Running to the Left of Obama on "Kill Lists"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 17 2012 5:33 PM

Running to the Left of Obama on "Kill Lists"

photo (7)

The photo above was taken as I walked past a throng of people at Hofstra University, watching a live MSNBC taping. Abdulraham, and his father Anwar al-Awlaki, were killed in a September 2011 drone strike. The targeted killing was approved by the president, as we learned in a leak-rich New York Times story that coined the term that covered decisions like this: "the kill list."

Neither drones nor the list has come up in the 270 minutes of prez/vice prez debating we've see so far. Instead, we've heard the president and vice president win rounds on foreign policy by promising, explicitly, to hunt down and kill terrorists. I only heard one post-debate question about these killings, when a reporter for a left-leaning organization posed it to Tom Ridge. What, if Mitt Romney was elected, was he going to do with the kill list?

To my surprise, Ridge banked left. "Well, listen, I was with President Bush at daily briefings every day," he said. "And I daresay, never once in my presence did I see the president target an individual or individuals. That's left up to the military, that's left up to the intelligence community. So I'm not going to speak for Gov. Romney, but I doubt very seriously he's going to take in his own hands life and death decisions about people. The only one President Bush had was Osama bin Laden."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 12:13 PM “For a While Liquidity Led to Stupidity”
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 17 2014 12:19 PM Early Cancer Hospitals Were Modeled on French Castles, Served Champagne
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 17 2014 11:06 AM Inside the Exclusive World of Members-Only Clubs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.