I Liked This Movie Better When It Starred Hal Holbrook

This is just nuts. It’s un-American, surely illegal, and a real mark on the Obama Presidency. Just fucking nuts. And evil.

This really is a situation in which Obama is worse than Bush.

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497 replies
  1. 1
    geg6 says:

    No, he really is not, John.

    But keep on telling yourself that and you, too, can be Corner Stone or Uncle Clarence Thomas or McLaren one of these days.

  2. 2
    Guster says:

    @geg6: Care to address the substance of the argument? Reuters:

    American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

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

    No public record.
    No law establishing its existence.
    No law setting the rules.

  3. 3

    Nope, sorry; not buying the “worse than Bush” meme.

    The minute I saw that this was another Greenwald moan and groan piece, I tuned out. Not going to fall for another one of that @$$hole’s nonsense writeups (seriously, can anyone point out the last time Greenwald wrote an article that wasn’t a smack-up job aimed at the President?).

    A better article is here:

    http://www.stonekettle.com/201.....ences.html

    …and here:

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/.....ether.html

    (But kudos for THE STAR CHAMBER ref, John–just watched it a few weeks ago after not seeing it in years and it’s still a damn fine film. But it does not apply here.)

  4. 4
    13th Generation says:

    Can’t wait for the Obot defense on this. Where is ABL’s all caps OH NOES!! post on this?

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I am afraid I must concur.

    It’s the “no public record part” that is positively deserting fratboyesque about it. Right out the Dark Lord Cheney’s playbook.

    Nazis demonstrated more concern for the fig leaf of legality when planning the fucking Holocaust, mind you.

  6. 6
    kindness says:

    Don’t you think bush43 used assassination? Of course they did.

    Honestly the list of major countries that don’t use assassination as a tool of statecraft is smaller than the list of ones that do. Am I proud of being a citizen of one of those countries? No. But I also understand that sometimes it happens. In this case, I’m not all that bothered that they killed him.

    It really comes down to where your leaders draw the line. With respect to that, I trust President Obama more than any Republican out there.

  7. 7
    Svensker says:

    @Marc McKenzie:

    La la la I can’t hear you isn’t a great refutation.

    Here’s the Reuters article so you don’t have to sully your beautiful mind by going through Greenwald.

  8. 8
    Cat says:

    Even though what is going on is wrong on so many levels, the only difference between Obama Administrations and any of the post WW2 Administrations is taking ownership of issue. Obama is no worse then anyone who came before him.

    Once you create a secret army with a secret budget and let them loose with only the oversight of a few dozen political elite they will be ‘doing what needs to be done’.

  9. 9
    c u n d gulag says:

    Nope, no chance for abuse or error, here – no sir!

    Nothing to see here. Move along…
    I SAID MOVE ALONG!

    And this from a Democratic Administration?

  10. 10
    sublime33 says:

    My take is that they have admitted to a process that has been going on for at least 60 years. Also, I don’t buy into the arguement that because one is an American citizen, they get some special diplomatic immunity regardless of where they are located or what their activities are. Did the German soldiers who dressed as Amercans get due process during the Battle of the Bulge? No, they were shot as spies, even though they were fluent in Amercian English and some were likely dual citizens. I never bought into the “War on Terror” but I always bought into the “War on Al-Queda”.

  11. 11
    AnderJ says:

    Who cares whether Obama is worse than Bush or Bush did it too. It is outrageous! In fact, I don’t care whether this is about an American or not: targeted killings are an aborration of the rule of law, due process and international human rights.

  12. 12
    Guster says:

    @kindness: I’m not sure how your level of trust responds to the post. The assertions are that this is:

    1. un-American,
    2. illegal,
    3. a real mark on the Obama Presidency,
    4. fucking nuts,
    5. evil, and
    6. a situation in which Obama is worse than Bush.

    So you’re saying that 2-6 are correct, but 1 is incorrect, because we’ve always institutionalized assassination of Americans like this?

  13. 13
    drkrick says:

    But you have to admit, a spokesman named “Representative Dutch Ruppersberger” is pretty awsome.

    And add me to the list of people who are only surprised that they are semi-admitting and owning it. I doubt there has been an administration since Truman (including the sainted Carter) who hasn’t been running these kind of operations as needed.

  14. 14
    The Dangerman says:

    I don’t see much difference between dispatching Bin Laden, dispatching Awlaki, or a SWAT team dispatching that Dude that shot up Sunnyvale yesterday (if it had come to that; I didn’t hear the end of the story). At some point, if “come out with your hands up” isn’t ending the “standoff”, other actions are required.

    Edit: On checking, Sunnyvale Dude was dispatched this morning, apparently. Woe is me, no trial; let’s see the public records on this SWAT decision.

  15. 15
    Alex S. says:

    Not worse than Bush, think of Cheney’s secret assassination squad, and, of course, torture, but not really good, either.
    Even though I find Greenwald hard to bear sometimes, he’s probably the most valid critic of Obama.

  16. 16
    Yutsano says:

    Did Obama create this secret council or is this another holdover from the Dubya years? And this sounds like a great opportunity for Congress to do that whole check and balance thing and render this illegal no?

  17. 17
    Sasha says:

    Okay, this is bullshit. This is the kind of thing that deserves Congressional oversight and review.

    But until those who abetted Bush in his overreaches are out, it’s not going to happen.

  18. 18
    JonF says:

    All findings for capture/kill order have to go to congress. I don’t buy for a second that Obama isn’t doing that, especially since Congress seems to know about everything involved!

  19. 19
    deep cap says:

    It okay because the people killed are terrorists!

    (*sits back and waits for hundreds of “terrorists” to be killed on Wall Street*)

  20. 20
    IrishGirl says:

    @AnderJ: So long as you are consistent in your stance, that’s fine. Did you feel the same way when they killed Osama Bin Laden?

  21. 21
    Marc says:

    We give people accused of crimes in this country legal protections for good reasons. We kill people in wars without legal protections. The entire argument is about when we should apply the rules in the former case, and when we are in the latter domain.

    Greenwald is incredibly dishonest on this subject, so I’d prefer someone with less of a track record of reporting only the aspects of a situation that fit his agenda. There is no chance of an honest discussion about this, however, so I have little hope that we’ll get past the “worse than Bush” horseshit. (Honestly, do you really think that previous US presidents haven’t done this?)

  22. 22
    amused says:

    In a country that views the release of a crappy new cell phone and the death of the marketer of it as front page news, this is as American as it gets. Live with it.

  23. 23
    Nevgu says:

    Concern Troll Cole back to channeling Greenwald again. Glad to see the old idiot Cole back. I was getting bored.

  24. 24
    ruemara says:

    You’re saying a committee of elected officials, who meet in secret, with advice from government lawyers- see

    They confirmed that lawyers, including those in the Justice Department, were consulted before Awlaki’s name was added to the target list.

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

    – is worse than Bush. Ok. I’m not sure. I find it interesting that Greenwald’s OP-ED is pushing that the President is wrong in this, while the Reuter’s article-you know, the journalist thing? takes pains to point out that the decision can be nullified by the president but he does not nominate anyone to the list. It also points out that Al Awlaki was not a target, but a collateral, which I’m sure the usual suspects will then howl that I’m believing the government blablablah… It also points out another American is not on the list despite a visible PR role because they just don’t think he’s a credible threat.

    Look, I’m never going to win on ethics because I as world leader would happily send assassins after anyone I thought was a threat. And I’d sleep well. But saying that this is “TARGETING AMERICAN CITIZENS OMGNOES” is bullshit. These guys are not dissenters. They are siding with a group of terrorists who are international criminals and delight in the thought of killing American citizens, soldiers and destroying this nation. They aren’t innocent, this wasn’t a vacation and dfh that I am, I wouldn’t risk one vet’s life to capture these assholes.

  25. 25
    cleek says:

    serious question: is there a requirement of any kind that mandates WH decision making must be detailed in a “public record” ?

    but, the root of the problem here is that the AUMF says the President has the authority to use military force to kill any al-Q-related persons in order to prevent future attacks.

    don’t like that? get the AUMF changed or invalidated.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    uila says:

    There is no doubt Abdulmutallab was an admirer or follower of Awlaki, since he admitted that to U.S. investigators. . . .

    Does this mean Norway gets to drop a bomb on Pam Geller?

  28. 28
    J.W. Hamner says:

    On day you and Glen Greenwald will learn what the 2001 AUMF is.

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Yutsano:

    nd this sounds like a great opportunity for Congress to do that whole check and balance thing and render this illegal no?

    Just what I was going to say. I’d be more surprised to find out that virtually every president since Roosevelt has done something along these lines than not, doesn’t mean we and Congress shouldn’t protest it, investigate it and stop it.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Given that one of Obama’s campaign promises was to increase transparency in government, I think we can safely call this policy FAIL.

  31. 31

    Maybe we should just let the nice fella plot to kill as many American’s as he wants.

    How is this any different than a drone strike organized in secret by military commanders in a secret location or CIA operatives organizing to strike back against militants that have targeted them in the past.

    Maybe all these secret meetings should be televised on youtube live from now on.

  32. 32
    TooManyJens says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s the “no public record part” that is positively deserting fratboyesque about it. Right out the Dark Lord Cheney’s playbook.

    Yes. No public record, no requirement to provide a court with the evidence against the people being targeted, no mechanism for accountability. This is wrong. It may actually be legal depending on how you interpret the AUMF, I don’t know, but it’s wrong.

  33. 33
    ellenelle says:

    my bet is, john, that the bush administration set up this committee, and – like so many individuals, agencies, and policies of that damned decade – are too entrenched as moles to be easily eliminated.

    i don’t condone what is happening here, and sure wish obama would put a stop to so much of it. but i also suspect that – consistent with ike’s warnings – we’ve really been in a military dictatorship for a while, one that allows us the delusion of voting in someone who promises to reverse these awful trends.

    unfortunately, once these guys are elected – carter, clinton, obama – they’re instructed immediately as to just what the limits of their power actually are, and what the consequences will be should they cross any bright lines. no doubt they couch these threats in palatable terms (mr. prez, you have no idea just how dangerous the world has become; so top secret, can’t even share with you, etc.), but the result is the same.

    our commanders-in-chief can no longer direct these horrors out of occurrence, nor can they direct the agencies that implement them out of existence. such is the nightmare of empire.

  34. 34
    IrishGirl says:

    I am reluctantly agreeing with John on this. Legally speaking we ARE supposed to distinguish between how we treat citizens and non-citizens…although it isn’t clear cut. For example in issues of illegal immigrants and deportation, one of the main arguments for slowing down the deportation is that they aren’t being given “due process”. And that claim as some validity. So the fact that Awlaki (sp?) was a citizen makes a difference. I was okay with the execution of Osama but not Awlaki–the only difference being citizenship. Then again, its not as if Awlaki was running around the U.S. with a gun in his hand in open rebellion. He was on foreign soil and advocating violence against the U.S. and encouraging Muslims in the U.S. to rebel. He was open about his treason. Does the fact that he was out of the country matter, legally? On that issue, I’m not sure.

    However, ethically speaking, it shouldn’t matter. Execution is wrong, no matter how you slice it, citizen or not. The law and ethics don’t have to agree and frequently don’t.

    No matter how you slice it, the fact that I don’t know who is on this “panel” and they’re not elected and there is no public review, makes me extremely nervous.

    From a political standpoint the Republicans are going to have a tough time on this one. On the one hand, this is the Big Govt they fear–real death panels. On the other hand, they are the supposed “security” party and killing terrorists is what they’re supposed to be good at (their actual record notwithstanding). I will be curious to see their take on this particularly our Glibertarian friends.

  35. 35

    This can be solved. Congress should give the authority to strip a citizen of his or her citizenship to the Supreme Court. The Administration should have to present their case to them. If it needs to be an amendment, then we need an amendment.

    Congress could also set up a separate court if they so choose. I don’t think the power would be needed all that often, though. Making it a function of the Supreme Court would make the practice rare, and the Court would still have to grant cert.

  36. 36
    PeakVT says:

    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.

    In practice very little of the Constitution ends up being absolute, but the principle of due processes isn’t one that be should let go of. The Obama administration should have a process for such assassinations that includes checks. If it can’t find solid basis for one in existing law, it should either ask Congress to create one, or not carry out the hits.

  37. 37
    ChrisNYC says:

    @J.W. Hamner: No, they love the rule of law. They love it so much, in fact, that they can’t be bothered with actual law. Much more satisfying to say, “this is illegal because I said so.”

  38. 38
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Yeah, worse than Bush? Like Bush wouldn’t have done precisely this? That’s maybe going a little too far.

    But for the people who contend that Awlaki waved his rights by being guilty of treason, you do understand that treason is a criminal offense and warrants the same due process as any other criminal offense, right? It’s not a special category of crime where the president and his secret committee get to decide who’s guilty on their own. Would the burden of obtaining a simple indictment have been so onerous? Hell, there were even indictments against UBL over the embassy bombings and the Riyadh attack.

  39. 39
    Guster says:

    The AUMF says the President has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force against people he determines were involved with 9/11.

    I’m not convinced that means that if the president decides that Ward Churchill was involved, it’s legal to assassinate him.

    I’m also not convinced that the AUMF is the only law on the books.

    I’m not a lawyer, though. Maybe it’s some kind of trump card. Certainly that’s what the Bush administration believed–or at least tried to act upon.

  40. 40
    Cat says:

    @kindness:

    It really comes down to where your leaders draw the line. With respect to that, I trust President Obama more than any Republican out there.

    Right, because we are about to enter into a 1000 year Pax Obama so we’ll never had Rpublican president again?

    WTF?

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Marc:

    Marc, it’s not very often that we target people in wars BY NAME for rubbing out. Oh, sure, it’s done, but it’s often done in cases where it’s absolutely open about who it is and what their role is and what they’ve done to merit it. Admiral Yamamoto, for example, was singled out for this, and even then there was some consternation that it was an “assassination”.

    If you can make a case for taking someone out (for example, well, I don’t know, off the top of my head, Osama bin Laden, perhaps?) there aren’t a lot of objections.

    The thing is, you need to make the case. And you need to do so in such a way that you don’t open yourself up to second guesses about it. Oh, sure, this guy boasted of all this, but then if that’s the justification, then why the lack of a record of the process of deciding this?

    Transparency. It was promised by candidate Obama in 2008.

  42. 42
    El Tiburon says:

    I have come to the conclusion that a great many commentors on this site are complete and total morons.

    As Americans you are useless. You have no sense of morality or history or a conscience as far as I can tell.

    It is being reported that the President of the United States has the ability to target and kill American citizens based on secret information and most of you are like: Awesome! Cool!

    I don’t know what it is that we have been fighting for the last few years? Oh, I guess you only care about your fucking health insurance.

  43. 43
    Mattminus says:

    @kindness:
    And this is why I say this place is no different than free republic, we just wear a different color jersey here.

    If ABL were smart, she’s follow up with a post about how Cole is racist and leverage the outrage fest to help with her grifting.

    “The only way to send all the racist balloon-baggers a message is to send me money!”

  44. 44
    kd bart says:

    Isn’t this the background for every James Bond film ever made?

  45. 45
    Citizen Alan says:

    The posts I’m seeing sadden but do not surprise me. I have long believed that most Republicans would prefer to live under a military dictatorship modeled on Franco if the dictator were a white dude from an upper-class background who was committed to hippie-punching and the Gospel of Supply Side Jesus. I now think that plurality of Democrats would be just as happy under a fascistic Democrat-dictator so long as he could plausibly claim to be “no worse” than the worst Republican leader in living memory.

  46. 46
    amk says:

    All this panties-in-a-bunch over a single terrist,whose love for american lives is so well known ? Guess gg addled your brain once again, cole.

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @IrishGirl:

    I will be curious to see their take on this particularly our Glibertarian friends.

    Oh, please. A subhuman mooslim was killed. No more of a concern than swatting a fly.

    Now, if the Obama administration had gone after a Koch brother, then there would be much screaming and yelling.

  48. 48
    William Hurley says:

    A terrifying revelation, but one that’s wholly unsurprising given the President’s penchant for secret meetings and practices that further entrench the institutional prerogatives of the Unitary Executive.

    Legally and politically, these are impeachment grade offenses.

    Yet the President’s most ardent defenders will defend him using repackaged right-wing talking points once used to defend Bush & Cheney.

  49. 49

    @mikefromArlington:

    nah put them on cnn, people watch youtube, we don’t want this stuff getting out. the whole transparency thing is only good marketing if you are damned sure no one is going to want to pay attention anyway.

    its like saying “the customer is always right” this only works if you have high margins, and customers who are fucking clueless. then of course you can make them think they are sticking you to the screws for every last scrap of what they think value is. if they believe the floormats are more expensive than a persian hand woven rug, then you give them the fucking floor mats, though it pains you to do so.

    all of this, of course, doesn’t matter, we are pot-committed to obama, ain’t gonna be anyone better at this time. temper your idealism.

  50. 50
    The Dangerman says:

    Sorry for the Godwin, but was there ever an estimate of how many American Citizens went to fight and die for their Fatherland in WWII?

  51. 51
    Shade Tail says:

    So officials in the executive branch put a known or at least suspected terrorist, who is currently residing outside the country, on a classified “detain or kill” list, and I’m to believe that this is some kind of unprecedented abuse merely because he held US citizenship?

    Yeah, right. Let me know when what is clearly a legal gray area actually does become a black mark. And kindly spare me the eye-rolling hysterics when that time comes.

  52. 52
    Trurl says:

    Yes, Mr. Cole. Really Worse Than Bush.

    Not that it will stop you from voting for the murdering son of a bitch again. And may you be damned to hell for it.

    Chris Floyd:

    “And they will be telling us, yet again, why we must must must support Barack Obama in his quest to win one more term atop the greasy pole of power. They will tell us, yet again, that we must forget these murders — and the killing of many hundreds of innocent people in similar robo-slaughters in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan — and work hard to perpetuate and entrench our own slavery in a lawless system whose leaders can kill any one of us at the push of a button, at the pulse of a whim, without charges, without trial, without mercy.

    This is not just the usual partisan amnesia, this is not just moral blindness: it is active, open, undeniable complicity with evil.”

  53. 53
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @El Tiburon: And I’ve come to the same conclusion about you.

  54. 54
    You And I And George says:

    The Military Government has been doing this for years and we know nothing. Then Obama comes into office and somehow it gets leaked. We now know and are rightly outraged.

    How about the idea that Obama isn’t ready to “take the hit” of forcing the military to shut it down using his authority, but wants us to “make him do it.”

    And if we don’t make him do it, we’re as culpable as he is.

    Not quite as evil as it seems.

    Direct your outrage to your representative.

    Thanks to Reuters for some first rate reporting.

  55. 55
    NobodySpecial says:

    @El Tiburon: Close. They care about making sure they don’t have to pay for someone else’s health insurance.

  56. 56
    MattR says:

    @ruemara:

    They are siding with a group of terrorists who are international criminals and delight in the thought of killing American citizens, soldiers and destroying this nation.

    In the estimation of a group of government officials.

  57. 57
    Morzer says:

    I don’t know whether Obama is worse than Bush on this issue, because the history behind this abomination isn’t really available, but that isn’t the key issue. The point is that any of us could be put on that list and there’s no recourse or due process whatsoever. If that doesn’t worry you, you aren’t thinking too clearly. This shouldn’t be about Obama or Bush, Democrat or Republican – this should be a basic issue of civil liberties, justice and the powers available to the President and those elected to serve the American people.

  58. 58
    Pliny says:

    What’s it called when your argument is “other Presidents did it too”. Oh, right, argument from authority, a very popular logical fallacy.

  59. 59
    EJ says:

    @Marc McKenzie:

    Sure, there are plenty of sniveling bootlickers like yourself who call themselves progressives – not sure what those articles prove though.

  60. 60
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @The Dangerman: The Wikipedia tells me that the American government made no serious post-war effort to determine how many Americans fought for the Nazis. It probably would have been unseemly to do so at the same time that we were smuggling Nazi rocket scientists into the country.

  61. 61
    ChrisNYC says:

    @Citizen Alan: Do you ever feel embarrassed when you belittle the real suffering of people who, right now, live under brutal, murderous dictatorships by equating the suffering of US citizens with theirs? New death count in Syria — 2600 regular citizens dead. Many many dead in Bahrain in February protests.

    This is not about “USA! we’re the greatest.” It’s just that maybe people in the US who have so much and who suffer so little at the hands of our government, compared to people around the world, could have some decency when referencing things like “fascism” and “dictatorship.”

  62. 62
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Seriously, I think the “Obama is worse than Bush” meme is a crock of shit, but when is it okay again to criticize Obama? Whenever Cole posts something criticizing him? I think we on the left have had a tough time with that over the past couple of years. We don’t want to be mindless drones, but neither is GG-esque constant complaining desireable either*.

    *and for the record, firebaggers, people who think President Romney would be great on civil liberties, GG, liberals who don’t plan on voting for Obama in 2012, and people who think Ron Paul would save the Republic from the BushHitlerObama years are fucking idiots.

  63. 63
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Unless one is a big-A anarchist, one’s arguments are going perforce to revolve around how, not whether….

  64. 64
    Trurl says:

    And since all you dumbfucks seem to be unaware of it, the M in AUMF stands for “Military”. Awlaki was assassinated by the CIA.

  65. 65
    amk says:

    200+ comments. Guaranteed.

    Leave some poutrage for tomorrow guyz and galz. Of course, trolls gonna be trolls.

  66. 66
    taylormattd says:

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

    Needs citations.

    Is there “no public record” because there is “no public record” of goings on at the NSC? And where, exactly, does he get the no “law” or “rules” thing? There are plenty of laws and regulations that govern the nature and scope of the authority of the NSC. If you want to argue that the President doesn’t have the authority to order al-qaida members be killed, that makes sense to me. What I don’t understand, however, is why involvement of other members of the White House’s NSC makes this worse.

  67. 67
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I’m sorry, but isn’t treason punishable by death? The guy is calling for attacks on the U.S. and is connected to the guy that killed all the folks at Ft Hood.

    Shannah, he bought his ticket, he knew what he was getting into. I say, let him crash.

  68. 68
    taylormattd says:

    @Morzer:

    The point is that any of us could be put on that list and there’s no recourse or due process whatsoever.

    Huh?

  69. 69
    Pliny says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    What the fuck is the point of focusing all your criticism on the people not in power? Will your opinions about the horrible shit the Democratic party and President Obama are doing immediately change if a Republican wins and continues the same things?

  70. 70
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @ChrisNYC: Did you just make the argument that it’s not OK to criticize government overreach because at least we’re not living in Syria?

  71. 71
    IrishGirl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yeah, that’s what I think they will do too. But if anybody should be squalling about it, it should be THEM!

  72. 72
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Pliny:

    I’m not saying not criticize, but have some fucking perspective.

  73. 73
    Reality Check says:

    It’s one thing to pontificate about theoretical “rights” when sitting from the peanut gallery. It’s another thing to sit in the Oval Office, see the intelligence, the myriad of threats to our nation, and have to act or not act.

