Liberal critics of drone-warfare standards are simply wrong

In a secret 16-page “white paper” leaked to NBC, Justice Department lawyers have laid out an argument attempting to justify the president’s decision to launch drone attacks even against overseas terrorist leaders who are U.S. citizens.

According to authors of that memo, that presidential authority is derived from “his constitutional responsibility to protect the country, the inherent right of the United States to national self-defense under international law, Congress’s authorization of the use of all necessary and appropriate military force against this enemy, and the existence of an armed conflict with al-Qaida under international law.”

The document also explains the standards implemented by the current administration in using that authority. It concludes that such strikes are legal when:

– The targeted individual is “a senior operational leader of al Qaida or an associated force of al Qaida — that is, an al Qaida leader actively engaged in planning operations to kill Americans.”

– “… an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S.”

– The capture of the individual located in a foreign country is deemed “infeasible.”

It’s important to point out that this is not a theoretical exercise. President Obama has used this life-and-death authority to order a successful drone strike against Anwar al-Alwaki, a U.S. citizen who became a top regional leader for Al Qaida in Yemen, where arresting him was impossible.

Among other plots, Al-Awlaki helped plan the attempted airliner bombing on Christmas Day in 2009, as well as two attempted cargo-plane bombings using plastic explosives. As a recruiter for al Qaida, he also encouraged the attack by Major Nidal Hasan that killed 13 U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.

In the video below, Al-Awlaki makes his loyalties and his intentions quite clear:

“We have chosen the path of war in order to defend ourselves against your oppression,” he says, in one of many damning statements. “God willing, we will continue in this war and you will find us persistent.”

In his particular case, God was not willing. Al-Alwaki died in a drone attack in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011.

Personally, I have no problem whatsoever with launching such an attack. His citizenship does not outweigh the threat that he clearly posed to the security of this country. Others, however, have expressed deep concern about what they see as a violation of al-Alwaki’s right to legal due process, and about an unconstitutional, even radical expansion of executive powers.

You will sometimes run across a half-hearted version of that critique coming from conservatives, but it is hard to take such complaints seriously. If you doubt that conclusion, imagine what conservative critics would be saying if the Obama administration had announced that it would NOT target known al Qaida leaders out of deference to due process concerns.

The howling would be epic.

On the other hand, those liberals who take issue with the policy tend to be sincere and serious about it, to the point of near-hysteria.

In Salon, for example, columnist David Sirota claims that in the leaked white paper, the White House has asserted the radical power to kill citizens “without any concrete intelligence suggesting a citizen is linked to terrorist activity” (emphasis original). It is a claim that he repeats throughout the column, asserting that “evidence is not required to kill someone,” that “the president doesn’t actually need evidence to order someone’s death” and that “not a single shred of actual evidence is needed not just to prosecute (the target), but to outright execute him.”

Here’s the section of the memo on which Sirota bases that charge:

“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. Given the nature of, for example, the terrorist attacks on September 11, in which civilian airliners were hijacked to strike the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, this definition of imminence, which would require the United States to refrain from action until preparations for an attack are concluded, would not allow the United States sufficient time to defend itself.”

The memo states that the president doesn’t need evidence of a particular, specific plot being hatched in the immediate future in order to take action against an al Qaida leader. That’s a far cry from “not a single shred of actual evidence is needed.”

And again, the case of al-Alwaki offers a useful example. Given what we already knew about his actions, and given his own public testimony, we did not need evidence of a specific new plot in the immediate future to justify taking action against him. We knew more than enough already.

Glenn Greenwald, writing in The Guardian, takes a tack similar to Sirota, accusing the administration of obviating a citizen’s constitutional right to due process before his life can be taken by his government.

Like Sirota, he writes:

“Specifically, the president’s assassination power ‘does not require that the US have clear evidence that a specific attack . . . will take place in the immediate future’. The US routinely assassinates its targets not when they are engaged in or plotting attacks but when they are at home, with family members, riding in a car, at work, at funerals, rescuing other drone victims, etc. ”

I’m not sure what that last sentence is intended to communicate. Are bank robbers only to be arrested in the actual act of robbing the bank?

That aside, here’s the most basic problem with the criticisms raised by Sirota, Greenwald and others: What is the cure?

If you do not want “an informed, high-level official of the US government,” i.e., the president and commander in chief, to determine whether a “targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S.,” to whom would you give that authority?

By casting it as a question of due process, you necessarily invest that full power in the judiciary. You would require a judge or panel of judges to decide from the bench whether it is operationally plausible to capture rather than kill this particular terrorist in this particular country. A judge or judges would have to balance a citizen’s right to due process against the threat of an attack imminent enough to justify military intervention.

