A License to Kill Americans: No Judge, No Jury

Have you heard? George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are up to their old tricks.

It wasn’t so long ago that they cited congressional authorization for the war on terror, passed by Congress one week after September 11, 2001, to justify their use of rendition, torture and widespread wiretapping. Now Bush and Cheney are claiming that the same law gives them unlimited authority to use unmanned drones to kill American citizens overseas without a trial.

Gotcha! As much as Democrats might like to blame Bush and Cheney for America’s vastly expanded drone warfare, it’s not the previous occupants of the White House who are sending out the drones. It’s today’s. The Obama administration made its case for lethal use of drones in a white paper provided by the Justice Department to key members of Congress last summer and leaked this week to NBC News.

In its 16-page memo, the administration argues that targeting and killing American citizens suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization — based on secret evidence, with no due process, no trial, no judge, no jury — is permitted by law as long as an “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government” has determined that three conditions are met: the individual poses an “imminent” threat of violent attack against the United States; capture is infeasible; and the operation must be conducted in a manner consistent with existing war principles. At first glance, that seems reasonable. At second glance, it’s one of the scariest documents – and one of the boldest assertions of executive power — in our lifetimes.

The problem starts with the definition of “imminent.” That sounds like something “about to happen.” Not necessarily so. The DOJ memo states it “does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.” In other words, wiping out a targeted person with a drone is justified as long as it’s believed the targeted person would support such an attack in the future. It also assumes the United States government would never make a mistake.

But the scariest part of the memo is the phrase: “an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.” Just who are they talking about? Who has the power to override the due process clause of the Constitution? Who has the right to decide which Americans will be killed by a drone strike? Is it the president of the United States? Or does he delegate that decision to the director of the CIA? The secretary of defense? The national security advisor? Or some mid-level bureaucrat at CIA Headquarters?

The truth is, we don’t know. Despite requests by leading Democrats and Republicans in Congress, the administration refused until this week to release an internal memo outlining what guidelines it used, and what evidence it had, before killing Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, in September 2011. Like the Bush administration before them, the Obama White House still insists the executive branch has the sole authority under the law to operate in secret and bypass the Constitution, without involving the Congress or the courts.

Now, here’s what so maddening about that position: Nobody is suggesting that the use of drones be banned. Clearly, in some cases, drones are the weapon of choice. They beat putting boots on the ground. They’re less expensive, more efficient, and operate behind enemy lines with no risk of loss of life or limb (except for their targets). But the very fact that they’re so easy and so effective makes it all the more important that there be clear rules governing their deployment and clear authority to operate under international law.

Imagine what would happen if some other nation acquired a fleet of drones and started using them as killing machines. The United States would be the first to protest. Imagine if George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, were vastly expanding the use of drones. Liberals would be raising hell. They wouldn’t let Bush get away with it. They shouldn’t let Obama, either.

Yes, our enemies are still out to destroy us. And, yes, we have every right and duty to pursue and stop them. But that’s not a green light to trash the Constitution. As Americans, we must demand the same answers from President Obama about drones that we demanded from President Bush about torture.

45 Responses to A License to Kill Americans: No Judge, No Jury

  1. kwms says:

    Actually, this is the most – of not the only – balanced articles by Bill Press. But this policy clearly shows the hypocracy of Obama that he’s against torture and waterboarding but yet he doesn’t show any signs of remorse for the killing a 16-year-old American in Yemen by drone attack. I think this is just another example that Obama needs to be judged by his actions and not by what he says.

  2. Jeffg1967 says:

    If this were a bush policy a certain poster on here would be the first to call him a nazi, instead said poster remains silent and gives the dear leader a pass. Surprised anyone?

