While quite possibly the silliest campaign season ever rolls along, peppered with such Serious Questions as whether Donald fucking Trump is a baby-hating puppet of Putin* or if Hillary(‘s staffers) can keep Sanders fans with Twitter disses and tone-deaf cultural pandering, the current president has decided to show off the process behind his flying death robots — somewhat:
The Obama administration has released a previously secret 18-page policy guidance document that lays out how potential drone targets may be chosen and approved and the President’s role in the decision-making process.The policy document, known as the President Policy Guidance, or PPG, says counterterrorism operations, including lethal action against designated terrorist targets, “shall be discriminating and precise as reasonably possible” and says “direct action” against “high value targets” “will be taken only when there is near certainty that the individual being targeted is, in fact, the lawful target and located at the place where the action will occur.”
“High value targets”. As in a 16 year old boy in Yemen?
(Sad thing here is since then the US has started happily helping the Saudi royal regime murder basically everyone else in Yemen with all kinds of ammunition. Maybe that was a test, a heat check of sorts. )
Among the guidelines, such information as the counterterrorism objective, duration of time for which the authority remains in force, the legal basis and the strike assets that may be employed must be included. Conditions must include a near certainty that the high value target or other lawful terror target is present and near certainty that non-combatants will not be injured or killed. (emphasis mine)
“Near certainty”. As defined by the party doing the killing. The mob has investigated itself & found itself not guilty. The piles of dead civilians must have been planted by someone else. The majority of people killed in the strikes not being the target? Kremlin propaganda, of course!
Let’s go back to that kid the CIA killed. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was both a US citizen and not on US soil, keep that in mind while eyeballing the next part:
However, when dealing with lethal action against a previously designated high value target, a different procedure can be followed. If the target is a US citizen or someone living in the US, or if there is not unanimous agreement among the President’s key national security officials regarding the nomination of the target, it will be submitted to the President for a decision. (emphasis mine)
They’ve claimed and exercised the “right” to kill US citizens without trial overseas, now they’ve opened the window to firing a missile at you in the US. And this was written three years ago, which makes the use of a robot against Micah Johnson in Dallas last month a much less innovative thing than previously thought.
Such a bold demonstration of how meaningless any claims of “rule of law”, “limited government” or any other buzzwords are, as the state goes beyond even royal powers. No, this is more like claiming to be God, smiting people that displease you and expecting the world to love you for it. But it will barely draw a blink, because such subjects as the arbitrary administering of death can’t hold a candle to bumbling an email server or having a spouse that posed naked.
(* – Trump has advocated shooting down Russian aircraft that near US military assets overseas. Which would probably trigger another world war. Some puppet…)