President Donald Trump is (almost) out of office. Yet, there still needs to be reckoning with his record on drone strikes, assassination and militarism. As Trump plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, some may imagine Trump is a less militaristic president than his predecessors. But the reality is that Trump continued the perpetual war machine, especially the targeted killing program created by George W. Bush and greatly expanded by Barack Obama.
Remember Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. citizen that the U.S. government, under Obama, accused of being a terrorist and assassinated with no due process in 2011 — killing his teenage son afterward? At that time, progressive and civil libertarian critics of Obama’s assassinations warned that this program would not remain in the hands of an ostensibly benevolent, liberal constitutional lawyer like Obama. The war powers established by one president are transferred to their successor. The “kill list” inevitably wound up in a Republicans’ hands. That list is now in Trump’s hands and U.S. citizens are still in its crosshairs.
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