No judge is capable of such a decision. On what legal basis could such judgments be based? The answer is none. No reasonable judge would want the power or responsibility to make such national security judgments.

This is not wiretapping, a field in which judges have years of legal training, decades of experience and centuries of constitutional precedent to fall back upon. This cuts to the core of the commander in chief’s duty, and I do not believe for one second that the Founding Fathers envisioned giving judges the power to make such decisions. Giving judges that kind of power and responsibility would make a joke of the separation of powers and seriously damage the security of this country.

– Jay Bookman

497 comments Add your comment

bman.

February 5th, 2013
4:49 pm

At first glance, I thought this was going to be a blogpost about why liberals are wrong. Could be your next book?

TBS

February 5th, 2013
4:50 pm

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong………..

My best Senator Byrd

Logical Dude

February 5th, 2013
4:50 pm

a) I dislike this about as much as I dislike the president having the power to name anyone an “enemy combatant” and plop them in Guantanamo without legal recourse.
b) The drone attacks are WAY better than invading the whole country – whole hog, with all of the resulting collateral damage. Drone attacks are much more focused and reduce collateral damage. Some may argue that the intelligence behind the drone attacks needs to be improved, but it’s hard to be 100% accurate on anything in war.
c) yes, it’s war. Methods are needed to fight the war and defeat those trying to attack us. I’d rather it be more covert operations than outright war and attacks, but. . .. that’s where we are.

At least we have guidelines to move forward on these attacks. This shows thought goes into this, and not just “drone attack anyone we think might be doing anything!”

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

February 5th, 2013
4:51 pm

“God willing, we will continue in this war and you will find us persistent.”

In his particular case, God was not willing.

Heh, heh, heh.

josef

February 5th, 2013
4:51 pm

“– The targeted individual is “a senior operational leader of al Qaida or an associated force of al Qaida — that is, an al Qaida leader actively engaged in planning operations to kill Americans.”

So, 16 year old boys are now “senior operational leader(s)”

Sure, whatever…George Zimmerman might should ought to say he thought Tevon was a terrorist, eh?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 5th, 2013
4:54 pm

Jay, while I do not disagree with your position, I am troubled by the lack of any oversight. I agree that these policies remain in the formative stages and therefore I believe at a minimum when an American is involved, even post-operation, there should be some review to determine if there was just use. But admittedly, that may not provide much in the way of clarifying standards and does nothing to respond to how to limit abuse.

TBS

February 5th, 2013
4:54 pm

Good points on the droning. Tough call either way. Above my pay grade in terms of the legalities.

Different topic but surely worth noting. I have mentioned this before, some who were up in arms about the Patriot Act, sure have been quiet lately.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
4:55 pm

Jay:

I don’t have a problem with this either but you and the other libs. on here would be howling if a Republican President was doing the same thing.

What hypocrisy !

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

February 5th, 2013
4:55 pm

War is all hell – Sherman

Simple Truths

February 5th, 2013
4:55 pm

Did Jay just criticize liberals? *passes out a keyboard *

I better re-read this post.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
4:55 pm

Enter your comments here

Oooops ! These pesky libs. are at it again !

Headline: “City in Virginia Becomes First to Pass Anti-Drone Legislation”

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/02/05/city-in-virginia-becomes-first-to-pass-anti-drone-legislation-

Logical Dude

February 5th, 2013
4:56 pm

quoting the critics: “even against overseas terrorist leaders who are U.S. citizens.”

For me, everyone should have the same rights, US Citizen or not.

That being said, a US Citizen acting as a terrorist should be treated like a terrorist, US Citizen or not.

saywhat?

February 5th, 2013
4:56 pm

I fall somewhere betweeen Jay’s opinion and that of Greenwald/Sirota. It should be allowed but extremely rare, and only under specific conditions such as those laid out.I fully agree with Jay however that the right will trip over themselves in fantastic ways making hypocritical statements in an attempt to fling poo at the president.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
4:57 pm

If a German or Japanese soldiers had landed on our beaches in WWII would a probable cause warrant or “due process” have been required before killiing them (even if some “happened” to be U.S. citizens) ?

I think not.

Just because terrorists are too cowardly to wear uniforms ………… that’s THEIR problem.

Moderate Line

February 5th, 2013
4:58 pm

I will repeat myself. We can’t use enhance interrogation techniques but we can release them into their home country and then kill them with a drone. Make sense?

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
4:58 pm

saywhat?

Just as the left “flung poo” at Bush for the same thing.

Hypocrites ……….. line up and take your medicine !

