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The Obama Doctrine

Quantum Windbag

Gold Member
May 9, 2010
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The whole thing is long, and well worth the read.

Opinio Juris » Blog Archive » John Brennan Speech on Obama Administration Antiterrorism Policies and Practices

I actually though this part was especially interesting.

Nature and geographic scope of the conflict
First, our definition of the conflict. As the President has said many times, we are at war with al-Qa’ida. In an indisputable act of aggression, al-Qa’ida attacked our nation and killed nearly 3,000 innocent people. And as we were reminded just last weekend, al-Qa’ida seeks to attack us again.


An area in which there is some disagreement is the geographic scope of the conflict. The United States does not view our authority to use military force against al-Qa’ida as being restricted solely to “hot” battlefields like Afghanistan. Because we are engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qa’ida, the United States takes the legal position that —in accordance with international law—we have the authority to take action against al-Qa’ida and its associated forces without doing a separate self-defense analysis each time. And as President Obama has stated on numerous occasions, we reserve the right to take unilateral action if or when other governments are unwilling or unable to take the necessary actions themselves.
That does not mean we can use military force whenever we want, wherever we want. International legal principles, including respect for a state’s sovereignty and the laws of war, impose important constraints on our ability to act unilaterally—and on the way in which we can use force—in foreign territories.

I actually see some differences between this and the Bush Doctrine, but not the ones I would have expected.

Then I read this.

In one of his first acts, the President issued a new Executive Order on classified information that, among other things, reestablished the principle that all classified information will ultimately be declassified. The President also issued a Freedom of Information Act Directive mandating that agencies adopt a presumption of disclosure when processing requests for information. The President signed into law the first intelligence authorization act in over five years to ensure better oversight of intelligence activities. Among other things, the legislation revised the process for reporting sensitive intelligence activities to Congress and created an Inspector General for the Intelligence Community.

That actually made me question the entire speech. Obama might have issued that EO, but the fact is that Obama has invoked national security as often as Bush did, and in areas where it clearly does not apply.

Obama Administration Declares Proposed IP Treaty a ‘National Security’ Secret | Threat Level | Wired.com

Obama promises openness, delivers a mixed bag - USATODAY.com

An Analysis Of Obama Administration's Progress On Open Government Recommendations

I agree with most of this in principle, but I take strong exception to parts. It was not mentioned in this speech, but Obama has actually taken it upon himself to issue kill orders on American citizens without due process. Even if that is legal, which I doubt, it is wrong. It also violates the very foundation of our government and our freedoms, and the very point that Brennan is trying to make. We are a principled nation, and there are some things we should not do.

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