Marked for Death

I’m at a loss to describe how truly radical, wrong, and evil this is:

At this point, I didn’t believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That’s not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”: in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.

This is a horrifying development, and there simply is no way to excuse it. This smacks of the Stalin or the Ton Ton Macoute- targeting someone for death, and then refusing to offer any evidence why. I’m sure that someone is going to offer some limp legal defense for this behavior, but even if something is technically legal, it can still be evil and wrong. Just a horrible precedent.

From a practical matter, though, how different is it from what we do every single day? Every single day, some unaccountable political apparatchik and team of military advisors signs off on a “secret” drone strike that kills someone, usually a bunch of poor bastards who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or being born the child of an “alleged terrrorist.” And mind you- it is only a “secret” to the American people. The folks on the receiving end are very aware of our “secret” drone strikes. And should someone have the audacity to try to inform the American public of what we are doing, our response is to accuse him of treason and smear him as a rapist.

We’ve lost our way as a nation, and Obama really is trying to be worse than Bush in some areas. I guess when they said they were going to bring back accountability and transparency, they meant in other areas.

536 replies
  1. 1
    Chrisd says:

    You just need to calm down and wait for someone to explain how “transformative” this is when Obama does it.

  2. 2
    Pancake says:

    Hmm. Looks like Obama is turning out to be ever bit as tough on terrorists as Bush. This sounds like pretty good news.

  3. 3
    socratic_me says:

    Come on, JC! Stuck has already explained it to us in excruciating detail. The guy has aligned himself with the enemy on battlefield earth and says that Americans deserve to die. That clearly makes him an enemy combatant. And the administration’s claim that we know all this “because I said so, that’s why!” is clearly all that needs to be said on the subject. What are you, some manic progressive civil liberties absolutist firebagger???

  4. 4
    progressive whiners says:

    so what do we do with said terrorist who we know was involved in both the fort hood shootings and the christmas day “bombing?”

    should we just be looking to arrest him or should we be treating him like bin laden who presumably is also on the “assassination list?”

  5. 5
    progressive whiners says:

    so what do we do with said terrorist who we know was involved in both the fort hood shootings and the christmas day “bombing?”

    should we just be looking to arrest him or should we be treating him like bin laden who presumably is also on the “assassination list?”

  6. 6
    Johannes says:

    Appalling. No clever gibe, nothing to say but appalling. And–the Constitution does not have a state secrets privilege in the text. Thanks, activist judges!

    (Hey Socratic me! Haven’t seen you around, lately!)

  7. 7
    WyldPirate says:

    OMFG! You mean Obama is really not our infallible, heroic Democratic savior after all?

    Maybe you’ll stop punching the hippies so often now that have been bitching about the jackassery and incompetence that has been rolling from the Obama administration in absolute torrents since practically day one.

    “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…”

  8. 8
    wilfred says:

    Spare us the blushes. It’s the Great Society for Vietnam; you wanted HEALTH CARE, didn’t you? You got it, so stop complaining.

    OTOH, people have been screaming about this for months on end, but criticism of Obama is objective support for Palinism, right?

  9. 9
    Mike from Philly says:

    But…but….ponies! Does this mean we stop being glib about the civil rights abuses of this administration and start putting some real pressure on them to cut this bullshit out?

    Or can we still just mock anyone who dares say anything bad about Obama because the Republicans are worse. Except in this case. When they’re not.

    Let me know – my pom poms are at the ready should the need arise.

  10. 10
    permazorch says:

    I guess I should be more surprised. Confirms my fears when he didn’t fight for holding telcos accountable (before his winning the election).

  11. 11
    WyldPirate says:

    Pancake@2:

    Hmm. Looks like Obama is turning out to be ever bit as tough on terrorists as Bush. This sounds like pretty good news.

    Yeah, fuck that little document called the Constitution. And fuck that little document called the Magna Carta, too.

    Who needs something called basic human rights anyway?

    Sheesh.

  12. 12
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    Tough on terrorism? Bull Hockey.

    Tough on the Constitution and the Rule of Law, is what it is.

    In other related news, stay tuned for the further expansion of the full time 24×7 surveillance police state:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09.....retap.html

    Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone. Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages. The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally. James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.
    “They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

  13. 13
    wilfred says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Piss off. Obama NEVER said that he would not pursue the right to assassinate American citizens.

    He. Never. Said. He. Would. Not.

    Oh, this, too.

    U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

    He NEVER said he wouldn’t. End of fucking story.

  14. 14
    Keith G says:

    This tact (general tend if you will) is the saddest thing about Obama. Conservatives will never like him, but his fight to occupy middle ground by embracing Bush era civil liberty policies makes center leftist me want to puke.

    In 2008 I understood that he was not a liberal, nor did I necessarily want him to be one. I did feel he was one to champion civil liberties.

    I cannot support him if he does not at least try. And if he were to continue on this trend line, I will have to work against his re-election. Leaders who chisel away at my liberties (in real, tangible ways) must not be enabled.

    Period.

  15. 15

    […] Cole on state “secrets.” Posted by Jim Henley @ 7:52 am, Filed under: Main Comments (0) « « The Hope […]

  16. 16
    socratic_me says:

    @Johannes: Been lurking. Sometime last spring I grew tired of fighting the andti-GG crazies over battles like this (where the guiding principle seems to be GG is a dick, so everything he says is strident and whrong) and turned my energies elsewhere. Looking at the thread so far, it looks like I may not be only one. Lots of names I don’t see often and plenty of them angry.

  17. 17
    gnomedad says:

    We’ve lost our way as a nation

    Unfortunately, I think this is status quo; the only good news is that it’s a bit more visible and debatable than has been for more of our history.

  18. 18
    middlewest says:

    I didn’t take this story seriously until I read the ACLU complaint. Everyone should read that before they pretend they know what is happening here.

  19. 19
    Remfin says:

    You know, this stuff started about a year ago on a right-wing blog, and the “primary” source (such as it was) painted a far more nuanced view of these orders. Specifically, that they were “capture or kill” orders with the kill section only being applicable in extremely limited circumstances…in fact, pretty much what John pointed out in his 3rd paragraph, the same circumstances we namelessly and facelessly kill people today anyway. In other words, these things were not about sniping people as they walked through the streets of Berlin, but more about some lawyer somewhere saying such a piece of paper would be a good thing to have for some reason.

    That is really the crux of the matter. If these are blanket orders that allow you to kill people anywhere, then it is a blatant and horrible abuse of “state secrets”, probably Unconstitutional, and just plain wrong. But, if they are orders with specifically-limited conditions based off intelligence, they are exactly the kind of thing the “state secrets” doctrine is supposed to be used for and is no more wrong than our day-to-day military operations (which, don’t get me wrong, are often horrible, but that is an entirely different discussion).

  20. 20
    WereBear says:

    Yeah, this sucks, no question.

    And I’m not happy about it.

    But I refuse to abandon all distinctions between the parties. Because there are distinctions. I voted for a pragmatist and I got one; I think we would be far worse off, even on civil rights, if I, and millions like me, hadn’t.

  21. 21
    Ronbo says:

    Please explain why the majority of Democrats are wrong for wanting to primary Obama and replace him with an actual Democratic candidate?

    Don’t YOU throw the milk when it turns? Speak up or the DNC will speak for you.

    PS – We finally get a poll that revealed why Americans are against the Health Insurance bill (we know it doesn’t go nearly far enough – a quarter measure) and the news is ignored by the the MSM. Our masters don’t want us talking among ourselves.

  22. 22
    Karmakin says:

    I wouldn’t blame Obama, I’d blame the chicken-shit population that made this the only political viable way to go. Anyway, it’s kinda pointless for us to complain about this now, when during the campaign this is how not only Obama, but those on the moderate left suggested we should fight against terrorism.

    I personally think this is a case of “What the hell did you think would happen”, but that’s just me.

  23. 23
    WyldPirate says:

    Wilfred@13:

    Piss off. Obama NEVER said that he would not pursue the right to assassinate American citizens.

    You silly dumbfuck. I have no problem with Obama pursuing American terrorists. What I have a problem with is him not bringing an American citizen to trial first and, instead, simply putting out a hit on the terrorist without a goddamned trial you fucking moron.

    He’s acting like fucking Tony Soprano instead of a person sworn to “protect and defend the Constituion of the United States”. This act by Obama makes him an enemy of the Constituion, not a defender of it.

    Drag your stupid ass back to the seventh grade and take a Civics or US government class or, better yet, read this.

  24. 24
    TJ says:

    I cannot support him if he does not at least try. And if he were to continue on this trend line, I will have to work against his re-election. Leaders who chisel away at my liberties (in real, tangible ways) must not be enabled.

    This also means that the next Republican prez will probably start whacking job lots of citizens just to show how much more macho they are than Obama.

  25. 25
    Jack says:

    Keith,

    Obama didn’t tack in this direction. He was this sort of monster from the start. You have to be this sort of monster to want the job, to spend millions of dollars of other people’s money to get the job – and to use the power once you get the job.

    ~ Jack

  26. 26
    Punchy says:

    Just imagine what graft, theft, and illegalities President Palin will hide with this state’s secret precedent.

  27. 27
    NonyNony says:

    @Karmakin:

    I would completely blame it on Obama because this isn’t about the political argument. There are ways to put forth this claim and let the courts decide whether the President has the power or not – when the courts say “no” the political move is to then blame it on the mean old judges who just won’t let us “play hardball” with the terrorists.

    Beyond the obvious “targetting American citizens outside of a warzone for assassination” appallingness of the whole thing, the choice to go down the route of “the Court doesn’t have any business in this” is also appalling. This is an obvious naked attempt to grab more power for the Executive Branch. My only hope is that the court takes offense at the obvious and unabashed power grab being made by the Executive Branch here and smacks this down hard.

    And yeah, Obama takes the blame for this. Because the buck stops at the President’s desk and if he doesn’t approve of what his DOJ is doing then he should tell them to come up with something else. He clearly must approve of this power grab for the Executive Branch because he’s not trying to stop it.

    Not that I find that surprising – there hasn’t been a President in the modern history of the US that hasn’t tried to expand Executive power while he was in office. But that doesn’t make it less disgusting in this case.

  28. 28
    wilfred says:

    @WyldPirate:

    It was snark, you witless fuck. Parroting the tried and true Obama defenses of a hundred previous posts on this and similar posts.

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    Shit or get off the pot. This isn’t an ordinary issue, and if you believe Obama is running around assassinating American citizens with no legal or moral basis, then you have to believe he is committing High Crimes and Misdemeanors and needs to be impeached. None of this smarmy, “but the repubs are worse” on this one will cut it.

  30. 30
    lacp says:

    @WyldPirate: WP, I think wilfred may be snarkin’ ya. The “he never said” bit is a direct lift from “he never said he supported a public option” or (take your pick) “he never said he was in favor of single-payer.”

  31. 31
    WyldPirate says:

    wilfred@28:

    It was snark, you witless fuck. Parroting the tried and true Obama defenses of a hundred previous posts on this and similar posts.

    My apologies, then, wilfred.

    I’m not familiar enough with all of the posters styles here to recognize it and it is way too common to see people say that sort of stuff and fully mean it.

    No hard feelings.

  32. 32
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Back in the Dark Days of Bush, I really DID NOT like the road the Admin was taking us down. Once you start to torture, wire-tap endlessly, enter into preemptive war, how do you walk it back from that edge?

    I remember how some complained about the torture and the wire-tapping, and rightfully so, imho, and how many told them to shut up, that we were in a war w/ teh terraists…

    I did have some slight hope the Dems would turn out to be different, but just SLIGHT… once a group of people, like our Fed govt, gets a-hold of something, the the power to torture w/ impunity, did you really think they’d just give it back??

    Some may shriek and shriek all they want about the Obama Admin’s behavior, but they helped create this monster… if they too had pushed back in 2002, 2003, 2004, perhaps we’d be in a different place now…

    What did you expect folks?

  33. 33
    Kryptik says:

    Oh, and guess what? He’ll still be painted as a weak, cowardly, Islamosympathetic monster by the Right, meaning when another Republican hits the White House, they’ll amplify the callous sociopathy to 11, and justify it with ‘You don’t want American Citizens to die, now do you?!’ And yes, they will be totally unaware of the sheer painful irony of such a statement.

    Seriously, is there any fucking reason anymore as a liberal to plug into the American political discourse at this point? It’s obvious this country has decided that all lefties are evil fucks and any lefty ideas are not worth a gumstain on their shoe. And pay no attention to those polls saying they are worth more, because they don’t matter, all that matters is that the goalposts move right, the media help repaint the field, and we continue to expand on our shared national sociopathic, manic depressive breakdown.

  34. 34
    Jack says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity:

    This political-military-economic machine has been killing and grinding up brown people for the better part of four centuries – and you think some electoral push back four years ago was the thing to make the king feel guilty?

  35. 35
    keestadoll says:

    I guess when they said they were going to bring back accountability and transparency, they meant in other areas.

    Well spank my bottom and call me Sally! This IS news.

  36. 36
    wilfred says:

    @WyldPirate: @WyldPirate:

    No worries. I do feel robbed, however, of about fifty posts that would have been fun.

  37. 37
    Corner Stone says:

    At some point you have to acknowledge they are getting the outcomes they desire.

  38. 38
    Remember November says:

    This violates habeas corpus and due process. It’s back-door fascism. The problem with our Presidency is precedence- if a Chief Executive does something, and gets away with it then that leaves the tacit permission slip behind that its ok for the next guy to do it.

    I think Obama is trying very hard not to get re-elected.

  39. 39
    wilfred says:

    @General Stuck:

    Now there’s an idea, But impeaching Obama is as likely as him pursuing Bush and the rest of the war pigs.

    Now a primary challenge from what’s left of the Left, that’s another story.

    Or is that objective support for Christine O’Donnel?

  40. 40
    soonergrunt says:

    @Remfin: Dude, stop trying to be reasonable and calm. That shit don’t sell round these parts today.

  41. 41
    jwb says:

    This is clearly not ground Obama (or any of the mainstream Dems) wants to fight on, and I believe the thinking is you can fight this battle or fight for domestic policy, but you don’t have a prayer if you try to fight both of them. He’s wrong on the issues, and may well be wrong on the politics, but I believe that’s where he’s coming from. It is conventional political wisdom, and for better or worse Obama is politician who is most comfortable governing from the center, whatever the teatards want to say about him. And, yes, Obama did in fact clearly signal that he was not going to be much very different from Bush on these civil liberty/war on terror issues with his careful reversals on a number of items after he sewed up the primary, so none of this is a surprise, if it’s still very disappointing.

  42. 42
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck:

    …needs to be impeached….

    Not really. Impeachment is a political act, not a purely “legal” operation. As such, it is murky, disruptive and not always the best road to use to get an outcome if one is available by other means.

    You are indulging in the fallacy of bifurcation. We don’t necessarily need to shit or get of the proverbial pot. But we may have to send a message that Democrats who erode civil liberties will not stay in office – no matter what their other abilities are.

  43. 43
    Kryptik says:

    @jwb:

    It is conventional political wisdom, and for better or worse Obama is politician who is most comfortable governing from the center, whatever the teatards want to say about him

    Unfortunately, conventional political wisdom in America also tends to boil down to ‘Heads, Conservatives Win, Tails, Liberals Lose’.

    Note, I didn’t use the parties there, because fuck all if the Democrats are worth anything anymore to anyone reasonably liberal.

  44. 44
    Face says:

    I guess when they said they were going to bring back accountability and transparency, they meant in other areas.

    Areas such as?

  45. 45
    jwb says:

    @Ronbo: “Please explain why the majority of Democrats are wrong for wanting to primary Obama and replace him with an actual Democratic candidate?”

    First, show me that poll where a majority of Democrats want to primary Obama. Second, do you want to lose?

  46. 46
    Jack says:

    @Keith G:

    Because you have the lobbying and advertising budget of even a small market pharma, petrol, aggie or defense corporation?

  47. 47
    jinxtigr says:

    I’m getting really tired of nobody stopping this. It’s like a game of chicken. I still think Obama wishes the courts to smack him down despite his best efforts, but the thing is- if they DO NOT, if the system is so broken that the President is a King and rules the whole system- then thanks, asshole, way to make everything lots worse.

    It’s only 11-dimensional chess IF he is stopped. If he’s not stopped with this crap, he’s Stalin PRETENDING to himself that it’s 11-dimensional chess.

    Any putative future Republican president will have no such qualms- and indeed the point kind of is that Obama is behaving as if he has no qualms about all this. On purpose, I believe. Makes me think, what difference does it make unless the legal system (and public opinion) re-assert themselves?

    From a practical matter, though, how different is it from what we do every single day? Every single day, some unaccountable political apparatchik and team of military advisors signs off on a “secret” drone strike that kills someone, usually a bunch of poor bastards who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or being born the child of an “alleged terrrorist.” And mind you- it is only a “secret” to the American people.

    This is why I cannot work up a firebagger poutrage. Who the fuck are we to be so special, that we are horrified and shocked that the President and our government can murder us with impunity? We’ve been fucking murdering people overseas for decades, or hadn’t you noticed. Sauce for the goose, man. It is a colossal dick move to demand that there be immunity again- but just for US.

    Fucking deal with it or re-evaluate the WHOLE concept and take some responsibility. We DESERVE to play by the same rules we’ve imposed on those in other countries for years. Don’t EVEN come whining now. This is justice, in a twisted way.

  48. 48

    And mind you- it is only a “secret” to the American people. The folks on the receiving end are very aware of our “secret” drone strikes.

    Reminds me of when the Doonesbury character Phred asks an old Cambodian man about whether the secret bombings were what blew up his building:

    Secret bombings?! They were no secret! Everybody knew about them! I remarked on it. I said, “Look, Martha, here come the bombs!”

  49. 49
    Xenos says:

    11-Dimensional Chess!

    It goes to 11!

    But I parody myself here, having been such an obotista. The politics of this misbegotten empire seem to command this sort of policy, and I hope doing this publicly instead of us in special-Bush levels of secrecy will eventually bring and end to this. But even if the DOJ scrawls a brief in support of this policy in crayon on the back of a cocktail napkin, the courts are going to allow this to continue.

    But since I am a US citizen residing abroad who is starting to pine for revolution, I had better shut up at this point.

  50. 50
    Senyordave says:

    One of the reasons why I have basically given up on Obama. He’s light years better than any Republican, but to modify Barney Frank’s line, so is my kitchen table.

  51. 51
    Jack says:

    @Senyordave:

    Is he better than a Republican? Wouldn’t you rather have the murdering bastards sound and look like murdering bastards?

  52. 52
  53. 53
    Jack says:

    @jinxtigr:

    My kids deserve this moral universe – because your parents wanted lawn order, cheap seats at the war movie and affordable gasoline?

  54. 54
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    You are indulging in the fallacy of bifurcation

    Bullshit. This one is clear. Unless you want to actually debate the merits of what Obama is doing, then impeachment is the only viable course for anyone claiming the high horse absolutist moral ground. Impeachment is an indictment for sitting presidents, then comes the trial in the Senate.

    But wilfred’s suggestion, in liew of political practicality of impeachment, of throwing in with a different candidate for the 2012 election is acceptable.

  55. 55
    Keith G says:

    @low-tech cyclist: God..Doonesbury was just about the only thing that got me through those years.

  56. 56
    jwb says:

    @Kryptik: Not sure where the despair is coming from here.

  57. 57
    roshan says:

    This is what happens when you look forward and not backward. When you leave an open wound in the country’s character and integrity untended. When folks who speak against it are asked to suck it up and keep a lid on it. It’s all for the good of the people, don’t rock the boat, they say. What good is this, I ask? How are we going to overcome this if not by bringing the culprits to justice and letting the law take its own course, then how? If our elected representatives are part of this criminality and we elect them regardless then how do we explain our own innocence?

  58. 58
    bs23 says:

    @remfin

    On the one hand, I agree with you and Cole that the secrecy aspect doesn’t really make targeted killing of citizens (nevermind everyone else) any better or worse.

    On the other hand, this really adds insult to injury, as reading through the ACLU complaint, one finds that the crux of their objection is that targeted killing is unconstitutional precisely when the judicial process would have been available, e.g. when there’s enough time to have a guy’s name on a list for months on end. Papering over that problem with some state secrets mumbo-jumbo to keep the courts out of it simply confirms the unconstitutionality of the whole thing.

    Another option, which of course no president would ever take, is to commit the unconstitutional act when it is considered absolutely necessary, and then admit the crime and face the consequence, i.e. impeachment.

  59. 59
    Kryptik says:

    @jwb:

    The fact that Obama is seriously THIS bad on civil liberties, and that he’s still the best we’re gonna ever get for the next few decades?

  60. 60
    Face says:

    @Xenos: My thought exactly. Even if a court does agree to litigate this, even if “states secrets” are thrown out as not applicable, doesn’t the DOJ just have to John Yoo a doc together by some law school intern declaring it (whatever “it” is) legal, and everything’s kosher?

  61. 61
    Shalimar says:

    @Keith G: I can understand being disappointed and not doing anything to work for him. This crap is depressing and evil. But working against him? You do understand that working against him on civil liberties issues would put in a Republican with the same policies in that area and much worse in almost every other, right?

  62. 62
    Corner Stone says:

    @Xenos:

    But I parody myself here, having been such an obotista.

    Don’t worry about it Xenos. Everyone knows this is The One BJ Approved Category of Dissent(tm).
    Your Obot cred is still good here if you want to let loose on this one specific issue.

  63. 63
    bkny says:

    mr hopey changey/professor of constitutional law … er, not so much.

  64. 64
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G:

    You are indulging in the fallacy of bifurcation

    It’s a standard wingnut debating tactic. Ask the wrong question and then frame it so your only two choices are both losers. But then DEMAND you pick one or the other.

  65. 65
    burnspbesq says:

    @middlewest:

    Let’s be clear. The lawsuit is a publicity stunt. There are a wide variety of grounds on which the courts can refuse to grant the requested relief. But as a 35-year member of the ACLU, I am perfectly OK with that. This sort of thing needs to be publicized. (Although I am disappointed that the ACLU chose not to post the declaration in support of its motion for preliminary injunction, which I suspect is nothing more than a collection of newspaper clippings).

    Today’s obligatory slap at Greenwald is relatively limited in scope. Glenn, do you not have a fucking PACER account? Why are you writing about what’s in the Government’s response based solely (as near as I can tell) on the WaPo’s reporting? Are you too fucking lazy to get and review a copy of the Government’s response before going off? That strikes me as the same kind of irresponsible journalism that you so frequently deplore.

  66. 66
    socratic_me says:

    @jwb:
    I suspect that the despair is coming from the fact that there really isn’t much of a home for actual liberals in either party these days. On our best days, we get moderate backwash that is almost halfway decent policy. In exchange, we completely give up the ghost on all foreign policy arguments and ratchet civil liberties lawlessness up to 11.

    There is a difference between the 2 parties, but it seems increasingly clear that the difference is between being set on fire and slowly starving to death. That tends to make some of us despair.

  67. 67
    Corner Stone says:

    @Shalimar: Accepting your provided context, what’s the alternative?
    Go along to get along?

  68. 68
    Sly says:

    @wilfred:
    George Bush had around a dozen challengers for the Republican nomination for President in 2004, and he had about the same approval rating among Republicans then as Obama does now among Democrats (80%). And I guarantee you that, no matter who officially runs, they won’t beat the 4% or 5% that Hillary Clinton will get as a write-in. Hell, Sarah Palin will probably get 2% as a Democratic write-in, and they wouldn’t beat her.

    Incidentally, if you can name one of those Republican challengers without using Google then you have a better memory for arcane political trivia than I do, and that’s saying something.

  69. 69
    Steve says:

    I don’t know what evidence the government has against al-Awlaki. All I know about him is what I read in the newspapers and on Wikipedia. I hope we aren’t targeting anyone for death based upon Wikipedia.

    Having said that, if the government actually has evidence that the allegations are true, I would be appalled at any President who didn’t do everything within his power to capture or kill the guy. In a perfect world, he would be captured and tried for treason and whatever else they can charge him with. But if the best they can do is kill him, and they really do have the evidence, I don’t have a problem with that.

    I didn’t support how the government treated Jose Padilla because he was in custody and they quite clearly could have put him on trial and given him the rights he’s entitled to as an American citizen.

  70. 70
    Corner Stone says:

    @wilfred:

    I do feel robbed, however, of about fifty posts that would have been fun.

    I was looking forward to that as well. The possibilities were endless.

  71. 71
    Svensker says:

    @Ronbo:

    Please explain why the majority of Democrats are wrong for wanting to primary Obama and replace him with an actual Democratic candidate?

    Names, please? Hillary, the queen of civil rights with her fabulous antiwar cred? Or maybe you’re thinking of Feingold, who looks to be losing his own state? I’d be interested to know the name of this person you think would be better than Obama on the issues and could also win an election.

  72. 72
    jwb says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m not sure it follows that the Admin desires these results. I think you can say they are getting the outcomes they deem acceptable given the circumstances. But really anyone who thought Obama was going to stand up for civil liberties while president wasn’t paying attention during the summer of 2008 when he made a number of decisions that clearly signaled that he did not see civil liberties as a high political priority. Again, this is not to condone the Administration’s position, and it is not to support Obama’s decisions or priorities, but it’s not like Obama suddenly switch horses once he was elected (though you could make a case that he switched once he secured the nomination).

    Then, too, it was not likely that McCain was going to be any better on these issues, and highly likely that he would have been a hell of a lot worse. No Democratic candidate that could win the general election (and probably the Democratic nomination) is likely to be substantively different from Obama on the issue so that essentially takes civil liberties off the table as a campaign issue. It sucks, but here we are.

  73. 73
    Sly says:

    @bkny:
    Take that “Hopey Changey” PUMA shit back to MyDD or HillBuzz (or whatever other dungeon you came from) where it belongs.

  74. 74

    stop complaining, he promised change didn’t he?

    is it obama’s fault that he meant “changing into something like Argentina or Chile” and you didn’t realize it?

    seriously, you act like Obama promised you a pony.

  75. 75
    Jim Pharo says:

    I don’t know about “giving up on Obama,” since I don’t know him and have no idea what kind of person he is.

    I do know that our American society is now a clearly totalitarian and autocratic regime controlled by a military junta. America’s days as a force for the rule of law are over — not numbered, over. The corner has been turned.

    We are permitted to do only that which a tiny group of oligarchs wish us to do.

    I’m hoping the Norwegians will take over as the champions of democracy and the rule of law. Our day is done.

  76. 76
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck:

    …only viable course for anyone claiming the high horse absolutist moral ground

    No. A spanking at the polls is very viable and less traumatic to the body politic.

    Hell, not even a spanking per se.

    George H. W. Bush violated the emerging wing-nuttiest principles of the 1992 era conservatives. Many stayed home in November.

    Lesson taught, messaged received. Subsequent contestants for the GOP nomination have been sure to be far, far to the right of Poppa Bush.

    Impeachment is an unnecessary drama that only you seem to be mentioning as a method of Obama defense.

    I defend him too, but not from this rather non high horse absolutist moral issue. Here he needs to face his detractors and tell us why he is right. It’s the least he owes us.

  77. 77
    Kryptik says:

    @jwb:

    Then, too, it was not likely that McCain was going to be any better on these issues, and highly likely that he would have been a hell of a lot worse. No Democratic candidate that could win the general election (and probably the Democratic nomination) is likely to be substantively different from Obama on the issue so that essentially takes civil liberties off the table as a campaign issue. It sucks, but here we are.

    And again, that depresses me. The idea that ‘this is the best we’re ever going to get’.

  78. 78
    geg6 says:

    @Ronbo:

    Please explain why the majority of Democrats are wrong for wanting to primary Obama and replace him with an actual Democratic candidate?

    Link please. Because the polling I’ve seen makes this statement ludicrous.

    And, yes, I find this absolutely appalling and my biggest beef with Obama is in regard to this sort of shit.

    But primarying Obama? Seriously? What, Dennis Kucinich is suddenly polling ahead of him or something?

  79. 79
    BR says:

    All I can say is that the peak-oil induced collapse to the economy (and necessarily the national security state) can’t come soon enough. It’s probably the only thing that will put a brake on these things. Nothing else can or will.

    (And for better or worse we’ll be seeing it within the next 2-5 years.)

  80. 80
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone: NO you stupid fuck, there is a third alternative, and that is have a good faith debate on the merits without the purist Greenwald horseshit and wailing about how Obama is worse than Bush, but, oh noes, we can’t impeach him even for running around wasting American citizens without trial, cause the repub in the WH might be worse. That is the worst kind of moral duplicity imo. I am at the point that Obama and democrats needs to give the entire left side blogosphere a good long hard fucking without a kiss.

  81. 81
    Kryptik says:

    @geg6:

    If Obama is doing shit this awful, and has been so horribly centrist and still ends up painted as somehow psychotically ‘soshulist’, what makes people think a primary is going to end up doing anything but dragging us further right? Knowing our state, we’ll end up with Democratic Presidential Candidate Ben Nelson.

  82. 82
    Xboxershorts says:

    Marcy Wheeler @Empthyweel and BMAZ have done some exceptional analysis of this whole “States Secrets” and War Powers abuse and I have come to the conclusion that the only way to force the administration’s hand here is for congress to withdraw th War Powers act that sanctions the entire war on Terror.

  83. 83
    JasonF says:

    A hypothetical question: Joseph Goebbels is born not in Prussia, but in Brooklyn, though his family moves to Prussia when he is 2 years old. The rest of his life plays out the same; that is, he still rises to be one of Hitler’s closest advisers and followers. Now it’s late 1944 and we have intelligence suggesting he will be in a particular part of Hamburg at a particular time. We can’t get troops there to arrest him but we can make a bombing run. What should FDR do? If the answer “order the bombing run” doesn’t outrage you, what do you see as the differences between this hypothetical and the situation with Awlaki?

  84. 84
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @jwb:

    This is clearly not ground Obama (or any of the mainstream Dems) wants to fight on…

    I’m beginning to wonder what ground Obama (or any of the mainstream Dems) do want to fight on. I keep hearing that Obama governs from the center. That would be okay if the center hadn’t moved somewhere to the right of Richard M. Nixon. “Better than the Republicans,” is neither a ringing endorsement nor a prescription for turning around the nation.

  85. 85
    burnspbesq says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    I hope you’re not holding your breath waiting for Congress to repeal the AUMF – I don’t have time to resuscitate anyone today.

  86. 86
    Punchy says:

    But if the best they can do is kill him, and they really do have the evidence, I don’t have a problem with that.

    Yikes. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this was written in 1950’s Soviet Union.

  87. 87

    Secret wars and assassinations are evil. There is no way to put a positive spin on it. But let’s put this in perspective. This is hardly more evil than Bush. Equally evil, maybe.

    Let’s stop pretending this never happened before Bush, okay? It’s been happening since our nation was founded. It’s not going to stop any time soon. The only difference now is that we are hearing about it. Shit. Maybe that’s the silver lining. Hey, America, this is what your reality is and always has been.

