Blade Runner In the Senate: All These Truths Lost in Time, Like Tiered Threats in Rain

“America’s Screaming Conscience” at Gawker writes:

The centerpiece of the afternoon’s pitiable exercise was a kangaroo court held between Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Brennan. Her questions weren’t just slow-pitch softball; it was as if someone tweaked the settings on the pitching machine to “Half-Blind One-Armed Opponent Taking Their First Cuts Minutes After Learning of the Existence of Softball as a Game.”

Feinstein was downright plummy. Was it not true that Anwar al-Awlaki was a very bad man, Mr. Brennan? And Mr. Brennan said yes. Was it not true that you had proof of al-Awlaki’s involvement with many very bad things? And Mr. Brennan said yes. They both saw the necessity of what was done, and it was good.

Feinstein’s exercise omitted a central conceit of the rule of law: If convicting al-Awlaki was so easy, it presumably would have been just as easy before his assassination. The U.S. had roughly a year to conduct a show trial between the time they defined al-Awlaki as an existential threat and the time they killed him. The facile ease with which Feinstein promulgated this legalistic sleight-of-hand only highlighted the craven reasons for doing so.

These guys expected you not to give a shit. Drones are bad news, and they shock people, but after a while, if ugliness becomes the background hum of the everyday, eventually you’ll tune it out. Like The Onion gag, they expect “outrage fatigue” to grind you down. They expected you to tune it out. Then they whacked an American, and you got mad! Hence the mock trial: See, they totally could have done this all along, which makes everything seem legal all along.


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