    I’m glad TOTUS at least has maturity in this aspect if nothing else. Just face it, guys, he can’t allow a terrorist attack on his watch.

  74. 74
    Anoniminous says:

    More empirical evidence for the widespread psychological basis of Prof. Milgram’s Obedience to Authority experimental findings.

  75. 75
    IrishGirl says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: Did I miss something here? When did Awlaki have a trial on the charge of Treason? Hmmmmm…..must have happened in private like the decision to kill him was.

  76. 76
    El Tiburon says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    And I’ve come to the same conclusion about you.

    OH. Snap. And Burn. You zinged me there for sure. I’ll be hurting for a while after that one.

    Otherwise, thanks for your insightful contribution to this thread.

    And the meme isn’t “Obama is worse than Bush” you morons. The meme is: “Obama is worse than Bush on THESE issues…”

    And if you can’t see that, then you truly are a bunch of fucking morons.

  77. 77
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    I’m sorry, but isn’t treason punishable by death?

    It sure is, at the end of a legal process. You can even kill people who are indicted if capture is not an option. What would have been so hard about obtaining an indictment against this guy? You could have done it a year ago using only publicly available video that he himself recorded.

    But the AUMF gives the government the power to do whatever, whenever, wherever, however, against whoever, so that’s that I suppose.

  78. 78
    cathyx says:

    @Reality Check: I’m going to assume you applied this same logic to President George Bush too.

  79. 79
    Pliny says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I think people who see Greenwald as some sort of one-trick Obama-Bashing pony would have a different opinion if they read all of his posts and not just the ones where he criticizes the President or Democrats in Congress.

    Like this one, for example: http://politics.salon.com/2011.....singleton/

  80. 80
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @ruemara:

    I as world leader would happily send assassins after anyone I thought was a threat. And I’d sleep well. But saying that this is “TARGETING AMERICAN CITIZENS OMGNOES” is bullshit.

    Can’t say I disagree with you in total, but do the words
    “President Rick Perry” give you the least moment of pause to reconsider–especially given his penchant for executions?

    I clearly don’t think Obama is worse than or even the same as Bush-Cheney. My only concern is the lack of due process of even a minimal standard. There should be SOME check/balance to the addition of American citizens on this list. Not just the dictate of a potentially ignorant, politically weak willed US President.

    Preferably a panel of judges. Good God not Congress, especially in it’s present condition.

  81. 81
    Morzer says:

    @taylormattd:

    American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions . . . . There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council . . . . Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate. . .

    All it takes is for someone, whose name you will never know, to log taylormattd as an “American militant”. You really want to take your chances next time a Koch-sponsored right wing crazy gets into the White House?

  82. 82
    El Tiburon says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    I’m sorry, but isn’t treason punishable by death?

    Why yes it is. If you are convicted of treason you can be put to death. Also, did you know if you are convicted of a certain type of murder you can be put to death as well?

    Did you notice the word “convicted” there in the paragraph directly above this one? Did you notice Alwaki was never convicted of anything? Did you know that?

    Or, in your mind, is it enough just to accuse someone of a crime? Because I accuse you of being a fucking moron, which I think = treason, ergo, you should be put to death. Does anyone have a spare drone?

  83. 83
    cleek says:

    @IrishGirl:
    “treason” is completely irrelevant here, as is “conviction”.

    he was actively supporting the group responsible for 9/11 (in a recruiting, if not operational, manner). that puts him up against the AUMF. and the AUMF says the president can use the military to stop him.

    for the record, i think that sucks, and i think that Obama going down this road sucks. but what the AUMF says is pretty clear, and al-Alawakaiaki (or whatever) was on the wrong side of it.

    fix, or defeat, the AUMF.

  84. 84
    Morzer says:

    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.

    Seems like the Fifth Amendment needs some attention here.

  85. 85
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @El Tiburon: This thread is a bullshit hit generator. The motherfucker is dead and he should be.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    There is, of course, a very specific set of criteria for a formal charge of treason locked in concrete in the Constitution itself, and for very good reason. English Kings have a very long record of screaming “treason!” at the drop of a hat and following through with an execution.

  87. 87
    Chyron HR says:

    As always, nothing says “I sincerely believe that the President is an evil dictator who executes people on a whim” like using your real name when you criticize him.

  88. 88
    Reality Check says:

    I guess all those Confederate generals should have been put on trial instead of shot at. Same thing with Confederate spies. After all, they were American citizens.

  89. 89
    jwest says:

    Speaking for all conservatives in the country, we are willing to leave this up to you.

    If what Obama has done is OK, then that settles it. Just don’t bitch when Perry or Cain use the same power. One set of rules. One morality, regardless of who is in the White House.

  90. 90
    Morzer says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    Preferably a panel of judges

    I kinda worry about my (or your)future being possibly dependent on how Justice Kennedy’s digestive tract feels when he comes to review the names on the kill list. As for Clarence “Silent Death” Thomas….

  91. 91
    Pliny says:

    @cleek:

    Was he now? Do you have any proof of any of that, other than “the government said so”? According to Jay Carney, they have mountains of evidence that proves these things (but won’t be sharing it with us).

    Also, have you read the AUMF? It’s not very long: http://news.findlaw.com/wp/doc.....23.es.html

  92. 92
    ChrisNYC says:

    @fasteddie9318: No. Reread. I find the screams about “dictatorship” and “fascism” repulsive. It is appalling how many liberals are so eager to equate our circumstances with the real and brutal circumstances of people around the world. I’m not saying, “Be grateful” or “It’s not as bad as there so be quiet.” By all means — fight for a better country, more transparency, whatever you want. But don’t negate and belittle the real suffering of other people by saying we in the US live under a “dictatorship” or that the US government is fascist and that nonsense.

  93. 93
    cyntax says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Agreed. The “worse than Bush” meme is worse than useless.

    Even when qualified to this specific issue as Cole did, It just kicks up a whole bunch of dust as people rush to defend or convict based on this verdict, and not the merits of the situation.

    Whether other admins have done this or not in the past does not abrogate Obama’s responsibility. He could do better than this and we have to be able to criticize him–constructively–when the opportunity warrants.

    And if secret kill lists of American citizens don’t warrant criticism, we may as well hang up this democracy and the Constitution.

  94. 94
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @ChrisNYC: OK. That’s what I was hoping you meant.

  95. 95
    Reality Check says:

    I also guess George Washington was in the wrong when he used the army to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. Didnt’ he know he was violating their civil rights?

  96. 96
    Larv says:

    @Guster:

    No public record.
    No law establishing its existence.
    No law setting the rules.

    I’m not sure I see the point. If it’s part of the National Security Council, I’m pretty sure none of their deliberations are a matter of public record (and never have been). As for the second and third, the NSC was established by the National Security Act, so one assumes that also covers it’s subpanels.

    In all seriousness, why the outrage about this now? And how is this worse than Bush? The Reuters article doesn’t make it clear, but I strongly suspect this is not an innovation of the Obama administration. We’ve been taking out terrorist leaders with drone strikes since at least the Bush admin, and I’d be surprised if those didn’t go through the NSC also. This is almost certainly the same panel that green-lighted the Bin Laden raid, and I don’t recall any outrage at the time that their deliberations weren’t public. They’re pretty clearly keeping Congress (or at least the Intelligence Committees)in the loop, so it’s not a rogue operation. The only thing new seems to be that they green-lighted the Awlaki strike even though he’s a US citizen. That may or may not be a reason to be outraged, but I just don’t see any fresh reason for outrage in how that decision was made. Was Cole upset at the time, or is this just one of his occasional leftward (or should I say Greenwald-ward) knee-jerks? Maybe this post should have the “John Cole is an irritable crank whose first instincts will always- without exception- be wrong” tag as well.

  97. 97
    MattR says:

    @cleek: Does the AUMF trump the Constitution? Does Brandenburg v Ohio no longer apply or was Al-Alwaki likely to inciite imminent lawless actions with his speech?

  98. 98
    eric says:

    @Davis X. Machina: This. That said, one can still call out the practice as violative of our laws, or even just our aspirational principles. Let’s remember the CIA’s role in installing the Shah. We have collectively been doing this for years. We supported a coup attempt in Venezuela just a few years ago. We had the School of the Americas for years. This is who we are. Democrats and Republicans sit on the Intelligence Committees and know many of the Black-Ops we do. I am disappointed, but not surprised in the least.

  99. 99
    singfoom says:

    I’m going to avoid the Obot/Firebagger part of this discussion since it’s not productive. All I will say is that this is wrong, regardless of the President involved, regardless of the crimes the individual has committed.

    This does not mean I approve of the actions of said individuals targeted, nor question the idea that they deserve some form of justice.

    Death should not be meted out on individuals by the government without a clear transparent process.

    The reason for this is the huge ability to abuse this power. For me, this is not a conservative/liberal or Democrat/Republican dichotomy, it’s just one of right and wrong. YMMV.

  100. 100
    Reality Check says:

    @eric:

    We supported a coup attempt in Venezuela just a few years ago [citation needed]

  101. 101
    We are Bigger Than You Think says:

    Yep – we need to deregulate due process. The USA cannot be competitive on the global stage unless we remove those pesky and inefficient political checks and balances in the Constitution. Its not a suicide pact after all. What could go wrong? Whocouldanode?

  102. 102
    The Dangerman says:

    @cyntax:

    And if secret kill lists of American citizens don’t warrant criticism, we may as well hang up this democracy and the Constitution.

    I’m missing the “secret kill list” part; Bin Laden and Awlaki have been on the “Dead of Alive” list for quite a while and quite publicly. Now, “secret kill list” does sound spooky, but, cmon….

  103. 103
    amk says:

    Go read the actual reuters piece, which puts together the entire operation in a better perspective, unlike the ginned up gg’s piece which cole sought to peddle here.

  104. 104
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Reality Check: It’s an imperfect world where imperfect people are forced by circumstance to pick from a bunch of imperfect options. That doesn’t mean that you point to a marginally applicable precedent as an excuse to avoid pursuing a harder but more perfect course of action. They could have handled Awlaki better, and “WELL BUT LINCOLN DID IT!” isn’t a defense.

  105. 105
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @The Dangerman: Don’t ruin their fun, the phony outrage is entertaining.

  106. 106
    Morzer says:

    @The Dangerman:

    But do you know who else is on the lists? Are you? Is John Cole? That’s a big part of the point here – we don’t know who is listed, how they got on the lists, who made the decisions. There is no recourse here and there is no due process.

  107. 107
    lacp says:

    Well, hell, I’ll say it if no one else will: AMERICA! FUCK, YEAH!

  108. 108
    Reality Check says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    I’m just saying this isn’t some new and scary thing that has NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE and takes down TEH ROAD TO TYRANNY!!!!1111 It’s been done on a far wider scale even ON OUR OWN SOIL before, by our two greatest Presidents.

  109. 109
    eric says:

    @Reality Check: ask and ye shall receive….
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl......venezuela

    The failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the US government, The Observer has established. They have long histories in the ‘dirty wars’ of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time.
    Washington’s involvement in the turbulent events that briefly removed left-wing leader Hugo Chavez from power last weekend resurrects fears about US ambitions in the hemisphere.

  110. 110
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Well, who knows who else is on the kill list? There’s no record of the process used to determine who is eligible and who is not. Which is the fucking problem. Otherwise, it could very well be “who is looking at me funny?” as a criterion.

    Although I’m willing to cut some slack if anyone who refers to the President as “TOTUS” is on it, documented or not.

  111. 111
    chrisd says:

    I liked it better back when the Democrats were the principled critics of the imperial wars and the defenders of the rule of law, and the Republicans eschewed any interest in fiscal responsibility.

    If the policies are going to be the same regardless, let’s at least reconfigure the rhetorical bullshit to make our side look virtuous.

  112. 112
    cleek says:

    @Pliny:

    Do you have any proof of any of that, other than “the government said so”?

    proof that he was a recruiter and motivational speaker in the service of al-Q ? his own words confirm that.

  113. 113
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @El Tiburon:

    I still have no problem with this. I’m glad the guy is dead.

    But then again, I’m not a “progressive” and definitely not purer-than-thou.

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PeakVT:

    Here’s the thing, though:

    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.

    This is where the argument keeps getting twisted up, if the arguer is honest: was this a civil or a military action? Was al-Awlaki killed because he was a criminal, or because he was a military commander in an opposition force? If he was legally considered part of an opposition army because of the AUMF, it looks as though the Fifth Amendment may specifically exclude him from its protection.

    It really is not as simple as Greenwald and his lackeys keep trying to claim, either legally or morally.

  115. 115
    Morzer says:

    @amk:

    American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.
    There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

    Exactly how is this better?

  116. 116
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Morzer: You never have and you never will. All blog whining in the world won’t change it.

  117. 117
    John S. says:

    That’s quite the leap of logic to go from “known terrorists are being assassinated by secret committee” to “OMG the government is assassinating anyone they want by secret committee”.

    I believe the sound that accompanies such leaps of logic is “fap, fap, fap”.

  118. 118
    Reality Check says:

    @eric:

    Assertions from a left-wing rag.

    You would proudly consider Chavez to be on your side and “left-wing”? Wow.

  119. 119
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @cathyx:

    @Reality Check: I’m going to assume you applied this same logic to President George Bush too.

    Oh, look! You think s/he’s intellectually consistent! Bless your heart!

  120. 120
    MBunge says:

    @ruemara: “But saying that this is “TARGETING AMERICAN CITIZENS OMGNOES” is bullshit.”

    This. If you want to have a dicussion of whether this is a a wise or moral way to conduct military operations against a terrorist threat, I’d be very interested in that.

    Going on an on as though we’re taling about people mowing their lawn in Peoria when Barack Obama rolls up in the Presidential limo and pops a cap in their ass is a waste of time.

    After conservatives forfeited their credibility on national security in Iraq and Afghanistan, are liberals really dumb enough to hand that advantage back to them like they gave the right wing the crime issue in the 1970s?

    Mike

  121. 121
    cleek says:

    @MattR:

    Does the AUMF trump the Constitution?

    that’s not a question anyone here can give a conclusive answer to. AFAIK, the aspect of the AUMF that we’re talking about here has never been tested in court (other parts have).

  122. 122
    John X. says:

    I am going to laugh so hard when the next Republican president puts half the Obama administration in jail for this shit.

  123. 123
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Reality Check: Done in both cases in the face of open armed insurrection on American soil. Now we’re doing it because some dude tried to blow up his underpants on an airplane. It’s not about the action itself so much as the lowering of the threshold at which we tolerate that action.

  124. 124
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @MBunge: yes

  125. 125
    Calouste says:

    It’s un-American

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha
    hahahahahahahahahahaha
    hahahahahahahahahahaha

    Cole, you’re so fucking naive.

  126. 126
    Trurl says:

    I picture the bots going back in time to 2008 and explaining to potential voters that although Obama will be executing American citizens without trial, it needs to be understood in perspective.

    Change You Can Believe In

  127. 127
    Jose Padilla says:

    If the arguments are that this is unconstitutional: First the US constitution does not apply in foreign countries. Second, if you want to say, we should apply constitutional standards even if the constitution itself doesn’t apply, you got some problems. Everybody seems to make a big deal out of al-Alawaki being a US citizen, but the Fifth Amendment (which applies because this is a Federal action) applies equally to non-citiizens (even illegal aliens). So if you’re opposed to taking out al-Alawaki, then you also have to be opposed to taking out terrorists who are Saudi citizens or Pakastani citizens or whatever. So, what’s your alternative? Arrest them? In addition, to putting American lives at risk, you have no authority. The Fifth Amendment requires either that the arresting officer either have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed or have a warrent. But an American arrest warrent will have no authority in Yeman. For that matter, what authority would a Special Forces team have to do anything in Yeman? I guess we could ask a Yeman court to issue a warrant and then wait while the Yeman authorities carry out. That might satisfy Greenwald, but I don’t see it being very effective.

    Finally, the criteria for carrying out one of these actions is well known and the fact bhat we were targeting al-Alawaki wasn’t a secret. His father even filed a suit in federal court to block the killing, but the court dismissed it. If Greenwald has a problem, it’s with the court system.

  128. 128
    RP says:

    The question is fairly simple: Do you think the US government and, by extension, the President, have the authority to target individuals in foreign countries when they are considered military targets? If you say yes, I’m not sure why the actual decision must be made through some democratic process. We live in a representative democracy, not a direct one, and elect officials to make these decisions on our behalf. And military decisions by their nature are going to be conducted in secrecy by a small group of officials.

    Moreover, the citizenship of the target is largely irrelevant. As others have noted, if a US citizen leaves the country and goes to fight for another country or group, they are not entitled to due process protections.

    Of course, the AUMF and the war on terror are odd cases because we’re not in a traditional battle with another country. But the reality is that the country generally supports the war on terror, and Obama is almost certainly acting within his authority under the AUMF.

    Finally, I don’t get the “do you want President Perry to have this authority” argument. No, I don’t, but that’s why I would vote for Obama or any other democrat for President. That’s kind of the point of democracy. And I think it’s a bit naive to claim that Obama is expanding the power of the office in these matters.

  129. 129
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Yutsano:

    And this sounds like a great opportunity for Congress to do that whole check and balance thing and render this illegal no?

    You so funny.

  130. 130
    Reality Check says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Al-Awaki was an operational leader of a terrorist cell, even wanted by the UN and the Yemeni govt. Tried in abstentia in Yemen. He proudly boasted of helping orchistrate the Ft. Hood shooting. He’s not some innocent little lamb who said a few extreme words.

    He was also in a place that was beyond the reach of the law of either the US or Yemen to be able to capture him. That makes it different too.

    He had every oppourtunnity to turn himself in if he wanted a trial.

  131. 131
    salacious crumb says:

    YOU ARE A RACIST MR. COLE. If Bill Clinton had done, you would have set Lewinsky aside to blow job him. You criticized a black man as a white man, and Obama only deserves starry eyed adulation.

    ABL, can I get an AMEN?

  132. 132
    taylormattd says:

    @Morzer:

    All it takes is for someone, whose name you will never know, to log taylormattd as an “American militant”. You really want to take your chances next time a Koch-sponsored right wing crazy gets into the White House?

    You see, I’m not batshit crazy. Therefore I do not labor under the psychotic delusion that the president will order a predator drone to bomb my house in Seattle.

  133. 133
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Reality Check:

    Um, you’re missing the point, dumbass.

    When people say Obama is “worse than Bush” in this regard, they are explicitly NOT saying that it’s “new and scary thing that has NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE”, but complaining that it is indeed “business as usual” when they anticipated something better.

    Oh, and btw, for your information, Lincoln resisted calls to string up the likes of Jefferson Davis and the other slavery defending shitstains of the Confederacy, much to the consternation of many in the North who wanted blood for their treason.

  134. 134
    amk says:

    @Morzer: Selective quoting much a la gg style ? I can also selectively quote proving that this was not some government conspiracy to kill off americans just on whim.

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

    /

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

    The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive information. They confirmed that lawyers, including those in the Justice Department, were consulted before Awlaki’s name was added to the target list.

    This asshole deserved what was coming ot him. So spare me the poutrage about Obama being one-man ‘death panel’.

  135. 135
    burnspbesq says:

    Can we take up a collection to buy Cole a new thesaurus, so that in the future he will understand that “outrageous” and “illegal” are not synonyms? I’m in for $5.

    In the specific case of al-Awlaki, the AUMF authorized killing him. Period. Full stop. No room at all for any principled legal argument to the contrary. You can argue all day about whether killing al-Awlaki was just or wise, but arguments about legality are off the table.

    And surely none of us needs to remind Cole, who is ex-military, that operational security and political transparency are inherently inconsistent, that a balance needs to be struck, and that there is plenty of room for reasoned disagreement, on a case-by-case basis, as to how that balance needs to be struck. I’m not averse to reopening the policy conversation about whether we should be engaging in this activity, but given that the policy decision was made before most of us were alive, the process used by the Obama administration is not outrageously bad, compared to what one imagines the process under previous administrations might have been.

  136. 136
    fasteddie9318 says:

    This is IMO clearly a legal gray area, and the “Obama is worse than Bush” thing is just absurd, but the people saying “fuck Alwaki, he’s a terrorist, I’m glad he’s dead and I don’t care if it was legal” realize that there are plenty of people who’d say exactly the same thing if the NYPD started firing live ammo at the Wall Street protesters, right?

  137. 137
    Morzer says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    And this makes you happy?

  138. 138
    Morzer says:

    @burnspbesq:

    How could this process be worse?

  139. 139
    LorenzoStDuBios says:

    John you’re being so – what’s the correct term on this website? – Emo.

    The reasons:
    — Don’t you know that Obama is powerless to stop Obama from secretly ordering us killed, due to the super-majority in Congress? I’m sure he wishes he could stop it because he’s such a good guy, but he can’t! Obama does bad things because Republicans force him to.
    — Even though he is powerless and can’t change anything, it is of the utmost importance that we mobilize everything we can to re-elect Obama.
    — You have to be a realist: this is a bad world with bad people and you can’t be idealistic about capturing accused terrorists through legal means. And as a hard-eyed realpolitik observer, you should know that we should blindly trust government claims of guilt.
    — Awlaki committed treason! (This is an actual serious grown-up 21st century argument I am making).
    — History has never shown that allowing a government to secretly assassinate (let alone imprison and spy on) its own citizens could lead to trouble.
    — Even if history did show that, America doesn’t count because it’s exceptional and our leaders would never be like those other leaders. By the way, I’m a non-emo cold-eyed realist.
    — These issues are very murky and complex and subtle in a post-9/11 world and I’m very counter-intuitive and surprisingly contrarian for not believing that the 1st amendment is sacrosanct and murder is evil.

    I think that about covers it. I miss anything?

  140. 140
    Amit Joshi says:

    I agree completely that this is immoral, illiberal, undemocratic, and ought to be illegal.

    But un-American? I know popular usage treats un-American as shorthand for anything that smacks of secret, extra-legal, not-following-due-process, in violation of bill of rights, etc. But that’s historically inaccurate, isn’t it?

    The opposite–“American”–is more aspirational than real. It’s a great aspiration, and certainly the US is no worse than any other mid-sized or large power throughout history.

    But let’s not pretend that this is a uniquely Obama invention, or makes him worse than Bush. Like almost all of Obama’s shortcomings (well, in my eyes anyway), this one is more of a lost opportunity to move closer to the ideal of “American”. He could’ve moved decisively away from secrecy, torture, etc., but instead chose to double down.

  141. 141
    cleek says:

    @Jose Padilla:

    I guess we could ask a Yeman court to issue a warrant and then wait while the Yeman authorities carry out

    that was already done.

    During a trial in absentia, Yemeni-American Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was charged with plotting and encouraging the murder of foreigners, including a French expert who was killed early last month in Sana’a.

    also:

    Yemeni officials have said they would not extradite him to the US once he is in its custody because Yemeni law prevents the government from sending Yemeni nationals to be tried in foreign courts

  142. 142
    Reality Check says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Lincoln wasn’t even President when Jeff Davis was captured. It was Johnson that rolled over for the ex-Confederates.

