ‘insurgent strike’? What is the difference between attacking a country’s weapon-making machinery through a laptop computer or through bunker-busters? What happens when other states catch up with American technology — some already have — and turn these weapons on targets inside the United States or American troops abroad, arguing that it was Washington that set the precedent for their use? These are all questions the Obama team discusses chiefly in classified briefings, not public debates.”

Via: "The Huffington Post"

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