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The president of the United States may, at any moment, decide that cities -- or for that matter all life on earth -- must perish in flames. We have lived in this world so long that it seems normal, even safe. But our technological situation is in fundamental tension with the rule of law.

That same tension -- technology versus legality -- surfaced again this week. NBC News revealed a Justice Department "white paper" summarizing the Obama Administration's legal position about the president's right to order another sort of lethal force: Predator drone strikes against individuals abroad -- including American citizens -- whom Obama finds to represent an "imminent threat of violent attack against the United States."

Press reaction has run a wide gamut -- from the Obama-is-a-wimp of John Yoo to the of-course-the-President-can-blow-up-anybody-he-wants of Eric Posner to the Obama-is-the-great-beast-of-Revelation of Charles Pierce. On Capitol Hill, the white paper hung darkly over John O. Brennan's confirmation hearings as director of Central Intelligence. As of Friday, negative public reaction seems to have pushed the administration into finally giving members of Congress the actual full-length memo from the Office of Legal Counsel that justifies the drone program, though the memo will still not be made public.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/02/trust-us...

Please read the article.

Peter
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The president of the United States may, at any moment, decide that cities -- or for that matter all life on earth -- must perish in flames. We have lived in this world so long that it seems normal, even safe. But our technological situation is in fundamental tension with the rule of law.

As aghast as I am about this assumed power to launch drone strikes to assassinate U.S. citizens abroad without review, I can't help but think about it in this context as well. For my entire life, the president has had the power to launch a nuclear strike that would, in effect, end all human life on Earth. To my knowledge, there's no formal check on that power.
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Don't hold him accountable.

My President is doing good job putting the pieces in place to police the radical Leftists and PA Mob types.

"Step out of line, the man come...and take you away" Buffalo Springfield.

Liberty?

LOL

Obama 2012

JediG
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For my entire life, the president has had the power to launch a nuclear strike that would, in effect, end all human life on Earth. To my knowledge, there's no formal check on that power.

Minimization example #36?

There are a ton of checks, both formal and informal against such both before and after such an attack.

The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that a nuclear strike, above everthing else, would be public, even if only after the fact, and would be subject to congressional review.

There is literally little to no intelligent comparison to the predetermined secret killing of civilians suspected of a future terrorist act and the defensive launching of a nuke while under immediate attack.

As the article states:

There is no hint that after-the-fact executive-branch review is important. There is no commitment to carry it out. There is no discussion of procedures to do it. In fact, the universe apparently contains no such concept. Once the Hellfire missile falls out of the sky, both the dead and the decision to kill them vanish in the flames.

This won't do.

A nation and an administration committed to the rule of law would insist on after-the-fact accountability somewhere, somehow. If the administration doesn't want the courts involved, then it needs to let us know what it proposes in their stead.


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It's an extremely good article, and I think it poses the proper questions in proper context.

It's ironic that we're witnessing this for President Obama, especially given his personal feelings and opinions stated as Senator. But like most people that grow up, he put away some of his liberal toys.

However, this is not an Obama question or problem. It's an American Constitutional question.

Personally, the targets so far have been just ones. But that's not the question. The question is, what happens if the targets are not just? What if they screw up? What happens if we get a particularly reckless President? What can we, as Citizens, do? What can anyone in government do?

Have we lost control of an out of control Executive Branch? That's the question.
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in effect, end all human life on Earth. To my knowledge, there's no formal check on that power


since ending ALL human life unlikely,
they're restrained by the fact that it
would ruin their historical legacy
?
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Have we lost control of an out of control Executive Branch? That's the question.


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All three branches are out of control.

The legislative branch has pretty much become the branch that writes laws that pertain to anyone but themselves.

The judicial branch only prosecutes political enemies or some bloke whose infraction is miniscule compared to those doing the prosecuting.

The executive branch flirts with totalitarian schemes.
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