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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, April 8, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Let’s begin with the New York Times’s editorial board, which argues in this piece that shifting the U.S. drone program from the CIA to the Pentagon will only “be a marginal improvement,” and that “the proposed change would mean scant improvement in the rules that govern drone strikes.”  Ben, the Times‘s Unpaid, Unofficial Ombudsman for Factual Matters in National Security-Oriented Editorials, says he’s too tired to flyspeck another one in three days for major errors.

The editorial references Mark Mazetti’s piece from the weekend that revealed a secret deal between the United States and Pakistan on drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas; Alan posted about the story here.

Scott Shane of the Times describes how drones have come to define the War on Terror. Our very own Matt Waxman is interviewed in the piece.

Matt also shows up in this National Public Radio story about Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, who was due to appear in court this afternoon to face charges of material support and conspiracy.

Robert Kennedy writes on Al Jazeera’s web site about the development and proliferation of autonomous “killer robots,” and the positive and negative responses from people in different sectors. Matt is quoted in that piece too.

In non-Matt news, Rosa Brooks, similarly, writes in Foreign Policy about the changing nature of warfare.

Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland of the New America Foundation discuss on CNN.com something we often overlook on the site: the threat of non-jihadist domestic terrorism in America. They say:

[O]f all the people indicted on terrorism charges in the United States since 9/11, no jihadist suspect has ever acquired or attempted to acquire chemical, biological or radiological weapons, while at least 11 right-and left-wing terrorists either obtained such materials or made serious attempts to do so.

The Washington Post editorial board argues that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s efforts to restructure the Pentagon will not succeed unless he has more support from the Pentagon bureaucracy and Congress.

Meanwhile, outside the borders of these United States, the Associated Press reports that U.K. officials have announced that terrorists are in the final stages of planning attacks in Somalia. So cancel that round trip ticket to Somaliland, where there is allegedly a specific threat to Westerners.

For those of us that have been jonesing for words of wisdom from Al Qaeda head honcho Ayman Al-Zawahri, the AP reports that he posted a new audio message on militant websites over the weekend. It’s the usual calls for jihad, and for death, destruction, and a plague on the West.

CNN.com reports, as do the Hill, the Times, and the Post—and just about everyone else—that, along with five other Americans, a young American diplomat was killed in Afghanistan over the weekend while delivering books to a school. The attacks came the day Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey arrived in the country to discuss the transition. It was the deadliest attack on Americans in the last eight months.

The Afghan Army is, slowly but surely, taking over from American forces. The Post describes its efforts in the Tangi Valley, the most dangerous Taliban holdout in the country. The Times has this piece on the challenges ahead.

A NATO airstrike killed ten children along with six or seven Taliban militants, says the Los Angeles Times. The New York Times also has the story. According to Bloomberg, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Doug Saunders of the Canadian Globe and Mail keeps us updated on the story of the two Canadians who were killed in the standoff at a gas plant in Algeria in January.

Jeremy Herb of the Hill reports that U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay released a statement reiterating that Guantanamo Bay is “in clear breach of international law” and should be shut down.

And guess who’s gotten lost on his latest overseas trip? From the Onion, it’s today’s Moment of Zen.

 

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