In a rare moment of intestinal fortitude, the Washington Post is publishing an explosive (an operative word here) series on a cool Hollywood-sounding "disposition matrix,"
. . . .a next-generation targeting list . . . designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.(First two parts of the series are available here & here)
“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said.A.K.A. "We can't possibly kill everyone we want to."
The official continued:
“It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”Glad we've finally reached the realization that things like torture and kill lists have rendered our global moral standing non-existent.
As if we haven't become desensitized enough to killing (see the Collateral Murder video of U.S. Apache helicopter soldiers gunning down civilians like they were playing Call of Duty), former Bushie and now Obama's Assassination Czar John O. Brennan (who sees eye-to-eye with Obama) has designed a how to kill without due process "playbook."
The “playbook,” as Brennan calls it, will lay out the administration’s evolving procedures for the targeted killings that have come to define its fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.I supposed it's better than having no written criteria for who gets droned, but the "evolving procedures" are hardly reassuring for anyone trying to predict whether or not they're going to be assassinated without charge or trial. I used to be worried that the ever-expanding Executive powers Obama has taken would be available to his successor - whether in four months, or four years - but now Brennan, with Obama's blessing, is engaging in a concerted effort to guide future administrations in the process of killing people.
The rabbit hole is even deeper when one considers that the Obama administration still insists in court that the totally public practice of targeted assassination is in fact highly-classified. Talk about using the classification system to further your evil designs.
Having myself been mistakenly put on a terrorist watchlist, forgive my skepticism about the ever-changing pseudo-secret kill list. An Obama administration official finally admitted that sometimes the "kill list" attacks hit the wrong target, like the American-born teenage son of Anwar al-Awlaki (also a drone victim):
Two administration officials said that CIA drones were responsible for two of the most controversial attacks in Yemen in 2011 — one that killed American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and a second a few days later that killed his 16-year-old son, also an American citizen. One of the officials called the second attack “an outrageous mistake. . . . They were going after the guy sitting next to him.”Oops. Your life is over. (There's a difference between an accident and an unforgivable f***-up).
WaPo describes Brennan's "contribution:"
But to a young administration new to the secret details of national security threats and responsibilities, Brennan was a godsend.I would submit the citizens of Pakistan and innocent people swept up in the kill list "playbook" would suspect Brennan was sent by someone else. At least innocent people no longer have to worry about spending years languishing in the black hole of Gitmo; they will simply be wiped from the face of the earth.
Obama has solved the "What are we going to do with him?" problem and eliminated all those messy legal difficulties of how to criminally try people who we've kidnapped and tortured.
Then there's the ludicrous implication that the "spread of democracy abroad" (isn't that why we're fighting in the first place?) is what caused CIA to happily transform from an intelligence-gathering organization to a junta-style paramilitary group of hit men:
The Arab spring has upended U.S. counterterrorism partnerships in countries including Egypt where U.S. officials fear al-Qaeda could establish new roots.WaPo's series demonstrates the institutionalization of extra-constitutional assassination on an industrial scale. The government-sponsored scientific "justification" for killing people.
If any commenters want me to "hold my fire" until after November 6th, I will when the Obama administration ceases the drones' fire.