Before the 2012 election, Obama told John Stewart of The Daily Show: “one of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making.”
In a development that will shock nobody, no such legal architecture has been put in place to “reign in” Obama or any future POTUS.
Obama’s drone wars have killed more than 2400 civilians in countries that pose no threat to us and with whom we are not at war, and continue to mock international law and the U.S. constitution.
Among those targeted and killed have been United States citizens.
So what version of legal twister could the White House staff come up with to justify the President to be judge, jury, and executioner of people- including American Citizens- all over the world? For those of you (including Obama, apparently) who justify our drone wars as self defense, then let me ask you this:
How do you define self-defense? Think about it for a second.
Perhaps we should frame the question differently: Under what conditions can we justify the use of violence in our personal lives? I’m certainly no legal expert, but say a person breaks into your house looking to do you harm. Before you know what has happened, they have killed your brother. Sequences of nerve cells fire off shooting adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. Somehow your mind remembers, and your body approximates, some middle school karate kata and you render the intruder defenseless. Scrubbing the blood drippings from your carpet, you call the police, and some form of justice is administered.
We would all agree that is self-defense, yes? A justified (in the moral and legal sense term) use of force.
Now imagine it is years later that it is you breaking into someone’s house. It is not the home of the person who broke into your house, but it is in the same zip code.
Well it might be.
Actually, it is a few zip codes away from the where the person who broke into your house lives, but you want to make sure no one from this zip code ever breaks into your house again. And actually, you are not personally breaking in, your highly armored remote control plane is. You are sitting at home in yourSponge Bob underwear controlling the weapon with an x-box controller stuffing your face with Cheetos and scratching your groin.
You hover quietly for a few days, just staring at the resident, and then without warning you press a few buttons on your joystick and fire at the resident of the home, who – after all, lives in the same zip code as that person who broke into you’re your house all those years ago. You are more accurate with this rocket launcher compared to the shock and awe megaton bombs you used to drop in this neighborhood (or was it another neighborhood?) but this rocket business is still pretty messy and things get pretty broken and lots of people die.
Today, your rocket launcher fires, goes through the a window next to the residents head and hits an elementary school outside, killing the lucky and maiming many more.
This does not morally trouble you, and you are able to sleep easy at night knowing that no one from that zip code has broken into your home since you began your campaign in that zip code.
An international committee awards you a prize for promoting peace in the world, and you have an extra spring in your step having won an election for the second time that will allow you to oversee that kill list for another four years while enjoying restful nights sleep in a large white home at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.