Look to the Congress. It is Congress which decided individuals who frighten them (terrorists) should be dealt with by military force (the Authorization to Use Military Force) and, at the same time, decreed that our troops were not to be employed in that endeavor. So, there’s really no practical alternative but to hunt them down and expunge them by remote control.
I’ve been writing about this on Hannah Blog since about 2007, when Charles J. Hanley did an in depth report about the process, including the legal vetting, for the AP and the Washington Post.
There is a tendency for people to think that things don’t happen until they find out about them. The Obama Administration inherited Guantanamo and it inherited the drone program, both funded by Congress, whose appropriations define what can and cannot be done. Pretending that the executive is the decider lets them off the hook for whatever wrong decisions they make. The executive can only be blamed for going along with the pretense that he’s in charge.
However, Obama has been good at making problems obvious. When documents get leaked to the press, that’s purposeful. Poor Manning has been put on ice because putting him on trial would open the can of worms, which is the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of video records that were made of military actions in Iraq, including all the interrogations, which his defense would be entitled to cite in explaining why he didn’t think much about releasing just one. After all, the documentation of actions and atrocities are public records, which can only be withheld for good reason –i.e. to prevent prompting calls for revenge by the Iraqis. You see, they know they were abused and tortured and their relatives murdered. Having the ignominy made public would be adding insult to injury.
Now that it’s Americans that might be targeted, drones are suddenly a problem. When people in foreign countries are summarily executed, it’s OK because there’s an AUMF. That should have been repealed a long time ago–as soon as it became clear the invasion of Iraq had been carried out under false pretenses.
Excuse me if I sound a bit impatient.