Pick on Targeted Killing? Indict the State
Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff: Whatís
Wrong With the Surveillance†State?
of targeted killing done by the United States government is mounting.
Why now? Why now, when itís one of the prime activities of a state
to kill? You would think that everyone who supports the State would
be pleased that the State is doing what it has been designed to
do and what it has matured into doing.
adult state like the U.S. exercises "worldwide leadership".
It carries big sticks and it uses them when necessary, which seems
to be continually. This is good, is it not? The United States is
good and does good. Isnít this what is taught to every child in
school? Ergo, targeted killing must be good too.
But no, there
are critics who want there to be the armed and powerful leadership
State, but also want to limit this State and restrain it. Carry
the big stick. Walk the world as your beat. Have weapons that can
be launched to anywhere on the globe. Make the world your police
precinct. But, on the other hand, donít use these weapons to kill.
Donít intervene when rival gangs get to squabbling in some farflung
land. Donít intervene when a rebellion occurs. Donít take sides
with any country against other countries. Donít be tempted by minerals
and resources in these lands or by their useful geography. Donít
be tempted to be the number one honcho in the world and hem in all
other potential honchos. Are any of these limitations even possible?
Can Dr. Frankenstein control his creation?
kill, so why is there criticism of its killing by this method now?
Why is targeted killing bad? If states concentrate resources so
that they develop forces and weapons that individuals cannot, why
be concerned when they go ahead and use these forces and weapons?
Isnít that the main idea of the State in the first place? Indeed,
isnít targeted killing more humane than fire-bombing an entire city
or dropping an atom bomb on Nagasaki?
Why pick on
targeted killing? Why not pick on wars begun by states? Why stop
there? Why not pick on the institution responsible for targeted
killing and far worse? Why not pick on the United States government
itself? Why not pick on the State itself?
And, for that
matter, why not pick on the conditions, motives and ideas that lead
to the formation and support of states throughout the world?
The U.S. government
and several of its agencies have maintained kill lists for years.
has a kill list. Now the White House is consolidating
the kill lists. Obama has regular
Tuesday meetings to discuss those whom he chooses to kill. The
Commander-in-Chief is the Judge-in Chief, Jury-in-Chief, and Executioner-in-Chief
all rolled into one. Why should this be a matter of concern now?
Why didnít the war against Iraq and the war against Afghanistan
elicit correspondingly larger waves of criticism? Why didnít the
American people stop these wars before they were even begun? Why
didnít all those college-educated Americans and all their opinion
leaders recognize the wrongness of those wars and prevent them from
the American state been reined in long before now?
brought about by states in the course of their wars run into hundreds
of millions. The numbers are gargantuan compared to bumping off
hundreds or even thousands of nameless faces in such remote regions
as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia, so why is anyone hot
and bothered now about Obama adding a few more victims to the roll
call? And why worry about a few hundred innocent men, women and
children who happen to get slaughtered when a U.S. bomb delivered
by a drone "takes out" some "target"? Did the
American people not elect Obama so that he could give the green
light to some hero sitting before a computer terminal somewhere
to press the button that sends the drone on its way and press another
button to release its missiles? How can there be heroes getting
medals without such firm duty to their country and such killing?
have done targeted killings in the past, including the United States.
A few states out of many that have done targeted
killing include the United States of America, Israel, El Salvador,
Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Colombia. A Wikipedia article
on death squads lists about 30 states that have used death squads
to kill people. To kill people, they have used all sorts of means,
including death squads, shooting, drones, mass murders, executions,
car bombings, and poison.
There is no
single cause, condition or motive that ignites a policy of targeted
killing by a state or by a stateís military or by forces that a
state allows to operate. Governments are highly proficient at finding
any number of reasons to kill. Should it be surprising that an institution
with the characteristics of a state, namely a capacity to kill and
a domestic monopoly on "legal" violence, finds reasons
in many cases to kill, whether by warfare or death squads or genocides
or targeted killing?
killing programs become known, states usually try to maintain secrecy
about their existence, extent, victims and means of operation. Why?
Itís because such killings are outside accepted canons of justice,
skirting a number of laws and judicial procedures that go back thousands
of years. There do exist forces that restrain states from going
whole hog. These include law, conscience, interests, and institutions
and people advocating peace. Unfortunately, these forces are often
too weak to prevent widespread killing caused by states. There do
not exist highly effective means of limiting the violent activities
of states, since states are designed to do violence. Consequently,
state-sanctioned killing breaks out more or less continually throughout
the world, sometimes kills off virtually entire peoples and societies,
and sometimes engulfs large regions in warfare. Sometimes it is
only when the killing has gone beyond all bounds and encountered
severely diminished returns to the killers that societies have been
able to stop the states from their killing. Why people then go ahead
and institute a new state is beyond understanding, but they do.
killings being done by Obama are not being done in self-defense
of the American people. He thinks so. Heís wrong. There are no imminent
threats from the people being killed. There is no state of war against
the victims. There is no state of war against the many foreign countries
in which the murders are occurring. Heís not only wrong, but itís
obvious that heís wrong.
important as the right and wrong of what Obama is doing are in this
matter of targeted killing, we should not limit our attention to
the rightness or wrongness of his killings. Why do his policies
exist? Why do his policies and the similar wars and torture of both
his and the previous administration exist? They could only arise,
be justified even if badly, and be tolerated by masses of Americans
because America has a State that it believes in. These policies
are the fruits of the built-in defects of the State itself. Impeaching
Bush and Cheney would have been a good idea. Bringing those responsible
for torture to justice is a good idea. Bringing to justice those
responsible for injustices at Guantanamo is a good idea. Impeaching
Obama is a good idea. Stressing the destruction of the Bill of Rights
is a good idea. Stressing the transformation of the country into
a police state is a good idea. There are many such good ideas. They
are not good enough. They are not radical enough. At this juncture
in history, there is no going back to an old version of America.
We cannot even go back to old ideas unless we revamp and radicalize
them for present times and people.
of government is changing into a worse form, and it is going to
fail altogether eventually. It will fail because the idea of the
State is fundamentally flawed.
The State itself
should be impeached. The idea of the State should be criticized.
The concept that the State is beneficial should be indicted. The
notion that the State is necessary should be overturned.
State. Indict the State.
S. Rozeff [send him mail]
is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
He is the author of the free e-book Essays
on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book
The U.S. Constitution
and Money: Corruption and Decline.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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