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Star Chamber

You could call it a latter day Star Chamber, a secret panel, operating in the White House, that decides the fate of American militants.
(Reuters) - American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

[...] The role of the president in ordering or ratifying a decision to target a citizen is fuzzy. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to discuss anything about the process.

[...] Some details about how the administration went about targeting Awlaki emerged on Tuesday when the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, was asked by reporters about the killing.

The process involves "going through the National Security Council, then it eventually goes to the president, but the National Security Council does the investigation, they have lawyers, they review, they look at the situation, you have input from the military, and also, we make sure that we follow international law," Ruppersberger said.

Other officials said the role of the president in the process was murkier than what Ruppersberger described.

They said targeting recommendations are drawn up by a committee of mid-level National Security Council and agency officials. Their recommendations are then sent to the panel of NSC "principals," meaning Cabinet secretaries and intelligence unit chiefs, for approval. The panel of principals could have different memberships when considering different operational issues, they said.

[...] Two principal legal theories were advanced, an official said: first, that the actions were permitted by Congress when it authorized the use of military forces against militants in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001; and they are permitted under international law if a country is defending itself.

Decisions about which American citizens live or die by the hand of the government should not be murky, should not be made outside of an establishing law. That's pretty much a founding principle of this government. When the government says they have legal authority and memos saying that the law allows them to target and kill American citizens, they need to show their work. Which they haven't. As Marcy Wheeler posits, "If the legal case for killing Awlaki is so sound, then why maintain presidential plausible deniability?"

All of this is carried out, officials insist, lawfully under the AUMF for our engagement in Afghanistan immediately following the 9/11 attacks. That AUMF has been the justification for everything from the unjustified invasion of Iraq to the treatment of detainees, to extraordinary rendition. It's quite possibly the most overused, stretched piece of legislation of modern times. But it is not a replacement for a set of laws of war that responds to the new environment in which transnational terrorism and our response to it takes place.

If existing law is not adequate to both protect the rights of American citizens and keep the nation safe, then new laws need to be made. That's tough work, but necessary if this nation is to maintain its founding principle as a nation built on the rule of law. The alternative is for us all to become so many Alberto Gonzaleses, declaring notion of operating in war under the rule of law "quaint."

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 08:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  we are so far down the rabbit hole (37+ / 0-)

    of authoritarian government that I am speechless.

    this is so far from the myth of what America is that I struggle to get my mind around it

  •  A death panel I can really go for! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    real world chick, annieli

    "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

    by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 08:47:02 AM PDT

    •  I accept the fact (19+ / 0-)

      that Awlaki was a traitor. I'm not convinced that he posed the threat to the U.S. that the administration asserts, or that he was that instrumental in al Qaeda. If the government has the evidence against him to show that, they should release it. The lack of transparency is a real issue.

      But the embrace of the idea that the CoC can do anything in a time of war, when the kind of war we are in is unprecedented, is my major problem here. In the absence of a new or amended set of laws of war, we need to be adhering to the existing ones and doing so transparently.

      "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

      by Joan McCarter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:00:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The law is about guarantees... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but it's also about incentives.  And to me, if the government (leaving aside mechanisms and such...it's all the government) can't use extrajudicial means against someone who intentionally puts themselves someplace where judicial means can't be used against them, we create an incentive for people to do precisely that.  I think the US would have been entitled to target Tokyo Rose for assassination during the Second World War--we didn't do that because we lacked the technical means--and I don't see this situation as any different, except to the extent that Awlaki advocated for violence against our country and its people that would not otherwise happen (thus the importance of his advocacy, for Al Qaeda), while Tokyo Rose merely justified a war that would have proceeded with or without her.

        "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

        by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:07:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That seems pretty silly... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, Seeds, turnover

        The Civil War was "unprecedented" -- and Lincoln pretty much did "do anything" -- Destruction of infrastructure as an actual operational aim was pretty much unprecedented (or at least - not considered civilized).  The handling of Copperhead elements, habeas corpus suspensions, you name it --- the Lincoln government and Union military pretty much it all up as they went along.

        So, too, any number of Wilson's actions in WWI -- and certainly, FDR in WWII (Japanese Internment was wholly and entirely done via EO fiat).

        Thanks to technology and the fact that tactics and strategy advance -- all war is "unprecedented".... and for better or worse -- all CoC's (including luminaries held dear) pretty much made up their own rules for its prosecution.

        This isn't to say that I "embrace" that idea -- to the contrary, these discussions are critical to have -- but what I do reject is that we are somehow in territory beyond what the Lincolns, the Wilsons, the Roosevelts, et all have done.

        At the end of the day -- each new war always "breaks the rules" that were created in the aftermath of the previous.... then, we write new rules and break them in the next war.   To say otherwise is to be awfully ignorant of history.

        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

        by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:54:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You cited examples from actual wars. We have (0+ / 0-)

          a conflict, not amounting to a war, and certainly not a declared war, in Afghanistan and we are still an occupying force in Iraq. The GWOTerra, however, is not and cannot be considered to be a war because there is no determinable or defined enemy, no sufficient or even imaginable condition for victory and cessation other than an arbitrary decision to stop looking for folks to kill and killing them, etc.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:21:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How is that not true of the CW? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            turnover

            Was everyone below the Mason-Dixon an "enemy"?  Had the south continued with guerrilla actions - and that was essentially the birth of the Klan/see New Orleans during reconstruction - was that "the end"?

            Or - for that matter - take WWI... plenty of historians (and I agree with them) said Versailles was nothing more than a ceasefire.

            You're trying to draw neat, tidy little lines about a horrible endeavor that has always exceeded such bindings placed upon it...  

            Sad but true, each new war brings horrors.... from the British aghast that the rebels were taking potshots at their finely drilled lines from behind trees to the curses hurled at Sherman as he laid waste to Georgia to you name it.

            Frankly, that's why I tend to consider the GWOT a "war".... at least then, we do have frames of reference.

            If it's something not quite a war, but also not quite a law enforcement action (and I think any reasonable person would have to say that it requires elements of both) -- and we're talking about an entirely new type of thing where people try to kill each other, then it seems to me that all rules go out the window...

            I'd rather at least have frames of reference than a pure white canvas to splash with blood.

            Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

            by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:55:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Civil War had an enemy - The C.S.A. - go (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pot

              read some history.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:27:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've read quite a bit of history (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo

                but I'm always happy to get new recommendations if you'd like to suggest something

                Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:12:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  The process should at least require approval (3+ / 0-)

        from a FICA Court of some sort if the information needed to be kept secret.

        Right now the Administration needs to go to a court to get approval for a wiretap, but no court approval is required for killing an American citizen.  This makes no sense.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:03:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He was not a traitor. (5+ / 0-)

        The Constitution lays out the procedure for finding someone guilty of treason.  It never happened.

        Second, as his role was propaganda, which is still protected speech under the First Amendment.  Further, even his communications with the Fort Hood shooter and underwear bomber may, depending on their exact text, fail to meet the imminent lawless action requirement for criminalization of speech.

        Reality has a liberal bias.

        by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:17:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I CAN NOT believe we are having this conversation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hayate Yagami, Johnny Q

          This is disgusting in the EXTREME!

          I am truly ashamed to be living in such a country.

          And let's stop the illusion that we are a nation of laws, alright, folks?  We're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond that.  This is King George III updated for American colonists in 2011.

          This is NOTHING short of tyranny.

          TYRANNY.

          Burn it the fuck down!

          by Lavocat on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:37:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Active enemy combatant like Adm. Yamamoto (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo

          An 'emir'/commander of Al Qaeda.
          Absolutely no trial is necessary.
          Al Qaeda is at war with the USA.

          •  Remember back when we at Dkos (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, lotlizard, pot

            were criticizing the imposition of the executive being able to simply declare people to be "enemy combatants" because it would give them too much power, risk abuse and erode rights?

            Now the same people are using the Bush justification for everything.  It's all fine, because we declared them enemy combatants.

            Reality has a liberal bias.

            by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:10:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes and no. Every justification of Bush/Cheney was (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pozzo

              based on fraudulent legal reasoning pulled out of Cheney's ass(Doug Feith).  There is a correct legal path of reasoning for determining individuals who should be targeted for assassination but not using Bush's bogus 'product'.
              Enemy commanders are certainly fair game regardless of nationality.

