Early this week NBC created a stir after reporting they had obtained a 16-page memo leaked from the U.S. Department of Justice that revealed new details on President Obama’s controversial “kill list.” Although still leaving many unanswered questions about the Obama administration’s policy on extrajudicial killings of American citizens, it does move this secretive practice further into light.

In response to the media’s coverage of the leak, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) continues to champion the bi-partisan consensus that the American people must be willing to give up their freedom if they want to be safe. But safe from what? From terrorists? If just the idea that one politician has the “legal” authority to deny you a fair trial, as the constitution demands, and imprison you indefinitely or even have you killed doesn’t terrify someone, they have a funny sense of what it means to live without terror.

But Graham doesn’t stop at simply supporting the president’s ability to target and kill Americans. Graham is actually upset enough by the backlash to Obama’s kill-list that he is urging all of his fellow congressmen to “get on board” and come to the president's defense saying “It’s not fair to the president to [...] leave him out there alone quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.”

If Obama continues to usurp unconstitutional powers, acting not as a president but as a king, then it is Obama who is choosing to be left “out there alone.” After all, no mere citizen exists on the same level as a monarch—neither does any law.

Graham attempted to draw support for Obama from the “middle of America” saying he thinks they understand “why you would want a drone program to go after a person like Anwar al-Awlaki.” Yes, most Americans would likely agree there should be a way to deal with legitimate enemies of this country. But hopefully, just as many also want to know that their government operates within its own laws, just as average citizens are expected to do. Giving one man the power to circumvent the law of the land and “determine who an enemy combatant is and what kind of force to use” is the exact opposite of what it means to abide by legal restraints.

Unfortunately for Sen. Graham, this issue doesn’t seem to be losing steam in the media as many Americans are not ready to leave Obama alone on this, and continue to seek more information on Obama’s kill-program—it’s about time.


Edward Hudgins

About The Author:

Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.

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