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

February 5th, 2013
5:00 pm

enhance interrogation techniques

There’s your sign.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 5th, 2013
5:00 pm

passes out a keyboard

Now that has got to be painful. You may want to see a doctor or eat more fiber.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:00 pm

Ooooops ! The law and that pesky Constitution are getting in the way again !

“Court: NYTimes’s Request for New York City Gun Owners Violates Law. As did the previous release of a list of gun owners.”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/court-nytimess-request-new-york-city-gun-owners-violates-law_700264.html

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 5th, 2013
5:01 pm

Germans and Japanese were Americans? Rabbithole fail! :lol:

josef

February 5th, 2013
5:02 pm

SCOUT

That question of citizenship DID come up with captured German operatives in the US who were American citizens…

Moderate Line

February 5th, 2013
5:03 pm

Among other plots, Al-Awlaki helped plan the attempted airliner bombing on Christmas Day in 2009, as well as two attempted cargo-plane bombings using plastic explosives. As a recruiter for al Qaida, he also encouraged the attack by Major Nidal Hasan that killed 13 U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.
======
Keep in mind he was in custody twice after Ft. Hood. Once in the US and once in Yemen. I believe Jay is on to something. Don’t use enhance interrogation techniques. Release them and take them out with drone. No messy due process to worry about. No problem with due process or any of that other lefty ACLU crap.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:04 pm

Logical Dude @ 4:56

Thank you !

I would go one step further ……….. war is NOT law enforcement.

A U.S. citizen terrorist on U.S. soil should have no more rights than a German spy or soldier would have had in WW II.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 5th, 2013
5:04 pm

TBS: some who were up in arms about the Patriot Act, sure have been quiet lately.

Nope. Actually there are many who are still fighting those battles in the courts and on other fronts. They may have changed tactics some and, in other cases, the media and the attention of other Americans have moved on to shiny objects but the objections are still there if you look for them.

Granny Godzilla

February 5th, 2013
5:05 pm

Drones are preferable to brigades.

I trust that this President does not select this option lightly.
.
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Oh and Mr. Digits……

Piffle.

AS Jay stated some liberals are not on board with this….but I think you will find most are.

If you review the previous few threads, you will find it has been the conservatives howling.

Scrivener

February 5th, 2013
5:06 pm

Jay says, “The howling would be epic.” This coming from one of the most biased columnists there are who constantly whines and screams about the GOP and rarely points out problems with democrats. Your headlines are a case in point. Seriously, you’re a joke.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:06 pm

Keep Up the Good Fight:

If you would check your history you would discover that many Germans and Japanese were U.S. citizens “caught” in those countries and drafted to serve in their armies. Others decided to serve voluntarily.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:07 pm

Granny:

Not when Bush was president.

Hypocrisy !! Own it !

Joe Hussein Mama

February 5th, 2013
5:07 pm

If we don’t have some sort of transparency with regard to the standards we’re employing in order to use these, then do we have any legitimate complaint coming when other nations follow our lead? The US is *not* the only country using UACVs, and of those countries using them, they ain’t all friendly, folks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmanned_combat_aerial_vehicle#Proliferation

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 5th, 2013
5:07 pm

A U.S. citizen terrorist on U.S. soil should have no more rights than a German spy or soldier would have had in WW II.

Well that would conflict with their so-called 2d Amendment rights to battle “tyranny”? Seems you got a blurred line or is it one defined by religion? :roll:

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:08 pm

josef:

“That question of citizenship DID come up with captured German operatives in the US who were American citizens…”

“DID” and “mattering” are two different things.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

February 5th, 2013
5:10 pm

Jay says, “The howling would be epic.” [...] Seriously, you’re a joke.

Thereby proving Jay’s point.

Too funny!

TBS

February 5th, 2013
5:10 pm

Keep

Did I say all or some? Didn’t say there weren’t those who were and are still opposed and vocal.

You wanted to take it as that, but that is not what I said.

комисса́р (Occupation)

February 5th, 2013
5:10 pm

“In his particular case, God was not willing.”

Well, it’s a bit premature to concluded that, isn’t it? I mean, we just don’t know. Right?

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:10 pm

Good Fight:

“Well that would conflict with their so-called 2d Amendment rights to battle “tyranny”?”

And you would be correct unless YOU WIN !

Washington, et al “won” so they are our heroes and founding fathers. Had they lost, they would have been hung and as a British citizen you might not even know their names.

Uh Huh... The penalty for Patriotic Treason is death

February 5th, 2013
5:11 pm

“The US routinely assassinates its targets not when they are engaged in or plotting attacks but when they are at home, with family members, riding in a car, at work, at funerals, rescuing other drone victims, etc”
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Don’t blame the targets of these terrorists………blame the perpetrators.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:11 pm

Bumper Sticker:

“Equal Rights for Terrorists”

Granny Godzilla

February 5th, 2013
5:12 pm

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:07 pm

Granny:

Not when Bush was president.

Hypocrisy !! Own it !
.
.
.
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Nope.

Not buying it.

Don’t own it.

josef

February 5th, 2013
5:13 pm

SCOUT

It DID matter…I’ll have to go looking for the case and citation…

A Simple Man

February 5th, 2013
5:13 pm

Logical Dude is on the mark. If a idiot acts and claims to be a terrorist, then treat them like a terrorist. Makes sense to me. No one ever said the Constitution was a suicide parchment.

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:13 pm

Legal experts expressed grave reservations Tuesday about an Obama administration memo concluding that the United States can order the killing of American citizens believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida — with one saying the White House was acting as “judge, jury and executioner.”

Believed to be affiliated. Well Jay, the intel community BELIEVED Hussein had WMDs. According to liberals like YOU lies were told to start a war in Iraq. So will you stand behind this when theres a GOP President and he says he believes YOU are affiliated with terrorists? The standard is that obama believes they are affiliated with terrorists. You really want presidents to have that power? or just obama?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 5th, 2013
5:14 pm

Senior Digits, enemy soldiers in uniform caught on American soil are treated as combatants. Those not in uniform who are also Americans caught on American soil are prosecuted. Those on the battlefield are combatants.

You have still failed to address the Red Dawn terrorist that you worship.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 5th, 2013
5:15 pm

TBS, sure…. so it could be one person and that is why you were making the post. :roll:

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:15 pm

“DOJ: DRONE STRIKES ON AMERICANS ‘LEGAL’…”

By the way, for the sake of arguement (and even though I support it) the DOJ “opinion” on this does not make it legal.

That will take an eventual decision by the SCOTUS.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

February 5th, 2013
5:16 pm

…the intel community BELIEVED Hussein had WMDs.

Not intended to be a factual statement.

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:17 pm

American citizens have rights not afforded to citizens of the world. Misguided liberals are offended when the mastermind of 9-11 was waterboarded yet have no problems with a president assassinating American citizens he believes are affiliated with terrorists. Perhaps someday we will have a Conservative President that believes the Democratic Party is affiliated with terrorists. Will you still stand up for the precedent obama is setting then??

Uh Huh... The penalty for Patriotic Treason is death

February 5th, 2013
5:17 pm

Cons just wait until the next attack against the U. S.

Cons won’t be so quick to defend a 16 year old who was probably being groomed

to kill americans and who is willing to die for his cause.

Jay

February 5th, 2013
5:19 pm

“Keep in mind he was in custody twice after Ft. Hood. Once in the US and once in Yemen.”

Do you have a cite for that claim, Moderate? The Fort Hood shooting was 2009; my understanding is al Alwaki went underground in 2006-07.

Moderate Line

February 5th, 2013
5:19 pm

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:13 pm
Legal experts expressed grave reservations Tuesday about an Obama administration memo concluding that the United States can order the killing of American citizens believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida — with one saying the White House was acting as “judge, jury and executioner.”

Believed to be affiliated. Well Jay, the intel community BELIEVED Hussein had WMDs. According to liberals like YOU lies were told to start a war in Iraq. So will you stand behind this when theres a GOP President and he says he believes YOU are affiliated with terrorists? The standard is that obama believes they are affiliated with terrorists. You really want presidents to have that power? or just obama?
+++++
Excellent point. No one looks at this from the standpoint of giving the power to someone they don’t support. Remember when the CIA was involved with Allende overthrow in Chile.

We can’t torture but you can release them and have them killed with drone.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

February 5th, 2013
5:19 pm

Well, I don’t know about you but I like this drone thingie. No lawyer gumming up the works with endless appeals. No judges to twist the law in the Terrist’s favor. The ACLU can take a hike. No Congress to complain about how these Terrists are just too dangerous to bring into the U.S. to try in court. No bleeding hearts to whine about O the Humanity!when we capture a Terrist and put him in jail.

Just track the guy down and pass the word to the drone pilot. Problem solved.

And don’t give me this bunk about due process. How much due process did all those folks in the World Trade Center get? Or advance notice, for that matter? How many innocent passengers on those planes got due process? When it comes to Terrists, you can take your due process and shove it up where the sun don’t shine, along with your keyboard.

It’s about time we fight the Terrists with their own weapons—sneakiness, suddenness, and deadliness.

That’s my opinion and it’s very true. Have a good night everybody.

Jay

February 5th, 2013
5:20 pm

“Well, it’s a bit premature to conclude that, isn’t it? I mean, we just don’t know. Right?”

No, we know. God was not willing to let him continue, because he is dead. Now, as to the outcome of the larger struggle ….?

TBS

February 5th, 2013
5:20 pm

Keep

Really? If that is your take fella, rock on.

I made a statement that you purposely took out of context. Your bs, not mine.

There are people who were up in arms about the Patriot Act when Bush was President who are now silent.

You not wanting to admit it or wanting to take my statement out of context doesn’t change the facts.

So my point is valid and I stand by it.

You can play semantics all evening if that makes you feel better.

arnold

February 5th, 2013
5:20 pm

I’d rather send a drone to wipe them out than a bunch of grunts. When I was in the army, we didn’t have drones. A lot more American soldiers died. Let the terrorists die without any of our troops. I feel nasty today.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:21 pm

Good fight:

“Senior Digits, enemy soldiers in uniform caught on American soil are treated as combatants.”

Yes and they are shot at and killed without probable cause warrants or due process.

“Those not in uniform who are also Americans caught on American soil are prosecuted.”

If they aren’t shot first ! Then they could be executed as spies.

Moderate Line

February 5th, 2013
5:21 pm

Redneck Convert (R–and proud of it)

February 5th, 2013
5:19 pm
Well, I don’t know about you but I like this drone thingie. No lawyer gumming up the works with endless appeals. No judges to twist the law in the Terrist’s favor. The ACLU can take a hike. No Congress to complain about how these Terrists are just too dangerous to bring into the U.S. to try in court. No bleeding hearts to whine about O the Humanity!when we capture a Terrist and put him in jail.

Just track the guy down and pass the word to the drone pilot. Problem solved.

And don’t give me this bunk about due process. How much due process did all those folks in the World Trade Center get? Or advance notice, for that matter? How many innocent passengers on those planes got due process? When it comes to Terrists, you can take your due process and shove it up where the sun don’t shine, along with your keyboard.

It’s about time we fight the Terrists with their own weapons—sneakiness, suddenness, and deadliness.

That’s my opinion and it’s very true. Have a good night everybody.
+++++
Look who you agree with Jay. Interesting.

pogo

February 5th, 2013
5:21 pm

Who decides who is a “Terrorist” and who is this “informed high level official” in the government making this decision? The DOJ’s second justification should make everyone nervous. The ambiguity of the second premise reeks and is exactly why this should be a court matter subject to constitutional law. No one person should be able to make the decision to side-step the constitution. Not even Jay’s much worshipped Obama. Those that support Obama’s continued attack on the Constitution should be very concerned.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:21 pm

Oh, you own it Granny whether you claim it or not !

Matt321

February 5th, 2013
5:21 pm

I am glad you mention Glenn Greenwald. For anyone wanting to see a clear, articulate argument supporting the United States Constitution (and not ignoring it, as Jay has chosen to do), please check him out.

This isn’t a Republican/Democratic issue or a liberal/conservative issue. At stake is nothing less than the rule of law, and whether or not the President should have the power to be judge, jury, and executioner (and all in secret, to boot!).

Jay, please explain why you’re comfortable with the United States, two weeks later, killing his American son.

ClydeFr0g

February 5th, 2013
5:21 pm

It does not surprise me one bit that Jay supports the unchallenged authority of Obama’s federal government or the complete disregard for a citizen’s Constitutional rights.

We are talking about assassination of American citizens without due process of law here folks. I fully believe this guy was a no-good piece of trash and he deserved to die, but I do not believe in setting a precedent that our government can accuse someone of being a terrorist and then murder them. This is a VERY dangerous precedent. this guy (and his murdered 16 year old son) could have at least been tried in abstentia.

Amazing to me that so many here are blind to the fact this this is exactly a road to a tyrannical government…the NDAA allowing indefinite detention of citizens merely for being accused by the government of terrorism, the NSA whose SOLE purpose is to spy on US, the citizens, the TSA who routinely violate our Constitutional rights.

Yet still you will sit here and deny the need for the Second Amendment to allow the citizens to defend themselves from a tyrannical government because “seriously, this is 21st century America…there is no possibility of a tyrannical government anymore”. Yeah, right.

ty webb

February 5th, 2013
5:22 pm

as long as the drone doesn’t waterboard anyone I say drone away.

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:22 pm

the intel community BELIEVED Hussein had WMDs.

Not intended to be a factual statement.

George Tenet, Clintons CIA Director when asked if Iraq had WMDs. Its a slam dunk. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Leon Panetta, all BELIEVED Iraq had WMDs. So now you want those same people murdering American citizens because they BELIEVE they are affiliated with terrorists? What does affiliated mean anyways? Have a conversation with one? Eat in the same restaurant? Distant cousin of one? Who decides what affiliated means? Obama? the same that that has lost millions on bad investments? the same guy that organized the murderous community of Chicago?

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:23 pm

Swift, Silent, Deadly !

Jay

February 5th, 2013
5:23 pm

“The standard is that obama believes they are affiliated with terrorists. You really want presidents to have that power?”

Would you rather have the person elected to serve as commander in chief with that power, or would you rather devolve that national-security decision-making onto unelected judges whose only expertise is in the law?

That is the question, plain and simple.

Oscar

February 5th, 2013
5:23 pm

Don’t see an issue in this, Drone on. Or keep on droning.

Simple Truths

February 5th, 2013
5:24 pm

Re-read the post. Still can’t believe it.

Keep, maybe I need that fiber you were mentioning.

Moderate Line

February 5th, 2013
5:24 pm

If you do not want “an informed, high-level official of the US government,” i.e., the president and commander in chief, to determine whether a “targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S.,” to whom would you give that authority?
++++++
The president has unchecked power outsides the border.
I guess coup that brought Pinochet to power was Ok.

josef

February 5th, 2013
5:25 pm

Uh-oh

“Cons won’t be so quick to defend a 16 year old who was probably being groomed to kill americans and who is willing to die for his cause.”‘

I’m not a con. And your ‘probably’ is the key factor…this is the “nits make lice” arguments of Sherman and Eichmann…

You’re “probably” a dip-sh*t. I’ve declared war on dip-sh*ts. Therefore I can drone you.

Logical Dude

February 5th, 2013
5:26 pm

Matt321: whether or not the President should have the power to be judge, jury, and executioner

Well, this power was already given to Bush, when he could name anyone an “enemy combatant” and have them killed or sent to Guantanamo indefinitely.

Dave

February 5th, 2013
5:27 pm

“No judge is capable of such a decision.” If that is the case then neither is the President or some unnamed “an informed, high-level official of the US government.” If you acknowledge the concept of a U.S. citizen having due process rights, then you don’t do what you are signing on for. Due process is the heart of our political process. And then you close with an nod at original intent. Not at all your best work Jay.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

February 5th, 2013
5:28 pm

George Tenet, Clintons CIA Director when asked if Iraq had WMDs. Its a slam dunk. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Leon Panetta, all BELIEVED Iraq had WMDs.

Sorry sport.

Your list isn’t the entire “intel community.”

The United Kingdom, Australia and Poland were the only other countries involved in the initial invasion, and the rest of the world told Bush to suck eggs.

josef

February 5th, 2013
5:29 pm

MATT

“At stake is nothing less than the rule of law, and whether or not the President should have the power to be judge, jury, and executioner (and all in secret”

Yes.

“…whose only expertise is in the law?”

Well, I suppose if the law gets in the way…

We could, of course, just round up and lock away anybody of Arab ancestry or of the Muslim faith…
we have precedent in just such…we didn’t let the law get in the way then, now did we?

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:29 pm

Since American citizens BELIEVED to be affiliated with terrorists can be killed without a trial should we eliminate all the appeals processes for people found guilty of murder. Murdering people terrorizes society does it not? So jay, want to start executing convicted murderers too or just those your president believes may be affiliated with terrorists. Remember, they dont have to be terrorists, just affiliated. And we dont even know who decides what affiliated means. A really good president could believe bookman is affiliated with terrorists based on many of his columns. Get those drones ready. lol

Jay

February 5th, 2013
5:29 pm

“I guess coup that brought Pinochet to power was Ok.”

You guess wrong again.

Did Chile or Allende attack us? Did Congress authorize military force against Chile or Allende? Did Chile or Allende pose an imminent violent threat to the US?

No no and no.

Put in another quarter and try again.

Logical Dude

February 5th, 2013
5:30 pm

Dave: If you acknowledge the concept of a U.S. citizen having due process rights

Yep, process rights work when police arrest someone. War has different rules.

War has different rules.

Dave

February 5th, 2013
5:31 pm

And as to your question at 5:23 p.m. question, judges should decide, plain and simple, based on advocacy on behalf of the government and the alleged terrorist (note the adjective) and evidence. You go on about judges having the skill set or desire to decide. Obama has such a background? W? Which president other than perhaps Washington and other war veterans has any objective experience in the matter?

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:32 pm

Sorry sport.

Your list isn’t the entire “intel community.”

The United Kingdom, Australia and Poland were the only other countries involved in the initial invasion, and the rest of the world told Bush to suck eggs.

