Every American bears a share of the blame for the innocents killed and the imprudence of weakening historic restraints on the president
Every Western democracy has answered the question, "How should the power of the leader be checked?" In the United States, we separated the role of the sovereign into three co-equal branches, incorporated the Bill of Rights into our written Constitution, and scheduled regular elections when the people, having observed the actions of the executive and legislative branches, regularly decide whether to oust them from office or send them back to Washington, D.C.
When we undercut these safeguards, we accept some share of responsibility for the excesses that result. Bear that in mind as you read Jane Mayer's description of the new way that America kills its foreign enemies, along with an unknowable number of innocents that add up to hundreds at minimum. "The U.S. government runs two drone programs. The military's version, which is publicly acknowledged, operates in the recognized war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and targets enemies of U.S. troops stationed there. As such, it is an extension of conventional warfare," she writes. "The C.I.A.'s program is aimed at terror suspects around the world, including in countries where U.S. troops are not based. It was initiated by the Bush Administration and, according to Juan Zarate, a counterterrorism adviser in the Bush White House, Obama has left in place virtually all the key personnel. The program is classified as covert, and the intelligence agency declines to provide any information to the public about where it operates, how it selects targets, who is in charge, or how many people have been killed."