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Four More Years of Entrenching the Extra-Judicial Assassination Policy

Glenn Greenwald writes about the Obama adminstration's use of extra-judicial assassinations and how this policy results in the USA having to support its use by allies and makes it the height of hypocrisy when we wish to criticize "rogue" nations on human rights.

Extra-judicial assassination - accompanied by the wanton killing of whatever civilians happen to be near the target, often including children - is a staple of the Obama presidency. That lawless tactic is one of the US president's favorite instruments for projecting force and killing whomever he decides should have their lives ended: all in total secrecy and with no due process or oversight. There is now a virtually complete convergence between US and Israeli aggression, making US criticism of Israel impossible not only for all the usual domestic political reasons, but also out of pure self-interest: for Obama to condemn Israel's rogue behavior would be to condemn himself.

It is vital to recognize that this is a new development. The position of the US government on extra-judicial assassinations long had been consistent with the consensus view of the international community: that it is a savage and lawless weapon to be condemned regardless of claims that it is directed at "terrorists".


That US condemnation of Israel's targeted killing came, by the way, from the George W. Bush administration.

Obama - the killer of Anwar al-Awlaki, Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman, and countless other innocent men, women, teenagers and children - could not possibly condemn Israeli actions in Gaza without indicting himself. Extra-judicial assassinations, once roundly condemned by US officials, are now a symbol of the Obama presidency, as the US and Israel converge more than ever before: if not in interests, than certainly in tactics.

Sadly, i think that if Romney had won, there would have been more pushback, not by elected Democrats, but by Democratic bloggers and journalists, on drone killings, just because it is easier to demonize the actions of the other side than to be critical of the abhorrent actions of your own side.

Dennis Kucinich has his own piece on the Guardian today, as well.

According to news reports, President Obama maintains a list of alleged militants to be assassinated. Some are US citizens. None will get to plead his case. The president tells us to trust that this is all perfectly legal and constitutional, even though Congress is not allowed to see any legal justification. The weapon of choice in these assassinations: remote-controlled planes called drones.

The targeted killing of suspects by the United States is slowly and quietly becoming institutionalized as a permanent feature of the US counterterrorism strategy. Unless members of Congress begin to push back, such killings will continue - without any oversight, transparency or accountability. Victims of drone strikes - including US citizens - are secretly stripped of their right to due process and are arbitrarily deprived of their life, in violation of international human rights law.

The attempted characterization of drones as a precise weapon is irrelevant and chilling because it values the alleged high-tech efficiency of the killing above the rule of law.


These strikes do not occur in a vacuum. They have very real consequences for our long-term national security. In Pakistan, they have fueled significant anti-American sentiment and serve as a powerful recruitment tool for terrorists. According to some estimates, our drone strikes have resulted in the death and injury of thousands of innocent civilians.

We must reject the notion that Congress and the American people have to be kept in the dark when it comes to modern warfare. We must begin with a full and robust debate on the ramifications of these policies. We must insist upon full accountability and transparency.

Didn't Obama promise transparency at the start of his presidency? Between this and the administration's vigorous prosecution of whistleblowers (whilst letting CIA interrogators walk), i don't think i like Obama's version of accountability and transparency. But, i suppose i have another 4 years to get used to it.

By min | November 16, 2012, 11:32 AM | Liberal Outrage