Killing Machine: The American Presidency in the Age of Drone Warfare
Lloyd C. Gardner
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In this shattering new assessment, historian Lloyd C. Gardner argues that, despite cosmetic changes, Obama has simply built on the expanding power base of presidential power that reaches back across decades and through multiple administrations.
The new president ended the “enhanced interrogation” policy of the Bush administration but did not abandon the concept of preemption. Obama withdrew from Iraq but has institutionalized drone warfare—including the White House’s central role in selecting targets. What has come into view, Gardner argues, is the new face of American presidential power: high–tech, secretive, global, and lethal.
Killing Machine skillfully narrates the drawdown in Iraq, the counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan, the rise of the use of drones, and targeted assassinations from al-Awlaki to Bin Laden—drawing from the words of key players in these actions as well as their major public critics. With unparalleled historical perspective, Gardner’s book is the new touchstone for understanding not only the Obama administration but the American presidency itself.
Condoleeza, 3–4, 17, 30–31 Ricks, Tom, 123 Riedel, Bruce, 37–39, 58, 126, 155–56, 252n13 Roggio, Bill, 217 Rosenberg, Matthew, 106 Rubin, Trudy, 48 Rumsfeld, Donald, 50 Rusk, Dean, 97–98 safety, U.S. military, 124 Saleh, Ali Abdullah, 163, 170, 177–78 Saleh, Amrullah, 115–16 Saudi Arabia, 220, 221–22 Savage, Charlie, 207, 266n9 secrecy drone program, vii, 40, 41, 74, 132–33, 135–36, 171, 188, 199–200, 202–3, 220–24 government and leaking of, viii–ix, 214, 264n48 national security
An immigrant from Ireland as a child, Power began her adult career as a freelance writer in Bosnia during the period of Serbian atrocities against Muslims. She wrote for various magazines as she reported crimes against civilians from Rwanda, East Timor, Sudan, and Kosovo. Her first book, A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize and catapulted her into Harvard, where she established the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Soon after he took his seat in the
the gains for women, casting that goal as a major war objective. Yet most savvy observers knew there were limits to Obama’s commitment. Above all he was determined to avoid another Vietnam. That determination, therefore, shaped the outer boundaries of what could be accomplished—at least by boots on the ground. And while he might not be around to enforce a final withdrawal of American forces should he not be reelected, the nation’s tolerance for a long war was not something the Pentagon cared to
stable and more hostile to the United States than when Mr. Obama became president.” Soon after the article was published, said one of its authors, Scott Shane, the administration began to write a rule book for targeted killings. Revelations about the president’s central role “in the shifting procedures for compiling ‘kill lists’” provided the impetus. The president was afraid to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor: “There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands.”51
25 percent chance these criticisms would malign the administration, given the overwhelming support Obama had when he became president. “But over the last eighteen months,” he wrote in January 2013, “I have seen a crescendo in international criticism, resulting in lawsuits in the U.S., Britain, and Pakistan, and a potential decrease in intelligence cooperation . . . I would not be surprised if, in the next year, war crimes charges are brought against senior Obama officials in a European country