Obama’s Execution of the Drone War Should Terrify Even Drone Defenders
By Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, July 12, 2012
It’s one thing to support killing militants, and quite another to empower one man to do it in secret without checks or meaningful oversight.
Essayist Tom Junod’s
latest masterpiece, “The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama
,” grapples at length with the unprecedented assassination program that the United States has waged since 2009. “Your lethality is expansive in both practice and principle; you are fighting terrorism with a policy of preemptive execution, and claiming not just the legal right to do so but the legal right to do so in secret,” the piece, addressed to the president himself, states. “The American people, for the most part, have no idea who has been killed, and why; the American people — and for that matter, most of their representatives in Congress — have no idea what crimes those killed in their name are supposed to have committed, and have been told that they are not entitled to know.”
Notice the multiple objections that the essay sets forth. It expresses unease with the mere fact of so much killing. But it concerns itself as much with process. The Obama Administration isn’t just assassinating an unprecedented number of individuals. It is doing so in a secret, unaccountable manner that lacks transparency or a meaningful check on the power of the executive.
President Obama’s defenders conveniently ignore all but one of these objections.