    Nevertheless in war WE SHOT AT AMERICAN CITIZENS. They were even DENIED THEIR RIGHTS when captured as POWs.

    We burned down ENTIRE CITIES full of American citizens on purpose. Just be consistent and admit this kind of rhetoric is the same kind the Paleocons who still scream about “Lincoln the Tyrant” use.

  143. 143
    Tractarian says:

    You’re just wrong about this, John.

    We are not talking about a cop blowing away an unarmed shoplifter.

    We are talking about the extra-judicial killings of American citizens who have taken up arms against their country.

    That is not un-American; at least, not any more so than our obliterating entire cities’ worth of civilians in WWII.

    It’s not illegal; not any more so than helicopter gunships mowing down state-less Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

    And it’s not a “mark” on Obama’s presidency; though a mass-casualty terror attack propagated by someone like al-Awlaqi would most certainly be.

    Let’s be honest. Statements like this:

    Death should not be meted out on individuals by the government without a clear transparent process.

    are pure, unadulterated fantasy. Wars have never been clear or transparent. And when you say, “OK then, we shouldn’t be fighting wars,” I say, “Fine. Are you comfortable with your children saluting the Nazi flag at the beginning of the school day? Because without war, they would be.”

    Wake up, get your head out of your ass, stop reading Greenwald’s childish rants, and stop saying the parties are the same—they aren’t.

  144. 144
    Irony Abounds says:

    @Morzer:

    Am I missing something? Was this not a case involving land or naval forces during in actual service during a time of public danger? Is it because the CIA has control of the drones that takes it out of that category?

  145. 145
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jose Padilla:

    Finally, the criteria for carrying out one of these actions is well known and the fact that we were targeting al-Alawaki wasn’t a secret. His father even filed a suit in federal court to block the killing, but the court dismissed it. If Greenwald has a problem, it’s with the court system.

    This. I’m not sure how this was a “secret killing” if it was public enough that the man’s father had time to file a lawsuit and have it get all the way to the Supreme Court.

    (I suspect that the word “accidentally” leaked to give al-Awlaki an opportunity to turn himself in, but that’s the Obot in me, I guess.)

  146. 146
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah, but the clause you bolded applies to the accused if they’re in the military, and under those conditions. It means you can bypass the due process provisions if the accused is in the armed forces, and under those circumstances.

    So that’s not applicable in this case.

  147. 147
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Reality Check:

    Assertions from a left-wing rag.

    You asked for evidence, and there it is, and now you don’t like it so just attack the source.

    Here, why don’t you debunk it? Here’s an easily verifiable claim that really shows whether the US “supported” or “did not support” the coup, from the Guardian piece:

    The Bush administration has tried to distance itself from the coup. It immediately endorsed the new government under businessman Pedro Carmona. But the coup was sent dramatically into reverse after 48 hours.

    Unless that claim is false, and the US did not “endorse” the new government, then yes, as a matter of simple fact the US did support an attempt to overthrow a democratically elected President by unelected persons.

  148. 148
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Morzer: It doesn’t make me happy or unhappy. I have always assumed that this is the way the world is. Don’t mean nuthin, drive on.

  149. 149
    Julie Raffety says:

    Al-Awaki was an operational leader of a terrorist cell, even wanted by the UN and the Yemeni govt. Tried in abstentia in Yemen. He proudly boasted of helping orchistrate the Ft. Hood shooting. He’s not some innocent little lamb who said a few extreme words.

    He was also in a place that was beyond the reach of the law of either the US or Yemen to be able to capture him. That makes it different too.

    He had every opportunity to turn himself in if he wanted a trial. Thank you Reality check.

  150. 150
    Reality Check says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Recognition is not the same thing as support in the sense of carrying it out.

  151. 151
    Zandar says:

    Yeah, I’m going to have to disagree with this “worse than Bush” stuff. While we’re screaming about “IT COULD HAPPEN TO ANY ONE OF US” about al-Awlaki, a lot more people in the US are dying daily from lack of a safe place to sleep, health insurance, safe food, clean drinking water, police violence, bullying suicides, domestic violence, cancer, car accidents and oh and having Wall Street rob the country of trillions.

    So no, one guy we consider a terrorist gets blown up by a drone does not make POTUS “worse than Bush,” nor does it eliminate all the positive things POTUS has done.

  152. 152
    soonergrunt says:

    @cleek: That’s about it.
    Add in the fact that once outside the jurisdiction of the US, that the US government has NO obligations protect or extend one’s rights (as we’ve hashed out here on this very blog in the last couple of weeks) and you get Osama Bin Laden and his lackeys being killed by the US military outside the US.

  153. 153
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Reality Check: I frankly don’t care that he was convicted in absentia in a kangaroo court run by a failed despotic state, but if that’s the rationale for killing him then doesn’t the Yemen need to pay us like they’d pay any bounty hunter?

    We’re in agreement that Awlaki was an admitted AQ figure, which is why getting an indictment against him would have been the easiest thing in the world and wouldn’t have even required using any covert intelligence. Why not do it?

    The idea that he was beyond the reach of US law is somewhat belied by the fact that we’re apparently able to engage in successful SOF actions in highly populated areas of Pakistan but, again, that Awlaki was probably a clear and present danger would not have been a hard case to make in a systematic way that preserved some due process. The reason you don’t do that is to preserve the right to put together a hit list in secret, because the next time they take somebody out like this maybe the case won’t have been so easy to make.

  154. 154
    geg6 says:

    @ruemara:

    THIS.

  155. 155
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Reality Check:

    Um, Johnson was following up on Lincoln’s stated policy. I will grant you that if Lincoln had not been assassinated, he might have faced the same opposition to those policies that Johnson did, but they were Lincoln’s policies.

    I’m not sure I’d support those policies. A lot of Confederates had no remorse for their actions. Furthermore, they basically asked to have their cities and plantations burned. Sherman warned them before they did it, and followed up.

    You’ll get no sympathy from me for slaveholding scum, or their ideological descendants.

  156. 156
    Guster says:

    @Larv:

    Maybe the public record isn’t a big deal. In my mind, that’s part of what a few people said above, re. ‘if we need to do this, we need to make it legal.’ That is, if you can bring charges against the guy, try him in absentia, _anything_, that’d be better than secret meetings where you switch him from ‘alleged terrorist’ to ‘dead American.’

    But 2 and 3 are the bigger questions. You ‘assume’ that anything the NSC does is legal, but the story says ‘neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.’

    Maybe the reporter is wrong and you’re right. I don’t know. But the extra-legal establishment of a committee to decide which American to assassinate based on extra-judicial concerns, if it happened, strikes me as serious.

    I was outraged about this stuff during Bush–and he never, as far as I know, created a death-to-Americans committee. Neither of us has any idea if this is an Obama or Bush innovation, but I’m outraged about it now because I learned about it now.

    You’re not outraged because Bush might’ve done it, too? I don’t really understand that.

    The government believes they have a reason to assassinate an American who they alleged presented a non-imminent threat. So, without any court involvement, as far as we know, they did. If that doesn’t frighten you, then we’re probably just talking past each other.

  157. 157
    Morzer says:

    @Irony Abounds:

    Are you arguing that Al-Awlaki was serving in the US Armed Forces? The Fifth specifies that persons serving in the armed forces don’t get grand jury trials (but rather court martials).

  158. 158
    Willam Hurley says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Maybe we could chip in and get you a copy of Black’s.

    AUMF is a law. Laws are inanimate objects and therefore can proffer no opinion on nor determine the legality of any act taken in its name.

    That’s what lawyers and judges do.

    As was demonstrated during the Bush years, the political act of linking AUMF and a tactical or strategic military act does not immediately confer legality on the act or the policy behind it.

    To point, John Yoo and his fellow in-house attorneys opined that torture was legal and due process unnecessary for GITMO detainees.

    Outside of the Executive’s reality-shielding bubble, Federal judges and the SCOTUS found Yoo’s opinions wanting and declared the acts illegal.

    So too are these indulgences of our current Unitary Executive.

  159. 159
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Reality check:

    Al-Awaki was an operational leader of a terrorist cell,[citation needed]

  160. 160
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @soonergrunt: Hey, it generates hits. . .

  161. 161
    amk says:

    Look at all the insta-lawyers who pronounced ‘he is guilty’ within minutes of reading that reuters piece or the gg pos. Your camphor like legal acumen is stunning.

  162. 162
    Tractarian says:

    @Morzer:

    How could this process be worse?

    Well for one, we could stop trying to kill and capture avowed terrorists and just see what happens. I’m pretty sure you’ll think that outcome is “worse” when it’s your body parts scattered around the scene of an exploded bus.

  163. 163
    Reality Check says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    But I’m guessing if we wiped a village full of Al Qaeda off the map tomorrow you’d be screeching along with Glenn Greenwald that we’ve just commited a war crime, right? Curious morality you have.

    BTW, how many women and children, and other civilians, do you suppose died in the burning of Atlanta, Savannah, and Charleston?

  164. 164
    MattR says:

    @cleek:

    that’s not a question anyone here can give a conclusive answer to. AFAIK, the aspect of the AUMF that we’re talking about here has never been tested in court (other parts have).

    That is really the answer to the question “does the AUMF conflict with the Constitution”? I don’t think there should be any question that the Constitution is supposed to trump every law signed by Congress.

  165. 165
    Reality Check says:

    @amk:

    Dude, he made a videotape boasting about helping to plot the Ft. Hood shooting. Unless your a Troofer I think that’s pretty damning evidence.

  166. 166
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: I would submit that the relevant legal authority is clause 1 of the 14th amendment:

    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  167. 167
    Pliny says:

    @The Dangerman:

    You’re seriously making a distinction between a list of names (that they won’t release) called “Dead or Alive” and “secret kill list”?

    Also, was Samir Kahn on the list? He was the other American citizen killed in the strike. Where is the proof of his guilt?

  168. 168
    Mary Jane says:

    Someone should check on Cole. He may have hyperventilated and tripped over Tunch’s food bowl or something similarly John-like.

  169. 169
    Holden Pattern says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    Here’s the text of the 2001 AUMF from your link:

    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.

    Oddly, among all of the “he’s a rilly rilly rilly bad person” comments about Al-Awlaki, do you know what’s missing? Allegations that he helped with 9/11. And we’re now targeting a LOT of people we know had nothing to do with 9/11, but are just rilly rilly bad people who may have had connections with people who had connections to people who had connections to the people who planned 9/11.

    But people keep waving the 2001 AUMF around as a legal justification for our military actions against anyone we say is rilly rilly bad.

    Also, oddly, I didn’t see where the AUMF somehow magically suspended the Bill of Rights, but I guess it did.

    WTF ever. America (when the president of my party is in power), fuck yeah!

  170. 170
    Morzer says:

    @taylormattd:

    The point is that he could and you would have zero recourse. You don’t have to be psychotic to find this alarming. It’s only your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that might be terminated after all.

  171. 171
    Reality Check says:

    I mean would anyone rag on me for saying OJ Simpson is obviously guilty of murder?

  172. 172
    soonergrunt says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): I would hope it’s about more than that for John.

  173. 173
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq:

    And surely none of us needs to remind Cole, who is ex-military, that operational security and political transparency are inherently inconsistent, that a balance needs to be struck, and that there is plenty of room for reasoned disagreement, on a case-by-case basis, as to how that balance needs to be struck.

    False equivalency.

    The process whereby it’s determined that someone is put on the list of targets for extra-judicial killing is a totally separate matter from the actual carrying out of the extra-judicial killing.

    In this case, it’s been known for quite some time that this guy is on the list, The problem is, the process for putting him on the list has no record of ever taking place. If you’ve got reasons for killing the guy, be up front about what they are. The actual killing falls under OPSEC rules. That might require some secrecy to carry out. But determining who is to be killed in this matter should not be.

    That is the issue here…that a committee meets, takes no notes, and, in the manner of the star chamber, makes recommendations on who is to be killed.

    THAT part needs to be transparent. Which is why you’ve got a Fifth Amendment in the first place.

  174. 174
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Reality Check: Does it count if we rag on you for not knowing the difference between doing something and being found guilty of doing it?

  175. 175
    Morzer says:

    @Tractarian:

    I can see you are just trying to shift the discussion from what is a flagrantly un-constitutional program to hypothetical outcomes. Seems rather Dubya-esque of you, frankly. When do you plan to announce that the terror alert is back to red?

  176. 176
    Jennyjinx says:

    @Reality Check:

    Actually, at the time they weren’t. They were citizens of the Confederacy. Also, that argument? Makes no sense.

  177. 177
    Reality Check says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Only if I can rag on you for not knowing the difference between using “guilty” in a legal context and using it in ever day speech, moron.

    BTW if you’re going to follow this consistently, never ever again say Bush is “guilty of war crimes”, K?

  178. 178
    TooManyJens says:

    @Holden Pattern: I would think that taking action against al Qaeda is consistent with the AUMF even if the specific members targeted by any given operation were not working with AQ before 9/11, because AQ is the *organization* that planned the attacks.

    Of course, al Qaeda isn’t an organization with nice neat membership rolls. Is AQAP the same as the AQ that planned the attacks? Murky as fuck.

  179. 179
    Jeremy says:

    It astonishes me how many people here think Cole actually agrees with Greenwald about this, and that he’s not being sarcastic.

  180. 180
    EconWatcher says:

    What kind of public record, public deliberation, or due process do you think is required for military strikes on threats outside the country and outside the reach of the law enforcement of any allied government? Isn’t that a military decision?

    And even if you disagree with the above, this does not hold a candle to the last administration’s claims in the Jose Padilla case: An American citizen, arrested on American soil, and under the control of American law enforcement, can be stripped of all rights if the President, in his unreviewable discretion, labels him an unlawful combatant.
    That was the most dangerous assertion of presidential power since the internment of Japanese Americans in WW II.

    Worse than Bush? Sorry, no.

  181. 181
    Maude says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):
    MBunge has a way with words.
    If this guy had been able to carry out a major “offensive” here in the US, what would people be saying then? Obama didn’t protect us?

  182. 182
    cleek says:

    @Holden Pattern:
    you need to re-read that AUMF passage.

    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.

    al-Alwaki signed up to be part of the al-Q organization, supported that organizations, while that organizations was planning future attacks against the US.

    the AUMF does not apply solely to al-Q as it existed on 9/11 nor to acts which occurred only before or on 9/11. it is about preventing future attacks from al-Q by going after them now and in the future.

  183. 183
    TooManyJens says:

    @Jeremy: It would be consistent with everything Cole’s posted for him to be agreeing with Greenwald about this (except for maybe the “Obama really is worse than Bush in this situation” being hyperbole), so what exactly is astonishing about it?

  184. 184
    harlana says:

    you’re not getting that “pony,” son. sorry. nice try.

  185. 185
    Willam Hurley says:

    @Tractarian:

    Are you sure you mean what you write?

    How does a person who’s dead “think”?

  186. 186
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Reality Check:

    BTW if you’re going to follow this consistently, never ever again say Bush is “guilty of war crimes”, K?

    “Never ever again”? Bush is a war criminal, but he’s not guilty of war crimes. You feel free to pore over my old comments to find a time when I slipped and said it wrong.

  187. 187
    Reality Check says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    How can he be a war criminal if he’s never been convicted in a court of law? /Greenwaldian thinking

  188. 188
    soonergrunt says:

    @ruemara: I don’t know what else people want after you make that point.
    The government is the instrument by which the state protects the nation. And this isn’t Poly Sci 101 bullshit, it’s the real world.
    These guys had no expectation of any kind of protection under US law or the US constitution. They actively worked to damage US interests, destroy US property, and to kill US citizens, and they bragged about it extensively. There’s something seriously fucking wrong with people who think that they US government didn’t only have a right, but a duty to find them and kill them.

  189. 189
    Pliny says:

    I’m sure glad we have these legal scholars to tell us that the Constitution doesn’t apply to American Citizens outside the country (false), that someone can be declared guilty of Treason without a trial (false), and that the Fifth Amendment right to due process doesn’t apply (false). Anyone care to tackle “he renounced his citizenship”? It’s also false, but consistent.

  190. 190
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Reality Check:

    It really rather depends a lot on the circumstances, but seeing as you are a git, and are missing the point of everything I post on this, I’m not surprised you’d make such a leap. Are you sure you’re not a m_c sockpuppet? Because you definitely display her notorious poor reading comprehension skills.

    As for the rest, like I said…the Confederates made their bed. There are consequences for that sort of arrogance. Rhett Butler warned the dumbshits, too.

  191. 191
    Reality Check says:

    It really takes a special kind of autism to think that “guilty”, when used in everyday speech, is the same meaning as “guilty” when used in a legal brief. Jesus.

  192. 192
    geg6 says:

    @Guster:

    I’m not interested in what Glenn Greenwald has to say about anything and certainly no interest in how he characterizes what Reuters wrote.

    I am in agreement with this:

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/.....ether.html

    You might want to cry rivers of tears over a proud traitor, but I don’t.

  193. 193
    Willam Hurley says:

    @cleek:

    al-Alwaki signed up to be part of the al-Q organization, supported that organizations, while that organizations was planning future attacks against the US.

    And exactly which court evaluated the evidence, verified the sources and determined that assassinating an American citizen, this American citizen, would be a legal act of murder.

    When one chooses to ignore due process for political/ideological gain, then one is a fascist – nothing more and nothing less.

  194. 194
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Reality Check: The same way OJ can be a murderer without having been convicted in a court of law. That was your original unclever point, no?

  195. 195
    kdaug says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Now we’re doing it because some dude tried to blow up his underpants on an airplane.

    He succeeds. Bomb goes off. ~150 people dead.

    Still got a problem now?

  196. 196
    Reality Check says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I’d say Al-Awaki made his bed, too. I see little difference between him and, say, a Confederate Colonel. Both can be shot on site by the military if they’re outside of the reach of the law.

  197. 197
    PeakVT says:

    @Mnemosyne: What Villago Delenda Est said about that passage.

  198. 198
    EconWatcher says:

    As a matter of political reality, if you try to extend a due-process model to military deicisons about how and when to strike terrorist targets outside the reach of law enforcement, you won’t get military decisions more to your liking. What you’ll end up with is watered down notions of due process, here and everywhere.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  199. 199
    amk says:

    @Reality Check: Dood, you gotta read all my posts here or at least turn on your snarkmeter.

    I see that we’re about to hit 200+ posts. Nice job cole.

  200. 200
    Holden Pattern says:

    @cleek: As another commenter puts it the connection is “murky as fuck”.

    The AUMF read the way you read it is a carte blanche to kill anyone that the star chamber says is connected to Al Qaeda. And it apparently repealed the bill of rights to boot.

    It’s perma-war and the whole world is the battlefield! Woo-hoo! I guess we’re all Cheneyites now*.

    * Yes, Cheney located this power in the Unitary Executive theory, but there’s no difference in the scope of this power as exercised by a secret and unaccountable national security state.

  201. 201
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Shorter @Reality Check:

    “Fucking words…how do they work?”

  202. 202
    cleek says:

    @Willam Hurley:
    as you can tell by reading it, the AUMF does not require a court of any kind.

    it says “the president can use the military to kill anyone who aided or is aiding al-Q, in order to prevent future attacks.”

    i agree, that’s exceedingly broad. but in the absence of a SCOTUS decision saying otherwise, it is the law of the land.

  203. 203
    Morzer says:

    Interesting to watch the thread divide between those fellow-travellers who are proudly discovering their inner Cheney and genuine liberals who actually believe in the constitution and the rule of law.

  204. 204
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    200!

    (edit: D’oh! Just missed.)

  205. 205
    Reality Check says:

    @fasteddie9318:
    How so? “Murderer” means you were convicted of intnetional killing of another human being by a jury of your peers. If you call OJ a “murderer” you’re a wannabe tyrant, a bloodthirsty maniac, and make Thomas Jeffferson cry. Why do you hate the Constitution? /Greenwald

  206. 206
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Ooh, ooh, who had “in less than two hours” in the “how long to 200 posts” pool?

  207. 207
    cleek says:

    @Morzer:

    the rule of law.

    AUMF is the law.

  208. 208
    soonergrunt says:

    @Willam Hurley: We didn’t use a court to determine if we should attack Japan after Pear Harbor. We took them at their word.

  209. 209
    Marc says:

    @Morzer:

    Interesting to see the discussion divide between people who are capable of listening to their opponents and hacks like you interested only in their own righteousness.

  210. 210
    Holden Pattern says:

    @cleek:

    Also, here’s a question: does this President have the authority to order military force against an organization that isn’t Al Qaeda and that the star chamber says is planning future terrorist attacks against the United States?

    Exactly how attenuated does the chain have to be? And HOW WILL WE EVER KNOW, because it’s all secret?

  211. 211
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Reality Check:

    Recognition is not the same thing as support in the sense of carrying it out.

    Yes, it is. Immediate recognition is an attempt to grant immediate international and domestic legitimacy to an illegal government. It also says you knew it would happen or at least suspected it could happen, and already know the players well enough to judge that supporting their government is in your interest. No one is saying there were CIA operatives actually in the country helping the coup along (possible, but not in evidence).

    It’s one thing to reluctantly recognize a coup government after it has solidified power and is clearly going to be there whether you like it or not, but when you recognize them immediately you risk having egg on your face and further damage to your relationship with the previous government if they manage to survive. Which is what happened. If the US was an innocent bystander they would have remained silent and only recognized the new government when it was clearly ensconced in authority.

    They gambled to help overthrow a government they didn’t like and in so doing helped some fascist thugs.

    If one actually believes in “democracy” as an abstract and an ideal, you don’t support fascist coups.

    And before you object to the term “fascist” here, I guarantee that word would be thrown around if a coup in America ended with Tom Donohue (president of the US Chamber of Commerce) as president and the constitution, courts and legislature voided and dissolved. That’s what happened in Venezuala, and the US rushed out of the gate to lend its support.

  212. 212
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Reality Check:

    You’ll note, m_c sockpuppet, that I have not commented in this thread (or in any other) about Al-Awaki not making the bed he wound up in.

    My issue is the process that determined that he was to be taken down. Frankly, he, like Dick Cheney, boasted of his exploits, and deserved what he got. If only Dick Cheney got what he deserves.

  213. 213
    wrb says:

    @Jose Padilla:

    Finally, the criteria for carrying out one of these actions is well known and the fact bhat we were targeting al-Alawaki wasn’t a secret. His father even filed a suit in federal court to block the killing, but the court dismissed it. If Greenwald has a problem, it’s with the court system.

    Perhaps much of this debate should have stopped here?

  214. 214
    EconWatcher says:

    @soonergrunt:

    You are 100% correct. You are also wasting your breath.

  215. 215
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @kdaug:

    He succeeds. Bomb goes off. ~150 people dead.

    Still got a problem now?

    Yeah, one airplane and 150 people still doesn’t get you to the level of being able to use Lincoln as a precedent. The Civil War was ever so slightly more serious than whatever it is we’re doing right now.

