July 13th, 2012

Glenn Greenwald writes:

The costs should be clear to any rational person.

Those costs come from vesting in the President what is literally the most extremist power a political ruler can seize, the true hallmark of authortarianism: namely, the power to order even his own citizens executed without a whiff of due process or accountability and in total secrecy — far from any battlefield. One would have to view the threat of Terrorism as some sort of truly existential menace on par with, say, the Civil War — which was the standard neocon myth to justify whatever Bush/Cheney did — in order to view the risks of vesting this secret, unaccountable assassination power in one political official as worthwhile.

When Al Gore delivered his major speech on the Washington Mall in 2006 denouncing the unrestrained Bush/Cheney assault on core American values, he asked: “If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, imprison American citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can’t he do?” That’s exactly my question here for the far more extreme power claimed by Obama: if you believe the President should have the power to order people, including U.S. citizens, executed with no due process and not even any checks or transparency, what power do you believe he shouldn’t have?

Great question.

Now is way past the time to dial back the Imperial Presidency

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