Double-O-bama: Licensed to Kill

By Mark T. Mitchell for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC

Conor Friedersdorf suggests an interesting thought experiment:

Imagine that President Obama is visited by aliens who give him the power to kill any human being with his mind. Simply by willing it, he can bring about his or her violent death, as if by a tiny missile. Alternatively, he can kill inconspicuously, so that the target appears to die from an aneurism, a heart attack, a stroke, or any number of other “natural causes” that he can vary as he sees fit. He is limited only insofar as he can kill just one person at a time, which takes roughly two minutes.

Of course this all sounds fantastic, but the President’s use of drones and the enthusiastic support he receives from many suggest that the only impediment to the President’s use of super powers is technological rather than constitutional or moral. Hence,

The Obama Administration’s targeted-killing program is popular, despite the phenomenal power it gives the president, the dearth of meaningful oversight, and the extreme secrecy surrounding it.


Millions of Americans embrace a theory of executive power so broad that, as presently articulated, it offers no good grounds for objecting even to comic-book powers.

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