    I do find all the appeals to fear of TERRORISTS MURDERING YOU AND EVERYONE YOU HOLD DEAR in this thread to be interesting, and vaguely reminiscent of the kind of rhetoric used by a previous administration and its defenders, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what I’m talking about.

  216. 216
    cleek says:

    @Holden Pattern:

    Also, here’s a question: does this President have the authority to order military force against an organization that isn’t Al Qaeda

    the AUMF only talks about the groups that were involved in 9/11 (and, yes, AQAP is AQ). so, unless you can find another law that gives him similar authority in other situations, i’d guess No.

  217. 217
    Morzer says:

    @cleek:

    So you’ve now decided that maybe Bush was right? Interesting to see how suddenly, in order to defend Obama, people are now revisiting their opinions of Dubya’s tyranny. Not that the AUMF is any more constitutional now than it was then. But hey, what does that matter when tribal loyalties come into play? IOKIYAO.

  218. 218
    Reality Check says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    So I guess since the French recognized the US in 1777, THEY were behind both Continental Congresses and the whole rebellion to begin wtih. Got it. It was French commercial interests plotting against Britain the whole time.

  219. 219
    Reality Check says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    How about the Whiskey Rebellion or the Mormon War?

  220. 220
    soonergrunt says:

    @Pliny: Hey, dumbshit–do tell us all exactly how Al-Awlaki was within US jurisdiction.

    @EconWatcher: Well, there’s always hope.

  221. 221
    Pliny says:

    @Marc:

    Present a cogent argument that isn’t based on logical fallacies, then.

  222. 222
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Reality Check: Um, no, a “murderer” is “someone who commits a murder.” Nothing about being convicted in there.

  223. 223
    Sasha says:

    Relevant question: Is this an Obama thing or is this a preexisting protocol?

  224. 224
    Morzer says:

    @Marc:

    Yes, it is hackish of me to appeal to the Fifth Amendment. So anti-American. Guess it’s one of those old-fashioned liberal ideals I haven’t managed to shake off in the stampede to become a Dick Cheney Blue Dog.

  225. 225
    amk says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I did. Now I am upping the ante to 300+ in another hour. The librul poutrage is not an easy train to stop.

  226. 226
    Culture of Truth says:

    I will have to be convinced on the “worse than Bush” claim. It strikes me as something people say rather based on anything real.

    However, I do not approve of this policy, even if does place me on the same side as GG.

  227. 227
    cleek says:

    @Morzer:

    So you’ve now decided that maybe Bush was right?

    right? no. operating within this overbroad law ? yes.

    (which is not to say i think he was legal w/r/t torture or some other things)

    bottom line: AUMF is too broad, and doesn’t address hard situations (like this). but, it’s the law.

    Not that the AUMF is any more constitutional now than it was then.

    the only body capable of making that conclusion has not spoken on the matter. hint: it’s not pseudonymous internet posters.

  228. 228
    MattR says:

    @kdaug: Seems like this quote has some relevance.

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  229. 229
    soonergrunt says:

    @Morzer: Where does the Constitution say that it applies at all times, everywhere on the planet, including places where the US government has no sovereignty, and that people are therefore always, without exception, only subject to law enforcement actions, and then only after proper warrants and such have been issued, regardless of where they are on the face of the earth or what they may be doing?
    Because I read the whole thing the other day, and I couldn’t find anything like that.

  230. 230
    taylormattd says:

    @Morzer:

    The point is that he could and you would have zero recourse. You don’t have to be psychotic to find this alarming. It’s only your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that might be terminated after all.

    Actually, you *do* have to be psychotic to believe the president is going to have predator drones kill you in your house in the United States.

  231. 231
    Pliny says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Well, we killed him, so that seems to fit into the definition of jurisdiction.

  232. 232
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    The question really is: Are we or are we not at war with al Qaeda? If the AUMF has declared it so, then I think it’s hard to argue that this was illegal. al Awaki had declared that he was attacking the US and had been in on planning attacks. It’s also not like this was a spur of the moment decision: We’ve been arguing about this since the administration first brought it up. If this falls under war, Congress gave the president the authority to go after those that threatened the US.

    Now, we could argue whether we are officially at war, since Congress didn’t do its job and actually declare war. That would be an interesting discussion.

  233. 233
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yeah, but the clause you bolded applies to the accused if they’re in the military, and under those conditions. It means you can bypass the due process provisions if the accused is in the armed forces, and under those circumstances.

    And if someone is serving in a foreign military? Because that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re not talking about Whitey Bulger hiding from the law in Santa Monica, CA. We’re talking about a guy who moved to a foreign country to join up with a group that has actively attacked the US.

    There is a major gray area here that you guys are absolutely refusing to acknowledge in that al-Awlaki was not in the United States.

  234. 234
    Morzer says:

    @soonergrunt:

    So you feel that the constitution really ought to apply only to situations where it doesn’t make you feel bad? Interesting vision, but not quite what the founding fathers had in mind.

  235. 235
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Reality Check: The Whiskey Rebellion was a serious existential threat to the new nation, but I’m afraid you’ll have to refresh my memory as to the amount of carnage it generated. I’m not sure which Mormon War you’re talking about, but they were all pretty goddamned stupid. If I assume you mean the 1857 Utah War since that one involved the feds, well, if you want to hang your hat on Buchanan as controlling precedent, go for it. Did it march us down the road to fascism? Obviously not. That doesn’t mean we should blithely disregard the same concerns in the here and now.

  236. 236
    cleek says:

    @Pliny:
    Yemen (reportedly) assisted. it was their jurisdiction.

  237. 237
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Now, we could argue whether we are officially at war, since Congress didn’t do its job and actually declare war. That would be an interesting discussion.

    We could also argue about what counts as “al-Qaeda” as far as the AUMF is concerned. That’s also an important question.

  238. 238
    Willam Hurley says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Are you really that limited a thinker when it comes to interpreting law, history, military action and politics?

    One of the many reasons, some may say rationalizations, for the creation of the War Powers Act was the repeated instances of the Executive acting against Constitutional instruction and making war himself – no Congress need apply.

    Instead of acting in a manner to reinvigorate the Constitution’s express assignment of war-making powers, powers the Constitutional Conventioneers granted exclusively to Congress, Congress chose to punt and create a legal widget that provides the political function of giving the bellicose cowards in Congress and the Executive Branch the cover of group-responsibility fro legal and political accountability.

    It’s truly disgusting to see purported left-leaning political types giving full-throated support to undemocratic, anti-Democratic aberrations such as that found in the AUMF and in the information Greenwald reports.

    It’s no wonder that the Democratic Party has become the GOP-lite!

  239. 239
    kindness says:

    @jwest: Now it’s a little early to be so drugged up as to be talking about President Perry and President Cain in any rational sense. ie- it ain’t gonna happen, evah! President Mittens is the best your side will do & he ain’t gonna make in in 2012 either.

  240. 240
    cleek says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Are we or are we not at war with al Qaeda? If the AUMF has declared it so, then I think it’s hard to argue that this was illegal.

    it didn’t declare war, it just says the president can use the military to kill al-Q.

  241. 241
    wrb says:

    I’d prefer that the congress established a process by which such executions were reviewed by a branch of government other than the executive, preferably the judicial.

    They didn’t. The delegated full authority, and responsibility for failure to act, to the executive.

    Consequentially, the executive is bound to act in the way that the president judges, knowing the unreliability of information, best for the country. It is quite a responsibility.

    In this case a court did review the validity of that authority, and handed the matter back to the president.

    Where did the president err?

  242. 242
    patroclus says:

    As construed by the courts, the 5th Amendment applies to “persons within the jurisdiction of the U.S.” – not to U.S. citizens. Consequently, it does not apply to situations like this. On the other hand, the AUMF does apply and it rather clearly authorizes taking action against those determined by the President to be complicit in attacks on the U.S.

    John’s analysis is quite wrong – targeted assassinations may well be unwise, but they are clearly legal.

    This blog discussed this the other day and most seemed to be getting the idea, and then John just ignored all of that and re-posted this as if we hadn’t had that discussion. Methinks someone is just searching for page hits rather than honest discussion.

  243. 243
    Pliny says:

    @cleek:

    Well of course Saleh knew where he was the entire time and decided it would be a good time to cash in his “get out of dictator slaughtering his own people card”, but Yemen certainly doesn’t have the ability to carry out a precision strike on a vehicle. Allowing the US to fly drones and use them to kill people cedes at least some jurisdiction.

  244. 244
    amused says:

    @kindness: ujest is just pissed RC’s stealing his gig as asshole of the day.

  245. 245
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    One of the most crucial international decisions that involved our on Civil War was if Britain or France “recognized” the Confederacy as a legitimate player on the international scene.

    As you point out, formal recognition is the equivalent of taking sides. No more neutrality for you!

    The fact that the Union forces won the Battle of Gettysburg, and stopped the Confederate advance north, was decisive in removing the possibility of recognition.

    It sealed the deal. The Confederacy had no chance, at all, after that point, and if their leadership wasn’t composed of total assholes, they would have just given up the fight right then and there.

  246. 246
    Morzer says:

    @taylormattd:

    So you feel happy about the fact that the president can now do this, whenever he pleases, with no transparency and no recourse? Are you just willfully obtuse on this point? You keep trying to make out that this fundamental, unconstitutional extension of the president’s power is just a matter of paranoia about your personal circumstances, which is not the point. What will it take to get you to understand that the president now has unprecedented powers of life and death over you – without trial or accountability?

  247. 247
    IrishGirl says:

    @cleek: yeah, gotcha….read the AUMF just now….guess its also the basis of the warrantless wiretapping, something that also gets my dander up….I’m sure the Firebaggers are going nuts now. I agree this sucks.

  248. 248
    Mackenna says:

    Hope and Change…

    Whatever a politician says during an election campaign, you can always count on the opposite being true.

    For awhile Obama had me believing. I cried with joy the day he claimed the presidency.

    Now I realize I’m as gullible as anyone.

    From the absurdly corporatist health care bill to not regulating Wall Street (same crooks are running the show, including the White House) to the wah on tewwa, Obama is as owned as Bush ever was. More intelligent, more articulate, less whoreish? Yes. But he’s owned, make no mistake about it.

  249. 249
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @wrb:

    Perhaps much of this debate should have stopped here?

    When you leave to a court to determine whether and how X should be done, you’ve already conceded that X should be done in the first place. There are two interleaved arguments going on here, simultaneously, and to some extent past each other.

  250. 250
    eemom says:

    @Jeremy:

    I think he actually means it this time.

    That, or he’s just trolling out of boredom. Again.

    [returns to peanut gallery, munching popcorn]

  251. 251
    Larv says:

    @Guster:

    You ‘assume’ that anything the NSC does is legal, but the story says ‘neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.’

    I assume nothing of the sort, I’m just pointing out that that points 2 and 3 are either false or irrelevant. There’s no need for specific laws every time the executive branch establishes a committee or panel, or creates a “czar”. You can argue that what this particular panel is doing is illegal, but as others have pointed out, the AUMF seems to cover it. That doesn’t make it right, but it does make it legal.

    But the extra-legal establishment of a committee to decide which American to assassinate based on extra-judicial concerns, if it happened, strikes me as serious.

    I was outraged about this stuff during Bush—and he never, as far as I know, created a death-to-Americans committee.

    Please. This is a panel deciding which international terrorist should be placed on a kill-or-capture list. It almost certainly dates from the Bush admin, as they were the ones to start the policy of drone attacks on terrorist leaders. The fact that they placed a single American citizen on that list during Obama’s administration doesn’t mean Obama established a death-to-Americans committee. Could we stop with the absurd rhetorical overreach?

    You’re not outraged because Bush might’ve done it, too? I don’t really understand that.

    No, I was pointing out that the “worse than Bush” line was nonsense. He may not be better than Bush on this issue, but he’s no worse. As for my lack of outrage, exactly which aspect should I be outraged by? The AUMF? I think it’s absurdly broad and gives the executive way too much power. But I don’t expect any president, even Obama, to eschew that power. The existence of a kill-or-capture list? I think it follows almost inevitably from the AUMF. I certainly wasn’t outraged by the Bin Laden raid, and I’m not opposed in principle to such operations. There’s certainly a potential for abuse, but I’ll withhold my outrage until I see evidence of that. The targeted killing of an American citizen? Again, I’m wary of the potential for abuse, but as somebody alluded to above, we’re not talking about CIA hit squads on the streets of Chicago. Awlaki presented a unique combination of circumstances, including his dual Yemeni citizenship, which are unlikely to be met with any frequency. If the CIA starts to make a habit of killing US citizens, I’ll probably change my mind, but one guy does not a slippery slope make.

  252. 252
    Willam Hurley says:

    @cleek:

    Actually, I can read it and come to the same understanding of the law, how it functions and the role of the judiciary as arbiters or laws as do opponents of this law and the Supreme Court itself.

    The SCOTUS has, as I said, rules against various “overly-broad” applications of the AUMF. As I wrote, Yoo’s opinions, and the “application” of them as policy, have been some among several declared unconstitutional by the SCOTUS and therefore illegal.

    At its root, your comment reveals a facile grasp of the Constitutional principle of “separation of powers” and the prerogative of “review” held by the judiciary.

  253. 253
    soonergrunt says:

    @MattR: “The Constitution is not a suicide pact”–Justice Robert H. Jackson, dissenting, Terminiello v. Chicago, 1949, quoting Abraham Lincoln.

  254. 254
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @cleek: And I think that’s part of the rub. They sort of declared war, without actually doing it. I think that’s contributing to it.

  255. 255
    Hoodie says:

    Obama is way better than Bush in at least one way that is very pertinent to his job as the Chief Executive. He actually kills the right guys most of the time. This is ridiculous. The guy was in fucking Yemen.

  256. 256
    Mnemosyne says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    We could also argue about what counts as “al-Qaeda” as far as the AUMF is concerned. That’s also an important question.

    Considering that the guy had direct contact with the 9/11 hijackers and then fled the country to join up with the people who planned the attack, I think it would be hard to argue that al-Awlaki doesn’t count under the AUMF.

    I think when you get out to other al-Qaeda franchises, that’s when it can get murky. You could probably argue that al-Qaeda in Pakistan would count since that’s where bin Laden was hiding out, but al-Qaeda in the Philippines?

  257. 257
    Norwonk says:

    Just remember to continue to support the death panel when a Republican takes over the WH. Otherwise, you’ll look kinda pathetic.

  258. 258
    kindness says:

    @amused: No, I’m pissed off that jwest isn’t sharing his apparently high quality drugs with the rest of us.

  259. 259
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The fact that the Union forces won the Battle of Gettysburg, and stopped the Confederate advance north, was decisive in removing the possibility of recognition.

    Antietam, and specifically the fact that Lincoln took advantage of a battle in which McClellan for once didn’t have his ass completely handed to him by Lee to declare victory and issue the Emancipation Proclamation, was what really kept the Euros out of the war, no? Gettysburg may have put the finishing touches on it.

  260. 260
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    He may not have been in the United States, but that clause is pretty specific in what it’s referring to…members of the US armed forces.

    So you’ll need to find a fig leaf other than that one for the process used to determine who is placed on the list of those eligible for extra-judicial (as in, not formally sentenced to death in the usual due process way) execution.

  261. 261
    Linnaeus says:

    What concerns me about this is the murkiness of the process by which someone is put on the kill list and also the fact that this determination is entirely in the hands of the authority tasked with carrying out the killing operations. I don’t expect drones to be coming to my apartment to kill me, but I could envision a situation in which evidence is fabricated or manipulated in order to tie a troublesome political enemy to al-Qaeda and therefore make him or her an eligible target for summary assassination.

  262. 262
    Mackenna says:

    Why is America so afraid of arresting, charging, trying in a public court of law, and sentencing terrorists?

    You have the death penalty so you can still kill convicted terrorists.

  263. 263
    Mnemosyne says:

    @patroclus:

    As construed by the courts, the 5th Amendment applies to “persons within the jurisdiction of the U.S.” – not to U.S. citizens. Consequently, it does not apply to situations like this.

    I think some people here don’t understand what “jurisdiction” means since they seem to think that the US getting permission to act from Yemen means that Yemen is suddenly under US jurisdiction.

  264. 264
    Pliny says:

    @Mackenna:

    Because doing that wouldn’t create a constant supply of radicalized people willing to carry out acts of terror in retribution for us blowing up their friends, families, and fellow Muslims. In computer engineering they refer to this a feature, not a bug.

  265. 265
    soonergrunt says:

    @Willam Hurley: What’s antidemocratic about something that was passed in a democratic process by a democratically elected body, and who the hell named you arbiter what’s right and good and liberal or any other damn thing.
    If your butt-hurt over the fact that we killed a guy who needed killing and had no legal or moral right to keep killing our people with impunity, then there is quite simply something seriously wrong with your thought processes.

  266. 266
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    The Emancipation Proclamation did indeed put the kibosh on just about any attempt to recognize…it made it politically, um, VERY difficult to justify. The Brits and French might have had revolutions on their hand if they did so…public sentiment was very pro Union to begin with, Abe pretty much had his Crowning Moment of Awesome with the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Gettysburg sealed the deal from a military perspective, but politically, it was, as you say, the finishing touches.

  267. 267
    Morzer says:

    @soonergrunt:

    If your butt-hurt over the fact that we killed a guy who needed killing and had no legal or moral right to keep killing our people with impunity, then there is quite simply something seriously wrong with your thought processes.

    The people who executed Troy Davis doubtless had a similar viewpoint.

  268. 268
    Larv says:

    @Morzer:

    The point is that he could and you would have zero recourse. You don’t have to be psychotic to find this alarming. It’s only your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that might be terminated after all.

    Yes, if you openly advocate for acts of war against the US, engage in the planning of same, and then take up residence in a place where you aren’t subject to the jurisdiction of the US, this could happen to you! My suggestion would be that you not do those things.

  269. 269
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think when you get out to other al-Qaeda franchises, that’s when it can get murky. You could probably argue that al-Qaeda in Pakistan would count since that’s where bin Laden was hiding out, but al-Qaeda in the Philippines?

    Yeah, this is what bothers me. I don’t give a shit about Awlaki, but because he was so obviously deserving of what he got, this was a great case on which to establish a procedure for the future. Instead, we get to continue with ad hoc designations of who is or isn’t in al-Qaeda, who does or does not get covered by the AUMF and who can or can’t be killed at the executive’s discretion. Wasted opportunity.

  270. 270
    WhyKnot241 says:

    Aaaahhh, belatedly repentant I see. Al Gore looking better and better? Well tough shit, it’s a brave new world now. Civil liberties are dead, so you might as well cowboy up.

  271. 271
    Culture of Truth says:

    Where does the Constitution say that it applies at all times, everywhere on the planet, including places where the US government has no sovereignty

    If this is a serious question, one answer would that the relevant amendments to the Constitution are not rights granted to people but simply stated restrictions on what the government may do. It ‘applies’ to the government.

  272. 272
    MattR says:

    @soonergrunt: Saying the Constitution is not a suicide pact does not justify taking any draconian action you want just because it might possibly save a few lives. I don’t see any comparison between the risk to the country that Lincoln faced due to the Confederacy and a handful of low tech suicide bombers. If we are going to lower the bar this low, maybe we need to revisit our opinion about what McCarthy did to root out the threat of Communism.

  273. 273
    cleek says:

    @Willam Hurley:
    we agree then, that AUMF is the law? there has been no SCOTUS decision saying it isn’t?

    ok then.

  274. 274
    kdaug says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    being able to use Lincoln as a precedent.

    I never did.

  275. 275
    cleek says:

    @Norwonk:
    is acknowledging the legality of something the same as “supporting” it ?

  276. 276
    EconWatcher says:

    Respectful message to our host, John Cole: Obama is not always right. Occasionally, he may be egregiously wrong. And he needs scrutiny and criticism.

    But based on his record of the last three years, don’t you think it’s wise to pause, engage in some thoughtful reflection, and consider possible counter-arguments before dashing off an accusation that he’s engaged in brazen illegality, running roughshod over civil liberties, and “in this situation” really is worse than Bush?

  277. 277
    Larv says:

    @Mackenna:

    Why is America so afraid of arresting, charging, trying in a public court of law, and sentencing terrorists?

    Try unable, not afraid. As long as Awlaki stayed in Yemen he was outside US jurisdiction, as Yemen cannot legally extradite it’s own nationals (Awlaki had dual citizenship). Arresting, let alone sentencing, was never an option.

  278. 278
    amused says:

    @kindness: High quality drugs? The twerp has been sniffing glue since he giggled at the Katrina victims way back when on another blog. Anyone who engages with him deserves what they get.

  279. 279
    Morzer says:

    @Larv:

    And nothing stops your name from being added to that list. Think about it.

  280. 280
    Willam Hurley says:

    @Hoodie:

    WOW! Really!

    I thought such mindless, insular stupidity was reserved for those whom I refer to politely as righTards.

    Over the course of the drone-strike policy adopted by Obama, over 2,000 civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen have been murdered by your military’s “precise” air strikes.

  281. 281
    Svensker says:

    Has anyone in this thread been convinced to change their opinion based on something someone else said in this thread? Or is it just all hot air and bloviating?

    Just checking.

  282. 282
    MattR says:

    @amused: Unfortunately, in this particular instance jwest is right. Not about Perry or Cain, but about the fact that this will make it very, very hard for progressives to complain when the next Republican president does the same thing (or even when he takes the program a step further)

  283. 283
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Guster: Actually, that sounds about right to me. Your country really does need to take a long close look at its hands from time to time, ya know.

  284. 284
    patroclus says:

    @cleek:

    Absolutely not. Honest observers should conclude that targeted assasinations outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. are, pursuant to the AUMF, clearly legal (as per U.S. law). However, they are not necessarily wise policy. There is always the possibility of blowback and war; which are not desirable at all.

    That is, despite John’s penchant for viewing this in black/white Obot/Greeenwaldian terms, it is quite possible to view this issue as one in which the policy, while clearly legal, is not a good idea.

    Given John’s ignoring of the prior discussion, however, it would seem that such nuance is not viewed favorably on this blog.

  285. 285
    Willam Hurley says:

    @cleek:

    I guess my question is, can you read?

    I guess you can try to steal for yourself some affirmation by trying to “bolt” your clueless assessment of the matter-at-hand on to the factually accurate assessment I provided.

    But, anyone who is comfortable with plain English will be unimpressed with your failed defense and rhetorical retreat.

    Isn’t there a TeaParty out there with your name on it?

  286. 286
    Linnaeus says:

    @Svensker:

    Has anyone in this thread been convinced to change their opinion based on something someone else said in this thread? Or is it just all hot air and bloviating?

    Changed my opinion? I wouldn’t say that I’ve been convinced that my concerns should not be concerns, but I will say that the discussion has been helpful to me in illustrating the complexities of the situation.

  287. 287
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @kdaug: No, but Unreality Check did, which was thus the context of what you were quoting.

