Monday, November 26, 2012

President Obama Briefly Worried That His Unaccountable, Murderous Power Might Fall Into Republican Hands

President Obama Briefly Worried That His Unaccountable, Murderous Power Might Fall Into Republican Hands:
Drone aftermath in PakistanThe first 61 words of this chilling and banal
New York Times
are a perfect distillation of how grotesque power
appears in the eye of Americans who wield it:
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 matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6.
A reminder to most Democrats who spent 2002-08 telling us that
abuse of executive
was at or near the top of the nation's most urgent moral
concerns: You just didn't mean it.
Yuk yukMore from the
"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. [...]
"One of the things we've got to do is put a legal architecture
in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to
make sure that not only am I reined in but any president's reined
in terms of some of the decisions that we're making," Mr. Obama
told Jon Stewart in an
appearance on “The Daily Show”
 on Oct. 18.
In an interview with Mark Bowden for a new book on the killing
of Osama bin Laden, "The Finish,"
Mr. Obama said that "creating a legal structure, processes, with
oversight checks on how we use unmanned weapons, is going to be a
challenge for me and my successors for some time to come."
The point of constitutional governance is that the legal
structure for and oversight of executive power is not a task for
the executive itself. The fact that a president (and former
constitutional law professor) would think otherwise vividly
illustrates how far from that bedrock concept we have