There is simply no legitimate reason to withhold from the American people the legal rules and standards under which our government operates, particularly when asserting the power to take human life. Certainly aspects of national security programs should remain secret. The evidence collected in counter-terrorism operations, information showing our intelligence agencies' sources and methods, and the strategies government agents use to intercept terrorist plots are all appropriately protected as classified information.More at that top link.
But with targeted killing, the cloak of secrecy has been extended to cover the very rules themselves. That practice dangerously undermines our system of checks and balances. It makes robust oversight impossible. It excludes the public from meaningfully participating in or collaborating with their government. It breeds distrust. Secret law has no place in a democracy.
There may not be much that can unite conservatives and liberals these days, but a commitment to transparent government should be something we can all agree on. Obama says he gets it; during Sunshine Week the White House blog has been highlighting an Obama initiative demonstrating his commitment to open and accessible government. The drone policy hasn't been mentioned so far.
Now Americans of all political allegiances must come together to demand that our president tell us the ground rules that govern his claimed authority to have us killed.
The hypocrisy's even worse than the secrecy.