President Obama has placed himself in charge of the list that decides which terrorists are to be captured and which are to be killed, a post which some suggest puts him in a possibly compromising ethical position.
President Obama has been criticized for making himself a decision maker on who should live and who should die when it comes to the war on terrorism. The administration lacks a "clear detention policy" which for some has developed a "take no prisoner policy" instead, according to The New York Times.
"What remains unanswered is how much killing will be enough," The Times reported, suggesting that the administration has moved lower and lower on the "totem pole" when adding terrorists names to the kill list.
"One guy gets knocked off, and the guy's driver, who's No. 21, becomes 20?" William M. Daley, Mr. Obama's chief of staff in 2011, told The Times. "At what point are you just filling the bucket with numbers?"
The Times also unveiled weekly meetings that occur and involve the "nomination" of those terrorists who should be the next to die.
"This secret 'nominations' process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia's Shabab militia," the publication reported.
The nominations, which can change based on the threat each person poses over time, go directly to Obama, who then decides who will live and who should die.
"He realizes this isn't science, this is judgments made off of, most of the time, human intelligence," Mr. Daley said. "The president accepts as a fact that a certain amount of screw-ups are going to happen, and to him, that calls for a more judicious process."
Mr. Donilon, the national security adviser, also opined that Obama leaned towards a more forceful reign.
"He's a president who is quite comfortable with the use of force on behalf of the United States," Donilon told The Times.
While the report goes on to offer evidence that Obama has done his best to make the most ethical decision, the conclusion derived by many was that the decision of kill vs. capture was one that should never be made.
"I think these policies make us into a terrorist state. I think targeted [sic] assassinations are without exception unacceptable - and although we know these things happen, to try and justify it, is outrageous," Times reader Virginia C. Maxell added to the comment blog.
Others supported the presidents "force" policy.
"In an ideal world such a policy would not be needed," CtJames wrote. "In a world where folks are refining underwear bombs to make them more lethal and effective in bringing down plane loads of people, where the rights of innocents are ignored, and where folks say we love death more than you love life, I say I will vote for Obama again proudly."