The state’s right to assassinate its citizens

President Obama is out-Bushing Bush:

The Obama administration urged a federal judge early Saturday to dismiss a lawsuit over its targeting of a U.S. citizen for killing overseas, saying that the case would reveal state secrets.

The U.S.-born citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, is a cleric now believed to be in Yemen. Federal authorities allege that he is leading a branch of al-Qaeda there.

Government lawyers called the state-secrets argument a last resort to toss out the case, and it seems likely to revive a debate over the reach of a president’s powers in the global war against al-Qaeda.

Civil liberties groups sued the U.S. government on behalf of Aulaqi’s father, arguing that the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command’s placement of Aulaqi on a capture-or-kill list of suspected terrorists – outside a war zone and absent an imminent threat – amounted to an extrajudicial execution order against a U.S. citizen. They asked a U.S. district court in Washington to block the targeting.

via Obama invokes ‘state secrets’ claim to dismiss suit against targeting of U.S. citizen al-Aulaqi.

Comments Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, a liberal, who says that President Obama is going far beyond anything that the vilified George Bush ever did:

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

Obama supporters who are dutifully insisting that the President not only has the right to order American citizens killed without due process, but to do so in total secrecy, on the ground that Awlaki is a Terrorist and Traitor, are embracing those accusations without having the slightest idea whether they’re actually true.  All they know is that Obama has issued these accusations, which is good enough for them.  That’s the authoritarian mind, by definition:  if the Leader accuses a fellow citizen of something, then it’s true — no trial or any due process at all is needed and there is no need even for judicial review before the decreed sentence is meted out, even when the sentence is death.

For those reciting the “Awlaki-is-a-traitor” mantra, there’s also the apparently irrelevant matter that Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution (the document which these same Obama supporters pretended to care about during the Bush years) provides that “No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”  Treason is a crime that the Constitution specifically requires be proven with due process in court, not by unilateral presidential decree.  And that’s to say nothing of the fact that the same document — the Constitution – expressly forbids the deprivation of life “without due process of law.”

Some of you supported President Bush for his controversial measures in battling terrorists.  Will you give credit to President Obama for taking it even further?  Or does this go too far?

Some of you vilified President Bush for his controversial measures in battling terrorists.  Will you vilify President Obama for going beyond what Bush did?  Or is it all right if Obama does it?

HT:  Webmonk

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Kirk

    On the one hand, I’m not sympathetic Awlaki. I believe that he’s a terrorist and would very much like to see him dead or imprisoned (ideally the latter).

    Still, what Greenwald said is completely true. I know the “slippery-slope” argument gets beat to death in civil liberties debates, but I still think it’s valid. It was as valid in regards to warrantless wiretapping as it is to trialess execution, except that the consequences of the latter are far more grave. I’m unequivocally against this. Try to capture Awlaki. That should be the goal. I realize this places me at higher risk to terrorist attacks, but it’s a reasonable price for freedom.

  • Kirk

    On the one hand, I’m not sympathetic Awlaki. I believe that he’s a terrorist and would very much like to see him dead or imprisoned (ideally the latter).

    Still, what Greenwald said is completely true. I know the “slippery-slope” argument gets beat to death in civil liberties debates, but I still think it’s valid. It was as valid in regards to warrantless wiretapping as it is to trialess execution, except that the consequences of the latter are far more grave. I’m unequivocally against this. Try to capture Awlaki. That should be the goal. I realize this places me at higher risk to terrorist attacks, but it’s a reasonable price for freedom.

  • Pete

    This is a very interesting item. I suspect that every president’s first national security briefing, once he takes office, is a real eye-opener in terms of coming to a new understanding of the magnitude and seriousness of various security threats. I imagine it has the effect of turning doves more hawkish and hawks into confirmed hawks. There must be some of that going on here.

  • Pete

    This is a very interesting item. I suspect that every president’s first national security briefing, once he takes office, is a real eye-opener in terms of coming to a new understanding of the magnitude and seriousness of various security threats. I imagine it has the effect of turning doves more hawkish and hawks into confirmed hawks. There must be some of that going on here.

  • Porcell

    The fact is that Awlaki has amply proven that he is an enemy combatant in the war against terror that was legally authorized by Congress after 9/11.

    The only issue is whether Yemen may be considered a war zone, which in the view of the Obama administration it is.

    Should Awlaki be found by a ground force it would be necessary to capture and then try him by military commission. The precedent for this is Roosevelt’s trying of an enemy combatant who was anAmerican citizen who got caught with a group of German saboteurs in WWII. Roosevelt;s action was upheld by the Supreme Court.

    This war against the cold-blooded Islamic terrorists is an irregular one without clear battle lines. If we wish to win it, we need to play legal military hardball.

    For an excellent discussion of this matter read Andy McCarthy’s NRO article, On Assassination.

  • Porcell

    The fact is that Awlaki has amply proven that he is an enemy combatant in the war against terror that was legally authorized by Congress after 9/11.

    The only issue is whether Yemen may be considered a war zone, which in the view of the Obama administration it is.

    Should Awlaki be found by a ground force it would be necessary to capture and then try him by military commission. The precedent for this is Roosevelt’s trying of an enemy combatant who was anAmerican citizen who got caught with a group of German saboteurs in WWII. Roosevelt;s action was upheld by the Supreme Court.

    This war against the cold-blooded Islamic terrorists is an irregular one without clear battle lines. If we wish to win it, we need to play legal military hardball.

    For an excellent discussion of this matter read Andy McCarthy’s NRO article, On Assassination.

  • WebMonk

    Yemen a war zone? LOL. I don’t know if it makes a difference to anyone, but we don’t have a single troop anywhere in Yemen, but if you want to declare it a warzone anyway, then why not. Let’s declare Egypt a war zone too, and maybe Turkey and Saudi Arabia while we’re at it. Then Jordan, and Sudan, and Kuwait, and Iran, and Syria, and Oman, and Pakistan, and India, and Libia, and Turkmenistan. Some of those countries actually have some of our troops in them.

    Besides, this isn’t talking about capturing Awlaki – it’s called assassination. Minor difference there. Just a little one. There’s a difference between having ground forces capture a person suspected of being a terrorist in a combat area and trying him in a court, and what is being suggested here is an assassination (Predator drone which would come with the likely collateral damage and deaths) without a trial of a guy while he is in a country nearly 500 miles away from the closest combat.

    “Amply proven” isn’t any sort of worthwhile grounds on which to execute or punish anyone. Give the guy a trial. I imagine he would be found guilty, but doing away with trials just because we think someone’s guilt is obvious is one of those things called BAD!

  • WebMonk

    Yemen a war zone? LOL. I don’t know if it makes a difference to anyone, but we don’t have a single troop anywhere in Yemen, but if you want to declare it a warzone anyway, then why not. Let’s declare Egypt a war zone too, and maybe Turkey and Saudi Arabia while we’re at it. Then Jordan, and Sudan, and Kuwait, and Iran, and Syria, and Oman, and Pakistan, and India, and Libia, and Turkmenistan. Some of those countries actually have some of our troops in them.

    Besides, this isn’t talking about capturing Awlaki – it’s called assassination. Minor difference there. Just a little one. There’s a difference between having ground forces capture a person suspected of being a terrorist in a combat area and trying him in a court, and what is being suggested here is an assassination (Predator drone which would come with the likely collateral damage and deaths) without a trial of a guy while he is in a country nearly 500 miles away from the closest combat.

    “Amply proven” isn’t any sort of worthwhile grounds on which to execute or punish anyone. Give the guy a trial. I imagine he would be found guilty, but doing away with trials just because we think someone’s guilt is obvious is one of those things called BAD!

  • Winston Smith

    I fully support the slippery slope argument when it comes to keeping the government within its proper boundaries. Government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Give them an inch, and they take a mile. Allowing assassinations of American citizens, without trial, anywhere in the world sets a precedent that will be abused. At first it will be unsympathetic characters like Awlaki, then perhaps leakers of embarrassing secrets, or antiwar activists, or Vince Foster, or …

    As far as the difference between Bush and Obama, President Obama is President Bush with a law degree and a better jump shot. Anyone who thought otherwise was naive.

  • Winston Smith

    I fully support the slippery slope argument when it comes to keeping the government within its proper boundaries. Government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Give them an inch, and they take a mile. Allowing assassinations of American citizens, without trial, anywhere in the world sets a precedent that will be abused. At first it will be unsympathetic characters like Awlaki, then perhaps leakers of embarrassing secrets, or antiwar activists, or Vince Foster, or …

    As far as the difference between Bush and Obama, President Obama is President Bush with a law degree and a better jump shot. Anyone who thought otherwise was naive.

  • SKPeterson

    To turn it on its ear – how would we in the U.S. like it if Iran or Russia or Yemen took to assassinating those they accuse of terrorism on U.S. soil?

    The provisions in the Constitution are there for a very real reason – people were summarily accused, captured and executed as enemies of the Crown without due process or sufficient evidence. Allowing an exception in this case, makes the exception the rule and another Constitutional provision optional.

  • SKPeterson

    To turn it on its ear – how would we in the U.S. like it if Iran or Russia or Yemen took to assassinating those they accuse of terrorism on U.S. soil?

    The provisions in the Constitution are there for a very real reason – people were summarily accused, captured and executed as enemies of the Crown without due process or sufficient evidence. Allowing an exception in this case, makes the exception the rule and another Constitutional provision optional.

  • Joe

    I have no problem with the U.S. using assassination as a technique in matters of war. I do however have a problem with using it against U.S. citizens outside of any active theater of war.

  • Joe

    I have no problem with the U.S. using assassination as a technique in matters of war. I do however have a problem with using it against U.S. citizens outside of any active theater of war.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    This one scares me; first of all because of the constitutional aspect, and more because it’s ever more clear that when Obama campaigned on this sort of thing, he was just making noise to appease his base.

    Yes, all politicians do it to some level, but Obama’s got it down to an art form in a way that even Clinton can’t match.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    This one scares me; first of all because of the constitutional aspect, and more because it’s ever more clear that when Obama campaigned on this sort of thing, he was just making noise to appease his base.

    Yes, all politicians do it to some level, but Obama’s got it down to an art form in a way that even Clinton can’t match.

  • kerner

    It bothers me a little when both sides of this argument use terminology that they know does not fit the present situation. Awlaki is not “on the battlefield” in any sense in which that term has formerly been applied. As Webmonk implies, the term “war zone” has been expanded to mean “everywhere we find someone we deem a terrorist”.

    On the other hand, in a simpler age our country’s enemies put on uniforms that identified themselves. We could attack them (and they could attack us) without convening some tribunal to determine whether they were “combatants”. But uniformed combatants were entitled to rights guaranteed to prisoners of war.

    The other side to that was that combatants who wore no uniforms were executed. Both sides did this during WWII. When Germans were caught in US uniforms during the Battle of the Bulge, they were stood up before a firing squad. Such a policy would empty out Guantanimo very quickly.

    The fact is that today’s conflict is all underground. By our enemies’ choice, none of them wear uniforms. And they intentionally avoid anything that could be traditionally called a “war zone” or a “battlefield” until the are ready to try to kill people who would formerly have been thought of as civillians.

    It is probably right that we are struggling to find appropriate standards for conducting this new kind of conflict. But I think that whatever we settle on will be different than what has gone before, and we will all be uncomfortable with it, and we will have a lot of refining to do before we get something we can all live with.

  • kerner

    It bothers me a little when both sides of this argument use terminology that they know does not fit the present situation. Awlaki is not “on the battlefield” in any sense in which that term has formerly been applied. As Webmonk implies, the term “war zone” has been expanded to mean “everywhere we find someone we deem a terrorist”.

    On the other hand, in a simpler age our country’s enemies put on uniforms that identified themselves. We could attack them (and they could attack us) without convening some tribunal to determine whether they were “combatants”. But uniformed combatants were entitled to rights guaranteed to prisoners of war.

    The other side to that was that combatants who wore no uniforms were executed. Both sides did this during WWII. When Germans were caught in US uniforms during the Battle of the Bulge, they were stood up before a firing squad. Such a policy would empty out Guantanimo very quickly.

    The fact is that today’s conflict is all underground. By our enemies’ choice, none of them wear uniforms. And they intentionally avoid anything that could be traditionally called a “war zone” or a “battlefield” until the are ready to try to kill people who would formerly have been thought of as civillians.

    It is probably right that we are struggling to find appropriate standards for conducting this new kind of conflict. But I think that whatever we settle on will be different than what has gone before, and we will all be uncomfortable with it, and we will have a lot of refining to do before we get something we can all live with.

  • WebMonk

    I tend to agree Kerner that the traditional standards aren’t covering the complexities of today and things will need to change from the standards based on wars of 30 years ago.

    That said, even under those complexities, assassination of US citizens without any sort of trial is wrong. Frankly, I would be satisfied if he were tried in abstentia – something where a neutral party (or as neutral as one can find – but certainly not the executor) looks at the evidence and hears arguments from the prosecution and defense, and then makes a ruling.

    As far as I can tell, even that fairly low standard has not been met. Instead the government, without a trial, has declared it desires to kill one of its own citizens.

    Wrong on every level.

  • WebMonk

    I tend to agree Kerner that the traditional standards aren’t covering the complexities of today and things will need to change from the standards based on wars of 30 years ago.

    That said, even under those complexities, assassination of US citizens without any sort of trial is wrong. Frankly, I would be satisfied if he were tried in abstentia – something where a neutral party (or as neutral as one can find – but certainly not the executor) looks at the evidence and hears arguments from the prosecution and defense, and then makes a ruling.

    As far as I can tell, even that fairly low standard has not been met. Instead the government, without a trial, has declared it desires to kill one of its own citizens.

    Wrong on every level.

  • ELB

    1. Under what authority were warrants issued in the past for individuals to be apprehended “Dead or Alive”? Someone on this blog might know.

    2. The concept of “combatant” is an important one because of the nature of the terrorist menace. There are those who enter into combat against us who thereby set themselves outside of the protection of laws that can be enforced in an orderly society. That is why we don’t have a trial before shooting someone in combat. It seems that many who are hostile to the country defending itself reject the concept, but it is an important one for upholding our constitution. Without it, the justification for taking the life of a person isn’t that they are a combatant, but that the president wants him dead – perhaps the worst solution of all.

  • ELB

    1. Under what authority were warrants issued in the past for individuals to be apprehended “Dead or Alive”? Someone on this blog might know.

    2. The concept of “combatant” is an important one because of the nature of the terrorist menace. There are those who enter into combat against us who thereby set themselves outside of the protection of laws that can be enforced in an orderly society. That is why we don’t have a trial before shooting someone in combat. It seems that many who are hostile to the country defending itself reject the concept, but it is an important one for upholding our constitution. Without it, the justification for taking the life of a person isn’t that they are a combatant, but that the president wants him dead – perhaps the worst solution of all.

  • Winston Smith

    Kerner @ 9 touches on the essential difficulty of the “war on terror.” It was easier in the old days when we fought wars against Germany, or Japan, or the Confederate States of America. When General Lee sits down with General Grant to surrender, the war is over. The boys in gray stop shooting at the boys in blue. The prisoners of war go home.

    A war on terrorism (a means) or a war on terror (an emotion) is essentially unwinnable. There will always be one more potential terrorist out there, one more person or group who might use terrorism someday. And terrorists, of course, are not in uniform, have no known headquarters or base, and can be anywhere and look like anyone else. Fighting them, in the back streets of Yemen or Miami, starts to look a lot like fighting ordinary citizens.

    Maybe a guy is walking along the street when black SUVs pull up alongside him and shoot him. Or maybe he is mysteriously shot by an unarmed drone from the sky. The police call it an unsolved homicide. Who can prove otherwise?

    And what happens if the deceased was not actually an al-qaeda operative, but simply someone who knew embarrassing secrets?

    It’s tempting to say that the old rules of warfare don’t really apply. Nevertheless, if American citizenship still stands for anything — citizenship being that which distinguishes us from illegal aliens — it ought to protect the citizen from receiving the death penalty without any senblance of due process. Giving the government Stalinesque powers of assassination (George Bernard Shaw called it the most extreme form of censorship) makes a mockery of American liberty.

  • Winston Smith

    Kerner @ 9 touches on the essential difficulty of the “war on terror.” It was easier in the old days when we fought wars against Germany, or Japan, or the Confederate States of America. When General Lee sits down with General Grant to surrender, the war is over. The boys in gray stop shooting at the boys in blue. The prisoners of war go home.

    A war on terrorism (a means) or a war on terror (an emotion) is essentially unwinnable. There will always be one more potential terrorist out there, one more person or group who might use terrorism someday. And terrorists, of course, are not in uniform, have no known headquarters or base, and can be anywhere and look like anyone else. Fighting them, in the back streets of Yemen or Miami, starts to look a lot like fighting ordinary citizens.

    Maybe a guy is walking along the street when black SUVs pull up alongside him and shoot him. Or maybe he is mysteriously shot by an unarmed drone from the sky. The police call it an unsolved homicide. Who can prove otherwise?

    And what happens if the deceased was not actually an al-qaeda operative, but simply someone who knew embarrassing secrets?

    It’s tempting to say that the old rules of warfare don’t really apply. Nevertheless, if American citizenship still stands for anything — citizenship being that which distinguishes us from illegal aliens — it ought to protect the citizen from receiving the death penalty without any senblance of due process. Giving the government Stalinesque powers of assassination (George Bernard Shaw called it the most extreme form of censorship) makes a mockery of American liberty.

  • Porcell

    That Awlaki is an enemy combatant is well established. Andrew McCarthy writes:

    We are at war against al Qaeda under an authorization from Congress. Anwar al-Awlaki, a purportedly American-born Islamic cleric, who is now operating in Yemen, ministered to the 9/11 hijackers, inspired the Ft. Hood assassin, probably directed the would-be Christmas bomber, and is believed to be orchestrating and recruiting for violent jihad operations against the United States. The president is the commander-in-chief with primacy on questions regarding the conduct of war. Even if we were to accept for argument’s sake that at issue is a legal rather than a political judgment, Supreme Court precedent (the World War II era Quirin case and the 2004 Hamdi decision) hold that American citizens who fight for the enemy in wartime may be treated as enemy combatants, just like aliens.

    Should intelligence locate Awlaki in Yemen, say in a meeting with other known alien terrorists, the CIA would be right to drop a weapon on the site from a drone or any other aircraft. WebMonk declares an LOL on Yemen is a war zone, though that is where the Christmas Bomber was trained.

    We are in a war with savage enemies who routinely target large groups of innocent civilians. Awlaki is one such enemy combatant who hardly deserves a trial.

    If any one of us had a look at the sort of intelligence that comes daily across Obama’s, we might view this matter rather differently. Good for him on this issue.

  • Porcell

    That Awlaki is an enemy combatant is well established. Andrew McCarthy writes:

    We are at war against al Qaeda under an authorization from Congress. Anwar al-Awlaki, a purportedly American-born Islamic cleric, who is now operating in Yemen, ministered to the 9/11 hijackers, inspired the Ft. Hood assassin, probably directed the would-be Christmas bomber, and is believed to be orchestrating and recruiting for violent jihad operations against the United States. The president is the commander-in-chief with primacy on questions regarding the conduct of war. Even if we were to accept for argument’s sake that at issue is a legal rather than a political judgment, Supreme Court precedent (the World War II era Quirin case and the 2004 Hamdi decision) hold that American citizens who fight for the enemy in wartime may be treated as enemy combatants, just like aliens.

    Should intelligence locate Awlaki in Yemen, say in a meeting with other known alien terrorists, the CIA would be right to drop a weapon on the site from a drone or any other aircraft. WebMonk declares an LOL on Yemen is a war zone, though that is where the Christmas Bomber was trained.

    We are in a war with savage enemies who routinely target large groups of innocent civilians. Awlaki is one such enemy combatant who hardly deserves a trial.

    If any one of us had a look at the sort of intelligence that comes daily across Obama’s, we might view this matter rather differently. Good for him on this issue.

  • Porcell

    In the above I meant to say “…Obama’s desk,…”

  • Porcell

    In the above I meant to say “…Obama’s desk,…”

  • Kirk

    @13

    “Awlaki is one such enemy combatant who hardly deserves a trial.”

    Explain to me how changing our way of life and forsaking our laws isn’t giving in to terror?

  • Kirk

    @13

    “Awlaki is one such enemy combatant who hardly deserves a trial.”

    Explain to me how changing our way of life and forsaking our laws isn’t giving in to terror?

  • WebMonk

    Porcell, let’s grant for the moment that he has committed all sorts of treasonous acts.

    That still doesn’t excuse the requirement for him to get a trial. There’s this tiny little line in the Bill of Rights which says no citizen can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. It’s called the Fifth Amendment.

    But, you’re right. That’s a silly amendment. Let’s toss it out when a citizen commits treason. While we’re at it, how about we toss it out when a person commits murder. And let’s toss it out when a person exposes and embarrasses the government. In fact, let’s just toss the whole thing out. And just for good measure, let’s toss out those other amendments too.

    As far as Yemen being a war zone, let’s look at what a war zone is. Merriam-Webster:
    1 : a zone in which belligerents are waging war; broadly : an area marked by extreme violence

    Are we waging war in Yemen? No. We’ve not fired a single shot in Yemen and we don’t have a single soldier on the ground there.

    Apparently your definition of “war zone” is somewhere between “anywhere a person I don’t like is located” and “a place where a bad guy has gotten aid or training”.

    Guess what, those would include places like Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, India, and Germany. Let’s declare all of those “war zones” too!

    And again – who cares if it’s a war zone or not! Let’s say Yemen is a war zone, let’s say Awlaki has committed treasonous acts, let’s grant all that – it still doesn’t take away the rights accorded him by the Fifth Amendment. There are no classifications of crimes which suddenly say that citizens suddenly no longer get to have a trial before the government kills/imprisons them!

  • WebMonk

    Porcell, let’s grant for the moment that he has committed all sorts of treasonous acts.

    That still doesn’t excuse the requirement for him to get a trial. There’s this tiny little line in the Bill of Rights which says no citizen can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. It’s called the Fifth Amendment.

    But, you’re right. That’s a silly amendment. Let’s toss it out when a citizen commits treason. While we’re at it, how about we toss it out when a person commits murder. And let’s toss it out when a person exposes and embarrasses the government. In fact, let’s just toss the whole thing out. And just for good measure, let’s toss out those other amendments too.

    As far as Yemen being a war zone, let’s look at what a war zone is. Merriam-Webster:
    1 : a zone in which belligerents are waging war; broadly : an area marked by extreme violence

    Are we waging war in Yemen? No. We’ve not fired a single shot in Yemen and we don’t have a single soldier on the ground there.

    Apparently your definition of “war zone” is somewhere between “anywhere a person I don’t like is located” and “a place where a bad guy has gotten aid or training”.

    Guess what, those would include places like Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, India, and Germany. Let’s declare all of those “war zones” too!

    And again – who cares if it’s a war zone or not! Let’s say Yemen is a war zone, let’s say Awlaki has committed treasonous acts, let’s grant all that – it still doesn’t take away the rights accorded him by the Fifth Amendment. There are no classifications of crimes which suddenly say that citizens suddenly no longer get to have a trial before the government kills/imprisons them!

  • MarkB

    I agree with SKPeterson @6 about this, but I also have a soft spot for the thought that he is a combatant (as ELB says @ 11) because of what he has done already. However, I think that this needs to be proven in some kind of court like WebMonk @ 10 suggests with a trial by abstentia. There needs to be a framework to make these decisions in a legal way and not under the dictates of an authoritarian president, nomatter who he is or what party he is affiliated with.
    Presidents for many years have been pushing a strong president agenda and it has gotten very serious under the terms of presidents G W Bush and B H Obama. We need to return to a more balanced government as outlined in the constitution.

  • MarkB

    I agree with SKPeterson @6 about this, but I also have a soft spot for the thought that he is a combatant (as ELB says @ 11) because of what he has done already. However, I think that this needs to be proven in some kind of court like WebMonk @ 10 suggests with a trial by abstentia. There needs to be a framework to make these decisions in a legal way and not under the dictates of an authoritarian president, nomatter who he is or what party he is affiliated with.
    Presidents for many years have been pushing a strong president agenda and it has gotten very serious under the terms of presidents G W Bush and B H Obama. We need to return to a more balanced government as outlined in the constitution.

