Barack Obama Accepts Responsibility for Drone Killings: Meaningless

When President Obama accepts responsibility he is actually affirming that no one in the government will ever be held accountable.

Philip Giraldi has an interesting piece at the American Conservative: “Obama’s Unaccountable Drone War.”

Ironically, for a president who once ran for office promising “transparency” in government, the dreaded associated “a” word, “accountability,” has been somewhat difficult to discern. Even if government actions were transparent, which they are not, the ability of senior bureaucrats and politicians to make multiple bad decisions goes unchallenged when there is no accountability.

The recent killing of two foreign captives in an errant drone strike in Pakistan has raised some serious questions about the government’s employment of what has become its principal offensive weapon in its global war on terror (which the White House now prefers to call its overseas contingency operations). While President Obama, who has claimed that drones strikes only take place when there is “near certainty” about the target, took personal responsibility for the mishap, it does not require much understanding of Washington’s ways to realize that the gesture is in reality quite empty since the Chief Executive is unlikely to bear any actual consequences.

[See also, “Drone Killing Only Counts When They Look Like Us?]

In the development of my political understanding, I basically learned what it means for a high government official to “accept responsibility” or to “take personal responsibility” for a government action from Janet Reno, after the Branch Davidians were slaughtered by fire.

It means nothing.

In fact, it is the opposite of what “taking responsibility” means in the private sector. If you “accept personal responsibility” in the private sector you can be fired or fined for damages or otherwise held accountable. Obviously, it is unthinkable to Barack Obama that he actually be held legally responsible for anything he does. So when he “takes responsibility” he is actually affirming complete government immunity from being held responsible for anything.

He is affirming that holding anyone accountable for government-caused death is simply off-limits to the American people.