A good change

It is rare indeed that an American politician will offer even a hint that he or she has made regrettable decisions. Thus we give President Obama a great deal of credit for a recent speech which suggested that the administration’s war policies have been adrift from what most voters expected the president was going to deliver. The president’s indication that he would set stricter limits on drone attacks, in particular, seems like a good step forward.

The Obama Administration swept into office more than four years ago, borne in part on the promise of ending the Bush Administration’s seemingly endless war on terror. To the dismay of many Americans, Obama was slow to wind down American involvement abroad and, in some cases, expanded the war with drone attacks on targets that included Americans abroad. None of these targets received a trial. The White House compounded its misjudgment by insisting on secrecy, even though the entire world, including most who would qualify as drone targets, knew perfectly well what was going on.

When the president suggested recently it was time to put stricter guidelines in place for the war on terror, it was a sign of hope for those who think many aspects of the war have little to do with effectively protecting Americans from foreign attacks. It remains to be seen how effectively the president will be able to put a new vision into action. We hope that, at the least, he reigns in the use of drone attacks, particularly when those attacks seem to in every way rip the Constitution to shreds. After all, protecting the Constitution and all that it stands for is the entire point of the war on terror.

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