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View Diary: Assassination Rationales Then & Now--And How Awlaki Didn't Meet Any of the Criteria (163 comments)

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  •  "Extra-judicial" and "Unconstitutional"... (13+ / 0-)

    ...are powerful words and concepts in a country that claims to follow a rule of law.  Either the US Constitution is a "Quaint" and totally outdated document, or it is the Law of the land--the framework within legally valid governmental enforcement takes place.  

    It seems that some members of the Legislative Branch are a wee bit concerned about the Constitutional issues:

    Pressure for turning over the Justice Department memos on targeted killings of Americans appears to be building on Capitol Hill amid signs that Brennan will be grilled on the subject at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

    On Monday, a bipartisan group of 11 senators -- led by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon — wrote  a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to release all Justice Department memos on the subject. While accepting that “there will clearly be circumstances in which the president has the authority to use lethal force” against Americans who take up arms against the country,  it said, “It is vitally important ... for Congress and the American public to have a full understanding of how  the executive branch interprets the limits and boundaries of this authority...”

    The Executive Branch may interpret the Constitutionality of policies it institutes; however, when and if, serious challenges arise, particularly from the Legislative Branch, sometimes the Supreme Court is called to rule on Constitutionality.

    The "war on terror" has increasingly led to unilateral Executive actions, based on a current Administration's interpretation of Constitutional limitations.  

    Although "There are Obama faces any number of perilous foreign policy and national security challenges with the potential to wreak havoc" there will also be calls by the legislature and by civil liberties advocates to question whether actions and policies are undertaken within a Constitutional framework.

    It's a conumdrum with no easy or widely acceptable answers--as always, there is a delicate balance between maintaining national security & protecting US citizens, and staying within the bounds of the US Constitution while doing so.

    ..But every president faces international threats and conflicts...

    As it stands now, the Obama administration, which vastly stepped up the use of drones and targeted killings over the past four years, has done little to assuage the concerns of outsiders about the program's legality or utility. Indeed, the drone program's components are so secret that the administration routinely refuses to acknowledge that it even exists.

    In a second term, that stonewalling may no longer be possible, particularly as new questions are raised about whether the program is legal, or if it even works....

    These Constitutional questions aren't going to go away, as long as the policies in question continue.  

    Maybe they shouldn't go away, because we need to remember:  This Administration will only be in place for four years. After that, there are no guarantees regarding how future Administrations could build upon and/or expand precedents set by this Administration's national security policies/actions.  

    •  If the GOP wants to monkeywrench the (3+ / 0-)

      I have a hard time imagining our current congress being overly concerned with the health of constitutional law.

      Rather, the primary goal of the current congress seems to be to hamper, impede, and gum up the function of the Obama administration.

      And a prolonged public congressional hearings into the actions of the Obama administration in unilaterally targeting and killing foreigners and Americans abroad would go a long way to accomplishing that goal.

      Obama has made himself vulnerable to such attacks, but we the people will bear most of the burden.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 07:48:09 AM PST

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      •  Fiat justitia ruat caelum. (9+ / 0-)

        Let justice be done though the heavens fall.  If we are not a nation governed by the rule of law, then everything else is just window dressing.

        I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

        by bobdevo on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 07:59:30 AM PST

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      •  Again-this Administration will be gone in 4 years (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea, Bisbonian

        ...but, the policies will remain.  

        Yes, the GOPers will seize on any opportunity to challenge this Administration.  If there isn't anything they can seize on--they will make something up, and the media will make it the new focus of their reporting.  

        That should not prevent we the People form asking questions about the legalities of policies that could possibly endanger them, in the name of "national security".  

        If Administrations can interpret the Constitution to allow for "extra-judicial" (killing without trial) assassination of American citizens abroad--who can guarantee that future Administrations won't interpret the authority to allow targeting of American citizens who are deemed to be a "security threat"  with drone attacks in the US?  

        Are there guarantees against this?  I don't know--does anyone?, since the documents are secret, and the Administration won't release them, even to Congress.  

        •  I agree entirely (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurious, Bisbonian

          The policy - which I think was started in the Bush administration, but greatly expanded by the Obama team - is horribly short-sighted.

