That's Glenn Greenwald, in his essay published Wednesday, that looks deeply into implications of our president essentially deepening some of the provisional actions and policies taken under the George W. Bush administration in regard to the murders called "targeted killings," and formalizing how this might be done to you or me.
This policy is one of the most disgusting ever taken by an American president. As Spencer Ackerman noted today, as the implications of the depth of the Obama administration's announcement began to sink in, "not even John Yoo made a claim that radical while serving under the Bush administration."
Trust me, once a president can order the murder of one American, he can order the murder of any American. And when the next president comes along, that power will only be extended and deepened - just like Obama is doing here to something he tenuously seems to be claiming he has inherited from W.
It makes Abraham Lincoln's treatment of Clement Lloyd Vallandingham seem benign.
It makes Woodrow Wilson's vendetta against Eugene Debs less vindictive.
It makes Franklin D. Roosevelt's acquiescence in the internment of 110,000 of our Japanese citizens seem enlightened.
Update - Thursday 6:30 a.m: From the comments: "So targeted killing of known terrorists will lead to my being targeted next."
The evidence against al-Awaki is hearsay. It is up to the United States Courts to determine the quality of the evidence brought against any citizen. This concept goes back to a quaint document called the Magna Carta, and is backed by all case law in the United States regarding the disposition of evidence regarding capital cases.
"Congress granted the authorization in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Al-Awlaki isn't the first example of someone being classified as a non-civilian, and frankly, the question of battlefield borders doesn't hinge on Obama's sole determination either."
U.S. courts have ruled against parts of the Authorization of Military Force and executive branch interpretations of it. And using its existence as justification for acts against any American deemed to be the kind of threat the administration is making al-Awaki to be, could certainly be stretched by a chief executive to mean somebody supporting an organization like the fringe group in Michigan that was busted recently.
Frankly the argument that the 2007 killings of innocent people in Sadr City that surfaced this week was OK, and that al-Awaki is fair game, strike me as potentially racist. Were these considered to be white people, these events or potential developments would be greeted differently.
There are slippery slopes and there are sippery precipices. This is the latter.
"The depressing thing is we all thought Obama was different, but as it turns out he is like GWB in many ways. What we have going on now was planned out over a long period of time by the real controlling powers in this country."
Olbermann on MSNBC Wednesday: