Obama’s realpolitik drone strategy
There’s a definite Catch-22 aspect to the presidency. Anybody crazy enough to want the job probably shouldn’t be allowed to have it. That said, anybody who thought Barack Obama was going to deal with terrorists by sending flowers and proposing group therapy is certainly naive enough to work for the Nobel Peace Prize committee.
Sweet reason never works with religious fanatics. When Obama criticized the Bush administration’s “false choice between our safety and our ideals” in 2009, he was mainly talking about torture and Guantanamo. The notorious concentration camp remains open because he ducked a confrontation with congressional Republicans determined to portray him as soft on terror.
Easy on al-Qaida, however, this president is not. See, it turns out that there’s a paradoxical aspect to disengaging from Iraq and Afghanistan, too. A recent front-page story in The New York Times about Obama’s personally selecting targets for drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan puts it this way: “War is a messy business, and his actions show that pursuing an enemy unbound by rules has required moral, legal and practical trade-offs that his speeches did not envision.” (“Secret ‘Kill List’ Tests Obama’s Principles and Will,” May 29, Jo Becker and Scott Shane)
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