Secret drone strikes simplify Obama Doctrine

To his credit, Durbin quietly signed his name to a letter from 11 senators of both parties asking Obama to make public the White House rationale allowing assassinations.

But they won't hound Obama. Expect them instead to shake their jowls angrily at John Brennan.

Brennan is the career CIA officer and supporter of drones and "enhanced interrogation techniques" who was nominated by Obama to run the CIA. He is scheduled to testify Thursday at a Senate confirmation hearing .

There is a big difference between intelligence officers and politicians. Obama seemed to understand this once, when the world was complicated for him. Intelligence officers do what's necessary, and once the work is done and the threat removed, they're often thrown under the bus by politicians.

But politicians? They change the rules to justify what they want to do. And in so doing, they make the future far more dangerous and far less free.

"Who'd we get today?" was the famous question asked repeatedly by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, when he was the pro-drone Obama White House chief of staff, according to Bob Woodward's book "Obama's Wars."

Emanuel's was a gleeful question, full of bureaucratic malice, asked by a man with his loafers on safe White House carpets. Those same carpets still caress Obama's shoes.

The president once opposed "enhanced interrogation" of terrorism suspects. But now he claims constitutional protection to kill them without trial, if they're Americans overseas.

That complicated, nuanced world Obama once lived in? It's been simplified.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

CHICAGO

More