The Limits of Drones, the Law, and Obama

American Exceptionalism, War and Peace

President Obama’s recent speech at the National Defense University was billed as a major speech on US counterterrorism policy, especially on drones and Guantanamo. The New York Times was among those organizations that billed it as a significant change. Following the speech, debate arose over the true extent of that shift. Then came the Snowden release, and it suddenly seemed that what the President hadn’t told us (about the NSA) was more interesting than what he had (about drones and Guantanamo). Seen in this light, Obama’s speech is important, both because of what he says (and doesn’t say) about drones and because of what his speech suggests about the weakness of the law compared with the power of the Presidency. This is a lesson we had supposedly learned under President Bush. Hence, the election of Obama, who promised a more responsible, transparent, and effective government. The sovereign power of the Presidency is such, however, that even qualities such as competence and responsibility may be made to serve foolishness…..to continue reading click here

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