  3. jeffg1967 says:

    Excerpts From Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian UK

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/11/progressives-defend-obama-kill-list

    Charles Pierce wrote: “the man whom the administration has put up to head the CIA would not say whether or not the president of the United States has the power to order the extrajudicial killing of a United States citizen within the borders of the United States”

    “Baker also noticed this: “Some liberals acknowledged in recent days that they were willing to accept policies they once would have deplored as long as they were in Mr. Obama’s hands, not Mr. Bush’s.” As but one example, the article quoted Jennifer Granholm, the former Michigan governor and fervent Obama supporter, as admitting without any apparent shame that “if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms” because, she said “we trust the president”.”
    “That many Democratic partisans and fervent Obama admirers are vapid, unprincipled hacks willing to justify anything and everything when embraced by Obama – including exactly that which they pretended to oppose under George W Bush – has also been clear for many years. Back in February, 2008, Paul Krugman warned that Obama supporters are “dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.” In May, 2009, a once-fervent Obama supporter, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, wrote a column warning that Obama was embracing many of the worst Bush/Cheney abuses and felt compelled – in the very first sentence – to explain what should be self-evident: “Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House.””
    “That document never once mentioned Awlaki. Instead – using the same creepily clinical, sanitized, legalistic language used by the Bush DOJ to justify torture, renditions and warrantless eavesdropping – it set forth the theoretical framework for empowering not just Obama, but any and all presidents, to assassinate not just Anwar Awlaki, but any citizens declared in secret by the president to be worthy of execution. Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee wrote that the DOJ memo “should shake the American people to the core”, while Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman explained “the revolutionary and shocking transformation of the meaning of due process” ushered in by this memo and said it constituted a repudiation of the Magna Carta.”
    “political leaders, when they want to seize extremist powers or abridge core liberties, always choose in the first instance to target the most marginalized figures: because they know many people will acquiesce not because they support that power in theory but because they hate the person targeted. But if you cheer when that power is first invoked based on that mentality – I’m glad Obama assassinated Awlaki without charges because he was a Bad Man! – then you lose the ability to object when the power is used in the future in ways you dislike (or by leaders you distrust), because you’ve let it become institutionalized. “
    “This same astonishing confession was heard from MSNBC host Krystal Ball: “So yeah, I feel a whole lot better about the program when the decider, so to speak, is President Obama”; as Digby wrote about Ball’s confession:
    “Glenn Greenwald’s been calling this out for years, but I defy him to find a better example of the hypocrisy that drives him so crazy. Obviously, this is a fairly common belief among those who believe the President they voted for is ‘good’ and the one they don’t like is ‘bad’ but it’s rare that you see anyone boldly say that they think the standard should be different for their own because well . . . he’s a better person. It takes a certain courage (or blindness) to come right out and admit it.”
    Indeed. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews decided the program was justifiable because Leon Panetta goes to church often and thus can be trusted.
    On Sunday morning, MSNBC host Chris Hayes devoted a full hour to Obama’s assassination program, and before doing so, he delivered an excellent monologue addressing the many progressives who complain any time he critically covers Obama’s actions in this area. He cited an amazing post by an Obama supporter who wrote: “I support President Obama’s drone attacks. And I admit that I’m a hypocrite. If a republican administration were executing these practices, I’d probably join the chorus to condemn them as unconstitutional, authoritarian or worse”. “
    “The behavior and mindset of Democrats (and self-identified “progressives”) is significant in its own right because they are now the most powerful political faction in the US. By the time Obama leaves office, they will have controlled the White House for 16 out of 24 years. When the current term of Congress ends, they will have controlled the Senate for the last eight years and the House for the last four out of eight. They exercise far more power and influence than the GOP and conservatives, and their attributes are therefore worthy of discussion in their own right.
    During the right-wing dominance of the Bush era, progressives had little trouble understanding why right-wing hypocrisy and leader worship were so dangerous. In early 2006, just a few months after I began writing about politics, I wrote about pervasive blind trust and leader-worship among Bush followers and it was widely cited and cheered by progressives. Just marvel at how perfectly applicable it is to many Obama-era progressives:
    “‘Conservatism’ is now a term used to describe personal loyalty to the leader (just as ‘liberal’ is used to describe disloyalty to that leader), and no longer refers to a set of beliefs about government. . . .
    “Indeed, as many Bush followers themselves admit, the central belief of the Bush follower’s ‘conservatism’ is no longer one that [subscribes] to a limited federal government – but is precisely that there ought to be no limits on the powers claimed by Bush precisely because we trust him, and we trust in him absolutely. He wants to protect us and do good. He is not our enemy but our protector. And there is no reason to entertain suspicions or distrust of him or his motives because he is Good.
    “We need no oversight of the Federal Government’s eavesdropping powers because we trust Bush to eavesdrop in secret for the Good. We need no judicial review of Bush’s decrees regarding who is an ‘enemy combatant’ and who can be detained indefinitely with no due process because we trust Bush to know who is bad and who deserves this. We need no restraints from Congress on Bush’s ability to exercise war powers, even against American citizens on US soil, because we trust Bush to exercise these powers for our own good . . . .
    “And in that regard, [Bush followers] are not conservatives. They are authoritarian cultists. Their allegiance is not to any principles of government but to strong authority through a single leader.””
    Like Bob Herbert’s statement – “policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House” – this is so obvious it should not need to be argued. As former Bush and Obama aide Douglas Ollivant told the NYT yesterday about the “trust” argument coming from some progressives: “That’s not how we make policy. We make policy assuming that people in power might abuse it. To do otherwise is foolish.”
    “It is not hyperbole to say that the overarching principle of the American founding was that no political leaders – no matter how kind and magnanimous they seem – could or should be trusted to exercise power in the dark, without checks. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1798: “In questions of power . . . let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Six years earlier, John Adams warned: “There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” James Madison, in Federalist 51, explained: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.””
    A new poll was released today by The Hill and it found that a majority of Americans believe that Obama has either done a worse job than Bush defending civil liberties (37%) or no better (15%).

