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Obama's Drone Wars, Round 2

Nominating Chuck Hagel and John Brennan as defense secretary and CIA chief, respectively, represents a somewhat controversial re-imagining of the US national security team's expanding drone wars.

by Brian Anderson
Jan 8 2013, 9:39pm

Early this morning, eight Pakistani militants were reportedly killed in the latest unmanned aerial attack. It's another week under the watch of American hunter-killer drones. 

Here Stateside, it's a week of skin shedding for the Obama Cabinet. The president, fresh off holiday in Hawaii, is back to the office and poised to firm up a new ring of advisers to kick off his second and final term. And first thing's first: Who will oversee American drone programs, be they for spying or killing, at home and abroad?

Monday's nominations of Chuck Hagel and John O. Brennan as secretary of defense and CIA chief, respectively, not only represent a somewhat controversial re-imagining of the US's national security team, one that'll helm shadowy blasts of brute force "with minimal troop and logistics footprints" as it bookends Afghanistan. If confirmed, the picks could well prove a boon to the country's expanding and hotly contested drone wars. American unmanned aerial campaigns continue to ramp up as more traditional ground ops go the way of the bayonet.

And being two-pronged, with the Pentagon waging a spy- and kill drone campaign that's more "public" than that being carried out by the CIA, America's rapidly-evolving robot wars have Hagel and Brennan's impending oversight positioned to solidify Obama's legacy as one steeped in all the moral, ethical, and legal quandaries marking the cold, autonomous technology, if it wasn't already.

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