A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
This is more power than the government has ever admitted to. This is serious business, and the Obama Administration should have to answer for this memo. Unfortunately, because terrorism makes elected officials stupid, it's probably only going to go so far as to mess up a few minutes of John Brennan's confirmation hearings this week. And if human rights violations committed by the United States since 9/11 outrage you, there are a few dozen other nations that should arouse your ire, too:
As many as 54 nations aided the United States in rendition and detention operations that swept up more than 130 people as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s global counterterrorism efforts, according to a report released Tuesday by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a human rights advocacy group.
I wrote about this for President Obama's inauguration, but the moral math of being an informed American keeps getting murkier every day.