If you had asked me 15 years ago what head of state would create a secret paramilitary force whose purpose was to execute an expanding list of death warrants into the indefinite future, I would not have said “the United States.” I might have guessed Russia or China or North Korea or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. I would have said that such a force is a defining characteristic of a totalitarian government.
But in fact, as the Washington Post revealed recently, this is the policy of the United States, as carried out by a supposedly liberal Democrat who holds the Nobel Peace Prize.
The U.S. government has a policy of open-ended undeclared war, implemented by flying killer robot drones. We have government surveillance in which every message and transaction carried over an electronic network is available to the state. Our police are being increasingly militarized, as if they are preparing to put down an uprising.
I don’t think George W. Bush or Barack Obama are comparable to Hitler, but between the two of them, they have established an institutional and legal structure in which a Hitler, if he came to power, would lack no power to make his dictatorship total. If you have the power of life and death without accountability, if you have the power to act in secret and prosecute those who reveal your secret, what power do you lack to be a dictator. No, I don’t think George W. Bush or Barack Obama are comparable to Hitler, but having lived through their administrations, I find it easier to understand how the German people could come to accept Hitler’s rule as normal.
There are two things I find hard to understand. Right-wing Republicans think that President Obama is secretly plotting against American constitutional liberties. Yet these same Republicans are perfectly content to give this same President unlimited, unaccountable life-and-death powers exercised in secret. They opposed the President’s health care plan because they imagine it would create death panels, yet they support the creation of real death panels.
Liberal Democrats are afraid of what Mitt Romney would do if elected President. Yet they are content to give the President unlimited, unaccountable, life-and-death powers exercised in secret, as if there never will be a time when these powers are handed over to a right-wing Republican.
Click on Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. plans to keep adding to kill lists for the Washington Post report on the Obama administration’s “disposition matrix”.
Click on Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent for Glenn Greenwald’s analysis.
Click on US legislation targets anyone in the world it deems a threat – that could be you for the larger picture.