Flashback | How Team Obama Justifies the Killing of a 16-Year-Old American | The Atlantic

OCTOBER 24, 2012

Asked about the strike that killed him, a senior adviser to the president’s campaign suggests he should’ve “had a more responsible father.”

Cornered by reporters with video cameras, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to President Obama’s reelection campaign, attempted to defend the kill list that the Obama Administration uses to determine whose body should next be blown apart. American drone strikes have resulted in hundreds of dead innocents in the last four years, even as the program has killed a number of high-level al Qaeda terrorists. There are two remarkable things about the ensuing exchange, which eventually turns into a discussion about a dead 16-year-old kid.

First, it’s vital for the uninitiated to understand how Team Obama misleads when it talks about its drone program. Asked how their kill list can be justified, Gibbs replies that “When there are people who are trying to harm us, and have pledged to bring terror to these shores, we’ve taken that fight to them.” Since the kill list itself is secret, there’s no way to offer a specific counterexample. But we do know that U.S. drones are targeting people who’ve never pledged to carry out attacks in the United States. Take Pakistan, where the CIA kills some people without even knowing their identities. “As Obama nears the end of his term, officials said the kill list in Pakistan has slipped to fewer than 10 al-Qaeda targets, down from as many as two dozen,” the Washington Post reports. “The agency now aims many of its Predator strikes at the Haqqani network, which has been blamed for attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.” The vast majority would never make their way to New York or Washington, D.C., and the Obama Administration would never agree to rules that permitted only the killing of threats to “the homeland.”

How Team Obama Justifies the Killing of a 16-Year-Old American | The Atlantic

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