RANGER AGAINST WAR: The U.S. of Assassination <

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The U.S. of Assassination

--Hunting Taliban,
Manny Francisco (Manilla)

I wish I was a neutron bomb,

for once I could go off.

I wish I was a sacrifice

but somehow still lived on

, Pearl Jam

We’ll spend a month obsessing about Terri Shiavo.

But dare we show the body of a fallen soldier?

--Boston Legal

We should never confuse dissent
with disloyalty

--Edward R. Murrow


Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, U.S. citizen, is officially on a U.S. "kill list". Do democracies remain liberal when they run hit lists? Does the President have the legal authority to sentence a U.S. citizen to death, sans trial?

"if the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the president does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes in an enemy of the state," said Jameel Jaffer, deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, who presented arguments in the case. "It's the government's responsibility to protect the nation from terrorist attacks, but the courts have a crucial role to play in ensuring that counterterrorism policies are consistent with the Constitution (Obama's Administration Claims Unchecked Authority).

FBI investigators sayAl-Awlaki's function may have been to keep the 9-11-01 hijackers "spiritually on-track". That IS the function of spiritual advisers, after all. And one could argue that U.S. military chaplains do the same for our soldiers. Both sides kill civilians, so the label terrorist could depend on which side of the fence one resides.

The U.S. did not target Shiite cleric Musa al-Sadr, whose preachings obviously led to U.S. deaths. How is one exempt, and another slated for dispatch into oblivion?

Truly, the U.S. President lacks the authority to sentence any one to death, nor can he legitimately authorize assassination. Assassination is not an option in the U.S. legal pantheon for responses to terrorist actions.

Definitions matter in a country under rule of law. Is al-Awlaki a
belligerent, as claimed? Belligerent is a term of warfare as defined by the Geneva Conventions. Yet if we capture belligerents, we fail to afford them prisoner of war (POW) status and all rights that issue from that.

Further, we predict that al-Awlaki presents an imminent danger to U.S. citizens. Going with this line of predictability, do not serial killers also pose imminent threats to life? Yet, we do not target them for assassination. Likewise, we do not target Mexican or Columbian drug lords, yet just as surely they are imminent threats to life which bleeds over our borders. The U.S. has precedent for dealing with criminals, and it does not involve assassination.

We are assured that the Central Intelligence Agency will be prudent and apply due process in their assemblage if their kill lists and this elicits a snicker, for surely the CIA is composed of extremists every bit as much as the group al-Qaeda. There have been no charges of terrorism filed against al-Awlaki, and the administration refuses to release evidence (State secret, y'know.)

When the U.S. must maintain a death list and cannot extract a small-time operator like al-Awlaki from tribal areas in Yemen, how can we say we are a world power?

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Blogger Brooklyn Red Leg said...

The deafening silence from the 'Mainstream' Left about President Obama claiming this power is nauseating. We have become the very dystopian nightmare predicted years ago by Huxley, Orwell and a host of others. People are now encouraged to spy on one another and report to DHS via their IPhone (no joke, there is an App). We have militarized our police forces and the Force Continuum has gone from being a up-and-down scale to circular where use of force is determined by the officer in question and generally beyond review. The host of laws that civilians unknowingly violate every day, for which they can be imprisoned, has become astronomical. Our society is sick.

I can't help but think of Tolkien's warning to us in The Lord of the Rings chapter The Scouring of the Shire. 'Everything but The Rules got shorter and shorter'.

Monday, November 8, 2010 at 6:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Yep, we're there.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 5:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall said...

I think Obama needs to tell the truth about the real reason we are at war in Pakistan (and Afghanistan) - namely the Chinese-built deepwater port in Gwardar, Pakistan - which will guarantee China a virtual monopoly on Iranian oil and natural gas. The intention is to de-stabilize Balochistan - a mineral rich region in itself - and to empower their separatists to secede from Pakistan. To assassinate scapegoats without giving them the right to defend themselves - for the sake of a cynical economic agenda - is morally bankrupt. I blog about this at http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2010/09/26/iran-china-and-the-gwadar-port/ and http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2010/09/29/balochistan-the-place-to-watch/

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 5:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thank you for the relevant The Lord of the Rings quotation,'Everything but The Rules got shorter and shorter'.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 10:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Well, even more bad news now...


WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has decided to begin publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to de-emphasize President Barack Obama's pledge that he'd begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July 2011, administration and military officials have told McClatchy Newspapers.

The new policy will be on display next week during a conference of NATO countries in Lisbon, Portugal, where the administration hopes to introduce a timeline that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014, the year when Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said Afghan troops could provide their own security, three senior officials told McClatchy, along with others speaking anonymously as a matter of policy.

I'm going to go throw up now....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 3:36:00 PM GMT-5  

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