Anniversaries are good things, except when they're not.
The past week saw the one year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden and with the presidential campaign between President Obama and Mitt Romney all but official, the demise of the former al Qaeda leader has become a campaign issue of sorts.
Obama, tongue in cheek, yesterday chided Romney indirectly saying, "I'd just recommend that everybody take a look at people's previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden", (this referring to Romney, in an earlier run for the presidency saying he "questioned the value of moving heaven and earth to catch bin Laden" and criticized candidate Obama's position in 2008 for Obama saying he "would order military strikes against terrorists in Pakistan with or without that nations consent".
Romney, when asked on Monday whether he would have ordered the commando raid into Pakistan to take out Osama replied, "Of course, of course, even Jimmy Carter would have given the order".
Apparently Romney had gotten over his former reticence of the need to inform Pakistan BEFORE such a raid was to be carried out.
But today everything is poll driven and the American people, according to polls, overwhelmingly agree that Obama did the correct thing in taking bin Laden out.
Of course those polls didn't ask whether this president (or any president for that matter) had the legal authority to clandestinely enter another sovereign country without their permission or whether killing bin Laden, rather than capturing him and prosecuting him for his "alleged" crimes was legal.
I'd guess, most Americans would call the aforementioned questions "nit picking" i.e. "Sovereignty, what's that"? ; "Legal authorization, why"? Let's face it, the end, killing bin laden, justified the means; end of story.
Now we have the "unitary executive", coined first by Bush Jr., now furthered and broadened by Obama where the president continues to issue signing statements, ignoring any parts of a law he disagrees with and lawyers in his Justice Department are requested to write legal opinions justifying the legality of ANYTHING the president does and without those opinions being made public. That's classified for national security reasons, apparently forever.
So Obama didn't ask Congress for the authorization to kill bin Laden, didn't notify Pakistan of his intentions before breaching their sovereignty, and the killing of bin Laden without due process, was all conveniently made legal, pretty much because the president alone wanted to do it; no questions necessary, thank you very much.
Thus we have a president who acts with dictatorial powers, ignores the Constitution and the rule of law as he pleases and is applauded for it.
And now, with the president signing the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) on December 31, 2011, he can target any American citizen at any time he sees fit, hold him indefinitely or target him for assassination; habeas corpus and due process be damned.
Such policies reflect our true position in the world, domestically and internationally. We rail against and demonize the autocratic regimes in Iran and North Korea yet hypocritically ignore our own heinous and illegal behavior and then make it a virtue with an expression of triumphalism.
That's America, circa May, 2012. "Sieg Heil".