    I need a drink and it’s only 9:50AM. I hope the 11-dimensional chess crowd above is right. I’m not so convinced, but I’ve been wrong many times before.

    Oh and the Republicans are 10x more insane. Hate this? They’ll give it to you ten times over and you’ll never hear about it.

  88. 88
    Xboxershorts says:

    @JasonF:

    What has Awlaki been confirmed as doing to justify assassination again?

  89. 89
    Xboxershorts says:

    @burnspbesq:

    That’s a bummer too, I could use the nap time

  90. 90
    Remember November says:

    @wilfred:

    Thanks to Zuck and his billionaire Invasion of the Privacy Snatchers, he’s aiding and abetting the Police State. How did he get so rich? Farmville? No Jay Zee-bag sold us out, and you didn’t even have to be logged in.

    add to that corporations buying candidates, and FOX news becoming a training bed for Right Wing candidates,

    add to that State Secrets/FISA/Wiretapping/Gitmo.

    add to that….

    the erosion of our liberties didn’t just come about overnight. And any RW candidate will fall lockstep into the program despite what the tea-baggers say. This is a nationwide issue. America needs a Constitutional High Colonic.

  91. 91
    Kryptik says:

    Ugh…and tellingly, I end up subjected to a banner ad at the top of the page saying ‘ELECT THE BACHMANN 5!’. Fuck it. Might as well, I’m getting the morbid curiosity about just how bad we really can go at this point, since we’re obviously never going to get much better. Show me how depraved and sociopathic we really are as a country, America! Do it and show us crazy moonbat libs how stupid and Anti-America we are by following Bachmann and company!!

  92. 92
    soonergrunt says:

    @Linda Featheringill:
    Holding together (a little more literally than before). Just taking a break from studying for a new certification to check around.

    As for my part on this whole thing, I don’t have any problem whatsoever with the government saying “capture this guy if possible but kill him to prevent his escape if capture is not possible.” That’s what police do EVERY FUCKING DAY with murder suspects, and that’s exactly what this guy is.
    If Anwar al’Alawki doesn’t want to be killed, the answer is actually pretty simple. He can go to any US embassy or consulate in the world and surrender. He can even call CNN to be there when he surrenders so that there’s no question that he came in of his own free will and didn’t resist, which would negate the cause to use deadly force.
    This guy is responsible or alleged to be responsible for the Fort Hood shooting and the Christmas Day airliner bombing. He was spiritual adviser to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-Awlaki
    This guy’s citizenship is only something he uses when it is convenient for him to do so. Fuck him and anyone who thinks he deserves anything other than what hasn’t yet gotten. Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

  93. 93
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Remember November:

    Man, this is becoming almost as depressing as a CHris Floyd comment thread…

    http://www.chris-floyd.com/

  94. 94
    jwb says:

    @Kryptik: I agree that it sucks, though I can’t follow you into despair. It’s times like this that it is really a very good thing to have someone like Greenwald harping on the issue and keeping it in view. Because really that’s the only way things will change—if people hear about it enough and ultimately decide that this is not the sort of thing we want our country to do. It’s a hard slog, especially in the face of our media who much prefer conservative happy talk (or these days nutcase rant), but opinions do change despite the best efforts of the media (see, in particular, Iraq war).

  95. 95
    Shalimar says:

    @Corner Stone: Working within grassroots organizations to oppose civil rights abuses, and lobbying Congresscritters to do the same. I guess you can consider that working against him, but I think of it more as opposing the policy and if that damages Obama then that is his fault for doing evil shit in the first place.

  96. 96
    mclaren says:

    Impeach the motherfucker.

    Obama is now a criminal.

    Impeach his ass, convict him, and throw him in prison on a murder charge — either that, or hand down the death penalty.

    I don’t care which.

    This is not America. This is NKVD shit. This is Maoist group murder. This is Rwanda with the guy in charge on the radio giving order to kill people.

    Hell with that. Impeach Obama’s ass, get him out. If Biden tries to give these orders, impeach his ass. Impeach them all.

    If we don’t stop this, democracy ends. America becomes a murderous police state run by killers above the law.

    If we don’t stop this, ten years from now, it’ll be your neighbor getting assassinated, and it won’t be done by some JSOC assassination team overseas, it’ll be done by Homeland Security on the street while he gets into his car to go to work. These things always exhibit mission creep. They start out with “only the terrorists targeted”…then gradually, bit by bit, over a period of years, more and more people get drawn into the circle of legitimate targets, and eventually you wake up one morning and everyone is targeted. Everyone. Everyone.

    Mission creep. It happened with warrantless wiretapping. First it was only overseas phone calls. Then it was only scary non-citizen terrorists making calls inside the U.S. Then pretty soon it was everyone in America getting all their email and all their phone calls and all their pager messages wiretapped without a warrant and without anyone even having to show cause.

    Mission creep.

    Mark my words, once assassination becomes legitimate and accepted of an American citizen overseas, soon assassination will become legitimate for American citizens in the United States. And eventually, a few years down the road, assassination without trial or charges and without explanation will become accepted and legitimate for any American, anywhere, anytime.

    That’s not a democracy. That’s a totalitarian tyranny run by gangsters.

  97. 97
    Xboxershorts says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Usually, when the government does this with an American citizen, they’ve presented evidence in court to support their allegations.

    Unfortunately, our government has claimed they do not need to present any evidence other than the claim of “States Secrets”, using the AUMF war powers proclamation as a shield.

    I hate that “States Secret” shield. It’s Un-American.

  98. 98
    Keith G says:

    @Shalimar: Your point is not a minor one. *But* civil liberties is a long term issue. We need to lay down markers today that will guide political leader in the future.

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I was already not planning on spending much time around here — projects to work on — so I’ll just say, I may sort of care about the underlying issue when it’s presented as “targeting an American for assassination without due process” but I really don’t care that much about “if an American-born dude holed up somewhere inaccessible gets killed in a firefight, so be it.” In normal circumstances I would hang around to see where this discussion led, but I can’t do that this week. Hasta luego.

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    Here he needs to face his detractors and tell us why he is right. It’s the least he owes us.

    Reading Cole’s post and most of the comments just exactly what could he tell you that would cause anyone here to think he is right. This dude has made it known on a video produced by the AQ media wing that he wants to kill Americans. And that is not including any other evidence of direct involvement in several previous terrorist acts.

    And I fully support the ACLU in forcing the issue with a lawsuit, that may well be leading Obama to file for an indictment. I have never been against doing that. What I object to is hyperbolic hot air and moralizing without being willing to even consider that Obama could be right. And why would Obama bother to explain himself to such people.A few blowhard moralists with blogs.

  101. 101
    jwb says:

    @General Stuck: You’re being too hard on Greenwald in this case, I think. His role in this is to be a polemicist and polemicists don’t deal in shades of gray. Polemicists exist to irritate and move us out of our complacency. Now, that doesn’t mean that those of us who deal in shades of gray (most of us) need to accept the polemicist’s idealized view of the world, but it does mean that we need to consider what it means and what we should do about the fact that our current actions are quite at odds with our ideals.

  102. 102
    Punchy says:

    That’s what police do EVERY FUCKING DAY with murder suspects

    Police can kill a murder suspect for any reason they want? Really? This is news to me.

    What the fuck is wrong with you people?

    Fucking Christ, Rule of Law would be nice. Innocent until proven guilty would be nice. Trial by jury would be nice. Seems those things are in the Constitution, but you’d rather ignore them whenever it pleases you, eh?

  103. 103
    Remember November says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    we can still talk about it, until they decide to “wiretap” the internet- not that they don’t do that already, it just means they turn the Eye of Sauron upon everybody, not just known terror groups.

    free market my ass.

  104. 104
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck:

    have a good faith debate on the merits

    Sorta hard when Obama pulls out the State’s Secrets trump card.

    Look, I want the debate, I want the sunshine, but the Prez’s side seems to feel otherwise.

  105. 105
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Punchy:

    They do. But sometimes when they do this, they get in trouble. (Not often enough)

  106. 106
    jwb says:

    @mclaren: Ok, you’ve now impeached him (not that you’d get half the House to vote to impeach on these grounds or 67 Senators to vote to convict, but whatever). Now you have Biden as President. Do you really expect that he’s going to act any differently? Well, I suppose if the House was to impeach and the Senate to convict, you might, but if that was the case and the public actually felt strongly about the issue, the Obama administration wouldn’t be acting this way now, would they?

    See, the problem in this case isn’t the politicians, it’s We, the People.

  107. 107
    martha says:

    @Xboxershorts: On what planet do you live, pray tell? I needed a laugh this morning and you just provided it.

  108. 108
  109. 109
    Steve says:

    @Punchy: Please, keep it up with the melodramatic rhetoric, it’s very persuasive.

    What a controversial statement it is to say that if someone is trying to make war on our country, and kill innocent civilians, we ought to try to capture or kill them. Only the
    Soviet Union would do something like that. Or, basically every other country on the face of the earth, and every American President within living memory.

    Today, we think of the internment of Japanese-Americans as a terrible violation of civil liberties, even though it was widely accepted at the time. Here’s my prediction: 50 years from now, the consensus will not be that it was a terrible violation of civil liberties to try to kill or capture this al-Awlaki character.

  110. 110
    Snarkyshark says:

    Clearly this is Jane Hamshers fault!

    >looks for hippie to punch<

    Here is a guy who knows how to do it!

    I am at the point that Obama and democrats needs to give the entire left side blogosphere a good long hard fucking without a kiss.

  111. 111

    […] in Daily life, Democrats, Government, Law, Obama administration at 7:12 am by LeisureGuy John Cole states it well: I’m at a loss to describe how truly radical, wrong, and evil this is: At this point, I didn’t […]

  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @Punchy:

    Police can kill a murder suspect for any reason they want? Really? This is news to me.

    A couple people tried this when we had this discussion a couple months ago. Over and over again they tried.
    It fails just as spectacularly now as it did then.

  113. 113
    Keith G says:

    @JasonF:

    If the answer “order the bombing run” doesn’t outrage you, what do you see as the differences between this hypothetical and the situation with Awlaki?

    One quick difference, where is our declaration of war against Yemen? Germany was a sovereign nation at war with us in the 1940’s. Goebbels was an official of that government that was at war with us. Etc, etc. etc.

    Try a different analogy. I do not reject your ideas out of hand, but they do need a more secure premise.

  114. 114
    Dennis SGMM says:

    I am at the point that Obama and democrats needs to give the entire left side blogosphere a good long hard fucking without a kiss.

    Too late: they’ve already done so.

  115. 115
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G: I agree with the sunshine part, but don’t that it should be litigated through a civil lawsuit. Obama should file charges, I agree. But Personally, his video removed any doubt that this guy has joined with an enemy of this country that has declared war on us. He is with his comrades in the field and swears that he will not surrender for any due process. What is left but to treat him like the other members of AQ?

    “As for the Americans, I will never surrender to them,” al-Awlaki said. “If the Americans want me, let them come look for me. God is the protector.”

    This issue gets my bp way too high, and I am obviously way out of sync with the bj community on this issue.

  116. 116
    Bill H says:

    I guess when they said they were going to bring back accountability and transparency, they meant in other areas.

    These things either exist or they do not. If I go to church every Sunday and then steal and rob the other six days of the week , does that make me a “pious man?” No. It is not possible to be pious in some areas and not others. One either is pious or one is not.

    Our government is either accountable and transparent or it is not. It can not be those things “in some areas” and not in others. Those are qualities applicable to state of being. A government is or is not those things.

    Ours is not.

  117. 117
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I am not pleased by Obama’s civil liberties record, but, as soonergrunt and others have noted above, this particular issue is quite a bit grayer than it is being portrayed. On the other hand, I think the state secrets doctrine is being overused as a defense against civil liberties lawsuits.

  118. 118
    Jim says:

    I agree with the post, and this isn’t a troll, but I have been wondering why people have been throwing “American citizen” with regards to the whole Awlaki debacle. Including that would seem to indicate that there are certain protections afforded to Awlaki that aren’t afforded to someone exactly like him who isn’t an American citizen… what are those?

  119. 119
    Steve says:

    @Keith G: We’re not at war with Yemen. Yemen considers al-Awlaki a dangerous terrorist and wants to capture or kill him, just like we do. So we’re not exactly offending Yemen’s sovereignty here.

    Hypothetically, if Yemen did manage to kill al-Awlaki, I get the sense that more than a few people in this thread would expect the Obama Administration to lodge a formal protest regarding the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen.

  120. 120
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Steve:

    Here’s my prediction: 50 years from now, the consensus will not be that it was a terrible violation of civil liberties to try to kill or capture this al-Awlaki character.

    Uhhhhhhhh… I don’t think very many people have a problem w/ trying to capture ‘this al-Awlaki’… I think it’s the killing, sans trial, part that bothers ’em… just sayin’…

  121. 121
    mclaren says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I’m damned sorry about your recent illness, but you’re so wrong on this, there aren’t words in the English language to describe how wrong you are.

    That’s what police do EVERY FUCKING DAY with murder suspects, and that’s exactly what this guy is.

    You’re lying. That’s a lie. You’re lying out your ass.

    NOBODY in America says to a bunch of cops “Here is a guy. Here’s his picture. You are going to go out on the street, and if you see him, you kill him. Don’t ask questions, don’t try to arrest, just shoot him. Shoot him in the head.”

    And if any cop asks “Why? What are the charges?” it never happens that the police commissioner says “There are no charges. You will murder this guy and that’s the end of it.”

    And if the DA phones up and says “Wait a minute, that’s against the law,” no police commissioner in America ever says “We don’t care. We are above the law. We will murder this person and you do not have a right to know why. There are no charges. There was no trial. This guy in this photograph will be killed on sight like a mad dog and nobody is allowed to ask why, nobody is allowed to ask for evidence of his crimes, and the guy is not allowed a trial, he is not permitted to defend himself, he will not even be charged. The police will just shoot him down like a dog for no reason and no one is allowed to object or ask questions.”

    There only one place that kind of shit ever happened, soonergrunt — in a lawless dictatorship.

    Nazi Germany did that kind of thing. Soviet Russia did that kind of thing. North Korea does that kind of thing.

    We have a constitutiton and we have laws. If you don’t like those laws, soonergrunt, get your bully-worshipping sadistic lawless ass out of America and emigrate to North Korea. Otherwise STFU and sit down, because IT IS THE LAW THAT EVERY AMERICAN CITIZENS HAS TO BE CHARGED WITH A CRIME BEFORE THE STATE CAN EXECUTE HIM.

  122. 122
    stillnotking says:

    Glad to read this post, and I hope you put your money where your mouth is and refuse to vote for him again.

  123. 123
    BR says:

    Two thoughts, neither of which seem to be part of the discussion:

    1. Shouldn’t we be questioning whether it’s wrong to do this to anyone? Why should citizenship be the line in the sand we won’t cross? Seems to me given that the number of people we’re supposedly fighting against is in the hundreds not thousands, we should be aiming to capture – not kill – them and then hold open trials.

    2. Does anyone sincerely believe that a) this wasn’t happening under Bush and b) that this can be fixed through the vehicle of electoral politics? I’d recommend reading Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson (and his previous books as well). This isn’t something that can be ended by anything except a national or global economic catastrophe that sucks resources out of the national security apparatus. (As I said earlier, for better or worse peak oil will cause this to happen within 5 years.)

  124. 124
    Punchy says:

    What a controversial statement it is to say that if someone is trying to make war on our country, and kill innocent civilians, we ought to try to capture or kill them.

    Oh fucking please. Like this is the crux of the argument. Nobody disagrees with the gov’ts handing on this matter per se. But many of us are worried about the precedent set that a gov’t can issue a kill order on anyone and have to show nobody any evidence to support it. That the govt, when faced with a clearly unconstitutional move, can just say “states secrets, bitchez!” and the courts then refuse to adjudicate.

    You’re looking at the short-term implication of ridding the world of this creep; I’m looking at the long-term implication of court acceptance of this no-fail get out of jail move.

  125. 125
    taylormattd says:

    @wilfred: oh god, when did dkos bannees start posting here.

  126. 126
    soonergrunt says:

    @Xboxershorts: I don’t give fuck about his US citizenship because he doesn’t give a fuck about it.
    Again, if he doesn’t want to be killed for attempting to escape capture, he should turn himself in.
    We didn’t indict US citizens who fought for the Axis Powers in WWII. We captured or killed them on the battlefield. If they surrendered they were treated as they deserved. At least one of whom I am aware, Martin Monti, was tried and convicted of Treason and sentenced to prison. He was pardoned in 1960.
    http://thepoormouth.blogspot.c.....in-ss.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_James_Monti

  127. 127
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    this particular issue is quite a bit grayer than it is being portrayed. On the other hand, I think the state secrets doctrine is being overused as a defense against civil liberties lawsuits.

    How would we ever know? How could one determine the actual truth of the matter?
    I for one am not ready to accept the State’s blanket assertion that statements made by an individual or shady associations are enough to kill him.
    This argument starts and stops at that point, IMO.

  128. 128
    Xenos says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Everyone knows this is The One BJ Approved Category of Dissent™.
    Your Obot cred is still good here if you want to let loose on this one specific issue.

    Thank you, Comrade. I don’t like to criticize Our Leader, but I worry that his pragmatism might delay his enforcing the workers’ paradise for too long. Pretty soon the capitalists and reactionaries will realize that their time has passed, and I can put down my labours and go fishing every day, as promised.

    What ho, did you hear about the chocolate rations?

  129. 129
    taylormattd says:

    @Sly: don’t bother, wilfred is a democrat-hating nihlist who was urging Kerry be defeated in 2004.

  130. 130
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: Cops are told to go out and capture murder suspects all the time, and they have society’s permission to kill the suspects if they cannot be captured without undue risk of life. That’s why cops shoot people who shoot at them. I am not saying that the analogy is exact, but parallels exist. It is one of the reasons the capture or kill orders are a gray area.

  131. 131
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: Cops are told to go out and capture murder suspects all the time, and they have society’s permission to kill the suspects if they cannot be captured without undue risk of life. That’s why cops shoot people who shoot at them. I am not saying that the analogy is exact, but parallels exist. It is one of the reasons the capture or kill orders are a gray area.

  132. 132
    mclaren says:

    @jwb:

    Then you impeach Biden. And if Pelosi gets named president, and she orders an illegal assassination without charges and without trial, you impeach her.

    THIS IS YOUR LIFE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE.

    Don’t you understand that?

    If the president gets the authority to assassinate an American citizen without trial and without charges, your neighbor is next. And then, pretty soon…you’re next.

    You’ll be sitting in a coffee shop and all of a sudden some DHS agent will pull out a gun and blow your brains out for something you posted on a blog ten days earlier and when people in the coffee shop scream, the DHS agent will show his credentials and announce, “This has been a targeted killing authorized by the Department of Homeland Security. You do not have the right to know the evidence which justified this targeted killing, because national security is involved. Please go about your business.”

    Don’t you get that?

    Don’t you understand that this is what happened with the NKVD in Russia when they would break down some guy’s door and throw him out a window and when the neighbors asked why they just sneered “State security” and walked out?

    Don’t you understand what’s going on here?

  133. 133
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck:

    Reading Cole’s post and most of the comments just exactly what could he tell you that would cause anyone here to think he is right.

    I think that I live in a democratic type state, maybe. If so, it seems to me that a political leader needs to make his/her case for initiating (or extending) policies that seem to be unusual or at odds with concepts such as due process of law.

    He may or may not cause me to think that his view is correct, but by not engaging in an important discussion over these substantial issues, I know that his behavior is wrong.

    I hated when Shrub did it, so I will not react differently as Obama does it.

  134. 134
    Steve says:

    @Jim:

    Including that would seem to indicate that there are certain protections afforded to Awlaki that aren’t afforded to someone exactly like him who isn’t an American citizen… what are those?

    Hamdi v. Rumsfeld was a Supreme Court case involving a U.S. citizen held in military detention, like Jose Padilla. Justice Scalia wrote what I thought was a very persuasive dissent:

    Where the Government accuses a citizen of waging war against it, our constitutional tradition has been to prosecute him in federal court for treason or some other crime. Where the exigencies of war prevent that, the Constitution’s Suspension Clause, Art. I, §9, cl. 2, allows Congress to relax the usual protections temporarily. Absent suspension, however, the Executive’s assertion of military exigency has not been thought sufficient to permit detention without charge.

    We know from Scalia’s other decisions in the war on terror cases that he’d hardly take this position with regard to a non-citizen terrorism suspect. But where citizens are concerned, even Scalia was like: charge him with treason, or let him go.

    I’m not sure why the administration doesn’t at least indict al-Awlaki in absentia, like they did with bin Laden once upon a time. At least then we’d know that a grand jury saw the confidential evidence and agreed that this guy was a very serious criminal.

  135. 135
    Keith G says:

    @Steve: That was my point. We are not at war with Yemen – one of the weaknesses in the argument that I was addressing.

  136. 136
    John S. says:

    American politics is a see-saw. And for all those joking about it (wilfred), any move to hit Obama from the left on this is most assuredly going to be good news for Republicans. Impeachment? Yeah, sure. That will have voters lining up to put another Democrat in office. A serious party primary challenger? That worked out great for Democrats in 1980.

    So what can we seriously do given the political realities of the day? Republicans support their politicians no matter what. Their solidarity is unreal. But obviously, Democrats are not Republicans. We don’t blindly follow anything for the sake of the party. So how does any of this end well for America?

    Incompetent or evil, those are the choices. Sometimes the incompetent do evil things, but is ushering back in the truly evil a practical solution? I really have no idea what the answer is.

  137. 137
    geg6 says:

    @Kryptik:

    My point exactly. I mean, WTF do these idiots screaming “Primary him!” think they’re gonna get with that?

  138. 138
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Hey Corner, it’s a fucking spectacular day in Houston. Time to go out and play.

  139. 139
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    I don’t understand why they made President Obama issue himself a License to Kill and take on the “Agent Double-O O” brand name.

  140. 140
    Corner Stone says:

    @stillnotking:

    Glad to read this post, and I hope you put your money where your mouth is and refuse to vote for him again.

    But if he doesn’t then Godzilla will be elected. And I don’t mean as a metaphor, I mean the actual Godzilla will be elected.

  141. 141
    mclaren says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You’re a goddamn liar.

    You’re an ignorant liar.

    You’re an incompetent liar.

    You’re a stupid liar.

    You are talking about police who are ordered to arrest people charged with a crime.

    What crime has Al-Awlaki been charged with?

    Tell me.

    Show me the charges.

    You’re lying, and you’re telling stupid lies. Your lies are so stupid and so incompetent that people would be laughing at you if they weren’t weeping for the death of the constitution of the United States of America.

    Get a clue, fool: Obama is ordering an American citizen to be assassinated without charges and without a trial and without providing any kind of evidence that Al-Awlaki has committed any crime at all.

    Police NEVER do that.

    What planet are you living on?

    Name any time police have told at the start of their shift that they are ordered to murder someone who has not committed a crime and for whom there is no evidence that he has committed a crime and who has never been charged with anything.

    Show me!

    Where does that happen?

    Not in goddamn America, it doesn’t, you stupid ignorant horse’s ass!

    The only place that happens was in Soviet Russia or in goddamn North Korea. If you don’t like the rule of law, EMIGRATE TO NORTH KOREA!

    If you don’t like the fact that the constitution of the United States says that it is AGAINST THE LAW for the government to order someone’s death without bringing charges and bringing him to trial, EMIGRATE TO MYANMAR!

  142. 142
    Steve says:

    Oh fucking please. Like this is the crux of the argument. Nobody disagrees with the gov’ts handing on this matter per se. But many of us are worried about the precedent set that a gov’t can issue a kill order on anyone and have to show nobody any evidence to support it.

    But if everyone agrees that this guy deserves killing, I hardly think it sets a precedent for killing other people whose guilt is widely questioned. I do not think, as someone ranted above, that the next step will be DHS employees going around blowing away random citizens and saying, “Hey, you didn’t complain when we did it to al-Awlaki.”

    If we’re in a position to capture the guy and put him on trial, I think that’s what we should do. But if there’s no realistic way to make that happen, I don’t think we have to just shrug our shoulders and say “oh well, he’s a citizen, got to assume he’s innocent until the cops bring him in and we can put him on trial.”

    I thought Jose Padilla was a much, much more serious violation of civil liberties for the simple reason that we had him in custody, at our complete mercy, and we still didn’t give him due process. There were no exigencies of war; we just didn’t feel like putting him on trial. That was wrong.

  143. 143
    WyldPirate says:

    soonergrunt@125:

    We didn’t indict US citizens who fought for the Axis Powers in WWII. We captured or killed them on the battlefield.

    damn, that part about “protect and defend the Constitution” sure as hell didn’t sink in with you, did it?

    I don’t give a fuck about your prior service. I’m a vet as well. What I do know is that it is wrong to suspend the Constitutional protections that even the most heinous criminals–alleged or admitted–have that are US citizens.

    It truly is a “slippery slope” when this sort of shit starts happening. On top of that, if what you say was knowingly done–it was wrong in WWII.

    The fact is, I doubt that any GIs–in the midst of battle in WWII–bothered to stop and ask any expat-US citizens of German heritage if they were US citizens while they were trading rounds, artillery or whatever.

    Thus, your logic and rationale sucks big schwetty balls and you need a lesson in what the US Constitution really means.

  144. 144
    timb says:

    @Ronbo: because you’ll fail and look stupid doing it. In Ron’s perfect world, the Obama from the will.i.am video is President. In real life, we get a flawed guy who doesn’t want to look like a pussy when it comes to terrorism. Considering the alternative, I think we getting off light. Or, maybe you ask the night janitor at a chemical factory in Somalia what the Dem president did to him without warning.

  145. 145
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve:

    I’m not sure why the administration doesn’t at least indict al-Awlaki in absentia, like they did with bin Laden once upon a time. At least then we’d know that a grand jury saw the confidential evidence and agreed that this guy was a very serious criminal.

    x2. This is precisely what should be happening. And at the same time, those who leaked what appears to be classified information to the media – leaks without which the current lawsuit would not be possible – should be identified, and indicted if possible.

    The biggest problem I have with suits like this – and I predict this will be the ground on which the courts ultimately refuse to grant the requested relief – is separation of powers. The Constitution makes the President the Commander in Chief of the armed forces, and the United States District Courts are not well suited to micro-manage military operations.

  146. 146
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G: Well, he has engaged and even made public his intentions, and his reasons. I suspect Bush killed some American citizens, and actually did in Yemen in 2002, but did not make any public presidential finding before it was done

    It wouldn’t be the first time a US citizen was targeted in Yemen.In 2002, Ahmed Hijazi, an American citizen, was killed in a drone attack conducted by the CIA. Mr. Hijazi was suspected of leading the group of individuals captured near Buffalo, N.Y., for plotting a terrorist attack.

    . Now, I am all for obligatory legal doings to create a public record to avoid future claims of unlawful killing of American citizens. But as soonergrunt pointed out, that has rarely been the case when a citizen takes up with the enemy in a public way as this guy has done.

  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: SPECKtacular!
    I’m picking my son up a little early from school (don’t want to mess up his routine) and we’re heading to the park.
    Just a deliciously cool breeze blowing this morning when I dropped him off, and 67F with nary a cloud in the sky.
    I can’t wait til October when we get our Annually Apportioned Two Weeks of this weather.

  148. 148
    burnspbesq says:

    @WyldPirate:

    you need a lesson in what the US Constitution really means.

    Teach on, prof. This should be a hoot.

  149. 149

    And let me just point out that the fact that none of this has raised so much as a flicker of an eyebrow with the Teanuts who are supposedly so so worried about government overreach and a socialist/fascist/totalitarian president is further proof how completely intellectually bankrupt THAT crowd of losers is.

    Because of course this is just the kind of policy that rightwingers love. You won’t hear Dick Armey mustering his forces against something like this.

  150. 150
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    We’re mixing way too many issues up here, causing people to yell past each other. Choose the ones you are arguing about before you try to argue:

    1. Can a president allow direct targeting of a person for capture or assassination?
    2. Can a president allow direct targeting of a person outside the US for capture or assassination?
    3. Can a president allow direct targeting of an American outside the US for capture or assassination?
    4. Can the president block another branch from halting this action by invoking “state secrets”?
    5. Can the US attack someone in a country that they have not declared war on?

    In al-Awlaki’s case, I think by his actions that he can be targeted by the US government. They should try to capture him, but I am not going to hold it against them if he is killed. I don’t see the Administration trying to kill him in Yemen, but if he were to travel to Afghanistan for some reason, then they would already have the right to go after him.

  151. 151
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: Thank you for your hysterical response. You should note that I said that there are parallels but the situations are not exactly the same. The only point that I have been making here is that the situation is not as black and white as most here are stating that it is. My person view is that, if the administration has strong enough evidence of al-Awaki’s crimes, they should indict him. Then efforts, both diplomatic and otherwise, should be made to capture him.

    As far as moving to North Korea goes, are you sure you would not be more comfortable there? They seem to frown on differences of opinion and debate about issues. Or to phrase it more directly, fuck you.

  152. 152
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    While Obama is the Head Cheese and is in the end responsible for his decisions, you have to remember that he didn’t make this decision in a vacuum. You know that the people who run the machinery are telling him that they need these ‘tools’ to fight their wars. Many of these people are careerists and they are in their spot to stay until they retire. Presidents come and go but the machinery is in place to stay.

    So while Obama gets the knocks for doing this I also have to fault our society as it has supported this bullshit. There are some people who believe that this is right and unfortunately they are placed in positions to make it happen.

    We aren’t. All we can do is yell and scream about it but at the end of the day you have to pick your poison. I’ll take the less toxic until something better comes along.

  153. 153
    martha says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m hoping he throws in some history too, just for entertainment.

  154. 154

    Oh whah my comment is awaiting moderation. What did I say? I didn’t even cuss.

  155. 155
    geg6 says:

    @mclaren:

    You really don’t know much about the history of law enforcement in this nation, do you?

  156. 156
    stuckinred says:

    I’m with the sooner!

  157. 157
    Peter J says:

    @Punchy:

    Just imagine what graft, theft, and illegalities President Palin will hide with this state’s secret precedent.

    Which email will President Palin be using? Will it be president@yahoo.com, president@hotmail.com, or president@googlemail.com?

  158. 158
    stuckinred says:

    @geg6: Ask him if her ever heard of Freddy Hampton and Mark Clark.

  159. 159
    The Moar You Know says:

    It’s 11-dimensional chess, man! He’s fighting for state secrets and no-reason assassination orders so that the Justice Department can file suit against him and the Supreme Court can then declare it’s illegal! Because, you know, they’re so liberal and on the side of truth and justice and civil rights…

    Fuck this. I have been a registered Democrat since 1984. I changed my registration to “decline to state” last week. I am so fucking so over this bullshit. He’s bailing out banksters, wrecking education and civil liberties, providing wholly ineffective leadership, bankrupting small business owners on healthcare, capitulating to Republican demands at every turn and refusing to step up and even try to rhetorically kick some Republican ass. This is bullshit. Better than McCain? Well, you know what? I’m not so fucking sure about that anymore. McCain might be too busy screaming at the busts in the White House to be trying to bury my civil liberties.

