On May 29, The New York Times published an Op-Ed headlined, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will” that reveals Obama’s plan to unilaterally execute terrorist suspects, some of them Americans, through drone strikes. Before going any further with the absurdity of the article's content and angle that tries to justify the President’s "right" to assassinate, let’s backtrack four years.
As the Bush Administration reached the end of their era, the American people were enraged. They were enraged with the reveal of the series of torture scandals conducted against suspects in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. The world was outraged. The country was ashamed. Pres. Obama called that moment “a sad chapter in America’s history.” The New York Times wrote that it was an embarrassment and called to shut it down. The beginning of Obama’s presidency had much to do with the investigation of the Guantanamo Bay torture scandal. On Jan 29, 2009, Pres. Obama suspended legal proceedings against detainees there for 120 days, and he called for it to be shut down within a year. It’s May 2012, yet Guantanamo, under Pres. Obama’s orders, is still open, with 169 detainees remaining in custody.
However, there has been silence. And looking at the present day, there continues to be silence as Pres. Obama’s secret “kill list” comes to light. And many of those who are not silent are justifying Pres. Obama’s actions.
The New York Times article states that President Obama is in a dilemma with having to defend America’s principles instead of his own personal leanings. It's no surprise that the article never establishes what those principles are. It could be easily interpreted from the article that the core principles of America are to start wars, lie about our motives for war, and allow our President to be judge-jury-and-executioner during them.
Obviously, those are diametrically opposed to America’s true founding principles of protecting our natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - all three of which are being slowly deteriorated by years of attacks from leaders in both major parties.
In the war against al-Qaeda, the former University of Chicago constitutional law professor has recently authorized dozens of drone strikes, while keeping the legal justifications for the attacks classified. It’s rather hypocritical coming from a candidate who campaigned against Bush-era policies, along with ending the War in Iraq and the torture conducted in Guantanamo.
Who’s on the “kill list”? Some of them are Americans, and two of them were teenagers - including a girl 17 years of age. The Constitution strictly defends the right to due process for accused Americans, and when a President usurps the power to execute those who he wishes, it is, in fact, a “sad chapter in America's history.”
This truly is a sad moment in which the powers and natural rights vested upon the American people and protected by the Constitution seem to mean absolutely nothing. A sad moment in which the founding principles of America are only valid under the President’s discretion. A sad moment in which the rights of the American people are being taken away right before our eyes, while far too many stay silent, apathetic, willfully ignorant, or even supportive of the President’s actions.
The President’s oath of office is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. Yet Americans have protected and justified the President for infringing upon their rights. This is an outrage!
What is at stake is the essence of what defines us as Americans. The targeting and prosecution of American citizens without review, without action, has just brought us into a darker age and a search for a new identity in a "post-9/11 world."
The policies of Pres. Bush and Pres. Obama are eradicating the principles, creed, and message embodied in the great governing document made by America’s founding fathers: the Constitution. Those policies diminish what our American Patriots died for, what our parents and grandparents fought for, what makes our nation strong and free, and the purpose of this great country’s creation.
Ultimately, these continued violations of our natural rights damage who we are as a nation, a society, and a beacon of liberty in a dark world – the very core substance of our identity.
In 1816, Thomas Jefferson said, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Indeed, Jefferson was right.