  4. jeffg1967 says:

    “I support President Obama’s drone attacks. And I admit that I’m a hypocrite. If a republican administration were executing these practices, I’d probably join the chorus to condemn them as unconstitutional, authoritarian or worse”.
    ‘quoted Jennifer Granholm, the former Michigan governor and fervent Obama supporter, as admitting without any apparent shame that “if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms” because, she said “we trust the president”.’

    Both of these statments define emile/milosia/missy to a T. It can’t bring itself to speak out against it’s master.

  5. jeffg1967 says:

    NEWS FLASH….
    this just in from emile on the previous thread:
    “Here’s a huge secret fo you….every President in office has a military group that answers only to the pres. Usually a group of maybe 10 sworn to death oaths to the president only. ONLY.”

    You heard it here first. Thanks for the update emile!
    LMAO!!!!!!!!!

  6. emile says:

    http://www.sfalx.com/h_sog_Presidential_Unit_Citation.htm OH look! here’s one right here, but prolly there arent anymore.

  7. emile says:

    Who would admit killing 2 defectors?

  8. jeffg1967 says:

    emile said:
    “?Here’s a huge secret fo you! .every President in office has a military group that answers only to the pres. Usually a group of maybe 10 sworn to death oaths to the president only. ONLY.?

    Um, your posted link has a couple of problems. One, it’s about the SOG, it wasn’t exactly all that secret. Two, it had a few more than ’10′ members, more like 2000. Three, they didn’t swear a ‘death oath’ to the president at all!

    “Who would admit killing 2 defectors?”..CNN and Time retracted the story and apologized.
    Here is Times statement:
    ‘Like CNN, Time is retracting the story and apologizing for running it. Based on our own investigation and that conducted by CNN, we have concluded that the facts simply do not support the allegations that were made. A piece saying so will be in Monday’s issue. We respect the serious and forthright way that CNN has re-examined this story, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with them. We have learned a lot from the mistakes made, and we will try to avoid them in the future. ‘
    http://www.cnn.com/US/9807/02/tailwind.time/

    And how exactly in your mind does this justify Obama granting himself the authority to assinate citizens without due process of the law or any oversight?

  9. emile says:

    Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh dropped a bombshell on Tuesday when he told an audience at the University of Minnesota that the military was running an “executive assassination ring” throughout the Bush years which reported directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

    The remark came out seemingly inadvertently when Hersh was asked by the moderator of a public discussion of “America’s Constitutional Crisis” whether abuses of executive power, like those which occurred under Richard Nixon, continue to this day.

