God is alive. Due process is dead.
President Barack Obama is God. He holds the power of life and death over every creature on the planet.
The Roman Senate waited until Caesar Augustus’s death for deification.
The United States Congress, by nonfeasance and appalling irresponsibility, has deified President Obama during his White House tenure.
Through the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and acquiescence in repeated executive usurpations, Congress has empowered President Obama to kill any person anywhere in the world who is secretly listed as an enemy on a list that’s reminiscent of the Lord High Executioner’s “Little List” in The Mikado. The putative “battlefield” is boundless. The standards for listing are secret. The evidence justifying a listing is secret. The legal justification for the assassinations is secret. The secrecy persists after the alleged enemy target is vaporized. No proof is proffered that the corpse had conspired or attempted or had actually engaged in hostilities against the United States; or, that capturing the victim for criminal prosecution or detention would have been unfeasible. Instead, the White House summons into being as its defense a counter-constitutional divine doctrine of presidential infallibility when it comes to killing suspected enemies. Due process is buried in the detritus of “collateral damage.”
But enshrined in Article 39 of the Magna Carta, due process is the very wellspring of civilization — the most important concept in the history of mankind. It recognizes that humans are prone to err. Cravings for money, power, domination, fame and vanity routinely distort truth-telling. Events or actions are multi-dimensional, not one-dimensional, and lend themselves to competing rational interpretations. Justice and human dignity alike require listening to all relevant parties before decisions are forthcoming. Due process should be honored because of what it says about us as a people. It is not saluted as a concession to enemy suspects.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin killed opponent Alexander Litvinenko with Polonium poisoning in London, the assassination was censured in the United States as tyranny. When Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei assassinated Shapour Bakhtier, the last prime minister under the shah, the killing was assailed in the United States as state-sponsored terrorism. But when United States citizens Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan and al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son were assassinated by President Obama in 2011 with predator drones, the United States applauded with virtually inaudible dissent.
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, all animals were equal, but some were more equal than others. In the United States Empire, all assassinations are equal, but assassinations perpetrated by the United States president are innocent, while assassinations perpetrated by others are criminal.
The Roman historian Tacitus observed as the Roman Republic surrendered to the Roman Empire: “The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more and tolerated by all.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV was prescient: “[T]here is nothing new under the sun.”
Bruce Fein was associate deputy attorney general under President Reagan, 1981-83, and is author of American Empire Before The Fall.