NR Digital

War-Power Paranoia

by Andrew C. McCarthy
The War on Terror has not brought with it a disturbing expansion of executive power, or any expansion at all

Zero. If you’re keeping score, that would be the number of American citizens assassinated so far by President Obama. Oddly enough, it turns out to be the same number of our countrymen killed by President Bush. It was during the latter’s administration that, according to National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson, we conservatives began falling into “dangerous error” in the indulgence of executive power. In Mr. Williamson’s telling, this wayward path has led to our “mute consent” in — and outright “cheering” of — President Obama’s reported authorization of the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and al-Qaeda terrorist.

But wait a second, it’s not just an authorization. In “Assassin-in-Chief” (Nov. 1, 2010), as well as in several similar treatments of this topic on NRO’s blog, the Corner, Mr. Williamson informs us that the president even has an assassination “plan” — and not just for Awlaki. Picking up steam, he further inflates the wartime authorization of the killing of a single jihadist — one tied to multiple terrorist plots, including the 9/11 attacks — into an assassination list. By the time he’s done, there’s no telling how many of us the capo di tutti capi–in–chief is fixing to rub out.