Many commentators are welcoming the news that President Obama ordered special operations forces into Somalia and Libya to “capture” suspected terrorists because at least he didn’t drone bomb them instead.
Granted, capturing suspects with the intention of trying them in federal courts (at least eventually) is a welcome step back from what has been Obama’s predominant tactic for handling terror suspects abroad – to bomb them secretly with remote-controlled planes. But Obama’s newfound love for
kill-capture missions has its own problems.
The JSOC mission in Somalia failed, as U.S. troops retreated without nabbing the target. But in Libya, U.S. troops grabbed Abu Anas al-Libi, accused of involvement in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and put him on a U.S. warship for interrogation.
The test case for this is Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali who was caught in the Gulf of Aden back in 2011 and held on the USS Boxer and interrogated for two months without a access to a lawyer or being informed of his rights.