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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Today is the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Tim Arango of the New York Times has the sad news that bomb blasts in Baghdad marked the occasion. Elsewhere in that same newspaper, Arango recounts Iraqi views about the war.  Echoing Arango, Ernesto Londono of the Post reports that present-day Iraq is “teetering between progress and chaos.” And Rajiv Chandrasekaran has the Post’s customary “five myths” about Iraq, while George Packer of the New Yorker discusses the country—then and now.

Justin Sink of the Hill summarizes the results of a recent YouGov/Huffington Post poll on the war. Here is Gallup with a similar poll. Clue: A majority of Americans, a decade later, think it was all a big mistake.

Former Congresswoman Jane Harman has an op-ed in the New York Times arguing for greater transparency in our targeted killing policy and for an enduring counterterrorism strategy:

America has seen the “creeping executive power” movie before. Using lethal tools without public debate or clear legal authority is a mistake and a slippery slope.

In essence, the means of combating terrorist threats may have changed, but the end for preserving international security remains the same. We need strategies, not just tactics — and a necessary part of that equation is creating a durable legal structure for remote-control warfare that will secure buy-in from a global audience.

Tania Lombrozo of NPR discusses some of the moral questions behind targeted killing.

As Ben posted yesterday, former Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson gave a speech at Fordham Law School on the viability of a “drone court.” Here are Charlie Savage of the New York Times and Julian E. Barnes of the Wall Street Journal on Johnson’s speech.

CNN’s Security Clearance blog reports that over the weekend, Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s office issued a statement agreeing to U.S. requests for another week to hand over control of Bagram prison to Afghan authorities. According to the Times’ Rod Nordland, domestic pressure is intensifying in the country to oust American Special Forces.

Lots of news about the Frenemies: Across the border, the Associated Press informs us that the Pakistani Taliban have rescinded their offer for peace talks with the Pakistani government.

Pakistani authorities have arrested a gentleman by the name of Qari Abdul Hayee in connection with the death of WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. CNN has the story.

Pakistani authorities killed ten militants in airstrikes in the Orakzai tribal area yesterday, reports Dawn.

And in Registan, Joshua Foust harshly criticizes U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson’s statement that drone strikes violate Pakistani sovereignty.

The AP reports that the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay has now grown to involve at least 21 prisoners.

Calling all our high school readers: You can major in drones. Just don’t tell your parents. Victor Luckerson has the story in Time.

Accusations are flying around about whether chemical weapons were used in Syria, says BBC.com. At least 25 people have been killed.

Spencer Ackerman of Wired’s Danger Room blog discusses the National Counterterrorism Center’s warning, back in November 2012, that “urban explorers” (like the high school punk who climbs suspension bridges, or rappels down a construction side as part of a dare) could be potential terrorists:

Urban exploration is not typically the reconnaissance mission of al-Qaida. While it’s not crazy to think that terrorists might be interested in studying an urban landscape, the vanishingly few cases of domestic terrorism in the post-9/11 era typically involved shooting up places like Fort Hood or leaving a would-be car bomb in Times Square, rather than recon from the top of a bridge or the depths of a subway tunnel. Such tips aren’t even a part of the DIY terrorism advice column in al-Qaida’s English-language webzine.

And, from Ben, comes this hilarious video about the conspiracy theories behind the destruction of the Death Star—a national security threat if there ever was one: it’s today’s Moment of Zen:

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter and check out the Lawfare News Feed, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief, Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll, and Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief and Cyber Brief. Email Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh noteworthy articles to include, visit the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board.

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