Hang Your Head in Shame and Cry Your Life Away

We haven’t had a drone thread lately, so here’s Michael Isikoff’s story about the DoJ white paper laying out the rationale for killing American citizens who are al-Qaida leaders, as well as the white paper itself [pdf]:

“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.
Instead, it says, an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”

The memo was released a prior to tomorrow’s confirmation hearing for John Brennan, and he’s going to face “tough questions”. I’m sure he’s going to be wearing incontinence pads and popping Ativan to deal with the fear of dealing with a bunch of grandstanding prima donna do nothing windbags who haven’t yet lifted a legislative finger on the drone war, and won’t do it in the future. DiFi, Rocky IV and the rest are going to vote to confirm after a little fussing, and that will be that.

I realize that we’re all supposed to be shocked and outraged that the Obama administration is running an undeclared drone war, and feel free to express that in the comments, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Congress has essentially ceded the war power to the Executive Branch, so we’re going to be governed by shady memos instead of law when it comes to the use of our shiny killing machines.

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270 replies
  1. 1
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Can Repubs question President Obama’s use of drones when it was President Bush who initiated their use?

    I don’t agree with the drone war, but I assume that it serves the purpose of not placing American soldiers in harm’s way while getting rid of terrorists. Or at least that is the intention.

  2. 2
    Handy says:

    Stop the drones! We should declare war and invade Yemen, Pakistan, and any other place where good intelligence finds good targets!

    We should be spending billions if not trillions to get these guys. We should be losing thousands more of our troops to get these guys.

    The only way to do it honorably is to do real war just like we have for hundreds of years.

  3. 3
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    …but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Congress has essentially ceded the war power to the Executive Branch, so we’re going to be governed by shady memos instead of law when it comes to the use of our shiny killing machines.

    That pretty much sums it up for me. Congress knew that it had to Do Something so it did what Congress does these days; passed legislation with a maximum amount of noise and a minimum amount of detail or Congressional responsibility for the outcomes.

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    Undeclared drone war? AUMF. It didn’t magically go away when Bush left office.

    The military kills people. They’ve been told to go kill al-Qaida, and they’re going to keep doing that until somebody tells them to stop.

  5. 5

    You can see where this is going:

    “An “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American is kind of funny looking, or acting weird, or is in the wrong place at the wrong time, or has a similar name to another targeted American. The use of deadly force will be secret, not open to oversight or second-guessing, and will be none of your damn business, unless you want to be next.”

  6. 6
    Cassidy says:

    I didn’t see in that where it said that all American citizens are going to get killed by the Islamic Shock Mandingo for having the liberal purity to criticize him. Did I miss something?

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    @Handy: Bayonet charges are the only honorable alternative to drones.

  8. 8
    Hawes says:

    The only thing I would change about the drone program is to institute a defense team to poke holes in the culpability of the targets. The potential for group-think is too great to leave these decisions to people whose job it is to kill bad guys. If that’s your job, then everyone can look like a bad guy.

    Drones themselves – as a weapon of war – I have no problem with. And as of yet, I don’t see any evidence that they are running hither and yon looking for American citizens overseas to kill.

    But I’d like there to be a dedicated team involved with the drone killings to say, “Yes, fine, but…”

  9. 9
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: If Congress really wanted the President to follow the law on this, they would pass a law tell him what it is. Instead, as I said last night, they want a document from Obama so that:
    1) Democrats can feel good about the president holding himself to a standard
    2) Republicans can hopefully find something in the document that Obama would do that Bush did not do.

  10. 10
    liberal says:

    @Handy:
    Actually, what we should be doing is getting the hell out of Afghanistan completely, since our efforts there are just a total waste at this point.

  11. 11
    Sly says:

    I realize that we’re all supposed to be shocked and outraged that the Obama administration is running an undeclared drone war, and feel free to express that in the comments, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Congress has essentially ceded the war power to the Executive Branch, so we’re going to be governed by shady memos instead of law when it comes to the use of our shiny killing machines.

    Let’s also not operate under the assumption that Congress would make these practices any less shady if it retained any of the war powers that have been ceded to the Executive.

    The most progressive Senate in recent memory voted unanimously to keep GITMO open. The only “tough questions” Brennan will get on the drone program from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is why the memo was released at all. The others will focus entirely on The Worst Thing That Has Ever Happened Ever And It’s Totally Obama’s Fault, also known as “Benghazi.”

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    Speaking of war torn hell holes, the Mali-Nigeria game is about to start.

  13. 13
    Soonergrunt says:

    I realize that we’re all supposed to be shocked and outraged that the Obama administration is running an undeclared drone war, and feel free to express that in the comments, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Congress has essentially ceded the war power to the Executive Branch, so we’re going to be governed by shady memos instead of law when it comes to the use of our shiny killing machines.

    This is a bad thing.
    Not the killing of bad guys. Not even the killing of US Citizens who threw their lot in with the bad guys and are being treated like every other enemy on the battlefield. But the concept that decisions like this aren’t subject to Congressional review. That’s bad. It should change.
    Cue that dumbshit mclaren with a nine paragraph spew of jumbled unreadable crap that may or may not say what mistermix said in two concise paragraphs. Oh, yeah, and I’m vicious murdering raping sociopath. But we all knew that. Now that I’ve saved you all a lot of time, I’ve got work to do so I’ll catch you guys later.

    Mistermix–FWIW, you are absolutely spot on with this post.

  14. 14
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    True, that. If today’s drones had been available to Bush they’d be hitting targets on Catalina Island.

  15. 15
    Rex Everything says:

    Wow, even the liberal Kevin Drum has the balls to face up to how he really feels on this subject, ugly as it is.

    But then, he doesn’t have to appease the Burnspbesqs and Genrals Stucks of the world, a truly herculean task fit only for the mighty shoulders of the Balloon Juice DFH Squad.

  16. 16

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Cheney would use them to shoot old men in the face…

  17. 17
    eric says:

    For most Americans, the issue is collateral damage, not the use of drones to kill terrorist targets. Perhaps there are grayer areas when it comes to the intelligence relied on for the determination that someone is a terrorist involved in plans for imminent harm. But I cant think of anyone I have ever talked to that thought American citizenship got you some sort of due process get of blown up free card.

    In many ways we are Omar — morally dark, yet not evil. Come at the King and you best not miss. Sometimes you get civilians, but it is part of the game.

  18. 18
    Lee Hartmann says:

    Saying that Congress has totally abdicated its responsibilities (true) does not absolve the Administration of any and all behavior. What is most troubling to me is the expanded definition of “imminent” to the point of absurdity, and the lack of due process (see Colbert for an “alternative view”).

  19. 19
    General Stuck says:

    Annnnnnnd, we’re off. Or, how to stop worrying and learn to love the drone. Not a bad post, with exception to the ‘undeclared drone war’ misnomer.

  20. 20
    piratedan says:

    @Soonergrunt: with you on this Sooner, I understand that there are plenty of shades of grey on this but while we are killing Americans, we are killing Americans that have chosen to align themselves with Terrorist organizations that have declared themselves enemy of the country. Do I wish there was a Congressional Death Panel in place to perform oversight, yes… yes I do, I want people to think about what it means to take a life, even remotely versus the possibility of putting lives in danger in order to effect a capture. This doesn’t even address the thorny issue of violating another nation’s sovereignty but then again, if they know that they are harboring a terrorist and they don’t want to be part of the “solution” ….

    that gets back wishing that there were more people offering input, a system of checks and balances and the idea that the President can do this (or delegate it to be done) is scary and still yet another example of the wankery of the Republican Party of not doing their job.

  21. 21
    Cassidy says:

    eric Says: For most Americans, the issue is collateral damage, not the use of drones to kill terrorist targets who won the latest game/ reality singing competition/ cooking competition.

    This is the problem.

  22. 22
    patroclus says:

    I had thought that the AUMF authorized military action against AQ and its affiliates and that, consequently, the war is not “undeclared” except in the narrow sense that the AUMF was not a “declaration of war” but merely an authorization for the use of force (which has been the case for all post-WWII military actions). Moreover, I had also thought that the use of drones was to avoid the use of major U.S. ground forces, which is both costly in money but also deaths and life-ruining injuries. Also, I thought that the memo was not targeted at the killing of U.S. citizens, but towards AQ targets generally.

    That said, I’m definitely for oversight by Congress and hope that tough questions are asked of Brennan and that he will get pinned down on the precise details of how drones can be used, which I hope is rarely done and with rigorous factual determinations, including multiple levels of sign-off. I think criticism of the use of drones should be widespread, but I’m not sure the most effective method is to channel one’s inner Greenwald.

  23. 23
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    From the AUMF:

    Section 2 – Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces
    (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    That seems open ended, particularly in the use of the word “persons” rather than “foreign citizens”. The quibbles about what might be an appropriate use of force are pointless in the face of the fact that this AUMF authorizes the president to do whatever he or she wants to whenever he or she wants to do it.

    Congress could, if it wished to, pass a new AUMF with more detail and provisions for Congressional review of Executive Branch actions. I’m not holding my breath.

  24. 24
    TG Chicago says:

    I realize that we’re all supposed to be shocked and outraged that the Obama administration is running an undeclared drone war…

    Personally, I’m shocked and outraged that Obama has declared for himself the power to assassinate American citizens without any checks and balances or due process.

    He doesn’t even charge the targets with anything. The list of targets is secret. How does this make sense? How is this power not absolutely ripe for abuse, if not by Obama, by future presidents?

  25. 25
    Alex S. says:

    Finally, the Obama administration can legally kill Sen. John McCain and prevent him from asking tough questions on Benghazi on the grounds that questioning Obama is treason.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: The AUMF is a stunningly broad and vague law. It authorizes the President to just about anything anywhere anytime to anyone connected with al-Qaida. Congress gave the President the power. Honestly, I think they should take it back. They won’t though.

  27. 27
    TG Chicago says:

    @eric: You don’t think that being an American citizen entitles you to due process rights from the American government?

    Also:

    In many ways we are Omar — morally dark, yet not evil. Come at the King and you best not miss. Sometimes you get civilians, but it is part of the game.

    That’s one of the most disturbing things I’ve read about this. You’re trying to make us sound cool because we kill innocent civilians.

  28. 28
    Emma says:

    @Hawes: Yes. Within the set-up there should be a devil’s advocate who actually has authority.

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    @Rex Everything:

    I said yesterday, that the Obama admin has mostly brought the misplaced criticism for its drone use on itself. By trying to be all things to all people. At once arguing that the AUMF makes it legal, (which it does), though not necessarily justified as a moral or practical method to prosecute a declared war. As well as making a tortured argument to mollify those critics on the left wrongly conflating civilian jurisprudence with the differing laws of declared war.

    That actually is the kind of thing that Bush was famous for, in all sorts of ways with the so called war on terror. IE illegal combatants versus the legal kind, versus prisoners of war and jumping back and forth between calling it a war and a crime concerning AQ

    Congress could vote tomorrow to curb the actions of chief executive it ordered to make war by passing the AUMF. It could pull the purse strings on the drone action in the blink of a single vote. But they won’t and will just carp and make pol points from the sidelines.

    This is all I have to say on the matter.

  30. 30
    Elizabelle says:

    @Hawes:

    I like your idea about having an internal “wait up, you need to seriously convince me” mechanism. Needing to get a warrant from a skeptical (but competent) judge. You are right about the perils of groupthink.

    Congressional oversight, since Congress (the House) is so whacked, sounds like an exercise in posturing and blame-shifting.

  31. 31
    gene108 says:

    The political downside to another terrorist attack on U.S. soil is orders of magnitude greater than the downside to corrupting U.S. law to allow drone strikes, torture, warrantless wiretapping, etc.

    As long as this is the political reality, I don’t expect the civil liberties arguments to win out.

  32. 32
    Emma says:

    @TG Chicago: To me this is the answer: if you have gone overseas and appeared in a terrorist organization’s commercial about how you’re going to kill Americans yourself, you’ve kind of divested yourself of your rights as an American. But I am queasy enough to want some oversight on the process. I think this is how most Americans aren’t queasy about it at all.

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    @TG Chicago:

    He doesn’t even charge the targets with anything

    The military never charges bombing targets with anything. They drop bombs on people. Citizenship is immaterial.

    Bombings are military operations.

  34. 34
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    And the AUMF is bookended by the UN, actually passed before the AUMF without the US gov requesting a sec council vote. They gave what amounts to carte blanche to fight AQ wherever they were and as an order to all member nations, not a suggestion.

  35. 35
    patroclus says:

    @TG Chicago: The 14th amendment grants due process rights to “persons within the U.S.;” not to U.S. citizens, which is a large distinction in law. Priveleges and immunities of U.S. citizens have been construed more narrowly.

    The solution to the broad and vague powers granted by the AUMF is for Congress to narrow/withdraw the authorization with legislation. Now that OBL is gone, I would support that, but I certainly don’t expect it until the Afghan war is wound down.

  36. 36
    Roger Moore says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Can Repubs question President Obama’s use of drones when it was President Bush who initiated their use?

    Of course they can. The criticized Obama for TARP when that was passed under Bush. They have no problem ignoring anything and everything done by the George Unperson Bush administration.

