Skip to main content

Part 1 of 2.

Anwar Al-Awlaki
Anwar  Al-Awlaki, US citizen and accused Al Qaida operative
killed by US drone attack in Yemen on September 30, 2011
You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it [...] -William Tecumseh Sherman
This week, the Obama Administration released to the Senate Intelligence Committee a white paper (PDF) analyzing:
the U.S. government['s] use [of] lethal force in a foreign country outside the area of active hostilities against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qa'ida or an associated force of al--Qa'ida
Many people who I respect have severely criticized this white paper and its reasoning. While I have in mind much of the criticism, I do not intend to make a specific response to any particular criticism in this two part essay.

Instead, I will analyze the policy, as described in the white paper, considering the following: (1) the Constitution; (2) the laws of the United States; (3) international law; (4) the laws of war; and (5) my untrained assessment of the efficacy of the policy in the fight against Islamic extremism.

This analysis will be lengthy, detailed and will travel deep into the weeds. If interested, follow me below the squiggle and look for Part 2 later this week.    

1. The Authority of the President of the United States to Authorize Lethal Force

The first question that the use of lethal force outside of conventional theaters of battle,  most notably, drones, presents, is whether the president of the United States is empowered to authorize such use of lethal force.

The first consideration is the U.S Constitution. Article II, Section 2, provides, in pertinent part:

The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.
Conservatives have argued that this power alone authorizes the president to do any manner of things, including authorizing lethal force. I have disagreed. See, e.g., Does War Make Presidents Kings? and A Little Bit of Monarchy.

However, with regard to the use of lethal force in the "War on Terror," the president's power is established by the September 18, 2001 AUMF, which provides in pertinent part:

[T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons. [...] [Emphasis supplied.]
It seems inarguable to me that there is no issue under the 2001 AUMF in terms of Congressional restrictions regarding "the use of lethal force in a foreign country outside the the area of active hostilities against a U.S. citizen "determined by the President to be a person who is a member of an organization that planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or person, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

The 2001 AUMF provides no geographic restrictions on the "use of all necessary and appropriate force." It further provides the president unfettered discretion to "determine" the person against whom "necessary and appropriate force"  can be applied.

There clearly is no question here of the president exceeding the authority he is provided by the 2001 AUMF. This is not a president violating express US laws like George Bush did when he violated FISA and the anti-torture laws.

The Legislative Branch clearly gave the Executive Branch its authorization to apply lethal force outside a conventional theater of battle. Without this authorization, it is unlikely that the president has the power to use such force, absent clear evidence of an imminent strike by an entity or person.

So Congress "empowered" the president, but does something else prohibit such an action?  

2. Potential Constitutional Prohibitions Against The Use of Lethal Force Outside a Theater of Battle

The fact the Congress authorizes something does not mean the Constitution permits it. Does the Constitution prohibit such use of lethal force as authorized by the president? In a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, Al Aulaqi v. Panetta (PDF), the ACLU, representing Anwar Al Awlaki's father Nasser, articulated  the theories:

The killings violated fundamental rights afforded to all U.S.
citizens, including the right not to be deprived of life without due process of law. [...]

Defendants’ killing of Anwar Al-Aulaqi was unlawful. At the time of the killing, the United States was not engaged in an armed conflict with or within Yemen. Outside the context of armed conflict, both the United States Constitution and international human rights law prohibit the use of lethal force unless, at the time it is applied, lethal force is a last resort to protect against a concrete, specific, and imminent threat of death or serious physical injury. Upon information and belief, Anwar Al-Aulaqi was not engaged in activities that presented such a threat, and the use of lethal force against him was not a last resort. Even in the context of an armed conflict, the law of war cabins the government’s authority to use lethal force and prohibits killing civilians who are not directly participating in hostilities. The concept of “direct participation” requires both a causal and temporal nexus to hostilities. Upon information and belief, Defendants directed and authorized the killing of Anwar Al-Aulaqi even though he was not then
directly participating in hostilities within the meaning of the law of war. [...]

First Claim for Relief

Fifth Amendment: Due Process

41. Defendants’ actions described herein violated the substantive and procedural due process rights of Anwar Al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Defendants Panetta, McRaven, Votel, and Petraeus violated the Fifth Amendment due process rights of Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi by authorizing and directing their subordinates to use lethal force against them in the circumstances described above. The deaths of Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi were a foreseeable result of Defendants’ actions and omissions.

Second Claim for Relief

Fourth Amendment: Unreasonable Seizure

42. Defendants’ actions described herein violated the rights of Anwar Al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi to be free from unreasonable seizures under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Defendants Panetta, McRaven, Votel, and Petraeus violated the Fourth Amendment rights of Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi by authorizing and directing their subordinates to use lethal force against them in the circumstances described above. The deaths of Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi were a foreseeable result of Defendants’ actions and omissions.

Third Claim for Relief

Bill of Attainder

43. Defendants’ actions described herein with respect to Anwar Al-Aulaqi violated the Constitution’s Bill of Attainder Clause. Defendants’ actions constituted an unconstitutional act of attainder because Defendants designated Anwar Al-Aulaqi for death without the protections of a judicial trial in the circumstances described above. The death of Anwar al-Aulaqi was a foreseeable result of Defendants’ actions and omissions.

From the perspective of U.S. law then, the argument for the unlawfulness of the use of lethal force against persons outside a theater of battle appears to boil down to the Fifth Amendment guarantee against the deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process, the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures and the prohibition against Bills of Attainder.

Of the three claims the ACLU presents on behalf of the elder Al Awlaki, I find the Fifth Amendment argument the most compelling and will solely address it (I find the other arguments to be mere throw-ins, to be frank).

My first observation regarding this argument is that there is a misunderstanding of the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause as applying solely to American citizens. This is incorrect. See, e.g., David Cole, Are Foreign Nationals entitled to the same Constitutional Rights As US Citizens? (PDF) ("the Court had stated that the Due Process Clause does not "acknowledge[] any distinction between citizens and resident aliens."). While the killing of American citizens by the U.S. government is shocking to our political conscience, the Fifth Amendment applies to all "Persons" (corporations too), not just American citizens. Conversely, as the Court stated in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004):

A citizen, no less than an alien, can be “part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners” and “engaged in an armed conflict against the United States,” Brief for Respondents 3; such a citizen, if released, would pose the same threat of returning to the front during the ongoing conflict.
As the Department of Justice White Paper notes, the Fifth Amendment does not bar the use of force in authorized hostilities. See p. 3 of White Paper, citing Hamdi. Nor can it. However, the constitutional argument presented is more nuanced than this. The argument is not that each killing requires a guilty finding by a jury of peers, but rather that it requires something more than the say so of the president and/or his men when the use of lethal force is authorized outside a conventional theater of war.

This is a compelling argument, especially outside the context of a conventional theater of battle. After all,  both the constitutional Habeas right and the Geneva Conventions recognize that the process for review of enemy combatant status must provide adequate due process:

With due recognition of these competing concerns, we believe that neither the process proposed by the Government nor the process apparently envisioned by the District Court below strikes the proper constitutional balance when a United States citizen is detained in the United States as an enemy combatant. That is, “the risk of erroneous deprivation” of a detainee’s liberty interest is unacceptably high under the Government’s proposed rule, while some of the “additional or substitute procedural safeguards” suggested by the District Court are unwarranted in light of their limited “probable value” and the burdens they may impose on the military in such cases. Mathews, 424 U.S., at 335.

We therefore hold that a citizen-detainee seeking to challenge his classification as an enemy combatant must receive notice of the factual basis for his classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the Government’s factual assertions before a neutral decisionmaker. See Cleveland Bd. of Ed. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 542 (1985) (“An essential principle of due process is that a deprivation of life, liberty, or property ‘be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing appropriate to the nature of the case’ ”(quoting Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 313 (1950))[Emphasis supplied.]

If due process requires this for deprivation of liberty for a person captured on the battlefield, one can hear the argument, how can it not require at least this for the deprivation of life by an authorized targeted killing?

The argument has a gut appeal, but the type of due process that can be offered in a decision to maintain the detention of an accused enemy combatant simply can not be the same as that afforded a person who may be a target of military force.  A detained person no longer poses a threat. An at large person does. This consideration alone tells us the due process provided will not be the same in the two situations.

3. What Due Process Must Be Afforded A Person Subject to a Kill Order Outside a Theater of Military Operations?

In the DOJ White Paper, the Obama Administration argues that the due process requirements are met when (1) an "informed, high level government official" (an undefined term) determines that a person "poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States," (2) where a capture operation would be unfeasible, and (3) when such operation is consistent with the laws of war. White Paper, p. 6.

But this is truly not an answer for what we traditionally think of as due process. For lawyers, procedural due process usually means notice and an opportunity to be heard. The Obama Administration Department of Justice argues that traditional notions of notice and opportunity to be heard can not be afforded in these circumstances because of "the realities of war."

To me, this is a compelling argument in practical and legal terms. War includes as a major component, the concept of surprise. It is one thing to provide notice and opportunity to be heard once a person has been captured—the threat is no longer imminent. But while a person believed to be an enemy combatant is at large, the threat is real and the dangers, not only of attack against the country but to the military units involved in the conflict, remain active.

In my view, this explains the difference between the due process afforded a detained person classified as an "enemy combatant" and a person under a kill order.

But this difference does make the process by which the Obama Administration analyzes kill orders in a non-theater of battle setting adequate. What is missing from the process is an advocate for the person who is subject to the potential kill order. Such an advocate, it seems to me, can be provided to the person who may be subject to the kill order. After all, the consequences are much more severe and final.

Who gets to make sure that the process is adequate? In theory, it is Congress' role to oversee the Executive. But how do we the People know what our government is up to?

Unfortunately, like the truth, transparency will be one of the first casualties of war. But the balance of interests will require secrecy in my view. Consider the increase in the threats to our military personnel who might have to engage in a future action against a person who might be subject to a kill or capture mission.

Indeed, this is clearly one of the prime considerations for the use of unmanned drones for the kill operations as opposed to military personnel—the risk to the lives of our soldiers. In my view, this must be a prime consideration in determining military operations and the restrictions placed upon them.

This consideration is also important to the minimization of casualties of civilians. To many, the use of drones leads to larger civilian casualties than conventional ground force operations. I think this is, at best, unproven, and more likely, wrong.

I say this with full awareness of the 182 page Stanford/NYU study (PDF) claiming drones lead to higher civilian casualties. The study claims:

In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling “targeted killing” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false.

Following nine months of intensive research—including two investigations in Pakistan,
more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands
of pages of documentation and media reporting—this report presents evidence of the
damaging and counterproductive effects of current US drone strike policies. Based on
extensive interviews with Pakistanis living in the regions directly affected, as well as
humanitarian and medical workers, this report provides new and firsthand testimony
about the negative impacts US policies are having on the civilians living under drones.

I believe this is a subjective take on the efficacy of the policy, not an objective calculation of comparison of civilian deaths that would be caused by the use of military personnel operations in lieu of drone strikes. The overall impact of the use of drones may be counterproductive (I will discuss this point in Part 2), but that is, in my view, a different question from whether drone strikes cause more civilian casualties than would a different type of military operation.

These considerations strongly relate to the second condition the DOJ White Paper states must be met to make a kill order outside a theater of war lawful: the requirement that capture mission be "unfeasible."

"Unfeasible" is one of the most fungible words in the English language. It does not mean impossible. Nor does the word "feasible" mean "easy." The White Paper does not provide an easily comprehensible answer because it is not an easy question to answer. Feasible, in the White Paper, means the mission could be executed within a specific "window of opportunity" and permission to act is granted by the country where the targetted person is located. The White Paper also contends that the risk to personnel is a significant consideration. As I stated before, the risk of increasing civilian casualties should be a consideration of feasibility as well.

In the end, feasibility is a de facto military judgment on all of the effects of the choice of military option. In my view, it really has no place in the traditional legal analysis here. Capture is, it seems to me, the preferred option for military operations in almost all instances if only for intelligence gathering purposes. See the Prepared unclassified testimony of John Brennan to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (PDF), p. 23, Question 36, quoting the September 16, 2011 Speech of John Brennan at the Harvard Law School.

The real due process concern is, as discussed above, in the procedure by which a person is considered subject to a kill order.

The third criteria discussed in the White Paper, consistency with law of war principles, specifically the the principles of necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity, are difficult to assess by objective criteria regarding this specific question. They go to the wisdom of the policy, but not, in my view, the legality, which really should focus on the protections and advocacy provided to the person subject to the kill order.  In any event both the White Paper and the prepared testimony of John Brennan to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence lay out the reasoning that these four principles are being met. Brennan states. See in particular John Brennan's answer to question 38, at p. 25 of his prepared testimony.  Brennan's answer is not, to use legal parlance, "clearly erroneous," though reasonable minds certainly disagree about his conclusions.

Which brings us back to Due, as in Due Process, and does the current process afford sufficient process. I think it does in legal terms, but it should and could be better. A responsible and vigilant Congress would act to put into place rules ensuring adequate process.

4. Are There US Laws That Prohibit Kill Orders Outside A Theater of War?

Starting at p. 10 of the White Paper, the Justice Department discusses Section 1119(b) of Title 18 which makes it a crime to kill "a national of the United States" in a foreign country. But "unlawful killings" are excluded from the criminal definition. Thus if the killings are "lawful," this provision of U.S. law is rather circular and, in my view, not helpful to our analysis here.

5. The War Crimes Act and International Law

Commencing at p. 15, the White Paper discusses potential prohibitions under international law within the context of the War Crimes Act, which makes it a U.S. crime to commit a "war crime."

According to the White Paper, these provisions are implicated by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

The White Paper concludes that since the use of lethal force against active enemy combatants is expressly permitted, the authorization of killings outside of theaters of battles is not "murder" as the term is defined by the Geneva Conventions.

This is not controversial as far as it goes, but it begs the question (new meaning)—how is a person determined to be a enemy combatant and does such process provide adequate due process protection?  

My defense of the Obama Administration policy provides one exceptionally important caveat—a fear that the decisions to designate a person a kill target does not have an effective "devil's advocate" to argue against the designation. In Hamdi, the Court stated:

We therefore hold that a citizen-detainee seeking to challenge his classification as an enemy combatant must receive notice of the factual basis for his classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the Government’s factual assertions before a neutral decisionmaker. See Cleveland Bd. of Ed. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 542 (1985) (“An essential principle of due process is that a deprivation of life, liberty, or property ‘be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing appropriate to the nature of the case’ ” (quoting Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 313 (1950)); Concrete Pipe & Products of Cal., Inc. v. Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern Cal., 508 U.S. 602, 617 (1993) (“due process requires a ‘neutral and detached judge in the first instance’ ” (quoting Ward v. Monroeville, 409 U.S. 57, 61—62 (1972)). “For more than a century the central meaning of procedural due process has been clear: ‘Parties whose rights are to be affected are entitled to be heard; and in order that they may enjoy that right they must first be notified.’ It is equally fundamental that the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard ‘must be granted at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.’ ” Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 80 (1972) (quoting Baldwin v. Hale, 1 Wall. 223, 233 (1864); Armstrong v. Manzo, 380 U.S. 545, 552 (1965) (other citations omitted)). These essential constitutional promises may not be eroded.
Indeed, President Obama said:
In our constitutional system, prolonged detention should not be the decision of any one man. If and when we determine that the United States must hold individuals to keep them from carrying out an act of war, we will do so within a system that involves judicial and congressional oversight.

However, as I stated earlier, the situation is not analogous to an order to engage in a military operation targetting a person. The due process afforded a detained enemy combatant can not be the same as that afforded an at large enemy combatant. But better due process can be afforded and should be, even if the law does not require it.

6. War Is Hell

At the heart of the dispute about this policy is the realization that war is the abandonment of civilization.

By definition, it is messy, cruel, unfair, violent and well, hell.

We have established rules that attempt to set limits on the evil that men do in war. Against torture. Against targetting civilians. For humane treatment of prisoners. And many more.

But remember what is in compliance with the "civilized" laws of war—killing. And we can not refine that central cruelty. That is why war must always, always, always be a last resort.

In Part 2, I will examine the efficacy of the policies discussed herein.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  For the sake of freedom of discussion (136+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Militarytracy, Capt Crunch, high uintas, gchaucer2, CS in AZ, paulitics, Egalitare, spiritplumber, tofumagoo, leonard145b, greenbird, Eyesbright, MrAnon, GoGoGoEverton, Lying eyes, myboo, indie17, kerflooey, Gowrie Gal, science nerd, limpidglass, NYWheeler, Lefty Ladig, wilderness voice, penguins4peace, Texknight, Sybil Liberty, Powered Grace, AaronInSanDiego, Heart of the Rockies, nice marmot, ban nock, kck, Obama Amabo, HamdenRice, carver, Denise Oliver Velez, Crashing Vor, Pinto Pony, Troubadour, onceasgt, fiddlingnero, jnhobbs, Quicklund, Rhysling, Ashaman, SoCalSal, Wildthumb, cobaltbay, joe from Lowell, Tommye, mndan, mhanch, sparkysmom, Liberal Thinking, Catte Nappe, OleHippieChick, dannyinla, smileycreek, WinSmith, Dump Terry McAuliffe, Onomastic, artmartin, ItsSimpleSimon, Argyrios, pamelabrown, dizzydean, begone, LeftOfYou, Sun Tzu, Will in Chicago, MKSinSA, Dave in AZ, shanikka, sandbox, 3goldens, LanceBoyle, angry marmot, Adam AZ, politik, JanL, ricklewsive, cocinero, DJ Rix, LinSea, rbird, Radiowalla, Gary Norton, timewarp, princesspat, Ian Reifowitz, geordie, scilicet, No Exit, skrekk, Cthulhu, Kathy S, jdsnebraska, RandomNonviolence, sviscusi, Habitat Vic, bronte17, v2aggie2, createpeace, Sophie Amrain, chuck utzman, billybam, implicate order, New Jersey Boy, Little, NearlyNormal, Nice Ogre, alpaca farmer, Yasuragi, Doctor Who, Puffin, Chrisfs, Blue Shark, walkabout, louisprandtl, Rimjob, WakeUpNeo, Railfan, renbear, Jeffersonian Democrat, KayCeSF, doroma, Friendlystranger, kefauver, chantedor, MKinTN, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, wader, oysterface, grover, HeyMikey

    I won't be participating  in the comment thread UNTIL after everyone has had their say.

    I WILL respond, to the best of my ability, to argument that address my arguments in this post after a period of time.

    I WILL NOT respond to arguments that boil down to "if this were Bush, you'd be screaming murder!"

    Thank you for reading.

    •  Laws of war (12+ / 0-)

      Another obvious problem is, what if someone is targeted by a drone but survives? Do they not then have the right to retaliate, by the same logic?

      If you absolutely must forge a manacle, do not go out of your way to make it chafe; it may be your wrist it ends up around.

      I am an electrical engineer, run a reasonably high traffic server, and build autopilots and drones for a living. If you have technical questions, ask away and I will try to give a cogent answer.

      by spiritplumber on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:15:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not really (9+ / 0-)

        there is nothing special about a drone strike anymore than an artillery strike or a mortar strike or a bullet from a gun.

        Do you think AQ engaged in the field of battle have a right to retaliate?

        The GC says no, they aren't lawful combatants.

        The real question is, have you satisfied all of the conditions and considerations necessary to say this guy is a threat and use of force is authorized.

        This is obviously not always an easy question to answer, but if the answer is yes, it does not matter to me, nor should it IMO what the citizenship of that person is.

        If the answer is no, it does not matter to me, nor should it IMO what the citizenship of that person is.

      •  They don't have the right to retaliate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego, Chrisfs

        The government has a monopoly on political violence.  Not that all government political violence is legitimate, just that all non-government political violence is illegitimate.  One of the problems with terrorism is that it is an attempt to usurp the government's powers.

        •  Governments are capable of using terrorism. (6+ / 0-)

          They do it pretty often.

          The problem with terrorism is that it is waging war against non-combatants, not whether or not it's a state targeting those non-combatants.

          "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

          by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:12:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  waging war against non-combatants (10+ / 0-)

            is exactly what we do all the time, and it's the most effective recruitment tool for Al Queda these days.

            The cycle of terror will be endless.

            •  War on Terror (6+ / 0-)

              This is not war.  You can't wage war on a tactic.  These are blatantly illegal police actions using robotic tact squads.  It's only unfeasible to capture these victims because drones are way cheaper and easier than negotiating treaties with the countries of residence for coordinated police actions, and/or building cases that will stand up in court.  The drone war has become just one facet of the US's dystopian nightmare.  It's just too easy for us to "take care of" (rightfully or wrongfully) perceived problems.

