In a brief but powerful letter to the editor in today’s New York Times, world leader Desmond Tutu spoke out against the suggestion by many in the past week that Obama’s kill lists be reviewed by the judiciary when it comes to U.S. citizens. He writes:
“I am deeply, deeply disturbed at the suggestion in “A Court to Vet Kill Lists” (news analysis, front page, Feb. 9) that possible judicial review of President Obama’s decisions to approve the targeted killing of suspected terrorists might be limited to the killings of American citizens.
Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not of the same value as yours? That President Obama can sign off on a decision to kill us with less worry about judicial scrutiny than if the target is an American? Would your Supreme Court really want to tell humankind that we, like the slave Dred Scott in the 19th century, are not as human as you are? I cannot believe it.
I used to say of apartheid that it dehumanized its perpetrators as much as, if not more than, its victims. Your response as a society to Osama bin Laden and his followers threatens to undermine your moral standards and your humanity.
DESMOND M. TUTU
Aboard MV Explorer, near Hong Kong Feb. 11, 2013
The writer, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town.