            •  I also remember (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pozzo

              DKOS being flabergasted during the 9/11 commission investigations and the publication of Richard Clarke's book because of the extent W was shown to be marginalizing everybody who tried to warn him what was underfoot. He literally turned a blind eye until it happend. It was obvious at the time that the outgoing Clinton admin tried to warn the W team about AQ, and had several counter-terror plans in development for Gore /Bush to take on board when they took office.

              And those plans called for exactly the sort of things Obama is doing now. expanded drones, agressive counter-terror raids, all of it covert and much of it outside current law. I belive Gore was quoted in one of the books published at the time. He was consulted while VP about some AQ suspect, being told that it was illegal to grab someone from wherever he was found. His response? "Of course its illegal. He's a terrorist. Go grab his ass."

              so lets not pretend that these questions have easy answers or that DKOS is not playing playing a double standard game of its own.

              for my money, Obama has refocused this whole thing exactly the way it needed to be when the system first started "blinking red" in the summer of 2001. AQ showed what could happen when their threats are not taken seriously, and its a mistake we should not repeat. We may never be able to prevent them from exploiting gaps in our open society, but when we can, we should. We did this time. Job well done.

      •  I somewhat object to calling this a time of war. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        If there is a real war, other than the mythical and conceptually impossible global war on terra, let the gutless clowns declare abusing our Constitution declare one.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:04:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If you support the dealth penalty for american (0+ / 0-)

      citizens without due process, then I assume you support the death penalty with due process as well.

      Texas has more morals than this administration.

  •  This is what the Mark Fiore cartoon (19+ / 0-)

    is about that some were so apoplectic over this morning.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 08:50:21 AM PDT

  •  Maybe we should form our own committee (5+ / 0-)

    Oh wait we have.  And they're occupying Wall Street with larger and larger numbers every day.

    The people united can never be defeated.

    Obama 2012 "Completing the Reagan Revolution"

    by m00nchild on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 08:53:36 AM PDT

  •  What a nightmare. (31+ / 0-)

    The administration offered the thinnest of (unproven) justifications for the targeting of al-Awlaki (he was involved in planning the underwear bomber incident, etc.), but what it seemed like to me is they killed him because they didn't like what he said or wrote.

    And if we can kill people because we don't like what they say or write, then where does that trail end?

    This is criminal and well beyond the constitution, in my opinion.

    •  I agree with the gov't killing someone... (6+ / 0-)

      ... who speaks and writes to advocate violence against our country and our people as part of their job in an organization that carries out such attacks, and who is not otherwise reachable by our government or any other government.  The distinction between speech and action within a division-of-labor organization isn't as stark as you are suggesting; if it were, we wouldn't have people advocating the prosecution of Bush and Cheney and Yoo, none of whom even actually tortured anyone.

      "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

      by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:00:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because prosecution and assassination (10+ / 0-)

        are so much alike.

        •  Prosecution in this case would do nothing (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo, malharden, We Won

          We don't prosecute people to make a symbolic statement; we do it to punish and to deter.  In Awlaki's case a prosecution, to the extent that one could have proceeded in his absence, would have been farcical because it would neither have punished nor deterred, and most likely it would accomplished the opposite: it would lay bare the toothlessness of our government and incentivize similar behavior by others.

          "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

          by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:11:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Aren't there ever prosecutions where the defendant (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lgmcp, antirove, jeopardydd

            is in abstentia?  Where they're given a trial where, if they're ever located and retrieved, they're subject to the punishment determined at those trials?  I'm asking, because I'd like to know.  For example, if a person is charged with a crime, but they jump bail, are they ever prosecuted?  They're given the chance to show up in court to challenge their accusers, but since they've fled, they've essentially declined that right of challenging their accusers?

            I may be confusing fiction and fact, but can't there be some method set up, if it doesn't currently exist, for this to be done?  I don't mean that we should make it commonplace, and be the first option to actually tracking down and arresting suspects, but in cases where the US has made an effort to try and deliver the summons, is there no way to then try them in abstentia?

            Just asking - curious for the responses.

            •  What good would this have done? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ColoTim

              I don't see what this would have accomplished. He wasn't in an area where INTERPOL or some other authority could grab him.

            •  Absolutely, there has to be (6+ / 0-)

              If your evidence is so strong, wait word from their lawyer, or appoint him a public defender. Lay the facts out, and have a JURY. If the jury convicts, then you go forward with the punishment.

              There are two things that are missing from the current process: 1) Public presentation of evidence. 2) jury (AFAIK, it's just judges making the decision).

              If they are American citizens, where they are at the moment is irrelevant. Otherwise, you just wait for somebody to go abroad, and then you have a carte blanche for any kind of an assassination attempt.

              One of the people who was assassinated was an EDITOR for an anti-US newspaper. You know who also has lots of newspapers criticizing this government, even calling for violence (the whole blood of tyrants and patriots bit)? Right wing militias. Are we going to target them next?

              The precedent is just way too dangerous. Not to mention  a scenario in which China starts killing its own nationals on our soil. You know, cause some judges over there said it's ok.

            •  Hardly ever. n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ColoTim

              "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

              by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:51:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  wrong, wrong, wrong (5+ / 0-)

            "Prosecution in this case would do nothing"

            it would give judicial oversight before killing somebody.

            this is required by the Constitution.

          •  he had already (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, lotlizard

            committed the so called crimes he was murdered for while he lived here, yet no one thought it was important enough to arrest him before e left the country.  if you remember he was identified as someone in contact with hassan in the base shooting.  but no charges.

             they not only knew about him, he had been a guest at the white house because he was a moderate cleric before he was radicalized by our own actions.   the only thing he did that was scary was move to Yemen, where his family is from, and continue his preaching amongst radicals there.

            what he has done is akin to what Glenn beck has done.  should we target beck with a missile?

            Ask not for whom the ban hammer swings. It swings for thee.

            by Nada Lemming on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:57:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  or not (0+ / 0-)
              what he has done is akin to what Glenn beck has done.  should we target beck with a missile?

              Glen Beck, as reprehensible as he is, has not fled the country and joined up with an armed terrorist organization.
              •  neither did al awlaki (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnny Q

                as far as you or I know.  all we have are claims from the government.  I wonder if you would have a problem with Michele Bach Ann lobbing missiles at Americans, because whoever the next republican president is, they will.  

                Ask not for whom the ban hammer swings. It swings for thee.

                by Nada Lemming on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:12:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Oddly, the administration didn't try and make the (18+ / 0-)

        ... you present. Instead, they tried to tie al-Awlaki to concrete terrorist "events" (without offering a shred of evidence).

        I don't agree with your assessment, I might add. This guy preached hatred against the U.S. and our citizens, but there are radical preachers doing that all over the world. Are they all fair game? Who decides when the undefined line has been crossed?

        I am not comfortable with this concept at all.

        •  Left out the word "case" in that first sentence. (0+ / 0-)
        •  How many other radical preachers... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, Pozzo, malharden

          ...declare themselves actual members of a designated terrorist organization (there's a farcical aspect to the formal designation of organizations by our government, but it's an established process), and receive substantial direct support by that organization to do their advocacy?  Whatever that number might be, I'd say they are legitimately in the same jeopardy as Awlaki...but to my knowledge there aren't any others.  

          "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

          by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:13:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That is one of the most troubling features here (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Robobagpiper, enhydra lutris

          there is no limit other than being covered, in the opinion of the administration, by the AUMF and being outside the United States, on who can be killed

        •  He did more than "preach hatred" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo, Seeds, AmazingBlaise

          The majority of his statements were not "America sucks" -- the majority of his statements were "It is your duty to attack and kill Americans".

          That's not a hyperbolic reading of his posts and statements by any stretch --

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:01:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, fine. (6+ / 0-)

            Who decides when that line for spoken or written words has been crossed and someone can be killed? Some secret committee?

            •  I guess it all comes down to whether (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pozzo

              you accept the GWOT as a "war" or not -- if you do, then history and case law is pretty clear.... the executive branch.

              If you don't, that's where I suppose things get murky.

              The interesting thing, I thought, from the dismissal of the case al-Awlaki's father and the ACLU brought when he was placed on the kill list -- was that the court didn't just dismiss on procedural standing grounds.

              Rather -- the judge cited al-Awlaki's own writings after being placed on the kill list (an interview/tape to al Jazeera, I think) where he specifically rejected the courts as a remedy.

