Staggering Hypocrisy

I’m too busy to post a bunch of stuff, but I just want to say that I’m kind of floored by the staggering hypocrisy in the al-Awlaki thread from last night. I almost can not believe what I am reading. And before we go any farther, let me state on the record I think he is scum. But he is American scum, and he has rights.

It seems like a good number of you, who completely and totally lost your shit (and deservedly so) when the Bush administration waterboarded foreigners, now seem to either blithely look the other way or even endorse the concept of assassinating American citizens.

It was funny, and sad, watching many of you become shithouse lawyers, justifying the unjustifiable. Some of you are ok with the assassination if it is signed off by the courts- because then it would be A-OK! Sarah Palin- I just found your death panels.

Some of you say “I’m ok with it if it is done legally.” You know what else was deemed legal- the torture you screamed about for the last eight years. The law in Arizona that you all abhor is “legal.” Segregation was “legal.” The reason you all had a sad face because Dawn Johnsen was not confirmed was because what the OLC and the last administration did to sanitize the morally indefensible and call it “legal.”

If al-Awlaki is killed as a result of a military mission, I won’t lose any sleep. If he is killed in the process of trying to apprehend him, I won’t lose any sleep. If he were to drop dead of a stroke this very minute, I would not lose any sleep.

But I’ll be god damned if I’m going to pretend it is ok to start ordering the assassination of American citizens, even if it is done “legally” and ordered by politicians I generally like. This really is not a tough call at all. This is not because I am some crazy civil liberties absolutist. This is just basic common sense, and this kind of thing would set an absolutely horrible precedent. It is beyond me how anyone could get upset about Gitmo and Abu Gharaib and then think assassination of citizens is ok. Personally, I’ll take terrorized by guard dogs and waterboarded over a bullet to the brain pan.

But you know me. I’m just a wild-eyed crazy liberal.






572 replies
  1. 1
    Lee Hartmann says:

    Thank you.

  2. 2
    debg says:

    John, I’m with you all the way. Didn’t read the comments in the thread, so I’m not pointing fingers at anyone.

  3. 3
    Lee says:

    I had a bad feeling about that thread.

    Glad I did not read it.

  4. 4
    Elroy's Lunch says:

    I agree with you John. Thanks.

  5. 5

    Hear, hear.

    Thank you, John.

  6. 6
    Christian Sieber says:

    Time for a “My Idiot Commenters” category.

  7. 7
    batgirl says:

    You go, Cole!

  8. 8
    AnnaN says:

    Seriously, where is the sense of doing the right thing because it’s right and not because we like it or happen to wholeheartedly agree with it? Its as if over the last decade the country has turned into one big ass decaying playground complete with five year old emotional maturity levels from the players therein (“It’s all about meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”)

    Blech.

    and

    Grow up.

    Also.

  9. 9
    Emma says:

    BRAVO!!

  10. 10
    WyldPiratd says:

    Amen, John. The hypocrisy reeks.

    Obama isn’t perfect and was the best alternative. But his human rights record and ignoring past criminality in this area is abysmal for a constitutional law scholar.

  11. 11

    But I’ll be god damned if I’m going to pretend it is ok to start ordering the assassination of American citizens, even if it is done “legally” and ordered by politicians I generally like. This really is not a tough call at all.

    Amen.

  12. 12

    I agree. Thanks to Mikey and McLaren for their contributions. They were spot on.

  13. 13
    Gus says:

    Amen. I understand people not liking the dude, but for fuck’s sake we spent the last 10 years going on about how we’re a nation of laws. Sometimes the right thing is a difficult choice.

  14. 14
    Albatrossity says:

    Amen. Regardless of what you think of the guy in this instance, it is simply impossible to reconcile America and American values with the notion that some government agency can kill American citizens. Agencies can never be allowed to substitute for a judge and jury, and when we allow that, we have become the terrorists.

  15. 15
    JR says:

    A-fucking-men.

    Part of taking the reins of the country from the fucknuts in the GOOPer party is the responsibility of doing the right things — no matter what.

  16. 16
    mr. whipple says:

    “If al-Awlaki is killed as a result of a military mission, I won’t lose any sleep. If he is killed in the process of trying to apprehend him, I won’t lose any sleep. If he were to drop dead of a stroke this very minute, I would not lose any sleep.”

    So, if a military mission is sent in with the goal of capture or kill that’s ok? Someone in such a case is still ‘ordering’ an assassination, are they not?

  17. 17
    mss says:

    Hear fucking hear.

  18. 18
    numbskull says:

    But he is American human scum, and he has rights.

    Fixed that for you. I agree with all that you wrote, but let’s not forget that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are for all humans, certainly as written long ago and hopefully as considered moving forward.

  19. 19
    gwangung says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Sorry, I could do without the self-righteousness.

  20. 20
    Poopyman says:

    The thing is, the government has probably always considered the option of targeting civilians, and maybe even carried out assassinations. But never has it so openly and blithely been considered. And received with a shrug of the shoulders.

    This is the continuation of a long arc of indoctrinating* the American public. I recall from my undergraduate psychology class a film where they trained rats to go through a maze by giving them shocks if they chose the wrong path. Then they gave shocks randomly to a new set of rats in the maze. After a while those rats just sat there passively awaiting the next shock. 9/11 provided the first shock and the Bush administration provided many more that we’re all too familiar with. The American public has been made passive, by and large.

    (asterisked word) – A loaded term to be sure, but one totally suitable to my point.

    ETA – FYWP! Somehow an asterisk and hyphen makes text bold

  21. 21
    Unabogie says:

    Yep, the basic idea is that while you could make a case for a truly bad guy, holed up in a fortress with terrorist bodyguards in a foreign land, being beyond the reach of traditional apprehension, the same logic can be used for torture and the “ticking time bomb scenario”. You’ve removed due process from the equation and now it’s all dependent on a “benevolent” leader to respect the rights of the “good people”. Once you open the flood gates, you have removed a basic right from all Americans. It’s not his life you’re saving, it’s YOURS. I’m not ready to give up my rights just yet.

  22. 22

    it’s your blog. You posted a thread talking about the illegality of killing an American citizen without a trial. Some of us made arguments about that illegality, and whether it exists, or not. If you are going to start belittling your readership for discussing topics in good faith and expect everyone to fall in line with your belief, then take it away, I am out of here,. It is all yours fuckhead and cornerstone, you win.

    I am officially asking that you ban me John Cole. It is my decision and does not reflect on your laudable idea of free speech and good policy of not banning people. I just don’t want to be tempted to return is all.

  23. 23
    Tracy says:

    Thanks for this! It’s sad that you would even have to say it.

  24. 24
    ThatPirateGuy says:

    I hate to be the turd in the punch-bowl but this comment puts it in a perspective where no I would not freak out if bush did this.

    If the guy was in LA then I would have a problem, If he was in France, England, Germany, or even Russia, I would have a problem with it. But instead he is in Yemen hanging with Al Queda foot soldiers in an area that Yemen’s government can’t touch.

    I just can’t get outraged over blowing up this dude American citizen or not. Torturing him would outrage me because at that point he is totally under our power. All the dude has to do to enjoy his constitutional rights is turn himself in.

    General Egali Tarian Stuck

    You all do realize he is with and being protected by a small AQ army in the badlands of Yemen. And that it is the Yemeni government that is trying there damndest to kill the dude too. While I agree in theory, it is not a good or constitutional thing to make a habit of a president putting death decrees to American Citizens, but the guy is fighting with a foreign force that we are something like at war with on something like a foreign battlefield, and that make no bones about wanting to kill any American on sight. Just something to ponder with the outrage.

  25. 25
    Robertdsc-iphone says:

    So if Osama Bin Laden is found & killed, you’ll be upset? There’s a standing indictment against him for terrorism that was filed aboveboard & public. Why not do the same thing for any one else, especially American citizens like Alwaki?

    I don’t know about other commenters, but that’s what I had in mind, especially since Alwaki directly fits the standard for treason as defined in the Constitution.

  26. 26
    kormgar says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

    The blithe acceptance by so many of the tools of tyranny is a lesion in the soul of this nation. I don’t know if anything in my lifetime can heal it.

    And though I respect Obama, his embrace of far too many of these tools is a splinter in my heart.

  27. 27
    cleek says:

    goddamn right.

    i’m glad i missed that thread. i had no fun here the last time i expressed dismay over this issue.

  28. 28
    Nick says:

    meh, this frustrates me, but I’m hardly surprised and as much of a hypocrite as it makes me sound, I sorta understand in this situation. With the way the country goes apeshit over trials, we’re probably better off just killing them.

    I’d be livid if this guy was assassinated in the United States or because he’s a political dissident.

    I never got worked up about Gitmo or torture under Bush because I knew it was a battle we’ve already lost with the public. To be honest, Europeans didn’t get as worked up about it as we said.

    It’s an open secret that other countries like India and Britain have done this. Not that it makes it right, but it just doesn’t give me a rise.

  29. 29
    geg6 says:

    Righteous, Mr. Cole.

    I’m with you 100%. Make that 1000%.

  30. 30
    Bill Section 147 says:

    I am now glad I didn’t read those comments.

    I always am troubled when people seem to think the end justifies the means. I get the idea that in a personal sense when someone hits us we want to hit back but assassinating anyone is not a good thing. The U.S. Citizen thing is only important in that I live in the U.S. and by pushing the dial to, “sometimes OK,” I can see that it may not be too long before another GW gets elected and determines DFHs are a threat.

    Short-term thinking and short-term solutions do not fix the problem. If we want to be ruled by law we have to be constrained by law. And being constrained sucks, it’s hard work – I am tired of the “easy button.”

  31. 31
    CDT says:

    John, you sound like Glenn Greenwald. You know, the guy you lambaste for being a civil liberties purist and complaining that Obama is no better than Bush on those issues.

  32. 32
    BenA says:

    A lot of people seriously lost it after 9/11 and never really have gotten it back. Most of them happen to be old white and Republican… but not all.

  33. 33
    kormgar says:

    @CDT:

    Since when is sounding like Glenn Greenwald a bad thing?

  34. 34
    Cyrus says:

    Comment deleted; I should have read the previous post and thread first.

  35. 35
    Nick says:

    @Robertdsc-iphone: Bin Laden isn’t a citizen, that’s the problem.

    But you have a point with whether or not he’s committed treason. My grandfather wouldn’t have thought twice about shooting an American citizen wearing a Nazi armband n the forests of Northern France (which did happen btw)…but does it make it right?

  36. 36
    flukebucket says:

    Every time the subject comes up I get this in my head and can’t get it out.

  37. 37
    geg6 says:

    @kormgar:

    Well, to be honest, most of the time. He’s an asshole, even when he’s right.

  38. 38
    TomG says:

    I agree 100% with you, John.

  39. 39
    Fern says:

    @Nick: Don’t people get trials, even for treason?

  40. 40
    Cerberus says:

    I agree 100%. That is all.

  41. 41
    Gregory says:

    @John Cole:

    Word.

  42. 42
    Wally says:

    POTUS needs to write this on the blackboard 100 times on live TV.

  43. 43
    salvage says:

    Meh.

    America has so much innocent blood on her hands from the Iraq invasion to the pot-shot Predator strikes in Pakistan under Bush and Obama that I can’t see much to get upset over here. I guess if I thought that due process and rights applied only to Americans I would see your point but since I have a goofy idea that it applies to everyone my outrage meter doesn’t budge. It’s been pegged to the red for years now.

    If they murder the bastard it’s just one more corpse on a pile that just keeps on getting higher.

  44. 44
    Poopyman says:

    @Nick:
    Nick, I can’t blame you for not getting worked up, but would you maybe have been worked up if Clinton had done this 10 years ago before the GWOT?

    I understand the points made about this guy clearly being treasonous, but there is a process for dealing with that that seems to have been short-circuited by a presidential decree. It’s the slippery slope that concerns me as much as anything. And really, why should this guy be elevated by having a POTUS put a target on his back?

  45. 45
    Blue Gal says:

    Thank you very much for saying what needs to be said. Again.

  46. 46

    Since when is sounding like Glenn Greenwald a bad thing?

    Apparently since the public option was dropped.

  47. 47
    gwangung says:

    Obviously it’s not OK. The military doesn’t legally have that authority and it shouldn’t in a functioning democracy.

    Hm? I thought that only applied to within the country, for various good reason.

    Educate me. What are the problems of using armed forces for police power outside the country? What jurisdiction problem are there?

  48. 48
    Brett says:

    If al-Awlaki is killed as a result of a military mission, I won’t lose any sleep. If he is killed in the process of trying to apprehend him, I won’t lose any sleep. If he were to drop dead of a stroke this very minute, I would not lose any sleep.

    How exactly do you think they are going to assassinate him, if they go through with it? Using drones, in a – wait for it – military mission. Which he’ll having coming because he’s actively aiding and abetting an American enemy in an area of military operations as permitted by the Yemenese government.

    With the above in mind, I frankly don’t see where the furor is coming from. If, say, some American officer had gone traitor over to the Germans in World War 2 and was giving them intel and egging them on in war against the US, and the US wanted to target him for killing, would you have said, “No, no! He’s an American citizen! We must re-capture him and have a trial!”

  49. 49
    Lee from NC says:

    Thanks for saying this John. I was appalled at some of the excuses in that other thread for what is essentially a huge step toward dictatorship.

  50. 50
    Zifnab says:

    But he is American scum, and he has rights.

    He’s IN YEMEN

    It seems like a good number of you, who completely and totally lost your shit (and deservedly so) when the Bush administration waterboarded foreigners, now seem to either blithely look the other way or even endorse the concept of assassinating American citizens.

    Think Ruby Ridge or Waco. Now move that incident TO YEMEN.

    Again, if you want to claim he’s a human being and he has rights, and that you completely oppose military action against non-state actors, I’m all with you. Bombing people is, generally, wrong. Even if they are terrorists. Even if they are in Yemen.

    But waving his citizenship as the sole deterrent against a fugative in a foreign country is absurd. If he didn’t have citizenship, would this be ok? He’s well beyond the range of traditional law enforcement and completely out of range of any kind of civilian court system.

    Again, if he was a Huratree militia member and we could just send in a SWAT team to drag him out of his compound in Michigan, that would be one thing. Civilian arrest. Civilian trial. I’m all with you.

    The embarassing thing about the Bush Administration is that they had ample time and energy and resources to deal with their captives in a humane and regulated method. They choose secret prisons and extra-Constitutional options out of sloppiness and incompetence.

    But this isn’t a guy sitting in a cell in Gitmo for six years. He’s IN YEMEN.

  51. 51
    John Cole says:

    John, you sound like Glenn Greenwald. You know, the guy you lambaste for being a civil liberties purist and complaining that Obama is no better than Bush on those issues.

    Back that up. Show me one god damned time I have “lambasted” Greenwald for being a civil liberties purist. One.

  52. 52
    Laertes says:

    I’d be livid if this guy was assassinated in the United States or because he’s a political dissident.

    There is no “because.” Either a president can order the assassination of an American citizen, or he can’t. If he can, he can do it for any reason he likes. It doesn’t bother you for the same reason that Bush’s abuses didn’t bother the crazy 28%–because they trust him. They figure that since his values are broadly similar to theirs, that whatever power they give him will be used in ways of which they’ll largely approve.

    The problem is that these tools, once in the hands of a President, are transferable to the next president. That trust is not.

    A case like al-Awlaki presents us with at least two options, neither of which is great: Kill him on the say-so of the President, without any further check or review, or leave him alone because he’s a citizen, even though he’s part of a foreign criminal conspiracy targeting the United States.

    To some it might seem obvious that, when the convenience of the national security apparatus conflicts with our notions of justice, that obviously the former has to win.

    But what if it didn’t?

  53. 53
    Silver Owl says:

    This is a crappy era in American History. We send our military out to fight wars for “our freedom” and Americans at home can not even bring themselves to retain our freedoms. Seems a waste of lives and resources to fight for something a lot of the American people just throw in the garbage nowadays.

  54. 54
    Nick says:

    @Fern: Yes…if they’re captured.

    I come from a military family, so stuff like this and unmanned drones and so on I’m a lot less liberal toward. War sucks and bad shit happens.

    Now I know I’m making excuses here, but I look at this way…you have a dude in a dangerous place in an area where American soldiers would be at great risk of being killed or captured if they go in to get the guy…what do you do? Risk the lives of American soldiers to catch this guy to put him on trial, or just take him out? Mr. whipple alluded to that up that.

    That’s why I don’t consider this to be the same as ordering an assassination of an American citizen at, say, a cafe in Paris or in his Ohio living room. What risk would there be to arrest the guy there?

    There is a slippery slope argument, but I’m reasonably sure Obama wouldn’t go that route…and this isn’t the first time we’ve done something like that, it’s just the first time we’ve heard about it, and we haven’t gone down that slope.

  55. 55
    Alex S. says:

    Sadly, Obama confirms the theories that a government makes use of every option at its disposal, as long as it’s not explicitly prohibited, and that it never returns any given powers voluntarily. That alone doesn’t make him a bad president, but a bit more ordinary. Obama even studied political science, he knows what he’s doing.

  56. 56
    Jamie says:

    Fuckin’ aye.

    I think I’m officially done just laughing at the Obamabots. They’re becoming nearly scary as the Keyboard Kommandos ever were in their quest for the Holy Cheeto.

    Instead of drooling over a Crotch of Mission Accomplishment, they’re fetishizing something that looks a little like Clintonista-triangulation, but is really nothing more than Bush in donkey drag. It really is the same thing, adjusting for tribal preferences.

  57. 57
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: “If you are going to start belittling your readership for discussing topics in good faith and expect everyone to fall in line with your belief, then take it away, I am out of here.”

    Says the one quickest to berate debate opponents by saying “you dare to come to this blog with that shit”. Live by the ideological purity test, die by it. Who asked you to be the blog content policeman, anyway?

  58. 58
    Kay Shawn says:

    Uh, what happened to capturing these guys and trying them? I don’t like targeted assassinations anyplace. Is it cuz it’s cheaper/easier to shoot from afar? So, did ya also think it was OK for Jack to shoot Dana Walsh? Haha. That’s the level you’re operating on.

  59. 59
    Laertes says:

    Now I know I’m making excuses here, but I look at this way…you have a dude in a dangerous place in an area where American soldiers would be at great risk of being killed or captured if they go in to get the guy…what do you do? Risk the lives of American soldiers to catch this guy to put him on trial, or just take him out?

    Here again we see that artificially narrow set of options. “Either the national security apparatus gets its’ way in this fashion, or the national security apparatus gets its’ way in that fashion.” The idea that it simply might not get its way isn’t even on the table. Whatever laws or traditions or principles stand in its’ way, well, too bad for those.

  60. 60
    Nick says:

    @Laertes:

    There is no “because.” Either a president can order the assassination of an American citizen, or he can’t. If he can, he can do it for any reason he likes

    One can limit the situations where he can, there’s nothing preventing that.

    I’m just saying I’m not so sure I’d do anything differently if I was put in the President’s situation here, but I wouldn’t boast about it (like Cheney would)

    There is a difference between ordering the assassination of a citizen and then boasting that it makes you “tough on terror” and ordering the assassination of a citizen and then shutting up about it. The word doesn’t exist in black and white, no matter how much Glenn Greenwald wants it to.

  61. 61
    El Cid says:

    @Nick:

    There is a difference between ordering the assassination of a citizen and then boasting that it makes you “tough on terror” and ordering the assassination of a citizen and then shutting up about it.

    There’s a stylistic difference, but I’m not sure there’s a functional difference.

  62. 62
    Brett says:

    A case like al-Awlaki presents us with at least two options, neither of which is great: Kill him on the say-so of the President, without any further check or review, or leave him alone because he’s a citizen, even though he’s part of a foreign criminal conspiracy targeting the United States.

    What, do you want a congressional act saying “Yes, it’s okay for the US government to target a known traitor actively aiding and abetting an enemy in an area of military operations”?

    John himself said he doesn’t care if this asshole gets sent to hell in a military operation, and the fact that the CIA is operating the drone rather than the US military is more or less a technicality.

  63. 63
    Nick says:

    @Laertes:W

    hatever laws or traditions or principles stand in its’ way, well, too bad for those.

    This is not new though, Presidents have been bending the law in the name of national security without any consequences since George Washington.

  64. 64
    Fair Economist says:

    But instead he is in Yemen hanging with Al Queda foot soldiers in an area that Yemen’s government can’t touch.

    How does that invalidate the sixth amendment right to a jury trial? Have a trial in absentia, if necessary. How can anybody want the government to have the authority to deliberately kill anybody without judicial oversight? For those who so desperately to be at risk of lethal violence, why not just stroll down some high-crime ghetto tossing your wallet around and let the rest of us keep our defenses against government death squads?

  65. 65
    Xenos says:

    If al-Awlaki is killed as a result of a military mission, I won’t lose any sleep. If he is killed in the process of trying to apprehend him, I won’t lose any sleep. If he were to drop dead of a stroke this very minute, I would not lose any sleep.

    But I’ll be god damned if I’m going to pretend it is ok to start ordering the assassination of American citizens, even if it is done “legally” and ordered by politicians I generally like.

    (edit)– sorry about the blockquote failure. my bad.
    I missed the whole prior thread, and this is not any sort of law I have studied or practiced, so I can credibly claim to be as uninformed as anyone.

    But what the hell is it with the distinction about citizens? What, if al Awlaki had a green card we could kill him? If he had the right to citizenship as a child of citizen parents overseas, but had never filed the paperwork, that would be OK?

    The problem is not the ‘American citizens’ part, it is the ‘assassinations’ part. If we have not declared war on this guy’s organization, what right do we have to kill him? This is the sort of problem you get when you try to take short cuts through the constitution.

  66. 66
    John Cole says:

    @Brett: There is a difference between him being killed in the course of normal military counter-terrorist operations and a military operation designed solely to target and assassinate an American citizen.

    And the best part is if you have your way and they do target him and kill him in an assassination plot, you’ll be the first one excusing away the dozen civilians who were accidentally blown up along with them. But hey- that was their fault for being next to a target, amirite!

  67. 67
    Dave says:

    Preach it, John.

  68. 68
    Ed Marshall says:

    I can’t get over the fact that it’s apparently A-OK to assassinate foreign nationals with Predators but if someone has a passport THAT’s the problem with what we are doing.

    I know the Bush administration tried to kill Adam Gadahn several times the same way, and if I’m not mistaken has killed other people holding American citizenship. I don’t remember anyone giving a damn at all. I don’t remember Glenn Greenwald freaking out about it either.

  69. 69
    RP says:

    I hope this doesn’t sound hopelessly muddled, but…

    I agree that assassinating American citizens is wrong and Obama should not be endorsing this policy. However, I do think there’s a legitimate argument that can be made in support of the policy. Even if John Smith is an American citizen, if he’s decided to engage in terrorist activities against the US and is living abroad under the protection of al qaeda (or some similar group), it’s not clear to me that there’s a brightline distinction between Smith and Bin Laden.

    I guess my issue is this guy’s citizenship. I don’t believe in assassination generally for moral reasons. And I sure as hell don’t think the US has the right to assassinate anyone inside the US. But if you support assassination against military targets in a hostile country or area, why does citizenship matter?

  70. 70

    Sweet Jeebus this is stupid. Look, the government has every authority to kill anyone who poses a grave physical threat to another person. That’s not the slightest bit radical, at least under US law. If I’m holding someone at gunpoint or holed up in a shack with a small arsenal of autmatic weapons I’m firing at the SWAT team, the police have every authority to gun me down sans trial. The question isn’t whether the government can kill someone like al-Awlaki, the question is:

    a) whether the person is in fact an active threat to others

    b) what sort of process is used to determine (a).

    If a sufficient process find that someone is in fact a threat to Americans and that capturing/detaining them is infeasible, the government has every authority to neutralize them with lethal force. They just do.

    Take the word “assassination” out things and look at it rationally.

  71. 71
    Nick says:

    @El Cid:

    There’s a stylistic difference, but I’m not sure there’s a functional difference.

    No, because in both cases you’re assassinating American civilians, but in one case you know its wrong and you’re not taking the decision lightly, while the other, you’re just enjoying yourself.

  72. 72

    John, you sound like Glenn Greenwald.

    This is more like it. And seems to get truer by the day. Using your front page to lambaste your readership for discussing the topic in another thread, is classic Greenwald. Maybe that’s a good thing, a lot of your readers seem to think so. This one doesn’t. I’m waiting, ban me. I am not stupid like fuckhead for pounding my head against the wall on a blog owned by someone I know longer agree with in a fundamental way, like this episode and several others recently. I have no desire for that.

  73. 73

    @John Cole:

    There is a difference between him being killed in the course of normal military counter-terrorist operations and a military operation designed solely to target and assassinate an American citizen.

    What?

  74. 74
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @Nick: I remember seeing an interview with a soldier who fought on Iwo Jima(IIRC). He was about 80 at the time of the interview. He ended up with the task of shooting some Japanese prisoners as his squad was out in front and they could not keep them and continue the mission. War is hell and all that but he still felt like shit and could not keep from crying while talking about that day.

    He did something wrong, he knew it at the time. He wasn’t sugar-coating it or clapping louder for the team.

  75. 75
    Joey Maloney says:

    @CDT: John, you sound like Glenn Greenwald.

    Except for being able to say his piece in 200 words instead of 2000, and not assuming bad faith on the part of those who disagree, exactly the same. That is to say, not the same at all.

    Regardless – yay John for writing this. Unless Tunch wrote this, in which case yay John for teaching Tunch to type.

  76. 76
    gwangung says:

    @Fair Economist:

    How does that invalidate the sixth amendment right to a jury trial? Have a trial in absentia, if necessary. How can anybody want the government to have the authority to deliberately kill anybody without judicial oversight? For those who so desperately to be at risk of lethal violence, why not just stroll down some high-crime ghetto tossing your wallet around and let the rest of us keep our defenses against government death squads

    Well, we can’t have in abstentia trials, apparently. I think there are good reasons for that.

    However, I wouldn’t have problems mounting a military operation to arrest (arrests, of course, are part of due process). Are there problems with that? (And note as part of a military operation, drones would probably be used).

  77. 77
    Laertes says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Nonsense. What makes Greenwald Greenwald is the extremely thin skin, the excessive self-regard, and the dishonesty he employs when engaging his critics. If being occasionally rude to one’s commenters makes a blogger Glenn Greenwald, then there are more Glenn Greenwalds out there than are strictly necessary.

    Just because one is butthurt doesn’t mean that everyone who inflicts butthurt is the same.

  78. 78
    Chuck says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    I am officially asking that you ban me John Cole

    Like you said, it’s Cole’s blog, and he’s allowed to berate his readers. He didn’t single anyone out, and he didn’t threaten to ban anyone.

    If you want to become an internet martyr, you’ll have to do it yourself.

  79. 79
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Robertdsc-iphone:

    So if Osama Bin Laden is found & killed, you’ll be upset?

    If he were killed during a raid on whatever snake pit he’s hiding in? No, I would not be upset.

    If American troops captured him alive and then summarily executed him rather than bring him in and subject him to a trial? Yes, I would be upset. In fact, I actually was quite upset with Eric Holder’s insinuation at a Congressional hearing that if we found bin Laden’s hiding place, no effort at all would be made to take him alive and place him on trial.

    As an attorney, I consider the Nuremburg Trials to be the crowning achievement of Western democracy and jurisprudence. It pains me to think there are so many Americans who would rather we summarily execute our enemies because it’s “cleaner” than a “messy” war crimes tribunal.

  80. 80
    QDC says:

    Damn Cole. Last nights thread was so awesome we get to do it again?

    If al-Awlaki is killed as a result of a military mission, I won’t lose any sleep.

    But I’ll be god damned if I’m going to pretend it is ok to start ordering the assassination of American citizens.

    Assassination vs. military operation. That sounds like the relevant distinction to me. When one is in a fortified position in a mountainous region in Yemen rather than say, a posh hotel in Dubai, they rather bleed into each other, no?

  81. 81

    @Joseph Nobles: What you came with was blatant dishonesty,. That you concluded your comment with by admitting. Had nothing to do with purity, and everything to do with peddling bullshit and then admitting you agreed with me about the main points of my argument.

  82. 82
    ruemara says:

    Did not read. I don’t support edits of assassination, we have fucking laws and frankly, covert government law breaking should be covert. Not encoded into established practice.

  83. 83
    John S. says:

    Ah yes, must not forget to get in the obligatory Obama = Bush nonsense.

    Seriously, I find it deeply amusing how many so-called liberals have such little self awareness as to realize they view the world as much in black & white as the wingnuts they despise.

    On this score, I agree with Cole and think the Obama administration is making a serious mistake. But that doesn’t make Obama a neocon and it doesn’t make his brief presidency as bad as Bush’s – not by a long shot.

    Some of you really need to grow up and start realizing the world of absolutes you’ve created doesn’t really exist. There’s a lot of gray and color out there, and it is possible to see it without being a moral relativist (or absolutist).

  84. 84
    FlipYrWhig says:

    It seems like there’s a significant difference in some minds between “assassination” and “military operation.” The former is appalling, and the latter is grudgingly acceptable. So, what is that difference? Is it that the “military operation” is trying to capture the guy and fires if fired upon, whereas the “assassination” is preemptive?

    (Edited to add: Ah, QDC and others posted the same thing at the same time…)

  85. 85

    @Fair Economist:

    How does that invalidate the sixth amendment right to a jury trial?

    If you’re an active threat to others, that trumps your right to a trial. That’s pretty basic.

  86. 86
    mr. whipple says:

    Risk the lives of American soldiers to catch this guy to put him on trial, or just take him out? Mr. whipple alluded to that up that.

    The risk involved of sending in Americans to capture or kill this person wasn’t my focus. What I’m saying is that there is still a decision in such a case to kill made by somebody, and I can’t see a distinction with a difference.

  87. 87
    Billy Gray says:

    @General Egal Itarian Stuck:

    A fascist wanker AND a prima dona.

  88. 88

    @Laertes: Dude , you are on the same page as your blog host. Take heart, you are where you belong. I am not.

