Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Doing some contract work, so I cannot linger but Obama's drone war has been on my mind:
The ultimate issue at stake isn't whether "terrorist threats" originating overseas justifies the actions taken by the last two President of the United States. The ultimate issue is one that we may face in the future: the use of force unilaterally by one branch of the government against anyone, anywhere, US citizen or not, which it determines poses a threat to the United States. In essence, it is the danger of the Executive Branch becoming the sole arbiter of who lives or dies based on a unilateral decision that is not reviewable by the Courts, nor expressly authorized by Congress.
For now I'll just quote Madison at the Constitutional Convention:
In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of war, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.
And in 1795:
Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes and the opportunities of fraud growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could reserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
Even though he couldn't anticipate remote-controlled robots, Madison was pretty smart. We have a standing army that spends more money than the entire world combined. We can kill anybody, including American citizens, anywhere in the world at any time.
Be nice if organizations like, say...the NRA would spend less time riling people up about non-existent threats to their 2nd Amendment rights and more time mobilizing against real tyranny. Imagine if they fought against drones and a runaway DoD as hard as they do for people to fork over money to the gun industry. Be a hell of a lot more effective defense of liberty than inchoate threats of revolution...
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