One of any president’s most grave responsibilities is wielding the power over life and death. The modern president has tools at his disposal that can rain death from the heavens anywhere in the world, even thousands of miles away from the White House. He can end lives with a word.
According to a new book, President Barack Obama thinks that power is really, really cool and he’s become very good at it. Like a kid playing Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty: Ghosts only, you know, it’s for real.
According to the new book “Double Down,” in which journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann chronicle the 2012 presidential election, President Barack Obama told his aides that he’s “really good at killing people” while discussing drone strikes.
Peter Hamby of The Washington Post noted the moment in his review of the book.
Under Obama U.S. drone operators began practicing “signature strikes,” a tactic in which targets are chosen based on patterns of suspicious behavior and the identities of those to be killed aren’t necessarily known. (The administration counts all “military-age males” in a strike zone as combatants.)
The “double tap” is also a practice used by terrorists against Israel. It’s probably best not to dwell on the fact that Obama, the man who ran for president to end the war, is ordering the US military to emulate people who still want to kill every last Jew in the Middle East.
In the moral universe of Barack Obama, housing captured terrorist at Gitmo is bad and should end, not because it’s morally wrong but mainly because of the bad images and media reports it generates. But vaporizing free-range terrorists and everyone around them is perfectly fine, and in fact, worthy of bragging about. That’s a strange moral universe — bad PR causes shame and is worse than death, but actual killing gets a gold star on the bulletin board.
Making it even stranger, Barack Obama is not truly, really good at killing people. His actual skill, if it can be called that, is reading from lists of names and ordering other people to push a button that results in someone else’s death thousands of miles away. It’s nothing to brag about, at least not for a person of serious and sound moral thinking.