By Paul Gable
“People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out. Your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word.” – George Orwell, 1984
Just when you thought things could not get any worse for Americans, news surfaced Tuesday morning that the U.S. government can now order the killing of American citizens. Weapon of choice – drone.
If these citizens are ‘believed’ to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaeda or “an associated force”, even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the United States, they are fair game.
NBC News broke the story, citing a confidential Justice Department memo.
That’s right citizens, our president Barack Obama can order you to be killed if he or the U.S. government SUSPECT you to be dealing with an anti-U.S. regime, even if there is no evidence to support their claims.
So much for the land of the free and the home of the brave!
When he ran for president four years ago, Obama did so as a person who was going to stop the tactics of the George W. Bush Administration. He spoke out against water boarding as torture, he promised to close GITMO, and he spoke out against “Big Brother” trampling on the rights of American citizens.
But it was all empty rhetoric, much like “hope and change.”
Instead, this administration has taken the ball left by the likes of Bush, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney, and have run full steam over the American population when it comes to their civil liberties.
We, as Americans, were optimistic that the tactics of Robert Mueller and Michael Muka, both of whom worked to expand the “Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations” under George Bush, were gone. Instead we have a presidency that makes the reign of J. Edgar Hoover look tame when it comes to the trampling of a citizen’s right to a private life.
In 2010 the CATO Institute touched on the fact that the Obama administration allowed the FBI the opportunity to conduct a “threat assessment” on any individual. A “threat assessment” means the FBI can conduct an investigation on any of us without a judicial warrant or any suspicion of criminal activity.
And now, the Obama administration can give the green light on the killing of any American all in the name of defending the homeland. Send the drones, ask questions later seems to be the battle cry of Obama, who just learned how to shoot a gun based on the pictures released last week.
According to the memo, the condition that an operational leader present an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S. does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.
If memory serves, didn’t we invade Iraq, under Dubya, based on a belief that they may or may not have Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Now, under Obama, we can kill Americans based on a belief that they may or may not be operating against America.
Talk about chilling times in our country’s history.
Who would have thought we’d see the day when the U.S. government would assassinate its own without any consideration of the law?
If this is the “hope and change” we heard so much about, I’ll pass.
(Ed. Note – The writer is a journalist in Indiana and my son.)