Targeted Killing

The “End of War” – A Recent Timeline

By Jack Goldsmith
Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 7:07 AM

January 28, 2013: The United States signs a status of forces agreement with Niger “that clears the way for a stepped-up American military presence on the edges of the conflict in neighboring Mali,” and that portends a drone base in North Africa to surveil, and (maybe later) attack, Islamist militants in the region.

January 27, 2013: The WP reports that the Pentagon “has approved a major expansion of its cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold to bolster the nation’s ability to defend critical computer systems and conduct offensive computer operations against foreign adversaries.”

January 23, 2013: “At least six suspected al Qaeda members were killed in a U.S. drone strike” in Yemen.

January 21, 2013: President Obama proclaims that a “decade of war is now ending.”

January 21, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen “killed three suspected al-Qaida militants and wounded two others.”

January 19, 2013: Two U.S. drone strikes in Yemen “killed eight people, including two known al-Qaida militants.”

January 19, 2013: The WP reports that the Obama administration “is nearing completion of a detailed counterterrorism manual that is designed to establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations.”

January 2-10, 2013: six drone strikes in Waziristan killed dozens.  (Another report indicates that there were seven strikes, not six.)

December 31, 2012: The Pentagon establishes Special Operations Command-North to “teach Mexican security forces how to hunt drug cartels the same way special operations teams hunt al-Qaida” in what one report calls “a sign the U.S. is preparing for a long shadow war against the cartels.”

In 2012, the United States killed more people by drone attack (194-317 "militants") than it held in detention in Guantanamo Bay (166 detainees), and JSOC operated (most of the time for training) in over 79 countries.