  89. 89
    David in NY says:

    It’s wrong of course.

    And if they can kill him any old time, not on a battlefield or in any conventional military action, based on their own determination that he deserves to be killed, they can decide to kill anybody in that manner. This opens the door to death by government fiat. In fact it is that. I do not think that Jefferson, Madison and their colleagues would approve.

  90. 90
    Nick says:

    @Fair Economist:

    How does that invalidate the sixth amendment right to a jury trial? Have a trial in absentia, if necessary

    This is actually a fair option…because once the verdict is reached, you can strip the guy of his citizenship, sentence him to death and then this whole assassination thing wouldn’t be an issue.

    But you have to wonder if what you really want is the guy “off the streets,” what good is having a trial in absentia if the dude is still able to help Al-Qaeda plot attack? I mean what do you think the public response is going to be if we discover the dude is trying to blow up the Long Island Rail Road and our government’s response is “Well, we would have killed him, but we wanted to give him a fair trial because he’s a citizen” I mean does anything think the American public would be like “oh yeah, ok, that’s totally cool”

    At the end of the day, our laws are only as powerful as the public support behind them. I have heard in freakin’ Democratic club meeting that “We give more rights/same rights to terrorists than to regular criminals”

  91. 91
    Punchy says:

    Who cares about assissanations and citizens when LEBRON FUCKING JAMES IS A FREE AGENT?

  92. 92

    @Billy Gray:

    A fascist wanker AND a prima dona.

    These are your people now Cole. Feed them well.

  93. 93
    Doug says:

    This assassination is not analogous to the torture under the Bush administration. There is a hugely crucial difference. When we tortured prisoners, they were in prison. We had 100% control over them already. They were no longer a threat to anyone.

    John, you may have a point about the immorality of this assassination, but you are wrong to claim hypocrisy here. It’s apples and oranges.

  94. 94
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    On the original threads on this topic I took the position that it was acceptable to me to put this guy on the target list.

    Since then I have been rethinking that position and stayed silent while I study up on it and ponder it. So right now I have moved into the Undecided column.

    For the purposes of this thread, I will say this, John. I think you’d do better to illuminate the topic rather than just throw incendiaries at the blog. In other words, make arguments against the placement of this guy on the list, link to materials and other opinions supporting your view, argue assertively. But …

    Encourage the discussion, rather than demonizing the people who don’t agree with you. I don’t agree with Stuck on this, although I generally agree with him more than he would probably like me to. But I don’t agree that “it’s your blog and so whatever ….” is a correct view. You can’t have this stuff both ways, generally laying down a very open and free-speech set of rules and then throwing a hissy fit when a lot of people don’t agree with you. Christ, your commentariat agrees with you some embarrassingly high percentage of the time. That includes me. Some unruly disagreement throws you off your feed? My advice is to defend your position with facts and reason and good old Oh Yeah Fuck You rhetoric when appropriate and be part of the fray rather than putting yourself somehow above it.

    But hey, what the hell do I know? I’m just a can of coffee.

  95. 95
    frankdawg says:

    crap! I don’t look at this place one night & miss all the fun!

    Its pretty simple – either we are a nation of laws or we are not. We pretty much became or not when we allowed indefinite detention, lack of redress, torture, secret trials, rendition, warrantless wire tapping – really pretty much the whole Boy George war on terra. When you use the tools and excuses of totalitarian regimes you will be a totalitarian regime. Maybe not this week but soon enough.

    You can’t be only a little pregnant, you can’t be only a little totalitarian.

    If Bin Ladin is cornered & tries to shoot it out & ends up dead that is his choice. If he can be taken a live then he should be tried. If it is legal for us to summarily execute Osama how would it not be be legal for Osama to summarily execute Obama, or 3000 random folks who showed up for work one day?

  96. 96
    Comrade Dread says:

    I agree.

    But there appears to be some distinction required, in that if the person in question is in a location with legitimate targets as defined by the rules of engagement and is actively aiding them, at what point in the process do they become a legitimate military target and cease being an assassination target?

    Like you said, I wouldn’t shed a tear for the bastard if he gets killed in a military op, but it’s hard to see how much difference there is between a Predator drone strike designed to destroy a base or group of enemy fighters with the knowledge that he would likely die vs. firing a drone strike at his location with the intent to kill him.

    I mean, I suppose it’s all about intent, but it would be pretty easy to carry out an assassination as such and just label it collateral damage.

  97. 97
    Scott P. says:

    Is this different than putting up a poster saying: “Wanted: Dead or Alive?”

  98. 98
    Anya says:

    John, I agree with you to some extend but if we are considering how Obama disappointed us today, I am actually more outraged about Omar Khadr’s case. He was a child when he was arrested and trying someone who was a child as a combatant is morally reprehensible, specially when you consider that the ‘evidence’ against him was extracted with torture and mistreatment.

  99. 99
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @Brien Jackson: The difference between being killed when a warrant is issued for your arrest and the sheriff shows up to arrest you and you try to pull a gun on him and get shot to death as compared to the mayor telling the sheriff, “Kill that som-a-bitch.”

    In both scenarios you end up dead. But as a matter of policy one of them is legal and what we as a nation have determined as right.

  100. 100
    c u n d gulag says:

    I had some computer issues getting to this site yesterday and tis morning.
    Finally, I’m able to see one of my favorite sites, and this is what I came here for?
    I don’t think I even want to read the comments on the last piece. I won’t. I think higher of commenters here than on most sites, so I don’t want to be disillusioned with any of you.
    But anyone, anyone – liberal or conservative, who approves of torture for any human being (or animal, for that matter), or who approves of assasinations of citizens, is 100% wrong, and needs to rethink their values. It doesn’t matter who does them – Dem, Ind or Rep, it is wrong.
    Hell, most of the time the ‘assasinations’ of non-citizens we ok are wrong. We do them with drone missiles, where we try to minimize any collateral damage. But, who knows how many innocent people we kill?
    I think we like the drone approach rather than up close assasinations like we did in the old days, because, then, any of the blood of the innocent’s spilled, is video blood. It isn’t hot, wet, sticky, smelly and makes you want to puke or cry. Hell, it’s just like the blood on your favorite video game.
    Rethink your priorities. Please.

  101. 101
    Some immigrant guy says:

    I can’t understand the folks going around arguing “because he’s in Yemen QED he can be killed”.

    What sort of fucking logic is that? I’m in the queue hoping to become an American citizen, I’d sure as hell hope that being an American citizen counts for as much when I am here as when I am abroad.

    It surely shouldn’t matter whether Awlaki is hanging out in a crack den or in a cold war bunker with a bunch of nazis, he cannot be targeted for assassination. Obviously if he joins the “other side” in a war, he’s liable to be killed, but that’s so obviously not the same thing as being individually targeted it staggers the mind that people can’t see the difference.

  102. 102
    Nick says:

    @gwangung:

    wouldn’t have problems mounting a military operation to arrest (arrests, of course, are part of due process). Are there problems with that? (And note as part of a military operation, drones would probably be used).

    The risk that the American soldiers who go in to arrest the dude would be killed in the process.

  103. 103
    merrinc says:

    @Silver Owl:

    Yeah, it’s a crappy era, all right. I try not to get too maudlin about it but damn, I’m starting to think that all those dystopian novels I used to read had it right. We really are fucked. People aren’t even trying to be rational anymore.

  104. 104
    benjoya says:

    thank you john. it’s as if the concept of american exceptionalism means nothing to these bedwetters.

  105. 105

    @Chuck: If this was the first instance of this happening I would agree with you, but it is not. In fact Cole did single me with my very own front page flaming by name over a similar instant not long ago. It is becoming a feature, not a bug.

  106. 106
  107. 107
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Robertdsc-iphone:

    I don’t know about other commenters, but that’s what I had in mind, especially since Alwaki directly fits the standard for treason as defined in the Constitution.

    The Constitution does not authorize summary execution even for treason. On the contrary, Article III, Section 3, paragraph 2 expressly limits punishment for treason for those convicted in a court of law. Aaron Burr was tried for treason, acquitted, and died peacefully in his bed years later.

  108. 108
    Turbulence says:

    What, do you want a congressional act saying “Yes, it’s okay for the US government to target a known traitor actively aiding and abetting an enemy in an area of military operations”?

    He hasn’t committed treason. He’s been accused of treason by some asshole in the government. No one has presented any evidence of his treason before a court and no judge or jury has ever examined the non-existent evidence and found it credible enough to convict him of treason. Do you know why? Because there is no evidence.

    Get it through your head: executing someone for treason is a judicial punishment. You can’t carry out judicial punishments without a judicial finding of guilt.

  109. 109
    David in NY says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    So it’s OK to arbitrarily kill any citizen who’s an “active threat,” is it? And how is that defined. Traditionally, under self-defense theory at common law that’s true, but you have a duty to retreat first. You can’t just do it because you want to, it has to be strictly necessary.

    Here, the government just gets to decide a guy is bad and kill him. And were are the libertarians when you need them?

  110. 110
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    First, I think it needs to be pointed out that the Constitution restricts the government, not gives people rights. Thus, the government has to observe the same set of rules whether or not the target is American.

    So, what is the threshold for the president being allowed to go after targets outside the country? What makes bin Laden, who helped attackers cause 9/11 but did not directly attack different from al-Awlaki?

    Is it OK to attack anyone in a country as long as we’ve declared war on the country? To me, this sounds like some of the Yu-gi-oh cards my kids play with: “You may not affect any American with any card that designates a particular target, but an American may be affected by any card that targets all monsters on the field.”

    I’m curious. Consistency can be a real pain in the butt.

  111. 111
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    John –

    I didn’t read the last thread, so forgive me if I’m just not understanding the issue correctly.

    Reading your post, is your objection based solely on the fact that this guy is an American citizen?

    Just wanting to understand the issue here.

  112. 112
    Robertdsc-iphone says:

    @Nick:
    But the Feds went to all the trouble of securing an indictment against him in open court. He’s a wanted man.

    There is no reason why the Feds could not do that for anyone else. Doubly so since Alwaki is an American citizen. Make him a wanted man the same as Bin Laden.

    Then if actionable intelligence is found where he can be caught or killed, then we’re clear to do so.

    Where Obama & Bush have gone off the rails is targeting Alwaki first without bothering to go to court & show their evidence. Go to court. Get an indictment. Put Alwaki on the FBI Most Wanted list.

    Then if he’s found, try to take him alive. If he’s found in Yemen & a sniper can take him out, then take him out.

    Either way, a fugitive from justice would be dealt with aboveboard. Not this shit Obama’s doing now.

  113. 113
  114. 114
    taylormattd says:

    Thank you John.

  115. 115

    @Bill Section 147:

    That’s ridiculous. If you want to ham-fist a generic comparison, it’s more like a hostage stand-off where the commanding officer gives the order for snipers to shoot the perp.

  116. 116

    @Chuck:

    If you want to become an internet martyr, you’ll have to do it yourself.

    I ask for banning because i am weak, and have made some good friends here . Not because I want to be an internet martyr. It is simply time to move on, and breaking off friendships is hard, and like I said, I am weak.

  117. 117
    Gregory says:

    @Laertes:

    It doesn’t bother you for the same reason that Bush’s abuses didn’t bother the crazy 28%—because they trust him. They figure that since his values are broadly similar to theirs, that whatever power they give him will be used in ways of which they’ll largely approve.

    I disagree that’s how it works for the dead-enders, though. Since they perceived Bush as part of their tribe, they approved of however they used his power, even if it contradicted their values, because shut up, that’s why.

    ETA:

    A case like al-Awlaki presents us with at least two options, neither of which is great: Kill him on the say-so of the President, without any further check or review, or leave him alone because he’s a citizen, even though he’s part of a foreign criminal conspiracy targeting the United States.

    This is where Bush’s incompetence in handling al Qaeda really comes back to bite us. A third option is to go after the foreign criminal conspiracy targeting the United States, and if al-Awlaki happens to be there, so be it.

  118. 118
    Albatrossity says:

    @Brien Jackson: So the Hutaree whackos have forfeited their right to a jury trial? Think before posting, please.

  119. 119
    gwangung says:

    Like you said, I wouldn’t shed a tear for the bastard if he gets killed in a military op, but it’s hard to see how much difference there is between a Predator drone strike designed to destroy a base or group of enemy fighters with the knowledge that he would likely die vs. firing a drone strike at his location with the intent to kill him.

    There’s food for thought there, because I think in the real world, the two shade into each other. But in most people’s heads, there’s a bright line separating these two.

  120. 120
    Brett says:

    @John Cole:

    There is a difference between him being killed in the course of normal military counter-terrorist operations and a military operation designed solely to target and assassinate an American citizen.

    Targeting an American citizen who is actively aiding and abetting an enemy of the United States on a foreign battlefield is part of “military counter-terrorist operations”. Hell, they’ve been doing it in Afghanistan and Pakistan – ever hear of Adam Gadahn, and the US attempts to target him?

    Fuck, I’ll ask – if Obama had asked the military to pilot the drone that will kill this guy rather than the CIA, would you still be pointlessly losing your shit like you’ve done both in this thread and the previous one?

    And the best part is if you have your way and they do target him and kill him in an assassination plot, you’ll be the first one excusing away the dozen civilians who were accidentally blown up along with them. But hey- that was their fault for being next to a target, amirite!

    Yes, it is. These guys deliberately place themselves among civilians as a shield, and since even drone missiles aren’t Magical Contraptions of Perfect Accuracy That Only Single Out The Bad Guys, that means they might be blasted too.

    Sucks to be them, but they shouldn’t have sheltered him in the first place if they were unwilling to take the risk of injury and/or death from that action.

  121. 121

    If we’re at war, and an American citizen joins the other side, then I have no problem with the CIA or whomever assassinating him. Why would I?

    The fact that this terrorist is an American citizen is a complete red herring. If we’re at war with him and his buddies, then it’s completely irrelevant. The problem is how poorly defined this “war” is. We’re basically authorizing this kind of stuff solely on the 2001 AUMF, which is extraordinarily vague and open ended. If Congress had any guts, they would clarify and limit the scope of who exactly Obama can wage war against… which of course they won’t… but I’m not sure how that’s Obama’s fault.

  122. 122
    QDC says:

    @Robertdsc-iphone:

    It’s this middle-ground position I don’t get. An an idictment doesn’t mean anything that would warrant a sniper-shot, and if you just want to capture him, than in arrest warrant would be sufficient.

    If ordering a strike is illegal, than no cursory legal process is going to make it legal.

  123. 123
    Scott P. says:

    Obviously if he joins the “other side” in a war, he’s liable to be killed, but that’s so obviously not the same thing as being individually targeted it staggers the mind that people can’t see the difference.

    In World War II we deliberately targeted and killed Admiral Yamamoto. Was that wrong, was it right but wrong if he were an American citizen, or was it right regardless?

  124. 124

    @David in NY:

    The government has no obligation to “retreat” if someone is threatening another individual. That doesn’t even make sense. They have a responsibility to make every best effort at capturing the perp alive, but in the event that isn’t prudent (say, it would put the threatened individual or officers are undue risk, or a feasbile extraction can’t be executed) they have every authority to deploy deadly force. It’s the whole fucking reason we give that authority to the state.

  125. 125

    @David in NY:

    The government has no obligation to “retreat” if someone is threatening another individual. That doesn’t even make sense. They have a responsibility to make every best effort at capturing the perp alive, but in the event that isn’t prudent (say, it would put the threatened individual or officers are undue risk, or a feasbile extraction can’t be executed) they have every authority to deploy deadly force. It’s the whole fucking reason we give that authority to the state.

  126. 126
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    But I’ll be god damned if I’m going to pretend it is ok to start ordering the assassination of American citizens, even if it is done “legally” and ordered by politicians I generally like.

    A-motherfuckin’-MEN.

  127. 127
    Face says:

    What if we stuffed his pockets with something completely harmless, like Willy Pete? Then had him interrogated by Cindy Sheehan?

  128. 128
    cleek says:

    @Scott P.:
    even bin Laden is not “wanted dead or alive”.

    DoA isn’t really a govt policy w.r.t. US citizens.

  129. 129
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Laertes:

    The problem is that these tools, once in the hands of a President, are transferable to the next president. That trust is not.

    It always pissed me off when people wasted time and energy asking John Yoo that needlessly inflammatory question about whether the President could order interrogators to crush the genitals of the child of a suspected terrorist to get him to talk. A much more relevant question would be:

    If President Bush had reason to believe during the summer of 2008 that a leading Democratic candidate for the office of President would, if elected withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and end the War on Terror, would Bush, acting as commander-in-chief, have the authority under the unitary executive theory to order the assassination of that candidate?

  130. 130
    Poopyman says:

    We have all become this guy.

    Wouldn’t it have been just as easy to charge this guy with treason and notify every country we have an extradition treaty with and monitor his whereabouts? And if he engages in a military action, then blow his ass off?

  131. 131
    Bill H says:

    Amendment 5: No person American citizen shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

    Fixed the founding fathers’ error.

  132. 132
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Stop it Stuck. I hereby ban your banning.

    You aren’t leaving here. Take a little time and chill out and come back fighting. That’s what we do here. We fight like rats.

    An old girlfriend (I mean a long time ago, she wasn’t herself old) used to tell me, when I got like this: Get a pedicure.

    I have never had one, but the suggestion always made me laugh and made all the agita go away.

    So I say you, get a pedicure.

  133. 133
    Tractarian says:

    If al-Awlaki is killed as a result of a military mission, I won’t lose any sleep. … But I’ll be god damned if I’m going to pretend it is ok to start ordering the assassination of American citizens, even if it is done “legally” and ordered by politicians I generally like.

    What, pray tell, is the difference between getting “killed as a result of a military mission” and being assassinated overseas by the CIA on the President’s orders?

    There is no difference. It’s an extra-judicial killing. And, if you accept that war is sometimes just and necessary, you must accept that there will occasionally be extra-judicial killings.

    @Zifnab:

    He’s IN YEMEN

    Exactly. I fail to see the major distinction between citizen and non-citizen here — to me, geography is the main factor here. That’s because the crucial question is whether or not assassination was the only feasible way to stop this guy from orchestrating attacks…. and it stands to reason that, if you are physically present within U.S. borders, our vast law enforcement apparatus will almost always have the ability to apprehend you without using lethal force (Waco and Ruby Ridge are the exceptions to the rule). In Yemen, not so much. Our only option to stop al-Awlaki from carrying out attacks may be to assassinate him.

    Consider this, Mr. Cole: Would you be OK with Obama ordering the assassination of a Yemeni citizen on the streets of Dearborn? If not, you need to reconsider whether citizenship is the main factor determining whether or not you enjoy full constitutional rights, or whether you are just another enemy combatant subject to extra-judicial killing. I would say it’s not; geography is.

  134. 134

    @Albatrossity:

    No. Why would they have? They’re not an active threat to anyone now, and they were detained and arrested without incident. Now, if they’d opened fire on law enforcement officers or taken a bunch of people hostage and threatened to kill them? Then yes, they would have been at risk of being killed sans trial for the purpose of neutralizing an active threat. This really isn’t that difficult.

  135. 135
    mikey says:

    I’m glad to see you revisited this. I continue to be surprised at how quickly Americans have been willing to run away from the values that we proudly and courageously held for centuries. Part of it is fear, part of it is hatred, part of it is the unavoidable legacy of the actions of bush and cheney. They moved this country in the direction of a police state, trampling the values and laws that made us America, and despite the outrage and tumult at the time, the result is we are not the same nation we were ten years ago, and probably never will be.

    If people cannot or will not see what is wrong with an elected leader ordering the extra-judicial assasination of his own citizens, they’re too far gone to ever get back. Indeed, if this is a real war, we’ve already lost…

    mikey

  136. 136
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Wow, you can’t read, either. I can, though, and I pretty quickly noticed the disconnect between the blog you’ve been running border patrols on and the one John Cole’s been writing.

    Perhaps it’s time to consider that you are part of the problem.

  137. 137
    merrinc says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    As an attorney, I consider the Nuremburg Trials to be the crowning achievement of Western democracy and jurisprudence.

    So we can assume you did not get your law degree from Regent or Liberty?

  138. 138
    Nick says:

    @Poopyman

    :And if he engages in a military action, then blow his ass off?

    One would argue, he did.

  139. 139
    Nick says:

    @Poopyman

    :And if he engages in a military action, then blow his ass off?

    One would argue, he did.

  140. 140
    Scott P. says:

    even bin Laden is not “wanted dead or alive”.

    DoA isn’t really a govt policy.

    Well, saying “Dead or Alive” is basically absolving anyone killing the fellow of liability if he is brought in dead. Not much different than contracting the assassination with a third party. Now, maybe DoA is unconstitutional, but it has been used before in American history, so I’d like to see a discussion about it.

  141. 141
    The Moar You Know says:

    As I said last night, until 2003 we had a law specifically forbidding assassinations of foreigners.

    That we’d contemplate doing it to American citizens is beyond the pale. Can you imagine? Hell, 40 years ago guys like JFK and Martin Luther King would have been number one on the list….oh.

    Guess we don’t learn jack shit from history, do we?

  142. 142
    Whispers says:

    There is a difference between ordering the assassination of a citizen and then boasting that it makes you “tough on terror” and ordering the assassination of a citizen and then shutting up about it. The word doesn’t exist in black and white, no matter how much Glenn Greenwald wants it to.

    There’s a difference between date rape and mugging-in-a-dark-alley rape. But they’re both rape.

    Apparently you think the willingness to make judgment calls and apply definitions consistently constitutes a “black and white world”. That’s a profoundly sophomoric approach to life.

  143. 143
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Lee:

    This. Thanks John. Some days, it’s takes a convert to tell the original congregation when they are fulla shit.

  144. 144
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    John. I do not know what was said in that thread, but I think this oversimplifies the issue.

    The legal question of whether Al-Awlaki can be declared an enemy combatant is fairly straight forward in my view. I think the answer is yes and SHOULD be yes.

    The question then becomes the application of the Laws of War and targetted killings. That is a much more complicated issue.

    I have written a good deal on the subject and believe Greenwald’s analysis is over simplistic.

    I think your post is as well. It is not an easy issue.

  145. 145
    Nick says:

    @mikey:

    I continue to be surprised at how quickly Americans have been willing to run away from the values that we proudly and courageously held for centuries.

    Meh, we haven’t really ever proudly and courageously held them, just preached them…we’ve been breaching them since the Whiskey Rebellion.

  146. 146
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Xenos:

    The problem is not the ‘American citizens’ part, it is the ‘assassinations’ part. If we have not declared war on this guy’s organization, what right do we have to kill him? This is the sort of problem you get when you try to take short cuts through the constitution.

    You would think that the US could look at Israel’s experience and see that ordering assassinations is not only useless, but actually counterproductive, but I guess that would interfere with the narrative in Washington that everything Israel does is always right and proper.

    I guess my question would be exactly what’s being ordered/requested here, and none of us have any idea. If it was a request to try to storm the compound knowing that there’s an American citizen there who might be injured or killed, that’s one thing. If it is an actual assassination order, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

  147. 147
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Robertdsc-iphone: What about due process? I mean, you are advocating doing this without a hearing, not even in absentia, depriving a citizen of his rights by executive fiat.
    Is he THAT big of a threat?
    Is he the first one to do this?
    The analogy to Osama BL is flawed, and doesn’t serve as a floor to your argument.
    I understand the contempt for the guy, but since when is that a reason for this? Would you have supported this for those Hutaree wackos?
    The whole problem is not whether they deserve such treatment. As I see it, it’s whether, once the precedent (and it is a precedent) is set, the envelope will be pushed to make even more exceptions.

  148. 148
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    I can’t get over the fact that it’s apparently A-OK to assassinate foreign nationals with Predators but if someone has a passport THAT’s the problem with what we are doing.

    It’s not A-OK with me! Setting aside the constitutional and humanitarian issues, I think the indiscriminate use of Predators in Pakistan is going to bite us in the ass in a major way. I see no upside to radicalizing the population of a nuclear power with indiscriminate attacks that regularly kill large numbers of civilians.

  149. 149
    Cat says:

    @Nick:

    I come from a military family, so stuff like this and unmanned drones and so on I’m a lot less liberal toward. War sucks and bad shit happens.

    You don’t speak for all of us Military Brats.

    I wouldn’t want anyone I know to be put in the position of having to live with killing innocent civilians or being asked to circumvent the principals he swore to uphold because its more expedient.

  150. 150
    BTD says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I thought there was an Executive Order, not a law.

    My recollection is that the Executive Order banned the assassination of foreign civilian leaders, not military officials.

    What would we call Al-Awlaki? I am not sure.

    this is not a cut and dried issue imo.

  151. 151

    And if anyone cares to read the thread that is the topic of this one, I actually largely agreed with Cole, and that just ordering a killing of an American citizen was not good without having legal proceedings with a showing of evidence, probly best in a trial by absentia, and giving the guy a chance to surrender before trying to arrest him, and only killing him if there is armed resistance, and not by drone into occupied dwellings.

    And this was mostly the sense of most of us who believed this guy has no right to claim immunity from American citizenship and plot and do killing of innocent civilians. So what is the solution? just let him go unfettered? same with Bin Laden? This post declared pretty much that by Cole, and that legalities have no bearing, just let them do their thing. I disagree with that.

  152. 152
    Nick says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    As I said last night, until 2003 we had a law specifically forbidding assassinations of foreigners.
    That we’d contemplate doing it to American citizens is beyond the pale. Can you imagine? Hell, 40 years ago guys like JFK and Martin Luther King would have been number one on the list….oh

    There’s a huge difference between this guy and MLK, HUGE.

    and we have ordered the assassination of American citizens in the past, we just never knew it. Now we have the ability to find out about it.

  153. 153

    @BTD:

    this is not a cut and dried issue imo

    exactly

  154. 154
    BTD says:

    @Scott P.:

    Bin Laden has been targetted on a number of occasions.

  155. 155
    cleek says:

    if a US citizen can be assassinated because of his alleged involvement with the enemy in the undeclared “war on terrorism”, can US citizens be tagged for assassination for any other undeclared wars?

    the war on drugs ? (obviously, yes, we do this all the time – but i though the consensus here was that this was wrong)
    the war on poverty ?
    the war on Christmas ?

  156. 156

    As an attorney, I consider the Nuremburg Trials to be the crowning achievement of Western democracy and jurisprudence.

    Interesting. Personally I consider them the height of Western hypocrisy.

  157. 157
    Whispers says:

    What, pray tell, is the difference between getting “killed as a result of a military mission” and being assassinated overseas by the CIA on the President’s orders?

    Ordinarily the purpose of a military mission is not to kill specific individuals. I know the modern US military uses weapons like daisy cutters that are designed specifically to target the civilian population in the most gruesome manner imaginable, but some would argue that targeting civilians in this manner is (or at least should be) a war crime.

    Presumably you are an adult. If you don’t know the difference between assassination and death suffered in combat, it’s hard to think of a way to explain the difference.

    (And, FWIW, sometimes military missions are, indeed, assassinations, such as the attack on Admiral Yamamoto’s plane. But I don’t think that’s the argument you’re making. You seem to be making the argument that ordering a military strike is exactly the same as ordering an assassination. All I can think is that you do not own a dictionary.

  158. 158
    RP says:

    this is not a cut and dried issue imo.

    Right. There are legitimate arguments on both sides.

  159. 159
    roshan says:

    I guess folks here have never heard of the CIA. Those assholes have been doing this kind of shit for years and no one has complained (few protests here and there).
    Why just claim that this guy is a US citizen so he has to get some rights before they put him in Guantanamo? You know what laws are followed in Guantanamo, take your best guess. The law and order situation dealing with prisoners/enemy “combatants” has completely broken down in this country. The current shit for brains of a President could have fixed this a little but all he wants to do is look forward and break more laws and create unconstitutional ones.
    The funny thing is that Guantanamo is still open a year after it was supposed to be closed and the issue has pretty much died off in the main stream.

  160. 160

    @The Moar You Know:

    I would be more sympathetic to counter-arguments if people making them could stay away from silly, hyperbolic, nonsense like this.

  161. 161
    Citizen Alan says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    I’m waiting, ban me.

    Please, for the love of God, STOP ME BEFORE I POST AGAIN!!! I had no idea trollaholism was such a powerful addiction.

  162. 162
    Nick says:

    @Cat:

    I wouldn’t want anyone I know to be put in the position of having to live with killing innocent civilians or being asked to circumvent the principals he swore to uphold because its more expedient.

    Yeah neither do I and neither did my dad, which he why he told me never to join the military and that he would “smash my ankles Kathy Bates-style” if there was a draft.

  163. 163
    BTD says:

    If anyone is interested, I can provide links to my analysis of this issue, with special attention to the case Hamdi v.Rumsfeld and Hamdan v Runsfeld,where the question of desginating citizens as enemy combatants, habeas rights, military commission,s the application of the Geneva Conventions and the Laws of War are critical to the decisions of the cases.

  164. 164

    @BTD:

    Wow, BTD and I agreeing on something…to the right of Greenwald and Cole. Someone should probably write that down.

  165. 165
    Whispers says:

    There’s a huge difference between this guy and MLK, HUGE.
    and we have ordered the assassination of American citizens in the past, we just never knew it.

    Interesting usage of the word “we” there. I suspect your grammar teachers would disapprove. Using the same pronoun twice in the same sentence to mean vastly different things is generally frowned upon.

    I say this not just to be a grammar Nazi. But your conflation of the actions of the public and the actions of the government are central to the issue here.

  166. 166
    cybergal619 says:

    Thank you, John. You’re why I hit B-J right after I check my email every morning and periodically during the day/night. Thank you for putting into typed words the argument I was having with my son the other night. Mine had a lot more swear words in it, but yours was good, too.

  167. 167
    Poopyman says:

    @Nick:

    One would argue, he did.

    Really? Then he should be charged with treason, extraditing countries notified, etc, etc. That’s the current law of the land, no?

  168. 168
    Cacti says:

    Abraham Lincoln was the worst of all.

    He assassinated close to 100,000 American Citizens on U.S. soil without a trial.

    He allowed the wanton pillage and destruction of civilian property in Georgia by Sherman’s armies without due process of law.

