What sort of monster has the US of A become? Orwell is crying in his grave. The Cold War sure was awful but this uni-polar world is starting to get really really nasty too.
Barack Obama’s weekly counter-terrorism meetings get to decide on what happens to drawn up targets from around the world. We are talking about human targets, Al-Shabaab figures or anyone else that US wants killed or silenced. The NSA no doubt plays a role in ferreting out where each person might be and the extensive network of military bases and drones play their role in carrying out the killings. The list is a secret and there is no rule for getting on it though the CIA and the military certainly contribute.
In Pakistan some 400 people have been killed in almost as many drone attacks since 9/11. A special court could be given oversight of these targeted, mostly extra-judicial killings. Others, who aren’t killed, could end up in black sites across the world, unknown prisons maintained by the US where people can be kept beyond international law or much legal oversight. No doubt some will be interrogated, tortured or otherwise pressured into confessions of some sort.
It seems the US is playing the international sheriff role and doing it in a wild west style as well: no international oversight, no democratic checks and balances, no proper procedures of justice. While I do not doubt there are some incredibly pesky terrorists around the world (small numbers, not very well armed or organised in general compared to the US) that the US deems to be against its interests. However, I cannot see why it would be of any benefit to the US or to anyone else to be acting in the above manner and creating a vast, complex, secret net of institutions that continues to carry out these killings.
However I can see a lot that the US and other supposedly fully democratic countries stand to lose: basic democratic principles such as fairness, justice and oversight. Sacrificing the most cherished basic values is a good recipe to losing the most basic meaning and values of a state. I also doubt most people want to live in a world that hurtles towards less security, less fairness and a setup in which one country and its allies are the only ones truly making the rules. What will be the checks, who will even know about these secret killings? What if they extend to others who are not exactly terrorists or are completely innocent of any crime and how will we ever know?
This is very scary. With the codename ‘disposition matrix’ it is also decidedly Orwellian. This is most definitely not the future anyone was hoping for when the Cold War ended.