Drone Strikes, Civilian Casualties and “The Kill List”

The New York Times ruined everybody’s Tuesday with the thorough evolution of Obama’s counterterrorism measures, in an article that ranged over Obama’s bungled non-closing of Guatanamo Bay to his legal maneuverings around the ending of rendition to his personal approval process over what’s being called a “kill list,” a collection of names of terrorists (we think/hope) for elimination via drone strikes.

The portrait that emerges is one of a fast-learning, hands-on President, who rapidly changed course from his detached mismanagement of the Guantanamo Bay fiasco to preside personally over the details of counterterrorism decisions. It also shows Obama the cold pragmatist, using his legal skills to widen the scope of rendition even as he appeared publicly to prohibit the practice, and negotiating harsher practices for terrorists overseas to shore up civil rights for terrorists caught stateside. And last, it shows a president comfortable with the use of force on behalf of the United States, one who understands the moral weight of assassination but who nonetheless employs the practice with little regret… Read more.

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