Teju Cole, in response to David Cole’s New York Review of Books article, “Obama’s Most Dangerous Legacy”:
I’m one of the cranky ones who just can’t let go the fact that he normalized (and continues to normalize) the secret killing of people far away from the battlefield. Many of those killed are innocent of any wrongdoing. The grief suffered by their loved ones is real and avoidable. The damage done to the putative American commitments to transparency and avoidance of war crime is considerable. No number of delightful photos of the outgoing president playing with kids can sublimate that blood guilt. I agree with David Cole that it will, and ought to, color any future assessment of his presidency.
Also, an eyebrow-raising line from the bipartisan task force on drones (the taskforce that the president has pointedly ignored): “At least nine countries are believed to have armed drones—China, France, Iran, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.” It’s surprising to see Nigeria in that list (but not too surprising, given the rush in military aid around the time of the “bring back our girls” fervor). Now imagine, if the American military is using armed drones without accountability, what the notoriously brutal and unauditable Nigerian army might already be getting up to with these clean-killing machines. This is the world we have made under President Obama, and it looks intentional or at the very least wildly negligent.