Jaffer, who directs the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, says the issue comes down to a fundamental question: Should any president have the power “to kill suspects on the basis of secret legal standards and facts that are never disclosed to the public or any court?” – Exposing Obama’s not-so-secret war, by Ari Melber
DOES ANYONE CARE about Pres. Obama’s executive overreach? No, is the obvious answer, because you couldn’t read and digest the New York Times “Kill List” reporting without sitting up in a start. Political strategists and campaign operatives likely don’t think “overreach” is a fair characterization. Reading Daniel Klaidman and others it’s hard to question it’s not.
Still, Obama’s willingness to back the drone program represented an early inflection point in his war on terror. Over time, the attacks grew—far beyond anything that had been envisioned by the Bush administration. When Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2009, he had authorized more drone strikes than George W. Bush had approved during his entire presidency. By his third year in office, Obama had approved the killings of twice as many suspected terrorists as had ever been imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay. “We’re killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them,” the head of the CIA’s counterterrorism division boasted to The Washington Post in 2011. – Daniel Klaidman (May 28, Daily Beast)
Americans like our presidents carrying the biggest stick on the global block and on the whole we’re not very squeamish about who gets killed at our hands.
In effect Obama was inviting dissent with Admiral Mullen. None of the principals raised objections. But then Obama pointed to one of the uniformed men sitting just behind Mullen, against the wall: James “Hoss” Cartwright, the four-star Marine general and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Obama knew Cartwright, and valued his candor. “Mr. President, generally the wars we’ve been prosecuting have had these rules,” Cartwright said in a low-key, Midwestern manner. An enemy “did something to us, we went in and did something back—and then we had a moral obligation to put back together whatever we broke. In these places where they have not attacked us, we are looking for a person, not a country.” [source]
When it comes to domestic politics and the president’s license to kill, Democrats always feel they have something to prove, while Republicans, a paranoid lot, simply think it’s their duty to target and obliterate “enemies.” which they see around every corner.
It’s clear, at least to me, that Pres. Obama’s failure in closing down Guantanamo was a seminal moment, which the ousting of Greg Craig, a well liked popular Washington figure, foretold. Obama’s first collision with the national security complex that goes all the way down to Congress and keeping Democrats in office.
We’re also simply not to the point to consider what happens when drones get in the hands of unfriendly actors ready to target the United States.
The root lies in political parties, politicians and the U.S. bureaucracy, which doesn’t allow for taking on the system by one politician, whether it’s Pres. Obama or someone else. Eventually, whoever is president gets swallowed up in the national security fabric of the U.S.A., which demands reciprocity for the perception of danger as much as actual threats. The borg thinking Pres. Eisenhower warned of so long ago now includes a “homeland” security web that stretches throughout the Beltway and into neighboring states, where fighting the good fight is now even bigger business than Ike could have imagined.
Today, the Defense Department can target suspects in Yemen whose names they do not know. Officials say the criteria are tighter than those for signature strikes, requiring evidence of a threat to the United States, and they have even given them a new name — TADS, for Terrorist Attack Disruption Strikes. But the details are a closely guarded secret — part of a pattern for a president who came into office promising transparency. – The New York Times
Secretary Hillary Clinton strongly supports the drone strikes, as reported by the Times, though believes it’s critical to ascertain the “root causes of radicalization,” on which Pres. Obama agreed. So last September issues an executive order for approval of a State dept. war room to take on jihadi threats across the world in embassies.
However, nothing trumps the practical utilization of drones to get their man.
It’s a common thread of U.S. national security policy that no one ever imagined would link Barack Hussein Obama with George W. Bush on lethality, and put the Republican nominee Mitt Romney standing next to the President.
Drones aren’t torture, but it’s Pres. Obama’s version of threading the needle in the ongoing American “war on terror” that has gripped this nation fully and changed us forever.