    I’ll change my registration back if and when someone challenges him in primaries. And if anyone in the Democratic Party has a brain, they’d better start grooming someone for 2012 right fucking now. Because I’m not fucking voting for Obama again, not even if his opponent is Dick Fucking Cheney.

  160. 160
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): As pointed out, though, he wouldn’t be the first American killed in Yemen. So, maybe they will.

  161. 161
    burnspbesq says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    That’s fair, but you forgot one question.

    3a. Is there any legal theory on which the courts can intervene to stop such actions, and if so, what showing must be made (and by whom) to obtain judicial relief?

  162. 162
    mclaren says:

    @Steve:

    But if everyone agrees that this guy deserves killing…

    It’s entirely clear and easy to prove beyond a reasonable doubt from the evidence that Al-Awlaki does not</B. deserve to be killed.

    In fact, the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Al-Awlaki has not even committed a crime under American law.

    What does the evidence that General Crackpot Fake Name cites (a video) show?

    It shows that Al-Awlaki has talked smack about America. Well, I'm not a doctor, but I'm going to prescribe you 150 milligrams of COWBOY THE FUCK UP, because here in the United States one whole hell of a lot of people talk smack about America — and it’s not a crime.

    How about that republican governor who threatened to secede a couple of months ago? Talking smack. Was he committing a crime? Hell no. He was a jerk, but no criminal.

    Michele Bachmann has said she wants her supporters to “be armed and dangerous.” That’s threatening the overthrow of the government of the United States, it’s talking smack. Is that a crime? Nope. Stupid, but no crime.

    Ann Coulter has urged that justices of the Supreme Court be poisoned. That’s worse than anything Al-Awlaki has said. But it’s no crime.

    Te Party protestors have carried semi-automatic weapons to rallies with signs that read THE TREE OF LIBERTY MUST BE REFRESHED FROM TIME TO TIME WITH THE BLOOD OF TYRANTS. They’re talking smack about the government of the United States. Dumb as a sack of rocks…but no crime.

    I’ve read what Al-Awlaki has said. Have you?

    You know what Al-Awlaki has said?

    I’ll quote verbatim: “Oh America, if you trangress against us and kill us, we will kill you.” Meaning the people of Yemen.

    Well guess the fuck what, buckaroo? That’s simple common sense. I’ve been saying that for years. So have millions of America. I’ve been pointing out that if Americans keep cowboying around the world killing innocent citizens of other countries, we’re going to create a tidal wave of terrorists and those terrorists will kill Americans.

    There. I said it. I just said exactly what Al-Awlaki said. And it’s not treason, it’s just plain common sense. If America keeps murdering innocent bystanders and wedding parties with drones and missiles strikes and JSOC assassinations gone wrong (Whoops! Wrong person! Sorrrr-eeee….), then we are going to create more terrorists than we can possibly imagine and those terrorists are going to kill Americans.

    That’s not a crime. Saying that is a statement of plain obvious fact.

    In fact, Chalmers Johnso wrote a whole goddamn book that says exactly what Al-Awlaki said — the name of the book is Blowback.

    I suggest you read it.

    Not only should Al-Awlaki be killed on the basis of evidence I’ve seen, he hasn’t even committed a crime.

    You want to kill Al-Awlaki?

    I have no problem with that — charge him with a crime under U.S. law, extradite him, haul him into a U.S. courtroom and try him and convict him and get a jury of his peers to hand down the death penalty. You do that, I’ll pull the electric chair switch myself.

    But until you do that, Al-Awlaki is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That’s the way Anglo Saxon law works.

    So don’t you dare talk to me about how “everyone agrees Al-Awlaki should be killed” when no one has even provided one shred of evidence that Al-Awlaki has committed a crime under American law.

  163. 163
    BR says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    He’s bailing out banksters

    Just want to correct this since it’s a pet peeve of mine. TARP – the bank bailout – happened under Bush. Sure it still exists. But I get irritated every time someone (often journalists who are supposed to know better) repeats this falsehood.

  164. 164
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve:

    But if everyone agrees that this guy deserves killing, I hardly think it sets a precedent for killing other people whose guilt is widely questioned.

    Is this what we’re doing these days? We get to form an extra-judicial committee and agree to who gets terminated?
    Seems like I’ve heard of that somewhere before…maybe a movie…

  165. 165
    Xenos says:

    @burnspbesq: Ooh, ooh, can I cite the Declaration of Independence for this argument?

    Alternately, can I define the ‘due’ in ‘due process’ however I want to?

    No?

    Ferget it, then. Carry on.

  166. 166
    mclaren says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The only point that I have been making here is that the situation is not as black and white as most here are stating that it is.

    You’re a liar. The point you’ve been making here is that the president should be able to order the murder of an American citizen without trial and without charges. That’s illegal. The constitution forbids it.

    I notice you seem reluctant to emigrant to North Korea. Why?

    If you truly have such deep disgust for the rule of law, you ought to love Kim Jong-Il’s People’s Paradise. No charges, no trial, the state police can just walk up to on the street in North Korea and blow your brains out.

    Don’t like that?

    Then why do you like it when president Obama proposes to do it?

    You’re not only a liar, you’re a cowardly hypocrite. If you abhor the rule of law, prove it.

    Emigrate to North Korea. Do it today. When you refuse, we’ll know it’s because you’re shit-scared that what Obama is proposing to do to Al-Awlaki, the North Koreans might do to you, you gutless pathetic cowardly piece of servile crawling bully-worshipping human garbage.

    Go back and jerk off to your archival video footage of the Holocaust and your life-size poster of Pol Pot on the wall of your apartment, you’re done here.

  167. 167
    Corner Stone says:

    @BR: IIRC, Obama whipped for TARP’s passage while still a Senator. So there should be some adjustment made, I agree.

  168. 168
    roshan says:

    I will let Mclaren do the job for this thread. The fucktards here just don’t understand what they are dealing with. Once you give permission to kill a US citizen without having a court trial under any pretense, you have made a pact with the devil. Just go find out if your phones are tapped or not. It started with overseas wiretapping and now every conversation you have had or will have is on record with the NSA.

  169. 169
    Alwhite says:

    Funny thing John, I have been complaining about this for months, along with other half-assed bullshit from this admin & gotten the shit kicked out of me by people using terms like ‘firebagger’.

    The problem has been that rational people have no other choice. The slow death of America by well-meaning shitheels like BHO or the swift destruction offered by the Republican party.

  170. 170
    mclaren says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Is this what we’re doing these days? We get to form an extra-judicial committee and agree to who gets terminated?

    Don’t the people on this forum know anything about history?

    Two words, people: Star Chamber.

    Google it.

    There’s a word in American English that describe “forming an extra-judicial committe and agree to who gets terminated” — it’s called lynching.

    Here are some photos of American lynchings.

    Take a look at ’em.

    Look at ’em long and hard.

    This is what you’re proposing to do to an American citizen who has never been charged with a crime and for whom there exists no evidence that he has even committed a crime.

    You know what, people?

    Right about now, I feel like Al Pacino at the end of the movie Scent Of A Woman.

    You people who are trying to defend this indefensible atrocity of murdering an American citizen who hasn’t even been charged with a crime…you make me sick.

    If I were half the man I used to be, I’D TAKE A FLAME THROWER TO THIS PLACE!

  171. 171
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: Cite where I said that the president should be able to order the murder of an American citizen without trial and without charges. You won’t be able to. Further, it is now obvious to me that you are incapable of reading what other commenters post and, instead, substitute hyperbolic strawmen. My argument that the issue is grayer than you suggest may be wrong. I have been wrong before and I will be wrong again. It is the price of being human. I must say, however, that your debate technique of accusing me and others of lying, cowardice, and hypocrisy is not indicative of a desire to fairly discuss the topic. I brand you a troll, sir. I am done with you.

  172. 172
    WyldPirate says:

    mclaren@158 and @162:

    Damn fine job, mclaren.

    Reading the shit from people you’ve rebutted so well makes me afraid for our country, but you’re evidence that there are at least some that haven’t been brainwashed by 24/7/365 fear and freak show that has infected our discourse.

    Sadly, though, we’re still circling the toliet bowl as a nation.

  173. 173
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    I see it’s going to be one of those kind of days here. Later kids.

  174. 174
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @mclaren:

    If I were half the man I used to be, I’D TAKE A FLAME THROWER TO THIS PLACE!

    Would that be before or after filing charges?

  175. 175
    Sad_Dem says:

    This is why people don’t vote. I’m not saying they are right, but this is the reason. They are right when they say both sides are evil. How inspiring is it to argue that one side is less evil? It’s like being less pregnant or less dead.

  176. 176
    Dracula says:

    Wow, Mclaren is angry today.

  177. 177
    Earl Butz says:

    I’m not sure why the administration doesn’t at least indict al-Awlaki in absentia, like they did with bin Laden once upon a time. At least then we’d know that a grand jury saw the confidential evidence and agreed that this guy was a very serious criminal.

    @Steve: Exactly. I am not asking for a round of Kummbaya and a day of Jubilee. I am simply asking for someone to be accountable for the decision to put a bullet in the head of an American, no matter how much a “citizenship of convenience” (as some posters above have stated) it might be in this or any other case.

  178. 178
    Chyron HR says:

    I will let Mclaren do the job for this thread.
    Damn fine, job, mclaren.

    Yeah, McLaren. I didn’t think you could come up with a better argument than “fuck fuck shit fuck fuck”, but then I saw you screeching about people “jerking off to the Holocaust”. Just try to debate that, you O-bots.

  179. 179
    Punchy says:

    It’s like being less pregnant or less dead.

    Great….now we bring ABORTION into this thread….

  180. 180
    soonergrunt says:

    @WyldPirate:

    The fact is, I doubt that any GIs—in the midst of battle in WWII—bothered to stop and ask any expat-US citizens of German heritage if they were US citizens while they were trading rounds, artillery or whatever.

    Wow, that’s pretty much the point I was making, dumbass. Any who were found after the fact, in POW camps or like the guy I mentioned earlier, were in for some rather harsh treatment for their treason.
    Maybe you need to work on your reading comprehension, because I didn’t say anything anywhere about the constitution, nor have I ever advocated suspending the constitution. I stated that Alawki’s best chance to avoid being killed, which the state has a well established right to do, is to surrender.
    The state’s right to use deadly force against accused criminals who do not surrender when confronted was established hundreds of years before the constitution was written and as part of English Common Law, was accepted as legal fact by the framers of the constitution. There are other sources for the state’s authority and right to the monopoly on legitimate violence like the Treaty of Westphalia, but that’s getting a little far off track.

  181. 181
    Elie says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Thank you… sadly, but thank you.

  182. 182
    Steve says:

    @mclaren:

    So don’t you dare talk to me about how “everyone agrees Al-Awlaki should be killed” when no one has even provided one shred of evidence that Al-Awlaki has committed a crime under American law.

    Oh, “don’t you dare talk to me.” Big man. In fact, I wasn’t talking to you, because I think it would be about as productive as Barney Frank having a dialogue with that heckler. I was responding to a specific argument made in someone else’s comment.

    I actually think the “we don’t convict people based upon press conferences” argument is much more persuasive than the “killing this guy sets a precedent for killing everyone” argument.

  183. 183
    Culture of Truth says:

    I would not describe this as worse than Bush, though others are free to do so.

    not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process
    or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.

    This is somewhat but not quite correct, and renders Obama less a tyrant, as some have said, since the DOJ submitted its arguments before an independent court, the Ninth Circuit, in the most recent case, which reviewed the DOJ’s documents in camera and agree with the Obama DOJ’s arguments.

  184. 184
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Couple of comments before I go off for the day…

    1. What a painfully complicated, dark subject matter… on one hand, I, too, am disturbed at the Admin’s behavior regarding this case, and for the same reasons so many others have commented on here… it seems to be establishing a truly scary precedent, that the President of the US can have anyone executed at any time, without a trial, or even an explanation…

    Not a good direction to be moving in as a country…

    On the other hand, al-Alwaki definitely comes across a really bad actor… a dangerous person, to say the least. So how do you deal w/ someone like this?

    The position I agree the most w/ is “file charges w/ a Grand jury, and THEN go after him”…

    2. The tone here, at BP, has changed over the last 6 months… I was around fairly often in the spring, then gone for a while. Coming back, it seems at though people here are less tolerant of others’ opinions and the hostility in some exchanges seems to be ramping up…

    Just an observation…

  185. 185
    WyldPirate says:

    Shorter Omnes Omnibus@167:

    In other words, you’ve got nothing and you’re taking your ball and going home.

    You blew it at post 129 with your Stalineseque view of law enforcement. That was one of the stupider statements I’ve read here in a while.

    Your point on the shades of grey are well taken, though. some situations are, but…BUT…one either has Constitutional rights or they don’t. That’s completely “black and white” or the Constitution isn’t worth the paper that it is written on which is mclaren’s entire point.

  186. 186
    Corner Stone says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I stated that Alawki’s best chance to avoid being killed, which the state has a well established right to do, is to surrender.

    And when he gets whisked off to Gitmo, or other places TBD? If I were he I certainly would not expect benevolent treatment as a prisoner of the US Govt.
    And I’m not sure why he should surrender? To clear his name of what charge? Or merely to prevent his death.

  187. 187
    Stillwater says:

    The simple fact that there is a debate on the rational, thinking man’s blog Balloon Juice re: justifications for extra-judicial assassination of US citizens goes a long way to proving Cole’s subtle, but apparently missed point, that we’ve lost our way as a nation. The moral argument against such killing is crystal clear: it’s wrong. The pragmatic argument against permitting such killings is also clear: it codifies unilateral, non-reviewable state violence against its own citizens. That so many want to tease out subtlety where there isn’t any indicates, to me, anyway, that our subservience to the state under the guise of ‘protecting Americans from terrorism’ is almost complete.

  188. 188
    roshan says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity: Bye bye, Evan Byah.

  189. 189
    ruemara says:

    Ok, I’ve tried to follow this issue for a while, but this doesn’t really make much sense to me.

    We have an American citizen, Al-whatever, who is thought to be behind several acts of terrorism against the US. He is actively with a known enemy, who we are at war with. His citizenship is only brought out as a cudgel to show that “even some Americans think we are right” or “you can’t do this to me, I’m a citizen, see”. He, personally, is not taking any risks by being on the battlefield, he is in reserve somewhere else, using his influence. We have video of him clearly stating his involvement in the above mentioned incidents, yet that’s not proof?

    Supposedly, the President has authorized a capture or kill order for him (which has been conflated to any American that pisses of the President while abroad, in the blogosphere). Yet, despite readily available video of Al-wallawhata’s statements, the military? the DOJ?, is refusing to present more actual evidence that proves this guy matches whatever the criteria is for capture or kill. However, no one has had a problem with us shooting rockets at houses to target the myriad #2 Al-Queda guys that seem to be everywhere. Except for the few DFHs who believe blindly shooting at clumps of people to get 1 guy only wins the hearts and minds of sociopaths. We don’t have any request for evidence for them, but hey, whatev.

    So if this guy was in Afghanistan, he could be captured or killed just fine-no controversy. Because he’s in Yemen, we’ve got a special order about him, but that’s a violation of civil liberties. I’m just not sure what the solution is. He is an enemy of the state or he’s not. I don’t see what’s so ethical about our conduct in war anyway. I don’t even see much difference between how we’ve killed other Americans who’ve taken up sides with the enemy, except now we’ve actually gotten some sort of legitimate order instead of just, you know, doing it. A few grey areas? The whole damn thing is murky, pea soup of grey. I need more actual facts for this to make sense and GG’s column just doesn’t break it down for me enough. Both sides look bad in my unstudied opinion.

  190. 190
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Sharron Angle stated that she favored a “Second Amendment solution” for Harry Reid. Does that mean that Utah should expect drone strikes?

  191. 191
    BTD says:

    I think this is too simplistic and not correct as a matter of domestic or international law. I’ve debated Greenwald on this point and I think it misunderstands the Commander in Chief power.

    I’ve written at length on the subject, but the main thrust is Awlaki Is an enemy combatant in league with Al Qaida (just as John Walker Lindh was in league with the Taliban).

    A kill or capture order is, in my view, in comformance with both domestic and international laws of war.

    Call me an O-bot if you must, but I think the law on this issue is fairly clear.

  192. 192
    Dork says:

    The state’s right to use deadly force against accused criminals who do not surrender when confronted

    The italicized part is a huge caveat that nobody is disagreeing with. But remove the italicized part, and most of us would disagree with it. But from what we know, the order to kill this guy does not depend on his fighting his arrest. Pretty sure he’s allowed to be 86’d via a sniper while sipping on a latte.

  193. 193
    JC says:

    What I don’t like is the unaccountable part.

    ‘Those who take up arms’ against their country, well, the country in question is going to declare open season on that individual. That’s true for every country in the world. Now, the individual in question, may be CORRECT in his analysis of his home country. or not.

    But that doesn’t matter. You can’t take up arms against your country, and not expect the ‘favor’ returned.

    But who makes the call? An unaccountable call?

    The issue is definitely more gray that Greenwald portrays it. But the real fear, and the issue that Greenwald points to, is this complete lack of accountability, whereby there is no restraining of the power of the executive, and no review process. The one thing that Reagan said, that always made sense to me is, ‘trust but verify’.

    there always need to be an OTHER to hold you to account. To review your actions, no matter how noble you might think your actions are.

    In the case of executive power over individuals, this is the court system.

    Now, politically, I’ve yet to see a capable executive GIVE HIS/HER OWN POWER AWAY. But this is where the courts have to step up!

  194. 194
    Mike from Philly says:

    “Emigrate to North Korea. Do it today. When you refuse, we’ll know it’s because you’re shit-scared that what Obama is proposing to do to Al-Awlaki, the North Koreans might do to you, you gutless pathetic cowardly piece of servile crawling bully-worshipping human garbage.

    Go back and jerk off to your archival video footage of the Holocaust and your life-size poster of Pol Pot on the wall of your apartment, you’re done here. ”

    I may have this framed and hung on a wall above my computer. Fuck these apologists for tyranny – we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for these cowards and retards who never bothered to pay attention in civics class. Their complacency and ignorance have remade this country into a rapidly developing third world shithole.

    Fuck em.

  195. 195
    mclaren says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Shorter Omnes Omnis:

    I’m going to run away weeping like a little girl because I don’t have the fucking BALLS to stand behind my ardent approval of lynching an American citizen who has never been charged with a crime and for whom no evidence exists that he has even committed a crime.

    Run away, punk-ass little bitch, and don’t let your skirt trip you.

    As for the plain evidence that you have advocated assassinating an American citizen without charges and without trial, here is it:

    I am not pleased by Obama’s civil liberties record, but, as soonergrunt and others have noted above, this particular issue is quite a bit grayer than it is being portrayed.

    Now here’s what the constitution of the United States has to say on that subject. And I’ll let the people who read this forum decide which of us is a liar and which of us is telling the truth:

    Amendment V

    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 offence 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.

    Is Al-Awlaki in the land or naval forces of the united states of America? Is he in the militia.

    No, no, and no.

    Case closed. The constitution does not allow the government to murder people without charges and a trial. There’s no “gray area” here any more than there’s a “gray area” in what Pol Pot ordered to be done to the people of Cambodia. It’s wanton murder, plain and simple, and it’s lawless and it’s barbaric and it’s a descent into the abyss.

  196. 196
    soonergrunt says:

    @Earl Butz:

    I am simply asking for someone to be accountable for the decision to put a bullet in the head of an American…

    There’s already someone who fits that bill. He lives and works at:
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20500

    His phone number is: (202) 456-1414

  197. 197
    Kryptik says:

    OT: CNN/ORC poll seriously has me on the brink of just completely giving up and crawling into a bottle. Not Obama’s approval, no. This:

    The Republican Party: Too extreme – 36%

    The Democratic Party: Too extreme – 42%

    The Tea Party Movement: Too extreme – 43%

    After all the bullshit that the GOP has laid in our laps, WE”RE the more extreme party, WE’RE the less mainstream party, because…what? We want to be sane? Fuck it, half our party politicians essentially ARE GOP, so if they’re too extreme, then….

    EDIT: It gets better! Politico/GW Uni poll on news consumption!!

    Fox’s opinionated personalities were also rated as having the greatest positive impact on the political debate in the country. Bill O’Reilly was rated as having, by far, the greatest positive impact, with 49 percent of respondents rating him positively, and 32 percent negatively.

    The second and third in positive news impact? Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

    GOOD GOD DAMN FUCK ALL, that’s it. I quit. I quit, I quit, I quit, I quit, I give up, the GOP can have America, because apparently America thinks we’re all fucking loonies anyways and would be better off in some goddamn glibertarian paradise devoid of any stinking liberals or hippies.

  198. 198
    Punchy says:

    The tone here, at BP, has changed over the last 6 months

    Ginormous oil spills caused by gross incompetence and greed will do that…..

  199. 199
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WyldPirate: Do you disagree that police are allowed, in this society, to use violence, including deadly force, against suspects who use deadly force to resist arrest? That was the point I was making in comment you call stalinist. I might might have been less than clear, but that was all I was trying to say.

    And no, as you can see, I am not taking my ball and going home. I am perfectly happy to discuss the issue with anyone who is willing to discuss it. I chose not to have further discussions of any kind with someone whose argument technique involves this:

    Go back and jerk off to your archival video footage of the Holocaust and your life-size poster of Pol Pot on the wall of your apartment, you’re done here.

    I don’t think that is unreasonable on my part.

  200. 200
    Maude says:

    @roshan:
    Could you please capitalize f’tards? After all, we deserve some respect.

  201. 201
    soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone:

    And I’m not sure why he should surrender? To clear his name of what charge? Or merely to prevent his death.

    Those are pretty much the reasons people surrender when the government is looking for them for various crimes.

  202. 202
    Face says:

    Sharron Angle stated that she favored a “Second Amendment solution” for Harry Reid. Does that mean that Utah should expect drone strikes?

    Why would Nevada pols be campaigning in Utah?

  203. 203
    WyldPirate says:

    Soonergrunt@176:

    Maybe you need to work on your reading comprehension, because I didn’t say anything anywhere about the constitution, nor have I ever advocated suspending the constitution.

    Maybe you need to have your goddamned memory checked you fucking moron….
    soonergrunt@92:

    As for my part on this whole thing, I don’t have any problem whatsoever with the government saying “capture this guy if possible but kill him to prevent his escape if capture is not possible.” That’s what police do EVERY FUCKING DAY with murder suspects, and that’s exactly what this guy is.

    You seem completely and total fine with suspending the Constitution here as well as being ignorant of the law as well. The problem is, that I had to INFER that from your post. You didn’t state it just like you didn’t state that bit about German ex-pats in combat. I’m not a goddamned mind reader nor is it my responsibility to compensate for your piss-poor, incomplete argument.

    And yeah, I know what is unsaid in your post—that if that suspect is providing resistance in the form of “deadly force” that is a threat to the police. i have no problem with that.

    Your other point that Al-Alawi should turn himself in is also bullshit. It’s OUR obligation to attempt to capture him in the absence of deadly, immediate force or threat from him–not vice versa, just as it’s OUR obligation to charge him and try him with the alleged crimes instead of hiding behind the shield of “state secrets”.

  204. 204
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @soonergrunt:

    The state’s right to use deadly force against accused criminals who do not surrender when confronted was established hundreds of years before the constitution was written and as part of English Common Law, was accepted as legal fact by the framers of the constitution.

    That’s very true and would be relevant if Awlaki were actually an accused criminal. I feel like I’m on fairly solid ground when I say that the framers would not have anticipated “BECAUSE TEH PRESIDENT SAID SO!” being used as the legal basis for an accusation of criminal conduct by an American citizen. Nobody is disputing that this guy can’t be killed if he’s accused of a crime and fails to comply with the legal requirements that follow from that. The problem is with the ability of the president to declare that someone needs killing and then say “because fuck you, that’s why” when somebody asks why that particular person has to die.

  205. 205
    NobodySpecial says:

    @soonergrunt:

    As for my part on this whole thing, I don’t have any problem whatsoever with the government saying “capture this guy if possible but kill him to prevent his escape if capture is not possible.” That’s what police do EVERY FUCKING DAY with murder suspects, and that’s exactly what this guy is.

    He’s a murder suspect because of what? He had hijackers attend his sermons? Hijackers sent him emails? Emails that, frankly, have a certain stench about them?

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence procedures.

    The Washington Post, citing two anonymous sources, reported Saturday that in the months leading up to the attacks Hasan stepped up his contacts with al-Awlaki to discuss transferring money.

    FBI and military officials have provided differing versions of why Hasan’s critical e-mails to al-Awlaki and others did not reach Army investigators before the shooting.

    Anonymous sources. Evidence no one gets to see, that evidently is good enough to put out a ‘Dead or Alive’ on someone, but not enough to file a fucking murder charge?

    Stop me if I’ve heard something like this before. Which is why I won’t take ‘Because I said so’ as a defense from Obama on this one. File murder charges in any Federal Court if you’re so sure he needs to be killed; you can indict a ham sandwich if you say ‘Booga Booga’ loud enough.

    In short: Follow. The. Fucking. Law. It’s. Not. Fucking. Rocket. Science.

  206. 206
    El Tiburon says:

    In the distance a dog barks.

    And Jane and Glenn are saying, “How do you like us now, motherfuckers.”

  207. 207
    Martin says:

    @BTD: Any pointers to the argument explaining the legality of this?

    And I’ll say that even if it is legal, I’m still not comfortable with it solely in the hands of one branch. I’d be okay if Congress or a court needed to sign off on it, but the power to kill a citizen is too big to sit unchecked, IMO.

  208. 208
    ruemara says:

    @Kryptik:
    Grab some chamomile and chill out. 1. It’s an indictment of our news, because our populace is so ignorant, they provide these responses.
    2. It’s a poll and until you see the questions and the population they used, it’s darned near worthless. You can make a poll say anything you want, when you control the input data.

    3. It’s there to make you feel exactly that way. Do you think it’s a coincidence that you’ve been hearing how awesome the tea party is and how the Dems will lose come november since, say May?

  209. 209
    soonergrunt says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Who said that? Was that Mclaren? Cause I don’t know what the little crackhead says anymore but it sounds like his small caliber brain at work. I pie filtered him back when he declared that I and somebody else were paid under cover intelligence operatives planting stories in the blogosphere. Her proof was that we both stated that we were veterans and that we both disagreed with him, and because he said we were paid undercover operatives and disagreeing with him about that was also proof.

    So today, all I’ve seen from him is some very strident statements about how Key Lime Pie is the best pie there is and anyone who disagrees is obviously a paid shill for the strawberry/kiwi pie makers.

  210. 210
    mclaren says:

    @BTD:

    Call me an O-bot if you must, but I think the law on this issue is fairly clear.

    You’re an ignorant liar, Armando. What you’re talking about is the phony Bush-era legal doctrine of the “enemy combatant.” But that’s a made-up bullshit doctrine that has no basis in law.

    In fact, what the legal term “enemy combatant” really means is “someone people in power don’t like.”

    Well, buckaroo, there was a term that the Germans developed in their legal system during the 1930s that covers that particular legal issue — the term was “untermensch.”

    And guess what?

    The International Tribunal at Nuremberg definitively debunked that particular exercise in legal calisthenics.

    Go back to defending Clorox corporation against charges that it poisons kids, Armando…you’re not lawyer enough to convince anyone that it’s legal for the president to murder American citizens because they’re untermenschen.

  211. 211
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Face:

    Why would Nevada pols be campaigning in Utah?

    They run across the border and hide with their tribe, that’s why.

  212. 212
    El Cid says:

    Why do people get so excited about who the government kills?

  213. 213
    Elie says:

    This talk of giving up is what will sink us the rest of the way — not bad decisions by this or any other administration.

    We are a bunch of screamers who have no tolerance for much of anything but screaming at each other.

    @Kryptik:

    Kryptic — the identification of Democrats as extreme has been part and parcel of the whole focus of both the republicans and the tea party for over a year. You can’t really be surprised, can you? Add to that our own carping about the lack of perfection of this administration, and our placing them with extremists and others on the right, how could the results be anything but what they are?

    I am tired of reading this stuff. There is little nuanced understanding anymore — all is black and white and a bunch of you now actually seem to believe that we would be no worse off if we just let the Tea Party take over. Its completely insane.

    Blogs are becoming really less important to sustaining democratic idea sharing than in fanning the flames of idiotic controversy to get hits. They are also playing a huge role in the demoralization of the populace — like we need more demoralization and people “quiting”.

    We are not in heaven nor were we ever. Our job as citizens is to try to make things better through our voices at the ballot box and our work to improve our system of government and society as a whole. We had better never give up.

    I tell you what I am going to quit though… reading some of the bullshit on these blogs for while. Talk about a source for ongoing demoralization and un-enlightenment!

    Have a nice day!

  214. 214
    Joe Beese says:

    What’s the matter, John? Didn’t get your pony?

  215. 215
    martha says:

    @soonergrunt: There you go, injecting actual world and legal history into the “discussion.” Sigh.

  216. 216
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @soonergrunt: Yes, it was mclaren. I am perfectly comfortable being told I am wrong, be accused of making a stupid argument, and the like. I will not, however, continue any form of discussion on the level upon which mclaren was operating.

    I do think this whole issue would be diminished if the administration would just indict the guy.

  217. 217
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Among my other objections to this business is that Awlaki, like OBL, spends most of his time in hiding and yet the government is attributing him with super powers that make him so dangerous that gov doesn’t dare even provide the proof of why he should be killed. That exaggeration of just how dangerous the average terrorist may be to any one of us in particular seems, to me, to feed into the limitless excesses of the war on terror. When the government can declare anyone to be a bogeyman whose deterrence justifies any action by the government then I fear for the future.

  218. 218
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    The Constitution defines treason this way:

    “Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.”

    al-Awlaki pretty much meets this definition, and given that there is video footage of him wishing death upon Americans, it really wouldn’t be too difficult to convict him of treason. Or strip him of his citizenship. Why the Obama administration isn’t doing so is baffling?

    Him being in Yemen, though, probably doesn’t matter, because he’s in Al-Qaeda and Congress has effectively declared “war” on Al-Qaeda.

  219. 219

    […] Anwar Awlaki situation is a disgrace and the sooner the administration unfucks itself and realizes that this is an […]

  220. 220
    mclaren says:

    @WyldPirate:

    [Soonergrunt] seem[s] completely and total fine with suspending the Constitution here as well as being ignorant of the law as well.

    Scary, isn’t it?