  288. 288
    PopeRatzo says:

    All the White House had to do is ask for volunteers. There are lots of Americans who would have been happy to step up and put al-Awlaki in the ground. Enemies is enemies. I don’t care if he was born on the 4th of July and his great great great grandparents came over on the Mayflower. The guy was responsible for many American deaths and he believe his mission going forward was to make sure a lot more Americans were killed.

    I’m glad we’ve got guys like Greenwald to be our conscience, and I’m even more glad we’ve got people looking to kill bad guys. This wasn’t some unemployed father who may or may not have been guilty of murder. This wasn’t some Texas death penalty case. Kill Hitler? You bet. bin Laden? al-Awlaki? I don’t have a problem. I can’t say exactly where the line is between protecting Americans and political assassination, but I know it when I see it

  289. 289
    Pliny says:

    Has anyone in this thread been convinced to change their opinion based on something someone else said in this thread? Or is it just all hot air and bloviating?
    Just checking.

    @Svensker:

    I’d like to think there are lurkers who aren’t sure, maybe leaning one way or the other, without ever commenting. If this is true, lurkers, please speak up!

  290. 290
    Willam Hurley says:

    @patroclus:

    Did you read a Tom Clancy book once and convince yourself you’re a defense and intel policy guru?

    The vapid jargon flowing from your fingertips seems to have no end.

  291. 291
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @WhyKnot241: I see no evidence whatsoever, based on his time in the Senate, nor his role in the Clinton White House, that Gore would have done anything different.

    I don’t think you’ll ever see a President installed by election do anything different.

    Ultima ratio regis
    doesn’t depend on who’s the rex, but on that there are reges in the first place.

  292. 292
    MattR says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    I can’t say exactly where the line is between protecting Americans and political assassination, but I know it when I see it

    My question is do you trust the next Republican president to know there that line is?

  293. 293
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Svensker: Well, I’m now willing to consider that what Obama is doing is legal under the AUMF, but I still think it’s wrong. And while I oppose it, I do think there’s a lot more gray area than “he’s an American citizen”. The problem comes from the fact that AQ is a transnational organization, not a country. If a US citizen were publicly and actively involved with aiding Iran or Pakistani intelligence in planning attacks against the United States, would we be having this discussion? Also, almost no one is talking about Congress. There has been very little discussion of this– I acknowledge I may have missed it–among Democrats in Congress, and no significant efforts on the part of Dems to revisit the AUMF or the Patriot Act since January, 2007.

  294. 294
    handsmile says:

    I’ve come to understand that many here lack the capacity to read a Glenn Greenwald article. Those without such impediment will find that in the penultimate paragraph of his current “Execution by WH Committee” article there is a link to a January 2010 story by the Washington Post’s invaluable Dana Priest, “US military teams, intelligence deeply involved in aiding Yemen on strikes”: http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....0012700394

    Priest’s article disclosed that the US Joint Special Operations Command had compiled “a shortlist of US citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture.” At that time, three Americans including al-Awlaki were on this list. The article makes clear that it was GWB who first authorized the CIA, then the military, to kill American citizens abroad if strong evidence existed of their involvement in terrorist actions against the US. The Obama administration has maintained that authority.

    I do not recall a similar degree of consternation when Dana Priest revealed the existence of these JSOC “kill lists” in January 2010.

    The Reuters article, “Secret panel can put Americans on kill list”, however, is thoroughly imbricated within the controversy of al-Awlaki’s drone killing. Reuters has not heretofore distinguished itself on reporting of national security affairs.

    In describing the actions of a secretive panel of senior government officials, its sources state “targetting recommendations are drawn up by a committee of mid-level NSC and agency officials. Their recommendations are then sent to the panel of NSC ‘principals.'” I would strongly suspect that these mid-level officials are relying upon the target lists compiled by the JSOC.

    The Reuter article makes no mention of the JSOC’s previously disclosed role in such activities nor does it clarify Obama’s role in the decision-making of the “secretive panel.” Instead, it chooses to foreground that “the process that led to al-Awlaki’s killing has drawn fierce criticism from both the political left and right.”

    One-sentence summary: I don’t think there’s much “news” in the Reuters report and I’m left to wonder about the timing and sources of the account.

  295. 295
    cleek says:

    @Willam Hurley:
    WTF are you talking about?

    what is this “factually accurate assessment” you’re so proud of?

  296. 296
    patroclus says:

    @Willam Hurley:
    No, I read the 5th and 14th Amendments and, in law school, the cases that have construed them. The constitutional standard is “persons within the jurisdiction of the U.S.” Targeted assasinations that occur outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. are not proscribed by the 5th amendment. The law is very clear on this matter.

    On the other hand, targeted assasinations are not necessarily a good idea and can certainly be criticized as being unwise; either in the abstract or in a particular case.

  297. 297
    Willam Hurley says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Are you wholly unfamiliar with the Administration’s continuation of Bush/Cheney policies and programs – some crafted in view of the public but much of it manufactured in secret?

  298. 298
    taylormattd says:

    @Morzer: “the president can now do this”

    The problem is that you are being a complete imbecile as to the meaning of “this”.

    I have yet to see a single shred of evidence anywhere that the word “this” includes the president being able to add me to what glenn is calling a “kill list” and bomb my house. Please explain why bombing an al-qaida member in Afghanistan means that I can be bombed in my house in Seattle.

  299. 299
    Morzer says:

    @Svensker:

    I used to be more optimistic that Democrats understood why due process matters, why presidents are not supposed to be kings in all but name, and why “Bush was worse”/”Bush legislation legitimized this” is not an adequate defense of the Obama administration’s misdeeds in the area under discussion.

  300. 300
    eemom says:

    @Willam Hurley:

    The vapid jargon flowing from your fingertips seems to have no end.

    Pots and kettles all over the world just exploded.

  301. 301
    Morzer says:

    @taylormattd:

    So you don’t understand how serious it is when a kill list including US citizens can be drawn up in complete secrecy, without any accountability and without any future consequences for those who compiled it? You really have no concept of the potential for future abuse inherent in these things?

  302. 302
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @ChrisNYC: Whaddya mean? The US is fascist.

    And if you don’t think that people live under brutal conditions in the US, you should open your eyes and go hit some of the poor brown neighbourhoods in your city and try saying that again.

  303. 303
    MattR says:

    @taylormattd: What is to stop the president from declaring that he has evidence that you are actually a member of al-Qaeda who needs to be eliminated? What is stop him from deciding that the safest way to do that is to blow up your house in Seattle with you in it instead of trying to apprehend you? (EDIT: You can argue that the president has always had the power to do this. What stops him is the fact that he would be impeached for doing this. However, the political climate has changed to the point that I no longer think a president would be impeached for killing you in your house as long as he raised the specter of terrorism)

  304. 304
    cleek says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch:

    The US is fascist.

    the deep end: i believe you’ve fallen into it.

  305. 305
    Larv says:

    @Morzer:

    And nothing stops your name from being added to that list. Think about it.

    You mean aside from the fact that none of those conditions applies to me? Uh, okay.

  306. 306
    amused says:

    @MattR: Since when have Republicans cared one whit what anyone complains about?

  307. 307
    patroclus says:

    Morzer, due process is supremely important and definitively matters “within the jurisdiction of the U.S.” Outside the jurisdiction of the U.S., unfortunately, as construed by our courts, due process doesn’t matter all that much. Like it or not, the “privileges and immunites of U.S. citizens” clause has been narrowly construed and really only applies to little things like travel between the states.

    The USSC could change that in a subsequent case, but as of now, targeted assasinations outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. are clearly legal (given the AUMF).

  308. 308
    bystander says:

    I am, repeatedly, required to remind myself – when looking at threads like this one – that Bob Altemeyer wrote the book on Authoritarians, and not all authoritarians are on the Right. Those apologizing and defending Obama, or looking to point their fingers elsewhere and say, but what about… are acknowledging their own authoritarian tendencies. Nothing more, and nothing less. The defense, or apology, is less for Obama or the Democrats than for the individual arguing in defense of an extra-judicial killing of an American citizen by their own government. Who it was absolutely does not matter. Only authoritarian thinking at its very core would make it so. For all the rhetoric to the contrary Left Authoritarians must absolutely have the 100% guaranteed antidote for cognitive dissonance. I stand in awe of that level of psychological compartmentalization.

  309. 309
    MattR says:

    @amused: They don’t. But there is more to the United States than partisan Democrats and Republicans. There actually is a middle who will see the Democrats as hypocrites if they start complaining about a Republican president doing something that they were perfectly OK with a Democratic president doing.

  310. 310
    handsmile says:

    @Svensker: #281

    “Hot air and bloviating”: Sir or madam, I believe you’ve come up with a new BJ category. I would only add “pinata thwacking” to the favorite sports here, and confess my own participation as a team player.

    Thanks for such a wry and cool-headed remark!

  311. 311
    soonergrunt says:

    @WhyKnot241: who is this aimed at? The VAST majority of people here most likely voted for Gore.

  312. 312
    amk says:

    300+. Yay. I win. One can never go wrong betting on the poutraged left.

  313. 313
    jp7505a says:

    IN a perfect world I agree with the critics of Obama’s policy. In our not so perfect world I also find the policy very very troubling. On the other hand, are we to leave people to plot attacks on the US simply because of due process. I believe it was a supreme court justice who said the constitution is not a sucide pact. Given that Mr. dillion and his posse wasn’t going to show up and arrest this guy, what alternatives are there. How do you stop a committed terrorist like this when the US or the local gov’t can’t arrest him? Suggestions? Which doesn’t mean that more transparency and a more legally based process (think FISA court) isn’t required

  314. 314
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @soonergrunt: I took it to apply to reformed Bush supporter John Cole

  315. 315
    Willam Hurley says:

    @cleek:

    Again with the comprehension challenged reactive response.

    Correcting your errors appears to be a course of action that risks following you into your kaleidoscopic maze of rationalizations and misapprehensions.

    I’ve got better things to do.

    As I wrote, in contradistinction to your claims, the SCOTUS has found a multitude of executive branch and even Congressional applications of policy citing AUMF for authority to be unconstitutional.

    Many more challenges to AUMF and applications thereof have been crippled or are languishing due to the Executive branch’s aggressive defense of every legal challenge and by the use of various “secrecy” rationalizations that often shield a policy or its actors from scrutiny of judicial oversight.

    We’re we to have a SCOTUS whose majority were not Federalist Society devotees of the Unitary Executive theory or weren’t openly hostile to the separation of powers, then the AUMF and even War Powers Act might be – correctly – invalidated as unconstitutional and disposed of as gross examples of anti-democratic views of power’s prerogatives.

    Let me assure you, though Kagan is not a member of the Federalist Society, her sympathies regarding the balance and separation of powers is barely one standard of deviation different from there’s.

    I bid you adieu!

  316. 316
    wrb says:

    @Svensker:

    Has anyone in this thread been convinced to change their opinion based on something someone else said in this thread?

    Yes actually. I started off thinking it was troubling, probably illegal, and the administration should be doing it differently , somehow.

    I ended up thinking it troubling, not illegal, and what the administration is doing is ok by me, but I think congress has fallen down.

    I can’t see how self-imposed constraints not required by Congress will constrain less-responsible administrations.

  317. 317
    Morzer says:

    @Larv:

    And where precisely are those conditions specified? What recourse do you have if you are put on the list? You think that a lawyer will turn up and hand you your nicely formatted letter saying “Dear Larv, after review, the ruling in the field stands. Half the distance to the goal line and a Hellfire missile in your backyard?”. You really don’t find it worrying that you could be on the list now and not have the faintest clue until it was too late?

  318. 318
    soonergrunt says:

    @eemom:

    Pots and kettles all over the world just exploded.

    grin

  319. 319
    patroclus says:

    @bystander:

    bystander, like it or not, the authoritarian impulse has been written into the law by the cases that have construed the 5th and 14th amendments, where, as stated, they have narrowed the meaning of the privileges and immunites of U.S. citizens clause and have defined the due process clause to apply only to cases “within the jurisdiction of the U.S.”

    Perhaps the law and cases should be changed to diminish the authoritarian nature of the law on this subject. But it is what it is. Targeted assassinations are clearly legal, as of today’s version of the law.

  320. 320
    Lysana says:

    @Svensker: Oh, I do love hypothetical questions.

    And I see another instance where a thread critical of Obama, whether justified or not, isn’t drawing cries of racism but rather the trolls who think it will. Ayup, ABL proven right again. You can criticize the President without being a bigot about it. I do wish these bozos would quit acting like teabaggers.

  321. 321
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    What is to stop the president from declaring that he has evidence that you are actually a member of al-Qaeda who needs to be eliminated?

    Other than the multiple levels of bureaucracy detailed in the article?

  322. 322
    taylormattd says:

    @MattR:

    What is to stop the president from declaring that he has evidence that you are actually a member of al-Qaeda who needs to be eliminated? What is stop him from deciding that the safest way to do that is to blow up your house in Seattle with you in it instead of trying to apprehend you?

    And with this, you prove that you are a complete fucking nutcase.

  323. 323
    Lysana says:

    @Morzer:

    You really don’t find it worrying that you could be on the list now and not have the faintest clue until it was too late?

    What part of “al-Awlaki’s name was known to be on that list for long enough that his father unsuccessfully sued to get his name removed” didn’t you understand? And what part of “he was an active traitor to the US for several years before he was placed on that list” didn’t you understand, either?

  324. 324
    soonergrunt says:

    @cleek, re: WH post 315:
    “I bid you adieu!

    Well, I guess he told you!

  325. 325
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah. I am looking for a meaningful restriction.

    @taylormattd: So is there something actually preventing the president from doing it other than the consequences he would face? If there is not, I guess the better question would be “what repercussions would the president face from doing it” because from what I can tell the answer would be “none”

  326. 326
    taylormattd says:

    @Mnemosyne: IKR? I mean honestly, what the fuck is wrong with these people? Are they sitting around cowering in their homes believing the president is going to have their house bombed by predator drones?

    Shorter MattR:

    First they came for al-qaida members in Afghanistan and I said nothing . . .

  327. 327
    amk says:

    @Mnemosyne: Why read the actual article when it is so easy cook up CT’s ? Tell me why the firebagging left is any different from the teabaggijg right ?

  328. 328
    MattR says:

    @taylormattd: You do know that Al-Alwaki was not in Afghanistan, right?

    EDIT: but other than that minor detail, you actually nailed my probelm exactly. Thinking that this particular case makes it acceptable to twist the law is a very dangerous path to take.

    EDIT2: Would you have made the same argument to those who argued against Japanese internment during WW2 and ridiculed them for caring when it was only the Japanese who were currently affected?

  329. 329
    Corner Stone says:

    Fascinating thread. Reading through it and noticing the number of people here making the exact same argument Reality Check, jwest and burnspbesq make.

  330. 330
    Morzer says:

    @Lysana:

    So you don’t understand that the list itself is secret, drawn up without any public disclosure or review, without any accountability or statement of criteria for inclusion? How monumentally stupid are you?

  331. 331
    Corner Stone says:

    Using the most narrow reading of a law to bash the Republican president, and then the broadest possible reading to support a Democratic one.

  332. 332
    soonergrunt says:

    @cleek:

    The US is fascist

    That’s his shtick. He hasn’t added anything useful to any conversation in a year.

  333. 333
    chrisd says:

    @MattR:

    this will make it very, very hard for progressives to complain when the next Republican president does the same thing (or even when he takes the program a step further)

    On the contrary, should 2013 usher in a Republican president, their rhetoric will turn on a dime.

  334. 334
    mk3872 says:

    REALLY, JOHN?

    Do you HONESTLY believe that NO OTHER presidents (Dem or Repub) ever had a CIA hit list before ?????

    PUHLEEZE!!

    Reading too much Glennwald can seriously fry your brain …

  335. 335
    cleek says:

    @Willam Hurley:

    I’ve got better things to do.

    well, apparently not.

    As I wrote, in contradistinction to your claims, the SCOTUS has found a multitude of executive branch and even Congressional applications of policy citing AUMF for authority to be unconstitutional.

    for specific applications, yes. not for the one at hand. if i’m wrong about that, feel free to cite the relevant case. it would be of great interest to everyone here, i’m sure.

  336. 336
    MattR says:

    @Morzer: Most Many people really seem to believe that only bad, bad people will end up on that list and there is no chance a mistake can be made (or that it can be misused for more nefarious purposes in the future). It is amazing to hear people say with certainty that they have nothing to fear from this and that they will never end up on the list. I am sure there were quite a few people who said the same thing about the No Fly list before they discovered that they were on it. Luckily the consequences for the No Fly list are somewhat less severe.

  337. 337
    Willam Hurley says:

    @patroclus:

    The law is clear, it is you who is not.

    There is no standing Federal law that makes the act of assassination illegal for American actors/agents beyond national boundaries.

    Just ask Salavdore Allende’s assassins and his progeny.

    However, there are numerous Executive Orders prohibiting the act, EOs that were slightly undermined by “W” Bush’s EO that modifies Ford’s original and those following that.

    You may have read the amendments you cite, but your understanding of their applicability in this matter is wholly and fatally flawed.

    As for “blowback”, please. You’re parroting a term of art that spy novelists and overly imaginative policy wonks bandy about mindlessly.

    The history of war and inter-group hostilities (“inter-group” because this behavior far pre-dates the emergence of the nation-state) is little more than the “tit-for-tat” insanity of honor killing deemed politically legitimate. “Blow-back” doesn’t even capture the inevitability of behaviors that are historically repetitive.

    I wonder what the OWS movement assembly have to say about “O-Bots'” trenchant defense of secrecy and murder as legitimate tools to be used in service of political and policy objectives. Fortunately, I don’t have to guess, the statement issued yesterday by the Wall St Gen Assembly expressly declares itself peaceful and in opposition to war and violence.

    Seems “O” and “O-Bots” are going to have a very hard time co-opting the now national movement in the hope it will save his doomed Presidency.

    I’m looking forward to joining the Portland gathering this afternoon.

  338. 338
    Morzer says:

    @MattR:

    Well, I guess it’s much easier for them than admitting that Obama has – at best – continued Bush-era policies here and with much less excuse. It’s funny, in a sad sort of way, when you recall how they denounced the imperial presidency and the evils of Dubya.

  339. 339
    wrb says:

    @MattR:

    Most people really seem to believe that only bad, bad people will end up on that list and there is no chance a mistake can be made (or that it can be misused for more nefarious purposes in the future). It is amazing to hear people say with certainty that they have nothing to fear from this and that they will never end up on the list.

    You are right that it is disturbing that the congress and courts handed off such authority to the executive. This leaves us dependent on the executive acting responsibly.

    In this case it appears it did: this guy was flagrant about advertising his guilt and intent to do harm, and the executive none-the-less moved very slowly, even giving time for a court challenge.

    Is there any guarantee that a future executive won’t be less responsible, and will deserve fervent opposition? No.

    But there is nothing this executive can do about that. That is an issue for the congress and the courts.

  340. 340
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @taylormattd:

    Well, aside from the ad hominem, what check is there on the President making such a declaration?

    That’s the entire point. A bunch of nameless “advisers” put together a list, there are no records of the proceeding, and the list is used to target people (not just American citizens, but just about anyone) for specific death. What are the criteria for being put on this list? We don’t know, because there are no records to tell us.

    In the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, it would have been very simple to tell us why he was included. He did x, y, and he killed my father. Prepare to die!

    But we don’t even have that. We just go on the King’s say so that the guy was bad and he needed to die. No formal justification needed.

    THAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE.

    If you’re going to send Predators out to kill people, at least have the decency to document the process to make the call to send out the Predators. Is that really too much to ask?

  341. 341
    Don says:

    Assassinations, unprovoked military interventions, secret tribunals and such are nothing new. All of it was formalized after WW II with the National Security Act of 1947. Since that time we have been in a state of exception where the USA can act unilaterally anywhere in the world and it does with regularity. Further none of the acts of aggression, subversion or conquest will require the Congress to declare war. This has allowed every president since Truman to expand and maintain the dominant position of the USA without worrying its citizens with the details. It’s not that Obama is worse than Bush. It’s that he his responses are exactly the same as all presidents since Truman.

  342. 342
    Willam Hurley says:

    @Reality Check:

    I find it interesting that as a resident of the “peanut gallery” yourself, you confuse secretive, arbitrary and unchecked expressions of military power with the function of a democratically elected chief executive.

    Why are you and so many here queuing up rhetoric from Bill Kristol’s early years???

    Neo-cons and Straussians already have a party.

  343. 343
    patroclus says:

    @Willam Hurley:

    Thanks – the law is very clear and this sort of action, like it or not, is not illegal. As you say, Executive Order 12036, which was an outgrowth of the Church Committee’s investigations, did prohibit targeted assasinations for a spell. But, as with all executive orders, that can be amended simply by a new President issuing a new Executive Order. Which Bush did.

    To change that would require a new Executive Order – reapplying the terms of the old 12036 order. That’s certainly possible and I agree with you that it would be advisable, but until and unless it happens, the law remains clear – targeted assasinations, as of now, are clearly legal.

    But you do make a good point – at least at some point in time, certain targeted assassinations would have violated EO 12036. Consequently, it is not outside the realm of possibility that targeted assasinations could, once again, be illegal (per U.S. law). That is what you should be pushing for – changing the law again, rather than making inaccurate legal arguments now.

  344. 344
    Larv says:

    @Morzer:

    You really don’t find it worrying that you could be on the list now and not have the faintest clue until it was too late?

    Do you? Because unless you’ve been engaging in a sustained campaign of advocating for terrorist attacks against the US from somewhere beyond US jurisdiction, I suggest you see what sorts of drugs are available to treat your paranoia.

    It’s simply not the case that because the government can kill an American under certain circumstances that they can kill any American, anywhere. Awlaki was targeted because he was a member of al-Quaeda, was on record inciting terrorism against the US, and because he was residing in a place beyond the reach of our legal system. The latter is really key. If he was doing the same things from Brooklyn, I don’t think the government could legally have targeted him. Should the CIA start assassinating US citizens on US soil, I’ll start worrying, but until then I’m pretty sanguine about it.

  345. 345
    MattR says:

    @wrb: I agree with the heart of what you say though I may have a couple minor quibbles (ie. IMO the executive moving slowly enough to allow a court challenge is irrelevant when the executive forces the court to dismiss the challenge based on state secrets). I guess I am disheartened because it seems that people are accepting that not only does the President currently have this power, but he should have it.

  346. 346
    Morzer says:

    @patroclus:

    Also executive order 12333, which stated (in part):

    No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.

    Still, what did that old bleeding-heart liberal Ronald Reagan know?

  347. 347
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yup. That is the case here.

    This shit is bad, even if our guy does it.

  348. 348
    Another Bob says:

    So they started a precedent for the extra-legal killing of American citizens administered by a secret committee. Come on — what could possibly go wrong?

  349. 349
    JWL says:

    Hunter Thompson:

    “We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world, a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we’ll kill you. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us; they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them”

  350. 350
    Morzer says:

    @Larv:

    In other words: this is the best of all possible worlds and we must cultivate our garden? Well,if you want to make the presidency more like a despotism and give up your liberties and due process, that’s your problem. Just don’t come whining to us when mission creep sets in – assuming it hasn’t already.

