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Recent Comments

Re: “President Obama's order to kill an American citizen represents a new low

We don't apply constitutional protections in a warzone; soldiers aren't expected to get search warrants from a magistrate before they search a suspected IED factory, combatants can be captured on the battlefield without due process or a right to a speedy trial and can't avoid interrogation by asking for a lawyer. The 5th amendment specifically cites member of the military in wartime as an exception; enemy combatants in wartime was so obvious that it was implicit. You can't fight a war with lawyers (or at least fight it and expect to win). Its funny how conservatives now believe that the War on Terror should be executed as a domestic law enforcement operation instead of war...seems like a pretty major (and self-serving) 180 to take at this point (not you personally, you may have been calling for constitutional protections in wartime and condemning drone strikes from the beginning for all I know).

"Some have argued that the use of lethal force against specific individuals fails to provide adequate process and thus constitutes unlawful extrajudicial killing. A state that is engaged in an armed conflict or in legitimate self-defense is not required to provide targets with legal process before the state may use lethal force" - Harold Hongju Koh, US state dept legal advisor. Given my knowledge of international law and the Constitution, I am inclined to agree.

Posted by Lex on October 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Re: “President Obama's order to kill an American citizen represents a new low

Joe, assuming hypothetically you resorted to terrorism to further your goals (I'm a big believer in slippery slope metaphors but getting put on a kill list for nonviolent protest!? come on)*, as long as you did it on US soil or in a country where you could be captured, you would be arrested and tried. The administration approached Al-Awlaki as a military target, not as a suspect (the terrorists themselves are the only valid targets in a war on a stateless terrorist network). US citizenship should not grant you special immunity when you join a terrorist organization operating from a foreign safe haven. I'm wary of infringements of civil liberties, but I don't see a conflict here, more a misunderstanding of the distinction between war (albeit one different from the conventional wars that int'l law was created around) and domestic law enforcement. I think the Obama administration's lawyers did their homework and made the right call on this.

*unless this "national movement" and "defending the constitution" is actually a reference to engaging in some manner of armed insurrection against the government, in which case, yes I can see the government putting you on a kill list in the context of a civil war.

Posted by Lex on October 14, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Re: “President Obama's order to kill an American citizen represents a new low

A US citizen who takes up with a terrorist group overseas and hides out in a foreign safe haven is a legitimate military target and has no more right to due process than any other terrorist engaged in war against the US from abroad. We wouldn't have thought twice about knowingly dropping a bomb on a US traitor holed up in Nazi Germany, so I don't see much of a difference here. Warfare against stateless terrorist networks is unprecedented in international law, but we shouldn't confuse terrorist acts committed on US soil, which fall within the realm of law enforcement, and disrupting terrorist networks overseas, which is armed conflict.

The administration's position was that targeted killings should only be considered an option when it was unsafe or impractical to take them alive. The citizenship of the terrorist hiding out in Pakistan or Yemen takes a back seat to their status as an unlawful combatant engaged in war on the US. If the choice was between a drone strike and allowing al-Awlaki to continue operating freely, I'll take the drone strike.

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by Lex on October 14, 2011 at 12:04 AM
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