    Monster.

  169. 169
    AhabTRuler says:

    Admiral Yamamoto was a uniformed member of the enemy’s armed forces, and as such a legitimate target. Furthermore, he was shot down by uniformed pilots of the US armed forces.

  170. 170
    electricgrendel says:

    I really fail to see the difference between him dying in a military operation or an assassination. So it’s okay to kill him if there’s a possibility that our tanks and bombs and drones will make a hundred orphans and amputees, but it’s not okay to remove him in a way that may cause less collateral damage? It’s okay for us to be a powerful killing machine, but only so long as we’re configured to chew up vast swathes of a country instead of taking out the people who are themselves known to be the problem?

    I don’t agree with the assassination of American citizens, but I also do not understand the idea that it’s okay if we go whole hog to kill this guy but it’s not okay if we kill him in a way that limited collateral damage.

  171. 171
    El Cid says:

    Unless one takes seriously various international law conventions which don’t have any real enforcement authority, it always is a bit odd to consider a case like this while not too long ago — just to take two examples — Ronald Reagan literally aided the Guatemalan military in carrying out an attempted genocide on its Mayan and hill-dwelling population and celebrated the evangelical generals in charge of the operations, and Richard Nixon literally bombed Cambodia into a moonscape and by slaughtering so many hundreds of thousands via carpet bombing and utterly destroying agricultural production brought both complete starvation and the bringing of the formerly marginal lunatic Khmer Rouge into genocidal power.

    I don’t think this so much justifies the current approach to assassination as it does wildly highlight the degree to which the U.S. government cares very little for the lives of the foreigners it attacks, and no authority exists which can prevent it from slaughtering hundreds of thousands or millions, and apparently no authority can bring anyone involved to real justice. Until the extraterrestrial United Federation of Planets’ prime-directive-free enforcement team arrives.

    Not too relatedly, this is the 25th anniversary of the 1985 bombing of the cult group MOVE when Philadelphia police dropped plastic explosives onto their compound house’s roof, causing a fire, police prevented firefighters from extinguishing the fire, and shot at people trying to flee the fire. 11 died including 5 children and 65 houses were burned down.

    Like so many groups or cults retreating into a compound and refusing orders to evacuate, there was a shootout with police and an officer was killed. (9 members were convicted in the murder.)

    The investigative commission concluded that “Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable”, and in a civil suit the jury found the city liable for millions of dollars in damages as well as for violating the rights of the accused.

    (Philly Inquirer‘s special section recalling the events and aftermath.)

  172. 172
    gwangung says:

    I guess my question would be exactly what’s being ordered/requested here, and none of us have any idea. If it was a request to try to storm the compound knowing that there’s an American citizen there who might be injured or killed, that’s one thing. If it is an actual assassination order, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

    Yeah. This should be part of the discussion as well. I just don’t have a problem with the former; I have lots with the latter.

    Now, I should be asking—SHOULD I be having problems with the former?

  173. 173
    BTD says:

    @cleek:

    The question you raise is really about whether the President is authorized to use force.

    The order on al-Awlaki, which none of us has actually seen of course, is allegedly premised on his affiliation with the Taliban and AlQaida, and thus the President is authorized to use force under the 2001 AUMF resolution.

    I suppose some still argue that such resolution do not constitute declarations of war constitutionally.

    I am not one of those people.

    It is similar to the argument that the Iraq War was illegal. As a question of international law? Perhaps. But not as a question of US law. Congress authorized the Iraq War.

  174. 174
    mikey says:

    @Nick: The fact that you couldn’t just come out and take the position that torture or indefinite detention or extra-judicial assassination were good things prevented a lot of egregious actions. Not all, certainly, but the fact that we were in general political agreement that these were things the BAD GUYS did and we did not meant that in many cases it worked out like that.

    The problem here is that it is rapidly becoming American POLICY to commit these crimes. Hell, Stalin tortured millions of people to death, but at no time did the Supreme Soviet ever stand up and say “Torture is the policy of this nation”. Quite the opposite, they agreed torture is bad and denied they did it. We’re going beyond that, and saying this is the policy of the United States of America, in direct defiance of what we claim to stand for as a society.

    Heh. Go ahead and congratulate the administration on their transparency…

    mikey

  175. 175
    El Tiburon says:

    Cole just went all Glenn Greenwald on your asses.

  176. 176
    Scott P. says:

    if a US citizen can be assassinated because of his alleged involvement with the enemy in the undeclared “war on terrorism”, can US citizens be tagged for assassination for any other undeclared wars?

    Is this really an undeclared war? This isn’t some random guy we’re talking about, he seems to have had close contact with the 9/11 terrorists and the Fort Hood bomber. al-Awlaki seems to fall square under the ambit of the AUMF of 2002.

    What kind of declaration of war would satisfy you? What if we declared war on the Yemeni People’s Front and al-Awlaki decided to join the People’s Front of Yemen instead? Would we need a new DOW?

    These are all hard questions, and do not admit of easy answers.

  177. 177

    And BTW, this little spat aside, does not change my thoughts about John Cole. I respect him deeply and always have, he is one good dude finding his way on the left. It is just I am not that far left, especially on national security stuff. It is because I like Cole immensely that I do not want to fight him on this. It just isn’t worth it, and I can’t help myself to not fight and sometimes dirty on things I care about. Nobles is likely right, and so is fuckhead, I take too seriously and likely bully too much some people, who may or may not deserve it. It is a character defect that at least I am aware of. That is holding this blog back from being it’s best, if nobles and fuckhead and others are right.

  178. 178
    Whispers says:

    And if anyone cares to read the thread that is the topic of this one, I actually largely agreed with Cole, and that just ordering a killing of an American citizen was not good without having legal proceedings with a showing of evidence, probly best in a trial by absentia, and giving the guy a chance to surrender before trying to arrest him, and only killing him if there is armed resistance, and not by drone into occupied dwellings.

    So you don’t support an assassination order at all. What’s the big fuss about? Supporting the usage of deadly force in order to enforce a lawful order is not “assassination”, it’s something the police do every day. It’s not controversial.

  179. 179
    Nick says:

    @Poopyman: Not necessarily, no. Like you said, if he was engaged in military operations, he could be taken out. Because of the vagueness of the war on terror, one would argue he was in the process of a military operation.

    The problem is not the law, the problem is the situation is so vague, it’s hard to interpret where civilian law ends and military law begins.

  180. 180
    BTD says:

    @Poopyman:

    That would be consistent with the view stated by Scalia and Stevens in their dissent in Hamdi.

  181. 181
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    Bingo. that is precisely the issue imo.

  182. 182

    I believe that John’s saying that he doesn’t care if this asshole gets sent to hell in a military operation wasn’t meant to endorse the military operation that was just killing al-Awlaki. I believe it’s pretty obvious that he meant that if al-Awlaki were killed in a military operation which had a distinct military rationale other than killing al-Awlaki, he wouldn’t have a problem with that.

    The cited article is pretty scary. Consider the case:

    The attempted bombing of Times Square on May 1 is the latest of more than a dozen terrorist plots in the West that investigators believe were inspired in part by Mr. Awlaki’s rhetoric. [emph added]

    It’s legitimate to kill someone because of what their rhetoric, in part, inspired?! Without going into the general problems with targeted killing, that’s a pretty slender rationale in the best case.

    He is alleged to be affiliated with a Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda. Intelligence analysts believe that only recently he began to help plot strikes, including the failed attempt to bomb an airliner on Dec. 25.

    From the backgrounder:

    In January 2010, Mr. Awlaki acknowledged for the first time that he met with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the Dec. 25 airliner bomb plot, though he denied any role in the attack, according to a Yemeni journalist. Mr. Awlaki said he had “communications” with the Nigerian suspect in Yemen in the fall of 2009, according to the journalist, Abdulelah Hider Sha’ea.

    In other articles he said he strongly supported the attempt. So it’s not like he’s ashamed of being connected to such attacks. It’s unclear why he would deny a role.

    In any case, he denies involvement. Prima facie, there’s presumption of innocence. Has a warrant been issued for his arrest?

  183. 183
    Scott P. says:

    Admiral Yamamoto was a uniformed member of the enemy’s armed forces, and as such a legitimate target. Furthermore, he was shot down by uniformed pilots of the US armed forces.

    It’s possible to make that distinction. I’m just not convinced it’s cut-and-dried and that anyone who thinks different is a horrible person.

    If the OSS had decided to target German civilian scientists working on Germany’s nuclear program, would that have been unconscionable? I’m not sure, frankly.

  184. 184
    jfxgillis says:

    John:

    I don’t disagree with a word of this in terms of public policy or even fundamental morals.

    However, in high politics, at some point the pure Machiavellian insinct has to kick in. If al-Awlaki is a deadly enough enemy of American interests, at some point, we simply have to kill him.

    I would argue, then, that Obama’s primary error was in saying he was going to assassinate al-Awlaki instead of just killing him and lying about it afterward.

    All this is predicated on finding that al-Awlaki does represent a serious threat to American safety and security. I think he does, and I think Fort Hood and Times Square proves that.

  185. 185
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Nick:

    There’s a huge difference between this guy and MLK, HUGE.

    I suspect 90% of the teabaggers would see no difference at all.

  186. 186
    Jeebus says:

    Good lord, I just took the time to read a bio on this scumbag.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-Awlaki

    I don’t think we belong in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it’s been made pretty clear by the US government that we are at war with ‘Al-Qaeda’. If this was an American citizen in Germany or Japan during World War II he would not have been spared getting bombed into the stone ages.

    Seriously, read up on this guy. And based on what John Cole said in his post, he would be fine if this scumbag was killed by a military strike, but not by a mililtary weapon (drone, hellfire missile) controlled by the CIA? Really? Military hellfire missile, fine. CIA Hellfire missile, not so much? Huh?

  187. 187
    Ailuridae says:

    John Cole:

    Please explain how you view it as hypocritical to be against the torture of foreigner we have captured but to be in favor of assassinating al-Awlaki? Before anyone attacks me I am opposed to both but those positions don’t have a whole lot to do with each other. It would clearly be hypocritical to argue in favor of torturing al-Awlaki after his capture/surrender as those are clear analogues.

    I still have no idea why the US doesn’t just charge him with treason and move from there.

  188. 188
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read anything in the original thread nor any of the comments in this one — and probably won’t until later in the weekend (OT – brunch with Christiane Amanpour* tomorrow, pretty cool, eh?) — but I agree 100%+ with your post, John. Very well said.

    *and a lot of other people too, I imagine — it’s an Atlanta Press Club event. There aren’t many journalists I’d bother getting dressed up and driving 30 miles downtown to see and hear on a Saturday morning, but she’s one of them for sure.

  189. 189
    BTD says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    There is too much knee jerk from everyone on tribes and teams.

    I agree with Glenn a lot and disagree with him a lot.

    Same with Cole now.

    The problem is we are all of us hotheads and overreact and get sarcastic and everything that comes with that.

    Believe it or not, I am trying to make a concerted effort to cut back on all that.

    But just so you know, I have been having a back and forth with Greenwald for months on this issue, on preventive detention policy, on the theater of war issue and other similar issues.

    They are tough issues and not so easy to figure out.

  190. 190
    robertdsc says:

    @QDC:

    But securing the indictment means a great deal. The Feds have said in clear terms that Bin Laden has broken the law and is a fugitive from justice. Eric Holder could wave the -bloody shirt- indictment around and say this is what we’ve got, and we’re coming for him anywhere anytime.

    al-Awlaki, and anyone else, deserves at least that standard of effort by the government. Doubly so because he’s an American citizen. That’s what I want. I want to see an indictment handed down for al-Awlaki. I want him on the Most Wanted list. At least then we’d be back to the Clinton-era version of things rather than expanding Dubya’s reign of error.

  191. 191
    TenguPhule says:

    I don’t know about other commenters, but that’s what I had in mind, especially since Alwaki directly fits the standard for treason as defined in the Constitution.

    YOU FAIL US LAW FOREVER!

  192. 192
    agorabum says:

    @Cleek

    I feel like the “dead or alive” issue deserves a bit more exploration. It seems like that was a fairly standard legal use in the fronteir days. They suffered many of the same issues (lack of actual jurisdictional enforcement, potential integration with hostile tribes [read: certain Native American bands], armed and ready to kill any lawful US representative).
    So when someone is also unavailable, yet actively working to kill Americans and fight against US interests, I’m not so sure a statement of “wanted: dead or alive” is not out of order.

    But I agree that it can’t simply be imposed by fiat. Surely we could announce charges, make an attempt to give notice (post on some jihadi online forums and issue press releases) to give him an opportunity to contest, and then try him in absentia. Once convicted and labeled a fugitve of justice, does anyone have a problem with then labeing him “wanted, dead or alive?”

  193. 193
    QDC says:

    @BTD:

    Hamdi was already in custody, so I don’t think they would view their dissent as applicable here. The whole line of cases is about detainees.

    This is a legitimate, and concerning, gray area regarding when civilian law applies and when military force is legitimate and what constitutes military force. But if someone somehow got standing to challenge this and it went to the Supreme Court, I would guess 9-0 or 8-1 in favor of this being lawful.

    Whether it is a horrifying breach of the western legal tradition and a power ripe for totalitarian abuse is another issue.

  194. 194
    Whispers says:

    It is similar to the argument that the Iraq War was illegal. As a question of international law? Perhaps. But not as a question of US law. Congress authorized the Iraq War.

    You dismiss without concern the question as to whether the Congress can blithely dismiss concerns of treaties to which the US is a signatory. The US is a member of the United Nations, and is bound by the founding document, which states that none of the signatories will engage in wars of aggression.

    I understand that it is considered political suicide in the US to think that the UN Charter should be construed in any way to limit the scope of possible US actions. But there is a legal question here nonetheless.

    Only biased Americans could possibly construe the invasion of Iraq as anything other than a war of aggression. Wars of aggression are the highest of war crimes, and their perpetrators are considered, legally at least, to be war criminals.

    My point here is that the US, as a participant in international treaties, cannot waive off the implications of said treaties as to be somehow irrelevant when considering US law. Any treaty the US signs and becomes partner to is itself then US law.

  195. 195
    Albatrossity says:

    @Brien Jackson: Has this guy “opened fire” on a law enforcement officer or anyone else? Or is he, like the Hutarees, planning violence?

    Thanks for proving my point.

  196. 196
    EconWatcher says:

    This guy is outside the jurisdiction of American laws, outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement (or that of its allies), and part of a hostile fighting force in a lawless zone. I’m not saying the Administration’s position doesn’t concern me. But applying the standards of ordinary law enforcement and due process makes no sense.

    This is nothing like Padilla (apprehended in a Chicago airport). This is nothing like torturing a helpless prisoner under your control.

    I’m not sure what standards and safeguards should apply; complex question. I would have thought it was a complex question when Bush was president too.

  197. 197
    The Moar You Know says:

    I thought there was an Executive Order, not a law.
    __
    My recollection is that the Executive Order banned the assassination of foreign civilian leaders, not military officials.

    @BTD: Thank you for the correction, you are right on both counts.

    What would we call Al-Awlaki? I am not sure.

    That is a very good question, which I cannot answer.

    this is not a cut and dried issue imo.

    No, it isn’t. Hence the rage from all sides. We know that at best the situation is extremely problematic. And none of us knows what to do about it, or what the right thing is to do about it. It looks from subsequent postings that you have done some research into this.

    God knows I have bitched you out good in the past, and vice versa, but if you’d like to post links I’d really like to read what you’ve got to say about this, because unlike health care, this truly is a “big fucking deal” because it cuts to the heart of what kind of people we are.

  198. 198
    TenguPhule says:

    All this is predicated on finding that al-Awlaki does represent a serious threat to American safety and security. I think he does, and I think Fort Hood and Times Square proves that.

    I call bullshit.

    Why not blame him for the sniper shootings, the anthrax and the Republican National Convention while you’re at it?

  199. 199
    Xenos says:

    @BTD: But here is the rub: under what legal theory are we at war with al-Qaeda in Yemen? Obviously we are not at peace with them, but what is the current legal basis for our conflict?

    I am not being a socratic wise guy. I really don’t know where to go to find the appropriate rules of engagement. Does anybody know, or are we all making it up as we go along?

  200. 200
    AxelFoley says:

    Fuck that noise. This dude is plotting against Americans. Fuck him and his rights. You scheme against your own countrymen, plot to cause death and destruction and air that shit on video, well, kiss your ass goodbye.

  201. 201
    Poopyman says:

    You people type faster than I read, and I’m at work.

    Slow down.

    (J/K)

  202. 202

    @Albatrossity:

    Now you’re eliding the question of feasability of detention.

  203. 203
    QDC says:

    @robertdsc:

    As to whether the use of force is lawful or unlawful, the indictment doesn’t mean much. To pursue someone in order to detain them, all you need is an arrest warrant, which is laughably easy to get. The 10 most wanted list isn’t even that. It is just a list of suspects, and there is no due process around being a suspect.

    As a practical matter, I suppose more process is preferable to less, but the indictment-as-death-sentence framework doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me.

  204. 204
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Why not blame him for the sniper shootings, the anthrax

    I always blamed you for these.

  205. 205
    Tractarian says:

    @Whispers:

    If you don’t know the difference between assassination and death suffered in combat, it’s hard to think of a way to explain the difference.

    Go ahead, please try real hard and explain the difference between (1) being specifically targeted and killed by a CIA drone, and (2) being not-specifically targeted and killed by an Army bunker-buster.

    And no, smart guy, I don’t mean “a military strike is exactly the same as ordering an assassination.” I mean its legally and morally the same: Either way, some random American dude is deciding whether some swarthy Arab dude gets to live or die. It’s war. I happen not to like it, but you have to admit we’ve been doing it for centuries.

  206. 206
    Poopyman says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    … this truly is a “big fucking deal” because it cuts to the heart of what kind of people we are.

    Bingo. I think this is what drives my participation in this thread. Most of you others as well, I hope.

  207. 207
    cleek says:

    rather than chase down all these frantic scattering geese, i’ll just bottom line my opinion and bow-out of this conversation (leaving my metaphors hopelessly tangled like a fine black kettle of worms):

    US citizen + fifth amendment – having been found guilty in a trial = no execution.

    unavoidably killed in a military action, fine.
    killed resisting arrest, fine.

    but arrest, trial and conviction should be the goal, not summary execution.

  208. 208
    Jack says:

    …wherein I am pleased, finally, to fully and completely agree with John Cole.

  209. 209
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Stuck, John is a friend whether we agree or disagree.

  210. 210
    BTD says:

    @Xenos:

    This goes the the scope of the theater of war issue. In other words, is the objection that the “military action” is occurring in Yemen as opposed to Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq?

    What if al-Awlaki was captured in Yemen as opposed to killed? Would that make it different?

    John Cole was a soldier, and probably has a better grasp of what the laws of war say on the issue of targetted killings,but I wonder first if the issue is whether John object to Al-Awlaki being treated as a enemy combatant. Because if that is the objection, I disagree with him.

  211. 211
    Poopyman says:

    Are we about played out here? We can has new thread now?

    I gotta go make lunch ….

  212. 212
    cyd says:

    I don’t see why the fact that this guy is an American citizen matters. From a moral perspective, in the issue of whether it is wrong to assassinate someone, citizenship should be irrelevant.

    In other words, if you are OK (or not OK) with assassinating bin Laden, you should be OK (or not OK) with assassinating al-Awlaki. The idea that an American life is somehow worth more than a non-American life is just blind tribalism.

  213. 213
    cyntax says:

    Beyond talking to various people who have then go on to commit terrost acts, what has al-Awlaki actually done? This guy doesn’t provide any sort of technical support does he? Do we think he’s funding these people? And those weren’t rhetorical questions.

    I just see the downside of setting a precedent for assassinating US citizens as much larger than the threat any one person can represent to an entire nation.

  214. 214
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mikey:

    I continue to be surprised at how quickly Americans have been willing to run away from the values that we proudly and courageously held for centuries.

    Held and given lip service to, yes. But I don’t think you can look at a country that interned its own citizens based solely on the basis of their race or deported them for belonging to the Communist Party and say that acting badly in wartime (or “wartime”) is something brand new.

  215. 215

    Yes, John. You “are” sounding like a civil liberties purist.

    In a perfect world, we would capture Awlaki, read him his Miranda rights, hand cuff him, take him to jail, and eventually bring him to trial.

    The problem is, he’s living in Yemen – A country where there is no recognizable law and order. It’s nice to pontificate on the righteousness of the American rule of law. But the American rule of law doesn’t apply in Yemen.

    Awlaki ran to Yemen to escape American justice. He knows that no one is going to be able to “arrest” him there. Obama, et al, understand this as well. They also understand that immediate action is required. Awlaki has declared war on the United States, and he has already inspired three American terroist acts.

    Intellence agencies in civilized countries (Britain, Israel, Russia and the U.S.) have “taken out one of their own” from time-to-time on foreign soil – but only when the “foreign soil” is lawless.

    Time is of the essence. Awlaki needs to be taken down.

    My post on this subject:

    Here

  216. 216
    BTD says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I’ll try to find the one I think best discusses it.

  217. 217
    Jack says:

    @AxelFoley:

    …and you’ll apply that standard to deep ecos who are “plotting against America,” too?

    How about PETA folks, or the ALF?

    Workers striking at a “national security related” arms manufacturing plant?

    Conscientious objectors?

    Cindy Sheehan – since she’s calling for revolution?

    What about Daniel Ellsberg?

    Want to bring back the Pinkertons, the union busting militias and the night riding Klan while you’re at it?

  218. 218
    CDT says:

    @kormgar:

    I never thought it was. But John seems to think so.

  219. 219
    Albatrossity says:

    @Brien Jackson: No, I’m just pointing out the problems with letting government officials decide, based on arbitrary standards, who they can kill. Back off and look at the big picture. Ignore this guy and his arbitrary circumstances. You are basically saying that you are OK with the notion that a government agency can decide to kill you. I’m basically saying that’s not OK with me. There are ways to deal with these folks, and they work. We just have to avoid taking the easy route, because it will get easier and easier to allow government agencies to make those life-and-death decisions in the future.

    Indeed, it cuts to the heart of what kind of people we are. A nation of laws or a nation of government-sanctioned terrorism? I know where I stand on that issue, for sure.

  220. 220
    sherifffruitfly says:

    There are few Obama supporters bigger than me, but I agree 100%. This is absolutely shitacular and needs to stop immediately.

  221. 221
    muddythinker says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, John. And if this precedent continues, what’s to stop some future President we really don’t like from targeting an effective dissident. But by then it’ll be too late. This has got to stop now.

  222. 222
    liberal says:

    @Whispers:

    Wars of aggression are the highest of war crimes, and their perpetrators are considered, legally at least, to be war criminals.

    This.

    While I thought the Guantanamo stuff and so on was terrible, the true big crime of the Bush admin was the illegal invasion of Iraq.

    I think it was Jackson who said at the Nuremberg trials that illegal aggressive war is the crime from which all other war crimes flow.

  223. 223
    The Moar You Know says:

    @BTD: Thank you.

  224. 224
    some other guy says:

    Fuck that noise. This dude is plotting against Americans. Fuck him and his rights.

    Double Guantanamo!

  225. 225
  226. 226
    gnomedad says:

    @Whispers:

    Ordinarily the purpose of a military mission is not to kill specific individuals.

    I would guess that it is legitimate to target individuals in the enemy command structure. Am I wrong? Is this considered “assassination”? Does killing everyone around said individual legitimize it?

  227. 227
    Brachiator says:

    But I’ll be god damned if I’m going to pretend it is ok to start ordering the assassination of American citizens, even if it is done “legally” and ordered by politicians I generally like. This really is not a tough call at all. This is not because I am some crazy civil liberties absolutist. This is just basic common sense, and this kind of thing would set an absolutely horrible precedent. It is beyond me how anyone could get upset about Gitmo and Abu Gharaib and then think assassination of citizens is ok. Personally, I’ll take terrorized by guard dogs and waterboarded over a bullet to the brain pan.

    I’m with you all the way on this one, John. I am dismayed that the Obama Administration is going down this road. I thought that we had got away from this insane cowboy mentality when we put the Bush Administration out to pasture.

    And it’s not just about whether this guy is an American citizen. Whenever the US government sanctions assassination, it never works out. American history, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, is rife with coups and assassinations that did not advance American interests at all, and magnified the hatred and distrust of other nations.

    It ain’t just about theoretical considerations of rights. It’s the most hard-headed practical politics.

    And as much as Obama claims to have learned from Reagan on the right and Kennedy on the left, it is doubly dismaying to see him adopting some of their biggest blunders.

    Can you say Ngo Dinh Diem?

    I thought you could.

  228. 228
    robertdsc says:

    @QDC:
    But the Feds have done the right thing by using the justice system to show that Bin Laden has broken the law and is wanted for crimes. al-Awlaki should be held to at least that standard. At the minimum.

    To pursue someone in order to detain them, all you need is an arrest warrant, which is laughably easy to get

    But it’s a legal document showing that the government has reason to pursue a person. It’s a standard tool in law enforcement and justice, regardless of what we think of its utility.

  229. 229
    AnnaN says:

    Shorter General Egalitarian Stuck: “I’m a bully and I can’t help myself. I need others to control my behavior for me. ”

    It is to LOL.

  230. 230
    rumpole says:

    Good post.
    National security is gravely threatened by dip**ts that can’t even light gasoline on fire and because of that, we can’t bring shaving cream on a transatlantic flight, because you could never put a bunch of bad chemicals in different small bottles. We must therefore assassinate american citizens. That doesn’t mean “military action.” If you want that, you say “he’s in this cave, surrounded by hostiles. Take the area. Use all necessary force.”

    Assassinate means: “This is a bad man. He’s going to be having coffee in the starbucks on 25th street. Pop a cap in his a**.” No trial (he’s a bad man, see?). If you don’t understand the difference, really, please don’t vote.

  231. 231

    @Albatrossity:

    If by “government officials” you mean the executive branch alone, then I agree. Whichis why I’ve said at multiple junctures that I think a judge ought to have to review the evidene against someone before they can be targeted.

  232. 232
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    A nation of laws or a nation of government-sanctioned terrorism?

    Oh dear. Now I can’t lurk.

    I believe that a lot of modern warfare is government-sanctioned terrorism. I have declared the bombing of civilian targets, or bombing that will include civilian targets in order to get at some other target, to be government sanctioned terrorism. There are commenters here who will explode in fits of rage at this suggestion. Bill Maher probably lost his ABC show over this very suggestion. The point is that a lot of serious people don’t see the connection, while others do.

    But put up the al-Awlaki case and there is the phrase again. I am not seeing a lot of consistency on this subject. Where are the moral threads that hold these various views together, and who strung them? Is there a schematic?

  233. 233
    tesslibrarian says:

    Seriously, AMEN.

    Few things are as dangerous as thinking that if it’s legal, it’s moral.

  234. 234
    BrYan says:

    Look man,

    Sully’s not going to give you a Yglesias award. That’s only for right winger’s that go against the grain.

  235. 235

    @Brachiator:

    Whenever the US government sanctions assassination, it never works out.

    Seems to me that killing Yamamoto worked out pretty well in the end.

  236. 236
    Steeplejack says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Stuck, just take a timeout. You said you had the TV off all week; you should be able to turn off Balloon Juice for a few days.

  237. 237
    CDT says:

    @John Cole:
    I could swear I’ve seen any number of posts critical of Greenwald. Doesn’t he fall into the camp of those like Hamsher whom you fault for failing to recognize that Obama is, in fact, a whole lot better than Bush? If I’ve misunderstood the basis for your criticism — and perhaps that’s indeed not the same as faulting someone for being a civil liberties purist — then mea culpa.

    As for this whole thread, my goodness people are cranky. The occasional rebuke of readers is part of the host’s privilege. And John’s original point was dead on (and pithier than Greenwald): those of us who castigated Bush for implementing fascist policies have an obligation to fault Obama when he does the same, or worse.

  238. 238
    Poopyman says:

    @Brachiator:

    Can you say Ngo Dinh Diem?
    .
    I thought you could.

    Uh. Nuh…Nggg….

    No. I can’t.

  239. 239
    Jerry says:

    We seem to be one step away from the following scenario becoming commonplace:

    Standing in line at a “larger” bank, waiting your turn to go do some business with the next available teller, while unknown to you someone at another window is trying to rob that teller.

    Some authorities are close by and respond to the silent alarm the teller has turned on. The robber gets away just as the authorities swoop in and kill everyone standing in front of all the teller windows. You can figure out the various ideas offered by the authorities for killing so many, after all they looked just like the robber, shouldn’t have been so close to the robber at that time, were probably plotting to rob the bank anyway, and so forth and so on. Strange that no one actually gave any of the dead the chance to confront those ideas in court before being executed.

  240. 240
    matoko_chan says:

    well….i’ve read some of al-Awlaki’s speechifying, and i say some of the same things.
    like…..until America acknowledges responsibility for our intransigent bone-headed evangelical christofascist foreign meddling the terrorism and asymetrical warfare in MENA simply aren’t going to stop.
    IOW, we built the Reaver factory and continue to supply it with spare parts.
    Should I be assassinated by my country?

  241. 241
    Tonal Crow says:

    I’m glad to hear you blast the idea of specially targeting an American citizen for death without first charging, trying, and convicting her. If al-Awlaki is worth targeting, he’s worth charging with treason, apprehending, and trying.

    That others here support this kind of targeted killing shows how deeply the GOP has infected the body politic.

  242. 242
  243. 243
    AxelFoley says:

    @roshan:

    The current shit for brains of a President could have fixed this a little but all he wants to do is look forward and break more laws and create unconstitutional ones.

    Fuck you.

  244. 244
    tim says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    OMG…hahaha…the noble, true hearted John Cole worshiper the Wee Little General, honorably asking to be cyber-executed by his master lest he be tempted to betray his principles and return to the scene, thus dishonoring himself and his former Lordship.

    OMG, hahahaha…this is hilariously awesome, overwrought bloggy drama. I laughed and shed a tear all at the same time. Very entertaining.

    Thank you, little general.

