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Worse Than Waterboarding ^ | February 7, 2013 | Debra J. Saunders

Posted on 02/07/2013 3:50:05 PM PST by Kaslin

On Tuesday, NBC released a confidential Department of Justice paper concluding that our government can authorize the use of drones to kill targeted terrorist leaders, including U.S. citizens abroad. This story bares the dividing line between honest liberals -- such as Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the American Civil Liberties Union and the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board, all of whom opposed some of the harsher anti-terrorism tactics employed under President George W. Bush's administration and under the current administration -- and rank opportunists, such as President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who denounced what they described as civil liberties violations under Bush but ditched said scruples when they took power.

As a candidate, Obama opposed the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which he called torture, and described Guantanamo Bay as a recruiting tool for al-Qaida. In 2009, his attorney general, Eric Holder, reopened criminal investigations of CIA interrogators who had been investigated previously but, for good reason, were not charged.

Yet in the white paper, Holder's Justice Department signed off on Obama's or "an informed high-level" official's ordering the death of Americans who pose an "imminent threat" abroad. The paper also loosened the definition of "imminent threat."

"What's the greater deprivation of liberties," asked University of California, Berkeley law professor John Yoo -- who wrote some of the Bush Justice Department's legal opinions that authorized CIA use of enhanced interrogation techniques -- waterboarding or incinerating?

I'd say the latter. I'd add that the CIA waterboarded three top al-Qaida detainees and then stopped the practice in 2003. The apoplectic left demanded investigations and prosecutions.

Those concerned about the Bush policies, ACLU attorney Hina Shamsi noted, "should be just as concerned, if not more, with (the paper's) claim of expansive killing authority far from any battlefield."

Under Obama, The New York Times reports, U.S. drone attacks have killed at least 24 people in Yemen in this year alone. Some were innocent. Yet there have been no congressional hearings.

After the 2011 drone strike in Yemen that killed three Americans -- al-Qaida operative Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and radical cleric Samir Khan -- Senate committees requested an explanation. In June, the Department of Justice responded with this unclassified document.

Where is the outcry to go after the Obama lawyers? First you have to know their names. But unlike Bush documents released by Team Obama, the white paper has no lawyers' names. No date, either. It seems the attorney general wanted to shield his attorneys from the brand of harsh litigation techniques he inflicted on others. (Late Wednesday, an unnamed senior official said the White House would send classified legal documents to congressional committees.)

Like the Bush memos, the Obama paper glosses over the possible negative consequences of drone warfare. Though I support their use against the worst offenders, I share the fears of critics who wonder whether the overuse of drones eventually would undermine U.S. national security.

And I agree with Wyden, who said, "Every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them."

At a news conference Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the administration ordered drone strikes "because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats, to stop plots, prevent future attacks and, again, save American lives."

I believe that. It's too bad Carney failed to recognize that those are the very reasons desperate intelligence officials turned to unusual interrogation methods, authorized by Bush lawyers, to prevent the next al-Qaida attack.

And for those milder measures, Holder used the raw power of the federal investigation to punish intelligence officials and Bush lawyers. Because he was one of the good guys.

TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: barackobama; ericholder; guantanamobay; hypocrites; jaycarney; waterboarding

1 posted on 02/07/2013 3:50:09 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Personally, I see nothing wrong with killing any enemy soldier who is actively involved in killing, or planning to kill, American soldiers regardless of who issued this enemy soldier’s birth certificate.

2 posted on 02/07/2013 3:58:37 PM PST by DJ Taylor (Once again our country is at war, and once again the Democrats have sided with our enemy.)
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To: Kaslin
Drone warfare, outside the perimeters of a declared war zone, is just plain wrong.

Make no mistake about it -- an unauthorized drone attack over foreign skies is a declaration of war. Even though these foreign nations seem to be passive about the drone attacks; it's a safe bet that the foreigners in question are seething. The only exception would be where a foreign government (even a provisional government) requests help from the U.S.; or at least authorizes drone attacks in advance. Otherwise, it is, by any reasonable standard, an act of war.
3 posted on 02/07/2013 4:00:47 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: DJ Taylor

i like it. kill them all

4 posted on 02/07/2013 5:53:39 PM PST by turdhopper
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To: DJ Taylor

when Holder and Obama consider white male christian rural republicans to be a bigger threat to American security than members of the Muslim Brotherhood, I have a BIG ****ing problem with this drone strike business.

5 posted on 02/07/2013 5:55:05 PM PST by RC one (.From My Cold Dead Hands.)
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To: RC one

That’s my problem with this whole thing.

In principle, I have no problem with killing Americans who, for all intents and purposes, have declared war on this country. Wipe them out.

What I have a problem with, though, is giving a president we absolutely cannot trust a power which he could eventually turn against his opposition here at home. Now, to get there from here is a rather large jump but a precedent will have been set.

It’s like liberals arguing for background checks for gun ownership. Background checks lead to universal registration which in turn leads to disarmament. The liberal elites move gradually on these things, dividing and conquering along the way and always painting their current opposition as the “fringe.”

We have a president who is making the case that he has the right to kill Americans without a trial while also taking efforts to establish a basis to take our guns away. We should be very concerned where this is headed.

6 posted on 02/07/2013 7:40:58 PM PST by MWS
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ask yourself, how would the other side have reacted if George Bush requested the power to assassinate American citizens on American soil based only on his interpreation of the evidence. The uproar would have been deafening and rightfully so. The government isn’t supposed to depirve it citizens of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without DUE PROCESS. In the rare case where such a order needs to be given in order to save lives, then the evidence better be sound when the action is investigated. the government has the ability to act in emergencies and with oversight but they don’t need cart blanche permission to assassinate American citizenss from their hidden enclaves.

7 posted on 02/07/2013 10:26:12 PM PST by RC one (.From My Cold Dead Hands.)
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