Saturday, October 01, 2011

Assassin's Creed

Well, I'd say that frog is well and truly boiled by now.

Whether youse think the assassination of Al Qaeda's PR man for Englishstan is a sensible move or not is likely to depend on your response to this question - do you think it's a good idea for the United States to unilaterally declare its entitlement to kill the fuck out of whoever it likes, wherever it likes, whenever it likes, for whatever reasons it likes?

If you're happy with that, I imagine you'll be in hog heaven today.

Of course, this new and exciting doctrine does raise some fairly intriguing questions.  For example, if states are now entitled to assassinate propagandists for hostile parties in order to prevent them from formulating justifications for war and mass-murder, then I'd say that about seventy five percent of Washington beltway pundits just became legitimate targets.  God knows what it implies about the status of someone like, say, Hillary Clinton.

Let's just sum up the current situation.  The United States of America has attacked and/or occupied Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan in the last decade.  It has empowered its allies to attack Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories, while actively blocking the democratic ambitions of the latter; it maintains military bases in Israel, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and, until recently, Bahrain; it is disappearing an unknown number of people into a massive black prison network beyond judicial oversight; it may or may not still be using torture, but certainly has done in the recent past and has granted its professional torturers immunity from prosecution; it hands over prisoners to tyrannies explicitly to be tortured for information; it is intentionally killing thousands of people in many countries with which it isn't officially at war without offering any justification beyond assertions that those it kills are baddies; it is assassinating those it declares to be a threat, with or without the consent of their host countries, and is in large part codifying and confirming all of these measures in law, so that these powers can be used long into the future, as presidents to come see fit...  In order to make the world safe from people who use political violence.

I know I've said all this before, but it really does bear repeating that these are some pretty bizarre actions for the world's leading proponent of human rights and democracy to be undertaking.  Given that 100% endorsement of all this insanity is now widely accepted as an essentially centrist position, you really do have to wonder just how murderously psychotic a superpower has to get before its allies start backing away from it, muttering about how they have to be up early in the morning.

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