NBC News has gotten its hands on a white paper that’s being used to legitimize the Obama administration’s drone policy, and it’s a… doozy. Short version: members of terrorist groups actively attacking the United States (or our interests) can expect to be shot on sight; and that includes the members of terrorist groups that happen to also be American citizens. And the administration does not have the inclination, and does not feels that it has the need, to particularly clear with anybody their taking the shot if a suitable target hoves into view.
Mind you, I don’t disagree with the basic argument*… but then, I’m a neoconservative. I knew that my faction had won the foreign policy debate – shame it’s no longer being implemented by somebody competent – but I didn’t realize that it was this comprehensive a win. I in particular never expected to encounter this argument from this White House:
…the condition that an operation leader present an “imminent” threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future. Given the nature of, for example, the terrorist attacks on September 11, in which civilian airliners were hijacked to strike the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, this definition of imminence, which would require the United States to refrain from action until preparations for an attack are concluded, would not allow the United States sufficient time to defend itself.
Yes. From there it really is only a short jump to concluding And that’s why it was all right to topple the Hussein regime in Iraq.
Read the whole thing – and, if you’re a member of the antiwar movement, I have a personal request: video record yourself reading it. I’ve never actually watched somebody’s soul die a little, inside, and I’m morbidly curious to see what it looks like.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: I also should note: anybody can inflict pain. Being truly unpleasant requires only modest talent. Skill at inflicting mental cruelty is something that can be acquired through mere perseverance. But to use Hamdan v. Rumsfeld as your primary justification for drone strikes? That is the sadism one would expect from an artist.
*I have a problem on a practical level, though: drone strikes kill, but do not capture. There is a limited amount of information that you can get out of a burning corpse, and still less out a grease stain on the wall.