Former Attorney General (and former Chief U.S. District Court Judge) Michael Mukasey has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal that poses an important question: is the Obama Administration's heavy reliance on targeted killing via unmanned aerial vehicles potentially compromising national security by eschewing the possibility of capturing targets and interrogating them for actionable intelligence?
I think it's a good question, and one that doesn't need to presuppose the availability of waterboarding or other forms of torture. People like former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan have, in fact, gathered coercion-free confessions and intelligence from captured al Qaeda members since 9/11.
Yet, Mukasey notes persuasively that the Obama Administration's reflexive decision to delegitimize the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has made it harder for it to capture detainees, for GTMO was the most feasible detention location. Thus, we find ourselves in the position where, perhaps, it's easier to kill than to capture, and so we kill blasting away with Predator drones.