The House Homeland Security Committee chairman said on Sunday that he was “offended” that President Obama considered moral questions about U.S. counterterrorism policy in his major speech on national security last week.
“That’s what bothered me about the president’s speech,” Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said on ABC’s This Week, was “the moral anguishing he was going through.” When asked whether the Obama administration should change its drone policy, King replied, “If it does change it shouldn’t change for moral reasons,” apparently because the New York Republican thinks the United States should’t have to ask moral questions about its foreign policy:
KING: Listen, every soldier, every cop who is faced with a decision to make, life or death, does the best he or she can and I think our country has done more than any country in the history of the world to limit civilian casualties so that just offended me, that whole tone of it. [...]
As far as the policy …. I think this policy basically has worked … and perhaps we can fine tune it, we can put more emphasis on clandestine activity of actually gathering intelligence rather than relying so much on drones but for me i don’t think the president really addressed that in the speech. I think he was coming at it from a more from this moral tone which I just think was misplaced. I don’t think it’s called for.
Later in the segment, host Martha Raddatz asked King if he supported Obama’s renewed pledge in the speech to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison. “No I’m offended by the moralizing,” King replied. “He could have done a lot more than he has done if he was serious about it rather than just moralizing.”
Civilian casualties as the result of drone strikes, lack of transparency in the President’s targeted killing program, and indefinite detention without charge or trial and torture-like force-feeding at Guantanamo, these are all issues Obama sought to address in his speech last week and ones Peter King seemingly could care less about. In fact, he said “we should be proud” of U.S. counterterror policy and “defend what we’re doing and stop apologizing for America.”