  37. 37
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I agree with you that the AUMF is overly broad and vague, and that is a significant part of the problem. However, as posted upthread, it says the president can target

    “…persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons…”

    Anwar al-Awlaki was personally targeted even though he had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Yes, he later joined a group that has a similar name to the group that committed the attack, but to my eyes, that’s not what the law says.

  38. 38
    Cassidy says:

    I think the usual suspects will continue to cry about all of the US citizens who have been assasinated by Kenyan Mandingo, but can only name one high level AQ leader. I think the usual arguments will be made about DROOOONNNNEEEZ! and whatnot. At some point, the usual suspect(s) will snap and talk about murdered children. At some point no one will recognize that it’s either a drone or an SOF team laserguiding a JDAM with the same end result. Then we’ll go eat lunch. Special Timmeh will show up at the end with multiple posts trying to be witty and only accomplishing being an insufferable ass, but fortunately we’ll miss it as we move on to talking about sports or some Republican trying to put something else in a women’s vagina.

  39. 39
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Congress has essentially ceded the war power to the Executive Branch

    For those of you with no sense of history, this happened in 1951, Korea “police action”. I do not think Congress has passed a formal declaration of war since WWII.

  40. 40
    Emma says:

    @TG Chicago: Anwar al-Awlaki was personally targeted even though he had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Yes, he later joined a group that has a similar name to the group that committed the attack.

    You sound like the people who argue Herodotus didn’t write the Histories, it was written by another Greek of the same name. He joined an organization that had unequivocally stated that they were in the business of attacking America. What else do you think people are going to see?

  41. 41
    handsmile says:

    @MikeJ:

    [Off-topic here I guess, but wanted to reply]:

    With the un-holy wars currently ripping apart both countries, it’s bitterly ironic to consider how the concepts of a “national” team or “playing for national pride” would enter into this contest.

    I was surprised to learn that Mali’s FIFA ranking is so much higher than Nigeria (25/52); its squad members do not have the successful professional club affiliations enjoyed by many on the Nigerian side. I noticed you mentioned this match on a thread last night: it’s very cool if you’ve been following the Africa Cup.

    You might find of interest this recent article on the wars in Mali and west Africa by Nigerian writer and Nobel Literature prize-winner, Wole Soyinka:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm.....man-psyche

  42. 42
    MikeJ says:

    @TG Chicago:

    it says the president can target “…persons he determines planned,

    Cute the way you elided the part of the text you didn’t like. Before your clip comes:

    “That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons…”

  43. 43
    Emma says:

    @Cassidy: Christ have mercy. You really don’t have any interest in any other issue than this one, do you? Talk about dismissing over 50% of the population. Way to get support for your views, prince.

  44. 44
    SatanicPanic says:

    Finally, our long national (i.e. Balloon Juice) nightmare of having FPers not commenting on DRONEZ is over.

  45. 45
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @Cassidy: Yeah. Getting pretty predictable here.

  46. 46
    Cassidy says:

    @Emma: I think this is a very interesting topic with a great deal of sub topics that run the gamut of military tactics to civil liberties. What I’m not interested in is the usual shade tree lawyering, half assed views of civil liberties and the military/ intelligence operations, and the usual devolvement of chicken little jack assery about how the POTUS can now kill all American citizens and the pure liberals need to run and hide because they’re next for being critical. There is a ginormous lack of context and reality on this topic.

  47. 47
    Zaqwe says:

    We’ll see if the poster’s shrugging off of presidential death orders remains as meh-tacular if the next Republican president uses them on a non-Muslim. Somehow, I suspect not.

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: The AUMF states that the President can target

    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-Awlaki was, to my recollection, a member of one of the organizations referenced.

    The AUMF was, and continues to be, a shitty law. This, to my way of thinking, is where the focus should be.

  49. 49
    Cassidy says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Exactly my point, @Emma:, but much more concise without the , arguably unecessary, sarcasm.

    @SatanicPanic: YES! GO TEAM TROLL!

  50. 50
    TG Chicago says:

    @patroclus: The phrase you quote does not appear in the text of the 14th Amendment. This phrase, however, does:

    nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

    At any rate, I believe this is covered by the Fifth Amendment.

  51. 51
    Emma says:

    @Cassidy: Well, let me spell it out. If I have to prioritize my political aims between preventing the government from turning my nieces, cousins, and other women into incubators and preventing the government from killing Americans who have gone overseas and announced themselves to be enemy combatants, you better believe that I’m not going to be concerned about drones first.

  52. 52
    TG Chicago says:

    @Emma:

    He joined an organization that had unequivocally stated that they were in the business of attacking America.

    If it didn’t attack America on 9/11, it’s not covered by the AUMF.

  53. 53
    RP says:

    You don’t think that being an American citizen entitles you to due process rights from the American government?

    Not if you’re in another country and are an enemy combatant. There’s nothing magical about being an American citizen.

    People who oppose the use of drones are making a mistake by focusing on the legality, the drones themselves, and the citizenship issue. It’s obvious that this is legal under the AUMF, the drones are just another kind of weapon, and citizenship isn’t relevant if you’re working with a terrorist organization while living in Yemen.

    If you oppose the policy, you should focus on (a) the AUMF and Congress’s role; (b) the morality of targeted killing; and (c) the process for determining the targets.

  54. 54
    Emma says:

    @TG Chicago: So you’re saying that this Al-Qaeda has nothing to do with that one?

  55. 55
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Al-Awlaki was, to my recollection, a member of one of the organizations referenced.

    AQAP didn’t even exist on 9/11/01. It was not involved in the 9/11 attacks.

  56. 56
    Michael says:

    As other posters have rightly noted, claiming the war is undeclared is simply sticking your head in the sand and wishing away inconvenient facts.

    I’d love to see the AUMF repealed, but it hasn’t been, and courts are happy to say its still in force (see, e.g., the D.C. Cir.’s Oct Hamdan decision).

    And that’s because the document, on its face, as no natural expiration.

  57. 57
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cassidy: So should I play the part of the guy hiding in his bunker waiting for the inevitable drone strike (if the chem-trails don’t get me first!)? Should I be a OBOT SHEEPLE and pretend nothing is happening? Should I armchair ACLU lawyer it?

    We’re just LARPing the issue at this point, but I’ll help put on a good show if that’s what the Juicetariat decides to do.

  58. 58
    TG Chicago says:

    @MikeJ: al-Awlaki was targeted personally, so it makes the most sense to use the “person” part.

    But regardless, the organization he joined – Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – did not even exist when the 9/11 attacks were carried out.

  59. 59
    Cassidy says:

    @Emma: Gotcha. I think you may have misunderstood me and I didn’t get your response due to context. I am much more concerned with things being shoved into unwilling vaginas by Republicans than I am about launching Hellfires at some misguided asshat joining a terrorist organization.

    Honestly, I’d be happy if we declared the GOP to be terrorists, drafted a letter stating it’s legal, then droning the fuck out of the American Taliban.

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Emma: I think you are misreading Cassidy. I do not believe that he is a one issue droner. Try reading his comment again with your sarcasm filter on.

  61. 61
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Just stop it. You have been shown the text of the AUMF on this thread, clearly stating the inclusion of “organizations” that attacked us on 911. That would include AQ and its affiliates. It is stupid to consider the AUMF like some kind of criminal indictment for just those who planned and participate only the 911 attack. This is the compulsive falsehood dead horse that GG and his acolytes are fundamentally wrong about, and are wasting our time flogging the legality of drone use, rather than the policy in moral or practical terms.

  62. 62
    TG Chicago says:

    @MikeJ:

    The military never charges bombing targets with anything. They drop bombs on people. Citizenship is immaterial.

    Bombings are military operations.

    The assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki was not a military operation. It was carried out by the CIA.

  63. 63
    patroclus says:

    @TG Chicago: Nonetheless, that is how the relevant clause has been construed in the relevant cases – the standard is “persons” within the jurisdiction of the U.S., not U.S. citizenship. And it’s a combination of the 14th/5th as to both the feds and the states (where criminal charges are more usually brought).

    If you think this is wrong, please specifically point to the clause that supports “citizenship” as the standard and please cite the cases that back this up.

  64. 64
    Emma says:

    @Cassidy: @Omnes Omnibus: My apologies to Cassidy. Mea culpa. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I’ve spent a little too much time offline with people who seem to think that controlling women is ‘for their own good and the good of the unborn’. I’ve seriously lost it.

    Memo to self: breathe dammit. Breathe.

  65. 65
    Cassidy says:

    @TG Chicago: @SatanicPanic:

    We’re just LARPing the issue at this point

    I think this may be the most relevant thing I’ve read on this topic.

    I’d say change it up. I’m trying to do sarcastic hipster, but I think I’m doing it wrong.

  66. 66
    Cassidy says:

    @Emma: No apologies needed. I’m on your side. :D

    I’ve got three daughters and I hit really hard. If anyone even thinks about unwanted vaginal hijinks, they should pray to their god I don’t find them first.

  67. 67
    Ben Franklin says:

    Here’s the problema….AUMF and Patriot Act.

    With those massive umbrellas against accountability, there are no contraints. Redacted docs, or excluded from FOIA for a multiple-choice of non-discosure excuses, makes the Casino a winner every time.

    We get the government we deserve. As George Carlin said; ‘The people we elect are the best we have’.

    Publicly-funded Elections—————

    Take all the incentive from politics, except the desire for public service. As long as we continue to elect those who worship Mammon, we will keep getting the same results; (definition of insanity)

  68. 68
    RP says:

    The assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki was not a military operation. It was carried out by the CIA.

    A distinction without a difference.

    Nonetheless, that is how the relevant clause has been construed in the relevant cases – the standard is “persons” within the jurisdiction of the U.S., not U.S. citizenship. And it’s a combination of the 14th/5th as to both the feds and the states (where criminal charges are more usually brought).

    The idea that the fifth amendment could apply to someone living in a foreign country is bizarre to me. The US Constitution and US laws have no force in other countries. How could it be otherwise? The UK can’t arrest someone in Chicago for breaking UK law. Different country, different laws.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: I can parse out legalisms all day if that’s the road we want to take. I am not sure it leads to a productive discussion though. I think many of us have trouble with the legalities of fighting an international outlaw organization or group of organization because we view it through one of two lenses, war or law enforcement. Neither of these is a perfect fit. To me, it seems that the closest parallel to international terrorism is piracy. It might behoove law and policy makers to look to that for legal answers.

  70. 70
    Cassidy says:

    @TG Chicago:

    was not a military operation. It was carried out by the CIA.

    You should read about JSOC. These things never fit into convenient boxes.

  71. 71
    Ben Franklin says:

    I can’t find anything close to a FYWP moderation trap in my words at 10:43

    FYWPITA

  72. 72
    Emma says:

    @Cassidy: Most gracious of you, but it’s my belief that is is important to apologize, especially to an ally.

    Yes, I can see how with three daughters you would have issues with that sort of legislation.

  73. 73
    TG Chicago says:

    @Emma: I’m saying that AQAP did not ‘plan, authorize, commit, or aid the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbor such organizations or persons’.

  74. 74
    Ben Franklin says:

    @RP:

    A distinction without a difference? Awalaki the CIA lackey?

    We bury our mistakes.

  75. 75
    Sammy says:

    Sorry, but I will not be crying a river over any terr’ist who is killed by a drone, whether American or not.

    This, even with the knowledge that these terr’ist would not blow up sone innocent person in this and other countries, even as we speak.

  76. 76
    Emma says:

    @TG Chicago: And I am saying that it falls under the authorization as an “allied organization” because it’s an offshoot formed after the original organization was stomped. You might not like it, but the legal line is clear.

  77. 77
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Sammy:

    So when you are designated a terrorist, you won’t have a problem with self-sacrifice?

  78. 78
    eemom says:

    Drone-free zone. And here in ole Virginny of all places.

  79. 79
    Sly says:

    @TG Chicago:

    You don’t think that being an American citizen entitles you to due process rights from the American government?

    Not quite. The Court recently established that due process rights for challenging one’s designation as an enemy combatants exists for citizens when captured by the U.S. military in a theater of war and detained within U.S. jurisdiction.

    “We therefore hold that a citizen-detainee seeking to challenge his classification as an enemy combatant must receive notice of the factual basis for his classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the Government’s factual assertions before a neutral decisionmaker.” – Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

    However, in all other cases it is jurisdiction and not citizenship that confers due process rights. The NYPD, for instance, is not allowed to indefinitely detain a French citizen because he or she is not a U.S. citizen; they’re not allowed to do that to anyone.

    It’s unclear how such a decision relates to the targeted killing program, given the Court’s wariness on matters of war. The only time this could have been addressed previously was in Al-Awlaki v. Panetta, when Anwar al-Awlaki’s father sued to challenge the procedure that placed his son on the targeted killing list. Because al-Awlaki’s father was denied standing to sue in place of his son, we can’t be certain.

    Now, in fairness, Anwar al-Awlaki himself could have walked into the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, requested consular protection, and pursued the matter directly. For various reasons, none of them virtuous, he obviously decided against doing that.