              In effect, the DC District court said that al-Awlaki's father lacked "Next Friend" standing because they weren't acting in accordance with al-Awlaki's wishes.

              In effect -- that the 5th/4th amendment arguments people make against the kill list are moot if the individual doesn't wish to avail himself of those protections (and judicial remedy).

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:21:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That also applies to speech? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hayate Yagami, lotlizard

                I can certainly see actions as constituting grounds. But my issue is that someone advocating killing Americans in speech only can be targeted by the executive.

                That seems like a rather broad and open basis for validating the killing of a citizen, abroad or otherwise.

                •  Well, I guess then we get to (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pozzo

                  whether you think al-awlaki was involved operationally or not.   The government certainly maintains he was.  The circumstantial public evidence we have certainly seems to support that... Umb-not-gonna-look-his-name-up trained in Yemen, supposedly with al-awlaki.   E-mail correspondences -- which we don't have the text of -- picked up between Nasser/the Ft Hood shooter and al-Awlaki leading up to the attack.

                  Sure - none of that alone would be enough for me to convict on a jury... but I'm not on a jury, I'm simply rendering an opinion based on the public knowledge.  I'm comfortable saying that al-awlaki was likely involved in operational planning.

                  Just based on what's in the public forum - I think you pretty have to think that the NSA/NCTC is lying or has fabricated things and released them to believe otherwise.... the real pity is that I completely understand -- but would cautiously disagree -- with those would say "maybe they have".

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:37:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  BTW - so far as "speech" (0+ / 0-)

                  I guess I'd refer you back to the Vallindgham circumstances in the Civil War.

                  Burnside issued a military order against Copperheads - an OH congressman, whom I don't think anyone has accused of giving material support to the Confederacy, spoke vociferously against the Civil War.   He was arrested and held without trial.   Lincoln basically tried to trade his freedom in exchange for other Copperheads toning it down (the Birchard Letter, I think) - when that didn't work, they basically expelled him to the south... and he then immediately fled to Canada where he tried to run for Governor of Ohio from Canada.

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:41:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Not just war or not (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LaEscapee

                Even if you accept the war against Al-Qaeda as a real war, there is a legitimate question about the limits of the Executive's ability to determine that American citizens are enemy combatants.

                •  Historically (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pozzo

                  The courts have always come down on the side of the CoC... they did for Lincoln (the Vallingham 'arrest' was upheld by SCOTUS), they did for FDR (the Japaneses interment, done by pure EO, was upheld by SCOTUS), etc.

                  I wouldn't argue if you used the word "important" -- but if you are equating "legitimate" with "legal", well.... that shipped sailed 150 years ago, then kept sailing at the turn century, sailed even more a generation later, and kept right on sailing 70 years ago.

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:44:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I forget whether it was Hamdi or Boumedine (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    enhydra lutris, Johnny Q

                    but the courts have already indicated that American are entitled to judicial hearings to challenge executive determinations that they are enemy combatants.   That is not consistent with broad executive authority to designate Americans for assassination.

                    •  In custody... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pozzo

                      But the suit brought by al-Awlaki's father was dismissed because the DC court held that, based on al-awlaki's own statements, he didn't wish to exercise those rights.

                      In dismissing "Next Friend" claims, it left the larger question for another day.

                      In effect, you need a test case where the target on a kill list doesn't want to be on it... or at least, a court who will say that.

                      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                      by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:57:44 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  SCOTUS and the "imminent lawless action" test (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Johnny Q, enhydra lutris

              Zonk's attempt at an example is explicitly protected.

              In the case that established that as the standard, SCOTUS found that the speech "amounted to nothing more than advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time," and was thus protected.

              Reality has a liberal bias.

              by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:40:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I've never understood (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AmazingBlaise

            why so many on this site are apologists for this (ex) piece of anti-American scum. They are so eager to dismiss his actions as simply "saying unpopular thigns" when in fact, he joined an organization that has killed thousands of Americans, and makes no bones about wanting to kill many more. Many more would have died if they have just been a bit more competent. The angst over the procedural aspects, while misquided, is one thing. The outright defense of this guys' actions is sickening.

            •  Think for one second, then (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Hayate Yagami

              The US military has killed many more thousands of innocent civilians than Al-Qaeda ever will.  Real human beings with as much right to live as any American.  Just because a person was born in the US, within arbitrary and imaginary national boundaries, does not mean their lives are any more important or sacred; to believe it does is illogical, uninteligent, and bigoted.

              Do you then accept the killing of any member of the US military?  How about killing people who encourage the US military to attack and kill more people, knowing that inevitably innocents will die?  People who, say, encourage and support and try to convince others to support the US military acting unconstitutionally to murder American citizens for their speeches?  

            •  Because it's not about this one, particular case. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Johnny Q, lotlizard

              It's about the precedent it sets.

            •  Well, go back to the 2nd term of the Clinton era. (0+ / 0-)

              Would you have said that the Iraqi Defense Ministry was within its rights to mount commando raids and kill members of the Project for a New American Century?

              After all, PNAC was a group preaching a doctrine that, as we have seen, would end up inciting Americans to kill thousands upon thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqis.

              48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

              by lotlizard on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 07:23:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Well then maybe your beloved Obama (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hayate Yagami, Johnny Q

        should shut his trap about the actions of Assad etc.......what they're doing is NO DIFFERENT

        Oh appart from the fact that Obam claims to be a good Christian whilst Assad is a Muslim......seems like americans believe that being an american Christian gives  you freedom to do whatever you want

      •  you are pro unconstitutional murder (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hayate Yagami, Johnny Q

        This logic would've allowed murdering any American members of the communist party during the cold war. Far beyond the wildest ravings of McCarthy himself.  

        The article describes a secret committee, free of any democratic checks, empowered to put a name on a list and order an American citizen killed with zero due process. Even if you think killing this particular American was a good idea, there are simple, basic constitutional barriers to this behavior.

        In your bloodlust you are willing to ignore the constitution.

      •  "Imminent lawless action" is the standard (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        Advocating lawless action at some indeterminate future time is explicitly protected by SCOTUS rulings.

        Reality has a liberal bias.

        by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:34:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Are you a supporter of the death penalty? (0+ / 0-)

        If no, how can you support killing any citizen, especially without due process?

        Why was Timothy McVeigh given a trial?  He admitted to killing americans.

        At LEAST have a trial in absentia, present the evidence and convict to give SOME semblance of due process.

        To just say "believe us, we've checked it out, he should be killed", doesn't strike you as ripe for abuse?

        Forget about Obama, what will you say when President Republicon starts adding names?  OK by me?

    •  They killed him not because he betrayed America (12+ / 0-)

      but because he betrayed the Pentagon. After 9/11, he was the Pentagon's go-to "good" Muslim cleric.

      And in a classic and utterly predictable case of blowback, he turned on the US.

      There are going to be top brass in the Pentagon who took this personally. And considering we now have a war criminal former General in charge of the CIA...

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:20:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  BEENGO! (0+ / 0-)
      they didn't like what he said or wrote.

      Couple of things about this guy;

      1.) He was multi-lingual.
      2.) Actively involved in recruiting extremists.

      The disconnect here for me is yes, it's a problem if people are recruiting naive rubes to carry out terrorist acts against us-- but in the case of the potential undie bomber, how was he overlooked by our "security" agencies and allowed to get on an aircraft bound for the U.S.? Hm???

      It appears various agencies are unable to deal with this in a comprehensive, realistic manner, they just want to kill the guys at the top.

      "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

      by Superpole on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:43:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Offered to who? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pozzo

      To the public?

      I'm not dismissing your larger point, but come on -- supposedly there were e-mails between al-awlaki and the Ft Hood shooter.... I doubt the CIA/NSA/whomever wants those public if for no other reason than for anyone to know which ones they intercepted.

      I'm not saying this isn't troubling -- but it just seems like an awful lot of people think NSA meetings should be virtual town halls.

      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

      by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:59:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is there a difference between "speech" and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hayate Yagami, Johnny Q, pot

        ... "planning?"

        Because here is what was in The New York Times about this communication:

        Intelligence agencies intercepted communications last year and this year between the military psychiatrist accused of shooting to death 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., and a radical cleric in Yemen known for his incendiary anti-American teachings.

        But the federal authorities dropped an inquiry into the matter after deciding that the messages from the psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, did not suggest any threat of violence and concluding that no further action was warranted, government officials said Monday.

