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U.S. kill lists for future generations?

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By Nat Hentoff
Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 8:55 p.m.
 

An explosive Oct. 23 investigative report by The Washington Post's Greg Miller explains how President Barack Obama's administration may sharply upend our laws and values for years ahead:

“Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix.'”

Though it is a program of the Obama administration, former Gov. Mitt Romney agrees with a vital part of its essence.

A number of substantial news analysts, led by columnist Glenn Greenwald, are following up on Miller's revelation. For example, Greenwald points out that Miller, after interviewing “current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies,” comes to the significant conclusion that as “the United States' conventional wars are winding down,” the Obama administration “expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.”

But Greenwald digs deeper: “The ‘capture' part of that list is little more than symbolic, as the U.S. focus is overwhelmingly on the ‘kill' part.”

Keep in mind the ever-increasing use of CIA pilotless drone killings of suspected terrorists and their families.

The Post's Miller writes of a further sign of the deaths to come (without any of the corpses having first appeared in our courts): “CIA Director David H. Petraeus is pushing for an expansion of the agency's fleet of armed drones.”

And what does Romney think about this approach to terminally disposing of purported terrorists by ignoring our Constitution's due process, presumption of innocence and insistence on justice?

As I have reported, Romney is on the record as supporting, among other suspensions of our Constitution, the National Defense Authorization Act, championed by Obama, which empowers the military to imprison, without a warrant and probable cause, American citizens somehow alleged to be partnered with terrorists.

Whether these will be Obama's or Romney's “kill lists,” how many Americans will be sufficiently moved — now that the secret is out — to assemble and act against this international genocide by their country?

On Oct. 24, Greenwald gave an additional update of where we are now on the Guardian's website: “Today, reports CNN, ‘missiles blew up part of a compound Wednesday in northwest Pakistan, killing three people — including one woman' and added: ‘the latest suspected U.S. drone strike also injured two children.'

“Meanwhile, former Obama press secretary and current campaign adviser Robert Gibbs ... justified the U.S. killing of 16-year-old American Abdulrahman Awlaki, killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after his father was, on the ground(s) that he ‘should have (had) a far more responsible father.'”

Just a prelude to countless “due-process-free assassinations — something the U.S. government clearly intends to convert into a permanent fixture of American political life” (Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, Oct. 24).

Don't you think you ought to warn your grandchildren about the kind of country they'll be part of?

Nat Hentoff is an authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

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