Feb. 13, 2006 issue - In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States. Steven Bradbury, acting head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel, went to a closed-door Senate intelligence committee meeting last week to defend President George W. Bush's surveillance program. During the briefing, said administration and Capitol Hill officials (who declined to be identified because the session was private), California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Bradbury questions about the extent of presidential powers to fight Al Qaeda; could Bush, for instance, order the killing of a Qaeda suspect known to be on U.S. soil? Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances."How far does it have to go before somebody calls Bush for going too far? They later denied that this was really the case, that the closed-door session was "off the record" and that Bradbury was basically talking out of his ass. Yet it begs the question. If this administration felt it had the right to assassinate, here or abroad, wouldn't it do so? Indeed, from what we know so far of this administration's end runs around the Constitution and written statutes, would they not be likely to feel compelled to do so if they thought it advanced their case against terrorism? And just who, in this administration's estimation, is a terrorist? Haven't they said that critics of the administration are in effect aiding and abetting the terrorists? "If you are not with us, you are with the terrorists."
Is this issues, along with domestic surveillance, Katrina, aid cuts, etc., enough to convince the rest of the public (i.e., a good portion of those 38% who still somehow approve of this president and his henchmen) that they are dangerous and should be removed from office? A year from now, will I still be able to write such a question for anybody to read? I hope so. I truly hope so.