The Dictators’ Drones
Partisanship leads to mass delusion.
The “targeted” drone runs of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama have killed thousands of innocent people in foreign lands — without a declaration of war.
The main theme of Greg Greenwald’s terrific and much-tweeted Guardian article, “Obama: a GOP president should have rules limiting the kill list,” is how Americans have deluded themselves by partisan loyalty and trust into caring about constitutional limits only when thinking about “the other guys.” Democrats fear Republicans in charge, but not their own “Messiah” (to use Andy Levy’s term for the president, on RedEye).
Republicans fear The Socialist Kenyan with his finger on the button, setting off cluster bombs and cruise missiles and the like, but applauded the previous, “Texan” president’s bombing runs a great thing, just what the War on Terror required.
But of course, when drone strikes in multiple Muslim countries kill thousands, when innocents are killed “collaterally” (the previous euphemism) but are redefined as “terrorists” because of proximity or familial relationships, and when even American citizens overseas are targeted for kills without any legal framework for such decisions, something has gotten out of hand.
The president is now above the law, like a Roman emperor. Might as well call him “dictator” and let it go at that.
Both progressives and conservatives need to be reminded that the rule of law — as “inconvenient” as it may seem when it comes to fighting terrorism — is there to protect all of us, including those who wield power.
And not merely from others. Also from ourselves.
Why? Power tends to corrupt. No one is immune. And who seeks to be corrupted?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.