  80. 80
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Parse parse parse. When Al Alwaki was killed, he was with another American citizen,

    The strike hit a vehicle with other suspected Al Qaeda members inside, in addition to al-Awlaki. According to a U.S. senior official, the other American militant killed in the strike was Samir Khan, the co-editor of an English-language Al Qaeda web magazine called “Inspire.”

    AQ really is an organization, with all sorts of affiliate branches, sometimes operating on their own volition, other times from orders at central command. Are you seriously arguing these franchised branches that call themselves Al Quaida this or that division, excludes them from the AUMF and UN res?

  81. 81
    TG Chicago says:

    @RP:

    A distinction without a difference.

    I guess we’ll have to disagree on that one. I think there is a very important difference between an intelligence agency and a branch of the military.

    The idea that the fifth amendment could apply to someone living in a foreign country is bizarre to me. The US Constitution and US laws have no force in other countries.

    If Fifth Amendment protections only apply to US Citizens on US soil, that means that the moment you’re in international waters, the US Government can pick you up and sentence you to anything it likes with no due process. Does that sound right to you?

    Also:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_new.....roups?lite

    Eric Holder tries to explain how killing Al-Awlaki was legal under the 5th Amendment. So apparently the US Attorney General believes the protections applied to Al-Awlaki.

  82. 82
    Homar says:

    the DoJ white paper laying out the rationale for killing American citizens who aremight be al-Qaida leaders,

  83. 83
    TG Chicago says:

    @Emma: The phrase “allied organization” does not appear in the text of the AUMF.

  84. 84
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Your comment about looking at piracy as a more logical parallel to terrorists when it comes to formulating practices and laws is something I never considered. So I thank you for broadening my perspective. Any chance you might expand on that idea?

  85. 85
    Cassidy says:

    So, for the uninformed, we’re going to have a little lesson in military/ intelligence partnerships and try to erase a few misconceptions.

    First off, there are two kinds of SOF units: conventional SOF (Special Forces, Rangers, SEALs) and unconventional SOF (CAG, DEVGRU). The Conventional SOF forces all fall under USSOCOM and is the overall authority for all SOF units that operate during conventional military operations. JSOC is a little different. They are more of a partnership between the military and the intelligence consisiting primarily of CAG (Army), DEVGRU (Navy), and Air Force’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron, and they work very closely with the CIA’s Special Activities Division. They are typically supported by 75th Ranger regiment and the 160th SOAR.

    What this really means: CAG is what we know as “Delta Force”, DEVGRU is “Seal Team 6”, the 24th STS is the AF Combat Controllers (primarily) that are with them and the SAD are guys from these units recruited into the CIA. It’s a very small community of very bad people and their operations aren’t always “military” operations. The various incarnations of Task Forces that we read about have been these guys.

    Information for the sake of information. I’m just hoping to help people understand a little bit more who they’re talking about.

    ETA: This is all public information. Some of it I know from being military, some of it from wiki. This is not insider baseball type stuff.

  86. 86
    handsmile says:

    For those sincerely interested in these issues, particularly in relation to tomorrow’s hearings on the Brennan nomination and what, if any, information it will shed on them, I urge you to read this current New York Review of Books essay by David Cole, “13 Questions for John Brennan.” Topics include drone strikes, targeted killings, the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” programs, and broadly, the “war on terrorism” and the AUMF.

    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....tion=false

    David Cole is a Georgetown Law School professor of constitutional law, national security, and criminal justice; author of several books on civil rights and terrorism; and a litigator before the Supreme Court in several high-profile cases.

  87. 87
    TG Chicago says:

    @Sly:

    Now, in fairness, Anwar al-Awlaki himself could have walked into the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, requested consular protection, and pursued the matter directly. For various reasons, none of them virtuous, he obviously decided against doing that.

    Well, fear of indefinite detention isn’t exactly “virtuous”, I guess, but it’s understandable.

    And in fairness, the Obama administration could have openly declared that it considered al-Awlaki to be an enemy and asked him to turn himself in or face the consequences. For various reasons, none of them virtuous, they decided against doing that.

    What would have been the harm in charging al-Awlaki?

  88. 88
    Xenos says:

    @TG Chicago:

    But regardless, the organization he joined – Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – did not even exist when the 9/11 attacks were carried out.

    It’s a bloody aQ subsidiary, you fool. They all but filed a franchise fee for the right to use the name. al Awlaki got what was coming to him, and junior too. Only section I of the memo applies to them, and the rest is irrelevent. I agree with Stuck that it should never have been added to the memo.

  89. 89
    RP says:

    If Fifth Amendment protections only apply to US Citizens on US soil, that means that the moment you’re in international waters, the US Government can pick you up and sentence you to anything it likes with no due process. Does that sound right to you?

    In international waters a ship is subject to the laws of the country whose flag it flies.

    Eric Holder tries to explain how killing Al-Awlaki was legal under the 5th Amendment. So apparently the US Attorney General believes the protections applied to Al-Awlaki.

    Holder is simply being a good lawyer. He’s not going to concede the point that the policy is a violation of the 5th amendment. His statement doesn’t tell us much about the actual legal issues.

  90. 90
    amk says:

    DiFi, Rocky IV and the rest are going to vote to confirm after a little fussing, and that will be that.

    Yup, this particular phony poutrage from left and right will have a shelf-life of 24 hours or less.

  91. 91
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    You are tedious. What about Al Quaida in the Arabian Peninsula don’t you understand. Especially the AL QUAIDA part. Specious argument you are making. I take your silence as admission to my being right.

  92. 92
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pamelabrown53: I can briefly. I am not an expert on piracy law or history though. Pirates were seen as a common threat by most nations. Nations cooperated in actions against them; although some, seeing profit in it, provided a haven for them. Since pirates were not a country, one could not declare war on them in a traditional sense. A set of laws and customs grew up on how it was appropriate to engage pirates including when military types of action were the right thing and when law enforcement (including trials) was the right path.

  93. 93
    Xenos says:

    @TG Chicago: Do you know what due process is? It is the process that is due based on the circumstances. What process is due on a battlefield?

  94. 94

    Being largely illiterate of Elvis Costello, I heartily welcome post titles based on Belle & Sebastian lyrics.

  95. 95
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Xenos:

    you fool

    I note your most excellent argument.

  96. 96
    Ben Franklin says:

    And we haven’t even gotten to Aaron Swarz yet….

  97. 97
    MBunge says:

    “Obama administration is running an undeclared drone war”

    It’s not an undeclared drone war. It’s an extension of the essentially declared war on Al Qaeda. If Obama starts drone striking people who aren’t even allegedly connected to Al Qaeda, THAT will be an undeclared drone war.

    Mike

  98. 98
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    let’s not lose sight of the fact that Congress has essentially ceded the war power to the Executive Branch

    Its actually worse. Congress has prevented the prosecution of terrorists by our courts. The President’s job is to protect US civilians. What is he supposed to do?

  99. 99
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Thanks for replying. I think I’m going to research this a bit.

  100. 100
    patroclus says:

    @handsmile: Thanks for that article – it’s behind a paywall, but I decided to go ahead and read it anyway. I hope that those questions get asked at Brennan’s hearing – we’ll see.

    (So long as we’re parsing, it’s the Georgetown University Law Center).:-)

  101. 101
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cassidy: Ok, I’m going to play Kool-Aid Drinking O-Bot Sheeple Brainwashed by the Bread and Circuses. I trust our Dear Leader. It looks like some other people are ready to play the bunker-hiders.

  102. 102
    Xenos says:

    @Ben Franklin: The grammar is fine. Mqybe it is an abuse of rhetoric, but it was called for. The whole ‘AQAP /= AQ thus AUMF does not apply’ is a foolish argument, applied only by foolish people, who can fairly be addressed as ‘fools’, you clown.

  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RP:

    In international waters a ship is subject to the laws of the country whose flag it flies.

    In addition, a person in custody on a Navy ship would be subject to US law.

  104. 104
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937:

    What is he supposed to do?

    My opinion is the AUMF and Patriot Act remain the big problem; but Obama needs to stop slouching toward Bethlehem.

  105. 105
    LABiker says:

    If you move to Yemen to become Al Qaeda’s director of communications, are you still an American citizen? Do we have a dual-citizenship agreement with Al Qaeda that I am not aware of?

  106. 106
    Deb T says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I, and many others, predicted if Bush was allowed such powers, they would be passed along to all future Presidents. Of course, in 2007-08, I didn’t think Obama would abuse them, but I was wrong. Then who gives up power?

    Congress needs to take back the reigns, but I guess we all know, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

  107. 107
    Cassidy says:

    @SatanicPanic: it aggravates me to no end that this is such a good topic to have a serious debate about re: the power of gov’t and pragamatic applications of force, future force projection models, MIC spending, etc., but that’s not what we do. Instead it’s: “DROOOOOONNNNNNEEEZ are bad. Stop sucking Dear Leaders dick”.

  108. 108
    Xenos says:

    @LABiker: The soldiers in the confederate army were committing treason, but were entitled to due process under the law to determine whether they lost their citizenship. They were not entitled to due process whenever the Army of the Potomic felt like sending a few hundred cannonballs in their direction.

  109. 109
    Cassidy says:

    @Deb T: I don’t disagree, but do we really want this Congress doing that? I’d much rather have a competant Obama doing quasi-legal warfare than this collection of assclowns any day of the week. This is a be careful what you wish for scenario. You think Obama is abusing it? Imagine Cantor, Cruz, or Crazy-Eyes with a say in the matter!

  110. 110
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Cassidy:

    This is better made, as a discussion, if we were to talk about how to rid ourselves of the stain of AUMF and Patriot Act. Otherwise, we’re diddling each other.

  111. 111
    Xenos says:

    Consider this: what due process did Washington afford the enemy combatants in the Whiskey Rebellion?

  112. 112
    AxelFoley says:

    @General Stuck:

    Annnnnnnd, we’re off. Or, how to stop worrying and learn to love the drone

    Well done, sir. Well done indeed.

  113. 113
    Cassidy says:

    @Ben Franklin: I can get behind that.

  114. 114
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cassidy: It isn’t an easy issue and half of the people here are arguing about semantics, which is fine to a degree, but I suspect most people don’t have much more than that.

  115. 115
    RP says:

    @Ben Franklin: Yes — that’s the critical issue. Call me an Obot or whatever, but the truth is that I do trust Obama for the most part. That’s why I voted for him. At some point you have to have some faith in your elected officials because there’s no way for us to know about or have a say in most of what they w/r/t the military. But I didn’t trust Bush with those powers and worry about future presidents.

  116. 116
    patroclus says:

    @Ben Franklin: Well, not all of the Patriot Act is bad – Title 3 is the International Money Laundering and Anti-terrorist Abatement Act (IMLATA) and it contains good provisions that require the banking industry to acquire a lot more data and information (the “Know your customer” rules) about virtually all entities with which they do business, particularly in the area of wire transfers (and then report them to OFAC). It is this section that has given some real teeth to the economic sanctions that many have described as “crippling” (when applied to AQ/Iran). Under other authority (TWEA/IEEPA), OFAC can determine individuals and organizations to be Specially Designated Terrorists, and they can be individually targeted economically, but IMLATA gives them more info and tools. Economic sanctions are an alternative to war (and DROOOONZ) and repealing IMLATA could have unintended consequences.

    Regarding the AUMF, nothing is likely until the Afghan War is wound down, but after that happens, formal action could be possible. Truman famously declared WWII over precipitously, thus varying Lend-Lease and other economic aid which was legally dependent on the ongoing occurrence of “hostilities” (to the UK’s chagrin/cost), but Obama could contemplate something similar when the time is right.

  117. 117
    TG Chicago says:

    @General Stuck: Having the same name does not mean the organization was involved in the 9/11 attacks. AQAP was not involved; it did not even exist.

  118. 118
    TG Chicago says:

    @Xenos: Al-Awlaki was not on any battlefield when he was killed.

  119. 119
    👽 Martin says:

    I agree the questions about the drone program are all good ones, and all deserve an answer from the administration, but let’s not pretend that Congress has divested itself of responsiblity here:

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Wednesday said he agrees with his Republican colleague Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on the use of drone strikes against U.S. citizens who are believed to be senior al-Qaeda members.

    The gang of 8 has been involved in this from the outset. If they wanted to stop any part of this program, they had enough political incentive to start hearings and flood the sunday shows, and they didn’t. There is widespread agreement for this policy in Congress.

  120. 120
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: But if you’ve been thrown overboard, then the 5th Amendment doesn’t apply?

    It’s the US government taking action against a US citizen. Of course the US government’s actions must abide by the US Constitution.

  121. 121
    Cassidy says:

    @TG Chicago: After researching JSOC, you should look into Assymetrical Warfare and how it applies to the modern battlefield.

  122. 122
    patroclus says:

    @TG Chicago: The 14th and 5th amendments’ due process standards do not apply to U.S. citizens – they apply to persons within the jurisdiction of the U.S. All the relevant cases are clear on this – you’ve been told this numerous times. Why do you insist on repeating the very same tedious non-argument again and again?

  123. 123
    Xenos says:

    @TG Chicago: How, exactly? What court would accept this argument?

