The Campaign Spot

Double-O-bama: Self-Licensed to Kill

It’s a special Morning Jolt today. First, a genuinely surprising development, as there seems to be almost-bipartisan objections to the Obama administration’s assertion that they can kill a U.S. citizen with a drone, as long as an executive branch official is pretty sure they’re involved with terrorism.

Double-O-bama: Self-Licensed to Kill

Let me throw you a curveball by quoting Adam Serwer of Mother Jones, reacting to the administration’s release of its legal justification to kill Americans believed to be involved with terror without a trial, by drone:

The Obama administration claims that the secret judgment of a single ”well-informed high level administration official” meets the demands of due process and is sufficient justification to kill an American citizen suspected of working with terrorists. That procedure is entirely secret. Thus it’s impossible to know which rules the administration has established to protect due process and to determine how closely those rules are followed. The government needs the approval of a judge to detain a suspected terrorist. To kill one, it need only give itself permission. 

Of course, the hypocrisy of most liberals doesn’t get us off the hook on the need to have a coherent view on this. Okay, conservatives, big question now:  If this were President Romney, would we be shrugging, concerned, complaining or screaming? I think “concerned.” At the very least, you would want another set of eyes – the House or Senate intelligence committees, or some independent judges – taking a look at the presidential “kill list,” right? At least for the American citizens?

Our Charles C.W. Cooke: “In case my position isn’t obvious: I am appalled by any president possessing the unilateral power to kill American citizens extrajudicially.”

Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, puts it rather bluntly: “Every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them.”

That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

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