This November's foreign policy debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney left many Americans realizing that the two candidate's policies were pretty similar, regardless of their thoughts about bayonets. But no matter how alike their policies seemed to the average citizen, President Obama apparently wasn't okay with the thought of a Romney kill list or having the former Massachusetts governor having free rein over America's army of unmanned drones.
The New York Times reports today that in the weeks before the election, White House officials were panicked about not winning a second term and made strides to quickly put together a "rule book for drone use" of sorts.
During the course of his presidency, Obama has used drones to take out senior Al Qaeda officials, Yemeni rebel forces (some of whom were wearing suicide vests), and most notably suspected or unknown militants in attacks known as "signature strikes." Pakistani and Yemeni citizens both say that the unmanned drone strikes have led to the deaths of innocent civilians.
The Times reports:
"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.
The Obama administration has gone to great lengths to keep everything involved with these drone strikes and kill lists as under-the-radar as possible. The article notes that a draft of this rule book has been only hand-carried from office to office and hasn't been emailed to anyone yet.
Democrats and Republicans alike have wondered how concerned they should be with Obama's control of drones. The fact that he didn't want anyone else to have the same power that he has should be a good measure of how serious this really is.
[Image via AP]