  245. 245
    QDC says:

    @rumpole:

    That doesn’t mean “military action.” If you want that, you say “he’s in this cave, surrounded by hostiles. Take the area. Use all necessary force.”

    Assassinate means: “This is a bad man. He’s going to be having coffee in the starbucks on 25th street. Pop a cap in his a**.” No trial (he’s a bad man, see?). If you don’t understand the difference, really, please don’t vote.

    But isn’t the administration proposing the former rather than the latter? Are you okay with the former? I don’t think anyone on the thread thinks shooting him in a Starbucks is legal.

  246. 246
    jfxgillis says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Teng:

    Er. There’s an established record of communication in Fort Hood and the Undie Bomber (I spoke too quickly on Times Square and it’s irrelevant anyway since it occurred after the executive order was issued):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nidal_Malik_Hasan

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....ulmutallab

    Whereas there is no such evidence in the other cases you cited.

    There is, I freely concede, a valid argument to be had over whether such activity by al-Awlaki justifies an assassination or an assassination order. I think it does, you think it doesn’t. But that’s not the same as saying the connection is bullshit.

  247. 247
    geg6 says:

    @cleek:

    This.

    No question in my mind that you are right. None. All else is simply creating rationales for doing whatever you really want.

    I’m very disappointed to see so many here are perfectly willing to slide on down the slippery slope.

  248. 248
    Citizen Alan says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Bill Maher probably lost his ABC show over this very suggestion.

    Actually, IIRC, Maher lost his ABC show for suggesting that it was improper usage of the word “cowardly” to apply it to the actions of people who were literally willing to die for their beliefs. I know — in retrospect, it seems impossible that such a minor verbal quibble should provoke such outrage, but in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, that was where we were.

    Other than that nit, I agree with your post.

  249. 249
    liberal says:

    @BTD:

    I am not one of those people.

    That’s a fancy way of saying “I am wrong.”

  250. 250
    Turbulence says:

    @BTD: The order on al-Awlaki, which none of us has actually seen of course, is allegedly premised on his affiliation with the Taliban and AlQaida, and thus the President is authorized to use force under the 2001 AUMF resolution.

    Why should we believe that al-Awlaki is part of the Taliban or AQ? I mean, I know the government says so, but no court has signed off on it. Many many things the government has claimed about terrorism have been very very wrong.

    Let’s say the government declared today that BTD is part of AQ. Does that mean that the CIA can legally execute you on sight? Yes or no?

    Here’s the principle I’m getting at: you claim that the government can legally do anything at all to citizens without trial once they’re part of AQ because of the AUMF. But the determination that they’re part of AQ is totally at the government’s discretion. There is no judicial review for that determination. Once it has been made, they get a death sentence. So it sure looks like we’ve just created a clever way for the government to hand out death sentences to anyone without any judicial oversight. Right?

  251. 251
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    Should I be assassinated by my country?

    Maybe I should. No, not for the bad puns and in your face rhetoric. For insisting that bombing of civilians is terrorism, no matter who does it, or how. Look, I live in the country that ushered in the atomic age by dropping two nuclear weapons on civilian populations in a few days’ time, burning and irradiating women and children in the process.

    Now we are debating what kind of people we are? Really? After 75 years of stupid bellicose behavior and more than a couple of useless wars? Mounting a nuclear arms race that has poisoned the world with these obscene explosives? We want to debate this little topic as if we were some morally sensitive people?

    Ya lost me.

    Yeah, maybe I should be killed for saying this shit. My only plea is that BJ not be the jury. Heh.

    Oh, sorry, I mean that we irradiated little brown people. So there is that to let us off the hook.

  252. 252
    eemom says:

    wow, what an interesting thread.

    I can actually see both sides of this argument. I agree in particular with whoever said it is a complex issue and is being oversimplified by the Greenwald/Cole POV. Therefore I think John is over the top in labeling dissenters as hypocrites.

    I’m wondering if maybe we should call in an exorcist as it appears John has become possessed by Glenn lately.

    And General, don’t go! If you do then Fuckhead wins. : (

  253. 253
    The Moar You Know says:

    Some authorities are close by and respond to the silent alarm the teller has turned on. The robber gets away just as the authorities swoop in and kill everyone standing in front of all the teller windows. You can figure out the various ideas offered by the authorities for killing so many, after all they looked just like the robber, shouldn’t have been so close to the robber at that time, were probably plotting to rob the bank anyway, and so forth and so on. Strange that no one actually gave any of the dead the chance to confront those ideas in court before being executed.

    @Jerry:

    We’re already there, Jerry.

  254. 254
    Joey Maloney says:

    @jfxgillis:

    However, in high politics, at some point the pure Machiavellian insinct has to kick in. If al-Awlaki is a deadly enough enemy of American interests, at some point, we simply have to kill him.

    But we’re so far from that point we can’t even see it in the distance. So far the best this guy has (maybe) been able to (maybe) inspire people to do is set their balls on fire, and park 6 bags of Scotts Super Turf Builder and a handful of M-80s in a no-standing zone.

    Even smashing three fully-loaded passenger jets into American landmarks was not an existential threat. It’s not even close to one. More people died in car crashes in the month following 9/11 than died from terrorism on the day, and in each and every month since then.

    Seriously. This guy’s an asshole, but he’s no more a threat to this country than a single fire ant is to your life.

  255. 255
    MBunge says:

    Too many people are getting too caught up in non-essential issues. This is not an issue of citizenship. This is about the moral and ethical implications of technology. Remote drones have now given the military the practical ability to target individual persons for attack. When people try to draw a distinction between a military attack and assassination, isn’t the use of drones exactly what they mean?

    Mike

  256. 256
    tim says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    The Wee General: “Stop me, Lord John, before I comment again!”

    hahahaha…snort, cough…hahahaha…

  257. 257
    Brett says:

    @Whispers:

    Ordinarily the purpose of a military mission is not to kill specific individuals. I know the modern US military uses weapons like daisy cutters that are designed specifically to target the civilian population in the most gruesome manner imaginable, but some would argue that targeting civilians in this manner is (or at least should be) a war crime.

    Daisy cutters are better than the alternative, simply because they’re actually much more accurate than earlier attempts to target enemy combatants. Perhaps you’d prefer we go back to the era when we had to drop a metric shit-ton of bombs over a large area just to hit a single target due to inaccuracy?

  258. 258
    geg6 says:

    @eemom:

    If you do then Fuckhead wins.

    See? That’s what is great about this blog.

    Although I don’t want Stuck to go (he’s not BOB, fergawdsake), I actually prefer it when Fuckhead wins.

  259. 259
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Before we get distracted by the Dread Pirate Greenwald, the rightwingers have noticed someone building a mosque two blocks from the former WTC site. They appear to be agin it.

  260. 260
    Brachiator says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    Seems to me that killing Yamamoto worked out pretty well in the end.

    Yamamoto was shot down on April 18, 1943.

    The war in the Pacific did not end that day.

    And Yamamoto’s death ultimately brought Soemu Toyoda as head of the Japanese Navy, who was so hardline that even after the atomic bomb blasts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he insisted that Japan fight on to the last man.

    Yamamoto, on the other hand, had been reluctant to enter the war and did not trust Nazi Germany. The American military commanders wanted Yamamoto dead, and they got their wish. And it was a time of declared war. Whether the decision was an unqualified success — who knows?

  261. 261
    geg6 says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    And now you have gotten to the nut of the matter for me.

    There is nothing at all about AQ that frightens me. None of it did or does. Yeah, 9/11 was a terrible day because it was all so visible and quick and all. But it wasn’t and never will be an existential threat to this country unless we allow it to be.

    Which, if the W administration and it’s lawlessness didn’t convince me of then this thread certainly has, we obviously have.

    Buncha whining, frightened pussies we Americans are.

  262. 262
    Elizabelle says:

    OT, but final launch of space shuttle Atlantis set for 2:20 Eastern.

    Once Atlantis returns, it’s to be prepped to serve as rescue shuttle for remaining shuttle to space station flights, and then on to a museum (not named, maybe not selected yet).

  263. 263
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    Stuck isn’t going anywhere. He lives in Silver City, NM.

    Remember the Snapple Panda commercial I posted earlier?

    Where the Panda says, “Hello, it’s called extinction … you can look it up!”

    Put him in Silver City. “Hello, it’s called isolation …. you can look it up!”

    Sorry Stuck. Just fuckin with ya.

  264. 264
    matoko_chan says:

    @Joey Maloney: bush killed 5000 american soljahs in the Grand Misadventure of the Manifest Destiny of Judeo-christian Democracy in MENA.
    can we have him drawn and quartered?

  265. 265
    tim says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    The martyr angle was working better for you, Gen…now that you’re starting to weasel back into the discussion, you just look pathetic. Come on…ban yourself. You can do it.

  266. 266
    MikeJ says:

    @Elizabelle: Let’s just hope the DoD doesn’t get to fuck up the next vehicle NASA designs.

  267. 267
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @Brien Jackson: Military officer killed when his plane, flying on a military mission was shot down by the U.S.

    Seems to be different than assassinating a U.S. citizen, but maybe I missed something in my WWII history.

  268. 268
    Randy P says:

    @gnomedad:

    I would guess that it is legitimate to target individuals in the enemy command structure. Am I wrong? Is this considered “assassination”? Does killing everyone around said individual legitimize it?

    I once read an article about Marine snipers. The kind of guy whose mission involves taking a couple of days to sneak up on the target, fire one bullet, then take a couple of days sneaking out again.

    That is exactly what they do. Or at least how they were used in Vietnam. The mission is to kill a particular enemy officer.

    And we know little about Special Forces except that what they do is highly classified and usually involves going deep into enemy territory. So I suspect their missions are pretty narrowly targeted also.

    This is an interesting thread. I’ve been lurking and trying to figure out where my personal lines are drawn. I guess I do believe that sort of thing a legitimate form of warfare.

    If we didn’t know an American citizen was among the enemy soldiers in an enemy camp, and everyone in that camp was killed during a fight with US forces, would we be upset? I wouldn’t. He’s an enemy soldier.

    If he were captured as a prisoner, what would I expect? I guess there I expect the rule of law to take effect and for him to face trial on treason charges.

    So what about where we DO know he’s there. Is it OK if we send a drone specifically targeted at somebody else and he gets killed because he was standing next to that person? Yes, again I think that’s a legitimate combat casualty.

    Yet I find myself queasy at the idea of the American being the primary target of the attack. I guess that’s where my line is drawn. Maybe it’s a totally artificial distinction, but I can’t see doing it unless there’s another reason to attack.

  269. 269

    @Bill Section 147:

    Well no, you’re missing the question of whether or not the US citizen in question is a valid military target. Would the situation have been different in 1943 if Yamamoto was an American citizen?

  270. 270
    eemom says:

    In terms of why this is complicated, I see at least three truths that have been articulated on this thread:

    1. To execute an American citizen without a trial violates the rule of law.

    2. From a human perspective, how can we justify the outrage at killing someone just because they are an American citizen when we condone the killing of noncitizens?

    3. We are, in fact, and have been throughout our history, a brutal murderous asshole of a country with oceans of innocent blood on our hands.

    So it comes down to the question: We as a nation are guilty of massive crimes against HUMANITY; doesn’t that dwarf a violation of our so-called “rule of law”?

  271. 271
    Joey Maloney says:

    @matoko_chan: Surely you’re not asking my permission? I’ll happily grant it, but you’re going to have to take the question up with those dudes in the dark suits, shades and earbuds. They may not be as accommodating.

  272. 272
    eemom says:

    @tim:

    Stop piling on.

  273. 273
    kormgar says:

    @Randy P:

    It’s worth mentioning that all of those examples involve actual warfare.

    This is an instance of an individual who is, essentially, involved in a criminal conspiracy. That’s where my opposition to targeted assassination lies.

    And if we are going to start assassinating criminal suspects, then we are truly lost as a nation.

  274. 274
    liberal says:

    @Brien Jackson:
    But the situations Brachiator listed were overall not at all like our war with Japan, which was a total war of one powerful industrial state against another, and the targeted individual was a military leader.

  275. 275
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    Is it OK if we send a drone specifically targeted at somebody else and he gets killed because he was standing next to that person? Yes, again I think that’s a legitimate combat casualty.

    I am not arguing with you, believe it or not .. but this kind of thing just leaves me shaking my head. We talk as if gross destruction of life is some kind of board game played by Marquis of Queensbury rules.

    If you are standing next to X and die, okay. If you are out in the open and Y kills you, then we are immoral scum.

    I cannot process this stuff that way, it sounds downright insane to me. Sorry. I mean no offense, seriously.

  276. 276

    @eemom:

    And General, don’t go! If you do then Fuckhead wins.

    I doubt anybody wins an eternal circular firing squad, sometime you just lose more or less than other times. I am in this to fight wingnuts, not my own side for chrissakes. I just will find another way to do that without the neverending fratricide, if that is even possible. You take care and you can handle the fuckheads with one hand tied behind your back. One tough lady you are.:)

  277. 277

    No, John. You are not alone.

    I tried to get the Tea Shouters attention about this a month ago.

    Also, nobody seems to much care about the McCain-Lieberman Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010. Another totalitarian scary piece of shit.

    But let’s all cry socialism and fascism over a law that prevents your insurance company from dropping you because of pre existing conditions.

    Morons.

  278. 278
    matoko_chan says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Oh, sorry, I mean that we irradiated little brown people. So there is that to let us off the hook.

    well…..no, we just thinned their ranks a bit to convince the rest to turn to the Earthly Paradise of Souless-Rapacious Capitalism and the Salvation of Our Lord Superawesome Baby Jesus.

  279. 279
    Dork says:

    If the President was really serious about stopping terrorism, he’d issue an order to kill all Brown people overseas. Anything short of that and he should be impeached.

  280. 280
    tim says:

    @eemom:

    Oh please, the Wee Gen has been an incredible DICK to me when I comment here. Insulting and clannish and snide in the extreme. Fuck him.

  281. 281
    eemom says:

    @geg6:

    Actually, these newfangled trolls that have been showing up lately make me miss BoB.

  282. 282
    Randy P says:

    @Brett:

    Perhaps you’d prefer we go back to the era when we had to drop a metric shit-ton of bombs over a large area just to hit a single target due to inaccuracy?

    Visited a city called Würzburg in Bavaria a few years ago. While touring the rebuilt “Bishop’s Castle”, I came across the (to me) startling information that Allied bombers had flattened the city and wiped out 90% of its population in a period of 20 minutes.

    No, I would not like to go back to that form of warfare. I am appalled that the military has seemed to be getting blase toward civilian casualties, or worse tried to pretend they are combatants by putting guns in their hands. Not even trying to offer propaganda telling us civilians are never killed like we got early in the Iraq war.

  283. 283
    t1 says:

    “If al-Awlaki is killed as a result of a military mission, I won’t lose any sleep.”

    How is strike by a missile fired from a drone anything other than a “military mission?”

  284. 284
    JM says:

    Killing al-Awlaki is permitted under the AUMF. I don’t like it any more than you do, Mr. Cole, but right now the AUMF is the law of the land.

    Carry on.

  285. 285
    myuhuru says:

    Your bloviating on this is quite disengenious. The POTUS is only even relevant to this issue because this nasty guy is holed up in a foreign country. You know very well that if he was holed up in Waco, Texas with dangerous crazies armed to the teeth, the FBI would not even need the POTUS permission to take him out. Jeez why do leftists like to pontificate so shamelessly!

  286. 286

    @liberal:

    That doesn’t mean the same basic framework doesn’t apply to conflicts with foreign non-state entities.

  287. 287
    BTD says:

    @Turbulence:

    Today I am on American soil so the answer is No. They can not even hold me as a POW without providing me due process to challenge my status designation. See Hamdi.

    If I am in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq, the answer is not if I surrender. Then I get to invoke my Geneva Conventions and challenge my status designation. See Hamdan.

    Has Al-Awlaki offered to surrender?

    this is not an easy issue.

  288. 288
    Poopyman says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Stuck isn’t going anywhere. He lives in Silver City, NM.

    Really? I had the best steak of my life in Silver City. I think it was in 1986.

    I think that might be OT…..

  289. 289
    Brachiator says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    I believe that a lot of modern warfare is government-sanctioned terrorism. I have declared the bombing of civilian targets, or bombing that will include civilian targets in order to get at some other target, to be government sanctioned terrorism. There are commenters here who will explode in fits of rage at this suggestion.

    Nah. This is just sanctimonious hooey.

    I’ll even agree with you that modern warfare is government sanctioned terrorism. So what? What do you have as an alternative?

    War is nasty, especially when civilians are pulled into it; but unfortunately humans sometimes make war necessary.

  290. 290
    Justin Runia says:

    It would be great if you dudes would stop calling it an assassination order; if this guy wants to get on a plane and avail himself of his right to trial as a US citizen, he’s not going to be greeted with a bullet in the brain. It’s a Kill OR CAPTURE order, which exists because a capture order itself would not justify the risk of attempting a ground mission in the area he is thought to be hiding.

    Al-Awlaki has been determined to be an ongoing threat through his connections to the Christmas day bomber and other attempts to murder and intimidate americans. Again, if Al-Awlaki wants to clear his name, I’m sure that the White House would be glad to send him a plane ticket, but that doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the situation–he appears to want to remain in Yemen and continue advising and instructing people to launch attacks on us.

  291. 291
    Dork says:

    @JM: Really? the AUMF permits the assassination of American citizens? If so, how is this not illegal?

  292. 292
    matoko_chan says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Oh c’mon Stuck.
    If i can take being a Pariah-Apostate of BJ you sure can.
    i am waaaaaaay more offensive then you are.
    and….i’d miss u.
    let’s have Cornerstone leave instead.

    <3

  293. 293
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @matoko_chan:

    See, this is where the moral outrage over the al_awlaki case just leaves me cold.

    My relatives fresh from WWII would say that our use of the Bomb saved a lot of American lives. So, you see, stop bitching.

    Okay, so let me get this straight. You are in a war, and if you purposefully kill 50k civilians to save your own skins, that’s okay.

    But if you kill civilians mainly by accident, that is okay too.

    BUT … if the dead civilians’ friends or sympathizers send somebody over to your place and blow up your relatives, that is dirty despicable terrorism.

    The game needs those little infobubbles that follow the NASCAR vehicles around the track on tv. Show us the good and bad guys, who is moral, who isn’t, etc. Make it all simple and easy to understand. Color code it. Bad guys can be red or brown and good guys are … well, white.

  294. 294
    Poopyman says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Oh, sorry, I mean that we irradiated little brown people. So there is that to let us off the hook.

    Just for the record, they were little yellow people. We need to keep our “others” straight, please.

  295. 295
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @MBunge: Right. Is the defining characteristic of an “assassination” that it involves an individual target, or that it involves an individual target AND a preemptive aspect, i.e., the target isn’t doing anything at that specific moment that would incur the use of deadly force?

  296. 296
    jeffreyw says:

    @Poopyman:

    Really? I had the best steak of my life in Silver City. I think it was in 1986.

    Food is never OT.
    Back to my cowardly lurkin…

  297. 297
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Brachiator:

    Wow, you have invented the slogan “War is hell.” And even used it in a sentence. Good for you, you have solved the whole thing.

    Thread closed. Good job.

    Get away from me, if I want that kind of bullshit I can go down the nearest redneck bar and have a drink while I am listening to it.

  298. 298
    georgia pig says:

    I think blatant assassination orders are really bad policy and legally troubling, but one problem I see with some of the arguments against Obama’s action is a kind of absolutist view of rights as a citizen and limitations on government action. If, like Alwaki, you place yourself outside of the jurisdiction of the U.S., don’t you think there is somewhat of an assumption of the risk that the relationship between your “rights” vis a vis the authority of the U.S. government may be modified? After all, Alwaki has decided to live in a part of Yemen where the U.S. has no control, little means to investigate and no reasonable means to apprehend him. This doesn’t mean he’s per se fair game, but couldn’t it mean that the degree of due process that the government has to undertake might be reduced in light of (1) the threat he appears to pose and (2) the reasonableness in making U.S. authorities capture him, indict him, inform him of his rights, etc? Yeah, it might be better if an Article 3 court could look over their shoulder, but I would think you’d have to have a court of special competence to understand the intellligence, reasonable expectations about the level of confidence in the information, the military action involved, etc. I have my doubts that the order is a blatant “go out and assassinate this guy” order, more likely it’s a go ahead to the CIA/military to kill the guy if they encounter him in a predator mission where they’re likely to run into him. If he’s hanging out with al Queda, they probably want to kill those guys too, but, if the other guys are out on a beer run, they’ll still take out Alwaki. The problem with such executive action overseas is there isn’t any post-incident recourse to deter bad calls in the future, i.e., there’s no equivalent of a post-incident inquiry like that following a police shooting.

  299. 299
    Randy P says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:
    But there are rules. There are formally defined Rules of Engagement, and also there is how we train our soldiers. We are asking them to make life and death decisions, on their own lives and on other people’s. We are asking them to be willing to do terrible things, and to have to live with themselves afterward.

    I think that last one is what I’m fumbling at. What is it OK to ask a soldier to do? Where would I have problems sleeping at night afterward if it were me pulling the trigger?

  300. 300
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @jeffreyw:

    I wonder where that steak came from?

  301. 301
    Turbulence says:

    @BTD: Today I am on American soil so the answer is No. They can not even hold me as a POW without providing me due process to challenge my status designation. See Hamdi.
    If I am in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq, the answer is not if I surrender. Then I get to invoke my Geneva Conventions and challenge my status designation. See Hamdan.
    Has Al-Awlaki offered to surrender?
    this is not an easy issue.

    Thanks for answering, but I’m totally lost because your answer doesn’t make any sense to me.

    First off, you seem to be implying this weird geographical limitation. Where in the NYT article do you read anything about the order to execute al-Awlaki to geographically limited? I mean, it seems like you’re proposing a different system than what the government has actually done. Maybe your system is better, maybe not, but it seems pointless to discuss it if the government is not using it.

    If al-Awlaki goes to Switzerland, can the CIA execute him there?

    If I were al-Awlaki, I would assume that the government would execute me if I tried to turn myself in and surrender. Do you see anything in the NYT article that would lead him to conclude otherwise?

  302. 302
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Randy P:

    I’d have more regard for the rules if they were being applied in something other than useless wars against brown people. Because in my lifetime, that has been just about it.

    Between Southeast Asia and the Middle East, it looks like an Orwell novel, and not a particularly good one. Rules of engagement against people who are often just trying to run the fuck away from the explosions and the death.

    Sorry, I am underwhelmed.

  303. 303
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Poopyman:

    Sorry. You are correct.

  304. 304
    John Bird says:

    The real problem is the White House refuses to follow precedent. The proper procedure is to conduct a show trial in absentia, and then send a foreign intelligence agent to stab him in the head with an ice pick. Much less collateral damage, after all.

    Who are these “crazy civil liberties absolutists” you’re distancing yourself from, by the way, Mr. Cole? The ACLU? Or am I not up to date on my nefarious Red conspiracies to undermine America?

  305. 305
  306. 306
    JM says:

    @Dork:

    the AUMF says that all members of these organizations are fair game, and makes no distinction between foreigners and US citizens. Neither does the seventh amendment, which the AUMF would appear to violate.

    The citizenship of Al Awlaki or whatever his name is, doesn’t have to be an issue. Objecting on this basis simply promotes the rightwing meme that the Bill of Rights cannot apply to foreigners, when it actually does.

  307. 307
    Poopyman says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    I wonder where that steak came from?

    I believe it was from a cow, but I did not ask.

  308. 308
    NobodySpecial says:

    I’ve stepped through the looking glass in just a few hours.

    How hard could it possibly be to charge this numbnut with a crime that would justify an assassination order? And if it is that hard, doesn’t that say something about the need to assassinate him to begin with?

    I remember those halcyon days when people said ‘America doesn’t start wars, they just finish them.’ Those were also days when we put torturers on trial rather than just lining them up against a wall, and we believed that American citizens had rights, like the right not to be held on a military base offshore to take him out of the legal process altogether and tortured until we decided to put them in front of a military jury. Or the right to not have their phone calls snooped on without a warrant.

    Now we’re sitting here having an argument over whether it’s ok for a government that hasn’t even made a case against a citizen to kill him extrajudicially.

    Where the fuck is my country, and when you’re done with it, can you at least clean the shit out? I’m fresh out of demi-gods to clean out the Augean Stables you people are leaving.

    And Stuck:

    Don’t be stupid. A moral at one of the forums I frequent is ‘Always wear resist gear.’ If you can’t deal with disagreements, you need to disengage completely. Otherwise, get yourself over yourself and pick up the battle the next day.

  309. 309
    Poopyman says:

    @jeffreyw:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: Where was the beef?

    It was on the platter. it was on a lot of platters, as a matter of fact, although I only ate from the one. They were big platters and my stomach is so small.

    You guys ask a lot of questions.

  310. 310
    Keith G says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: @Brien Jackson:

    Among others

    I was here last night for a bit. At work now and time is limited.

    Thanks for fighting the good fight. In that, I just mean that this is a complex issue in a complex world. The bright lines that some are drawing, just don’t fit.

    And worse is the name calling (Cole, Mikey, et al). That is just petulant and unnecessary.

  311. 311
    Corner Stone says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: O c’mon TZ.
    Stuck is a drama queen, and he’s desperately hoping his unrequited love for Cole will come to fruition and Cole will intervene and ask him to stay.
    He’s not going anywhere.

  312. 312
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @John Bird:

    One of the problems here is that there are several points being made by various people, and these points are not very congruent.

    The fact is that the moral structures are bendable, and are bent, according to the needs of the argument or example on the table. The moral rules are as soft as Gumby, and can take any pose you like. That’s the part that bothers me.

    In one tableau, the stick figure is a perfectly justified casualty due to rule 137. But in the next, the same figure is the tragic victim of moral neglect, owing to rule 272. See? I mean come on, you HAVE the latest rule book, don’t you?

    I don’t process that kind of stuff very well. Makes me cranky.

  313. 313
    soonergrunt says:

    I know that at comment #300+, this will be buried and no one will see it.
    I didn’t see last night’s thread on this, but I’m with John 100%. The country that authorizes the extra-judicial assassination of her own citizens is not the country I fought and bled for. It’s the countries I fought and bled to take down (regardless of whatever else was going on with that.)
    It’s the kind of thing for which we rightly excoriated the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.
    Once we start down this path, where does it end? What about in the future when there’s another asshole winger in the oval office? We already know that those people routinely encourage their followers to violence against those with whom they disagree. Do we really want people capable of such thoughts to have the idea that killing those US citizens who oppose them is any way even remotely acceptable?

  314. 314
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I won’t rest until Cole and Stuck have sex. Period.

    Sorry you two, don’t get mad at me. We all know what is going on.

  315. 315
    JM says:

    Fifth, not seventh.

    Sheesh.

  316. 316
    Brachiator says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Wow, you have invented the slogan “War is hell.” And even used it in a sentence. Good for you, you have solved the whole thing.

    Yawn.

    I asked if you have an alternative to what you want to call government-sponsored terrorism.

    Have you?

    Or do you just want to squirt your sanctimonious hoo-haw and stew in the juices of your own self-righteousness?

  317. 317
    NobodySpecial says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I read it, and you’re absolutely right.

    Where the hell did America go?

  318. 318
    Poopyman says:

    Just to stir the pot a bit, here’s a bit from the NYT article:

    “The danger Awlaki poses to this country is no longer confined to words,” said an American official, who like other current and former officials interviewed for this article spoke of the classified counterterrorism measures on the condition of anonymity. “He’s gotten involved in plots.”
    (para)
    The official added: “The United States works, exactly as the American people expect, to overcome threats to their security, and this individual — through his own actions — has become one. Awlaki knows what he’s done, and he knows he won’t be met with handshakes and flowers. None of this should surprise anyone.”

    (I know, I know it’s the NYT, but the quote’s the thing.)

    So there it is. Guilty because we say so.

  319. 319
    geg6 says:

    @eemom:

    Hmmm. To each their own, I guess. None of the new trolls (and I guess I’ve missed them because I haven’t seen any) could possibly be as sexist and racist as BOB. I will NEVER miss BOB.

  320. 320

    If someone mentioned this, I apologize for missing it.

    As John noted, the problem is the assassination. It is not a slippery slope, it’s a steep cliff — but not the way I see mentioned above.

    Instead it’s a simple law of tit for tat — the golden rule, modified. As you do, so shall others do unto you. If assassinations are legitimate, they’re legitimate. Period.

    If a predator into a crowd containing possible innocents — or lacking innocence only by virtue of being related to the target — is legitimate, so is a suicide bomber.

    It is that simple. Oh, the outrage will still exist; How Dare They. But it’s that simple.

    Yes, the fact he’s an American Citizen is also important. In that, he’s facing punishment before trial. (What, we can’t try him in absentia for treason? Why not – we can do that for other crimes.)

    But the real ugliness is assassination. It makes us, well…

    It makes us no better than “them”.

  321. 321
    Keith G says:

    @Justin Runia:

    Right you are!

  322. 322
    Liz says:

    @Robertdsc-iphone:

    Why? Because we have a trial-by-jury system in this country. You are suggesting that we convict and sentence this man to death without due process, and that’s what authoritarian states –to which we pretend to be so superior– do.

  323. 323
    JM says:

    There are extra-judicial killings by authorities on US soil all the time. They are problematic and often improper, but to pretend that the killing of Awlaki would be any different than a cop shooting someone with a gun is, well, kinda silly.

    The guy isn’t being sentenced to death in some star chamber, he’s being killed in the act.

  324. 324
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Poopyman:

    Well, I meant, it did not come from anywhere near Silver City. It’s all sagebrush out there. Mica. Schist. Which is beautiful, but cows can’t eat it.

    So that great steak coulda been eaten anywhere. Thanks to refrigerated trucking, and the entrepreneurial spirit of some New Mexicans, it got to Silver City.

  325. 325
    SGEW says:

    Looks like I picked the right time to avoid getting involved with legal arguments on teh internets.

  326. 326
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Brachiator:

    Fuck off, asshole. You missed yet another point. After a certain number of those, you have to start over, and you passed that line about several years ago with me.

