President Barack Obama has converted the CIA into his personal army and granted it unfettered assassination authority.
The story behind the development and deployment of this presidential killing corps is told in The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth, the latest book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti.
Mazzetti, who writes for the New York Times, describes a role reversal between the army of agents in the CIA and the actual army:
And just as the CIA has come to take on tasks traditionally associated with the military, with spies turned into soldiers, so has the opposite occurred. The American military has been dispersed into the dark spaces of American foreign policy, with commando teams running spying missions that Washington would never have dreamed of approving in the years before 9/11. Prior to the attacks of September 11, the Pentagon did very little human spying, and the CIA was not officially permitted to kill. In the years since, each has done a great deal of both, and a military-intelligence complex has emerged to carry out the new American way of war.
The “new American way of war” includes not declaring war. Rather than submit to the constitutional authority of the legislative branch’s exclusive power to declare war, presidents for decades have marched brigades of U.S. armies through the barriers that separate the powers of the White House and Capitol Hill.
Admittedly, when the president assumes the power to designate people as enemies of the state, then he feels legally justified in skirting (or completely disregarding) the myriad constitutional and moral checks on the prosecution of war.
For example, President Obama’s nearly daily approval of drone-delivered assassinations is an effrontery to over 650 years of our Anglo-American law’s protection from autocratic decrees of death without due process of law. When any president usurps the power to place names on a kill list and then have those people summarily executed without due process, he places our republic on a trajectory toward tyranny and government-sponsored terrorism.
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