        Okay, so al-Awaki exchanged emails with a guy who later ending up shooting fellow soldiers. The communications didn't warrant further investigation, according to federal authorities.

        Like I said, targeting citizens based on speech really is a classic slippery slope in my mind.

        •  Ahhh -- but read closely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo

          they're talking specifically about Hasan's e-mails to al-Awlaki....  What they don't talk about -- and keep in mind, this is in 2009 and al-awlaki wasn't placed on the kill list until 2010 -- is e-mails from al-Awlaki to Hasan.

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:48:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  From later in the same article: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, pot
            “There was no indication that Major Hasan was planning an imminent attack at all, or that he was directed to do anything,” one senior investigator said. He and the other officials spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying the case was under investigation.
            •  As of the immediate aftermath.... (0+ / 0-)

              You don't seriously believe the CIA, NSA, NCTC, DHS, et al have really gotten good at sharing everything quickly, do you?

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:53:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pot

                So even though they had the emails and were quoted off-the-record, you want to argue that maybe they were too disorganized to know what really happened.

                Well, then I guess any discussion on the topic is moot because the government can always use the excuse, "Hey! We're just a bunch of fuck-ups!"

                There's a real confidence builder...

                •  Well, the unnamed source (0+ / 0-)

                  quoted by the NYT may not have...  that's the problem with the vagueness of the source -- who is he?  FBI?  NSA?  CIA? NCTC?  DHS?

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:05:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Just where should citizen review and input (0+ / 0-)

        fit in with our panoply of covert, secret, top secret and above top secret agencies and compartmentalized operative groups?  Couldn't our great nation seeking to reflect democratic principles and rule of law, have a changing pool of citizen peers, sworn to secrecy (for a limited term), who might sit in and review these sorts of decisions, actions and outcomes, and be afforded the power to stop those which seem unjust or lack sound justification?  Aren't we brave enough to trust our own citizens to manage our government all the way to the very top?  I argue by saying 'No' to the founding principle of the citizen oversight of government we already have betrayed and given up on America.

        The opportunity for executive decisions to be made because they are expedient, convenient, personally beneficial can easily drift into very injust and arbitrary terrority, rather than be a fair process, principled, just and supported by objectively proven facts.  Especially when the executive power can be essentially be used for whatever ends and via whatever means which one, two or a mere few staff wish.  We might also consider that it's probable that our government may hire private corporate mercenaries carry out such 'missions' for profit, and be contracted to help cover up any lines of accountability and evidence leading in embarrassing directions.  

        This ends up being a 'system' that is so far removed from public accountability, so far from ongoing review by our full body of elected officials, so far from operating within the valid court system, that there is no way of the electorate to know or verify whether our government's secret deadly actions are right, just, fair, legal, and supported by sufficient evidence.  We just have to 'trust' that deadly force is being secretly used to protect 'us', however 'us' and 'them' is being defined...today.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:44:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As I said above/below (0+ / 0-)

          One of the interesting things about the dismissal of "next friend" standing claim in the suit brought by al-Awlaki's father in the DC District court was that the court held that al-awlaki's wishes held trump.... in effect -- saying that the 4th/5th amendments are rights primarily held by the individual, and only secondarily exist as checks against the government, rather than the inverse.

          The court basically said that al-Awlaki didn't want to be a constitutionality test case based on his own statements, and that since the suit ran counter to his wishes -- the applicants lacked "Next Friend" standing to sue on his behalf.

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:52:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It is too close to demanding a "Godwin" parallel (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hayate Yagami

      "First they came for..."

      Where does it stop once you let them do these things?

      It all started with Bush illegally spying on Americans and doing nothing about it. Either we start enforcing the The Constitution, Habeas Corpus and the rule of law - across the board - with prosecutions or it just gets murkier and murkier.

      ePluribus Media
      Collaboration is contagious!

      by m16eib on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:33:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most people who are celebrating this drone killing (0+ / 0-)

      … appear to me to be unaware of, or refusing to consider, all the facts.

      The US Secretary of the Army was eager to have a presentation from a moderate Muslim as part of an outreach effort, and a Pentagon employee invited Al-Awlaki to a luncheon in the Secretary's Office of General Counsel. He became the first imam to conduct a prayer service at the US Capitol in 2002 for the Congressional Muslim Staffer Association and officials of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

      However, harassment by the FBI drove him to go to England in 2002, where he continued his preaching. He moved to Yemen in 2004, was arrested in 2006 on kidnapping and terrorism charges, imprisoned (and no doubt tortured), but released in December 2007. His sermons about Islamic ethics and the lives of the prophets became best-selling CDs and there were 1,910 Youtube videos of his lectures, though they have all been removed and his CDs are no longer for sale. It was only after his prison experience that he openly advocated jihad against the US.

      http://www.opednews.com/...

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

      by lotlizard on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:31:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like it will be used as a positive for (6+ / 0-)

    Obama during the election season.  Other than Ron Paul, I wonder how the Repubs will fight that off.  Should be an interesting debate if they get to it.

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 08:56:11 AM PDT

  •  Consider (0+ / 0-)

    yourself warned...

  •  thanks for diarying this (9+ / 0-)

    "we make sure that we follow international law"

    what a joke. they're not even bothering to follow our own laws, which require due process in a court of law for those accused of crimes (and its questionable whether awlaki even committed any real crimes, since all they will talk about in public is (1) his exercise of constitutionally protected 1st amendment rights and (2) the "operational role" he supposedly has in Al Qaeda, a proposition for which the government has presented no proof at all.

    "When the government says they have legal authority and memos saying that the law allows them to target and kill American citizens" they are either mistaken or lying.

    i'm actually a little troubled by your assertion that "If existing law is not adequate to both protect the rights of American citizens and keep the nation safe, then new laws need to be made," because I see no evidence that new laws are needed or that the extra-legal steps taken by our past two administrations have had any effect at all on "keeping the nation safe."

    "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

    by joey c on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:00:53 AM PDT

    •  In the matter (6+ / 0-)

      of dealing with enemy combatants operating across nations and in nations where we haven't declared war, yeah, the laws are lacking. This amorphous global war, conducted outside of the idea of war between nation states which all previous laws of war have been written to address, does pose new challenges. Which we need to answer.

      "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

      by Joan McCarter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:08:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no problem targeting "combatants"; (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radmul, m16eib

        if those combatants are engaging in combat. That is, either carrying a weapon or engaging in operational planning for those who will.

        Exhortations to war in the general sense are neither.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:26:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So, rank and file only, then? (0+ / 0-)

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:17:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did I not include "operational planning"? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pluto, lgmcp

            That includes command structure.

            The administration never even made the claim that this is what Al-Awlaki was doing; only that he was inspiring and exhorting to such acts. They would say "we're looking into the possibility of an operational role", but avoided going so far as to claim it.

            Now, granted, administration mouthpieces and GWOT supporters on the far right have made these accusations, but have given scant evidence to support them.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:21:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  not sure I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Blair

        I know your position is sensible, and I acknowledge that it's infinitely preferable to the position of this and the last administration, which have been to bend and/or break the law as the security/military axis demands and not worry about the niceties except for covering everybody's behind.

        But I think that there is an even better course of action.

        I believe the US invasion of Afghanistan, which is one of the few actions we've taken directly related to the problem we're supposedly trying to solve, was legal if I'm not mistaken.

        The other big action we took, killing Osama Bin Laden, was not legal, and I can't imagine what kind of international law you could pass saying that it's cool to violate the territorial integrity of another state to kill someone designated a "terrorist", no matte what they did;  informing and obtaining the consent of the nation in question would be necessary for any sensible law, but that might have precluded success.

        My real position, though, (and I realize this is not a popular position) would be that we wouldn't have to deal with this problem at all if we conducted ourselves in a more ethical fashion in terms of our foreign policy. The US made Al Qaeda in our eagerness to fight the Cold War, and we engendered the enmity of countless people across the world by propping up dictators and corrupt authoritarians, interfering with the internal governing of countries from Italy to Iran to Chile, and throwing our weight around secure in the knowledge that we had the most loot and the biggest guns. Absent those actions on our part, there would have been, and would be, no need for new laws to govern how we chase after stateless people trying to force us to stop acting like global nogoodniks.