    You apparently have no idea what I am talking about. Right the fuck over your head into outer space where it will never be seen again, tragically. A perfectly fine point, inserted into orbit by your walnut-sized brain.

    Go away and leave me alone. Today, and for the rest of time.

  327. 327
    slag says:

    I am not a lawyer (shithouse or otherwise), but that will not stop me from forming an opinion on this “complicated” issue. I’m against it. But then, I’m against a lot of things. War…climate change…reality television…

    Unfortunately, however, the rest of the world does not always see things my way. Just because something’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right–morally or pragmatically. So, my contribution (such as it is) to this discussion is as follows:

    Anyone who is not a lawyer would probably be better off making their arguments on moral grounds rather than legal.

    And anyone who is a lawyer should be able to make their arguments on both moral and legal grounds.

    If those things aren’t happening, then something’s wrong with the argument and all the folks involved need to step back and be a little more critical of their own positions.

    Also, too:

    Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
    Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists.

  328. 328
    geg6 says:

    @georgia pig:

    If, like Alwaki, you place yourself outside of the jurisdiction of the U.S., don’t you think there is somewhat of an assumption of the risk that the relationship between your “rights” vis a vis the authority of the U.S. government may be modified?

    Please reference the section of the Constitution where it says this. Even a SCOTUS precedent would do.

  329. 329
    Todd says:

    @JM: http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/.....3.enr.html

    The term AUMF has been bandied about. I didn’t know what it was. There’s the answer.

  330. 330
    El Cid says:

    @Nick:

    No, because in both cases you’re assassinating American civilians, but in one case you know its wrong and you’re not taking the decision lightly, while the other, you’re just enjoying yourself.

    Exactly what I said — functionally equivalent and stylistically different. How is your restatement in opposition to what I wrote?

  331. 331
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brett:

    Sucks to be them, but they shouldn’t have sheltered him in the first place if they were unwilling to take the risk of injury and/or death from that action.

    I sometimes wonder if Bush did this to us, or if this existed before and Bush just made it somewhat socially acceptable to let people like you fly your freak flags. I’m pretty well convinced it’s a part of the human condition and has always existed and will always exist.
    In any event, this is one of the most depraved comments I’ve seen on this topic.

  332. 332

    @Corner Stone: LOL. I will miss you, you little sweetheart:)

  333. 333

    @Liz:

    Due process is not a singular concept. It means different things in different circumstances.

  334. 334
    Corner Stone says:

    @JM:

    Fifth, not seventh.

    Fifth! One, two, three, four…FIFTH!

  335. 335
    DanF says:

    No one will probably see this at over 300 comments, but for the record:

    Sometimes our laws are as inconvenient as hell, but they are our laws. Talk to me when you pass a constitutional amendment stating it’s A-OK for the President to order the assassination of Americans living overseas when he thinks it prudent. Until then, it’s not legal. A state of war does not exist between us and Yemen.

    Speaking of fucking Yemen. This sick, contorted GWOT puts us on the same side of the battle as Yemen. Why we are helping these fucktards is beyond me. They are a thoroughly corrupt and morally bankrupt nation.

    You don’t defeat terrorists with bombs and you don’t defeat terrorists by siding with countries like Yemen. Jesus – if we lived in Yemen, many of us might be fighting on the same side as al-Awlaki against the Yemeni government.

  336. 336
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: You’ve called the tune. Let’s see what happens.

  337. 337
    NobodySpecial says:

    @JM:

    The act of what, exactly?

    Where’s the proof? Can’t convene a grand jury and get a bill of indictment?

    Saying mean things about America and rejoicing in Americans getting hurt and killed, while douchey, is not illegal. Did we have to blow up Tokyo Rose in WWII to win it?

  338. 338
    Albatrossity says:

    @Brien Jackson: Now who’s evading the issue? What difference does a judge make? Or, more pertinently, what difference did 9 judges make in a disputed election in 2000? Are judges infallible? And isn’t part of due process the ability to see the evidence arrayed against you?

    You’re still granting the government the right to kill you without the protections that are granted to you in the Constitution. I’d really rather not go that far.

  339. 339
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    You are suggesting that we convict and sentence this man to death without due process

    Really? Then he will have no objection to turning himself in and being brought back to be judged by that process, right? Because we are sure that he is playing by those same baroque, elegant rules, is he not? Isn’t that why he is no longer gellin’ like Magellan over there in New Mexico now as we speak? Because he cares as much for that set of laws as you do? He is an honorable man, no? If he is innocent, then he has nothing to fear.

    After he is acquitted, he can get himself a gig on FoxNews as a jihad commentator.

  340. 340
    Corner Stone says:

    What I enjoy is the almost immediate acceptance of some kind of crime or act that warrants execution.

    GOVT: There’s a RISK!
    Public: What?? Where?
    GOVT: There’s a RISK! Over there!
    Public: Oh no! Tell me about it! How do you know there’s a RISK?
    GOVT: There’s a RISK over there because I say there’s a RISK over there!
    Public: Oh? Ok then.
    GOVT: Good, now let’s kill the RISK!

  341. 341
    Lost Left Coaster says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    So criminals are all automatically guilty due to the fact that they will not turn themselves in? Good to know. That will save us a lot of time on all those pesky trials, juries, etc.

  342. 342
    BH says:

    This guy is alleged to have done certain things by a government that can’t be trusted to tell the truth about Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch, or anything else. Their evidence has been held to little or no scrutiny whatsoever, and certainly not by a court.

    For all of you assassination supporters, if that’s all it takes, the government can kill any one of you, or your kids, at any time, for any half-assed reason they want. Do you have any idea how insane that position is?

  343. 343

    @Albatrossity:

    1. Judicial review matters because it adds a layer of oversight, and a review of the evidence by the legal system. You know, the people who judge evidence against the accused under the Constitution.

    2. Your larger point isn’t worth engaging because it’s simply too deep of a rabbit hole. If we can’t trust legal systems because they get it wrong sometimes, and as such we can’t do anything, well, then we can’t very well do anything can we? It’s troubling to think of, to be sure, but from a practical standpoint, it’s useless.

  344. 344
    Sheila says:

    As a pacifist, I am opposed to all killing everywhere, but I do not see a great distinction between assassinating one of our “enemies”, be he or she foreign or American, and slaughtering them in a combat zone, though in the latter case, one is likely to kill more people than just the one person who might be targeted. I agree that assassinating American citizens, or even foreign citizens, is wrong, but not more wrong than dropping a bomb. I am disappointed in the decisions the Obama administration has made in terms of warfare (not that I ever haven’t been disappointed in the decisions made by any American administration in terms of warfare), but we are a long way from electing a Commander in Chief of the largest military force the world has ever known who is reluctant to use it in various ways. Until the minds of the American citizenry are enlightened enough to realize violence is not only wrong, but counterproductive in the long run, and that the ends should determine the means, we will continue to have leaders who condone violence in many different forms as a means to an end.

  345. 345
    NobodySpecial says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Because acting just like our enemies is what America’s all about, right?

    Which national monument in Yemen are you going to recommend someone fly a plane into?

  346. 346
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Justin Runia:

    It’s a Kill OR CAPTURE order, which exists because a capture order itself would not justify the risk of attempting a ground mission in the area he is thought to be hiding.

    Just thought I would point this out, because some people here seem to be a little confused about what the order (allegedly) even is.

    If people want to argue that we shouldn’t be issuing kill or capture (aka dead or alive) orders on people who haven’t even been indicted for a crime, I’d have to go along with you there. We have indictments out on most of the other al-Qaeda figures, so it’s not like there’s no precedent. We shouldn’t be going out to try and apprehend a guy who hasn’t been charged with anything in a court of law.

    But as far as the specific order itself, it seems to me that a kill or capture order is more of a signal that there’s no need to take precautions not to kill the guy while trying to apprehend him than an assassination order.

  347. 347

    @Corner Stone: yer on. Starting Tuesday, my Comcast will go on vacation for 3 months, and I will be walking away from the internet in total, for that period, at least. It is set. And hopefully develop a life outside of it and get some shit done that needs doing that I can’t seem to quit sitting in front of this addictive monster called the internet every spare minute of the day and night. Not just BJ, but all of it. It will be an experiment and adventure, and I am excited. Been considering doing this for months that has nothing to do with Balloon Juice. Now is the time.

  348. 348
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    WOOHOO! ! !

    I WIN! ! !

    YES! ! !

    *does happy dance*

  349. 349
    Darkmoth says:

    Come on, JC:

    Some of you say “I’m ok with it if it is done legally.” You know what else was deemed legal- the torture you screamed about for the last eight years. The law in Arizona that you all abhor is “legal.” Segregation was “legal.” The reason you all had a sad face because Dawn Johnsen was not confirmed was because what the OLC and the last administration did to sanitize the morally indefensible and call it “legal.”

    When you put the word legal in air quotes, WTF does that mean? What “rule of law”, exactly, are you arguing for? The laws you consider valid and screw the rest?

    Personally, I don’t believe half the people showing outrage at this really care what the law is. They care what they think the law should be. This violates the Constitution in their heads.

    Case in point, the number of people who keep maintaining that the government can’t kill you without a trial. Am I the only one who lives in a fucking city where this happens weekly? Hasn’t anyone even Googled “can a police officer shoot you a running suspect?”. Holy shit. There is actual Supreme Court jurisprudence on this, and yet the fake laws keep getting repeated.

    Finally, to hell with “hypocrisy”. It’s less important what you said last time, than getting it right this time. Life isn’t some contest to avoid be labeled a flip-flopper, and every case should be considered on it’s current merits, not what you believed 5 years ago. The hypocrisy charge is just a lazy debating tactic which avoids the actual validity of the issue at hand.

  350. 350
    moe99 says:

    I still go back to “A Man for All Seasons” where More’s son in law, Roper is arguing with Sir Thomas More:

    Roper: “So now you’d give the devil the benefit of law?”

    More: “Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the devil?”

    Roper: “I’d cut down every law in England to do that.”

    More: “Oh, and when the last law was down, and the devil turned on you, where would you hide, Roper, all the laws being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, man’s laws not God’s, and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think that you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

    “Yes, I’d give the devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake.”

  351. 351
    moe99 says:

    well, blockquote sucks above.

  352. 352

    @Darkmoth:

    Thank you. This. Anyone who says the government can’t kill you without a trial is just completely, objectively, wrong.

  353. 353
    Brachiator says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    You apparently have no idea what I am talking about. Right the fuck over your head into outer space where it will never be seen again, tragically. A perfectly fine point, inserted into orbit by your walnut-sized brain.

    Double yawn.

    Typical that you would resort to personal insults and BS.

    It’s not that I have no idea what you are talking about. It’s that you don’t know how to cogently argue a point.

    Nice not talking to ya.

  354. 354
    NobodySpecial says:

    Case in point, the number of people who keep maintaining that the government can’t kill you without a trial. Am I the only one who lives in a fucking city where this happens weekly? Hasn’t anyone even Googled “can a police officer shoot you a running suspect?”. Holy shit. There is actual Supreme Court jurisprudence on this, and yet the fake laws keep getting repeated.

    False analogy – in every police shooting, an investigation is done. If the facts of the case do not justify the shooting, the shooter DOES go up on charges.

    In this case, you’re claiming that the President just gave every member of the military immunity from charges for killing this guy, no matter what the circumstances, with no investigation.

    It may be awkward, but there IS a rule of law.

  355. 355
    Turbulence says:

    @Justin Runia: It’s a Kill OR CAPTURE order, which exists because a capture order itself would not justify the risk of attempting a ground mission in the area he is thought to be hiding.

    Where did you read that? That would definitely change things but I didn’t see anything about the “or capture” part in the NYT article. So can you please give a cite?

  356. 356
    Albatrossity says:

    @Brien Jackson: “Your larger point isn’t worth engaging”

    My larger point is that the Constitution grants Americans certain rights that you seem willing to give away.

    If that is not worth engaging, then we have different standards, for sure.

  357. 357
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Lost Left Coaster:

    What the fuck are you talking about? I said no such thing. I made a rhetorical point.

    Which is, we have people here who will judge his death by assassination to be an outrage, and people here who would judge his accidental death because he happened to be in the way of our officially approved combat projectile to be, uh, regrettable, I guess. We’d probably make a mental note of it. And I can’t tell where that line between one rule and another is exactly.

    Like I said, it’s a game played according to baroque rules, and if that works for you, then good for you. It doesn’t for me. I come at it from a different direction. For starters, I would like to see the persons being blown up to be included in the rulemaking process. Especially given the remarkable fact that in each example, the person being disintegrated is assumed to be innocent. Apparently whether your death is an outrage or just a shrug depends on where you are standing when your head is removed.

  358. 358

    @EconWatcher: AFAICT, there’s no warrant for his arrest on any charge. So, strictly speaking, it’s not that he’s out of reach of law enforcement, but US law enforcement officially has no interest in him.

    I don’t understand the cost of the pro forma. Get a warrant and request extradition. Ask him to surrender himself. AFAICT, he denies active involvement with terrorist attacks while voicing support. Why would he deny involvement? Esp. now?

    Note that we’ve made things harder for a surrender scenario to play out in more cases. A terrorist suspect has some good reasons to think that we’ll torture, disappear, or kill them. People around them have less reason to surrender him and might have qualms even if they think he’s guilty (and that what he’s done is wrong).

    BTW, how does one get off the kill list other then by dying or being captured? If he renounces violence and pulls down his site and there’s credible evidence that he’s not pursuing terror does the kill order get rescinded? When? How? If he attempts to surrender, can one still kill him anyway?

  359. 359
    EthylEster says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck whined: I am officially asking that you ban me John Cole. It is my decision and does not reflect on your laudable idea of free speech and good policy of not banning people. I just don’t want to be tempted to return is all.

    god, you’re a jerk.
    someone has to MAKE you go away?

  360. 360
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    Typical that you would resort to personal insults and BS.

    You started it, shit for brains.

    This is just sanctimonious hooey.

    I don’t have to take that shit from you. I didn’t insult you until you said that. So fuck you. You think you can talk to me that way with no provocation and I have to be polite to you?

    Eat shit and die.

  361. 361
  362. 362

    @EthylEster: Awww. nuther one of my fans come by to say goodbyes. So sweet. It is not breaking news that I am a jerk. long since established. but thanks for the compliment.:-)

  363. 363
    EthylEster says:

    @moe99 wrote: I still go back to “A Man for All Seasons” where More’s son in law, Roper is arguing with Sir Thomas More

    FYI this was quoted in length on the thread referenced by this post. McLauren IIRC.

  364. 364

    What confuses me about this whole mess is why we’re so interested in exactly where human rights, according to our government, are supposed to stop. The rights de facto apply only to citizens, because I doubt the Founders expected the United States to get into the business of disappearing and assassinating people from foreign countries. (De jure, the Constitution only limits government; it doesn’t reserve human rights to citizens only.) Before even mentioning the idea of assassinating our own citizens (it’s “extrajudicial killing” when other countries do it), it occurs to me that it can’t be a usual thing to go ’round blowing shit up in other countries with which we’re not at war who haven’t really signed on for it. If we suddenly had Canadians dropping bombs on militia compounds because they felt we were insufficiently proactive, wouldn’t that be an act of war? I know we Americans have a problem with exceptionalism, but when did it get this bad?

    Additionally, while I’m mildly pleased to see John grow some principles on this issue, I’m fuzzy on why this issue isn’t cause for the same reaction you had about a year ago when people were pointing out that the Obama administration hasn’t done jack to slow, much less reverse, the cancerous growth of the paranoid keep-us-safe-from-terrorists apparatus. (Specifically, closing the thread and claiming that the argument was “stupid shit”.) Even though everyone here seems to find Glenn Greenwald unbearably annoying, he was pointing this sort of thing out from the beginning. I suppose it just takes time for some people to come around.

    Lastly, I’m disappointed that nobody took me up on my peanut-butter glove offer. Now I kind of wish I’d made a monetary bet. Yes, there’s still a few weeks left, but I feel confident that I’ll be proven sadly correct.

  365. 365
    Darkmoth says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    False analogy – in every police shooting, an investigation is done. If the facts of the case do not justify the shooting, the shooter DOES go up on charges

    First of all, an investigation is not a trial.

    Second of all, the fact that it happens after you are dead is a fairly important consideration.

    Third, the fact that an officer can even potentially shoot you in the back, kill you, and have his action sanctioned by a judge makes the first two things irrelevant, and is the entire point of the analogy.

  366. 366
    tim says:

    How do “WE” know the Wee General and Chock Full of Nut Juice are not the same person?

  367. 367
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @EthylEster:

    What is your problem with Stuck? He’s making a point to Cole. Let him make it.

    Stuck and I have fought like rats, no love is lost here. But what is your damned point? That he has to interact with Cole in some certain way? Sure, he is wasting his time, Cole will never give him the satisfaction of a ban on demand. But the point he is making is actually well taken. Cole wants to have his cake and eat it too, enjoy the fruits of a wide open comment section, and then blow a gasket when a bunch of people disagree with one of his favorite points. Meh.

    In this case I support Stuck’s campaign, and at the same time, reject his plea to be banned. He can’t leave, he has nowhere else to go. So leave him alone.

  368. 368
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @tim:

    How do we know that you and DougJ are not the same person?

  369. 369
    Church Lady says:

    @Joey Maloney: You forgot the Ft. Hood shooter. Does that make him a little more dangerous in your eyes?

  370. 370
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Come on, dude. I have been to Silver City. Leave the broadband turned on. I don’t want to hear that you went loco and had to be given antivenom because you tried to pet your rattlesnake.

  371. 371

    You all have convinced me. Ideals are everything in a democracy. So I say Obama issue a general amnesty to Bin Laden and all of AQ as an organization. Since they won’t turn themselves in for trial, it is a waste of blood and treasure to hunt them, and end up killing civilians in the process. A box of chocolates and maybe a large check to show our contrition should be sent out to OBL forthwith and forever more they shall be left alone to live peacefully without us dropping bombs on them and other lethal shit.

  372. 372
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    Well, I am taking leave of this lovefest. I have a pet rattlesnake to feed and groom after a hard ride.

    And me, being Stuck? I live in Phoenix, was available for your dining pleasure by invitation right here at Central and Indian School last night, if you were paying attention. Nobody showed.

    Stuck is in Silver City. You can’t get from here to Silver City in less than about 2/3 of a day, best case. Maybe by charter plane. But doing that would be cost prohibitive for him and for me.

    Also he has a dog, and I have a cat. Also I am about ten times better looking than he is. That isn’t much, but it is what it is.

  373. 373
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    I have a pet rattlesnake to feed and groom after a hard ride.

    Give Betsy my love.

  374. 374
    maus says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    I am officially asking that you ban me John Cole. It is my decision and does not reflect on your laudable idea of free speech and good policy of not banning people. I just don’t want to be tempted to return is all.

    I barely notice your posts or care, but agree on principle. Anyone who can’t control themselves and feels compulsed to post could probably deal with someone guiding their hand away from the “submit” button.

    Besides, demanding to be banned rather than just shutting up comes off as a little attention-whorey anyway.

  375. 375
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Corner Stone: The conflation of “a risk” with “a large risk of a catastrophic event” underlies pretty much every attempt to undermine liberty.

  376. 376
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Albatrossity:

    Amen. Regardless of what you think of the guy in this instance, it is simply impossible to reconcile America and American values with the notion that some government agency can kill American citizens.

    I wasn’t in on the previous thread, so fogive me if this has already been discussed, but:

    If an American citizen joins a foreign army to fight against us, and, in fact, becomes a high ranking officer in that army, are we not permitted under law to kill him? If, for example, a Union sniper had shot and killed Stonewall Jackson, would he have been a war criminal?

  377. 377
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan:

    If i can take being a Pariah-Apostate of BJ you sure can.
    i am waaaaaaay more offensive then you are.

    That point is questionable. Now, as to which of you is more frighteningly stupid….That’s the question with no answer.
    If only there were some kind of test we could apply. Something that measured mental capability, or intellectual potential, and could tell us accurately how the two of you rank against each other on the Scales of Stupid.
    I wonder why no one has devised a test like that.

  378. 378
    moe99 says:

    @EthylEster:

    Did not read the prior thread, having been in surgery yesterday, to remove a malignant lymph node for testing to determine if I can enroll in a clinical trial for a new lung cancer drug. Which is being expanded courtesy of stimulus funds.

    So, I guess there is something good coming out of the stimulus money, even if my genetics are such that I won’t qualify for the clinical trial.

  379. 379
    terry chay says:

    @Nick: I understand what you are saying, but it should be mentioned there’s a world of difference between your grandfather doing and the state sponsoring it.

    (I’m glad I missed the thread too, I think I’d have blown a top.)

    Has any of these assassinations amounted to much? I thought people have analyzed terrorism up the wazoo and found that decapitation doesn’t work at all (apparently insanely draconian stuff DOES work). The people who point out this is analogous to a “ticking time bomb” are right.

    It is disappointing that Obama is trying to triangulate on this issue. My guess is it’s all the Clinton people who have moved into State. They pretty much messed up the Democratic Party with their shit the first time around (politically and economically). It’s just the people who followed were so bad, it made their incompetence look good.

  380. 380

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: Man, after the brutal flame wars you and i have had in the past, it is righteously cool we end up on a half way friendly note. Proof that even bitter foes don’t have to be that forever. You take care dude.:)

  381. 381
    Citizen Alan says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Then he will have no objection to turning himself in and being brought back to be judged by that process, right?

    Well since we have made it plain that we will ignore the civil rights of even U.S. citizens if they are under suspicion of terrorism, “that process” might involve him being stuck in a hole and tortured to the point of insanity. Or have you forgotten that Jose Padilla was a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil and that wasn’t enough to save him from being treated as an enemy combatant.

    I imagine that if this jackass actually did have the stones to turn himself in and demand a fair trial subject to the standard rules of evidence, the venal Republicans and cowardly Dems would race to pass Lieberman’s grotesque little bill and use it to strip him of his U.S. citizenship.

  382. 382

    […] This commentary is typical and growing: “Staggering Hypocrisy.” […]

  383. 383
    Corner Stone says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    was available for your dining pleasure by invitation right here at Central and Indian School last night, if you were paying attention.

    So that was the problem! I went to George and Dragon.

  384. 384

    @maus: Aww another fan come to well wish. No hard feelings dude. You carry on. and adios to all. If you want me to read your flames you will need to post it on my little blog. otherwise, later alligators. Mostly a very cool bunch of folks:)

  385. 385
    terry chay says:

    @Brett: You have a fundamental misunderstanding of drones. Drones (the ones with the missles) are used in two separate types of missions: 1) to deliver ordiance tactically (done by the military through the pentagon), and 2) in targeted assassinations (done by civilians for the CIA). The use (2) is done because the military cannot officially operate in say Pakistan (or Yemen).

    Basically, if they were to assassinate him with a drone, it would clearly be a civilian operation. It would not be a military one.

    Give our military more credit. They’ve thought the legal implications of this through and cannot be used so cavalierly on a sovereign nation with the only purpose of assassinating someone. (I guess the only exception might be the B.S. “maybe Saddam’ll surrender” shit leading to the Iraq War.)

    I, personally, question the idea of using weaponized drones for civilian matters at all. It seems the reason we didn’t engage in assassination in the first place was because the slippery slope it obviously is. It was inevitable when we started assassinating people, the issue of assassinating American citizens would be next. But I guess that ship has sailed. :-(

  386. 386
    Citizen Alan says:

    @EthylEster:

    someone has to MAKE you go away?

    In his defense, I recently asked John to stop posting links to McMegan’s weekly stupidity, because once I saw a link to it, I was compelled to go there and troll. I don’t even read Sully or Coates anymore because I can’t stand to see her smug, glibertarian face staring at me. Makes my blood pressure go orbital.

  387. 387
    maus says:

    @terry chay:

    2) in targeted assassinations (done by civilians for the CIA). The use (2) is done because the military cannot officially operate in say Pakistan (or Yemen).

    Basically, if they were to assassinate him with a drone, it would clearly be a civilian operation. It would not be a military one.

    Give our military more credit.

    So, can these civilians be arrested through international treaty? If the orders are given by the military contract, why does it matter who ultimately presses the button?

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Just take a break, duder. All this flourish is unnecessary.

  388. 388
    tim says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW…that’s so cute.

  389. 389
    Albatrossity says:

    @JD Rhoades: “If an American citizen joins a foreign army to fight against us, and, in fact, becomes a high ranking officer in that army, are we not permitted under law to kill him?”

    Sure.

    Is this guy in Yemen wearing the uniform of another country? No.

    What’s your point?

  390. 390
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    This isn’t Stuck’s first farewell tour but so far it’s his longest.

  391. 391
    Joel says:

    I missed the fireworks, mercifully, it appears.

    One thing that bugs me, is that the process of arresting someone and bringing them to trial requires so much more than the process of assassinating or torturing them. That’s awfully perverse.

  392. 392
    srv says:

    In an ideal world, where there was a transparent mechanism for trying overseas Citizen combatants in absentia, I could, on a really bad day, maybe imagine a protocol defined by Congress.

    But nothing either of the last two regimes have done gives me any faith in their due diligence, due process or accuracy. For Pete’s sake, Jose Padilla was rendered so insane he was defending Unitary Executive Theory to his judge. Obama is defending John Yoo and Bybee.

    The only presumption I can make about anything is that everything they say is a lie. Targeting US citizens for assassination should be beyond the pale.

  393. 393
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Albatrossity:

    So you agree that, under some circumstances, it IS permissible to kill an American citizen working and leading the fight against the US, without arrest or trial. And your position is that wearing a uniform, or not, is the bright line test. Correct?

  394. 394
    Albatrossity says:

    @JD Rhoades: The uniform is one criteria. A declaration of war is another criteria. Being in a battle is another criteria. If all of these are in place, then THE LAW says that the person can be killed without arrest or trial. If they are not in place, THE CONSTITUTION says that American citizens cannot be deprived of life or liberty without due process.

  395. 395
    Gretchen D says:

    @gwangung: If you think that’s self-righteous, this might not be the blog for you. That was a full-on indignant rant and perfect, in this case.

  396. 396
    the pair says:

    “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I still have yet to see what he’s been proven guilty of (not “the CIA/Pentagon/Obama says he did”) that’s any worse than the moronic ex-settler/ex-Shas “muslim” that threatened the South Park guys. The only “charge” I’ve seen that might stick is “incitement” and if that’s the new standard for executions I look forward to Glenn Beck’s turn at the gallows.

    I agree about the hypocrisy, but once again you show that even when “liberals” differ on style, they rarely part ways on substance. “Dead from a stroke” because you “think” he did something is hardly a high horse from which to look down upon “dead from a drone.”

  397. 397
    Claudia says:

    Surprise! someone finally notices the cheerleading horde has no principles or serious interest in civil/human rights. Meanwhile the Obama Minstrel Show for World Domination continues to lead us down the chute previously built by BushCo. Yay Team!

  398. 398
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Albatrossity:

    So, back to my original hypothetical: if a Union sniper had, through great good fortune, managed to draw a bead on Stonewall Jackson, off the field of battle and out of uniform, drinking a mint julep on the veranda, he’d be a criminal if he took the shot? Because I don’t think there was ever an official declaration of war between the US and the CSA. To do so would have been to recognize the CSA as a country, rather than a rebellion.

  399. 399
    gwangung says:

    @Gretchen D: I think a measurement of self-righteousness is when people stop listening to others and start lashing out blindly. I think it happened multiple times on that thread.

    If you think that’s perfect, then perhaps this isn’t the place for me.

  400. 400
    And Another Thing... says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Aw come on General. You like to throw sharp elbows now & then, don’t wuss out over this. Wait til you do something really bad, and then after we’ve ripped off your epaulets and broken your sword, then you can slink away… Until then you show up for muster..it’s how it’s done.

  401. 401
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    The whole thing disgusts me. I could not stand the Bush approach to torture, illegal detention, all of it. I really thought the Obama administration would be different. I am so disturbed and disappointed.

  402. 402
    the pair says:

    @AnnaN:

    If Americans cared about doing the “right thing” in the first place we wouldn’t be having this discussion and we certainly wouldn’t be disguising indignant American Exceptionalism (“the sociopaths that run our country and kill foreigners every second of every day have turned their guns on us! Well I never!”) as true moral outrage (i.e. it’s not very nice to kill ANYONE ANYWHERE without proving there’s a damn good reason to do so.)

    But we don’t. Hence our present and future state.

  403. 403
    Albatrossity says:

    @JD Rhoades: Beats me. But if you don’t recognize the CSA as a country, Jackson would be on US property when he was offed. Another difference between that situation and the one being discussed here.

    But as I said above, this isn’t even really about the specifics for this guy in Yemen (our your lucky sniper). This is about a bigger picture. People seem willing to grant the government the authority to take the life of an American abroad without allowing that citizen the rights that we all enjoy. I’m not defending him, or Jackson. I’m taking the discussion to its most basic level. Do we want to give the government this authority? I don’t.

  404. 404
    frankdawg says:

    Not to make a strawman but if I understand the other side of this argument, boiled down: Its ok to kill him because he is guilty of treason.

    And you know this . . . how . . . ? Well because someone said so, someone important in the government of course.

    And the government, at least when it someone important in the government, has never ever been wrong about a single important thing. Innocent people never get arrested & if they do they never get tried and if the do they never get convicted and if the do they never get executed.

    And even if “they” are right this time you are saying they always have the right no matter who is in the White House.

    Did I miss something or is it really that stupid of an argument?

  405. 405
    Hob says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: “Cole wants to have his cake and eat it too, enjoy the fruits of a wide open comment section, and then blow a gasket when a bunch of people disagree with one of his favorite points.”

    Oh for crying out loud. Cole got pissed off and wrote a post about how much he hates what a lot of commenters said. He didn’t shut down comments, he didn’t call anyone out by name– everything else goes on exactly as before, except for some delicate flowers who are suddenly so distressed by being in disagreement with THE MAN that they’ve decided to ban themselves. So exactly why can’t this intangible cake be both had and eaten? Why is this any more of a problem than any of the other times people got pissed off and said so? No one got kicked out, no one got “belittled” (to use Stuck’s hilarious verb), and that blog post didn’t put us in any more danger of being killed by a guy in Yemen than we were before.

