“I’m Taking You Out With a Drone to Save You From Torture”

In Newsweek, Tara Mckelvey interviews John A. Rizzo, the CIA’s one-time acting general counsel in charge of authorizing drone strikes. Individuals designated for targeting were supposedly the subject of a thorough investigation beforehand. Such strikes in both Afghanistan and Pakistan have seen a marked increase under the Obama administration. Even though precautions have reduced “collateral damage,” why would President Obama not only sign off on, but outdo the Bush administration in a practice emblematic of the latter’s brutality? Mckelvey writes:

Some counterterrorism experts say that President Obama and his advisers favor a more aggressive approach because it seems more practical—that administration officials prefer to eliminate terrorism suspects rather than detain them. “Since the U.S. political and legal situation has made aggressive interrogation a questionable activity anyway, there is less reason to seek to capture rather than kill,” wrote American University’s Kenneth Anderson, author of an essay on the subject that was read widely by Obama White House officials.

Killing suspects rather than arresting them to avoid taking heat for “enhanced interrogation”? (“I’m killing you to keep them from torturing you.”) Pretty specious reasoning for a lawyer such as Obama.