Barack Obama ran for office with good intentions and became a reckless killer of innocent people across the Arab world, argues Tim Junod in a scathing Esquire article. Calling Obama "the Lethal President," Junod dissects the White House defense of drone strikes, noting that two American victims in Yemen—Anwar al-Awlaki and his son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki—were never charged with crimes. "You are committing something that looks like murder in the cause of war," Junod writes. "You are shedding the blood of one in order to spare the blood of many. You are not observing moral distinctions so much as you are inventing them."
Among the highlights from Junod's lengthy piece:
- Obama officials have discussed the difficulty of choosing targets for drone attacks, but "maybe killing one person isn't a burden; maybe it's a relief, in light of the alternatives"—like invading more countries or filling prisons with military captives.
- Obama's team amped up President Bush's drone policy in part to "stave off attacks from the Right." As one former official put it, "they wanted to make it clear that they weren't a bunch of left-wing pussies."
- Obama officials say each drone target is chosen after "rigorous review," but "how can each death be said to be the end product of rigorous review when there are so many of them?" Some 600 prisoners were released from Guantanamo due to lack of evidence, "which amounts to an admission of a terrible mistake." What if they had "simply been killed" instead?
- Worst of all, writes Junod, Obama has established a precedent that other presidents will follow. "What if the next Lethal President is not as good and as honorable as you? What if he is actually cruel or bloodthirsty?"
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