    Hersh replied, “After 9/11, I haven?t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven?t been called on it yet.”

    Hersh then went on to describe a second area of extra-legal operations: the Joint Special Operations Command. “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” he explained. “They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. … Congress has no oversight of it.”

    “It?s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it?s been going on and on and on,” Hersh stated. “Under President Bush?s authority, they?ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That?s been going on, in the name of all of us.”

    Hersh told MinnPost.com blogger Eric Black in an email exchange after the event that the subject was “not something I wanted to dwell about in public.” He is looking into it for a book, but he believes it may be a year or two before he has enough evidence “for even the most skeptical.”

    Stories have been coming out about covert Pentagon assassination squads for the last several years. In 2003, Hersh himself reported on Task Force 121, which operated chiefly out of the Joint Special Operations Command. Others stories spoke of a proposed Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group.

    As Hersh noted in Minnesota, the New York Times on Monday described the Joint Special Operations Command as overseeing the secret commando units in Afghanistan whose missions were temporarily ordered halted last month because of growing concerns over excessive civilian deaths.

    However, it appears that Hersh is now on the trail of some fresh revelation about these squads and their connection to Vice-President Cheney that goes well beyond anything that has previously been reported.

    Eric Black’s blog posting, which includes an hour-long audio recording of the full University of Minnesota colloquy, is available here.

    oh sure another liberal crackpot reporter …and whatever “secret” means.

  10. emile says:

    here the left wing commie site.
    http://www.rawstory.com/

  11. jeffg1967 says:

    ‘Hersh told MinnPost.com blogger Eric Black in an email exchange after the event that the subject was “not something I wanted to dwell about in public.” He is looking into it for a book, but he believes it may be a year or two before he has enough evidence “for even the most skeptical.”’
    You leave out that this was published in March 2009. Mr Hersh said then that it would be ‘a year or two before he has enough evidence’. It’s been THREE years now missy. So where’s the evidence? He’s got none.
    You seem to be missing the point. Obama has determined that he can order the assasination of a U.S. CITIZEN. Nowhere in the raw story does it impy or accuse Bush of doing that.

    You were upset about Bush waterboarding 3 terrorist who weren’t citizens but you remaing silent when Obama orders the assasination of 3 citizens. You’re upset about terrorist who are non citizens being held in gittmo but remain silent when Obama assasinates 3 citizens. If this were Bush you would be demanding he be impeached.

  12. jeffg1967 says:

    And where are these ‘death oaths’? Got anything?

  13. emile says:

    you can read between the lines on the oaths

  14. Jeffg1967 says:

    Perhaps you spend a little too much time reading between the lines? Why don’t try actually reading the text instead of trying to find the hidden meaning in everything.
    I notice mr. Hersh never mentioned these assassin action teams again. Looks like he used your tactic of just throwing out an accusation and see if it will stick. If not, pretend like you never said it and try another. Who cares about actual facts and proof anyway, they just get in the way of a good conspiracy.

  15. jeffg1967 says:

    http://reason.com/archives/2009/07/17/the-assassins-debate

    “Urging caution when repeating such claims—predictably, outside of the conspiracy-friendly websites like Raw Story and Digg, only MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reported this dubious “scoop”—I argued that because Hersh had previously admitted exaggerating stories in order to “convey a larger truth,” a healthy dose of skepticism was warranted.”

    Did you catch this part? “outside of the conspiracy-friendly websites like Raw Story”. There it is again.

    So tell Mr. Read between the lines. What do you read between the lines that President OBAMA has ordered HIS DHS to purchase over 1.5 BILLION rounds of ammunition? Realizing of course that at the height of the Iraq/Afghanistan war our military combined used 66 MILLION rounds a year, therefore giving DHS the ability to fight 24 years of the Iraq/Afghan conflict. Why ever would they need that? What do you read between the lines?

