Friday, February 8, 2013

Drones And Our Philosopher King

It’s taken me several days to process the startling news of the leaked memo from the White House concerning our philosopher-king’s new and improved license to kill. It seems that the phrase “imminent danger” now means something closer to, “seems suspicious”.

With the rise of the drone as a neat, clean, killing tool, governments can now exert their will with a single machine rather than having to go to the expense and aggravation of marshaling troops and public opinion to support their foreign policy objectives. Under former President Bush, drones were used to go after Al-Qaeda types hiding in straw-roofed huts in Pakistan. This President has managed to make Bush look like a weak kneed pacifist, wracking up kill after kill of swarthy terrorist types along with any innocent friends and neighbors who were unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. Instead of Code Pink protesters swarming Pennsylvania Avenue with signs screaming, ”Obama=Murderer”, this killing frenzy has been greeted with silence by the left. But with the release of this memo, even the most sycophantic members of the loyal press are snapping out of their hero worship long enough to think about how awful this new power would be in the hands of a future (shudder) Republican President!

The new policy gives the President the authority to order drone strikes against even American citizens abroad who the President believes might be a threat to national security, but with the new meaning of words made famous by this administration, the lack of specific prohibitions against killing Americans on American soil gives pause. That slacker Bush toiled under the timid definition of “imminent threat” which restricted the kill order to Americans involved in activities that actually  constituted an imminent grave danger. For example, surveillance cameras pick up Joe packing the back of his van with a thousand sticks of dynamite, while on the front seat there’s a street map of Washington DC with the Pentagon circled by a red sharpee, along with a worn copy of the Koran. That’s an “imminent” threat. Under this new definition of “imminent”, all it might take is intelligence reports that Joe was seen in the middle east aisle of the local library checking out biographies of Bin Laden then going to an Arab film festival, smoking a Hookah pipe and drinking really strong coffee.

I’m fully aware that there are some weirdoes in America. Among my fellow citizens there lives every strata of social and political deviants known to exist on the planet. But, the idea that we would allow any one man or woman to possess the power of judge, jury, and executioner of one of our fellow citizens is an outrage and an insult to our founding documents. In the 236 year history of this nation, there isn’t one single President who I would trust with this power, and few who would even dare want such authority. With such flimsy evidentiary standards as those advanced in this memo, every American citizen should be appalled at so stunning a power grab, at such an evisceration of due process.

So far, the only thing we Americans can manage to be appalled by is the possible loss of the Hostess Twinkie.