Grace Bedell thought it could clinch the election when she suggested to Abraham Lincoln that he grow a beard. Now a century and a half later, Americans are asking their president to consider an updated proposal: Mr. Obama, please don’t kill us.
Unlike the correspondence from 1860 that was signed off by a single person — an 11-year-old girl from upstate New York — over 1,000 Americans have already added their name to a petition posted on the Internet this week. Their plea may sound silly at first glance, but it’s authors appear to be anything other than serious about it: after a Tuesday morning article in the New York Times revealed US President Barack Obama’s authority to add and remove names from a roster of alleged enemies of the state to be executed without due process, 1,679 Americans have already asked that they be placed on a “do not kill” list.
With the 2012 presidential election less than six months away, issues such as the economy, unemployment and cybersecurity are should to be big talking points as the candidates prepare for voters to hit the polls. Now, however, it appears as if whether or not the next administration can justify killing anyone on command will be a big talking point leading up to November. And although it might not be as big of a selling point as growing out a beard, Obama’s stance on killing his own citizens could make or break his chances come Election Day.
As of Thursday morning, the creators of the petition are 23,321 signatures short of their goal. Only a day after being published to the Web, however, the sign-up sheet has already received notable publicity.
“The New York Times reports that President Obama has created an official “kill list” that he uses to personally order the assassination of American citizens,” reads a message posted on the WhiteHouse.gov page that hosts the petition. “Considering that the government already has a “Do Not Call” list and a “No Fly” list, we hereby request that the White House create a “Do Not Kill” list in which American citizens can sign up to avoid being put on the president’s “kill list” and therefore avoid being executed without indictment, judge, jury, trial or due process of law.”
As RT reported earlier this week, the Times’ article suggests that the commander-in-chief has a very active role in determining who can be killed by his own military and intelligence offices. Discussing the piece he co-authored to the PBS program Newshour this week, journalist Scott Shane said, “Instead of wanting deniability and wanting to keep at a distance from this lethal program, he actually wanted to be very much part of it.”
Last year public outcry erupted over the White House’s targeted kill program after it was revealed that the president ordered a targeted kill of American citizens living abroad that had been linked to terrorist organizations by the Obama administration. Both President Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder have gone on the record to stand by the air strikes.