              Johnson started this pseudo war idiocy innocently enough with his War on Poverty.  But then it morphed into the War on Drugs -- which was thinly disguised war on blacks and the poor to benefit the prison industry.  Now we have the GWOT.  It's only a matter of time until someone coins a "War on Gun Violence" where we'll see mini armed drones patrolling our urban ghettos from above, responding to the sources of gunshots.  Disgusting.

              Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

              by Helpless on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:03:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's my concern (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Katydid, Helpless, JesseCW

                What "war"?  Who declared a "war?  Certainly not Congress.

                This is merely the USA bombing targets inside other sovereign nations without a declaration of war.  

                If, several years ago, Russia had identified an enclave of ethnic Chechnians (sp) in Chicago and Detroit, would it then have the right to drone-bomb their houses based on their suspected support for the political cause that they supported?  If Colombia decided that, as part of a War on Drugs, to lob a few drone-bombs into South Florida to wipe out some US cocaine processors/dealers, would it be ok?

                Armando, you may be right that this is legal for the US to do this under US law.  However, I can't imagine international law says it's ok to bomb for one country to unilaterally bomb another country without a declaration of war.

                "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

                by gsbadj on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 03:13:01 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  If I were to formally define "terrorism" (3+ / 0-)

            I would differentiate between "terrorism" and "war crimes".  Non-state actors waging war against innocent non-combatants would be classified as terrorism while state actors waging illegal war against innocent non-combatants would be classified as war crimes.

            •  But you're still (thankfully) not writing the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              majyqman, blueoasis, Albanius

              dictionary or working at the UN.

              The problem with terrorism is not that it offends the sensibilities of the most extreme Statists on the planet.

              It's that it targets non-combatants.

              "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

              by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:28:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  totally false (4+ / 0-)

          When a government is oppressive and violent, self-defense against that government by civilians is absolutely legitimate by any moral calculus.  And, by the way, how is it legitimate? Because it is the government undertaking the violence?  That is the Richard Nixon school of thought--it's not illegal (or illegitimate) if the government does it.

      •  The US has declare a state of hostilitiies (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, LeftOfYou, skrekk, NearlyNormal

        Enemy combatants have the right to defend themselves at the least.

        With regard to Al Qaida, they have attacked the United States already.

        This is what led to the 2001 AUMF.

        The more interesting question is the concept that the hostilities from Islamic Jihadists is unlawful under international law. That isa dubious proposition in my opinion.

      •  Except this is not "War" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nada Lemming, magnetics

        And the "laws" of War do not apply to ANY of Obama's ridiculous and scandalous repudiations of our most basic Constitutional rights, and/or international law.  

        This is a continuation of a CRIMINAL process that presumably began with the mass murder of people by literally a handful of cult members on 9/11.  

        International criminal processes should have begun at that point, to capture and put on trial anyone involved.  

        Instead, Bushco, and now the Obama administration, have killed literally THOUSANDS of Americans and UNTOLD THOUSANDS of other innocent people around the world in their insane, macho quest to prove they are as "bad" as the bad guys, and "do justice" (by killing and destroying insane amounts of human lives and property, and unleashing a new worldwide "Holy War" not aimed at any state or nation that attacked us, but the novel CONCEPT that a handful of religious nuts camped out in Afghanistan should extend to anyone to opposes this murderous US invasion of nations around the world.

        The simple truth is that there has NEVER been an existential threat to the United States, and this entire fiasco has rather been the stuff of school boy "retaliation."

        The same inane "logic" could have "justified" Bill Clinton assassinating militia members around the US (and their dubious "sympathizers," wives, neighbors, family members, etc.) after Oklahoma City, if he pulled a similar patently unconstitutional notion of "executive power" out of his ass.

        Drone strikes are simply the executions of PRESUMPTIVE criminals (including Americans) without any standard of demonstrable proof they actually ARE "criminals" (as in old fashioned convictions on courts of law) or any due process at all, other than the opinion of ONE PERSON, the President of the United States.  

        This is the DEFINITION of a DICTATORSHIP.

        And it is happening under the nominal stewardship of our current Democratic Party leadership.

        It is extremely disappointing, to say the least, that anyone with a legal (or moral) understanding of the US Constitution, let alone the existential basis of a democracy based on Laws, could "make the case" that the Bush and Obama War Crimes under are "legal" under the theory that the US Constitution no longer applies to any President who simply cries, "War!"

        (Of course, only Congress can declare War, and that has obviously never been done.)

        This whole construct that what Obama is doing is "legal" is bizarre, chilling, and not possible in any country I would want to live in.  

        •  This is not the definition of a dictatorship (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AaronInSanDiego, Puffin, SoCalSal

          The AUMF is a declaration of war or, at least, its effective equivalent.  The Constitution gives Congress the power to provide for the common defense and general welfare.  Much of the modern American liberal welfare state is constitutionally justified by an expansive reading of the term "general welfare".  I would argue that drone strikes, so long as Congress provides funding and does not repeal or modify the AUMF, falls under a similarly expansive reading of the term "common defense" and are constitutional so long as they are undertaken under the premise of war or a war-analogue waged against foreign-based belligerents (of which American citizens may be a part) and not as a matter of crime and punishment.

          •  A reiteration of the flimsy legal rationale (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            magnetics, jayden, blueoasis

            the Obama administration is clinging to.  

            This imaginary authority of the Executive branch to kill Americans ANYWHERE in the world (it is NOT limited to geography, but rather up to the President's sole declaration that "apprehension is impractical" among other vague qualifications) is a theory that requires an unlimited reading of the President's War Powers ability, without there ever being a formal Declaration of War by Congress.  (Obviously the whole notion of a formal Declaration of War is superfluous, and practically voided, under this reading of the Constitution, and was never actually intended to limit Executives from waging "wars" with exactly this sort of impunity, with zero input or oversight from the people.)

            If the President declares a "War on drugs," he can start killing dope smokers.

            This truly is a "living Constitution."  One in which the President can do ANYTHING, including summarily executing Americans if  he deems it "necessary for the common defense."  This IS dictatorship, akin to the powers of the King of England, which at one point we actually fought against.

            When the power to kill Americans (or any other innocent people around the world) by the President, without due process. or any of the other Constitutional safeguards we used to enjoy, is validated by the Supreme Court, get back to me.  

            It may well be declared "legal" at some point, especially with the current Authoritarian majority.  But I suspect we will never see this tested in court.  Nobody in power will ever allow these bogus theories to risk a legal decision, by declaring unlimited "national security."  (Even the legal "theory" is "secret.")  It would be too hard to unwind all the crimes committed by Bush and Obama (and the CIA, US military, etc.) retroactively.  

            It's better to just concoct a "legal theory" and have everyone ignore testing the actual legality.  Like the internment of Americans in WWII, it will remain a disgraceful stain on the country that any future free generations (if there are any) will have to live with.

    •  They hit a bit to close to home, I suspect. (8+ / 0-)

      "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

      by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:21:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And if drones were being used against us (36+ / 0-)

      Do I even need to wonder how we would act?  We would be damning it as an illegal immoral act of war.  

      I will hold with this position.  Just because the AMUF justifies the act doesn't make the AUMF just policy.  I would have thought that by now we would calm down a bit and reign in these over the top Bush era policies.  Those policies will just perpetuate a never ending conflict and will eventually lead to international incidents.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:28:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  are mortar rounds (5+ / 0-)

        illegal and immoral?

        Less controlled, less discriminate, than drone strikes more likely to cause collateral damage in urban areas.

        •  Since war itself is a crime, (0+ / 0-)

          isn't the concept of war crimes a little overdone? It's obvious that deliberately targeting civilians is out, although war generally honors that in the breach. However, surely more precision strikes makes that a more achievable goal? However, the underlying question is whether this just doesn't come down to the national equivalent of burning ants with a magnifying glass? Ants are pests, the childish logic goes; so killing them isn't cruel.

          For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

          by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:52:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Mortar rounds are very often illegal and immoral (5+ / 0-)

          A mortar round against a wedding party, or a funeral, or a village center filled with civilians, or a hospital, or a day care, or a city bus, etc. etc.

          All of these are illegal and immoral.  

          •  that isn't the weapon that's the problem (0+ / 0-)

            shooting up a wedding party might be illegal and immoral too.

            You are mixing weapon choice with validity of the target.

            Two separate analysis.

            •  But you could target someone in that party with a (0+ / 0-)

              sniper, or an infantry squad without doing near the collateral damage as a drone or mortar...

              This obviously means the weapon as as much a part of the problem as the target.

              Those options are harder and put ones own military at risk? Sorry, but when we're talking about avoiding innocent deaths, I don't care. And if they're a big enough threat to be worth killing, they're a big enough threat for that risk.

              •  trust me (0+ / 0-)

                an infantry squad can easily cause a lot more damage, collateral or otherwise, than a drone can.

                Yes, I suppose a sniper is the ultimate precision weapon, not a lot to go around, and a bit unrealistic to make that the standard.

        •  It's not the weapons (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          magnetics

          It's the tactics. This is assassination with the CIA and White House as the judge and jury.  Disturbing on many levels.

          "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

          by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:29:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  What is good for the goose... (11+ / 0-)

        They are doing in essence what we are doing:

        Iran’s nascent unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), however, pose a new threat which can impact international shipping and air traffic, both civilian and military, in the Persian Gulf. Iranian UAV development appears to be real; as mentioned in this latest Fars News article, Iran’s Defense Ministry and the IRGC have tested UAVs publicly. An English language Fars News article picking up on the same deputy defense minister interview as the Persian version below focused more on UAV models and capacity than on recent decisions to fit drones with missiles or cultivate intelligence from the American drone captured by Iran in December 2011.
        This is also thoroughly justifiable:
        Commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili said Saturday that the drone, named Hazem, will be unveiled on April 18 on the National Army Day.
        Esmaili said the UAV is stealth, enjoys high maneuvering capabilities, and can be used in reconnaissance missions.
        In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.
        How long before they deploy missiles on those drones? (see the first source)  Furthermore, the Cubans should perhaps seek some of those armed drones once Iran commences production in order to take out long sought terrorists whose "capture" most certainly "would be unfeasible", and such an "operation" no doubt being "consistent with the laws of war."

        "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins." Cheyenne

        by maracatu on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:25:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Having drones (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund

          And using them to kill people who have a history of terroirst attacks, as well as  have been convicted by foreign courts of them, are different things.

          Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

          by backell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:33:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Over 60 national air forces now operate drones (8+ / 0-)

          Iran having drones is not surprising nor novel.

          •  I realize that. (7+ / 0-)

            And how soon before some of those 60 decide to use them for extra-judicial killings?

            "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins." Cheyenne

            by maracatu on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:42:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I dunno? Tuesday? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JWC

              But Iran does not have drones just because the USA used them in Pakistan. Drones would be the hot new air force item today had 9/11 never happened and US forces had never set boot down in Afghanistan or Iraq.

              •  OK, but (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                corvo, Helpless, Quicklund, magnetics

                must we be the pioneers in using them for mayhem?  I can hear rogue nations licking their chops: Well, if the US does it and calls itself a Democracy, and Light unto mankind yadda yadda yadda...

                "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins." Cheyenne

                by maracatu on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:37:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Robots in war is a very profound topic (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Militarytracy

                  But moving the goalposts on me when I seek to make a specific point is not the way to go about dissecting it.

                  Your original comment was along the lines of how a potential foe was developing drones, and how would we like it if we were drone targets for once? My answer is, just wait and we will find out.

                  You keep it up with your last message.

                  must we be the pioneers in using them for mayhem?  I can hear rogue nations licking their chops: Well, if the US does it and calls itself a Democracy, and Light unto mankind yadda yadda yadda...
                  Such nations will do as they will regardless if we use drones or not. It's the same sort of attempt to reason through fear. But the thing you fear is inevitable.

                  Robots in war raise profound questions. But we are going to get nowhere if we pretend all events are driven by US action alone. Press for an international effort to address the role of robots in war and that will push towards progress.

                  •  No, it won't. (0+ / 0-)
                    Press for an international effort to address the role of robots in war and that will push towards progress.
                    It will make lots of noise, many chests will be thumped, grand speeches will be made, flowery unreadable treaties will be signed...

                    And the first country who (a) has the capability to use robots in war and (b) is at war will use them. The advantages toward victory are so great, and the consequences of defeat so terrible, that no other choice is possible and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it.

                    --Shannon

                    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
                    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

                    by Leftie Gunner on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:07:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If nothing can be done why bother? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      maracatu

                      We agree. Robots in war are inevitable. That does not mean some rules of warfare are impossible, such as the Geneva Conventions. Such a thing is not going to come about without some sort of international conclave.

                  •  I'm registering my disagreement. (0+ / 0-)

                    In my opinion, war is the profound topic that merits discussion.  In "modern times" it has become a clearly discernible phenomenon with fairly consistent characteristics.  Call it whatever you like - moving the goalposts - if it suits you.

                    "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins." Cheyenne

                    by maracatu on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:03:48 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  gsdff (0+ / 0-)

                      Your original comments revolve around the theme of "unless the USA stops using drones, one day drones will be used on the USA." My point is, drones will be used on the USA if we give them up or not.

                      If you want to stop or limit robots in war your comments should be directed to the world, not to the USA alone.

                      If you do not want to acknowledge this specific point or if you disagree that's your choice. But my point remains valid, I think, regardless if you ignore it or not.

                      •  You want a prize? (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't find anything wrong with your statement:

                        If you want to stop or limit robots in war your comments should be directed to the world, not to the USA alone.
                        In my view, it follows the same logic as any argument against nuclear weapons, which at the same time doesn't detract from the fact that the US is the only country that has used a nuclear bomb against a civilian population.

                        However here you are just putting words in my mouth:

                        "unless the USA stops using drones, one day drones will be used on the USA."

                        "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins." Cheyenne

                        by maracatu on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:38:19 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Brilliant comment (0+ / 0-)

                    I know Liberals hate American Exceptionalism Conservative style, but to constantly pretend that we drive all events is another form of American Exceptionalism.

            •  Probably about (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jeffersonian Democrat

              1 x (flight time to target) after the war starts.

              "Extra-judicial killing" is almost a meaningless term in the context of war. The only meaning it has is so tautological as to make the phrase a waste of breath.

              But, yeah... drones exist, and are weapons. Ergo, they will be used by any notion that possesses them, in any war in which they are engaged.

              It has ever been, and will always be, thus.

              Sherman was right. We've spent the decades since the end of the Second World War trying to prove him wrong, and we have utterly failed.

              There is no such thing as a "law of war". At least, not in any real sense. nd the reason for that is very simple:

              The only ones who ever get punished for violating the so-called "laws of war" are the losers. War crimes are kind of like rebellion: they're only illegal if you lose.

              --Shannon

              "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
              "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

              by Leftie Gunner on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:03:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Only if you're ALSO the strongest in the world. (0+ / 0-)

                Otherwise the crimes are a perfectly valid excuse for the international community (especially the "strongest" if they feel the need) to jump in and make you the loser.

                But not when they commit them, no, no, no sir.

        •  So if Iran assassinated Americans with (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Liberal Thinking, blueoasis

          Drones under the premise that the USA is acting like terrorists, are they then justified into taking that action?

          Of course, we all know the answer before even asking the question.  We would consider it an act of war.  Now can we see why the Pakistani people consider it an act of war?

          "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

          by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:35:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I would not be (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pamelabrown, Militarytracy

        But certainly propaganda is a common feature of war.

        As I said, truth is the first casualty.

      •  What do you mean by "us?" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MyMy

        And by whom would the drones be being used?

        It's such a stretch. It's unrealistic. Who else is going to be using a drone against the US? Who's going to get them into US air space without them getting shot down?

        I think part of the problem with this debate is that too many hypotheticals are tossed about.

        This is a specific situation, not a hypothetical one. While I understand there's the nature of precedent, we shouldn't get carried away with situations which don't even resemble this any more?

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:32:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Flying enemy drones in US w/o being shot down (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, progressivevoice, magnetics

          Easy peasy lemon squeezie.

          Take off from inside the USA.

          Fly low.

          Success.

          A "drone" is simply an aircraft w/ a remote pilot or an autopilot. The USA military cannot spot everything with a 1' or larger wingspan at any height in just any location. An enemy who wished to use drones could do so w/o much problem of being shot down.

          What just any foe cannot do is launch their drone and pilot it from halfway around the world. This is possible for the US because of our vast satellite net. No other nation comes close to matching that capability. But a foe who could get their drone and pilot close to the US could certainly succeed.

          •  So getting the drone inside the US (0+ / 0-)

            Is that simple? I'm guessing you could strap a stick of dynamite to a remote-controlled model plane, but that's not quite the same thing is it?

            You make it sound like every country in the world has the same ability. They don't. "Just about anyone" can't do it.

            Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

            by backell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:54:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why isn't it? (0+ / 0-)
              I'm guessing you could strap a stick of dynamite to a remote-controlled model plane, but that's not quite the same thing is it?
              it's a better-developed definition than some people who assume if it is a "drone" it must be American. "Drones" are not high tech any more.
              You make it sound like every country in the world has the same ability
              And yet I explicitly pointed out these things
              What just any foe cannot do is launch their drone and pilot it from halfway around the world. This is possible for the US because of our vast satellite net. No other nation comes close to matching that capability.
              Go figure, huh?
          •  US Assets Can More Easily Be Attacked Overseas... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund

            ...c.f. Benghazi or the other African embassies. Flying from offshore, Mexico or Canada are objectively much more difficult against the US itself.

            I would expect an attack to come from less difficult countries.

            Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

            by TerryDarc on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:54:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's been possible for a long time (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund

            Model airplane, radio control, C4, video feed. Drone. All pretty standard, except for the C4.

            For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

            by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:57:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just lighter, more reliable, and (0+ / 0-)

              ...more "off-the-shelf-y" than in days of yore.

              I just don't get the arguments along the lines of "how would you like it if other nations have drones?" as though only Americans are developing robotic weapons.

              When even theRoyal Malaysian Air Force is deploying drones you can be pretty sure "drones" are here to stay.

              (Just to pick the Malaysian Air Force at random from among the small air forces of the world.)

        •  If it's legal with a drone, it's legal with (6+ / 0-)

          a suitcase bomb.

          "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

          by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:15:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Suppose it was done to a NATO ally (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Faroutman, blueoasis

          Does that make it an act of war and automatically invoke the NATO charter?

          The proliferation of drones as a weapon of war will lead to an international incident.  It's just a matter of time.

          "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

          by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:39:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It is all part of warfare. (0+ / 0-)

        Weapons crossing into your airspace are just that.. weapons. We have missiles, airplanes, rockets and mortars that can do this. If an action takes place against us we react. This is nothing new. Just the technology used is.

        The AUMF simply authorizes us to go after those seen as enemies related to the group or the actual terrorists involved. It doesn't mean we get Carte Blanche in crossing borders and upsetting countries. We are pissing off people with these acts. But hopefully there is some diplomacy going on to soften the act.

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:46:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just because Armando argues that the AUMF (5+ / 0-)

        trumps international law doesn't mean it does.

        We should all expect to see the US vetoing the UN finding on drones next years.

        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:11:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Did we damn Pearl Harbor as an illegal immoral act (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        of war, and then turn around and commit acts of war in return but not call them illegal or immoral? Of course everyone condemns acts of war against them as illegal and immoral, so what we would damn is completely and utterly irrelevant.

    •  Your first mistake is the assumption that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      artmartin, bobdevo

      US Constitutional protections apply outside the sovereign boundaries of the US Constitution., The US Constitution does not apply outside the jurisdiction of the US government defined by the US Consitution.  And to assume such a position truly is an adoption of IMPERIALISM.

      It is NOT the province of the United States government to protect and defend the "rights"  of persons outside the legal boundaries of the nation.  Much is made of the fact that "persons" means all persons residing within the jurisdiction of the US government.  It is a "leap of faith" or something similar that induces people to expand such providence to US citizens abroad.

      While I take no position on this matter of the drones, the use of the US Constitution and the amendments in a discussion of actions abroad in regard to individual rights is not correct.

    •  Using the same arguments, we can go capture (20+ / 0-)

      through military operations, anyone of interest in any country as long as that person is deemed an active enemy combatant?

      And, by the same justifications, any treaties or conventions to the contrary are null and void?

      Drone kills are military operations, just as an incursion by Blackhawk helicopters filled with Special Ops guys would be.  So, if we justify the one, we are justifying the other - in any country of the world.

      We have just put the world on notice to be prepared for US military ops in their country with no prior contact or concern for native residents.
      ....................

