At last we know. The mysterious legal authority for Barack Obama’s killer drone program flows from another administration with an elastic interpretation of executive power: that of Richard Nixon.
In a chilling 16-page dossier known simply as the White Paper, one of Obama’s statutory brains at the Justice Department cites the 1969 secret bombing of Cambodia as a legal rationale justifying drone strikes, deep inside nations, against which the United States is not officially at war.
This startling disclosure is drafted in the antiseptic prose of an insurance adjuster announcing the denial of a claim based on a pre-existing condition. Yet, the bombing of Cambodia (aka Operation Menu), which involved more than 3,000 air strikes, was almost universally acknowledged as a war crime. Now the Obama administration has officially enshrined that atrocity as precedent for its own killing rampages.
Since Obama’s election, the CIA has overseen nearly 320 drone strikes in Pakistan alone, killing more than 3,000 people, as many as 900 of them civilians. Among the dead are at least 176 children. Assassination was never this easy, never so risk-free.
George W. Bush was mocked by liberals for calling himself the Decider. Bush deployed this pathetic bit of oil slang to defend himself against accusations that Cheney and his coterie of Neo-Cons were calling the shots in the Iraq war. But was Bush’s posturing any more absurd than the image of Obama piously consulting the homilies of Aquinas, as he personally checks off the names on his drone kill list and watches streaming videos of the writhing bodies shredded by Hellfire missiles?
Bush’s murderous psyche at least presented presented itself for analysis and explication. Perhaps W’s blood lust stemmed from a Freudian fixation on Saddam’s pathetic attempt to off his father in Kuwait City. Perhaps it was warped by spasms of subconscious guilt over allowing 9/11 to occur on his watch. What, however, is the driving force behind Obama’s savagery? Unlike Bush, who tended to show revealing glimpses of emotional strain, Obama operates with the icy rectitude of a political sociopath.
In Obama’s game of drones, the atrocities in the name of empire seem consciously geared to some deep political algorithm of power and death.
The Left remains largely insensate to the moral and constitutional transgressions being committed by their champion, leaving only the faintly ludicrous figure of Rand Paul to offer official denunciations against these malignant operations. For his troubles, Paul’s admirable filibuster against the nomination of John Brennan, master of the drones, to head the CIA is ridiculed as an exercise in paranoia by the likes of Frank Rich and Lawrence O’Donnell.
The professional Left, from the progressive caucus to the robotic minions of Moveon.org, lodge no objections and launch no protests over the administration’s acts of sanctimonious violence against the empire’s enemies.
Worse, they behave like political eunuchs, offering groveling tributes and degrading supplications to their Master, even as Obama defiles their ideological aspirations.~ from The Game of Drones by Jeffrey St. Clair ~