Saturday, June 2, 2012

What’s wrong with the President checking a list and deciding whom to kill?

Photo credit: Pete Souza, White House.

It’s hard to even think about it. The way our nation has morphed into a ruthless machine, even finding ways to make it okay to kill noncombatants who stumble into a strike zone. It gets uglier all the time.

Obama’s “kill list” is another step down the road of America becoming the terrorists it is determined to eliminate. Is this what we want? Read Amy Davidson’s post at the New Yorker titled “The President’s Kill List,” and you tell me:

What is wrong with the President sitting in a room, looking at lists and portraits of people—a Somali man, a seventeen-year-old girl, an American citizen—and deciding whom to kill? That, according to long and troubling articles in both the Times and Newsweek, is a job Barack Obama has assigned himself. His aides, notably John Brennan, his counter-terrorism adviser, portray it as a matter of taking responsibility—if we are going to assassinate someone, or call in a drone strike to take out a camp in Yemen, the President should make the call—as if our only alternative were some sort of rogue operation, with generals or C.I.A. agents shooting at will. But responsibility involves accountability, which is something, in this case, that appears to be badly lacking. Obama has not taken on a burden, but instead has given the Presidency a novel power.

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