Can President Obama End the War on Terror?

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Larry Downing / REUTERS

President Obama speaking Thursday at the Pentagon's National Defense University in Washington on his plans to retool the nation's fight against terrorists.

In his broad address on drone strikes, al Qaeda terrorists, and the prison at Guantanamo Bay Thursday, Barack Obama wrestled with some of the hardest moral questions that have defined national security policy since September 11:

— Who is the enemy?

— Who can we kill, and where, and how?

— What to do with suspected terrorists we hold in captivity?

— And when, if ever, will this war as we know it end?

Along the way, Obama issued a strong defense of his reliance on drones to kill suspected terrorists in places where other military means are infeasible or risk more civilian deaths. He announced higher standards for drone strikes, limiting them to situations where the confidence about a target’s location is extremely high and the possibility of civilian casualties is virtually nil.

He reiterated his belief that the Guantanamo prison is a stain on America’s honor and image around the world and should be closed, and vowed new action to make that long-delayed goal a reality.

But while Obama has an obviously sincere desire to bring the war against al Qaeda to a close and close the books on Guantanamo, however, he also lacks the power to make these things happen on his own.

Full thing here.