War Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key War Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Gone are the days of the all-American army hero. These days, the US military is more like a sanctuary for racists, gang members and the chronically unfit. In the relatively halcyon days of the first Gulf war in 1990, the US military blocked the enlistment of felons. It spurned men and women with low IQs or those without a high school diploma. It would either block the enlistment of or kick out neo-Nazis and gang members. It would treat or discharge alcoholics, drug abusers and the mentally ill. No more. Many of the wars' worst atrocities are linked directly to the loosening of enlistment regulations on criminals, racist extremists, and gang members, among others. By 2005, the US had 150,000 troops deployed in Iraq and 19,500 in Afghanistan. But the military wasn't prepared in any way for this kind of extended deployment. The slim forces needed fattening up and what followed constituted a complete re-evaluation of who was qualified to serve. Information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act ... found the number of convicted criminals enlisting in the US military had nearly doubled in two years, from 824 in 2004 to 1,605 in 2006. A total of 4,230 convicted felons were enlisted, including those guilty of rape and murder. On top of this, 43,977 soldiers signed up who had been found guilty of a serious misdemeanour, which includes assault. Another 58,561 had drug-related convictions, but all were handed a gun and sent off to the Middle East. [And] since its inception, the leaders of the white supremacist movement have encouraged their members to enlist. They see it as a way for their followers to receive combat and weapons training, courtesy of the US government.
Note: Extracted from Irregular Army: How The US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, And Criminals To Fight The War On Terror, by Matt Kennard. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on military corruption, click here.
A Navy SEAL's firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden pulls back the veil on the secret operations conducted almost nightly by elite American forces against terrorist suspects. Former SEAL Matt Bissonnette's account contradicted in key details the account of the raid presented by administration officials in the days after the May 2011 raid in Abbotabad, Pakistan. Bissonnette wrote that the SEALs spotted bin Laden at the top of a darkened hallway and shot him in the head even though they could not tell whether he was armed. Administration officials have described the SEALs shooting bin Laden only after he ducked back into a bedroom because they assumed he might be reaching for a weapon. Bissonnette wrote the book, No Easy Day, under the pseudonym Mark Owen, as one of the men in the room when they killed bin Laden. In [one] scene, a terrified mother clutches her child and a young girl identifies the dead man as Osama bin Laden. The SEAL author says he did "not disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way."
Note: Isn't it interesting that the SEAL team "spotted bin Laden at the top of a darkened hallway and shot him in the head." If it was a darkened hallway, how did they know it was bin Laden? The articles states "a young girl identifies the dead man as Osama bin Laden." Is that really how they ID'd this guy? And why did they then dump his body into the ocean, so that there could never be definitive proof that the body was indeed bin Laden? So many questions remain. For more evidence bin Laden was not killed by SEALs, click here.
Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major sales to Persian Gulf [countries], according to a new study for Congress. Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or nearly 78 percent of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals. The U.S. weapons sales total was an "extraordinary increase" over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of U.S. arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion. Increasing tensions with Iran drove a set of Persian Gulf nations -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman -- to spend record amounts on weapons. These states do not share a border with Iran, and their purchases focused on warplanes and complex missile defense systems. The agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet ... all contributing to a total Saudi weapons deal with the United States of $33.4 billion, according to the study. The United Arab Emirates bought a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced anti-missile shield that is valued at $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 million.
Note: For analyses of this deeply revealing Congressional report on the intense preparations for war on Iran, click here and here. If just 1% of these skyrocketing arms sales were put towards feeding the world, global hunger would vanish in no time.
It was 2007, and [Gwenyth] Todd, then 42, was a top political adviser to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Previous 5th Fleet commanders had resisted various ploys by Bush administration hawks to threaten the Tehran regime. But in spring 2007, a new commander arrived with an ambitious program to show the Iranians who was boss in the Persian Gulf. Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff ... was itching to push the Iranians, Todd and other present and former Navy officials say. Cosgriff’s idea, presented in a series of staff meetings, was to sail three “big decks,” as aircraft carriers are known, through the Strait of Hormuz — to put a virtual armada, unannounced, on Iran’s doorstep. No advance notice, even to Saudi Arabia and other gulf allies. Not only that, they said, Cosgriff ordered his staff to keep the State Department in the dark, too. To Todd, it was like something straight out of “Seven Days in May,” the 1964 political thriller about a right-wing U.S. military coup. Todd feared that the Iranians would respond, possibly by launching fast-attack missile boats into the gulf or unleashing Hezbollah on Israel. Then anything could happen: a collision, a jittery exchange of gunfire — bad enough on its own, but also an incident that Washington hawks could seize on to justify an all-out response on Iran. Preposterous? It had happened before, off North Vietnam in 1964. In the Tonkin Gulf incident, a Navy captain claimed a communist attack on his ship. President Lyndon Johnson swiftly ordered the bombing of North Vietnam, touching off a wider war that turned the country upside down and left more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen dead.