    I happen to agree with Cole on this one (so feel free to call me an ass-kisser or whatever)– I think there’s something a little creepy about the particular arguments some people were using, and for me it wasn’t just “I don’t agree with those people” but “WHOA, I didn’t know there were so many people here who would say those things, and that’s actually kind of upsetting to realize.” We all have moments like that, it’s part of being anything other than a robo-Republican in America– it’s easy to assume that other people share more of your basic assumptions than they do. And when they don’t and you think it’s important, it’s worth saying so, maybe even with cuss words.

  406. 406
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone: sore loser.
    i righteously kicked your ass on IQ.
    don’t be so precious.

    i thought i would be banned, since i think i carried my brief that a good part of the BJ commetariat are liberal bio-luddites….and also since i schooled aimai on Game Theory.
    dude, its the web. i got schooled by my betters on string theory.
    who cares?
    BoB is the only one ive seen banned so far.

  407. 407
    georgia pig says:

    @geg6: You’re misunderstanding the point. There isn’t a case on point, but there are several cases that do deal with the variability of due process due to circumstances, for example, cases dealing with police use of force in the case of a subject believed to be dangerous. I’m not in favor of doing it the way that it’s being alleged, but it’s kind of hard to decide in the real world what constitutes sufficient due process, but the fact that this guy has holed up in a wild west part of Yemen should surely be taken into account. I’m sorry, but this is not the same as pulling in some poor schmuck in Phoenix for simply driving while Hispanic.

    Is going before a magistrate and getting an in absentia indictment really any better? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. It could provide oversight or it could simply be a veneer, a judge easily bamboozled by intelligence analysts. Also, I doubt anyone here really knows what the specific order is, and how that gets interpreted by the CIA. As to all those pining for some good old days when we were the “good guys,” remember we incinerated hundreds of thousands of civilians in Tokyo and Hiroshima. I believe that was without a warrant.

  408. 408
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Nick:

    One can limit the situations where he can, there’s nothing preventing that.

    And then the next president who comes along can adjust the limits outward a little, then the next one a little more, then the next one can monkey with the way we define how someone fits into those limits, then the next one gets to appoint the 5th SC justice who agrees with the limits and definitions set by the last four presidents, rinse and repeat. Go through that process for a little while and pretty soon instead of metaphorically punching hippies you can just fire a missile into Haight-Ashbury and be done with them.

    I prefer the bright-line. I’d rather not trust the people in power to behave in a reasoned, limited way, since we’ve got 235 years of history that suggests they never will.

  409. 409
    frankdawg says:

    BTW assassinating Yamamoto was wrong & has been hotly debated. Just as putting the Japanese American’s in prison camps was wrong. The fact that it was wrong would not make putting all teabaggers into prison camps now OK.

  410. 410
    cyntax says:

    (“the sociopaths that run our country and kill foreigners every second of every day have turned their guns on us! Well I never!”) as true moral outrage (i.e. it’s not very nice to kill ANYONE ANYWHERE without proving there’s a damn good reason to do so.)

    I really don’t see how we’re ever going to get to the second point (killing anyone anywhere is bad without good reason) if we don’t stick to the first point (killing our own citizens without due process is bad). The fact that the second point isn’t universally accepted is no reason to forego the first, and will, in my opinion, prevent the second point from ever becoming a reality.

  411. 411
    Remember November says:

    John

    Didn’t read the thread but I do think that state-sponsored assassinations are an extremely slippery slope- but all things being equal it’s nothing new. Its what the OSS and CIA were best at. However- when it’s our own citizenry, thats all kinds of screwed up and gives the teabaggers ample reason to lose their shit.

    We have met the enemy, and he is us, truly.

  412. 412
    dadgramps says:

    Anwar al-Awlaki is an American hiding in Yemen. Tied to the Fort Hood shooting and Christmas Day bomber, he is thought to be plotting attacks on the US. In fighting the war on terror, the Obama administration has put him on the kill-or-capture list.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/M.....-on-terror

    same as any murderer in the usa capture if possible, shoot if no choice.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05.....wlaki.html

  413. 413
    Brachiator says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:
    RE: This is just sanctimonious hooey.

    I don’t have to take that shit from you. I didn’t insult you until you said that. So fuck you. You think you can talk to me that way with no provocation and I have to be polite to you?

    Intelligent people can distinguish between an attack on an idea, and an attack on a person.

    You can’t.

    I also asked you to elaborate on your point.

    You couldn’t.

  414. 414
    Poopyman says:

    @Albatrossity:

    THE CONSTITUTION says that American citizens cannot be deprived of life or liberty without due process.

    Not to pick on Alatrossity, but this has been bugging me for a long time, well before this thread started, about what the Constitution says.

    The Constitution mentions “citizen” in only the following instances:
    – Article I, Section 2 as a requirement for election to the House
    – Article I, Section 3 – ditto for the Senate
    – Article II, section 1 – ditto for President
    – Article IV, Section 2 – State citizens, Extradition
    “The Citizens of each State shall be
    entitled to all Privileges and Immunities
    of Citizens in the several States.”
    – Amendment 11 – “The Judicial power of the United States
    shall not be construed to extend to any
    suit in law or equity, commenced or
    prosecuted against one of the United
    States by Citizens of another State, or
    by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign
    State.”
    – Amendment 14 – Summary = What makes a person a
    citizen, and their privileges, plus “nor
    shall any State deprive any
    person of life, liberty, or
    property, without due process of law;
    nor deny to any person within
    its jurisdiction the equal protection of
    the laws.
    – Amendment 15 – Voting Rights
    – Amendment 19 – Voting Rights for Women
    – Amendment 24 – Prohibiting a poll tax
    – Amendment 26 – Voting age set to 18

    All other constitutional rights in the constitution go to PEOPLE, whether they are citizens or not!

    ETA – WordPress formatting error. Screw it.

  415. 415
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Albatrossity:

    Governments always have the authority to kill people making war on their citizens, even if those people are themselves citizens. If Joe Schmendrick from Iowa travelled to Germany in early 1941, joined the Wermacht, and charged an American unit, gun in hand, then no one, I think, would have any problem killing an American citizen on foreign soil without trial.

    But what if Joe’s a military prodigy who gets promoted to the General Staff and sent to work in a villa in France? Still okay to snipe him? Sure.

    So, while Al-Awlaki may not be in exactly the same shoes as Joe, I agree that the big picture is important. And in that big picture, the blanket statement that “we don’t ever have the right to kill American citizens on foreign soil without trial” is clearly incorrect. The only questions we have left to debate involve the circumstances under which it’s permissible.

  416. 416
    matoko_chan says:

    well….idc i guess….what the BJ consensus is.
    targetting a citizen for assassination is WRONG.
    im not gonna argue the point.
    ima send email to my president, whose campaign i worked on and contributed to, and ask him to strike down the ruling or veto it or w/e he CAN do (here is where i could use aimai’s knowledge) because it is WRONG.

  417. 417
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan:

    i righteously kicked your ass on IQ.
    don’t be so precious.

    {Insert laughter}
    What’s precious is how you tried your same ridiculous argument at Protein Wisdom – and got awesomely pwned by the dullards there.
    You then got absolutely, disturbingly, hilariously stomped at BJ when you tried the same pathetic schtick.
    Your default for anyone who disagreed with you was to call them ad homs and bio-luddites.
    I make a righteous Stuck-ian vow here and now. The day you even come close to making a cogent and decisive argument against a position of mine – that’s the day I’m going walkabout.
    I invite anyone who has the time to waste to review the assorted wisdom of matoko_chan on IQ.
    Right here

  418. 418
    stormhit says:

    @Claudia:

    The only thing that I hate about these two posts from Cole is that it has brought a number of you here. You’ve collectively already ruined the comment sections on most other left leaning blogs. Please leave us this. Please.

  419. 419
    has_te says:

    From Glenn’s kudos today…
    My Thank you!….
    very much.

  420. 420
    Darkmoth says:

    @Albatrossity:

    People seem willing to grant the government the authority to take the life of an American abroad without allowing that citizen the rights that we all enjoy

    This may be part of the problem. People seem to be wildly overestimating the rights that we all enjoy. A police officer can end you if he believes you are a threat to the public AND he cannot capture you. You will never see a judge or a jury. He may even be wrong, since he can rely on his “reasonable” judgment. SCOTUS seems to view this as Constitutional, so it is (for now).

    Despite all the hyperbole about due process, the actual bar to killing you is the belief of a single peace officer.

  421. 421
    Persia says:

    @debg: Yeah, I missed that thread, but thanks for saying this, John.

  422. 422
    maus says:

    @matoko_chan:

    BoB is the only one ive seen banned so far.

    Oh, awesome. I love it when admins ban people who are TRULY never ever going to give any value to a conversation. Thinkprogress is terrible about that.

  423. 423
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Darkmoth:

    That’s a great point, and maybe the best one in favor of icing this guy without due process. Unfortunately, what it means is that we can all be iced without due process, not that we’re singling Awlaki out.

  424. 424
    Albatrossity says:

    @Darkmoth: Yes, and as pointed out above, that policeman is subject to the laws. If it is found that his actions were not lawful, he would be punished. In this case we are granting the authority to arbitrarily end the life of a citizen without any oversight. That makes me very uncomfortable. Apparently there are others that feel differently. All I can say is that you folks have a lot more faith in the abilities and discretion of the government than I have…

  425. 425
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Albatrossity:

    Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.

    In a situation where someone is arguably levying war against the US, what “oversight” do you see as sufficient, given the fact that the target is beyond the reach of anyone who could haul him in for an actual trial?

  426. 426
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Claudia:

    Meanwhile the Obama Minstrel Show for World Domination continues to lead us down the chute previously built by BushCo.

    Of course the Obama haters aren’t racist. Why would you even ask?

  427. 427
    Hob says:

    So far there have been 8 comments on this thread, and God knows how many on the other threads, about trying people for crimes in absentia. A lot of people seem to think you can indict and convict people who are hiding out halfway across the world, without ever laying hands on them.

    As far as I know, that absolutely can’t be done under American law, unless (a) it’s for a misdemeanor (goddamn rassenfrakkin New Jersey traffic police) or (b) they arraigned you in person, but then you ran away. Wikipedia seems to agree, and it has nothing to do with whether you’re a citizen. I’m guessing someone just read the words “in absentia” on a blog somewhere, didn’t really look it up, and now this notion is going to keep coming up again and again forever no matter how many killjoys like me post comments like this.

  428. 428
    hypusine says:

    Everything about this tiff strikes me as misguided.

    Can everyone get a fucking clue and drop the “we are at war” bullshit? We are not at war. We “confront,” or choose to accept the terms and existence of a conflict advanced by, a comparatively tiny group of individuals whose – effective! – strategy is to prod us toward weakening ourselves by overreacting.

    It’s a pretty healthy reality check to ask how many American lives are erased by what Americans do to or encourage others to do to themselves. Tally up say, smoking- and obesity-related deaths. Compare to lives lost to terrorism.

    And no you smartasses I don’t argue that cigarettes and corn syrup declared jihad on us. I do argue that discussions beginning with Al Qaeda and ending with “should we assassinate a U.S. citizen under super-duper-special-condition XYZ?” have veered horribly afar from any rational analysis of the problems our country actually faces.

    We’re not at war. We have been periodically and in one case horribly attacked. A fucking decade ago. It’s time to stop squalling about how scared we are of the last spanking, wipe our runny nose and pull our collective pants back up. If 3,000 people died horribly ten years ago and half a million Americans die horribly every year from non-terrorism-related preventable deaths then why are we debating whether it’s OK to fucking assassinate a US citizen? Why aren’t we instead asking hard questions about why it’s OK to pour hundreds of billions into military adventures because the terrorists succeeded in making us, you know, terrified? Or about what actually matters to the economic health of the nation?

    Reacting like this (“assassinate!” “bomb the fuckers!” “torture!”) is nothing more than accepting the premise that terrorism hopes to advance. Every single one of you is better than that and you fucking know it. Knock it off.

  429. 429
    Poopyman says:

    If that policeman knows that a guy in his area is a gang leader, and that gang has been linked to a series of murders recently, and the policman is sure the gang leader was involved, is that policeman authorized to shoot and kill the gang leader from his squadcar the next time he sees him on the street?

    Why would the president have more authority above the law than the cop?

  430. 430
    wobbly says:

    People keep quoting St. Thomas More. How well did his reliance on the law actually work out?

  431. 431
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hob:

    I’m pretty sure you can indict people in absentia. If you want to arrest someone for a crime but can’t put your hands on them, you can indict them and get a warrant for their arrest issued by a judge.

    What you can’t do is try people in absentia, except under the circumstances you named. I’m not sure if people are getting the indictment and the trial mixed up, but they are two very different things and, no, in the US you cannot put people on trial without them being present. Even assholes like al-Awlaki.

  432. 432
    JD Rhoades says:

    @wobbly:

    Well, people are still quoting him. Sort of.

  433. 433
    Albatrossity says:

    @JD Rhoades: “In a situation where someone is arguably levying war against the US, what “oversight” do you see as sufficient, given the fact that the target is beyond the reach of anyone who could haul him in for an actual trial?”

    Again, this is not a wartime situation. We have laws to cover wartime situations. We are in a lawless arena here, and granting the government the authority to kill us is not an improvement in a lawless situation.

  434. 434
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    In fact, MOST people who are indicted are technically done so in absentia, since the Defendant is rarely present before the Grand Jury in the average criminal trial.

  435. 435

    Thank you for saying what needs to be said.

    Unfortunately it needs to be said over-and-over until people get it.

  436. 436

    @Albatrossity:

    Again, you’re just making shit up.

  437. 437
    Hob says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well of course, otherwise there would never be any arrest warrants for people who hadn’t already been arrested. But what people were saying over and over was “why not just try him in absentia.”

  438. 438
    Justin Runia says:

    regarding the kill or capture order: http://www.reuters.com/article.....GW20100510
    I’m pretty sure the kill-or-capture thing was covered in the NYT as well. The fact is this guy is in Yemen, the Yemeni government is not going to extradite him, and is performing fecklessly in obtaining him for themselves. Meanwhile, he is operating in an apparatus that is targeting american civilians for death.

    At the very least, you would have to question why any administration would put so much credibility on the line to kill an american citizen if they didn’t think it would make people safer. What exactly is the upside? It’s not OBL we’re talking about here, nobody is going to give the administration any credit or feel safer if this guy gets killed.

  439. 439
    Albatrossity says:

    @Brien Jackson: Again, that’s not a cogent argument.

    Am I “making up” the fact that we have a Constitution?

    Am I “making up” the fact that we are granted rights under that Constitution, and processes are outlined under which we can lose those rights, or even be killed?

    Am I “making up” the fact that the processes used in this situation are not those outlined in the Constitution?

    Let me know which of these I am “making up”. Thanks.

  440. 440
    moe99 says:

    @wobbly:

    You call him St. Thomas More. His sainthood was earned by being right, but losing his life over it. Martyr to the cause, I guess. Hate it when you’re right, but you’re dead, eh?

  441. 441
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Albatrossity:

    Would it not be better, then, to develop a new set of laws for the currently lawless situation? A new Law of War for asymmetrical warfare?

    Because I’m sure Al-Awlaki might dispute that we’re not in a wartime situation.

  442. 442
    Albatrossity says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    Would it not be better, then, to develop a new set of laws for the currently lawless situation?

    Sure. But ceding our rights to the government is not a good start on that developmental path, IMHO.

  443. 443
    Mnemosyne says:

    Ira Einhorn was convicted in absentia, which was one of the reasons he was able to fight his extradition for so long and caused so much trouble that they ended up doing a whole new trial after he was returned to the US.

    So, yes, conviction in absentia is pretty shaky legally, even when you find the suspect’s girlfriend’s corpse in a trunk inside his apartment.

  444. 444
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Albatrossity:

    Which specific rights do you contend are being ceded to the government here?

  445. 445
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Kudos to John Cole at top.

    The comment thread as a whole has reached tl;dr (for now) size, but after skimming them quickly I see a lot of analogies which strike me as off. Let’s take one: Helmut G. American enrolls in the Wehrmacht and is waiting for our guys in France circa 1944 on the wrong side of history.

    This is different from an assassination because in this scenario, when one of our guys draws a bead on poor Helmut and sends him to the next world, somewhere south of Utah beach, they do so not because of who Helmut is, but because of what he is doing.

    All of the other what-if-scenarios I hearing about in this thread for which lethal force is justified are based on actions (or potential actions) rather than identity. It doesn’t matter who the target is. The same lethal force would be justified against a different person taking the same actions.

    Assassination on the other hand is focused on identity. The who part is crucial, and it doesn’t matter what the target is doing when the assassins find him/her. That is why people targeted for assassination tend to get shot in the back, or in their sleep. Because the circumstances don’t matter, only the identity. And conversely, if you assassinate the wrong guy, you’ve fucked up.

    That is I think where the idea of assassinating al-Awlaki is very wrong. Nobody in our govt. should have the authority to order the punitive use of lethal force against a specific person, based not on what they are doing, but on who they are and what they have done in the past, without due process. Because due process exists to establish just what exactly it is that they did in the past within a framework for minimizing errors and abuse of power, and without that process in place as an improvement over speculation, supposition, gossip and just plain old bad intelligence, then god help us all – see the “A Man for All Season” quote which Moe99 at #350 supplied for more details.

  446. 446
    Albatrossity says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

  447. 447
    JD Rhoades says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    I think the rationale for killing Al-Awlaki IS based on what he’s doing–helping plan attacks against the US–not who he is. Which is why I don’t like the term “assassination.” A sniper who takes out the enemy’s officers isn’t really an “assassin.” And to me, a drone firing Hellfires is nothing but a seriously long range sniper rifle.

  448. 448
    Lisa says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: I like you, General Egalitarian Stuck. You are kind of trippin’. Doing sort of a blog version of the death scene in La Traviatta, but I really love your comments most days and will be sad not to read them here anymore.

  449. 449
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Interesting, but are you arguing in this case that we shouldn’t be trying to bomb bin Laden because he’s not doing anything right now?

  450. 450
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Albatrossity:

    But again, would that be applied to an American serving as a general in an army making war against the US, if a sniper had him in range? I don’t think it would.

  451. 451
    hypusine says:

    Adding. If you want to be the biggest oil consumer then you deal with the consequences. And if you want to run the best-funded military on the planet and scatter it across the globe in various forward assertions of your power, you deal with the consequences. People hitting back in various ways (as described say here) was obviously always going to be one of them.

    Spending even more on military operations, invading even more countries, bombing more civilians (hearts and minds indeed) and increasing the breadth of people we say we can legally assassinate will do nothing to change that basic equation.

    This discussion makes no sense to me because its premise is completely fucked when viewed in our actual context. Capture the man or don’t. Fuck him. Dramatically reduce military expenditures abroad. Belittle terrorism by treating it as the police issue that it is. Take immediate steps to reduce trampling all over every poor asshole’s backyard worldwide. Get the military’s boot off the throat of our foreign policy.

    Assassination. Holy mother of sheepshit. It’s like watching madness take root in real time.

  452. 452
    Bootlegger says:

    I ain’t reading 400 posts (plus 200 last night) to catch up. But here’s my happy hour addled three cents worth:

    What part of “No person shall be derived of life without due process of law” (5th amendment, Bill of Rights) do people not understand? It’s the “due process” that is the issue, not whether or not we can kill bad guys (that’s for another debate).

    General, you’ve been around as long as me, don’t go. Cole is only following the golden rule here: he who has the gold….

    This skinny little fuck from New Mexico isn’t going to hurt us. What has he got? Information on the bridge structure in Albuquerque where I-40 crosses the Rio Grande? Give me a muthafuckin’ break! The only reason AQ is even protecting him is because he gets them lots of media, and we feed that shit by putting him on a goddamned illegal list.

    Execution requires due process, period. If that isn’t the case, then let’s get it on, cuz I’m going all revolutionary on someone.

  453. 453
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    So here is a different parallel to try out for size – somebody answer me this: how many assassination orders were legally issued by the Lincoln admin. against either the civilian or military leadership of the Confederate States of America during the US Civil War? Not combat orders, or arrest warrants, but track this guy down and kill him on sight whereever and whenever you may find him orders?

    IIRC, the accomplices of John Wilkes Booth at least received a trial before they were hung, and Booth himself was shot in a situation sufficiently ambiguous w/ regard to “imminent threat” that disciplinary action was recommended against the man who shot him.

  454. 454
    Albatrossity says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    But again, would that be applied to an American serving as a general in an army making war against the US, if a sniper had him in range?

    But again, you are comparing apples and oranges. Obviously the Fifth Amendment excludes “service in time of War”. Just as obviously, Awlaki is not in uniform, not on a battlefield, and we are not at war with Yemen. Equally obviously, if we can’t get to him now to extradite him, we have to hope to get to him later, or have someone else get to him. We can’t afford to toss constitutional rights down the toilet just for the sake of instant gratification.

    Look, I’d like to take him out just as much as you would. But what I’d like to happen, and what should happen (if we are to retain a semblance of respect for the Constitution), are two very different things. Sacrificing rights for security is not a winning tactic, IMHO.

  455. 455
    JD Rhoades says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    I don’t think such an order would have been considered necessary. If a Union sharpshooter had had Jeff Davis or Nathan Bedford Forrest in his sights, I don’t think he would have had a second thought. And they’d have marched him through the streets as a hero.

    Ah, simpler times.

  456. 456
    Bootlegger says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    helping plan attacks against the US

    With what information? The exact time the noon news begins? The approximate date of the Albuquerque balloon festival? The fact that White Sands Missile Range actually still has some white sand (most of it has blown away)? This guy’s only utility to AQ is PR, and we give it to them by acting like headless chikin’shits. AQ isn’t going to win with violence, they are going to win by making us all go bat-shit panic, give up our values, and bankrupt our asses. And you know what? It’s fuckin’ working!

  457. 457
    Bootlegger says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    Lincoln sez

    The law of war does not allow proclaiming either an individual belonging to the hostile army, or a citizen, or a subject of the hostile government, an outlaw, who may be slain without trial by any captor, any more than the modern law of peace allows such intentional outlawry; on the contrary, it abhors such outrage. The sternest retaliation should follow the murder committed in consequence of such proclamation, made by whatever authority. Civilized nations look with horror upon offers of rewards for the assassination of enemies as relapses into barbarism.

    Methinks he would not have used a drone.

  458. 458
    JD Rhoades says:

    While we’re at it, let’s add William Quantrill to the list…since there was a standing order for him and his Confederate guerrillas to be shot. And he was. War crime?

  459. 459
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Poopyman: Yep, but we need to add to your analogy. If the man is holed up in a compound controlling things from inside the compound, what happens? The police decides to either storm the place, or surround it and try to capture him. And at times, if I remember correctly, it can involve snipers.

    Maybe we could just invade Yemen and capture him.

  460. 460
    sparky says:

    thankfully i am late to this party :P

    a few items: thank you to the proprietor for giving a little light on an issue that has gone glimmering for the most part. for my part, while it might be “nicer” if people didn’t shout, i am not unduly troubled by people being impolite and jumping up and down and screaming to attract notice when murder and war crimes are afoot.

    other than that i would
    –agree with #445 #446 and the few other souls who i see putting in their oars this time–come back & stay (especially since there’s not much likelihood of eating a peanut butter glove at this point).

    –as usual, find it a little disquieting how many people are simply willing to sacrifice principle on the altar of expediency, especially when the expediency involves state-sanctioned murder.

    –and propose one other little hypothetical. if you all think this is an acceptable state of affairs, then you must believe that during the US Civil War the Union should have killed every single human found in the US South, as well as well as all Copperheads in the North, on Lincoln’s say-so, without any proceedings. in fact, you should say that it was a mistake not to have done so. after all, they all had the option to go North and did not do so.

  461. 461
    Justin Runia says:

    @Bootlegger

    By that same rationale, there’s no reason to go after Bin Laden–I mean, he’s not funding attacks with his money, nor does he have any specific knowledge of our weaknesses.

    The reality is you don’t have to know the launch codes to our nuclear silos to kill a lot of innocent people.

  462. 462
    Bootlegger says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): But this dude ain’t “running things”! He’s just some skinny little bitch that AQ is pumpin’ for PR. Jesus wept, but you’d think this guy was Jason Bourne ready to strike out from his Yemeni cave.

  463. 463
    Darkmoth says:

    >: @Albatrossity:

    Yes, and as pointed out above, that policeman is subject to the laws. If it is found that his actions were not lawful, he would be punished.

    Agreed. But by implication, his killing you based solely on reasonable suspicion might be lawful. It’s that possibility that defines the limits of your rights, not the possibility that he might be punished.

    @Poopyman:

    is that policeman authorized to shoot and kill the gang leader from his squadcar the next time he sees him on the street?

    No. But if he attempts an arrest, and the gang leader takes off, then the officer can shoot him. let’s be clear here: the Administration ordered a “capture-or-kill” order, not a “kill” order. They authorized the use of deadly force, they did not mandate it. At this point, al-Awlaki’s fate is up to the reasonable judgment of those pursuing him. Them’s the same rights you or I have.

  464. 464
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @JD Rhoades:
    If we have evidence of such operations directed against the US, then I think it is fair to target the site of those operations. Anybody who is unfortunate enough to be at that site when it gets hit, too bad for them. But that is a different proposition from targeting a site for no other reason than because Al-Awlaki is known to be there. There has to be some sort of evidence of an actual threat, not merely the presence of a particular person, because that crosses the line between dealing with a threat and a punitive extra-judicial killing, IMHO. But see my exception below:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
    I think OBL is the exception to the rule in this case, based on the scale of his past actions and the preponderance of public domain evidence indicating that he takes responsibility for having done them. Call it the Yamamoto Rule if you like. I’d greatly prefer that if we know where he is that we go in and make a real attempt to grab him alive and bring him back to the US to put him on trial, if only to deflate his mythic stature a bit, but I recognize that this simply may not be practical. But there is a very large historical context in which I make this exception, and I don’t make it lightly.

  465. 465
    JD Rhoades says:

    @sparky:

    Actually, sparky, as pointed out above, the Union Army did issue an order for Confederate Bushwackers like Quantrill and Anderson to be shot on sight. And Quantrill was killed from ambush.

    It’s been a good conversation, gang, but I’ve got to motor, and by the time I get back, the moving finger will have writ. We must do this again soon. Cheers.

  466. 466
    Bootlegger says:

    @Justin Runia: He has funded attacks with his money, and probably continues to, and he’s the command and control of the opposing army. The little New Mexican douchbag has no such juice.

  467. 467

    […] start with Cole. He is upset with many of his commenters today, and is “floored” by what he calls the “staggering hypocrisy” of some of […]

  468. 468
    Bootlegger says:

    @Darkmoth:

    No. But if he attempts an arrest, and the gang leader takes off, then the officer can shoot him. let’s be clear here: the Administration ordered a “capture-or-kill” order, not a “kill” order. They authorized the use of deadly force, they did not mandate it.

    Ummm, no. An officer cannot shoot you in the back if you run away from her. And the list is not “capture-or-kill” it’s a hit list, period.

  469. 469
    TuiMel says:

    @mr. whipple:

    So, if a military mission is sent in with the goal of capture or kill that’s ok? Someone in such a case is still ‘ordering’ an assassination, are they not?

    I think this is the line I am dancing along. John has stated that this is easy call for him, but I am seeing a lot of gray areas. At what point does Mr. al-Awlaki’s status become a consequence of his own choices? There are definite problems with our amorphous war with Al-Qaida and its various affiliates. If al-Awlaki’s hidey-hole is declared a “military target” does using predator drones to blow it (and him) to smithereens become ok? Is the only way to honor our principles and neutralize the threat he poses (I am still not informed adequately about the reality of that threat) to send special forces to search for and apprehend him (or have some or all involved die in the effort)? Do we just leave him to his activities and take our medicine if he enjoys success? Men of Mr. al-Awlaki’s ilk have proven they can and will make good on their threats. He appears to have chosen to join with an known enemy and help further violent goals with activities that could kill innocent people – Americans and non-Americans alike. Where is the best balance between leaving him to it and green lighting the CIA to snuff him? I honestly do not feel my ambivalence has anything to do with liking Obama. If this guy is as bad as advertised (again I do not have the evidence that this is so or not so), I want him stopped.

  470. 470
    Bootlegger says:

    @TuiMel: But seriously, what information do you think this mama’s boy has? What can he tell AQ that will End Us Forever?

  471. 471
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Brachiator:

    You are making me cry.

    And, as I said, the whole thing went over your head. If you look on the wall behind you, up toward the transom, you will see the point. Write tomorrow when you are more lucid.

    Because I am gracious, and generous, I will give you a clue:

    There is no standard. You can whoopsy kill people and shrug, but you can’t deliberatley kill someone else in the same war context without being screamed at by the outrage police. Mind you, at this moment, I have abandoned my previous position on this case and have formed no new conclusion about it. I am still thinking and looking into it. But I am not impressed with the “arguments” being made on these pages. At all.

    What’s really missing for me is the background on the decision that was made, by the people who made it. Without that I can’t really judge the thing.

    Also, I’m tired and lazy, and haven’t taken adequate time to find out if al-Awlaki himself has advanced a defense.

  472. 472
    Darkmoth says:

    @Bootlegger:

    I’m curious…where do you get the impression a cop can’t legally shoot you in the back?

    I’ve said it several times now, but part of the problem is that people keep making up their own version of “law” (by which they probably mean “Justice”).

    Anyway, here’s a relevant case:

    Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985)[1], was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may use deadly force only to prevent escape if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others

    I think we can both agree that suspects you are chasing don’t run backwards. Being shot in the back would be highly likely in a pursuit situation.