  124. 124
    Ben Franklin says:

    @patroclus:

    I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but the Patriot Act is written far too broadly with the rights of our citizenry suffering in the interim. Making iron-clad provisions which limit the power of government, while empowering People without fear of back-lash from an entity which purports to exist for the benefit of the domestic population.

  125. 125
    Ben Franklin says:

    @👽 Martin:

    The only congresscritters working on this are Issa and Cornyn, and this, only for political points and slamming Obama.

  126. 126

    @patroclus: because he is an asshat.
    SATSQ.

  127. 127
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @👽 Martin: Exactly. The executive branch is going to assert, or if you like arrogate, prerogatives and powers until it is checked. Don’t like it? Raise a ruckus, then agitate to get the law changed. Until then, it’s going to be a matter that hinges on the consciences of the staffers of the executive branch, by definition and by design.

    It seems to me self-evident that there ought to be something like a FISA Court to adjudicate whether the person targeted is being handled properly, but there needs to be a law to make it so. Powerful institutions are not in the habit of tying their own hands voluntarily. So, if you’re a civil libertarian troubled by these things, find a way to tie them.

  128. 128
    Ben Franklin says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You mean something like this……http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee

  129. 129
    chopper says:

    @TG Chicago:

    by this argument, if bin laden and all his high ranking AQ buddies decided on 9/12/01 to hand the keys over to a new set of managers who renamed the organization ‘al Qaeda II: electric boogaloo’ then they could reasonably argue that we couldn’t touch them. ‘we’re not the al Qaeda that attacked you. we’re those ‘other guys”.

  130. 130
    Someguy says:

    Who cares. It’s not like Bush is doing it. Wake me when we have a Republican president doing this and I’ll worry.

  131. 131
    Sly says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Well, fear of indefinite detention isn’t exactly “virtuous”, I guess, but it’s understandable.

    Hamdi wasn’t detained indefinitely.

    By unvirtuous, I mean giving up his place within al-Qaeda, being interrogated on information he might possess related to their operations and structure, and his ability to secure protection for their people through his contact with the Awlaki tribe in Yemen. He chose that over the legal avenue that was plainly afforded him, knowing that the U.S. military was after him, and decided that while keeping his sixteen year old son in tow, who was killed later in a strike on Ibrahim al-Banna.

    Sorry, my sympathies only extend so far.

    And the grand irony of all of this is that documents secured from the raid on OBL revealed that the al-Qaeda leadership didn’t think much of Awlaki anyway, either as a propagandist or an operative, and didn’t intend for him to occupy any leadership role in AQAP.

  132. 132
    chopper says:

    @TG Chicago:

    if you fall overboard you’re just floating in the ocean. if you then get picked up by the coast guard you’ll be under the jurisdiction of the united states.

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: Weirdly, I know you are viewing this as an argument against what you are saying, but my point was that if we have taken custody of a person on a US vessel, Constitutional protections would apply and summarily throwing the person overboard would be a violation of the person’s rights. I am actually trying to have a discussion of a subject that gets dark and murky at the edges – one where people can easily and in good faith draw lines in different places, but also one where there is a line to be drawn.

  134. 134
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ben Franklin: Yes, that would be a good start. Maybe Tea Party types suspicious of Obama’s “Big Government” could make common cause with liberal-leaning anti-authoritarians and hold some hearings. Keith Ellison shaking hands with Walter Jones, that sort of thing. Big Media would orgasm over the bipartisanship of it all.

  135. 135
    TG Chicago says:

    @chopper: If the new people were not involved in the 9/11 attacks, then why would we be going after them instead of OBL, KSM, and the others that were involved in the attacks? Since Electric Boogaloo were not involved in the attacks, they would not be under the AUMF.

  136. 136
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago: “Why would we be going after them?” is a good question, but it’s not surprising that the answer is actually another question, to wit, “What’s stopping us from going after them?” And the answer appears to be “nothing.” Which is either a bug or a feature, depending on your viewpoint.

  137. 137
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: Honestly, I think focusing on whether a franchise or subsidiary of a terrorist organization is a part of the the terrorist organization is focusing on a very small tree in a forest. The forest is AUMF. If you want policy change, that is where the focus should be.

    ETA: This part of AUMF probably covers why one would go after people believed to be current leaders: “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism.”

  138. 138
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cassidy: Damn, you guys are gonna get to have lunch?

  139. 139
    taylormattd says:

    @eric:

    For most Americans, the issue is collateral damage, not the use of drones to kill terrorist targets.

    This should be the *only* issue for everyone.

    Instead we get, over and over, a “left” wing blogosphere screaming incoherently DRONEZ DRONEZ DRONEZ WILL KILL ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS.

  140. 140
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Cassidy: You’re being a bit overly cynical there, although you succeed at being funny.

    There are valid criticisms of the drone policy. But there is a balancing act. I can’t go as far as Greenwald has gone in criticizing the administration over drones, but I can understand that many are queasy about any administration deciding who should live and who should die without any apparent oversight.

  141. 141
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @taylormattd: The other issue I have with drones is whether or not they would lower the bar for military action such that we back our way into future unnecessary wars.

    @Patricia Kayden: The problem is that discussion of the issue in this forum tend to go the way Cassidy described. Serious discussions disappear into a vitriolic haze of invective and abuse.

  142. 142
    chopper says:

    @TG Chicago:

    because this new organization is the same as the old one, only with new leadership and a new name. the organization otherwise is the same, and they vow to carry on the same shit.

    i mean, we’ve killed enough high-ranking members of al qaeda that the organization that attacked us on 9/11 really no longer exists under your argument. should we walk away and wait for them to attack us again?

    clearly, all al qaeda has to do is rename itself and shuffle management every time it commits an attack and we can do absolutely nothing about it. that’s a great loophole you invented.

    for the rest of us, it’s not a distinction worth anything.

  143. 143
    TG Chicago says:

    @Sly:

    Hamdi wasn’t detained indefinitely.

    Well, that was the initial plan. Instead, he “only” got locked up for 3 years, was forced to renounce his citizenship, be deported, and waive his right to sue… even though he was never found guilty of anything. Still pretty understandable that Al-Awlaki would prefer to avoid that.

    But Hamdi is an interesting case for those who say that due process under US law doesn’t apply to US citizens under the power of the US government unless they’re on US soil.

    By unvirtuous, I mean giving up his place within al-Qaeda, being interrogated on information he might possess related to their operations and structure, and his ability to secure protection for their people through his contact with the Awlaki tribe in Yemen. He chose that over the legal avenue that was plainly afforded him, knowing that the U.S. military was after him, and decided that while keeping his sixteen year old son in tow, who was killed later in a strike on Ibrahim al-Banna.

    The prospect of “interrogation” is another thing that al-Awlaki could understandably wish to avoid.

    Can you remind me when al-Awlaki was plainly afforded this legal avenue? I don’t recall it, but perhaps I forgot.

    Sorry, my sympathies only extend so far.

    I would never ask anybody to feel sympathy for al-Awlaki. He absolutely said some truly vile things. But that’s all he’s been shown to have done, and that falls under free speech. I don’t like it when an American citizen is killed for criticizing America, even when I strongly disagree with his criticisms.

    And the grand irony of all of this is that documents secured from the raid on OBL revealed that the al-Qaeda leadership didn’t think much of Awlaki anyway, either as a propagandist or an operative, and didn’t intend for him to occupy any leadership role in AQAP.

    You say irony; I say exculpatory evidence. This shows that OBL’s AQ was not an umbrella over AQAP.

  144. 144
    jp7505a says:

    What to do about the drones? Good question no easy answers.
    First of all I do not like the drone war. I do not like the targeting of Americans without due process.
    On the other hand I really really think one 9/11 is more than enough.
    So we have increased oversight, special committees, secret courts all designed to avoid that slippery slope to dictatorship.
    Nice in theory but let’s see how well that has worked in the past:
    1. in 1964 the open ended Gulf of Tonkin resolution
    2. years of complaining about the war in Vietnam while continuing to fund it
    3. in the mid-70’s the Church committee which revealed years of CIA abuse
    4. the never used war powers act
    5. Iran-contra
    6. the Patriot act and such goodies as national security letters, no warrant needed
    7. the Bush warrantless wiretaps
    8. GITMO/military tribunals
    9. the indefinite detention of Jose Pedalla
    10. the FISA court which has rubber stamped almost every request for a warrant
    11. the open ended AUMF after 9/11 (Tonkin Gulf resolution what Tonkin Gulf resolution)
    12. the resolution to go to war in Iraq based on at best shakey intelligence
    13. the 2006 law limiting habeas rights
    14. the 2012 DOD authorization allowing unlimited detention without trial
    15. Congressional oversight committees either failing to do their jobs or just pissing and moaning after the facts became public
    Notice that our esteemed congress critters, of both parties and over a period of 50 years, have eitherfailed to act or have been active participant’s (until things went south). They will hol hearings, however to detemine if the state dept. had a remote control to turn the TV on so they could watch Benghazi in real time.
    In two words – we’re doomed.

  145. 145
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago:

    This shows that OBL’s AQ was not an umbrella over AQAP.

    Not necessarily. If regular AQ had power over AQAP’s personnel decisions, doesn’t it show a connection between the two?

  146. 146
    TG Chicago says:

    @chopper: Perhaps I misunderstood your question. I thought you said all new people were coming in. It’s kind of unclear what exactly you mean by “handing over the keys to AQ” since that’s not literally possible.

    At any rate, AQAP is a separate organization. They were not being led by AQ Central. And Awlaki was targeted personally even though there is no evidence he was involved in 9/11. (Heck, if he was, you’d think he’d have bragged about it).

  147. 147
    TooManyJens says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Maybe Tea Party types suspicious of Obama’s “Big Government” could make common cause with liberal-leaning anti-authoritarians and hold some hearings. Keith Ellison shaking hands with Walter Jones, that sort of thing. Big Media would orgasm over the bipartisanship of it all.

    Big Media would bipartisanly marginalize everyone involved. Anti-authoritarianism is unSerious, especially where war and national security are concerned.

    It should still be done, but don’t expect the media to help.

  148. 148
    Todd says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Whenever I read you, I find myself wanting to yank a hippie from a drum circle just so I can tase and curb stomp him in the middle of the first verse of Kumbaya….

  149. 149
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    If regular AQ had power over AQAP’s personnel decisions, doesn’t it show a connection between the two?

    Sure. But this evidence shows that OBL was anti-Awlaki, yet Awlaki was still a prominent voice in AQAP. OBL did not have power over AQAP’s personnel decisions, thus showing that there was not an operational connection between the two.

  150. 150
    Cassidy says:

    @different-church-lady: You dind’t get the memo?

    @Patricia Kayden: I understand it too and I think left leaning people should have a problem with it and I do. My problem isn’t the drones, though, or even the legal justification to kill US Citizens. Seriously, if you put ten lawyers in a room, you’ll get 10 different reason justifying why you can and saying why you can’t do something, so I odn’t really consider that an issue beyond lawyers doing what lawyers do. Ben Franklin said it earlier, the problem is the AUMF and [parts] of the Patriot Act leading to, as has been discussed, the Legislative branch not fulfilling it’s responsibility and ceding significant war powers to the Executive. personally, I trust Obama and not this congress, so I odn’t think that’s a horrible relationship now, but I can see the day where it would scare the shit out of me.

    What I don’t like is the chicken little “he can have us all killed” act. It’s silly. If anyone thinks that the most powerful man in the world needs a legal memo to justify whacking you, you have some serious lack of awareness.

    Theother side of it for me is that I like drones in that it doesn’t expose meat troops to danger and that’s a good thing. I don’t like “collateral damage” or war, but I accept that those things exist and it is unlikely that they won’t. I also have a pretty decent understanding of how the modern battlefield works and things like “legal” aren’t so cut and dry anymore. If you get a chance, google Three Block War. A lot has changed.

    But, yes, there are lot of things to consider on this topic and after eleventy hundred of them we’re still stuck at parsing words, shade tree lawyering/ scholarship, etc., and it’s tiring. Just trying to distinguish between an intelligence and military operation when a simple wiki read tells you that, at that level, there is almost no difference gets to be a PITA.

  151. 151
    different-church-lady says:

    @TG Chicago: Neither were any of the people in the WTC towers.

  152. 152
    TG Chicago says:

    @Todd: I’d prefer to think that people who prefer violence over reasoned debate reside only on the wingnut right. Sadly, that is not the case.

  153. 153
    Ben Franklin says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Anti-authoritarianism is unSerious, especially where war and national security are concerned.

    I take it you regard AA as just a way to complain…about something they don’t really care about?

    Is that it?

  154. 154
    Ben Franklin says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I’d prefer to think that people who prefer violence over reasoned debate reside only on the wingnut right. Sadly, that is not the case.

    I take it this is black-and-white, for you. No shades of grey?

  155. 155
    Todd says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Cry, cry your bitter tears, emoprog.

  156. 156
    👽 Martin says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It seems to me self-evident that there ought to be something like a FISA Court to adjudicate whether the person targeted is being handled properly, but there needs to be a law to make it so.

