Chris Mathews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” defended the use of drones to target American citizens with the analogy “If an American were to have put on a Nazi uniform, what would you do?”
I will answer his question.
If an American were to have joined the Waffen SS during WWII, as say a Captain, I would treat him like any other Nazi Captain. Were we to encounter him on a battlefield I would shoot at him. If I killed him, it would justified as an act of war. If I were to capture him, I would try him for treason in a military court under the Uniform Code of Justice as is fully recognized by the international community in the form of the Geneva Conventions. It is called “due process.”
We have some experience at this. We captured spies for Nazi Germany in WWII, including double agents who were American citizens and we tried them in court.
What the drone program is is an unabashed widespread assassination program . . . an out-of-control assassination program. At one point in this country we disavowed the use of assassinations altogether to further out foreign policies and we have never before considered assassinating Americans.
Certainly I would not go after some low level opponent with a $4,000,000 Predator Drone and shoot $68,000 Hellfire missiles at him, when a bullet or a trial will do the same thing. But, hey, I am cheap.
One also has to ask about picking the targets. I kind of understand the targeting of Anwar al-Aulaqi (or al-Awlaki), after all he was a Islamic clergyman who as a “propagandist” made really unfair videos saying nasty things about us and un-friending him on Facebook just wouldn’t do, but two weeks after we killed him we also killed his 16-year old son? Obviously the son was a terrorist mastermind who needed a $68,000 Hellfire missile shot at him. Reportedly we also allow some of our military “partners” to pick their own targets.
Is there any doubt this is out of control?
I have an idea! Let’s just not assassinate anyone.
Gosh, won’t that mean there are people out their plotting to do us harm and we are just letting them? Yes. It worked like a charm for the 200 or so years before 2001. Obviously the tradegy of 9-11-01 required us to make some improvements in our ability to anticipate such moves, but mass assassinations is not an acceptable practice in my mind. This is a lot like any kind of hatred or bigotry. Until you do something, you might have had impure thoughts, but you have broken no laws.
It is not about them, damn it; this is about us. What kind of people do we want to be? Upstanding people of high character who are willing take a little risk to preserve our principles, or sniveling justifiers of anything to “stay safe?”