  • Tom Hering

    End the war on terror. A state of war can justify anything. Greatly reduce the military’s role in anti-terrorism, and leave most of the job to the police agencies, and to international cooperation among police agencies.

  • Tom Hering

    End the war on terror. A state of war can justify anything. Greatly reduce the military’s role in anti-terrorism, and leave most of the job to the police agencies, and to international cooperation among police agencies.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk Yemen a war zone? LOL. I don’t know if it makes a difference to anyone…

    Michael Leiter, senior official of the National Counterterrorism Center in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, described Yemen

    as a “key battleground and potential regional base of operations from which [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP] can plan attacks, train recruits, and facilitate the movement of operatives.” As evidence of the threat posed by AQAP, Leiter cited an assassination attempt on a Saudi prince last August, as well as Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab’s attempted attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk Yemen a war zone? LOL. I don’t know if it makes a difference to anyone…

    Michael Leiter, senior official of the National Counterterrorism Center in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, described Yemen

    as a “key battleground and potential regional base of operations from which [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP] can plan attacks, train recruits, and facilitate the movement of operatives.” As evidence of the threat posed by AQAP, Leiter cited an assassination attempt on a Saudi prince last August, as well as Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab’s attempted attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009.

  • Porcell

    Tom Hering at 19, how utterly naive.

  • Porcell

    Tom Hering at 19, how utterly naive.

  • WebMonk

    I’d love to hear your definition of the term “war zone”. Apparently “key battleground” and “war zone” are the same thing to you?

    Do you have any idea how many different locations around the world have been called a “key battleground” by various people in the military and government? With a modicum of Googling I found Iraq (obviously), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Georgia. All those were places called key battlegrounds in fighting terror. Are all of those places “war zones”?

    Again, I’d love to hear your definition of “war zone”.

    But if you don’t want to define that term, then fine, look at what I said a bit later:

    “And again – who cares if it’s a war zone or not! Let’s say Yemen is a war zone, let’s say Awlaki has committed treasonous acts, let’s grant all that – it still doesn’t take away the rights accorded him by the Fifth Amendment. There are no classifications of crimes which suddenly say that citizens suddenly no longer get to have a trial before the government kills/imprisons them!”

    It doesn’t matter if a US citizen is in a “war zone” (however you define it), it doesn’t matter that he has attacked the US, it doesn’t matter if he is encouraging and helping others to attack the US – we still can’t remove all his rights to a trial before the US executes him.

    To do so is to say that trying to bomb an airplane is a special crime which removes a citizen’s rights to due process.

  • WebMonk

    I’d love to hear your definition of the term “war zone”. Apparently “key battleground” and “war zone” are the same thing to you?

    Do you have any idea how many different locations around the world have been called a “key battleground” by various people in the military and government? With a modicum of Googling I found Iraq (obviously), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Georgia. All those were places called key battlegrounds in fighting terror. Are all of those places “war zones”?

    Again, I’d love to hear your definition of “war zone”.

    But if you don’t want to define that term, then fine, look at what I said a bit later:

    “And again – who cares if it’s a war zone or not! Let’s say Yemen is a war zone, let’s say Awlaki has committed treasonous acts, let’s grant all that – it still doesn’t take away the rights accorded him by the Fifth Amendment. There are no classifications of crimes which suddenly say that citizens suddenly no longer get to have a trial before the government kills/imprisons them!”

    It doesn’t matter if a US citizen is in a “war zone” (however you define it), it doesn’t matter that he has attacked the US, it doesn’t matter if he is encouraging and helping others to attack the US – we still can’t remove all his rights to a trial before the US executes him.

    To do so is to say that trying to bomb an airplane is a special crime which removes a citizen’s rights to due process.

  • Tom Hering

    Porcell, I’m echoing the sensible argument made by Andrew Bacevich in The Limits of Power. But never mind that. I’d rather be naive than a “sophisticated” war lover like you.

  • Tom Hering

    Porcell, I’m echoing the sensible argument made by Andrew Bacevich in The Limits of Power. But never mind that. I’d rather be naive than a “sophisticated” war lover like you.

  • WebMonk

    I was going to let the “war zone” discussion drop, but this is too rich to pass up!

    Major General Paul Schafer, United States European
    Command, on the U.S. European Command’s Strategy for Active Security declared “EUCOM region continues to be key battleground in the War on Terror”

    What is EUCOM?

    All of Europe, Russia, and China.

    So all of Europe, Russia and China is one giant WAR ZONE!! ROTFLOL!

  • WebMonk

    I was going to let the “war zone” discussion drop, but this is too rich to pass up!

    Major General Paul Schafer, United States European
    Command, on the U.S. European Command’s Strategy for Active Security declared “EUCOM region continues to be key battleground in the War on Terror”

    What is EUCOM?

    All of Europe, Russia, and China.

    So all of Europe, Russia and China is one giant WAR ZONE!! ROTFLOL!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The thought comes to my mind as well; have we requested the man’s extradition? If so, has Yemen worked with us to secure him? If they are working with us, and he’s not been located, what else might we do to find and extradite him?

    If they’re not working with us, what measures are we trying to “persuade” them to change their ways?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The thought comes to my mind as well; have we requested the man’s extradition? If so, has Yemen worked with us to secure him? If they are working with us, and he’s not been located, what else might we do to find and extradite him?

    If they’re not working with us, what measures are we trying to “persuade” them to change their ways?

  • Tom Hering

    Bike, Yemen’s laws prohibit extradition. But they have requested the U.S. provide them with its evidence against Aulaqi, so their justice system can proceed against him.

  • Tom Hering

    Bike, Yemen’s laws prohibit extradition. But they have requested the U.S. provide them with its evidence against Aulaqi, so their justice system can proceed against him.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I generally agree with the concerns raised in comments 4 through 12; 15 through 18; 21, (not sure about 22) and 23.

    I would definitely have a problem with it if Afganistan sent a drone to my neighbor’s house (lets just say he’s a citizen of Afganistan) to take him out because he supported the U.S. military. But perhaps the theater of war has been too narrow – perhaps this is the pathway forward to a EUCOM battlefield as Webmonk describes.

    Disgusting!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I generally agree with the concerns raised in comments 4 through 12; 15 through 18; 21, (not sure about 22) and 23.

    I would definitely have a problem with it if Afganistan sent a drone to my neighbor’s house (lets just say he’s a citizen of Afganistan) to take him out because he supported the U.S. military. But perhaps the theater of war has been too narrow – perhaps this is the pathway forward to a EUCOM battlefield as Webmonk describes.

    Disgusting!

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, in this battle against Islamic terrorists the war zone is wherever these terrorists are located. We are involved in a global war unlike any we have fought before. You are looking for a sterile dictionary definition that couldn’t possibly fit the reality of this war.

    Pres. Bush rightly claimed that the war would be fought in the shadows all over the globe for a long time. Pres. Obama, once, a severe critic of Bush on the prosecution of the war, now understands its reality and at least in this case is unafraid to take the gloves off.

    Obama, like Bush, proceeds very carefully regarding the legality of his war actions. Your view that Obama is on dubious legal ground is controverted by both the Quirin and Hamdi case legal precedents. The Constitution wisely gives presidents broad powers as Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

    One grows weary of your use of such terms as ROTFLOL I’ve noticed on blogs that this sort of juvenility is a cover for thin argument.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, in this battle against Islamic terrorists the war zone is wherever these terrorists are located. We are involved in a global war unlike any we have fought before. You are looking for a sterile dictionary definition that couldn’t possibly fit the reality of this war.

    Pres. Bush rightly claimed that the war would be fought in the shadows all over the globe for a long time. Pres. Obama, once, a severe critic of Bush on the prosecution of the war, now understands its reality and at least in this case is unafraid to take the gloves off.

    Obama, like Bush, proceeds very carefully regarding the legality of his war actions. Your view that Obama is on dubious legal ground is controverted by both the Quirin and Hamdi case legal precedents. The Constitution wisely gives presidents broad powers as Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

    One grows weary of your use of such terms as ROTFLOL I’ve noticed on blogs that this sort of juvenility is a cover for thin argument.

  • DonS

    Am I missing something? It’s not at all clear to me from what I read that the President actually intends to “assassinate” al-Aulaqi, or not to try him if he is captured. The lawsuit at issue was one brought by the father, to enjoin the U.S. from “assassinating” him. As far as I can tell, the government did not acknowledge that it was their plan to do so, but rather just asked for dismissal of the lawsuit. Based on what I know, I don’t see how this is all that different from the “Wanted Dead or Alive” posters in the old west, except that what this guy is allegedly doing is a lot worse. We have every right to act on information and belief in attempting to capture a U.S. citizen fighting with foreign forces against U.S. interests. If the man refuses to surrender, and is therefore killed in the process, well that happens sometimes.

    Now, two caveats. One is that if the sole goal is really to “assassinate” him, rather than capture him dead or alive, I oppose that. A U.S. citizen is entitled to have the opportunity to surrender peacefully to U.S. forces if he so chooses, and if the process can be done without endangerment to those forces. The second caveat is what happens to him if he is captured alive. Since he is a citizen, he would be entitled to a trial as an accused traitor, though that trial should be conducted in secret to preserve state secrets. Delay may be necessary for national security purposes.

  • DonS

    Am I missing something? It’s not at all clear to me from what I read that the President actually intends to “assassinate” al-Aulaqi, or not to try him if he is captured. The lawsuit at issue was one brought by the father, to enjoin the U.S. from “assassinating” him. As far as I can tell, the government did not acknowledge that it was their plan to do so, but rather just asked for dismissal of the lawsuit. Based on what I know, I don’t see how this is all that different from the “Wanted Dead or Alive” posters in the old west, except that what this guy is allegedly doing is a lot worse. We have every right to act on information and belief in attempting to capture a U.S. citizen fighting with foreign forces against U.S. interests. If the man refuses to surrender, and is therefore killed in the process, well that happens sometimes.

    Now, two caveats. One is that if the sole goal is really to “assassinate” him, rather than capture him dead or alive, I oppose that. A U.S. citizen is entitled to have the opportunity to surrender peacefully to U.S. forces if he so chooses, and if the process can be done without endangerment to those forces. The second caveat is what happens to him if he is captured alive. Since he is a citizen, he would be entitled to a trial as an accused traitor, though that trial should be conducted in secret to preserve state secrets. Delay may be necessary for national security purposes.

  • WebMonk

    I am so sorry my acronyms offend your sensibilities. Some things, though, deserve laughter and derision.

    I’m glad to see you admit that your conception of “war zone” is basically anywhere a bad guy might be staying. That clears some things up. Apparently we can drop Predator strikes into Geneva if a bad guy is holed up there and Switzerland doesn’t want to hand him over, because Switzerland is a “war zone”.

    But it doesn’t clear other things up. Such as why a citizen living in a war zone somehow loses his rights under the Constitution. Or why planning to bomb an airplane removes a citizen’s rights. Or why encouraging others to bomb the US removes a citizen’s Constitutional rights. Or why even a combination of those three removes a citizen’s rights.

    So far you’ve never addressed that.

    If you think that we should remove all rights of people who the President decides are bad enough people, you might as well just come out and say it, because that seems to be the position you are holding.

  • WebMonk

    I am so sorry my acronyms offend your sensibilities. Some things, though, deserve laughter and derision.

    I’m glad to see you admit that your conception of “war zone” is basically anywhere a bad guy might be staying. That clears some things up. Apparently we can drop Predator strikes into Geneva if a bad guy is holed up there and Switzerland doesn’t want to hand him over, because Switzerland is a “war zone”.

    But it doesn’t clear other things up. Such as why a citizen living in a war zone somehow loses his rights under the Constitution. Or why planning to bomb an airplane removes a citizen’s rights. Or why encouraging others to bomb the US removes a citizen’s Constitutional rights. Or why even a combination of those three removes a citizen’s rights.

    So far you’ve never addressed that.

    If you think that we should remove all rights of people who the President decides are bad enough people, you might as well just come out and say it, because that seems to be the position you are holding.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I sure wish I could laugh about all this with Webmonk, roll on the floor etc.
    I’m just not sure any of it is at all a laughing matter.
    Of the highest responsibility a government has is to protect its citizens, at least the ones that abide by the law. I’ll put the best construction on things here and say that is what Obama is trying to do. I have no reason to believe otherwise. I’m just not sure that given the ability of power to corrupt it is a wise idea to allow the government to assasinate a citizen without a trial, outside a war zone where a battle has not been initiated. That is to say if he is taking part in a battle and is shot fine. other than that arrest and put him on trial. If we can not as citizens of the united states be assured of a fair trial then why be a citizen? Being an American should count for something to our own government.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I sure wish I could laugh about all this with Webmonk, roll on the floor etc.
    I’m just not sure any of it is at all a laughing matter.
    Of the highest responsibility a government has is to protect its citizens, at least the ones that abide by the law. I’ll put the best construction on things here and say that is what Obama is trying to do. I have no reason to believe otherwise. I’m just not sure that given the ability of power to corrupt it is a wise idea to allow the government to assasinate a citizen without a trial, outside a war zone where a battle has not been initiated. That is to say if he is taking part in a battle and is shot fine. other than that arrest and put him on trial. If we can not as citizens of the united states be assured of a fair trial then why be a citizen? Being an American should count for something to our own government.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Thanks, Tom on #25. Given that trial in the Yemeni system wouldn’t represent double jeopardy, I would have to say “go with what you’ve got” and then capture and try him if he leaves the nation to a place which DOES have extradition.

    Lot of ado about this that doesn’t need to happen, IMO. One would think our nation would have learned a few lessons after sending the Marines a few thousand times in the past century…..but apparently not.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Thanks, Tom on #25. Given that trial in the Yemeni system wouldn’t represent double jeopardy, I would have to say “go with what you’ve got” and then capture and try him if he leaves the nation to a place which DOES have extradition.

    Lot of ado about this that doesn’t need to happen, IMO. One would think our nation would have learned a few lessons after sending the Marines a few thousand times in the past century…..but apparently not.

  • WebMonk

    Bror, it’s either laugh or cry.

  • WebMonk

    Bror, it’s either laugh or cry.

  • WebMonk

    Bror,

    “I’m just not sure that given the ability of power to corrupt it is a wise idea to allow the government to assasinate a citizen without a trial, outside a war zone where a battle has not been initiated. That is to say if he is taking part in a battle and is shot fine.”

    I’m very sure that it isn’t a wise idea to allow the government to assassinate a citizen without a trial. The concept of assassination does sort of preclude active battle situations, and I agree with you – if someone is in a battle (or is shooting at police) it isn’t an issue if he is shot in return.

    The problem comes when the entire world is declared a “war zone” and any activity at all against the US is considered being in an active battle.

    That slides VERY quickly down the trail of declaring those who support enemies of the US as also being in a war zone and part of a battle, and then the definition of “support” starts getting wider and wider just like the definition of “war zone”.

  • WebMonk

    Bror,

    “I’m just not sure that given the ability of power to corrupt it is a wise idea to allow the government to assasinate a citizen without a trial, outside a war zone where a battle has not been initiated. That is to say if he is taking part in a battle and is shot fine.”

    I’m very sure that it isn’t a wise idea to allow the government to assassinate a citizen without a trial. The concept of assassination does sort of preclude active battle situations, and I agree with you – if someone is in a battle (or is shooting at police) it isn’t an issue if he is shot in return.

    The problem comes when the entire world is declared a “war zone” and any activity at all against the US is considered being in an active battle.

    That slides VERY quickly down the trail of declaring those who support enemies of the US as also being in a war zone and part of a battle, and then the definition of “support” starts getting wider and wider just like the definition of “war zone”.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    If you are incapable of sober analysis of this topic, and must either laugh or cry, I assure you crying is much more appropriate.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    If you are incapable of sober analysis of this topic, and must either laugh or cry, I assure you crying is much more appropriate.

  • Tom Hering

    Is feeling sickened okay?

  • Tom Hering

    Is feeling sickened okay?

  • WebMonk

    Why not.

    How about disgusted while extremely depressed to the point of hysterical laughter. Toss on a garnish of worry for where this view could lead.

  • WebMonk

    Why not.

    How about disgusted while extremely depressed to the point of hysterical laughter. Toss on a garnish of worry for where this view could lead.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Not only is the slippery slope concept valid here, it is extremely necessary to bring up. To assassinate an enemy of the state-let’s define “enemy of the state.” Are we talking about a member of Al Qaeda specifically, or could there be room for expansion to “potential” threats in addition to real threats in the future.

    Let’s put it this way: suppose a Christian publicly stood up and condemned the actions of this or any other President on legitamate Biblical grounds. Would that constitute becoming an “enemy of the state”? Would that permit open season not only on this particular person, but on anybody else like him?

    I’m not a tinfoil conspiracy theorist and I’m not a Hal Lindsay-esque worry wart about things. No true Christian should ever be. But it’s clear in Scripture and verified by history that the world as a whole does not have a sympathetic view towards Christians, and while we may not ever come to the point of Nero-style persecution, nevertheless we are seeing a growing hostility toward Biblical Christianity in areas of America that would not have been there (or not nearly as pronounced) in earlier generations.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Not only is the slippery slope concept valid here, it is extremely necessary to bring up. To assassinate an enemy of the state-let’s define “enemy of the state.” Are we talking about a member of Al Qaeda specifically, or could there be room for expansion to “potential” threats in addition to real threats in the future.

    Let’s put it this way: suppose a Christian publicly stood up and condemned the actions of this or any other President on legitamate Biblical grounds. Would that constitute becoming an “enemy of the state”? Would that permit open season not only on this particular person, but on anybody else like him?

    I’m not a tinfoil conspiracy theorist and I’m not a Hal Lindsay-esque worry wart about things. No true Christian should ever be. But it’s clear in Scripture and verified by history that the world as a whole does not have a sympathetic view towards Christians, and while we may not ever come to the point of Nero-style persecution, nevertheless we are seeing a growing hostility toward Biblical Christianity in areas of America that would not have been there (or not nearly as pronounced) in earlier generations.

  • Leif

    As a curious aside why are we simply trying to justify assassination of citizens based on one man and not a slew of others? If anything it stinks of distracting people with an “evil we can all condemn” in order to get something otherwise objectionable passed through because, quite frankly, there’s far worse people out there than someone who “probably inspired” and “possibly ministered to” people.

    We would be better served if we were actively trying to assassinate gang leaders and drug lords. No trial, no nothing. Just simple, old fashioned, call them out in the street killing. They’ve caused far more consistent terror, fear, murder, etc. in our cities than the likes of a random underwear bomber or someone who “probably ministered to” and “possibly planned” something somewhere.

    I mean, think about it, I’m pretty sure you could classify a lot of the housing projects as battlegrounds. Get some drones flying overhead and the next time the IDs wander out to attack the LKs…BLAMMO! That dude selling drugs out on the corner? BLAMMO!!! And in the long run, it’d make everyone happy. Folks who like killing would get their fix and folks trying to live in that mess wouldn’t have to sleep in bathtubs to avoid getting shot by stray bullets.

  • Leif

    As a curious aside why are we simply trying to justify assassination of citizens based on one man and not a slew of others? If anything it stinks of distracting people with an “evil we can all condemn” in order to get something otherwise objectionable passed through because, quite frankly, there’s far worse people out there than someone who “probably inspired” and “possibly ministered to” people.

    We would be better served if we were actively trying to assassinate gang leaders and drug lords. No trial, no nothing. Just simple, old fashioned, call them out in the street killing. They’ve caused far more consistent terror, fear, murder, etc. in our cities than the likes of a random underwear bomber or someone who “probably ministered to” and “possibly planned” something somewhere.

    I mean, think about it, I’m pretty sure you could classify a lot of the housing projects as battlegrounds. Get some drones flying overhead and the next time the IDs wander out to attack the LKs…BLAMMO! That dude selling drugs out on the corner? BLAMMO!!! And in the long run, it’d make everyone happy. Folks who like killing would get their fix and folks trying to live in that mess wouldn’t have to sleep in bathtubs to avoid getting shot by stray bullets.

  • Porcell

    Don, for a well proportioned legal discussion of this matter go to the link that I gave at 3, including:

    “First, during the nine years since Congress authorized military force after 9/11, we have not seen many assassinations of the kind Kevin fears — not even for alien terrorists, much less Americans. Sure, there’s always reason to be concerned when we’re talking about something as grave as taking life, but there’s no empirical cause for alarm regarding this country’s practices. Second, while we are not privy to the classified details, the assassination license on al-Awlaki is almost certainly not a green light to kill him under any and all circumstances. Instead, I suspect, it is a license to deal sensibly with a very specific problem.”

    After the 1998 embassy bombings, the government had several opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden. It didn’t happen because, notwithstanding President Clinton’s post-9/11 claims that he had tried to take bin Laden out, he had actually given the CIA ambiguous instructions — i.e., Clintonesque instructions that would enable him to hang the CIA out to dry in the event of international condemnation over any civilian casualties. As the 9/11 Commission found, the agency was left unsure about what it was permitted to do in a situation either where it was theoretically possible to take bin Laden alive, or where killing/capturing bin Laden presented a high risk of collateral damage.

    …Consequently, I suspect President Obama’s assassination authorization on al-Awlaki is intended to deal with the following not unlikely situation: Our military or intelligence agents get reliable information that high level al-Qaeda operatives are meeting in a location and that al-Awlaki is with them. Understandably, Obama does not want to find himself in Clinton’s shoes: namely, trying to explain why we passed up a golden opportunity to shoot a hellfire missile at a safehouse in which a group of jihadists was plotting to attack Americans. If we suffer another mass-murder attack, can you imagine having to explain to the next 9/11 Commission that you didn’t zap Zawahiri when you had the chance because Awlaki was standing next to him?”

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

  • Porcell

    Don, for a well proportioned legal discussion of this matter go to the link that I gave at 3, including:

    “First, during the nine years since Congress authorized military force after 9/11, we have not seen many assassinations of the kind Kevin fears — not even for alien terrorists, much less Americans. Sure, there’s always reason to be concerned when we’re talking about something as grave as taking life, but there’s no empirical cause for alarm regarding this country’s practices. Second, while we are not privy to the classified details, the assassination license on al-Awlaki is almost certainly not a green light to kill him under any and all circumstances. Instead, I suspect, it is a license to deal sensibly with a very specific problem.”

    After the 1998 embassy bombings, the government had several opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden. It didn’t happen because, notwithstanding President Clinton’s post-9/11 claims that he had tried to take bin Laden out, he had actually given the CIA ambiguous instructions — i.e., Clintonesque instructions that would enable him to hang the CIA out to dry in the event of international condemnation over any civilian casualties. As the 9/11 Commission found, the agency was left unsure about what it was permitted to do in a situation either where it was theoretically possible to take bin Laden alive, or where killing/capturing bin Laden presented a high risk of collateral damage.

    …Consequently, I suspect President Obama’s assassination authorization on al-Awlaki is intended to deal with the following not unlikely situation: Our military or intelligence agents get reliable information that high level al-Qaeda operatives are meeting in a location and that al-Awlaki is with them. Understandably, Obama does not want to find himself in Clinton’s shoes: namely, trying to explain why we passed up a golden opportunity to shoot a hellfire missile at a safehouse in which a group of jihadists was plotting to attack Americans. If we suffer another mass-murder attack, can you imagine having to explain to the next 9/11 Commission that you didn’t zap Zawahiri when you had the chance because Awlaki was standing next to him?”

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

  • Porcell

    After the 1998 embassy bombings, the government had several opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden. It didn’t happen because, notwithstanding President Clinton’s post-9/11 claims that he had tried to take bin Laden out, he had actually given the CIA ambiguous instructions — i.e., Clintonesque instructions that would enable him to hang the CIA out to dry in the event of international condemnation over any civilian casualties. As the 9/11 Commission found, the agency was left unsure about what it was permitted to do in a situation either where it was theoretically possible to take bin Laden alive, or where killing/capturing bin Laden presented a high risk of collateral damage.”

    .

  • Porcell

    After the 1998 embassy bombings, the government had several opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden. It didn’t happen because, notwithstanding President Clinton’s post-9/11 claims that he had tried to take bin Laden out, he had actually given the CIA ambiguous instructions — i.e., Clintonesque instructions that would enable him to hang the CIA out to dry in the event of international condemnation over any civilian casualties. As the 9/11 Commission found, the agency was left unsure about what it was permitted to do in a situation either where it was theoretically possible to take bin Laden alive, or where killing/capturing bin Laden presented a high risk of collateral damage.”