      As far as civilian casualties go, you are arguing as if the target existed in a theater of war.   For instance, a "target" is known to be driving in a convoy in (let's say) Yemen.  The convoy consists of the target and mostly hired bodyguards.  

      In a theater of war, these bodyguards would be considered combatants by their very presence in that theater of war.  However, outside of battle, these are civilians, who would normally be afforded due process in determining their complicity in the crimes of the "target".

      Yet, you allow the President to be sole judge, jury and executioner of not only the target but any and all persons within the blast radius of the drone missile.  Their "guilt by association" is enough to seal their fate?

      •  Subject to certain conditions (7+ / 0-)

        This is true.

        But this is not the case where a sovereign country has agreed to assist in the capture of the enemy combatant.

        In that case, we must respect the sovereignty of the neutral nation.

        However, where the neutral nation's neutrality is being violated and the neutral nation is incapable of protecting its sovereignty against such violation, we have the right under international law to act in the neutral nation.

        •  Wait, what? Where do you contend this power is (0+ / 0-)

          derived from?

          Sovereign nations are sovereign nations... and their inability or unwillingness to assist another country in the apprehension of a person does not equal casus belli...

          Or why would extradition treaties be a thing? Who'd need them?

          If, say, South American countries don't want to hand over Nazi's, with all international condemnation and lost trade that might entail, you can either declare (an unjust) war and invade them to get your targets... or kindly screw off.

          Interesting to note what the international community decided in the past for fsm damn Nazis... compared to how the U.S. is acting for brown kids.

          •  It's not a casus belli (0+ / 0-)

            It is the right under international law to enter the neutral country.

            And your continued lies and insults are nothing new as well.

            •  Oh come now, now you're just being purely (0+ / 0-)

              disengenuous.

              It's the right to travel through a neutral country not into to ommit actions within.

              Even that is an anachronism... why else would a state be justified, as they are, in shooting down American military aircraft entering its airspace without permission..?

              But even given we're Sweden allowing Nazi troops to march on Finland from Norway... it still doesn't mean they can attack targets inside our territory.

              Really, you're becoming rather droll.

              •  Disingenuous. Commit. Sigh. (0+ / 0-)

                asdf

              •  I'm sorry you do not understand the point (0+ / 0-)

                and can only explain your lack of understanding by assuming my disingenuousness.

                BTW, the right is to travel INTO the country, not just through it under the conditions I described.

                •  You are wrong AGAIN. (0+ / 0-)

                  Don't you ever get sick of it?

                  http://www.icrc.org/...

                  CHAPTER I

                  THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF NEUTRAL POWERS

                  Article 1. The territory of neutral Powers is inviolable.

                  Art. 2. Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.

                  I was even wrong to entertain the thought you were right, due to what I knew of what occured in Scandanavia.

                  Are you sick of being wrong yet?

                  Are you going to retract anything?

                  Lies, were they? I think not... which make the insults perfectly valid.

                  •  I'm not going to retract this (0+ / 0-)

                    The point is  a simple one - if the neutral is unable to maintain its "inviolability," then a belligerent has a right, under international law, to move into the  neutral to carry out its military operation against another belligerent.

                    This is not a controversial proposition.

                  •  More formally (0+ / 0-)
                    As a general rule of international law, all acts of hostility in neutral territory, including neutral lands, neutral waters, and neutral airspace, are prohibited. A neutral nation has the duty to prevent the use of its territory as a place of sanctuary or a base of operations by belligerent forces of any side. If the neutral nation is unable or unwilling to enforce effectively its right of inviolability, an aggrieved belligerent may take such acts as are necessary in neutral territory to counter the activities of enemy forces, including warships and military aircraft, making unlawful use of that territory. Belligerents are also authorized to act in self-defense when attacked or threatened with attack while in neutral territory or when attacked or threatened from neutral territory.

                    My emphasis.

                  •  And from your link (0+ / 0-)
                    Art. 5. A neutral Power must not allow any of the acts referred to in Articles 2 to 4 to occur on its territory.
                    It is not called upon to punish acts in violation of its neutrality unless the said acts have been committed on its own territory.
                    •  So, other than the perversion that you think (0+ / 0-)

                      declaring anyone you like inside neutral territory a belligerent and then do what you like (there's been a whole discussion about the requirements of a non state actor meeting the requirements of being a party to a conflict that I'll just assume you've dismissed out of hand, because that's what happens to inconveniences to your abhorrent apologism)...

                      It shall decide whether officers can be left at liberty on giving their parole not to leave the neutral territory without permission.
                      If you're a high ranking AQ member... they can let you wander their territory without violating anything.

                      Seriously. It's declare them not neutral anymore or shove off.

                      Probably "why" (other than puppet governments) places like Yemen have allowed strikes... not because they're legal, but because they don't want the bully coming after them, knowing it wont care what legal is.

                      But, nice to know even when you're proven comprehensively wrong (no, you have no "right under international law to act in the neutral nation." when you "deem" someone inside a combatant, , you were WRONG WRONG WRONG, you can certainly declare the neutral country an enemy and invade them... though I'm sure there's some recourse when smaller actors on the block do this, you're the biggest bully around, so knock yourself out, I guess?)... the dissonance protects you from any of that mental pain of having to resolve the incongruities between how the world actually is and the fantasy you believe it to be.

                      •  Oh, and a few further things... (0+ / 0-)
                        Art. 12. In time of war, every State, whether belligerent or neutral, may forbid or regulate the entry, the movements or the sojourn of aircrafts within its jurisdiction.
                        So, even if your perverse reality was a fact... you'd still be wrong on drone strike. Oh, you could send troops in in that reality... but drone strikes without permission? NOPE!
                        Art. 14. A military aircraft must be under the command of a person duly commissioned or matriculated military rolls of the State; the crew must be exclusively military.
                        I also saw this amusing little other problem. CIA operated drones are illegal. Obviously no crew to worry about, but under the command of seems like it might be a bit of a hitch. You know, the latest in a long list of appalling oversights in your analysis... or is that oversights in your appalling analysis?
                        3. Any bombardment of cities, towns, villages, habitations and building which are not situated in the immediate vicinity of the operations of the land forces, is forbidden. Should the objectives specified in paragraph 2 be so situated that they could not be bombed but that an undiscriminating bombardment of the civil population would result therefrom, the aircraft must abstain from bombing;
                        Yeah, bombing a wedding party is illegal. OOPS.

                        But keep up the good fight champ! I figure the best public service possible now is for the myriad of ways in which your argument falls utterly flat... both by flaws in what you choose to address, and how what you ignored completely undermines your position... be publically and brutally exposed, so that the disservice to society of being presented with your analysis on the front page is never repeated again.

      •  I'm not sure it's wrong (0+ / 0-)

        to put nations on alert that we will act if 1. They have no legitimate government or 2. That legitimate government is corrupt or grossly incompetent to the point of harboring enemy combatants and allowing them to do their bidding within their borders.  

        And, we allow our own police departments to be judge, jury, and executioner when, let's say a bank robbery occurs where the police that arrive on the scene see a bank robber fleeing in a car after violence has occurred.  If that officer determines that that vehicle leaving presents a clear and present danger to the community if it gets away, they can take out all the occupants of the vehicle to stop it, even if 3 of the guys in the car never went in the bank or fired a shot.  Their guilt by association is adequate reason to fire shots into that car.  

        "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism." -- Carl Sagan

        by artmartin on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:45:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is the "put them on notice" an intentional (5+ / 0-)

          nod to Colbert, meant to indicate that you're aware your comment sounded like one of his more outlandish rants?

          "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

          by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:10:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My comment was perfectly clear (0+ / 0-)

            and not snark.  You've never taken anything I've said in responses seriously.  Why start now?  

            I think throughout history that we've "put nations on notice".  We get to hear the public version but I can guarantee you that in private discussions with nations around the world that infer or outright state hostile intent towards our nation, that they are told strongly that any direct attack on our nation or our strongest allies will potentially unleash unimaginable wrath upon them.

            It's why I don't worry about a nuclear Iran or Korea.  Neither will ever possess enough weaponry to seriously harm our country or it's ability to strike back and entirely wipe their country off the face of the Earth.  While their leaders are despicable people who will command their followers to do horrible things, none of them are suicidal, all are greedy and live extravagant lifestyles surrounded by bodyguards.  

            I desire more than you can know that within my lifetime, certainly within that of my two sons, that we will be able to stop having to do the kinds of things we do today, that the Bush/Cheney/Reagan/Nixon legacies and the painfully slow extraction from those nightmare years will end.  But it will take time and ethical challenges will be faced.  Nothing is black and white.  There is no universal truth where mankind is concerned.  There are truly evil people that have to be contained and removed from society to protect the rest.  Going into Iraq was a huge mistake but Clinton going into Bosnia wasn't.  Both were violent.   Both killed innocent people but the motivations for action were 180 degrees out and the world us in such different ways.

            "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism." -- Carl Sagan

            by artmartin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:14:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  You have just argued FOR the Iraq invasion (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias, JesseCW

          as some were of the opinion Saddam either did not have a "legitimate" government or it was grossly incompetent.

          And, in your example of the police, I do not believe there are many communities with blanket orders that allow their police to do that.  Many communities won't even allow their police to enter into a chase for a traffic violation.

          •  by not a legitimate government (0+ / 0-)

            I mean something like Somalia or Afghanistan where the country is ruled by tribal chiefs and bands of criminals not Saddam Hussein's govt that, in spite of it's nastiness, provided running water, electricity, national rule of law, etc.  As far as we know he was not harboring terrorists.

            And yes, if a bank robber exits the bank firing his gun and jumps into the car with his accomplices and starts to drive off, you bet your bottom dollar that a cop would be justified in using lethal force to stop that vehicle and to kill anyone in it if he believed his shots would not endanger anyone else.  Yes, I agree that some communities have shut down pursuits and we'd hope that officers would use discretion.  My point was that throughout free and peaceful societies, trained personnel are given the discretion to use their own judgment to apply lethal force to protect themselves and the public without going to the courts first.  

            In regard to the drones, I believe Obama wants more oversight as long as the process from intelligence to action isn't slowed down to the point of missing opportunities to prevent attacks on us and allies.  Something in the same vein as the FISA courts.  In my own opinion the citizenship of the targeted people means nothing once they cross that line.  

            "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism." -- Carl Sagan

            by artmartin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:43:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  By this reasoning, there's nothing wrong (8+ / 0-)

        with our enemies attacking our soldiers at home asleep in their beds with their families.

        But Armando and Cheney like to pretend that we can have a "War" in which only one side is allowed to fight.  That way they don't have to be bound by civil law or the laws of war - they can simply kill anyone they want wherever and whenever they want by invoking glibly the magic phrase "War is hell".

        Of course they don't want war(not war).  I mean, who would?  Do you think they're monsters?  It's not their fault there's a war(not war).  Someone else choose that.

        But if there's going to be a war(not war) some people are just going to be tortured or assasinated.  Don't like it, don't have war(not war).

        If the other side isn't legitimate actors, then it's a criminal matter, not a war.  If they are legitimate actors, we're bound by the laws of war.

        But the Armando/Bush "grey area" is a fiction.

        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:09:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What you said! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          We seem to forgotten the golden rule.

          If we claim that its okay for us to act like imperialists then why isn't okay for other nations to do the same?

          "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

          by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:00:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Armando and Cheney? Hyperbolic much? n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalSal

          ... there is always an easy solution to every problem -- neat, plausible and wrong. - H. L. Mencken

          by renbear on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:28:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They have the same disregard for the concept (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            majyqman

            that there are in fact laws governing war.

            Both have sought out hack lawyers whose opinions are far outside of the mainstream, and then adopted the legal equivalent of creation science in order to try to create the illusion that there is actually debate about whether the illegal actions they promote are "maybe legal".

            Both are pretending to have found "grey areas", when in fact they've both just blown a lot of smoke.

            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

            by JesseCW on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:31:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  There is nothing "wrong" with our (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          Enemies attacking our soldiers stateside in their beds.  How silly. Every military base or post is also legally considered a military target and if attacked by terrorists it cannot really be called an act of terror.  It used to drive my husband nuts that the attack on the USS Cole was often called a terrorist attack.  It drove a lot of soldiers nuts because an attack on a military target cannot be terrorism, act of war yes...terrorism no.  The labeling of the attack on the Cole falling under terrorism in the media finally backed off.

          •  In order to be legal, the military advantage (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            majyqman

            gained by a strike must outweigh the danger posed to civilians.

            This is why it wouldn't have been legal for Iraq to nuke NYC just because there were some naval vessels in the harbor.

            Dropping a 500 lb bomb in a crowded civilian neighborhood in the hope of killing one Private is not legal, and is an act of terror.

            The Cole, the barracks bombing in Lebanon, these are entirely different matters.  The military advantage sought obviously massively outweighed any dangers to civilians.

            But Hamas doesn't get to blow up a bus full of kids because there's an IDF soldier on it, and Israel doesn't get to blow up an apartment building full of kids because there is a militant in it.

            Both are terror, using a military target as a mere excuse.

            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

            by JesseCW on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:35:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have no idea what you are talking (0+ / 0-)

              About now.  Iran is not bound by our laws.  We don't write the laws for the world and International law can and is ignored by any sovereign nation that wants to.

              I know a bit about U.S. military law and ROE, and there is a huge difference between military and civilian targets.  Attacking either one is an act of war, but attacking a military target cannot be terrorism.

              You have no intellectual boundaries or knowledge about where civilian and military law intersect.  It's not a dig, I do think someone should point that out though.

              •  "Everyone ignores international law"? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                majyqman

                Really?  Fuck the law, because the US is powerful enough to ignore it?

                Pretending to be attacking a military target doesn't mean that one is attacking a military target.  

                You're writing as if we were somehow incapable of ignoring pretense.

                It takes a special depth of moral bankruptcy to become the target of Tom Tomorrow.

                by JesseCW on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 03:34:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I did not say that everyone ignores (0+ / 0-)

                  International law, they do though when it suites them.  If they didn't maybe Hillary Clinton could have taken a vacation.  To pretend the whole world is on the same page and/or can be held accountable to it isn't even naive on your part, it is intellectually dishonest.

      •  President decides based on CIA input (4+ / 0-)

        With no further checks and balanced.  Now that is scary.  The CIA doesn't exactly have a stellar history of getting things right and the image of a president creating the daily kill list sends shivers down my back irrespective of who the president is.

        "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

        by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:52:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The real problem (14+ / 0-)

      is not, in my view, Obama's reading of the law, as you argue for the most part here.

      The real problem is that Constitutionally there is no real definition of a war's end. This isn't really surprising: in the past the end of a war is pretty obvious.

      In the instance of the AUMF, though, there is no time limit, and what victory would look like is far from obvious. The real issue is with the AUMF itself.

      Logically, the goal must be to limit the AUMF (or perhaps more preferably) outright repeal it.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:07:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see this as a part of an... (7+ / 0-)

        ominous pattern:
        Ordinary words whose meanings seem clear enough on the surface, such as “war” or “enemy” or “self-defense” or “imminent” (not to mention the ever-fraught “terrorism”) turn out not to mean anything at all, or to be legalistic terms of art with endlessly expansive frames of reference.

        "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins." Cheyenne

        by maracatu on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:30:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Congress can declare (3+ / 0-)

        the authorization to use force repealed.

        •  Part of my point (5+ / 0-)

          was that in the past Declerations of War did not need to be repealed or alternatively were arguably superceeded by a formal surrender.

          But who can surrender on behalf of Al Qaeda?  Who can sign a treaty ending hostilities?

          There is no alternative to repealling/amending the AUFM.

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:26:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is terrorism. Prior to 9/11 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Egalitare

        Americans saw terrorism as something that happens over there, far away, not our problem.  

        Our leaders, mostly Republican, sold WMDs to Saddam Hussein.  They trained and armed the Taliban and Al Qaeda, in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan.  I'm guessing that warnings about a possible, large attack from Al Qeada were ignored because OBL was an ally to the neo-cons who have driven our foreign policy since Reagan.  Typical privileged male attitude.  We MADE him, he'll never turn on us.

        Since 2001 we've been scrambling to figure out what Isreal has known for 60 years.  There are people out there who want to destroy us.  Religious, racial, economic, patriotic elements are all intertwined here, there are no quick fixes or glib answers.  17 well trained believers is all it took, folks.  What could they accomplish with 100 guys with dirty bombs?  Do we wait until it happens, then unleash the nuclear arsenal?  Do we draft every reasonably healthy person in the country and go to war with the entire Middle East?  Do we only draft half the country and send Special Forces into every country that harbors terrorists?

        Instead of talking about the complexities of this modern world, all I see is reflexive spouting of talking points.  Drones are bad.  Spying is evil.  

        Give me alternatives.  How many Special Forces troops?  Are you willing to sacrifice yourself?  Your family?  Your friends?  Is privacy worth martyrdom?  These are the discussions we need to be having.  If the majority believe privacy is #1, so be it, but the discussion has to be national, and honest.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:33:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We accept risk every day (8+ / 0-)

          What's delusional is to believe that we can build a military power not even second to the next dozen combined and use it at will around the globe and never, ever, at any time, receive any blowback at all, ever.  

        •  I'll quote others more eloquent than I... (13+ / 0-)
          Some people have acquired power and profits in post-9/11 America by pandering to and perpetuating fear. As has been the case on a range of legal issues – torture, indefinite detention, warrantless surveillance, kill lists – all it takes is for someone to say "terrorism" and "threat to security" in the same breath for the vast majority of the public to handover its principles. Rather than a serious discussion on the proper law/liberty/security balance, too often the public accepts the false syllogism that whatever it takes to stop "them" from hurting "us" is obviously, as White House spokesman Jay Carney might say, "legal, ethical and wise".
          Look at the data:
          Taking these figures into account, a rough calculation suggests that in the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

          "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins." Cheyenne

          by maracatu on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:56:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Changes of dying by an illness that was treatable (5+ / 0-)

            if we had a better healthcare system that covered everyone: between 1 in 33 to 1 in 138 depending on whose estimates you take for the number of treatable, unnecessary deaths (see Institute of Medicine)

            It's crazy to spend a few trillion dollars making new enemies trying to wipe out a few thousand radicals, when for the same effort we could care for our own citizens needlessly dying every day.

            Lack of universal health care is the equivalent of at least six 9/11 attacks every single year.

        •  that's the point (0+ / 0-)

          Additionally (and purely in this country's self interest to maintain what we have of a liberal democracy) Obama and any elected president that I have any desire to see in office has to be perceived as doing all that is reasonable to preclude another major attack in the US. Pray tell me what do you think would happen if O or Hill listened to the ACLU on this one and half of L. A. got leveled. If something like that happened and a progressive or even a semi-progressive was in the WH we would be out being fitted for jack boots. Let's get real. It is all fine as Armando intimates to put some useful framework in place and to try to do this as precisely as possible but we ( I mean progressives) need this program as insurance so that when the next one comes-and it will-the frightened and angry populace doesn't get rid of the Constitution in its entirety and starts rounding up everyone who doesn't look like beaver cleaver.

          •  O? Hill? WTF? That aside - do you seriously (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, aliasalias

            think that when the blow-back from these terror strikes eventually hits us, people will say "Oh, don't blame them, they killed lots of people with drones!!"

            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:17:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  But that will always and forever be the excuse (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, aliasalias, New Jersey Boy, wsexson

            for forever war.  What if, someday, someone attacks us?  Well, hello, welcome to the real world Americans, but Americans are exceptional.  The real world doesn't apply to us.  

            Nothing will make us totally risk free.  We could learn that real lesson from 9/11.  Instead, we've chosen to reinforce and extend our fantasy of the one indispensable nation entitled to never have war visited upon our civilian population.

            Somewhere in the world someone is plotting against us, therefore, we are at war and because we are at war the President can use all the powers of war and we Americans are justified regardless of how many of those inconveniently in the way other people are killed in the process.  Whoa!  Don't blame us, man.  Americans are at war!

            We are the mightiest war power the world has ever known and we are the most paranoid people on earth.

            •  Thanks everybody. That's pretty much (0+ / 0-)

              what I thought.  I live in a small town, as do most of my family members, so we're not likely targets.  

              I hope I'm right.

              I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

              by I love OCD on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:56:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  That's the problem with terrorist organizations (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        I love OCD, Egalitare

        The constitution wasn't written with the notion of terrorist organizations in mind.

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:35:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The "real problem" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, AaronInSanDiego, fladem

        as you say "is no definition of a war's end". However its just as easy to posit that this is the new face of 21st century war and we need to adapt.