Note: Todd eventually was stripped of her career under most unusual circumstances. This entire article is most intriguing and informative about the inner workings of the military. For more on this, click here.
The U.S. military is packing to leave Afghanistan - pulling up airfields, tearing down bases, disassembling Humvees for transport. Over the next few weeks, 23,000 troops will fly home, leaving 68,000 troops who will stay until 2014. The looming question, though, is: After 11 years, more than 2,000 U.S. military fatalities and at least $1 trillion in expenses, what are the United States and NATO leaving behind? The answer is bleak: Afghan security forces totally incapable of operating on their own, as the U.S. military quietly acknowledges. And a government so corrupt and ineffectual that, as the Army said in that report to Congress, it "bolsters insurgent messaging." In others words, great PR for the Taliban. Since 2002, the United States has spent $43 billion to train the Afghan military and police. It plans to spend $11.2 billion more this year, and the military has requested another $5.8 billion for 2013. Now the training mission acknowledges that none of the Afghan forces are ready to fight on their own. The highest rating for trained Afghan forces today is "independent - with advisers." Only 7 percent of Afghan army units are capable even of that. That's just one in a nest of problems. Another big one is illiteracy. The special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, in a recent report, said the literacy rate of Afghan security forces "as a whole is 11 percent." In almost every measurable way, the training mission is losing ground. Aren't we in the same position as the Soviet Union 30 years ago - pursuing a Sisyphean task, inescapably destined to fail?
Note: The author of this article, Joel Brinkley, is a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of the US war of aggression in Afghanistan, click here.
I [Tangerine Bolen] am one of the lead plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the president the power to hold any US citizen anywhere for as long as he wants, without charge or trial. In a May hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against it; this week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government lawyers asserted even more extreme powers – the right to disregard entirely the judge and the law. On Monday 6 August, Obama's lawyers filed an appeal to the injunction – a profoundly important development that, as of this writing, has been scarcely reported. In the earlier March hearing, US government lawyers had confirmed that, yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA. In this hearing ... Obama's attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA's section 1021 – the provision that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial – has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world after Judge Forrest's injunction. In other words, they were telling a US federal judge that they could not, or would not, state whether Obama's government had complied with the legal injunction that she had laid down before them. I, like many in this fight, am now afraid of my government. We have good reason to be.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.
The international security contractor formerly known as Blackwater [and now called Academi LLC] has agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle federal criminal charges related to arms smuggling and other crimes. The list of 17 violations includes possessing automatic weapons in the United States without registration, lying to federal firearms regulators about weapons provided to the king of Jordan, passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to Sweden and Denmark without US government approval, and illegally shipping body armor overseas. Federal prosecutors said the company, which has held billions in US security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeatedly flouted US laws. ‘‘Compliance with these laws is critical to the proper conduct of our defense efforts and to international diplomatic relations,’’ said Thomas G. Walker, the US attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. ‘‘This prosecution is an important step to ensuring that our corporate citizens comply with these rules in every circumstance.’’ Blackwater was founded in 1997 by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince. The company rose to national attention after winning massive no-bid security contracts from the US government at the Iraq War’s start. In 2010, after several high-profile controversies, the company reached a $42 million settlement with the Department of State over repeated violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