    Here’s what your socialist buddies think, not the tea party:
    ‘Driving the turn towards methods associated with police state dictatorships are deep-going changes in the structure of American society. The vast and ever-widening chasm between the billionaires and multi-millionaires who control economic and political life and working people, the great majority of the population, is incompatible with democracy.
    This is ultimately what explains the complicity of the Obama administration, Congress, both major parties and the mass media in the drone assassination program. America’s ruling oligarchy realizes that deepening social polarization and the protracted economic crisis are creating conditions for social upheavals, and is preparing accordingly.’

  16. emile says:

    If anything I’ve read is correct, we actually dont need to worry about anything until they declare Martial Law and suspend the Constitution. Once that happens, you might get the paint peeled off the side of your house and wind up with a permanent, orange afro.

  17. emile says:

    If you dont like the bush doctrine, why are you complaining about it now with obama in office?

  18. jeffg1967 says:

    You make the assumption I didn’t complain about when Bush was in office.
    I’m complaining about it now because it’s happening now.

    So to be clear you’re ok with the President, any President not just Obama, sitting in his office and deciding to have an American citizen killed with out due process of the law? Keeping in mind that only the President and his have to decide if the activities are considered terrorist activities, that imminence could be months off, and they would not deny the authority to conduct these operations within the lower 48.
    Keep in mind that the Earth Liberation Front has been deemed a domestic terror group. Would you be ok with the President ordering the assasination of a member of ELF?

  19. emile says:

    Anything or person who threatens rich corporations or rich peoples’ way of life is domestic terror organisation. period.
    Or, who gets to decide who is and who isnt? You know, it could be domestic terrorists trying to lock up wall st crooks, right?
    Or take bush and company to court.
    Elf is just a scapegoat.

  20. jeffg1967 says:

    So once again you’re avoiding the issue.

  21. emile says:

    Theres alot of info and facts there. You know real things that real people said. Like President Ford.

  22. jeffg1967 says:

    Facts? Actually there’s a lot of ‘he said she said’ but not any facts. You have a very loose grasp of reality.

    I guess we can assume that you think it’s ok for the President(any president) to order the assasination of an american citizen on american shores. Why else would avoid answering the question?

  23. emile says:

    Scott Horton, writing in Harpers last year, has a good description:

    But as with so much U.S. national-security legislation, this order turns out to be far less than meets the eye. Simplified, [Reagan’s EO] could be summarized this way: “No one shall be assassinated—unless the president authorizes it, in which case we will refrain from calling it an assassination.”

    But it’s much worse than that.

  24. emile says:

    Did you read any of that?

  25. emile says:

    That was reagans executive order 1981. Not hearsay or he said she said.

  26. emile says:

    Just because you can feel your fingers sliding off the grip you think you have on reality that doesnt mean that mine are.

    I’m going home, locking all my doors, loading all my guns, putting on my tin foil hat, settling in for the night.

  27. jeffg1967 says:

    Missy I believe that the basis of Bills post was that Obama, not Reagan or Bush, was doing this and that the left was not willing to hold him accountable. As Bill Press, your hero (not me or fox news), said:
    ‘But the scariest part of the memo is the phrase: “an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.” Just who are they talking about? Who has the power to override the due process clause of the Constitution? ‘
    and
    ‘But that’s not a green light to trash the Constitution. As Americans, we must demand the same answers from President Obama about drones that we demanded from President Bush about torture.’
    And what have you done? What you typically do, avoid the issue and blame others, Bush, Reagan, 10 guys who swear a ‘death oath’, SOG in Vietnam, and not a lick of it is relevant.
    To Scott Horton’s essay. You missed the point of it. Yes his assessment of EO13222 was that “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” is being interpreted by Obama and Holder as “No one shall be assassinated—unless the president authorizes it, in which case we will refrain from calling it an assassination.”, thus they are calling them ‘targeted killings’. In Holders own words:
    ‘Some have called such operations “assassinations.” They are not, and the use of that loaded term is misplaced. Assassinations are unlawful killings. Here, for the reasons I have given, the U.S. government’s use of lethal force in self defense against a leader of al Qaeda or an associated force who presents an imminent threat of violent attack would not be unlawful—and therefore would not violate the Executive Order banning assassination or criminal statutes.’
    Where in this article, or anywhere else, does Mr. Horton (or anyone) accuse Reagan of assassinating US citizens? You managed to pick one sentence that referred to Reagan out of 9 paragraphs speaking to Obama’s interpretation and use of the policy. One can only assume that you did so to avoid having to deal with your conflicting feelings on the issue; on the one hand you would be completely against this if a Republicans name was attached to it, on the other your devotion to Obama keeps you from speaking out. That missy, would be cognitive dissonance!
    Thank you for proving Bills point about the hypocrisy on the left.

