There’s been a tremendous amount of outrage in the wake of the Newtown, CT shootings – and understandably so. Not surprisingly, there’ve been countless calls for limiting the second amendment rights of U.S. citizens, followed by vehement pushback from pro-gun supporters. However, if “saving the lives of innocent people” is justification for limiting a constitutional right of individual Americans, why are there no calls for limiting the unconstitutional actions of the executive branch, which have had similar – if not far uglier – results than the recent mass shootings? I’m referring to the targeted assassination program, often referred to as the “drone strike” program (in some cases, drones have not been used to carry out targeted assassinations, however, the conventional understanding of the program seems to have made the two terms nearly synonymous).
Some rather eye-opening details have been revealed about the targeted assassination program in recent months: the criteria for declaring people “combatants” are tenuous at best, many targets with legitimate ties to Al-Qaeda pose little to no immediate threat to the U.S., little if any explanation is given as to why an extraction – as opposed to an assassination – was not the chosen course of action, and in many cases there have been large numbers of civilian casualties: casualties that include women and children.
When it comes to the issues of ‘gun control’ or ‘drone strikes’, I’m not certain of the correct solution in either case. However, I find it a little unsettling that there’s such a disparity in public outrage over the former issue when compared to public outrage over the latter.
Jeremy Scahill, contributor to TheNation.com and a journalist I have come to admire, explains the issue better than I can. If you’ve the time, I suggest watching the video from the beginning: