President Barack Obama’s policies are remarkably similar to those of his predecessor, George W. Bush, the Washington Times noted Thursday,
pointing to Obama's policy on drone strikes and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The policies that have produced successes in the foreign arena have been policies where he has stuck the closest to the Bush legacy,” Peter Feaver, a former national security aide to Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, told the newspaper.
James Phillips, a Middle East analyst at the Heritage Foundation, agrees, telling the Times, “President Obama has used many of the tools that the Bush administration and previous administrations developed against al-Qaida, particularly including the drones, to strike at places where it was difficult to get U.S. troops or commandos.”
The U.S. reportedly had launched 379 drone strikes under Obama through the middle of this month, nearly eight times more than during the Bush presidency. The Times cites figures by the New America Foundation showing that as many as 368 civilians have been killed by the U.S. in the drone war, with as many as 233 of those deaths occurring during Obama’s tenure.
Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told the newspaper that Obama “responsibly ended a war in Iraq and intensified our focus on the important work of defeating al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
The administration, she said, “relies on flexibility and precision, applying the right tools in the right way and under the right circumstances to ensure the outcome furthers our national security interests.”
Obama, however, is “clearly trying to be the anti-Bush” when it comes to his handling of the Syrian crisis, Feaver told the Times, resisting any plans to send troops or military aid to the rebels fighting against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Domestically, both men have presided over an increase in the national debt, the newspaper reported, although Bush cut taxes while Obama has raised them and is trying to increase tax revenues more as part of his deficit-reduction plan.
On that issue, at least, the two presidents are far apart.
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