Additionally, while right-minded people are loath to trust the government on matters as dear as life and death, the necessities of a chaotic world force right-minded people to place that trust in their leaders in dire scenarios. Whether it’s the police officer on the beat in Chicago or the commander in the field in Afghanistan, the decision to return fire on an imminent threat to the United States or its people is taken on a daily basis. And while all those decisions — especially those regarding the lives of Americans — must be open to question, on-the-ground factors must be weighed and taken into account: This is why justice is represented with a scale, and not simply a thumb to point up or down. To subject the important — and, thankfully, rare — decision to kill an American traitor in a foreign land during wartime to the same constraints a common criminal enjoys when captured in the States is so unreasonable it is dangerous.

The reality is that what the paper outlines is neither crazy, nor the next step toward tyranny: “The United States,” the paper states, “retains its authority to use force against al-Qaida and associated forces outside the area of active hostilities when it targets a senior operational leader of the enemy forces who is actively engaged in planning operations to kill Americans.”

The leaders of al-Qaida, whether born in Egypt or the United States, harp on incessantly about hellfire, judgement from above, and the commandment to martyrdom. Our humble answer to all three: an AGM-114 Hellfire missile launched from 5,000 feet above, commanded from the Pentagon.