Following in a long line of things that President Obama is supposedly fundamentally morally opposed to that he does anyways, the New York Times has a lengthy new expose on the policy of targeted assassinations, with the revelation that the president has put himself at the center of the campaign.
Trying to jibe his putative claim to being a “liberal law professor” with his new self-appointed job of literally deciding who lives and who dies across the entire planet, the piece makes it seem that the policy is something the president is loath to carry out, with Tom Donilon saying he is “determined to keep the tether pretty short” on the program.
Which makes a great soundbite, but bears no resemblance to the policy, which transformed from extremely rare strikes restricted to the Pakistani border during the last years of the Bush Administration into a daily campaign of assassinating his perceived enemies across the planet, with the revelation that President Obama personally approves every single drone strike launched. That amounts to well over 1,000 killed since he took office, all but a handful never to be identified beyond the label of “suspect.”
It was President Obama who claimed the right to order the summary execution of American citizens abroad without ever charging them with a crime. This was carried out not only in the assassination of outspoken cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, killed on the claim that his sermons critical of US policy were “recruiting” terrorists, but also Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, who was never even accused of this sort of tenuous link to criminality.
Obama’s current kill list is still a closely guarded secret, but the article revealed that it contained several Americans, including potentially an unidentified 17-year-old American girl that the president is discussing knocking off at some point. The best the article can conclude is that Obama’s past comments suggest he probably feels bad about ordering these killings, but that clearly isn’t stopping him.