Cross-Posting: “A Secret Memo, A Secret Panel, A Novel Process”

As you might know, I’m blogging now over at the Carlisle Policy Forum and at Blog Divided. I’m going to try and cross-post what I write over there occasionally, just to give you an idea of what I’m doing. In this case, I’m passing along a post I put up on Sunday night about the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. Since then, it has received some interesting attention from a former assistant secretary of state and Princeton professor and from The Week magazine. There are some other perspectives in the comments section, posted as recently as today. Here’s the beginning of my post:

“Assassination,” Benjamin Disraeli once said, “has never changed the history of the world.” Whether or not it alters the history of the world – and I think a case can be made that it does – its occurrence and the decisions surrounding it have a tendency to consume our politics. In the past few days, the New York Times and Reuters have reported on, respectively, the existence of a secret memo justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki (an American citizen) and the ‘kill panel’ that designated him a target. The exposure of the logic and process behind the assassination of al-Awlaki in such proximity to the actual event suggests a renewed debate is possible. I see two fundamental questions, not easily answered, arising out of such a conversation. One question, which is general (a hat-tip to Professor Crowley here): what is the government obliged to explain to the public after taking such actions? One question, more specific to the context of this moment: how do such events explain the Obama foreign policy, especially in relation to the rule of law?

The rest is here. Let me know what you think here, at CPF, or on Twitter.


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