        Re: the AUMF, I do believe that it should be renewed every year or 2 at the latest.  I also believe that there needs to be codification of drone strikes and appropriate oversight mechanisms. What those are, given the dysfunction of our legislative branch, I'm unsure.

      •  How you, Armando, or (19+ / 0-)

        anyone else could speak definitively about about Obama's reading of the law given how much we still don't know about the targeted killing program is beyond me. The white paper concerned the killing of Americans, which, political explosiveness aside, has accounted for 3 of thousands of kills, and many, perhaps most, of those kills have been in the form of signature strikes, when the U.S. doesn't even know the identities of the targets. Here a respected IL expert explains why and when signature strikes run afoul of IL law.

        And Armando doesn't address the Bushian-definitions of "imminence" and "feasibility of capture." I guess when you can't defend something, just ignore it.

        There are other legally problematic aspects of the drone war (which I'll use as shorthand for a killing program that entails other weapons.) It's probably violating key IL concepts like the principle of proportionality (hard to establish for sure because we don't have access to their targeting criteria) and the principle of distinction, which, after hearing John Brennan's speech last year, these legal experts believe, the drone war is indeed violating.

        Being a member of al Qaeda or "associated forces" might not mean directly participating in hostilities against the United States. It might mean instead providing assistance to fighters, such as cooking, cleaning, or driving -- none of which would render such a "member" targetable. The law of armed conflict allows the targeting only of those directly participating in hostilities or otherwise performing a continuous combat function.

        Brennan's statement of the law, however, lumps all these people into one droneable category -- a clear misapplication of international humanitarian law that offends the most fundamental principle of that law: the principle of distinction between combatants and civilians.

        But who cares? It's only international law.

        In typical America-centric fashion, Armando focuses on the AUMF and blows past international law; his section on IL says next to nothing and says even less than that coherently. I"m no expert on IL but I've at least read enough to know how much I don't know -- enough to know Armando's "reading of it" is laughably, embarrassingly thin. He should either read up on it or admit he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about where IL is concerned. I'm getting tired of reading takes on the drone war from people who know even less about IL than I do.

        Now, to be clear, I don't accept that the global war on terror in all its manifestations is definitely legal under US law. It takes a reading of the 2001 AUMF that is both literal and loose to conclude that a law intended to target those responsible for 9-11 allows war on groups that didn't even exist on 9-11, and groups that have no operational connection to AQ.

        But even if under US law, the GWOT is legal, that doesn't a) exempt the US from international law or 2) mean that the global war on terror is legal -- or even exists. Let me explain. Or better yet,I'll let someone else explain.

        It's not clear that the United States is in an armed conflict with al Qaeda's "associated forces" outside Afghanistan and Pakistan. Under international law, an armed conflict can only exist if such "associated forces" have a level of organization that would allow them to assume their obligations under international humanitarian law and if there are ongoing hostilities against the United States of sufficient intensity and duration. That's not necessarily the case in Yemen, Somalia, or any of the other myriad places where the United States is reportedly fighting al Qaeda militants.
        And if the US isn't, or cannot be, in an armed conflict with AQ in the Arabian peninsula, the laws of war do not apply. Rather, international human rights law would, rendering the vast majority, if not all, of the killing the US is doing there illegal. And the US Constitution would also apply, meaning that the Obama admin has violated the 5th Amendment rights of the people it's killed there.

        To be clear, I believe the biggest problems with the drone war is its immorality -- the killing and terrorizing of large number of civilians -- and its stupidity --- creating terrorists and terrorist-supporters -- but it also clearly poses a bunch of legal problems, the extent of which is unclear largely because of another legal problem, the lack of transparency.

        Sorry for such a long comment; although I've barely scratched the surface. Which is kind of my point.

        •  I explained (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban

          why I addressed what I addressed and why I did not address certain concepts, like imminence of threat.

          IT would be nice of you actually addressed what I wrote.

          You did not.

          •  wow (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            majyqman, 420 forever, poligirl

            that is response to my well-supported argument that your post reveals a lack of knowledge in -- and concern for -- international law?

            Although as I said, when you can't defend something, ignore it.

            •  I expected comments about my post (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              duhban

              Not about your own thoughts.

              FTR, I don't think your exposition on international law is correct.

              •  "Here are the things you seem to have missed that (0+ / 0-)

                make your entire argument a joke"

                "I expected to only have the points I made addressed, not the things I ignored because they were inconveinient to the point of utterly invalidating my arguments"

                Laugh. Out. Loud. Hilarity.

                And so handy to mask the incompetance. Pity for you the mask is paper thin.

                Imagine an argument against gay marriage that went "there's no societal benefit due to procreation that would require such an allowance on the part of the government"

                Oh, the points you made don't stand up worth a damn either... just like this one wouldn't (e.g. there is a benefit, why would the government allow it for barren people then, etc)...

                But what we have you donig here is just as if someone countered with all the other good (dignity, civil rights, etc) allowing gay marriage would do...

                ...and the person making the original argument declared that only their point about it not being in the government interest re:procreation should be addressed!

                They, and by extension you, would be mocked mercilessly.

                •  To be mocked (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  duhban

                  by ignorant fools does not worry me.

                  The Right tried that too during the Bush years.

                  •  No, but the detailed logical reason I provided (0+ / 0-)

                    that makes you worthy of being mocked (see: "I refuse to answer any point that threatens my argument that I didn't bring up") probably should worry you.

                    Actually, I get why not. The dissonance is strong with this one.

                    Seriously, I laid out the perfect analogy of how what you did would be mocked in another argument and ignorant fool is all you've got?

                    Irrational or deeply malicious doesn't matter much now... I truly hope you do no damage and are consigned to irrelevance.

                    •  Give yourself high marks do you? (0+ / 0-)

                      Good for you. There is something to be said for self delusion.

                      •  You do appear to be perversely well acquainted (0+ / 0-)

                        with it.

                        But yes, I give myself enough marks to know that there's no flaw in my analogy between what you did upthread and an argument which I'm sure noone here would disagree would have its maker mocked.

                        I see you haven't refuted it, just attacked the man, again.

                        True, I like doing BOTH to facile idiots... but in reverse. I don't consider them wrong because they're idiots (sometimes an idiot can be right!)... but the level of idiocy I strive make sure every neutral observer understands they possess is in proportion to a combination of the abhorrence of their position, its logical failings, and how little they can be brought to understand either.

                        You, my friend, are breaking previously registered scales, and like Australia recently it seems I might need to add new colours to the map.

        •  Good comment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          majyqman

          Il is glossed over.  But hey the whole point is provide a rationalization of assassination.  So it's hardly surprising that the core issues are ignored.  But the world is watching and the chickens are coming home to roost.  The un is considering taking action against these drone attacks.  Yeah I know the right wing will laugh their ass off at that one but do we on the rational left really want to say that the international community is irrelevant.  If we do then are we any better than the neocons?

          "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

          by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:08:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I spoke definatively? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indie17, duhban

          I think not.  What is said was I believe, like Armando, that the power of the Executive in time of war is extremely broad. I beleive most of his conclusions, particularly when it comes to US Laware right.

          But the larger point I was making was that the powers under a declaration of war are broad, and that the real legal issue was not that the precise contours of that power, but rather their permanence and lack of limitation as reflected in the AUMF.  

          Nothing you have written disabuses me of my conclusion.  I am not an expert in IL (though there is more grey area in the one article you cite than I think you realize), so I am not going to offer an opinion on it.  I would note, though, that historically such arguments have had little practical effect, which re-enforces my original point.

          I don't find your interpretation of the AUMF persuasive at all and your attempt to find a limitation in the language persuasive, and I have little doubt that as a practical legal matter the argument is useless.

          I repeat: as a practical matter the central problem is the AUMF.  Nothing you have written persuades me otherwise.

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:35:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're not (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            majyqman

            going to "offer an opinion" on international law yet you have no problem with Obama's reading of the law?

            I suppose your approach -- simply ignoring international law -- is preferable to Armando's pretense of knowing something about it -- but neither of you has come with a country mile of making a case that Obama is following it.

            The subtext here is that a lot liberals  -- AUMF, AUMF, AUMF, USA, USA, USA - don't really give a toss about international law.

            •  Your pretense (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              duhban

              to knowing something about it is misplaced.

            •  I offer no opinion about it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              duhban

              because as a lawyer I have not done the research that would enable to me to offer an informed opinion.

              You have now posted two responses and not come close to my initial point: that as a practical matter the AUMF is the central issue, and it must be amended.

              The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

              by fladem on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:41:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course it must be amended or (0+ / 0-)

                done away it. Many of us, perhaps you, opposed it from the beginning. It's a horrible law, horribly vague, a license to wage perpetual war.

                But -- and I'll say this a third time, maybe you'll hear me -- the AUMF doesn't immunize the US from international law, anymore than a law passed by Congress that gives the US to, say, bomb Iran would.

      •  Our founding fathers never envisioned a congress (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo

        So foolish as to vote in perpetual war for perpetual peace and pay for it.

        Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

        by No Exit on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:06:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obama Could Fix That (0+ / 0-)

        The AUMF authorizes the President to use his discretion to go after the countries, organizations and (or) people who attacked us on 9/11. All he has to do is say that he's got them. That would end it. And he should.

        We really need a new AUMF that puts limits on this whole thing. I put that all in another comments, which you can find easily enough.

        But the current one has outlived its usefulness, and the President could end it any time he wants.

    •  I have a clarificatory question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      Early in section 3, you say this:

      But this difference does make the process by which the Obama Administration analyzes kill orders in a non-theater of battle setting adequate. What is missing from the process is an advocate for the person who is subject to the potential kill order.
      I read this as: Just because we're at war doesn't mean due process goes out the window; the person being targeted needs an advocate.

      Then you start talking about civilian casualties and feasibility and other matters, and at the end you say this:

      Which brings us back to Due, as in Due Process, and does the current process afford sufficient process. I think it does in legal terms, but it should and could be better.
      So now it seems that you don't think the potential target needs an advocate. However, in section 5, you say:
      My defense of the Obama Administration policy provides one exceptionally important caveat—a fear that the decisions to designate a person a kill target does not have an effective "devil's advocate" to argue against the designation.
      My question, then, is: Do you believe that the current process the administration goes through, one without a "devil's advocate," is legal? Would you support the drone program even if they never add a "devil's advocate"?

      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

      by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:54:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is basically the same idea as proscription (0+ / 0-)

        in Ancient Rome. If you were proscribed by the Senate, anyone could kill you and all of their property would become yours.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:02:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Apparent typo in due process section 3 of diary? (0+ / 0-)
        But this difference does make the process by which the Obama Administration analyzes kill orders in a non-theater of battle setting adequate. What is missing from the process is an advocate for the person who is subject to the potential kill order.
        It seems to me that what was intended was

        But this difference does NOT make the process by which the Obama Administration analyzes kill orders in a non-theater of battle setting adequate. What is missing from the process is an advocate for the person who is subject to the potential kill order.

        There's no such thing as a free market!

        by Albanius on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:25:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Simple me (5+ / 0-)

      JAtthe risk of being repetitive; just because there is "no issue under the 2001 AUMF" does not justify the AUMF and resultant illegality and immorality.

      -approaching Curmudgeonry with pleasure

      by Calfacon on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:07:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Possibly irrelevant, but... (0+ / 0-)

      If I recall correctly, one of the main gimmicks behind James Bond as an "00" agent was that he was licensed to kill, that is, exercise extra-legal condign force in the course of his operations.

      There's a whole kind of legal limbo in the field of intelligence, black ops, call it what you will. As Commander in Chief, the President exercises power within certain limits through the military. It is less clear what happens through his control of the intelligence agencies.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:00:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for writing this. I thought I'd reply (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Liberal Thinking

      Before reading any comments.

      I find that I largely agree with your analysis.  Where we differ is on the key point you close on, namely, how do you ensure due process for an individual the president proposes to kill?  I disagree that a mere advocate is sufficient.  If we are going to accept your argument up to this point I still think we need a body outside the executive branch.  Perhaps we could hav a secret kill court like we do/did for surveillance.

      What's the old quote about it brin inherent in the natures of democracies that they must always fight with one hand tied behind their backs, and prevailing because of it.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:53:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right (0+ / 0-)

        I think that if it's outside a military operation (and it all is now, IMO), then you need a trial. So, I think you could use the FISA court, but you'd also need (as Armando says) an adequate representation for the defense to have an actual trial.

        But really, how many American citizens are going over to be enemies of the U.S.?

    •  The argument that you are a hack has gut appeal: (9+ / 0-)

      Your sophistry in separating due process from detainees and people "who are a threat" cleanly misses the entire point.

      DUE PROCESS DETERMINES WHO IS A THREAT AND IN WHAT WAYS.

      Because someone in the government says you are a threat does not make it so.  Due process requires an objective means of arriving at that conclusion.  

      Jeezus, what part of the Constitution means anything when you are done with it?  Saddest, most self-absorbed essay on this subject I ever read.

      Out of my cold dead hands

      by bluelaser2 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:34:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Boy, Did You Nail It! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majyqman

        Or, as Ron Paul said (in presidential debate #9):

        But they're all suspects. They're not terrorists. You haven't convicted them of anything.
        He was referring to the people at Guantanamo, but it could be the refrain for all the people killed by the drones.
    •  War? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, aliasalias, Liberal Thinking

      Don't you mean "unending authorizations of global military and paramilitary operations are hell"?

      I don't recall any wars being declared. Not since I've been alive.

    •  "I will not respond." (3+ / 0-)

      "I WILL NOT respond to arguments that boil down to "if this were Bush, you'd be screaming murder!"

      "... because it is demonstrably true and I have no defense for this."

      •  Demonstrably true (0+ / 0-)

        I think the phrase does not mean what you think it means.

      •  Lol and quite sad (0+ / 0-)

        What I find profoundly disturbing is the need to preemptively exclude a discussion of the former president.  That president laid the ground work for a set of assumptions which are at odds for with international law.  Yet we act as if they are givens and can use them to extrapolate the further violation of international law.  Bad, very bad process.

        "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

        by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:28:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It Rather Eludes the Point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majyqman

        It isn't a question of whether it's a Democratic President or a Republican one, because (frankly) there isn't a dime's worth of difference between them on this issue.

        The precedent I'm concerned about is the one we're leaving for the Chinese.

        Whatever conclusion we come to it had better square with our understanding of what it means to live in a western liberal democracy with a government that conforms to our standards. Because we will not be the ones making rules forever. We could very easily find ourselves living in a world where we are dealing with how to stop other countries from using the rules we crafted to fight us.

  •  Unfortunately (20+ / 0-)
    "I WILL NOT respond to arguments that boil down to "if this were Bush, you'd be screaming murder!"
    Is a perfectly reasonable and accurate response.
    •  No, it's an emotional and mindreading (7+ / 0-)

      one.

      I see what you did there.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:23:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  armando has never been (12+ / 0-)

      an obama cheerleader, so i don't think that is true.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:24:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But he was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo

        outspoken in his criticism of bush actions that defends Obama for.

        •  Did we get such reasoned analysis of the Yoo memo? (6+ / 0-)

          I think not..

            •  Maybe from you.. (0+ / 0-)

              and if so, I apologize.

              But most of the progressive blogosphere was too busy going apeshit.

            •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo

              May we see it again?

                •  Thanks for the shortcut (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sven Boogie

                  And the difference between this and the drone whit paper (in principle) is?

                  What's more disturbing is the question Josh poses about whether the President thought that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (the post-9/11 legislation)  trumped any statutory prohibition.  First, I don't know why their legal reasoning regarding how they got to this position should be classified.  Did the Administration believe the AUMF trumped statutory authority?  If yes, how? If no, did they find their legal authority in the Commander in Chief clause? And, in any event, can't we at least know how many other statutes have been trumped by interpreting the AUMF or the CiC clause so expansively?  None of this would tip the terrorists off, but it would help in understanding how we got to this stage and, more importantly, what the heck else might be going on.
                  One final thing.  The AUMF authorizes action against those responsible for 9/11.  In fact, there was a huge debate at that time. . . .the White House's original language covered "terrorists", and Congress brought them back, forcing them to link "military force" with 9/11.  Even if one buys the argument that surveillance against U.S. persons or communications is part of "military force" or active combat, the President better hope that every person actually targetted was linked to Al Qaeda (and not just any terrorist organization).  Bush today gave some hint that the surveillance was targetted against those with  "a clear link" to al-Qaida, but then he added "or related terrorist organizations."  That's not exactly in the language of the AUMF.  So maybe they are finding their legal justification somewhere else?  Or maybe they just thought they would never get exposed.
                  or this administration's use of domestic spying?
                  •  Crickets. (0+ / 0-)

                    Because he can not apply his previous arguments to the white paper and retain any consistancy with what he has presented here.

                    For one thing, NOW he argues the killing of someone who was 5 when 9/11 occured is legal... as long as they're a member of a group or citizen of a nation (hard to avoid this at 16, yes?) involved in 9/11

                    Hard to see how that WAS his argument at the time he contended congress forced the constraint of the use of military force to be linked to 9/11.

                    I'm starting to feel I shouldn't just be calling this a joke anymore, it does no service to how abhorrent it is.

                    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      majyqman

                      and as i stated in my first response to the diary. it isn't that these issues aren't thorny, difficult problems to contend with in this era of non traditional combatants (an aside- i thought back in the previous admin that developing a parallel "terrorist court" of some sort consistent with but identical to US courts would have saved the bush and future admins a lot of headaches).

                      But the hypocrisy of the diarist (as well as the majority of people at kos) is simply breathtaking.

                      •  You simply do not udnerstand (0+ / 0-)

                        that this is a different issue.

                        I'm sorry that you can;t but there is nothing I can do about that.

                        •  Maybe you can explain why? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          majyqman

                          I read your piece, but you simply say "this is OK" and "that was not".

                          Without explaining why the former administration's polices such as detainment and enhanced interrogation were not legal?

                          I happen to agree that killing an American citizen, acting as a combatant is constitutional- under certain guidelines. the Constitution calls for due process within prevailing circumstances (not only a judicial process under all circumstances). When hostilities rage, we operate under the laws of war. Hence enemy combatants may lawfully be killed, captured, and detained without trial, or tried by military commission.

                          But 2 things are remarkable un your defense. 1) As I have stated the definition of 'imminent as one criteria of those circumstances is simply Orwellian and absurd.

                          2) I simply cannot understand why similar bush era polices warranted a trip to the Hague while Obama's drone policy is defensible.

                          •  I think the problem is you wish to judge (0+ / 0-)

                            the policues and my LEGAL critiques of them through your moral prism as opposed to the law.

                            You ask "I simply cannot understand why similar bush era polices warranted a trip to the Hague while Obama's drone policy is defensible."

                            Bush's torture policy was a war crime.

                            Obama's drone policy is NOT a war crime. It is in fact compliant with the laws of war (a good pint made is whether the CIA is covered by the laws of war. )

                            Bush's detention policy violated the constitution and the Geneva Conventions.

                            That is the LEGAL differences.

                          •  I realize this is deep into the weeds (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            majyqman

                            but I'll try to give my reasoning about why I think it is impossible to have the standard that waterboarding and detainment at gitmo were any more or less illegal than a the current targeted killing drone policy.
                             First, I agree that it is easy to conflate moral problems with legal ones. And sometimes very very difficult to untangle the two. However. You say the Drone policy is legal because it is based on the AUMF. Yet you yourself outline the flaws in bush policy regarding detainment based on that very document. Do we know that the American killed was a high up in AQ? Was he an imminent threat? No we do not know this ?

                            In 2005 Justice issued memos from OLC which specifically approved waterboarding and other interrogation techniques, concluded that these practices would not violate the pending Detainee Treatment Act. Later Congress adopted the Act, which prohibited the “cruel, inhumane, or degrading” treatment of prisoners. Now as far as I know the memos authorizing the use of waterboarding have not been made public, nor have they been withdrawn. In 2007 bush issued an executive order stating that the interrogation program conducted by the CIA “fully complies” with applicable law. Further, congress was informed of waterboarding. I am not aware of any information sharing about the drone policy?

                            Now look I think the water boarding should be considered illegal and it is shocking to my conscience (and certainly appears to be a violation of the McCain amendment) in almost all circumstances. But as far as we know it took place before it was specifically defined as illegal.

                            Now how is this any more “illegal” than the current administration claiming they can target and kill an American citizen based on criteria that they then proceed to define away as anything they desire. An unnamed official’s undocumented determination that one is an imminent danger, which is then defined as not necessarily being imminent, nor a danger? There isn't any due process involved when the threat isn’t imminent. To say that anonymous officials can decide, in secret ,with the vaguest of criteria what American citizens may killed and when without congressional oversight is not simply a moral problem it is a legal one as well.

