"Bush tortured. Obama kills"
Super post from Gaius Publius. Ron Wyden's questions caught my eye:
A number of senators have questions about this policy (and they damn well better). Among them Senator Wyden (D-OR). He’s asking publicly:
“[H]ow much evidence does the President need to decide that a particular American is part of a terrorist group?”
“[D]oes the President have to provide individual Americans with the opportunity to surrender?”
“[C]an the President order intelligence agencies or the military to kill an American who is inside the United States?”
Think about those questions. The first one doesn’t specify “foreign” terrorists, and suggests that the definition of “terrorist” is, as Rachel Maddow noted in one of her features on this, a problem of “identity”— who you are in your heart, not what you did or plan to do. The second question is stunning — can I give myself up to save my life? Not if I don’t know I’m on the list to begin with.
And the third question addresses the obvious next step after we allow U.S. citizens to be targeted — can kills be done within the U.S., if they’re not already doing so?
Even Rachel Maddow gets that something's gone very, very wrong:
"[MADDOW:] We are not known for torturing people any more. What we are known for, in the Obama era, is killing them.
And so there's this:
If you trace Bush’s preference for torture to a personality trait — remember those stories of child-Bush blowing up frogs? — to what do you trace Obama’s preference for kills? I don’t know about you, but this man scares me. We don’t have an archtypal story to hang this on, like we do with Bush and his frogs, but there’s something here that’s not right.
Bush was to the right of Clinton on military muscle and overreach. Obama is to the right of Bush. The next president will be to the right of Obama. That march will go to the sea, to the last outpost, to the edge.
Yep. I do think this can be stopped, and I do think it can be stopped through strategic non-violence; but the institutional/organizational vehicles are not clear to me. Still, let us remember that the "Arab Spring" and Occupy came "from nowhere."
NOTE * See this post on Obama's "dead eyes," noted independently by Montana Maven.