CommunityFDL Main Blog

Killing of US Citizen Furkan Dogan on Gaza Flotilla Should Serve as Warning Against Obama’s JSOC Mission Creep

Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command Vice Admiral William H. McRaven (source: Wikipedia)

As Marcy Wheeler discusses this morning, President Barack Obama has significantly expanded the role of troops in the Joint Special Operations Command. We now have over 4,000 Special Operations personnel in 75 foreign countries that are not Iraq or Afghanistan. But even more disturbing is that “Obama is claiming the right to target people not included under the Authorization to Use Military Force passed in response to 9/11.”

It now appears that Obama has taken the position that JSOC troops can go anywhere in the world that he wants them to go and he can order them to kill anyone he wants them to kill for whatever reason he decides. What would the world look like if other countries operated in this way?

That is not just a rhetorical question. Just this week, a US citizen was arbitrarily killed by the equivalent of Special Operations forces from another country. From ABC News:

A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip, officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency.

Dogan was a high school student studying social sciences in the town of Kayseri in central Turkey. He was born in Troy, N.Y., and moved to Turkey at the age of 2. He will be buried in his hometown tomorrow.

Here’s Cenk Uygur, describing Dogan’s killing as an execution:

What else would you call it? The Israeli commandos that boarded the Free Gaza Flotilla shot Furkan Dogan once in the chest and four times in the head at close range. Was he still resisting after the third head shot? Did five different commandos happen to shoot him all at the same time in the middle of the night with stunning accuracy? No, someone shot Dogan at close range and did so enough times to make sure he was dead well after there might have been any resistance. That’s generally known as an execution.

Uygur then goes on to question why there isn’t widespread outrage in the US over Dogan’s death, attributing that to the government and the media protecting Israel. But I want to approach Dogan’s death from a slightly different angle. To me, Dogan’s killing is no different from the killings of innocent civilians by JSOC night raids in Afghanistan or drone attacks (some CIA, some JSOC apparently) in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Like Uygur, I question why there is no outrage over Dogan’s death, but I ask why the outrage isn’t focusing on Israel’s decision that they can execute an American citizen aboard a ship they illegally boarded in international waters. That means that Israel has decided that they can kill any person they wish to kill, at any time, anywhere in the world. Just as Obama now seems to have decided.

That leads to two questions:

1. In claiming the power to kill any person he wishes, any time he wishes, anywhere in the world, has Obama taken the United States into the overly aggressive, paranoia-driven defense stance of Israel?

2. Is Dogan’s death an early example of chickens coming home to roost, where our citizens are just as exposed to extrajudicial killings by other governments as their citizens are to extrajudicial killing by ours?

CommunityMy FDLSeminal

Furkan Dogan Is the Best Argument Against Obama’s JSOC Mission Creep

McRaven
William H. McRaven, head of JSOC.

As Marcy Wheeler discusses this morning, President Barack Obama has significantly expanded the role of troops in the Joint Special Operations Command. We now have over 4,000 Special Operations personnel in 75 foreign countries that are not Iraq or Afghanistan. But even more disturbing is that "Obama is claiming the right to target people not included under the Authorization to Use Military Force passed in response to 9/11."

It now appears that Obama has taken the position that JSOC troops can go anywhere in the world that he wants them to go and he can order them to kill anyone he wants them to kill for whatever reason he decides. What would the world look like if other countries operated in this way?

That is not just a rhetorical question. Just this week, a US citizen was arbitrarily killed by the equivalent of Special Operations forces from another country. From ABC News:

A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip, officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency.

Dogan was a high school student studying social sciences in the town of Kayseri in central Turkey. He was born in Troy, N.Y., and moved to Turkey at the age of 2. He will be buried in his hometown tomorrow.

Here’s Cenk Uygur, describing Dogan’s killing as an execution:

What else would you call it? The Israeli commandos that boarded the Free Gaza Flotilla shot Furkan Dogan once in the chest and four times in the head at close range. Was he still resisting after the third head shot? Did five different commandos happen to shoot him all at the same time in the middle of the night with stunning accuracy? No, someone shot Dogan at close range and did so enough times to make sure he was dead well after there might have been any resistance. That’s generally known as an execution.

Uygur then goes on to question why there isn’t widespread outrage in the US over Dogan’s death, attributing that to the government and the media protecting Israel. But I want to approach Dogan’s death from a slightly different angle. To me, Dogan’s killing is no different from the killings of innocent civilians by JSOC night raids in Afghanistan or drone attacks (some CIA, some JSOC apparently) in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Like Uygur, I question why there is no outrage over Dogan’s death, but I ask why the outrage isn’t focusing on Israel’s decision that they can execute an American citizen aboard a ship they illegally boarded in international waters. That means that Israel has decided that they can kill any person they wish to kill, at any time, anywhere in the world. Just as Obama now seems to have decided.

That leads to two questions:

1. In claiming the power to kill any person he wishes, any time he wishes, anywhere in the world, has Obama taken the United States into the overly aggressive, paranoia-driven defense stance of Israel?

2. Is Dogan’s death an early example of chickens coming home to roost, where our citizens are just as exposed to extrajudicial killings by other governments as their citizens are to extrajudicial killing by ours?

Previous post

Early Morning Swim: Rachel Maddow Interviews Obama Spill Commission Co-Chairs

Next post

BP Claims Tides Will Help Remove Oil from Marshes

Jim White

Jim White

Follow me on Twitter @JimWhiteGNV