    .

  • Porcell

    The above is a quote from Andy McCarthy’s link that i gave at 3 including, also:

    ..Consequently, I suspect President Obama’s assassination authorization on al-Awlaki is intended to deal with the following not unlikely situation: Our military or intelligence agents get reliable information that high level al-Qaeda operatives are meeting in a location and that al-Awlaki is with them. Understandably, Obama does not want to find himself in Clinton’s shoes: namely, trying to explain why we passed up a golden opportunity to shoot a hellfire missile at a safehouse in which a group of jihadists was plotting to attack Americans. If we suffer another mass-murder attack, can you imagine having to explain to the next 9/11 Commission that you didn’t zap Zawahiri when you had the chance because Awlaki was standing next to him?”

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

  • Porcell

    The above is a quote from Andy McCarthy’s link that i gave at 3 including, also:

    ..Consequently, I suspect President Obama’s assassination authorization on al-Awlaki is intended to deal with the following not unlikely situation: Our military or intelligence agents get reliable information that high level al-Qaeda operatives are meeting in a location and that al-Awlaki is with them. Understandably, Obama does not want to find himself in Clinton’s shoes: namely, trying to explain why we passed up a golden opportunity to shoot a hellfire missile at a safehouse in which a group of jihadists was plotting to attack Americans. If we suffer another mass-murder attack, can you imagine having to explain to the next 9/11 Commission that you didn’t zap Zawahiri when you had the chance because Awlaki was standing next to him?”

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

  • Porcell

    .The comment at 39 comes from Andy McCarthy’s NRO article.

  • Porcell

    .The comment at 39 comes from Andy McCarthy’s NRO article.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I like the way you think, Lief. The only problem is I don’t think I can get my whole family into the parsonage bathtub.

    Have I mentioned recently that I think the use of drones for attack is the most cowardly, in fact perhaps the definition of the wimpy-completely-spoiled way to wage war? Even if it is to work the manly art of taking out citizen terrorists on Iceland. Way to go!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I like the way you think, Lief. The only problem is I don’t think I can get my whole family into the parsonage bathtub.

    Have I mentioned recently that I think the use of drones for attack is the most cowardly, in fact perhaps the definition of the wimpy-completely-spoiled way to wage war? Even if it is to work the manly art of taking out citizen terrorists on Iceland. Way to go!

  • Porcell

    McCarthy went on further to say:

    “Consequently, I suspect President Obama’s assassination authorization on al-Awlaki is intended to deal with the following not unlikely situation: Our military or intelligence agents get reliable information that high level al-Qaeda operatives are meeting in a location and that al-Awlaki is with them. Understandably, Obama does not want to find himself in Clinton’s shoes: namely, trying to explain why we passed up a golden opportunity to shoot a missile at a safehouse in which a group of jihadists was plotting to attack Americans. If we suffer another mass-murder attack, can you imagine having to explain to the next 9/11 Commission that you didn’t zap Zawahiri when you had the chance because Awlaki was standing next to him?”

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

  • Porcell

    McCarthy went on further to say:

    “Consequently, I suspect President Obama’s assassination authorization on al-Awlaki is intended to deal with the following not unlikely situation: Our military or intelligence agents get reliable information that high level al-Qaeda operatives are meeting in a location and that al-Awlaki is with them. Understandably, Obama does not want to find himself in Clinton’s shoes: namely, trying to explain why we passed up a golden opportunity to shoot a missile at a safehouse in which a group of jihadists was plotting to attack Americans. If we suffer another mass-murder attack, can you imagine having to explain to the next 9/11 Commission that you didn’t zap Zawahiri when you had the chance because Awlaki was standing next to him?”

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

  • Kirk

    @39

    bin Laden wasn’t an American citizen.

  • Kirk

    @39

    bin Laden wasn’t an American citizen.

  • Porcell

    Mc Carthy, again:

    Consequently, I suspect President Obama’s assassination authorization on al-Awlaki is intended to deal with the following not unlikely situation: Our military or intelligence agents get reliable information that high level al-Qaeda operatives are meeting in a location and that al-Awlaki is with them. Understandably, Obama does not want to find himself in Clinton’s shoes: namely, trying to explain why we passed up a golden opportunity to shoot a missile at a safehouse in which a group of jihadists was plotting to attack Americans. If we suffer another mass-murder attack, can you imagine having to explain to the next 9/11 Commission that you didn’t zap Zawahiri when you had the chance because Awlaki was standing next to him?”

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

  • Porcell

    Mc Carthy, again:

    Consequently, I suspect President Obama’s assassination authorization on al-Awlaki is intended to deal with the following not unlikely situation: Our military or intelligence agents get reliable information that high level al-Qaeda operatives are meeting in a location and that al-Awlaki is with them. Understandably, Obama does not want to find himself in Clinton’s shoes: namely, trying to explain why we passed up a golden opportunity to shoot a missile at a safehouse in which a group of jihadists was plotting to attack Americans. If we suffer another mass-murder attack, can you imagine having to explain to the next 9/11 Commission that you didn’t zap Zawahiri when you had the chance because Awlaki was standing next to him?”

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

  • Porcell

    Kirk, Awlaki is correctly classified with Bin Laden as an unlawful enemy combatant, just as you would be if you were seriously involved with alQuaeda’s war on large numbers of innocent civilians. Americans involved with these savage combatants are serious enemies.

  • Porcell

    Kirk, Awlaki is correctly classified with Bin Laden as an unlawful enemy combatant, just as you would be if you were seriously involved with alQuaeda’s war on large numbers of innocent civilians. Americans involved with these savage combatants are serious enemies.

  • Leif

    @41 That’s when it becomes decision time–women and children first and all that. Or possibly a “last one in the tub is a rotten egg that’ll get shot!” game. Dunno, what else to do but laugh through the pain. In making sure I wasn’t making mountains out of molehills I ran some numbers for gang-related murders in the US (FBI’s UCR data) and in the past 5 years we’ve got something like 3500+ dead and the previous 5 years were similar. Meaning 7000+ are dead due to gangs and gang related activities. Meanwhile, no one really cares as long as they keep it in the ghetto and only kill throw away people. There’s been a war declared but no one really cares about that war. Battles tend to be fought sometimes but nothing ever gets won.

    But, let’s go on trying to kill one random dude someplace who may have done something. Great.

    I’m a little torn on drones, myself. On one hand, they’re efficient little buggers but then again, random unknown death is a bit sissy. If I’m gonna get myself killed while driving an old Datsun in Afghanistan I’d at least like to die knowing the joker who killed me was in the same 20 mile radius of me.

  • Leif

    @41 That’s when it becomes decision time–women and children first and all that. Or possibly a “last one in the tub is a rotten egg that’ll get shot!” game. Dunno, what else to do but laugh through the pain. In making sure I wasn’t making mountains out of molehills I ran some numbers for gang-related murders in the US (FBI’s UCR data) and in the past 5 years we’ve got something like 3500+ dead and the previous 5 years were similar. Meaning 7000+ are dead due to gangs and gang related activities. Meanwhile, no one really cares as long as they keep it in the ghetto and only kill throw away people. There’s been a war declared but no one really cares about that war. Battles tend to be fought sometimes but nothing ever gets won.

    But, let’s go on trying to kill one random dude someplace who may have done something. Great.

    I’m a little torn on drones, myself. On one hand, they’re efficient little buggers but then again, random unknown death is a bit sissy. If I’m gonna get myself killed while driving an old Datsun in Afghanistan I’d at least like to die knowing the joker who killed me was in the same 20 mile radius of me.

  • Porcell

    Bryan: Have I mentioned recently that I think the use of drones for attack is the most cowardly, in fact perhaps the definition of the wimpy-completely-spoiled way to wage war?

    Easy to say from the comfort of civilian life. Were you a president, warrior, or perhaps a relative of a 9/11 victim who chose to jump from the 100th floor rather than burn, you might view the matter less moralistically.

  • Porcell

    Bryan: Have I mentioned recently that I think the use of drones for attack is the most cowardly, in fact perhaps the definition of the wimpy-completely-spoiled way to wage war?

    Easy to say from the comfort of civilian life. Were you a president, warrior, or perhaps a relative of a 9/11 victim who chose to jump from the 100th floor rather than burn, you might view the matter less moralistically.

  • WebMonk

    Peter @43, Awlaki happens to be an American citizen.

    Did I misread the Fifth Amendment and there’s a loophole clause in there that says it only applies to people who aren’t determined by the President to be unlawful enemy combatants?

    Huh. I just checked. There isn’t. Awlaki is still required to have a trial before the US can punish him with death, imprisonment, or confiscation of property.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. You don’t seem to care about little things like the Fifth Amendment. Not even worth the paper it’s written on, I’m sure.

  • WebMonk

    Peter @43, Awlaki happens to be an American citizen.

    Did I misread the Fifth Amendment and there’s a loophole clause in there that says it only applies to people who aren’t determined by the President to be unlawful enemy combatants?

    Huh. I just checked. There isn’t. Awlaki is still required to have a trial before the US can punish him with death, imprisonment, or confiscation of property.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. You don’t seem to care about little things like the Fifth Amendment. Not even worth the paper it’s written on, I’m sure.

  • DonS

    Again, as I said @ 28, the hand wringing on this comment thread is a little out of control. Who said anything about assassination, other than the guy’s father? Officially, the guy was put on a “capture or kill” list, because he is alleged to be engaging in terrorist activities which pose a grave threat to national security and the security of our citizens. So what? The FBI’s most wanted posters at your local post office are full of citizens who are wanted, dead or alive. Same thing. No one is alleging that the man won’t get a trial if he is captured. What the government is asking to have dismissed is thte father’s lawsuit asking that the action of putting him on the capture or kill list be enjoined. Sheesh. Everybody take a deep breath.

  • DonS

    Again, as I said @ 28, the hand wringing on this comment thread is a little out of control. Who said anything about assassination, other than the guy’s father? Officially, the guy was put on a “capture or kill” list, because he is alleged to be engaging in terrorist activities which pose a grave threat to national security and the security of our citizens. So what? The FBI’s most wanted posters at your local post office are full of citizens who are wanted, dead or alive. Same thing. No one is alleging that the man won’t get a trial if he is captured. What the government is asking to have dismissed is thte father’s lawsuit asking that the action of putting him on the capture or kill list be enjoined. Sheesh. Everybody take a deep breath.

  • Leif

    @47

    Here

    and

    here

    (the last one is a glenn beck transcript so take it as it comes)

  • Leif

    @47

    Here

    and

    here

    (the last one is a glenn beck transcript so take it as it comes)

  • Leif

    …heck, the first one says it all. Ignore the second.

  • Leif

    …heck, the first one says it all. Ignore the second.

  • Kirk

    @43

    Incorrect. The term “enemy combatant,” in a legal sense, may only be applied to non-citizens (http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011113-27.html).

    John Walker Lindh, for example, was tried and imprisoned for committing crimes against the US penal code, most notably conspiracy. Alwalki fits much more neatly into the category as a criminal, regardless of how little you like his actions or religion.

  • Kirk

    @43

    Incorrect. The term “enemy combatant,” in a legal sense, may only be applied to non-citizens (http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011113-27.html).

    John Walker Lindh, for example, was tried and imprisoned for committing crimes against the US penal code, most notably conspiracy. Alwalki fits much more neatly into the category as a criminal, regardless of how little you like his actions or religion.

  • Kirk

    @Don,

    I don’t think that’s actually the case. I’ve never seen a “dead or alive” poster. Looking over the FBI’s 10 most wanted, I can’t find any instances of “dead or alive.” In fact, rewards are offered within the context of “capture or conviction,” even in the case of bin Laden. Maybe I’m missing something, though.

  • Kirk

    @Don,

    I don’t think that’s actually the case. I’ve never seen a “dead or alive” poster. Looking over the FBI’s 10 most wanted, I can’t find any instances of “dead or alive.” In fact, rewards are offered within the context of “capture or conviction,” even in the case of bin Laden. Maybe I’m missing something, though.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    @45 “Easy to say from the comfort of civilian life.” Yes indeed, and I’m thankful for that. But it may not always be so easy to say.

    I think it is far easier to move the little joystick just so and touch a button from a 1000 miles away over a person or a community you have never had to face. Spineless! Its like its a game and not people to you and to far too many others. Sometimes morals are good, Porcell.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    @45 “Easy to say from the comfort of civilian life.” Yes indeed, and I’m thankful for that. But it may not always be so easy to say.

    I think it is far easier to move the little joystick just so and touch a button from a 1000 miles away over a person or a community you have never had to face. Spineless! Its like its a game and not people to you and to far too many others. Sometimes morals are good, Porcell.

  • WebMonk

    The iconic “Dead or Alive” are far more fictional exaggeration than historical reality. There were a few, but the ones that were issued by the US government were for people who had been convicted of capital crimes.

  • WebMonk

    The iconic “Dead or Alive” are far more fictional exaggeration than historical reality. There were a few, but the ones that were issued by the US government were for people who had been convicted of capital crimes.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 41: Yeah, I guess they don’t say “dead or alive” on the posters anymore, because bounty hunters were bringing back too many of ‘em dead http://people.howstuffworks.com/bounty-hunting.htm. I guess it’s easier to collect your reward when the criminal’s just laying in the back of the wagon :-). However, I don’t think that changes the fact that “kill or capture” is the standard by which law enforcement apprehends any dangerous violent criminal. So applying that same law enforcement standard to this character isn’t remarkable or different.

    In other words, this story is ridiculously overblown. Nothing has been alleged about denying the guy his rights as a citizen or his right to a trial. All he has to do is surrender peacefully. If he refuses to do that, all bets are off, just as they have been for countless other accused criminals (anybody remember Butch and Sundance?).

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 41: Yeah, I guess they don’t say “dead or alive” on the posters anymore, because bounty hunters were bringing back too many of ‘em dead http://people.howstuffworks.com/bounty-hunting.htm. I guess it’s easier to collect your reward when the criminal’s just laying in the back of the wagon :-). However, I don’t think that changes the fact that “kill or capture” is the standard by which law enforcement apprehends any dangerous violent criminal. So applying that same law enforcement standard to this character isn’t remarkable or different.

    In other words, this story is ridiculously overblown. Nothing has been alleged about denying the guy his rights as a citizen or his right to a trial. All he has to do is surrender peacefully. If he refuses to do that, all bets are off, just as they have been for countless other accused criminals (anybody remember Butch and Sundance?).

  • MarkB

    I would say it is a little unlikely that anyone targeted by a drone will ever get a chance to surrender.

  • MarkB

    I would say it is a little unlikely that anyone targeted by a drone will ever get a chance to surrender.

  • DonS

    Um, MarkB, I missed in the article where it said he was being targeted by a drone. Or that he hasn’t already been given an opportunity to surrender.

  • DonS

    Um, MarkB, I missed in the article where it said he was being targeted by a drone. Or that he hasn’t already been given an opportunity to surrender.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m late to this discussion, but really, I think Veith could have stopped with just the line “President Obama is out-Bushing Bush”. That covers about all we need to say about the man.

    “Some of you vilified President Bush for his controversial measures in battling terrorists. Will you vilify President Obama for going beyond what Bush did?” This seems aimed at me, among others, so I’ll respond: I have vilified Obama, especially when he “out-Bushes Bush”, and I am doing so now. Yes, this is despicable. Yes, this is evil.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m late to this discussion, but really, I think Veith could have stopped with just the line “President Obama is out-Bushing Bush”. That covers about all we need to say about the man.

    “Some of you vilified President Bush for his controversial measures in battling terrorists. Will you vilify President Obama for going beyond what Bush did?” This seems aimed at me, among others, so I’ll respond: I have vilified Obama, especially when he “out-Bushes Bush”, and I am doing so now. Yes, this is despicable. Yes, this is evil.

  • Joanne

    In our war with the Barbary Pirates in North Africa, were any American citizens known to fight with the Pirates? Many Americans were captured and enslaved, some might have turned sides for the sake of freedom. Was this a declared war or another of these gawdawful military actions? Just saying, we might have some useful precidents. Appearantly, the Musselmen’s reasonings for being so mean to US were then pretty much what they are now. God says they can and should be high-handed with infidels.

    Hypothetical:

    Barbary Pirates have captured an American merchant ship and armed it. They have put as captain a notorious American turncoat who, after ten years of slavery, became a Moslem to gain his freedom. Captain Ishmail O’Toole has since sunk 3 American ships and the President has issued a capture or kill notice for O’Toole. However, Senator O’Toole, the uncle of the turncoat, has challenged the president’s authority to issue such a warrent. On the last ship sunk, a beautiful woman’s family negotiates furiously for her freedom, but without enough money. Captain O’Toole has his eye on her, but for what?

    It has ever been thus.

  • Joanne

    In our war with the Barbary Pirates in North Africa, were any American citizens known to fight with the Pirates? Many Americans were captured and enslaved, some might have turned sides for the sake of freedom. Was this a declared war or another of these gawdawful military actions? Just saying, we might have some useful precidents. Appearantly, the Musselmen’s reasonings for being so mean to US were then pretty much what they are now. God says they can and should be high-handed with infidels.

    Hypothetical:

    Barbary Pirates have captured an American merchant ship and armed it. They have put as captain a notorious American turncoat who, after ten years of slavery, became a Moslem to gain his freedom. Captain Ishmail O’Toole has since sunk 3 American ships and the President has issued a capture or kill notice for O’Toole. However, Senator O’Toole, the uncle of the turncoat, has challenged the president’s authority to issue such a warrent. On the last ship sunk, a beautiful woman’s family negotiates furiously for her freedom, but without enough money. Captain O’Toole has his eye on her, but for what?

    It has ever been thus.

  • WebMonk

    DonS, “kill or capture” is NOT the standard which law enforcement uses in capturing dangerous suspects! The only time they are allowed to use deadly force is if the suspect is resisting with deadly force.

    The idea that deadly force is ok for police to use when capturing an armed and dangerous suspect is not true – police are much more aware, wary of, and prepared to respond to deadly attacks from an armed and dangerous suspect when they apprehend him, but until he resists arrest with deadly force, police are not allowed to use a “kill or capture” sort of standard – ever.

    And they most CERTAINLY never go in to “capture” with a Predator drone attack or its equivalent. Yes, the government hasn’t stated that they want to use a Predator to assassinate the guy, but they have stated they want to assassinate him – a Predator is just a stand-in for whatever means they would use.

    IF the guy were innocent (unlikely, but go with the thought experiment) do you think he would have any trust at all in the US government’s likelihood to give a fair and timely trial?

    Or, do would he think it far more likely that he would get shipped off to Gitmo for several years for questioning and incarceration, and hopefully released someday with an apology from the government? Heck, if he is innocent I think it’s still far more likely that he would sit in a detention center for years while being interrogated before he would be released. If I, on the outside without any threat to myself, think it’s more likely he would be imprisoned, guilty or innocent, then I am 100% sure he, the one being directly affected, would feel the same way.

    If he were innocent, I wouldn’t blame him one bit for refusing to surrender to the US! That is a very sad state of affairs.

  • WebMonk

    DonS, “kill or capture” is NOT the standard which law enforcement uses in capturing dangerous suspects! The only time they are allowed to use deadly force is if the suspect is resisting with deadly force.

    The idea that deadly force is ok for police to use when capturing an armed and dangerous suspect is not true – police are much more aware, wary of, and prepared to respond to deadly attacks from an armed and dangerous suspect when they apprehend him, but until he resists arrest with deadly force, police are not allowed to use a “kill or capture” sort of standard – ever.

    And they most CERTAINLY never go in to “capture” with a Predator drone attack or its equivalent. Yes, the government hasn’t stated that they want to use a Predator to assassinate the guy, but they have stated they want to assassinate him – a Predator is just a stand-in for whatever means they would use.

    IF the guy were innocent (unlikely, but go with the thought experiment) do you think he would have any trust at all in the US government’s likelihood to give a fair and timely trial?

    Or, do would he think it far more likely that he would get shipped off to Gitmo for several years for questioning and incarceration, and hopefully released someday with an apology from the government? Heck, if he is innocent I think it’s still far more likely that he would sit in a detention center for years while being interrogated before he would be released. If I, on the outside without any threat to myself, think it’s more likely he would be imprisoned, guilty or innocent, then I am 100% sure he, the one being directly affected, would feel the same way.

    If he were innocent, I wouldn’t blame him one bit for refusing to surrender to the US! That is a very sad state of affairs.

  • WebMonk

    Joanne, I think I read of a romance novel with that storyline. It has ever been such? Maybe in Harlequins.

  • WebMonk

    Joanne, I think I read of a romance novel with that storyline. It has ever been such? Maybe in Harlequins.

  • Winston Smith

    The FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list entry for Usama bin Laden does not say “dead or alive.”

    Interestingly, it says he is wanted for the August 7, 1998 embassy bombings, with no mention of 9/11.

    http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/fugitives/laden.htm

    Also, why hasn’t he made a video recording since 2004? Can’t they smuggle a camcorder to him in the cave?

  • Winston Smith

    The FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list entry for Usama bin Laden does not say “dead or alive.”

    Interestingly, it says he is wanted for the August 7, 1998 embassy bombings, with no mention of 9/11.

    http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/fugitives/laden.htm

    Also, why hasn’t he made a video recording since 2004? Can’t they smuggle a camcorder to him in the cave?

  • DonS

    Webmonk, “Kill or capture” to me means capture if possible, kill if necessary. “If necessary” means that the law enforcement agents have a reasonable apprehension of immediate physical danger because of the fugitive’s use of deadly force. The legal standard is not that the fugitive is actually resisting with deadly force, but that the agent has a reasonable apprehension that he is in imminent danger.

    Is there anything in what you have read that dictates to you that the current situation is any different? Where did they say they want to assassinate him? The father said that, but did they? I didn’t read that, but maybe I missed it.

    The fact that this guy has holed himself up in a country that is a known haven for terrorists who intend violence against the U.S. puts more of an onus on him to act in his own interests by initiating surrender. If he refuses to do that, he assumes a certain risk of death, because it is difficult for U.S. forces to apprehend him safely. And I don’t believe, just because he is a citizen, that he is entitled to a free pass to just sit in Yemen and plot terrorist actions against the U.S. Do you?

    And, again, nothing I have read indicates that the U.S. does not intend to give him a fair trial once apprehended. Am I missing something?

    As for your last three paragraphs, now you are engaging in rank speculation. If, if, if …… Well, if you are right about all of those speculations, then I will probably agree with you. But we aren’t there yet.

  • DonS

    Webmonk, “Kill or capture” to me means capture if possible, kill if necessary. “If necessary” means that the law enforcement agents have a reasonable apprehension of immediate physical danger because of the fugitive’s use of deadly force. The legal standard is not that the fugitive is actually resisting with deadly force, but that the agent has a reasonable apprehension that he is in imminent danger.

    Is there anything in what you have read that dictates to you that the current situation is any different? Where did they say they want to assassinate him? The father said that, but did they? I didn’t read that, but maybe I missed it.

    The fact that this guy has holed himself up in a country that is a known haven for terrorists who intend violence against the U.S. puts more of an onus on him to act in his own interests by initiating surrender. If he refuses to do that, he assumes a certain risk of death, because it is difficult for U.S. forces to apprehend him safely. And I don’t believe, just because he is a citizen, that he is entitled to a free pass to just sit in Yemen and plot terrorist actions against the U.S. Do you?

    And, again, nothing I have read indicates that the U.S. does not intend to give him a fair trial once apprehended. Am I missing something?

    As for your last three paragraphs, now you are engaging in rank speculation. If, if, if …… Well, if you are right about all of those speculations, then I will probably agree with you. But we aren’t there yet.

  • Porcell

    al Quaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a May 2010 interview with lAwlaki interview including the following:

    For 50 years, an entire people – the Muslims in Palestine – has been strangled, with American aid, support, and weapons. Twenty years of siege and then occupation of Iraq, and now, the occupation of Afghanistan. After all this, no one should even ask us about targeting a bunch of Americans who would have been killed in an airplane. Our unsettled account with America includes, at the very least, one million women and children. I’m not even talking about the men. Our unsettled account with America, in women and children alone, has exceeded one million. Those who would have been killed in the plane are a drop in the ocean.

    Awlaki is here defending the failed Christmas bombing of an American airliner by a terrorist whom he trained and adds that the unsettled account with America in women and children alone exceeds one-million. This fellow has declared himself an enemy of America and whether taken down militarily or, if captured, by a military commission doesn’t really matter. He is a cold-blooded killer involved with a savage enemy whom Obama has correctly targeted as an enemy combatant.

