Skip to comments.Drone Double Standard
Posted on 02/07/2013 3:30:10 PM PST by Kaslin
An unsigned and undated Justice Department white paper, obtained by NBC News, reports The New York Times, "...is the most detailed analysis yet to come into public view regarding the Obama legal team's views about the lawfulness of killing, without a trial, an American citizen who executive branch officials decide is an operational leader of Al Qaeda or one of its allies."
The proviso is they must pose "an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." If "an informed, high-level official" of the government decides they are a threat, the paper says, and if capture is not feasible, they may be killed.
There hasn't been a huge outcry from those on the left who attacked President Bush for his doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against terrorists. Recall, too, the vitriol directed at Vice President Dick Cheney for defending "enhanced interrogation" techniques on suspected terrorists in order to obtain information that might prevent new attacks against Americans.
The unclassified paper comes from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which according to the Times, provided justification for killing the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki, born in New Mexico, was killed in an American drone strike in September 2011.
The white paper cites a national right to self-defense in wartime, but goes a step further. As summarized by The New York Times: "(It) emphasizes that the decision to kill a citizen in certain circumstances is not one in which courts should play any role, asserting that judges should not restrain the executive branch in making tactical judgments about when to use force against a senior al Qaeda leader."
Weren't some conservatives who made the same argument during the Bush administration criticized in certain newspaper editorials, and by liberal commentators and the Hollywood elite?
The white paper says that if a target poses an imminent threat to the U.S., and cannot be captured, the strike "would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles." It goes on to read, "A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination. In the Department's view, a lethal operation conducted against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat ... would be a legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban."
The American Civil Liberties Union has been consistent with both the Bush and Obama administrations. It strongly -- and wrongly in my view -- criticized President Bush for his anti-terrorism policies. Reacting to the publication of the white paper, Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, called it "a profoundly disturbing document." "It's hard to believe," she added, "that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances." She characterized it as "...a stunning overreach of executive authority."
She may have a point. One that should be debated in Congress. Appropriate committees should invite or, if necessary, subpoena the person, or persons, who wrote the document. U.S. citizens should know what kind of action constitutes "imminent threat." At present, the government's definition is a little cryptic.
Given the way some criminal lawyers have "gamed" the U.S. court system to free hardened criminals, the president might be justified in this approach, but the larger question of how much authority he should be allowed to have in these circumstances and whether U.S. citizenship alone should be enough to guarantee due process when there is substantial evidence someone is involved in plots to kill other Americans, is a subject worthy of congressional consideration.
Let’s see, during a time of war; a person takes it upon himself to travel to a hostile country and associate with people who wish to do us harm. Seems to me that he is intentionally placing himself in harm’s way.
Too bad we didn’t have drones back in the day of Hanoi Jane.
Excellent cartoon which shows the hypocrisy of the left
1. If we are not at War with anyone, then why do you continue to use Presidential War Powers? When will you surrender them?
2. You consider water-boarding to be immoral and off-limits, but you recently killed a 16-year American citizen (born in Denver) in Yemen with a drone; condemning him to death without due process, or trial. His legs were blown off and he slowly bled to death.
In what way is that more moral?
3. If I speak out against your Administration while vacationing in Europe and you deem me to be a threat, is my life in jeopardy? Will you alert me that I have been condemned to death without trial before you kill me?
4. If you condemn me to death while I am on vacation outside of the U.S., am I safe from execution if I return to American soil first?
5. Do you support the death penalty for American prisoners in the U.S. who were found to be guilty in a court of law? For example, would you have been in favor of the death penalty for the Sandy Hook shooter if he had survived?
If yes, would you support executing him by dropping a bomb on him from a drone?
Imagine the frustration of cartoonists and comedians these days.
The antics of the administration and most democrats are more absurd and outlandish than most humorous commentary or jokes.
Once the basic principle is accepted (assassination by drone is acceptable) — all the rest is just a matter of degree. First is was foreign fighters, in a war zone. Then it was foreign (presumed) fighters anywhere. Now, any presumed threat, including Americans, is fair game on foreign soil.
The next step — anyone (including Americans), anywhere (including the U.S.A.) deemed a threat is fair game.
For this Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize!? Insane.
Bush had 8 years
Obama 4 years.