Obama has actually gone further than Bush by claiming, and acting on, a supposed presidential authority to assassinate anyone, including those with US citizenship, anywhere in the world just based on the presidential say-so that those targeted are “terrorists” and a danger to US interests. The world saw this outrageous policy in action last September when missiles fired from a US drone hit a car driving across a desert in Yemen and killed seven men, including Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki, a US citizen, was a spokesman for al Qaeda. (Another man killed in the attack was also a US citizen.) A few weeks later, another US drone attack took the lives of al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son along with his 17-year-old friend.
Threatening Preventive War
At a March 4, 2012 speech at AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), Obama made one of his most direct and overt threats of war against Iran. He declared, “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”
The Drone Option
According to The Washington Post, “no president has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals”. When Obama took office in 2009, the drone war was confined to Pakistan, where there were 44 strikes over the previous five years, killing about 400 people. Now, drone attacks have spread, including to Yemen, Afghanistan, East Africa, Libya, and Iran. A new estimate says that only 1 in 50 killed by drone strikes are terrorists.