Obama: "I'm really good at killing people"

October 22, 2015

A 2013 book on the previous year's presidential elections by Mark Halperin and John Heileman, featured a quote from President Barack Obama that should come to haunt him now that the Drone Papers have been leaked to the public, and gained wide circulation. Double Down: Game Change 2012 reported that, in a 2012 discussion with aides, reviewing the Administration's drone kill policy, Obama boasted "Turns out I'm really good at killing people. Didn't know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine."

In the two full years since the publication of Double Down, the Obama Administration has not denied the accuracy of the quote, instead complaining about the persistent leaks. In a May 2013 speech at the National Defense University, Obama, in effect, admitted he was a killer, telling the audience, "Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes." Maybe so, but since launching the expanded drone kill program in his first year in office, President Obama has authorized 326 strikes in Pakistan alone. The drone kill program is known to be operating in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

The most detailed media account of President Obama's drone kill program, prior to the leaking of the Drone Papers, was the May 29, 2012, New York Times story by Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will," which exposed the regular Tuesday White House Situation Room sessions, chaired by the President, where the kill decisions are made.