    Agreed. Currently there’s the gang of 8 which (so we’ve been told) is reviewing everyone on the list. Regardless of whether I like this or not, I would accept that as a sufficient (if minimal) check on executive authority. I would like it better if that was legislated rather than being a gentlemen’s agreement, but a proper court would be better yet.

    I think a necessary question to ask in all of this is: At what point do we accept a person’s actions as an implied denouncement of US citizenship? That I think is really the heart of the issue here. Once you’ve taken hostile actions toward the US government and put yourself under the protection of another government, I have a hard time accepting claims of US citizen protections. Citizenship carries a LOT of benefits and protections, but it’s not limitless. So what’s that limit?

  157. 157
    TG Chicago says:

    @different-church-lady: I guess I’m not willing to go as far as you are in equating the Awlaki killing to 9/11. The Awlaki killing (as it was conducted) strikes me as morally and legally wrong, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the 9/11 attacks.

  158. 158
    TooManyJens says:

    @Ben Franklin: What?

    I mean that the mass media only listen to Very Serious People, where seriousness is generally defined as wanting as much bombing (foreign policy) and economic misery for the 99% (domestic policy) as possible.

  159. 159
    TG Chicago says:

    @Ben Franklin: I don’t follow.

  160. 160
    👽 Martin says:

    @Cassidy:

    Ben Franklin said it earlier, the problem is the AUMF and [parts] of the Patriot Act leading to, as has been discussed, the Legislative branch not fulfilling it’s responsibility and ceding significant war powers to the Executive.

    Agreed. All during the Bush administration we demanded that Congress act as a check to the executive branch. That message shouldn’t change just because the occupant of the White House does.

    Obama is acting with the authority that Congress gave him, which is his obligation to do. Congress can take that authority back, or add checks to it, and should. Our focus used to be to demand Congress do it’s job. That should be our focus now.

  161. 161
    different-church-lady says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Still pretty understandable that Al-Awlaki would prefer to avoid that.

    How’d that work out for him?

  162. 162
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: Oh for fuck’s sake. There is a point where, if you choose to operate the franchise, you bear some of the risk. I really have a problem with the focus on al-Awlaki because the situation is so damn weird. There is a legal maxim that hard case make bad law. This is one of those situations. Extrapolating out from al-Awlaki’s case to the wider sphere is virtually impossible. I get that you think his targeting was unlawful because you don’t think it fits under the parameters of the AUMF, which is too broad anyway. I think the targeting will never be found by any court to have been unlawful, but that the AUMF is too broad and too vague. The AUMF is the problem. Fix it and the debate about targeted killings is much easier. Either they stop, they are conducted under clear rules, or they are illegal.

  163. 163
    Ben Franklin says:

    @TG Chicago:

    You seem to sector the Right and the Left into two distinct, unwavering camps sharing the same immutable opinions There is an infinity of gradations between the two. I’m just trying to understand your blanket statement, which seems to be black-and-white.

  164. 164
    Cassidy says:

    @TG Chicago: Two things:

    1) I don’t think “operational” means what you think it does. In the very nebulous world of terrorism and intel, almost everything is connected in some way. I also think you don’t really have an understanding of AQ and how it operates(ed).

    2) Have you considered that there may have been several attempts to get Al-Awlaki to come in and they weren’t publicized? The CIA and JSOC don’t exactly spend a lot of time talking about what they do.

  165. 165
    different-church-lady says:

    @TG Chicago: Jezus, now I want to taze the hippie too. And I don’t even have anything against the hippie.

  166. 166
    Ben Franklin says:

    @TooManyJens:

    I thought you meant Anti-Authoritarians in general, not just our Media friends.

  167. 167
    TooManyJens says:

    @Ben Franklin: I meant that our failed media experiment would view anyone with anti-authoritarian leanings on national security issues with contempt.

  168. 168
    Paula says:

    Did you think invading Afghanistan was a good idea after 9/11?

    If so, these drones are an extension of that policy.

    The AUMF is purposefully vague to allow for such things.

    I don’t even know why this is such a mystery to be debated.

  169. 169
    TriassicSands says:

    @Hawes:

    If that’s your job, then everyone can look like a bad guy.

    Plus, the assumption of guilt increasingly supplants the assumption of innocence, which has probably always been more theoretical than actual despite all the lip service, in American legal reality.

  170. 170
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I’m sorry. I am trying to have a rational debate with folks like you on this issue, but you unserious and relying on lame pedantry to support your assertions, and that is simply not rational. You are reading the AUMF as a civilian indictment, or a kind of court order. It is not that, and is a declaration of war on a group of people who have interlocking goals and share a common chain of command, at some point. Or they are volunteering to be included in what we call a war and they call a jihad against the American people. Under you mindset, all German and Japanese soldiers that volunteered after our declaration of war on the Axis, would be exempt from hostilities from our end, until we updated the war declaration, that would include any new units formed etc…. etc…../ silly

    I am certain that newly formed AQ outposts and units would be surprised and offended by your namby pamby legal analysis preventing them from the honor of officially being our enemy via the US congress proclamations called the AUMF. You seem to be volunteering to be AQ’s American lawyer, and they didn’t hire you.

    The AQAP has tried twice to bring down commercial airliners, and have only failed because they haven’t quite learned how to make a detonator. I suppose we should wait till they do, before talking about all this drone war mumbo jumbo. You insult our intelligence with clownish buffoonery over the meaning of is.

  171. 171
    Keith G says:

    I am saddened that there is so much debate over the trees that the forest is being ignored.

    Unchecked executive power is being extended to vistas that seem to shred the vision of limited executive power expressed by the Founders. They knew all to well that such conditions provided great threats to civil liberties. I trust Obama as much as I can trust any politician, but one of the bulwarks of our society was that it was created as a government of laws and not of men. As Madison pointed out, men are not angels, therefore systemic checks and limits must be insisted upon to ensure liberty.

    We are watching the sewing of seeds that will eventually confront us with a bitter harvest.

  172. 172
    Cassidy says:

    @Keith G: Winter is coming?

  173. 173
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    So you are saying because drones are autopiloted, that somehow is different than manned aircraft dropping bombs, as a matter of executive authority in a declared war?

  174. 174
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Congress needs to claw back its power. It just requires a vote.

  175. 175
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cassidy: If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

  176. 176
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eric:

    For most Americans, the issue is collateral damage, not the use of drones to kill terrorist targets

    There are two important issues that tend to get blurred: the deaths of innocent bystanders as the effects of the authorized “strike”; and how the strike gets authorized in the first place. There’s one answer: oversight. Procedures. Laws. Review.

  177. 177

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I think the targeting will never be found by any court to have been unlawful

    The targeting has already been found by a federal judge to be specifically lawful. The judge’s comments on the case were pretty similar to those here (paraphrasing from legalese): ‘I wish congress would create an oversight system, but without one this is 100% legal.’

    I wish to point out – AGAIN – that Al-Awlaki was not deprived of due process. He had due process. He forfeited his right to fair trial, which is a real thing not made up just for his case. This was heard in court twice, and in both cases the judges ruled that Awlaki had gotten what the constitution says he is owed. Because of the enemy agent military aspect he didn’t even have to get that privilege, but he got it anyway.

  178. 178
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    In addition, a person in custody on a Navy ship would be subject to US law.

    Well, unless their name was Jose Padilla. Or that Somali guy who spent two months on a boat without a lawyer. But never mind that.

  179. 179
    General Stuck says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Actually, if you are going to use airpower, a well managed drone program would cause less collateral damage than use of air power in past wars. It was very loosely managed by Bush and early on in Obama’s term. But that has been turned around and now civilian casualties are quite low from these attacks.

    I do understand and believe that the world needs to have a debate about unmanned robot airplanes that will become more sophisticated and widespread into the future. But the limited use of them now, on very specific targets, does cause the least collateral damage (civilians killed).

    The problem is not Obama’s use of drones, it is when do we un declare the AUMF in a situation where no state is involved, only stateless orgs conducting warfare against the west?

  180. 180
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck: Drones and planes are but the trees, dear General. The forest is all about transparency and limits.

    @Omnes Omnibus: And if they do not are we to be content with each new executive carving out more power for themselves? Of course Congress must act and we must convince them to, but until they do should we not expect the executive to act in accordance with the moral principles upon which this government was structured?

  181. 181
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Which moral principle is this president violating? I am not being snarky; in the context of this discussion I want to make sure that any response I might have is on point.

  182. 182
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    Drones and planes are but the trees, dear General. The forest is all about transparency and limits.

    Okay, then what limits are you talking about. I do agree with both of these parameters. But I don’t see Obama being nearly as secretive as Bush, or most past presidents. There is a degree of secrecy, but the white paper does outline the legal reasoning being used by the Obama administration. I think there was no need for any justification beyond the AUMF and UN res of war with AQ.

    So, Are you one of those folks that believe the AUMF does not govern legality of using drones on AQ leaders? Or are you saying that the president of the executive branch has to provide every scrap of deliberative papers to conress, rather than a synopsis of their policy? You make some broad assertions with dire warnings, but specifics seem to be secret.

    I mean, I think we have a pretty good understanding of what and how Obama is going about this. In detail, from targeting protocols, to final approval by the president. We didn’t have that before, and we had way too many civilian casualties. That is no longer the case, according to the trusted New America Foundation. And I agree that we need a full debate on whether to continues this war we are conducting. But all this handwringing about legalities and such, is missing the forest for the trees, imo.

  183. 183
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G: I agree that drones per se aren’t really the issue. But the whole “flying death robots” rhetoric some people are prone to using has a tendency to make it the issue, which helps not a whit the important discussion of restraints on executive power.

  184. 184
    jshooper says:

    I’m trying to understand the Greenwaldian position on DRONEZZZ…but every time they get questioned on any of their talking points they always come back to the same bullshit.

    1) Obama’s gunna kill us with his evil drone robot army while we sit at home criticizing him over the public option

    2) There is no such thing as Al-Qaeda…it’s just a boogeyman created by the Govt. because they hate muslims.

    3) Obama loves killing muslim babies

    4) Al-Awlaki wasn’t a terrorist…he was simply a man criticizing the American govt. and he should have been left alone to do as he pleased.

    5) You’re just a cultist authoritarian who loves the Dear Leader

    6) If Obama wasn’t a black democrat you’d be on my side, but you’re just a partisan Obomber lover

    This is how they talk.It is impossible to have a discussion with people who are on the same level as Alex Jones info warriors or Glenn beck’s teabagger army

  185. 185
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Look, drone war isn’t rocket science. Or is it? I guess it is. Nevermind.

  186. 186
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    @General Stuck:

    Dag nabbit….I am enjoying this back and forth and I am at work and lunch is over and today is not a “desk” day…. so please feel free to shout at me when we see each other later.

  187. 187
    dangerfield says:

    Ive said this before and Ill say it again. When the superlefties were screaming about the war on terror and the invasion of Afghan. They must have thought that all Dem/Progressives were against those actions. They were wrong there were plenty of us who reluntantly supported the war on terror as the best of a set of bad options.

    For some reason they thought that just because the overwhelming majority of Dems were against lil Shrubs in Iraq that none of suported the Afghan war or droning Islamist. This simply isnt true.

    I hate the Islamist motherfuckers and I feel absolutely no remorse when they get droned. If they are bold enough to threaten Western civilians then hide out in countries that cant or wont arrest then I honestly do not see any better solution than to drone thier stupid asses. Fuck them.

    I think the problem with the super lefty anti-drone contigent of the Dem/progressive party is they believe we brought 911 on ourselves. They dont think its that alwful if terrorist are threatning civilians in western countries with death. Thats the problem.

  188. 188
    Ryan says:

    @Cris (without an H): Came here to show gratitude for the B & S titles as well.

  189. 189
    dangerfield says:

    @jshooper:

    ” This is how they talk.It is impossible to have a discussion with people who are on the same level as Alex Jones info warriors or Glenn beck’s teabagger army ”

    They seem to think that Americans brought 911 on ourselves. You are absolutely correct they never answer your question when you ask them what is your better solution to Islamist dumbasses.

    I despise those motherfuckers (Islamist) whether they be Boko Haram, Al Shaabab, Al Queda or the Taureg rebels. They are a bunch of childish motherfuckers trying to ram thier religion downthe planets throat.

    For instance the Taureg rebels forced thier specific interpretation of religion down the throats of completely different ethnic groups. Some of the people who the Tauregs forced into following thier interpretation of sharia law were completely different ethinically and cuturally.

  190. 190
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @piratedan: Yeah, more, rational oversight would give us more confidence in the process. I’m not sure I buy that we must put troops in danger to capture rather than kill someone shooting at us. If you were a rural cop trying to capture an outlaw and he holed up in a house with a rifle pointed out the window you could maybe attempt to talk him down but at some point, you’re just going to shoot that motherfucker. I guess that sounds flippant, but… they killed that creep in the bunker in Alabama. So I’m not dismissing the moral issue but I don’t think we need to bleed in order to safeguard a traitor.

    Last time I checked, treason against the United States carried the death penalty. You go join a foreign army that has declared war on the US and start shooting… um… what do you expect to happen? I can understand the left’s paranoia. The US left’s history is wracked with their leaders being imprisoned on trumped up sedition charges and executed. But sympathy with an anti-US guerrilla army doesn’t mean said guerrilla army is right.

