President Obama in a 2012 photo in the Oval Office.
President Barack Obama is criticized every day for the problems and difficulties associated with the Affordable Care Act. But in the long term, it’s likely history will scrutinize the CIA’s use of drone strikes during his administration with a far more critical eye.
A quote from a new book on the 2012 presidential campaign, “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” will surely stoke that interest. As first reported in a book review by the Washington Post’s Peter Hamby, Obama told aides in connection with the CIA’s drone program that he is “really good at killing people.”
It’s the kind of quote likely to make Obama supporters cringe or scramble for justifying explanations, perhaps by rationalizing the quote as either false or out of context, or critiquing the information-gathering methods of authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The writers spent two years interviewing dozens of people connected with both the Obama and Romney campaigns.
Whether uttered in jest or in resignation, the Obama quote will only add to the concerns of those wondering whether the president has embraced the Godlike, life-and-death power of the Oval Office. After campaigning against the intense interrogation procedures pursued under President George W. Bush, Obama has vastly expanded the drone program. Despite its intense unpopularity overseas, in part because of civilian casualties and in part because of its unclear, secretive mandates, the Pakistan drone program continues as it has since 2004.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA has conducted 378 strikes in the program’s 10-year history. Of those, 326 are classified as “Obama strikes.” The total number of people killed by drones is estimated at 2,528 to 3,648. Civilian casualties are estimated at 416 to 948, with 168 to 200 of those being children. As many as another 1,545 are estimated to have been injured in those strikes.
“We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats — to stop plots, prevent future attacks and, again, save American lives,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in February. “These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise.” And, thanks to this book, the motivations of the man who orders them will remain under scrutiny.
“Double Down” is a sequel of sorts to “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime,” a best-selling book made into an HBO movie. “Double Down” tracks the 2012 campaign through the voices of campaign strategists and other insiders for both President Obama and Mitt Romney, as well as the half-dozen other ancillary campaigns on the Republican side.
What emerges is a look at two men and two campaigns with singular visions and yet singular weaknesses. Here, via the Post’s Hamby, is a summary of “Double Down”’s through-line:
The book’s loose argument is that both Obama and Romney placed their bets about the race early on and “doubled down” throughout the contest. It’s an apt take on Obama World. The “Obamans,” as the authors call them, set out to annihilate Romney almost two years before the election and executed their plan with brutal efficiency. There were hiccups along the way, specifically Obama’s dreary debate-prep sessions and his cringe-worthy performance in Denver, but his deputies in Chicago rarely deviated from their search-and-destroy mission. Romney’s campaign, though, with its bad habit of reacting to news cycles with snap decisions, always felt more ad hoc, with tactics trumping strategy.
Per Hamby, Obama comes off as “brilliant but peevish, allergic to the nitty-gritty of politics,” while Romney “is a decent man but hopelessly ham-fisted on the stump and oblivious to why voters can’t seem to appreciate his private-equity résumé.”
The drone quote will garner notice, but the book actually saves much of its harshest criticism for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is apparently already making plans for a 2016 presidential bid. The book makes use of the research performed by the Romney campaign on Christie; the vetting is termed “disturbing,” with “garish controversies.” A Justice Department investigation into Christie’s spending, a defamation lawsuit, questions about lobbying and contract awards, Christie’s physical health – these were all fair game for Romney’s investigators and in turn for the authors of “Double Down.” Christie’s people could be busy for months trying to mitigate the damage this book will do to his reputation.
The Obama administration has brushed off the book’s claims about the back-room dealings of the 2012 campaign, critiquing the sources as much as the content. “The president is always frustrated about leaks,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I haven’t talked to him about this book. I haven’t read it. He hasn’t read it. But he hates leaks.”
But that’s inside-the-Beltway politicking, the kind of give-and-take where reputations, not lives, are the casualties. The debate over drone use has far more dramatic reach and effect. Lost in the day-to-day squabbling over politics is the fact that, for instance, the Justice Department has a disturbingly vague protocol for sending drones to kill U.S. citizens. “Double Down” may open the door to issues far more significant than who likes whom in Washington, issues that speak to the very heart of what it means to stand for American principles. This is a story that’s not going away anytime soon.
“President Bush’s condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said Saturday. “The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes.” Source: Associated Press
Praising God! He will do it for you, too!!