  28. jeffg1967 says:

    Here’s another recent article on the issue:
    ‘Brennan Exposed: The Truth About Obama’s Drone Assassination Program
    We’re seeing a clearer picture of these policies and the negative impacts being inflicted on our country.
    February 12, 2013 |
    I went to Pakistan this fall and spoke with Pakistani officials, legal experts, public health officials, and journalists to hear, document, and learn more on the drone policy that has now garnered national attention. Prior to the CIA Director Nomination Hearing where John Brennan discussed the use and analysis of drone use and the white paper memo surfacing, there was little coverage in the media on the Obama’s administration use of drones.
    Our job in the investigation for the documentary was to talk to the people being affected by these attacks and to discuss these attacks with policymakers in Pakistan. Mr. Brennan stated in his confirmation hearing that he has “been a strong proponent to be as open as possible with these programs as far as our explaining what we’re doing. What we need to do is optimize transparency on these issues and at the same time optimize secrecy of these issues.”
    We’re seeing a clearer picture of these policies and the negative impacts being inflicted on our country. When I asked about America’s image abroad I learned that these drone attacks and the policies perpetrated by the current administration provoke extremists, undermine our values and our president’s word on the international stage, and become fodder for recruitment for militias and terrorist from around the world.
    I’m sorry, Mr. Brennan, we can’t have it both ways. What we’re seeking is transparency of these policies and to end the effects these policies have at home and abroad. Now is the time to demand that our elected officials hold hearings, investigate and refuse to confirm John Brennan until the necessary questions are answered and the public investigation initiated.’
    Do you think Brennan should be confirmed? Do you support a President ordering assassinations without oversight?

  29. jeffg1967 says:

    When it’s all said and done missy time will show that obama is the worst President we’ve ever had, and you’re one of his biggest supporters.

  30. emile says:

    I posted the nsfw info to cut down on all the chatter. Did you just skip over the part about bush ordering the killing of 2 americans? Where was the uproar then? As it said this has been going on for a loong time now. Obama didnt start it. I can only imagine having drones and reagan-bush in office. Did we forget that that we had missiles that were capable of hitting a door knob +/- the length of the door at 200 miles, that w had access to and used? Look what they did to carter for tearing apart poppy’s CIA.

  31. emile says:

    Youre right…….the republicans had such better choices. Like mitt romney and company.
    crikey!

  32. emile says:

    Who wrote that sean hannity??
    It was definitely some right wing crazy. Its just rittled with right wing crap.
    Its like these people have some kind of selective amnesia. The world hates america. We destroy their countries, people, lands, and currency. Bush 43 damaged our image worse than anyone else in history. If the right doesnt want him, then I’m all for him.

  33. jeffg1967 says:

    ‘Who wrote that sean hannity??
    It was definitely some right wing crazy. Its just rittled with right wing crap.
    Its like these people have some kind of selective amnesia. The world hates america. We destroy their countries, people, lands, and currency.’