  351. 351
    Willam Hurley says:

    @Don:

    Instead of quibbling with your historically dubious synopsis, I’ll say that your “nobody’s guilty because everybody’s guilty” apologia is reason enough for those desiring the cycle of violence and secrecy to end to find another, more representative candidate for the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination than is Obama.

    The national movement spurred by OWS may be the means, though it will be accomplished outside of the Party’s purview.

  352. 352
    MattR says:

    @Larv: And you are sure all the other people on the secret list have met those same (or similar) criteria and that none of them are like the Oregon lawyer who was erroneously tied to the Madrid bombings in 2004?

  353. 353
    patroclus says:

    @Morzer:

    Indeed, Reagan’s version of the EO really just mimicked Carter’s original version. Targeted assasinations were illegal from and after the issuance of EO 12036, through and including the Reagan, Bush I and Clinton administrations and then became legal again under Bush II.

    That’s the history and the law. It is certainly possible that the U.S. could go back to the prior version of the law, but, at present, targeted assassinations are legal. Clearly.

  354. 354
    Morzer says:

    @MattR:

    Ah, but we all know that Larv could never be confused with a terrorist, right? And of course, there’s never been a case of mistaken identity, abuse of power for payback, much less partisan hatred in the history of the USA – right, Larv? Hell, we’ve never had a McCarthy witch-hunt or a civil war in this blessed country of ours. Larv has total faith that vice president Cheney was a good, honest man and that vice president Palin will be a sweet and innocent little honeybear.

  355. 355
    Corner Stone says:

    @MattR:

    Many people really seem to believe that only bad, bad people will end up on that list and there is no chance a mistake can be made

    Many people here seem to believe because their guy currently “owns” the list that any name found on it is de facto guilty.

  356. 356
    Corner Stone says:

    @kindness:

    It really comes down to where your leaders draw the line. With respect to that, I trust President Obama more than any Republican out there.

    No, it absolutely does not come down to that.
    And the second quoted sentence there just boggles me. It’s just absurd on its face.

  357. 357
    Bob Westal says:

    @Cat: That’s actually the puzzling part about this whole thing. If Al-Awliki just happened to be killed during another drone strike, this would be no more or less controversial than any other zone strike.

    I guess I’m mostly worried about possible legal implications of this down the road. To me, the fact that he was in an Al-Quaida camp, pretty much nullifies most of the other issues on a moral level, if not on a legal one. (Which is not to say I’m 100% sanguine about drone strikes, mainly because we know often innocents will get killed. Even though Greenwald might drone on and on and on about how I can’t know for sure he’s guilty of anything, seems pretty clear to me he’s not some helpless shmoe who’s being forced into Al-Quaida against his will.)

    Really, the whole problem is that this whole situation is not quite a war, but also not quite not a war, if you follow me.

  358. 358
    patroclus says:

    This is off-topic, sorrta, but when I was in law school I actually wrote a lengthy paper on this very subject and my professor was the former General Counsel of the CIA. At the time, I fervently believed that targeted assasinations should be, and in fact, were clearly illegal. He didn’t think so and graded me accordingly. Then, Carter implemented 12036 and I was vindicated!

    But then, along came 9/11 and the new EO and the AUMF… Needless to say, I have followed the developments on this issue ever since. As of today, targeted assassinations are clearly legal, but that doesn’t have to always be the case. Any President could change that with an EO, Congress could change that with a statute and the courts could change that with a new opinion.

    I hope one of them does. But in the meantime, John and Greenwald are just wrong. Targeted assassinations are legal as of today. Clearly.

  359. 359
    kindness says:

    @Corner Stone: Fuck you. Like I give two shits what you think.

    Seriously though, reading threads like this makes me wonder if this is the best progressives can do? Sure, I guess I’m not a progressive today by some. But honestly….spy vs spy has gone on forever & it never get’s mentioned. As I stated earlier, do I like Star Chambers? No, I don’t. Can I stop the CIA from killing people (and others from killing CIA folk)? No I can’t. Lots of pissing into the wind here today. Didn’t Mom tell you that wasn’t real bright?

  360. 360
    Corner Stone says:

    Who here thinks having Rove in charge of this list is a good thing? Because that’s what you’re arguing, that it’s ok.

  361. 361
    MattR says:

    @patroclus:

    Targeted assassinations are legal as of today.

    Under what conditions/with what restrictions?

  362. 362
    Corner Stone says:

    @kindness: So I gather you’re ok as long as Obama is in charge? And at the exact instant of the next inauguration you’ll still be fine with this issue?
    Because that’s what you’re saying; men, not laws are what you have faith in.

  363. 363
    Corner Stone says:

    The defensive argument that “Others did it too! You just didn’t know!” is so laughably absurd I can’t believe an adult would attempt to present it.

  364. 364
    Ruckus says:

    People seem to be upset because Obama promised transparency. Others feel that the act has been committed before Obama and this is business as usual. If it is business as usual and prior presidents have done this where is the public disclosure about prior acts? At least Obama has made this public. If this is not a new tactic then that is a huge change in the way governments operate. And I’d be surprised and amazed if it is new.
    Maybe it is believed to be the only useful tool that the CIA/military can use in these situations.

  365. 365
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m assuming people here remember Don Siegelman?

  366. 366
    MattR says:

    @Ruckus:

    At least Obama has made this public.

    You think that we know about the existence of the list as well as the fact that al-Alwaki was on it because the Obama administration wanted it to be public?

  367. 367
    TooManyJens says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Other than the multiple levels of bureaucracy detailed in the article?

    Actually, yes, I’d prefer that the judicial branch be involved. OTOH, they became involved, and punted the entire decision back to the executive.

  368. 368
    patroclus says:

    @MattR:

    The ones that have been mentioned above: (1) it has to be outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. (or the 5th amendment would apply); (2) the President has to make a finding/determination that an individual or group fits the AUMF definition (Al Qaeda); and (3) the bureaucratic processes by which that determination is reviewed.

  369. 369
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MattR:

    Under what conditions/with what restrictions?

    Well, we could tell you, but then we’d have to kill you.

  370. 370
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I ask this because I have no idea. How different is this process from the one that results in people being placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list?

  371. 371
    HumboldtBlue says:

    So, the killing of American citizens without the benefit of arrest and trial is horrible … right? I mean, as an American citizen a fellow decides he’s gonna wage war against his nation, move to another country where he’s outside the reach of legal remedies, but if he is targeted in the same war he promised to bring to the U.S. it’s the worst thing since waterboarding?

    Here’s a comparison — 10 days ago a three-man SWAT team from Sacramento was asked to assist the Mendocino county sheriff’s department in apprehending an armed and dangerous man who was wanted for the murder of two men who were out inspecting timberland properties.

    The suspect, Aaron Bassler, was spotted last Saturday by the SWAT team and they put seven bullets in his chest, killing him. No arrest. No trial. No conviction.

    It happened again yesterday in Cupertino, an American citizen shot dead by the agents of Government without arrest, trial or conviction.

    But targeting a man who is actively waging war against his native country is somehow … wrong? We kill citizens left and right in this country, but suddenly Al-Awlaki is being turned into Troy Davis, another man killed by the agents of government.

    Both Bassler and the Cupertino shooter represented a clear and present danger to those around them, Al-Awlaki as well, but you’re up in arms over one killing and ignoring the others.

  372. 372
    Morzer says:

    @Ruckus:

    At least Obama has made this public.

    Not really. We don’t know much of anything about how determinations are made, who precisely makes them etc etc. Nor is it much of a consolation to know that it exists when there is neither recourse nor accountability. Especially when so many liberals are apparently trying desperately to believe that it must be fine because Obama does it – even though they would never have bought that line from Republicans about Bush.

  373. 373
    Morzer says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    So we should expect to hear that MattR is taking his vacation in Yemen this year?

  374. 374
    handsmile says:

    The use of the phrase “state of exception” by commenter Don above (#341) prompts me to link this masterful essay by Mark Danner in the current New York Review of Books, “After 9/11: Our State of Exception”: http://www.nybooks.com/article.....exception/

    Evincing Danner’s comprehensive knowledge of the subject, the essay contends that American law and society may have been permanently disfigured by national security policies undertaken in the “War on Terror.”

    The sickening descriptions of torture inflicted upon Zayn Muhammad Husayn, aka Abu Zubaydah, and the legal arguments concocted in its defense, offer a real-life riposte to the bloodless and blithe speculations of a great number of comments on this thread.

  375. 375
    Cromagnon says:

    Yawn

  376. 376
    MattR says:

    @patroclus:

    the bureaucratic processes by which that determination is reviewed.

    Can you expand on this? I assume you mean that there has to be a defined process in place for the President to issue his finding (rather than just willy nilly). How defined does it have to be? Does it have to have a set of guidelines to describe who might be eligible? Similarly, I assume that the process can’t be that the VP, Sec of Defense and Chief of Staff get together and discuss it.

    If I am right/close in my assumptions, wouldn’t we need a more thorough, on the record description of that process before we decide that the al-Alwaki killing was legal or not?

    @Morzer: I hear the weather in Yemen is beautiful in November.

  377. 377
    Morzer says:

    @HumboldtBlue:

    So in sum,killing people without trial is fine by you? Rule of law doesn’t really matter? Optional extra at the Applebee’s salad bar?

  378. 378
    Morzer says:

    @MattR:

    I hear the weather in Yemen is beautiful in November.

    Easy there, cowboy. Don’t give stuckinred and his chairborn elite battalion any excuse to launch the drones.

  379. 379
    patroclus says:

    @MattR:

    No I can’t and no there doesn’t. The bureaucratic processes are there just for internal accuracy purposes – there is nothing legal that requires them. That is, they exist so that the administration can claim that they were done. Nothing in the AUMF requires them other than a bland requirement that the President make the determination. They are there just to make us feel better. They could be changed or eliminated and targeted assassinations would still be legal.

  380. 380
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Actually, yes, I’d prefer that the judicial branch be involved. OTOH, they became involved, and punted the entire decision back to the executive.

    Frankly, that’s a huge part of the problem: both the legislative and judicial branches have decided that anything regarding national security is the exclusive purview of the executive branch, and they have abdicated their oversight responsibility as co-equal branches.

    They could rein things in if they wanted, but they have deliberately chosen not to out of cowardice.

  381. 381
    cleek says:

    @Morzer:

    Rule of law doesn’t really matter?

    AUMF is the law.

  382. 382
    Linnaeus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I ask this because I have no idea. How different is this process from the one that results in people being placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list?

    From the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted FAQ:

    Who actually decides which fugitives go on the list?

    The Criminal Investigative Division (CID) at FBI Headquarters calls upon all 56 Field Offices to submit candidates for the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list. The nominees received are reviewed by Special Agents in the CID and the Office of Public Affairs. The selection of the “proposed” candidate(s) is forwarded to the Assistant Director of the CID for his/her approval and then to the FBI’s Director for final approval.

    The same FAQ also notes that the Ten Most Wanted list is a publicity program; these are people who are deemed especially dangerous and who the FBI thinks require public assistance in apprehending.

  383. 383
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    They could rein things in if they wanted, but they have deliberately chosen not to out of cowardice.

    Can’t disagree with you there. There was a time, within my lifetime, when the other two branches would bring the Executive to heel when it got too far out of line. Political party did not matter…there were lines you DID NOT CROSS.

    As Richard Nixon discovered to his dismay.

  384. 384
    Morzer says:

    @cleek:

    Not if it goes against the constitution – which it clearly and plainly does.

  385. 385
    MattR says:

    @patroclus: OK. So really numbers 1 and 2 of your original comment to me are the only legal requirements that need to be met for a targeted assassination to be legal? The person must be outside of the jurisdiction of the US and the President must make a finding that the person meets the conditions of the AUMF (regardless of how that determination is made).

  386. 386
    patroclus says:

    @Morzer:
    No it doesn’t. The cases that have construed the 5th and 14th amendments have clearly stated that the standard is “persons within the jurisidiction of the U.S.” Actions with respect to persons outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. are not covered by the Constitution. The “privileges and immunites of U.S. citizens” clause is potentially applicable, but the courts have heretofore narrowly construed that clause. What is clear and plain is that, as of today, the 5th and 14th amendments do not apply to targeted assassinations outside the jurisdiction of the U.S.

  387. 387
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cleek:

    AUMF is the law.

    So is Judge Dredd.

  388. 388

    @MattR:

    What is to stop the president from declaring that he has evidence that you are actually a member of al-Qaeda who needs to be eliminated?

    The fact that I am within the jurisdiction of the United States. If I were to travel to a foreign country that has no extradition to the U.S., it becomes more questionable. Of course, that includes France. I suspect, though, that France would be more forthcoming on a terrorist suspect than they are in regards to a child molester.

    Put me in the camp that thinks that the killing was clearly legal but troubling. However, I think that the troubling part is a lot more complicated than a lot of people (on both sides) are admitting. The problem is that the fight against al Qaeda falls into a hole that is not really covered by any law: what do you do with a military action against a non state organization?

    That’s hard. The whole legal system for military operations, both domestic and international, are completely dependent upon a definition that means that only states can go to war. Al Qaeda has demonstrated that that isn’t true.

    It would help if Congress would do its fucking judge and pass legislation dealing with this question. It has abjectly failed to do so, meaning that the executive has no choice but to operate within a legal limbo.

    Where I disagree with a lot of people is that they are missing the fundamental difference between the Obama and Bush administrations. Unlike Bush, Obama operates within the law. That’s an enormous distinction.

    In this case, in addition to the AUMF, the court’s (only a district court, not the USSC, though) dismissal of Nasser al Awlaki’s lawsuit to have such an action declared illegal pretty much closes the door on that. Contrary to what was said above, it was not dismissed due to the state secrets doctrine. It was dismissed, the judge argued, because such an action falls within the executive’s legitimate war powers. Really, on the question of whether or not this action was legal, there’s not much of an argument that it wasn’t. The only theory on how it would be depends upon the hypothetical that a Circuit Court or the Supreme Court would have reversed the decision. I don’t find that likely.

    As for due process, al Awlaki had a lot of it. Perhaps not as much as he should have, but a lot. He was convicted in Yemen for the murder of a French journalist. The UN Security Council put him on its Dead or Alive list. The UK came very close to indicting him twice for terrorism related actions, and backed down only as a foreign policy issue. He was almost indicted on terrorism charges several times in the US. He was indicted on a charge of passport fraud, but it was rescinded due to the statute of limitations expiring.

    Now, while I think that the assassination was legal, I don’t think it was wise. I don’t think that al Awlaki was a direct threat, as his links to specific attacks were second order and not really about planning. He was guilty (and, yes, I’m comfortable saying this even without a conviction) of incitement and propaganda. While I would have loved for the feds to get a hold of him, I’m not at all sure that it was worth opening this particular can of worms to kill him.

    For the record, I did defend Bush on actions like this one. Where I objected to him was in places where they pretty clearly broke the law. Torture was illegal and wrong, including what they did to Jose Padilla, who was pretty clearly within US jurisdiction. I did not object on a legal basis to the drone strikes they committed, save those cases where someone was obviously negligent in picking the target.

    I just don’t see much of a slippery slope here. Not with all of the legal protections that are in place between this killing and what everyone is so afraid of.

  389. 389
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @El Tiburon:

    I stand proudly on this issue with El Tiburon and Mr. John Cole. Those of you who support President Obama’s yellow-bellied cowardice and unconstitutional murder spree are depraved Cult of Personality savages.
    .
    .

  390. 390
    patroclus says:

    @MattR: That is my understanding. Numbers 1 and 2 are legal requirements; number 3 has been added not as a legal requirement but to ensure accuracy and to make us feel better that “due diligence” was done.

  391. 391
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Linnaeus: Thanks. Doesn’t sound particularly “transparent” to me. Would a public “kill list” be better (more ethical, more moral, etc.) than a “secret” one?

    Also, for people saying that this is the kind of thing liberals were appalled at Bush for doing… were they? I remember outrage about torture and interrogation techniques. I remember mockery of Bush’s announcements of having killed the #3 person in Al Qaeda, a job that seemed as ill-starred as Spinal Tap drummer. But I don’t particularly remember outrage about killing suspected terrorists. Not that there shouldn’t have been, but I don’t remember it happening.

  392. 392
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Ooh, ooh, we’re approaching 400! Woot!

  393. 393

    If you think it is illegal, call for impeachment

    If you think it is bad policy, call for a new candidate

    If you just like to wank, and feel moral superiority

    then eat shit on rye

    If you want to be a martyr for the cause of civil liberties

    go on the teevee and declare war on your own country

    and move to some lawless tribal shithole where you and your new pals can spend your days perfecting underwear bombs, and takes your chances.

    I might suggest Phoenix, or Dallas.

    Add – and I always like a thread where folks are complaining the POtUS is by his self issuing kill orders on random Americans, and link to an article that outlines a detailed process for such designation. haz a WTF? is Greenwaldo smoking today feel to it.

    otherwise, YAWN. seen this movie and it always is worser each viewing.

    And Al Awaki is not the first American citizen to suffer a drone attack in Yemen. Bush did it at least once there in about 2002, if I remember correctly. And we learned about it through CNN or some other venue after the fact. You run with AQ, and you die with them. It is clownish vapors to hold up citizenship as a legal shield. Al Awaki didn’t do that, and made his decision playing by adult rules.

  394. 394
    MattR says:

    @patroclus: Thanks

  395. 395
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @burnspbesq:

    In the specific case of al-Awlaki, the AUMF authorized killing him. Period. Full stop. No room at all for any principled legal argument to the contrary. You can argue all day about whether killing al-Awlaki was just or wise, but arguments about legality are off the table.

    I believe you are in error, killer. The AUMF granted the president the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “[1] planned, [2] authorized, [3] committed or [4] aided” the September 11th attacks, or who [5] harbored said persons or groups. Allwhacky did not plan, authorize, commit, aid that attack, and did not harbor such persons who did. So it does not apply to Allwhacky – period, full stop. And the due process clause of the Constitution trumps the AUMF anyway. Next case!
    .
    .

  396. 396
    Larv says:

    @Morzer:

    Larv has total faith that vice president Cheney was a good, honest man and that vice president Palin will be a sweet and innocent little honeybear.

    No, I think they’re both shitbags who will fuck up the country in a number of ways. Worrying that they’ll start a campaign of assassination against US citizens is way, way down on my list, however. Seriously, WTF? Do you really think that’s a reasonable fear?

    @MattR:

    You think that we know about the existence of the list as well as the fact that al-Alwaki was on it because the Obama administration wanted it to be public?

    Um, didn’t they hold a press conference to announce Awlaki’s death? Yeah, they were really keeping that secret. And the list itself may not be public, but the existence of it is a pretty open secret. Awlaki’s father obviously knew about it, because he sued to get Awlaki off it. And it’s existence should be obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention, given that we’ve been using drone strikes for years to take out terrorist leaders. I mean, how did you think they chose who to strike? A dartboard? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe?

  397. 397
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Also, this whole effort (and the debate about it) sounds _very_ similar to the plot of, and policy behind, the movie _Munich_.

  398. 398
    cleek says:

    @Morzer:

    Not if it goes against the constitution – which it clearly and plainly does.

    since you are not the Supreme Court, that is merely your opinion, not a statement of law.

  399. 399
    Linnaeus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Thanks. Doesn’t sound particularly “transparent” to me. Would a public “kill list” be better (more ethical, more moral, etc.) than a “secret” one?

    But the Ten Most Wanted list is a publicity program; it’s not a special legal category. The people on it have to have committed crimes or have been charged with crimes, all of which would be documented and in the public record, following (presumably) established legal procedure which can be reviewed and remedied (in the event of errors, abuses, etc.) by properly constituted authorities. Furthermore, the FBI (presumably) still has to follow the law; it cannot summarily kill you simply because it put you on its Ten Most Wanted list.

  400. 400
    Morzer says:

    @General Stuck:

    John Yoo would be really proud of that fine piece of “reasoning”.

  401. 401
    cleek says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    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.

    al-Q is the organization. al-Awlaki was a member. he was aiding them in executing future attacks.

  402. 402
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas: By selective editing you eliminated precisely the point in question:

    against those nations, organizations, or persons

    He was a member of the organization — at least such is the basis for why he was targeted, and why AUMF might conceivably apply. (His status in the organization, and his status relative to the planning of the attacks, are genuine points of contention.)

  403. 403
    MattR says:

    @Larv: Do you really think that refutes my point? That the Obama administration admitted to facts after they were brought into the public’s eye does not mean that they wanted them to be public.

  404. 404
    Morzer says:

    @cleek:

    Whereas your opinion is worth.. not so much. Glad we sorted that out.

  405. 405
    kdaug says:

    @Morzer:

    The people who executed Troy Davis doubtless had a similar viewpoint.

    He had a fair trial, no? Convicted, no? Judge, jury, appeals, et.al.?

    You complain Awlaki didn’t get a trial. You’ve got more faith in them than I.

  406. 406
    cleek says:

    @Morzer:
    my opinion is that until Congress repeals it, or SCOTUS deems it unconstitutional, a duly-passed law is the law of the land.

    do you disagree ?

  407. 407
    Shade Tail says:

    Just for the record, though I’m sure nobody will care, I would like to repeat that I don’t see the outrage that the executive branch has a classified “kill or detain” list of known or suspected terrorists. This is business as usual, and if you have a problem with it than you need someone to smack you upside the head.

    Putting an American citizen on that list is arguably murkier, but entirely understandable when he is a self-described terrorist who is residing well outside US jurisdiction. Anyone who goes from that to fear-mongering idiocy about how “any of us could be put on that list!” should probably lay down until sanity returns (or, again, be smacked upside the head).

  408. 408
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Linnaeus: Agreed on the particulars of the distinction. I was trying to think about the specific idea that the existence of such a list itself was an affront to ethics and good government. To oversimplify, it sounds a lot more like the problem with a “kill list” is the “kill” part, not the “list” part — but a lot of people weighing in seemed to be worried about the list itself.

  409. 409
    B W Smith says:

    @cleek: There is even evidence that he aided and abetted two of the actual 9/11 attackers. That is covered in the 9/11 commission report.

  410. 410

    @Morzer:

    So you are one of those eligible to eat shit on rye. My reasoning is sound, unlike yours and others emoticon poutrage. When Al Awaki publicly declared his allegiance to AQ in a formal way, from his foreign battlefield, that is all the reasoning that is necessary for adult persons, including Al Awaki himself. And I would add the UN.

    John Yoo had nothing to do with that, unless Obama tortured the man first, and it has been part and parcel to US and international law since way before he came along, and wanker moralists like you. There has always been a clear bifurcation in US and international law between a declared war, and police actions falling under the civilian side of that bifurcation. If it makes you feel sad, queasy or disillusioned, that is fine, and you are entitled to that. Just don’t plant your flag on the legality of it, cause you are wrong on that front.

  411. 411
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Shade Tail: I think it would be more useful to kick around the topic of how we’d like to see such a case handled, rather than why this way of handling it was appalling.

