Obama Administration Leaves Assassination Lists as Its Legacy

Nearly 3,000 people have been killed by drone strikes


It's a good thing that Mitt Romney endorsed President Obama's counterterrorism agenda. Should he win the election in two weeks, Romney will inherit an institutionalized, bureaucratic machine for using lethal robots to target and kill suspected terrorists and their allies. Killing Osama bin Laden was a one-time event; this "Disposition Matrix" is Barack Obama's real national-security legacy.

The Matrix, as detailed in a blockbuster Washington Post expose, is a master list maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center of suspected terrorists around the world, matched with methods for dealing with them. Most often, that means killing them; and most often, that means using an expanding fleet of armed drones to do so, taking off from hubs in the Arabian Peninsula, eastern Afghanistan and Djibouti's Camp Lemonnier. Despite bin Laden's death and the supposed disruption of al-Qaida's old leadership, the Matrix keeps adding names, as fast or faster than the drones drop bodies.