WASHINGTON, D.C. — With less than 20 days left in office, a nostalgic and misty-eyed President Barack Obama today put his signature on his administration’s last batch of “farewell” drone strikes.
“When we’ve been told that we don’t have enough intelligence, there will be heavy civilian casualties, we’ll severely destabilize our allies, or we’ll wind up killing Americans without a trial, all I can say, is ‘Yes we did!’ and ‘Yes we can!'” Obama told a small group of CIA employees who were on hand to witness the event.
CIA Director John Brennan joked, “Uncle Sam has his own naughty list, and if you’re on it you get more than a lump of coal in your stocking,” as the President added to uproarious laughter, “Try one hundred pounds of Hellfire and a Happy New Year.”
Brennan has already dubbed the upcoming strike package — set to be carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia — Operation REAPER HARVEST, though CIA employees still in the holiday spirit have nicknamed it “Operation Slay Ride.”
Likely farewell targets include ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the entire incoming Trump administration.
Obama has also debated carrying out strikes on former frenemies like Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a few “signature strikes” against individuals displaying suspicious behavior, such as being a military-age male or living in Yemen.
However, the vast majority of targets will be unnamed insurgents, as well as their immediate family, friends, and anyone who happens to be standing within a few meters of their house.
While Obama was outwardly enthusiastic, he was also quite nostalgic.
“It seems like just yesterday I was ordering my very first drone strike,” he told reporters. “We were so young and naive: we actually stayed up all night debating whether there was a senior Taliban commander present, then after we launched the attack it turned out there were no enemy present and we had just killed nine civilians. Whoops!”
While the Obama Administration has been notoriously tight-lipped on details of the planned strikes, senior officials privately admitted that the roughly 20 strikes the president authorized today would bring the administration’s eight-year total of drone strikes to around 21.
In a fulfillment of his campaign promise, Obama added that the strikes would be perfectly constitutional, for reasons which were immediately classified by the Central Intelligence Agency.