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Hypothetical Death Squads

February 6, 2006

The first sentence of this Newsweek article— Exclusive: Can the President Order a Killing on U.S. Soil? —says it all:

In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States.

Holy fucking shit. Not since advisor to the OFFAL administration, John Yoo— the guy that said Afghanistan isn’t an organized country, so the Geneva conventions don’t count there —answered, “…it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that,” when asked whether there was a law against “tortur[ing] somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child,” have I been so appalled by the shit that runs out of these people’s mouths sometimes.

All this hypothetical bullshit, all the scenarios, all the ways they’ve angled to get around this law or that treaty, or how they might roll back the Constitution, just a bit, all of it is getting on Your Montag’s nerve. Especially when they are so reticent when it comes to commenting on ongoing investigations, or closed-door meetings with lobbyists and/or industry groups… I mean, these deviants can clam the fuck up when they really want to.

So, Administration, when someone asks something like, “Does the President have the power to authorize the use of death squads inside the United States?” why not at least pretend like the thought hasn’t already crossed your mind and play it off like, “Oh! Wow… Boy… I hate to think that scenario would ever arise, and I don’t even know how to answer such a hypothetical situation as that.” Or, “I won’t say the president has such authority, but he may be justified in doing so in very specific, rare instances. But the burden would be on the President to prove that it was an appropriate excercise of presidential power.”

They’re not the immediate, “Fuck no!” response one would likely have gotten from every-fucking-rational-American at one point in the not so distant past, but it’s somewhat less unnerving than the irrationally cool-headed reply of, “indeed.” Please.

Not to worry, the Newsweek article continues:

A Justice Department official, who asked not to be ID’d because of the sensitive subject, said Bradbury’s remarks were made during an “academic discussion” of theoretical contingencies. In real life, the official said, the highest priority of those hunting a terrorist on U.S. soil would be to capture that person alive and interrogate him.

Every department’s got one of those officials who’s always asking not to be ID’d because of the sensitive subject nowadays, don’t they? Any official word from someone who will reveal their identity? Say… justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos?

Tasia Scolinos, a Justice Department spokeswoman, told NEWSWEEK: “Mr. Bradbury’s meeting was an informal, off-the-record briefing about the legal analysis behind the president’s terrorist-surveillance program. He was not presenting the legal views of the Justice Department on hypothetical scenarios outside of the terrorist-surveillance program.”

Oh. Thank goodness. It was all a dream. An informal and off-the-record dream. Informal and off-the-record, just like the domestic surveillance program, the extraordinary renditioning program, the “black-site” detention centers, the ghost detainees to go in the “black-site” detention centers . . .

  1. February 7, 2006 11:23 PM

    I like Sam Seder’s theory about the illegal spy program; Bush is testing the waters to see how far he can go. This ‘authorized execution’ issue dovetails nicely with Sam’s theory. Not to be melodramatic but…here goes. We’re all doomed! Doomed I tell you! Thank you.

  2. February 7, 2006 11:47 PM

    A hurried (and very weak) haiku:

    recite your prayers
    pay your tithes religiously
    no death squads for you!

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