        I don't believe the whole "they hate us for our freedom" spiel. I think animosity towards the US is the result of concrete actions we have taken, and that if we take different actions, we can obviate much of that animosity.

        "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

        by joey c on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:40:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Or they've had the lawyers who agree with them (5+ / 0-)

      write them the memos which they'll use as "Get out of Jail Free" cards despite them not being based upon solid case law.  The memos authorizing torture have never been adjudicated by anyone without an interest in maintaining the treatments allowed within.

      •  I call that lying (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper, ColoTim, Johnny Q

        and lying with malice aforethought, because no one of good intent could possibly believe the self-serving BS they use to claim they can do whatever they want with no oversight.

        "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

        by joey c on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:43:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Whoa. At least now I know why... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TJ

    ...my wife and accountant had "U.S. Government C.I.A. Terrorist Assassination Star Chamber" coffee cups and caps.

    "Look, my administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks," - Obama cutting off the bankers re their rationalization of bonuses.

    by dov12348 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:02:01 AM PDT

    •  Turn cup: US NSC Counter-Terrorist Extrajudicial (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dov12348

      Termination Team is probably on the other side.

      And note the fine print on the cup listing quite a few other options.

      See, not just multiple sides to the cup, there's multiple branches of the government authorized to use lethal force on those deigned to be enemies of the state.  So, don't forget Navy SEALs, the Special Forces in each branch (and not just US teams), etc.  They may take on very heroic tasks but it might not be comforting to ask whether they bring any of their targets home for a real trial. So do not be remiss in leaving out options from the president's vast palette of 'terrorist' purging options.

      And there's still the option of extreme rendition/extradition to a nation-state or organization lacking the protections of US law, order and due process for citizens our nation would be embarrassed to admit it disregards once someone is deemed an enemy of the state and very likely to be thinking bad thoughts.

      No need to check for any microphone, video-cam or GPS locator in your cup or saucer, or sugar bowl, or creamer, or table vase or under it.  Your cell phones have been very efficient monitoring systems for years now.  The era we are entering is one where electronic and bio-monitoring of faces and even brainwaves by various remote means will probably be used in judging between the good citizen, 'persons of interest', and the executable terrorists.  It seems like our administrative and military operatives are seeking that ancient mythical power of acting as the Greek god Zeus, evaluating the hearts of men, deceiving those he choose to deceive, and if angered, zapping down lightning bolts upon those threatening his divine intentions--good, or emotionally flawed.  

      Our American Way of Life does not, at the core, include support for the notion that there are men who are fit and privileged to secretly judge and target for killing/murder other people, especially US citizens, without due process and Constitutional protections, without a trial by real citizen peers, and without any reasonable opportunity to mount a defense, regardless of where they are on the planet.  I'm not sure how it can be argued any satisfaction of legal concerns exists when clearly there are no legal options or remedies afforded to the targeted victim, nor to the victim's family & relatives (who also tend to be murdered when the execution method is high powered and blankets an area).  I'm sure our Forefathers and Foremothers would be quick to protest that sort of act is the behavior of an unrepentant, unaccountable tyrant, the very sort our system of democratic elections, government branches having careful checks and balances was all designed to prevent.  

      Maybe a good Constitutional scholar could explain this to me and straighten out any misguided understandings I may be holding.  Be able to debate this, in a public forum open to reason, with expert dialog, evidence and full transparency is something I would hope to see happen in a democratic nation as great and open as our society claims to be. No, I won't hold my breath while waiting for any such expert rushes in to patriotically make an appearance.

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:21:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, absolutely. (0+ / 0-)

        Although I think an elaboration like that might have dampened the effect of my joke. ;)

        "Look, my administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks," - Obama cutting off the bankers re their rationalization of bonuses.

        by dov12348 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:01:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes I don't know whether to just laugh or (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dov12348

          cry, or decry.  If I have over-screeded my bounds, please accept my apology.  And cheers, towards your next good cup of coffee, or tea, mocha...whatever warms your insides.

          When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

          by antirove on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:16:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Repeal the AUMF, the Military Commissions Act, (12+ / 0-)

    the PATRIOT Act.  They make hypocrites and murderers of us all.

  •  They need to show their work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo

    And that would make it ok?

  •  The Assassination Bureau n/t (5+ / 0-)
    •  You need to add something to make it patriotic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, Pluto, TJ

      sounding.

      The American Bureau of Assassinations.*

      There, now it's a group every heroic, red-blooded, patriotic American can support.







      *Any resemblence between the naiming of the ABA and the American Bar Association is purely coincidental and should in no way be interpreted as condemning the acts of certain lawyers such as John Yoo or Eric Holder.

      GOP 2012 -- Austerity is just around the corner!

      by ontheleftcoast on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:29:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Awlaki - "American militant"? (5+ / 0-)

    That wouldn't be the way I'd characterize him. We have plenty of militants right here in the US and they're just fine. Being a militant is not criminal. Awlaki was far, far more than a "militant".

  •  I absolutely see the concerns, here, slippery (3+ / 0-)

    slope and all that.  BUT.  

    Assassinating al-Awkli and his like seems a lot more to the point than continuing to occupy increasingly-hostile populations of indefinitely.  

    Asymmetrical stateless warfare seems to call for a rather different, more surgical response.  Conventional warfare response under these circumstances is ineffective, wasteful, inhumane -- both wrong and stupid.  But we can't just hope for the best and do nothing.  

    To argue that surgical strikes are LESS moral than collective punishment, makes no sense to me.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:42:02 AM PDT

    •  the rule of law is better (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, Johnny Q

      catch them and put them on trial or Americans or no better than fascists.

      •  How do you propose to "catch" someone in another (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, PsychoSavannah, lgmcp

        country?  The Bush approach was to send tens of thousands of troops.  Is that preferable?  Or, if they are in a country that is harboring them, do we just have to give them a pass?

      •  Despite the ridiculous sub-thread below (0+ / 0-)

        engendered by one or more hotheads ... I do agree with you.  The rule of law IS better.  Police action and criminal prosecution in the civil courts, would be my preference in almost all cases.  Nonetheless, I maintain that bombing entire provinces in order to flush out such characters, is even worse.  Which is what we mostly get now.  Fact.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:35:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And in case you're wondering (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo

          what I meant by "almost" all -- I would say, OBL.   The concept of a non-show trial would be an aburdity in such a case.  Every model breaks down at its extremes.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:38:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Repubs posited that Obama would (7+ / 0-)

    institute Death Panels that decided who would be left to die for lack of care.  This Administration has gone them one better with a Kill Panel -deciding who to go after and murder.  I am appalled.

    -approaching Curmudgeonry with pleasure

    by Calfacon on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:47:44 AM PDT

  •  Executive Order 12333 (8+ / 0-)
    As early as 1998, this proscription against assassination was reinterpreted, and relaxed, for targets who are classified by the United States as connected to terrorism.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:49:06 AM PDT

  •  Is there a place where we can submit names? (5+ / 0-)

    Possible American born terrorists that have been having a substantial negative effect on the United States...

    Grover Norquist
    Koch Brothers
    Roger Ailes
    Karl Rove

  •  that decides the fate of American militants (6+ / 0-)

    that sentence is both hilarious and WTF.  You can make up what ever you want to make that true.  Occupy Wall Street Protesters, obviously American Militants.

  •  Whoa (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Blair, Johnny Q

    That slope sure is slippery, wouldn't you say Mr.President?

    End the tyranny of the 1%!

    by MasterfullyInept on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:24:35 AM PDT

  •  This is why we are not taken seriously. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheLizardKing, Pozzo, Seeds

    This cleric may well have been born in the United States, but he was actively recruiting people to fight a war against his home country. He was a legitimate military target, and now he's dead.

    He's the enemy. It's that simple. When the South declared war on the North, we didn't need to put every single person we killed on trial. They were Americans who declared war on their country.

    I say again - this man was a perfectly legitimate military target living on foreign soil, recruiting people to kill Americans, and helping to plan attacks to kill Americans. He is absolutely 100% a legit military target. All of this pearl clutching and hyperventilation about targeted assassination of American citizens is a bunch of hogwash. It's not just apples and oranges, it's apples and orangutans.

  •  I'd say that when an American citizen... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Swig Mcjigger

    ...joins an organization or militia force that has declared war on American either explicitly or through their actions, the forfeit the rights of citizenship and are subject to the same rules of engagement as the organization.