  • Porcell

    al Quaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a May 2010 interview with lAwlaki interview including the following:

    For 50 years, an entire people – the Muslims in Palestine – has been strangled, with American aid, support, and weapons. Twenty years of siege and then occupation of Iraq, and now, the occupation of Afghanistan. After all this, no one should even ask us about targeting a bunch of Americans who would have been killed in an airplane. Our unsettled account with America includes, at the very least, one million women and children. I’m not even talking about the men. Our unsettled account with America, in women and children alone, has exceeded one million. Those who would have been killed in the plane are a drop in the ocean.

    Awlaki is here defending the failed Christmas bombing of an American airliner by a terrorist whom he trained and adds that the unsettled account with America in women and children alone exceeds one-million. This fellow has declared himself an enemy of America and whether taken down militarily or, if captured, by a military commission doesn’t really matter. He is a cold-blooded killer involved with a savage enemy whom Obama has correctly targeted as an enemy combatant.

  • WebMonk

    DonS, thanks for the clarification. I was using shortcut language, and yes, that’s more or less what I meant – the police can’t use deadly force unless they are endangered. (and there are whole hosts of directives about how to measure whether or not an officer is being endangered and whether or not the suspect is endangering others and the levels of danger and the immediacy and, and, and)

    But note that the deadly force the police are allowed to use comes into play WHILE TRYING TO APPREHEND the suspect.

    What I don’t get is why you keep saying things like “nothing I have read indicates that the U.S. does not intend to give him a fair trial once apprehended” and “I missed in the article where it said he was being targeted by a drone”

    They’ve already put up links to articles describing just that. The US isn’t trying to apprehend him at all, they are trying to assassinate him!

    Here, I’ll put in a few links. Hopefully this won’t get the post sent to spam.

    foxnews.com/world/2009/12/24/imam-linked-ft-hood-rampage-believed-al-qaeda-killed-airstrike/

    washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/26/AR2010012604239_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2010012700394

    nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/middleeast/07yemen.html?_r=1&hp

    nypost.com/p/news/national/fort_hood_imam_blown_up_yemen_k1ktJYRAKYvJoDJZ9fJ0jI

    salon.com/news/terrorism/?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/07/01/assassinations
    (this one is the same one that Veith posted, did you not read it?)

    The US government hasn’t been trying to apprehend him, rather they are just going for an all-out assassination. In fact they already have made one attempt with an air strike which failed.

    Let’s grant you all the apprehension discussion about how the US can use deadly force when attempting to apprehend someone. Fine.

    They aren’t trying to do that – they’re just trying to kill him! Forget any discussion of apprehension and capturing, they’re just trying to kill the guy without any pretense of capturing or apprehending or anything like that.

  • WebMonk

    DonS, thanks for the clarification. I was using shortcut language, and yes, that’s more or less what I meant – the police can’t use deadly force unless they are endangered. (and there are whole hosts of directives about how to measure whether or not an officer is being endangered and whether or not the suspect is endangering others and the levels of danger and the immediacy and, and, and)

    But note that the deadly force the police are allowed to use comes into play WHILE TRYING TO APPREHEND the suspect.

    What I don’t get is why you keep saying things like “nothing I have read indicates that the U.S. does not intend to give him a fair trial once apprehended” and “I missed in the article where it said he was being targeted by a drone”

    They’ve already put up links to articles describing just that. The US isn’t trying to apprehend him at all, they are trying to assassinate him!

    Here, I’ll put in a few links. Hopefully this won’t get the post sent to spam.

    foxnews.com/world/2009/12/24/imam-linked-ft-hood-rampage-believed-al-qaeda-killed-airstrike/

    washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/26/AR2010012604239_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2010012700394

    nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/middleeast/07yemen.html?_r=1&hp

    nypost.com/p/news/national/fort_hood_imam_blown_up_yemen_k1ktJYRAKYvJoDJZ9fJ0jI

    salon.com/news/terrorism/?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/07/01/assassinations
    (this one is the same one that Veith posted, did you not read it?)

    The US government hasn’t been trying to apprehend him, rather they are just going for an all-out assassination. In fact they already have made one attempt with an air strike which failed.

    Let’s grant you all the apprehension discussion about how the US can use deadly force when attempting to apprehend someone. Fine.

    They aren’t trying to do that – they’re just trying to kill him! Forget any discussion of apprehension and capturing, they’re just trying to kill the guy without any pretense of capturing or apprehending or anything like that.

  • Joe

    So under this reasoning it would have been just fine for the FBI to kill all the Hutaree Militia folks in Michigan. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of that pesky trial that is still on going.

  • Joe

    So under this reasoning it would have been just fine for the FBI to kill all the Hutaree Militia folks in Michigan. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of that pesky trial that is still on going.

  • WebMonk

    Peter @ 63

    Ahhh! Now we have the secret crime which removes an American’s rights. Supporting and encouraging someone who attacked Americans.

    You’re right! There it is, right there in the Fifth Amendment in sub-paragraph 13.7.2 – “this Amendment shall not apply to any citizen who supports, exhorts, or praises those who attempt to kill Americans or declares himself an enemy of the US.”

    How could I have missed that?!

  • WebMonk

    Peter @ 63

    Ahhh! Now we have the secret crime which removes an American’s rights. Supporting and encouraging someone who attacked Americans.

    You’re right! There it is, right there in the Fifth Amendment in sub-paragraph 13.7.2 – “this Amendment shall not apply to any citizen who supports, exhorts, or praises those who attempt to kill Americans or declares himself an enemy of the US.”

    How could I have missed that?!

  • Joe

    Don – if they were only interested in trying to capture him and using force only if necessary it would not be call a kill or capture list. It would just be a capture list, the killing is always available when trying to capture. It need not be stated or specifically authorized; it is always available. Now the ability to just kill someone, that’s when you need specific authorization for the use of deadly force.

    It seems to me that this kill or capture list is the modern day equivalent of the king declaring someone an outlaw (i.e. out side the protection of the law).

  • Joe

    Don – if they were only interested in trying to capture him and using force only if necessary it would not be call a kill or capture list. It would just be a capture list, the killing is always available when trying to capture. It need not be stated or specifically authorized; it is always available. Now the ability to just kill someone, that’s when you need specific authorization for the use of deadly force.

    It seems to me that this kill or capture list is the modern day equivalent of the king declaring someone an outlaw (i.e. out side the protection of the law).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So my question becomes: at what point in the planning stage did Timothy McVeigh surrender all his Constitutional rights, and at what time should government agents have secretly assassinated him?

    Also, apropos of nothing, has anyone noticed Peter’s references on this site to the “decline” of America, due to losing the cultural “war” against what he perceives as enemies? This is just a rumor at this point, but I’ve heard that Peter supports those who would “overthrow” President Obama. He has suggested “taking off the gloves” in doing so. In short, I’m pretty certain he’s plotting something, beginning with some kind of action against the government this November. And I’m just mentioning this out loud on the Internet should there be any, um, people reading my comments that might be connected to the Total Information Awareness project, which, I assume, feeds directly to the military’s drone program.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So my question becomes: at what point in the planning stage did Timothy McVeigh surrender all his Constitutional rights, and at what time should government agents have secretly assassinated him?

    Also, apropos of nothing, has anyone noticed Peter’s references on this site to the “decline” of America, due to losing the cultural “war” against what he perceives as enemies? This is just a rumor at this point, but I’ve heard that Peter supports those who would “overthrow” President Obama. He has suggested “taking off the gloves” in doing so. In short, I’m pretty certain he’s plotting something, beginning with some kind of action against the government this November. And I’m just mentioning this out loud on the Internet should there be any, um, people reading my comments that might be connected to the Total Information Awareness project, which, I assume, feeds directly to the military’s drone program.

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 64: Thanks for the links. One difficulty is the variant spellings that are used for his name, that caused me to miss some of the other ones you posted.

    I did read the Greenwald link, but here is one thing I missed in my first, probably somewhat hurried reading: “The same Post article quotes a DOJ spokesman as saying that Awlaki ‘should surrender to American authorities and return to the United States, where he will be held accountable for his actions.’ But he’s not been charged with any crimes, let alone indicted for any. The President has been trying to kill him for the entire year without any of that due process. ”

    I never considered the issue of a warrant or indictment. Clearly, in the case of a citizen, the courts or a grand jury do have a preliminary role in issuing an indictment or arrest warrant, before the Wanted posters go up. That should have occurred, in some fashion. These things can be done secretly, when required. That would constitute the judicial review the father is asking for. In the absence of such a warrant or indictment being in place, I agree with you concerning this whole matter.

    Of course, once the warrant or indictment were in place, and the imam given a fair opportunity to surrender, all bets would be off, up to and including killing him, if the security of our citizens were otherwise at stake. Just because you are a citizen does not give you a free pass to thumb your nose and continue your traitorous plotting.

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 64: Thanks for the links. One difficulty is the variant spellings that are used for his name, that caused me to miss some of the other ones you posted.

    I did read the Greenwald link, but here is one thing I missed in my first, probably somewhat hurried reading: “The same Post article quotes a DOJ spokesman as saying that Awlaki ‘should surrender to American authorities and return to the United States, where he will be held accountable for his actions.’ But he’s not been charged with any crimes, let alone indicted for any. The President has been trying to kill him for the entire year without any of that due process. ”

    I never considered the issue of a warrant or indictment. Clearly, in the case of a citizen, the courts or a grand jury do have a preliminary role in issuing an indictment or arrest warrant, before the Wanted posters go up. That should have occurred, in some fashion. These things can be done secretly, when required. That would constitute the judicial review the father is asking for. In the absence of such a warrant or indictment being in place, I agree with you concerning this whole matter.

    Of course, once the warrant or indictment were in place, and the imam given a fair opportunity to surrender, all bets would be off, up to and including killing him, if the security of our citizens were otherwise at stake. Just because you are a citizen does not give you a free pass to thumb your nose and continue your traitorous plotting.

  • Leif

    @69

    “These things can be done secretly, when required.”

    That doesn’t exactly make one feel any better about the whole process. “It’s OK that we killed him…we had a secret warrant…so…yeah. What’s that? You don’t like it? Well, if I recall I think we have one out on you too…”

    Regardless, I for one welcome our new dictatorial drone overlords. I will hand all dissenters over to you, my liege.

  • Leif

    @69

    “These things can be done secretly, when required.”

    That doesn’t exactly make one feel any better about the whole process. “It’s OK that we killed him…we had a secret warrant…so…yeah. What’s that? You don’t like it? Well, if I recall I think we have one out on you too…”

    Regardless, I for one welcome our new dictatorial drone overlords. I will hand all dissenters over to you, my liege.

  • Porcell

    WebMonkAhhh! Now we have the secret crime which removes an American’s rights. Supporting and encouraging someone who attacked Americans.

    WebMonk, you’re being cute here. The Obama administration views Awlaki as an active alQuaeda operative involved in an effort to kill American civilians. While the Obama administration has correctly denied public access to its classified information, Greg Miler, a Washington Post writer, has dug into this and in an article, Muslim cleric Aulaqi is 1st U.S. citizen on list of those CIA is allowed to kill writes:

    “He’s recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” said a second U.S. official. “He’s working actively to kill Americans, so it’s both lawful and sensible to try to stop him.” The official stressed that there are “careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens.”

    You have no clue about this fellow, nor about the reason the Obama administration has taken this action.

  • Porcell

    WebMonkAhhh! Now we have the secret crime which removes an American’s rights. Supporting and encouraging someone who attacked Americans.

    WebMonk, you’re being cute here. The Obama administration views Awlaki as an active alQuaeda operative involved in an effort to kill American civilians. While the Obama administration has correctly denied public access to its classified information, Greg Miler, a Washington Post writer, has dug into this and in an article, Muslim cleric Aulaqi is 1st U.S. citizen on list of those CIA is allowed to kill writes:

    “He’s recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” said a second U.S. official. “He’s working actively to kill Americans, so it’s both lawful and sensible to try to stop him.” The official stressed that there are “careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens.”

    You have no clue about this fellow, nor about the reason the Obama administration has taken this action.

  • MarkB

    Beyond the issue of whether there should be a judicial review of whether there is probable cause to think someone is guilty of serious crimes against our citizens and the government there is the issue of our just going into a sovern country without that county’s approval to kill or capture someone. What would we do if another country did that to someone in the US, especially if it was a US citizen? How outraged would we be? What kind of retaliation would be required by the population and the politicians?

    The use of drones seems very similar to some dystopic movies like the Terminator series. How would we feel if that is the way someone was controlling us? Refer this then to those in the countries where we are using the drones to eliminate opposition.

  • MarkB

    Beyond the issue of whether there should be a judicial review of whether there is probable cause to think someone is guilty of serious crimes against our citizens and the government there is the issue of our just going into a sovern country without that county’s approval to kill or capture someone. What would we do if another country did that to someone in the US, especially if it was a US citizen? How outraged would we be? What kind of retaliation would be required by the population and the politicians?

    The use of drones seems very similar to some dystopic movies like the Terminator series. How would we feel if that is the way someone was controlling us? Refer this then to those in the countries where we are using the drones to eliminate opposition.

  • Porcell

    Todd, So my question becomes: at what point in the planning stage did Timothy McVeigh surrender all his Constitutional rights, and at what time should government agents have secretly assassinated him?

    This is an absurd question. McVeigh was a dangerous criminal who was properly tried and executed through a legal process. Awlaki has been judged to be an enemy combatant connected to alQuaeda during a war authorized by the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

    Also, exactly where I have ever advocated an overthrow of Obama other than through the ballot box? You’re talking through your hat.

  • Porcell

    Todd, So my question becomes: at what point in the planning stage did Timothy McVeigh surrender all his Constitutional rights, and at what time should government agents have secretly assassinated him?

    This is an absurd question. McVeigh was a dangerous criminal who was properly tried and executed through a legal process. Awlaki has been judged to be an enemy combatant connected to alQuaeda during a war authorized by the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

    Also, exactly where I have ever advocated an overthrow of Obama other than through the ballot box? You’re talking through your hat.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@73), you missed my point. Sure, McVeigh was “properly tried and executed through a legal process,” but what a waste of time and resources that trial was! He was a terrorist! At some point, his plotting meant that he surrendered, according to Amendment V, sub-paragraph 13.7.2, all Constitutional rights, including citizenship, due process and, of course, his life. The ATF had already been alerted to his anti-government views and, in a sense, his plans. My question, again, is: why didn’t they just use a drone at that point to carry out justice? He was a terrorist! They could have killed him and be done with it! Easy-peasy!

    Also, apropos of nothing, <attackSequence action=”TIAP://drone.predator:8080″ zone=”MA” target=”Leavitt.P” terminate=”prejudice.extreme” />

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@73), you missed my point. Sure, McVeigh was “properly tried and executed through a legal process,” but what a waste of time and resources that trial was! He was a terrorist! At some point, his plotting meant that he surrendered, according to Amendment V, sub-paragraph 13.7.2, all Constitutional rights, including citizenship, due process and, of course, his life. The ATF had already been alerted to his anti-government views and, in a sense, his plans. My question, again, is: why didn’t they just use a drone at that point to carry out justice? He was a terrorist! They could have killed him and be done with it! Easy-peasy!

    Also, apropos of nothing, <attackSequence action=”TIAP://drone.predator:8080″ zone=”MA” target=”Leavitt.P” terminate=”prejudice.extreme” />

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dangit, WordPress converted my markup! Never mind. <attackSequence abort=”abort” />

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dangit, WordPress converted my markup! Never mind. <attackSequence abort=”abort” />

  • Porcell

    Todd, I got your foolish point entirely. I’m far from arguing that any legitimate rights of Americans should be compromised. Rather, that Americans who join any entity that is at war with the nation lose such rights. Your attempt at humor as usual fell flat.

    Also, you didn’t answer my question as to your allegation that I in any way Todd, So my question becomes: at what point in the planning stage did Timothy McVeigh surrender all his Constitutional rights, and at what time should government agents have secretly assassinated him?

    This is an absurd question. McVeigh was a dangerous criminal who was properly tried and executed through a legal process. Awlaki has been judged to be an enemy combatant connected to alQuaeda during a war authorized by the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

    Also, you ducked my question about your allegation that I advocated an overthrow of Obama through means other other than by the ballot box

  • Porcell

    Todd, I got your foolish point entirely. I’m far from arguing that any legitimate rights of Americans should be compromised. Rather, that Americans who join any entity that is at war with the nation lose such rights. Your attempt at humor as usual fell flat.

    Also, you didn’t answer my question as to your allegation that I in any way Todd, So my question becomes: at what point in the planning stage did Timothy McVeigh surrender all his Constitutional rights, and at what time should government agents have secretly assassinated him?

    This is an absurd question. McVeigh was a dangerous criminal who was properly tried and executed through a legal process. Awlaki has been judged to be an enemy combatant connected to alQuaeda during a war authorized by the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

    Also, you ducked my question about your allegation that I advocated an overthrow of Obama through means other other than by the ballot box

  • DonS

    MarkB @ 72: Yes, the fact that the killing or apprehension occurs on another country’s sovereign soil is certainly an issue. But it has nothing to do with whether the target is a U.S. citizen.

  • DonS

    MarkB @ 72: Yes, the fact that the killing or apprehension occurs on another country’s sovereign soil is certainly an issue. But it has nothing to do with whether the target is a U.S. citizen.

  • DonS

    Leif @ 70: It may not make you feel better, but then again I doubt that you are or would be involved in the types of activities at issue here. This is no ordinary citizen we are talking about. National security is a consideration, and sometime in camera judicial review is a necessity. I feel certain in saying that 99.99999999999% of those of us who are citizens should have no fear of proceedings like this.

    Yes, because this imam is a citizen, he is entitled to due process. I do agree that if there has been no judicial review leading to the issuance of a warrant or indictment for this man, in secret or in the open, as appropriate, then he has not received this necessary due process. I’m not sure whether this is the case or not, based on what I have read.

  • DonS

    Leif @ 70: It may not make you feel better, but then again I doubt that you are or would be involved in the types of activities at issue here. This is no ordinary citizen we are talking about. National security is a consideration, and sometime in camera judicial review is a necessity. I feel certain in saying that 99.99999999999% of those of us who are citizens should have no fear of proceedings like this.

    Yes, because this imam is a citizen, he is entitled to due process. I do agree that if there has been no judicial review leading to the issuance of a warrant or indictment for this man, in secret or in the open, as appropriate, then he has not received this necessary due process. I’m not sure whether this is the case or not, based on what I have read.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@76), “I’m far from arguing that any legitimate rights of Americans should be compromised. Rather, that Americans who join any entity that is at war with the nation lose such rights.”

    Um, hello? McVeigh had joined a group that was at war with the nation! He, along with that group, attacked a federal building! Hello? Your argument clearly suggests that McVeigh, et al., could have been targeted by a predator drone at any time during their planning stage, since they no longer — again, according to your argument — had any Constitutional rights. I’m not joking, though I wish that you were. The very logical consequence of your argument is the denial of due process for American citizens who conspire against the nation and its government.

    Speaking of which (and, just to be clear, now is when I am attmpting to be humorous), in light of your admission that you “advocated an overthrow of Obama through means other other than by the ballot box,” <attackSequence method=”resume” action=”TIAP://drone.predator:8080″ zone=”MA” target=”Leavitt.P” terminate=”prejudice.extreme” />

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@76), “I’m far from arguing that any legitimate rights of Americans should be compromised. Rather, that Americans who join any entity that is at war with the nation lose such rights.”

    Um, hello? McVeigh had joined a group that was at war with the nation! He, along with that group, attacked a federal building! Hello? Your argument clearly suggests that McVeigh, et al., could have been targeted by a predator drone at any time during their planning stage, since they no longer — again, according to your argument — had any Constitutional rights. I’m not joking, though I wish that you were. The very logical consequence of your argument is the denial of due process for American citizens who conspire against the nation and its government.

    Speaking of which (and, just to be clear, now is when I am attmpting to be humorous), in light of your admission that you “advocated an overthrow of Obama through means other other than by the ballot box,” <attackSequence method=”resume” action=”TIAP://drone.predator:8080″ zone=”MA” target=”Leavitt.P” terminate=”prejudice.extreme” />

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@78), you are usually quite good at defending the Constitution. Not today.

    “This is no ordinary citizen we are talking about.” Indeed, because the Constitution outlines two classes of citizens: ordinary, and … extraordinary, maybe? And it does this … um … where, again? And if Aulaqi was “no ordinary citizen”, was McVeigh? Who else has lost their citizenship status and/or protections, according to your logic? When, exactly, did this change occur? When did the Constitution stop applying to some, but not all, citizens, is my question?

    Also, “99.99999999999% of those of us who are citizens should have no fear of proceedings like this”? You really should check your math there, amigo. What you just said was that this only would affect 1 out of every 10 trillion citizens. Which is to say, given that there are only 300 million or so of us: nobody. FYI. ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@78), you are usually quite good at defending the Constitution. Not today.

    “This is no ordinary citizen we are talking about.” Indeed, because the Constitution outlines two classes of citizens: ordinary, and … extraordinary, maybe? And it does this … um … where, again? And if Aulaqi was “no ordinary citizen”, was McVeigh? Who else has lost their citizenship status and/or protections, according to your logic? When, exactly, did this change occur? When did the Constitution stop applying to some, but not all, citizens, is my question?

    Also, “99.99999999999% of those of us who are citizens should have no fear of proceedings like this”? You really should check your math there, amigo. What you just said was that this only would affect 1 out of every 10 trillion citizens. Which is to say, given that there are only 300 million or so of us: nobody. FYI. ;)

  • MarkB

    DonS @ 77 I did not argue that it had anything to do with an American citizen. In fact I clearly stated that I have a problem with the legality of these strikes whether they are going after an American citizen or not. We are not at war (at least not a declared war) with Pakistan. We are not openly invited to Pakistan to do this. We are not in hot pursuit when this happens. So where is our right to target and kill people in a sovereign nation not our own?

    This has a lot of implications for the future on how we Americans are treated when we might not have the clout that we have now. It also has implications for how we are perceived in the world and what hatreds we generate for future generations.

  • MarkB

    DonS @ 77 I did not argue that it had anything to do with an American citizen. In fact I clearly stated that I have a problem with the legality of these strikes whether they are going after an American citizen or not. We are not at war (at least not a declared war) with Pakistan. We are not openly invited to Pakistan to do this. We are not in hot pursuit when this happens. So where is our right to target and kill people in a sovereign nation not our own?

    This has a lot of implications for the future on how we Americans are treated when we might not have the clout that we have now. It also has implications for how we are perceived in the world and what hatreds we generate for future generations.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 80:

    Yes, probably a few too many significant digits there. But, ya know, I was making a point.

    As to the main issue, I think we probably should be in substantial agreement here. I know, shocking, how many days in a row will this be the case? When I use the term “no ordinary citizen”, I don’t mean he gets lesser protections under the Constitution. Rather, what I mean, directly responsive to Leif’s concern, is that he is engaged in activities that the U.S. does have a legitimate interest in classifying, for national security purposes. For this reason, while normally we citizens are entitled to due process in open court, it is probably legitimate for the Sheik’s proceedings to occur in camera, with appropriate confidentiality.

    So again, I am not disagreeing that he is entitled to due process, just that it is probably justifiable to modify the way in which it occurs, because of the activities he is engaged in.

    Now, if the U.S. has obtained or were to obtain an arrest warrant or indictment, following appropriate constitutional procedures, and were the Sheik not to agree to surrender to U.S. authorities for adjudication (and, yes, because he is a citizen I believe he is entitled to an appropriate court proceeding, though again, probably in secret), then the U.S. may well be justified in killing him, as a matter of national security. It is his responsibility, as a citizen, to surrender to authorities when properly indicted. I don’t know whether we agree on this, but I would be interested in knowing how you think these things should be handled, keeping in mind the due protection of innocent American life, if you do not agree.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 80:

    Yes, probably a few too many significant digits there. But, ya know, I was making a point.