                             I guess this where we disagree, You claim that this policy is legal. Perhaps it is. But you also claim that detainment at Gitmo was illegal and waterboarding was illegal. Both are today but before legal decisions were delivered that was an open question. An incorrect decision isn't a crime. An intentional incorrect decision may be.

                            It is an opinion(well informed as it might be) of yours that simply doesn’t square with your defense of the drone policy on very similar grounds: An administrations’ claim to the right as spelled out in either the CIC or AUMF.

                            Finally I'll say that of the Bush polices were war crimes, and that is a very serious matter, then why is he still riding bikes in Texas? The current administration and Democratic senate has had years to pursue charges.

                          •  A long comment (0+ / 0-)

                            I'll bullet point a few things:

                            The Yoo/Bybee Memo WAS withdrawn.

                            And for good reason, it was plainly wrong. Indeed they both were up on ethics charges as a result of it.

                            The grounds of my defense of the LEGALITY of the policy regarding targetted killings is based on the analysis of the question, which is entirely different from torture and FISA.

                            The AUMF authorized military action.

                            The AUMF did not repeal the laws against torture, the UCMJ, FISA and other laws that Bush violated.

                            The argument for violations in the targetted killings context is the Due Process Clause (I know others want to argue the Bill of Attainder and the 4th but I think those are specious arguments.)

                            There is a sound argument on the Due Process issue. But I don;t think the case law supports it in the end. For the reasons I detailed in my essay.

                            An issue I did not discuss and want to revisit is the CIA and the Laws of War coverage.

                            Why were War crimes not prosecuted? Because of political cowardice of the Obama Administration.

                          •  I'll agree (0+ / 0-)

                            to disagree. You can say FISA and Waterboarding were against the law, but that has no standing via any prosecution. The 2 memos I refer to were not withdrawn.And "up on ethics" charges is much different than convicted of ethics violations.

                            "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."
                            Is every bit as convincing for water boarding as the drone policy to me.

                            as for FISA, Obama's DOJ as acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in "overcollection" of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court's authority too.

                            And you think the reason prosecutions were not pursued i because of "political cowardice"? I've got a bridge for sale I;d like to talk to you about. C'mon you obviously aren't that naive. There's nothing there that would stand up. No one was convicted on anything. No charges were brought. Holder doesn't strike me as a coward. Hypocritical, yes but not a coward.

                            My guess (just that) is that Obama et. al. found out just how tough it is once you are the CIC.  And was not going to let enemy combatants run free. So unlike the previous administration they opted to just kill them instead of capture, detain and interrogate. But both were not going to allow enemy combatants to survive in the field.

                            I'm out.

                             

                  •  Two points if you care to listen (0+ / 0-)

                    One, FISA has been amended. Wrongly in my view.

                    Two, the analysis you quote does not deal with the killing of enemy combatants.

                    You ask I take you seriously but you seem to not understand these distinctions.

        •  i don't think so (13+ / 0-)

          this post is very specific, so for that to be true you would have to find the reverse of these specific arguments, as applied to bush.

          i don't read this as armando defending obama policies, i read it as armando defending the legality of obama policies. i don't think armando has expressed his opinion here on the policies as policies.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:12:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Your first word is the problem: WAR (41+ / 0-)

    This "war" will never end.  No President will see any benefit in ending the "war" and having a perpetual "war" allows any President to play Commander in Chief which is useful to the alpha male (or woman) in the White House.  As long as we are at "war" we can behave as the imperial power we so love to be and the longer we do the more we become like imperial Rome.  

    We will destroy ourselves from within as we destroy our republic.  

  •  Thanks for this diary (14+ / 0-)

    And thanks to Obama by taking out this guy who was actively at war with my country.

    •  Captain Crunch has spoken. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW
    •  And his 16-year-old son (8+ / 0-)

      But I guess it's his fault for not choosing a "more responsible father," right?

      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

      by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:32:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not bewoed. (0+ / 0-)
        •  Could you tell me why (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias, JesseCW, corvo

          you have no problem with the government killing a 16-year-old and still not telling us why? Or are you not "bewoed" enough to justify your beliefs?

          "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

          by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:05:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I should mention, for completeness sake (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, corvo

            that the government--or people who work for the government--killing teenagers is not exactly unusual. But police brutality, while terrible, is typically done in the heat of the moment by low-level "employees." Drone strikes are planned in air-conditioned rooms by the highest levels of power in our government.

            (Disclaimer: My brain isn't working 100% so it's quite possible I've said something stupid; if so, someone please correct me.)

            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

            by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:14:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The mission was not "Let's go kill a 16 year-old" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sviscusi

            was it? So sorry, I am not going to cry a river because some of OBL's family members were caught in the crossfire, so to speak. OBL put them on that course.

            •  The son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki (6+ / 0-)

              was killed 2 weeks after his father, in a separate drone strike. The only information we have on why he was killed is by anonymous officials (so I'd suggest taking it with a grain of salt):

              Two U.S. officials said the intended target of the Oct. 14 airstrike was Ibrahim al-Banna, an Egyptian who was a senior operative in Yemen’s al-Qaeda affiliate.
              Then again, other anonymous officials aid this:
              suggested in the days after the strike that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was in his 20s, calling him a “military-age male.”
              So who the hell knows why he was killed. Which is, of course, the point.

              "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

              by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:41:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually you're making two different points (0+ / 0-)

                Point one - you think it's wrong to kill people under the age of 18. You actually said teenagers but, since we send our soldiers into harms way when they're 18, I assume you have no problem with that.
                Point two - our government didn't tell you and me why the 16 year old was killed

                Point one - it's fine with me if they kill teenage enemy combatants if they are actively engaged in trying to kill me and my family.

                Point two - I this situation, operational transparency, I will defer to Obama's judgement over yours.

                •  If the teenager is at the front door OK but (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, aliasalias

                  You might convince me that some mastermind of mass death deserves to be taken out of his foreign laboratory of sinister plots but teenagers thousands of miles away?  That just convinces me that we've lost the plot.

                  Deferring to the King's judgment doesn't require a republic so I don't know why we're bothering with the white paper.  

                •  He was activly engaged in ordering lunch (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, aliasalias

                  my my what a bedwetter you are.  

                  SO many people around the world would love to see your family burning.  Should we bomb em all?

                  How about some due process first?

                  Oh yea, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

                  Or an inconvenience pact either I guess.

                  Out of my cold dead hands

                  by bluelaser2 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:01:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Responses (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, aliasalias

                  Point one: You have no evidence that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was "actively engaged in trying to kill [you] and [your] family," so I don't see the relevance of your response.

                  Point two: Well, I suppose this makes sense. After all, Obama never makes mistakes, is never fed bad intel by his superiors, never acts for political reasons (either to please the voters or other powerful constituencies), and shares every single one of your moral values.

                  FFS, man, it's not about whether you trust the judgment of Obama or me or whoever. Do you trust your own judgment? If so, research the facts and make up your own damn mind. While I disagree with Armando's article here, at least he did that much.

                  "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                  by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:06:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Response--- (0+ / 0-)

                    It's true - I don't know what he was engaged in - neither do you.
                    So, I've deferred to Obama's judgement as to ordering a drone strike or not.
                    And that decision is my own judgement.

                    ...research the facts and make up your own damn mind.
                    Hey - try the decafe.
                    I have done research. I'm not going to waste my time writing an extended post or diary to justify a simple response.

                    I understand you don't agree with me.
                    I understand your reasons for not agreeing with me.

                    •  It's not your own judgment (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Nada Lemming, majyqman

                      You're making the decision to outsource your judgment to someone else--President Obama. That's called forfeiting your judgment. I don't necessarily mind that you're doing that, but let's at least call it like it is.

                      Hey - try the decafe.
                      What, because I said "damn"? We're talking about whether or not the President should have the ability to kill people, far from the battlefield, with no evidence but his own say-so. I think you have bigger things to worry about than extremely mild profanity.
                      I have done research. I'm not going to waste my time writing an extended post or diary to justify a simple response.
                      Why not? It's not going to take long: "I trust President Obama." There's not a lot you can add to that.

                      I too understand the reasons behind your position. I hope you understand that your position is classic Authoritarianism. I hope you'll forgive me for reacting strongly to it, since it doesn't exactly have a very good track record.

                      Allow me one last question. Even if Barack Obama is the extremely rare political leader who actually deserves such loyalty, how will you stop the person who comes after him from abusing this power?

                      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                      by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:02:06 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Wrong - it is my decision (0+ / 0-)

                        to delegate that call to the administration. Simple. He's a duly elected fellow representing me - and you.
                        It's not authoritarian. It's a republic.

                        Authoritarianism also tends to embrace the informal and unregulated exercise of political power, a leadership that is self-appointed and even if elected cannot be displaced by citizens' free choice among competitors," the arbitrary deprivation of civil liberties, and little tolerance for meaningful opposition.
                        That doesn't describe the situation here.
                        The decafé comment was humor.
                        As to spending time describing my research to you... why should I?
                        Even if Barack Obama is the extremely rare political leader who actually deserves such loyalty, how will you stop the person who comes after him from abusing this power?
                        The same way you're going to limit Obama's power - by raising my voice in this democracy.
                        http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/...
                        •  Being a republic means (0+ / 0-)

                          that the ones who hold political power are elected by the general populace. It has nothing to do with supporting a certain stance just because the person you elected is doing it. That is authoritarianism.

                          I sent the wrong link; I apologize for that. What I'm talking about is this, although the language is rather strong. Please ignore most of that and focus on this:

                          Authoritarian personality is a state of mind or attitude characterised by one's belief in absolute obedience or submission to one's own authority
                          I'm not saying you have this personality for everything; what I'm saying is that your justification for supporting drone strikes is pure authoritarianism.

                          Authoritarianism is not always bad; to a certain extent we have to rely on others for almost all our opinions. But deciding to support the extra-judicial killing of American citizens because you trust the person doing the killings is far from "good" authoritarianism, if you ask me.

                          As to spending time describing my research to you... why should I?
                          You've already spent a considerable amount of time responding to me, so why not?
                          The same way you're going to limit Obama's power - by raising my voice in this democracy.
                          I dearly hope you're right that Obama's power will be limited in this area. But after spending 8 years defending drone strikes because Obama's doing them, I do wonder how you'll be able to effectively argue against them when Chris Christie (or whoever) starts doing them.

                          "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                          by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:58:24 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  My justification (0+ / 0-)

                            ...ahhh. Didn't realize it was my personality.
                            Well that's a different story.
                            I support Obama in this drone stuff because I think it's necessary. To me that's pragmatism. So maybe you could say my pragmatic nature leads me to adopt authoritarianism whenever convenient. I'll go with that.

                            I dearly hope you're right that Obama's power will be limited in this area. But after spending 8 years defending drone strikes because Obama's doing them, I do wonder how you'll be able to effectively argue against them when Chris Christie (or whoever) starts doing them.
                            Well, first of al Christie is going to have a stroke his first year in office - haven't you been reading the other diaries?
                            And as for changing my position on drones depending who is in office - not a problem. In general Obama's foreign policy has been one that I agree with. Who knows that might even be the case with President Hilary.
                            As to going over research - that's boring!
                          •  I just don't see how it's necessary (0+ / 0-)

                            Sometimes the bad guy gets away--that's just a fact. It's not a perfect world, after all. Everyone agrees about this when it comes to criminals here; no one thinks the police should just shoot people they "know" are guilty but get off on a "technicality" (well, some people think that, but not you I hope). Why do all the rules go out the window as soon as we're talking about "terrorists"?

                            And as for changing my position on drones depending who is in office - not a problem. In general Obama's foreign policy has been one that I agree with.
                            You support the drone program because you trust Obama to implement it well, right? I do think that'll undercut your position if Rubio or Jeb Bush or whomever takes the helm and you decide you don't support it anymore. (Or hell, maybe you'll still support it for all I know.)

                            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                            by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:49:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hey gotta run (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TealTerror

                            Been good arguing.
                            We disagree but I respect the anti-drone viewpoint. You may may be right - I just don't see it at this point.
                            But I hope you keep your voices high.

                          •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Capt Crunch

                            I wish I could say the same--I truly do--but I find it hard to muster full respect for the pro-drone viewpoint. (You probably noticed that in the course of our argument.) This is a personal failing, so I apologize for my lack of civility in the discussion.

                            And I hope you keep arguing for what you believe in.

                            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                            by TealTerror on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:59:49 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  The same folks (0+ / 0-)

                      who are now shedding tears over Bin Laden's 16 year old son would, undoubtedly, have also been appalled had the U.S. government killed Hitler and other leaders of the Third Reich in November 1941 - they reside in an abstract ivory tower, divorced from reality

                      •  first of all (0+ / 0-)

                        It wasn't Bin Laden's son.  It was a 16 year old American teenager who had nothing to do with jihad, violent or otherwise.  

                        He was camping alongside a road with his cousin, while he searched for his father, who he (rightly) feared was in danger.  

                        Taking him out was either:

                        A mistake.

                        Or murder.  

                        The government won't tell us which.  But Robert Gibbs did go on record to say the kid should have picked a better father.  So I know what I think.  

                        •  I stand corrected (0+ / 0-)

                          the 16 year old was not Bin Laden's son- he was the son of a different Al Quida leader who was also planning the mass murder of Americans.  But this does not address my point that, according to the "logic" of the ivory tower moralists, the U.S. would have been barred from killing Hitler and other leaders of the Third Reich in November 1941.

                          •  Not if they revealed the evidence they had to make (0+ / 0-)

                            the determination that someone was in fact a Nazi leader.

                            But, perhaps more importantly, not any of their (non adault/innocent) children.

                            But in the brave new world of you and your non "ivonory tower moralist" ilk... I'm sure as the president is allowed to have it ordered that the genitals of someones child be crushed in front of them, that it's not a stretch to imagine you care much about murderingt he same child.

            •  then what was the reason to bomb him and his (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, corvo

              17 year old friend sitting at the cafe with him?

              without the ants the rainforest dies

              by aliasalias on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:12:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  maybe you'd like pictures of the 16 yr.old (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      american sitting with a 17 year old friend at a cafe when they were blown to bits by a Drone strike. Btw he wasn't even accused of anything,...anything other than being  the son of someone that had been blown up (along with others) 2 weeks earlier.

      Check this out 'living under Drones', in short it is terrorism on a large scale committed by THIS Country.
      http://livingunderdrones.org/

      It is essential that public debate about US policies take the negative effects of current policies into account.

      First, while civilian casualties are rarely acknowledged by the US government, there is significant evidence that US drone strikes have injured and killed civilians. In public statements, the US states that there have been “no” or “single digit” civilian casualties.”[2] It is difficult to obtain data on strike casualties because of US efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability, compounded by the obstacles to independent investigation of strikes in North Waziristan. The best currently available public aggregate data on drone strikes are provided by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), an independent journalist organization. TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were civilians, including 176 children.[3] TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228-1,362 individuals. Where media accounts do report civilian casualties, rarely is any information provided about the victims or the communities they leave behind. This report includes the harrowing narratives of many survivors, witnesses, and family members who provided evidence of civilian injuries and deaths in drone strikes to our research team. It also presents detailed accounts of three separate strikes, for which there is evidence of civilian deaths and injuries, including a March 2011 strike on a meeting of tribal elders that killed some 40 individuals.
      (emphasis mine)

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:32:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Response to aliasalias (0+ / 0-)
        Btw he wasn't even accused of anything
        You and I both don't know what he was accused of or what he was engaged in.
        It is essential that public debate about US policies take the negative effects of current policies into account.
        I agree. I still don't have a problem with the drone strikes.
  •  It may be perfectly "legal" . . . (11+ / 0-)

    The death penalty is also perfectly legal.  I find both actions morally reprehensible.

    I knew Obama was a bit hawkish when I voted for him the first time.  I just didn't expect it would be to this extent.  This is wrong.

  •  Hotlisting (17+ / 0-)

    to read carefully, including your links.  I've just gotten my truck out of 2 snow banks so I'm resting and drinking wine since it is after noon.

    Thanks for taking the time to research and write these posts.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:10:54 AM PST

  •  Don't really think the "war is hell" applies. (7+ / 0-)

    I guess you can say drone attacks are unjust or potentially unjust, but when you compare drone attacks with ground invasions or conventional bombing, drone attacks are probably somewhat less ".....messy, cruel, unfair, violent and well, hell...." than the alternatives.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:12:25 AM PST

  •  A pragmatic response (26+ / 0-)
    But remember what is in compliance with the "civilized" laws of war—killing. And we can not refine that central cruelty. That is why was must always, always, always be a last resort.
    Making killing by remote control legal removes the danger to the home teams lives.

    This in turn means that public opinion is much less likely to either stop a war happening or end it early.

    This very much affects where the 'last resort' line gets drawn.

    Remember that for people in power war has a lot going for it from profit to career advancement. Remove the risk and you are removing a major check and balance to those with vested interests.

    It is also horrendous on moral and ethical grounds but that is for another time.

    •  I'm sure the same argument (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Argyrios, Quicklund, Blue Shark

      was made when the technology developed to drop bombs from planes.

      The argument still holds for both situations though. I'm simply pointing out that thus has it ever been...

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by NLinStPaul on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:32:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oversight and review is the only "replacement"... (5+ / 0-)

      ...for that removal of danger for the home team in the near term. It needs to be sufficiently difficult to pass in order to offset the "painlessness" of drone strikes.

      That of course invites the question how much oversight and review? Which I believe is the real question which needs to be resolved.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:34:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. How much and who to do the oversight. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo

        FISA courts appear to be rubber stamps.  A Congressional committee is not reassuring.  You posed a very important question.

        Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

        by ratcityreprobate on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:30:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And War is Hell only to the civilian population (9+ / 0-)

    of the nations we attack.  We took our revenge for 9/11.  I'm no saint, I accept civilian casualties to the other side 10 times ours but we passed that number a long, long time ago.  

  •  hellhounds. (0+ / 0-)

    dogs of war

    respect. birds do it, bees do it, but the basis for war is ...

    the "natural" basis for war is ...

    * Join: The Action: End the Bush Tax Cuts for Richest Two Percent * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:16:37 AM PST

  •  Don't agree with your assumptions (30+ / 0-)

    You start with the assumption that this is a war.  That is dangerous.  It's an unending war with a poorly defined enemy.  Can you honestly say that Allawi was an imminent danger just because he blogged for al Qaeda and/ or was sympathetic to them?  That is a dangerous precedent.  How far do we go with this? Do we say that anyone we disagree with politically is an enemy and since we are at war it's okay to assassin them?

    I think it is terrible that our president will go down as the biggest assassin in history.  That is not where we should be.  We need to get back to the rule of law.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:17:05 AM PST

  •  Hear hear: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Obama Amabo, sviscusi, renbear
    This analysis will be lengthy, detailed and will travel deep into the weeds.
    And that's exactly what we need around here -- more time in the weeds, the swamps, the muck, less time making quick and pithy comments from the comfort of deck chairs.

    Now I actually gotta go read the rest of it...

    "Every now & then your brain gifts you with the thought, 'oh, that's right, I don't actually give a **** about this.' Treasure it" -- jbou

    by kenlac on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:20:31 AM PST

  •  the war on terror is contrived to provide profit (22+ / 0-)

    to a handful of corporate war elites. The drone war allows the war on terror to be carried out with minimal American losses, even with Afghanistan. Otherwise it would be vastly unpopular with Americans...I think. Yet will you discuss the civilian losses in other countries? Or does human rights apply to them?

    This smacks of apology for the worse of the Obama policies, and drones will soon be used on American citizens. Where does this end?

  •  So, in other words, (33+ / 0-)

    there is no due process:

    But while a person believed to be an enemy combatant is at large, the threat is real and the dangers, not only of attack against the country but to the military units involved in the conflict, remain active.
    The executive branch states that it believes a person to be an enemy combatant, does not have to present that evidence even to a super duper secret court or something, and because the executive states that it "believes" this, the threat is automatically real?

    So haven't you just stated that it's okay for the executive branch to be judge, jury and executioner?

    Furthermore, here's my other question: What does this have to do with 9/11, which is what the AUMF covers?  Shouldn't part of the due process be that it is incumbent upon the executive not just to prove that this person is an enemy combatant who is a real threat, but that this person, or the organization of which that person is a part, was connected to September 11, 2001?  So, in the case of Al-Awlaki, what's his connection to 9/11, or the connection between Al-Qaeda in Yemen and the Al-Qaeda that planned and executed the 9/11 attack?

