Just catch these last few paragraphs. There is a future beyond Brennan, Obama, Romney, all the prospective presidents whose names we might now foresee. Having this in place, as well as laws that fail to define “terrorism” or “associated forces” and permit indefinite detention, even of citizens, and presumably killing them on presidential authority, is not consistent with American values as I’ve learned them.
“Said Brennan: “I think the president always needs the ability to do things under his chief executive powers and authorities, to include covert action.” But, he added, “I think the rule should be that if we’re going to take actions overseas that result in the deaths of people, the United States should take responsibility for that.”
One official said that “for a guy whose reputation is focused on how tough he is on counterterrorism,” Brennan is “more focused than anybody in the government on the legal, ethical and transparency questions associated with all this.” By drawing so much decision-making directly into his own office, said another, he has “forced a much better process at the CIA and the Defense Department.”
Even if Obama is reelected, Brennan may not stay for another term. That means someone else is likely to be interpreting his playbook.
“Do I want this system to last forever?” a senior official said. “No. Do I think it’s the best system for now? Yes.”
“What is scary,” he concluded, “is the apparatus set up without John to run it.””
via CIA veteran John Brennan has transformed U.S. counterterrorism policy – The Washington Post.
Convincing oneself that one is following a valid process, to do something one’s own lawyers believe to be legal, to achieve something appropriate that others in the future will confirm by following this example must surely be one of the most common and self-deceptive journeys upon which the human mind can embark.
“For an administration that is the first to embrace targeted killing on a wide scale, officials seem confident that they have devised an approach that is so bureaucratically, legally and morally sound that future administrations will follow suit.”
via Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists – The Washington Post.
We are being allowing our civil liberties to be eroded close to the vanishing point, we are privatizing our military and defense (two governmental functions at base) at great cost economically and socially in that we are creating interest groups that thrive on war and covert operations, and most people seem unconcerned.
Key to this is the creation and manipulation of “fear.” Think of it, fear exists in endless supply, accompanied by secrecy it is nearly impossible for citizens to to know whether or not there is a factual basis for it, and it can be used to justify the expenditure of billions on activities which, because secret, are not subject to public audit and democratic oversight. Congressional oversight, if it really exists at all, is so constrained by the executive branch that it might as well not exist. This is changing our system of government fundamentally without our knowledge or consent.
Please read the whole article from which this is quoted.
“The second lesson is that we continue to over-react to the “terrorist threat.” Here I recommend you read John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart’s The Terrorism Delusion: America’s Overwrought Response to September 11, in the latest issue of International Security. Mueller and Stewart analyze 50 cases of supposed “Islamic terrorist plots” against the United States, and show how virtually all of the perpetrators were (in their words) “incompetent, ineffective, unintelligent, idiotic, ignorant, unorganized, misguided, muddled, amateurish, dopey, unrealistic, moronic, irrational and foolish.” They quote former Glenn Carle, former deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats saying “we must see jihadists for the small, lethal, disjointed and miserable opponents that they are,” noting further that al Qaeda’s “capabilities are far inferior to its desires.”
via What the Olympics tell you about terrorism | Stephen M. Walt.