The Rachel Maddow Show filled in some facts I couldn’t recall for my last post on drone assassinations. (Thank you, TRMS!) According to Ms. Maddow it was the Church Committee report of 1976 that found that attempts to assassinate foreign leaders were, well, “those actions were inconsistent with American values and inconsistent with the law and with the Constitution.” Subsequently President Ford created an Executive Order banning such activities.
This notwithstanding, the policies of “targeted killings” (don’t you just love living in an age when torture is called “enhanced interrogation” and assassinations are called “targeted killings;” soon I expect snipers to be called “individual target acquisition specialists”) are still being defended as “the last resort to save American lives.”
Really? Well, what would we have done 20 years ago when there was no drone program? Are there really no other options? Are we really powerless without the drone programs?
What I think the answer is that killing . . . assassinating . . . someone via drone is just easier. No one has to go in harm’s way and all it costs is money, and the Republicans and Democrats both make sure the Pentagon always has plenty of that to throw around. Who knows what the CIA gets for covert ops, that budget is secret.
In the case of Anwar al-Aulaqi’s (or al-Awlaki’s) 16-year old son. Mr. al-Aulaqi had renounced his American citizenship, so he could be considered a foreign national and member of a terrorist organization but his son was born when he was an American citizen, so he was an American citizen and not old enough to legally renounce it himself. At 16-years of age, I hardly think this young person posed an imminent threat to the United States. The CIA makes mistakes. The President makes mistakes. “The War on Terror” has the entire globe as a battlefield and continual appointment of the President as Commander in Chief (an office the Constitution states he hold only during time of war). Which is why we need better oversight.
And I still think that all assassinations, no matter what you call them, are “inconsistent with American values and inconsistent with the law and with the Constitution.”