During the Bush-era torture debates, I was never able to get past my initial incredulity that we were even having a "debate" over whether the President has the authority to torture people.
Andrew Sullivan has responded to some of the questions I posed about his defense of Obama's assassination program, and I realize now that throughout this whole assassination debate, specific legal and factual issues aside, my overarching reaction is quite similar: I actually can't believe that there is even a "debate" over whether an American President -- without a shred of due process or oversight -- has the power to compile hit lists of American citizens whom he orders the CIA to kill far away from any battlefield.
The notion that the President has such an unconstrained, unchecked power is such a blatant distortion of everything our political system is supposed to be -- such a pure embodiment of the very definition of tyrannical power -- that, no matter how many times I see it, it's still hard for me to believe there are people willing to expressly defend it.
My sentiments exactly. Very Serious People were unapologetically talking then about torture--as they are talking now about targeted killings--without the slightest bit of self-consciousness, or humility, or conscience....
That kind of hubris is nothing short of unbelievable.