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View Diary: The Power to Assassinate a Citizen (228 comments)

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  •  If you write a blog post... (9+ / 0-)

    ...that criticizes, say, Warren Jeffs, and you get death threats from some whack job member of the FLDS church, the appropriate government response would be to charge that whackadoodle criminally.  Due process is a perk of having citizenship in a nation of laws.  Extrajudicial killing, by contrast, is not.

    "Speaking for me only." -Armando

    by JR on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:09:31 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  You think an attempt to arrest him wouldn't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, Deep Texan

      get anyone killed? Or do the lives of Yemenis not count?

      •  Yes, I'm sure a stinger missile won't harm anyone (6+ / 0-)

        Sorry to say it, but the potential that he'll resist arrest and those around him will be put at risk doesn't mean we get to simply order his execution. Executing warrants is always risky, but that doesn't mean we should simply draft kill orders and launch missiles instead of attempting to apprehend criminals.

        And really, I think you're missing the point.  In our country, under our constitutional system, the government has never been given the power to simply kill citizens it thinks would be too tough to apprehend without even trying to legally apprehend them.  What part of the Constitution do you think allows that?  If the circumstances at the time of apprehension require the use of deadly force, that's a different issue than going straight to the arms locker.

        So long as he's a citizen, he has rights.  So long as he does not stand convicted of a crime, he has rights.  And while obtaining a conviction for treason would likely be a fairly simple matter, proceeding without one is nothing short of unconstitutional.  We might all be fine with ignoring the Constitution as far as this treasonous citizen goes, but what about the next one?  Nixon thought Jack Anderson, a newspaper columnist, was a traitor.  Would the White House have been justified in plotting his extrajudicial assassination?

        "Speaking for me only." -Armando

        by JR on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:31:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So your plan is to invade Yemen? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          citizen k, burrow owl, Deep Texan

          Do I understand you correctly on that?

          •  No, again, you misunderstand me. (5+ / 0-)

            First, as I clearly stated, I would like to see al-Awlaki charged and tried.  That doesn't necessitate his presence.

            Second, I'd like to see him apprehended if possible.  We can do it covertly, Yemeni forces can do it, any number of foreign intelligence services can do it, or we can use a military strike team.  Only if apprehension is impossible should we consider a targeted strike, and only after more than one branch of government has had its say in the matter.

            Now, your plan is to launch military strikes inside Yemen without invading, and target a US citizen who stands neither charged nor convicted of any crime? Do I understand you correctly on that?  

            "Speaking for me only." -Armando

            by JR on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:51:22 PM PDT

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          •  Summarily execute people who make... (0+ / 0-)

            threatening statements towards others.

            Do I understand you correctly on that?

            Oh, right, and they have to be hard to catch.

            So if you get angry at me during this conversation and make a threatening statement towards me, and it turns out that you happen to have lots of guns around the house, you're saying the government should bomb your house?

            •  Summarily execute military opponents? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rich in PA, Deep Texan

              Yep, we can do that.

              •  So now we're saying the President... (0+ / 0-)

                can just call any of his citizens a military opponent and execute them?

                •  No, of course not. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Rich in PA, Deep Texan

                  But a President can lawfully have the military kill military opponents.  That's always been acceptable under laws of war.  

                  •  Define military opponents. (0+ / 0-)

                    Someone who has never shot at an America - how is that a military opponent? He's alleged to be engaged in conspiracy and incitement of violence, not engaging in military operations.

                    When President Romney starts calling citizens military opponents and summarily executing them, will you continue to defend the policy?

                    •  He's part of the organizational structure (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Rich in PA, Deep Texan

                      of al-Qaeda; that's what makes him fair game.  

                      If Mittens were president, I'd expect he would try to kill members of al-Qaeda, too.  And I'd say the same thing: he has the authority as preznit to do so.

                      •  That's only an allegation. (0+ / 0-)

                        We know what he appears to have said in public, giving us an understanding of where his sympathies lie. But everything else is just an accusation against a citizen.

                        The reason you're allowed to kill someone on a battlefield is because they are taking aggressive action towards you, and there's nothing you can do about that. We have plenty of options for how to deal with Mr Awlaki that don't involve killing a few dozen innocent civilians, as has likely been done every time that the government has tried and failed to kill him.

                      •  As to Multiple Choice Mitt, (0+ / 0-)

                        the point is that you have no clue where he will stop, given that Courts don't allow access when the preznit says so.

                        Given how aggressive Mr Bush was in his long-term effort to imprison and torture thousands of innocents, I'd think we're probably just a few Republican Presidents away from our first state-sanctioned assassination of some GreenPeace activist accused of inciting his colleagues to burn SUVs.

                        I don't really understand why nobody else seems to see that. We aren't talking about some short-term, controllable, limited-impact decision. The President is just greasing the skids for any wingnut who takes office and wants to label non-combatant citizens as subject to the treatment accorded to a military opponent firing a weapon in their direction. There's no question that this precedent will be expanded by the actions of future Presidents. The question is how easy their job will be.

                      •  Given that it's only an allegation, (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        and the substance of the allegation will likely never be tested by a Court of any kind, it would appear that you are essentially saying that the President can call any of his citizens a military opponent and execute them.

                      •  And we base that on secret evidence never seen... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...outside the Executive Branch.

                        If the President were to say "burrow owl is part of al Qaeda," without offering any proof, would that mean you're headed for the slab?

                        "Speaking for me only." -Armando

                        by JR on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 09:46:33 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

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