Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-11-2016

Major Department or Program



David F. Schmitz


While the Barack Obama administration continued the war on terror that George W. Bush began, it looked extremely different. Obama’s war on terror was facilitated by unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. In contrast, President Bush’s policy of catch and release relied upon ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and capturing suspected terrorists. This thesis examines how and why the war on terror changed under the Obama administration, the justifications for that shift, and why drones became the central weapon in the new strategy of capture and kill.

Page Count


Subject Headings

War on terror, Terrorism -- Government policy, Drone aircraft -- United States -- Safety measures, War on Terrorism (2001-2009), George W. Bush (1946 - ) -- Criticism and interpretation, Barack Obama -- Criticism and interpretation, Terrorism investigation -- United States, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2016 -- History Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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