National Review Writers: Even Republican Presidents Should Not Summarily Execute Suspected Terrorists


At least two National Review writers have criticized President Obama's policy of summarily sentencing suspected terrorists to death by drone. Yesterday Charles C.W. Cooke tweeted: "In case my position isn't obvious: I am appalled by any president possessing the unilateral power to kill American citizens extrajudicially." This morning Jim Geraghty, after quoting Mother Jones writer Adam Serwer's criticism of Obama's license to kill, likewise conceded that such a policy would be cause for concern even if Mitt Romney had won the presidential election:

Of course, the hypocrisy of most liberals doesn't get us off the hook on the need to have a coherent view on this. Okay, conservatives, big question now:  If this were President Romney, would we be shrugging, concerned, complaining or screaming? I think "concerned." At the very least, you would want another set of eyes – the House or Senate intelligence committees, or some independent judges – taking a look at the presidential "kill list," right? At least for the American citizens?…

Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, puts it rather bluntly: "Every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them."

That doesn't seem like too much to ask.

No, it doesn't, and I have another big question for conservatives: If the party of the president doesn't matter, why does the nationality of the guy he marks for death? Don't people have a right to life even if they aren't U.S. citizens? Are you comfortable with letting the president kill anyone he deems an enemy of America, as long as that alleged threat had the misfortune to be born outside the United States?