In late June, activists gathered in New York's Times Square to make the ... point that, unbelievably, "there are more rules governing your ability to trade a banana from one country to the next than governing your ability to trade an AK-47 or a military helicopter". So said Amnesty International USA's Suzanne Nossel ... just before the start of the UN conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which ran from 2 July to 27 July. Thanks to a last-minute declaration by the United States that it "needed more time" to review the short, 11-page treaty text, the conference ended last week in failure. There isn't much that could be considered controversial in the treaty. Signatory governments agree not to export weapons to countries that are under an arms embargo, or to export weapons that would facilitate "the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes" or other violations of international humanitarian law. Exports of arms are banned if they will facilitate "gender-based violence or violence against children" or be used for "transnational organised crime". Why does the US need more time than the more than 90 other countries that had sufficient time to read and approve the text? The answer lies in the power of the gun lobby [and] the arms industry. The US is the world's largest weapons producer, exporter and importer. Protesters outside the UN during the ATT conference erected a mock graveyard, with each headstone reading: "2,000 people killed by arms every day." That's more than one person killed every minute.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
After years of following the paper trail of $51 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars provided to rebuild a broken Iraq, the U.S. government can say with certainty that too much was wasted. But it can't say how much. In what it called its final audit report, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Funds ... spelled out a range of accounting weaknesses that put "billions of American taxpayer dollars at risk of waste and misappropriation" in the largest reconstruction project of its kind in U.S. history. "The precise amount lost to fraud and waste can never be known," the report said. The office has spent more than $200 million tracking the reconstruction funds, and in addition to producing numerous reports, his office has investigated criminal fraud that has resulted in 87 indictments, 71 convictions and $176 million in fines and other penalties. These include civilians and military members accused of kickbacks, bribery, bid-rigging, fraud, embezzlement and outright theft of government property and funds. Of the $51 billion that Congress approved for Iraq reconstruction, about $20 billion was for rebuilding Iraqi security forces and about $20 billion was for rebuilding the country's basic infrastructure.
Note: For lots more from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
One of the world's deadliest businesses - the $55 billion-per-year arms trade - prefers to operate in the shadows. Bananas, cold pills and truck tires come with more market rules and international norms. This shameful gap could be filled by a United Nations agreement nearing completion in New York. The Arms Trade Treaty would require signatory countries to abide by clear rules on the import, export and transfer of weapons, ranging from small arms to air-defense systems. The aim is to bring a lethal, back-alley game into the open and curb sales to brushfire wars and terrorist groups. Think of Syria, Sudan and Somalia as prime examples where outside guns, tanks or helicopters are killing thousands. Governments, militias and guerrilla movements with the cash can buy virtually anything through brokers with the right connections. The United States, as the top seller of arms, has a special duty to improve this patchwork system. The Obama administration has pushed for approval of the treaty, a healthy break from the Bush White House, which favored a country-by-country approach that achieved little. But don't think this treaty is a slam-dunk. Gun-rights groups such as the National Rifle Association bristle at any mention of weapons controls and see the treaty as a threat to domestic gun ownership. It's nothing of the sort, and State Department negotiators have made Second Amendment guarantees an absolute "red line" in talks.
Note: For lots more from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
The International Criminal Court condemned a Congolese warlord to 14 years in prison on [July 10], the first time the 10-year-old tribunal has sentenced a convicted war criminal and a potential landmark in the struggle to protect children caught up in violent conflicts. Judges found Thomas Lubanga guilty in March of recruiting and using children in his Union of Congolese Patriots militia — sending them to kill and be killed during fighting in Congo’s eastern Ituri region in 2002-2003. Human rights activists hailed the decision. “This sentence sends out a stark warning across the world to those engaged in the use of child soldiers that their criminal actions will land them in prison,” said Armel Luhiriri of the Coalition for the ICC, a non-government group that supports the court and its efforts to end impunity for the world’s worst crimes. Prosecutors are considering whether to appeal the sentence as too low. Franck Mulenda, a legal representative for 140 victims in the case, welcomed the sentence. “It is very important. It consoles the victims,” he said outside court. The court should now order reparations for former child soldiers, “so they can get back their education and their place in society,” Mulenda said. Rights activists say Lubanga’s militia and other warring parties in Ituri engaged in widespread rape.
Note: For reports from reliable major media sources on war crimes, click here.
