President Obama rebranded the “global war on terror” the “war on Al Qaeda,” but his counterterrorism strategy hews closely to President George W. Bush’s, as the U.S. joins conflicts in Yemen and elsewhere that have little connection to the 9/11 attacks, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.
By Paul R. Pillar, Consortium News, June 23, 2012
In a semi-annual report to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution (a formulation presidents use to abide by the resolution without conceding its constitutionality), President Obama last week acknowledged publicly for the first time that U.S. military forces have been engaged in “direct action” in Somalia and Yemen.
The report does not disclose anything that had not already been revealed in unofficial accounts, and the press was inclined to treat the matter as a secrecy issue, noting how grudgingly the administration has been saying anything about the operations involved.
President George W. Bush speaks about the “Global War on Terror” on March 27, 2008, in Dayton, Ohio. (White House photo by Eric Draper)
But the most important and disturbing aspect of this situation is not so much the secrecy but rather the fact that U.S. military forces are in effect engaging in undeclared hostilities with no effective limits — geographic, temporal or legal.