Larison says I'm twisting words:
It is interesting how uncomfortable the word assassination makes supporters of the President’s supposed power to order the assassination of U.S. citizens. It’s actually not that different from the contortions defenders of torture engaged in to avoid admitting that they were defending torture. Aggressive interrogation methods? Well, sure, that was all right, but torture is clearly wrong. The same meaningless distinction seems to be at work here. As long as we don’t call the assassination of U.S. citizens assassination or execution, but refer to it in some other way, it becomes a bit easier to rationalize and defend.
The word I have used is "killing" - not exactly a euphemism along the lines of "enhanced interrogation."
I regard "assassination" as the deliberate murder of a leader or individual for political purposes, not the targeted killing of a member of al Qaeda at war with the US, whom it is impossible or extremely difficult to capture. An "execution" is something I take to occur when someone is already under the physical control of another, and is usually associated with a legal or civil process, not an act of war. None of these words quite works with the very difficult case we are discussing and, to be quite frank, Daniel's attempt to equate my wrestling with this dilemma with the Orwellianisms I have done all I can to expose over the last several years is deeply, deeply offensive and unfair. I am genuinely trying to figure this out and deserve better than this.