The use of drone strikes has been expanded dramatically under Obama. The personal involvement of the President in the intimate details of targeting and kill lists is new to this administration.
It’s not something Democrats like to talk about. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz denied knowledge of the kill lists, promting this response from Glenn Greenwald, The remarkable, unfathomable ignorance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz
One expects corrupt partisan loyalty from people like Wasserman Schultz, eager to excuse anything and everything a Democratic president does. That’s a total abdication of her duty as a member of Congress, but that’s par for the course. But one does not expect this level of ignorance, the ability to stay entirely unaware of one of the most extremist powers a president has claimed in US history, trumpeted on the front-page of the New York Times and virtually everywhere else.
But heaven forbid Mitt Romney had won, then there needed to be institutionalized rules, via The NY Times, Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy:
Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.
The attempt to write a formal rule book for targeted killing began last summer after news reports on the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, revealed some details of the president’s role in the shifting procedures for compiling “kill lists” and approving strikes. Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized, a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency.
“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.
Mr. Obama himself, in little-noticed remarks, has acknowledged that the legal governance of drone strikes is still a work in progress.
Put aside how you feel about the drone strikes, or a President selecting kill lists.
The arrogance Obama to think that he alone could be trusted with such power without rules is staggering.