  •  I didn't see where you actually defend it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, penguins4peace
    My defense of the Obama Administration policy provides one exceptionally important caveat—a fear that the decisions to designate a person a kill target does not have an effective "devil's advocate" to argue against the designation.
    You are laying a good factual foundation for making an argument in defense, though.  I look forward to your comments and Part II.

    It would seem to me that the determining factor, as to US citizens, is the presence of the risk of imminent harm to other US citizens and the lack of any other legal alternative that would prevent that risk from occurring.   Absent that, I see no difference between what was done to Al-Awlaki and arranging to secretly poison him at home, placing a bomb in his car or simply paying someone to walk up to him in a mosque and blow his brains out.  

    We wouldn't think to do that to any other "dangerous" US citizen, like a certain LA ex-cop that is now being feted as a misunderstood whistle blower.  I wonder what people here would say if the LA police simply deemed him to be "dangerous" and targeted his Mom's dinner table in say, Pakistan, for a drone strike as he sat down for a secret Last Supper before turning himself in after hearing that he won't be harmed if he does, in fact, turn himself in.

    Many hands make light work, but light hearts make heavy work the lightest of all.

    by SpamNunn on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:23:29 AM PST

  •  "One death is a tragedy;a million is a statistic." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lying eyes, Words In Action

    Would Bush have been interested in a drone strike?  

    You know somehow I think Bush was way more interested in the Charge of the Light Brigade.  I think Bush liked the grand spectacle.  

    I don't think drone strikes interested him.

    guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

    by 88kathy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:25:48 AM PST

  •  The other question is the role of dissent... (11+ / 0-)

    and Americans. Do we dissent of policies that limit and strip human rights of Americans and world citizens? Why play the role of policy defense of such actions? Leave that to the well paid and hired assistants, consultants and political appointees and hacks. Our job is to dissent and strengthen democracy, not to assist in its weakening.

  •  One quick response (20+ / 0-)

    One of the dumbest, most disrespectful responses I can receive to this piece is "if Bush did it you'd be screaming bloody murder."

    It is stupid because I have a long history of criticizing Obama for things Bush did.

    It is also stupid because I did not always criticize Bush on legal grounds for his war policies. For example, I always found idiotic the argument often made that the Iraq Debacle was illegal under US law because "Congress id not declare war." The Iraq AUMF of September 2002 was the Constitutional equivalent. This line of argument was stupid and I said so at the time.

    The use of this critique reveals an inability to engage in the argument presented in the post. It demonstrates the limitations of the commenter. There are sound arguments to be made against the Obama Administration's targeted killings policies. Both on the law and the policy.

    Say "if Bush did it you'd be screaming bloody murder is not one of  them."

    My last word on that idiotic argument.

    •  To be sure (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      srkp23, gchaucer2, Chitown Kev, Quicklund

      There are many fine questions and responses so far as well.

      But I will adhere to the space giving for discussion and respond after a critical mass is formed.

      I sometimes have the inadvertent effect of shutting down discussion with my responses.

      I wish to avoid that.

    •  uprated for bogus HR. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gchaucer2, GoGoGoEverton

      Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

      by jiffypop on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:40:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are no sound arguments in favor (7+ / 0-)

      of the terror campaign you've decided to defend.

      "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

      by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:18:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you support it now, (6+ / 0-)

      All your arguments will still apply when the Palin administration begins killing anyone it chooses.

      Yes, anyone. The memo that says capture has to be infeasible was an executive branch creation and can be changed any time the executive branch chooses.

      •  "anyone it chooses" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NLinStPaul, CS in AZ, Quicklund, Adam AZ

        The Congress chose, not the president.

        The Congress also chose to allow the President to decide who fits the definition of who should be killed.

        Factual accuracy is helpful in this discussion.

        •  You contradict yourself (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Nada Lemming, majyqman

          You wrote: "The Congress also chose to allow the President to decide who fits the definition of who should be killed."

          Therefore, if President Palin chose you, your arguments would be just as valid an excuse for your own death. Not that I agree with your arguments one bit, and let us hope you are never hoist on your own petard, but if your arguments stand, a right wing president could easily declare you a terrorist and then murder not just you, but your entire family.

          Well, at least it would most likely be quicker than being tortured to death. Unless you were trapped in the rubble and all slowly starved, hearing the pleas and pained cries of your loved ones but unable to do anything about it.

        •  I disagree, Congress has NO say on 'Terror Tuesday (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          420 forever, corvo, majyqman

          when Obama, Brennan and a few others pull out the playing cards to decide who lives and who dies. Congress has NO part in that, it is against the Constitution and in International law it is a war crime.
           It doesn't matter if this greatest evah god blessed gift to the universe exceptional Country passed a law saying it could blow up anyone anywhere, it remains a crime and I guess you've heard about THIS...
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

          UN to investigate civilian deaths from US drone strikes
          The United Nations is to set up a dedicated investigations unit in Geneva early next year to examine the legality of drone attacks in cases where civilians are killed in so-called "targeted" counter-terrorism operations.
          The announcement was made by Ben Emmerson QC, a UN special rapporteur, in a speech to Harvard law school in which he condemned secret rendition and waterboarding as crimes under international law. His forthright comments, directed at both US presidential candidates, will be seen as an explicit challenge to the prevailing US ideology of the global war on terror.

          Earlier this summer, Emmerson, who monitors counter-terrorism for the UN, called for effective investigations into drone attacks. Some US drone strikes in Pakistan may amount to war crimes, Emmerson warned.

          In his Harvard speech, he said: "If the relevant states are not willing to establish effective independent monitoring mechanisms … then it may in the last resort be necessary for the UN to act.

          More...
          "[It is] alleged that since President Obama took office at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. Christof Heyns … has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view."
          (all emphasis mine)

          without the ants the rainforest dies

          by aliasalias on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:43:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You first allegiance should be to principle... (7+ / 0-)

    not policy or politician. That's how you stay true to yourself...and strengthen democracy in the process.

  •  if and when a president kills Americans on (13+ / 0-)

    American soil, will you still be making the same arguments in defense of those actions?

    If Obama were to "determine" that you and your family "aided and abetted" terrorists and decide to take unilateral action, would you accept his summary judgment as due process carried out in accordance with the Constitution?

    If the president were to claim that all Americans born on a Thursday are terrorists, and subsequently declare, under the AUMF, that America is now at war with all Americans born on a Thursday, would you consider this legitimate? Would you support him if he deployed the US armed forces to fight this war?

    I don't think people will grasp the sweeping powers that the unitary executive has claimed until the president starts using these powers on American soil against Americans on a mass basis. And it will happen--possibly even under this president.

    The chickens will come home to roost. You can't export war and rain down missiles everywhere else without consequences. It will come back to America, and it will be very, very messy.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:31:37 AM PST

    •  And it isn't as if we hadn't already (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, OleHippieChick, aliasalias

      bombed Americans on American soil.

    •  I'm still reading links (11+ / 0-)

      and pondering the balanced argument above but -- it seems to me that Americans on American soil have a better shot at being tracked and captured and allowed due process rather than an American in a country where we have no "transparent" presence.

      I find these fantasy theories of mass murder of targeted Americans on American soil a bit CTish -- but that's just me.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:56:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the point is: is there any limit (4+ / 0-)

        on the president's power to unilaterally make war (i.e., summarily kill) anyone he declares an enemy of the state?

        Not one person supporting Obama's policies in this thread has so far argued that there is any limitation but the whim of the president himself--which is to say, no limitation at all.

        The examples may be silly, but they make clear an important point: the astonishing breadth of the powers that this administration claims.

        Americans on American soil have a better shot at being tracked and captured and allowed due process
        The whole thought process behind that phrasing is wrong, IMO.

        Rights are rights. The government cannot take them away just because you are out of the country and it's inconvenient for the government to ensure that your rights are upheld.

        Rights are supposed to be inalienable. That's what makes them rights, and not privileges.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:23:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Simple challenge to Armando (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Nada Lemming
          Not one person supporting Obama's policies in this thread has so far argued that there is any limitation but the whim of the president himself--which is to say, no limitation at all.
          Putting aside what the President is allowed to do and why, what limits exist on his power with this drone strike thing, or any other matter?

          What does Armando believe that the President does not have the power to do and in theory should be impeached and/or arrested for doing?

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:41:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Only some rights are inalienable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund

          In political philosophy, there is a differentiation between inalienable natural rights and legal rights or rights derived from a social contract.

        •  The PResident has no power to unilaterally (0+ / 0-)

          make war under the Constitution.

          In Libya, the President violated the Constitution.

          In the "war On Terror," he is authorized by the 2001 AUMF.

          Do facts matter in this debate?

        •  Waging war on my country (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam AZ, Kathy S, sviscusi

          is not a "right." You do that and your ass will get exploded by my President, and I don't care where you are at the time or whether or not you are a citizen.

          It's outlandish to me to think that U.S. citizens have magic invulnerability Constitution shields that let them wage war on my country without risk to their lives. Where did you ever get that idea?

          But to take your question a little more seriously -- why do you think that the judgment of the elected President, who is subject to impeachment and/or defeat in the next election, is a mere "whim"? You might as well say that people go to prison on the "whim" of judges, or that the EPA can shut down coal plants on its "whim." Each branch of government has areas of responsibility and has the obligation to make reasoned judgments in accordance with legal standards. Nobody is arguing that the President can ignore the legal standards laid out in the white paper, or can "pretend" to have a made a judgment in accordance with those standards while actually acting on a "whim." The argument is that if the president actually and in good faith judges that a target cannot feasibly be captured and is a threat and has joined an enemy force against whom Congress has authorized targeted killing, then the President can order a military strike against that person.  That is a real limitation. If you don't do those things, and the President has no reason to think you have, then he can't very bloody well "determine" otherwise, can he? If he did that, it certainly would be illegal.

        •  Yes (4+ / 0-)

          There are limits in the existing authorization as the diarist shows in the diary.

          One is, that person cannot be in a country which is w/in reach of a viable legal system. Being inside the USA, a country with a viable legal system, precludes a drone attack.

          But don't let that stop you from insisting that very thing will happen any day now.

          The done policy can be criticized on its own merits, without inventing invalid hypotheticals.

          •  WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            limpidglass
            There are limits in the existing authorization as the diarist shows in the diary.

            One is, that person cannot be in a country which is w/in reach of a viable legal system. Being inside the USA, a country with a viable legal system, precludes a drone attack.

            WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG

            Unfortunately there is no wrongquote button.

            Please leave this dairy forever and never return as penance for such a staggering misunderstanding of the situation and the gall to impose yourself despite such glaring incompetancies.

            The AUMF (http://news.findlaw.com/...) provides NO SUCH LIMITS.

            Did you mean the white paper referenced, or something? But that's not the AUMF... just what the administration believes they can get away with, and if they are allowed to, and they, or another administration, decide later that feasibility means a different thing to what YOU think it means...

            •  In fact, it doesn't matter if it never gets turned (0+ / 0-)

              around and applied in this way.

              It's not likely... but you know what? That doesn't matter, just that it's possible... but you know what? That doesn't matter, in and of itself, either...

              It just allows us to postulate on how you'd feel if it WAS applied in this way. Specifically if you were affected. And give you a chance to answer on whether you'd have any issues with it then.

              It seems you'd rather deny the possibility than provide that answer.

              Which gives us all the answer we need.

      •  I agree about CT. They aren't even carrying out.. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, Adam AZ, gchaucer2, sviscusi

        strikes overseas in areas where the local government had effective control.  They're happening in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but not in Islamabad; in the militia-controlled hinterlands of Yemen, but not in Sanaa; and in Somalia, which is almost entirely a government-free zone.

        Before I start buying into these left-wing versions of the TSA Death Squad conspiracies, there should be some slight amount of evidence that there are strikes happening in areas where the local government has effective police powers.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:37:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  new link for you, then, re using in CA cop search, (0+ / 0-)

        as of NOW -- with "elimination" to be result.
        knitting: i must learn it.

        "There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution." @Hugh Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

        by greenbird on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:14:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Armando has defended a terror campaign (7+ / 0-)

      being waged across half a dozen countries.

      This makes him, by his lights, an active participant in this "war".

      I doubt the US will hand him over.

      According to Armando, his support for terrorism makes him a valid military target and provides a perfectly valid excuse for an Al Queda government that gains control of Yemen to target him.

      If they detonate a 500 lb warhead at a wedding he's attending, killing 30 or 40 people, according to Armando that will not be a war crime.

      His public speech made him a combatant, and any civilian deaths are fine as long as you are targeting a combatant.  In fact, his reasoning would require us to praise Al Queda for not sending in armed men to do the job.

      The targeted bombing "saved lives", in his world.

      After all, his advocacy posed an "imminent threat".

      "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

      by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:24:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is a different case of course (6+ / 0-)

      The Posse Comitatus Act specifically prohibits what you describe.

      But let's not let facts stand in the way of hyperbole.

      •  depends on how you read it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias
        Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
        Posse comitatus is using the armed forces for domestic law enforcement. Warmaking is not law enforcement. Therefore, the prohibition against posse comitatus does not apply to presidential warmaking power--which, you have argued, is virtually unlimited under the AUMF.

        Or alternatively, an administration determined to find a pretext for doing as I suggest could argue that the AUMF gives them that "express authorization" stated above.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:26:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Posse comitatus? (0+ / 0-)

        Hasn't that ship already sailed when we used the military during Katrina?  Seems to me that many legalities that I took for granted growing up in this country are being thrown out the window with little regard to the consequences.

        Therefore, even though I disagree with your conclusions I commend you for starting this discussion.  It's high time that we have a vigorous debate on the core principles that the so called GWOT are based.  Drone assassinations are just one consequence of a profoundly disturbing changes in what was accepted as American norms.

        "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

        by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:28:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't believe it would happen, since (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pamelabrown, Quicklund, Adam AZ

      the "difficult/impossible to get to" criterion would not be met. Anyone in the US can be picked up in a matter of hours. They know where most of us are at any particular time, we're creatures of such habit. Do you think Obama is like Stalin or something?

      I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
      Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
      Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

      by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:13:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That criteron is also self imposed window dressing (0+ / 0-)

        ... it's not in the AUMF.

        It's there so they say "it wasn't feasible" to the, apparently, groveling responses of "well, all right then, as long as it might have been hard otherwise" (remember, they got OBL in the middle of pakistan... do you REALLY want to make the argument that any other target is harder?).

        Also, they decide what feasible is. Who, in this situation, do you contend has the power to question them on that determination (this might be the entire problem you're missing). Sure, they stretch it too far and people coming to their defense on this now might have their minds changed by the level of mockery... but then they do what, exactly? (Vote them out? Let's pretend for a second it's a Democratic president... you're going to vote in a Republican who now knows such actions only have consequences at the ballot box?)

        Oh, but did I meantion, it's not even required.

    •  America is under American legal jurisdiction (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam AZ, jdsnebraska, Argyrios

      So the existing policy has nothing to do with the leading hypothetical your offer us.

      And it will happen--possibly even under this president.
      173,482nd sky reported to be falling on DK. Yet the starts at night shine clear and bright clapclapclapclap deep in the heart of Texas.
  •  I don't see you discussing "imminent" (18+ / 0-)

    and the fact that the white paper allows for that to be at some undetermined time in the future

    few would argue that were an attack about to happen the US government not only has the right but has the obligation to preempt that attack by striking first

    but what standards are used, and by whom, to determine if this necessary standard of an imminent threat is being met?

    By itself I find that more than troubling, and perhaps undermining the entire rationale to justify many drone strikes

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:31:47 AM PST

    •  orwellian (12+ / 0-)

      is it self-defense if, say, I'm African American and I learn that somebody is a member of a racist hate group so I find him and kill him in cold blood? Because he had ties to an organization that might be plotting violence against me? Would that hold up in court? I don't like this idea that if you can tie someone to a group that is deemed a terrorist organization they are de facto an imminent threat and you are justified in killing them with no due process.

      "Today is who you are" - my wife

      by I Lurked For Years on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:53:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That seems to be the shakiest legal ground. (0+ / 0-)

      One observation: the definition of imminent within an ongoing state of war is different from that outside of a war situation.

      In a war, anyone on the other side is presumed to be able to turn around and shoot you at any moment.  Obviously, this cannot work as the standard of imminence outside of a war.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:33:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  killing is immoral if unnecessary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky, native

      and practically by definition, a drone killing is unnecessary. no imminent threat. not even an attempt in retrospect to justify it.

      as i get older the argument gets simpler, killing a human being is immoral if it is unnecessary.

      war is immoral. both parties are now fully complicit in the wars. bring everyone home. get to work.

      by just want to comment on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:38:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I do not believe the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Militarytracy

      "imminence" concept is significant to the legal analysis.

      It is, in my view, political window dressing.

      •  While I am not a lawyer, I think it is essential (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, Little

        the justification in international law for a preemptive strike is to prevent an imminent attack.  Thus most would accept what Israel did in the 6-day war because the Arab forces were massing for an attack, and Nasser had already forced UN forces out from the post at the end of the Gulf of Eilat.

        I would be very interested to see if someone like Eugen Fidell would agree with you that it is not essential to the analysis.  I suspect he would disagree, and this is very much in his bailiwick.

        I know David Cole disagrees with you, but then I would expect him to strongly oppose any such action regardless of how strong the legal rationalization.

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:28:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks and why I strongly disagree with you (16+ / 0-)

    Thanks for taking the time to develop this essay. I hope it will lead to a fuller discussion of the drone issue on this site.

    The fundamental problem, in my point of view, is the 2001 AUMF. When the Consitution was adopted, war was a state that was declared regarding a specific nation; it began with that legal notice and ended with a peace agreement. The Revolution had just ended with such an agreement with Britain and this kind of conflict is what the framers had in mind when describing the president's role. They designated him as commander-in-chief when the armed forces were called into actual service, i.e. a declared war.

    Even in such declared wars, the killing of persons who were in actual armed combat was not considered legal. Court martials were required for the execution of spies and deserters. When such a killing became public knowledge, as in Fort Pillow during the Civil War or My Lai in Viet Nam, court proceedings followed. The president was never empowered to decide on the killing of specific individuals. Never.

    Even in our darkest moments, for example when US troops massacred Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee, there was no attempt to justify such actions. There were cover-ups, yes, but no legal precedent for such crimes

    The AUMF is not a declaration of war, although its apologists claim it is the constitutional equivalent to such. It is, in fact, a ceding of dictatorial power to the president, whoever he may be for however long it is before the AUMF is repealed. It is no surprise that media and politicians now routinely refer to the president as "our commander in chief" as if we all were his troops.

    Thus, to support Obama's drone and surveillance policies, as you and many Democrats now do, is to endorse de facto dictatorial powers for all future presidents. Obama sees a threat in a collection of houses in Yemen; the next president may see one in Brooklyn and will have no legal restraint if he deems it advisable to send a cruise missile into a apartment house on Flatbush Avenue.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:32:13 AM PST

    •  correction (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguins4peace, blueoasis, aliasalias

      First sentence in paragraph 3 above should read:

      Even in such declared wars, the killing of persons who were NOT in actual armed combat was not considered legal

      If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

      by Valatius on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:35:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Congress itself says an AUMF is a dec. of war. (4+ / 0-)

      Congress passed the War Powers Act, and defined an AUMF as a legal equivalent of an old-fashioned war declaration.  Since Congress is constitutionally-empowered to make the decision about declaring war, it is up to them how they use that power.

      Every President who has ever acted under a Congressional AUMF has recognized it as the equivalent of a traditional declaration, legally.

      The Supreme Court has accepted these arguments.

      And the UN and Red Cross have always recognized wars conducted under AUMFs, from the Korean War to the Gulf War, as having the same legal status as thought conducted under a traditional declaration.

      So that's all three branches of the U.S. government, plus those bodies that enforce international law, who disagree with you.  I suppose we can just dismiss them all as "apologists?"

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:31:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The fundamental problem is (4+ / 0-)

      the 2001 AUMF.

      Absolutely.

    •  Absolutely wrong on this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, Quicklund, jdsnebraska

      "Thus, to support Obama's drone and surveillance policies, as you and many Democrats now do, is to endorse de facto dictatorial powers for all future presidents."

      You identified the AUMF as the problem and then write this.

      Putting these 2 thoughts together makes no sense.

      Congress passed it, not the President.

      NOT dictatorial powers.

