I caught this howler of a statement from the president on a clip on Fox last night. So I did some research.
"And so that mitigates against this danger that you're suggesting that our main goal is going to be to kill these individuals as opposed to potentially capturing them."
I challenge anyone to diagram that sentence:
The smartest president ever said it at his presser.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/29/press-conference-president text find: "mitig" gets you to the exchange
http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2011/06/29/president-obama-news-conference video at about the 38:00 minute mark
A matter of definitions: militate:
mil·i·tate intr.v. mil·i·tat·ed, mil·i·tat·ing, mil·i·tates
To have force or influence; bring about an effect or a change: "All these factors militated to a different targeting priority" (Tom Clancy).
"The chaste banality of his prose . . . militates against the stories' becoming literature" (Anthony Burgess).
mit·i·gate v. mit·i·gat·ed, mit·i·gat·ing, mit·i·gates
v.tr. To moderate (a quality or condition) in force or intensity; alleviate. See Synonyms at relieve.
v.intr. To become milder.
Usage: Mitigate is sometimes wrongly used where militate is meant: his behavior militates (not mitigates) against his chances of promotion
Something "militates against" a proposition or thing, and something can "mitigate" something.
In a sense, "our top priorities [of] making sure this person is not able to carry out attacks against the United States and that we're able to obtain actionable intelligence from those individuals" (his preceding sentence) would militate against any danger "that forces might be more inclined to kill suspected terrorists in the field, rather than capture them alive, thus depriving the U.S. of the intelligence that they could provide" which was the question that the reporter asked.
And they (the priorities) might mitigate the suggested danger, but the answer, as usual, is rambling, and the sentence makes no sense and is grammatically, syntactically, and intellectually incomprehensible!