Obama’s speech last Thursday should and probably will be as important as Ike’s military industrial complex speech though CNN seems to have missed that. As he is preparing to exit the executive himself, he is now trying to wind down Chaney’s open ended war on terrorism which maximized executive authority, and the CIA that answers to the executive. The CIA has once again been getting beyond intelligence gathering and he wants to reign it in, just as it had to be stopped from assassinating anti US government leaders in the seventies. Excess executive power is something that Obama as a constitutional lawyer must worry about. We saw something similar in the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which gave Johnson a free hand to extend involvement in Vietnam without further congressional authority until it was finally revoked because Vietnam had been such a disaster. Of course the danger is not only the executive and the intelligence services and “security” fanatics but the weapons industry which would love an endless and unrestrained but vague war on terrorism. The same goes for Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo.I have no problem with targeting a traitorous citizen who calls for jihad against his own country but I do have a problem with denying trial to someone taken alive. The right to trial has been one of the major things that separates the “Free World” from that of dictators, even those that we like. History doesn’t exactly repeat itself but the tendency to centralize authority does, as does blind support of those who cloak themselves in the flag forgetting what it stands for. Ben Franklin warned that a people who are willing to sacrifice a little freedom for a little security will end up with neither. He was right. After 9/11 the American people were expecting and prepared for continuing attacks and loss of life and we are prepared to wage war on Al Qaeda and those who would give it cover, but later somehow were shocked by the Boston marathon attack. Just as Johnson promised both guns and butter, we’ve been lulled into an endless war on terror which, however, would not involve losses at home, merely forever cost money in the name of seeking some perfect security technology. Obama is right; there will be terrorism for a long time if not forever, but targeting specific individuals and groups need not mean unrestrained executive action without some sort of judicial authority as well.