      •  AUMF gave dictaorial powers to the president (0+ / 0-)

        My point is that Congress gave dictatorial powers to the president when it passed the 2001 AUMF. This particular AUMF differs from those authorizing the Korean or Gulf Wars is that it is utterly open-ended since no nation is designated. Any group practicing "terrorism" is the target and there will never be an end to such groups. What we term terrorism is always the tactic employed by groups who cannot match the the more effective weaponry of their opponents: the IRA, the Irgun, the Algerian FLN, the Mau Mau and on and on. These groups employed assassination and planted bombs, in part, because they lacked aircraft and artillery. The tactic also appealed to them because none of these groups had widespread popular support among the people they were  supposedly fighting for.

        Terrorism is the weapon of choice for the weaker side in a conflict. You could even argue that the use of drones is terrorism employed by the US because it lacks the ability to defeat the conventional forces of the Taliban and various other irregular armed groups in places like Yemen and Somalia.

        If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

        by Valatius on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:24:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I suppose a principle reason (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      for the general acceptance of the AUMF has been widespread agreement that Islamic terrorists pose an immanent threat to the USA. I have never believed this to be true.

  •  I think the biggest concern (3+ / 0-)

    in the targeted killing program is lack of oversight.  And as you note, no such oversight exists.  The AUMF is overly broad, and I have always thought it was a blank check to the executive.

    The courts have no say in military decision-making, as has been traditionally the case under the political question doctrine.  So the oversight responsibilities are left up to Congress.  They don't seem to want to do anything, so the executive is left to his own devices.

    I personally do not have any problem with the death of Anwar al-Awlaki as an individual case.  I certainly sympathize with the concerns that a different president could in theory expand upon the use of these powers.  But it's really up to Congress to reign in this power by curtailing the AUMF or setting up some kind of panel that gives another opinion on targeted killing policies.

    •  Congress is doing better lately. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdsnebraska

      It was Congress that demanded the white paper, and they have gotten other information out of the administration as a result of the Brennan hearings.

      I agree that Congressional oversight is the key here.  They need to keep a close eye on what the executive is doing with the power the legislature granted to them, and the funds they authorized them to use.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:26:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My concern about ai-Awlaki (0+ / 0-)

      Is that there is no evidence he was planning an attack.  So how was he imminent danger?  

      Seems to me that there must be some oversight.  Whether its the courts, a special panel or Congress is not something I thought through.  But leaving it to the CIA / White House is not good enough IMHO.  

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:43:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So what if other countries decide to (8+ / 0-)

    Assassinate potential threats in US soil using drones? Would you be ok with the collateral damage, because it's a "war"? I never really understood this idea that Americans can just bomb whatever country they feel like, with little regard to transparency and civilian lives, and expect no backlash whatsoever.  I can only imagine the outrage if the opposite was happening. This has to be one of the worst diaries I've ever read on the GOS FP. To call this a disappointment is an understatement.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:32:41 AM PST

    •  Assuming those countries have a legal cassus belli (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Quicklund

      then it would, indeed, be perfectly legal for them to use drones against American military commanders and other combatants.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:24:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Our attacks are (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, corvo, Nada Lemming

        all the Cassus Belli they need.  We served up their Cassus BellI on a silver platter.

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

        by Johnny Q on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:25:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  All of those governments have approved them. (2+ / 0-)

          The Yemeni government, the Somali government, and the Pakistani government have all authorized the counter-terror strikes in their territory.  In the case of the Awlaki strike, the Yemeni government actually took credit for it when it first happened.

          So, no, not really.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:47:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, when a future administration in Afghanistan (0+ / 0-)

            passes their own version of a AUMF authorizing the killing of any individual associated with any organization responsible for (name any time civilians were killed in Afghanistain, let's say pregnant women)...

            ...with no timeframe constraints on that association...

            ... and let's ignore the fact they will be swatted like flies in response...

            ...you will consider there to be no legal problem if they take out a few presidents, past and current?

            No? Because the U.S. government didn't assent? You'll note it's not a legal requirement... just something that's happened so far.

            How about if it's and Afghani citizen the U.S. is harboring? And what if they were visiting the whitehouse when the strike hit?

            Still no problem? Of course you'd have a problem, because your side of this argument falls down IMMEDICATELY upon the actors being reversed.

            •  Did my entire comment go over your head? (0+ / 0-)

              I just explained that the governments in those countries had authorized the strikes.

              Why are you asking me about a situation in which a foreign government conducts hostile operations, without our approval, in our territory?

              That is exactly the opposite of what was written the comment you replied to.

              And, so, I don't have the slightest interest in answering you.

              WTF?

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:33:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Assented because they are puppets. (0+ / 0-)

                Assented through fear.
                Or were deemed too incompetant/unwilling to comply.

                Note how that last one will work in my example.

              •  Also: (0+ / 0-)
                Why are you asking me about a situation in which a foreign government conducts hostile operations, without our approval, in our territory?
                Like the raid that got OBL?

                Right?

                Or wasn't that legal?

              •  Crickets... right? (0+ / 0-)

                I understood what you were attempting to claim, I acknowledged it:

                No? Because the U.S. government didn't assent? You'll note it's not a legal requirement... just something that's happened so far.
                Because the argument has been made (by the diarist) that any government either unwilling or unable to assist in the capture of people another government deems threats to them can have their sovereignty violated...

                I just want to know how you'd feel about that.

                On a related note. Was the OBL raid legal?

    •  It's actually an argument that Pakistan should (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen, aliasalias, corvo

      legally be free to bomb a wedding Brennan is attending, since he's clearly an imminent threat to Pakistani civilians.

      "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

      by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:25:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's just it, isn't it. The stupidity evident in (0+ / 0-)

        the claims that all this has happened where:

        1) The governments have assented

        2) The governments have no control/refuse to help

        So therefor it's all perfectly legal...

        Is that every government not in the first... is in the second!

        and obviously the U.S. would refuse to help/show through their actions they have no desire or control over stopping Brennan from causing harm to their civilians....

    •  American Exceptionalism, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, corvo, 420 forever

      doncha know.

    •  Why would I be ok with it? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund

      And what does my being "ok with it" have to do with whether it complied with the laws of war?

      There are basic concepts of law that are missing from your comment.

  •  This "war" also justifies their terrorist acts (6+ / 0-)

    As long as we ourselves state that this is a global war, we legitimize their retaliation.  

    •  As a matter of international law, (4+ / 0-)

      no US military activity justifies retaliation by al-Qaeda because al-Qaeda is not permitted to launch armed attacks.  Only nation-states may do that.

      •  Pakistan is a particularly ambiguous case (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NLinStPaul, jdsnebraska, Quicklund

        of a nation state involved in a proxy war with us through stateless actors. I think that this ambiguity is at the crux of the dilemma that heads of state must deal with. How does a nation declare war against stateless, terrorist organizations?

        •  International law (3+ / 0-)

          permits armed conflict between a nation-state and a non-state actor as a matter of self-defense.

          The UN even affirmed our conflict against al-Qaeda.

          •  Okay, so then what is everybody crying about? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jdsnebraska, Quicklund

            I agree that there needs to be a check on the determination of who is a terrorist and who is not, but as I understand it, Congress can play some role in that determination.

            •  I have no idea. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fou, Quicklund

              Apparently, judging by the comments here, al-Qaeda was merely defending itself against American imperialism when they killed 3000 Americans, and that we have no right to respond. /eyeroll

              Totally agree that Congress should do something.

              •  We DID respond (0+ / 0-)

                What's in question is the proportionality of the response and using the deaths on 9/11 as an excuse for a perpetual state of war which can be used to justify almost anything anywhere.

                •  Nobody is justifying anything anywhere. (2+ / 0-)

                  That's ridiculous.  One of the first things Obama did when he took office was to outlaw our use of torture; so such hyperbole is not at all useful.

                  We live in a complex world in which real threats to our way of life exist.  That's a fact, not a fiction.  One could argue that we should not use force outside of conventional warfare with another nation state, but that course of action would cost lots of lives as well.  

                  My question to you is: what should we do to defend ourselves against stateless actors who seek to harm us?

                  •  Play by the rules don't make a mockery of them (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    aliasalias, Nada Lemming

                    If we are always at war, we are never at war.  We do NOT face a threat to our way of life.   Our way of life includes putting up with a level of violent death that most civilized nations find deplorable.  But we shrug and go back to the movies and the middle school.  

                    I believe the rare exception proves the rule.  Sure, there may be rare times when intelligence really does uncover a clear and present danger of an horrific atrocity, and if so you do what you need to do.  But you don't declare perpetual war to get out of playing by the rules.

                    So Obama outlawed torture and uses execution instead.  Swell.   But how many Iraqi civilian died because we pretended we were fighting the WOT?  A hundred thousand?  

                    Drones are the least of it, the "war" is the problem.  

                    •  What rules? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      fou

                      1) I think this essay and comment thread make it clear that the "rules" are murky at best and contradictory at least.

                      2) I don't think you answered the above question clearly enough: " what should we do to defend ourselves against stateless actors who seek to harm us?"   Play by the rules is ambiguous.  What is your preferred course of action?

                      I'm a mushroom. Kept in the dark and fed....you know

                      by The Voice from the Cave on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:56:16 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Your question is also ambiguous (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        majyqman

                        Statelesss?  Others here claim that the stateless states of Yemen, Somali etc. authorized us to use force.  So does stateless even apply or is it just an excuse?  

                        Seek to harm us?  That someone in a desert somewhere would seek to harm me in theory has nothing to do with whether or not there is a chance in hell of me being harmed in actual fact.  

                        I accepted the need to retaliate after 9/11.  I accepted the need to find those who planned the attacks.  But I totally reject this perpetual war.  Whether it is a pretense to invade Iraq and kill hundreds of thousands of innocents as as a result or drones or whatever.  I mean are we the ONLY nation on earth which has carte blanche to declare ourselves ALWAYS at war?  Funny isn't it that we think we NEED to ALWAYS be at war.  Could it be something we keep doing that makes us fear that others have a reason to hate us?  Actions do have consequences but we want to declare ourselves immune from the consequences of our meddling everywhere.

                        Besides, we don't need any white paper or any b.s. authorization for perpetual war to justify defense in the case of a real and present imminent threat of attack.  

                        Outside of such a clear and present danger, we should follow international law and get a grip.   I mean I still go to the movies even though no one is going to stop some lunatic from mowing me down with an assault rifle.  And that is one heck of a lot more likely than me being killed by some goofball half way around the globe.

      •  That's simply not true. A people are free to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, corvo, majyqman

        fight against a foreign invader, whether or not they are in the employ of a state.

        Geneva covered this, because the Axis nations argued that partisans were de-facto "illegal combatants".

        As long as they bear their arms openly, their resistance is legal and they are bound by the same laws of war as anyone else and must be treated as POWs if captured unless they are proven as individuals to have violated the laws of war.  

        Under Geneva, you can't strip someone of that status just be ID'ing them as being part of some group.  We couldn't blanket-convict the whole SS, for example.

        Those are the rules if this is a war.  Those sure aren't the rules we've been following.

        That being said, this isn't a war.  It's a fight against a large international criminal enterprise.

        We don't get to blow up villages to get crime bosses.

        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:30:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Was the UN wrong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund

          when they affirmed the US's right to engage in armed conflict against al-Qaeda?

          They're the ones that killed 3000 Americans on American soil.  It's the right of a nation-state to respond in-kind.  Al-Qaeda is not defending itself against foreign invaders.

          •  We have not invaded Afghanistan. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, majyqman

            Of course not.

            Never happened.

            Probably not Iraq, either.

            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:44:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Non-sequitur. (2+ / 0-)

              You are claiming that al-Qaeda is defending itself against US aggression, which is disturbing on its own.  Al-Qaeda was not acting in "self-defense" when it killed 3000 Americans.  Armed non-state groups get almost no rights under international law, other than basic human rights.

              •  Actually, I'm arguing with the claim that only (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                limpidglass, triv33, corvo

                state actors can lawfully engage in armed conflict.

                Armed non-state groups get almost no rights under international law, other than basic human rights.
                You can feel free to keep repeating yourself, but I've read the entire Geneva Conventions.

                Start here.  It's not complicated.

                http://www.icrc.org/...

                "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:00:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Unlawful combatants (0+ / 0-)

                  are those who do not fulfill these conditions (from your own link):

                  (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subor-dinates ;
                  (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
                  (c) that of carrying arms openly;
                  (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
                  Al-Qaeda obviously fails B and D.  They are not a uniformed militia and they attack civilians almost exclusively.  They have no right to engage in armed conflict.  International law only recognizes the ability of a nation-state to engage in armed conflict.  Al-Qaeda does not get to.  Their participation of hostilities is a war crime.  Their only option is to stop their jihad and lay down their arms.
                  •  Again. You argued that only states have a right (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    limpidglass, triv33, corvo

                    under international law to engage in hostilities.

                    You are wrong.

                    Nothing you have cited says that forces rising to resist foreign invasion must be acting with the authorization of a state.

                    That's because they don't have to be.

                    "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                    by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:21:59 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Al-Qaeda is not resisting foreign invasion. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      The Voice from the Cave

                      They are stateless terrorist group that kills civilians.

                      More light reading:

                      International humanitarian law permits members of the armed forces of a State party to an international armed conflict and associated militias who fulfil the requisite criteria to directly engage in hostilities. They are generally considered lawful, or privileged, combatants who may not be prosecuted for the taking part in hostilities as long as they respect international humanitarian law. Upon capture they are entitled to prisoner of war status.

                      If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered " unlawful " or " unprivileged " combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action.

                      Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned in wartime, may be interrogated and may be prosecuted for war crimes. Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of the enemy.

                      Civilians may not lawfully engage in hostilities.  Only uniformed armed forces of a state may do so.  International law clearly favors recognized states.
                      •  A brief synopsis from the ICRC is not the (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Mr Robert, corvo

                        conventions.

                        Skip the light reading, and head to the source.

                        Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
                        When you invade people, it is legal under international law for them to resist.

                        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:02:09 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The key phrase (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          The Voice from the Cave
                          provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
                          This does not apply to al-Qaeda, who kills civilians and is not resisting an invasion.

                          If you are looking for me to back down on the assertion that only a state may participate in armed conflict, I'll amend it to say that there are certain cases where civilians may act in self defense against invading forces, at which point they are treated as privileged combatants.

                          But insofar as al-Qaeda is the whole point of this discussion, the fact that they have no right to participate in armed conflict is unchanged.

                          •  The question at hand is whether or not any (0+ / 0-)

                            non-state actors can legitimately use force.

                            Parent up to the top of this thread.

                            I want you to admit that your statism is extremist.

                            I want you to admit that you're not aware of international law, and are just parroting shit Bush and Cheney spouted for 8 years.

                            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:32:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  Re (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, Nada Lemming
            when they affirmed the US's right to engage in armed conflict against al-Qaeda?
            Help me understand what "al-Qaeda" is and we can talk. As far as I know, it's a few thousand people, maybe less.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:49:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not according to the Geneva Conventions. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdsnebraska

      There is a great deal of international law defining who can legally engage in hostilities, and who cannot.

      Terrorist acts, and even non-terrorist acts of war committed by persons not authorized to engage in hostilities under the Geneva Conventions, are not legal.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:23:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Terrorist acts were engaged in (0+ / 0-)

      prior to drone strikes.

  •  So we must logically conclude (16+ / 0-)

    that if some US drone or other attack destroys some property and kills a few people in Yemen, and Yemen decides to pass their equivalent of the AUMF, that Yemen soldiers would have every right to assassinate every (at least high-level) official of the US Government and probably every US Congressperson and Senator, and destroy all buildings associated in some way with the Pentagon (at the very least).

    •  If Yemen were to declare war (5+ / 0-)

      you would be right that the could engage militarily, but they would do so at their own peril.

    •  Some government and many stateless (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell, Quicklund

      organizations have already declared for themselves that right. Many did so before the drone program.

      I'm sorry but I don't quite understand what you're getting at.

    •  Not Congress, but the President. (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, if Yemen were to declare war on the U.S., they could legally carry out acts of war against the U.S., including targeting people in the military chain of command, right up to the POTUS.  They could bomb the White House, and it would be perfectly legal.

      But legislators are not considered part of the chain of command.  They are civilians, who cannot be legally targeted.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:20:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But you've argued it's ok for the US to (15+ / 1-)

        bomb villages to try to kill enemy bloggers.

        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:33:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  HRed for CT. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sviscusi

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:38:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're arguing that we're not bombing villages (9+ / 0-)

            or that Anwar al-Aulaqi was not a blogger or that he was not the enemy?

            Or are you just trying to provide and example of what you see as "restraint"?

            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:43:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm stating that we aren't bombing people.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SoCalSal, jdsnebraska

              for being bloggers.

              Now, Awlaki was not merely a blogger. Abudulmuttallab testified that he was an operational commander, and helped organize the attempted bombing of a jetliner on Christmas Day.

              Once upon a time, he was just a propagandist - and once upon a time, he wasn't on the kill-or-capture list.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:45:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're arguing that the testimony of a (12+ / 0-)

                kid being threatened with death is all the proof you need that someone plotted an attack and should be assassinated?

                And you're accusing others of "CT"?

                "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:54:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It sure beats your imagination. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SoCalSal, Quicklund, jdsnebraska

                  I'm open to any evidence you have to demonstrate that the opinion of the intelligence services, backed up by the testimony of one of the bomb plotters himself, is wrong.

                  So far, all you've offered are excuses why we should ignore the available evidence and wishful thinking.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:57:07 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Re (11+ / 0-)
                    I'm open to any evidence you have to demonstrate that the opinion of the intelligence services, backed up by the testimony of one of the bomb plotters himself, is wrong.
                    After all, the intelligence services did such a great job locating all of Saddam Hussein's nuclear and chemical weapon stockpiles! They are completely trustworthy and completely above politics or telling people what they want to hear.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:59:17 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Actually, the Bushies had to spin the intel. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      indie17

                      Have you forgotten that already?  They had to heavily redact what the intel agencies said in order to change its meaning and make it appear to say something different than what it actually said.  Why are you letting the administration off the hook, and accepting their excuses about being mislead by the intelligence agencies?  Oh, right, because it's momentarily convenient for you to do so in a debate on the internet.

                      Anyway, I said I was open to evidence.  Excuses and snark are not evidence.

                      Art is the handmaid of human good.

                      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:04:54 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Re (8+ / 0-)
                        Why are you letting the administration off the hook, and accepting their excuses about being mislead by the intelligence agencies?  Oh, right, because it's momentarily convenient for you to do so in a debate on the internet.
                        Oh, I'm well aware of the administration's interferences. However, I am also aware that the intelligence agencies didn't have the integrity or the moral character to do anything but sit meekly by as the administration trashed their words and used their credibility to propagate lies to Congress and elsewhere. Hardly the people I trust with life and death decisions with no oversight.

                        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                        by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:18:40 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It's a good thing, then, that the WH oversees them (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          indie17

                          Didn't you see the NYT Times story from a few months ago about the review panel for these operations?

                          It's not the intel agencies who get to sign off on these things.  Each one is approved at the Presidential level, after an extensive review process involving approximately 100 people.

                          Which, I'm sure, won't matter in the slightest to you.

                          Art is the handmaid of human good.

                          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:42:32 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  So the threat isn't so imminent then? (6+ / 0-)

                            I mean if you're having this extensive review by 100 people?  Seems like they want it all ways.  I'd rather have them do what they need to do when they REALLY need to do it NOW which is probably darn rare, then have them creating this extensive repetitive bureaucratic process for the procedure of assassination.  

                          •  The imminence question is the one real issue here. (0+ / 0-)

                            They are clearly defining "imminent" in a manner different from how it is usually used.

                            Now, in a war setting, it is assumed that anyone on the other side could turn around and shoot you at any moment.  Obviously, that isn't going to cut it in a non-war setting.

                            If I had been on the committee that received that white paper, that would have been my first follow-up question: whether the definition of imminent they are using is limited to the Congressionally-declared war, or whether they are asserting the authority to use C-in-C powers against a threat that only  meets that definition of imminence.

                            Art is the handmaid of human good.

                            by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:46:48 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I trust... (7+ / 0-)

                            ...neither the intelligence agencies nor senior administration officials to do the right or competent thing in this regard. Nor do I trust the "100 people" if their activities are done in secret with no oversight, especially if the President can fire them at any time.

                            As an American, I have a duty not to trust the administration and to make them prove their case all the time. There have been countless examples of bad policy, malicious administration officials, stove piped intel, and propaganda. Let them prove that their activities are legit, or forget it.

                            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                            by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:21:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'd like to see tighter Congressional oversight... (0+ / 0-)

                            to make sure the executive is going about its business the right way - for instance, to make sure they are actually following procedure, and are applying an appropriate level of critical analysis of the claims from the CIA.