    Got it from here. Only a site crazy people would use, perhaps you’ve heard of it…alternet.org!!!!!!

    http://www.alternet.org/brennan-exposed-truth-about-obamas-drone-assassination-program

  34. jeffg1967 says:

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/09/obama-assassinates-us-citizen
    Is this the first targeted assassination of a U.S. citizen as part of the war on terror? Probably. The Bush administration killed Buffalo-born Kamal Derwish in 2002, but at least for public consumption, quickly claimed that they had been targeting someone else and Derwish was simply collateral damage. You can take that for what it’s worth, but in any case, even that fig leaf is gone now: no one’s even bothering to pretend that al-Awlaki’s killing was anything other than deliberately planned and executed.
    No one is likely to mourn al-Awlaki himself — which is what made his assassination so safe in the first place — but we sure ought be mourning the fact that it happened, and that it’s likely to happen routinely from now on. The Obama administration has demonstrated once again, as it did in Libya and as it’s done in a variety of surveillance cases, that its view of executive power in the arena of national security is hardly any less expansive than Dick Cheney’s was. The fact that this was predictable makes it no less alarming. Regardless of how any of us feels about warmaking in general, there are very good reasons that national governments are more constrained in their ability to kill their own citizens than in their ability to kill foreigners, constraints enshrined in both the explicit rules and longstanding traditions of due process. That bright line has grown a lot dimmer today.

  35. emile says:

    Alternet and mother jones, they look fair and balanced to me.

  36. emile says:

    I am positive about this, if there are targeted killings going on here we need to look at who will benefit the most from them. Does it benefit you or me? Prolly not.
    With the Rich and corporations paying ALEC to write laws who has the final say so. Who benefits from killing leaders in foreign oil rich lands?? Democracy?? Most people find it abhorable. But Like dick cheney says,…..”So”
    We are only lately coming back to the democratic idea that the people do have say.
    Are we all afflicted with cognitive dissonance or are we just complicit?

  37. jeffg1967 says:

    ‘ if there are targeted killings going on here we need to look at who will benefit the most from them. ‘
    If? No one is questioning if, the question that is being asked is is it constitutional. Talk about avoidance!
    Who benefits? Then you would have to ask who wrote the legal document? Eric Holder (who does he work for?) Who ordered the killings? Obama. How in the world did you decide thatALEC had a hand in this? Now you’re making up stories to fit your ideology and protect your dear leader. With the mountains of evidence I guess you are complicit.

  38. emile says:

    You and me have no idea who to assassinate, or why, or when. How would we benefit?
    Its not in our paygrade.
    Dude, you gotta stop drinking the kool-aid.
    Is it all just more smokescreens so the real issues are smothered out by nonsense.
    Where did the JOBS JOBS JOBS line go? I wonder.

    I think the nsfw post said it was reagans’ executive order, but who was VP , I forget.
    I never said ALEC had anything to do with it. I said the people paying ALEC prolly arent working on your better interests.

  39. Jeffg1967 says:

    It’s a very simple question missy. Do you approve of Obamas drone policy? Do you approve of Eric holders legal memo stating that the president can assassinate a US citizen without due process?
    Reagan is dead and Bush isn’t president. This is about the here and now, the current president so quit trying to draw some line to connect them. Even mother jones doesn’t do that and they hate bush and anything right wing.
    Your avoidance of the question is very telling of your ideology and devotion to Obombem! (got that one from your friends at alternet, kind of like. How about you?). It’s scary the way you worship at his alter.

  40. emile says:

    For some reason you think this drone program will only be used offensively. I dont see it as anything other than another thing in our arsenal of defense. I’m glad we have them as part of our defense program. I dont have much input on how they will be used. If theres money involved then its corrupt. I believe obama is more of humanitarian than previous president. Would he use these things offensively? I dont really honestly think so. What youre seeing is saber rattling.
    That implies there may be consequences.
    I do not worship obama. He deserves respect because he is the president of the united states.
    Eric Holders note relies on reagans EO- on assassinations, 1981.
    Or nixons quote that “if the president does it, its not illegal.

  41. emile says:

    If you want to live with a libertarian govt, theres always………..Somalia.

  42. emile says:

    Why dont you ask me something relevant, like “Do I think CITIZENS UNITED will ever benefit me.?”
    Do I think the Supreme Court is rigged against me?
    Or “Where did all the money go??”
    How many politicians are really on my side?
    Put the kool-aid down rubio and wake tf up.

  43. emile says:

    If Somalia is too far, theres always……………..Arizona.

  44. emile says:

    The drone debate is just more smoke and mirrors. If somebody in this country wants to kill someone, theres always…………….bricks!

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