According to an Obama Administration "white paper" sent to Congress and leaked to NBC News last night, the president or some other unnamed high-ranking official (probably CIA nominee John Brennan) get to decide when, where and why they can kill you. They just don't want to get too specific, because your death is really none of your business. Their twisted logic is based on an amorphous free-floating imminence, not to be mistaken for its right-now-this-very-minute cousin known as imminent threat. There is hoi polloi self-defense and executive self-defense, which can mean anything that the president wants it to.
This is disturbing. The guy pleading the national case for gun control has dirty hands. The guy should probably recuse himself from the debate forthwith. The guy has no moral standing. He's under investigation by the United Nations for possible war crimes, for crying out loud.
We may not be able to prevent every massacre or random shooting. No law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe. But if there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save, we’ve got an obligation to try. -- Barack Obama, Minneapolis, Feb. 4, 2013.
Were the target of a lethal operation a U.S. citizen who might have rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourth Amendment, that individual's citizenship would not immunize him from a lethal operation.... we recognize that there is no private interest more weighty than a person's interest in his life. But that interest must be balanced against the United States' interest in forestalling the threat of violence to other Americans. -- Obama Administration memo to Congress, leaked Feb. 4, 2013.
So, Barack Obama meant what he said yesterday about not being able to prevent every massacre. That "balanced approach" shtick keeps rearing its ugly head, doesn't it? We must weigh the survival of impoverished old people against the equal needs of obscenely rich plutocrats. We must annihilate brown-skinned children over there, so that the affluent parents of white children over here can maintain an illusion of safety. We must honor the agendas of hate groups like the NRA by not banning outright the purchase of assault weapons, but at the same time make it a little harder for a mass murderer by reducing the size of his clips.
Although the assault weapons ban itself is widely considered DOA, it is still scheduled for a vote this Thursday -- coincidentally, on the very same day that John Brennan will be "grilled" over both his complicity on Bush-era torture and the targeted assassinations by drone before being confirmed and then advised, by bipartisan consensus, to Carry On Jeeves.
Senators can thus pretend to be against letting ordinary people possess military weapons, and then they can pretend to rail against both the secrecy of targeted killings and the targeted killings themselves. Stay tuned for a rare exciting double feature in C-Span's continuing soap opera series known as Congressional Kabuki.