Malaysia is brave to organise a war crimes tribunal and to recognise former United States president George W. Bush and his associates as war criminals. In a public forum entitled "9/11 and the Ecological Crisis", renowned theologian, scholar and author Professor David Ray Griffin praised Malaysia for having the courage to bring these prominent figures to justice and to expose their crimes to the international community. "Someone has to get started somewhere, and this is a good start, Malaysia is ideally placed in this aspect and hopefully the international community will take notice," he said. In his lecture, Griffin also explained his theory on the Sept 11 attacks, claiming that it was a "staged event" and could not have been the work of Muslim terrorists. He explained that the rigid steel columns of the (World Trade Center) twin towers made it impossible for them to crumble unless they had been rigged with explosives. Griffin added that the fires could not have come within 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit of the temperature needed to melt steel. He also alleged that the hijackers had minimal competence to fly single-engine aircraft, let alone be able to handle commercial jets. Griffin noted that more than any others, Muslims have paid the greatest price as a result of 9/11 that later launched the war on terrorism. "We have started something called Consensus 9/11 where we have gathered several experts to provide the world with a clear statement, based on expert independent opinion, of some of the best evidence opposing the official narrative about 9/11."
Note: The New Straits Times is Malaysia's oldest newspaper, founded in 1845. This article is a rare example of objective mainstream press coverage of alternative interpretations of the 9/11 events. WantToKnow team member Prof. David Ray Griffin's most recent book on 9/11 is 9/11 Ten Years Later.
Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after [9/11] and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions. While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past. With leadership from the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This was a bold and clear commitment that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people, and it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture, arbitrary detention or forced exile. It is disturbing that, instead of strengthening these principles, our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or “associated forces,” a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress. This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on war crimes committed by US forces in the "global war on terror," click here.
A U.N. investigator has called on the Obama administration to justify its policy of assassinating rather than capturing al Qaeda or Taliban suspects, increasingly with the use of unmanned drone aircraft that also take civilian lives. Christof Heyns, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, urged Washington to clarify the basis under international law of the policy, in a report issued overnight to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The U.S. military has conducted drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, in addition to conventional raids and air strikes, according to Heyns, a South African jurist serving in the independent post. Citing figures from the Pakistan Human Rights Commission, he said U.S. drone strikes killed at least 957 people in Pakistan in 2010 alone. Thousands have been killed in 300 drone strikes there since 2004, 20 percent of whom are believed to be civilians." Although figures vary widely with regard to drone attack estimates, all studies concur on one important point: there has been a dramatic increase in their use over the past three years," Heyns said. Human rights law requires that every effort be made to arrest a suspect, in line with the "principles of necessity and proportionality on the use of force", the investigator said.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the warcrimes committed by the US military, click here.
Even before NATO forces begin leaving Afghanistan, [other countries are] trying to win access to the nation's vast natural resources after Western troops leave. Chief among them are China, Iran and India. For example, in Beijing late last week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a deal allowing China to pursue mineral resources, energy development and agricultural opportunities. Over the past decade, China has given the Afghan government $246 million in aid -- while spending $3.5 billion to develop a cooper mine there. India ... has won rights to mine iron ore. And Iran ... is promising copious aid and assistance after NATO leaves. Underlying all of this is the discovery that Afghanistan holds at least $1 trillion in untapped natural resources, including oil, cobalt, iron ore, gold and precious metals, among them lithium, used to power batteries. An internal Pentagon memo, now widely quoted, calls Afghanistan "the Saudi Arabia of lithium."
New evidence shows that the September 11th activities of former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were falsely reported by official sources. The 20-member 9/11 Consensus Panel analyzed evidence from press reports, FOIA requests, and archived 9/11 Commission file documents to produce eight new studies, released today. The international panel also [determined] that four massive aerial practice exercises traditionally held in October were in full operation on 9/11. The largest, Global Guardian, held annually by NORAD and the U.S. Strategic and Space Commands, had originally been scheduled for October 22-31 but was moved, along with Vigilant Guardian, to early September. Although senior officials claimed no one could have predicted [the use of] hijacked planes as weapons, the military had been practicing similar exercises on 9/11 itself -- and for years before it. Official sources claimed neither Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs of Staff Acting Chairman General Richard Myers (filling in for General Hugh Shelton), nor war-room chief General Montague Winfield were available to take command until well after the Pentagon was struck about 9:37. Yet emerging documents and memoirs show that top leaders were engaged earlier -- and later discussed a shootdown of [United Airlines] Flight 93 before debris was scattered widely around its alleged Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site. Most intriguing is the mystery of who was running the Pentagon's war-room during the critical early hours.
