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Who do they think they are?

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Imagine that a neighbor of yours (good guy) decides one day that another neighbor (bad guy) might assault him and damage his home. Then imagine that good guy hires professional hitmen to attack and kill bad guy. Just to be thorough, good guy hires a helicopter with sniper to hover over bad guy's house and shoot a grenade at him the minute he emerges regardless of who is with him. What do you think of good guy?

In asking, who do they think they are, I'm referring to those leaders who retain the notion that the following actions are somehow in the realm of rational and actionable behavior by the United States:

I'm sending troops.

As president, you have the unparalleled military power at your disposal. You decide to send troops a few thousand thousands of miles away without any imminent threat to the nation. The lives of the troops are at risk. Their families face an irreplaceable loss. They will kill and injure others whose families will suffer major losses. It will be horrible.

The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.'s drone program in [insert foreign country].

This is a variation of sending troops. It's a bit stranger though. The White House is a surrogate for the president sending killer aircraft to roam around a nation and fire missiles at presumed bad guys below. The mechanical death machines can't discriminate enough to avoid killing civilians. Therefore, the death-from-above mission means, in essence, expanding the use of drones to kill both bad guys and, inevitably, innocent people that the president has decided need to die as well in order for the targeting mission to succeed.

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The options of virtual empire and overwhelming strength can and do translate into propositions that by everyday standards are either immoral or highly deviant. Simply because a president can do this and is able to get away with it due to the warped dialectic of power does not absolve those who make these decisions from an objective judgment of the simple facts: it's ghoulish, immoral, and deviant behavior.


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