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Kill or Capture - The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency - cover

Kill or Capture - The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency

Daniel Klaidman

Publisher: Mariner Books

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Summary

“Divulge[s] the details of top-level deliberations—details that were almost certainly known only to the administration’s inner circle” (The Wall Street Journal).   When he was elected in 2008, Barack Obama had vowed to close Guantánamo, put an end to coercive interrogation and military tribunals, and restore American principles of justice. Yet by the end of his first term he had backtracked on each of these promises, ramping up the secret war of drone strikes and covert operations. Behind the scenes, wrenching debates between hawks and doves—those who would kill versus those who would capture—repeatedly tested the very core of the president’s identity, leading many to wonder whether he was at heart an idealist or a ruthless pragmatist.   Digging deep into this period of recent history, investigative reporter Daniel Klaidman spoke to dozens of sources to piece together a riveting Washington story packed with revelations. As the president’s inner circle debated secret programs, new legal frontiers, and the disjuncture between principles and down-and-dirty politics, Obama vacillated, sometimes lashed out, and spoke in lofty tones while approving a mounting toll of assassinations and kinetic-war operations. Klaidman’s fly-on-the-wall reporting reveals who had his ear, how key national security decisions are really made, and whether or not President Obama lived up to the promise of candidate Obama.   “Fascinating . . . Lays bare the human dimension of the wrenching national security decisions that have to be made.” —Tina Brown, NPR   “An important book.” —Steve Coll, The New Yorker

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