Barack “George W.” Obama & Counterterrorism

The New York Times interviewed three dozen of President Barack Obama’s advisers about the president’s record on counterterrorism for its article, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will.”  Many of Obama’s strongest supporters are greatly disappointed and puzzled by his George W. Bush-like continuation of unpopular policies like a secret kill list of terror suspects (some as young as 17) and the drone strike program against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Yemen.

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.

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.

Justly or not, drones have become a provocative symbol of American power, running roughshod over national sovereignty and killing innocents. With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.

Critics say that when drones strike, they don’t distinguish first between children and adults.  They are aimed at the guilty but many hit the innocent.  Drones have now replaced Guantanamo, Cuba as the rallying cry for recruiting militant terrorists.  This is the same president who signed executive orders his second day in office pledging the closure of Guantanamo (it is still open) and the ending of the worst counterterrorism interrogation techniques (they are banned.)

Does this profile in The New York Times prove that Barack Obama is a realist more than an idealist in foreign policy?

5 thoughts on “Barack “George W.” Obama & Counterterrorism

  1. I think this profile will not prove that Barack Obama is a realist. If this action were done by someone else who is in a lower status in the area of politics, then that person might appear as a realist. Although Mr.Obama officially has the highest status in the area of politics, he can stand as a realist since he is able to make his ideals real most of the time than any other politician. I don’t know that he is making “baseball cards” because he thinks in the same way as George W. Bush. Those surrounding him should think more about his process, rather than just taking his action as George W. Bush-like action.

  2. I believe Barack Obama is an Idealist. He dreams of a world without terrorists by whipping them out with drone strikes. However, I believe that these strikes kill the important few but increase the number of common terrorists. Everyday a new Osama is being born because of these drones. I think President Obama should find a better way to deal with terrorists. America should be a role model for counterterrorism and not a bad example.

  3. I think that does make him a realist more than an idealist in foreign policy. I think that what’s difficult about American politics is that a lot of times American citizens complain about how politicians lie during their political campaign saying that they promise not to raise taxes or they promise to make the education better or to end the war but after being elected they do the exact opposite of what they promise. But I think that once you’re in that position it’s a lot harder to follow through with the promises that you make in your campaign because of the laws that are already in place or because the promise you made during your campaign will actually not be better for the public. I think that a lot more complex issues come into play that the public might not be able to understand. I know that the government hides many things from the public because it’s not something we could handle or because the information they make public might cause chaos throughout the world. So I actually think it’s better that the government hides a lot of its actions from the public.

    I think that the president at the time uses his best judgment to determine whether a certain action he does will be for the good of the whole and a lot of times he needs to let go of his own personal feelings. For example, kill one to save a thousand. I think as president that is a difficult decision to have to make, but he has to make many immoral decisions for what he deems the better good, especially for the nation to which he serves.

    So I think that probably before he was elected to office as president he may have been an idealist having all these “great” ideas about how to run the country but after being put in the highest position of power, he needed to become a realist to fulfill his duty to the best of his ability.

  4. We all should step back and reconsider Obama’s political actions. I think Obama is an idealist. He has the power to pull people into him and contribute as a good leader. There is a term of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factor, which indicates in political terms pushing away the citizens or pulling them in for support. In fact, the US has an issue now whether they should raise taxes or not. There are many citizens who think the government is using their money very wastefully. This is a factor of pushing the citizens away. In fact, the realistic way of thinking is Mitt Romney. Romney thinks that even if they raise the taxes, he still knows that the citizens will pay. He is pushing away the citizens by considering the realistic world. Overall, I do think Obama has to change his theory into a realistic way of thinking. “Yes We Can” for the US citizen is becoming “Yes, We Can’t Pay Taxes Anymore.” It is a good opportunity for the liberal democratic countries to restate their policies.

  5. Obama is trying to bring peace in the world by his counterterrorism policy and trying to murder the terrorists on the kill list. In fact, a year ago, the US killed Osama bin Laden who was suspected to conspire and to be the mastermind of 9.11. Almost all Americans rejoiced and praised this action and President Obama definitely got a higher reputation at that time. However, the fact is that this affair also agitated other terrorists and anti-America people. In other words, it gave rise to new terrorists. When drones strike, they don’t distinguish children from adults, so they are indiscriminate bombings. They are aimed at the guilty but actually many hit the innocent. Under these circumstances, Obama should stop his operation on counterterrorism and reconsider it. Otherwise, America and some other countries will get more enemies in the future.

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