00bama: Is the President licensed to kill?

President Obama has a

WASHINGTON, DC, December 8, 2012 - With the new James Bond movie Skyfall raking in money at the box office, now might be a good time to examine the premise of 007. The double-aught designator, of course, means that the designee (in this case, James Bond) has a license to kill without recrimination. Of course, the 00 cadre is carefully selected and trained, so the 00s never kill the wrong person. So that’s OK?

The authority for issuing the 00 comes from Her Majesty’s government, through a mysterious process and set of agencies. No one ever asks where Her Majesty got the authority.

But just thinking about that license is cool; it gives one the feeling of absolute power; and the assignments pretty much always involve killing really bad people (usually evil capitalists), so isn’t it great that Bond is on the “good” side?

What could possibly go wrong? The government picks its agents; the government picks the targets; and, because of the necessarily limited number of licenses to kill and the craftiness of the opponents, there’s a fairly limited amount of killing… at least, compared to a war, or something.

Let’s go a step farther, and give Bond the power to destroy his opponents without ever having to engage them, without ever looking into their evil eyes. Let’s give Bond a TUAV (a Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or armed drone), and a team of twenty-somethings to operate it. Then let’s have Bond himself decide whom to kill. It could be an enemy of the state, or a potential enemy of the state. It could be somebody who happens to be in the house or the car, who happens to be with that supposed enemy of the state.

“Collateral Damage,” they call them.

At least Bond himself is competent and properly vetted. His childhood, his influences, his business background and training, have all been the best in the world, and the records have been carefully checked. His associates all passed rigorous background checks, and were found to be of the highest moral and patriotic character.

Bond worked his way through the system in full transparency to those who selected him, keeping his promises and following the rules. Bond himself has no agenda; he doesn’t have delusions of world domination; he doesn’t even want to be famous, or get a Nobel prize for things he promises to do. His ego is intact, and his temper is always under control.

Nothing could possibly go wrong. The drone is a good, large, state-of-the-art RC model. Its missiles never malfunction; its targeting system never fails; the missiles never miss. The twenty-somethings are all highly trained and fully professional; they couldn’t mis-identify anybody.

And the people who give Bond the information and advice about whom he might like to kill – well, they’re experts. They have the strictest respect for the laws of the country, and are totally apolitical; only the greater good ever enters their thought process.

They’ve been doing this for years, identifying potential threats like the warlike Branch Davidians and those Saddam Hussein-lovers who were hoarding all the weapons of mass destruction, while giving a pass to the devout followers of Allah, who wanted to take flying (but not landing) lessons or maybe keep up a good international correspondence from Fort Hood.

Experts.

The government is in control.  Nothing can possibly go wrong.


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Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

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