Trump Poised to Drop Some Limits on Drone Strikes and Commando Raids

The president’s national security advisers have advised relaxing certain Obama-era rules outside war zones, laying the groundwork for counterterrorism missions in more countries.

Comments: 28

  1. Can any one explain how our strategy in Afghanistan differs from our strategy in Vietnam? Also, how do the justifications differ?

  2. I wasn't aware that there WERE limits on drone strikes under Obama. His administration claimed that there were 116 civilian casualties. Independent sources reported 474 civilian deaths resulting from drone strikes. Obama also significantly expanded the drone strikes of the Bush era, both in number of strikes and countries involved. Both parties are war hawks, although I'm sure Trump will out-drone his predecessors. When Washington gets a new weapon, it will use it with increasing frequency Meanwhile, each civilian death becomes a recruiting tool for the extremists. Unless one is still laboring under the illusion of Washington having noble, peace-loving intentions, you will,at the very least wonder if Washington is intentionally recruiting extremists.

  3. So have the leaders of these sovereign states agreed to let us bomb their countries, or do we just tell them we are going to?

  4. Expansion of drone bombing to people considered "foot soldiers" is loathsomely disgusting. No amount of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo on ensuring civilians are not targeted will prevent innocents from being killed. Increased drone strikes will only make the U.S. more hated not only in the countries that are bombed and where innocents are killed but also in the minds of fair and reasonable people in the countries of the G20 that notionally support the never ending US was of "terror". The Trump administration has no moral ground. Killing and more killing is never going to make the US a safer place.

  5. By what "right" of supreme arrogance do we claim divine powers to stand on Mount Olympus and hurl our devastating thunderbolts hither, thither and yon worldwide against anyone in any nation we do not like, absent a true war footing or a real present and immediate threat? Only the power mad would claim the authority to rule the world in such a manner. Remember the old adage: He whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.

  6. This kind of unchecked power would be a bad idea under the best of Presidents, but given the instability of the current President and administration; this adds a whole new dimension, making this a a truly horrific idea.

  7. This whole issue of just killing terrorist cells with drone strikes or conventional forces alone always makes me think of an old ad campaign for Doritos that starred Jay Leno. It was about eating a bag of Doritos in the middle of the night or a possible run on the Doritos available in the stores. Whatever the problem was, the punchline was always the same - "Don't worry, we'll make more". So kill them all you want Trump, don't worry, they'll make more. And some may even be homegrown, homemade right here in the USA.

  8. Not to be picky but it was Lay's potato chips not Doritos.

  9. It's counter-intuitive to those who have faith in military might and displays of power, but this move will gift us with more of what we are so afraid of, more "terrorists". Like the mythological creature Hydra, cut off one head and multitudes grow back in its place. We will not be any safer, and the world will be all the more unjust, inhumane and cruel.

  10. What happened to not tell everyone about military, changes, movements and strategies when it comes to military planning efforts. Is this another get the rating up communications

  11. Once again, our actions demonstrate that rhetoric from our nation about the rule of law are a cruel joke; The reality is: Do as we say, not as we do.

  12. "Poised to drop some limits"? Trump would like to remove any and all barriers which keep him from pursuing his latest whim or knee-jerk reaction. The wall would be seven miles high by now if there were no barriers to constructing it. The only thing keeping us and the rest of the world safe are any barriers that still remain. They were put there for a reason. Can you imagine giving this guy MORE freedom to wreak havoc?

  13. It was this type of thing that changed how the Vietnamese populace viewed Americans. Early on they all thought the U.S. was there to help liberate their country from decades of oppressive rulers. But when we widened the hunt for the VC we started burning their villages and civilian deaths mounted. Deja vu all over again.

