Supplementing the kill list

Supplementing the kill list

by digby

I've been contemplating the NY Times kill list story again over the last couple of days. (Or maybe haunted by it is more apt.) Among many other fleeting impressions and thoughts when I first read it, I had meant to mention this:

[S]ome officials felt the urgency of counterterrorism strikes was crowding out consideration of a broader strategy against radicalization. Though Mrs. Clinton strongly supported the strikes, she complained to colleagues about the drones-only approach at Situation Room meetings, in which discussion would focus exclusively on the pros, cons and timing of particular strikes.

At their weekly lunch, Mrs. Clinton told the president she thought there should be more attention paid to the root causes of radicalization, and Mr. Obama agreed. But it was September 2011 before he issued an executive order setting up a sophisticated, interagency war room at the State Department to counter the jihadi narrative on an hour-by-hour basis, posting messages and video online and providing talking points to embassies.

How is it possible that this wasn't done earlier? I guess I knew the Bush administration's disdain for anything short of a full military response would have led them to ignore something this "soft" but I did expect that the tech-savvy, "global messenger" Obama administration to have been doing this from the beginning.

It's a small thing, of course. But the fact is that the National Security apparatus moved very quickly to secure the president's full cooperation with their War on Terror strategy and the administration apparently jumped into it with both feet. But I would have thought they'd at least have been supplementing their assassinations and drone strikes with something more civilized at the outset.

Part of the problem here is seems to be a lack of imagination --- these surveillance toys and flying kill robots have blinded our government to the fact that humans are complicated and can be motivated by something other than fear or that the only method of is to "kill 'em over there so they don't come and kill us here."

Seriously, what could it possibly have hurt to put a serious effort behind making the argument against jihadism (even as they pick off alleged terrorists one by one in some quixotic quest to "get 'em all"?) It's almost as if the government, for reasons of its own, is radicalizing Muslims so it has something to keep shooting at.