Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Next on the Right's Hit Parade: Hit Men!

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Right-wing bloggers are now openly advocating political assassination as a tool of foreign policy:

This has been obvious for a long time anyway, and I don't understand why the Bush Administration has been so slow to respond. Nor do I think that high-profile diplomacy, or an invasion, is an appropriate response. We should be responding quietly, killing radical mullahs and iranian atomic scientists, supporting the simmering insurgencies within Iran, putting the mullahs' expat business interests out of business, etc. Basically, stepping on the Iranians' toes hard enough to make them reconsider their not-so-covert war against us in Iraq. And we should have been doing this since the summer 2003. But as far as I can tell, we've done nothing along these lines.

Hugh Hewitt approves:

Glenn will no doubt attract virtual bricks from the usual suspects, but he goes right to the heart of the problem. If we know that Iran is killing American soldiers, if we don't punish that action is [sic] some way, the killing will not only continue, it will increase.

Note that we don't "know that Iran is killing American soldiers" -- no evidence that links Iran's government to weapons found in Iraq has been made public, and it's doubtful that any such even exists. But that does not stop blind Bush worshippers from accepting every word the president says as gospel truth.

Glenn Greenwald has more to say on this:

To get a sense for how profoundly violative of our political and military traditions such proposals are, one can review this comprehensive report on the history of American law and foreign assassinations, authored by Nathan Canestaro, a member of the Afghanistan Task Force of the CIA (he also, ironically enough, graduated University of Tennessee School of Law). Every U.S. President since Gerald Ford -- including Ronald Reagan -- has either issued or left standing an Executive Order which expressly provides:

No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.

Every administration, Democratic and Republican, have agreed that creating death squads and engaging in extra-judicial assassinations is so repugnant to our political values and so destructive to our moral credibility around the world that an absolute ban is necessary -- including at the height of the Cold War, as we battled the "evil empire" which had thousands of nuclear-tipped warheads pointed at numerous American cities.

On a purely logistical level, Reynolds might be overlooking a few roadblocks:

... [H]ow is this going to work? We're talking, presumably, about the clandestine branches of the same intelligence agencies who can't decide what the state of the Iranian nuclear program is, don't know where Iran's nuclear facilities are, and are unsure who, if anyone, in the Iranian government is responsible for Iranian weapons winding up in Iraq. Nevertheless, Reynolds believes they have an off-the-shelf plan for placing assasins in close proximity to key Iranian nuclear scientists. But not only for doing this, but for doing it quietly! American agents are infiltrating Iran killing Iranian scientists and religious leaders and none of them get caught. How? Are there really dozens of Farsi-speaking ninjas working for the CIA? I was going to compare this to a fun-but-stupid movie like The Bourne Identity but the point of that movie (and its sequal) is actually that if you somehow did build a hyper-competent utterly secret government agency it would likely become a cesspool of corruption and abuses of power.

James Joyner and Greg Tinti think that Greenwald is the crazy one. What's the big deal about sending hit men and death squads all over the world to execute anyone we decide is out to get us? It certainly would eliminate that annoying evidence thing. ...

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