    IMHO there’s something that doesn’t sit right about an assassination list, but there’s also something that doesn’t sit right about the idea that if you’re an American citizen you can relocate yourself to a country that doesn’t have an extradition agreement, then capitalize on gray areas and inconsistencies in the law to make yourself untouchable. The only legitimate way to stop an American-born James Bond villain living in a hollow volcano as he plots world domination would be to send in the FBI to arrest him? Really?

  412. 412
    Corner Stone says:

    This administration really didn’t want to kill Al-Awlaki, but they’ve been running out of ways to make Congress do its fucking job! These executive overreach powers have to be reigned in by Congress and the WH is determined to force that outcome, no matter how broadly they have to interpret a shit law passed by shit scared cowards.

  413. 413
    Linnaeus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    To oversimplify, it sounds a lot more like the problem with a “kill list” is the “kill” part, not the “list” part—but a lot of people weighing in seemed to be worried about the list itself.

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t like a Nixonian “enemies list”, but that’s not what we’re dealing with here. I don’t have an objection to the government keeping some kind of record of known or suspected terrorists, criminals, etc. But the “kill” part is troubling insofar in that we don’t know beyond some vague details how someone gets on the list and what mechanism there is for correcting errors and abuses.

    As I mentioned upthread, I don’t expect the CIA to be shooting missiles through my front door. But I could see a situation in which some president (or people in the US national security apparatus) abuse the process to get rid of someone deemed troublesome.

  414. 414
    Corner Stone says:

    @HumboldtBlue: May I humbly suggest a re-reading of the definition of “imminent” ?

  415. 415
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @FlipYrWhig:

    By selective editing you eliminated precisely the point in question: against those nations, organizations, or persons

    I did not “selectively edit,” I copied it right out of wiki.

    He was a member of the organization

    Al Qaeda of Yemen existed in 2001? (Answer – no, it did not.) And Allwhacky was a member in 2001? (Answer – no, he was not.)
    .
    .

  416. 416
    NobodySpecial says:

    Likud thanks you for your support.

  417. 417
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Stop “settling,” pee-pole.
    .
    .

  418. 418
    patroclus says:

    Clarence, the key factor in the AUMF is the Presidential determination; not whether the President is accurate in his determination. That is, if the President determines that someone meets the definition in the AUMF, that is the end of the legal inquiry irrespective of whther the President was right in making that determination.

    This, too, has case support because both TWEA (the Trading with the Enemy Act) and IEEPA (the International Emergency Economic Powers Act) contain virtually the same language regarding the imposition of extraordinary economic sanctions upon a Presidential finding and those determinations have always been upheld regardless of whether the President was right about it.

    So, it doesn’t really matter if Al Qaeda in Yemen existed in 2001 or what the traitor’s actual actions were; all that matters for the legal analysis is whether the President determined that the targeted individual/group met the definition of the AUMF.

    I realize that this is sort of a “down is up” “the President is always right” kind of argument, and I think that the slope is pretty slippery here, but that’s the law. And, it’s pretty clear.

  419. 419
    Hawes says:

    Damn you Abraham Lincoln and your hundreds of thousands of extra-judicial killings!!

  420. 420
    MattR says:

    @patroclus: Hypothetical question that you seem like you’ll be able to answer. If the AUMF were repealed tomorrow, what would constrain the president from targetting a random guy in Yemen for assassination?

  421. 421
    eemom says:

    @cleek:

    doesn’t matter who disagrees. You are absolutely correct that it’s the law of the land unless and until a court strikes it down. And that IS the rule of law.

    Whatever argument Morzer et al think they can make here, Rule of Law is not one of them.

  422. 422
    patroclus says:

    Good question. I’d have to look up the existing (Bush Jr.)Executive Order to answer it. I think the proscription on targeted assassinations is still in there (but it has probably been modified by something like “Unless otherwise authorized…). And I’d have to check to see whether any other Bush or Obama EO has been implemented in the meantime.

    My best guess is that it would be prohibited by the prevailing watered-down EO 12036 unless otherwise authorized.

    That’s the U.S. legal analysis. But, you know, there would also be public opinion (both U.S. and worldwide), the actual murder statutes in Yemen or any other relevant jurisdictions, the reaction of allies, whether we were at war with a powerful military that could cause some blowback etc…

  423. 423
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @patroclus:

    You are making the general case that we are a nation governed not by laws, but by men (and especially bad men). I do not believe that should be true. This AUMF question has not been adjudicated yet before the Supreme Court, so we shall see. Surely if a president targeted and murdered someone out of personal malice, or as a personal favor to a dictator, or pursuant to a fraudulent finding, for example, he would be found to be in violation of the AUMF. If not, then the bold experiment is concluded.
    .
    .

  424. 424
    Mjaum says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Well, you know what, I didn’t read it, and yet, I found what you are looking for.

    The constitution defines your rights. The rights your government cannot take away from you. If they can take away these rights, in any shape or form, you are per definition “under their jurisdiction”. That’s what the words mean. Hence, yes, the constitution applies to all american citizens throughout the cosmos. And in such cases as these rights are not defined as being exclusive to citizens, they apply to all humans throughout the cosmos.

    Thank you for playing. You’re (still) an idiot. (I could add something about light-cones and the exact moment of the Constitution coming into effect, but that’d be overkill.)

  425. 425

    @Jennyjinx:

    They were citizens of the Confederacy.

    No. This was, effectively, the question that the war was fought over, and this point of view lost. The Union position (in my thinking, the correct one) is that there was no such thing as a Confederate citizen and there never had been. The states did not have the right to secede, and so its opponents never stopped being American citizens.

    It may seem to be splitting hairs, but it’s fundamentally important to both the Civil War and legal jurisprudence.

  426. 426
    FuzzyWuzzy says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: So the choice is shit sandwich with thin bread or shit sandwich with pumpernickel swirls because you can’t imagine an alternative.
    Winning!

  427. 427
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    I did not “selectively edit,” I copied it right out of wiki.

    Here’s what you posted:

    The AUMF granted the president the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “[1] planned, [2] authorized, [3] committed or [4] aided” the September 11th attacks, or who [5] harbored said persons or groups.

    Here’s what the actual AUMF says, as has been repeatedly posted across the thread:

    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.

    If you want to fight about the AUMF, you’re making your own life more difficult by quoting at second hand, especially when the text itself has been linked and quoted over and over.

    And, you’ll note, I specifically said that at what point he became a member of the organization, or if he had any involvement with planning 9/11, are genuine points to dispute. So dispute them. But by starting from the point you chose, you sidestepped the actual heart of the matter, which is the connection between Awlaki and the organization.

  428. 428
    patroclus says:

    EO 13470 (issued by President Bush in 2008) is apparently the prevailing EO today. It amended the EO that President Clinton issued in 1998, which amended the earlier versions. It allows targeted killings under certain circumstances; tracking the AUMF authorization and requiring certain bureaucratic processes to be done in advance of a Presidential finding.

    So, my earlier answer was inaccurate. Targeted killings are authorized pursuant to the AUMF and existing and binding EO’s that heretofore had prohibited them but now authorize them in certain circumstances.

  429. 429
    patroclus says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas: I don’t disagree. Unfortunately, the law itself provides that the President can make the determination and that the determination (and not the underlying facts supporting it) is the relevant factor. Yes, it could be adjudicated and if the underlying facts were particularly and egregiously inaccurate, then perhaps a Presidential finding could be deemed unconstitutional. But I highly doubt that that would ever occur. In theory, perhaps; in reality; not likely.

  430. 430
    Hawes says:

    @Mjaum: Check the Insular Cases at the turn of the century. The “flag” outruns the Constitution. Put another way, America’s ability to exert force/influence/power outruns constitutional protections.

  431. 431
    Hawes says:

    Obviously assassinating people who are enemies of the country becomes a real tangle of ethical questions. The old, “Would you shoot Hitler in 1939?” hypothetical. Wouldn’t it have been better if we had shot bin Laden in the face in the spring of 2002 rather than the spring of 2010? Would Bush have been able to sell Iraq if bin Laden was feeding fish in the Indian Ocean?

    When Bush said “This is a new kind of war” to justify torturing people, we were rightly appalled, but it IS a “new kind of war” it IS against non-state actors.

    Executive Orders are not “laws” in the proper sense. President can always sign a finding overturning EO against assassination on a case-by-case basis.

    The problem I see is that a certain amount of hand-wringing over the principles involved with al-Awlaki’s killing is appropriate, but the “Worse than Bush” ad-hominem attacks and moralizing seems NOT the sort of constructive dialogue to have.

  432. 432
    Mjaum says:

    Patroclus… If what you write of the US system of laws is even remotely correct, the US is not even close to being a nation of laws. Also, the entire checks and balances thing has more holes in it than swiss cheese after said cheese is no longer there.

    So yeah, that makes sense. Man, you lot are screwed. “We can kill you lawfully because we do not have the jurisdiction to kill you lawfully.”

  433. 433
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Seriously, I think the “Obama is worse than Bush” meme is a crock of shit

    Depends on what you value, doesn’t it? On multiple fronts, he is worse than Bush. If you value the Lilly Ledbetter legislation or his DADT repeal over all else, then you will likely not judge him as worse than Bush. If you value the Constitution and civil liberties in general, you will likely judge him as worse.

    *and for the record, […] are fucking idiots.

    So, the shock of self-recognition leads you to use foul language, does it? It is not attractive. Hope you change.
    .
    .

  434. 434
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Also too, I liked this movie better when it starred Linda Lovelace. That reminds me…
    .
    .

  435. 435
    patroclus says:

    Well, unfortunately, I think that the analysis is correct. It all started in WWI when Congress enacted TWEA which gave the President the authority to make a determination in war-time that an extraordinary circumstance had arisen that enabled the President to impose economic sanctions (including freezing assets) upon any targeted country or individual without reference to Congress. (Previously, Congress had debated boycotts and embargoes for months before deciding whether to implement them). Then, in 1933, Congress amended TWEA to authorize the President to take extraordinary actions (closing the banks) in peacetime. (The Republicans at the time criticized FDR for such “dictator” powers).

    Since then, Congress has commonly delegated such powers to the President – both as to extraordinary economic actions and war-like actions. And, it’s been like that ever since (other than the brief interlude in which EO 12036 prevailed).

  436. 436
    Mjaum says:

    @Hawes:

    Okay… I think that’s utterly insane.

    Ahhhh… Had a look over at the wiki. These are the US colonial laws. Made so as to ensure that the US could do as it damn well pleased to their new colonial possessions after the Spanish-American war.

    Impressive handwaving they did back then. Thanks for the heads-up, Hawes. I made the mistake of assuming US laws were, you know, laws, not just “stuff we made up cause we need to screw someone over”. Scary.

  437. 437
    Kola Noscopy says:

    This extralegal bullshit was utterly predictable of Great Leader Obama.

    As was the defense of it by the usual frustrated militarists and authoritarian-lovers here such as Soonergrunt and Red what’s his name…

  438. 438
    taylormattd says:

    @MattR:

    Would you have made the same argument to those who argued against Japanese internment during WW2

    Are you that fucking dumb? Or do you believe that the Japanese Americans in the United States who were locked up were actually agents of Hirohito?

  439. 439
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    I stand proudly on this issue with El Tiburon and Mr. John Cole. Those of you who support President Obama’s yellow-bellied cowardice and unconstitutional murder spree are depraved Cult of Personality savages.

    I stand proudly next to UCT and his lovely wife Ginnie…

  440. 440
    taylormattd says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    In the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, it would have been very simple to tell us why he was included.

    Here, let me google that for you

  441. 441
    MattR says:

    @taylormattd: Why were they interned again? Wasn’t it because the government alleged that they couldn’t be trusted not to help Hirohito? I was not alive, but I am pretty sure there was widespread public distrust of Japanese Americans which would be used to bolster the argument that this only applied to them so why should the non-Japanese, “good” Americans care.

    @taylormattd: Don’t see any evidence that al-Awlaki committed a crime from the various links google provides. Want to point me to a specific one? Note: Pushing someone down the road to radicalization is not an actual crime. Nor is simply talking about the need/justification of suicide bombers.

  442. 442
    aisce says:

    i always chuckle at the “moral righteousness” of those who claim to be strongly anti-torture and anti-indiscriminate-slaughter-of-civilians, basking in the glow of a targeted kill mission done in concert with (or at least aided by) complex and nebulous security and intelligence arrangements with a country that…tortures and indiscriminately kills its own people in the streets as part of a cold civil war. i’m guessing the saleh family slept soundly the night after the bombing.

    killing anwar al-awlaki is plainly legal. killing any terrorist (or suspect, at least) anywhere is plainly legal. in this case, since the guy was an english speaker and symbolic presence, it might even do a great deal to enhance our national security. or it might not.

    /this has been a very special episode of “aisce actually takes a topic seriously.” as you were.

  443. 443

    @taylormattd:

    Are you that fucking dumb? Or do you believe that the Japanese Americans in the United States who were locked up were actually agents of Hirohito?
    Reply

    More importantly, they were under the jurisdiction of the United States. The evidence from World War II is that we are perfectly free to bomb anyone we damned well please if they are in enemy territory. The Japanese-Americans weren’t, and thus clearly fall under the protection of the 5th Amendment whether they were citizens or not.

  444. 444
    harlana says:

    This is the kind of thing I was so upset about years ago when it seemed no one was paying attention. A precedent was set during the Bush administration and, unfortunately, we are following that precedent. It is a bad precedent, but now we have high unemployment and economies crumbling everywhere, our own financial and economic crisis, and the people just don’t care about this. They never did, really. They didn’t want to be bothered with the realities of the “war on terrr” – they just hung their little flags and put up bumper stickers that are now chipped & faded and went about their bidness.

    It’s tragic, considering the Bush admin also created this very crisis at home as well. I know Dems are complicit and shame on them for being so, but it helps to remember how we got here.

  445. 445
    les says:

    Well, fuck. Whoever asked about whether the thread changed any minds, it got mine more confused. But I got over it, sorta. the legality issue is muddy, but it sure isn’t obvious to me the killing of Awlaki was outside of the AUMF. I happen to think that’s a shitty way to do business, but given the craven corporatists who run congress you can’t expect much. I do think some attention to facts might help.

    A lot of problems and issues cited involve some problem about secrecy and transparency, and the “illegal agency” that made the decision. Well-
    -The NSC is neither unknown nor illegal; and it’s not too hard to figure out who the “principals” of the NSC are.
    -The job of the NSC is to advise the Prez on national security issues; that would seem to include US citizens ensconced outside the effective reach of US judicial process, but who are openly, actively and intentionally committing and planning to commit crimes, including attacks on US citizens.
    -We don’t know how they decided? Well, I think we do–they considered all the issues that have been discussed here and in the news for months; does somebody really think there were no grounds for this decision? This is far from a perfect analogy, but you know where else entirely secret deliberations resulting in the condemnation to death of US citizens happen? In the jury room.
    -We don’t know who’s on the list? I dunno; we sure as hell knew this dude was on it, long before the “execution.”

    I will say, this thread has generated the worst “slippery slope” argument evah. From an unabashed, proud, self-announced terrorist, actively promoting and planning undoubted crimes including murder, living deliberately outside the reach of US or Yemeni judicial process, to somebody doesn’t like your face so they’ll blow you up in Seattle. Fuck, that’s not slippery slope, that’s a headlong dive over the improbability cliff. Post-Bush, are we hearing of the extraordinary rendition of citizens or others on US soil? Or the declaration of US citizens, reachable or captured in the US, as enemy combatants? Jebus, children, that’s how the big boys do it in-country.

    The whole Forever War, unitary executive model is fucked. No prez will give it up; Obama sure ain’t worse than Bush with it, though. But riddle me this: if we were treating terrorism as a police matter, which makes more sense to me–how else do you deal with Awlaki, except the way they did? If he thought due process would save his ass, he had ample opportunity to avail himself of it; if he wanted to show up for trial, he wouldn’t be shot on sight. And I’m sorry, but the US Marshal’s office can’t serve subpoenas in backcountry Yemen. And what do you think a tape of the deliberations would reveal–does somebody have an alibi for the dude that wasn’t considered, or what?
    Surprise: complicated shit is not simple.

  446. 446
    MattR says:

    @J. Michael Neal: I agree, but it is not really relevant. The point I was making is how easy it is to dismiss the twisting of the law if you (a) think that group deserves it and (b) think that it will not be applied to you.

    @les:

    But riddle me this: if we were treating terrorism as a police matter, which makes more sense to me—how else do you deal with Awlaki, except the way they did?

    An indictment would have been a decent start. I don’t know that there actually exists a “proper” way to deal with someone like that. But at the least the govt should go on the record with at least some of the evidence against him.

    actively promoting and planning undoubted crimes including murder,

    Do you have a link to back this up? I have not read anything from him that actually crossed the line into illegal (as repulsive as it was).

  447. 447
    les says:

    @MattR:

    Don’t see any evidence that al-Awlaki committed a crime from the various links google provides. Want to point me to a specific one? Note: Pushing someone down the road to radicalization is not an actual crime. Nor is simply talking about the need/justification of suicide bombers.

    If you don’t like the AUMF, google conspiracy. By his own words, he conspired; and success of the underlying crime is not a requirement.

  448. 448
    MattR says:

    @les: As I just asked. You have a link to his actual words that indicate he was part of a conspiracy?

  449. 449
    Ridge says:

    The American in Yemen action has caused a lot of hand wringing about the
    US govt “assassinating” US citizens without trial. There may be a
    point, but lets get real. The US targets and kills folks all the time.
    US citizens or not. Trial or not. The only difference is that this
    guy was 1/2 a world away and they used a drone.

    *For those outside the US, just to let you know; the preferred method of
    dealing with self proclaimed enemies of America is to set the building
    they are hiding in on fire, then shoot anyone running out. Or if they
    don’t run out, let them burn. Easier to clean up and no questions about
    who shot first. Hell, in Philly, they put a damn bomb on the roof of the
    Move’s row house and burned the whole block down. And if you can’t
    catch them in a house, then trapped in a car will work as well.*

    This guy was on foreign soil, giving material aid to avowed enemies of
    the US who have proven the willingness and ability to kill US service
    members and civilians. If he had been in a compound out West, plotting
    mayhem, then 10 snitches would have been in there with him on the phone
    to the FBI. One morning he would wake up with the Feds all around him.
    ” come out with your hands up”…. or we set the place a light. They
    usually don’t come out and end up taking pot shots at the cops. Then its
    too late. ask David Koresh.

    So, if he had been in the US, hold up in a house or bldg, then yeah, he
    would still be dead. Just not by the high tech drone attack, but by the
    old tried and true method. Going out in a hail of bullets, surrounded
    by smoke and flame; all on national TV.

    Some may question if its right for the President to make this decision
    and have his fingerprints all over a Presidential Intelligence Finding.
    I don’t know. Would you rather have the FBI Director declare you
    Public Enemy #1 and have legions of Federal Agents chase you all over
    the Midwest, hosing down hotels and restaurants with Tommy Guns trying
    to get you? Or may be locals and State Police find out what farm you
    are hiding at and ambush you as you drive by?, making the car and you
    look like Swiss cheese? Track you down and shoot you in a field with
    shot guns? Track you down to an old fort and when you get up in the
    middle of the night, asking “Quien es?”, blast you?

    Yes, it would have been nice to have him in a court room, but when you
    pull the tiger’s tail, have shown to be dangerous, or be surrounded by
    dangerous friends; then the Law and Order rules go out the window. You
    get the guy, either by a mulitmillion dollar drone or a black powder
    Single Action Army Colt Revolver.

    R

  450. 450

    @MattR:

    The point I was making is how easy it is to dismiss the twisting of the law if you (a) think that group deserves it and (b) think that it will not be applied to you.

    That I definitely agree with. However, I don’t see this incident as having much relevance to that question. It doesn’t seem to me that the U.S. government has ever required much in the way of precedent to target groups it doesn’t like.

    Further, this really doesn’t have anything at all to do with targeting an ethnic group. It would if the tea partyists took control, but I’m pretty confident that Obama’s decision was entirely based upon individual actions rather than ethnic heritage.

    So, while I agree with you in general, this is a nothingburger on that particular axis. As I’ve said, I don’t think it was illegal at all, but if it was, it a danger to individual civil liberties. There is correlation there with ethnic discrimination, but not, I think, the same thing.

  451. 451

    @MattR:

    An indictment would have been a decent start. I don’t know that there actually exists a “proper” way to deal with someone like that. But at the least the govt should go on the record with at least some of the evidence against him.

    The government has gone on record with some of the evidence that they had. They didn’t seek an indictment (as far as we know; they may have gone to that secret national security court), but that hasn’t meant that we have not seen any evidence. Hell, al Awlaki’s public statements pretty much amount to a confession.

  452. 452
    MattR says:

    @J. Michael Neal: Then you should be able to provide me a link to a specific quote of his that breaks (or shows that he has broken) a specific US law. (Hopefully the third person I ask who has made this claim will follow up with evidence)

  453. 453
    les says:

    @MattR:

    Nidal Hassan is a hero…. The U.S. is leading the war against terrorism, which in reality is a war against Islam….. Nidal opened fire on soldiers who were on their way to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done? In fact the only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the U.S. army is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal.

    The fact that fighting against the U.S. army is an Islamic duty today cannot be disputed. No scholar with a grain of Islamic knowledge can defy the clear cut proofs that Muslims today have the right—rather the duty—to fight against American tyranny. Nidal has killed soldiers who were about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in order to kill Muslims. The American Muslims who condemned his actions have committed treason against the Muslim Ummah and have fallen into hypocrisy…. May Allah grant our brother Nidal patience, perseverance, and steadfastness, and we ask Allah to accept from him his great heroic act. Ameen.[142][143]

    44 Ways to Support Jihad—Essay (January 2009)—A practical step-by-step guide to pursuing or supporting jihad.[233] Writes: “The hatred of kuffar [those who reject Islam] is a central element of our military creed,” and asserts that all Muslims must participate in Jihad in person, by funding it, or by writing. Says all Muslims must remain physically fit, and train with firearms “to be ready for the battlefield”.[10][113] Considered a key text for al-Qaeda members

  454. 454
    MattR says:

    @les: Pretty sure that is protected speech according to Brandenburg v Ohio.

    Measured by this test, Ohio’s Criminal Syndicalism Act cannot be sustained. The Act punishes persons who “advocate or teach the duty, necessity, or propriety” of violence “as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform”; or who publish or circulate or display any book or paper containing such advocacy; or who “justify” the commission of violent acts “with intent to exemplify, spread or advocate the propriety of the doctrines of criminal syndicalism”; or who “voluntarily assemble” with a group formed “to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism.” Neither the indictment nor the trial judge’s instructions to the jury in any way refined the statute’s bald definition of the crime [p449] in terms of mere advocacy not distinguished from incitement to imminent lawless action.

    EDIT – BTW, two underscores between paragraphs will blockquote the whole thing.

    @les: In answer to your question below, it would show an effort to afford him due process.

