President Obama faced his toughest grilling on the issue of his administration’s controversial use of military drones far away from talk shows and the mainstream media. These hard-line questions came straight from the people during his Google+ Hangout yesterday.
President Obama’s preference for using unmanned drones in military strikes has drawn criticism from the left, the right, and everywhere in-between. Many criticize the use of drones as hypocritical, since their use constitutes the further implementation of Bush policies that he campaigned against, while others point to the program as evidence of a lack of the transparency that he has both promised and advocated throughout his governance.
A little over a half-hour into the Google+ Hangout, conservative video blogger and stay-at-home mother Kira Davis asked the president about the drone program, pointing out the potential contradictions between his promises and his policy.
“You ran on a platform of really trying to become one of the most transparent administrations in American history. However, with recent leaked guidelines regarding drone strikes on American citizens and Benghazi and closed door hearings on the budget and deficit, it just feels a lot less transparent than I think we all hoped it would be,” Davis said, then asking: “How has the reality of the presidency changed that promise? And what can we do moving forward to kind of get back to that promise?”
Obama again said that his administration is the “most transparent” in history, but in terms of legislation more than anything else. “When it comes to things like how we conduct counterterrorism, there are legitimate questions there, and we should have that debate,” he said.
Following up on closer grilling of drone usage from Lee Doren, Obama said that it’s “absolutely true is that it is not sufficient for citizens to just take my word for it that we are doing the right thing.”
“I am not someone who believes that the president has the authority to do whatever he wants, or whatever she wants, whenever they want, just under the guise of counterterrorism. There have to be legal checks and balances on it.”
Here’s video of President Obama’s Google+ Hangout. The drone questions come in just after the 35:00 mark.