It depends on what the definition of “is” is….
The above quote, for all you guys over thirty is obviously from the impeachment hearing of President Clinton. Mr. Clinton being a lawyer, as most politicians are, zeroed in on one word of a question asked of him about Monica…
Well it seems that the definition game is back in play with another Democratic president. No it is not about sex this time, President Obama is just not that type of guy. This time it is a much more serious matter and that is the explanation of how the “kill list” is made up and the subsequent drone flights to take out the subject.
The white paper memo that was recently leaked about how to determine who would be killed by a drone attack said that the person had to be involved in an imminent attack on the United States. Lets look at a non-lawyer definition of “imminent”:
very likely to occur at any moment; impending: Her death is imminent
I think most of us are aligned with this definition. But enter the lawyers with their own definition at least when it comes to killing via drone attacks.
possibility of the person to either now or sometime in the future be involved in a plan to attack the U.S.
So, like the word “is”, imminent changes definitions to suit the legal matter at hand. Sadly the main talk about this leaked paper revolves around killing U.S. citizens on foreign soil. There seems to be no real dispute inside the beltway on killing foreign citizens in their own countries. They, meaning President Obama and a small handful of military types, say they don’t currently plan on using drones to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
We don’t really know how many people have been killed in our drone attacks either by being targets or as collateral damage, that information has been kept very hidden. But it is generally believed to be in the thousands. We know that drone attacks are striking fear among many in the world. They are worried that they might be the next collateral damage to innocently die at the hands of the U.S. President. As a result drone attacks are becoming the vehicle of choice in Al Qaeda recruitment.
When lawyers are involved even the most mundane things are questioned. If you want to stay informed be very careful that you know the lawyer’s definition if things like “is” and “imminent” are.