    With people like Soonergrunt in America’s armed forces, we don’t need Bin Laden to destroy America. Soonergrunt is doing the terrorists’ work for them.

    [Soonnergrunt’s] other point that Al-Alawi should turn himself in is also bullshit.

    Gee…ya think?

    Let’s see — the president of the United States orders my assassination without trial and without charges. But I should turn myself in to the nearest U.S. embassy!

    Oh, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh….riiiiiiiiiiiiight. Suuuuuuuuure. Because there’s no chance that, you know, the marine guards outside the U.S. embassy would, like, shout “That’s him!” and shoot me in the head.

    Seriously. Ignorance and fascism are bad enough in a member of the U.S. armed forces, but adding this kind of stupidity on top is really pushing it.

  221. 221
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Punchy:

    Ginormous oil spills caused by gross incompetence and greed will do that…..

    True…

    But some of the name-calling and insulting is gittin’ a little too vile for anyone’s good…

    No matter how intensely you may disagree w/ another’s opinion, when you you can no longer discuss the issue civilly, you can’t work out a good solution… or any solution, for that matter…

    Or, as Maude said so well…

    Could you please capitalize f’tards? After all, we deserve some respect.

  222. 222
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @El Tiburon: WTF does Jane have to do with this? She’s angry about the public option.

    This isn’t about Obots vs. firebaggers.

  223. 223
    Stillwater says:

    @BTD: A kill or capture order is, in my view, in comformance with both domestic and international laws of war.

    Who gives a rats ass what you think about the law on this matter. We’ve got actual lawyers, on this very thread, who could present the legal case for or against extrajudicial assassinations. If you think the issue is settled simply because the US government cleverly conjured the ‘enemy combatant’ status to justify what would otherwise clearly be illegal acts of war, then you’re as morally debased as any other douche who apologizes for civilian casualties in the execution of ‘legally justified’ drone strikes.

  224. 224
    stormhit says:

    @mclaren:

    You sound like an insane person.

  225. 225
    Joe Beese says:

    @stillnotking:

    As if.

    Come November 2012, Cole will fall in line and say you have to vote for Obama because the Republican is So Terribly Scary.

  226. 226
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Joe Beese: The targeted assassination thing sucks. This is really, really, really, really bad. But the Republicans are still worse, OK? Despising certain actions of the Democrats while still preferring them to the Republicans aren’t mutually exclusive positions.

  227. 227
    daveNYC says:

    Those are pretty much the reasons people surrender when the government is looking for them for various crimes.

    Why exactly would Al-Alawi think he would have a snowball’s chance of clearing his name if he turned himself in? If he’s captured, he’s getting a military tribunal (if he’s lucky), with super secret evidence that his lawyers (if he gets any) won’t be able to see and witnesses that they won’t be able to cross.

  228. 228
    geg6 says:

    I don’t know what country these people have been living in who claim that no police or other law enforcement or semi-law enforcement types have ever in the history United States gone out with orders (formal or not so formal) to shoot and kill citizens with little to no reason for doing so.

    But it sure as hell isn’t the good ol’ US of A. I guess I can just be happy to see that the left is just as ignorant of history as the right.

  229. 229
    Joe Beese says:

    @Alwhite:

    That’s the price one pays for being prematurely right.

  230. 230
    burnspbesq says:

    @WyldPirate:

    one either has Constitutional rights or they don’t. That’s completely “black and white” or the Constitution isn’t worth the paper that it is written on which is mclaren’s entire point.

    mclaren, as always, has no point. Only in the mind of a third-grader would such questions be “completely black and white.”

    You, on the other hand, are sort of half right. I’ll accept the statement that “one either has Constitutional rights or they don’t,” but you completely elide the hard part, which is determining what those Constitutional rights are under any given set of circumstances.

  231. 231
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @daveNYC:

    Aw, come on, look at the fair treatment received by Jose Padilla.

  232. 232
    soonergrunt says:

    @Stillwater:
    Just in case you didn’t know, and maybe you did but I’m not sure, BTD is an actual lawyer.

  233. 233
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Legally killing fellow Americans?

    Somewhere, Jack Kevorkian’s lawyer is appealing his conviction.

  234. 234
    Corner Stone says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Those are pretty much the reasons people surrender when the government is looking for them for various crimes.

    What crimes?
    From what I can gather:
    US considers terror charges for cleric al-Awlaki

    The Obama administration is considering filing the first criminal charges against radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in case the CIA fails to kill him and he is captured alive in Yemen

    Hmmm…”considering filing the first criminal charges”.
    So he should turn himself in not to clear his name of no filed charges but to prevent his death.
    Now that’s what I call a system of justice!

  235. 235
    BTD says:

    @Stillwater:

    Not that it matters, but I am a lawyer too. As I said in my comment, I have engaged the issue with Greenwald comprehensively and I think he is just wrong on the law.

    I think I yelled as much as anyone about the lawlessness of the Bush Administration. I don;t recall if they did something like this, but if they did, I would not have objected as a legal matter.

    As a policy matter, there are good arguments against this policy. I think folks who oppose the policy (in this case, I do not), should stick to the policy arguments. I do not think the legal arguments are strong.

  236. 236
    cyntax says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    When the government can declare anyone to be a bogeyman whose deterrence justifies any action by the government then I fear for the future.

    Without a doubt the precedent this sets is chilling.

  237. 237
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Just in case you didn’t know, and maybe you did but I’m not sure, BTD is an actual lawyer.

    So is John Yoo. So is Alberto Gonzales.

  238. 238
    Culture of Truth says:

    “targeting someone for death, and then refusing to offer any evidence why.”

    Even assuming the former is a correct description of what is going on, they most certainly have offered evidence why.

  239. 239
    mclaren says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    al-Awlaki pretty much meets this definition, and given that there is video footage of him wishing death upon Americans, it really wouldn’t be too difficult to convict him of treason. Or strip him of his citizenship. Why the Obama administration isn’t doing so is baffling?

    No, it’s perfectly clear why the Obama administration isn’t charging Al-Awlaki with treason.

    Because there’s no evidence that Al-Awlaki has committed treason. He’s talked smack about America. Lots of Republicans have talked about fighting the federal government, overthrowing the federal government, crushing Obama, killing him if necessary — Republicans have talked a lot more trash about America than Al-Awlaki ever did.

    The Obama adminsitration knows goddamn well that if they present the evidence we’ve seen, no judge on earth would even issue an indictment against Al-Awlaki. Awlaki is just saying what a lot of other people in America have been saying, most notably Noam Chomsky and Chalmers Johnson…that if America keeps running amok and killing innocent people in the third world in secret covert assassination squads and illegal wars of aggression, people in the third world are going to become terrorists and kill Americans in retaliation.

    It’s no crime to say that. Many people in America have said it.

    Obama isn’t trying to indict Al-Awlaki because Obama can’t get an indictment. And Obama can’t get an indictment because there’s no evidence that Al-Awlaki has even committed a crime.

    People, study the history of every terror trial ever held by the U.S. government. They all fell apart. In each case, most of the charges were dropped. The government’s evidence disintegrated because the government had no evidence. In every single terror trial, the defendants were in most cases convicted not on the original charges, but on bogus vague insubstantial crap charges like “conspiracy.” Any prosecutor knows you can indict and convict a ham sandwich of conspiracy because it’s the only crime where unsubstantiated hearsay is permitted as evidence.

    Again and again, the government of the United States has proven in court that when it tries to put a supposed terrorist on trial, the terrorist isn’t a terrorist at all but some goofball who talked smack, and there’s never any hard evidence, never any forensic evidence, never any evidence of any kind that the guy even committed a crime. Like that “dirty bomber” Padilla. He put together a dirty bomb, right? Wrong. Never did. But he planned it, right? Nope, no evidence he even planned it. All he did was talk some smack about how fucked America is. Well, guess what? Lots of people talk smack about how fucked America is, and that’s not a crime.

    America has completely and totally failed to find terrorists. That’s the harsh truth of the post-9/11 world. America cannot find terrorists. And to avoid admitting that ugly little fact, the American government prefers to order the illegal assassination or kidnapping of accused terrorists…because that way, it never comes out in court that the terror charges are bullshit and the trial never comes apart and the judge never dismisses the charges, because there is no trial.

    Go through the record of America’s botched terror trials since 9/11. Again and again and again, the judges dismiss the charges. The prosecution’s case falls apart. The so-called “evidence” is always garbage, nothing but fantasies from paid informants and hearsay from people pressured to perjure themselves on the stand.

    Just google “terror trial collapses” or “judge dismisses charges terror trial.” Here’s what you get — dozens and dozens of failed botched cases:

    Sears Tower Terror Trial Collapses

    NJ court dismisses 5 out of 7 charges against alleged fund raising by Tamils

    Over and over and over again, the government brings these terror cases to trial and it turns out the evidence is such crap, the judges order the case dismissed. The prosecution’s case falls apart.

    That’s why Obama and before him the drunk-driving C student order accused terrorists kidnapped withotu trial, and now assassinated without trial — because the government has no evidence against these so-called “terrorists” for the simple reason that these people aren’t even terrorists. The American government can’t find the real terrorists. The CIA and the NSA and the DIA are too incompetent to find any terrorists, they’re all staffed with ignorant incompetent fools like soonergrunt. These agencies couldn’t find their own asses in a hall of mirror with both hands.

  240. 240
    burnspbesq says:

    @daveNYC:

    Why exactly would Al-Alawi think he would have a snowball’s chance of clearing his name if he turned himself in? If he’s captured, he’s getting a military tribunal (if he’s lucky), with super secret evidence that his lawyers (if he gets any) won’t be able to see and witnesses that they won’t be able to cross.

    That’s your hypothesis, not a fact. Why do you think he wouldn’t be dragged before a grand jury in the Western District of Texas?

  241. 241
    Culture of Truth says:

    How many people have actually read the brief?

  242. 242
    stuckinred says:

    @mclaren: You sure talk a lot of shit on the fucking internet.

  243. 243
    mclaren says:

    @stormhit:

    You sound like an insane person.

    And we have a winner! Now standing up for the rule of law and the constitution of the united states of America is “sounding like an insane person.”

  244. 244
    Corner Stone says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Another option, given al-Awlaki’s increasingly violent sermons and his collaboration with al-Qaida’s propaganda efforts, would be charging him with supporting terrorism. But that charge carries only a 15-year prison sentence, leaving the administration open to questions about how the president can authorize the CIA to essentially impose the death penalty for such a crime.

    Move along people. Nothing to see here.
    Or maybe this?

    The Nigerian man charged with the attempted bombing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, suggested in Detroit federal court Monday that he wanted to plead guilty to some charges, raising the possibility that his cooperation could form the foundation for charges against al-Awlaki.

  245. 245
    JAHILL10 says:

    @soonergrunt: As a fellow Okie, I thank you soonergrunt for bringing the voice of reason to bear. The hysteria was getting pretty thick in here for a while. Carry on.

  246. 246
    Punchy says:

    I don’t know what country these people have been living in who claim that no police or other law enforcement or semi-law enforcement types have ever in the history United States gone out with orders (formal or not so formal) to shoot and kill citizens with little to no reason for doing so.

    You could feed an entire farm with this much straw.

  247. 247
    roshan says:

    __

    These agencies couldn’t find their own asses in a hall of mirror with both hands.

    Well, well. That’s not completely true. As Bruce Lee showed in “Enter the Dragon” once someone enters a hall of mirror, it’s very difficult to kill them unless you’ve lightning fast karate chops.

  248. 248
    burnspbesq says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    So is John Yoo. So is Alberto Gonzales.

    So am I. So what? If you disagree with Armando’s analysis, I’d like to hear why. Otherwise, stop wasting John’s finite server space.

  249. 249
    ET says:

    This was the door the Bush administration opened that most of America didn’t have a problem with at the time. And once the door was opened it was never going to get closed again. Governments once given a power/authority, rarely give it up. This is why I had such a problem with this in the first place.

    And then there is what would happen if records were opened. Sets a bad precedent don’t you know. If Obama opened things up then he risks that power for future presidents including himself. The opening of records would then become a political weapon the in party would use to beat the out of party.

    So I am assume that some of what is going on is keeping power and protecting an administration’s (current & future) posterior. Still not acceptable really.

    I am worked up. A bit. But honestly most Americans don’t care and I am a bit tired of caring in their place so I don’t know how worked up I can get. Sad isn’t it?

  250. 250
    burnspbesq says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Which brief are you referring to? If you are referring to the ACLU’s memorandum in support of its motion for a preliminary injunction, I have read it, and it’s probably as good as it can be given how little they have to work with. But I didn’t find it convincing.

  251. 251
    Nick says:

    When I sit through a conversation between Brooklyn liberals of how we treat terrorists better than our own criminals, I have a hard time getting excited over this.

    It would be nice if we had civil liberties, but this is America.

  252. 252
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @burnspbesq:
    I didn’t know that you were in charge here. Sorry.

  253. 253

    Greenwald’s “I’m shocked! SHOCKED! to find that gambling is going on here” tone is a little surprising.
    American governments have been sending CIA agents around the world since 1940 to overthrow foreign governments, to interfere in foreign elections and politics, to kill people during wars. Russia was doing the same until 1990, maybe later.
    Has there been an American administration in the last 75 years which would not have argued this same way in a court case? I’m not sure whether exactly the same arguments would have been used, but I don’t find it surprising that governments would argue that courts don’t have jurisdiction over what they see as an element of foreign policy or national defense.
    And I guess if we don’t think Obama’s justice department is handling its responsibilities correctly then we can always try Patrick Thune’s.

  254. 254
    BTD says:

    @mclaren:

    Leaving aside the personal invective directed towards me, the question of Presidents ordering people killed or captured when authorized by Congress is fairly clear as a matter of law.

    The question, best framed from those arguing the President is overstepping his authority is that the September 2001 AUMF did not give the President the discretion to order belligerent operations against American citizens. I think the argument is weak. Let’s review the 2001 AUMF:

    “SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

    (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    Emphasis mine. I think the language clearly does give the President such authority. The question is what constitutional limits are placed on such authority. The habeas right applies in US controlled territory. Thus, the President can not order belligerent acts in the United States or in US-controlled territory overseas. See Hamdan.

    Awlaki is, we are told, is presently in Yemen. This brings to bear the issue of what constitutes the battlefield, both under the AUMF and the Laws of War. This is a complicated issue, and one not easily addressed in a comment. I wrote extensively on the subject, again in an exchange with Greenwald.

    In any event, reasonable minds can disagree on any number of subjects. Certainly this is one of those subjects.

  255. 255
    roshan says:

    __

    Another option, given al-Awlaki’s increasingly violent sermons …

    I think after we’re done disposing off Al-malarkey, Glenn Beck is next in line. Or should it be Michael Moore? Or Andrew Breitbart?
    Damn, democracy does offer a wide selection, doesn’t it?

  256. 256
    Nick says:

    @ET:

    I am worked up. A bit. But honestly most Americans don’t care and I am a bit tired of caring in their place so I don’t know how worked up I can get. Sad isn’t it?

    I feel the same way

  257. 257
    Martin says:

    @mclaren: Wait, you don’t think the US government has evidence that al-Awlaki has given material aid to Al-Qaeda from Yemen? That’s not a particularly rational point to start this entire discussion from.

  258. 258
    mclaren says:

    @BTD:

    Not that it matters, but I am a lawyer too.

    No you’re not. You’re an enemy combatant.

    By your own definition, you’re actively attempting to destroy the goverment of the united states of America by tearing down the constitution which undergirds it.

    We need to order your assassination, pronto, without charges and without trial.

    How ya like them apples, you fascist Oswald Rothaug-wannabe?

    Most of the Third Reich judges who gave a legal fig leaf for the regime’s atrocities killed themselves before the Nurmberg Trials. Do yourself a favor, Armando, and take poison now.

  259. 259
    stuckinred says:

    @roshan: I vote for Mclaren

  260. 260
    ET says:

    In a follow up I do sometimes wonder if having to support Bush era crap ever makes people in the administration sick.

    While I am sure some of it is to jealously guard their power I wonder if some of it is not to let the ugly secrets out out of the bag. But without them explaining exactly why they do this we won’t know.

  261. 261
    BTD says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    I’ve skimmed it, and while the invocation of state secrets is included, the main arguments are that this is not a justiciable issue.

    I think that’s correct.

  262. 262
    burnspbesq says:

    @BTD:

    Leaving aside the personal invective directed towards me

    If you leave aside the personal invective, mclaren disappears in a puff of smoke. That’s all he/she has to offer.

  263. 263
    Punchy says:

    So am I. So what? If you disagree with Armando’s analysis, I’d like to hear why. Otherwise, stop wasting John’s finite server space.

    So you’re comfortable with a defense lawyer winning every single case, every time, merely by telling the judge, “Sir, this case has national security implications. It cannot be allowed to proceed”.

    That’s how the justice system was designed to work?

  264. 264
    Tsulagi says:

    @soonergrunt:

    This guy is responsible or alleged to be responsible for the Fort Hood shooting

    Nope, Major Hasan made the decision and pulled the trigger. He should get an impartial, fair court martial with the best representation possible. Before his execution.

    Obama really is trying to be worse than Bush in some areas.

    In the quest for bipartisanship, you can never go too far.

    Don’t have a problem with a president, hopefully sparingly and with just deliberation, issuing capture or kill orders. Believe they can be justified as in obvious situations issued against bin Laden and Zawahiri.

    But a president should bear full responsibility and accountability for those orders. Where Obama goes where no president should is claiming state secrets privilege. That his orders, a president’s orders, are not subject to even minimum review for cause by a judge or anyone under any circumstances, even in a closed secret hearing with only a judge and government present. That’s wrong, especially when it involves a U.S. citizen. Obama is arguing for no responsibility or accountability under a state secrets cloak, with that transparency thingy also taking a pretty big hit too.

    Don’t get me wrong, personally think Awlaki is likely scum who could be found guilty at trial deserving an extended stay in prison. But would kinda like a judge or some impartial arbiter to take at least a cursory look at why the government might put some holes in a U.S. citizen in a foreign land before he has that opportunity to serve behind bars. No doubt a position Gibbs would bitch about as coming from the professional left.

    But hey, it’s probably 11D chess. Rather than take a state secrets precedent (if won) and run with it later say targeting NY mosque builders, President Palin or any Pubber in her heels will be so appalled at Obama’s action they’ll do the opposite. Brilliant move.

  265. 265
    burnspbesq says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    I didn’t know that you were in charge here. Sorry.

    Now you know. Don’t let it happen again.

  266. 266
    El Cid says:

    @Cathie from Canada: Traditionally, the US has preferred to hire client thugs to carry out assassinations and slaughters at least since WWII. The US foreign policy establishment preferred not to be seen as openly doing such things directly. (I.e., even where US agents almost certainly carried out direct covert action, it wasn’t admitted up front.) Plus, it’s a lot cheaper and easier to do it indirectly, since there are so many killers eager to be hired.

  267. 267
    Matt says:

    The “citizens” who are defending these actions are doing far more damage to America than Al-Awlaki ever could; should you all be illegally assassinated without trial or notice to protect the country?

    Even if Al-Awlaki deserves this punishment (which we have COURTS to determine), there are hundreds or thousands of other people who would ultimately suffer the same fate who likely do NOT. Just because you don’t believe the government would ever come after you doesn’t mean they should have the power to do so.

    First they came for the terrorists, understand?

  268. 268
    Cain says:

    @Keith G:

    I cannot support him if he does not at least try. And if he were to continue on this trend line, I will have to work against his re-election. Leaders who chisel away at my liberties (in real, tangible ways) must not be enabled.

    Yeah, I’m afraid I’m in agreement. Civil liberties is the bedrock of our society. We cannot afford to lose that to a tyrannical government. If he doesn’t curtail the DOJ then I’ll have a hard time voting for him come 2012.

    This is real bullshit. It is very Bushian, and I’m unhappy.

    cain

  269. 269
    BTD says:

    @mclaren:

    Sigh. When I take up arms or assist in the taking up of arms against the government, and I am found outside of US-controlled territory, then it is true, the President can order belligerent action against me.

    The Padilla case is instructive here.. The Bush Administration captured an American citizen in Chicago and took the position that it could designate him an enemy combatant. The disgraceful 4th Circuit opinion supporting this outrageous view was dropped by the Bush Administration when they realized the Supreme Court was going to spank them on it.

    By contrast, Awlaki is not on US soil and, it is alleged, is in league with Al Qaida. In this case, I believe, the US could try to extradite him from Yemen. The problem is Yemen will not extradite him, and I imagine, won’t take action against him.

    It is not an easy call as a question of policy.

  270. 270
    Nick says:

    @Cain:

    Civil liberties is the bedrock of our society.

    Since when? I mean look I’m all for civil liberties, but I’m not under the ruse that we ever actually had them.

  271. 271
    burnspbesq says:

    @Punchy:

    So you’re comfortable with a defense lawyer winning every single case, every time, merely by telling the judge, “Sir, this case has national security implications. It cannot be allowed to proceed”. That’s how the justice system was designed to work?

    I don’t believe I said that, or anything that could reasonably be interpreted in that way. As you should recall since you’re a regular here, I have repeatedly taken the view that the way the state secrets privilege is currently administered is profoundly wrong, and nothing has happened since the last time I said that to make me change my mind.

    The very limited point I made in that comment was that if whoever it was disagreed with BTD’s legal analysis (which he has now outlined above, in comment 250), they should explain why they found it unconvincing. If you think that’s an unreasonable request, I like to hear you explain why you think so. This blog could do with a bit more light and a lot less heat.

  272. 272
    Peter J says:

    @Punchy:

    Just imagine what graft, theft, and illegalities President Palin will hide with this state’s secret precedent.

    Which email will President Palin be using? Will it be president45SarahPalin AT yahoo DOT com, president45SarahPalin AT hotmail DOT com, or president45SarahPalin AT googlemail DOT com?

  273. 273
    mclaren says:

    @BTD:

    Like the Patriot Acts I and II, that law is clearly and self-evidently unconstitutional. It makes sense that you don’t realize it, Armando, because you’ve got your tongue too far up giant corporations’ asses defending them against crimes and frauds against consumers to bother studying constitutional law.

    Amendment five of the constitution, Armando. Read it:

    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 offence 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.

    Amendment six of the constitution, Armando. Read it:

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    Show me the due process in the 2001 AUMF. Show me Al-Awlaki’s Grand Jury indictment. You can’t. There isn’t any. The 2001 AUMF is unconstitutional.

    Show the nature and the cause of the legal accusation against Al-Awlaki. You can’t. There isn’t any. It’s a “state secret.” That’s unconstitutional on its face.

    Learn the law, Armando, or just admit you don’t give a damn how illegal the actions of people in power are because you’re a craven bully-worshipper and crypto-fascist lickspittle.

  274. 274
    Nick says:

    @Punchy:

    So you’re comfortable with a defense lawyer winning every single case, every time, merely by telling the judge, “Sir, this case has national security implications. It cannot be allowed to proceed”.
    That’s how the justice system was designed to work?

    but that does happen every often

  275. 275
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @ET:

    This was the door the Bush administration opened that most of America didn’t have a problem with at the time.

    Kinda wish you’d phrase that ‘most of America’ part differently.

    Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I dislike thinking a majority of the country was indeed okay w/ this sort of thing right from the start. I know I didn’t like it…

    And once the door was opened it was never going to get closed again. Governments once given a power/authority, rarely give it up. This is why I had such a problem with this in the first place.

    ‘Given such power’ or take such a power upon themselves?

    And yes, that is why I had a problem w/ this in the first place too…

  276. 276
    Martin says:

    @Punchy: I think you’re blurring a pretty important line here. If we assume that al-Awlaki is a target on the infinitely broad battlefield that is the war against Al Qaeda (a reasonable assumption since the Government has said that he is) then you’re suggesting that any relative of any individual who might be targeted in war (anyone in Afghanistan, for example) has some kind of due process right here. I don’t see how that is any way reasonable.

    I think the problem here is the AUMF. It provides sufficient authority to the WH to get us into Iraq, to allow drone strikes into Pakistan, and all manner of things that seem as though there should have been a congressional check. Now, we may not like this, but Congress did approve it so perhaps we should start our own cheering section against ‘activist legislators’. But it seems that this starts and ends with the AUMF, and if any of these things should be addressed, it needs to start with a repeal or at least an augmentation to the AUMF.

  277. 277
    BTD says:

    @mclaren:

    If and when Awlaki is charged with a crime and the government tries to punish him for said alleged crime, then of course the 5th and 6th (and 7th as well) Amendments must be adhered to.

    But this is not what the government is saying. Their position is that Awlaki is an enemy combatant subject to the 2001 AUMF and the Laws of War.

    The President is not invoking his law enforcement power in this instance, but rather his Commander in Chief power, in this instance based on the 2001 AUMF.

  278. 278
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Punchy:

    At a minimum, courts can and do review the government’s support for this claim, including supporting documents, etc. supporting this argument in chambers.

  279. 279
    Culture of Truth says:

    @BTD:
    Indeed.

  280. 280
    BTD says:

    @Martin:

    The AUMF, both the 2001 and 2002 versions, are entirely too broad.

  281. 281
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mclaren:

    And we have a winner! Now standing up for the rule of law and the constitution of the united states of America is “sounding like an insane person.”

    No, insisting that your opponents must masturbate to Holocaust pictures if they disagree with you is what makes you sound like an insane person.

  282. 282
    Nick says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity:

    Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I dislike thinking a majority of the country was indeed okay w/ this sort of thing right from the start. I know I didn’t like it…

    Personally, it’s a lot easier to just expect the worst from Americans, because you’re usually right and if you’re not, it’s a pleasant surprise.

    I saw one internet poll about this a while back where a plurality disagreed, something like 31%, but like 55% either supported it or supported it with conditions.

  283. 283
    Libby says:

    George Washington teaches us:

    “But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

    State secret assassinations, eh? Well, now, as a Believer, I fell better about submitting my medical records and electrical usage history to the Benevolent One.

  284. 284
    mclaren says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If you leave aside the personal invective, mclaren disappears in a puff of smoke. That’s all he/she has to offer.

    Thanks for telling that grotesquely stupid lie, burnspbesq, because it lets me gut you like fish and leave you wriggling on the dock.

    I’ve specifically quoted the constitution 3 different times. the self-identified “lawyers” here like Armando (BTD) and burnspbesq haven’t quoted the constitution once, not once, to justify any of this indefensible atrocity by Obama.

    And you know why these Oswald Rothaug-wannbes haven’t quoted the constitution to justify the enemy combatant horseshit and Obama’s assassination order of Al-Awlaki?

    Because these Oswald Rothaug-wannbes know that the constitution expressly and specifically prohibits exactly what they’re trying to argue in favor of — namely, the government of the united states assassinating a U.S. citizen without trial and without charges and without any evidence that he ever committed a crime.

    You can’t find a single mention of an “enemy combatant” anywhere in the constitution. It’s all made-up bullshit. It has no legal validity. It has no legal precedent. It’s complete crap from a legal standpoint, a legal nullity, a legal vacuity ginned up by corrupt Bush lawyers as a fig leaf for his crimes against the constitution.

    So who here is actually arguing on the basis of the law?

    I am.

    And who here is using innuendo and name-calling and blowing smoke up everyone’s asses to sing and dance and avoid citing the law?

    Why, BTD and burnspbesq, of course. It’s the oldest lawyer trick in the book — when you have no facts, sing and dance and throw dirt in the air, call your opponent every name in the book.

    You won’t find these two Oswald Rothaug-wannes quoting the constitution to defend Obama’s assassination order because the constitution forbids it. The know that. They’re just flinging poo in every direction to keep the rest of you from realizing it too.

    Too bad, guys. Didn’t work.

    Oh, in case you’re confused about who Oswald Rothaug was…he was a Nazi judge who condemned Jews to death under blatantly illegal Third Reich Laws like those that made it a crime for a Jew to have sex with a German. He was convicted at the Nuremberg Trials and sentenced to death for participating in crimes against humanity. That’s the future that awaits both of you, BTD and burnspbesq.

    As Martin Luther King remarked “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

  285. 285
    soonergrunt says:

    @BTD:

    In any event, reasonable minds can disagree on any number of subjects. Certainly this is one of those subjects.

    Normally, I would agree with this wholeheartedly. But while the subject is a matter for disagreement between reasonable minds, it is the reasonable mind that is missing on the other side of the argument.

  286. 286
    El Tiburon says:

    @El Cid:

    Why do people get so excited about who the government kills?

    Nice.

  287. 287
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @BTD:

    By contrast, Awlaki is not on US soil and, it is alleged, is in league with Al Qaida.

    It’s that “alleged” part that people are angry about. The neverending war on terror is not World War II. You can’t tell who is or isn’t an enemy based on whether or not they’re firing a weapon at you. The president should not be able to declare someone an enemy combatant and then be under no legal requirement to justify that declaration in any way. As others have said, it’s really the 9/18/01 AUMF that’s the problem here, because declaring an unending war against an enemy that is by design difficult to identify is really bad policy. But even given then problems with the AUMF we ought to be trying to maintain the rule of law, and a basic underpinning of that rule of law is that the president can’t have somebody axed just ‘cuz.

  288. 288
    WereBear says:

    I vastly appreciate Soonergrunt’s take on this, having read the whole discussion; we should take a law enforcement approach.

    Shouldn’t we?

    And I honestly don’t see what his citizenship has to do with it. Perhaps legally… but morally, it doesn’t matter.

  289. 289
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @mclaren: Leaving aside all substantive issues for now, WHY ARE YOU SUCH A DOUCHEBAG? I find it difficult to believe that you are acting like this because of righteous indignation, because you are ALWAYS like this. Stop wishing death upon others.

  290. 290
    Nick says:

    @mclaren:

    As Martin Luther King remarked “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

    you have to realize, assassinating a US citizens who is accused of saying seditious things in a foreign land while palling around with people who murdered fellow US citizens IS justice.

  291. 291
    mclaren says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, insisting that your opponents must masturbate to Holocaust pictures if they disagree with you is what makes you sound like an insane person.

    This from a woman who wailed that she “didn’t get the help she needed” for her severe mental problems while in high school.

    If I were you, I’d be somewhat circumspect about calling other people mentally ill.

  292. 292
    Corner Stone says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    You can’t tell who is or isn’t an enemy based on whether or not they’re firing a weapon at you.

    If you’re firing a weapon at me I can guarantee you that you will not be invited over for enchilada dinner come this next Christmas.

  293. 293
    El Tiburon says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    WTF does Jane have to do with this? She’s angry about the public option.

    Yeah, and a lot of yahoos around here got angry at Jane getting angry, like she was some kind of crazy She-Devil.

    Many of you acted like she had no reason to bitch and get on her high horse about what she saw (and is partly if not mostly correct about) was a terrible policy being touted as a Major Victory!!! And she caught shit about it here. Well, seems the shoe is on the other foot and we are out of legs.

  294. 294
    Corner Stone says:

    @WereBear:

    Perhaps legally… but morally, it doesn’t matter.

