It’s fair play.
If President Bush and his lawyer John Yoo could take criticism for their legal justification of harsh interrogations, including the water-boading of three terrorists, if Yoo’s key memo could be called the “torture memo,” then President Obama and his lawyers can take criticism for the “assassination memo” that justified the Sept. 30 killing of U.S. citizen-terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki (and fellow American Samir Khan) without a trial.
Stephen Hayward lays it out:
Gosh, who knew that John Yoo had gone back to work for the Obama Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, writing memos under the nom de plumes “David Barron” and “Martin Lederman.” At least those are the names, according to the lead story in today’s New York Times, of the OLC lawyers who drafted the “secret” memo that authorized the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. But look, it has to be Yoo, moonlighting just for yucks [From the Times]:The memo, written last year, followed months of extensive interagency deliberations and offers a glimpse into the legal debate that led to one of the most significant decisions made by President Obama — to move ahead with the killing of an American citizen without a trial.As a thought experiment, just imagine how the Left would be reacting right now if this memo had come from the Bush Administration. It’s easy if you try. Code Pink would have turned purple with rage. Code Pink. . . oh yeah, I remember them. They used to protest our wars, didn’t they? And Cindy Sheehan? Did she die and we missed the obit?
Problem of consistency. The principal problem with the Obama administration’s policy is not that it is willing to knock off someone -- even someone born in New Mexico -- who clearly is an enemy on the field of battle. The problem is that the president and his aides have so often described our struggle against terrorism as a criminal prosecution that when they act under the rules of war we wonder what they really believe.
The answer is in a “secret” memo.