The White House is moving to make a rule book for how to handle its “kill List” or, as some call it, his “disposition matrix“. The kill list rule book is being made up to govern how the government should handle a situation where a known terrorist that has been marked for death is found and the drones are called in to take him or her out. Until now, the kill list has been absent a rule book and orders have been given without any real guidelines.
The New York Times‘ Scott Shane has reported that President Obama was petrified that the list would need to be handed over to Mitt Romney in the advent he lost the election without any defined rules on how the strikes should be carried out.
Shane wrote quoting an unnamed US official:
“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands.” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. As of now, there is no set of guidelines in place to hold the President accountable in case a drone strike goes horribly wrong and winds up killing the wrong person, injures civilians, or leads to friendly fire deaths. The President can order attacks on anyone he chooses without any fear that his actions will be judged. Critics say this type of power is the mark of dictators.
The American public knows absolutely nothing as to how decisions are made to take out terrorists. The President has only even referenced the issue once while doing an interview with the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Several government agencies have been asked for their input on the kill list rule book, including the Department of Defense, CIA, NSA, and the Department of Justice. The kill list rule book was originally supposed to be completed by January in the event of an Obama loss, but, now that he has secured a second term, the rush is no longer necessary.
How do you feel about the government’s ability to target terrorists at will with drone strikes?