Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Killing Yamamoto

There's a brouhaha pending wherein we learn that the CIA had a plan to target and kill high level terrorist operatives of Al-Queda under the Bush Administration. Some folks think that this is a violation of the law. I understand that Speaker Pelosi is outraged to learn of such a plan and that she was never briefed on the operation. She has okay'ed a Congressional probe into the matter.

I am continually amazed that Pelosi is so stupid. This is nothing new.

Let's regard the facts. Al-Qaeda has said that they're at war with the United States and intend to defeat us. They launched the first strike in what we call the War on Terror by flying jet airliners into the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001.

The United States has a history of "cutting the head from the snake". We've been trying to target Osama bin Laden and his second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri since the beginning of the recent hostility. The third man in Al-Qaeda is historically the chief of operations in Iraq and that post has a long history of short successions. We kill those guys fairly regularly.

This isn't anything new, and only an idiot would assume that such an operation doesn't exist.

Hostorically, we've been doing this for years. As one notable example, I would propose Operation Vengeance wherein the US Navy got intelligence that told them that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy would be on an inspection tour in the vicinity of the Solomon Islands. Admiral Yamamoto was the Commander in Chief of Japan's navy and killing him would deal a serious blow to their war effort. Yamamoto has also been instrumental in planning the attack on Pearl Harbor, so payback played a big part in our motivation to kill him.

We sent planes over and shot his butt down. That was certainly a targeted killing of a high level Japanese official. No one, not one single soul, complained that killing him wasn't legal. No one even suggested that the operation was improper. We were at war with Japan and intended to kill or capture their forces.

We kill the enemy. If Pelosi needs to be briefed on that, then she is as dumb as a sack full of hammers.

Anyone who claims that killing the enemy is illegal should be reviled as imbeciles.


J said...

It was clearly illegal to not inform congress of the operation--that's the problem.

Bob S. said...


It isn't illegal to PLAN the operation. It isn't illegal to train for the operation.

I haven't read the exact wording of the law either, but I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a CYA clause in it; i.e. a target of opportunity too good to pass up - then the CIA has to tell Congress afterward.

Another aspect is WHY does Congress need to know? They authorized the use of force against Al-Qeada, right? Any deaths that result would be based on that authorization, right?

Old NFO said...

J is wrong. Planning scenarios for different ops are routinely done, and lots of times they only exist as files. You can even train for an op, and not brief it. It's not until the ops go hot that a brief is required, and then only to select people, otherwise it would be a headline in the NY Times/Washington Post the next day. Senators and congressmen don't give a damn about the operators, they just want headlines or things to take the heat off something they did...

ASM826 said...

I like hammers. Was it necessary to malign them in this manner?

J said...

"But Panetta also told Democrats and Republicans on the Intelligence panels that Cheney had directed his predecessors to conceal the program from all members of Congress, even the so-called Gang of Eight House and Senate leaders and top Intelligence committee members, who are directed under federal law to receive regular intelligence briefings."

J is NOT wrong. Cheney broke the law. Again.

Pawpaw said...


If you actually read the applicable law, (National Security Act of 1947), you'll see that there are huge loopholes in the law that are easily exploited. For example, in the section requiring breifings "To the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters,..." . Basically, if the administration was convinced that briefing the Congress might lead to unauthorized disclosure, they didn't have to brief it.

If they thought that Congress would make a political issue of it, they didn't have to brief it. That's the law. As it turns out, Cheney was right. Congress would turn it into a political festival.

But, as a factual matter, the story broke in the New York Times in 2002. They reported that we were searching for bin Laden and planning to kill him if we found him. Congress knew about it then, because it became public knowledge.

Even if it wasn't public knowledge, what would the average American think that the CIA was doing during a war on terror? Of course they were looking for bin Laden. Of course they were planning to kill him. Why brief Congress on something so glaring obvious? Is Congress inhabited by idiots?

No, this isn't about Cheney. This is pure political drama, intended as a smoke screen for other more malevolent intents. Pelosi is on the hook for health care and wants to divert attention away from the real work of Congress. This has nothing to do with Cheney. It's all smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

"Is Congress inhabited by idiots?"

I believe the answer to that one is a big YES (and I'm also sure you already knew that.....).


Windy Wilson said...

Besides, I am willing to bet real money that in the files of the DoD right now are plans drawn up in the 30's to invade Canada, Mexico, AND Great Britain (Where the UK is now). They make plans all the time, and I'm also sure that DoD never briefed Congress as to the existence of those plans.
Crime? The only way to make it one is to deem the government a criminal conspiracy, which is reasoning from the conclusion backwards.
Lets not get all Bush/Cheney deranged here, it's as unseemly as Clinton Derangement Syndrome, and we know what we think of that.