    As to the main issue, I think we probably should be in substantial agreement here. I know, shocking, how many days in a row will this be the case? When I use the term “no ordinary citizen”, I don’t mean he gets lesser protections under the Constitution. Rather, what I mean, directly responsive to Leif’s concern, is that he is engaged in activities that the U.S. does have a legitimate interest in classifying, for national security purposes. For this reason, while normally we citizens are entitled to due process in open court, it is probably legitimate for the Sheik’s proceedings to occur in camera, with appropriate confidentiality.

    So again, I am not disagreeing that he is entitled to due process, just that it is probably justifiable to modify the way in which it occurs, because of the activities he is engaged in.

    Now, if the U.S. has obtained or were to obtain an arrest warrant or indictment, following appropriate constitutional procedures, and were the Sheik not to agree to surrender to U.S. authorities for adjudication (and, yes, because he is a citizen I believe he is entitled to an appropriate court proceeding, though again, probably in secret), then the U.S. may well be justified in killing him, as a matter of national security. It is his responsibility, as a citizen, to surrender to authorities when properly indicted. I don’t know whether we agree on this, but I would be interested in knowing how you think these things should be handled, keeping in mind the due protection of innocent American life, if you do not agree.

  • Porcell

    Todd, get real, while McVeigh might have suffered the illusion that his group was attacking the nation, he was properly prosecuted and executed as a criminal, not as an enemy combatant. Had any member of the government illegally killed him, he would be properly prosecuted.

    Todd, at 68: …but I’ve heard that Peter supports those who would “overthrow” President Obama. He has suggested “taking off the gloves” in doing so. In short, I’m pretty certain he’s plotting something, beginning with some kind of action against the government this November…. This is actually a rather nasty remark that needs to be either backed up or apologized for.

  • Porcell

    Todd, get real, while McVeigh might have suffered the illusion that his group was attacking the nation, he was properly prosecuted and executed as a criminal, not as an enemy combatant. Had any member of the government illegally killed him, he would be properly prosecuted.

    Todd, at 68: …but I’ve heard that Peter supports those who would “overthrow” President Obama. He has suggested “taking off the gloves” in doing so. In short, I’m pretty certain he’s plotting something, beginning with some kind of action against the government this November…. This is actually a rather nasty remark that needs to be either backed up or apologized for.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@82), I see we do, for the most part agree. I had missed the context of your reply to Leif — sorry. Yes, let’s celebrate. :)

    “It is his responsibility, as a citizen, to surrender to authorities when properly indicted.” Okay, sure, but my question is: is there any other case you can think of where you would say of a US citizen that, if he does not surrnder to the authorities when indicted, that the government may be “justified in killing him”? Again, leaving aside the potential case of a man fighting arrest with deadly force.

    My answer to how to handle these things would, I think, be the same in either case. If a man is on the lam, hiding from the law, we send out a force to arrest him. Of course, in the case of a man hiding in a foreign country, that is a more involved, difficult, and possibly dangerous process. And a more detailed answer would depend on all sorts of things, like how much the country itself would be willing to help us. I don’t really know a lot about that area.

    Peter (@83), you continue to miss my points — the serious ones and the jokes. Sorry.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@82), I see we do, for the most part agree. I had missed the context of your reply to Leif — sorry. Yes, let’s celebrate. :)

    “It is his responsibility, as a citizen, to surrender to authorities when properly indicted.” Okay, sure, but my question is: is there any other case you can think of where you would say of a US citizen that, if he does not surrnder to the authorities when indicted, that the government may be “justified in killing him”? Again, leaving aside the potential case of a man fighting arrest with deadly force.

    My answer to how to handle these things would, I think, be the same in either case. If a man is on the lam, hiding from the law, we send out a force to arrest him. Of course, in the case of a man hiding in a foreign country, that is a more involved, difficult, and possibly dangerous process. And a more detailed answer would depend on all sorts of things, like how much the country itself would be willing to help us. I don’t really know a lot about that area.

    Peter (@83), you continue to miss my points — the serious ones and the jokes. Sorry.

  • DonS

    MarkB @ 81: I agree that this is a concern. A serious diplomatic one. But, the point I was making is that it is not really germane to the thread.

  • DonS

    MarkB @ 81: I agree that this is a concern. A serious diplomatic one. But, the point I was making is that it is not really germane to the thread.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 84: Yeah!!

    As for the part where we might not agree, I guess the point I was making is that I don’t think we are obligated to a choice of either risking a force to go get the citizen or risking endangerment of innocent citizens because we do nothing. I think there are circumstances where taking out a citizen who refuses to surrender and also refuses to cease his dangerous activities is warranted. Again, assuming that the danger has been truly confirmed through suitable due process and that every reasonable effort has been made to protect his constitutional rights. And, of course, that is often the rub.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 84: Yeah!!

    As for the part where we might not agree, I guess the point I was making is that I don’t think we are obligated to a choice of either risking a force to go get the citizen or risking endangerment of innocent citizens because we do nothing. I think there are circumstances where taking out a citizen who refuses to surrender and also refuses to cease his dangerous activities is warranted. Again, assuming that the danger has been truly confirmed through suitable due process and that every reasonable effort has been made to protect his constitutional rights. And, of course, that is often the rub.

  • Porcell

    Todd, I get your serious point and find it badly mistaken; as to your sick joke, I regard it as rather offensive. You are quite the nasty person. Too bad the internet doesn’t allow face to face or, better, fist to fist confrontation

  • Porcell

    Todd, I get your serious point and find it badly mistaken; as to your sick joke, I regard it as rather offensive. You are quite the nasty person. Too bad the internet doesn’t allow face to face or, better, fist to fist confrontation

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@86), let’s assume that, yes, a citizen has been confirmed to be plotting dangerous and illegal activities — confirmed through what we will simply call “due process”, leaving aside the particulars on what that might mean. Let’s assume he is not in anything close to what could be considered a “war zone”. Let’s assume there’s a warrant out for his arrest, and he is on the lam, refusing to turn himself in. What is to be done? This is the question, yes?

    Let’s leave aside the “do nothing” route, as I don’t think anyone’s advising that. There are then two options that I can see: (1) In some manner or other, send out a force to arrest the man, or (2) assassinate him.

    My question to you, then, is: (I) on what grounds could you justify the assassination option legally, and (II) on what grounds would you distinguish between the uses of approaches (1) and (2)?

    I would like your answer to apply as much as possible to the scenario I’ve laid out (assuming I haven’t missed anything), and not to the specific scenario that spawned this discussion. This citizen might be plotting in a nice, friendly country. He might be in the US. He might be part of al-Qaeda. He might be part of a “militia”. What I don’t want is an answer that applies only narrowly to alleged al-Qaeda members in countries that no one much likes.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@86), let’s assume that, yes, a citizen has been confirmed to be plotting dangerous and illegal activities — confirmed through what we will simply call “due process”, leaving aside the particulars on what that might mean. Let’s assume he is not in anything close to what could be considered a “war zone”. Let’s assume there’s a warrant out for his arrest, and he is on the lam, refusing to turn himself in. What is to be done? This is the question, yes?

    Let’s leave aside the “do nothing” route, as I don’t think anyone’s advising that. There are then two options that I can see: (1) In some manner or other, send out a force to arrest the man, or (2) assassinate him.

    My question to you, then, is: (I) on what grounds could you justify the assassination option legally, and (II) on what grounds would you distinguish between the uses of approaches (1) and (2)?

    I would like your answer to apply as much as possible to the scenario I’ve laid out (assuming I haven’t missed anything), and not to the specific scenario that spawned this discussion. This citizen might be plotting in a nice, friendly country. He might be in the US. He might be part of al-Qaeda. He might be part of a “militia”. What I don’t want is an answer that applies only narrowly to alleged al-Qaeda members in countries that no one much likes.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Too bad the internet doesn’t allow face to face or, better, fist to fist confrontation” (@87). Ha. Your joke was better than mine, Porcell. You win.

    We could always try a game of Scrabble on Facebook, if you’d like. You know, mano a mano.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Too bad the internet doesn’t allow face to face or, better, fist to fist confrontation” (@87). Ha. Your joke was better than mine, Porcell. You win.

    We could always try a game of Scrabble on Facebook, if you’d like. You know, mano a mano.

  • kerner

    For those of you that insist on treating Awlaki like a common criminal, because the constitution requires that all American citizens be treated as such, let me suggest another hypothetical (actually, Joanna’s wasn’t all that bad).

    Numerous American citizens respond to Hitler’s call for volksdeutsche to return to the fatherland and some join the German Army (this actually happened). America gets into the war and invades Europe (even though Germany never attacked the USA), thus putting our military in a position of killing the American citizens in German uniform without a trial or any other constitutional protections. Is that ok?

    Same situation, but this time the American citizen gets a job working in the civilian municipal government of the city of Dresden. The allies decide to firebomb Dresden, even though it had no military significance, to break the will of the German people to fight on, thus killing American citizens without a trial or other constitutional protections. OK? not OK?

    Same situation, but this time the American citizen joins a civilian, ununiformed, Nazi intelligence organization training German spies to pass as Americans so they can assassinate Americans. The American citizen is so good at it that he becomes known to US military intelligence. Military intelligence decides to use its own operatives to kill him, thus undermining the German war effort. OK? Not OK?

    OK, switch to now. We have an international paramilitary organization that proclaims itself to be “at war” with the United States. It wears no uniforms, especially while attacking and trying to kill Americans, and answers to no recognised government, but some of them openly proclaim themselves to be at war with the USA. One of these turns out to be an American citizen. At some point can the US military treat this paramilitary organization like a military enemy and kill them like military enemies? Can this EVER include American citizens who join the paramilitary organization?

    I struggle with all this myself, but I think some of you need to come down off your high horses. These issues are not as simple as you make them sound.

  • kerner

    For those of you that insist on treating Awlaki like a common criminal, because the constitution requires that all American citizens be treated as such, let me suggest another hypothetical (actually, Joanna’s wasn’t all that bad).

    Numerous American citizens respond to Hitler’s call for volksdeutsche to return to the fatherland and some join the German Army (this actually happened). America gets into the war and invades Europe (even though Germany never attacked the USA), thus putting our military in a position of killing the American citizens in German uniform without a trial or any other constitutional protections. Is that ok?

    Same situation, but this time the American citizen gets a job working in the civilian municipal government of the city of Dresden. The allies decide to firebomb Dresden, even though it had no military significance, to break the will of the German people to fight on, thus killing American citizens without a trial or other constitutional protections. OK? not OK?

    Same situation, but this time the American citizen joins a civilian, ununiformed, Nazi intelligence organization training German spies to pass as Americans so they can assassinate Americans. The American citizen is so good at it that he becomes known to US military intelligence. Military intelligence decides to use its own operatives to kill him, thus undermining the German war effort. OK? Not OK?

    OK, switch to now. We have an international paramilitary organization that proclaims itself to be “at war” with the United States. It wears no uniforms, especially while attacking and trying to kill Americans, and answers to no recognised government, but some of them openly proclaim themselves to be at war with the USA. One of these turns out to be an American citizen. At some point can the US military treat this paramilitary organization like a military enemy and kill them like military enemies? Can this EVER include American citizens who join the paramilitary organization?

    I struggle with all this myself, but I think some of you need to come down off your high horses. These issues are not as simple as you make them sound.

  • Leif

    @78

    The subject has moved and I’ll be brief: I pretty much agree here but, as per past conversations, I harbor a pretty hefty skepticism of what the government says it’ll do vs what it actually does.

    ie. it seems like all “we’re here to help” arguments end up with nights of long knives.

  • Leif

    @78

    The subject has moved and I’ll be brief: I pretty much agree here but, as per past conversations, I harbor a pretty hefty skepticism of what the government says it’ll do vs what it actually does.

    ie. it seems like all “we’re here to help” arguments end up with nights of long knives.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Some republicans are not exactly conservative, likewise many who are democrats are not liberals. Some say Obama is a liberal. Uh, okay, but there is nothing liberal, libertarian, conservative or even reactionary about this situation. I would hope everyone who would consider himself as one (or several) of the above labels, that at least respects rule of law, would concur with the Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution “No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

    A precedent like this is really scary and it is not really even about the president. It is about government ignoring our rights. When they covered up assassinations of muslim Americans, I said nothing because I wasn’t a muslim American….

    We all want to stop terrorists, murderers, drunk drivers, pedophiles, etc., but this is way too close to the other thread where we were discussing lynching. Have we gone back to having so little faith in our system, that we are literally going back to lynching? I understand he is a terrorist and, if caught, fairly likely could be tried and executed. Am I exaggerating to equate assassinating a guy like that to lynching a criminal without a trial? Do those who would deny others due process deserve it for themselves? I mean, the man is a citizen.

    Appiah asked, “What were they thinking?”

    This writer asks, “What are we thinking?”

    Could we actually allow our fear and hatred of our enemies pave the way to having us shoot our own rights as citizens right out from under ourselves and our posterity. We need rule of law.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Some republicans are not exactly conservative, likewise many who are democrats are not liberals. Some say Obama is a liberal. Uh, okay, but there is nothing liberal, libertarian, conservative or even reactionary about this situation. I would hope everyone who would consider himself as one (or several) of the above labels, that at least respects rule of law, would concur with the Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution “No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

    A precedent like this is really scary and it is not really even about the president. It is about government ignoring our rights. When they covered up assassinations of muslim Americans, I said nothing because I wasn’t a muslim American….

    We all want to stop terrorists, murderers, drunk drivers, pedophiles, etc., but this is way too close to the other thread where we were discussing lynching. Have we gone back to having so little faith in our system, that we are literally going back to lynching? I understand he is a terrorist and, if caught, fairly likely could be tried and executed. Am I exaggerating to equate assassinating a guy like that to lynching a criminal without a trial? Do those who would deny others due process deserve it for themselves? I mean, the man is a citizen.

    Appiah asked, “What were they thinking?”

    This writer asks, “What are we thinking?”

    Could we actually allow our fear and hatred of our enemies pave the way to having us shoot our own rights as citizens right out from under ourselves and our posterity. We need rule of law.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “thus putting our military in a position of killing the American citizens in German uniform without a trial or any other constitutional protections. Is that ok?”

    Of course. They are uniformed soldiers of the enemy army. They are quite literally asking for it. They would be asking for it even if still in the US as regular citizens if they were pointing guns at soldiers or citizens here.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “thus putting our military in a position of killing the American citizens in German uniform without a trial or any other constitutional protections. Is that ok?”

    Of course. They are uniformed soldiers of the enemy army. They are quite literally asking for it. They would be asking for it even if still in the US as regular citizens if they were pointing guns at soldiers or citizens here.

  • kerner

    sg @93:

    So…isn’t this Awlaki guy a soldier in an enemy army? The Viet Cong weren’t exactly an official army either (and they didn’t always stay within the borders of Vietnam), but we fought them as though they were.

  • kerner

    sg @93:

    So…isn’t this Awlaki guy a soldier in an enemy army? The Viet Cong weren’t exactly an official army either (and they didn’t always stay within the borders of Vietnam), but we fought them as though they were.

  • Porcell

    I fully understand the difficulty of these matters.

    Mark Thiessen in his recent book Courting Disaster speaks of a CIA agent with whom he talked about his water- boarding activity of top alQuaeda officials that actually produced intelligence which prevented major al Quaeda attacks. When asked whether he felt any pangs of conscience having done this water-boarding, knowing that many people in the country thought it barbaric, he replied that it helped to think of the couple holding hands who jumped from the of one of the World Trade Towers to escape the flames.

    Presidents have to make hard decisions. Bush’s decision to allow water boarding and Obama’s to place Awlaki on a list of legitimate targets, along with Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, are examples of such decisions. It is easy, and no doubt appropriate, to criticize these decisions, though in the long run the best judgement will come from dispassionate scholars and, of course, a much higher judge.

  • Porcell

    I fully understand the difficulty of these matters.

    Mark Thiessen in his recent book Courting Disaster speaks of a CIA agent with whom he talked about his water- boarding activity of top alQuaeda officials that actually produced intelligence which prevented major al Quaeda attacks. When asked whether he felt any pangs of conscience having done this water-boarding, knowing that many people in the country thought it barbaric, he replied that it helped to think of the couple holding hands who jumped from the of one of the World Trade Towers to escape the flames.

    Presidents have to make hard decisions. Bush’s decision to allow water boarding and Obama’s to place Awlaki on a list of legitimate targets, along with Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, are examples of such decisions. It is easy, and no doubt appropriate, to criticize these decisions, though in the long run the best judgement will come from dispassionate scholars and, of course, a much higher judge.

  • Porcell

    Sorry, at 95, I started with, Kerner, thanks for the Thoughtful and heartfelt comment at 90 and somehow managed to lose it.

  • Porcell

    Sorry, at 95, I started with, Kerner, thanks for the Thoughtful and heartfelt comment at 90 and somehow managed to lose it.

  • WebMonk

    Lovely, now we have Peter wishing he could go assault Todd because he doesn’t like the way Todd talks or what he has to say.

    Somehow I’m less than shocked that Peter also advocates blowing American citizens away without any trial, warrant, or judicial review as long as the President says they’re anti-American. I think Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany operated in much the same way. If Todd’s point that the government could be pointing drones at Peter just as easily as it could at Awlaki under Peter’s position failed to sink in, I can’t think of anything else that could open eyes.

    And since the argument has devolved to Peter wishing he could go assault those he disagrees with, I think the thread has reached about as low as it can go.

    Honestly, I can’t remember a single thread, EVER, where someone on here has expressed a wish to go assault another commenter. Congratulations Peter, I think you’ve set a first on here.

  • WebMonk

    Lovely, now we have Peter wishing he could go assault Todd because he doesn’t like the way Todd talks or what he has to say.

    Somehow I’m less than shocked that Peter also advocates blowing American citizens away without any trial, warrant, or judicial review as long as the President says they’re anti-American. I think Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany operated in much the same way. If Todd’s point that the government could be pointing drones at Peter just as easily as it could at Awlaki under Peter’s position failed to sink in, I can’t think of anything else that could open eyes.

    And since the argument has devolved to Peter wishing he could go assault those he disagrees with, I think the thread has reached about as low as it can go.

    Honestly, I can’t remember a single thread, EVER, where someone on here has expressed a wish to go assault another commenter. Congratulations Peter, I think you’ve set a first on here.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, Todd, in a crude, rather insulting remark, disguised as humor, trying to score points on the substantive issue of the argument, wrongly insinuated that I advocated overthrowing Obama with force.

    Where I come, from such remarks require hard redress. At my excellent boarding school, we were warned to be careful with such remarks that would be, if necessary, properly dealt with in a supervised ring with gloves on. Personally, I’m not averse to a well placed insult, rather that one needs to accept the consequence.

    In your case, trying to win points on the substantive argument, you have conflated a response to a crude remark with that of substance and likened it to Nazism and Stalinism. Low argument at best.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, Todd, in a crude, rather insulting remark, disguised as humor, trying to score points on the substantive issue of the argument, wrongly insinuated that I advocated overthrowing Obama with force.

    Where I come, from such remarks require hard redress. At my excellent boarding school, we were warned to be careful with such remarks that would be, if necessary, properly dealt with in a supervised ring with gloves on. Personally, I’m not averse to a well placed insult, rather that one needs to accept the consequence.

    In your case, trying to win points on the substantive argument, you have conflated a response to a crude remark with that of substance and likened it to Nazism and Stalinism. Low argument at best.

  • mark

    Heard a line once, “Treat everyman as a gentleman, not because he is one, but because you are.” We all at times, consider a sneer, mockery and derision a valid argument. And then, when the barbs take effect, we get to assume that it was our argument that won the day.

    Regarding the question at hand. We do not get to determine the battlefield; our enemies have made that choice for us. Was New York City a battlefield on 9/11?

    In every war, moral men perform actions that they would themselves abhor in a time of peace. At best, we can try to ensure that such actions have the sanction of properly constituted authority.

    For myself, I do not condemn former President Bush or President Obama for their actions.

  • mark

    Heard a line once, “Treat everyman as a gentleman, not because he is one, but because you are.” We all at times, consider a sneer, mockery and derision a valid argument. And then, when the barbs take effect, we get to assume that it was our argument that won the day.

    Regarding the question at hand. We do not get to determine the battlefield; our enemies have made that choice for us. Was New York City a battlefield on 9/11?

    In every war, moral men perform actions that they would themselves abhor in a time of peace. At best, we can try to ensure that such actions have the sanction of properly constituted authority.

    For myself, I do not condemn former President Bush or President Obama for their actions.

  • kerner

    Doesn’t anyone besides sg want to try to answer my questions?

    atta girl sg, for confronting the issues.

  • kerner

    Doesn’t anyone besides sg want to try to answer my questions?

    atta girl sg, for confronting the issues.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So…isn’t this Awlaki guy a soldier in an enemy army? The Viet Cong weren’t exactly an official army either (and they didn’t always stay within the borders of Vietnam), but we fought them as though they were.”

    Yeah, let’s assume he is. No problem. Get him on the battlefield with his unofficial army just like we do pirates. Putting him on a list of most wanted is fine but calling for his assassination crosses the line. It is not like soldiers don’t know what most wanted folks are or that they won’t shoot them if necessary. We have been down enough slippery slopes to know better than to do this.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So…isn’t this Awlaki guy a soldier in an enemy army? The Viet Cong weren’t exactly an official army either (and they didn’t always stay within the borders of Vietnam), but we fought them as though they were.”

    Yeah, let’s assume he is. No problem. Get him on the battlefield with his unofficial army just like we do pirates. Putting him on a list of most wanted is fine but calling for his assassination crosses the line. It is not like soldiers don’t know what most wanted folks are or that they won’t shoot them if necessary. We have been down enough slippery slopes to know better than to do this.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “There are then two options that I can see: (1) In some manner or other, send out a force to arrest the man, or (2) assassinate him.

    “My question to you, then, is: (I) on what grounds could you justify the assassination option legally, and (II) on what grounds would you distinguish between the uses of approaches (1) and (2)?”

    Option 1 the guy is alive and gets to defend himself in court. I would defend option 1 on the grounds that innocent folks are arrested every day, tried and acquitted. It is the rule and norm.

    Option 2 the guy is murdered by the state in an irregular fashion which is not the rule and norm.

    I know if I had the choice to be arrested or shot, I would choose to be arrested.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “There are then two options that I can see: (1) In some manner or other, send out a force to arrest the man, or (2) assassinate him.

    “My question to you, then, is: (I) on what grounds could you justify the assassination option legally, and (II) on what grounds would you distinguish between the uses of approaches (1) and (2)?”

    Option 1 the guy is alive and gets to defend himself in court. I would defend option 1 on the grounds that innocent folks are arrested every day, tried and acquitted. It is the rule and norm.

    Option 2 the guy is murdered by the state in an irregular fashion which is not the rule and norm.

    I know if I had the choice to be arrested or shot, I would choose to be arrested.

  • Porcell

    Kerner: So…isn’t this Awlaki guy a soldier in an enemy army?

    I assume that you know my view on this, that unquestionably Awlaki is a soldier of an enemy army. As mentioned at 71 including a link Greg Miller reports as follows on the issue:

    “He’s [Awlaki] recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” said a second U.S. official. “He’s working actively to kill Americans, so it’s both lawful and sensible to try to stop him.” The official stressed that there are “careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens.”

    Miller is, of course, aware that Congress in September passed a legally valid resolution that authorized the war.

  • Porcell

    Kerner: So…isn’t this Awlaki guy a soldier in an enemy army?

    I assume that you know my view on this, that unquestionably Awlaki is a soldier of an enemy army. As mentioned at 71 including a link Greg Miller reports as follows on the issue:

    “He’s [Awlaki] recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” said a second U.S. official. “He’s working actively to kill Americans, so it’s both lawful and sensible to try to stop him.” The official stressed that there are “careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens.”

    Miller is, of course, aware that Congress in September passed a legally valid resolution that authorized the war.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kerner, okay, here’s my attempt at an answer.

    In your first scenerio, I think I agree with sg pretty completely. The American Citizen is in the enemies uniform in a time of war. Pretty cut and dry there.

    In your second scenerio, it would be wrong to carpet-bomb the city, outside of war. But when war is declared, it is the enemy. They are free to defend themselves and fight and bomb back. That’s the nature of war, to break wills. The American Citizen who is working amidst the enemy in this situation, should get out of enemy country, otherwise during a time of declared war, there are many dangers. Lots of risk. Seems pretty cut and dry here too.