          I think it is entirely likely that the GOP could raise a congressional hue and cry about the illegality of this policy and calls for impeachment, etc., as a way of scoring points against Obama, and then turn around and carry on the exact same methods and even expand them to cover "criminals" here inside the US when one of their own gets to be president.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 08:48:46 AM PST

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          •  What exactly would be considered an Impeachable... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias, gerrilea

            ...offense?  Killing American citizens without due process?  Claiming a secret legal justification for such an action.  Claiming the power of the courts and ignoring the constitutionally mandated powers of the Congress to check Executive power?  We're not talking about lying about Oval office blow jobs here.

            Btw, this did NOT start in the Bush administration.  The groundwork of claiming extra-judicial powers to eavesdrop and spy on Americans without obtaining a warrant is a FAR CRY from claiming the power to kill Americans without due process.  this is PURELY a construct of the current administration, as hard as that might be for you to accept.

            •  I do see the connections. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It's not difficult at all to see this as the next chapter of a narrative started in 2001.

              if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 01:33:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Elizabeth Holtzman... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gerrilea, aliasalias

                "The Impeachment of George W. Bush"


                This book focuses on four articles of impeachment: The Offense of Wiretapping Surveillance in Defiance of the Law; the Offence of Lying and Inducing America to Support a War; The Offense of Reckless Indifference to the Lives and Welfare of American Troops; The Offense of Torture in Violation of U.S. Laws and Treaties. It also provides an invaluable guide to how citizens can get involved in campaigning for impeachment, as well as an important historical analysis of impeachments past. The publication of this book is a summons to action in this process.
                Funny, there were some credible Dems who were making a valid case for impeaching the former president regarding warrant-less wiretapping.  Wonder why, if this is the 'next chapter of a narrative (translated:  escalation of a policy considered an offense worthy of impeachment), it's unthinkable to consider impeachment (not necessarily Senate conviction) based on this escalation?

                I'm not making the argument that there hasn't been an expansion of dubious policies which were instituted after 9/11.  Obviously, there has been.  Had Holtzman carried the day back in 2006, this current chapter would never have been written.  Now we're left with the sad reality that if we once thought an impeachment of Bush was possible based on illegal eavesdropping, how can we not think the same of the current president for expanding those policies to include due process-free assassinations of Americans, making Bush look like a Peeping Tom in comparison?


                •  Hey, no argument here. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  4kedtongue, gerrilea

                  If anybody ever got impeached for this sort of thing. Apparently having sex with interns is the only real impeachable offense.

                  The "sad truth" is actually that an impeachment of Bush was not possible; both Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama threw that idea out.

                  Although, in the interests of strict accuracy, you are putting words into my mouth as I said nothing about impeachment of anybody. Still, as it happens I agree with you, so no harm, no foul.

                  if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                  by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 02:11:43 PM PST

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    •  forget fearing what may happen 4 years from now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Obama should not have this authority right now and if we did abide by Constitutional law it would NOT be happening.

      But this administration doesn't do that and it's a shame people would have to see this thru the lens of 'think of some Republican in 4 years with this power' in order to be worried, worry NOW.
      This administration, not some future one is doing this and keep in mind there are NO geographical limits for this obscene power, one that does not belong in the hands of any one man (or woman).
      Kill anyone anywhere on secret evidence that will remain secret from any form of oversight should alarm everyone.

      I didn't know what t o expect but I was impressed with Rachel Maddow's show about this...

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 12:03:45 PM PST

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      •  Agree-If a policy is wrong, it is wrong no... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea, aliasalias

        matter which party implements it, IMHO.  

        As for geographic limits; drones are here too, though currently not armed.  The ACLU reports that U.S. law enforcement is greatly expanding its use of domestic drones for surveillance. (emphasis mine)

        ...Routine aerial surveillance would profoundly change the character of public life in America....

        ...Rules must be put in place to ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of this new technology without bringing us closer to a “surveillance society” in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the government. Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with (nonlethal for now) weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas. Read the ACLU’s full report on domestic drones here...

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