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Obama Prioritizes Targeted Killings

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Critics have other views. Brennan's playbook "sustain(s) a seemingly permanent war," said the Post. Legal principles aren't disclosed. None permit presidents or other officials to usurp life and death authority domestically or globally.

According to ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi: 

Playbook authority "a step in exactly the wrong direction, a further bureaucratization of the CIA's paramilitary killing program."

Some administration officials have second thoughts. Former Pentagon general counsel, Jeh Johnson, warned about "not accept(ing) the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the 'new normal.' "

Signature strikes are especially contentious. They refer to targeting "patterns of suspicious behavior - even when the agency does not have clear intelligence about the identities of the targets."

A 2% success rate is troubling. Collateral damage includes noncombatant men, women, children, infants, and the elderly.

Obama wants Brennan's image burnished. Do so requires reinventing or sanitizing his tainted 25-year CIA career. During George Bush's first term, he was National Counterterrorism Center director. He also served as George Tenet's chief of staff.

He was heavily involved in extraordinary renditions, torture, and other high crimes. Under Obama, he continued where he left off serving Bush. 

He calls himself neither Republican or Democrat. Counterterrorism killing is nonsectarian, he believes. He wants CIA given "the tools it needs to keep our nation safe, and that its works always reflects the liberties, the freedoms and values that we hold so dear."

In his book " Nemesis: The Last Days of the Republic ," Chalmers Johnson said the CIA menaces democratic freedoms.

It operates extrajudicially. It reflects unchecked power. It subverts checks and balances. 

It's "the personal, secret, unaccountable army of the president." 

It's a global hit squad. It prioritizes dirty tricks.

It's involved in overthrowing democratically elected governments, assassinating foreign leaders, killing other key officials, eliminating targeted individuals, propping up friendly dictators, renditioning suspects for torture, keeping everything it does secret, and giving presidents plausible deniability.

It menaces democratic rule. Each is incompatible with the other. Its existence shortened the Republic's life. Operating extrajudicially dooms it.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.
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