In our segment on Syria today, we didn’t have enough time to really unpack the New York Times’ fascinating article exploring how President Obama is waging war against Al Qaeda. The story goes into enormous detail about the President’s weapon of choice: drones and his reliance on Bush Administration tactics like rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention.
Reporters Jo Becker and Scott Shane write:
In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.
They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing. While he was adamant about narrowing the fight and improving relations with the Muslim world, he has followed the metastasizing enemy into new and dangerous lands. When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign against Al Qaeda — even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was “an easy one.”
The President’s policies have helped decimate many of Al Qaeda’s top leaders, but according to the Times, they have “baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics.”