Obama’s Very Real Death Panel
by Anthony Gregory
It’s official. The American dystopia is here. Obama administration officials admit that the CIA assassination program that snuffed out Anwar al-Awlaki last Friday is guided by a secret panel that decides who lives and dies. According to Reuters:
American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.
There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.
Let that sink in. The U.S. presidency, supposed leader of the free world, has a clandestine committee that chooses American citizens to assassinate. This from the administration that promised unprecedented transparency and a ratcheting back of Bush-era civil liberties abuses. This from the president who vowed to restore habeas corpus and subject executive war powers to judicial scrutiny. This from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
What’s more striking, however, is the deafening silence. Sure, the ACLU opposes all this, as do a smattering of public voices. Yet it seems for everyone expressing proportional concern about this, there are a thousand leftist protesters whining about the top one percent, and a thousand conservatives whining about the leftist protesters.
How fitting that the presidency that Tea Partiers accused of planning to convene death panels to handle health care rationing has openly admitted to having created such a panel whose declared purpose is not simply to withhold socialized medical resources, but to direct the cold-blooded murder of citizens who are sufficiently bothersome enemies of the regime. Yet in a majestic irony, many of the conservatives who feared Obama’s life-and-death bureaucracies are cheering on his most explicit and frightening seizure of dictatorial power in all his presidency, and perhaps one of the greatest of all presidential power grabs in the sweep of U.S. history.