According to Scott Shane of the New York Times, Team Obama had planned to bequeath the secret tome to Romney in particular and future presidents in general, outlining the who, what, when, where, why and how of assassination-by-drone. The article did not say whether Barry planned to personally pass the volume to Mitt under cover of darkness on Inauguration Day, or just discreetly leave it behind in the executive throne room, wedged between copies of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
Two unnamed Administration officials leaked to Shane that there has been quite a bit of internal disagreement about whether executing people is the right thing to do. Therefore, they are still going ahead with their plans for a cover-their-ass rule book. But with the recent electoral victory, it will now be a leisurely process. After all, what's the hurry when the War on Terror is slated to go on indefinitely?
The planned codification of assassination by presidential fiat is not even a new revelation. The existence of a "Disposition Matrix" was leaked to the media right before Election Day. According to The Washington Post,
"Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the 'disposition matrix'.
"The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. US officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the 'disposition' of suspects beyond the reach of American drones."Former CIA Director David Petraeus was effectively running the drone strike program as part of the spy agency's transformation into an unaccountable branch of the military; his ouster may serve to rein the attacks in somewhat, Shane theorizes.
Although President Obama officially refuses to even confirm the existence of the drone program, he's not above humblebragging about it in entertainment venues. As Shane notes, (without a trace of irony) Obama even went on Comedy Central's The Daily Show just last month to schmooze about it with Jon Stewart. Meanwhile, the writing of the Official White House Assassination Handbook is so fraught with anal retention that draft copies are being carried by hand from office to office. There will be no email trail, no mountains of evidence to furnish to nosy reporters and civil rights lawyers under the Freedom of Information Act. The president will continue on in his accustomed Orwellian doublespeak mode.
But if things start getting too dicey for him, what with the ACLU lawsuit and the looming United Nations human rights probe into the Kill List, perhaps he can have his fan base spring into action. He did just ask them to participate in his Grand Betrayal of safety net cuts, after all. Any day now, our in-boxes will be bombed with Obama for America drone bomb appeals. Just a few small edits to their last appeal should do the trick:
Right now, President Obama is working with leaders of both parties in Washington to
reduce the deficit in a balanced wayto codify clear standards and procedures for targeted drone strikes so we can lay the foundation for long-term middle-class job growth and prevent your taxes from going up.the inevitable destruction of the Bill of Rights to make you think you are safe from terror.
Your voice and action helped re-elect President Obama, and hundreds of thousands of you have already responded to our survey, which will help shape our next steps as well as justify giving myself unprecedented imperial powers. Thanks to your feedback, we're taking immediate action on one of your suggestions: keeping you
informedin the dark about how the President is fighting for you by secretly killing Muslim males of military age so you can continue to talk to your friends, family, and neighbors. So here's the deal:
I believe in a fair shot and a fair shake. Deciding which militants to kill and which New Deal programs to obliterate will be given equal time. As I have made perfectly clear, all deaths will be approached in a balanced, bipartisan way. The elimination of both suspected militants and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is my mandate, as perceived by me and accepted by you via your votes.
These problems are challenging, but they're solvable. In fact, the Senate has already passed bills to keep your taxes low and keep suspected enemies of the state indefinitely detained without trial. The House needs to pass it, and Congress should get it to the President as soon as possible to give both this President and future Presidents some utterly bogus legal cover.
There's a lot at stake. With yourYes, I am exaggerating. But don't discount some form of public disinformation campaign coming down the pike pretty soon. The only thing holding Obama back is the supreme difficulty of spewing propaganda over an illegal policy he wants you to blindly accept without even acknowledging its very existence. He wants you to believe he cares about due process even as he willfully disdains it. Said a very Orwellian Obama to CNN last month:
helpcomplicity, we'll continue to move this country forward, trample on human rights, and trumpet American Exceptionalism the wide world over. Please forward this email and spread the wordpropaganda on Facebook and Twitter. Escape the Safety Net and become a Safety Nut for Obama!
Our most powerful tool over the long term to reduce the terrorist threat is to live up to our values and to be able to shape public opinion not just here but around the world that senseless violence is not a way to resolve political differences. And so it’s very important for the President and for the entire culture of our national security team to continually ask tough questions about, are we doing the right thing? Are we abiding by rule of law? Are we abiding by due process? And then set up structures and institutional checks so that you avoid any kind of slippery slope into a place where we’re not being true to who we are.One of the most chilling aspects of the drone program is that the administration has decreed that all military-age males are presumed to be terrorists unless they are proven innocent.... post-mortem! Since the Kill List does not even officially exist, the White House is conveniently under no obligation to investigate, let alone apologize to, the hundreds or thousands of "collaterally damaged" human beings who've have the bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As other commenters have pointed out, the blowback from the victims and their relatives is a matter not of if, but of when. Make no mistake. Our own government is waging a campaign of state-sponsored terrorism. We have become what we claim to abhor. Lecturing other countries about their own human rights records is no longer even an option.
This White House leak to the media of the planned codification of its drone assassination policy for the edification of future presidents is a pathetic attempt to justify the unjustifiable.