Civilian casualties are common. Obama’s first strike in Yemen killed two families who were neighbours of the target. One in Pakistan missed and blew up a respected tribal leader and a peace delegation. He has deliberately killed American citizens, including the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in September last year, and accidentally killed others, such as Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdul-Rahman.
The drone operation now operates out of two main bases in the US, dozens of smaller installations and at least six foreign countries. There are “terror Tuesday” meetings to discuss targets which Obama’s campaign manager, David Axelrod, sometimes attends, lending credence to those who see naked political calculation involved.
Yet for some, politics seems moot. Obama has shown himself to be a ruthless projector of national security powers at home and abroad, but the alternative in the coming election is Republican Mitt Romney.
“Whoever gets elected, whether it’s Obama or Romney, they are going to continue this very dangerous path,” said Radack. “It creates a constitutional crisis for our country. A crisis of who we are as Americans. You can’t be a free society when all this happens in secret.”
For more on this story, visit: Drone wars and state secrecy – how Barack Obama became a hardliner | World news | The Observer.