Drones and targeted killings are back in the news these days and Dave Weigel at Slate made a great point today that..." one reason why drone warfare and targeted killing don't really get discussed in Washington unless there's a memo leak or a protest: There's bipartisan consensus to whistle awkwardly and let the system continue." I think this can't be stressed enough, legal and moral questions aside our targeted killing policies remain remarkably popular among Americans of a variety of political stripes and overwhelmingly popular among our elected officials. None other than John Boehner referred to a statement with this response to questions about the targeted killing of American citizens: "When an individual has joined al-Qaida — the organization responsible for the murder of thousands of Americans — and actively plots future attacks against U.S. citizens, soldiers, and interests around the world, the U.S. government has both the authority and the obligation to defend the country against that threat." That might be a dubious legal rational, but it's a great one in the court of public opinion and given the way the national security apparatus and presidency has evolved since the end of World War II, that's what matters. You might not like these policies but I don't see them going away anytime soon.
Any campaign trying to change these policies must be rooted in these political realities or it won't get far. Politics is hard work and if you want to enact change you have to go beyond calling for Obama to be impeached or saying you consider something unconstitutional, that won't change anything.