Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Monday, December 5, 2011, 5:50 PM

Lots of NDAA developments to kick start your week. The Hill reports that House-Senate conference committee talks have begun on the NDAA, and the Associated Press says that the White House has renewed its threat to veto the bill over the controversial detainee provisions. The Atlantic's Andrew Cohen argues that the legislation was "a typical legislative dodge that pushes tough choices about the Constitution back to the federal courts to decide," and this piece by the AP from last week informs us that top national security lawyers have confirmed that "U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida." Meanwhile, Lawfare's own John Bellinger and Matthew C. Waxman have a piece at the Council on Foreign Relations arguing that the "detainee practice...could have a detrimental impact on U.S. counterterrorism operations."

According to the New York Times and Reuters, President Obama called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday offering his “condolences” for the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops killed in a NATO airstrike. Pakistan is boycotting an ongoing conference in Bonn, Germany, over the future of Afghanistan because of the affair, says the AP. The Times and the Miami Herald provide accounts of the conference.

The Washington Times reports that the Pakistani Taliban "has splintered into more than 100 snmaller factions, weakened and running short of cash."

In other news, Iran claims it shot down a U.S. drone yesterday, reports the Wall Street Journal. Here is additional coverage from the Washington Post and the BBC.

Afghanistan and the United States continue negotiations on a long-term strategic agreement between the two countries, announces the Times. President Karzai has repeatedly called for an end to the night raids that have led to the death or capture of thousands of midlevel Taliban insurgents as a condition of any strategic agreement.

Meanwhile, the prosecution and defense for Jose Pimmentel, the man allegedly on the verge of completing several bombs to detonate in New York City--and whose arrest triggered a debate about the role of the FBI in domestic terrorism--have decided to delay the grand jury's consideration of his case for about a month, says the AP.

Gotta hand it to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb; they sure know how to win over impoverished, unassuming locals. The AP describes just how:

Besides candy, the men hand out cash. If a child is born, they bring baby clothes. If someone is ill, they prescribe medicine. When a boy was hospitalized, they dropped off plates of food and picked up the tab.

And no one can provide a Moment of Zen--especially when it is a full-throated attack on Ben and Bobby--quite like He Who Must Not Be Named.

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