    I guess if you’re not Jewish, the penalty for treason is life imprisonment.

  191. 191
    Paula says:

    @dangerfield:

    When the superlefties were screaming about the war on terror and the invasion of Afghan.

    That was a vanishingly small minority. Also, it’s worth noting that only one member of Congress voted against the AUMF. What I find irksome is that some of the these DROOOOOOOOONZ people who actually supported the invasion(s) are now SHOCKED, SHOCKED to find that it ended up this way and suddenly want no part of it.

    Prime example being Glenn Greenwald, who supported the invasion of Iraq as late as 2005.

  192. 192
    different-church-lady says:

    @jshooper:

    I’m trying to understand the Greenwaldian position on DRONEZZZ…

    That’s easy actually: the Greenwaldian position on drones is “Greenwald is right.”

    Then again, the topic of this thread isn’t GG position on drones. It’s more about our position on executive power. But mistermix threw in drones, and people had to say GG, so, BATLIGHT done been lit!

  193. 193
    Heliopause says:

    Congress has essentially ceded the war power to the Executive Branch, so we’re going to be governed by shady memos instead of law

    True, which is why we need to keep applying pressure to both branches. The shrinking number of congresspeople who care about this issue should be encouraged. Presidents should be publicly shamed when they cross these lines, as happened too infrequently in the Bush years and very belatedly is happening this week. Alternatively, we can manufacture excuse after excuse after excuse for why there’s nothing to be done about what should be matters of principle.

  194. 194
    Ruckus says:

    @Emma:
    I have no children(nor a vagina) and I have very strong issues with any legislation that involves any conservative sticking or having anything stuck by others in any vagina. Hell I’ll add, even if it’s a vagina that they themselves possess.

  195. 195
    El Cid says:

    @Xenos:

    Consider this: what due process did Washington afford the enemy combatants in the Whiskey Rebellion?

    Did it get to that point? I thought it fizzled before that potential arose.

    Throughout counties in Western Pennsylvania, protesters used violence and intimidation to prevent federal officials from collecting the tax. Resistance came to a climax in July 1794, when a U.S. marshal arrived in western Pennsylvania to serve writs to distillers who had not paid the excise. The alarm was raised, and more than 500 armed men attacked the fortified home of tax inspector General John Neville.

    Washington responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time calling on governors to send a militia force to enforce the tax.

    With 13,000 militia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the insurgency.

    The rebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation. About 20 men were arrested, but all were later acquitted or pardoned.

    Looks like there was intent at many levels to act as though this was a question of federal law enforcement.

  196. 196
    TG Chicago says:

    @Cassidy:

    1) I don’t think “operational” means what you think it does. In the very nebulous world of terrorism and intel, almost everything is connected in some way. I also think you don’t really have an understanding of AQ and how it operates(ed).

    Please fill me in on what I’m missing about how AQ operates.

    2) Have you considered that there may have been several attempts to get Al-Awlaki to come in and they weren’t publicized? The CIA and JSOC don’t exactly spend a lot of time talking about what they do.

    Would that be a known unknown or an unknown unknown?

    If these attempts took place, why keep them secret now? And even if they did, why should Al-Awlaki come in when he wasn’t even charged?

  197. 197
    TG Chicago says:

    @Paula: Drones in Yemen are an extension of invading Afghanistan?

    I mean, I can see how one might make that case, but hopefully you can see why some might not find it to be particularly cut-and-dried.

  198. 198
    Sly says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Well, that was the initial plan.

    It may have been. It may have been an honest argument that detentions would end pending cessation of hostilities, per Ex parte Quirin, or repealing/modifying the 2001 AUMF. But both cases are irrelevant, as the Court ruled otherwise.

    Still pretty understandable that Al-Awlaki would prefer to avoid that.

    Yeah. He avoided it in light of the fact that the United States Military was actively hunting him, and that his 16 year old son was in close proximity thus also endangering his life. We all have to make choices, and Al-Alwaki made a bad one. One of many.

    Can you remind me when al-Awlaki was plainly afforded this legal avenue? I don’t recall it, but perhaps I forgot.

    During the operational hours of the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, during which he could have surrendered himself to the State Department via its local personnel. Beats being incinerated from the sky.

    I don’t like it when an American citizen is killed for criticizing America, even when I strongly disagree with his criticisms.

    Criticizing U.S. policy is one thing… calling for the deaths of U.S. government and military personnel “without hesitation” and a violent uprising within the U.S. itself is quite another.

    You say irony; I say exculpatory evidence. This shows that OBL’s AQ was not an umbrella over AQAP.

    Yes it was, even AQAP says it was (and is). Al-Alwaki was never in charge of AQAP – that was Nasir al-Wuhayshi, who lead AQAP from 2009, when he oversaw the merger of the Yemeni and Saudi constituent groups, until he was killed a month ago. The most that can be said about Al-Awlaki was that he was one of several regional commanders in Yemen.

  199. 199
    Ruckus says:

    @TG Chicago:
    You say you like reasoned debate but then you keep ignoring reason.

    So which is it?

  200. 200
    TG Chicago says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I wish to point out – AGAIN – that Al-Awlaki was not deprived of due process. He had due process. He forfeited his right to fair trial, which is a real thing not made up just for his case. This was heard in court twice, and in both cases the judges ruled that Awlaki had gotten what the constitution says he is owed.

    What was he charged with?

  201. 201
    TG Chicago says:

    @jshooper:

    4) Al-Awlaki wasn’t a terrorist…he was simply a man criticizing the American govt. and he should have been left alone to do as he pleased.

    I can’t speak for others, but this one is the only one on your list that resembles something I’ve said.

    So what’s your proof that Al-Awlaki was a “terrorist” who did something other than protected First Amendment speech?

    If this proof exists, why not charge Al-Awlaki? Even if the proof involves information that legitimately needs to remain secret, why not have some sort of judicial hearing?

  202. 202
    Sly says:

    @TG Chicago:

    What was he charged with?

    If you want a specific Federal statute, there isn’t one. This falls under the laws of war, not criminal justice; specifically, it falls under the imminent threat doctrine. Where the imminent threat doctrine is vague with regard to stateless actors, Congress has to provide a more thorough standard. Until it does, the Executive makes those determinations.

    And Congress has not provided a more thorough standard because it simply chooses not to.

  203. 203
    Yutsano says:

    @TG Chicago:

    If this proof exists, why not charge Al-Awlaki?

    News flash: the Yemeni government did. They tried him in absentia and convicted him. They also asked for US assistance to apprehend or eliminate him if there was resistance. We saw the end results.

  204. 204
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Your complete argument is bogus bullshit. The portion of the white paper stating that the rules of war apply, is all that is needed in this case. That Al Alwaki was a publicly sworn member of the org called AQ, b y his own words from appearance on AQ teevee.

    As recorded in video is all that is needed since we are engaged in a legal war against that group of armed combatants. A legal war that is sanctioned by the US congress and the world community via the UN. The fact that the administration also made statements that civilian law was also on their side, was a moot point and immaterial to their main argument that the rules of war apply first and foremost.

    You are like a robot regurgitating talking points from the fringe left, and have not once addressed the arguments made that the rules of war apply. It is bullet proof legally, in every way, and the fact that drones do not have a pilot is a moral question, not a legal one.

  205. 205
    TG Chicago says:

    @Sly:

    Criticizing U.S. policy is one thing… calling for the deaths of U.S. government and military personnel “without hesitation” and a violent uprising within the U.S. itself is quite another.

    Perhaps they are in your mind, but they are both forms of protected speech. Brandenburg v. Ohio.

    Yes it was, even AQAP says it was (and is). [bound by AQ Central]

    Link?

  206. 206
    General Stuck says:

    @General Stuck:

    If you are not going to acknowledge that there are laws of war that apply here, and make an argument against that, then you are engaging in a form of polemic argument that is specious for not addressing the fact there is evidence that does not support your own argument. Fundamentally dishonest. This one should be ignored as a propagandist with a linear argument that is canned tripe from the protest tribe.@TG Chicago:

  207. 207
    TG Chicago says:

    @Sly:

    Where the imminent threat doctrine is vague with regard to stateless actors, Congress has to provide a more thorough standard. Until it does, the Executive makes those determinations.

    And Congress has not provided a more thorough standard because it simply chooses not to.

    While I agree with shaming Congress for not writing specific standards, I don’t see that as exculpatory for the Executive Branch.

    Mistermix said:

    Congress has essentially ceded the war power to the Executive Branch, so we’re going to be governed by shady memos instead of law when it comes to the use of our shiny killing machines.

    I don’t see why the Executive Branch is limited to shady memos. They could make specific, transparent guidelines as well. If you think Congress is failing by not putting things out in the open, surely you think the Executive Branch is failing just the same.

  208. 208
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Arabic: القاعدة في جزيرة العرب‎, Al-Qaida fi Jazirat al-‘Arab) (AQAP) is a militant Islamist organization, primarily active in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It was named for al-Qaeda, and says it is subordinate to that group and its now-deceased leader Osama bin Laden, a Saudi citizen whose father was born in Yemen. It is considered the most active[3] of Al-Qaeda’s branches, or “franchises,” that emerged due to weakening central leadership.[4]

    Took 6 seconds to google.

  209. 209
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @jshooper: Great comment. I have no problem with people challenging the use of drones without any judicial or congressional oversight, but some of the critics do sound paranoid, which doesn’t help their case. Of course, they are right that an unchallenged drone program could be abused by future Presidents (especially a Republican one).

    But do I fear the use of drones against US citizens minding their own business? No.

    Pressure should be put on Congress to challenge the administration’s use of drones — not in a silly, paranoid partisan way, but in a measured manner. It shouldn’t be up to the administration solely to decide when to use drones or who to target.

  210. 210
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I don’t see why the Executive Branch is limited to shady memos. They could make specific, transparent guidelines as well. If you think Congress is failing by not putting things out in the open, surely you think the Executive Branch is failing just the same.

    Obama has put it out in the open what it’s basis for drone strikes as well detailed protocols. The senators are demanding internal memos on how this was formed in the government. And no president is required nor does provide deliberative documents to congress. Just the final product. You simply have no idea what you are talking about. Congress always demands every scrap of paper, but always settles for statement on final policy and how they went about making it.

  211. 211
    TG Chicago says:

    @Yutsano:

    News flash: the Yemeni government did. They tried him in absentia and convicted him. They also asked for US assistance to apprehend or eliminate him if there was resistance. We saw the end results.

    I don’t believe US Justice is subordinate to Yemeni Justice in regards to a US Citizen. I suppose I don’t share your high opinion of the Yemeni justice system.

    At any rate, the US cannot outsource due process to Yemeni courts.

  212. 212
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Nasir Abdel Karim al-Wuhayshi (also transliterated as Naser al-Wahishi), alias Abu Basir,[2] is a citizen of Yemen and the leader of the Islamist militant group Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[3][4][5] He once served as Osama bin Laden’s secretary[6][7] and presided over the January 2009 merger of the Saudi Arabian and Yemeni splinters of Al Qaeda into AQAP.[2] Ayman Al-Zawahiri confirmed al-Wahayshi’s appointment as leader of AQAP in a video posted online.[8] Both Saudi Arabia and Yemen consider the militant leader to be among their most wanted fugitives.[8][9]

    Nasir al-Wuhayshi served as a private secretary to Osama bin Laden for years in Afghanistan.

    And here is more info for your stupid ass. You have been punked dude. You can ignore me, but not the evidence your silence only confirms.

  213. 213
    TG Chicago says:

    @General Stuck:

    Obama has put it out in the open what it’s basis for drone strikes as well detailed protocols.

    Only now, this white paper has been released. However, it is not equivalent to the OLC memos which actually carry the weight of law. And the white paper does not detail a system of due process with any sort of checks and balances.

  214. 214
    Dangerfield says:

    @General Stuck:

    ” You are like a robot regurgitating talking points from the fringe left, and have not once addressed the arguments made that the rules of war apply ”

    I will never understand the Liberal but hurt over people who have sworn to kill Western civilians all over the world.The conclusion I have come to is, the superlefties think it is Americas fault that 911 happened.

    To shame the devil and tell the truth I have developed extremely negative feelings towards these assholes.

    So my question to the people who think that the drone strikes are the worse thing in the history of the planet.

    What exactly is your better way of dealing with Islamic extremist. I bet I dont get an answer or the answer I do get will be Sesame Streetish in nature.

  215. 215
    Dangerfield says:

    @TG Chicago:

    ” At any rate, the US cannot outsource due process to Yemeni courts. ”

    What is your better solution for dealing with Islamist jack asses?

  216. 216
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    The white paper lays out the legality first and foremost as a matter of governing law in this case, that are the laws of war. Why they included the other nonsense, I don’t know. So your entire argument is bogus in this case, now that I’ve given you info on where AQAP stands, with AQ central, you have nothing left to argue in good faith. Give it up, you sound like a thoughtful person, but there is a point where that goes by the way side, from continuing on a false path. Make moral arguments that are legitimate, but not this bullshit on illegality of the drone program fighting AQ.