  473. 473
    Nick says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    And then the next president who comes along can adjust the limits outward a little, then the next one a little more, then the next one can monkey with the way we define how someone fits into those limits, then the next one gets to appoint the 5th SC justice who agrees with the limits and definitions set by the last four presidents, rinse and repeat.

    so? Even if this was illegal, the next one could just make it legal and do all that anyway. At the end of the day, the only people who can stop this are the American people, but they won’t as long as we’re assassinating Muslim citizens in Yemen.

  474. 474
    Justin Runia says:

    @Bootlegger: No, OBL isn’t funding anything with “his” money, he has been denied access to his money for quite some time. Dude didn’t exactly bring a huge sack of money with him to whatever cave he’s found himself living in. We are after him because he’s the leadership of a trans-national organization that targets american civilians. You can claim that Al-Awlaki is only a PR guy, but the fact is that he is taking part in plots to kill and terrorize americans, that’s why he’s on the capture-or-kill list.

  475. 475
    Nick says:

    @Poopyman:

    If that policeman knows that a guy in his area is a gang leader, and that gang has been linked to a series of murders recently, and the policman is sure the gang leader was involved, is that policeman authorized to shoot and kill the gang leader from his squadcar the next time he sees him on the street?

    I see you’ve never been to Los Angeles

  476. 476
    Nick says:

    @Darkmoth:

    No. But if he attempts an arrest, and the gang leader takes off, then the officer can shoot him. let’s be clear here: the Administration ordered a “capture-or-kill” order, not a “kill” order.

    if it is in fact a capture or kill order, then there definitely isn’t anything wrong with it.

  477. 477
    hypusine says:

    @Lisa

    Doing sort of a blog version of the death scene in La Traviatta

    I was going to call this out but wow did you nail it.

    @Stuck Contrarian is your shtick, you’re very good at it and, newsflash, it will lead to getting repeatedly bonked on the nose. Stuck Suck it up. Maybe John called you out on the front page. He’s also quoted you approvingly on the front page. You make noise, you get a reaction. So what?

  478. 478
    Justin Runia says:

    but assassination order sounds so much more diabolical, lets keep using that term so I can wear this fancy Cloak of Righteousness (+2 CHR, -1 STR)

  479. 479
    Remember November says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    The equivalency of attributing police action-in pursuit, or military action in the field is erroneous. Armchair scenariasts cannot simply address the fact that a government can decide who to “whack” while said citizen is out for his morning paper. If said perpetrator flees or resists capture, that is different. Picture a balaclava-bedecked black ops unit training red-dots on the suspect awaiting the order to put 7lbs of finger pressure on a high velocity weapon and end the suspects life while he watches DWTS; that is tantamount to judge/jury/excecutionerism. That is the slippery slope. It is also poor police and anti-terror work- you catch more bad guys with a live suspect.

  480. 480
    Justin Runia says:

    oops

  481. 481
    mcd410x says:

    @geg6:

    Buncha whining, frightened pussies we Americans are.

    This.

    And we haven’t even been tested yet.

  482. 482
    Lenny says:

    This is an interesting thread. Lots of good points. Steven Rockford made a point in Comment #215 that made a lot of sense to me. The hopes of capturing al-Alwaki in Yemen are pretty slim, but he needs to be stopped – soon!

    There may not be time for good-ole American criminal justice to work in this situation.

    Steven had further comments here.

  483. 483
    lawguy says:

    You know one thing that most seem to be forgetting is the guy denies that he is doing anything that is tratorus or deserving of being killed. Given our government’s track record in these things are you really ready to believe them?

    Finally given the number of people who have convicted him in this thread, based soley on the government’s say so, no evidence really, do you actually think he would get an even remotely fair trial if he turned himself in? Or does that matter?

  484. 484
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    According to the Washington Post, and American was killed in Yemen by a CIA predator strike in 2002 that also killed 5 other al-Qaeda operatives.

    Good, bad?

  485. 485
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    ( voice of Babu )

    You are veddy veddy bad man!

    Veddy bad.

  486. 486
    Albatrossity says:

    @Darkmoth:

    It’s that possibility that defines the limits of your rights, not the possibility that he might be punished.

    And, to get to my previous point, what is the possibility that some CIA operative will be punished if they whack the wrong guy?

    Zilch.

    thanks for playing

  487. 487
    Tunch says:

    Someone open me up a fucking can of tunafish already.

    Jesus.

  488. 488
    mclaren says:

    It’s a shame that you folks who boast “I didn’t read the threat about al-Awlaki” didn’t read it, because those of us who pointed out that ordering al-Awlaki’s assassination is completely illegal and wholly contrary to the constitution absolutely destroyed every argument and annihilated every piece of evidence every person tried to put forth in defense of this indefensible atrocity.

    [1] The “cop on the beat” analogy fails completely because a policeman who sees a crime has clear and unsmistakable evidence of a violent crime in progress, whereas no one (Obama, the CIA, or anyone else) has presented any kind of evidence that al-Awlaki has done anything other than talk. Talking is not a violent crime in progress. Cops on the beat DO NOT summarily execute people for talking.

    [2[ Then some people tried to resort to the fatally fallacious argument that Obama and the CIA have evidence against al-Awlaki but they can’t present it for “national security reasons.” This argument was scathingly destroyed by pointing out that this is nothing but the old Star Chamber scam, and Star Chambers where secret evidence gets presented that no one can see are the hallmark of tyranny.

    This argument that it’s somehow legitimate for the U.S. government to order the murder of American citizens based on secret evidence that no one can see is no different from the secret tribunals that ordered the murder of Soviet citizens under Stalin. Secret evidence and summary execution are the imprimatur of dictatorships, this is what went on under Pol Pot and under Stalin. This is not how America works. This is not how a democracy works. This is not how a free society works.

    [3] Various people tried to make a failed and faulty analogy to a cop on a beat who sees and crime and uses deadly force. That analogy is false and the reasoning about that analogy is fatally defective.

    [4] Various people tried to claim that the important issue is whether or not al-Awlaki is located in a foreign country. That argument was destroyed. The constitution does not say “it’s okay to murder American citizens as long they’re not at present residing within the boundaries of the united states.” The fifth and six amendments of the constitution require due process — a person cannot be condemned to death in America without being arrested, indicted, allowed to examine the evidence against him, and tried by a jury of his peers.

    It doesn’t matter a damn whether al-Awlaki is located in Yemen or Ohio or Mars. He is entitled to due process. The constitution requires that. If we abandon that, we become a society without the rule of law, and the next step is barbarism and a Stalinist tyranny.

    [5] Some people tried to assert that there’s nothing unusual about murdering an American citizen in a military operation. Once again, this claim was destroyed by pointing out that we are not talking about some battlefield in which random people get killed depending on the happenstance of the battle.

    We are talking about the president giving a specific order to assassinate an American citizen.

    That is completely different from a battle. Some JSOC team of assassins is going to infiltrate al-Awlaki’s compound and shoot him in the head with a subsonic silenced 9 mm pistol (called a “Hush Puppy”). That’s not a battle. That’s premeditated murder.

    Ordering an assassination is completely and utterly different from someone like al-Awlaki dying in a battle because (A) al-Awlaki isn’t fighting, he’s just making speeches. You may hate what he says (I hate what he says) but he’s not running around with a bazooka personally blowing up U.S. tanks and he’s not doing Rambo crap with a belt-fed M-60 blowing away U.S. troops on a battlefield. Al-Awlaki is making speeches. That’s all he’s doing. That is nothing like fighting on a battlefield. There is no evidence al-Awlaki has killed any Americans. He is reading from pages he wrote. That’s speech. Speaking aloud is not even remotely the same as picking up a gun and shooting people on a battlefield, and if you think it is, you need a refresher course in reality.

    (B) On a battlefield, everyone typically doesn’t go into battle to murder one specific person. America is sending a team of assassins whose sole purpose for going into Yemen is to murder al-Awlaki. That’s not a battle — that’s premeditated murder, it’s an assassination, and its completely different from a battle.

    (C) An assassination team uses stealth and typically isn’t in a great deal of danger. Assassins often use long-range sniper rifles and gilley suits. Or their spot a target and relay his GPS coordinates for a UAV drone to take him out.

    Assassination is completely different from a battle because in a battle, everyone on the battlefield is in danger. The U.S. troops have a good justification for killing people — their lives are in direct and immediate danger. Assassins are cowards who sneak around and murder their targets from a distance. The assassins are typically not in direct immediate danger, so there’s no justification for the assassination based on self-defense. Assassination is nothing but a euphemism for murder. In a battle, killing enemy soldiers is self-defense. Assassination has nothing to do with self-defense, it’s just cold-blooded murder.

    [6] Big Tent Democrat has revealed himself as a sociopath with no clue about the law, as usual. Armando claims that citing the constitution of the united states of America is “simplistic.”

    Boy, have you ever found a home, Armando. You’re the next John Yoo. When Obama wants to torture some American citizen to death or order the assassination of some U.S. citizen who said something Obama doesn’t like, you’re be johnny-on-the-spot to provide bogus shithouse-lawyer “defenses” for that indefensible atrocity.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we hung people like Big Tent Democrat at the Nuremberg trials.

    The sociopath Armond went on to gibber:

    The legal question of whether Al-Awlaki can be declared an enemy combatant is fairly straight forward in my view. I think the answer is yes and SHOULD be yes.

    The question then becomes the application of the Laws of War and targetted killings. That is a much more complicated issue.

    Once again, the sociopath Armando reveals his appalling lack of basic knowledge of the law. How did this Hannibal-Lecter-wannabe ever pass the bar? It’s a scandal and a disgracee that this sociopath was ever allowed to practice law in the united states of America.

    Show us the provision in the constitution that says “It’s okay to declare an American citizen an enemy combatant and strip him of his rights under the constitution.”

    There is no such provision, you ignorant sociopath. The consitution of the united states of the America doesn’t mention enemy combatants, and for a very good reason — the term “enemy combatant” is a made-up bogus term to cover up flagrant violation of the Bill of Rights.

    The phony phrase “enemy combatant” is no different from any other bogus phrase, like “filthy Jew” or “subhuman kulak” or “counterrevolutionary scum” that gets used in a dictatorship to try to justify the summary execution of innocent people.

    Replace the bogus term “enemy combatant” with the german term “untermenschen” and you’ll see what Armando the sociopath is really defending.

    Big Tent Democrat has revealed himself as the Julius Streicher of 21st century America. Just as Streicher thought he could legitimize the barbaric murder of innocent men and women and children by waving the term “filthy Juden untermenschen,” Armando (Big Tent Democrat) thinks he can legitimize the barbaric murder of innocent men and women and children by waving the bogus term “enemy combatant.”

    If there were any justice in America, Armando, you should be arrested for conspiracy to commit the murder of American citizens. You would be tried in a court of law, and you would be convicted and sent to prison the rest of your natural life without parole.

    Here in America, we live by the rule of law. We don’t order the assassination of American citizens without providing any evidence and without charges and without a trial, while waving a phony made-up neologism like “enemy combatant” in a futile effort to justify this unjustifiable miscarriage of justice.

    The fact that you, as a lawyer, don’t recognize how completely you’re throwing out the rule of law is by far the most chilling aspect of this entire discussion. The fact that sociopaths like Big Tent Democrat can actually get a law degree and then stand around making futile and infantile failed efforts to defend the assassination of American citizens without charges and without a trial and without evidence provides terrifying proof that America has sunk into the deepest shadows of barbarism.

    The sociopath Big Tent Democrat compounds his depravity by gibbering:

    The question then becomes the application of the Laws of War and targetted [sic] killings. That is a much more complicated issue.

    This is once again a proof of Armando’s gross ignorance and shocking incompetence as a lawyer. That his person is allowed to practice law is a scandal, as shocking and appalling a scandal as John Yoo being allowed to teach law.

    The question of ordering the assassination of American citizens has nothingL to do with any so-called “laws of law” because there is no evidence that America is at war with Yemen.

    Show us the proof that we are at war with anyone, Armando. Oh…that’s right — you can’t. Because we’re not at war. If America were at war, congress would have declared war. And congress hasn’t.

    We’re not a war just because sociopaths like you claim (without evidence) that we’re at war. We’re at war if congress declares war, and congress hasn’t.

    So any argument Big Tent Democrats makes about “the laws of war” are a flat-out lie. We’re not at war with Yemen, and Armando knows it. He’s simply lying.

    As for Armando’s contemptible euphemism “targeted killings,” that’s just a feeble and failed attempt to make the Star Chamber assassination of an American citizen palatable by replacing the ugly word “assassination” with the superficially kinder and gentler buzzword “targeted killing.”

    Once again, Armando reveals himself as a sociopath because he thinks we’re actually so gullible and so stupid we’ll fall for this transparent trick, just as the sociopaths in the White House 6 years ago thought we wouldn’t notice they were torturing people to death if they replaced the ugly word “torture” with the kinder gentler buzzword “enhanced interrogation.”

    Well, here’s a news flash for you, Armando — we know what you’re saying, and it’s an atrocity no matter what buzzwords you use.

    Whether you call it “targeted killing” or “assassination of an American citizen without charges and without a trial and with secret evidence” or whether you get more far-fetched and call it “reaching out and touching someone” or “zapping the unicorn” or “kicking the bird” or whatever other horseshit nonsense buzzwords you want to use, you can’t escape the brutal reality, Armond.

    And the brutal reality is that Armando the lawyer is openly and publicly advocating the cold-blooded murder without charges and without a trial and without evidence of a U.S. citizen.

    That’s an atrocity. That’s not how a democracy works. Armando clearly has no concept of what the rule of law is, and if he continues to practice law, he presents a clear and present danger to every other citizen in America.

    So here’s my modest little proposal:

    I propose we strip Armando of his citizenship and send him to North Korea, where he’ll find himself quite at home without the rule of law. In North Korea, Armando will discover what it’s like to live in a society where anyone can be picked up and dragged off to a dungeon without charges and without a trial and without evidence, and where he can be shot in the head and summarily executed just because someone doesn’t like what Armando happens to say.

    Notice how kind and gentle I’m being here, Armando. In proposing that we drag Big Tent Democrat into a holding cell and strip him of his citizenship and deport him as a stateless non-citizen to North Korea, I’m actually being much more lenient than Armando would propose to be to any of you…because Armando is proposing to shoot each of you in the back of the head without a trial and without charges and without evidence if he doesn’t like what you happen to say.

    Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen — that’s what’s going on here. Obama doesn’t like what the American citizen al-Awlaki says, so now Obama is going to send some thugs into Yemen to shoot al-Awlaki in the head. No trial. No charges. No evidence. Just “I don’t like the speeches this guy makes. Go blow his head off.”

    Armando loves that. Armando thinks that’s wonderful. Big Tend Democrat (Armando) thinks it’s completely compatible with the rule of law in a free society to blow somebody’s head off if you don’t like what they say…no trial, no charges, no evidence, just shoot him in the back of the head.

    I say Armando is not compatible with a free society that lives by the rule of law, so let’s strip the sonofabitch of his citizenship and deport that dangerous sociopath to North Korea.

  489. 489
    eastriver says:

    @Chuck:

    yeah, get off the croxx, Stuck. You look kinda stupid.

  490. 490
    eastriver says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Generals don’t die. Or fade away. They just get Stuck.

  491. 491
    LT says:

    Hey john

    Someone has posted this over at DKos. Several commenters are going off about copyright infringement. do you care that that is posted over there? If so or not, could you let me know and I’ll pass it along?

  492. 492
    matoko_chan says:

    @Lenny: man…..

    but he needs to be stopped – soon!

    why?
    what is he doing that a kajillion other radicalized imams and mullahs and shayyks aren’t doing?
    and who radicalized them?
    he is railing against injustice….a whole lot of people are doing that that aren’t citizens.
    does al-Awlaki’s invective have some super-secret motivational power?
    or is it……hes the one we can single out for the Bushco neocon-revanchist troglodytes that landed us all in this bucket of shit.
    /spit
    he is a citizen who deserves due process.

    the stupid it burns me so.

  493. 493
    mclaren says:

    @Robertdsc:

    To pursue someone in order to detain them, all you need is an arrest warrant, which is laughably easy to get…

    No, an arrest warrant is not “laughably easy to get” if the so-called crime with which the suspect is charged is…talking.

    Yes, that’s right. Talking. That’s what al-Awalaki is charged with here. That’s his “crime.”

    And this is precisely why sociopaths like General Crackpot Fake Name and Big Tent Democrat are advocating that we bypass getting a warrant or arresting al-Awlaki or putting al-Awlaki through an arraignment or filing charges against him or giving him a trial by jury before we blow al-Awlaki’s head off.

    Because the sociopath General Crackpot Fake Name and the sociopath Big Tent Democrat known goddamn well that what al-Awlaki is being charged with isn’t a crime at all, and no goddamn court in the United States would ever issue an arrest warrant for a suspect based on the fact “that the suspect al-Awlaki is accused of making speeches.”

    The judge would look at that application for a warrant and shout at the assistant distract attorney, “What the hell are you doing giving horseshit like this to me? Talking isn’t a crime! Come back when you have a crime to charge this guy with! Otherwise, get the hell out of my courtroom, and learn the law!”

    That’s why Big Tent Democrat and General Crackpot Fake Name and these other bully-worshiping Jeffrey-Dahmer-waannabes love the idea of avoiding warrants and trials and charges and juries. Because they just have a giant horse-cock raging sadistic hard-on to blow off al-Awlaki’s head and they goddamn well know it’s not legal and it’s not sanctioned by the rule of law and it has nothing to do with any fantasized “laws of war” or any other cockamamey made-up buzzwords like “enemy combatants,” these people just don’t like what al-Awlaki says and they want to shoot him in the head.

    But to legally arrest and try and execute somebody like al-Awlaki, they’d have to charge him with a crime. And as much as we all despise what al-Awlaki says, the law happens to tells us that saying things isn’t a crime.

    There’s no death penalty in America for giving speeches.

    There’s no law in America that says “If someone gets up on a soapbox in the park and says things we don’t like, it’s okay to blow him away with a shotgun without charging him with a crime and without arresting him and without trying him in front of a jury.”

    And you know why lawless sociopaths like Big Tent Democrat and General Crackpot Fake Name are so red hot eager to blow away al-Awlaki because of the speeches he made?

    Because you’re next.

    Yes, folks, you. You are next. If people like Big Tent Democrat succeed in getting gullible dupes to buy the claim that it’s somehow legal to murder an American citizen for saying things we don’t like, then that sets a precedent.

    And the next thing you know, it won’t be some guy living in Yemen who gets shot in the head for saying things we don’t like — it’ll be the guy sitting next to you in the restaurant who gets shot in the head for saying something like “America is sliding into fascism and it’s time we all did something about it.”

    And the Department of Homeland Security agent who shoots that guy to death in the diner for saying “America is sliding into fascism” will stand up and show everyone his DHS i.d. and he’ll tell everyone “I’m a government agent, nothing to see here, just move along. This was a targeted killing of an enemy combatant, and it’s perfectly legal.”

    Are you absolutely sure that’s the kind of society you want to live in?

    Think about that, folks.

    Think about it real hard.

  494. 494
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone: adhom adhom adhom.
    PW did ban me too, because they couldn’t bear the truth.
    but it isnt the same argument…..BJ is liberal bioluddites, PW is conservative bioluddites.
    A better thread is the one where i pwned you, and this one where i pwned gwangung.
    let me refresh you.

    @gwangung: oooo
    do tell.
    a psychometrician.
    then….do you agree with BJers that IQ and race are just fantasy constructs developed by a secret global cabal of the KKK, Stormfront, Dr. James Watson, the cryogenically preserved head of Adolf Hilter, Charles Murray and Steve Sailer?

    @Corner Stone: all they have are adhoms….its exactly the same way I’m treated here.
    they are conservative bio-luddites, you are liberal bio-luddites.
    toute le meme chose
    :)
    There is a biological basis for all behavior…including intelligence.
    Neuroscience is contributing to an understanding of the biological bases of human intelligence differences. This work is principally being conducted along two empirical fronts: genetics — quantitative and molecular — and brain imaging. Quantitative genetic studies have established that there are additive genetic contributions to different aspects of cognitive ability — especially general intelligence — and how they change through the lifespan. Molecular genetic studies have yet to identify reliably reproducible contributions from individual genes. Structural and functional brain-imaging studies have identified differences in brain pathways, especially parieto-frontal pathways, that contribute to intelligence differences. There is also evidence that brain efficiency correlates positively with intelligence.
    And race.
    Ok, race is cultural construct, but so what? Does that make racial categorization somehow less real? When we perceive color, we are looking at a continuum frequency diversity on the electromagnetic spectrum. Somehow we still manage to call one color red and another one blue. You don’t hear people saying the difference between red and blue is meaningless and unworthy of scientific investigation, do you? I have a hydrangea that is red and another that is blue. I should pretend that they are the same, and not inquire as to whether there is a genetic basis for it? (There isn’t; it’s a result of varying soil acidity, but how can I know that if I’m not allowed to ask the question because someone has already told me that color is just a cultural construct?)
    If there is no “race” at the genetic level, then why is it that dark skinned people with very curly hair keep having children with dark skin and curly hair? Why do children of Asians look persistently different from children of Jews? There is something genetic happening that affects skin, hair, facial features, disease susceptibility, and a whole host of other things. But we are powerless to examine those differences because there’s no such thing as “race” at the genetic level? The contention is absurd on its face.
    Tell it to a drug company who sees differential effectiveness and side effects among blacks, Asians, and whites. Sorry guys, you are not allowed to record race in your clinical trials anymore, because everyone knows that information has no meaning!

  495. 495
    Justin Runia says:

    Getting shot in the head by DHS agents is the new man-on-dog slipperly slope of the week.

  496. 496
    matoko_chan says:

    I think PW would welcome you as commenter, Cornerstone.
    bio-luddites and science refusniks all together.

  497. 497
    John Cole says:

    @LT: The ideas on this blog are open source. As long as they mention I wrote it, I don’t care what they do with it. Links are always nice, but I’m not going to bitch if they forgot.

  498. 498
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Actually, if we’re gonna be pissed of here, there are 4 Americans on the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) list of people to kill or capture. And this group has no Congressional oversite.

  499. 499
    mclaren says:

    @JD:

    However, I do think there’s a legitimate argument that can be made in support of the policy. Even if John Smith is an American citizen, if he’s decided to engage in terrorist activities against the US and is living abroad under the protection of al qaeda (or some similar group), it’s not clear to me that there’s a brightline distinction between Smith and Bin Laden.

    I guess my issue is this guy’s citizenship.

    No, sorry, this argument was tried in the other thread and it was completely and utterly discredited and destroyed.

    The so-called “terrorist activities” with which al-Awlaki is charged are…talking.

    That’s it.

    That’s the “terroristic activities.” Al-Awlaki is alleged to have given speeches.

    That’s the whole of what is alleged about that guy. That’s the whole kit and kabdoodle, that’s all of it.

    Maybe in North Korea making speeches carries the death penalty, but here in America, we don’t summarily execute people for talking. If you give a speech in America that denounces America and advocates radical jihad and proposes murdering Americans, we have a way for dealing with that.

    You know how we deal with that here in America?

    I’ll tell you,

    We boo.

    We boo real loud.

    That’s how we deal with people who give speeches we don’t like here in America.

    Strange it is that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free speech but object to their being `pushed to an extreme,’ not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.

    [John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Penguin Books, New York: pg. 108.]

  500. 500
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan:

    A better thread is the one where i pwned you, and this one where i pwned gwangung.
    let me refresh you.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
    You block quote a commenter at Sully’s! And that’s how you pwn people!?
    El Cid ripped your ass off for that right after you posted it.

    Pathetic.

  501. 501
    Corner Stone says:

    @mclaren:

    Replace the bogus term “enemy combatant” with the german term “untermenschen” and you’ll see what Armando the sociopath is really defending.

    God damn. That is rough.

  502. 502
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan: It’s amazing. You combine the unmeasurable stupidity of Stuck, the inability to form a cogent conclusion of kay, and the repeated obstinacy of Mike Kay!
    All you need now is to start baselessly slandering others comments like eemom and you will be the complete package.
    Although, come to think of it, you do pretty much just lie about everything under the sun.

    Congrats! You are the *perfect* amalgamation of the absolute worst of Balloon Juice.

  503. 503

    […] : "http%3A%2F%2Fblogontherun.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F05%2F14%2F2nd-quote-of-the-day%2F" } … also from Cole, buttslapping a bunch of his own (normally supportive) commenters: … let me state on the […]

  504. 504
    mclaren says:

    @Corner Stone:

    God damn. That is rough.

    Rough but truthful and factually accurate.

    Let us be absolutely clear what is at stake here, ladies and gentlemen. Lawyers who have passed the bar in American and enjoy a license to practice law are, in this thread, defending the summary execution without charges and without trial of citizens who have never been proven or even alleged to have committed any crime.

    Explain to me how that’s different from Julius Strecher advocating the summary execution of untermenschen in 1930s Germany.

    Explain to me how that’s different from Lavrenti Beria, the head of the NKVD under Stalin, calling for the murder of kulaks who were never charged with any crimes under Soviet law.

    Explain to me how this is one goddamn bit different from Pol Pot crying for the slaughter of men and women and children who had not committed any recognized crime under Cambodian law, merely because he thought they were somehow “dangerous” to his vision of society.

    Because that is what Armando the lawyer and all the other people who support the assassination of American citizens without charges and without a trial are advocating. Simple murder. That’s what they’re supporting. Pure and simple murder of people you don’t like, based on nothing — no proven crime, no evidence, no charges, nothing. Just, “I don’t like that guy — blow his head off.”

    How is that different from advocating the murder of untermenschen in Germany in the 1930s?

    What crime were the Jews ever charged with in a court of law?

    Everyone needs to wake up and understand what’s at stake here. We’re not just talking about whether some team of SEAL assassins shoots some guy in the head, we’re not debating some fine legal points of arcane interest, this isn’t some abstact logic game to parse for our own recondite interest…

    …The issue here is whether we live in a free society or a tyranny.

    Do we live under the rule of law? Or in a society where, the instant someone in power has some inchoate feeling that you might present some sort of hard-to-describe “danger” to his vision of society, some nameless assassin shoots you in the head?

    Take a look at who’s lined up in this debate, ladies and gentlemen. Take a gander at the historical personalities on each side.

    I’ve quoted Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and John Stuart Mill. These are the ten-foot-tall giants of intellectual history in my corner.

    And who are the people on the other side of the debate channeling, the people who advocate summary execution without a trial and without charges?

    “No people, no problems.” — Josef Stalin

    “…A devil in human form. It is fitting that he be exterminated root and branch.” — Julius Streicher

    “I did not join the…movement to kill people, to kill the nation. Look at me now. Am I a savage person? My conscience is clear.” — Pol Pot

    Take your pick, ladies and gentlemen. Which group do you want to side with? The intellectual giants who spoke out on behalf of common human decency and the basic rights of mankind…or the genocidal maniacs who glorified murdering people without charges and without trial?

  505. 505
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Corner Stone: You forgot the ruthless intemperance of JSF, which, sadly, she lacks.

    No Voltron!

  506. 506
    Tim I says:

    No offense, John, but I think you have your head pretty far up your ass on this one. So you think the USA should allow some fucker to murder US citizens at will, because he is also a US citizen.

    When the SWAT Team sniper puts a rounf\d through the head of some dumbfuck hostage taker, who has not been convicted by a court of law, do you think the sniper has committed a crime?

    Fuck no! He is preventing the loss of innocent lives. This asshole is much worse than said hostage taker. He has murdered 13 Americans and I think it is high time to go Bonnie and Clyde on his ass.

  507. 507
    mclaren says:

    @Tim I:

    So you think the USA should allow some fucker to murder US citizens at will, because he is also a US citizen.

    Show me the evidence that al-Awlaki has murdered any U.S. citizens.

    Where is it?

    Show it to me.

    We haven’t seen any evidence. All we have are “law enforcement leaks.” Remember those? Like the “intelligence leaks” that claimed Saddam had WMDs?

    Like the “FBI leaks from highly-placed sources” that claimed the innocent scientist (who turned out to have nothing to do with them) James Hatfill was the mastermind behind the anthrax attacks in 2001?

    Like the “leaks from confidential sources in the White House” that claimed Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks?

    Here’s what al-Awlaki himself says:

    Al-Awlaki admits to supporting — but not encouraging — the recent attacks of Umar Abdulmutallab and Maj. Nidal Hasan on military and civilian targets within the U.S. His sermons are known to be extremely critical of U.S. foreign policy and military intervention in Muslim countries.

    Source: Arab News, “Yemen refuses to hunt al-Awlaki for U.S.”

    News flash, Tim I: America has no law on its books that mandates the death penalty without trial because an American supports attacks against other Americans.

    Tea partier have advocated attacks against the U.S. government — should we target them for assassination?

    Ann Coulter has advocated murdering supreme court justices and killing liberals, including the editorial staff of the New York Times — should we target Ann Coulter for assassination?

    A lot of people in America have advocated bombing the government and blowing up government buildings and shooting other Americans, and I haven’t heard anybody suggest we should target all these people for assassination. Christian dominionists, white separatists, American Nazis, far-right preachers, Limaugh-loving gun nuts, militia gun nuts, the list goes on and on and on…

    Many hundreds of thousands of Americans have advocated violence against other Americans. While I find this despicable, here’s a clue for you, Tim I — in America, people have the right to advocate the murder of other Americans ro the violent otherthrow of the government, or shooting white people or brown people or black people or Jews or Christians or Buddhists or Islamists or atheists or abortionists… And a hell of a lot of people in America have advocated this kind of violence in public.

    I have never seen anyone suggest that we need to start assassinating all these fringe lunatics and thuggish cranks without charges and without a trial.

    So why is this guy al-Awlaki different?

    Why do we urgently need to assassinate this guy, and not the provably violent anti-abortion fanatics who are openly advocating the murder of abortion doctors and nurses and who have been proven to bomb abortion clinics?

    Why do we suddenly need to assassinate al-Awlaki in Yemen and not the “Oath Keepers,” those guys who are police men and members of the army and the navy and the air force and who openly advocate violence against the U.S. Government?

    When the SWAT Team sniper puts a rounfd through the head of some dumbfuck hostage taker, who has not been convicted by a court of law, do you think the sniper has committed a crime?