  •  quite a can of worms (8+ / 0-)

    It seems hard to restrict the government from killing someone who is actively fighting it just because he has American citizenship. Why should that make him more immune than Bin Laden or any other fighter?

    The Americans shot several million rounds at me when I led my people at Wounded Knee in 1973. I shot back at them and never considered my citizenship any factor, we were fighting and both sides were trying to kill the others. Two of my soldiers were killed but no one ever objected to it because they were Americans. I was targeted in an up close assasination attempt and damn near got whacked, if I had been I doubt anyone would have said anything.

    Perhaps the problem is having a "list" of targets. If there were no list and an enemy were to be killed on the battlefield it wouldn't matter what nationality they were, they would just be dead soldiers. In the old days a sheriff could put out a "wanted dead or alive" warrant with a reward and any citizen could collect the money by killing the fugitive.

    On the other hand I see the problem of having a death panel single out which Americans need to get whacked. Why should Americans be treated differently than Yemeni soldiers in a battle? If they're out there fighting and a bomb falls on them what difference does nationality make?

    Having said all that isn't the main question the "war on terror" itself? Because if the WoT is legal so is the rest of it. It's an undeclared war prosecuted by the executive branch outside the Constitution. In my mind that makes the whole thing unlawful. So to me arguing about killing a citizen is beside the point of... is the damn war constututional. The answer to that decides the other questions.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:26:51 AM PDT

    •  Truly a pity (5+ / 0-)
      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      It's worse than that: we've chose to be the world's vigilante.


      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz

      by KingBolete on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:49:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's the war itself that's wrong (0+ / 0-)

      targeting Americans is only a symptom of pursuing an unconstitutional war. If Americans can stop the illegal use of the war powers act and return war powers to Congress the rest will correct itself.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:19:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Slippery Slope.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper, Johnny Q

    gets a bit more slippery.

    wow, NOT a good feeling about this.

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:32:58 AM PDT

  •  So, in order to get away with attacking the US (7+ / 0-)

    and/or US citizens, or inciting others to do so, one need only be born in the US, then move somewhere that won't extradite.

    That's good to know,

  •  Based on this Obama should keep his cakehole (0+ / 0-)

    SHUT with respect to what the likes of Assad, Ahmadinejad etc do with respects to citizens of those countries whom they deem to be a threat to their National Security

    Of course being the loud mouthed, sanctimonious, self-righteous hypocrite that he is, Obama will not keep his gab shut and will continue lecturing others

  •  Ruppersberger (0+ / 0-)

    Dutch is my rep.  Time to put that time canvassing, registering voters, and acting as an elections judge to good use.

    Don't know if I'll get much response; the only time I've actually met him was a glad-hand-thanks-for-your-support.  But someone on his staff may recognize my name.

    He needs to answer some uncomfortable questions, then maybe he'll be prompted to ask uncomfortable questions of his own.

  •  Sorry for the double tap, but - (6+ / 0-)

    So, let me get this straight. As liberals and progressives, we want War to have as little impact as possible, and cost as few lives as possible.

    However, we still agree (right?) that the people who are actually trying to kill us are legitimate targets, right? Right? We agree that if someone in another country is plotting and planning an attack, that the United States has a right to kill that person in order to defend our nation. Right?

    Because that's what this is. Yes, this guy happened to be an American citizen. He was also living in Yemen and was actively recruiting people to kill American citizens. He was not, in practice, a Citizen of this country. He was our enemy.

    Why is this even a concern. He was the enemy. We are at war with that enemy (Al Qaeda). We killed him. End of story. In war, you kill the enemy.

    And we didn't carpet bomb Yemen to do it. We didn't invade and occupy his nation to get it done. We targeted this key player, and removed him from the earth (and good riddance to him. If there is a hell, let him burn in it for all eternity). This isn't scary for US Cticizens. This isn't cause for concern that the government is going to start firing hellfire missiles at ACORN offices. This is cause for concern only for those idiots in the world who see fit to recruit terrorists to kill Americans.

    Targeted strikes on key individuals SAVES BLOODY LIVES. It's a significantly more humane way to defend ourselves. It's significantly more cost effective. It preserves more civilians lives. It's a better way to get things done, and people here are crying for justice for this asshole as if he's some sort of innocent US Citizen caught in the power mad sights of a President gone rogue.

    This guy was an admitted terrorist. He was actively recruiting people to kill us. And now, because he's our enemy, he's dead. He gave up his rights the day he decided to kill his countrymen for his god.

    •  They'd be unhappy here no matter what (4+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      TheLizardKing, Seeds, Geekesque, Dr Swig Mcjigger
      Hidden by:
      adios

      If we sent in troops its "Another Obama war." If we had the Yemenis seize him and send him to us it would be "rendition".

    •  well...there's a lot of grey here (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, pot, Johnny Q, lotlizard

      It's not clear that he was "an admitted terrorist."  It's not clear that he "was actively recruiting people to kill us."  
      And it's certainly not clear that we are "at war" with every preacher in the Middle East who speaks against the United States.  Hell, it's not even clear how we can be "at war" with something smaller than a nation.  (And don't lecture me about the pirates off Africa in the 19th century - a mistake made 200 years ago shouldn't be allowed to be guiding law just because it's old.)

      If there is intel justifying this kind of action, it needs to be made public.  Otherwise you're sanctioning the power of the Executive Branch to assassinate anybody it wants to on its own say so.  That's far too much power for any government official to have, and it's certainly not what the intent of the Constitution is.  

      You argue that dropping bombs on people in various countries in the Middle East "Saves Lives".  Do you see what you just did there?  You have equated killing with "saving lives."  Well, certainly in the short term it's not saving lives since it's, well, killing.  And it's far from clear that it's "saving lives" in the long run.  It's part of an incoherent foreign policy of "Kill all the Bad Guys!" that has never actually worked for anybody in history.  This is the kind of discredited approach to war the Gen. Westmoreland used during the Vietnam War.  

      •  His recruitment videos were on youtube. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, Geekesque

        Seriously. There is absolutely no doubt what so ever that he was an Al Qaeda recruiter.

        Let's try to take what I actually argued, and not what you wanted to argue.

        Let's imagine that, instead of invading Iraq to topple Saddam, Bush simply sent Seal Team Six in to take him out. How many lives would have been saved? Let's say in the process, they killed, say, 25 civilians.

        Do the math on the tiny sliver of the total number of casualties that would be in comparison to how many people we have killed there in the last 10 years of invasion and occupation.

        Targeted killing of key, legitimate, military targets actually saves lives in comparison with invasion, large scale bombing, etc. Yes, civilians sometimes still die, and that's truly awful. However, you cannot reasonably argue that this method is more destructive than what we did in Iraq.

      •  Actually, it's very clear: (0+ / 0-)

        http://articles.cnn.com/...

        A key part of the prosecution case was a series of heavily encrypted messages between al-Awlaki and Karim, in which al-Awlaki pressed for information about Karim's job and his knowledge of airport security.

        "I pray that Allah may grant us a breakthrough through you ... can you please specify your role in the airline industry, how much access do you have to airports, what information do you have on the limitations and cracks in present airport security systems?"

        Karim replied: "The kuffar (a derogatory term for non-Muslims) are planning to install full body scanners across UK airports. This allows them to see things under clothes."

        But he warned al-Awlaki to be realistic: "You are probably hoping that I work at the airport, but the fact is I don't. I personally know two brothers, one who works in baggage handling at Heathrow and another who works in airport security. Both are good practising brothers and sympathize towards the cause of the mujahedeen."

        Replying, al-Awlaki got straight to the point:

        "Our highest priority is the U.S. Anything there, even on a smaller scale compared to what we may do in the UK, would be our choice. So the question is: with the people you have is it possible to get a package or person with a package on board a flight heading to the U.S.?"

        In other words:

        "Al-Awlaki determined to strike inside U.S."

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:26:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Instead of killing them and creating more, why (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pot

          don't we discuss why in the hell they're trying to kill us in the first place?

          Both are good practising brothers and sympathize towards the cause of the mujahedeen."

          What is the thinking behind those that do so?

          How do we go about changing that?

    •  If each terrorist we kill, creates MORE terrorists (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, pot, Hayate Yagami, Johnny Q

      how do we "win" the GWOT?

      I thought the whole over-arching argument was that it's impossible to "beat" an ideology?

