NOTE TO CIA DIRECTOR PANETTA: You need to instruct your lawyers to come up with a coherent strategy for talking publicly with people, frequently lawyers, who are important to your institutional mission because they set the terms of your institutional legitimacy in the wider world. You need to show them that you have an at least plausible and soberly thought-out legal analysis of why your use of violence is not contrary to international law. They don’t have to agree with it, but you have to assert that it is real, considered, and at least plausible, which means you have to say something and engage with these people. You think the international law community is irrelevant? The activist and advocacy community, intermingled experts, academics, and advocates, unable to lay gloves on you? Think again. They toasted the Agency like a bagel for breakfast over interrogation and detention — so much so that you are left blowing up people in part for lack of a detention option that can get by the activist world. They might well do it to you again on targeted killing. Get out in front of this; the world has changed and they are more important as a (mostly de-) legitimating community than 180 of the members of the General Assembly. Samantha’s War for Virtue is the perfect opportunity not only to show your stuff on the ground, whatever that might be — but also to explain yourselves on legal policy, in ways in that sound far better when it’s about “saving lives” in Benghazi rather than “counterterrorism in AfPak.” That’s so even when the activity, using violence, is the same activity and under fundamentally the same jus in bello legal justification. Use Sam’s War as an opportunity to give yourselves some legal cover and create some legal precedents that can be used down the road. Give me a call and we’ll talk.
via volokh.comhorrible thinking. no wonder this guy endorsed Obama during the election. He might claim to be a Libertarian, but breaking the constitution for our reputation is wrong.