    In your third scenerio, American Citizen is working for the enemy spying on his/her fellow citizens with the intent to kill them. He/she should be arrested if possible, tried, convicted on evidence, and hung. What’s so mysterious about that scenerio? Since he/she is a Citizen, I would be against assassination outside a court of law and the criminal justice system.

    Now for your switch – that’s what we’ve been talking and struggling over. I understand the difficulty, but I certainly would prefer standard operating procedure even for a fellow citizen who has joined an international paramilitary force which has as its very intent to kill me and my neighbors. He/she should be arrested, tried on evidence, and if convicted, speedily hung. If our system could still operated that way, it would take care of some problems right quick.

    That might put “the fear of God” and some civil justice to enemies of those things.

    Ok, Kerner, what did I miss?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kerner, okay, here’s my attempt at an answer.

    In your first scenerio, I think I agree with sg pretty completely. The American Citizen is in the enemies uniform in a time of war. Pretty cut and dry there.

    In your second scenerio, it would be wrong to carpet-bomb the city, outside of war. But when war is declared, it is the enemy. They are free to defend themselves and fight and bomb back. That’s the nature of war, to break wills. The American Citizen who is working amidst the enemy in this situation, should get out of enemy country, otherwise during a time of declared war, there are many dangers. Lots of risk. Seems pretty cut and dry here too.

    In your third scenerio, American Citizen is working for the enemy spying on his/her fellow citizens with the intent to kill them. He/she should be arrested if possible, tried, convicted on evidence, and hung. What’s so mysterious about that scenerio? Since he/she is a Citizen, I would be against assassination outside a court of law and the criminal justice system.

    Now for your switch – that’s what we’ve been talking and struggling over. I understand the difficulty, but I certainly would prefer standard operating procedure even for a fellow citizen who has joined an international paramilitary force which has as its very intent to kill me and my neighbors. He/she should be arrested, tried on evidence, and if convicted, speedily hung. If our system could still operated that way, it would take care of some problems right quick.

    That might put “the fear of God” and some civil justice to enemies of those things.

    Ok, Kerner, what did I miss?

  • WebMonk

    Just tossing my bits onto the above,

    Americans joining the German army – if they are fighting in an army and are killed – what sg and Bryan mentioned.

    As for the American in Dresden – what sg and Bryan mentioned.

    For the third possibility brought up, Intelligence forces fight in a war just like the ground soldier does, though there aren’t easy to identify uniforms. The American who joined the German Intelligence service is in active combat against the US, and so is treated just like a regular soldier – IF HE IS SPYING ON OUR TERRITORY. We don’t go around tracking down spies who are outside the US and killing them. When he comes onto US territory, he is taking an active role and treated just like an active combatant. If we find him outside the US, he is arrested and brought back for trial – this happened several times in WWII.

    Awlaki falls in none of these categories. He is not a member of the al Quaida “Intelligence”. He isn’t an active fighter. He’s an Imam exhorting others to fight. No one, not even the government, has suggested he has ever carried out attacks against the US, though he has certainly communicated with those who have, encouraged those people, even preached and spoken publicly about how people should destroy the US.

    None of those roles involve him in the battlefield, even in the more dispersed “battlefield” of the War on Terror.

    Look at groups like the Hutaree – they declared themselves enemies of the US and actively tried to kill American officers, yet they still required warrants and trials. Look at McVeigh and Kaczynski – they have been labeled as terrorists by the US and yet they still received the protections of things like warrants and trials. The FBI didn’t call in an air strike to take out Kaczynski, and they worked to arrest McVeigh, not just send out snipers to blow him away.

    Both Kaczynski (3) and McVeigh (168) directly killed many more people than Awlaki (0).

    Now, we can “tweak” definitions of things so that preaching, exhorting, and being “in the know” about upcoming attacks are redefined as being in active combat. That’s a BAD THING! There are lots of Imams and people all over the US which need to have airstrikes called in on them if that’s the case.

    That’s a VERY dangerous road to go down. Just to use Peter as an example, let’s say he started speaking out and encouraging people to resist and fight against the US because of some issue. The US could then, under the expanded definition of “war zone” and “combatant” and things like that, look up Peter Leavitt and send a Predator to pay a visit to 33 Jackson Rd.

    While it is certainly possible to massage definitions and use the extreme cases to come up with some reason why it’s useful for the US govt to try to assassinate US citizens, that doesn’t change the fact that it still shouldn’t be done and violates the Bill of Rights. There are hard and fast rules in place for a reason – to keep the power-creep from getting to the point where it becomes a tyranny. That may mean we can’t “get at” our enemies as fast as we may like, but those rules also protect against tyranny.

  • WebMonk

    Just tossing my bits onto the above,

    Americans joining the German army – if they are fighting in an army and are killed – what sg and Bryan mentioned.

    As for the American in Dresden – what sg and Bryan mentioned.

    For the third possibility brought up, Intelligence forces fight in a war just like the ground soldier does, though there aren’t easy to identify uniforms. The American who joined the German Intelligence service is in active combat against the US, and so is treated just like a regular soldier – IF HE IS SPYING ON OUR TERRITORY. We don’t go around tracking down spies who are outside the US and killing them. When he comes onto US territory, he is taking an active role and treated just like an active combatant. If we find him outside the US, he is arrested and brought back for trial – this happened several times in WWII.

    Awlaki falls in none of these categories. He is not a member of the al Quaida “Intelligence”. He isn’t an active fighter. He’s an Imam exhorting others to fight. No one, not even the government, has suggested he has ever carried out attacks against the US, though he has certainly communicated with those who have, encouraged those people, even preached and spoken publicly about how people should destroy the US.

    None of those roles involve him in the battlefield, even in the more dispersed “battlefield” of the War on Terror.

    Look at groups like the Hutaree – they declared themselves enemies of the US and actively tried to kill American officers, yet they still required warrants and trials. Look at McVeigh and Kaczynski – they have been labeled as terrorists by the US and yet they still received the protections of things like warrants and trials. The FBI didn’t call in an air strike to take out Kaczynski, and they worked to arrest McVeigh, not just send out snipers to blow him away.

    Both Kaczynski (3) and McVeigh (168) directly killed many more people than Awlaki (0).

    Now, we can “tweak” definitions of things so that preaching, exhorting, and being “in the know” about upcoming attacks are redefined as being in active combat. That’s a BAD THING! There are lots of Imams and people all over the US which need to have airstrikes called in on them if that’s the case.

    That’s a VERY dangerous road to go down. Just to use Peter as an example, let’s say he started speaking out and encouraging people to resist and fight against the US because of some issue. The US could then, under the expanded definition of “war zone” and “combatant” and things like that, look up Peter Leavitt and send a Predator to pay a visit to 33 Jackson Rd.

    While it is certainly possible to massage definitions and use the extreme cases to come up with some reason why it’s useful for the US govt to try to assassinate US citizens, that doesn’t change the fact that it still shouldn’t be done and violates the Bill of Rights. There are hard and fast rules in place for a reason – to keep the power-creep from getting to the point where it becomes a tyranny. That may mean we can’t “get at” our enemies as fast as we may like, but those rules also protect against tyranny.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Webmonk, I agree – well said.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Webmonk, I agree – well said.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’ll take the lazy route and agree with Bryan and WebMonk, for what it’s worth.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’ll take the lazy route and agree with Bryan and WebMonk, for what it’s worth.

  • kerner

    I’ve never been in the military, so any information I bring to this discussion is second hand, but I wonder if some of you understand how military operations work. For example:

    “We don’t go around tracking down spies who are outside the US and killing them.” (Webmonk @105)

    How sure about that are you?

    At the very least you have to concede that the USA, rightly or wrongly, has gone all over the world to kill and/or defeat its enemies. In WWII alone the USA sent military forces to Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, North Africa, Burma, China, numerous Pacific Islands, and doubtless places I have overlooked, to kill our enemies by the truckload. All of these places were not “battlefields” (at least they hadn’t been for awhile) until we showed up to start battles. Our enemies were there, so that’s where we went to fight them.

    Secondly, there is a military term for a person who “exhorts others to fight” but does little or no direct fighting himself. Such a person is called “an officer” (well, technically, company grade officers, O1-O3, do fight, but field grade and general officers generally plan the fight and give the orders to their subordinates). And sending snipers to pick off high ranking officers, thus depriving the enemy army of its leadership, is a legitimate military tactic.

    I guess the issue to me is whether we can legitimately consider Al Qaeda an enemy army. To me, this is not that hard a case to make. Al Qaeda has a lot more in common with an irregular military force, like the Viet Cong, than it does with common criminals. To compare someone like Awlaki to a drunk driver is really a stretch to me.

  • kerner

    I’ve never been in the military, so any information I bring to this discussion is second hand, but I wonder if some of you understand how military operations work. For example:

    “We don’t go around tracking down spies who are outside the US and killing them.” (Webmonk @105)

    How sure about that are you?

    At the very least you have to concede that the USA, rightly or wrongly, has gone all over the world to kill and/or defeat its enemies. In WWII alone the USA sent military forces to Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, North Africa, Burma, China, numerous Pacific Islands, and doubtless places I have overlooked, to kill our enemies by the truckload. All of these places were not “battlefields” (at least they hadn’t been for awhile) until we showed up to start battles. Our enemies were there, so that’s where we went to fight them.

    Secondly, there is a military term for a person who “exhorts others to fight” but does little or no direct fighting himself. Such a person is called “an officer” (well, technically, company grade officers, O1-O3, do fight, but field grade and general officers generally plan the fight and give the orders to their subordinates). And sending snipers to pick off high ranking officers, thus depriving the enemy army of its leadership, is a legitimate military tactic.

    I guess the issue to me is whether we can legitimately consider Al Qaeda an enemy army. To me, this is not that hard a case to make. Al Qaeda has a lot more in common with an irregular military force, like the Viet Cong, than it does with common criminals. To compare someone like Awlaki to a drunk driver is really a stretch to me.

  • WebMonk

    Bryan, now you’re talking about the legalities of going to war at all, which is a whole ‘nuther can of worms than what to do once we are at war.

    When we are at war, we don’t go tracking down spies when they are on their own side of things. The Cold War is a great example. Korea too. WWII. WWI. Civil War. Mexican War. Revolutionary War. We’ve never gone out to kill spies in their own countries.

    Officers are fair game, obviously, because they are directly involved in carrying out combat operations.

    When we’re at war in an area, we don’t try to kill spies who are behind their own lines. We drive through and try to kill everyone who is part of fighting against us. We even go in to blow up the manufacturing sources of war materiel, but we don’t go trying to blow up the factory workers themselves and we don’t try to kill the spies who are on their own side of the battle lines. Now, both of those groups certainly might get killed in the course of battle, but they are not particularly targeted by the US.

    I hate to look at how we operated when fighting the Viet Cong because that was such a cluster-foul up in every way. We particularly did or didn’t bomb things for all sorts of reasons, many of which were pure politics from the politicians in the US.

    However, we didn’t send forces or air strikes behind enemy lines to target civilians or spies. Strikes were aimed (outside of politically-formed decisions) at combatants. Even when they were bombing villages, they targeted it because there were supposed to be enemy combatants.

    If you have some examples of the US going in to assassinate another country’s spies, I would be interested in hearing of it. (really – I enjoy history and especially military history) I’ve never heard of them.

  • WebMonk

    Bryan, now you’re talking about the legalities of going to war at all, which is a whole ‘nuther can of worms than what to do once we are at war.

    When we are at war, we don’t go tracking down spies when they are on their own side of things. The Cold War is a great example. Korea too. WWII. WWI. Civil War. Mexican War. Revolutionary War. We’ve never gone out to kill spies in their own countries.

    Officers are fair game, obviously, because they are directly involved in carrying out combat operations.

    When we’re at war in an area, we don’t try to kill spies who are behind their own lines. We drive through and try to kill everyone who is part of fighting against us. We even go in to blow up the manufacturing sources of war materiel, but we don’t go trying to blow up the factory workers themselves and we don’t try to kill the spies who are on their own side of the battle lines. Now, both of those groups certainly might get killed in the course of battle, but they are not particularly targeted by the US.

    I hate to look at how we operated when fighting the Viet Cong because that was such a cluster-foul up in every way. We particularly did or didn’t bomb things for all sorts of reasons, many of which were pure politics from the politicians in the US.

    However, we didn’t send forces or air strikes behind enemy lines to target civilians or spies. Strikes were aimed (outside of politically-formed decisions) at combatants. Even when they were bombing villages, they targeted it because there were supposed to be enemy combatants.

    If you have some examples of the US going in to assassinate another country’s spies, I would be interested in hearing of it. (really – I enjoy history and especially military history) I’ve never heard of them.

  • SKPeterson

    Interesting observation, this:
    “Awlaki falls in none of these categories. He is not a member of the al Quaida “Intelligence”. He isn’t an active fighter. He’s an Imam exhorting others to fight.”

    If this would make him an enemy combatant, would this also not legitimately open up John Hagee to assassination by, say Lebanon, as he has openly encouraged and supported Israeli assaults on Lebanese territory?

    Here’s the main issue (or issues) in my mind – where is the line between criminal activity and military action? How do we address these differently in domestic and foreign contexts?

    We allow violent criminals to enter and leave our country with relative impunity – if they are Mexican. Moreover, Mexico is notoriously reluctant to turn Mexican citizens over to the U.S. for prosecution and it is very difficult to get U.S. citizens extradited as well. Should we be planning drone strikes in Juarez, Matamoros or Tijuana?

  • SKPeterson

    Interesting observation, this:
    “Awlaki falls in none of these categories. He is not a member of the al Quaida “Intelligence”. He isn’t an active fighter. He’s an Imam exhorting others to fight.”

    If this would make him an enemy combatant, would this also not legitimately open up John Hagee to assassination by, say Lebanon, as he has openly encouraged and supported Israeli assaults on Lebanese territory?

    Here’s the main issue (or issues) in my mind – where is the line between criminal activity and military action? How do we address these differently in domestic and foreign contexts?

    We allow violent criminals to enter and leave our country with relative impunity – if they are Mexican. Moreover, Mexico is notoriously reluctant to turn Mexican citizens over to the U.S. for prosecution and it is very difficult to get U.S. citizens extradited as well. Should we be planning drone strikes in Juarez, Matamoros or Tijuana?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Webmonk, could you cite where I say such a thing. I think you are referring to my response to Kerner’s 3rd scenario where another country’s spy is my fellow citizen who is also intent on killing their own fellow citiizens (so working within their own country, in our case within the U.S.). Is this what you’re asking me about?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Webmonk, could you cite where I say such a thing. I think you are referring to my response to Kerner’s 3rd scenario where another country’s spy is my fellow citizen who is also intent on killing their own fellow citiizens (so working within their own country, in our case within the U.S.). Is this what you’re asking me about?

  • WebMonk

    Oh wow! Sorry! I totally messed that up. I meant to put kerner in there on my 109 post!

    Post 109 was addressed to kerner

  • WebMonk

    Oh wow! Sorry! I totally messed that up. I meant to put kerner in there on my 109 post!

    Post 109 was addressed to kerner

  • WebMonk

    SKPeterson, don’t ask that question around here. There are a couple people here that would absolutely be in favor of having drone strikes in some of the border areas of Mexico.

  • WebMonk

    SKPeterson, don’t ask that question around here. There are a couple people here that would absolutely be in favor of having drone strikes in some of the border areas of Mexico.

  • kerner

    You all raise a lot of good points but I’ll have to take a little time before responding more fully. For now, though, I think it is a legitimate question to ask whether Awlaki is more like John Hagee or David Patraeus. While I would be unhappy to hear that someone had tried to kill (let alone succeeded at killing) General Patraeus, I would not find it to be an outrageous act simply because Gen. Patraeus hasn’t led an assault on an enemy position recently. He is a military man, and he is therefore a military target. Why can’t we say the same thing about Awlaki?

    Or why SHOULD we consider Awlaki the equivalent of a senior enemy officer? Help me out here Peter (or anybody else), I have to get some work done and I won’t be able to do much more here till this evening.

    PS: I’m not trying to be cavalier about the lives of our military people, which include several of my children. I’m just saying that an attack on military people or facilities is not morally reprehensible in the same way that an attack on unarmed civilians is. Of all the events of 09/11/2001, the one that I did not find outrageous (tragic yes, deserving of a severe response yes, outrageous no) was the attack on the pentagon. The pentagon is a military installation from which military operations are conducted. If you are going to commit an act of war against the United States, the pentagon is a legitimate target.

  • kerner

    You all raise a lot of good points but I’ll have to take a little time before responding more fully. For now, though, I think it is a legitimate question to ask whether Awlaki is more like John Hagee or David Patraeus. While I would be unhappy to hear that someone had tried to kill (let alone succeeded at killing) General Patraeus, I would not find it to be an outrageous act simply because Gen. Patraeus hasn’t led an assault on an enemy position recently. He is a military man, and he is therefore a military target. Why can’t we say the same thing about Awlaki?

    Or why SHOULD we consider Awlaki the equivalent of a senior enemy officer? Help me out here Peter (or anybody else), I have to get some work done and I won’t be able to do much more here till this evening.

    PS: I’m not trying to be cavalier about the lives of our military people, which include several of my children. I’m just saying that an attack on military people or facilities is not morally reprehensible in the same way that an attack on unarmed civilians is. Of all the events of 09/11/2001, the one that I did not find outrageous (tragic yes, deserving of a severe response yes, outrageous no) was the attack on the pentagon. The pentagon is a military installation from which military operations are conducted. If you are going to commit an act of war against the United States, the pentagon is a legitimate target.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 88: That is a fair scenario. Briefly, if a U.S. citizen has been subject to due process and properly indicated or a warrant has been issued for his arrest, he is aware of this situation, but is on the “lam” and refuses to subject himself to the process, then I can see where assassination might be appropriate given certain circumstances. These circumstances could include the imminence of the threat of injury or death to others because of the citizen’s dangerous activities and the ability of a force to capture him without undue danger to members of the force.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 88: That is a fair scenario. Briefly, if a U.S. citizen has been subject to due process and properly indicated or a warrant has been issued for his arrest, he is aware of this situation, but is on the “lam” and refuses to subject himself to the process, then I can see where assassination might be appropriate given certain circumstances. These circumstances could include the imminence of the threat of injury or death to others because of the citizen’s dangerous activities and the ability of a force to capture him without undue danger to members of the force.

  • Porcell

    SKPetersonHere’s the main issue (or issues) in my mind – where is the line between criminal activity and military action? How do we address these differently in domestic and foreign contexts?

    The line has to do with a declaration or resolution by the President or Congress that authorizes a war action. It would be flat out wrong to declare war on Mexico over the issue of illegal immigration and certainly inappropriate to attack illegal immigrants with drone warfare without such a war action. No one on this thread, contra WebMonk’s snarky allegation, has suggested otherwise.

    In the case of Awlaki joined Al Quaeda and has been proven to aid it in the Fort Hood Massacre along with planning the attempted destruction of American commercial airliner on Christmas day; consequently. in connection with a state of war against AlQuaeda, he has been declared an enemy combatant. The fact that he is anAmerican citizen is of no consequence. Should any American become actively involved with AlQuaeda he/she is a legitimate military target.

    Awlaki is on record stating the following:

    Our unsettled account with America includes, at the very least, one million women and children. I’m not even talking about the men. Our unsettled account with America, in women and children alone, has exceeded one million. Those who would have been killed in the plane are a drop in the ocean.

  • Porcell

    SKPetersonHere’s the main issue (or issues) in my mind – where is the line between criminal activity and military action? How do we address these differently in domestic and foreign contexts?

    The line has to do with a declaration or resolution by the President or Congress that authorizes a war action. It would be flat out wrong to declare war on Mexico over the issue of illegal immigration and certainly inappropriate to attack illegal immigrants with drone warfare without such a war action. No one on this thread, contra WebMonk’s snarky allegation, has suggested otherwise.

    In the case of Awlaki joined Al Quaeda and has been proven to aid it in the Fort Hood Massacre along with planning the attempted destruction of American commercial airliner on Christmas day; consequently. in connection with a state of war against AlQuaeda, he has been declared an enemy combatant. The fact that he is anAmerican citizen is of no consequence. Should any American become actively involved with AlQuaeda he/she is a legitimate military target.

    Awlaki is on record stating the following:

    Our unsettled account with America includes, at the very least, one million women and children. I’m not even talking about the men. Our unsettled account with America, in women and children alone, has exceeded one million. Those who would have been killed in the plane are a drop in the ocean.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk , at 105: Awlaki falls in none of these categories. He is not a member of the al Quaida “Intelligence”. He isn’t an active fighter. He’s an Imam exhorting others to fight. No one, not even the government, has suggested he has ever carried out attacks against the US, though he has certainly communicated with those who have, encouraged those people, even preached and spoken publicly about how people should destroy the US.

    What evidence do you have to support the above that contradicts Greg Miller’s sources that assert the following:

    CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said: “This agency conducts its counterterrorism operations in strict accord with the law.”

    The decision to add Aulaqi to the CIA target list reflects the view among agency analysts that a man previously regarded mainly as a militant preacher has taken on an expanded role in al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based offshoot.

    “He’s recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” said a second U.S. official. “He’s working actively to kill Americans, so it’s both lawful and sensible to try to stop him.” The official stressed that there are “careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens.”

    Aulaqi corresponded by e-mail with Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 12 soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood, Tex., last year. Aulaqi is not believed to have helped plan the attack, although he praised Hasan in an online posting for carrying it out.

    Concern grew about the cleric’s role after he was linked to the Nigerian accused of attempting to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day by detonating an explosive device he had smuggled in his underwear. Aulaqi acknowledged teaching and corresponding with the Nigerian but denied ordering the attack.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk , at 105: Awlaki falls in none of these categories. He is not a member of the al Quaida “Intelligence”. He isn’t an active fighter. He’s an Imam exhorting others to fight. No one, not even the government, has suggested he has ever carried out attacks against the US, though he has certainly communicated with those who have, encouraged those people, even preached and spoken publicly about how people should destroy the US.

    What evidence do you have to support the above that contradicts Greg Miller’s sources that assert the following:

    CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said: “This agency conducts its counterterrorism operations in strict accord with the law.”

    The decision to add Aulaqi to the CIA target list reflects the view among agency analysts that a man previously regarded mainly as a militant preacher has taken on an expanded role in al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based offshoot.

    “He’s recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” said a second U.S. official. “He’s working actively to kill Americans, so it’s both lawful and sensible to try to stop him.” The official stressed that there are “careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens.”

    Aulaqi corresponded by e-mail with Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 12 soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood, Tex., last year. Aulaqi is not believed to have helped plan the attack, although he praised Hasan in an online posting for carrying it out.

    Concern grew about the cleric’s role after he was linked to the Nigerian accused of attempting to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day by detonating an explosive device he had smuggled in his underwear. Aulaqi acknowledged teaching and corresponding with the Nigerian but denied ordering the attack.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    this evil thing obama and our government is doing might be a blessing in disguise if conservatives can use obama as cover to decide to stop the erosion of the protections placed in the constitution .,

    i am surprised that people here make the distinction between citizen and non citizen an important one. It should not be. Even though our founding fathers never used the formula “human rights” that is really the true framework of what they attempted to achieve.

    The distinction between citizen and non citizen when it comes to lawful vs unlawful treatment will come back to haunt us.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    this evil thing obama and our government is doing might be a blessing in disguise if conservatives can use obama as cover to decide to stop the erosion of the protections placed in the constitution .,

    i am surprised that people here make the distinction between citizen and non citizen an important one. It should not be. Even though our founding fathers never used the formula “human rights” that is really the true framework of what they attempted to achieve.

    The distinction between citizen and non citizen when it comes to lawful vs unlawful treatment will come back to haunt us.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/ Louis

    I’ll follow Todd’s lazy example here, and second Bryan and Webmonk.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/ Louis

    I’ll follow Todd’s lazy example here, and second Bryan and Webmonk.

  • Porcell

    Don, at 115, Awlaki has been judged by the CIA to have become active in Al Quaeda operations, as noted by Greg Miller, the WAPO writer, sources. See the quote of Miller’s article above at 117.

    The Obama administration properly refuses to reveal its sources in a court case or otherwise What’s happening to Obama is the same that happened to Bush, his critics want him to prove his case by revealing his covert sources that would be destructive to the war effort.

    Underneath it all, those who tend to pacifism on the left and isolationism on the right have lost confidence and trust in the government’s ability to conduct war. Obama, to his credit, is apparently paying attention to the intelligence that daily crosses his desk; that[‘s why some radicals are presently calling for his impeachment.

