Secret ‘Kill List’ Tests Obama’s Principles – NYTimes.com

Secret ‘Kill List’ Tests Obama’s Principles – NYTimes.com.

 

It’s an interesting article and is one of the few in the definitively mainstream US press that actually presses the claims of the administration to execute whomever they deem worthy of such extreme prejudice. But what I found interesting, too, was the rhetoric used in the account, in particular, the use of “lawyer” and “lawyerly,” and cognates, to describe Obama, his reasoning, and dodges. I suppose I found it interesting because the rhetoric was so obvious in its condemnation that I wondered, Why not simply say, I accuse! I think that would have carried greater not less moral weight. As it was, the article’s rhetorical ploys grated, and made me wonder if there was some other agenda at play demanding the sliming and indirection. Wouldn’t it have been more morally and ethically direct and honest simply to state the evidence (if not the facts), the reasoning, as surmised by witnesses and by the reporters and editors, and–at really any point–a clarion accusation and reasons for the accusation? For what it seems now is that Obama is worse for being a lawyer (and doing those slimy lawyer things we all know about, and they are always dodgy) than morally traducing not just the expectations his credulous voters held but the morals and ethics most people seem to hold. The state of war may legitimate the institutionalization of killing–not that that is good but it’s legally defensible–but killing by state institutions doesn’t make for defensible war; it doesn’t (necessarily) make it legitimate at all. (Foreign Policy has a fairly good critique and justified condemnation of the policy and acts coming out of it.)