So the rest of the world would have a say in who the US determines is affiliated with terrorists before they are killed? WRONG bozo.

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:36 pm

bookman wants the president to have that power now. right now. not 5 years ago and perhaps not 5 years from now. just right now with his Lord and Saviour in office. His opinions change with the elections. His guy wins, more power to the White House. His guy loses, take away the dictators power. How do any of you take bookman seriously? Hes a clown.

indigo

February 5th, 2013
5:36 pm

Obama is targeting enemies that have declared war on us and would nuke our country if they could. If fact, we know they are actively seeking nuclear weapons. Because of this, we must hunt them down and kill them before they kill us. It’s just that simple.

Cons here critize we liberals relentlessly but never critize their conservative idols.

We libs are different. Any liberals who critize Obama on this issue really are “fuzzy bleeding hearts” and I most definitely don’t support them.

Jay

February 5th, 2013
5:37 pm

“Since American citizens BELIEVED to be affiliated with terrorists can be killed without a trial should we eliminate all the appeals processes for people found guilty of murder.

Just pure silliness. A person found guilty of murder is already captured, is already in this country, is presumably not an al Aqaida leader and can’t carry out any terror attacks from prison. So he or she meets none of the tests laid out above.

Joe Hussein Mama

February 5th, 2013
5:37 pm

Keith — “So the rest of the world would have a say in who the US determines is affiliated with terrorists before they are killed?”

I like how you read what others post and then put it through a crazy filter (patent pending) before reposting and responding to it.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:40 pm

Logical Dude @ 5:30

“Yep, process rights work when police arrest someone. War has different rules.

War has different rules.”

Thank you ……….. most people on here who have done NEITHER don’t know that difference.

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:40 pm

Would you rather have the person elected to serve as commander in chief with that power, or would you rather devolve that national-security decision-making onto unelected judges whose only expertise is in the law?

That is the question, plain and simple.

I dont think ANYONE should be able to say I Believe you AMERICAN CITIZEN are affiliated with terrorists so you must die. That is completely contrary to the Constitution, something you have very little regard for until a GOP President is elected.

A Simple Man

February 5th, 2013
5:42 pm

I’m shocked by the outcry. The President’s number one duty to this country is protection. I don’t really agree with much that he does, and I’m not willing to give him absolute power, but war is not a precise system. I can sleep with him taking out people trying to commit acts of terror. I don’t really care if they are truly foreign or U.S. Citizens pretending. Their bombs would kill me just the same, so treat them just the same.

josef

February 5th, 2013
5:42 pm

CLYDE
@ 5:21

“We are talking about assassination of American citizens without due process of law here folks. I fully believe this guy was a no-good piece of trash and he deserved to die, but I do not believe in setting a precedent that our government can accuse someone of being a terrorist and then murder them. This is a VERY dangerous precedent. this guy (and his murdered 16 year old son) could have at least been tried in abstentia.”

Yep.

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:43 pm

Sorry sport.

Keith — “So the rest of the world would have a say in who the US determines is affiliated with terrorists before they are killed?”

I like how you read what others post and then put it through a crazy filter (patent pending) before reposting and responding to it.

I WILL REMIND YOU OF YOUR EARLIER POST:

Your list isn’t the entire “intel community.”

The United Kingdom, Australia and Poland were the only other countries involved in the initial invasion, and the rest of the world told Bush to suck eggs.

See where you posted the REST OF THE WORLD BOZO?

keith

February 5th, 2013
5:45 pm

If Bush were doing this Bookman would be having a coronary and every post on here would be hammering him, including my own.

Joe Hussein Mama

February 5th, 2013
5:46 pm

Keith — “I WILL REMIND YOU OF YOUR EARLIER POST:”

No, you won’t. Not *my* earlier post.

“See where you posted the REST OF THE WORLD BOZO?”

See where you’re raging at the *wrong guy,* BOZO? (laughing) :D

You’ve got your posters mixed up, son, Try decaf and see if you can’t get the jerking of your knee under control.

Brosephus™

February 5th, 2013
5:46 pm

Presidential Oath of Office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Federal Oath of Office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Enemies of the Constitution are not limited to foreigners in foreign lands. Our military and federal law enforcement are bound by oath to defend the Constitution against ALL enemies.

—————

Different topic but surely worth noting. I have mentioned this before, some who were up in arms about the Patriot Act, sure have been quiet lately.

Well, given that our circus of a media gets easily distracted by such things as skeet shooting and such, other newsworthy items tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Jay

February 5th, 2013
5:46 pm

Tried in abstentia meets no test of due process. No right to confront witnesses, no right to testify on own behalf. And if the court got it wrong and the person later kills thousands, what then? Who’s accountable then?

