Americans today have come face to face with a disturbing truth that those of us concerned with liberty have suspected for a long time. It has come to light that an official memo circulating within the administration justified drone strikes on American citizens suspected of terrorism as “legal,” “ethical” and “wise.”. The Memo, which was surprisingly revealed by Obama’s own state-run media, laid out the rather vague circumstances in which un-manned aerial aircraft can eliminate someone without a trial, without due process, and even without intelligence as to whether or not they present an imminent threat to American national security. The official DOJ white paper can be found here: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf
Article II, section 4 of the Constitution states that “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” And it is my controversial contention that Obama and his justice department’s blatant violations of the V, VI, and VIII (not to mention his disdain for the I, II, and most of Article III) qualifies as a high crime. Still, I doubt he will be impeached until his followers in the media abandon him.
Of course, one is likely to accuse me of hyperbole, over-reaction, and irresponsible impulsivity. Fair enough. Let’s hear your argument then, shall we? First, who cares about the rights of terrorists! They hate America, would happily kill other American citizens, and would probably be given the death penalty anyway. Why not save some time and take them out? Second, why are drones objectionable when presumably the only lives lost are those of the enemy? Sure, a civilian may be in the wrong place at the wrong time now and then, but these are risks we all have to take. Third, if we do not keep up the drone warfare, other countries will get ahead of us and use them against us. They will prey on our “weakness.” Fourth, drones can be used by the private and public sectors to run surveillance and enforcement in ways that would otherwise be cost prohibitive and difficult to do in any practical manner. This is especially true in policing America’s borders and enforcing land use regulations.
Well said, my friend, but at the end of the day I am completely unpersuaded. First, by making exceptions to the rule of law for the killing of American terrorists who do not present an imminent threat to U.S. national security the terrorists ultimately win. Our fear of them causes us to abandon the very law that upholds and orders the liberty we are meant to defend. I believe this is more important than killing terrorists for some illusion of national security. And indeed, it is certainly an illusion.
Second, the extraordinary number of civilian deaths caused by drone strikes in the Middle East and elsewhere has inspired and created more terrorists than it has killed.
Third, we could just as easily produce anti-drone technologies as the drones themselves. Why not scrap them for the sake of liberty, instead of throwing liberty out the window for the sake of a false security? Yes, other countries will take advantage of us. But I disagree with the assumption that the best defense is a good offense. The best defense is the best defense.
Fourth, the use of drones by the private sector and by regulatory agencies is terrifying. Who honestly believes such power will not corrupt as it always has? Consider the story of Plato’s Ring of Gyges or Tolkien’s Ring of Power. The premise is no different. We, as fallen human beings, do not possess the moral compass to wield this authority and should therefore run from it.
The drones do not defend liberty, but undermine it at every turn. This is why Obama so enthusiastically supports their use, why he views the Constitution more as a suggestion and obstruction than a law, and liberty more as a problem than a fundamental basis of human personhood and dignity. He, along with Janet Napolitano and Eric Holder among others, should be impeached and removed from office for the good of the union, for the promotion of peace, and for the sake of a truly ordered and enduring liberty.
It will be said that my words are uncivil, ungenerous, and unbecoming of deliberative democracy. Indeed they are, but the enemies of liberty feed on such reservations. Violence is not the answer of course, the rule of law and Constitutional democracy provide all the necessary tools for overcoming the enemies of liberty and order. We need only have the courage, moral discernment, and will to use them.