    Unfortunately, IMO, it kind of does matter.

  295. 295
    Joe Beese says:

    @mclaren:

    Learn the law, Armando, or just admit you don’t give a damn how illegal the actions of people in power are because you’re a craven bully-worshipper and crypto-fascist lickspittle.

    Not only that… he was a Hillary supporter!

  296. 296
    stuckinred says:

    @El Tiburon: Fuck Jane Hamsher

  297. 297
    mclaren says:

    @burnspbesq:

    That’s your hypothesis, not a fact. Why do you think he wouldn’t be dragged before a grand jury in the Western District of Texas?

    No, you ignorant fool, that’s a reasonable deduction given the facts of the case.

    Why do we think Al-Awlaki wouldn’t be dragged before a grand jury in the Western District of Texas? Because Obama has ordered him assassinated without charges and without a trial.

    Christ, you can’t be this stupid, can you?

    Oh…wait…you’re a lawyer. Silly question.

  298. 298
    DBrown says:

    People- you have all forgotten that neither bush or Obama is really at fault here: the crime was done by the so-called founding fathers. The Constitution clearly states that in times of invasion or war the Rit of habious corpus can be suspended. Guess what, the great legal minds of this worthless country feel that a dozen cave dealing losers define a war for the largest superpower on earth and simply by killing fewer amerikans than die every month by preventable medical stupidity by these same cave dwellers using fools in four stolen airplanes constitutes an invasion of said empire – go figure. There lies the problem and what needs to be amended out of the document! Add that far too many powers that be (the top 1%) are chickens and cowards, and you now have that we are at war, been invaded and have had the Rit of Habious Corpus suspended – great, what a f’ing country.

  299. 299
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @WereBear:

    I vastly appreciate Soonergrunt’s take on this, having read the whole discussion; we should take a law enforcement approach.
    __
    Shouldn’t we?

    Yes, we should, and under that approach al-Awlaki is entitled to due process before the government gets to decide that he’s wanted dead or alive. Evidence needs to be compiled and presented, warrants need to be obtained, etc.

    The only approach under which you can just kill the guy because the government has super secret info that it can’t show anybody that says he’s a real bad guy is the wartime commander-in-chief approach, and that’s flawed because the very nature of the “War on Terror” is FUBAR.

  300. 300
    Elie says:

    @mclaren:

    Shut up man. Just shut up.

    You are just screaming and hurling insults — as though that strengthens your arguments.

    People like you, the Marat’s, the self appointed ” I know the best and only way, perfectionists”, will destroy way more than you ever create of value…

    You just want YOUR autocracy, your abusive values to rule.

  301. 301
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @El Tiburon: That was a policy disagreement, and the biggest beef with Jane was not that she was upset about the bill, but that she was actively campaigning to get the entire thing killed. Which I have trouble conceiving as any kind of “victory.”

    This assassination thing is different. The question isn’t really about practicality or execution.

  302. 302
    Martin says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    WHY ARE YOU SUCH A DOUCHEBAG?

    Some men are born douchebags, some achieve douchebaginess, and some have douchebaginess thrust upon them. We’ll never know what category McLaren falls in.

  303. 303
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Fine. I’ll take my weapon and go hunt for my own enchiladas.

  304. 304
    Nick says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    The president should not be able to declare someone an enemy combatant and then be under no legal requirement to justify that declaration in any way.

    no, maybe not, but where are the courts in this?

    As others have said, it’s really the 9/18/01 AUMF that’s the problem here, because declaring an unending war against an enemy that is by design difficult to identify is really bad policy.

    Policy rushed through in the days after a major attack with a population lusting for blood is rarely good.

  305. 305
    BTD says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Sure. It is a difficult issue.

    Suppose for a moment that the government convinced you that Awlaki was in fact in league with Al Qaida. Do you think the kill or capture order illegal?

    Then the issue is how to convince and who to convince? I think Cole’s mention of the drone strikes is again illustrative. The President issues orders authorizing drone strikes based on certain intelligence. People die. And even in the best cases, the targets are not always correct. But in war, this happens.

    Is Awlaki’s citizenship the difference as a legal matter?

  306. 306
    soonergrunt says:

    You people are really going after him for his hatred of strawberry/kiwi pie. I know people are loyal to their pies, but this is a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?

  307. 307
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @fasteddie9318: Use a humane trap. Enchillada pelts are quite valuable.

  308. 308
    Nick says:

    @mclaren:

    Why do we think Al-Awlaki wouldn’t be dragged before a grand jury in the Western District of Texas?

    Even if his assassination had not be ordered, what makes you think he would’ve been dragged before a grand jury anyway?

    In order to get him, Yemen either has to hand him over or we have to invade Yemen to get him, either way he isn’t going to go quietly, and he probably wouldn’t be taken alive.

    Personally, I’m more in favor of a trial in absentia.

  309. 309
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Although chastened, I will say that my point to soonergrunt was that laws, particularly when you get into the constitutionality of government actions, are subject to a good deal of interpretation. BTD interprets the law in this case one way, another equally qualified lawyer might interpret it another.

  310. 310
    Xboxershorts says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I give a fuck about citizenship and you should give a fuck about it too. Because YOUR government can do the same fucking thing to you or me that they’re doing to Awlaki.

    Citizenship matters because it should guarantee you a day in fucking court.

    yes, fuck wad, I served in the fucking navy and I sure as fuck know how the hell to use the fucking word fuck.

  311. 311
    BTD says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Your last sentence is absolutely correct. Indeed, I have the utmost respect for Glenn Greenwald as an attorney. Really really sharp. But I think he is wrong on the law here.

    But I admit he may be right and I may be wrong.

  312. 312
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @BTD:
    Thank you. If it was cut-and-dried then we wouldn’t need a Supreme Court.

    It seems to me that much of our response to terrorism has been created on an ad hoc basis with little thought to the long term repercussions – the broadly written AUMF being a prime example.

  313. 313
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mclaren:

    This from a woman who wailed that she “didn’t get the help she needed” for her severe mental problems while in high school.
    __
    If I were you, I’d be somewhat circumspect about calling other people mentally ill.

    More like, “Takes one to know one,” sweetie pie.

    I’m getting the help that I need. Why haven’t you? From my personal experience, I can see that you need some very serious and urgent help with your problems. Don’t end up like I did, regretting for years afterward that you tried to pretend everything was okay and you didn’t need any help.

  314. 314
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Once you have that type of situation, you cannot make a call that a case is black or white.

  315. 315
    mclaren says:

    @Nick:

    you have to realize, assassinating a US citizens who is accused of saying seditious things in a foreign land while palling around with people who murdered fellow US citizens IS justice.

    Don’t tell me what I have to realize.

    You’re about to get an education in what I realize.

    Show me the hard evidence that Al-Awlaki has said anything seditious.

    Al-Awlaki has said “O, America, if you continue to transgress against us and kill us, we will kill you.” How is that seditious? Chalmers Johnson has been saying that for 25 years. That’s not sedition, that’s common sense. If America keeps using its military power to kill innocent people in third world countries, a lot of terrorists are going to rise up and kill Americans. Duh. That’s uncontroversial. It’s simple logic. That’s not sedition, it’s obvious common sense.

    Show me the evidence that Al-Awlaki is “palling around with people who murdered fellow US citizens” — and then show me the law that says this is a crime.

    A lot of people have palled around with people who murdered fellow U.S. citizens. There are women who write love notes to serial killers and repeatedly visit them in prison. There are people who praise and hang around neo-Nazis convicted of murder and various crimes against the government.

    Is that a crime?

    It is not.

    This is America. “Palling around” with the wrong people isn’t a crime here in America. Learn the law. Talking trash about America isn’t a crime, palling around with the wrong people isn’t a crime (unless you’re a felon on proabtion with special conditions — but Al-Awlaki isn’t a felon on probation with special conditions, so that doesn’t apply, and in any case it’s only a parole violation to associate with the wrong people, not a violation of the law).

    Show me an actual crime Al-Awlaki has committed. Where is the evidence? Let me see it. Bring it here, show everyone, let us all see it.

    You can’t. Because there is no evidence that Al-Awlaki has committed one single crime under American law.

    That’s what I realize. Abusing the authority of the united state government to summarily execute people who have not committed one single crime under American law without charges and without a trial isn’t “justice,” that’s lynching. It’s this.

    This is what you’re futilely trying to defend.

    Shame on you. For shame. You besmirch the good name of America. Your entire argument is a shitstain on the American flag.

  316. 316
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @BTD:

    Suppose for a moment that the government convinced you that Awlaki was in fact in league with Al Qaida. Do you think the kill or capture order illegal?

    Just me? I’ve got no authority to make a determination like that. If they’ve got the evidence, why not take it before a judge and demonstrate it? If this can’t be done in federal court, then we need to set up a credible national security court or expand the purview of the ATRC or FISA courts for this type of thing.

    I think Cole’s mention of the drone strikes is again illustrative. The President issues orders authorizing drone strikes based on certain intelligence. People die. And even in the best cases, the targets are not always correct. But in war, this happens.
    __
    Is Awlaki’s citizenship the difference as a legal matter?

    Drone strikes are a big problem as well. Calling in an airstrike on an enemy position in battle is one thing; it’s easy to see where the enemy is. Calling in a drone hit on a house because we heard third-hand that somebody who might be involved with al-Qaeda might be there is far more problematic. Again, it’s because this “war” is by its nature totally and inevitably fucked up.

  317. 317
    burnspbesq says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    If you’d said that the first time, I would have agreed with you. Because I do agree. In this case, I think Armando’s interpretation of the AUMF is more likely than not correct – and he and Martin are exactly right when they say that the overbreadth of the AUMF is the root of the problem.

  318. 318
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @burnspbesq:
    I suffer from Premature Posting Syndrome.

  319. 319
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: For what it’s worth, I agree.

  320. 320
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @mclaren: He has called for the death of the “Everybody Draw Mohammed” columnist. That’s not a treasonable offense, but it’s almost definitely a crime. If, as Corner Stone mentioned, they can tie him to the underwear bomber, then that would be evidence of treason.

  321. 321
    mclaren says:

    @Elie:

    Shut up man. Just shut up.

    Faced with an argument of such convincing logic, no doubt everyone must immediately concede. Why hasn’t a defense lawyer thought of this brilliant ploy? The defense lawyer can simply shout “Shut up man,” in court, and the judge will immediately order a directed verdict of innocent.

    What a brilliant mind you have, Elie.

    You are just screaming and hurling insults—as though that strengthens your arguments.

    Screaming is generally recognized as all caps. As you may have noticed, I don’t use a lot of caps. Once in a while, but not often. As for hurling insults, I’ve made statements of fact that people find unpleasant. I believe the quality of response can be judged by soonergrunt’s eloquent argument “Fuck you.”

    People like you, the Marat’s, the self appointed ” I know the best and only way, perfectionists”, will destroy way more than you ever create of value…You just want YOUR autocracy, your abusive values to rule.

    Oh, absolutely. Quoting the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution of the united states is clearly and self-evidently an effort to promote “MY autocracy.” Nothing says “The Grand Terror” of the French Revolution like…the amendments of the constitution of the united states that guarantee due process and the right to habeas corpus, the right to face one’s accuser in court, to right know the charges on which you are indicted, and the right to a jury of one’s peers. That’s the very epitome of autocracy right there.

    Yes, ma’am. Do keep going. And remember, they’re not laughing at you, everyone is laughing with you.

  322. 322

    @mclaren:

    don’t bother with nick, he’s a troll who gets off on saying stupid shit and then making everyone here listen to his specious arguments.

  323. 323
    stuckinred says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: If people stop talking to this fucking dirtbag he’ll go away.

  324. 324
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @mclaren: “My opponents are enemies of America that masturbate to Hitler and genocide” is not a statement of fact. At least I hope it isn’t.

  325. 325

    add@brendancalling:

    adding, last week he was claiming I said all sorts of shit i have never said, and then when i called him on it claimed he was using the “general you”.

    So i had to slap that weasely lie down too. Anyway, that’s his role here.

  326. 326
    Punchy says:

    then you’re suggesting that any relative of any individual who might be targeted in war (anyone in Afghanistan, for example) has some kind of due process right here.

    Not suggesting that at all if the individual isn’t an American citizen. But this guy is, as repulsive as it is. He is due a different process, unless America is ready to jettison myriad Amendments.

  327. 327
    Brachiator says:

    @Martin:

    I think the problem here is the AUMF. It provides sufficient authority to the WH to get us into Iraq, to allow drone strikes into Pakistan, and all manner of things that seem as though there should have been a congressional check. Now, we may not like this, but Congress did approve it so perhaps we should start our own cheering section against ‘activist legislators’. But it seems that this starts and ends with the AUMF, and if any of these things should be addressed, it needs to start with a repeal or at least an augmentation to the AUMF.

    Lot of good posts here. I think you get to the heart of the problem in the over-broadness of the current law.

  328. 328
    Bullsmith says:

    Read the whole thread, and I have to say how disappointed I am at how many people, like BTD and soonergrunt, have basically conceded that anything the Pres calls part of the war on terror trumps the Constitution, the rule of law and so on.

    If the State Secrets argument prevails, then president can kill any American without explaining why. If he can kill any American, surely he can do anything else to them too. Basically it’s an indefinite war and an indefinite suspension of any and all Constitutional rights along with it. This isn’t the fog of war, this is a careful undermining of constraints on the President.

    To those who say this guy’s so obviously bad or that this kind of stuff has being going on forever, be it in war zones or by law enforcement, it that’s true then why does this executive need NEW powers and NEW exemptions from judicial review?

  329. 329
    Corner Stone says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    If, as Corner Stone mentioned, they can tie him to the underwear bomber, then that would be evidence of treason.

    I mentioned that claim because I found it suspicious in the extreme. This guy “might” agree to finger al-Awlaki and plead guilty if they’ll reduce his sentence?
    Pretty standard procedure in a lot of criminal cases, I’ll agree. But, IMO, if the bomber in custody could actually prove al-Awlaki masterminded the attempt then they would give him his deal and get charges filed asap.
    Maybe I’m overly sceptical, but the whole thing just stinks.

  330. 330
    geg6 says:

    @Punchy:

    So you’re saying this never happens or happened, just like that fount of all truth, McLaren?

    Wow. Just…wow.

  331. 331
    Steve says:

    @BTD:

    The problem is Yemen will not extradite him, and I imagine, won’t take action against him.

    Actually, Yemen is perfectly happy to take action against him. They even tried to kill him with an air strike at one time. The problem is that he’s holed up with his powerful tribe and the government of Yemen doesn’t have the physical ability to bring him to justice. It’s similar to the situation with Pakistan where they don’t have full sovereign control over part of their territory.

  332. 332
    soonergrunt says:

    @Xboxershorts:
    What the fuck does veteran status or non status have to do with a fucking thing here? Did I ever say anything about “as a veteran, I think” as if that has fuck-all to do with it?
    So you were in the fucking navy? So fucking what? Some other fucking guy running around here was in the fucking army and he disagrees with my fucking opinion on this subject too. John Cole is a fucking vet. All that fucking means is that fucking veterans can fucking disagree on things. This is fucking news to whom, exactly? And what does our shared ability to use the word fuck over and over again have to do with the fucking price of fucking tea in fucking China?

    American fucking citizens who are suspected of fucking murder right here in the United Fucking States, but haven’t been fucking indicted yet (the vast majority of fuckers arrested are never fucking indicted) frequently find deadly fucking force used against them when they fucking flee or fucking resist. This is standard procedure for dealing with violent fucking people. Their fucking citizenship never enters the fucking equation, and it shouldn’t in this fucking case either.

  333. 333
    benjoya says:

    @Steve:
    “if everyone agrees that this guy deserves killing”

    you mean “if the president has assured us this guy deserves to die,” which really isn’t enough for the likes of post-magna-carta me. YMMV, obviously.

  334. 334
    Church Lady says:

    Strange, isn’t it, how one day the President is an expert on Constitutional law, and the next he’s shredding the constitution? The gnashing of teeth is getting so loud that I can barely hear the rending of garments. Is this really a case of Bush = Obama?

    In the immortal words of Neil Sedaka, breaking up is hard to dooooooooo………..

  335. 335
    Church Lady says:

    @soonergrunt: Wow, that was fucking EPIC! I think I’m in love.

  336. 336
    mclaren says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    He has called for the death of the “Everybody Draw Mohammed” columnist. That’s not a treasonable offense, but it’s almost definitely a crime.

    Really? What crime, exactly?

    You see, what baffles me is the fact that here in America we don’t seem to prosecute crimes involving people who call for other peoples’ deaths.

    Ann Coulter has called for “liberals to be executed, so that they can be physically intimidated.” Coulter has called for the death by poisoning of Supreme Court judges.

    Ann Couler: “We need someone to put rat poisoning [sic] in Justice Stevens’ creme brulee…”

    Coulter has called for the murder of the New York Times editorial staff who reported on the warrantless wiretapping program.

    Ann Coulter has called for the deaths of a lot more people than Al-Awlaki has. If this is such a grievous crime, why hasn’t Ann Coulter been targeted for summary assassination?

    Please explain to me why we need to order the assassination of Al-Awlaki for his alleged “crime” of calling for the death of one Dutch citizen but we don’t need to order the assassination of Ann Coulter for calling the deaths of multiple American citizens, including a justice of the Supreme Court.

    Do elaborate. Take your time. Use as much fine legal logic as you need. I’ll wait.

    If, as Corner Stone mentioned, they can tie him to the underwear bomber, then that would be evidence of treason.

    No, that’s not evidence of anything other than conspiracy in attempted murder. Moreover, this is completely in the realm of fantasy. It belongs to the same category as the hypothetical that if you gave those box cutters to the 19 hijackers, we would be justified in ordering your assassination. But where’s the evidence that you did any such thing?

    Do you people notice how desperate and frantic the arguments in favor of this atrocity have become?

    “If Al-Awlaki did [X], then [Y]…” Yes, and if Al-Awlaki murdered Julius Caesar, he should tried in the ancient Roman senate. But this belongs to the realm of fantasy and delusion. There’s not the slightest iota of evidence for these wild accusations against Al-Awlaki, not a jot of proof, not one tittle of forensic evidence, not one scintilla of testimony as far as anyone can tell.

    No proof. No evidence. Nothing.

    Bring us some evidence, people. The law does not operate on wild surmise and crazed conjecture. You can’t get an indictment against someone because you whisper “Ooooohhhh, he might be a baaaaaaaaaaaad guy!”

    That doesn’t work here in America. You need actual proof. You need something called “evidence.”

    Where is it?

    Show it to us.

    Then we can talk.

    Otherwise, you people (soonergrunt, BTD, burnspbesq) are all blowing smoke up our asses. You’re trying to obscure the plain simple fact that the United States government has not produced one iota of evidence to show that Al-Awlaki has committed any crime whatsoever.

  337. 337
    Jack says:

    The myth of citizenship persists. When the rump state needs to drop it entirely for the bulk of us, it will. The fight over civil liberties is the fight to keep the definition of “citizen” as broad as possible, for as long as possible.

    But, it’s a doomed effort, because politics don’t determine economics. Politics is epiphenomenal to economics – and the last thirty years of economic restructuring, adjustment and outright assault have already prepared the ground for a new set of initial conditions.

    An awareness already present in “progressive” arguments for neo-liberal globalization, from Yglesias and Klein, and with a slightly older pedigree among glibertarians and free-marketeers.

    The age of the citizen, lasting roughly as long as the Westphalian order, is coming to end. We’re seeing its death throes.

    I don’t know what exactly will replace it, but given the near absolute domination of the social space by corporations, I imagine it’ll resemble something along the lines of the patron-clientage which already exists between corporate hierarchies and their employees, and between large corporations and smaller supply and service ones.

    And then, you’ll stay alive by getting yourself the right contract protection racket, insurance company and indemnity organizations.

  338. 338
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @soonergrunt: That is almost as good a workout as that word has gotten since this statement: Fuck, the fucking fucker’s fucked.

  339. 339
    geg6 says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Many of you acted like she had no reason to bitch and get on her high horse about what she saw (and is partly if not mostly correct about) was a terrible policy being touted as a Major Victory And she caught shit about it here. Well, seems the shoe is on the other foot and we are out of legs.

    Hahahahahaha. Too fucking funny.

    No one here was against a public option and the just horrible nightmarish policy she whined about was all anyone was ever gonna get in the real world that people like Jane obviously prefer not to live in.

    But, hey. She’s palling around with Grover Norquist and his ilk and he hates on Obama, too, so it’s all good.

  340. 340
    soonergrunt says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    It seems to me that much of our response to terrorism has been created on an ad hoc basis with little thought to the long term repercussions – the broadly written AUMF being a prime example.

    That much is true, but it also doesn’t relieve the President, through and with his lawfully designated subordinates, of his duty to act when a threat presents itself, or when the opportunity to end that threat presents itself.

  341. 341
    Punchy says:

    So you’re saying this never happens or happened

    I rarely deal with absolutes. So I would not have said something “never happens”. You included a bunch of absolute “no” and “ever” adjectives that were strawman.

    This thread is getting tiresome.

  342. 342
    geg6 says:

    @Church Lady:

    You know, you and McLaren should get a room. Because you’re both fucking nutcase trolls.

  343. 343
    Mike from Philly says:

    “American fucking citizens who are suspected of fucking murder right here in the United Fucking States, but haven’t been fucking indicted yet (the vast majority of fuckers arrested are never fucking indicted) frequently find deadly fucking force used against them when they fucking flee or fucking resist.”

    Really? People “accused” of murder but not formally charged are physically assaulted in the US. Since when? And if so, why is this a good thing?

    Did you people sleep through school, or did they not teach civics in whatever backwater you grew up in? What you’re describing is against the law and is one of the reasons we seceded from the United Kingdom. To defend it now makes you look like an idiot.

    At BEST.

  344. 344
    Brachiator says:

    @mclaren:

    Please explain to me why we need to order the assassination of Al-Awlaki for his alleged “crime” of calling for the death of one Dutch citizen but we don’t need to order the assassination of Ann Coulter for calling the deaths of multiple American citizens, including a justice of the Supreme Court.

    The claim is that Anwar al-Awlaki has “become ‘operational’ as a senior talent recruiter, motivator, and participant in planning and training “for al-Qaeda and all of its franchises.” Planning and training is not the same thing as just using outrageous rhetoric.

  345. 345
    Corner Stone says:

    @geg6:

    But, hey. She’s palling around with Grover Norquist and his ilk and he hates on Obama, too, so it’s all good.

    Somebody tell the CIA to re-task that fucking drone over Louisiana/TX. Wax her ass, post haste.

  346. 346
    Nick says:

    @Steve:

    Actually, Yemen is perfectly happy to take action against him. They even tried to kill him with an air strike at one time.

    Well, gee, as long as they don’t take that kind of action against Yemeni citizens.

  347. 347
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mike from Philly:

    Really? People “accused” of murder but not formally charged are physically assaulted in the US. Since when? And if so, why is this a good thing?

    That’s the funny thing.
    Apparently, because some hapless SOB got done dirty somewhere, this is all blase, the norm, expected…etc etc and shit.

  348. 348
    Hugin & Munin says:

    Cornerstone: Nah, we better nuke her from orbit…

  349. 349
    Steve says:

    @benjoya:

    you mean “if the president has assured us this guy deserves to die,” which really isn’t enough for the likes of post-magna-carta me. YMMV, obviously.

    No, that’s not what I mean, actually. I was responding to someone who said they didn’t dispute this guy’s guilt, but were concerned about the precedent anyway. Thanks for not trying very hard to understand before suggesting I have a 12th-century view of civil liberties, that’s very persuasive rhetoric.

  350. 350
    geg6 says:

    @Punchy:

    Well, to be fair here, it wasn’t me that brought up the “never” and “no” and “ever” adjectives. In the original post that you call filled with strawmen, I was simply replying to your buddy McLaren who was the one who stated that law enforcement or the military (or their equivalent) have never before in American history been given an order to shoot to kill for little or no reason other than that they could.

    But hey, some people’s strawmen are just the anguished cry of the true progressives!

    And these idiots wonder why I insist that I’m a liberal. If this is the best progressives can do, count me out. I don’t see the difference between them and the far right as far as reality and actual governance goes.

  351. 351
    Malron says:

    I would have to exhaust all my outrage at the thousands of black and brown Americans that are imprisoned or murdered in the states without due process before I begin to worry about this Alwaki character. I will casually chuckle at this bit of disingenuous derangement, though:

    Please explain why the majority of Democrats are wrong for wanting to primary Obama and replace him with an actual Democratic candidate?

    And, I’ll cosign this:@Remfin:

    That is really the crux of the matter. If these are blanket orders that allow you to kill people anywhere, then it is a blatant and horrible abuse of “state secrets”, probably Unconstitutional, and just plain wrong. But, if they are orders with specifically-limited conditions based off intelligence, they are exactly the kind of thing the “state secrets” doctrine is supposed to be used for and is no more wrong than our day-to-day military operations (which, don’t get me wrong, are often horrible, but that is an entirely different discussion).

  352. 352
    stuckinred says:

    @geg6: From Janey:

    And it’s no mystery why freshly minted Democrat John Cole was cheerleading the comfortable familiarity of a Republican health care bill – after its passage, Nancy Pelosi quickly sent out an email bragging that its underlying principles were written by the Heritage Foundation, with the helpful quote that “Democrats have been less than true to their principles.”

  353. 353
    geg6 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You know what? I’d be fine with that. She’s as poisonous to this country as Karl Rove.

  354. 354
    Keith G says:

    @BTD: I need a clarification:

    (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or *persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons*, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    So you are saying that Al-Awlaki played some supporting role or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001? That’s news to me.

  355. 355
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mike from Philly:

    People “accused” of murder but not formally charged are physically assaulted in the US. Since when? And if so, why is this a good thing?

    Imagine a person suspected of committing a murder. The police go to arrest this person. This person happens to not be the murderer but does have a large amount of drug in his position; as a result, he resists arrest. The resistance allows him to dispose of the drugs, so he cannot be charged with drug offenses. He is not charged with the murder since he did not commit it. Nevertheless, he probably was on the receiving end of some level of violence.

  356. 356
    Mike from Philly says:

    @geg6

    So now “liberals” insist that the government has to right to secretly declare enemies of state and have them killed with no oversight or accountability? Because it probably happened before?

    And let me guess – if you don’t agree that our Constitution prohibits this behavior you want a pony. You people are pathetic. Greenwald’s right – mewling little authoritarians eager to give up whatever rights you have in exchange for the illusion of “safety”.

    No wonder these fucks get away with it.

  357. 357
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    So you are saying that Al-Awlaki played some supporting role or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001? That’s news to me.

    It’s on Wikipedia:

    Al-Awlaki’s sermons were attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers. He reportedly met privately with at least two of the hijackers in San Diego, and one hijacker moved from there to Falls Church, Virginia, as al-Awlaki moved. Due in part to those contacts, investigators suspect al-Awlaki may have known about the 9/11 attacks in advance.

    I think the term here would be “accessory before the fact.”

    ETA: Sorry, forgot the linky.

  358. 358
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    I don’t think that it’s wise to buy into the concept that we’re “at war” with al-Qaeda, which appears to be the starting point for many who find killing al-Awlaki without due process to be acceptable. Were we “at war” with FALN in the 1970s? Would it have been acceptable to target the FALN leaders for assassination because they led an organization that conducted numerous terrorist attacks on US soil?

  359. 359
    geg6 says:

    @Mike from Philly:

    Gawd, you’re as stupid as McLaren. I never said that. I never would say that. Read the fucking thread.

    Man, I’m done with this thread. Too much stupid to even begin to debunk it all.

    This is like arguing with wingnuts.

    FPers! Quick! Open Thread, please! Preferably with lots and lots of pet pics because I never see these dimwits in those threads.

  360. 360
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone:

    enchilada dinner come this next Christmas.

    Dude. Everybody in these parts know it tamales for Christmas. Do we need to check your Texas passport or should we just phone The One to get a “quick resolution”.

  361. 361
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mike from Philly: Hey, go ask a policeman this question:
    “You are going to a house to arrest somebody suspected of killing a person. Do you refuse to arrest them because they are only suspected but haven’t been indicted? When there, do you not use whatever force is necessary to apprehend this person accused of murder?”
    See what the answer may be.
    Ask any lawyer anywhere whether or not a person accused of a violent crime has the right to resist arrest, and if so, under what part of the constitution, and come back and tell us what he or she says.

  362. 362
    El Tiburon says:

    @geg6:

    No one here was against a public option and the just horrible

    Say what? Because that’s what I said? Yeah, don’t think so.

    nightmarish policy she whined about was all anyone was ever gonna get in the real world that people like Jane obviously prefer not to live in.

    Bullshit. And it’s besides the point. Why fight for a shitty policy then shun those who call out Obama for helping to make it a shitty policy? Using your tortured logic: Healthcare was inevitable, like rape, so sit back and enjoy it. Utter foolishness. Hey, as long as Obama is only killing Mooslims whe may or may not have done anything wrong, then just sit back and STFU.

    But, hey. She’s palling around with Grover Norquist and his ilk and he hates on Obama, too, so it’s all good.

    Palin called and wants her fear-mongering quote back.

  363. 363
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thanks, yes. Now I remember.

    Too many pints and chicken wings with my football this last weekend. This old brain takes too long to reboot.

    Edit: BTD, I see what you were getting at. I still disagree with the conclusions.

  364. 364
    BTD says:

    @Keith G:

    Not saying that. The key is the “prevent future attacks” line.

  365. 365
    Corner Stone says:

    @geg6:

    You know what? I’d be fine with that.

    I have no doubt of that.

    She’s as poisonous to this country as Karl Rove.

    Yep, she’s special adviser to the President.
    She’s pure evil you know. And more powerful than the 18-wheeler used in the movie The Hitcher.

  366. 366
    Dork says:

    So you are saying that Al-Awlaki played some supporting role or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001? That’s news to me.

    He’s Brown, so of course he did.

  367. 367
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: Amigo, you have not had my sister’s enchilada platter with our family’s own secret Mustard Sauce recipe on the side.
    “Mustard Sauce”?? You say? On Tex-Mex??
    Yes. Mustard sauce I say. Will blow your fucking mind and slap yo momma you haven’t had it before.

    But, um, WTS, ummm…don’t re-task the drones yo. I’ve got a kid to put through whatever’s left of the Ivy League.

  368. 368
    mclaren says:

    @BTD:

    Emphasis mine. I think the language clearly does give the President such authority.

    Clearly it does not. Suppose congress passed a law authorizing the president to rape underage girls on the capitol steps — does the language clearly give the president such authority? Clearly not, it’s a crime and it’s unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.

    The question is what constitutional limits are placed on such authority.

