I know it has been a long time since I have written here (over 2 weeks, according to these dates). While I take the weekend to refamiliarize myself with current events and the outside world, please accept this discussion on covert power and the subsequent philosophical debate on the nature of authority and responsibility.
(covert picture not posted for security reasons)
The President, according to this article, is a big fan of covert hard power. This is one thing that I agree with him about. If your hands are tied by the lack of a declaration of war, the necessity to respect national sovereignty, the constant release of those you capture, and the constant threat to your country by a group of people sworn to bring about your destruction; then kill them covertly.
This covert campaign is essential to the War on Terror, which is in itself essential to protecting America. While it may or may not be an existential sort of threat, it is a very real one that has been killing innocent Americans for decades. Mr. President, I applaud your approach.
That said, there is also a cautionary note deserved. A democracy is not supposed to be covert. A government of the people and by the people cannot be covert. Libertarian principles can be ripped apart quickly by one greedy man with covert power. Is the President entirely good-minded in this use of power? It is necessary to prosecute the type of war we are fighting, but it is also very handy for one who wants to violently affect the world while seeming peaceful at home and in the media.
This is why we have checks and balances and why it is imperative that they operate flawlessly. A President using covert powers under the watchful eye of Congressional committees in prosecution of a declared war is a very powerful tool. A President doing the same without oversight, with a weak Congress that will not declare the wars they fight and will not even hold OVERT military actions within Constitutional and legal bounds is truly frightening. If you have wondered why I am so insistent on declaring war to use military force and “checks and balances” being used properly, especially in relation to the application of violence, then this gives you a window into that rationale.