The President’s kill list

Headline, the New York Times, front page:

 U.S. Debates Drone Strike on American Terrorism Suspect in Pakistan

So, there’s a debate going on? About our national-list-of-guys-we’re-planning-to-kill-with-a-drone-strike? Well, that is nice to hear.

The “kill list” thing seems so nakedly immoral, not to mention so likely to, as they say, blow back. But at least there’s a debate, say the reporters, albeit a secret debate. The reporters aren’t able to tell what American is currently topping the kill list, or what he’s done, or rather “suspected” of. They can’t say for certain what’s being debated or who’s privy to the debate. The White House won’t comment. Neither will the Pentagon nor the CIA.

hookah-smoking caterpillarWelcome to Wonderland. In the absence of facts, feel free to wonder about anything at all. (One of the least important things to wonder about? Whether to call it “assassination” or “targeted killing”. See Erik Wemple in The Washington Post.)

Only late in their story do the Times reporters quote a non-anonymous, non-government source, Naureen Shahan, an Amnesty International U.S.A adviser. She identifies the one thing that is ironically certain

“The public and most members of Congress are still completely in the dark about where the U.S. claims authority to strike, the legal rules and the identity of those already killed.”

“The policy is still the stuff of official secrecy and speculation when it should be a matter of open debate and explicit constraints.”


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