    This failed and futile faulty argument was comprehensively destroyed in the other thread. You lose.

    This is a totally bogus analogy because the only thing al-Awlaki is alleged to have done is make speeches.

    If a sniper shoots a guy who is a making a speech you don’t like in he a public park, yes, that’s crime. That’s called murder. The sniper should be arrested, charged with murder, convicted, and sent to prison.

    Here in America we don’t summarily execute people for giving speeches.

    Your analogy is a complete lie and totally bogus because a guy holding a gun to the heads of some hostages presents a clear and immediate physical threat to people’s lives. Al-Awlaki has made speeches. He is alleged to have “inspired” terrorists. Well, guess what? Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter also made speeches, and they have absolutely certainly inspired violent right wing extremists to commit murder over the last 18 months. We’ve seen a sharp uptick in extreme violence on the far right in America since Obama was elected, and if “inspiring terorrist killings” was a crime, why hasn’t the U.S. government targeted Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter for assassination?

    In fact there’s a much clearer link between Limbaugh’s and Coulter’s incendiary rhetoric and right-wing extremist violence over the last year and a half than there is between al-Awlaki’s speeches and terrorist violence against Americans. With Limbaugh and Beck, the link is so clear it’s glaringly obvious — Beck constantly talks about overthrowing the U.S. government, he has openly called lliberalism “a cancer” that must “be cut out.” How much clearer can you get than that?

    So why aren’t you calling for the assassination of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh?

    This asshole is much worse than said hostage taker. He has murdered 13 Americans and I think it is high time to go Bonnie and Clyde on his ass.

    Show me the evidence that al-Awlaki has personally murdered anyone. There’s nothing. Nobody has provided any evidence at all, just “law enforcement leaks” and “intelligence estimates.” These are the same goddamn “intelligence estimates” that said Saddam had lakes of sarin and mountains of nuclear weapons.

    If al-Awlaki really has personally murdered 13 Americans, there should be plenty of evidence. Present that evidence to a judge, get a warrant, and send a SEAL team to grab al-Awlaki and try him in a U.S. court of law. I’ll support that. Hell yes, if there’s evidence and you can get a warrant, goddamn right I’ll suppport that. In a heartbeat.

    But you know why Obama hasn’t applied for a warrant to extradite al-Awlaki?

    Because there’s no evidence that al-Awlaki has killed anyone. There’s no evidence that his guy is guilty of any crime. Period. Nothing. Zip. Diddly. Nada. Bupkiss. Zero.

    All I’m hearing is that al-Awlaki makes speeches that supposedly “incite violence against America.” Well, making speeches isn’t against the law, and if inciting violence were a crime worth of summary execution without a trial and without charges, the leaders of the entire goddamn Republican party would be lying dead on the street with assassins’ bullets in their heads, so we know that’s a bullshit claim.

    Al-Awlaki [‘s father] acknowledged his son has espoused some controversial views but all of them, he said, would be protected by freedom of speech provisions in the American Constitution. He denied his son has done anything to encourage terrorists to commit violent acts.

    “He is a preacher, you cannot tie Anwar to acts of terrorism,” said al-Awlaki.

    Source: CNN Exclusive: Al-Awlaki’s father says son is ‘not Osama bin Laden’

    All I’m hearing here is allegations that al-Awlaki “inspired” people who committe violence against Americans. Since when is “inpiring people” crime? Since when does making speeches carry the death penalty in America? I despise what al-Awlaki says, but how is it illegal?

    Now we have more law enforcement leaks about Abdulmutallab’s debriefings: He’s ratted out cleric (and American citizen) Anwar al-Awlaki. Not that al-Awlaki knew about his Christmas Day attack, just that he was his “teacher” and they had met and communicated, something al-Awlaki also acknowledges.

    So al-Awlaki met the guy who shot up an army base. Is that a crime?

    I’m all for going after terrorists, but where’s the evidence that al-Awlaki has committed any acts of terrorism? The guy has made speeches. That’s it.

    Now we’re handing out the death penalty here in America for people who make speeches?

    You need to get a grip, Tim I. Here in America we don’t summarily execute people for meeting other people. Here in America, in order to get executed, you must first be charged with a crime and then convicted in a trial by jury. Most important of all, you must first commit a crime.

    You and I may hate what al-Awlaki says in his speeches, but how are the hate-filled lies al-Awlaki screams when he rails against the government any less dangerous or any less incendiary than the hate-filled lies screamed by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter and Haley Barbour when they rail against the federal government? And if we don’t summarily execute those creeps for inciting violence, why do we suddenly think it’s so important to summarily execute al-Awlaki?

  508. 508
    swv says:

    OK what’s the line then- it’s not a traditional battlefield? Is that it? Because if it was you’d be A-OK with assassinating him? Even if he were doing KP duty and couldn’t even shoot a gun? Still OK?

    What do you want any administration to do about people who take up “arms” against the United States? What’s his due process if he can’t be captured and detained?

    Can you be constructive here? Tell us what to do with him.

    He’s in another country; he’s plotting to kill Americans; we can’t capture him and are not likely to be able to ever.

    Now replace “plotting” with something more concrete- he is actively and materially helping them build a bomb. What do we do?

    Now replace bomb with The Bomb and moreover without him they would be less likely to succeed. Still hold off on killing him?

    Now replace The Bomb with something worse where, for sure if it is released, millions of Americans and others would die. Check yourself before you say this is fantasy and would never happen because I am telling you you don’t know what you don’t know and you might want to be sure of what the facts are before you to go to the “fantasy” dodge.

  509. 509
    swv says:

    @ThatPirateGuy:

    Vote one with ya until someone makes an argument that changes my mind, which I am open to but haven’t heard.

  510. 510
    swv says:

    @Brett:

    Brett, I want to see the rebuttal to your comment. I essentially said the same thing, as have others. Significantly , so far, no one has offered a rejoinder. Not saying there isn’t one, just saying the two sides don’t seem to be talking to each other, which I think is critical here.

    Come on people do something more than steam…

  511. 511
    Bootlegger says:

    @Darkmoth: Duh. But you overlook the conditional:

    he or she may use deadly force only to prevent escape if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others

    You can’t just shoot someone because they are running away, they must pose a significant (and I should add this includes the concept of immediate) threat to someone. If you think that worthless dork from my hometown poses a “significant threat of death”, then the terrarists have already won. They’ve done scared you out of you girdle.

  512. 512
    Bootlegger says:

    @Justin Runia:

    but the fact is that he is taking part in plots to kill and terrorize americans, that’s why he’s on the capture-or-kill list.

    You have no muthafuckin’ idea how much bank OBL had or still has. He’s still alive though, and that don’t come free.

    And that toothpick pecerwood can plot all he wants, his functional ability to “kill or terrorize americans” is the equivalent of the wasps in the next over my back door who I’m sure would really love to do us all in.

    Got you scared out of your shit-filled shorts too hunh?

  513. 513
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    mclaren, love yer comments but you repeat a lot of the same stuff over and over and wind up with way too many words and then I just skim over it without reading and try to figure out what you said by the short blockquotes from people replying to you. It just winds up an unpleasant mess.

    Ahab, fuck you.

  514. 514
    Bootlegger says:

    @Nick: In the American legal system there is functionally no such thing as “kill or capture”. The toy soldier brigade and Hollywood Films Ltd. want you to believe so, but there is actually no such legals standing.

  515. 515
    Bootlegger says:

    @Lenny:

    but he needs to be stopped – soon!

    Why? Before he reveals the secret location of Route 66?

  516. 516
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bootlegger: Where, exactly, is it that you get your kicks?

  517. 517
    mclaren says:

    @lenny:

    but the fact is that he is taking part in plots to kill and terrorize americans, that’s why he’s on the capture-or-kill list.

    No, that’s not a fact. That’s an allegation.

    An unsourced nameless allegation for which no evidence has been produced.

    Here in America, we don’t summarily execute people based on nameless allegations. You need to learn what the phrase “rule of law” means.

    You also need to learn the difference between a fact and a rumor. A rumor is not a fact. All we’ve heard about al-Awlaki are unsubstantiated allegations.

    In other words, rumors.

  518. 518
    Bootlegger says:

    @Tim I: This dweeb hasn’t “murdered” anyone!!!
    All he’s done is run his mouth.
    Check your drawers dude, a little bleach will get out those stains.

  519. 519
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Huh. I meant it as a complement. No figurin’ out some people, I guess.

  520. 520
    Bootlegger says:

    @Corner Stone: Texas highway 441, two miles outside of town, in an area destined for suburbia (and now is just that). We use to drink underage, smoke illegal substances, and I was humpin’ the hottest girl ever when some guy backed in to me. Not only did he put on the cockblock but he never painted my door.

  521. 521
    Bootlegger says:

    @mclaren: That’s why we have due process eh Mc? How come these pants wetters don’t get that?

  522. 522
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bootlegger: This may be the worst thing I’ve ever heard.

  523. 523
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone: no he did—ent
    i quoted Nature on Neuroscience, bio-luddite.
    an’ this shut el cid up dint it?

    El Cid, let me ax one question…….do you use crosstabs?
    respondents self-identify with race.
    There are many, many genetic markers that are scientifically associated with race. Tay Sachs in Ashkenzai Jews, Sickle Cell in blacks, alcohol suseptibility in Asians and Amerindians are just a few examples.
    You are a liberal bio-luddite.
    You cannot deny the component of heritability in IQ vs race without denying the heritability of all traits vs race.

    adhom adhom adhom soooooo boring.
    weaksauce, corner.
    is that all u got?

  524. 524
    matoko_chan says:

    @AhabTRuler: Defender of the Universe!
    i’ll shred you two-digit IQ denialist bio-luddites like the Lion Force on a Drule Robeast.
    :)

  525. 525
    Laura W. says:

    @AhabTRuler: He knows that. He was just demonstrating his ruthless intemperance for you. We both had to look it up. He thought you meant “drunken ass”. I assured him you meant “passionate” and “vocally vociferous about things he believes in!”

    He’s just still a bit off kilter after the day’s events.

  526. 526
    mclaren says:

    @Bootegger:

    Darkmoth keeps making the same failed and bogus analogy between a cop and a murder suspect, and the U.S. military and al-Awlaki, and that incorrect analogy has been comprehensively destroyed in the other thread.

    There’s no similarity between the two situations. But Darkmoth keep making the same bogus disproven comparison over and over again.

    This is the hallmark of someone who has lost the debate but doesn’t want to admit it.

    Once again (sigh): the police officer analogy is completely wrong and totally dishonest because:

    [1] Al-Awlaki is accused of making speeches and “getting involved in plots.” That’s alll. We don’t let police officers summarily execute people on the street for making speeches or for conspiring with other people in alleged “plots.” So Darkmoth’s cop analogy is total bullshit.

    [2] Obama is sending out an assassination team. We don’t send police out with orders to assassinate citizens when they go on duty. So Darkmoth’s cop analogy is total bullshit.

    [3] Darkmoth has claimed we don’t have a right to examine the CIA’s alleged “evidence” against al-Awlaki. This would be same a cop shooting some citizen in the head and telling everyone “I have evidence that justifies this, but no one can see it.” We don’t allow that. So Darkmoth’s cop analogy is total bullshit.

    [4] Darkmoth claims it’s legal to summarily execute al-Awlaki without charges and without a trial and without any evidence that he’s committed a crime, but we don’t let cops kill people on the street without at least some evidence that the person committed a crime under U.S. law. So Darkmoth’s cop analogy is total bullshit.

    [5] Darkmoth is a hypocrite because there’s much more hard evidence that people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Haley Barbour and Glenn Beck have incited right-wing violence than there is that al-Awlaki has incited Islamic violence, yet Darkmoth isn’t advocating that the president send assassination teams out to summarily execute Limbaugh or Coulter or Haley Barbour. So Darkmoth is being dishonest. Once again, his analogy is total bullshit, because if he really believed what he said, he’d be urging assassination squads to kill the leaders of the entire Republican party for “inciting violence,” which they have clearly and definitely done. So Darkmoth’s cop analogy is total bullshit.

    Bottom line?

    Darkmoth’s arguments have been thoroughly destroyed in the other thread. His analogies have been debunked and disproven.

    Stick a fork in Darkmoth, he’s done.

  527. 527
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan: Is there really any point to you anymore?
    I mean, you’re kinda like a living , posting Lady Gaga exhibit.

  528. 528
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @mclaren: Actually, while I don’t think we need to go after this guy with the CIA, inciting violence is a crime.

  529. 529
    Corner Stone says:

    @mclaren:

    Darkmoth keeps making the same failed and bogus analogy between a cop and a murder suspect, and the U.S. military and al-Awlaki, and that incorrect analogy has been comprehensively destroyed in the other thread.

    He does indeed keep trying it.
    I’m not sure why exactly.

  530. 530
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Laura W.: It’s been a day fraught with emotion for all of us.

    ETA: Seriously, it looks like a caterpillar died on his lip.

  531. 531
    mclaren says:

    @Belafon:

    …inciting violence is a crime.

    If so, it’s a crime no one seems to prosecute in America.

    Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Haley Barbour and many other far right leaders have repeatedly urged violence against liberals and Democrats and the U.S. government.

    So if it’s such a serious crime, why haven’t Beck and Limbaugh and Coulter and Barbour and the rest been arrested and charged with the crime of inciting violence?

    I’ll tell you why — because we give free speech wide latitude here in America. One thing we damn sure don’t do is summarily execute people for running their mouths.

  532. 532
    Bootlegger says:

    @Corner Stone:

    This may be the worst thing I’ve ever heard

    What? That pantswetters live among us? Or that AQ would exploit this weakness? Or should I switch my “coward” metaphor to something that doesn’t denigrate little kids with bladder problems? How about shadow fear?

  533. 533
    Bootlegger says:

    @mclaren: Ummmmm, ok, but I never made that analogy right?

    The only analogy here is to another situation where the Executive orders an execution without due process. Everything else is a false analogy.

  534. 534
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Bootlegger: No, either that your dalliance was cruelly interrupted, or that your door went unpainted.

    Damn shame about that door.

  535. 535
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bootlegger: No, god dammit. That some hapless motherfucker put the cockblock on a brother just trying his best to work it.

    Not only did he put on the cockblock but he never painted my door.

    That hurts my soul more deeply than executive authority over reach ever could. I’m putting my Dwight Yoakam on again, just to salve the pain. If anyone has ever suffered a state sanctioned cockblock, it’s Dwight.

  536. 536
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone: hehe

    adhom adhom adhom, never a nanoparticle of substance or supporting data.
    je m’ennui.
    ;)

  537. 537
    Bootlegger says:

    @Corner Stone: heh-heh, I suppose butthurt comes in many forms.

    But I know one damned thing, that tiny prick from my neck of the woods, SE NM, can rot in Yemen for all I care. He’s no more a threat than the squirrel at my feeder unless we turn him into a bear in the backyard (with a hankerin’ for a pic-a-nic basket to boot).

  538. 538
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan: Ok, so the answer is “No”, there is no point to you at all.
    You can choke on your ad homs. You spout, and spout and repeat things…FSM, why bother. You’re a pathetic joke that no one has common ground with.
    You think arguments against you are nothing but ad hom and Luddite, but it’s interesting that it happens EVERY WHERE YOU POST.
    So, yeah, you’re the pioneer in this area.

    Listen. Before you start telling people they use ad homs against you? How about you not use a random Reader Post from Sully’s site as some kind of authority or whatever it is you are doing.

  539. 539
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone: euwwww
    dwight yoakum?
    break out the ear bleach.
    no wonder you are such a creeper.

  540. 540
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bootlegger: Ummm…co-sign?

  541. 541
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone: refute me then.
    :)
    all your comments seem remarkably barren of any links whatsoevah.
    you seem unable to grasp the difference between opinion and knowledge.
    and shouldn’t you be attacking my Nature link?
    that was directed at your IQ denialism….did you miss it?
    hahaha

  542. 542
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan: Ok, I’ll schmear bear grease on myself and climb into the elevated rink with the midget clowns and their implements.

    You’re an idiot. You want some one to engage you on your IQ + Race theories? Of course you do. Because once someone steps into the Beck Arena you’ve got the bubble blowing machine to obscure everything inside.

    You want me to refute your theory that IQ + Race +Heritability + Environment equals some kind of standardized measurable outcome?

  543. 543
    mclaren says:

    Why don’t we just call this stuff what it is?

    Death squads.

    Not “targeted killings,” not “directed military attacks,” not “executive assassination”…death squads.

    Have we really sunk so low that free citizens born in America are defending our government sending out death squads to murder our own citizens?

  544. 544
    someguy says:

    What a bunch of fucking fascists we have around here.

    There’s E. Galitarian Fuck, who thinks it’s okay to gas anybody anytime, so long as they are a foot offshore.

    Then there’s John with the stupid Thomistic angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin distinction. Just out of curiosity, what’s the difference between an Air Force drone strike that some pimply E-4 pulls off from a remote location in the U.S., versus a CIA drone strike done by the action officer sitting at a computer console next to him? It’s still the government taking action. It’s still cold blooded murder of a U.S. citizen, I don’t care if he ordered the Ft. Hood shoot, the underpants bomber and the Times Square bomber. He’s got rights.

    And for that matter, what would sanctify the action by sending a B-52 overhead and carpet bombing the spot where Awlaki and his mini army are holed up – probably along with a lot of innocent civilians. Just because it’s military action, how would that make the slaughter different?

    Most of you are fascists, just some of you are a lighter shade of brown than the others. It’s still illegal government action – never mind fighting undeclared wars in somebody else’s country.

    Jeebus. If this is what liberalism has come to, it’s no wonder the country is a fuckin’ mess. Reading this thread has been like reading MacNamara debating Kissinger. Liberals my ass.

  545. 545

    someguy: And for that matter, what would sanctify the action by sending a B-52 overhead and carpet bombing the spot where Awlaki and his mini army are holed up – probably along with a lot of innocent civilians. Just because it’s military action, how would that make the slaughter different?

    Exactly! Exactly! See, it used to be that either people in other countries were, you know, under the jurisdiction of those countries and therefore off-limits, or we were at war with those countries. But since 2001, we’ve apparently been at war with whoever’s convenient if we want to throw a few cruise missiles their way. The normal rules of “if you bomb us, you must be at war with us” apparently don’t apply.

    This, naturally, leads to weird conclusions, like what you point out: extrajudicial killing of one of our citizens in a foreign country is a moral dilemma, but if you kill a whole bunch of little kids around him, it suddenly becomes okay.

    I wistfully look back, and wish I was wearing a mask of peanut butter right now.

  546. 546
    mclaren says:

    @grendelkhan:

    Well, we haven’t invaded Iran. And we’re not still torturing people. That’s something, I guess.

  547. 547
    Acharn says:

    @salvage:
    I’m deeply sorry to have to say, “I couldn’t have said it better.”

  548. 548
    Acharn says:

    @Brett:

    How exactly do you think they are going to assassinate him, if they go through with it? Using drones, in a – wait for it – military mission.

    Well, that’s actually a question. Will the drone be controlled by a uniformed member of the U.S. Army or Air Force? Or maybe the U.S. Navy? Or will it be a civilian employee of the CIA? Or will it be the civilian employee of a contractor hired by the CIA (no names, but their initials are Blackwater/Xe). Because if it’s not done by a uniformed member of a regular service then it’s considered — wait for it — murder. And even if done by a member of the uniformed services, where is the justification for conducting lethal military operations in Yemen? Are you relying on the Authorization to Use Force which Congress passed in 2003 to allow the invasion of Iraq, and which President Bush used to justify torture?

    Listen, this whole drone assasination program is morally wrong and probably illegal. I don’t care if it’s what the Israelis do to their perceived enemies (how well has that worked out, anyway?). This is profoundly wrong on so many levels.

  549. 549
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Church Lady: O yah, that makes a huge difference. Because there’s no possible way anyone else’s emails could’ve pushed that guy over the edge.

    And, you know, thirteen needlessly dead soldiers pretty much destroys the Republic. (Five thousand needlessly dead soldiers, on the other hand, is Saving Our Way Of Life For All Eternity.)

    You’ve convinced me. I will now piss and shit myself from sheer terror and agree that, like a Vietnamese village, the only way to save our freedom is to utterly destroy it.

    PS, is this the longest comment thread ever on BJ?

  550. 550
    JD says:

    I don’t know of any consistent moral system that says it’s okay to shoot him without trial if he has a birth certificate from country X but not country Y.

    It is (or should be) illegal to kill American citizens without trial, whether they live in America or abroad. But regardless of legality, it is immoral to kill *anyone* without trial, if you have the option to do otherwise. And regardless of how you interpret that “option otherwise” clause, every consistent moral system agrees that there shouldn’t be different rules depending on where you happened to be born.

    So the hard question is, can we treat all the bad guys in Afghanistan the way you want us to treat this American citizen?

    I’m a hippy liberal myself, and think none of them should be assassinated, or killed at all if it can be helped. But regardless of whether your heart bleeds as easily as mine, you need to follow a principle that doesn’t strip human rights based on where your mother gave birth to you.

  551. 551
    Phoebe says:

    @Poopyman: I very much like this metaphor. It rings very true.

  552. 552
    m says:

    Targeted assassination was a moral and legal anathema under Bush43, who claimed the right to kill anyone anywhere. It remains under Bush44 who has not only continued this abomination, but codified it.

  553. 553
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone:

    standardized measurable outcome?

    you have no data, you have no empirical support.
    you have adhom and opinion.
    you are arguing the “yuck factor”….you think its its “icky and unfair” that a component of IQ is heritable.
    There are statistically significant measureable between group differences in IQ.
    IQ measurements are increasingly extracted from MRI data on morphology and function of the human brain, like the neuroscience article i cited and you ignored.
    Like Trofim Lysenko, who believed refrigerating wheat seed would develop winter-hardy wheat, the BJ consensus is that intelligence can be leveled with environment.
    That is simply a ridikkulous position.

    A 60-page review of the scientific evidence, some based on state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain size, has concluded that race differences in average IQ are largely genetic.
    The lead article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy and Law, a journal of the American Psychological Association, examined 10 categories of research evidence from around the world to contrast “a hereditarian model (50% genetic-50% cultural) and a culture-only model (0% genetic-100% cultural).”

  554. 554
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    Man. Have non of you ever heard of conviction in absentia? The problem is not killing the guy…. the problem is killing the guy with no legislative framework and judicial oversight.

    And it’s a really big problem.

  555. 555
    Bob says:

    @Lisa: Given the melodramatic fare-thee-well spanning several hundred comments (of which he or she contributed the most, by far, with virtually all of them having more to do with the emotional neediness of the writer rather than the actual important topic at hand), I suspect you won’t be missing the toy soldier for very long.

  556. 556

    @mclaren: I am, indeed, genuinely pleased that Obama has not led an invasion of yet a third country in ten years. It’s touches like that which make the Democratic Party an island of suck in an ocean of shit.

    Still, it’s amazing to look at the excuse-making that was going on last year, as if all of this wasn’t entirely predictable at that point.

    As for torture, however, I wonder where the hell you’re getting your information from. Obama says we don’t torture? Lovely; so did Bush. Both administrations routinely disappear people to secret dungeons where it’s insanely wishful thinking to imagine that they’re not being tortured. The primary effect Obama has had on attitudes toward torture in this country is to make it from a fringe opinion into a broad consensus.

  557. 557
    karen says:

    John Cole, i think you should re-post this on dailykos and see what type of response you get. You will be “floored” again. but it needs to be said.

  558. 558
    JT says:

    Every word is dead on, isn’t this country supposed to be the “land of the brave.”? Yet, so many of us are so willing to p*ss ourselves if you find some derelect psycho somewhere and call him a terrorist, and are then willing to genuflect to the most idiotic precedents imaginable.

    You are right, even if this man were a serial killer, a pedophile, a rapist, and yes, even a terrorist, as a citizen he has rights that must be respected, and this act of assassination is a terrible precedent for this country.

    We are better than this, we deserve better than this, and if we endorse this now, this precedent could hurt us badly for the indefinite future.

  559. 559

    John, I’m a bit torn.

    Here’s the thing: if a US citizen is in a held position firing a machine gun at US soldiers, a sniper can “assassinate” him.

    If he’s helping to transport that machine gun, same deal.

    If he’s thrown down the machine gun, and running away, it’s a bit questionable, but killing him will probably be considered reasonable.

    If he’s in uniform, and has a weapon, he’s a valid target, even off of the battle field.

    If he’s in a factory that supports the war effort, he’s not a valid target, but the factory is, and if he dies, the official law of war says “tough shit, the factory was a valid target”.

    If the police saw him, and he’s considered sufficiently dangerous, they’d be allowed to kill him rather than let him escape.

    I don’t like the idea of orders to assassinate a US citizen, especially if there’s no requirement that, if possible, he must be allowed to surrender peacefully.

    But we have a lot of situations in which a US citizen can be killed with full justification. I’m not sure how or where to draw the line.

  560. 560
    Hans B says:

    As a non-American, permit me to say that everyone seems to have it backwards. Assassinating your own citizens is not worse than assassinating foreigners, but less bad. Imagine we’re not speaking of the US, but of some other country – say, North Korea, whatever. A country that does sometimes assassinate its own people. Would it be better if they abandoned that practice and started assassinating Americans instead? Would that be progress?

    A country that has assassination in its arsenal is by definition a rogue state. The Israeli-American pretention that this is a justified policy is proved hypocritical by the howls of outrage every time another country does it. It’s racist in essence and has nothing to do with nationality.

  561. 561
    EthylEster says:

    @moe99: Sorry to hear of your medical issues. Your Man for All Seasons quote was spot on and I wanted you to know that somebody else thought like you. McLauren (spelling?) quoted a very long bit.

    I have a soft spot for that play/movie. One of those seminal teenage experiences, I guess. A guy willing to die for his principles–wow. Not MY principles but still.

    Say Hi to Larry and Curly.

  562. 562
    electriclady281 says:

    I am disgusted with my country, from the president to apparently most of my fellow citizens. We seem to be rushing toward becoming a totalitarian state unless reality prevails.

  563. 563
    Claudia says:

    @Mnemosyne

    If you can tell a judas goat from a sheep, you need to get out more.

  564. 564
    James Harker says:

    Thank you for allowing frantic terror – which ‘liberal’ support for ANY assassination program should engender in a human being – to animate your comments.

  565. 565
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    That’s how we deal with people who give speeches we don’t like here in America.

    Hm. Well, he isn’t here in America. He isn’t making speeches in public where he can be booed. He appears to be holed up in a foreign country and egging on people who are going to kill Americans. He does not appear to be trying to talk them out of it, but rather talking them into it. I say “appears” because the evidence is thin, but the evidence that this guy is appropriately acting like an American is even thinner. So thin that you might not find it even with an electron microscope, even with the great power of your endless irrelevant words on the subject. Even with that, mclaren.

    You are mounting a melodramatic defense for a guy who doesn’t exist, as near as I can tell. The guy who does exist would probably be guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, at best, if he were doing here what he is apparently doing while burrowed under his little sand dune in raghead land.

  566. 566
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @electriclady281:

    Let go of those pearls before you strangle them.

  567. 567
    Michael says:

    Robertdsc-iPhone

    You say “especially since Alwaki directly fits the standard for treason as defined in the Constitution.”

    I say, Prove it. That’s what’s called due process, and it’s the larger principle at stake here, which you are willing to throw out the window apparently because you trust the president as if he were your daddy.

    I would say the same thing every time someone uses the word “terrorist.” Embedded in that term is an accusation that must be proved through due process; anyone who doesn’t see that has given in to mob mentality.

  568. 568
    Jebbie says:

    @mr. whipple:

    No. It’s not the same at all. There’s a big difference between lurking and then executing someone, and attempting to arrest someone who is then killed attempting to evade that legal arrest.

    Some folks will prostitute themselves on the Altar of Obama in their attempts to justify his acttions. I would suggest that mr. whipple is one of these souls without souls.

  569. 569
    Corner Stone says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    but the evidence that this guy is appropriately acting like an American is even thinner

    You fucking kill me TZ.
    Appropriate? If that was the standard you would have been droned to death long ago.

    He appears to be holed up in a foreign country and egging on people who are going to kill Americans.

    Oh really? Poor wittle babies.
    Jesus Christ you old baby. Give me a damn break.

  570. 570
    SaintWaldo says:

    So many people deeply misunderstand the phrase, “foolish consistency be the hobgoblin of little minds”. This post demonstrates a brave man exposing his audience’s hobgoblins. Thank you, John, and bravo.

  571. 571
    LibertarianAtheist says:

    And before we go any farther, let me state on the record I think he is scum. But he is American scum, and he has rights.

    This is exactly why the whole “empathy standard” is a path to lawlessness. The entire purpose of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the most scorned elements of society. How the fuck are they supposed to do that if they’re supposed to feel “empathetic” towards those that come before them?

    But I’ll be god damned if I’m going to pretend it is ok to start ordering the assassination of American citizens, even if it is done “legally” and ordered by politicians I generally like.

    I cannot fucking believe this. First of all, such a definition of “legal” is Richard Nixon’s definition of “legal”: if the President does it, then it’s legal. Or if the majoritarian mob says so, it’s legal. I cannot believe this crock of shit. As for the second statement “ordered by politicians I generally like”, I really cannot believe this B.S. It’s a total subversion of the principles our government was founded upon to “like” certain politicians above and beyond any of the policies they describe and worship them like we have some kind of a Cult of the Emperor. This is something that has grown increasingly common this decade, first with Bush in his first term, now with Obama and Sarah Palin (the former’s worshipers being much more damaging right now since he’s actually in charge.) It’s unbelievably disgusting.

  572. 572

    […] May 25, 2010 · Leave a Comment It is beyond me how anyone could get upset about Gitmo and Abu Gharaib and then think assassination of citizens is ok. via balloon-juice.com […]

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  2. […] : "http%3A%2F%2Fblogontherun.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F05%2F14%2F2nd-quote-of-the-day%2F" } … also from Cole, buttslapping a bunch of his own (normally supportive) commenters: … let me state on the […]

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