  14. This is sheer insanity.

  15. Is no one in charge watching PBS on Vietnam to understand where mission creep and opening up targets leads? Did they forget Kunduz as well? We are one of the stupidest nations on earth. A toast to the first school full of children or hospital that gets leveled. We did that already in

  16. Why do the Republicans always desire a bigger war machine and our nation at war?

  17. If only it were just Republicans, it would be easier to stop. But war is bipartisan, as shown by the 89-9 Senate vote to give the Pentagon an $84 billion raise.

  18. No way on the face of the earth should this be allowed. We need to keep stringent checks and balances when dealing with peoples lives. Indiscriminate bombings on whims. What a horrible idea.

  19. How ironic that Ken Burns Vietnam War is being released at this precise moment. Boy, this is going to turn well

  20. This is a Formula to for more recruits to fight against US and for us to get in deeper in the Middle East.

  21. So this is the usual shiny object from the Trump & crew? The Russian investigation from Mueller is full steam ahead, from what I have read. Putin must be delighted with Donny Sr at this point. The Middle Eastern oil cash behind this administration is getting their pay for play out of Trump, so far. Healthcare is under fire again from the usual Mitch McConnell sector while Donny is trying to escalate another issue for the USA. Is it obvious by now? If you hate America, you love the GOP. They are doing exactly what they are paid to do:destroy America and remove all the allies we ever had. Do we now see the difference between Hillary Clinton and Trump?

  22. What's next, immigrants crossing our border being claimed as enemy combatants or terrorists? Or how about inner-city gang members, drug dealers/users, political opposition, BLM's. They're all subject to future drone strikes. If you think that's outrageous, just look at the Trump/Sessions leadership on this. Bush/Cheney/Rummy started the US using illegal extra-judicial killings, Obama continued & upped the ante, and now all bets off on how Trump & "His Generals" will use drone murders. We're a vicious people, headed in the wrong direction.

  23. Unfortunately, there are too many military personnel working in the Trump government which is very disturbing when especially headed by a president who was a known draft dodger. This is the first step towards a military dictatorship under an egomaniac who has lied and cheated his way through life.

  24. My sister, Laura Rockefeller, died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, murdered by people who believed in killing civilians. If we have learned anything about drone strikes in the last 16 years it is that they produce unaccepted levels of "collateral damage" -- the deaths of innocent civilians, just like Laura. That the Trump administration would contemplate expanding drone strikes outside conventional battlefields is an outrage. Indeed the U.S. needs to to increase limits on the use of lethal force, to insure that the lives of innocent civilians EVERYWHERE are protected.

  25. Right. "Kill them all. God will know his own." That kind of thinking was supposed to end around 1658 with the death of Oliver Cromwell, another guy with a funny haircut.

  26. Unleash the Generals and their toys! What if we just bring the troops home, and pull the plug on those computers.

  27. I read the Times e-mail alert of this story last night and thought I must have gone insane. I was unable to make myself click on the link to the full story -- I read it this morning -- because the horror of knowing I had heard nearly those same words was repeating over and over in my mind. Words I had heard the previous night in Wednesday's episode of the Burns/Novick film about the Vietnam War. Johnson's advisors and the generals asking him in 1965 for more men, for the OK to bomb North Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. Johnson, fearful of civilian deaths. The war, although there never was a Congressional declaration of war, went on for almost 10 more years, and, yes, those requests for men and wider bombing targets were granted. And in the end the U.S. did not win the war, couldn't win the war, as even McNamara, the architect of the war's planning, knew in 1965. The White House and Congress should drop daily agendas and, before Sunday night when the film's episodes continue, watch as one body the first five episodes and then on Sunday watch the final five episodes. And think hard about what they have seen. May all those affected by the stupidness of that war -- Americans, Vietnamese people of the North and the South, Cambodians, and Laotians -- find peace.

  28. Good. It's about time we stopped fighting the most vicious, heartless people on earth with one hand behind our back. These Islamic terrorists do not observe any accepted rules of engagement, and they specifically target and kill innocent civilians. We should do our level best to protect civilians, of course, but Obama's signature timidity in foreign policy surely cost many more lives than it saved.