Friday, May 24, 2013

Reason #290: Reframing

Like, apparently, every liberal ever, I'm conflicted about this whole drone business lately. Not the drone program itself; I've made my position clear on that already. But as for the speech itself--it really is starting to feel like the old conservative complaint is valid; that Obama thinks he can make any and every problem go away if he just gives a rousing enough speech.

Of course, when the content of the speech is as meaty that this one, that's not a crazy assumption to make. For the first time since 9/11, the American president is coming out and saying that we're never going to defeat "terror" as a tactic or as an ideology, and we need to start backing off from that cliff we've been tiptoeing for twelve years now.

And even beyond just making that point--which would have been unthinkable to George W. Bush, and still appears unthinkable to a number of prominent Republicans today--he's actually taking real steps to bring this reframing of counterterrorism into being, including relaunching his efforts to close Guantanamo Bay, refining the parameters of the Military Force Authorization that enabled the War on Terror in the first place, and most significantly, refining the parameters of the drone program, the operation of which will now be shifting from the CIA to the Pentagon--which in and of itself is huge, especially given that drones have been such a favored pastiem of Obama himself over the past four years.

Indeed, the frequency of US drone strikes has already been declining for a while now, so really all Obama did was officially acknowledge the reality that already exists. But that's what made the entire speech so important--finally, we have a president whose rhetoric has caught up to what Americans--progressives, at least--have been saying all along.

Further Reading

Obama reframes counterterrorism policy with new rules on drones

Bureau of Investigative Journalism - Minimum Reported Drone Casualities Per Year

YouTube - Obama's Entire Counterterrorism Address

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