    Clearly and obviously false. Since there is no authority granted by this unconstitutional legislation, questions of limits are moot. That’s like claiming that in the above instance we need to determine the constitutional limits to the number and ages of the underage girls the president can rape. No, utterly wrong, it’s obvious from the grotesquely poor quality of your argument here that you must have graduated at the ass-end of your law school class.

    The habeas right applies in US controlled territory.

    Once again, entirely and clearly false. The habeas right applies to any American citizen accused of a crime by the United States anywhere in the world. Once again, Armando, do learn the law. Crimes alleged by a court in the United States against an American citizen do not lose their habeas guarantee merely because the U.S. citizen happens to be apprehended in, say, Finland, or Spain. If that were true, all U.S. prosecutors could eliminate habeas entirely merely by haulting the suspect to the nearest Mexican or Canadian border corssing after arresting hi/r and holding hi/r there. That’s clearly and obviously unconstitutional and courts have ruled so.

    You really need to learn the law, Armando. You’re an embarrassment to your profession.

    Thus, the President can not order belligerent acts in the United States or in US-controlled territory overseas. See Hamdan.

    Hamdan is not the controlling authority which determines the legality of whether the president can order American citizens assassinated, the sixth amendment of the constitution is the controlling authority here. You really seriously need to sharpen up your legal reasoning — methinks your logic is so shoddy here because you’re dodging and weaving in a vain attempt to justify Obama’s unjustifiable illegality of ordering a U.S. citizen assassinated without trials or charges.

    <blockquote)Awlaki is, we are told, is presently in Yemen. This brings to bear the issue of what constitutes the battlefield, both under the AUMF and the Laws of War.

    Once again, and predictably, utterly wrong. The AUMF is unconstitutional and therefore null and void. That leaves the laws of war. Fine. Show us the congressional resolution declaring war against Yemen. No? Nothing? Then show us the congressional resolution declaring war against anyone. Still nothing?

    Then America is not at war.

    Just because some lard-ass pol screams “This is a war!” does not make it legally so. We hear much about the so-called “War on drugs.” Is America at war with Mexico? No? That’s where the drugs are coming from, isn’t it?

    In fact, the “war” on terror is no such thing, either in legal terms or in any other terms. The so-called “war” on terror might best be described as a prolonged public relations gimmick by the military-industrial complex. But it certainly is NOT a war in any recognized legal sense.

    If you disagree, provide us with the hard evidence that congress has declared war on anyone since 2001. I remind you of the constitution (a document with which you seem eerily unfamiliar) once again:

    Article 1, section 8 of the constitution requires:

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    (..) To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal…

    Letters of marque means authorizing legal pirates, which is something America no longer does, so let’s stick with the “declare war” part. That’s unambiguous.

    I don’t see any part of Article 1 Section 8 of the constitution that says “mirror-sunglasses colonels in the Pentagon can declare war if they feel like it.” Do you?

    I don’t see any part of Article 1 Section 8 of the constitution that says “The president can declare war and to hell with congress.” Do you?

    Show me the part of the constitution that says anyone but congress can declare war. Let me see it.

    This is a complicated issue, and one not easily addressed in a comment. I wrote extensively on the subject, again in an exchange with Greenwald.

    You displayed the finesse of a blunt butter knife, showing all the legal acumen of a brain-damaged three-year-old. Your legal “arguments” as we may call them (though it is embarrassing to describe your incoherent and self-contradictory solecisms as “arguments”) prove reminiscent of the tortuous incoherencies spewed out by John Yoo is a squid-cloud of dishonest legal butthurt — the juridical equivalent of a failed and futile effort to demonstrate by sleight of hand that 2 + 2 = 22. The grotesque and continual errors of basic reasoning in your legal logic show that you haven’t got a clue.

    To summarize: you claim a clearly unconstitutional law gives the president authority when it cannot and does not; you claim that the central issue is the constitutional limits of such nonexistent authority, when the central issue is in fact that the law itself is unconstitutional on its face. You further claim that habeas rights apply to U.S. citizens only in U.S.-controlled territory when U.S. citizens are charged by American courts, which is such a bizarre perversion of basic American legal doctrine that it takes one’s breath away; you further claim that Hamdan is the controlling authority on the president’s power to order kidnappings or assassinations of U.S. citizens, when is clearly is not — Hamdan merely upholds the sixth amendment, which is the controlling authority here. You then claim that the laws of war should apply, even though America is not legally at war, and you then go on to haggle and squabble and quibble in a variety of trivial sophistries involves the laws of law when in fact since America is not legally at war, the entire issue is moot and therefore null and void.

    In any event, reasonable minds can disagree on any number of subjects. Certainly this is one of those subjects.

    Where is the reason in your legal logic? An interested observer discerns nothing but vacuous sophistries and empty tautologies (we are at war = therefore the laws of war apply, which would be convincing except that legally we are not at war) vying with threadbare logic to patch up a gallimaufry of gardyloo with no semblance of legal credibility. It’s just John Yoo all over again, a morass of circular logic and non sequitur arguments and fallacies like the argument of the excluded middle (“either the president has the power to order people tortured, or America will be destroyed” — why is there no middle alternative considered, such as the middle ground staked out by the constitution?).

    That’s really pathetic stuff from someone who’s supposed to be trained to think logically and analyze issues rationally. Fact: congress can’t erase the bill of rights by passing a law. Fact: unless congress declares war, we’re not at war. Fact: U.S. citizens charged with crimes by an American court retain their habeas rights in said American courts no matter where in the world that American citizen may be apprehended.

    This is basic stuff, yet you and burnspbesq seem to regard this simple logic with the bafflement of the apes confronted with the black monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Truly, truly embarrassing.

  369. 369
    Corner Stone says:

    @Dork: He went to Brown? Fucking terrerist bastard.

  370. 370
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    Well, there are a lot of people in this thread who seem to be trying to sell the line that al-Awalaki is a totally innocent guy who’s being unfairly targeted by the US, so I’m not surprised you got confused.

    I’m sympathetic to the argument that he shouldn’t be targeted without an indictment in US courts at the very least, but pretending that he’s an innocent victim is, frankly, laughable.

  371. 371
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Dork: You know who else is brown?

  372. 372
    kindness says:

    Wow….356 posts so far.

    This is one area where we can probably all agree that Glenn Greenwald & the FDL folk (Marcy mostly) are DFH’s that we agree with.

    When Obama ran for office, he said that his administration would not do what bush43 did. None of us thought he meant he’d be worse and as time has shown, he is willing to be worse on this subject.

  373. 373
    Lex says:

    For the record, I called eight months ago for Obama to be impeached over this issue. But I’m a Republican, so what do I know?

  374. 374
    Brachiator says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You know who else is brown?

    Jerry?

  375. 375
    burnspbesq says:

    @Lex:

    But I’m a Republican, so what do I know?

    Even if we agreed with you on this issue, you have a lot to answer for.

  376. 376
    kindness says:

    @Mnemosyne: Uhhh Mnemosyne…How does anyone know? He hasn’t been charged with anything. He isn’t in a war zone.

    I have no doubt the guy isn’t a boy scout, but honestly what is the difference here if it was you that Obama was targeting? You say there’s a big difference? That’s funny because in a court of law as far as the Obama administration is concerned, no one is allowed to even ask if you merit termination.

    Careful…..be very careful when you are giving government this power. Time has shown humanity that political figures generally abuse this rather than use it wisely.

  377. 377
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Brachiator: You guessed it. Along with Downtown Julie.

  378. 378
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m sympathetic to the argument that he shouldn’t be targeted without an indictment in US courts at the very least, but pretending that he’s an innocent victim is, frankly, laughable.

    Of course he’s innocent you fucking sociopath. He may or may not be a scumbag, but no one has proven that to this point.
    You can dislike him all you want, but unfortunately he is still innocent at this point.
    But we’re all glad to hear you’re not quite ready to munition his ass from 2500ft up on someone’s sayso.

  379. 379
    Brachiator says:

    @Lex:

    For the record, I called eight months ago for Obama to be impeached over this issue. But I’m a Republican, so what do I know?

    Did you also call for Bush and Cheney to be impeached, or indicted for war crimes for their phony WMD war?

  380. 380
    The Raven says:

    We corvids thank Obama’s defenders in this. We are very glad you want to see us well fed.

    John, I am sorry. I continue to wish you leaders worthy of your loyalty. It is not so much that Obama is worse or better than Bush II in this. His policies are a continuation. Most of the same people are in charge, even including the Bush II Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.

    Croak!

  381. 381
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne: I followed the links and a few of the link’s links.

    I do not think you are advocating this, but using the 9/11 connection to allow for the immediate killing of this man is a stretch, given what’s reported. And that is the rub.

    He met with them. What was said? What was planned?

    Does the President have a transcript? We are to trust Obama? Bush? Nixon? LBJ? Ike?

    @BTD: So anyone who hates America and met with the 9/11 killers can be a target for execution if we do not like their current behavior? That’s a broad question, but where are the lines?

  382. 382
    b-psycho says:

    I thought the “Obama sold us out!” tag was meant ironically? How does it fit this?

  383. 383
    Corner Stone says:

    @mclaren:

    Clearly it does not. Suppose congress passed a law authorizing the president to rape underage girls on the capitol steps

    A lot of posters here would argue they were asking for it.

  384. 384
    Corner Stone says:

    Once started, there is no definable end to this madness.

  385. 385
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kindness:

    Uhhh Mnemosyne…How does anyone know? He hasn’t been charged with anything. He isn’t in a war zone.

    As I said above, I don’t think the administration is legally allowed to lift a finger against the guy without an indictment in a court of law at the absolute minimum. I think that putting al-Awalaki on a secret terrorist kill list is a very, very bad thing.

    However, we know that he’s a member of al-Qaeda, because he says so himself. We know that he was the spiritual advisor to the 9/11 hijackers prior to the attack. We know he was in contact with the Fort Hood shooter. It would be really, really hard to argue that all of these connections are totally innocent and he hasn’t done anything wrong, and yet I see people on this thread (like mclaren) making that argument.

    If the argument is that we shouldn’t go after bad guys without accusing them of an actual crime, I completely agree. However, the argument that al-Awalaki is innocent of any wrongdoing and so it’s bad for us to be trying to get an indictment against him is ridiculous. Are we supposed to say that the Virginia Tech shooter was completely innocent since he shot himself in the head before he could be arrested for murder?

  386. 386
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: Yes there is.

    Margaritas and fajitas.

  387. 387
    mclaren says:

    @Martin:

    Wait, you don’t think the US government has evidence that al-Awlaki has given material aid to Al-Qaeda from Yemen? That’s not a particularly rational point to start this entire discussion from.

    Why?

    The U.S. government has not given one jot or tittle or iota of evidence to show that Al-Awlaki has committed any kind of crime.

    From long previous experience (9 years now) of failed terror trials and botched prosecutions, we know as a documented fact that when the U.S. government fails to provide public corroborating evidence of charges against an alleged terrorist, it’s because there is no evidence.

    Time and time again we’ve seen this.

    We saw it with Padilla the alleged “dirty bomber” when the charges against him turned out to be complete horseshit. We saw it Dilawar the cab driver, tortured to death even though even his torturers eventually came to believe in his complete innocence. We saw it with the charges of money laundering brought against the Islamic American groups, complete nonsense from top to bottom.

    Time after time, when the U.S. government fails to provide proof but claims “We have evidence — but we can’t show you, because it’s soooooooooooooper seeeeeeeeeeekrit!” the government has no evidence.

    None.

    Nothing.

    Zero.

    Zip.

    Nada.

    Bupkiss.

    Diddly.

    It happened in Viet Nam. We were told there was secret evidence proving that we had to go to war. Nope, totally bullshit. It happened in Grenada. Total bullshit. It happened in Panama, I still have no idea why American troops went into Panama — no one ever provided any evidence to justify that. It happened in the Iraq War in 2003. We were told over and over again about all the alleged evidence which would prove links twixt Al Qaeda and Saddam. Complete horseshit.

    So, no, actually, I’m from Missouri.

    I have to be shown.

    Show me the evidence against Al-Awlaki. Where is it? I want to see it. No vague claims, not nebulous assertions, I want hard evidence and I want to see it right goddamn now.

    If you can’t show me hard evidence that Al-Awlaki has committed a crime under American law — and that “material support of terrorism” is an unconstitutional law, it’s garbage and I guarantee you it will not stand — then STFU about Al-Awlaki and Al Qaeda and Yemen. Show me the proof. Lay it out. Can’t do it? Tough tit, then he’s not a criminal and the government doesn’t have a right to do squat about Al-Awlaki.

    Here in America, the government must show evidence that someone has committed a crime before they’re allowed to execute ’em.

  388. 388
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: I think it is important to separate the question of the legality of capture or kill orders in general from the issue of whether or not al-Awlaki is a terrorist or terrorist recruiter. Conflating the two issues has, I think, led to some of the cases of people talking past one another on this thread. Another issue that has lead to difficulties here has been that some people have been talking about what the law currently is-what has been passed by Congress, implemented by the President, and either okayed or not forbidden by the Supreme Court-with what the law should be.

  389. 389
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: I think it is important to separate the question of the legality of capture or kill orders in general from the issue of whether or not al-Awlaki is a terrorist or terrorist recruiter. Conflating the two issues has, I think, led to some of the cases of people talking past one another on this thread. Another issue that has lead to difficulties here has been that some people have been talking about what the law currently is-what has been passed by Congress, implemented by the President, and either okayed or not forbidden by the Supreme Court-with what the law should be.

  390. 390
    geg6 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Honestly, why do you and McLaren and El Tiburon come here, then? I mean this question seriously. Why?

    You seem to think we are all bloodthirsty, cold blooded killers just salivating over the chance to kill people, whether it’s due to a lack of a public option in a HCR bill or some scumbag over in Yemen, and that we are all no better than Bush and Cheney on pretty much every single topic of discussion.

    So what the fuck are you doing here? You hate us. While I don’t hate you (you don’t matter that much to me), I’m sick of listening to all of you twist words and outright misrepresent people’s arguments here. Even the people who mostly agree with you find you tiresome. What kind of weird kicks do you get out of coming here? I really would like to know.

  391. 391
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m a member of the mafia. I just robbed that bank last week and iced two bank guards.
    Now will you sleep with me?

    Point being, as disgusting as it is to both of us, statements made are not proof of evidence in and of themselves. They can be introduced and evaluated, but they do not prove guilt as a stand alone.
    Because we can’t know the context or circumstances or any other matter involved when they were said.
    It’s why when a mafioso is taped saying he did naughty things they don’t pop his ass on the way to court. They actually try him for his statements and actions.

  392. 392
    burnspbesq says:

    @kindness:

    This is one area where we can probably all agree that Glenn Greenwald & the FDL folk (Marcy mostly) are DFH’s that we agree with.

    Well, Greenwald hasn’t been completely accurate in his characterization of the Government’s opposition papers. The Government says that the state secrets privilege applies, but the the Court need not reach that question because there are ample other grounds (standing and political question) for denying the requested relief. His headline misleadingly suggests that the defense is about nothing but state secrets.

  393. 393
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Of course he’s innocent you fucking sociopath. He may or may not be a scumbag, but no one has proven that to this point.

    By your standards, we need to stop talking about how Dylan Kleibold and Eric Harris killed 13 people because they committed suicide before they could be arrested, tried and convicted, so therefore it was never proven that they did it.

    There’s the legal presumption of innocence in a court of law, and then there’s assuming that al-Qaeda members are actually innocent and pursuing them legally is persecuting them, which is mclaren’s claim. Are you taking her side and claiming that al-Awalaki is an innocent man being persecuted by the US government?

  394. 394
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: Man, I grilled a couple bone in ribeyes last night, and boiled some fresh corn on the cob.
    Damn. That was good.

  395. 395
    Face says:

    It would be really, really hard to argue that all of these connections are totally innocent and he hasn’t done anything wrong, and yet I see people on this thread (like mclaren) making that argument the US Government is unwilling/unable to do so, despite what is likely a slam dunk, if they’re not lying/bullshiting.

    Fixed before McLaren makes the same point, but with a slew of gratutious insults mixed in.

  396. 396
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: We can say many things. But proof of guilt is left to a court of law, thank the FSM.

  397. 397
    burnspbesq says:

    @Face:

    Fixed before McLaren makes the same point, but with a slew of gratutious insults mixed in.

    You are about to be the next target of a slew of gratuitous insults.

  398. 398
    eemom says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Aw, c’mon, Burnsie. Standing? Political question? That’s LAWYER shit. How can you expect Greenwald to — oh wait…

  399. 399
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @geg6: I don’t know. Corner Stone actually seems to have fun here. The others, not so much. (Of course, they can speak for themselves, but that’s my take.)

  400. 400
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It would be really, really hard to argue that all of these connections are totally innocent and he hasn’t done anything wrong, and yet I see people on this thread (like mclaren) making that argument.

    1) Throw out mclaren’s hyperbole – 97% of what’s typed.

    2) It might be really hard to argue that all of these connections are totally innocent and he hasn’t done anything wrong, but that’s Napoleonic Law. We must have the government argue that all of these connections are not only incriminating, but be able to *prove* that capital crime has been committed.

    However, the argument that al-Awalaki is innocent of any wrongdoing and so it’s bad for us to be trying to get an indictment against him is ridiculous.

    Are there several folks here saying that? I thought that many of us dissenters *were* saying indict the SOB. Involve a judicial process and if none existed, use the legislative branch to create one.

  401. 401
    Corner Stone says:

    @geg6: Why the fuck are you here? To reinforce your tribalism? Your mountain clannish ways?
    I’m here because it’s cheap entertainment for me. And to slap back the kind of thinking you and others et al exhibit routinely.

  402. 402
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Point being, as disgusting as it is to both of us, statements made are not proof of evidence in and of themselves. They can be introduced and evaluated, but they do not prove guilt as a stand alone.

    No, they don’t. That’s why, as I keep saying, the US needs to indict al-Awalaki in a court of law before they start issuing any “capture or kill” orders on a US citizen.

    However, if you claim to be a member of al-Qaeda, travel to Afghanistan to work with them, and hide out with them to prevent being captured, I think it’s pretty fair to say that it’s not all big talk and al-Awalaki is, in fact, a member of al-Qaeda. If you claim to be a member of the mafia and you’re living with the Gottis, that’s much more credible than the claim all by itself.

  403. 403
    burnspbesq says:

    @eemom:

    Greenwald has managed to neatly compartmentalize his former career as a lawyer and his current career as a polemicist. He rarely lets legal niceties get in the way of a good rant.

  404. 404
    Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m sympathetic to the argument that he shouldn’t be targeted without an indictment in US courts at the very least, but pretending that he’s an innocent victim is, frankly, laughable.

    Well, we have a presumption of innocence in this country for criminals. Some of the people arguing against this are taking the position that this is a criminal case. No criminal charges have been filed against him. Perhaps they should, but that’s neither here nor there as the government’s argument is that he’s an enemy combatant, and as such doesn’t deserve due process as permitted by the AUMF. Other people arguing against this are arguing that the AUMF doesn’t allow a US citizen to be a target as an enemy combatant, and that this action is wrong because Obama is overstepping his authority by Congress. Yet other people are arguing that Obama is acting properly under the AUMF, but that the AUMF oversteps the authority of Congress by being vague in what it authorizes, effectively turning the planet and anyone living on it into a potential enemy combatant at the whim of the executive branch. Yet others are arguing that Obama is acting within his authority, that Congress acted within theirs, but that it’s just a shitty, if legal, policy.

    At the end of the whole exercise, I think almost everyone on the left, a lot of people on the right, and most libertarians would agree that the AUMF is at the very least shitty policy as written. Simply changing it to tighten up where and against whom the authorization is given, and to tighten up cases regarding US citizens and actions conducted in sovereign nations, preferably requiring some kind of Congressional approval in these cases would probably appease quite a lot of that group without significantly interfering with the effort. I don’t see too many people here arguing that the US government shouldn’t drop a tomahawk on this guys head, just that it should require either a little or a lot more in the way of checks and balances to do so to a US citizen – either involving Congress or the courts or both.

  405. 405
    Steve says:

    You’d never know from Mclaren’s “Osama was just a guy who made videos” schtick that Jose Padilla was actually convicted on terrorism charges and got 17 years in prison.

  406. 406
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Of course it’s just fun for me. I could do whatever I like with my spare time. But usually it’s online because I’m working at the same time.
    I’ve got a conference call going, a couple queries running and 3 tabs at the moment.

  407. 407
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Face:

    Fixed before McLaren makes the same point, but with a slew of gratutious insults mixed in.

    I guess I just don’t have your simple faith that the spiritual advisor to the 9/11 hijackers is 100 percent innocent and it’s all just a big mistake.

    I think the root of the problem here is that the CIA and the DoD got sloppy during the Bush years and never bothered to actually gather evidence. Now they’re scrambling to put something together that they should have presented to a court years ago.

    Once they have an indictment, will you still insist that the US has no right to try to capture him because he’s innocent?

  408. 408
    martha says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I realize this is an incredibly serious discussion, but at its most basic, you work with the laws you have, not the laws I wish we had.

    And, I think most of us would agree that Congress (most of them) rolled over and cried like babies after 9/11 and gave Cheney everything he wanted. Hence those laws we now have. It took two branches of government to tango then and now we’re at the point where the third branch is just starting to weigh in. It will be an interesting decade or so.

    While people continue to die and yes, be tortured, at times, in our name. Same as it ever was, for centuries.

  409. 409
    Keith G says:

    @Martin: Thanks, good post.

    Cornerstone will grill you a rib-eye the next time you’re in Houston.

  410. 410
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Martin:

    Well, we have a presumption of innocence in this country for criminals. Some of the people arguing against this are taking the position that this is a criminal case. No criminal charges have been filed against him. Perhaps they should, but that’s neither here nor there as the government’s argument is that he’s an enemy combatant, and as such doesn’t deserve due process as permitted by the AUMF.

    In case I haven’t been sufficiently clear, I don’t think the US should be allowed to lift a finger towards al-Awalaki without having a criminal indictment against him, so I guess I fall on the side of the “criminal case” group. The AUMF is WAY overbroad and, IMO, shouldn’t apply to US citizens anyway.

    My only argument is with mclaren’s stupid claim that al-Awalaki is a totally innocent guy being persecuted by the US for saying mean things.

  411. 411
    Face says:

    @Steve: Did they subtract out all the years he spent in solitary, not charged with any crime, prior to being sentenced?

    Serious question: do you support that the US government has the right to detain US citizens without charges, merely by calling them this nebulous “enemy combatant”, ala Padilla? That’s another precedent which scares the bejeebus out of me.

  412. 412
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Without reading through the whole thing, I thought when we had been through this once or twice before that the issue was whether Awlaki had been “targeted for assassination” or if the idea was, instead, that there might be some kind of attempt to apprehend him, in which he might end up dead. Those two frameworks set up very different ways of thinking about the issue.

    In terms of logistics, how would Awlaki be notified that he’s being indicted for crimes? How does that work in analogous cases? Seems like you can’t exactly send over a process server.

  413. 413
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @martha: No argument from me on any of those points.

  414. 414
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @martha: No argument from me on any of those points.

  415. 415
    Face says:

    @Mnemosyne: With an indictment, he’s arrestable. Not executable, but if he shoots first, I have no prob with him being lost in a gunbattle.

    But without an indictment (or hidden by “states secrets” doctrine), then we are forced to accept whatever the gov’t says. Period. Shut up, that’s why. And we all saw how honest they were w/r/t the Iraq WMD, tax policy, Cheneys energy group, attorney scandal, etc.

    Would you be willing to accept a execution order on this man if he were within the US border? If not, why the difference?

  416. 416
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Face:

    I don’t think we actually disagree here: we both think that al-Alawaki is a criminal who needs to be indicted in a court of law before the US can take any action against him. If, after that indictment, there’s an attempt to capture him where he ends up dead, neither one of us is going to shed any tears.

    IOW, I don’t accept an execution order on him even in Yemen, so you’re setting up a false choice.

  417. 417
    Keith G says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    In terms of logistics, how would Awlaki be notified that he’s being indicted for crimes? How does that work in analogous cases? Seems like you can’t exactly send over a process server.

    As Martin excellently pointed out above, it’s mostly a debate about due process. and checks and balances. Once a judicial process has (for example) found him guilty of violent actions against the US, etc… The DOJ could notify via Facebook for all I care. I just want a delineated, multi-branch process.

  418. 418
    geg6 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You what the ridiculous thing about all of this is?

    I don’t disagree that Obama is wrong here. I just don’t know what he IS supposed to do. I see both sides of the argument here, both sides have good arguments (when made by sane people who actually know a bit about history and law), and neither side really thinks a “win” for their side is a good outcome. I mean, does anyone who isn’t required to go by the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard think this guy is innocent and would not kill all the Americans he could given the chance? And do any of us outside of the GOP really want the government killing American citizens (no matter how loathsome) without some sort of adjudication or, at least, indictment?

    It’s a difficult issue and the AUMF makes it all the more difficult. I rarely say this, but I think BTD may have a point in that, according to current law (which, in regard to the particulars of this case, has not yet been decided by the Supreme Court), this may be legal. We don’t yet know whether or not it’s constitutional because there has been no such ruling. Yet.

    I honestly won’t cry if they kill this asshole. But I surely want the courts to rule on this, one way or the other. I don’t pretend know why Obama is continuing to allow this order, perhaps it really is 13-dimensional chess or he is no better than Bush or Cheney. Either way, this is the guy I’m stuck with because, in so many other ways, he’s a vast improvement on Bush/Cheney and to think we can do any better than that is someone who does not live in the real world any more than teabaggers do.

  419. 419
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Face: Few here would argue that an indictment would clear a large number of legal issues from the field. I have expressly stated that indicting him* and then moving forward would be my preferred way to handle the whole thing.

    *Hell, they could file an information if they wanted to and avoid a grand jury.

  420. 420
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Face: Few here would argue that an indictment would clear a large number of legal issues from the field. I have expressly stated that indicting him* and then moving forward would be my preferred way to handle the whole thing.

    *Hell, they could file an information if they wanted to and avoid a grand jury.

  421. 421
    Steve says:

    @Face: I thought the government’s treatment of Padilla was indefensible. Also far, far worse than what we’re talking about in the present case.

    I am the first person to point out, as I did repeatedly in the case of Padilla, that we don’t convict people in this country based upon statements at a government press conference. But Mclaren’s point goes beyond “he might be innocent.” Mclaren actually claims that al-Awlaki isn’t even accused of anything beyond “talking trash about the U.S.” and “calling for the death of one Dutch citizen.” That’s serious “what color is the sky in your world” argumentation.

  422. 422
    Face says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yep, in agreement.

  423. 423
    Tsulagi says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I agree with you a president should be able to issue capture or kill orders. But if challenged on a specific order, he should not be able to claim state secrets.

    Sure, in your example, police should be able to use necessary force to apprehend a murder suspect including deadly force. But there’s a few important differences between that and the Alkawi situation. If an individual policeman, detective, or whomever in a PD orders a SWAT mission to take down a suspect, they could be challenged. A superior or a judge could examine what basis and evidence they have for that order. They don’t get to claim it’s a secret. If insufficient, the order could be countermanded. Checks and balances. Don’t want a day when that couldn’t occur.

    Using state secrets, Obama is claiming no one in any manner that could protect national security could take a look at supporting evidence for his decision. He’s claiming infallibility. Plus by being at the top of the organizational chart, they can’t countermand his order. He’saying “I got this bitches, and I don’t need any fucking fucking checks to be fucking balanced. Fuck you.”

    Not a good precedent. Pretty sure most could see where this could go bad. If not with Obama, possibly with a future president while wearing their teathinking hat.

    But good to see Obama leading the way. Next time there’s a ship in international water off Israel ostensibly carrying aid supplies that could embarrass his government, Netanyahu could order Mossad to capture or kill everyone on board including any Israeli citizens. Any actually captured could be held without access to counsel or any outside contact. Fucking enemy combatants. If challenged, Netanyahu can claim they were all terrorists and state secrets for refusing to give any supporting evidence. Netanyahu is probably already thinking WTF didn’t I think of that before?

    Not quite the example I like to see this country setting.

  424. 424
    Keith G says:

    @Steve: That’s what Mclaren typed. I wonder how much is performance art. Someday during a calmer thread, I will inquire. I probably will not get a straight answer.

  425. 425
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: I would be willing to bet that asking the question would open you up to panda-raping accusations or, at least, the suggestion that you are an ignorant liar.

  426. 426
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve:

    I am the first person to point out, as I did repeatedly in the case of Padilla, that we don’t convict people in this country based upon statements at a government press conference. But Mclaren’s point goes beyond “he might be innocent.” Mclaren actually claims that al-Awlaki isn’t even accused of anything beyond “talking trash about the U.S.” and “calling for the death of one Dutch citizen.” That’s serious “what color is the sky in your world” argumentation.

    What are the charges then? Please tell us what he is actually charged with, right now.
    Because if all it takes is talking shit and hanging with the wrong people, I am going to go shotgun some fucking wingnut assholes this afternoon.

  427. 427

    John, we declared war on al Qaeda. This guy is a member of al Qaeda.

    You do understand we can shoot at wartime enemies, right?

  428. 428
    soonergrunt says:

    n case I haven’t been sufficiently clear, I don’t think the US should be allowed to lift a finger towards al-Awalaki without having a criminal indictment against him, so I guess I fall on the side of the “criminal case” group. The AUMF is WAY overbroad and, IMO, shouldn’t apply to US citizens anyway.
    ////
    My only argument is with mclaren’s stupid claim that al-Awalaki is a totally innocent guy being persecuted by the US for saying mean things.

    My claim is pretty simple. He’s thrown his lot in with the enemy and as such he’s killable on sight. The law on that one is pretty clear, pretty universally accepted, and older than the USA is. It’s the same legal principle under which Clinton used military force several times, under which Carter authorized military force in Iran, and under which nation-states have acted since 1648. It’s the principle under which the Union prosecuted the civil war against the Confederate States of America, which the Union never recognized as a legal entity. None of those hundreds of thousands of people who were killed, military or civilian, were indicted either.

  429. 429
    MTiffany says:

    …but even if something is technically legal, it can still be evil and wrong.

    For something to be ‘technically’ legal, it must be ‘demonstrably’ legal, but something that’s ‘secret’ isn’t ‘demonstrable.’ So.. if the’re hiding what they’re doing, they’re hiding it for a reason…

  430. 430
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G: Yeah, I was just wondering what would be specifically involved.

    Also, I think that there needs to be a distinction between the idea that all presidents strive for maximum presidential power, in a separation-of-powers way, on the one hand; and that any particular president wants to be able to do something in particular.

    Remember how in 2004, John Kerry said that, even knowing what he knew about WMD and such, he would still have voted to give the president authority to go to war in Iraq? The rationale he gave was that he believed that presidents really do have that kind of authority, constitutionally speaking. When you’re in the executive branch, you want the executive branch to grab onto as much power as possible. This feels to me like a similar case: a president and an executive branch advocating for widening the powers of the president and the executive branch. We are unpersuaded by these arguments because we’ll never be president; for us they seem like abuses. But I can see why people who are president, or who are close to becoming president, start to advance them, because to them they seem like streamlining and efficiency increases.

