It's official: the U.S. government says it's legal to kill American citizens with drone planes rather than going to the bother of having to actually charge them with anything. This was detailed in a U.S. Justice Department "white paper" obtained by NBC news, which claims the killings are not "assassinations" and justifies them as "self-defense" on the grounds that the people being killed are plotting against the United States:
"A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination. In the Department's view, a lethal operation conducted against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States would be a legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban. Similarly, the use of lethal force, consistent with the laws of war, against an individual who is a legitimate military target would be lawful and would not violate the assassination ban."
The document allows for a very elastic definition of "imminent threat," stating that the condition doesn't actually require suspects to be actively engaged in planning a terror plot:
"The condition that an operational leader present an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the Obama administration for further details about this targeting of U.S. citizens for death, termed the paper "chilling." Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said that the white paper gives the Obama administration way too much leeway when it comes to determining who can be targeted, and why:
"Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen. … It recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it's easy to see how they could be manipulated."
In other words, they could use it to kill just about anybody, just about anywhere. But so far it's only been used against people in foreign countries.
Obama's use of the drone planes to kill people reminds me of a similar effort by another political regieme during the later part of the second World War.
The V-1 Buzz Bomb was the first cruise missle to be used in war. It was used for terror attacks on civilians, just like the Obama version.
A V-1 diving on it's target.
It could happen here.