  217. 217
    TG Chicago says:

    @General Stuck: Thanks for that. If you go to the wiki citation, it’s a CFR article which never uses the word “subordinate”. I’m not sure how they got that from the citation.

    However, here is a quote from that CFR article:

    In late 2008, a successful crackdown by the Saudi government led remnants of the local al-Qaeda franchise to flee across the border and unite with the resurgent jihad in Yemen. By 2009, the two branches merged formally under the banner of AQAP (BBC). “The merger effectively transformed al-Qaeda from a local chapter to a regional franchise,” says Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen, “and moved it one step closer toward becoming a group capable of global action.”

  218. 218
    TG Chicago says:

    @Dangerfield: I’m not wild about targeted killing of US citizens in any case. However, I’d feel a bit better about it if there was some sort of judicial process involved. Perhaps a court–presumably, though regrettably, a secret court–where there are people charged with prosecuting and defending the accused. Invite the accused to attend or send in whatever evidence or testimony he/she chooses.

    You’d at least begin to approach a minimum standard of Western justice.

  219. 219
    Dangerfield says:

    ” Invite the accused to attend or send in whatever evidence or testimony he/she chooses.

    You’d at least begin to approach a minimum standard of Western justice. ”

    Heres my proble with people like you. You act as if these people dont know that the U.S is after them. You act asif people like Bin Laden and Al Alwaki dont know that the U.S wants to arrest.

    Do you really think Al Alwaki was going to turn themselves in? Its like you havent been paying attention to what extremist have been saying and doing for the last ten years.

    You dont think that folks like Al Alwaki had plenty of time and oppurtunities to turn himself in?

  220. 220
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck:
    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I am going to attempt to simplify (or maybe not) the statement of my concerns as much is possible. This is because I am still working through some complicated ideas and I realize how easy it is to get lost in the weeds.

    Let’s leave behind the world of drones and AUMF for a bit.

    All times face their unique perils. For us, the perils in part come from the intersection of decreasing stability with increasing technology. Obviously when a group faces instability, they probably should spend most of their time dealing with the precursors and causes of the instability. Or they could decide to use whatever means at hand to shield themselves from the effects of the instability and deal less with root issues.

    In these troubled times, it seems to me that we are seeing unprecedented growth in the security state and in police powers – and much of this is not even up for discussion. This is our coping behavior.

    If you feel that I am wrong in linking these ideas with the “presidential killed list”, I can live with that and still believe that I am more on point than not.

    By and large, we are experiencing a great a nibbling, a nibbling around the edges of privacy, of process, and of the security of our persons, papers and effects from the prying hands of government intrusion. Sometimes it’s a lot more than a nibble.

    I understand those who feel that in isolation the “kill list” (for lack of an easier term) process is no big deal. Taken by itself, I guess it can be seen by others as being somewhat harmless to our polity. I see the power that this process gives the executive as part of a continuing and worrisome change in creating an ever more powerful security state.

    I think Ron Wyden asks relevant questions

    Every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them. The Justice Department memo that was made public yesterday touches on a number of important issues, but it leaves many of the most important questions about the President’s lethal authorities unanswered. Questions like ‘how much evidence does the President need to decide that a particular American is part of a terrorist group?’, ‘does the President have to provide individual Americans with the opportunity to surrender?’ and ‘can the President order intelligence agencies or the military to kill an American who is inside the United States?’ need to be asked and answered in a way that is consistent with American laws and American values.

    The ACLU adds:

    The white paper purports to recognize some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are so vague and elastic that they will be easily manipulated. The paper initially suggests, for example, that the government’s authority to use lethal force is limited to people who present “imminent” threats, but it then proceeds to redefine the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning. The paper does something similar with the phrase “capture is infeasible.” It initially sounds like a real limitation but by page 8 it seems to mean only that the government won’t use lethal force if capture is more convenient. It’s the language of limits—but without any real restrictions.

    My emphasis.

    Someday relatively soon there will be a Republican president leading the executive branch. In his/her circle of advisors will be John Bolton, Elliot Abrams, William Boykin, Frank Gaffney, or their clones. Our current leader will do us considerable harm if the precedents he sets allow those people loose reign.

    And to my general points, I feel we will all be better off if we not only question authority, but aggressive confront expansions of executive power. I fear the combination of an over-reaching government and a passive citizenry more than a suicide bomber.

  221. 221
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    All wars conducted rightly or wrongly, legally or not, have “kill lists”. The persons on that list are called the enemy. That is what war is. I’ll say it again, war is a world sanctioned state of lawlessness. It is kill or be killed. Now it is perfectly proper and even duty to oppose wars that you don’t think should be waged, by your own country.

    And I personally believe the biggest issue with the current war under the open ended nature of the AUMF, deserves much more scrutiny from protestations by the American citizenry. To when this war is over, and the AUMF dead.

    The people who are against the current drone program, are fretting over a list without the context that it is populated by persons who have joined a group that has declared war on them. I understand the need to deliniate between who is a combatant, and who isn’t. For legal purposes, this is under the jurisprudence of laws of war, called a “battlefield hearing”, with the sole purpose of determining who is joined with the enemy, and who has not.

    And war being a general state of lawlessness to begin with, the legal proceedings are not what they are in a civilian court. They never have been from our founding, so there is no drift to executive or government excess with this concept. It has always been. I don’t think another president has gone to the trouble to the great degree Obama has, in defining and detailing how he is carrying out his duty to prosecute a war that the congress says is still on. To the point of inviting unwarranted scrutiny of concerned activist, by weirdly trying to also justify what he is doing under civilian law that does not apply here.

    So I see no extension of government or presidential power in the drone program. It is a president conducting a war with a new weapon called un manned drones. I agree that this new weapon needs to be debated for what it means now and for the future with nations conducting warfare. But it is not illegal, and in fact, much more conducive to less collateral damage when run with the checks and balances you speak of. That is the case now.

    But congress always has the duty to conduct stringent oversight on however the president prosecutes the war they declared, as to tactics and strategy in a broad sense. So long as they don’t micromanage that war with 535 commanders in chief.

    What it looks like is the pilotless nature of a remote controlled aircraft delivering the bombs in this war, that has confounded and alarmed the imaginations of people. It did me for a while, until I thought it through that drone strikes provided more protection from it hovering capacity, than a straight line manned aircraft sortie. If it was well managed with checks and balances. It is creepy, when imagined into the future with larger drone aircraft and fleets of them going to war with no blood on the line. That is a problem to be sorted out later on. imo. not right now.

    We could spend all day airing our fears for the future, as Wyden does, but I am going to try and keep it in the here and now, on only what is happening now, in this particular war. Hell, we give the president enormous power over life and death and at some point, you just have to trust you picked the right people to lead you. But there are no guarantees any president goes off his or her rocker and gets us all killed. We have been in danger the moment we became alive. And that is just how it is.

  222. 222
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G:

    Someday relatively soon there will be a Republican president leading the executive branch. In his/her circle of advisors will be John Bolton, Elliot Abrams, William Boykin, Frank Gaffney, or their clones. Our current leader will do us considerable harm if the precedents he sets allow those people loose reign.

    And to my general points, I feel we will all be better off if we not only question authority, but aggressive confront expansions of executive power. I fear the combination of an over-reaching government and a passive citizenry more than a suicide bomber.

    I don’t disagree with any of that. My concern was your suggestion that a president would leave powers on the table if they were handed to him. Very few people are capable of doing that. Even fewer who are ambitious enough to seek the presidency. Like you said above, I trust Obama more on this than many other potential occupants of the Oval Office, but he is an ambitious and powerful man. This is the power of separation of powers and this is why I think the solution to the problem is not to ask the president not to do things but rather to limit what a president can do unilaterally.

  223. 223
    slightly_peeved says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I don’t believe US Justice is subordinate to Yemeni Justice in regards to a US Citizen

    US law has no concrete power beyond the borders of the US, much as the law of any other country has any currency in the US. If you are not willing to abide by the legal code of a country, the legally correct thing to do is not go there.

  224. 224
    Donald says:

    I don’t understand the point of the last paragraph in the original post–all snarky about blaming Obama and then it seems we’re supposed to blame Congress. What’s wrong with blaming both Congress and Obama?

  225. 225
    Paula says:

    @TG Chicago:

    What, you can’t read the relevant section of the AUMF as it applies to Al Qaeda? It was posted somewhere on this thread. The Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda — and they actually identify as such — have been active in recent years.

    You may not like the AUMF (I certainly didn’t), but it’s the law agreed upon by most of our elected representatives that gives the gov’t the right to chase down and kill AQ operatives, even outside of Afghanistan. AQ is the designated enemy, in case it hasn’t been repeated enough. The vagueness of the AUMF means that authority to kill can be made to fit situations as long as they can be justified as AQ involved. Funny how that shit can be corrupted into authoritarian overreach.

    And before you start whining about sovereignty, it should be noted that we’re in Yemen (also Pakistan) droning people at the approval of an in-country ruling authority, whether they choose to make that explicit or not. These guys inviting us in may be corrupt assholes, but it’s part of their self interest that AQ not blow up their own people either. And if they can get America to pay for and do the work instead — well, by golly, we’re stupid enough to take the job!

    To the extent that American ignorance of historical precedents in asymmetrical warfare plays into the situation, I’m willing to grant that most people who said “let’s get them in Afghanistan!” had no idea what they were saying yes to. But neither do I have to listen to the warblings of people who are coming in too little, too late with the critical thinking.

  226. 226
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @slightly_peeved: I’ve disagreed with TG Chicago about a large number of things on this thread, but s/he has a point regarding the Yemeni trial. The US did not kill al-Awlaki based on the Yemeni trial. The trial is and should be entirely irrelevant. The argument for the action is that it is justified under the laws of war. An action like this by the US government cannot be justified by a trial in absentia in another country.

    ETA: An alternative would be the piracy equivalency I posited earlier in the thread.

  227. 227
  228. 228
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    My comment was directed at that particular comment of TG Chicago, and his complaints about the lack of due process in Yemen, rather than the broader argument. It seems to come up a bit in these threads, and it chaps my hide a bit because it suggests US citizenship trumps every other nation’s sovereignty.

  229. 229
    Ron says:

    man, there is an insane group out there. I’ve seen people on the twitters who are calling anyone objecting to the drone program emo-progs.

  230. 230
    TG Chicago says:

    @Dangerfield:

    Do you really think Al Alwaki was going to turn themselves in?

    Given the way other “War on Terror” suspects have been treated, it’s highly unlikely. But I also suggested that he could send in evidence or testimony.

    That was a small part of my response. For some reason you chose to jump down my throat about a small part of it without even acknowledging the rest. I guess you were more interested in throat jumping than an actual answer.

  231. 231
    TG Chicago says:

    @Paula:

    What, you can’t read the relevant section of the AUMF as it applies to Al Qaeda? It was posted somewhere on this thread.

    As are my responses.

  232. 232
    dopey-o says:

    @piratedan: and you know they’re really bad terrorists because…….. cheney told you so?
    repeat after me: american citizens may not be deprived of life or liberty without due process. or are we selectively reading the constitution, ratty old piece of paper that it is?

  233. 233
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dopey-o: The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clauses refer to persons not citizens. They also do not specify what process is due.

  234. 234
    Cassidy says:

    @TG Chicago: Because you don’t burn intel sources to please people for a news cycle.

  235. 235
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cassidy: Bush did.

  236. 236
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: True. Professionals don’t burn intel sources for a news cycle.

  237. 237
    Paula says:

    @TG Chicago:

    So … ? You’re the one who addressed me first, not the other way around. I didn’t address any of your comments initially because they didn’t strike me as particularly compelling. But whatever.

  238. 238
    TG Chicago says:

    @Cassidy: You could easily do this without burning sources.

  239. 239
    TG Chicago says:

    @Paula: Point is that AQAP is not the group that attacked us on 9/11 (they didn’t even exist then), thus not covered by the AUMF.

  240. 240
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Ooo, classic troll move, returning right back to the same, thoroughly debunked assertion, having derailed any serious conversation and having learned nothing.

    Strike one.

    Strike two and it’s plonkers.

  241. 241
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck: @Omnes Omnibus:
    In my mind, insight into and accountability of the decision making process is key. I would like a lot more, but this begrudging document release is a good, if small, step.

  242. 242
    Cassidy says:

    @TG Chicago: Not really. I don’t think you realize how small the world can be in certain professions.

  243. 243
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Are you still humping this bullshit about AQAP not coming under the AUMF? I thought we settled that upthread, that they are the same fucking org, only in a different region. Maybe you have some OCD, or something. jeesus christ.

    edit – you are spreading false information, and creating urban myth in the liberal blogosphere.. stop it.

  244. 244
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    In my mind, insight into and accountability of the decision making process is key. I would like a lot more, but this begrudging document release is a good, if small, step.

    I don’t know Keith. Maybe you and GG with TG Chicago can set up a review board so every decision made by Obama, can run it by use dudes for your personal approval. The rest of us can await anxiously for the thumbs up of every fucking detail and thought that Obama has from day to day doing his job.

