Posts Tagged ‘Secret Drone Killing Memo’

Shifting the issue from killing to secrecy

March 8, 2013

It is unfortunate, and at the same time a typical instance of the Obama administration’s political adroitness, is that the issue has been shifted from the President issuing death warrants based on his individual judgement, to the President’s refusal to reveal the memos on which he claims lawful authority to issue death warrants.

I predict that at some point he will reveal the legal memos, and then half the opposition to death warrants will melt away.

Obama-and-DronesThe memos ought to be made public.  But the public doesn’t need to suspend judgment until the memos are released.  I for one know all I need to know to come to a conclusion about the President’s authority.

The military has authority to use lethal force on battlefields in war.  The police have authority to use lethal force to protect human life or as a last resort to bring suspects into custody.  What no American President has the right to do is to order assassinations for “reasons of state,” as the old absolute monarchs and modern totalitarian dictators did.   Nor does he have the right to order killings based on “patterns of behavior” of people in countries with which the United States is not at war.

And, no, I don’t consider the whole world a battlefield, nor everybody who is anti-American as an “enemy combatant.”

Click on Obama must release legal memos on his administration’s drone killing program for an example of how the emphasis has been subtly shifted—but a good article, nevertheless.

Click on Objections to the White House Drone Killing Memo for a discussion of the real issue.  (Note: It isn’t drones.)

Click on Why It Matters Than Rand Paul Got His Answer for more by Conor Friedersdorf.  [Added later]