I love President Bush! There, I have said it! I have been to his library on the campus of Texas A&M and spent hours just reading about him when he was a boy, when he and his wife fell in love and the political career that ensued after that. I have especially lingered at the pictures where they greeted dignitaries with their springer spaniel sitting, waiting patiently for them until they were through with all that official stuff. You know you can really tell a great deal about a person by the way they treat their pet! And that pet, with its body language, will tell you everything about their master.
When I heard President Bush was ill and in the same hospital my mother was in for her open heart surgery to correct a valve problem, I immediately remembered the furniture, where you check-in, the doctors and nurses, the feeling of getting out of the car when you visit to be met by the valet and the feeling that comes over you as you walk in knowing what you are going to see. My heart went out to him and his entire family!
Yesterday, I grabbed hubby and said, “We have to pray for President Bush, now!” I felt such an urgency in my spirit. We did pray and for a while after that I continued to pray in the spirit. I was truly downcast about the whole thing! Today, as I looked at the news I saw where his spokesman said, “President Bush says, “Please, put your harps back in the closet!” I hooted!! For those of you that don’t know what that means, in Texas terms it means I had a really good laugh. Then the blog came to me.
God spoke to me and said, “I have told people to come to me with thanksgiving in their hearts and to enter my courts with praise. Instead many come in cast down, crawling and begging, and playing their harps to the tune of ‘Woe is me’. When do I get the praise I have commanded and that I deserve?” That stopped me in my tracks! You know you can tell a lot about a person by what they say and how they act. It doesn’t take long either.
I had someone write me not long ago. Not a word he said made sense and at he end he put beside his name “wounded, weary, warrior” and called himself the “www”. He tried to sound so spiritual, but I knew immediately this guy was full of ‘whoeey’. If he is weary, he hasn’t spent time in prayer and praise. He hasn’t spent time with God. How do I know? Because the Bible says, in His presence is FULLNESS OF JOY, not weariness! The Bible says those who follow God will mount up with wings as eagles, THEY SHALL RUN AND NOT GROW WEARY THEY SHALL WALK AND NOT FAINT! He told on himself by what he labeled himself! Always judge the fruit, not the person, by the Word of God! But, you better use discernment, too….that is why God gave it to you! God does not want His children fooled or partnering up with people who are all show and no go. In other words, for the rest of their lives they will live in the dumps and you will NEVER be able to pull them out. I know this from experience.
Everyday is a different symptom, a different catastrophe, a different trauma and they are grabbing you “wanting help” and not doing a word you say. I know a woman who is always in some kind of mess. One day the Lord spoke a word to me to give her. I gave it. Now, this woman is a prayer warrior, she has spoken words to other people and they have been right. But when it comes to her life, she stays in a “begging, woe is me” mode. God told me how she could get free and be happy and full of joy even in the worst conditions and see those conditions turn totally around!! I went to her and told her what He said. She had been sobbing quite a bit, the tears were just streaming down her face. When I told her, she wiped her eyes and with a voice as steady as you can get, she looked at me and said, “I’m not going to do that! It just isn’t me!” Well, now we see the problem. She is going to approach her problems and God according to the comfort zone of her personality, not according to obedience to God and His word!
Precious reader, it isn’t my personality to raise my hands, say “Glory to God!” or sing praises! I cannot sing, raising my hands is something I put my personality down and lift my spirit up to do to surrender to my King, and saying, “Glory to God” is what flows out of MY SPIRIT NOT MY PERSONALITY! If it is in the word, you better get it in your spirit and then you better start living out of YOUR SPIRIT instead of your PERSONALITY. Stop and look back and see what your approach to God through what YOU THOUGHT got you instead of living out of what HE says! Besides, what do you have to lose???
Put your harp back in the closet! Get out the timbrel! Truly set aside your personality and problems and worship!! Thank God for what has gone right if the only thing you can find is you are breathing today! “Let EVERYTHING THAT HATH BREATH, PRAISE THE LORD!” What is the meaning of praise in the Hebrew? It is “to praise, to thank; rejoice, boast about someone. Halal which is where we get hallelujah, usually conveys the idea of speaking or singing about the glories, virtues, or honor of someone or something. It does not mean to bawl, squall and beg.
Please don’t forget to praise and continue to thank God for President Bush’s healing and full recovery! You are blessed, dear reader! Let that be your preoccupation in your mind today! See you soon!!