      I guess we'll just keep on killing them, wherever they may be, forever.  But I don't think that's really a good final solution, do you?

    •  We disagree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alienshores, Johnny Q
      However, we still agree (right?) that the people who are actually trying to kill us are legitimate targets, right? Right? We agree that if someone in another country is plotting and planning an attack, that the United States has a right to kill that person in order to defend our nation. Right?

      The US does not have the right to go anywhere and kill anyone it perceives to be a threat.  That's neo-con thinking.

      Second, these "targeted killings" with drones and missiles have the near-guarantee of "collateral damage", pissing off the governments and people of the countries we're bombing, which makes them hate us more and be more easily recruited by terrorist groups.

      The US is actively creating the problem we claim to be trying to fix.  Listen to the actual words of the people being arrested for terrorist-related activities, and you hear common themes.  The US is killing thousands of (Muslim) civilians in its wars and drone attacks.  Torturing Muslims in Gitmo....  We're making more terrorists than we're killing, and by killing them, we make more terrorists!  The current strategy is insane and counterproductive.

      Reality has a liberal bias.

      by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:07:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can understand what you are saying, however (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JC from IA, Robobagpiper

    we need to figure out how to kill the bad guys in this war without sacrificing our troops or millions of civilians.  

    It is easy to get concerned about one person, but millions killed in other countries (Iraq) is so overwhelming it isn't even debated.  One is a tragedy, millions is a statistic.

    Your arguments have a point, but, murder of citizens of another country by accident is ok, and murder of one questionable citizen not ok.

    I think if the facts were released at some point in time and not buried forever would help me with this.  Put it in a vault marked 2025.  Let the press open the vault.

    We have to figure out how to fight these asymmetrical wars with a new strategy, the WWII strategy won't work.

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:34:45 AM PDT

    •  This wasn't Murder. (6+ / 0-)

      Stop calling this murder. This was not in any way, shape or form, murder. This was a legitimate, targeted military strike against an enemy of the United States of America who was recruiting terrorists and actively planning attacks on our country.

      When a soldier shoots a militant, it's not murder. You may not like it. I don't like it. But it isn't murder.

      Millions were not killed in Iraq. Please stop inflating the vast harm we did there. It actually does a disservice to the many who died.

      We don't have to figure anything out in relation to this case. He was the enemy. He was actively trying to hurt Americans. He was legitimately targeted and killed as a result.

  •  "Can" or "Do"? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper, Johnny Q, lotlizard

    They can not do it if the rule of law, The Constitution and the separation of powers are respected.

    They are doing it... But they can not get away with it if we prosecute them for it.

    Just sayin'.

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:35:13 AM PDT

  •  they have "two theories" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2020adam

    That's pathetic.  

    Defendants have "theories."  Our government shouldn't have shifting justifications for whatever they are doing.  

  •  This is honestly nothing new. (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Geekesque

    Al Alwaki investigation can get in line behind the ones for MLK, Bobby Kennedy, JFK and Malcolm.

    What? Our govt has been killing American citizens for a he'll of a long time.

    Anybody surprised by that hasn't been paying attention.

    I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

    by mdmslle on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:41:06 AM PDT

    •  Wow, all the really crazy folk are out today. (4+ / 0-)

      Really? MLK, JFK - you are honestly going to sit there and put this terrorist-recruiting asshole in the same category as one of our greatest presidents and probably the single finest human being to ever draw breath?

      Really? And with the conspiracy theory that our government killed those people to boot. Perhaps you believe the President was secretly born in Kenya, and the moon landing was faked?

      •  Sanity??? Bullshit. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper, pot, Johnny Q, lotlizard

        Our military is tasked with fighting hostile combatants. NOT those who cheer lead them. By your logic we should be carpet bombing everyone in the Northwest provinces of Pakistan.

        "I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues." Uh, Mr. President, and if the bill DOES raise "serious revenues"?...

        by WisePiper on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:54:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  bullshit. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo, Seeds, Geekesque

          The military's task is to defend this nation, and part of that defense includes the dismantling of the structure of organizations like Al Qaeda. Their head honchos don't get a pass. They are legitimate military targets. If your organization has declared war on the US (as Al Qaeda has), then guess what - you are at war with the US. If you're at war with the US, you're a legitimate military target for the US.

          •  Funny, I remember the military's oath (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q

            being to the Constitution, which states - with no exceptions - that no one be deprived of life without due process of law.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:01:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So, every soldier we kill must have a trial? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Seeds, Geekesque

              He's the enemy, and we are at war. Is every soldier and every commander all the way back to the birth of our republic guilty of murder?

              It doesn't matter that this guy was born here. What matters is that he was a member of an organization that we are at war with. He was actively recruiting people to murder American citizens. He's the enemy.

              The military has the obligation to go kill him, given that he's the enemy.

              •  By the way - (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Seeds

                When republicans scream that Liberals are terrorist sympathizers, crap like this gives their claims legitimacy.

                You are actually sympathizing with a terrorist who belongs to an organization that has been at war with the US since the 90's.

        •  Don't give them ideas. nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WisePiper

          Reality has a liberal bias.

          by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:11:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  no i'm neither crazy nor putting them in the (0+ / 0-)

        same category Why don't you try reading comprehension.

        I SAID the US government has a long history of killing american citizens.

        read much?

        I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

        by mdmslle on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:41:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and BTW you can call it what you want. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't have to prove anything to you. And though it's beneath me to say I'm don't believe any of your bullshit kenyan teabag bullshit and I resent the accusation.

        If you don't think the US govt conspired to have certain leaders in this country killed when they represented the real threat to the status quo, you are hopelessly naive about this country, my dear.

        I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

        by mdmslle on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:44:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and the worst thing about your stupid statement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo

        is that i happen to AGREE with you that Alalwaki was rightfully dealt with. I personally would have no expectation of a guarantee of rights if I decided to go railing off and educating people about how to overthrow the US Govt. If that's the choice I were to make, it would be cowardly for me to insist on "american" rights when caught.

        The only thing that troubles me about his killing is that there's a really wobbly definition of who's railing against the govt.

        I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

        by mdmslle on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:46:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In WWII some Americans fought on (7+ / 0-)

    the side of the Nazi's. They were shot and killed in combat just like other German soldiers.

    Americans were killed in the Civil War too.

    •  Sanity! (4+ / 0-)

      Thank you for pointing that out. We are at war with Al Qaeda. The constitution prevents us from using the military to strike domestic terror cells, but this guy wasn't sitting around in Hoboken trying to figure out how to stick C4 on a model plane. This guy was in Yemen, was the enemy, was recruiting the enemy, and got his ass killed for his trouble.

      Good riddance to bad rubbish. Now, if we could only do away with the brick-stupid slippery slope crap in the original post and this thread, we might be able to claim that we are a part of the reality based community again.

      •  "At war with" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        Where is the formal declaration?  Who, exactly, are we at war with?  What are the geographical and social extent of the "enemy"?  What are the victory conditions?  As long as it's the "enemy", are we allowed to go and bomb anywhere we want?  If not, what are the limits?  If so, you're a GWOT neo-con.

        Reality has a liberal bias.

        by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:17:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A formal declaration is not needed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Swig Mcjigger
          Where is the formal declaration?

          None is needed. Unless you believe that the Korean war was a police action. And of course there's that other action in Vietnam, the First Gulf War and basically every war we've been involved in since WWII.
          •  I notice you don't even try to address (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, pot

            anything else.

            Reality has a liberal bias.

            by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:22:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's ok (0+ / 0-)

              You didn't address me, either. Anyway, here ya go:

              W

              ho, exactly, are we at war with?

              In this instance, AQ.
              What are the geographical and social extent of the "enemy"?

              There aren't any specific ones. There don't have to be. Does your enemy have to be limited to specific place on the map? Even between two nations, there aren't necessarily specific geographic and social extents. (see the Bosnian/Croatia/Serbia, for example.)
              What are the victory conditions?

              There do not have to be specific "victory conditions" to a war. Many wars end without victory for either side (Iraq-Iran). Here, I would argue the "victory conditions" to be the neutralization of AQ as a threat to us. We seem to be well on the way to this goal.
              As long as it's the "enemy", are we allowed to go and bomb anywhere we want?

              No, I woun't agree with that. I think we should take pains to avoid killing innocent civilians, or even hostile forces who are trying to surrender. We should also take pains not to invade sovereign nations if at all possible.
              If not, what are the limits?

