Our Guy Administers Kill Lists Perfectly -- Your Guy Couldn't
While Constitutional watchdogs are having a difficult time getting any information on President Obama's kill lists, the New York Times is having no difficulty finding a cooperative White House. From that paper's front page story this weekend:
Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.
The attempt to write a formal rule book for targeted killing began last summer after news reports on the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, revealed some details of the president’s role in the shifting procedures for compiling “kill lists” and approving strikes. Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized, a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency.
“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.
Mr. Obama himself, in little-noticed remarks, has acknowledged that the legal governance of drone strikes is still a work in progress.
Yes, it really is as simple as this. Apparently Democrats can be trusted to kill 2,500 people with drones (that's the actual figure since Obama took office) but Republicans can't. It makes sense if you think about it real hard, I guess.
As for me, I think the Founding Fathers were on to something with their ideas about constraining government power:
"In questions of power...let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution" -- Thomas Jefferson: Kentucky Resolutions, 1798.
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty" -- John Adams, Journal, 1772
Of course, I'm sure they would have carved out an exception for Barack Obama, too.