While I have never believed all the blather about President Obama being born in Kenya, being a Muslim or having not actually graduated from college or law school, it was mainly because these seemed politically motivated rumors and implausible given all we know about Barack Obama.
What is much more clear, and depending upon your take might be a sigh of relief or a shake your head in disgust is: he’s a perfect example of an All-American president. What I mean is he is proving to be the all-too-typical power hungry imperialist type we’ve suffered through often in our nation’s history – the most glaring example in modern times being the Nixon administration .
From the love affair the Obama administration developed with the appointment of “czars” to positions of unelected power in order to circumvent congressional oversight, to the use (and threat to ramp up the use) of “executive orders” to avoid working and negotiating with Congress, to the without-abandon use of drones to dispatch “enemies” that only the President gets to define and identify.
Could the Administration carry out drone strikes inside the United States?” Brennan’s response: “This Administration has not carried out drone strikes inside the United States and has no intention of doing so.”
The absolutely comical linguistic and legal contortions of CIA chief Brennan and the always purposely obtuse Attorney General Holder are all you need to know about the style and substance of our All-American president.
Obama’s Death Drone Dodge
Jacob Sullum|Mar. 13, 2013 7:00 am reason.com
Last month the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence gave John Brennan, the new CIA director, another opportunity to answer a question he had dodged at his confirmation hearing: “Could the Administration car out drone strikes inside the United States?” Brennan’s written response: “This Administration has not carried out drone strikes inside the United States and has no intention of doing so.”
When asked how far President Obama is legally allowed to go in marking suspected terrorists for death, his administration has responded, again and again, with a description of what he so far has chosen to do. It is this kind of maddening evasiveness that provoked the inspiring, attention-grabbing filibuster that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) staged last week, refusing to let Brennan’s confirmation proceed until the Obama administration deigned to address his questions about the president’s license to kill.
Although Paul declared“victory” and pronounced himself “quite happy” with the response he got from Attorney General Eric Holder last Thursday, very little was clarified. Here is the question that Holder chose to address in hisMarch 7 letter to Paul: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” Holder said “the answer to that question is no.”
That sounds straightforward, unless you realize that, according to the Obama administration, the people it identifies as members or allies of Al Qaeda (including “financiers“) are engaged in combat even when they are driving down the street or sitting in their homes, far from any active battlefield. The administration does not acknowledge any geographic limits on the president’s purported authority to issue death warrants.
Although the Justice Department’s leaked white paper about targeted killings focuses on people who pose an “imminent threat,” it defines that term so broadly that pretty much any alleged terrorist would qualify. In any case, the white paper emphasizes that the criteria it discusses are sufficient to order someone’s death but may not be necessary.
Hence all the questions about killing suspected terrorists inside the United States even when they do not pose an immediate threat of violence. The administration’s slippery responses to those questions have only reinforced the suspicion that Obama is trying to keep all his options open.
Asked if “drone strikes” are “allowed with citizens within the United States” during an online Q&A session on February 14, Obama said“there has never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil.” In a March 4 letterto Paul, Holder likewise declared that “the U.S. government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so.”
But Holder added that “in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack” such as 9/11, he would “examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the President on the scope of his authority” to order domestic military action. That phrasing suggests Holder was not talking about using deadly force to defend against an attack, which clearly would be justified.
If an airplane were about to crash into the Capitol, there would be neither the need nor the time to prepare a legal memo. So it’s a mystery what Holder was imagining when he raised this possibility.
The administration’s evasiveness reached comical heights at aMarch 6 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Responding to questions from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Holder repeatedly refused to say whether it would be constitutional to use lethal force against a suspected terrorist in the U.S. who is not carrying out an attack but merely “sitting in a café” or “walking down a pathway.” Holder conceded only that it would not be “appropriate.”
Finally, after Cruz had given up on getting a straight answer, Holder said, “Translate my ‘appropriate’ to no. I thought I was saying no.” I’m not sure what that means, but it still counts as the administration’s clearest response to date.