  431. 431
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I would be willing to bet that asking the question would open you up to panda-raping accusations or

    How do we know he hasn’t? I’ve heard on several panda blogs that he has indeed talked smack about “climbing the bamboo shoot”.
    I support Obama putting him down like the rabid panda loving dog he is.

  432. 432

    In response to the first WTC bombing, Clinton launched missile strikes on al Qaeda based in Afghanistan. Would those strikes have been illegal or unconstitutional if one of the al Qaeda commanders at that base had held American citizenship?

    Of course not.

    Since then, Congress has actually invoked its authority to declare war, in the September 2001 AUMF, against al Qaeda. We have every bit as much legal and constitutional authority to shoot at al Qaeda members as we had to shoot at SS members in 1943.

  433. 433
    Elie says:

    @Face:

    Just out of curiosity, do you think that there really are any valid situations for holding “state secrets” or do you believe that the public should know everything in every situation – in other words, that there is no need for state secrets.

    Now I fully recognize that there is a valid concern about the power of government and the risk when so called “secrets” just protect government prerogatives to coerce a result by any means. That said, would you say that there are no bona fide security issues to which every citizen would not necessarily be privy? If so, what types of knowledge or information would this involve?

    I think that this is a issue being discussed/presented in a false, absolutist way to garner intense engagement for the sake of argument, i.e., frequent comments. I think it really has very little to do with how the world actually works, or even should work… another perfectionistic strawman/pinyata presented for bloggers to bat around and pretend they have all the answers. Too bad you can’t really email “change”, much less the revolution that so many here think they somehow deserve, from the comfort of their pc – In the end you do have to show up to actually do something but flap lips and give opinions. Don’t think that for all the intense polemics, there is really much stomach here for actually taking it to the streets though…. We gotta a business to run and that business is to get comments and sell ads for the blog sites…

  434. 434
    Corner Stone says:

    @soonergrunt:

    My claim is pretty simple. He’s thrown his lot in with the enemy and as such he’s killable on sight.

    So has Ann Coulter. I hereby declare her to be AN OUTLAW!

  435. 435
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: If the pandas are rabid, I really don’t see the harm.

  436. 436
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: Not into bears, or imitations thereof.

  437. 437

    This feels to me like a similar case: a president and an executive branch advocating for widening the powers of the president and the executive branch.

    This involves exactly no expansion of executive power. The power to target those against whom we have declared war goes back to the founding of the republic.

    An example of an expansion of executive powers would be Bush’s claim that he could target people against whom Congress has not invoked its war-making power, based on his own judgement that we have a security interest in doing so. The Obama administration has explicitly renounced this doctrine, affirming that only a vote of Congress may authorize the president to treat an army and its members as wartime enemies.

  438. 438

    @Corner Stone:

    This feels to me like a similar case: a president and an executive branch advocating for widening the powers of the president and the executive branch.

    Neither you, nor the president, may make such a declaration. Only Congress, as they did with al Qaeda in the September 2001 AUMF.

    The distinction between groups with whom we are at war, and those with whom we are not at war, is a rather important one. Please stop muddying it for political effect.

  439. 439
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Using state secrets, Obama is claiming no one in any manner that could protect national security could take a look at supporting evidence for his decision. He’s claiming infallibility. Plus by being at the top of the organizational chart, they can’t countermand his order. He’saying “I got this bitches, and I don’t need any fucking fucking checks to be fucking balanced. Fuck you.”

    But IMHO that’s because he’s the president, not because he’s Obama. Presidents want to maximize presidential power, especially when it comes to the area of “warfare.” Citizens understandably take a different view than that.

    You know, cops want to be able to do all kinds of searches and stuff like that, with as little bureaucratic interference as possible; we who are not cops tend not to like that very much. Even cops who hold liberal political positions will want to have as much power as possible to do their jobs. So this whole thing seems to me much more a case of a president fighting to increase presidential power than Obama contriving a way to be Worse Than Bush, punch hippies, etc.

  440. 440
    soonergrunt says:

    @Tsulagi: I understand what you’re saying, and there should be something the legislative branch can and should do about that, but at the end of the day, my answer at 423 also applies to this guy.
    He’s pretty much the enemy. He’s not entitled to legal protection. The lawsuit has no standing because it’s not justiciable.
    If this guy doesn’t want to eat a missile, he should go to an embassy and turn himself in.

  441. 441
    Steve says:

    @Corner Stone: In a thread with over 400 comments, your attempt to play word games and shift the goalposts kind of bores me. You know as well as I do that he hasn’t been formally charged with any crime. Now go pick nits at someone else’s comment.

  442. 442
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @joe from Lowell: Some of the complications here come from fighting a real war against an non-state actor.

  443. 443
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @joe from Lowell: This is probably the only time I’ve been mistaken for Corner Stone.

  444. 444

    @Tsulagi:

    Using state secrets, Obama is claiming no one in any manner that could protect national security could take a look at supporting evidence for his decision. He’s claiming infallibility. Plus by being at the top of the organizational chart, they can’t countermand his order. He’saying “I got this bitches, and I don’t need any fucking fucking checks to be fucking balanced. Fuck you.”

    This is false. The Obama administration has explicitly renounced the Bush-era doctrine of unreviewable presidential war powers, and confirmed that Congressional invocation of its war-making ability is required for an action like this.

    That is the check, the balance, and it has been restored by the Obama administration. The executive can only treat people as wartime enemies when Congress has done so.

  445. 445
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And thank the good sweet loving Christ for that.

  446. 446
    Keith G says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    So this whole thing seems to me much more a case of a president fighting to increase presidential power than Obama contriving a way to be Worse Than Bush, punch hippies, etc.

    But in the end do motivations matter once the damage has been done?

  447. 447
    Punchy says:

    John, we declared war on al Qaeda. This guy is a member of al Qaeda.
    …………….
    You do understand we can shoot at wartime enemies, right?

    We declared War on Drugs. Pretty sure cops cant pre-emptively cap every guy with a dime bag or meth habit.

  448. 448
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve:

    In a thread with over 400 comments, your attempt to play word games and shift the goalposts kind of bores me. You know as well as I do that he hasn’t been formally charged with any crime. Now go pick nits at someone else’s comment.

    Oh. I’m sorry! I am just so sorry you little bitch. I fucking apologize my word choice gets your teeny tiny lil panties in a bunch.
    But if you want to argue the shit you’ve been arguing here?
    You may want to bring the actual charges.

  449. 449
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: Really. It’s like being told you look like someone famous, and it turns out to be Jonah Hill.

  450. 450

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    @joe from Lowell: Some of the complications here come from fighting a real war against an non-state actor.

    Indeed. While this complication doesn’t undermine the legal and constitutional authority to make war on those against whom Congress has declared war,* it certainly does raise some practical issues that I’d like to see addressed. When, literally, every single enemy soldier is a spy sneaking behind the lines, the possibility of misidentification is much more real.

    Perhaps we could use the National Security Courts here, and require a finding that the evidence demonstrates that the target is, in fact, a person covered by the war declaration. The military has always had the constitutional authority in a war to determine whether a potential target counts as enemy personnel, but the specifics of this particular war make another layer of review advisable.

    *Yes, an AUMF satisfies the constitutional, legal, and international requirements for a war declaration. This was litigated decades ago.

  451. 451
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: It’s not really a big deal. joe from LOL still thinks Pinochet is walking round, waiting to be brought to justice.
    IOW, he’s not real big on facts or accuracy.
    And is an amazingly huge douchebag.

  452. 452
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Punchy: One was metaphorical; the other was not. Discussions of a War on Terror are one thing, while the real fight against Al Qaida is another.

  453. 453
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Punchy: One was metaphorical; the other was not. Discussions of a War on Terror are one thing, while the real fight against Al Qaida is another.

  454. 454

    @FlipYrWhig:

    @joe from Lowell: This is probably the only time I’ve been mistaken for Corner Stone.

    Whoops, sorry. The quote I was responding to was Corner Stone’s “So has Ann Coulter. I hereby declare her to be AN OUTLAW!”

  455. 455
    Face says:

    @Elie: During the Bush years, they had a secret court, that granted/nixed wiretapping requests. Does this still exist?

    This is fine with me; I dont need to hear all the secret evidence, but someone outside of the Executive surely does. Otherwise there’s zero checks and balances, and just imagine where a Republican president (think Palin or Gringrich) would go with that.

  456. 456
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G: I think it does insofar as Greenwald, Hamsher, Cole, et al want to discuss the issue in terms of “Why would Obama do something so terrible?”–a question that they answer in disparate ways–rather than in terms of “Why is the executive branch defending the institutional interests of the executive branch?” Joe from Lowell has some interesting comments about how I’m off-base, but my operative thinking for now is still that presidents think presidents should face fewer hurdles for Doing Stuff. And that view necessarily conflicts with citizens’ thinking that presidents should not be able to Do Stuff without checks, balances, deliberation, and consultation. Has there ever been a president who argued that presidents should have _less_ authority, especially in the area of warfare?

  457. 457

    @Punchy:

    We declared War on Drugs.

    No, we didn’t. Some politicians latched onto a phrase in that case.

    However, Congress actually voted to invoke its war powers against al Qaeda, in the September 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against al Qaeda.

    This is a metaphorical “war on…” This is actually war, declared by Congress, like they declared war on Germany and Japan in 1941.

  458. 458
    Sad_Dem says:

    Quote: During the Bush years, they had a secret court, that granted/nixed wiretapping requests. Does this still exist?

    It existed before the Bush years and is still going strong. It’s a rubber stamp. The Bush administration wanted to bypass it.

  459. 459
    joe from Lowell says:

    @Corner Stone:

    @FlipYrWhig: It’s not really a big deal. joe from LOL still thinks Pinochet is walking round, waiting to be brought to justice.
    IOW, he’s not real big on facts or accuracy.
    And is an amazingly huge douchebag.

    Still a bitter loser, I see.

    “Hey, man, remember that time eight months ago that joe from Lowell forgot something? That was AWESOME!”

    What a sorry, tiny little half-man you are.

  460. 460
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from LoL: Sorry you can’t hack it dog.
    But keep pushing the authoritarian line man. That’s a real winner for you!

  461. 461
    joe from Lowell says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Has there ever been a president who argued that presidents should have less authority, especially in the area of warfare?

    Yes, Barack Hussein Obama. The previous president had asserted that the president has inherent powers as commander in chief to make war against anyone outside the United States he, at his own discretion, deemed a threat to national security.

    Upon taking office, President Obama renounced this doctrine, and adopted a position that limited his powers, arguing that a president can only utilize war powers against those that Congress has declared war on.

    It is really is unusual for a president to unilaterally adopt a position restricting his own powers like that, because you’re right, the standard for decades has been presidents expanding their powers.

  462. 462
    joe from Lowell says:

    @Corner Stone:

    @joe from LoL: Sorry you can’t hack it dog.
    But keep pushing the authoritarian line man. That’s a real winner for you!

    As always, I trust that you would have raised an actual argument against my points, if you had one.

    In my experience, people with strong feelings and no arguments stoop to idiocies like yours.

  463. 463
    joe from Lowell says:

    Sorry you can’t hack it dog.

    Did one of your buddies teach you that when you were riding bikes?

  464. 464
    mclaren says:

    @Brachiator:

    The claim is that Anwar al-Awlaki has “become ‘operational’ as a senior talent recruiter, motivator, and participant in planning and training “for al-Qaeda and all of its franchises.” Planning and training is not the same thing as just using outrageous rhetoric.

    And a baseless assertion is not the same thing as evidence.

    Show me the evidence that Anwar Al-Awlaki has become `operational’ (what does that mean legally? ) as a senior talent recruiter, motivator, and participant in planning and training for `al Qaeda and all of its franchises’ (which franchises? Do they have a fried chicken outlet? A taco stand? A chiliburger cart?)

    Once again, vague meaningless bullshit. Al-Awlaki has become `operational.’ Show me the U.S. federal code that mandates becoming `operational’ as a crime under U.S. law.

    Al-Awlaki is a “senior talent recruiter.” What the fuck does that even mean? What kind of talent does some guy need to strap on a vest and blow himself up? This is so stupid, words scarcely exist in the English language to describe how stupid it is. They’re talking about Al-Awlaki like he’s the head of HP’s engineering division. That’s nonsense, the guy gives anti-American sermons. If that’s “recruiting” for Al-Qaeda, then we’re gonna have to assassinate every imam in the mideast and Africa, because they’re all giving anti-American sermons, boys ‘n girls. You should hear the stuff the imams in Saudi Arabia are screaming about America. But somehow we’re not assassinating all those other Islamic guys giving anti-American sermons, just Al-Awlaki. Why is that? Something doesn’t make sense here. Something is wrong. This doesn’t parse.

    Al-Awlaki is a senior “motivator” for Al-Qaeda. Show me where in United States law that’s a crime. Actually, according to this rationale the entire staff of the Pentagon should be assassinated, because they’ve motivated 10,000 times more terrorists to strike against America than Al-Awlaki has.

    And Al-Awlaki is supposedly “a participant in planning and training for `al Qaeda and all of its franchises.'” Any claim this broad and this vague can be dismissed immediately. We’re supposed to believe that Al-Awlaki personally plans the bombings in Bali and Indonesia as well as the Al-Qaeda operations in America and Spain and London? That’s stupid. No one person can do all that. So we know immediately that’s a lie and we can dismiss it outright.

    Moreover, that’s not the way Al-Qaeda operates. It’s not a top-down organization with Al-Awlaki sitting in a Dr. No-type hollow volcano stroking a white cat and giving orders to minions of his giant TV screen. Al-Qaeda has no central leader, it’s a bunch of distributed indpendent cells. So this claim is a clearly obvious lie from the git-go.

    Once again, I’m waiting for hard evidence of any of this. Most of these claims aren’t even crimes under U.S. law. The few that might be qualify as conspiracy. Maybe conspiracy to commit murder. So fine, show us the evidence.

    Where is it?

    *crickets*

  465. 465
    Punchy says:

    @joe from Lowell: If you’re going to be pedantic about it, the 2001 AUMF never mentioned AQ by name. So to say we declared a War against AQ is tricky. In effect, it declared war on nearly anyone it wanted, b/c of the perverse vagueness of its wording.

    Watch: it says:

    That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks

    Poppy seeds/opium are grown in Afghanistan, and provided a ton of cash to the Taliban, which harbored AQ. Therefore, by the AUMF’s wording, we’ve declared war on drugs. See how I did that?

  466. 466
    burnspbesq says:

    @Face:

    But without an indictment (or hidden by “states secrets” doctrine)

    IIRC, the state secrets privilege doesn’t apply in criminal cases, thanks to that pesky Sixth Amendment. If the Government can’t convict him without classified information, then either they declassify or he walks.

  467. 467
    Tsulagi says:

    @soonergrunt:

    He’s pretty much the enemy.

    Don’t disagree.

    He’s not entitled to legal protection.

    Do disagree. Without attempting to stay Obama’s order while reviewing, a judge could take a look at the supporting evidence. No time or opportunities would be lost in apprehending/killing Alkawi during that review which could be very brief likely resulting in the judge dismissing the lawsuit. Not saying Alkawi isn’t a bad guy, but occasionally presidents or agencies feeding them intel have been wrong. I like checks and balances. Even if they’re bare minimum.

    We’re at our strongest as a country when justice is dispassionately and impartially served. Even Major Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter is entitled to due process. Taking my emotional side into consideration, my preference would be that every family he affected be able to designate a shooter to put a bullet in him. But then that wouldn’t be quite right. Not entirely.

  468. 468
    mclaren says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Sure, in your example, police should be able to use necessary force to apprehend a murder suspect including deadly force.

    Once again with the bogus debunked police analogies. You’re stupid, Tsulagi. You’re stupid and ignorant. I’m going to knock down these dishonest stupid analogies until they stay knocked down, because you’re lying and your’e an ignorant liar.

    A murder suspect.

    Notice those 3 words?

    IN order to arrest someone for a crime like murder, the police must first have an arrest warrant.

    The police are not allowed to break down the door of somebody’s house and drag him away and when bystanders ask “What did he do?” the police aren’t allowed to say “He didn’t do anything, we just don’t like him.”

    You see, Tsulagi, in order to get an arrest warrant, you have to present evidence of a crime.

    Where is the evidence the U.S. government has presented of any crimes committed by Al-Awlaki?

    None.

    Zero.

    Nothing.

    In fact, the U.S. government is now asking the court to dismiss the ACLU’s lawsuit on the basis that (and get this!) “it’s a state secret.” So the target of a presidential assassination can’t even object legally to being assassinated on the basis of supposed state secrets.

    Show me where the fuck THAT ever happens with the cops.

    Show me where cops shoot some guy on the street five times in the head, and then when people ask “What did he do?” the cops says “We can’t talk about it, it’s a secret.” And no charges, no arrest warrant, no evidence.

    You know what, Tsulagi?

    The people you call cops, we here in America call death squads. They used to burn down villages in Serbia and Bosnia and rape women to death and line people up and shoot ’em in the back of the head one by one in big long slit trenches. No warrants. No evidence that those executed people had ever committed a crime. No trials. Nothing. Just line ’em up and kill ’em, and never explain why.

    That’s what you’re arguing in favor of.

    Those people in Serbia sent out by Slobodan Misolevic weren’t cops, Tsulagi, and they had nothing to do with cops. If you want to defend and applaud wanton murder, do it and be honest about it — but don’t you dare try to claim “it’s just what cops do in America.” That’s a goddamn lie and you know it’s a goddamn lie.

    No cop assassinates a random person on the street in America without charges and without an arrest warrant and without a trial and then when asked why the cop murdered that guy says “It’s a secret, I can’t talk about it,” and if any cop does do that, his ass gets prosecuted for premeditated murder.

    Denver professor Alan Gilbert asked yesterday during a symposium “Is there hope for the rule of law in America?”

    Brad DeLong gave the following answer:

    The question is: “Is there hope for the rule of law in America?” My answer is: No.

    Begin with the assassination of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham and Prime Minister to King Charles I Stuart, on 23 August 1628. Nobody at the time doubted the king’s power to torture the confessed assassin, John Felton, on the rack–the king’s father James I Stuart had tortured Guy Fawkes and the other Gunpowder Plot suspects. But the king’s power to torture was part of his prerogative powers of state, and Charles I Stuart sought to reserve his prerogative powers for use in more important arenas–that is, to raise money with them.

    Thus Charles I asked his judges to authorize the torture of John Felton not as an act of state under the royal prerogative but as part of the process of the criminal law. And let’s let William Blackstone pick up the story at IV, 25, 326 of his Commentaries on the Laws of England:

    [T]rial by rack is utterly unknown to the law of England; though once… [the] ministers of Henry IV [Lancaster]… laid a design to introduce the civil law into the kingdom as a rule of government… erected a rack for torture, which was called in derision the Duke of Exeter’s daughter, and still remains in the Tower of London; where it was occasionally used as an engine of state, not of law, more than once in the reign of queen Elizabeth.

    But when, upon the assassination of Villiers, duke of Buckingham, by Felton, it was proposed in the privy council to put the assassin to the rack in order to discover his accomplices, the judges, being consulted, declared unanimously, to their own honour and the honour of English law, that no such proceeding was allowable by the laws of England…

    With the Great Revolution of the 1640s the prerogative powers of the monarch of the United Kingdom shrank. And with the Glorious Revolution they shrank again. And with the accession of the German-speaking Hanover dynasty they shrank yet again. And by 1789, when James Madison and company moved the then-powers of the monarch of the United Kingdom to make them the powers of the President of the United States, there were no prerogative powers left: the President was 100% Chief Magistrate with the power and the duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and 0% princeps legibus solutus.

    So things stood for 200 years… (..)

    By 2001 with a Republican as president John Yoo…was then claiming that the president’s commander-in-chief powers contained within them prerogative powers to torture and kill outside of legal procedure that would have astonished George III Hanover, and even exceeded those of William I Conqueror. When William I Conqueror tortured or killed, he agreed owed his barons at least an after-the-fact accounting of why if not any before-the-fact procedural checks.

    Backed by John Yoo and company, George W. Bush claimed that he did not owe even an after-the-fact accounting. And Barack Obama holds to the same line.

    So I see no hope.

  469. 469
    joe from Lowell says:

    @mclaren:

    Show me the evidence that Anwar Al-Awlaki has become `operational’ (what does that mean legally? ) as a senior talent recruiter, motivator, and participant in planning and training for `al Qaeda and all of its franchises’

    Why?

    Does target selection in a declared war require the military to get a sign-off from…uh…who the hell are you again?

    This is not a criminal sentence. This is a military action against members of an organization that Congress declared war on.

  470. 470
    joe from Lowell says:

    @Punchy:

    If you’re going to be pedantic about it, the 2001 AUMF never mentioned AQ by name.

    I’m not being pedantic. The difference between a declaration of war and no declaration of war is pretty goddamn significant, actually. It’s not a word game, like your argument here; it’s a plainly recognized action by the legislature of a sovereign state, taking an action that has been recognized to have legal effect for centuries.

    BTW, why did you cut off the quote?

  471. 471
    joe from Lowell says:

    Arguments about criminal procedure are as irrelevant here as they would be for the bombing of a Luftwaffe airfield in 1943.

    Overseas.

    Declared war.

    Fighting on the side of the enemy against whom we declared war.

    If Al-alwaki were to turn up in Cleveland, then we’d have to treat him as a criminal suspect.

    Or if we hadn’t declared war on al Qaeda.

    Or if he was a member of Hezbollah or the Red Brigades.

    But none of those things are true. He’s a wartime enemy, like a soldier in the Kaiser’s army.

  472. 472
    Lex says:

    @burnspbesq: Please go read my blog before you jump to that conclusion. It’ll take you a while.

  473. 473
    Lex says:

    @Brachiator: Why, yes. Yes, I did. Go read my blog (linked from my name).

  474. 474
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    This is a military action against members of an organization that Congress declared war on.

    Is the CIA formally considered “military”?

  475. 475
    mclaren says:

    @BTD:

    In response to a query as to whether Armando (BTD) actually meant to suggest that Al-Awlaki was involved in the 9/11 attacks, BTD replied with his usual dishonesty:

    Not saying that. The key is the “prevent future attacks” line.

    Then BTD’s entire line of legal reasoning is null and void and must be stricken posthaste. Shut down this entire legal process instantly, right now.

    Because no possible legal maneuver or executive policy can ever prevent future attacks against the United States..

    This is life, Armando, deal with it. You want absolute security. Not possible. You’re talking about some insane scheme like the Minority Report “pre-crime” divisions. That’s crazy. There will always be terrorists. Some terrorist attacks will always succeed. If the basis of your legal reasoning is to prevent future terrorist attacks, it’s as obviously and immediately invalid and intellectually bankrupt and therefore vacant and legally bankrupt.

    What you’re suggesting, BTD, is as legally bankrupt as it would be to try to justify a putative effort by police to shoot people at random on the street in order to prevent future murders.

    “That guy has 3 felony convictions…better shoot him in the head. No charges, no arrest warrant — yeah, it’ll prevent future murders!”

    Can you really be so hopelessly stupid and so appallingly demented that you actually think that kind of grotesquely crazy legal stratagem is even remotely defensible?

    Can you imagine stepping before a court to argue with a straight face, “Well, your honor, the SWAT team had to shoot everyonein that family because the kid was smoking marijuana and he might’ve grown up to become a drug dealer and then he would’ve wound up killing people, and our goal is to prevent future murders!”

    And if the judge stared at you with disbelief and asked what crime that weed-toking kid committed in order for the cops to bust down the door and shoot everyone in the family including the kid in the head, would you really offer legal reasoning as insane as:

    “No, your honor, there were no charges, the kid didn’t commit any crime, there was no warrant out for his arrest. We just shot that entire family dead to prevent future murders, which, you know, might happen…someday.”

    Are you on drugs, Armando?

    Are you drunk?

    Did you get into a car accident and smash your head on the dashboard, to the point where you’re now slurring your speech and experiencing double vision and blackouts?

    Because that’s the only way a reasonable person can imagine you making legal ‘arguments’ this unbelievably stupid.

  476. 476
    Tsulagi says:

    @mclaren:
    You keep plugging away, mclaren, you’ll get that homeschool GED any year now. Not that your post supports that wildly optimistic prediction in any way, but live in hope.

  477. 477
    Face says:

    If Al-alwaki were to turn up in Cleveland, then we’d have to treat him as a criminal suspect.

    Wait…..WHAT? Why the distinction? You just said (a million times) its war, he’s the enemy, we shoot/kill the enemy in war, etc. So why is Cleveland so special?

  478. 478
    mclaren says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Why?

    Because the constitution requires it. If you don’t like the constitution fo the United States of America, emigrate to North Korea. Otherwise, STFU and sit down.

    Does target selection in a declared war require the military to get a sign-off from…uh…who the hell are you again? This is not a criminal sentence. This is a military action against members of an organization that Congress declared war on.

    You’re a liar.

    Congress has not declared war.

    There has been no declaration of war.

    Show us the declaration of war by congress. We had one on December 7 1941. We haven’t had one since then.

    You’re not only a liar, you’re an ignorant liar and an incompetent liar, because everyone knows as a matter of plain self-evident fact that there has been no declaration of war against anyone since December 7 1941.

    Since America is not at war, all your horseshit and lies about “targeting the enemy” is a bunch of unconstitutional garbage. Until and unless America declares war, there is no war and you’re just talking about murdering U.S. citizens without trial and without charges.

    Of course, you may disagree and believe that America is at war even though we haven’t actually declared war. The basis for your claim is apparently that someone says “America is at war.” So fine. I now say “America is at war with joe from Lowell.” You should now have no objection to me walking up to and shooting you in the head, no charges, no trial, because after all, I’m justing targeting an enemy during a time of war, and what business is that of yours?

    STFU and sit down, you ignorant fool. This isn’t a war, invocation of wartime powers is a transparently stupid lie, and everyone who isn’t a crypto-fascist or a far-right fanatic knows it.

  479. 479
    Mnemosyne says:

    @soonergrunt:

    My claim is pretty simple. He’s thrown his lot in with the enemy and as such he’s killable on sight. The law on that one is pretty clear, pretty universally accepted, and older than the USA is.

    I realize this is a technicality, but a lot of people (myself included) think there’s a difference between attacking the enemy at a place where al-Alawaki happens to also be and specifically targeting him for assassination. There’s a difference between the heat of battle and selecting a specific person to kill.

    By your argument, Lincoln should have sent someone across enemy lines to assassinate Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis rather than fighting a war against them.

  480. 480
    joe from Lowell says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    Is the CIA formally considered “military”?

    Yes, in the sense that their authority to use force comes from the president’s war powers.

    Ironically, that would make them combatants who don’t carry arms openly or wear identifying insignia. When CIA paramilitary personnel fought in Afghanistan back in 2001-2002, they made sure to put on American flags or other insignia.

  481. 481
    Elie says:

    @Face:

    But then that would force us making provisions for the most egregious abuse of power — and therefore we really could not have any secrets, since the posibility of having them abused by this or that administration would trump any reason for having them. And since we can only speculate at the nature of those, we are making assumptions that not having those secrets is less deadly than having them…

    I am saying that this whole issue is much more a gray area than strictly black of white. We are going to err sometimes to cover up what should be reviewable. The opposite can also happen.

    I believe that the debate/discussion is important — VERY important. Also important to present our arguments carefully, thoughtfully and with respect to the other side — since there definitely are pros and cons both ways and those are extremely important to acknowledge…

    I am really sad that so much of the discussion about this has devolved to stupid mud slinging and insults…

  482. 482
    mclaren says:

    @Lex:

    There’s serious doubt as to whether burnspbesq can read.

    Notice that he hasn’t uttered a peep in attempted rebuttal to my comprehensive legal deconstruction of BTD’s so-called legal “arguments,” which amount to little more than circular-reasoning John-Yooisms.

  483. 483
    Steve says:

    @Corner Stone: I said they ought to bring charges about 600 comments ago, actually. But setting that aside, the school of thought that says you have to be personally abusive to prove you take civil liberties seriously has proven remarkably unsuccessful.

  484. 484
    joe from Lowell says:

    @Face:

    Wait…..WHAT? Why the distinction? You just said (a million times) its war, he’s the enemy, we shoot/kill the enemy in war, etc. So why is Cleveland so special?

    Because it’s in the United States, where our civilian authorities are in control. This is the same reason why the underpants bomber gets tried in criminal court, while his confederates overseas get drone strikes.

    @mclaren: The common theme tying together everything you write is you not knowing what you’re talking about, but having very strong feelings.

    Because the constitution requires it.

    No, it doesn’t. Nothing in the Constitution requires that the military, fighting a declared war, clear its target selection with anyone, let alone you.

    Congress has not declared war.

    Yes, they have. They passed an AUMF in September 2001, which has the legal and constitutional force of a war declaration. If you don’t know this, you need to stop talking now.

    The basis for your claim is apparently that someone says “America is at war.”

    I’m actually laughing at you now. I don’t like to type little “LOLs,” but trust me – I actually laughed at you. You haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re talking about.

    Please keep quiet and let the grown-ups talk. There are people here raising legitimate points against the administration’s action. You are making them look bad.

    Don’t expect a response to your next “point.” I don’t care.

  485. 485
    mclaren says:

    @soonergrunt:

    My claim is pretty simple. He’s thrown his lot in with the enemy and as such he’s killable on sight.

    Show us the section of U.S. federal law that makes it a crime to “thrown in his lot with the enemy.” This is such vague bullshit it’s absurd beyond description.

    Clearly, with your Stalninoid advocacy of totalitarian murder without trial or charges, you’ve thrown in your lot with the enemies of America, who also believe in murdering people without charges or a trial and without any evidence they’ve done anything wrong.

    Therefore that makes you killable on sight. Suck on it, bitch.

    The law on that one is pretty clear, pretty universally accepted, and older than the USA is.

    Show us the law.

    Where is it in the U.S. legal code?

    Point us to it. Let us see it.

    You’re lying. There is no such law. As usual, you’re just making shit up and lying your ass off. You’re a barbarian and you have no more concept of the constitution than a cat has of calculus. You’re a human turdstain on the American flag, a disgrace to the armed forces of the United States, and a sorry excuse for a citizen of a free republic.

  486. 486
    joe from Lowell says:

    I mean, seriously, there have been multiple people on this thread who are against the administration’s position who quoted the AUMF, and you didn’t know we’d passed one?

    I’m just stunned.

  487. 487
    mclaren says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    They passed an AUMF in September 2001, which has the legal and constitutional force of a war declaration. If you don’t know this, you need to stop talking now.

    You’re a liar. The AUMF in September 2001 has no legal force and is not a declaration of war. If you don’t know this, you need to stop talking now.

