Jeffrey St. Clair has written a disturbing article in Counterpunch where he shows that the legal precedent for Obama’s drone program comes from a source most Obama’s supporters consider to be their ethical opposite- Richard Nixon.

There was a time in our distant past, when transgressing the boundaries of another nation with which we were not at war and killing their people required intense legal justification. It is worth noting that when President Obama wished to justify his drone program, he had to go back to 1969 and Nixon’s illegal bombing of Cambodia to do so.


“At last we know. The mysterious legal authority for Barack Obama’s killer drone program flows from another administration with an elastic interpretation of executive power: that of Richard Nixon.

In a chilling 16-page dossier known simply as the White Paper, one of Obama’s statutory brains at the Justice Department cites the 1969 secret bombing of Cambodia as a legal rationale justifying drone strikes, deep inside nations, against which the United States is not officially at war.

This startling disclosure is drafted in the antiseptic prose of an insurance adjuster announcing the denial of a claim based on a pre-existing condition. Yet, the bombing of Cambodia (aka Operation Menu), which involved more than 3,000 air strikes, was almost universally acknowledged as a war crime. Now the Obama administration has officially enshrined that atrocity as precedent for its own killing rampages.” -Jeffrey St. Clair

As Nixon so famously put it, “If the President does it, that means it isn’t illegal.” And now the principle seems to be, “If America does it, it that means it isn’t illegal.”

Perhaps Republicans and Democrats are not so far apart when it comes to killing foreigners. Perhaps American exceptionalism is the one thing both parties can agree upon. By some calculations, Obama’s drone program has killed over 3,000 innocent civilians. Obama’s unquestioning supporters should not be surprised to look in the mirror and find an unexpected reflection staring back at them- that of Richard Nixon.