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 5th, 2013
5:49 pm

“Liberal critics of drone-warfare standards are simply wrong”

How about this tomorrow ……….

Liberal critics of Second Amendment standards are simply wrong !

Logical Dude

February 5th, 2013
5:50 pm

Keith: ‘If Bush were doing this Bookman would be having a coronary and every post on here would be hammering him, including my own.”

You can use this feature thingy on this website: archives. To the right. Look in the archives to see if Jay posted anything about Bush using “enemy combatant” rules.

Or:
Hey Jay, did you post anything years about about “enemy combatant” rules?

I see this as similar. (although, not reading the full memo above, not sure *how* similar drone use is to naming someone an “enemy combatant”)

(me: lazy, not gonna search)

Matt321

February 5th, 2013
5:51 pm

Jay – you are aware that the President is claiming the authority to kill people who ARE NOT PLANNING attacks, and who ARE NOT leaders of Al Qaeda, right? Under the wording of the memo, if the President doesn’t like Jay Bookman, and on his prodding some low level flunky gives him a memo (informed!) that Mr. Bookman is associated with terrorist forces, and it’s just not feasible to capture him (because he’s on vacation in Tahiti), then Jay could be placed on the kill list.

Of course, after the government blows him up with a drone strike, they’ll leak all kinds of damning information about him to the press, which will happily report how high level administration sources report that evil Bookman was actually in correspondence with several other evil villians across the globe. Who cares if it’s all made up? There’s never going to be a trial, after all.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 5th, 2013
5:52 pm

but I do not believe in setting a precedent that our government can accuse someone of being a terrorist and then murder them.

You have not stated to standard to act correctly. The standard as Jay pointed out is:

It concludes that such strikes are legal when:

– The targeted individual is “a senior operational leader of al Qaida or an associated force of al Qaida — that is, an al Qaida leader actively engaged in planning operations to kill Americans.”

– “… an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S.”

– The capture of the individual located in a foreign country is deemed “infeasible.”

That is a multi-part test and not merely “declaring someone a terrorist”. Now perhaps you can move the determination to a “judge” but its clearly not a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, nor is it a “reasonable person” standard or “more likely than not.” It would appear that a President would have more information and security clearances to determine if the standard has been met and would be “tried” by the American press and public for failure. I am not happy with it but these are tough decisions for extreme security. I think there is more of a “check” on a President to act with restraint than there is a “judge”.

josef

February 5th, 2013
5:52 pm

JAY

@ 5:46

So, just drone the b*stid, then? The rule of law be d*maned?

This is a slippery slope…at the risk of bringing out the charge of Godwin’s law…did we not learn anything from that little exercise back when?

Am I saying it’s the same thing? Not yet, But, ineoiauo, those signs don’t read the road I want to go down…

Brosephus™

February 5th, 2013
5:52 pm

I dont think ANYONE should be able to say I Believe you AMERICAN CITIZEN are affiliated with terrorists so you must die.

Not even when said “ANYONE” has posted numerous videos online that confirm his extremist views and links with terrorists? Not even when said “ANYONE” becomes the English spokesperson for the terrorist network that he’s affiliated with? Not even when said “ANYONE” publishes an English language propaganda magazine for that same terrorist network?

What is your level of proof necessary to confirm someone is involved with terrorism?

barking frog

February 5th, 2013
5:53 pm

Enemies of the USA should be killed where they are found, when
they are found and by whoever finds them. Soldiers have this authority.

Jay

February 5th, 2013
5:54 pm

It’s interesting how conservatives go from “you’re not allowed to bring up He Who Must Not Be Named” to “oh yeah, well what about BUSH, huh?”

indigo

February 5th, 2013
5:54 pm

Scout – 5:49

How about apples and oranges?

Moderate Line

February 5th, 2013
5:56 pm

Jay

February 5th, 2013
5:29 pm
“I guess coup that brought Pinochet to power was Ok.”

You guess wrong again.

Did Chile or Allende attack us? Did Congress authorize military force against Chile or Allende? Did Chile or Allende pose an imminent violent threat to the US?

No no and no.

Put in another quarter and try again.
++++
I don’t know only an elected commander in chief can be trusted with such a call. And guess what Nixon took him out.

I am pretty confident that the rationalization is pretty much the same considering Allende was a Marxist. Plus what is to stop the President

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Union

February 5th, 2013
5:56 pm

i do support the use of drones.. my only concern is that when we publicly discuss such issues.. it adds insult to injury.. there are people around the world that would take the position that president obama is the enemy and try to reciprocate.. which i truly hope never happens.