                            But in terms of ongoing operations, you can't have a Congressional panel signing off on every one of these decisions.  That's just not what legislatures are for.

                            Art is the handmaid of human good.

                            by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:48:59 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  And the Intelligence Agencies you value so highly (7+ / 0-)

                        let the Bushies do that.

                        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:53:17 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  They worked for him. Of course they did. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          jdsnebraska, sviscusi

                          I wonder, do you have anything other than ad homimem fallacies (yeah but look who said that, yeah but we can't trust who said that) to add to this discussion?

                          Because that's all I've seen from you - excuses to ignore the evidence based on you not liking who provided it.

                          Art is the handmaid of human good.

                          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:44:10 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The point is... (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Nada Lemming, corvo, priceman, JesseCW

                            ...we have no reason to trust the administration and many reasons to distrust them. Both the administration and intel services have fallen down on the job before. No reason they won't do it again, and in fact, no reason to believe they aren't doing it right now again!

                            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                            by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:48:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Errors are made in the prosecution of every war. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            jdsnebraska

                            Libertarians argue this way about government activities that they don't approve of, too.  "This Interior Department panel made a bad call in an Endangered Species Act finding!  This HUD grant was misspent!"

                            You can't allow the inability of government to paralyze it from doing a necessary job.  Usually, when people make these arguments, it's because they are against doing that job at all - see the libertarians - and the objections they raise are a smokescreen.

                            You talk about there not being oversight of the CIA, I point out that there is oversight, but then you say that that oversight isn't good enough.  Be honest: is there any oversight that allowed the executive to fight a war that you would consider adequate?

                            Art is the handmaid of human good.

                            by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:53:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Re (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Nada Lemming, JesseCW, PhilJD
                            Libertarians argue this way about government activities that they don't approve of, too.  "This Interior Department panel made a bad call in an Endangered Species Act finding!  This HUD grant was misspent!"
                            This isn't HUD spending or potentially misspent business development loans. This is life and death decisions being made by the government! The government's powers to deal out life and death are explicitly outlined in the Constitution.
                            You can't allow the inability of government to paralyze it from doing a necessary job.  Usually, when people make these arguments, it's because they are against doing that job at all - see the libertarians - and the objections they raise are a smokescreen.
                            I certainly don't expect the government to "do the job" of killing American or non-American citizens who do not pose an immediate threat without a trial. That's what some of us like to call "a crime", not "a job".
                            You talk about there not being oversight of the CIA, I point out that there is oversight, but then you say that that oversight isn't good enough.  Be honest: is there any oversight that allowed the executive to fight a war that you would consider adequate?
                            Oversight of life and death cannot be only in the executive branch of the government. There needs to be a judge involved, the government needs to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the judge needs to be able to order the government to release the person or not kill them, and no matter how much the President disagrees, he must be bound by that decision.

                            That's what the "rule of law" is.

                            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                            by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:11:28 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's not the rule of law. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ballerina X, indie17

                            Military decision-making has ALWAYS been SOLELY in the hands of the executive, when authorized by Congress.

                            Even if Pres. Obama got on his knees and begged Scalia to authorize a drone strike, Scalia can't do it, because no court in the country has the jurisdiction or knowhow to authorize such a thing.

                            And further, there is no burden of proof in warfare like there is in a court of law.

                            What you describe is not the state of the law in this country.  If you want to change it to something more like what you suggest, an act of Congress is a good place to start.

                          •  This is beyond ridiculous. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW

                            You almost have to be intentionally and perniciously ignoring the differences between the HUD grant and the bombing of a wedding to even begin to typ that out.

                            The process for the HUD grant can be reviewed & refined publically.
                            Noone died.
                            The funding can be directed to a more worthy project in future.
                            We haven't invented ressurection yet.
                            It probably did some good, just not quite the most efficient good.
                            Noone died.

                            ...

                          •  You're sincerely arguing that government cannot (0+ / 0-)

                            function unless allowed to act in secret and given blind trust?

                            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:10:55 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You believe our intelligence agencies work for (0+ / 0-)

                            current President, and not for us.

                            But you also believe we should simply accept as truth anything they tell us.

                            Seems weird to me.

                            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:08:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  You place your faith in the Intelligence Services (9+ / 0-)

                    that threw hundreds of innocent men and young boys into GITMO?

                    What you've got is the testimony of a person who was threatened with the death penalty honoring the terms of his plea bargain.

                    If you think that's got a lot of weight, I hope to hell you never sit on a jury in a criminal case.

                    "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                    by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:02:30 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So, no evidence then. Just some excuses. (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sviscusi, SoCalSal, Quicklund, jdsnebraska

                      In this particular case, the conclusion that the intelligence agencies had already drawn from other sources of intel was then confirmed.

                      But you've come up with a pretty little reason to ignore that, and just check your gut about what you want to be true.

                      You know, it's funny - this started off with you making a very confident assertion that Awlaki was just a blogger.  Of course, you can't be stirred to produce even the most slender reed of evidence for that claim - you're quite happy just to take it on faith.

                      But you sure are chock-full of excuses why any evidence that refutes your preferred narrative should be ignored.

                      Art is the handmaid of human good.

                      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:08:08 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Wait. You're thinking that it's my job (11+ / 0-)

                        to produce credible evidence that a person is innocent and should not be assassinated?

                        You think the burden lies on the "don't assassinate" argument?

                        You think "I trust the star chamber and the evidence I will never see" is the reasoned position to take here?

                        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:20:37 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I think it's your job to back up your claims, yes. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          jdsnebraska

                          You made a charge.  Back it up, or stop talking.

                          I'm not interested in your excuses why you don't have to back up your claims.  Put up or shut up: you made a charge; can you back it up, or not?

                          The answer, apparently, is "Not."  Bye bye.

                          Art is the handmaid of human good.

                          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:32:40 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  NO! He called him a "enemy blogger"... YOU are the (1+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW
                            Hidden by:
                            indie17

                            one who contended he was more than that...

                            SO THE BURDEN OF PROOF RESTS WITH YOU TO PROVE THAT HE WAS A TARGET WORTHY OF ASSASSINATION.

                            Your proof? The government said so.

                            Not good enough.

                            YOU have to prove it.

                            That's what you just now required of your opposition in this debate, so if you have a problem with it kindly STFU, k?

                            Or, more realistically (i.e. a bit away from your positions) if you're going to rely on the governments says so (via a scared young man)... then that's the position from which you get to be caleld from, and Star Chamber is perfectly apt. You lost now, kthxbye.

                          •  Kindly provide the reason for the HR? (0+ / 0-)

                            You got none?

                            Good, get rid of it.

                            Sorry, how does one report such abuses?

                          •  You're making the claim that a man merited (0+ / 0-)

                            assassination without trial.

                            You really think the burden rests on those who disagree with your desire for death?

                            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:12:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh, and I've that burden. Want to see some more? (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          jdsnebraska, indie17

                          The 9/11 Commission found that Awlaki bought airline tickets for three of the hijackers.

                          And then there's the testimony of Morton Storm.

                          This is in addition to the testimony of Abdulmuttallab.

                          And the other evidence that the CIA had which led them to recruit Storm in the first place.

                          But you can't be bothered to actually educate yourself about any of that.  You're too busy ginning up excuses why should ignore it.

                          Art is the handmaid of human good.

                          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:35:49 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Did you really just say "the testimony of (0+ / 0-)

                            Morton Storm"?

                            You're talking about wholly owned properties of the CIA telling a story the CIA wants told, and calling it evidence.

                            How can you sincerely fail to see what's wrong with that?

                             

                            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:18:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  the (6+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        poligirl, corvo, priceman, triv33, majyqman, JesseCW

                        Britney Spears defense doesn't work for non dead enders.  If you're going to assassinate an American a judge should have some oversight.  Even the FISA court would be better than executive kill squads.  What kind of bloodlust does it require to think this way?  What if Bush were still president?  You would be OK with this?

                        We are in the dying days of our republic and people with worldviews like yours let Bin Laden win.  History will not be kind to Obama.  

                        •  Judges don't get oversight in wars. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          jdsnebraska

                          You're confusing the police powers with the war powers.

                          Do you think we held trials for the people we shot at in any other war?

                          BTW, Bush did do this.  He launched the first drone strike into Yemen, killing three al Qaeda terrorists, including one was an American.  My thought at the time was, "Good.  I wish he would do this, instead of the warmongering about Iraq that they seem to be ginning up."

                          History is going to revere Obama as one of our greatest Presidents.  I don't think history is going to make much of a note of his critics at all, beyond observing how incredibly poorly-informed and outlandish they were.

                          Art is the handmaid of human good.

                          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:40:05 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  we are not at war in Yemen (7+ / 0-)

                            Honestly.  Turn back the clock and this exactly the rhetoric used by Rhumsgeld, Bolton and Cheney.  Nice company you have there.  

                          •  Yes, we are. We are at war with al Qaeda in Yemen. (0+ / 0-)

                            You can throw around petty insults all you want, but when you combine them with such obvious factual errors, it tends to take the sting out of them.

                            But then again, if you had a solid knowledge base and were able to hold up your end in a debate, you probably wouldn't feel the need to engage in petty insults and attempts at shaming.  Those are the tactics of the desperate.

                            Art is the handmaid of human good.

                            by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:42:49 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  OK (5+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            corvo, priceman, majyqman, JesseCW, PhilJD

                            Please, since you are doing such a good job defending the Bush administration's war crimes in continuance and furtherance under Obama, please help the president write his public apology to Dick Cheney.  All this time I thought Cheney was a cartoon villian, a ghoul from Saturday horror shows, a latter day Mussolini.  But no, it turns out, we really always were at war with eastasia.  And Obama really really likes the tools they left behind, just like Uncle Dick predicted.  

                          •  If I attempt to shame (0+ / 0-)

                            It,s because aI find your rhetoric shameful.m We are not in a global war with Al Quaeda.  You are being fed lies.  Our own defense secretary has said they're all but wiped out.  Arab Spring showed the future, not AQ.  We don't want democracy to take hold, so we send more drones to stir more shit up so we can buy more bombs.  Wash rinse repeat.
                              Double tap strikes are orchestrated for maximum terror effect.  Wake up.  

                          •  No, there's authorization to use military force (0+ / 0-)

                            against those responsible for 9/11 or those harboring them.

                            Firstly, I think you'd find the assent of many of these places would evaporate if that wouldn't immediately place them in the same category...

                            ...but that aside, it requires that that force ONLY be used against those intended...

                            And who is going to decide if someone is or not? (other than I'm sure bombing first responders was a war crime no matter if you're usually "legally" allowed to not care about the innocents around your target)

                            You say a judge can not?

                            Well... when the President chooses... no, not you, a member of your family, and you're injured in the blast that obliterates them and half your family at your birthday.

                            Who cares that he was wrong? Because what the HELL do you think you could do about it? You've just argued for its legality!

                            And don't say "that's neve going to happen"... because that's not the issue... it's how you'd feel about it if it did. And unlikely or not, it's no different than what is being done now.

                        •  The ad hominem defense doesn't work for anyone. (0+ / 0-)

                          Rejecting evidence out of hand, regardless of how well it's confirmed, because you don't like the person saying it is taught as a logical fallacy in freshman year logic.

                          Art is the handmaid of human good.

                          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:45:41 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  I'd argue that the threshold for proof (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jdsnebraska

                  Doesn't have to be the same as "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of evidence needed for a criminal conviction and that it is probably acceptable for the requirement to be significantly lower.

                  •  I know that. You want to create a new legal (0+ / 0-)

                    status that makes it's very easy to assassinate anyone a US President deems to be an enemy.

                    You want extra-scary boogiemens to be denied the protections afforded criminals on the one hand, and combatants on the other.

                    You made that clear.

                    So did Cheney.

                    "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                    by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:22:31 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  uprated (5+ / 0-)

            Because you're hiding someone you're in an argument with.  I'll remove my uprate when you remove your HR.

          •  Don't try reason with a serial strawman bigamist. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jdsnebraska

            You'll just end up attending several more strawman weddings. And if you think a Roman Catholic wedding ceremony with all options seems to be intermidable. . .

            •  You right wing "hawks" certainly haven't (0+ / 0-)

              fared well in this diary.

              You've screamed "straw man" a lot and done a lot of whimpering about how unfair it is that no one is embracing you advocacy of terror strikes...but you haven't changed any minds or created the space you wanted by weakening resistance to the crimes you advocate.

              It's a failure.

              "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

              by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:25:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Yemen gives the US permission for drones (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdsnebraska

      So why would they go to war with the US over a policy they support?

      But to answer the silly hypothetical. Yes, if Yemen or any other nation went to war with the US, and they could use drones on us, I would expect them to do so.

      furthermore, I expect every future US enemy to have just that capabilty.

      Robots in war are here to stay. Many posters are in denial about this.

  •  Question/Clarification about use of drones Armando (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, fou, Quicklund

    In part of your analysis you say the following.  It is unclear to me what you are trying to say, so I was hoping you could clarify.

    "This consideration is also important to the minimization of casualties of civilians. To many, the use of drones leads to larger civilian casualties to than drones. I think this is, at best, unproven, and more likely, wrong.

    I think there are some editing improvements that could help clarify.  Thanks.  Interesting analysis so far.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:34:07 AM PST

  •  We Nuked Hiroshima. So That Happened. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, shaharazade

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:36:22 AM PST

  •  The last refuge of the weeping walrus (17+ / 0-)

    as he pretends to regret the piles of shucked shells.

    "War is hell"

    Really, really, I'm fighting like hell to justify butchering hundreds of kids because of how gosh-darn much I hate war.  I hate it just as much as you do!

    Try again, with less pretense of valuing human life.

    "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

    by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:36:41 AM PST

    •  All heat, no light. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Quicklund, jdsnebraska

      The legal and constitutional argument seems to be very one-sided.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:18:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I expected better (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell, Quicklund

        I'm not getting it.

        •  You did? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund, sviscusi

          I admire your optimism.

          My faith in the Reality Based Community has taken a serious beating over the last couple of years.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:58:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is a compelling due process issue (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe from Lowell, Quicklund

            to be discussed.

            No one seems interested.

            •  Scott Lemieux at Lawyersgunsandmoneyblog... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Armando

              has written some great stuff about the real due process issues.  He focused in on the definition of imminent in the white paper.

              Most of the critics here simply oppose using force against al Qaeda, and are merely using legalistic, constitutional, and international law language to try to dress up their arguments.  It's like hanging red, white, and blue crepe paper in a legion hall to try to make it look grand.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:12:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The straw men that you and other advocates (5+ / 0-)

                of terror strikes are constructing shed light only on your own beliefs.

                When you're engaged with criminals, you don't get to just blow up a fucking apartment building because sending in the cops might be risky for the cops.

                You and Armando have made it clear you'd rather see dead kids than dead soldiers - but that's just about your personal aesthetic tastes and not the law.

                "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:29:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The war power is not the police power. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jdsnebraska

                  Go play in the corner with your "dead kids" morality dance.  The adults are trying to discuss adult things, and throwing around vapid insults because you can't keep up is unbecoming.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:30:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Both are use of force by the government. (0+ / 0-)

                    There's no difference in the actions he described except enough more people would care about dead U.S. citizens in the apartment building vs the risk to the lives of the cops than care about the dead brown kids vs the risk to the lives of U.S. troops to do something about it instead of being apologists for it.

                    And incase I wasn't being clear, you and Armando are among the ones who don't care enough about the dead brown kids and are being apologists for those who caused their deaths.

        •  You thought you'd get a much more "fair hearing" (5+ / 0-)

          and that people would be open to your pretense that international law allows the slaughter of civilians in nations with which we are not at war?

          Really?

          Did you think you were writing at Red State, where "Hey, there's a war on, the President can kill who he wants" would fucking fly?

          You can sniffle about how people aren't living up to your standards of argument if you like, but you shouldn't expect much different.

          It's not easy to be exceptionally reasonable when dealing with people who are trying to convince you that blowing kids to small bits is legal if the President suspects there's a terrorist in the area.

          And it shouldn't be.

          "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

          by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:26:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  No formal declaration of War in 1801 Barbary War (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, Quicklund
  •  Drone strikes on Americans is murder. (9+ / 0-)

    Without due process the POTUS is  above the law? I expected more from him .. I hope someone will run next tim around to se this ship right.

    "We need a revolution away from the plutocracy that runs Government."

    by hangingchad on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:43:51 AM PST

  •  Did Kos finance this? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Sven Boogie

    Simple yes or no would suffice.

    •  No (5+ / 0-)

      I am an unpaid contributor.

      I suppose he "financed" the site, so to that extent, yes.

      But I speak for me only.

    •  Why kind of fucking question is that?! (7+ / 0-)

      Seriously?  Why on earth would you ask that?

      •  An absolutely fair question of a front pager. (5+ / 0-)

        Not everyone knows which of them are paid and which aren't.

        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:35:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So what if he was paid? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Little

          Markos should only pay for opinions he agrees with?  I don't understand the argument or the implication at all.

          kos published it.  If the person asking the original question is offended by the possibility that kos paid for this argument, then he would presumably be equally offended by its publication on the front page.

          So I don't understand why money matters at all.  I mean, all of the Occupy Wall Street rants on the diaries list are ultimately sponsored by corporate networks like CNN and similar sponsors, and that doesn't seem to bother any of the people writing them ...

          •  A Fair Question! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, JesseCW

            Recently I have received several requests to donate to this site.  My question concerns what I would be paying for by donating here.  It is an individual decision to donate or to finance opinions.  So far I have donated to Atrios, Yves Smith, Marcy Wheeler and Firedoglake.  There are other sites I would like to support but given retirement finances I can't.
            I would never pay for this article.  Sorry if you can't handle that.

            •  Moyers: When We Kill Without Caring (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW

              Bill Moyers:

              In a web-extended version of his broadcast essay, Bill Moyers gives examples of how indiscriminate killing by our military forces not only cuts down innocent bystanders, but drives “their enraged families and friends straight into the arms of the very terrorists we’re trying to eradicate.” Bill says the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and President Obama’s prolific use of drones all share a “blind faith in technology, combined with a sense of infallible righteousness.”
              Some quaint concerns but no qualms here right?
          •  I see no reason someone shouldn't make sure (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            a planned donation could not conceivably fund apologists for murderers of brown kids.

            Bad enough that's its front page (and the dairy lists have nothing to do with this), but paying for it would be even worse, no?

            Someone can't stand in a place where they may still donate with the hope blowback from this will avoid its repeat... but the knowledge that if that hope was unfounded then at least their money wouldn't go towards said repeat?

            Given they can, it's a valid question.

  •  We need a movement to reestablish (6+ / 0-)

    the primacy of the 4th and 5th amendment.  Primary people who do not want to modify the patriot act etc..

    "We need a revolution away from the plutocracy that runs Government."

    by hangingchad on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:47:07 AM PST

  •  "War is...." yes (5+ / 0-)

    excellent read, Armando

    I'm torn... but relieved that admin has released "white paper" and that this discussion is now taking place in the public arena

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:47:23 AM PST

    •  They're giving Congress more info, too. (4+ / 0-)

      The Senate has used the Brennan hearing to get the administration to turn over more documents about these matters.

      Good for them.  Congressional oversight is the key here.  Yes, the President is C-in-C, but Congress still has the power of the purse and the war-declaring power, as well as the Senate's conformation power, so they should be using them to keep on close eye on how this war is being run.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:16:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell, dizzydean

        watched much of the Brennan hearings

        Unfortunately I have very little trust in the "congressional agenda" these days - even "our" side of the aisle. Moreover, the more mccain's little lap dog yaps, the less trust I'm able to muster. I actually trust our prez more, at least for the moment, but that may not hold true effective 2016.

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:29:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes that is a good first step (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sybil Liberty

      It does indicate to me that they are troubled by such issues.

      Truly, I get the importance of their concern about the nation being attacked.  But for too long the civil liberty and legal side of the story has been pushed to the side.  It is time to reach an understanding on these issues.

      Some have suggested a new Geneva convention updated with concerns for terrorism.  Perhaps that is one way forward.  I want to see us work with the international community rather than being at odds.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:53:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not a war (19+ / 0-)

    it is a bumpersticker slogan to keep the natives in line.

    Attempts to turn a blind eye to the decision that the murder of anyone at any time by one person is just fine is the point that they become more of a problem than the person making the choices of who, what and where people die.

    But hey at least I'm glad we will never have any bad guys allowed to be in charge.

    Yes ignore the comparisons ignore the facts.

    All will be well.

    There are no sacred cows.

    by LaEscapee on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:51:30 AM PST