Obama expanded the controversial “signature strikes” drone program into Yemen this month, where drone strikes can now be authorized even when the identity of the potential victims is unknown. The Washington Post reports that this program has already killed its first target: Mohammad Said al Umda, an al-Qaeda operative who received extensive training in Afghanistan and is believed to be a commander for al-Qaeda’s operations on the Arabian Peninsula.That Obama has chosen to expand the drone campaign in Yemen is not a surprise. The past few years have seen al-Qaeda and other terror groups gain a significant foothold in Yemen, which now threatens to become another Afghanistan—a weak state from which terror attacks can be planned with little harassment by local government. Drone strikes have proven effective in combating these terror cells in the past, and from a tactical perspective continuing them is simply a logical move.What is surprising is the lack of public outcry. In the waning years of the Bush Administration, even modest military expansion was greeted by opposition and outrage at presidential overreach. Though Obama’s plan is currently under scrutiny in Congress and is getting some press coverage, it looks like this expansion will be allowed to pass rather quietly.Fortunately, it looks like Obama is proceeding wisely, given the ongoing threat to the United States from radicalized terror groups. It’s almost as if we were in a war of some kind, a global war on terror, perhaps. And it’s almost as though the President thought the threat was so grave, so immense, that the United States had to bring everything we have to the struggle. Imagine that.
Obama Follows Bush in Yemen, Ups Drone Strikes