              Addressed above
              If so, you're a GWOT neo-con.

              Nope.
              •  Inconsistent responses. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pot

                So, we're "at war" with AQ.  AQ has no set geographical or social constraints, but we're not allowed to attack them wherever they are.  We should also "take pains" to not kill civilians, or invade sovereign nations.

                Al Quaeda is a large, nebulous group, with support and members all over the world.  With no geographic constraints, on where "they" are, then you're arguing for the neo-con "global war on terror".  You then try to get out of it by saying that we should avoid invading sovereign nations, then immediately negate that by adding the weasel words "whenever possible".  You say that we should "take pains" to avoid civilian casualties, but what does that actually mean?  Even setting the hundreds of thousands of casualties from our wars aside, our drones regularly cause civilian "collateral damage" in their use as robotic assassins.  What does "taking pains" to avoid civilian casualties mean in that context?  Not using them if they might happen?  If a strike might cause over a certain number of civilians might become involved?  What about mistaken attacks, like those in the "collateral murder" video?

                You say that the goal is the neutralization of AQ.  How do we do that?  By killing everyone sympathetic to them?  That won't work, since our activities routinely make affected people hate us even more.  By constantly killing whoever the top person is?  After a decade of war, it's clear that's not working.

                Reality has a liberal bias.

                by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:20:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  nothing inconsistent about it (0+ / 0-)
                  So, we're "at war" with AQ.  AQ has no set geographical or social constraints, but we're not allowed to attack them wherever they are.

                  Of course not. Even in a conventional war, you aren't allowed to attack the enemy, "wherever they are." You have to abide by certain stanards.

                   

                  You then try to get out of it by saying that we should avoid invading sovereign nations, then immediately negate that by adding the weasel words "whenever possible".  You say that we should "take pains" to avoid civilian casualties,

                  Not weasel words at all. Just a realistic acknowledgement that natioal sovereignty cannot be used as  shield to commit atrocities and pay no consequences. For example, if Nation A allows an armed group to cross its' border with nation B and commit atrociciets and then scurry back behind the border, Nation B would be well within it's right to self defense to disregard the Nation A's sovereignty  to go after that group. If a nation were harboring AQ and allowing it to be used as a base of attack, then I would not have a problem if we went after  AQ even without that nations' permission.
                  •  And that's exactly what I mean by "weasel words" (0+ / 0-)

                    If the US can claim the right to attack AQ wherever they are, your stipulation that it shouldn't invade "whenever possible" is meaningless.  Every incursion will be met with a shrug and a "well, we had to this time".

                    As for your point in your second response, that's a laughable claim.  Look at how many trillions the US has pissed away trying to go after AQ.  Look at the erosion of civil rights.  Look at how terrified the US still is of the terrorist bogeyman.  Look at how much worse the US is seen in the world.  It's technically true that there has not been another 9-11 style event (not counting the number of soldiers killed), but they've been terrifyingly successful in draining us dry for the past ten years.

                    Reality has a liberal bias.

                    by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:53:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  further (0+ / 0-)
                  constantly killing whoever the top person is?  After a decade of war, it's clear that's not working.

                  Actually this does in fact appear to be working. AQ has not been able to mount anything successful against us in over a decade now and  appears to be close to be neutered right now.

          •  you did not answer Hayate's Question (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, Hayate Yagami, pot

            it is not acceptable for all countries to go around killing who ever they want where ever they want.

            •  I don't know of anyone (0+ / 0-)

              arguing this:

              it is not acceptable for all countries to go around killing who ever they want where ever they want.
              •  you think it is ok for the US to assassinate (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnny Q, pot

                that means you must also find it acceptable for other countries to do assassinate people even in the US.

                •  logical fail (0+ / 0-)

                  First, it was not an assasination. It was  killing of someone who joined our armed enemies with whom we are fighting. Nor does it mean you have to accept all countries to kill "anyone they want, wherever they want." It's prefectly consistent to back the killing of someone who is a legitimate military target and opposed , for example, the murder of a political dissident who is no threat to anyone, simply lecturing at a university.

        •  The AUMF was passed on September 19, 2001. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo

          You should look it up, since this seems to be the first you've heard of it.  The language itself will answer some of your questions.

          We are at war with al Qaeda.  They are located in various locations across the globe.  Victory conditions, as per Leon Panetta, are the elimination of al Qaeda's ability to carry out a strategically-significant strike against us.  We can't bomb "anywhere we want," but only in accordance with international law regarding the prosecution of a war.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:13:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think Anwar had a gun that could reach us. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BradyB
  •  Totally Cool Post Joan - This Is A Very Dangerous (4+ / 0-)

    development and is so a la Bush II ... gotta stop it.

  •  Good Government? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper

    No doubt this is a part of the government that Republicans and Tea Partiers don't want to de-fund and "drown in a bath tub".  Actual extrajudicial killings aren't scary, unlike food stamps, and librarians.

    "just give me some truth" --John Lennon

    by vernon nackulus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:08:58 AM PDT

  •  I just imagine this in the hands of... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper, Johnny Q, Hayate Yagami

    Bachmann, or Perry, or any of the even crazier right-wing fundies.

    Democrats are constantly accused of attacking America, working to destroy America, working to kill Americans.  Obama himself has been accused of being a Muslim terrorist and worse.

    It's a really short distance to some President Crazy turning that from rhetoric into action.  You think it can't happen here?  It has happened repeatedly in history, in countries all over the globe, and we're a quite young country all things considered, but rather deeply divided, with one civil war already on the books, as well as the enslaving of a race and the McCarthy blacklists.

    Transparency wouldn't necessarily mean the decision to kill Al Alwaki wouldn't be taken, or wouldn't be supported by the majority of Americans.  However, transparency would help keep this from being expanded under an extremist leader to include widespread purges of Democrats, populist activists, the literati, or just basically anyone he doesn't like.  Again, look at McCarthy - transparency, via these public, televised hearings, turned many Americans against him.

  •  I'm so late to the game no one will pay attention, (8+ / 0-)

    Bravo Joan.  This is the most disturbing thing about the Obama administration.  The Isrealis started this 20 years ago, and I thought that it was dangerous then.  

    I think it mostly reflects that the modern Presidency is a captive of the National Security Complex which finds the rule of law to be an impediment.

    We really are in danger of losing everything that ever made this country special.  Certainly no Republican successor to Obama will have any compunction about using this process to target, and not necessarily only Muslim terrorists.  I could easily see this slipping into the US.

    Reporting from Tea Bagger occupied America

    by DrJohnB on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:24:18 AM PDT

  •  "Star Chamber" is what I call the Super Congress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q

    though this is of course truer to the origins of the term.

    And how.

  •  There's a mistake in the story. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geekesque, Pozzo

    The AUMF after 9/11 was NOT used to justify the invasion of Iraq.

    Congress passed an entirely separate AUMF for that, a year and a half later.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:08:38 PM PDT

    •  So we're justifying the Bush War now? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pot

      The party has definitely drifted to the right.  And I thought the bloodthirsty assassination apologists were an aberration.

      You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

      by Johnny Q on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:29:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, suddenly when it comes to the neocons' plan (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pot

        … to militarily dominate the Middle East and Central Asia through a deliberate policy of war and occupation — there's a heckuva lot more similarity between the two parties than one might have expected if one had been listening to Howard Dean in 2004 . . . or if one had come to this site in 2005.

        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 08:24:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Congress needs to establish a tribunal (0+ / 0-)

    and the procedures necessary to make such determinations.

    Right now, such determinations are made exclusively by the Executive, with Congress having provided no input.

    There is no role for courts to play here--out of their jurisdiction if it involves military targets--so Congress is the only game in town for addressing this.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:19:21 PM PDT

  •  American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki deserve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo

    to be on a hit list. He was encouraging terrorism against the US. and he has no sympathy from me.

    •  Why was he so hell bent on killing americans? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pot

      Why is Al Queda so intent on killing americans?

      How do we win a war against ideology?

    •  The bloodthirstiness of this place (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, pot

      scares me at times.  When did extrajudicial murder and deasth squads become good things?

      You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

      by Johnny Q on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:31:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When Obama is doing them. (0+ / 0-)

        #occupywallstreet "Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave." -- Chris Hedges

        by pot on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:47:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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