  • Porcell

    Don, at 115, Awlaki has been judged by the CIA to have become active in Al Quaeda operations, as noted by Greg Miller, the WAPO writer, sources. See the quote of Miller’s article above at 117.

    The Obama administration properly refuses to reveal its sources in a court case or otherwise What’s happening to Obama is the same that happened to Bush, his critics want him to prove his case by revealing his covert sources that would be destructive to the war effort.

    Underneath it all, those who tend to pacifism on the left and isolationism on the right have lost confidence and trust in the government’s ability to conduct war. Obama, to his credit, is apparently paying attention to the intelligence that daily crosses his desk; that[‘s why some radicals are presently calling for his impeachment.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    What are you talking about, fws? 118

    There is absolutely nothing wrong citizenship in the left hand kingdom. Even St. Paul appeals to his Roman citizenship (after conversion).

    The same kingdom will also have rules to curb inhumane treatment on non-citizens. But pretending like localities have no import anymore in this fallen sinful world is a foolish notion. Are you looking for heaven on earth, friend? I would think not – so I’m really confused as to what you are even talking about?

    But this is certainly an attack from the side on this thread. See the title of the post for the general parameters we were given to work with. Sheesh.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    What are you talking about, fws? 118

    There is absolutely nothing wrong citizenship in the left hand kingdom. Even St. Paul appeals to his Roman citizenship (after conversion).

    The same kingdom will also have rules to curb inhumane treatment on non-citizens. But pretending like localities have no import anymore in this fallen sinful world is a foolish notion. Are you looking for heaven on earth, friend? I would think not – so I’m really confused as to what you are even talking about?

    But this is certainly an attack from the side on this thread. See the title of the post for the general parameters we were given to work with. Sheesh.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Porcell at 120 said, “Underneath it all, those … on the left and … on the right have lost confidence and trust in the government’s ability to conduct war.”

    You don’t say!?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Porcell at 120 said, “Underneath it all, those … on the left and … on the right have lost confidence and trust in the government’s ability to conduct war.”

    You don’t say!?

  • DonS

    OK, I’ll take a crack at Kerner’s questions @ 90.

    1. This is an easy scenario. When a U.S. citizen fights in a declared war for an enemy of the U.S., all bets are off. Their injury or death because of participation in battle is their assumed risk. Note that the U.S. is not targeting them for their individual deeds or crimes.

    2. Same as 1, in the the U.S. citizen is choosing to place himself in harm’s way, in enemy territory. If he is killed through otherwise general and acceptable military action by the U.S., that’s life. Again, he is not being specifically targeted for his individual crimes, so there is no constitutional issue.

    3. Kerner’s third situation is obviously different, because the citizen is being targeted. However, if an American citizen chooses to support the war effort of an enemy of the United States, particularly in a declared war, like WW II, and American military commanders believe that removing that person from his position is important to advancing military objectives, then I think he is fair game. Especially in this scenario where he is actively training enemy agents to assassinate Americans. Note that there is no reasonable option to take him into custody, so there is no viable alternative to killing him.

    4. As to Kerner’s fourth scenario, of course the U.S. can fight back against this paramilitary organization. If a U.S. citizen is fighting on behalf of this organization, then he is at risk. He is not being individually targeted, so I don’t think this is even a close call.

  • DonS

    OK, I’ll take a crack at Kerner’s questions @ 90.

    1. This is an easy scenario. When a U.S. citizen fights in a declared war for an enemy of the U.S., all bets are off. Their injury or death because of participation in battle is their assumed risk. Note that the U.S. is not targeting them for their individual deeds or crimes.

    2. Same as 1, in the the U.S. citizen is choosing to place himself in harm’s way, in enemy territory. If he is killed through otherwise general and acceptable military action by the U.S., that’s life. Again, he is not being specifically targeted for his individual crimes, so there is no constitutional issue.

    3. Kerner’s third situation is obviously different, because the citizen is being targeted. However, if an American citizen chooses to support the war effort of an enemy of the United States, particularly in a declared war, like WW II, and American military commanders believe that removing that person from his position is important to advancing military objectives, then I think he is fair game. Especially in this scenario where he is actively training enemy agents to assassinate Americans. Note that there is no reasonable option to take him into custody, so there is no viable alternative to killing him.

    4. As to Kerner’s fourth scenario, of course the U.S. can fight back against this paramilitary organization. If a U.S. citizen is fighting on behalf of this organization, then he is at risk. He is not being individually targeted, so I don’t think this is even a close call.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bryan @ 121

    i was speaking in the specific context of granting rights to citizens that are not granted to non citizens. the fact that paul appealed to roman law does not mean that that roman law was approved by paul or it did nor result in some extreme injustices there. in fact I would suggest that the roman experience of tiered citizenship is an object lesson of what we should not do here in the usa and why we should not do it..

    Keep in mind that there was no such thing as passports and visas at the time our republic was founded. And the founders quite consciously, as a fully integrated part of their political thinking declared american an open house for all who were oppressed, and invited anyone who cared to to join in the american experiment. I do think that emma lazarus´poem at the base of the statue of liberty does in fact capture not just the spirit but the substance of their attitude.

    Things have changed now. The idea of nation states etc has evolved. So what worked then would be foolishly be thought to work exactly as then.

    But still…. that idea of a separate set of legal protections for citizens that are protections that foreigners should not enjoy is deeply troubling to me, and I suggest it is not organic to what our founders had in mind.

    It will bear fruit that will come back to haunt us.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    bryan @ 121

    i was speaking in the specific context of granting rights to citizens that are not granted to non citizens. the fact that paul appealed to roman law does not mean that that roman law was approved by paul or it did nor result in some extreme injustices there. in fact I would suggest that the roman experience of tiered citizenship is an object lesson of what we should not do here in the usa and why we should not do it..

    Keep in mind that there was no such thing as passports and visas at the time our republic was founded. And the founders quite consciously, as a fully integrated part of their political thinking declared american an open house for all who were oppressed, and invited anyone who cared to to join in the american experiment. I do think that emma lazarus´poem at the base of the statue of liberty does in fact capture not just the spirit but the substance of their attitude.

    Things have changed now. The idea of nation states etc has evolved. So what worked then would be foolishly be thought to work exactly as then.

    But still…. that idea of a separate set of legal protections for citizens that are protections that foreigners should not enjoy is deeply troubling to me, and I suggest it is not organic to what our founders had in mind.

    It will bear fruit that will come back to haunt us.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here in brasil bryan , I am guaranteed by the constitution ALL the rights of a brasilian citizen and I am denied alone the duty to vote. This is how things would look in the usa if we were more serious about our constitution.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here in brasil bryan , I am guaranteed by the constitution ALL the rights of a brasilian citizen and I am denied alone the duty to vote. This is how things would look in the usa if we were more serious about our constitution.

  • Porcell

    Bryan: Porcell at 120 said, “Underneath it all, those … on the left and … on the right have lost confidence and trust in the government’s ability to conduct war.”
    You don’t say!?

    I do say, and would ask how you justify the blithe assumption that America, however fallen and imperfect, deserves such a corrosive lack of confidence and trust, other than from feckless moralists who demand some sort of perfection?

    America, for all its faults, is a great nation that saved the West during the world wars and the Cold War and is presently attempting to defend it against a dangerous and formidable radical Islamic enemy.

  • Porcell

    Bryan: Porcell at 120 said, “Underneath it all, those … on the left and … on the right have lost confidence and trust in the government’s ability to conduct war.”
    You don’t say!?

    I do say, and would ask how you justify the blithe assumption that America, however fallen and imperfect, deserves such a corrosive lack of confidence and trust, other than from feckless moralists who demand some sort of perfection?

    America, for all its faults, is a great nation that saved the West during the world wars and the Cold War and is presently attempting to defend it against a dangerous and formidable radical Islamic enemy.

  • kerner

    fws @125

    Actually, it IS how things look in the US. If an alien, legal or illegal, is accused of a garden variety crime, he is guaranteed all the constitutional rights any citizen would have in the criminal justice system. Nor can an alien be deprived of his liberty or property under any civil process without the same due process of law that any American would have. You don’t need a green card to buy property here, nor do you need a social security number (although you might need a tax payer ID number to pay your property taxes properly). Lately, most states have restricted the priviledge of a driver’s license to aliens legally here, and some other, not constitutionally mandated, benefits are restricted to Americans or legal aliens. But all aliens subject to US jurisdiction are subject to US constitutional protection.

    That’s why the distinctions argued here are so important. The constitution itself assumes different treatment for enemy combatants and individuals accused of crime.

    An individual alien sought for criminal prosecution who flees the US, eg. Roman Polansky, is subject to US constitutional protection and can only be gotten to through the channels of international extradition. Even if such a person frustrates our efforts to bring him to justice, we live with that frustration in the name of the Constitution.

    But no one has ever suggested that the Constitution requires that enemy combatants be treated like individual criminals. Soldiers in an enemy military force can be shot from ambush on sight, without being given the opportunity to surrender. Their military bases can be bombed and even the cities they live in can be bombed or strafed or otherwise reduced to rubble with very little regard for those civilians killed as collateral damage. And yes, their officers can be singled out, by snipers or drones or any other means, on the theory that the leaderless foot soldiers will be more likely to give up once their leaders are gone.

    The problem we have now is how to treat irregular paramilitary organizations that have, as organizations, not as nations, “declared war” on the United States.

    I think at this point we need to distinguish between real paramilitary organizations and criminal gangs. Despite all the rhetoric about the “war” on drugs, we have never really tried to treat enforcement of our anti-drug laws as a military matter.

    But the emergence of paramilitary ideological organizations that decide they want to fight a “war” against the US, and acquire the means to to actually attack us, has been difficult for us to wrap our minds around. Our government (under both Bush and Obama) has decided to consider these organizations military enemies and their members “enemy combatants”. I understand the arguments in favor of this and I have to admit that I lean toward agreeing with them. But even as I lean towards agreement, I have concerns about the government being unable to come up with a consistant set of rules for fighting this rather novel kind of military enemy.

    I also have grave concerns about the logic used by some here that allows our military to firebomb a city full of civilians to “break their will” to support their national military (which, in the case of Dresden, they didn’t even control), while at the same time decrying the US government’s possible decision to send a drone to blow up one person (who is a member of an enemy paramilitary organization).

    The moral gymnastics involved here just weird me out.

  • kerner

    fws @125

    Actually, it IS how things look in the US. If an alien, legal or illegal, is accused of a garden variety crime, he is guaranteed all the constitutional rights any citizen would have in the criminal justice system. Nor can an alien be deprived of his liberty or property under any civil process without the same due process of law that any American would have. You don’t need a green card to buy property here, nor do you need a social security number (although you might need a tax payer ID number to pay your property taxes properly). Lately, most states have restricted the priviledge of a driver’s license to aliens legally here, and some other, not constitutionally mandated, benefits are restricted to Americans or legal aliens. But all aliens subject to US jurisdiction are subject to US constitutional protection.

    That’s why the distinctions argued here are so important. The constitution itself assumes different treatment for enemy combatants and individuals accused of crime.

    An individual alien sought for criminal prosecution who flees the US, eg. Roman Polansky, is subject to US constitutional protection and can only be gotten to through the channels of international extradition. Even if such a person frustrates our efforts to bring him to justice, we live with that frustration in the name of the Constitution.

    But no one has ever suggested that the Constitution requires that enemy combatants be treated like individual criminals. Soldiers in an enemy military force can be shot from ambush on sight, without being given the opportunity to surrender. Their military bases can be bombed and even the cities they live in can be bombed or strafed or otherwise reduced to rubble with very little regard for those civilians killed as collateral damage. And yes, their officers can be singled out, by snipers or drones or any other means, on the theory that the leaderless foot soldiers will be more likely to give up once their leaders are gone.

    The problem we have now is how to treat irregular paramilitary organizations that have, as organizations, not as nations, “declared war” on the United States.

    I think at this point we need to distinguish between real paramilitary organizations and criminal gangs. Despite all the rhetoric about the “war” on drugs, we have never really tried to treat enforcement of our anti-drug laws as a military matter.

    But the emergence of paramilitary ideological organizations that decide they want to fight a “war” against the US, and acquire the means to to actually attack us, has been difficult for us to wrap our minds around. Our government (under both Bush and Obama) has decided to consider these organizations military enemies and their members “enemy combatants”. I understand the arguments in favor of this and I have to admit that I lean toward agreeing with them. But even as I lean towards agreement, I have concerns about the government being unable to come up with a consistant set of rules for fighting this rather novel kind of military enemy.

    I also have grave concerns about the logic used by some here that allows our military to firebomb a city full of civilians to “break their will” to support their national military (which, in the case of Dresden, they didn’t even control), while at the same time decrying the US government’s possible decision to send a drone to blow up one person (who is a member of an enemy paramilitary organization).

    The moral gymnastics involved here just weird me out.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 127

    I think we see eye to eye here brother.

    We aim to be a free society ruled by law and not by men. This is an ideal that is a compass but we live in an imperfect world.

    It is good though to persue what we do through that lense of our ideals.

    I have often thought that we started losing them when we decided that the enemy of our enemy was our friend with josef stalin, who was at least as bad as hitler. perhaps worse.

    Any one could of course argue that historically this sort of alliance has been pretty normal. But… is it just me, or does it seem that the world took a turn in an entirely new direction around the time of wwII? Wars seem to be now shaped around competing idiologies.

    And it seems like we are not all that well equipped to deal with that fact and we actually sort of try to be in denial of it.

    I would be interested to hear from you what you make of that idea and what it might mean as to constitutional law in these situations which will probably increase and grow ever closer to home turf.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    kerner @ 127

    I think we see eye to eye here brother.

    We aim to be a free society ruled by law and not by men. This is an ideal that is a compass but we live in an imperfect world.

    It is good though to persue what we do through that lense of our ideals.

    I have often thought that we started losing them when we decided that the enemy of our enemy was our friend with josef stalin, who was at least as bad as hitler. perhaps worse.

    Any one could of course argue that historically this sort of alliance has been pretty normal. But… is it just me, or does it seem that the world took a turn in an entirely new direction around the time of wwII? Wars seem to be now shaped around competing idiologies.

    And it seems like we are not all that well equipped to deal with that fact and we actually sort of try to be in denial of it.

    I would be interested to hear from you what you make of that idea and what it might mean as to constitutional law in these situations which will probably increase and grow ever closer to home turf.

  • kerner

    Another point I would like to make is that I think that the entire concept of a “declaration of war” is an anachronism. Not only has the United States not done this. I don’t think any nation, anywhere on this planet, has officially “declared war” on another since 1945. If somebody knows of any declaration of war by any nation on any other nation after WWII, please correct me.

    Yet wars continue to be fought. Therefore, requiring a “declaration of war” as a condition precedent to military action is ridiculous. There will probably never be another “declared” war. Not because our government has become devious. It is simply a custom that the entire world no longer practices.

  • kerner

    Another point I would like to make is that I think that the entire concept of a “declaration of war” is an anachronism. Not only has the United States not done this. I don’t think any nation, anywhere on this planet, has officially “declared war” on another since 1945. If somebody knows of any declaration of war by any nation on any other nation after WWII, please correct me.

    Yet wars continue to be fought. Therefore, requiring a “declaration of war” as a condition precedent to military action is ridiculous. There will probably never be another “declared” war. Not because our government has become devious. It is simply a custom that the entire world no longer practices.

  • Porcell

    Kerner, at 129, the matter of a declaration of war versus a presidential or congressional war resolution is complex. As I understand it, when Congress formally declares a war, the legality and sense of it is that the American government and people have formally declared a war against another nation’s government and people, something modern presidents have been advised not to do ,beginning with the Korean War. Pres. Clinton simply used his presidential authority as Commander in Chief to launch wars against Bosnia and Serbia without even a congressional resolution.

    I’m far from justifying this, though it is a complex subject with some truth on the side of not declaring war. I do, however, understand that the September 2001 presidential and congressional declaration on the War Against Tterror, aimed mainly at Al Quaeda, is legally valid; if this were not so leftist and isolationist legal eagles would long ago have pursued the issue.

    So far, none of Awlaki’s supporters on this thread have offered hard evidence that he is not an AlQuaeda enemy combatant . WebMonk has asserted but far from proved this. That he is an American citizen is irrelevant, however sentimentally compelling. He is in truth a Yemini sheik who obtained American citizenship and subsequently violated the terms of it by joining adeclared enemy and taking part in plans to attack America.

    The war against terror, however necessarily euphemistic, is really a war against Islamic militants. Sooner or later after another or two 9/11s Americans will come to realize this.

  • Porcell

    Kerner, at 129, the matter of a declaration of war versus a presidential or congressional war resolution is complex. As I understand it, when Congress formally declares a war, the legality and sense of it is that the American government and people have formally declared a war against another nation’s government and people, something modern presidents have been advised not to do ,beginning with the Korean War. Pres. Clinton simply used his presidential authority as Commander in Chief to launch wars against Bosnia and Serbia without even a congressional resolution.

    I’m far from justifying this, though it is a complex subject with some truth on the side of not declaring war. I do, however, understand that the September 2001 presidential and congressional declaration on the War Against Tterror, aimed mainly at Al Quaeda, is legally valid; if this were not so leftist and isolationist legal eagles would long ago have pursued the issue.

    So far, none of Awlaki’s supporters on this thread have offered hard evidence that he is not an AlQuaeda enemy combatant . WebMonk has asserted but far from proved this. That he is an American citizen is irrelevant, however sentimentally compelling. He is in truth a Yemini sheik who obtained American citizenship and subsequently violated the terms of it by joining adeclared enemy and taking part in plans to attack America.

    The war against terror, however necessarily euphemistic, is really a war against Islamic militants. Sooner or later after another or two 9/11s Americans will come to realize this.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, on one of your posts on this thread you referred hopefully to a drone attack at my 33 Jackson Rd. address that happens to be one of my summer places, not my main address that is kept private along with another summer Maine address and winter ones in the Bahamas and South Africa. You may think you know a lot being a computer programmer, though, I fear, you have rather much more to learn.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, on one of your posts on this thread you referred hopefully to a drone attack at my 33 Jackson Rd. address that happens to be one of my summer places, not my main address that is kept private along with another summer Maine address and winter ones in the Bahamas and South Africa. You may think you know a lot being a computer programmer, though, I fear, you have rather much more to learn.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@131), some free advice: if you want to keep information about you private on the Internet, it’s best not to go around confirming it for all to see when someone makes a lucky (if informed) guess about said information. Do say hello to Barbara for me, though.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@131), some free advice: if you want to keep information about you private on the Internet, it’s best not to go around confirming it for all to see when someone makes a lucky (if informed) guess about said information. Do say hello to Barbara for me, though.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kerner, what do you mean “allows”?

    I mean – Good points. And just to be clear, I don’t like firebombing cities at any time, and do think you’re right that it is almost as cowardly and wimpy (while yet also as extremely, perhaps inhumanely terrifying) as the use of drones in waging war – though those planes were flown by people that at least could theoretically be shot down. There is risk and real people on the line and in that there is a subtle difference that I think is important. We had also declared war on Germany (which included Dresden, no?). This is why war should always be the last resort. In war innocent people get hurt, and in modern war – far too many… It is a fallen depravede world. Too true.

    I also see your point regarding modern day declarations of war. I think this is a sad fact of our day that war has become so removed and clinical, especially in our comfortable “superpower” culture – its almost like we at home can ignore that we are a warring nation against real live people. I despise the phraseology: “War on Terror” and think it an extremely dangerous proposition which unless refuted will continue us along on our perpetual warring and meddling in the affairs of other localities until if finally does us in.

    Don’t mean to do “gymnastics” – just like you trying to make sense of this crazy world.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kerner, what do you mean “allows”?

    I mean – Good points. And just to be clear, I don’t like firebombing cities at any time, and do think you’re right that it is almost as cowardly and wimpy (while yet also as extremely, perhaps inhumanely terrifying) as the use of drones in waging war – though those planes were flown by people that at least could theoretically be shot down. There is risk and real people on the line and in that there is a subtle difference that I think is important. We had also declared war on Germany (which included Dresden, no?). This is why war should always be the last resort. In war innocent people get hurt, and in modern war – far too many… It is a fallen depravede world. Too true.

    I also see your point regarding modern day declarations of war. I think this is a sad fact of our day that war has become so removed and clinical, especially in our comfortable “superpower” culture – its almost like we at home can ignore that we are a warring nation against real live people. I despise the phraseology: “War on Terror” and think it an extremely dangerous proposition which unless refuted will continue us along on our perpetual warring and meddling in the affairs of other localities until if finally does us in.

    Don’t mean to do “gymnastics” – just like you trying to make sense of this crazy world.

  • Joanne

    Which is why I think we should refer to this “military action” as The Third Barbary War. Adds a lot of clarity and focus to the issue. War on terror, what’s that exactly? I also think my editors at Harlequin would prefer Barbary War as well.

  • Joanne

    Which is why I think we should refer to this “military action” as The Third Barbary War. Adds a lot of clarity and focus to the issue. War on terror, what’s that exactly? I also think my editors at Harlequin would prefer Barbary War as well.

  • Porcell

    JoannwWar on terror, what’s that exactly?

    You’re right. We should care little about the Basque or the Tamil terrorists. The war is against Islamic militants who happen to be a formidable and dangerous group of savage fighters who target civilians.

    The jihadis are successors to a long tradition of Islamic fighters who beginning in the seventth-century conquered the Christian Middle-East, North Africa, Spain, and the Balkans up to Budapest and Vienna where they finally defeated. Christian Spain defeated them and eventually the Ottoman empire declined militarily in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

    Kind hearted Americans and weak Europeans are just now experiencing a sharp resurgence of Islamic power; the West needs to wake up, to this, you and your apparently naive editor notwithstanding.

  • Porcell

    JoannwWar on terror, what’s that exactly?

    You’re right. We should care little about the Basque or the Tamil terrorists. The war is against Islamic militants who happen to be a formidable and dangerous group of savage fighters who target civilians.

    The jihadis are successors to a long tradition of Islamic fighters who beginning in the seventth-century conquered the Christian Middle-East, North Africa, Spain, and the Balkans up to Budapest and Vienna where they finally defeated. Christian Spain defeated them and eventually the Ottoman empire declined militarily in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

    Kind hearted Americans and weak Europeans are just now experiencing a sharp resurgence of Islamic power; the West needs to wake up, to this, you and your apparently naive editor notwithstanding.

  • http://www.stuartbramhall.com Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

    I think it’s time for Obama to tell the truth about why we are really at war in Pakistan (and Afghanistan) – namely the Chinese built deep water port in Gwadar, Pakistan – which will guarantee the Chinese a virtual monopoly on Iranian oil and natural gas. Scapegoating al Awlaki for a cyncial political agenda is not only morally bankrupt, but a violation of the US Constitution and international law. I blog about this at http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2010/09/26/iran-china-and-the-gwadar-port/

  • http://www.stuartbramhall.com Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

    I think it’s time for Obama to tell the truth about why we are really at war in Pakistan (and Afghanistan) – namely the Chinese built deep water port in Gwadar, Pakistan – which will guarantee the Chinese a virtual monopoly on Iranian oil and natural gas. Scapegoating al Awlaki for a cyncial political agenda is not only morally bankrupt, but a violation of the US Constitution and international law. I blog about this at http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2010/09/26/iran-china-and-the-gwadar-port/

  • Winston Smith

    Dr. Bramhall @ 136: War is all about resources, much more than the politicians will publicly admit.

  • Winston Smith

    Dr. Bramhall @ 136: War is all about resources, much more than the politicians will publicly admit.

  • Joanne

    The first 2 Barbary Wars were ceratinly all about resources. The pirates were taking mercantile ships under the US Flag in the Med. Before the wars the US was paying 20% of it’s federal budget as tributary to the Barbary Pirates. Some Americans were ok with that, others were adamantly opposed, but that surely was resources. However, I wouldn’t say that the resource reasons for war are more or less “real” than the other causes of war. I’d also like to say that nothing ever happens for only one reason. Human motivation is just way too complex for that.

  • Joanne

    The first 2 Barbary Wars were ceratinly all about resources. The pirates were taking mercantile ships under the US Flag in the Med. Before the wars the US was paying 20% of it’s federal budget as tributary to the Barbary Pirates. Some Americans were ok with that, others were adamantly opposed, but that surely was resources. However, I wouldn’t say that the resource reasons for war are more or less “real” than the other causes of war. I’d also like to say that nothing ever happens for only one reason. Human motivation is just way too complex for that.

