The best thing about having three branches of government is that you can get three separate affirmations for all government activities. I kind of feel bad for dictators, kings, and other monarchs. When they make a decision they don’t have anybody else to back them up. But here in American when the government does something it’s first written and voted on by Congress, signed by the President, and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.
A few days ago President Obama was concerned that he might actually have to release details about the people who he ordered to be executed by drones. Fortunately the Senate reassured him that it had his back:
WASHINGTON — The Senate has quietly stripped a provision from an intelligence bill that would have required President Obama to make public each year the number of people killed or injured in targeted killing operations in Pakistan and other countries where the United States uses lethal force.
The move highlights the continued resistance inside the government about making these operations, primarily carried out using armed drones, more accountable to public scrutiny. In a letter to the Senate earlier this month, James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, expressed concern that a public report would undermine the effectiveness of the operations.
And with that simple removal the Senate affirmed that the President’s practice of withholding information about those executed by drones is totally cool. We’re still waiting for the Supreme Court’s affirmation of this behavior but that should be coming soon since the case is moving through the judicial system:
A federal appeals panel in Manhattan ordered the release on Monday of key portions of a classified Justice Department memorandum that provided the legal justification for the targeted killing of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who intelligence officials contend had joined Al Qaeda and died in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.
The unanimous three-judge panel, reversing a lower court decision, said the government had waived its right to keep the analysis secret in light of numerous public statements by administration officials and the Justice Department’s release of a “white paper” offering a detailed analysis of why targeted killings were legal.
I’m sure the Supreme Court will reverse this decision quick, fast, and in a hurry. We can’t have the government going around disagreeing with itself, it creates a bad image.