...after an extended review of our use of drones in the fight against terrorist networks, I believed a fresh examination of our surveillance programs was a necessary next step in our effort to get off the open-ended war footing that we’ve maintained since 9/11.In other words, his overriding goal in all this is "to get off the open-ended war footing that we've maintained since 9/11." Just as with this administration's position on the use of drones, what too many of the people who are concerned with civil liberties often miss is the impact our "open-ended war footing" has on these policies - both psychologically on the American public as well as legally.
The President devoted much of his speech last May on counterterrorism to a discussion of how we might come to view these policies once we are prepared to end this indefinite war.
Now, make no mistake, our nation is still threatened by terrorists. From Benghazi to Boston, we have been tragically reminded of that truth. But we have to recognize that the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11. With a decade of experience now to draw from, this is the moment to ask ourselves hard questions -- about the nature of today’s threats and how we should confront them.Those are the questions he is asking us to grapple with now. In this fascinating article by David Remnick, President Obama talks about his openness to that conversation.
And those who have questioned our drone policy are doing exactly what should be done in a democracy—asking some tough questions. The only time I get frustrated is when folks act like it’s not complicated and there aren’t some real tough decisions, and are sanctimonious, as if somehow these aren’t complicated questions.What remains to be seen is whether or not we're prepared to have an adult conversation to tackle those tough questions.