(June 25, 2012) The Bush administration detained and tortured suspected militants; the Obama administration assassinates them. Both practices not only visit more hatred upon the United States; they are also illegal.
Our laws and treaties prohibit torture. The Constitution forbids the government from depriving any person of life without due process of law; that is, arrest and fair trial. Yet President Obama has approved the killing of people, many of whom were not even identified before the kill order was given.
Jo Becker and Scott Shane reported in the New York Times that Obama maintains a "kill list." After consulting with his counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan, Obama personally makes the decision to have individuals executed. Brennan was closely identified with torture, secret prisons, and extraordinary rendition during the Bush administration.
The Times story, based on interviews with three dozen current and former Obama advisers, reports that "Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding, in effect, to take no prisoners alive.