The Bush Doctrine, articulated by George W. Bush after terrorists killed almost 3,000 people in the Sept. 11 attacks, was simple: "We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," he said on Sept. 20, 2001.
Mr. Bush meant then as president, as he still does, that American foreign policy and global intervention were intended to support democratic governments around the world and to push for "regime change" - a move Democrats enthusiastically supported vis a vis Iraq when Bill Clinton was president.
Regime change: That guy out, a new guy in - not personal, but hey, we're just not digging you, so, bye: Just like we do here at home. It did not mean, it need be said, whacking the old leader in the back of a black SUV like the Cosa Nostra.
But it does now. The United States is now, like the Sicilian Mafia, in the business of taking out anyone it doesn't like. And not at the ballot box, but at the end of a gun (or drone, if you happen to be in Libya). Now, if we don't like you, you're going to wind up dead. The new foreign policy: Breaking Bad - Worldwide.
President Obama has taken his doctrine to new heights. American? Doesn't matter, whacked. Teenage son? Too bad, we're going to whack him, too. (But make it look like a plain-ol' drone strike, hey guys?) Osama bin Laden? Let's go back to the vigilante mobs of the Wild West and just mete out our own justice - we don't need no stinkin' badges!
The formal American policy, however, is simple: According to Executive Order 11905, issued by President Ford in 1976, "No employee of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."
And make no mistake about it: The United States did conspire to assassinate Moammar Gadhafi and is clearly complicit in his slaying. While the Libyan dictator was killed in the street by thugs - possibly his own thugs - the U.S. fired a missile from a drone to stop a caravan of vehicles from escaping across the desert.
This is the way Democrats conduct war - from far above, with no messy boots on the ground.
It is the same way we Americans last month took out a fellow citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. He was never indicted of any crime, yet a CIA-led drone strike whacked him, again targeting a motorcade (who knows how many others were killed). It turned out that al-Awlaki was on a secret list of Americans approved for killings abroad, with no regard to due process - or a little thing called the Constitution, where the Fifth Amendment says, "No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law."
Far less known is that the U.S. also took out al-Awlaki's son the same way. The government claimed he was 21, but the boy was born in Denver just 16 years ago. Yet the government clammed up when asked about the killing. "The officials would not discuss the attack in any detail, including who the target was," The Washington Post reported after the attack.
Which is just as well. When the Obama administration seeks to flesh out its bizarre, Constitution-free policies, it often simply lies. White House officials spun a wild tale about the killing of Osama bin Laden, then respun it days later, pulling back many of the breathless details. But in a new book, "SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden," a former commander says much of what the administration said was a lie.
The SEAL team deployed to kill bin Laden landed on a roof, not in the yard of the compound. So they did not rush up the stairs, as U.S. officials said, and they did not have a vicious firefight in the foyer. Instead, they swooped down in a chopper, dropped onto the roof, burst in and fired four quick shots, the last two hitting the terrorist mastermind in the aorta and skull. He was dead in 90 seconds - no attempt was ever made to take him alive.
Unlike criticism heaped on Mr. Bush for daring to tap into foreign phone calls in search of terrorists, the mainstream media applaud the new policy of assassinating whomever the U.S. chooses. On Friday, the Associated Press repeated Democrats' cheerleading Mr. Obama's Iraq declaration as "a fourth big foreign policy success in six months" - all other three being assassinations.
Since when is assassination a "big foreign policy success"? Since Democrats took over. And their ends-justify-the-means mentality of killing foreign leaders - even those as despicable as bin Laden and Gadhafi - will soon bring terrorism to America's shore.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.