President Obama raised the question of whether the long-term costs of drone strikes, including the reported killings of innocent civilians and declining image of America in many Muslim countries, may outweigh the short-term benefits of eliminating specific militants. The month after a drone strike killed the American-born terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, another drone strike mistakenly killed his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, who had set off into the Yemeni desert in search of his father.
‘There is still no evidence that the White House manipulated the public discussion of the [Benghazi] attacks for preëlection political gain, or that anyone deliberately lied by portraying what happened as a spontaneous outgrowth of demonstrations going on in the Arab world at the time when they knew it was a planned terrorist attack…’
…And there is certainly no evidence of the…most outlandish conspiracy theory about Benghazi: that the Administration left Americans to die because they were worried that responding to the incident with the force needed to beat back the assault would undermine President Obama’s counterterrorism record. Instead, what is in those e-mails documents the ways in which things in Washington are affected not by the big names—Obama, Clinton, Petraeus—but by the people who work for them, and the manner in which those staffers jostle with each other to protect their turf and their bosses. There is also a reminder that this “Administration” thing we think of as a single, unified entity is in fact a collection of people competing with each other.