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editorial | drone strikes reverberate

Playing judge and jury, Obama goes on validating a kind of gun violence

Am I the only one who finds the president’s newly acquired interest in reducing gun violence hypocritical? Like it or not, the idea that it’s OK to kill people because they did something, or were planning something, or — fill in the blank — is an idea our president validates every time he OKs a drone strike. Neither the trappings of office nor the slick rationalizations supplied by lawyers alter the situation.

With every executive kill order, our president sends several loud and clear messages to several different audiences — the main one being that, under certain circumstances, it’s all right to kill certain people because you are entitled to do so, and because they pose a threat and thus have forfeited all rights — not to mention the rights held by any innocent bystanders.

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No doubt many Americans choose not to hear this as the central message of the drone program. But some do. Basically, our president is making life-and-death decisions out of sight and, more important, out of legal oversight, and it will probably stay that way because somehow, in a perversion of the Constitution, he appears to be playing chief justice as well.

Richard Simone

Cambridge

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