Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's Not Just The Hypocrisy - It's The Illegality

It's clear that Barack Obama's drone warfare policy isn't just flagrantly hypocritical, it exceeds his legal mandate to make war.
Holder wanted terrorism relegated to the criminal-justice system, as it had been before Bush pivoted to a law-of-war paradigm. According to the pre-2009 Holder, if an enemy-combatant terrorist, particularly an American citizen, is encountered away from a traditional battlefield, the Constitution demands that he be given the rights of a criminal defendant. Executive action against him may be taken only under judicial supervision. Yes, Holder conceded, this might mean that the government will be barred from detaining and interrogating many a “dangerous terrorist.” And yes, it risks the reprise of 9/11’s slaughter of nearly 3,000 Americans. “But,” he blithely concluded, “our Nation has always been prepared to accept some risk as the price of guaranteeing that the Executive does not have arbitrary power to imprison citizens.
Ah, but arbitrary power to kill citizens — now, that’s a different story.

We could go on all day about chutzpah. Holder and Obama used to sneer that Bush/Cheney counterterrorism posed a “false choice” between our security and “our values.” Now, they’ve decided not only that the commander-in-chief’s war powers extend beyond “hot battlefields” to anyplace on the planet the president chooses, but also that the last thing we need is judicial oversight. After all, the white paper declaims, “matters intimately related to foreign policy and national security are rarely proper subjects for judicial intervention” and “turn on standards that defy judicial application.”


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