Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”
Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve.
In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.
They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing.
UNPRINCIPLED - OR A HYPOCRITE.
AS OBAMA PLAYS WHACK-A-MOLE - AND KOWTOWS TO ISLAMIST TURKEY, AND DITHERS AS IRAN MAKES NUKES - THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IS STEADILY TAKING CONTROL OF EGYPT, LIBYA, TUNISIA, AND SYRIA - AND THREATENS JORDAN YEMEN AND EVEN SAUDI ARABIA.
THE FACT THAT OBAMA CAN KILL DOZENS OF STREET LEVEL ISLAMIST OPERATIVES - AND A FEW OF THEIR BOSSES, HAS DONE NOTHING TO MAKE US MORE SAFE.
WE HAVE IN FACT BECOME LESS SAFE, AND SO HAVE OUR ALLIES.
VOTE ACCORDINGLY. VOTE ROMNEY.