Just don't call it a double standard because that would be totally wrong

Just don't call it a double standard because that would be totally wrong

by digby

Adam Serwer points out that the same logic the Obama administration used in releasing to the public its predecessor's secret memos justifying torture almost certainly applies the the memos justifying the drone assassination program. He references President Obama's April 2009 speech at CIA headquarters in which he responded to conservative complaints that he had released the documents:

As I made clear, in releasing the [Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel] memos as a consequence of a court case that was pending and to which it was very difficult for us to mount an effective legal defense. I acted primarily because of the exceptional circumstances that surrounded these memos, particularly the fact that so much of the information was public—had been publicly acknowledged. The covert nature of the information had been compromised…What makes the United States special, and what makes you special, is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and ideals even when it’s hard—not just when it's easy; even when we are afraid and under threat—not just when it's expedient to do so. That's what makes us different.

Serwer observes:
The Obama administration, which was losing court fights over the torture memos, has so far succeeded in preventing the courts from compelling the release of the targeted-killing memos. But everything else Obama said about the torture memos—that there are exceptional circumstances (in this case, the deaths of American terror suspects), for example, or that the program is essentially public knowledge—also applies to his targeted-killing memos.

The key difference between the torture memos and the targeted-killing memos is that the torture memos were written during the Bush administration, while the targeted-killing memos were written during Obama's. Another difference is that because Obama banned torture by executive order, it was highly unlikely that Americans would be affected by the practices the torture memos justified. The same cannot be said for the targeted-killing memos, which are still in force and apply to an ongoing government program.

If releasing the torture memos to the public was justified, it's very hard to understand why Americans should be kept in the dark about the details of when, how and why their own government can mark them for death.

I'm going to guess that's exactly why the administration is so keen on keeping them secret.