Had you asked me a decade ago whether I agreed with any of Ralph Nader’s political views, the answer would have been an easy, “No”. But time and circumstance shapes and forms perspectives. Political and ethical views are situational and subjective. So today, I am glad to say that I agree with Ralph Nader, the first prominent politician of whom I am aware to point out that Obama’s program of targeted assassinations by drone aircraft, particularly of US citizens, is criminal. I’ve had that view for some time now. Nader expressed it yesterday in an interview with Politico.com, an excerpt:
“He’s gone beyond George W. Bush in drones, for example. He thinks the world is his plate, that national sovereignties mean nothing, drones can go anywhere. They can kill anybody that he suspects and every Tuesday he makes the call on who lives and who dies, supposed suspects in places like Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is a war crime and he ought to be held to account.”
Nader called Obama “below average because he raised expectation levels. What expectation level did George W. Bush raise?… He’s below average because he’s above average in his intellect and his knowledge of legality, which is violating with abandon.”
“I don’t know whether George W. Bush ever read the Constitution,” said Nader. “This man taught the Constitution, and this is what we got.”
Ordering the killing of US citizens, i.e., depriving them of life without due process, violates the bedrock constitutional covenant–that the citizen agrees to forfeit a portion of his property and freedom in return for which the government will protect his life and liberty and property. It is nakedly criminal. It is nothing more or less than government-sanctioned murder. If Obama is not re-elected, he will be tried for murder. Mark my words.
It fails me to see how, in his campaign for the presidency, Mitt Romney has ignored this huge usurpation of judicial and legislative power and imperative. It fails me to see how government-hating conservatives don’t hate this. Do they not understand that there exists no greater potential for governmental tyranny and despotism than allowing a single man to decide, on his whim, on a Tuesday, who lives and who dies? Do they really believe that whatever the government does in fighting an ill-defined war on a tactic (not a foe) is okay? Would they feel the same were they not white and male and privileged to understand that the government has historically existed to benefit them? And why the deafening silence from the American Muslim community? All of the murdered US citizens (so far) have come from the Muslim community in America. What of the black community in America? Was the whole point of gaining political power to enable black leaders to exercise even more oppressive and arbitrary power than that which was deployed by the white governments under which their ancestors suffered?
Imagine the howls of derision from the left had it been George W Bush who had instituted the strategy of assassinating by drone aircraft, instead of capturing and incarcerating at Guantanamo, citizens and others felt potentially harmful to American interests. There would be blood in the streets, marches and riots galore. But Obama coolly dispense with justice like a Chicago mob boss and there’s not a peep. It’s why you have to respect Nader. Even if you don’t agree with his views, his views aren’t blinded by his lust for power. He calls things as he sees them. The political parties see everything in the context of gaining and keeping power. Neither of them have a shred of credibility when it comes to the truth.
Nader is right. Obama is a war criminal. As Martin Luther King, Jr. observed, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It will one day bend toward making Obama answer for assassinating US citizens.