On Drone Strikes, Washington Post Editorial Shows Backward Thinking


The Washington Post has an editorial today calling for more transparency from White House concerning its drone program. Some readers might be forgiven if they think it's because the Post — as an alleged purveyor of useful information to the public — wants Americans to be able to assess the validity of Obama's drone strikes on individuals.

However, that's hardly the case. The Post notes,

"Though it has ordered hundreds of drone strikes that have killed thousands, the Obama administration has never disclosed the methodology in the playbook. It has not provided public reports on the targets and results of drone strikes and, in the case of Pakistan, still officially refuses to acknowledge them."

So far so good. Then the editorial later take an interesting turn stating,

"If there is a compelling case for all of this secrecy, the administration has not made it. While clandestine drone strikes in Pakistan may have been necessary when the program began during the Bush administration, the attacks and their origin long ago ceased to be secret in any meaningful way."

In other words, it's not the drone strikes themselves that the Post takes issue with, but rather the secrecy about them. After all, the paper has already judged Obama's drone war to be legal, and that the only problem for the Post is that the White House hasn't disclosed its justifications to the public or even to Congress.

But if this is the case, then how can the major newspaper of the nation's capital deem Obama's drone strikes legal — given all this secrecy about the program?

The editorial continues by saying that the drone war's "increasingly shaky political and diplomatic grounding would be strengthened if the administration were to disclose its justifications and allow them to be debated and ratified by Congress."

In other words, if only the administration would come clean about the details of the program, Congress, our allies, and the public would see how super the drone program really is — so much so that Congress will codify the White House's justifications into law.

Today's Post editorial exposed the paper for what most already knew it to be: a craven lover of unbridled presidential power far too eager to support the White House even when executive transparency is woefully lacking.