February 04, 2010

Obama, Barack Obama: Shaken, Not Stirred

Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair testifying to Congress on Wednesday:

Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said in each case a decision to use lethal force against a U.S. Citizen must get special permission...He also said there are criteria that must be met to authorize the killing of a U.S. citizen that include "whether that person is involved in a group that is trying to attack us, whether that American is a threat to other Americans. Those are the factors involved."

The special permission must come from the President or someone like that, which is definitely reassuring. It's not from a court, however, which makes it less so. There's that whole Due Process Clause, after all. No one shall be denied life, liberty or property without...hey, it's the very first one. It seems that President Obama has been given a License to Kill, which previously had been granted, other than in a time of declared war, only to agents with a Double O rating. Now the Obama Administration has decided the 9/11 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) is good enough. Man, that piece of paper has been given a workout. Anyway, here's some mood music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii1tc493bZM. If you open that in a separate window, you can listen along while you're reading.

Well, now that I see how things are, let me make a couple of things clear. I'm NOT a member of al-Qaeda, never have been. I don't like the guys. Hate 'em. Wish I could put that in a meta-tag, so the NSA would be sure to find it. I used to know how to do some basic HTML, but I can't remember, for the life of me, how to do it now. An unfortunate turn of phrase, I guess.

Look, President O(O), I get a little grumpy, but it's only because I'm disappointed, you know? I lo-o-o-ve this country, love it, love it, love it. I'm definitely no threat at all, not to Americans most of all. And a member of an organized group? I'm a Democrat! So that deals with that.

Just for a couple of points of clarification: when Mr. Blair talks about Americans trying to "attack" "us," I'm going to assume that the attack part refers to physical attack. Am I right? And the "us," he means the whole of America, right, and not some, you know, particular ideological group or in-crowd or power elite or nothin' like that? I'm sure that's what he means. See, because once you go outside the Constitutional framework of the 5th and 14th Amendments (that Due Process thing - but look who I'm talking to! A Con law prof!), and start making up rules based on language that clearly is not in that 9/11 AUMF, and not in any federal statute, and not in the Constitution, and further, the rule you're making up is that you can gun down an American based on the suspicion (and it's only that, because there's certainly been no trial, hearing, nothing) the American is part of a group that threatens America ---

Okay, just for a moment here I'm feeling a little like Captain Mandrake when he realizes why the world has to end, after all. Back to what I was trying to say: I'm sure you'll do fine with this new power, right, license, whatever it is. I'm glad it's you, if it has to be somebody. (It has to be somebody, right? Okay.) I admit I didn't see this one coming, and I'm a little surprised no one in Congress really said anything. Is this Standard Operating Procedure now? We wake up one day and discover the President has the right to put out a hit on an American citizen anywhere in the world (or shoot the guy himself, which would be cooler, more Bondian - you look great in a tux, by the way, Prez! Is the music still running?) and no one says a thing? So the whole rigmarole the Bush Administration went through with Padilla -- you've got a more efficient way to deal with that now?

Look, I'm just trying to understand. I don't have a problem with it, obviously, given my extreme patriotic nature. Count me in as one of "us," you know? Oh, and one olive or two?

1 comment:

  1. hammerud3:55 PM

    Policies like this open the door for all sorts of abuse. We're losing it as a country. Is there some reason we should think this statement is reasonable? Oh, I forgot, we are Americans. Our leaders can be trusted to rightly define what "attack us" and "threat" means. Is anybody awake? God help us.