  455. 455
    les says:

    @MattR:

    An indictment would have been a decent start. I don’t know that there actually exists a “proper” way to deal with someone like that. But at the least the govt should go on the record with at least some of the evidence against him.

    Serious curiosity; what does an indictment do for ya? Grand jury deliberations are not public info, nor is the evidence presented to them. Indictments aren’t required to be published, and in a case like this probably wouldn’t be. How does this deliberative process–and whether you like it or not, I don’t actually think the NSC advised the killing on a whim, nor that Obama ordered it frivolously–beat the one that was used?

  456. 456
    Trakker says:

    Wow. I’m a bit shocked at the number of commenters who see nothing wrong with this. Of all the comments the one that most closely defines my feelings is from singfoom (#99) ”

    “…All I will say is that this is wrong, regardless of the President involved, regardless of the crimes the individual has committed.

    This does not mean I approve of the actions of said individuals targeted, nor question the idea that they deserve some form of justice.

    Death should not be meted out on individuals by the government without a clear transparent process.

    The reason for this is the huge ability to abuse this power. For me, this is not a conservative/liberal or Democrat/Republican dichotomy, it’s just one of right and wrong.”

    This isn’t about Awlaki. It appears he was a legitimate threat (though we have any number of mentally unstable citizens in America who could be considered a threat and it doesn’t concern us enough to prevent them from acquiring their own personal arsenal) but it is about how the decision to kill him was made. I can’t help but wonder if someday in the future, the definition of “enemy of the state” could be expanded to include incendiary writers like Glenn Greenwald.

  457. 457
    les says:

    @MattR:
    Sorry, dude, not playing prosecutor for you; in 2 minutes, I find numerous exhortations to jihad, approval for crimes by others, Muslim reactions to his words and writings as “calling for attacks and war on the US”, etc. I sincerely doubt he was, technically or otherwise, innocent; and he wasn’t gonna show up to defend himself. this is blog comment ville; if your standard for relevance is “admissible in federal court,” feel free to ignore me. If your argument is that the NSC was swayed by inadmissible evidence, but that a grand jury would see through that shit, well…

  458. 458
    les says:

    @Trakker:
    This isn’t about Awlaki. It appears he was a legitimate threat (though we have any number of mentally unstable citizens in America who could be considered a threat and it doesn’t concern us enough to prevent them from acquiring their own personal arsenal) but it is about how the decision to kill him was made.

    Sorry, but you just lost your argument. It is absolutely about Awlaki; the entire point is that a legitimate threat was outside the reach of the judicial process. The notion that next they’ll be killing the homeless mentally ill in the streets is just not credible.

  459. 459
    MattR says:

    @les:

    Sorry, dude, not playing prosecutor for you; in 2 minutes, I find numerous exhortations to jihad, approval for crimes by others, Muslim reactions to his words and writings as “calling for attacks and war on the US”, etc.

    Don’t make a claim you aren’t willing to back up with facts.

    this is blog comment ville; if your standard for relevance is “admissible in federal court,” feel free to ignore me.

    Are you saying that whether or not he was guilty of actual crimes is irrelevant to whether we should have killed an American citizen since he was a “bad” guy?

  460. 460
    les says:

    @MattR:
    goddamit, am I the only one who can’t find teh f’n edit button any more?? Well, maybe showing a redacted report to a judge somehow legitimates things, or somehow turns it into due process; or a presentation that I can’t read to a grand jury whose deliberations are secret. The due process that matters, to me, is habeas and the opportunity to confront your accusers; and Awlaki wasn’t interested. Absent that, all we have is trust in the people–you like a judge or grand jury, I guess, but to me that’s not substantively different than a prez and his advisors. Do you trust them or not–in this particular case, I don’t have a strong preference.

  461. 461
    les says:

    @MattR:
    Dude; I’m saying if you want to have a discussion on a blog, you’re gonna get my best guesses and attempts at figuring shit out. If you want to discuss evidence admissible in court, or the realistic chance of convincing a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, talk to somebody else. I don’t care that much whether you like my opinion or not, or whether in your advanced estimation it’s unfounded or not.

  462. 462
    les says:

    @MattR:

    Are you saying that whether or not he was guilty of actual crimes is irrelevant to whether we should have killed an American citizen since he was a “bad” guy?

    I don’t generally comment on the same shit twice. But–are you a dick, or just an idiot?

  463. 463

    @MattR: He issued a death threat against a political cartoonist in Seattle in 2010.

    Among the communications between al Awlaki and the Fort Hood shooter were discussions about how to launder money.

    In February 2009, he publicly called for Muslims to donate money to the mujahedin to support the cause.

    In a March 2010 interview, he claimed that his emails with the Fort Hood shooter were being covered up by the CIA because they would show that Nadal acted as part of a group rather than alone.

    In a February 2010 interview with al Jazeera, he admitted to having taught the underwear bomber and Abdulmutallab claimed that al Awlaki was one of his trainers in terrorism.

    In a January 2010 editorial, he called for the killing of US officials assisting the Yemeni government.

    In a November 2010 video, he called for Americans to be killed “without hesitation.” He said that no fatwa was needed to sanction such killings.

  464. 464

    @MattR:

    Are you saying that whether or not he was guilty of actual crimes is irrelevant to whether we should have killed an American citizen since he was a “bad” guy?

    I, at least, am not saying this. However, keep in mind that conspiracy to commit a crime is itself a crime. Al Awlaki wouldn’t have had to order any of the attacks to be guilty. Simply providing aid to allow them to be carried out is illegal. I believe (though the lawyers around here might know better) that exhortations to specific acts, such as killing American officials in Yemen, is not protected speech, and can be considered a crime.

  465. 465
    Corner Stone says:

    People can say shit we really do not like. Doesn’t mean they deserve to die.
    Or are we somewhere else now?

  466. 466
    vernon says:

    @Corner Stone:

    People can say shit we really do not like. Doesn’t mean they deserve to die.
    Or are we somewhere else now?

    Amazing as it seems, people on this blog—liberals, ostensibly—are marshalling the accusations against al-Awlaki as justification for killing him without due process.

  467. 467
    vernon says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    keep in mind that conspiracy to commit a crime is itself a crime. Al Awlaki wouldn’t have had to order any of the attacks to be guilty. Simply providing aid to allow them to be carried out is illegal. I believe (though the lawyers around here might know better) that exhortations to specific acts, such as killing American officials in Yemen, is not protected speech, and can be considered a crime.

    But what does that have to do with trial-free assassination? Sure, this or that can be considered a crime; so what? The point is that we’ve now begun killing the accused without due process.

  468. 468
    Corner Stone says:

    @vernon:

    people on this blog—-liberals, ostensibly—-are marshalling the accusations against al-Awlaki as justification for killing him without due process.

    Actually what they are doing is justifying the killing by this WH and administration, which they favor.
    They really don’t care what Al-Awlaki has said, or been linked to in the most tangential of ways. They are desperate to focus on a reason or reasons why their guy is justified in taking this action.
    Because it is clear. If GWB had done this, this board would have lit up with righteous indignation, hatred, disgust and calls for serious corrective action.
    No one here can deny this. Not the “legal scholars” here, not the ex-military personnel. No one here except Reality Check and jwest. They are the only honest brokers here because they would have been applauding the action by GWB as much as they are by Obama’s admin.
    It should give pause.

  469. 469
    Rancher says:

    John, I must respectfully disagree with you on this.

    If you take up arms against the United States of America, the commander in chief of said nation may order the military to target and kill you. In doing so, the president may consult with whomever he/she pleases. No matter who is consulted, in whatever manner, the decision rests with the president.

    Al Alaki was not killed to punish him for sedition, treason or other crimes, so no indictment or due process was required. The fact that he was an American citizen is irrelevant. As has been mentioned, almost all the confederate soldiers were American citizens.

    This guy has been at war with us for years. IMHO, he was a legitimate target. Read his Wikipedia entry – this was not a difficult call.

    Now let me rant for a moment. Please stop with the fucking un-American, ‘surely illegal’ and ‘worse than Bush’ bullshit. That’s firebagger talk and you know better.

  470. 470

    @vernon:

    Amazing as it seems, people on this blog—-liberals, ostensibly—-are marshalling the accusations against al-Awlaki as justification for killing him without due process.

    No, we’re saying that they were evidence of a crime, or evidence that he was a part a military attacking the U.S. If we want to talk about Nazis (and who doesn’t?), the best comparison would be Julius Streicher. He wasn’t directly tied to the Holocaust and his scale of personal participation in the Nazi crimes was pretty small. Nevertheless, he was found guilty at Nuremberg due to his editorship of Der Sturmer and executed. That seems to me to be pretty much the role of al Alawki, at least the part that is confirmed. So, being the propagandist can be a capital crime, at least in some instances. YMMV on whether al Awlaki fits, but there is certainly precedent for finding that he is guilty.

    Then we point out that him being outside of US jurisdiction provides *legal* justification for killing him, whether you like those laws or not. A number of us have then gone on to say that actually killing him was not a good idea.

  471. 471
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s un-American, surely illegal, and a real mark on the Obama Presidency. Just fucking nuts. And evil.
    __
    This really is a situation in which Obama is worse than Bush.

    Jane Hamsher told me to tell you the royalty check is in the mail.
    She whispered it into my ear while I was tickling the back of her knee.

  472. 472
    vernon says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    No, we’re saying that they were evidence of a crime, or evidence that he was a part a military attacking the U.S.

    You could muster up the accusations against anyone on death row and label them “evidence” with just as much credibility. Then the cops could shoot them. You’d save our government a fortune in legal fees!

    Nevertheless, he was found guilty at Nuremberg due to his editorship of Der Sturmer and executed. That seems to me to be pretty much the role of al Alawki, at least the part that is confirmed.

    It does? So where and when was al-Awlaki’s Nuremberg?

  473. 473

    @vernon:

    But what does that have to do with trial-free assassination?

    By itself, nothing. The point is that al Awlaki pretty clearly established himself as a member of an enemy organization.

    What legally justifies the assassination is that al Awlaki was both a declared member of al Qaeda *and* that he was outside US jurisdiction. If he is within our jurisdiction, he is entitled to due process. If he is not, then he is not entitled to it *because* he has deliberately moved himself out of that jurisdiction. That’s his call, but it removes his legal protections.

  474. 474

    @vernon:

    It does? So where and when was al-Awlaki’s Nuremberg?

    Had he surrendered to our jurisdiction, he would have been entitled to one. It would have been perfectly fine for us to kill Julius Streicher without a trial, too, at any time prior to our occupation of the territory he was in. What stopped us was the lack of capability (plus the fact that, had we had the capability, there were better targets than Streicher) not any lack of justification. By hiding in the tribal area of Yemen, al Awlaki changed the rules.

  475. 475
    vernon says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    If he is within our jurisdiction, he is entitled to due process. If he is not, then he is not entitled to it because he has deliberately moved himself out of that jurisdiction.

    By what tortured reasoning do Americans forfeit their constitutional rights merely by being in a country we don’t have an extradition agreement with?

  476. 476
    vernon says:

    @J. Michael Neal: I somehow missed the part of Julius Streicher’s bio that says he was an American citizen.

  477. 477
    vernon says:

    @J. Michael Neal: I somehow missed the part of Julius Streicher’s bio where it says he was an American citizen.

  478. 478
    vernon says:

    @J. Michael Neal: I somehow missed the part of Julius Streicher’s bio where he was an American citizen.

  479. 479
    marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    RACIST!

    RACIST!

    RACIST!

    RACIST!

    RACIST!

    You have dared to criticize Barack Obama.

    John Cole is a racist!

  480. 480
    William Hurley says:

    @patroclus:

    Interesting, in your estimation I’m correct and incorrect.

    And I should be pushing for the establishment of law instead of …?

    Interesting.

    One important element of using legislation as a remedy to the practices and effects of past bad acts is to have a coherent understanding of those past acts, their intended and unintended outcomes and the policy circumstances under which they were enacted or employed. Also known, in some circles, as establishing accountability – a concept and practice that terrifies the Obama Administration.

    Lastly. I appreciate your acknowledgment of my proper and accurate references to EOs. Will you be correcting your errant references to the 5th and 14th Amendments, since, by your own commentary they’re irrelevant to the matter-at-hand?

  481. 481
    mclaren says:

    @13th Generation:

    Can’t wait for the Obot defense on this.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand…here we go!

    Sublime33: My take is that they have admitted to a process that has been going on for at least 60 years.

    TRANSLATION: “Other people did it, so it’s okay.”

    The Dangerman: I don’t see much difference between dispatching Bin Laden, dispatching Awlaki, or a SWAT team dispatching that Dude that shot up Sunnyvale yesterday…

    Here’s the difference: Al-Awlaki was never accused of committing a crime. Nobody can identify which law he broke, and there is no reason to believe he has broken any laws. Lastly, a SWAT team doesn’t get its orders from the police chief like this:

    CHIEF OF POLICE: “Okay, guys, here’s the SWAT team assignment today. There’s a guy on 432 West Birch avenue and you’re going to kick in his door and shoot him in the head. His name is John Q. Public. Get to it.”

    SWAT TEAM LEADER: “Excuse me, Chief, what crime is accused of?”

    CHIEF OF POLICE: “No crime. I just want him dead.”

    SWAT TEAM LEADER: “But…that’s illegal, Chief.”

    CHIEF OF POLICE: “You bet. Get to it.”

    Nobody does that in the United States. NOBODY.

    Alex S: Not worse than Bush, think of Cheney’s secret assassination squad…

    TRANSLATION: “Other presidents grossly violated the constitution, so it’s okay.”

    amk: All this panties-in-a-bunch over a single terrist, whose love for american lives is so well known ?

    TRANSLATION: “If Pol Pot doesn’t like you, he has the right to order you murdered without even accusing you of a crime. Long live the Khmer Rouge, and death to all thought criminals!”

    SHADE TAIL: So officials in the executive branch put a known or at least suspected terrorist, who is currently residing outside the country, on a classified “detain or kill” list, and I’m to believe that this is some kind of unprecedented abuse merely because he held US citizenship?

    TRANSLATION: “Being accused of terrorism erases the constitution.”

    Here’s a news flash for ya, Shade Tail…by advocating wiping out the basic rule of America that keeps America from descending into barbarism, you now qualify as a terrorist. Go to it, boys — shoot Shade Tail in the head.
    No trial. No charges. Just kill him.

    Marc: We give people accused of crimes in this country legal protections for good reasons. We kill people in wars without legal protections. The entire argument is about when we should apply the rules in the former case, and when we are in the latter domain.

    TRANSLATION: “Even though we haven’t declared war against anyone, we can order any American citizen murdered without a trial or charges merely by reciting the empty mantra `WAR ON TERROR! WAR ON TERROR!'”

    How about this, Marc? I think your statement sounds un-American. “War on terror!” That now gives me the right to blow your brains out with a sawed-off. After all, Marc, this is war!

    Soonergrunt: We didn’t use a court to determine if we should attack Japan after Pear [sic] Harbor.

    Show us all the battleships Anwar Al-Awlaki has sunk, soonergrunt.

    J. W. Hamner: On [sic] day you and Glen [sic] Greenwald will learn what the 2001 AUMF is.

    FastEddie9318: But the AUMF gives the government the power to do whatever, whenever, wherever, however, against whoever, so that’s that I suppose.

    Cleek: …What the AUMF says is pretty clear, and al-Alawakaiaki (or whatever) was on the wrong side of it.

    TRANSLATION: “A resolution passed by congress can erase the constitution.”

    Good thinking. How about this? Congress can next pass a resolution allowing the president of the United States to rape underage girls on the White House steps. Don’t worry! It’s a resolution passed by congress, so it’s legal!

    Next step: a resolution making the president into a god, and a horse a senator. Well, hello there, Caligula, how ya doin’?

    Holden Pattern: I would think that taking action against al Qaeda is consistent with the AUMF even if the specific members targeted by any given operation were not working with AQ before 9/11, because AQ is the organization that planned the attacks.

    Great thinking there, buckaroo. I think you’re associated with Al Qaeda. Proof? I don’t need any proof! Crime? What crime? Get real. All we need is a suspicion, so somebody break down the door to Holden Pattern’s house and shoot him in the head.

    Ella in New Mexico: Preferably a panel of judges…

    If we dress up our illegal unconstitutional barbarism by having judges make fancy proncouncements, it’s okay!

    I like that. By that reasoning, the Nazi mass murder of Jews took place under the supervision of judges who ordered German citizens deported and exterminated, so that was legal too. Oh, and by the way — Stalin’s show trials also featured judges. So Stalin’s show trials also uphold the finest standards of American justice and the rule of law.

    Taylormattd: And where, exactly, does he get the no “law” or “rules” thing?

    AMENDMENT FIVE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: I’m sorry, but isn’t treason punishable by death? The guy is calling for attacks on the U.S. and is connected to the guy that killed all the folks at Ft Hood.

    Shannah, he bought his ticket, he knew what he was getting into.

    Treason can only occur in time of war, and requires two witnesses and conviction in a court of law.

    Article Three of the constitution of the United States of America:

    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.

    Where are the two witnesses against Al-Awlaki? When did Al-Awlaki’s trial for treason take place? Which jury convicted Al-Awlaki of treason?

    John S.: That’s quite the leap of logic to go from “known terrorists are being assassinated by secret committee” to “OMG the government is assassinating anyone they want by secret committee”.

    TRANSLATION: “If someone accuses you of being a `known terrorist,’ it’s okay for a secret committee to order your assination.”

    Hey, John S., by knowingly subverting the fundamental foundation of the rule of law in America, you are advocating violence in order to attain your desired political ends. That’s terrorism, buddy, and that makes you a known terrorist. Guess what? A secret committee just ordered your assassination. As your mentor and idol Tom Friedman would say, “Suck…on…this.”

    Pope Ratzo: All he had to do was ask for volunteers. There are lots of people who would have been happy to step up and put al-Awlaki in the ground. Enemies is enemies. I don’t care if he was born on the 4th of July and his great great great grandparents came over on the Mayflower.

    TRANSLATION: “Kill the anti-Soviet hooligans! Kill the kulaks! Kill the counterrevolutionaries! Our majestic leader, the great Hero of the Soviet State Josef Stalin, has ordered it! KILL! KILL! KILL!”

  482. 482
    marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    In February 2009, he publicly called for Muslims to donate money to the mujahedin to support the cause.

    Michelle Bachmann has called for her supporters to be “armed and dangerous.” Should Michelle Bachmann be assassinated by order of a secret committee?

    In a March 2010 interview, he claimed that his emails with the Fort Hood shooter were being covered up by the CIA because they would show that Nadal acted as part of a group rather than alone.

    What crime is “sending someone an email”? Please name the criminal statue violated by sending someone an email.

    In a February 2010 interview with al Jazeera, he admitted to having taught the underwear bomber and Abdulmutallab claimed that al Awlaki was one of his trainers in terrorism.

    Ann Coulter advocated poisoning a justice of the Supreme Court of the united states in an interview. Should Ann Coulter be assassinated by order of a secret committee?

    In a January 2010 editorial, he called for the killing of US officials assisting the Yemeni government.

    Rick Perry publicly advocated that Texas secede from the United States. Should Rick Perry be assassinated by order of a secret committee?

    In a November 2010 video, he called for Americans to be killed “without hesitation.” He said that no fatwa was needed to sanction such killings.

    In a 2002 address to the Conservative Political Action Committee, Ann Coulter said:

    We need to…physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.

    Should Ann Coulter be assassinated by order of a secret committee?

    In his speech on Saturday [in 2010] at CPAC in Washington, DC, Beck brought his chalkboard. He wrote the word “Progressivism” on it and said, `This is the disease.’

    “Progressivism is the cancer in America and it’s eating our Constitution, and it was designed to eat the Constitution – to progress past the Constitution,” Beck said. (..)

    “We need to address it as if it is a cancer. It must be cut out of the system because they can not coexist. … You must eradicate it,” Beck told the cheering crowd of conservatives.

    Should Glen Beck be assassinated by order of a secret committee?

    You seem to be unclear about freedom of speech. Talking smack about people is not a crime. Unless you commit an actual crime, the constitution says you can’t be killed by the government if you are an American citizen and you’re not on a battlefield engaging in actual warfare during a declared war.

  483. 483
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mjaum: If you were any duller, you’d be a fucking ball. Tell you what–go to any court in the country, or crack a book or two and try to find out what they actually say, not what you desperately want them to say.
    Then get back to me.

  484. 484
    marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    @soonergrunt:

    You seem uncomfortable with the rule of law, and you clearly don’t like the constitution of the United States of America.

    You need to emigrate to North Korea, where they don’t have those pesky little obstacles.

    Our constitution: love it or leave it, bubba.

  485. 485
    El Cid says:

    Reuters hates freedom and loves the terrorists.

  486. 486
    El Cid says:

    Also, just out of curiosity, are there any actions which may not be authorized under the AUMF?

  487. 487
    Corner Stone says:

    @soonergrunt: I’m always curious about individuals who have sworn to uphold the Constitution. And yet somehow misread it so badly.

  488. 488
    Corner Stone says:

    @El Cid: The crushing of a son’s testicles?

  489. 489
    wilfred says:

    Back in May, Obama threatened to veto the 2012 Give the Pentagon Everything it Fucking Wants Bill (also known as NDAA) if it did not include some restrictions to the AUMF, mainly in regard to detentions.

    That came from pressure from the Left, not from the Lieberman liberals that abound here.

    This blog has been all over this:

    http://www.lawfareblog.com/category/aumf/

  490. 490
    Corner Stone says:

    @wilfred:

    not from the Lieberman liberals that abound here.

    Yeeeouch.

  491. 491
    El Cid says:

    @Corner Stone: Could be appropriate.

  492. 492
    Corner Stone says:

    Ok, so read through Josh Marshall’s twit feed on this issue.
    Dude is dead to me. If anything could have solidified his status as useless, this issue was it.

  493. 493
    NR says:

    Predictable crap from the apologists here. A secret committee handing out death sentences to American citizens without due process of law is just fine because fuck you, that’s why.

    Greenwald nailed you guys in his article. The complete and utter moral bankruptcy it takes to support something like this is really stunning.

  494. 494
    Mjaum says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Sorry, Sooner. I was basing my reading on the assumption that the US had laws, and was a civilized, post-colonial nation-state. The land of the brave and the free.

    I ought to know better by now.

  495. 495
    wrb says:

    @Mjaum:

    I was basing my reading on the assumption that the US had laws,

    Of course the US has laws. They weren’t handed down on a tablet however.

    Ever take a gander at those who write them?

  496. 496
    sparky says:

    what i find interesting–and alarming–is that apologists for an administration will defend anything–and i do mean anything–without fail. the attempted defenses here make one wonder if anyone is living in “the reality-based community”.

    ps: to the defenders–personally, all that defending this thing does is destroy (for me) your credibility as an observer. if you defend the indefensible, why should anyone bother with your arguments on other topics?

  497. 497
    Corner Stone says:

    I love this thread. It’s so clear now who is who.

Comments are closed.