Note: To examine the evidence presented by the 9/11 Consensus Panel which refutes the questionable accounts of the whereabouts and activities of key political and military leaders provided by The 9/11 Commission Report, as well as the best evidence concerning other claims of the official story of 9/11, click here.
The Kuala Lumpur Tribunal's indictment of President George W. Bush and his deputies for war crimes sets a new precedent. The [tribunal] ruled in the second week of May that George W. Bush, former President of the United States, and six members of his administration were guilty of war crimes. The tribunal, after recording eyewitness accounts of torture victims in a trial that lasted five days, pronounced that Bush, his Vice-President, Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and five senior officials who had sought to provide legal cover for the [invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq] were guilty of “war crimes”. The American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan has resulted in the death of more than a million people.. Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, observed that [only] leaders from countries that opposed the interests of the West were held accountable to international criminal law. He pointed out that the ICC's Special Court on Sierra Leone had been financed by the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the Netherlands. Companies from these countries have big interests in the diamond trade. With Taylor now out of the scene, Western companies are back in the lucrative diamond trade. Falk ... observed that the U.S., more than any other country in the world, “holds itself self-righteously aloof from accountability on the main ground that any judicial process might be tainted by political motivations”. The U.S. has signed with over 100 countries agreements that prohibit the handing over of any U.S. citizen to the ICC.
Note: For an insightful analysis of the cooptation of the ICC by imperial powers, click here.
Could we be overlooking profound questions and truths about the again-rising likelihood of the decimation or the end of life on Earth in an H-bomb holocaust? The actual and prospective nuclear policy and practice of the United States, Israel and Britain has moved from the nuclear disarmament promised in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty into attacking nations that ... insist on getting the same weapons we have. More nations keep getting the H-bomb and the systems to deliver it wherever they want to. There is still no international control of these weapons that can end life on Earth. Jonathan Schell reports in The Seventh Decade that 50 more nations know how to make H-bombs. It’s a secret no more. Why are possibly apocalyptic facts about them blocked from us by nine systems of military secrecy? For just one example, does Israel, as indicated in Ron Rosenbaum’s recent well-sourced book How the End Begins, have five German-made nuclear-armed submarines in the Mediterranean poised to fire H-bombs in retaliation even if Israel’s leadership has been “decapitated”? The U.S. should be leading the world toward “near zero” or the abolition of these weapons. We should be challenging our officials and military for risking our deaths, the lives of our fellow human beings and our national honor by keeping, maintaining and implicitly threatening to use our own weapons of mass murder.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the nuclear power and weapons industries, click here.
The Pentagon is turning to the private sector, universities and even computer-game companies as part of an ambitious effort to develop technologies to improve its cyberwarfare capabilities, launch effective attacks and withstand the likely retaliation. The previously unreported effort, which its authors have dubbed Plan X, marks a new phase in the nation’s fledgling military operations in cyberspace. Plan X is a project of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a Pentagon division that focuses on experimental efforts and has a key role in harnessing computing power to help the military wage war more effectively. “If they can do it, it’s a really big deal,” said Herbert S. Lin, a cybersecurity expert with the National Research Council of the National Academies. “If they achieve it, they’re talking about being able to dominate the digital battlefield just like they do the traditional battlefield.” The five-year, $110 million research program will begin seeking proposals this summer. Among the goals will be the creation of an advanced map that details the entirety of cyberspace — a global domain that includes tens of billions of computers and other devices — and updates itself continuously. Such a map would help commanders identify targets and disable them using computer code delivered through the Internet or other means. Another goal is the creation of a robust operating system capable of launching attacks and surviving counterattacks.
Note: Isn't it ironic that the government continually seeks to restrict internet freedoms on the pretext of possible cyberattacks from abroad, while at the same time it carries out an aggressive cyberwar agenda of its own? For lots more reliable information on war manipulations, click here.
Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret "nominations" process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. Mr. Obama ... insisted on approving every new name on an expanding "kill list," poring over terrorist suspects' biographies. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises -- but his family is with him -- it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation. In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama's evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war. They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing. When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign ... even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was "an easy one." Beside the president at every step is his counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, who is variously compared by colleagues to a dogged police detective, tracking terrorists from his cavelike office in the White House basement, or a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama, echoing the president's attempt to apply the "just war" theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.
Note: For further analysis of Obama’s role in the selection of drone missile targets, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.