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Thursday, October 7, 2010

We don't want assassinations


Larrison makes the point that we don't want euphemisms, when it comes to assassination. (Greenwald moves on).

I'll make the point that we don't want much from assassination when it comes to 'highly kinetic global counterinsurgency'.

Larrison's two points come together, in a way he doesn't articulate.

If we have access to the information that 'convicts' someone, then we are not really involved in extra-judicial killing, per se. What we are doing is attempting to capture fugitives from justice, criminals, indicted individuals whose involvement and plans have been made known to us through the general, lawful process of intelligence gathering and the rolling-up of networks. We are not assassinating someone.

If we don't have that information, or if it is hidden, especially wrongfully hidden, then, yes, we really are assassinating someone, potentially judging someone's innocence, an individual target, in bare political terms (i.e. "they" are not "us", or "we screwed up the intelligence and its best we don't say").

Assassination in this vein is not helpful to the legitimacy struggle at the core of the struggle with terrorism as a form of political violence. It's also inimical to the rule of law.

update: by the way, arguing about the President's authority seems to skirt the on-the-ground-reality that the USA simply outsources "this stuff", no?