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Should the President Kill with Impunity?

Lee Phillips
June 6th, 2012

I’m not generally a fan of anonymously-voiced newspaper editorials, but this recent piece in the Times is well worth reading. It raises troubling questions about the possible abuses of assassination authority not only by the current president, but by a long line of future presidents, once the precedent of killing without accountability is entrenched.

Here is an excerpt:

[T]he Defense Department is currently killing suspects in Yemen without knowing their names, using criteria that have never been made public. The administration is counting all military-age males killed by drone fire as combatants without knowing that for certain, assuming they are up to no good if they are in the area. That has allowed Mr. [counterterrorism adviser John] Brennan to claim an extraordinarily low civilian death rate[.]

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