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Gregory Johnsen is a scholar at Princeton U, an expert on Yemen who’s actually been there. In a new book and recent op-ed, he says US strikes in Yemen are causing support for al Qaeda to grow, and he opposes the appointment of John Brennan to CIA boss. Johnsen’s new book is The Last Refuge: Yemen, al Qaeda and America’s War in Arabia, and you can read his NY Times op-ed here. He opens with candid comments from his recent trip to Yemen, that the strikes on the failed state by US drones, missiles, and special forces have killed key leaders and members of al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, but the backlash produces larger numbers of new recruits. We talk in detail about the targeted killings of US citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, and examine the legal rationalizations and lack of public evidence in the process that led to their deaths–which did not involve the kind of “due process” that’s gauranteed to every American in the 5th Amendment.
We explore the flimsy legal basis for US military action in Yemen, the passive acceptance by our leaders and most Americans, and how we installed a new president in Yemen who lets us roam his nation at will, killing his residents and citizens. And Johnsen summarizes the reasons he is opposed to the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA.
At 25:50, satirist Will Durst recaps his top 10 comedic stories of 2012.