  245. 245
    Paula says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I didn’t think much of your point because you sound like you’re looking for a piece of paper that links AQ in Yemen to OBL’s AQ when THAT’S NOT THE WAY TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS WORK. Jesus, a bunch of people already pointed this out to you.

    http://www.cfr.org/yemen/al-qa.....aqap/p9369

  246. 246
    General Stuck says:

    @Paula:

    And Al Zawahiri, even delivered a video address announcing that ObL’s former personal secretary was being promoted to run the new AQ office in Yemen called Al Quaida In the Arabian Penninsula . This is included in the CFR TG first linked to himself,and the one you link to. I’m beginning to think the dude is on assignment from some handler to disrupt the insufferable Obots over at BJ. I don’t think he is the first one of those, either. Organized trolling.

    AQAP is often cited as the jihadist franchise ideologically closest to the al-Qaeda core (Stratfor) due to many of its members’ history with Osama bin Laden. Nasir al Wuhayshi, who served as bin Laden’s chief personal secretary, is believed to be the leader of AQAP.

  247. 247
    Ben Franklin says:

    There seems to be a clear distinction between two groups here.

    1.) Total compliance with all representatives of the Law (I suspect many lawyers in this category)

    2.) Respect for the Law, tamped down when proffered by agents of the Law who abuse their authority.

  248. 248
    General Stuck says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Nope, the two groups are the idiots and those that argue with them. A distinction with a thin reed of difference.

  249. 249
    Paula says:

    Alternatively, we can manufacture excuse after excuse after excuse for why there’s nothing to be done about what should be matters of principle.

    Oh, there’s plenty to be done.

    The people who are loudest on this issue ain’t doin’ it.

    I don’t make the mistake that the current Congressional concern over drones is somehow a change in sentiment about the War on Terror in general. It’s purely for show. I honestly doubt that those people looked over to the ACLU website and had a sad where they’ve never had sads before.

    Something needs to be done about the fact that only one Congressperson voted against something as blatantly revenge-driven as the AUMF. Something needs to be done about defense industries dominating employment in certain states. Something needs to be done about the kinds of military R&D propagandizing “cleaner” weapons to the US govt.

    Is any of that being addressed by this preoccupation with drones?

    As FlipYrWhig said above, “flying death robots” rhetoric doesn’t touch the real problems with transparency. But transparency is only the first step if your real goal is making sure the US govt doesn’t turn to every questionable weapon it can acquire with a modicum of “legality”.

  250. 250
    TG Chicago says:

    @General Stuck: Your info shows that Nasir al Wuhayshi is (or was; he may have been killed) the leader of AQAP and was at one point previous to that a subordinate of OBL. That is meaningful info, but you cannot conclude from that info that AQAP is subordinate to OBL’s AQ.

    The info I provided specifically says that AQAP is not subordinate to the AQ of the late OBL–that it is its own entity. You could respond to that info if you wished.

  251. 251
    TG Chicago says:

    @Paula:

    …something as blatantly revenge-driven as the AUMF.

    Interesting. I agree with most criticisms of the AUMF in this thread (mostly that it’s too broad and open-ended), but I’m not sure about that one. Can you elaborate?

  252. 252
    TG Chicago says:

    @Paula: Is it even theoretically possible in your mind that a terrorist organization could be named Al Qaeda yet have no operational links to OBL’s Al Qaeda?

    If it is possible, then show the evidence of operational hierarchical links between AQ and AQAP. (the fact that the (former?) leader of AQAP was once subordinate to OBL is suggestive, but far from conclusive.)

    If not, then we can end the discussion here.

  253. 253
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I will respond. You are a lying sack of shit. A mendacious troll off the same shelf as NR. Your dishonestly is manifest as is your droll purposeful manner to deny reality or parse it into nothingness to make your point. You are not to be taken seriously, whether or not you are doing this as a organized project to troll this blog and disrupt its comment section. Your kind has been here before, and if you insist on this kind of pedantic nattering, you will be treated roughly by myself and others. The fact that you maintain a dullard’s humor is the only reason folks here haven’t gone wolly on your duplicitous ass.

    That article you linked is conclusive this is al quaida in many ways beyond the name. It does not have to be subordinate, as it is comprised of previous and known AQ members and it matters not that some of them are now dead.

    Now go fuck yourself , and report back to Greenwald, or whoever you are pleasing with your dishonest works on this blog. You are abjectly irrelevant, and fit for the verbal abuse you deserve. You are the type sumbitch that has made blogging here a chore the past 4 years.

    Have nice motherfucking day. We will chat later.

  254. 254
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    If not, then we can end the discussion here.

    Praise be Allah. Please do end your tales of unmitigated bullshit.

  255. 255
    TG Chicago says:

    @Cassidy: I fail to see how saying “we invited him to come in for questioning” would burn any sources. They don’t need to say a peep about how the invitation was carried out. Heck, they could have used the email address they got from his correspondence with Nidal Hassan. Sources burned=0.

  256. 256
    General Stuck says:

    These tin men motherfuckers are republicans wet dream, to point at and say look at those loony liberals do you want to vote for them? Free Republic of the Left.

  257. 257
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Shut up liar. Please don’t respond to this dishonest wanker. You feeds its troll guts.

  258. 258
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck: Your use of an extreme bifurcation as a rhetorical gambit does not serve the needs of adult discourse. If you are frustrated by other discussions on this thread, I understand. Just leave me out.

  259. 259
    Dangerfield says:

    @General Stuck:

    General Stuck screw that asshole. I looked at the AUMF after you brought it up in one of your comments. Section two explicitly –

    ” Section 2 – Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    (b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

    (1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
    (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution. ”

    -says that the President has the power to kill or arrest (although not in those words) anyone (not just forigners) who is threatening or aiding groups or persons threatening the U.S.

    These people are true assholes who think America is evil thank the flyinig spaghetti monsters most democrats and Obama disagree with these idiots.

  260. 260
    TG Chicago says:

    @General Stuck:

    It does not have to be subordinate, as it is comprised of previous and known AQ members…

    So any Organization B which includes previous members of Organization A is automatically tantamount to Organization A. I imagine we can both think of examples which prove this theorem false.

    I’m not sure why your argument requires all the name-calling and insults, but so be it.

  261. 261
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    Your use of an extreme bifurcation as a rhetorical gambit does not serve the needs of adult discourse

    Adult discourse on Bj? Are you lost. Bullshit is bullshit, as is in nit picking things to death. The OLC memos are not “a small start”, they are the end game of how the Obama admin. went about concluding its legal analysis. And now congress will see them, even though most every previous administration would not have released to deliberative documents to congress or the public. The synopsis of their analysis with the white paper would have been enough.

    And really, those possessing a modicum of common sense would know that the AUMF covers drone us on that group and its affiliates. This is all a made up controversy by self important wanna be demagogues. If you don’t like the policy, fine, that is a righteous position, not this flogging of war crime illegality. Protest the war itself, grab a sign and hit the street to end it and end drone use fighting it. You waste our time with pointless noodling at the expense of engaging on other issues that are not so clear.

    You made assertions early in this thread and got rightfully slammed for them. I waited till you could collect your thoughts, and you deliver the usual mush like the quote above. And still did not answer my original question. I don’t care what you say, but it should be clear that I plan to question bullshit assertions toward president Barack Obama, every, single, time. And have no intention of ignoring you. You can characterize that any way you want, and it will make no difference. The difference between what you’ve written on this thread is only a matter of degree different than TG Chicago. Smarmy bullshit.

  262. 262
    General Stuck says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Read you own linked CFR article, ALL OF IT. It was you that brought it to this thread as an authoritive source of info on your claims of AQAP not being included in the AUMF. The article begins the first paragraph

    Headquartered in Yemen, AQAP has been characterized by counterterrorism analysts as the most active and lethal Qaeda affiliate, intent on striking at both the U.S. homeland and regional targets.

    And goes from there to a myriad of shared personnel and goals. What do you think “affiliate” means?

    And if you insist on this kind of insult to my intelligence, meager as it is, you can expect direct talk back with or without personal insults. Should somebody bring you a pillow and cup of tea for your comfort? On BJ, there is no comfort for liars. Never has been.

    1. To adopt or accept as a member, subordinate associate, or branch: The HMO affiliated the clinics last year. 2. To associate (oneself) as a subordinate, subsidiary, employee, or member: affiliated herself with a new law firm. 3. To assign the origin of.

  263. 263
    General Stuck says:

    @Dangerfield:

    The US congress specifically gave ‘the president’ the sole power to determine who the enemy was and dispatch them in a matter consistent with the rule of law with warfare.

    Congress must review the evidence to do oversight, and very stringent oversight with giving a president this kind of power over people. And Obama, for the most part has complied.

    If folks are upset, it should be at congress for not managing this murky AUMF, and or modifying it to better reflect their wishes. We, and president Obama, have to conclude this is the way they want it done, since they haven’t changed or cancelled the AUMF. That is where the protest should be directed. imo. Obama is just carrying out his duties the best he can, under the situation. He should be open to oversight, and is, with some fits and starts. But this angling toward “war criminal” coming from the left admittedly enrages me, especially when it is presented with such mendacious carriers as TG Chicago and people like GG. It is too important and I will not be quiet.

  264. 264
    Paula says:

    @TG Chicago:

    OK, well, clearly you’re stuck on the word “operational” like it corresponds to something that AQ, AQ in Yemen, and the United States gov’t might care about.

    Yeah, I’d say the conversation’s ended.

  265. 265
    TG Chicago says:

    @General Stuck: Really, it was you who brought in the article, via your wiki quote. You’ve never acknowledged, BTW, that the cited article does not substantiate the wiki quote.

    And the quote you include does not invalidate the one I first included:

    In late 2008, a successful crackdown by the Saudi government led remnants of the local al-Qaeda franchise to flee across the border and unite with the resurgent jihad in Yemen. By 2009, the two branches merged formally under the banner of AQAP (BBC). “The merger effectively transformed al-Qaeda from a local chapter to a regional franchise,” says Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen, “and moved it one step closer toward becoming a group capable of global action.”

    (You haven’t even acknowledged this, either.)

    Yes, the article says that AQAP “has been characterized” as an affiliate. It does not say that AQAP is currently an affiliate (or was at the time of Awlaki’s assassination), which is the question at hand.

    In fact, as quoted above, the article does say that AQAP is not currently an affiliate.

  266. 266
    General Stuck says:

    Really, it was you who brought in the article, via your wiki quote. You’ve never acknowledged, BTW, that the cited article does not substantiate the wiki quote.

    So what if it didn’t use the word “subordinate”, the wiki page are filled with annotations that do use the interchangable terms of “affiliate” and “subordinate”/ What do you think a “franchise” is?

    : the right or license granted to an individual or group to market a company’s goods or services in a particular territory; also : a business granted such a right or license (2) : the territory involved in such a right

    AQ franchises market AQ goods and service. In this case murder and mayhem.

    ——

    Comical. You link to a cfr article that clearly supports my argument and destroys yours, including the use of the all important use of “subordinate” and frantically fap over the absence of a specific term in my wiki quote link that you have decided is all important, and its annotation .

    I can’t believe I’ve wasted my time on such specious nonsense engaging a clown troll like you. We are done here, case closed. If you want to peddle in Greenwaldian propaganda, it is a free country and blog. So have at it . I’ve said my peace on the matter, the readers can decide for themselves. Carry on Sparky. maybe you are very young.

  267. 267
    General Stuck says:

    I am such an idiot sometimes, it makes my teeth hurt.

  268. 268
    Dangerfield says:

    @General Stuck:

    “I can’t believe I’ve wasted my time on such specious nonsense engaging a clown troll like you. We are done here, case closed.”

    General Stuck these super lefty people are trully a group of jack asses. I despise these assholes and I wont apologize for it they are holding the progressive movement back. Folks like TG Chicago are opposite peas in the same pod as the tea baggers.

    I just concluded a back and forth with one who labled the stimulus package as bieng right wing economic policy because one third of it was tax cuts.

    I pointed out to that idiot that many of the tax cuts went to low and middle income folks. These idiots live in thier own world. I also pointed out to him the stimulus wouldnt have gotten by the blue dogs without those tax cuts.

    Have you notice how the twist and parse words and thier meaning. If thier case was so strong they wouldnt need to do this.

  269. 269
    Dangerfield says:

    @General Stuck:

    “I can’t believe I’ve wasted my time on such specious nonsense engaging a clown troll like you. We are done here, case closed.”

    General Stuck these super lefty people are trully a group of jack asses. I despise these assholes and I wont apologize for it they are holding the progressive movement back. Folks like TG Chicago are opposite peas in the same pod as the tea baggers.

    I just concluded a back and forth with one who labled the stimulus package as bieng right wing economic policy because one third of it was tax cuts.

    I pointed out to that idiot that many of the tax cuts went to low and middle income folks. These idiots live in thier own world. I also pointed out to him the stimulus wouldnt have gotten by the blue dogs without those tax cuts.

    Have you notice how the twist and parse words and thier meaning. If thier case was so strong they wouldnt need to do this.

  270. 270
    TG Chicago says:

    Really, my meaning doesn’t require any parsing:

    I don’t think the President should be allowed to target US Citizens for assassination. I don’t find it morally or legally permissible.

Comments are closed.