A lot of people also don't like the fact that I think the president ought to kill terrorists in a war with terrorists without judicial review. I don't understand why when our soldiers come across terrorists on the battlefield they can kill them, but if we draw up a list of particularly important terrorists it's somehow a problem and a judge needs to approve it.
It really disturbs me that people think this is a problem - and worse, that they second guess my dedication to civil liberties when I disagree. I never question their dedication to civil liberties, after all. I don't like that they question mine. I don't like McCarthyites.
So, how am I making this "slightly less controversial".
Jason Kuznicki, in this post, makes the important point that the list is not available for public consumption or Congressional review. In a lot of cases, in a war, this is entirely reasonable. You don't publish your plans. And I wouldn't publish intelligence that we have on anyone on this list either. But it seems pretty reasonable to publicize the list itself. Marginal cases can be argued over, which would be a good thing. Ultimately the people on the list probably already suspect they're on the list, so what harm does it do?
The rest of Kuznicki's post falls pretty flat, I think. If he doesn't think presidential war powers are a constraint on the kill list, then he needs to be consistent and apply his logic elsewhere. Obama is using marines in Afghanistan? Well what's preventing him from sending in marines to kill Romney's kids! Kuznicki knows he won't do that but a future president might.
It all gets pretty dumb.
If you want to say the president should have no powers as the commander in chief, then say that. But don't sneak it in the back door by complaining about one program which admittedly probably could be run better. If the president having a list of targets for drones is different from an officer on the ground having a list of targets, I'm not exactly sure what the difference is.
A note to new readers: I get really nasty comments whenever I write about these sorts of issues. If you post such a comment, even if it has other substantive thoughts in the comment, I will delete it.