    No, it doesn’t.

    Yes, the constitution does require that U.S. citizens be chraged with a crime and indicted and tried before a jury before they can be executed. If you don”t know this, you need to stop talking now.

    Amendment five of the constitution:

    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 offence 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.

    Is Al-Awlaki in “actual service in time of War or public danger”? No. He is not in military service. And America is not at war. You’re ignorant and you have not idea what you’re talking about.

    Nothing in the Constitution requires that the military, fighting a declared war, clear its target selection with anyone, let alone you.

    Since America is not fighting any kind of war, let alone a declared war, your claim is a non sequitur and irrelevant.

    You’re an ignorant liar.

    All your horseshit about “typing LOLs’ and “laughing” is designed to cover up the fact that you have nothing to back up your claim that America has declared war. Show us the delcaration of war. There is none. America is not at war, you know we’re not at war, and all your frantic bullshit is an effort to distract us from noticing that we’re not at war.

    Moreover, even if America was at war (which we’re not) the president still wouldn’t be legally justified in ordering the assassination of an American citizen with no charges and no trial.

    The section of the constitution cited above clearly and irrefutably proves that. If you don’t know that, you need to stop talking now, because you’re just embarrassing yourself.

  488. 488
    joe from Lowell says:

    @mclaren:

    Show us the section of U.S. federal law that makes it a crime to “thrown in his lot with the enemy.”

    *facepalm*

    Article 3 – The Judicial Branch
    Section 3 – Treason

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

    Please, for God’s sake, stop talking. You’re making us all stupider.

  489. 489
    Keith G says:

    Without adjectives, could mclaren exist?

    note: sorry if this ends up a repeat but wp seems to have discarded a post.

    FYWP

  490. 490
    joe from Lowell says:

    You’re a liar. The AUMF in September 2001 has no legal force and is not a declaration of war.

    Oh my GOD.

    Please, for God’ sake, STOP. You’re going to hurt yourself.

  491. 491
    burnspbesq says:

    @Lex:

    Which conclusion? And which of the many thingies on your blog?

    Specificity is a feature, not a bug.

  492. 492
    mclaren says:

    @Face:

    Joe from lowell is probably a 14-year-old kid high on angel dust. Nothing he says makes any sense. He’s probably just trolling. His posts are so incoherent it’s hard to tell, though.

  493. 493
    burnspbesq says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Your cardiologist just called. He wants you to pie-filter mclaren.

  494. 494
    joe from Lowell says:

    All your horseshit about “typing LOLs’ and “laughing” is designed to cover up the fact that you have nothing to back up your claim that America has declared war. Show us the delcaration of war.

    ‘Kay.

  495. 495
    Keith G says:

    @joe from Lowell: You are 100% correct.

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

    And since treason is a criminal offense, guess what….

    Ya gotta have a trial.

    That’s all I ask in this situation. I can’t speak for mclaren.

  496. 496
    joe from Lowell says:

    @burnspbesq: I know. He’s right.

    I actually have a physical reaction to this level of stupidity. I wince. People have seen me do it. It’s a little embarrassing, like when you’re trying to be polite.

    Show us the section of U.S. federal law that makes it a crime to “thrown in his lot with the enemy.”

    I mean…I mean…WTF?

  497. 497
    joe from Lowell says:

    @Keith G:

    And since treason is a criminal offense, guess what….
    Ya gotta have a trial.

    If he’s captured and charged with a crime, we will.

    On the other hand, as a whole lotta Confederates learned, you can also just wage war.

  498. 498
    mclaren says:

    Joe from lowell gibbers:

    Oh my GOD.

    Please, for God’ sake, STOP. You’re going to hurt yourself.

    Yup. 14-year-old kid. Can’t come up with anything to back up his claim that America has declared war because he knows we haven’t. In fact, Joe from Lowell himself admits we haven’t declared war:

    @joe from Lowell:

    They passed an AUMF in September 2001, which has the legal and constitutional force of a war declaration.

    Note that peculiar language: “has the legal and constitutional force of a war delcaration.”

    In poker, my man, that is what they call “a tell.”

    If the September 2001 AUMF actually is a declaration of war, why did Joe from Lowell find it necessary to say it “has the legal and constitutional force” of a declaration of war?

    Because he knows damn well America hasn’t declared war, just as everyone else here knows it.

    Game, set, match.

  499. 499
    Keith G says:

    BTW, may I suggest a compromise. How ’bout we all chip in and send Anwar Awlaki a Segway:

    *Segway Chief Dies in Segway Accident*

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09....._LO_MST_FB

  500. 500
    General Stuck says:

    @joe from Lowell: Wait till you trigger the Mclaren manifesto declaring you an enemy sociopath. I have developed a pretty good personal firewall against the crazy shit slung my way on this blog, but that one shivered me timbers a bit.

  501. 501
    mclaren says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I actually have a physical reaction to this level of stupidity. I wince.

    Show us evidence that requiriing the president of the united states to follow the constitution is “stupidity,” or stand revealed as a liar and character assassin.

    I mean…I mean…WTF?

    You’re big on insults but short on facts. You haven’t cited a single fact or made a single coherent argument. All you do is sneer and call names. That doesn’t cut it if you want anyone to buy the weird notion that the president of the united states doesn’t have to follow the constitution.

    The reason you’re spewing this kind of drivel is because you can’t come up with a single coherent justification why the president of the united states of America should be able to order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without charges or a trial.

    “WTF” doesn’t cut it. Come up with something better, or you’re done here.

  502. 502
    El Cid says:

    If someone is a potential terrorist, why should we have to bring criminal charges instead of just killing him or her even in the United States? They’re potentially about to kill people, and the government will claim that it has very good evidence about that.

    The government has killed people in this country before without a trial.

    And you certainly could argue that this is a very warlike situation and that the person targeted is very much like an invading combatant from a foreign stateless non-uniformed military force.

    Plus, no one has to know who did it, because you could make it illegal to ask questions or film it.

  503. 503
    joe from Lowell says:

    @General Stuck: Apparently, not only am I wrong about the AUMF having legal force, but I know I’m wrong.

    Clearly sociopathic.

  504. 504
    joe from Lowell says:

    @mclaren:

    You’re big on insults but short on facts. You haven’t cited a single fact or made a single coherent argument.

    I guess I imagined all of those links and arguments.

    A thousand pardons, O Red Faced One.

  505. 505
    joe from Lowell says:

    You haven’t cited a single fact or made a single coherent argument. All you do is sneer and call names.

    This has got to be an act, right? This person cannot be serious, right?

    Ha ha, you got me, troll. Very good. Ho ho ho.

  506. 506
    Keith G says:

    @joe from Lowell: As I recall, those Confederates were actively participating in combat on a battlefield. The Union did not send out teams of assassins so kill rebels at their homes while they were on leave. Many senior (and some not so senior) officers took a short leave at Christmas since the Army of Northern Virginia’s field of operation was, err, Virginny. Would a been a great time to degrade their leadership infrastructure. But this is not about that.

    This is about the unchecked power of one single person to be able to order the execution of an American citizen and for us to be told that the needs of secrecy dictate that there will be no challenge accepted and no review of the issue allowed.Even if I thought Obama could be trusted with that authority, I would object and I damn sure am queasy about unknown future presidents expanding the precedent that Obama seems to be creating.

  507. 507
    mclaren says:

    @Keith G:

    Treason, a trial, and the constitution requires two separate witnesses. Has to be a jury. Guy has to be indicted and arraigned. If you want to try Al-Awlaki for treason, fine, but it’s a long drawn out process. You’ll need to provide evidence. You’ll need credible witnesses, not just hearsay.

    I’m not seeing any of that from the government, which explains of course why Al-Awlaki is not being charged with treason. The government would actually have to mount a case. They’d have to prove something. They’d have to come up with evidence that would pass muster in a public trial, not just some a secret star chamber “trial” with secret “evidence” that was probably tortured out of innocent-bystander cab driver at Gitmo until he went out of his mind and testified that Al-Awlaki was the 22nd hijacker and also personally smuggled all the WMDs out of Iraq to Syria for Saddam.

    The United States government has people like burnspbesq and BTD running its terror trials, which means ignorant incompetent fools who fumble and bumble and stumble and bungle their way through, unable to mount even a remotely credible case against these mostly-innocent defendants. The defense lawyers eviscerate the U.S. attorneys in the kangaroo-court terror trials as easily as I eviscerated BTD’s legal “arguments” and the judges throw out the charges in these terror cases in disgust. The charges are mostly crap, based on tortured confessions that are made up, or hearsay that’s a pack of lies.

    That’s why the U.S. government doesn’t bring people like Al-Awlaki to trial. No evidence, no crime, too much prosecutorial abuse and misconduct and lying and gross incompetence to make the case stick.

  508. 508
    BombIranForChrist says:

    But, of course, we must vote for Obama, because we need to be realistic pragmatists and not wild-eyed hippies.

  509. 509
    Remember November says:

    @brendancalling:

    No that was Ghostcrawler.

    >obscure Wow reference <

  510. 510
    mclaren says:

    @Keith G:

    The Union did not send out teams of assassins so kill rebels at their homes while they were on leave

    Forget about rebels — what Joe from Lowell is saying is more like the Union sending out teams of assassins 50 years after the civil war, during no declared war at all, to murder random guys in their homes because someone somewhere decided “that guy’s a bad dude” but no one in the government could provide any evidence to back it up.

    Show us where that happened in American history.

    Never.

  511. 511
    burnspbesq says:

    @BombIranForChrist:

    But, of course, we must vote for Obama, because we need to be realistic pragmatists and not wild-eyed hippies.

    I care not even a little bit whether you are a realistic pragmatist, a wild-eyed hippie, or anything in between. And if the Republican nominee in 2012 is better than Obama on the issues that matter to you, by all means vote for him or her.

    But seriously, do you expect that to happen?

  512. 512
    El Cid says:

    @mclaren: You know, even though it would have been wrong, I wouldn’t have been too opposed to the Union using this argument to track down and kill Southern terrorists such as the Night Riders and the various Klans to keep them from killing and terrorizing free blacks and white Republicans & Populists.

  513. 513
    joe from Lowell says:

    @El Cid:

    If someone is a potential terrorist, why should we have to bring criminal charges instead of just killing him or her even in the United States? They’re potentially about to kill people, and the government will claim that it has very good evidence about that.
    The government has killed people in this country before without a trial.

    Because areas in which our civilian government is in effective control are not a war zone, so our civilian laws, and not military law, applies.

    You know this. I hate it when people play dumb.

    @Keith G:

    As I recall, those Confederates were actively participating in combat on a battlefield. The Union did not send out teams of assassins so kill rebels at their homes while they were on leave.

    They could have. It would have been perfectly legal. We certainly snuck up on and killed plenty of people away from active battlefields in World War Two.

    This is about the unchecked power of one single person to be able to order the execution of an American citizen and for us to be told that the needs of secrecy dictate that there will be no challenge accepted and no review of the issue allowed.

    Yup, that’s what war powers are. That’s why presidents can only legally use them in declared wars. The check on war powers is that the legislative branch needs to declare war.

  514. 514
    joe from Lowell says:

    Lemme try something:

    />

  515. 515
    joe from Lowell says:

    Did it work?

  516. 516
    joe from Lowell says:

    50 years after the civil war, during no declared war at all

    The legal status of the war against al Qaeda is indistinguishable from that legal status of the Union’s war against the Confederacy in 1915?

    I’m doing that wincing thing again.

  517. 517
    Keith G says:

    @El Cid: And the Rebels would have been justified in doing the same to…lets say the union governors who’s job it was to raise the militias used by the tyrannical Union to destroy Southern rights?

  518. 518
    Keith G says:

    @Keith G: Buuuuut. I am worried about the future and not that interested in weird Civil War analogies.

  519. 519
    soonergrunt says:

    @Tsulagi: That’s because MAJ Hassan is here, and was captured on US soil as a US citizen. If Alawki wants the same benefits, he should surrender, post haste. Otherwise, fuck him, in full accordance with the law as it exists now and has existed for 350 years.

  520. 520
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    By your argument, Lincoln should have sent someone across enemy lines to assassinate Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis rather than fighting a war against them.

    And while doing so wouldn’t have been considered ‘gentlemanly’ it would most definitely have been legal, and almost certainly would’ve ended the war much earlier with much less loss of life.

  521. 521
    soonergrunt says:

    @Keith G:

    Without adjectives, could mclaren exist?

    NO. SATSQ.

  522. 522
    Cain says:

    @Nick:

    Since when? I mean look I’m all for civil liberties, but I’m not under the ruse that we ever actually had them.

    It’s not? Shucks.. Just words then, huh? We seem to have them only for a limited time. I guess it is great during times of peace but during times of fear.. I blame the general populace for that.

    cain

  523. 523
    futzinfarb says:

    General Questions (or, as it’s known where I come from: let’s you and him have a fight):

    1) I wondered during the GWB administration and continue to wonder during the BHO administration how many of the civil liberty issues that have generated outrage (e.g., warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, assassination lists) have actually been long term de facto policies of our government in some form and either the circumstances during those administrations incidentally brought them to light or the GWB and BHO administrations felt confident enough that circumstances were such that if intentionally brought to light a majority would find them acceptable, thus unburdening them of trying to keep these things quiet (leading, of course, to John Cole’s observation that, “we’ve lost our way”, and shifting the overall question to “d**n, how long ago was it that we made that right turn at the gas station and was it a Texaco or Conoco?”) Discuss.

    2. Is there someone who is willing and informed enough to take a stab at making the distinction (i.e., constitutional/legal) if there is one between BHO acting as commander in chief under, for instance, the AUMF and ordering a military operation directed against al Alawki and organization(s) that support him and, as I understand the situation, placing al Alawki’s name on a “list” to be captured or killed. From a legal standpoint are these the same things? Different? Discuss.

    3. Just an observation, and not dispositive because of the logical “genetic fallacy”, but the “state secrets privelege” appears to have been tainted at inception. Listen to Act 2 of this program: http://www.thisamericanlife.or.....igin-story

  524. 524
    Cain says:

    I”m amazed that mclaren can type so many posts with one hand while clenching the sword of justice in the other and waving it around.

    cain

  525. 525
    Nick says:

    @Cain:

    Just words then, huh?

    uh, yeah…some of us have been saying this country was founded on principles it never adhered to…just words.

  526. 526
    Three-nineteen says:

    @joe from Lowell: OK, now I’m really confused. It seems like you are saying the following:

    1) The USA has declared war on Al Queda.
    2) Enemy combatants work for the enemy, but do not wear uniforms.
    3) (This is me following these statements to a conclusion) Members of Al Queda do not wear uniforms, therefore all members of Al Queda are enemy combatants and there are no enemy soldiers.

    Also, if we are at war with Al Queda and this guy has openly declared he has joined Al Queda, why are we going through the motions of having an “executive review” and putting him on a kill list? If he’s the enemy and we’re at war, why can’t we just kill him?

  527. 527
    Cain says:

    @Nick:

    uh, yeah…some of us have been saying this country was founded on principles it never adhered to…just words.

    Guess, we’ll have to burn the whole place down and start over. Looks like that is going to happen without our help.

    cain

  528. 528

    Do you have some strange reason why you distrust the government? I know politicians are professional liars, but it’s all for your own good. They know best.

  529. 529
    socratic_me says:

    [T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    BTD:
    I am no lawyer, but your reading of the above statement, when you bold then ends but leave out the “against” section makes no sense to me as a simple matter of English. It seems pretty clear that the against clause limits the use of military force, whereas the “in order to” bit is a limiter on what the final ends of the action must be. Your reading seems to suggest that the AUMF is a broad brush assertion that the President can go forth and smite, but you can’t just drop that limiting “against [the people responsible for 9/11]” bit like it doesn’t exist.

    I at least understand those who might argue that it still applies through various interpretations of how Awlaki fits into groups included in the “against” section, but your incredibly broad reading of the whole AUMF just confuses me and makes me doubt the trust I can place in your legal analysis.

  530. 530

    […] via John Cole, on Saturday the Obama administration filed a brief urging the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by […]

  531. 531
    mclaren says:

    @El Cid:

    You know, even though it would have been wrong, I wouldn’t have been too opposed to the Union using this argument to track down and kill Southern terrorists such as the Night Riders and the various Klans to keep them from killing and terrorizing free blacks and white Republicans & Populists.

    Once again with the grossly incorrect analogies.

    People, Logic 101: everything is somewhat like something else, but also somewhat different.

    The problem with analogies arises when the two things you’re trying to compare are so completely dissimilar that the analog is obviously and clearly invalid.

    To recap:

    The analogy to a cop on the beat has been tried and it has failed completely. No cop on the beat gets sent out by a police chief to deliberately and specifically murder someone who has never been accused of a crime or indicted and for whom no arrest warrant has ever been issued, and no police chief ever says to cops “Okay, kill the guy in this photo, but I can’t tell you why because it’s a secret.” This is such a huge dissimilarity that this failed and faulty analogy collapses.

    The analogy to the Union during the Civil War has been tried and it has failed completely. During the Civil War, we had a declared war against an enemy which had troops on American soil and was actively trying to conquer the government of the United States by invading Washington D.C. Nothing of the kind is happening today — we have never declared war against anyone in the so-called “war” against terror (any more than America declared war against anyone in the “war” against poverty or any more than America declared war against anyone in the “war” against illiteracy or any more than America declared war against anyone in the “war” against drugs — that “war” crap is just a rhetorical flourish). During the Civil War, enemy soldiers wore uniforms and took an oath of allegiance to a foreign entity (the CSA) and went out on a battlefield and physically attacked U.S. soldiers — Al Awlaki has done none of that.

    If and when Al-Awlaki puts on a uniform and flies to America and picks up an AK-47 and rushes at some U.S. soldiers and if and when America declares war against someone or something, then that analogy will be valid. Until then, it’s bullshit, and the Civil War analogy fails and falls apart.

    Al-Awlaki has talked trash about America and he’s been accused of a seemingly endless array of nebulous non-crimes… Al-Awlaki has become “operational.” Al-Awlaki has “allied himself” with people America’s current government doesn’t like (this changes from one month to the next; Don Rumsfeld “allied himself” with Saddam who was America’s buddy in the 1970s and suddenly became America’s eeeeeeeeeeevil enemy in 1991. Should Obama order Ron Rumsfeld assassinated as an enemy combatant?). Al-Awlaki has “made increasingly violent sermons.” (Ann Coulter and Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck have made “increasingly violent” speeches. Coulter has urged the murder of a Supreme Court justice, Bachmann has called for armed insurrection against the U.S. government, Beck has used eliminationist rhetoric in which he described liberals as “a cancer” that “must be cut out of America.” That’s incitement to riot and attempt to incite genocide and conspiracy to commit mass murder, folks. Why hasn’t Obama ordered the assassination of Glenn Beck?) Al-Awlaki has “given material aid to terrorists.” This is such vague horseshit that the law which makes it a crime is clearly and obviously unconstitutional on its face. You give material air to terrorists if you fly on a plane because that helps terrorists target airplanes. You give material aid to terrorism if you drive a car because it has been proven that petro-profits from Saudi Arabia are funneled into terrorist networks. And so on. “Material aid” is such meaningless horseshit that it’s self-evidently a legal nullity. In some sense, everyone in America gives “material aid” to terrorists by breathing and living here, since that provides the terrorists with nice juicy targets. When the definition of a crime becomes so broad that everyone commits it, the crime eo ipso becomes null and void. This is basic Logic 101, and it clearly applies to the “material aid to terrorists” law.

    None of the vague nebulous things of which Al-Awlaki has been accused here are statutory crimes. They suggest that Al-Awlaki might be a bad guy.

    Might be.

    Maybe.

    Being a bad guy is not a crime. If it were, Dick Cheney would’ve been in the electric chair back in the 1980s. (And yes, motherfuckers, I would have a problem with that. I despise Dick Cheney but once again just because I despise someone that doesn’t mean I think it’s legal for the president to order his assassination without trial and without charges.)

    Now, once again, we have a bogus analogy. Al-Awlaki is supposedly like one of the NIght Riders during the Civil War. Except that there is no war today, and the government has shown no evidence that Al-Awlaki went out a shot anyone or burned down anyone’s house or killed anyone the way the Night Riders did. And the government has not even tried to make the claim that Al-Awlaki did anything like what the Night Riders did.

    So once again, the analogy falls apart.

    Here’s a new justification for summarily executing Al-Awlaki without trial and without charges: Al-Awlaki is like a kumquat, and kumquats get pulped to make smoothies! Therefore we must pulp (kill) Al-Awlaki!

    This is the infantile level of analogy to which defenders of Obama’s indefensible atrocity are reduced in their frantically failed efforts to dredge up some far-fetched analogy that would make Obama unconstitutional death squads somehow legal.

    Isn’t it interesting that the real motivations for wanting to kill Al-Awlaki have never been used to try to justify his illegal unconstitutional murder without charges and without trial?

    No one has so far proposed:

    We should murder Al-Awlaki because he has a foreign-sounding name;

    We should murder Al-Awlaki because he’s brown;

    We should murder Al-Awlaki because he’s not a Christian but a member of some weird scary foreign religion;

    We should murder Al-Awlaki because he says things far right-wingers don’t like;

    We should murder Al-Awlaki because the CIA and the NSA and the DIA and the FBI and the DHS and the JSOC are too incompetent to find real terrorists, so they target guys like Al-Awlaki for the same reason a drunk looks for his lost keys under a streetlight — because it’s a lot easier.

    Isn’t that interesting?

    Frankly those motivations sound a lot more like the real reasons the various cowards and quislings like BTD and burnspbesq and Joe in Lowell and soonergrunt have advocated Al-Awlaki’s murder without charges and without a trial.

    Why not come clean, guys?

    Why not just come right out and admit “We think it’s legal to murder Al-Awlaki without charges because he’s a fuckin’ towelhead“?

    Why not just openly declare “It’s legally justifiable for the president to assassinate Al-Awlaki without any evidence he committed a crime because he’s a sand nigger“?

    We all know why BTD and burnspbesq and Joe in Lowell and soonergrunt don’t come out and say that. Because it would let us see BTD and burnspbesq and Joe in Lowell and soonergrunt for the people they really are.

    As for targeting members of the KKK for assassination without charges and without trial — you people need to wake up and realize what being an American means. It means the rule of law. It means presumed innocent until proven guilty. It means defending someone’s right to say stuff you despise. It means tolerating opinions you hate even if you loathe those opinions with unspeakable detestation.

    Here in America, Klan members get to hold parades if they want to. I don’t like the Klan, but I’ll goddamn well defend their right to parade if they want. As long as Klansmen put on their asshole-looking robes and peacefully demonstrate and carry their stupid signs and don’t hurt anyone, they have a right to do that.

    Once we start assassinating people like the Klan because we don’t like the signs they carry or the jerkoff costumes they wear, it’s game over for America. Read the constitution, people: Amendment one — the right of the people to peaceably assemble shall not be abridged. If the Klan or Al-Awlaki or anyone else wants to put on goofy sheets or an Al-Qaeda outfit or the same kind of clothing the 9/11 hijackers wore and march in front of the White House carrying a sign that says DEATH TO AMERICA or DOWN WITH THE GREAT SATAN U.S.A., they can do that here in America. I’ll despise ’em for it, but I won’t advocate murdering someone without charges and without trial just because they say things I despise.

    If you don’t like that, you need to leave America pronto. Go to Syria, where if you try to carry a sign saying DOWN WITH THE GOVERNMENT, a secret police guy will walk up to you and blow your head off.

    So, yes, I would be very opposed to the U.S. government tracking down and summarily assassinating people after the Civil War even if they were Klansman. Even if those Klansman committed crimes, they would still have been innocent until proven guilty. Even a Klansman who commits murder has a constitutional right here in America to be indicted, to be charged with a crime, to face his accusers in court, to hear the evidence against him, and to be tried by a jury of his peers.

    That’s the constitution of the united states of America: love it or leave it.

  532. 532
    mclaren says:

    @Three-nineteen:

    Joe from Lowell is caught in the same trap all compulsive pathological liars get caught in…he’s told so many lies that he can’t keep them straight anymore.

    Joe from Lowell has said the 2001 AUMF is a declaration of war, but he’s also said it isn’t really a declaration of war but it “has the legal and constitutional force of a declaration.” Was Joe from Lowell lying then, when he said it was an actual declaration of war, or is he lying now, when he claims it isn’t but has the same “legal and constitutional” force as one?

    Joe from Lowell has said people like Al-Awlaki are members of the enemy forces against which we’re supposedly at war, but he admits they don’t wear uniforms so they’re enemy combatants. Which is it, Joe? Were you lying then, when you implied Al-Awlaki was an enemy soldier in America’s global war on terror? Or are you lying now, when you claim no, Al-Awlaki isn’t actually an enemy soldier because he doesn’t wear a uniform, but he is an enemy comabtant?

    Joe from Lowell has claimed that the 2001 AUMF gives the president commander in chief powers to order the arbitrary assassination of anywhere anywhere because we’re at war in a global battlefield…but Joe from Lowell also claims that we need “executive review” and some form of checks of balances. Which lie do you want us to believe, Joe? Were you lying when you claimed the 2001 AUMF gave the president unlimited commander in chief powers to kill anyone anywhere at any time without even offering a reason…? Or are you lying now when you’ve started to backpedal and mumble vague bullshit about “executive review”?

    Joe from Lowell lies and lies and lies. We are war but not really, but yes, but no, but yes, but no. Al-Awlaki is an enemy soldier in a war, but he isn’t, but he is, not no not really because he doesn’t wear a uniform, but yes because he doesn’t need to. The president is a tyrant with no limits on his powers who can order his butler murdered because the guy’s eyes are brown, but no we must have executive review, but yes there are no limits of presidential commander-in-chief powers, but no there are.

    Joe in Lowell has tied himself in knots with his lies. This is what happens when you try to foist obvious horseshit on people. You wind up knotted into a Gordian tangle of self-contradiction and confusion.

    The plain and simple fact is that the president of the united states must follow the law, and the ulimate law in America is the constitution. The constitution expressly forbids the government or the president from murdering someone without charges or trial. All the lies and all the self-contradictions and all the confusion and all the bizarre incohrencies flow from the attempt to deny that basic fact.

  533. 533
    mclaren says:

    Time now to analyze the precise legal language of the 2001 AUMF and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

    [1] It is unconstitutional on its face;

    [2] In policy terms it is self-contradictory and therefore null and void;

    [3] Legally, it mandates impossibilities and thus must be stricken from the books.

    First, the AUMF:

    [T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    American airlines aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 by flying planes full of highly volatile jet fuel which could easily be taken over by guys with box cutters. American construction workers aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 by building large skyscrapers. Ronald Reagan aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 by giving money and weapons to the Afghan mujahedeen including bin Laden. The CIA aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 by funneling weapons including MANPADS to the Afghan mujahedeen. The drunk-driving C student in the Oval Office in 2001 and his torturer sidekick aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 by repeatedly ignoring FBI warnings of an imminent attack. Condoleeza Rice aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 by sidelining an urgent intelligence report in mid-2001 that warned of an Al Qaeda operation in America.

    So the AUMF authorizes the murder of the White House staff, congress, the CIA, Ronald Reagan and his staff, all American airlines and their employees, the construction workers who built the Twin Towers, and on and on.

    This is such obviously extreme overkill that the AUMF is unconstitutional on its face and must be thrown out. There is no meaningfuly legal difference twixt the 2001 AUMF and a document that says “KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!” They are both unconstitutionally vague. It’s exactly equivalent to a city passing an ordinance saying

    [T]he police are is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those groups, organizations, or persons they determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided a crime that occurred in this city, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future crimes against this by such groups, organizations or persons.

    Carried to its logical legal conclusion, such an ordinance gives the police authority to round up and put to death everyone in the city…because that’s the only way to be sure of preventing any future crimes. It’s flagrantly and grossly unconstitutional on its face.

    [2] In policy terms, the 2001 AUMF is self-contradictory because the the president cannot simultaneously use all necessary force to prevent future terrorist attacks while using all appropriate force. The 2001 AUMF calls for infinite unlimited total security for the U.S.A. against future terrorist attacks. But in order to do that, America must unleash unlimited violence, everywhere in the world. You get the 1% doctrine of Darth Cheney, which means murdering limitless numbers of innocent third world bystanders. But that is clearly and obviously not an “appropriate” level of force. The two requirements, “necessary” and “appropriate” force conflict when brought into proximity of the need to prevent future terrorism because terrorism is so nebulous and the future is so open-ended and limitless that any level of force which is necessary to prevent all future terrorism can never be appropriate, while any level of force which is appropriate can never suffice to prevent all future terrorism.

    [3] The 2001 AUMF requires legal impossibilies because the more military force America uses against third-world groups, the more terrorists we create. Therefore the entire injunction to “use all necessary and appropriate force…in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against America” is impossible to fulfill. The more third world people we kill, the more terrorists we create. So the more we have to kill…so the more we create. On and on and on. It’s insane and impossible, precisely equivalent to passing a law that says the president has to run twice as fast every five minutes. Within half a day he’ll be legally reguired to run faster than the speed of light, which is physically impossible. Any law which requires a physical impossibility is null and void on its face. The 2001 AUMF requires a physical impossibility, namely preventing future terrorist attacks by using the military force which necessarily and inevitably must kill innocent third world bystanders and therefore create more terrorists.

  534. 534
    Joe from Reality says:

    Joe from Lowell is not only a prick he is spectacularly wrong.

    Joe cites treason as the crime our plucky “terrorist” sympathizer is charged with. Ha! This is the hardest to prove!

    Joe intentionally reads over the fact that you have to provide two witnesses in court to prove the treason. No other capital crime requires so much proof. Not to mention does Joe describe how “throwing his lot” in with terrorists equals treason. What overt act are we talking about here? Giving speeches?

    But Joe would dispense with all of that legal nicety and simply allow the president to assassinate this person solely based on secret evidence (no two witnesses required).

    Joe is spectacularly stupid and a prick to boot. He has twisted himself up is such contortions trying to protect Obama the is arguing for war crimes and killing people and being a prick about it.

  535. 535
    Anon. says:

    @Omnes:

    Glad you agree that he should be indicted.

    Obama doesn’t agree. Obama believes that secret assassination orders are appropriate, unreviewable by anyone.

    No grey area here.

    There are at least three other people who Obama has kill orders out on, but we don’t even know who they are, because it’s a “secret”.

    This is now a fascist state. Thank you Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama.

  536. 536
    Anon. says:

    You know, even though it would have been wrong, I wouldn’t have been too opposed to the Union using this argument to track down and kill Southern terrorists…

    But that would have been stupid. All those Southern terrorist groups were organized by Confederate officers, or in other words *traitors* who had already taken up arms against the US — and one could have convicted them of doing so had it been done promptly after the Civil War. In fact a bunch of them *were* convicted if I remember correctly.

    They were just given undeserved pardons afterwards… the pardon power is dangerous.

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