  • kerner

    Bryan @133:

    Good points as well.

    I guess I want to reiterate that I find the concept of a “declaration” of war to be anachronistic, and to say that it was probably somewhat artificial to begin with. Take the Falkland Islanda War (Argentina-Great Britain, 1982) neither side “declared war”. Argentina invaded and took some islands in the south Atlantic from Great Britain; Great Britain mobilized its military and took them back. Neither nation felt it necessary to “declare” the obvious. Nobody, and I mean nobody, does that anymore.

    And what difference would it make if they did? When we fire bombed Dresden, does our formal declaration really make that act more or less morally acceptable? We killed tens of thousands of civilians to achieve military victory. This is not really something that can be rationalized away by saying that war is terrible and people get killed. Bombing a tank factory in the Ruhr valley (and destroying the residential neighborhood around it in the process) is one thing. Singling out tens of thousands of German women and children for death by firebombing to “break their will” is another.

    The use of atomic weapons against Japan was rationalized thus: If we have to invade Japan island by island, we will lose hundreds of thousands of casualties ourselves, and we will have to destroy the place city by city and kill millions of civilians in the process. But, if we simply kill tens of thousands of civilians in these two cities from afar, giving the Japanese no real way to fight back, they will give up. The loss of life on both sides will be greatly reduced. The only alternative would have been to negotiate a peace on terms short of unconditional surrender. We decided that killing all those people was preferable to accepting a surrender on terms, so we killed them all. We probably would have killed more, but they gave up.

    A lot of people would never admit it, but I believe that, deep down, this decision troubles the consciences even of the people who defend it. I believe this because a great deal of our weapons research and technology has been directed to narrowing the destructive effects of our weapons. We don’t strive to invent new “weapons of mass destruction”. Rather, we constantly try to develop weapons capable of killing our enemies discretely while sparing the people around them as much as possible.

    The reason I am less troubled by the idea of an attempt to kill Mr. Awlaki than many commenters here is because I generally support the effort to focus the killing in war on the people responsible for waging it. Wars are not fought by populations so much as they are fought by governments, or now by paramilitary organizations. I think the whole concept there being a “zone” where it is ok to destroy life and property indiscriminately is problematic (“Um, we’ve killed 50K children in zone X!” “Very unfortunate, but they were in a war zone, and that kind of thing happens.”).

    I think the concept of attacking the military, political, and paramilitary leaders who give the orders to wage war is a far preferable idea. If it had been possible to kill Hitler instead of the thousands of German women and children who died in Dresden, I would have gone after Hitler every time.

    Applying this logic to today’s situation, I am a lot less antagonistic to the idea of directing narrowly focused attacks on Mr. Awlaki than a lot of commenters here, assuming that he is really responsible for directing attacks against Americans. To those who argue that attacking Awlaki is assassination and not war, my reply is that wars should be fought between the actual combatants, not the innocent people they hide behind. This is not a child’s game of tag, and I am hard pressed to accept the idea that Awlaki should be able to claim that he is “on goal” and therefore untouchable because he is in Yemen instead of Afghanistan.

    I realize that his is a different way of looking at things, and that for governments to follow it up will probably have lots of unintended consequences. So I am not really advocating that this is what we absolutely should do. I’m just saying that maybe we should develop our warrior ethics along different lines.

  • kerner

    Bryan @133:

    Good points as well.

    I guess I want to reiterate that I find the concept of a “declaration” of war to be anachronistic, and to say that it was probably somewhat artificial to begin with. Take the Falkland Islanda War (Argentina-Great Britain, 1982) neither side “declared war”. Argentina invaded and took some islands in the south Atlantic from Great Britain; Great Britain mobilized its military and took them back. Neither nation felt it necessary to “declare” the obvious. Nobody, and I mean nobody, does that anymore.

    And what difference would it make if they did? When we fire bombed Dresden, does our formal declaration really make that act more or less morally acceptable? We killed tens of thousands of civilians to achieve military victory. This is not really something that can be rationalized away by saying that war is terrible and people get killed. Bombing a tank factory in the Ruhr valley (and destroying the residential neighborhood around it in the process) is one thing. Singling out tens of thousands of German women and children for death by firebombing to “break their will” is another.

    The use of atomic weapons against Japan was rationalized thus: If we have to invade Japan island by island, we will lose hundreds of thousands of casualties ourselves, and we will have to destroy the place city by city and kill millions of civilians in the process. But, if we simply kill tens of thousands of civilians in these two cities from afar, giving the Japanese no real way to fight back, they will give up. The loss of life on both sides will be greatly reduced. The only alternative would have been to negotiate a peace on terms short of unconditional surrender. We decided that killing all those people was preferable to accepting a surrender on terms, so we killed them all. We probably would have killed more, but they gave up.

    A lot of people would never admit it, but I believe that, deep down, this decision troubles the consciences even of the people who defend it. I believe this because a great deal of our weapons research and technology has been directed to narrowing the destructive effects of our weapons. We don’t strive to invent new “weapons of mass destruction”. Rather, we constantly try to develop weapons capable of killing our enemies discretely while sparing the people around them as much as possible.

    The reason I am less troubled by the idea of an attempt to kill Mr. Awlaki than many commenters here is because I generally support the effort to focus the killing in war on the people responsible for waging it. Wars are not fought by populations so much as they are fought by governments, or now by paramilitary organizations. I think the whole concept there being a “zone” where it is ok to destroy life and property indiscriminately is problematic (“Um, we’ve killed 50K children in zone X!” “Very unfortunate, but they were in a war zone, and that kind of thing happens.”).

    I think the concept of attacking the military, political, and paramilitary leaders who give the orders to wage war is a far preferable idea. If it had been possible to kill Hitler instead of the thousands of German women and children who died in Dresden, I would have gone after Hitler every time.

    Applying this logic to today’s situation, I am a lot less antagonistic to the idea of directing narrowly focused attacks on Mr. Awlaki than a lot of commenters here, assuming that he is really responsible for directing attacks against Americans. To those who argue that attacking Awlaki is assassination and not war, my reply is that wars should be fought between the actual combatants, not the innocent people they hide behind. This is not a child’s game of tag, and I am hard pressed to accept the idea that Awlaki should be able to claim that he is “on goal” and therefore untouchable because he is in Yemen instead of Afghanistan.

    I realize that his is a different way of looking at things, and that for governments to follow it up will probably have lots of unintended consequences. So I am not really advocating that this is what we absolutely should do. I’m just saying that maybe we should develop our warrior ethics along different lines.

  • WebMonk

    You mean that property really is an address associated with you?!?!?

    Wow! I totally took a wild shot in the dark with that address. I need to go buy a lottery ticket.

    That’s hilarious!

  • WebMonk

    You mean that property really is an address associated with you?!?!?

    Wow! I totally took a wild shot in the dark with that address. I need to go buy a lottery ticket.

    That’s hilarious!

  • Winston Smith

    “We killed tens of thousands of civilians to achieve military victory. This is not really something that can be rationalized away by saying that war is terrible and people get killed.”

    There are a lot of Americans who will say that 9/11 was an outrageous act of war that killed 3,000 peaceful Americans who were just going about their business (and it absolutely was), yet have no problem with bombing Dresden or Hiroshima (and killing hundreds of times as many civilians and non-combatants) because, well, it was wartime.

    In other words, it’s not bad when America does it.

  • Winston Smith

    “We killed tens of thousands of civilians to achieve military victory. This is not really something that can be rationalized away by saying that war is terrible and people get killed.”

    There are a lot of Americans who will say that 9/11 was an outrageous act of war that killed 3,000 peaceful Americans who were just going about their business (and it absolutely was), yet have no problem with bombing Dresden or Hiroshima (and killing hundreds of times as many civilians and non-combatants) because, well, it was wartime.

    In other words, it’s not bad when America does it.

  • Joanne

    Winston@141
    How quickly we forget the Cold War when the entire populations of the US, Western Europe, and the USSR were held hostage to mutually assured destruction (MAD). We lived how long with the idea that the civilian populations, in toto, were the target.
    It is a great pleasure, a luxury, now to be able to talk about wars that can pinpoint evil targets and leave the good to live their lives in peace. Maybe we are fools to imagine such things, but I want it to be true.

  • Joanne

    Winston@141
    How quickly we forget the Cold War when the entire populations of the US, Western Europe, and the USSR were held hostage to mutually assured destruction (MAD). We lived how long with the idea that the civilian populations, in toto, were the target.
    It is a great pleasure, a luxury, now to be able to talk about wars that can pinpoint evil targets and leave the good to live their lives in peace. Maybe we are fools to imagine such things, but I want it to be true.

  • MarkB

    The last few comments brought back memories of when I was a sailor from 1968 to 1974. I was an electrical nuclear operator on a ballistic missile submarine. My first impression was that our missiles would only be targeted for military targets. Towards the end of my time on the sub I found out that they were in fact targeted at civilian targets as retaliation if there was an attack on the US. I really had a hard time dealing with this and thought seriously of disrupting an actual missile shoot if it really came to that. I didn’t believe that I should have a hand in killing civilians even though their government would have been involved in killing military and civilians in the US. Even if that might mean that I would lose my wife and son.
    I don’t know if I would have really carried this out since you really never know how you will react in the situation. However, it did cause a lot of stress on my young life.

  • MarkB

    The last few comments brought back memories of when I was a sailor from 1968 to 1974. I was an electrical nuclear operator on a ballistic missile submarine. My first impression was that our missiles would only be targeted for military targets. Towards the end of my time on the sub I found out that they were in fact targeted at civilian targets as retaliation if there was an attack on the US. I really had a hard time dealing with this and thought seriously of disrupting an actual missile shoot if it really came to that. I didn’t believe that I should have a hand in killing civilians even though their government would have been involved in killing military and civilians in the US. Even if that might mean that I would lose my wife and son.
    I don’t know if I would have really carried this out since you really never know how you will react in the situation. However, it did cause a lot of stress on my young life.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kerner 139,

    Very much appreciate reading your thoughts. Thank you.

    I still think modern warfare developing along the lines where nobody’s life is on the line on one side and others’ lives are the targets on the other side (such as in the case of our drones) is an especially cowardly way to fight and the American people should be encouraged to evaluate today (not 50 years from now) their funding of these literally soul-less killers.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kerner 139,

    Very much appreciate reading your thoughts. Thank you.

    I still think modern warfare developing along the lines where nobody’s life is on the line on one side and others’ lives are the targets on the other side (such as in the case of our drones) is an especially cowardly way to fight and the American people should be encouraged to evaluate today (not 50 years from now) their funding of these literally soul-less killers.

  • Leif

    Think this applies on the subject of modern warfare, from Luther’s Table Talks:

    “Cannons and fire arms are cruel and damnable machines, I believe them to have been the direct suggestion of the devil. Against the flying ball no valour avails; the soldier is dead, ere he sees the means of his destruction If Adam had seen in a vision the horrible instruments his children were to invent he would have died of grief.”

    I believe a BOOYAH is in order.

  • Leif

    Think this applies on the subject of modern warfare, from Luther’s Table Talks:

    “Cannons and fire arms are cruel and damnable machines, I believe them to have been the direct suggestion of the devil. Against the flying ball no valour avails; the soldier is dead, ere he sees the means of his destruction If Adam had seen in a vision the horrible instruments his children were to invent he would have died of grief.”

    I believe a BOOYAH is in order.

  • Leif

    Ooh, and another from Luther on “preserving citizens”:

    “A valiant and brave soldier seeks rather to preserve one citizen than to destroy a thousand enemies, as Scipio the Roman said; therefore an upright soldier begins not a war lightly or without urgent cause. True soldiers and captains make not many words but when they speak the deed is done ”

    How could this apply to us deciding to kill a “citizen” rather than an “enemy”? And what would distinguish the two?

  • Leif

    Ooh, and another from Luther on “preserving citizens”:

    “A valiant and brave soldier seeks rather to preserve one citizen than to destroy a thousand enemies, as Scipio the Roman said; therefore an upright soldier begins not a war lightly or without urgent cause. True soldiers and captains make not many words but when they speak the deed is done ”

    How could this apply to us deciding to kill a “citizen” rather than an “enemy”? And what would distinguish the two?

  • Porcell

    No doubt modern warfare is a hellish thing, as has been all warfare throughout history. No nation should involve itself in warfare without serious and just cause.

    In the case of Awlaki we know that he has actively involved himself with al Quaeda, an outfit that engages in savage warfare against large groups of civilians with the intent of terrorizing the West in order to destroy its confidence and impose Muslim Shariah law on its people.

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the greatest writer and prophet of our time, criticized the West for being so mired in hedonism, materialism, and autonomous humanism that it lacked the courage to defend itself from serious enemies. In his view the spirit of Munich caused the West to eventually have to fight the devastating World War II. This spirit, also, caused the West to allow the people of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to suffer from the oppressive tyranny of communism for about seventy years.

    When people lack the courage and will to fight serious enemies, including with drone aircraft, then they run the risk of being defeated both morally and physically by those enemies. Pres. Bush and now Pres. Obama understand this, as do many of the American people.

    The people who don’t understand are those who have allowed their pacifist and isolationist tendency to blind them regarding the dangerous and formidable threat of militant Islam. They, also, have the righteous gall to remark that those who favor this just war are crude warmongers.

  • Porcell

    No doubt modern warfare is a hellish thing, as has been all warfare throughout history. No nation should involve itself in warfare without serious and just cause.

    In the case of Awlaki we know that he has actively involved himself with al Quaeda, an outfit that engages in savage warfare against large groups of civilians with the intent of terrorizing the West in order to destroy its confidence and impose Muslim Shariah law on its people.

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the greatest writer and prophet of our time, criticized the West for being so mired in hedonism, materialism, and autonomous humanism that it lacked the courage to defend itself from serious enemies. In his view the spirit of Munich caused the West to eventually have to fight the devastating World War II. This spirit, also, caused the West to allow the people of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to suffer from the oppressive tyranny of communism for about seventy years.

    When people lack the courage and will to fight serious enemies, including with drone aircraft, then they run the risk of being defeated both morally and physically by those enemies. Pres. Bush and now Pres. Obama understand this, as do many of the American people.

    The people who don’t understand are those who have allowed their pacifist and isolationist tendency to blind them regarding the dangerous and formidable threat of militant Islam. They, also, have the righteous gall to remark that those who favor this just war are crude warmongers.

  • Righteous Gall

    Dude, you need to so get over yourself.

  • Righteous Gall

    Dude, you need to so get over yourself.

  • Porcell

    Small pleasures for small minds.

  • Porcell

    Small pleasures for small minds.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Porcell states: “When people lack the courage and will to fight serious enemies, including with drone aircraft, then…”

    What courage does that take?! I don’t think the word ‘courage’ means what you think if it means. It does not mean spitting at people while wearing a pink tutu. And it doesn’t mean killing your enemy behind the comfort and security of remote control. At least that’s not what I thought courage looked like. If that’s your definition of courage, I want no part – I encourage you and your ilk to contemplate a more courageous stance. Hey, then, I may stand with you.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Porcell states: “When people lack the courage and will to fight serious enemies, including with drone aircraft, then…”

    What courage does that take?! I don’t think the word ‘courage’ means what you think if it means. It does not mean spitting at people while wearing a pink tutu. And it doesn’t mean killing your enemy behind the comfort and security of remote control. At least that’s not what I thought courage looked like. If that’s your definition of courage, I want no part – I encourage you and your ilk to contemplate a more courageous stance. Hey, then, I may stand with you.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “And it doesn’t mean killing your enemy behind the comfort and security of remote control.”

    Well dropping A bombs on Japan might have been less “courageous” by that measure, however, it ended the war. They started it. We ended it. That is the goal in a war, to get your enemy to surrender and stop attacking you. Extreme civilian casualties in muslim countries just might be more effective at getting the killers to surrender and stop attacking us. Of course, I can’t know that absolutely, but it might be true. Cue the list of commenters who want to condemn me for just asking whether extreme civilian casualties will persuade maniacs. I am not saying it is morally desirable or even acceptable. I am asking whether we really think it would work. It worked in Japan. They really wanted their country to survive. They wanted their women and their sons and daughters to survive. They surrendered rather than see what they held most dear be destroyed by A bombs. It worked. Was it courageous in the sense that we risked our own soldiers? No. But war is about winning not proving you are willing to die for your country, or proving your courage or moral superiority. None of those will get the enemy to surrender. It is about making the enemy surrender or die. Courage is sometimes necessary, but the will to win is always necessary.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “And it doesn’t mean killing your enemy behind the comfort and security of remote control.”

    Well dropping A bombs on Japan might have been less “courageous” by that measure, however, it ended the war. They started it. We ended it. That is the goal in a war, to get your enemy to surrender and stop attacking you. Extreme civilian casualties in muslim countries just might be more effective at getting the killers to surrender and stop attacking us. Of course, I can’t know that absolutely, but it might be true. Cue the list of commenters who want to condemn me for just asking whether extreme civilian casualties will persuade maniacs. I am not saying it is morally desirable or even acceptable. I am asking whether we really think it would work. It worked in Japan. They really wanted their country to survive. They wanted their women and their sons and daughters to survive. They surrendered rather than see what they held most dear be destroyed by A bombs. It worked. Was it courageous in the sense that we risked our own soldiers? No. But war is about winning not proving you are willing to die for your country, or proving your courage or moral superiority. None of those will get the enemy to surrender. It is about making the enemy surrender or die. Courage is sometimes necessary, but the will to win is always necessary.

  • kerner

    sg:

    I have been sometimes willing to condemn your comments in past threads, but not this time. Your question is worth asking, and I will give you my answer. I believe that the United States has the capability to kill enough Muslims in enough predominantly Muslim countries to probably stop Islamic terrorist attacks on the USA. I’m not sure how many of millions of women and children we would have to kill. I’m not sure how much damage to the planet would be caused by the weapons we would have to use to kill that many people. But I think it could be done.

    But, I don’t believe that we as a nation are willing to have that much innocent blood on our hands. Not now anyway.

    I am not sure where the line is, but I believe there is, at least for now, a line that we are not willing to cross to put an end to terrorist attacks. I am glad that there continues to be such a line. I believe that for moral principles to have any meaning at all there must be times when you are willing to follow them, even when it is more dangerous to do so. I think that is what courage means: being willing to do the right thing, even when it is more dangerous to do it.

  • kerner

    sg:

    I have been sometimes willing to condemn your comments in past threads, but not this time. Your question is worth asking, and I will give you my answer. I believe that the United States has the capability to kill enough Muslims in enough predominantly Muslim countries to probably stop Islamic terrorist attacks on the USA. I’m not sure how many of millions of women and children we would have to kill. I’m not sure how much damage to the planet would be caused by the weapons we would have to use to kill that many people. But I think it could be done.

    But, I don’t believe that we as a nation are willing to have that much innocent blood on our hands. Not now anyway.

    I am not sure where the line is, but I believe there is, at least for now, a line that we are not willing to cross to put an end to terrorist attacks. I am glad that there continues to be such a line. I believe that for moral principles to have any meaning at all there must be times when you are willing to follow them, even when it is more dangerous to do so. I think that is what courage means: being willing to do the right thing, even when it is more dangerous to do it.

  • Porcell

    sg and Kerner,

    The hard reality of war is that organized entities made of peoples go to war with one another and that usually the will of the people needs to be broken before the war ends in victory or defeat. Lincoln and his generals, especially Grant and Sherman, understood this during the Civil War. Roosevelt and Churchill understood it during the WW II. Occasionally in history including the Middle Ages war was largely fought by warriors, though, especially since the twentieth century, influenced greatly by secular modernity, war has been savagely taken to the peoples.

    This war against Islamic militants will not be won until the Muslim peoples, many of whom secretly are at least fascinated with alQuaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, et al., understand they will be pay an intolerable price to continue this war.

    However, though we would be mistaken to intentionally attack civilian groups, when attacking the jihadis who often take cover in schools, hospitals, and houses, we ought not be overly fastidious about setting targets, such as Clinton was when he had intelligence on Bin Laden and Zwahiri’s location.

    After another 9/11 or two, the American people will wake up in the way we did for a few weeks after 9/11, after which the secular leftist media, academia, Hollywood, et al. recovered its confidence and just now are in denial regarding the Islamist threat. Anyone who thinks our militant Islamic enemies are going to fade away needs to pay better attention to reality.

  • Porcell

    sg and Kerner,

    The hard reality of war is that organized entities made of peoples go to war with one another and that usually the will of the people needs to be broken before the war ends in victory or defeat. Lincoln and his generals, especially Grant and Sherman, understood this during the Civil War. Roosevelt and Churchill understood it during the WW II. Occasionally in history including the Middle Ages war was largely fought by warriors, though, especially since the twentieth century, influenced greatly by secular modernity, war has been savagely taken to the peoples.

    This war against Islamic militants will not be won until the Muslim peoples, many of whom secretly are at least fascinated with alQuaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, et al., understand they will be pay an intolerable price to continue this war.

    However, though we would be mistaken to intentionally attack civilian groups, when attacking the jihadis who often take cover in schools, hospitals, and houses, we ought not be overly fastidious about setting targets, such as Clinton was when he had intelligence on Bin Laden and Zwahiri’s location.

    After another 9/11 or two, the American people will wake up in the way we did for a few weeks after 9/11, after which the secular leftist media, academia, Hollywood, et al. recovered its confidence and just now are in denial regarding the Islamist threat. Anyone who thinks our militant Islamic enemies are going to fade away needs to pay better attention to reality.

  • mark

    This is the sermon delivered on the first day of Rosh Hashanah by Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Atlanta. Hat tip: Bookworm Room

    http://primerct.blogspot.com/2010/09/ehr-kumt.html

  • mark

    This is the sermon delivered on the first day of Rosh Hashanah by Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Atlanta. Hat tip: Bookworm Room

    http://primerct.blogspot.com/2010/09/ehr-kumt.html

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Thanks, Mark. I get the Rabbi’s point about hate. I understand he doesn’t want to tolerate the intolerant. However, this is the moral blindspot. How can Americans who are guilty of allowing the deaths of millions of innocent unborn children expect peace for themselves?

    Is it reasonable to expect God’s blessing under these circumstances?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Thanks, Mark. I get the Rabbi’s point about hate. I understand he doesn’t want to tolerate the intolerant. However, this is the moral blindspot. How can Americans who are guilty of allowing the deaths of millions of innocent unborn children expect peace for themselves?

    Is it reasonable to expect God’s blessing under these circumstances?

  • Another Kerner

    A bit of information pertinent to this discussion….and just the opinion of one soldier serving in the United States Army during WWII.

    kerner’s father and my husband fought his way through Italy in the European threatre. He was aboard ship, getting ready to be deployed to the Pacific in order to defeat Japan when President Truman ordered the use of atomic bombs on Japanese cities.

    He was grateful for Truman’s decision.

    He believed it saved his life and the lives of many of his fellow soldiers.

  • Another Kerner

    A bit of information pertinent to this discussion….and just the opinion of one soldier serving in the United States Army during WWII.

    kerner’s father and my husband fought his way through Italy in the European threatre. He was aboard ship, getting ready to be deployed to the Pacific in order to defeat Japan when President Truman ordered the use of atomic bombs on Japanese cities.

    He was grateful for Truman’s decision.

    He believed it saved his life and the lives of many of his fellow soldiers.

  • mark

    sg:
    “How can Americans who are guilty of allowing the deaths of millions of innocent unborn children expect peace for themselves? Is it reasonable to expect God’s blessing under these circumstances?” No

    Romans 1:24, “Therefore God gave them up…” Romans 1:26, “For this reason God gave them up…” Romans 1:28, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up…”

    The greatest expression of God’s wrath is His silence; he allows us to go our own way. Martin Luther.

    The penalty of sin is sin. Augustine.

    In other words, all the vile sins with which Paul ends Romans 1 are not what God does to us but what we do to ourselves. The sins, immorality, lying, hatred, murder, abortion, pornography, homosexuality, etc., are evidence that we being judged by God. He allows us to go our own way. We choose sin and that sin is in turn a scourge. The end of this process of estrangement from God is the affirmation of sin, “And they gave hearty approval…” Our estrangement from God is complete.

  • mark

    sg:
    “How can Americans who are guilty of allowing the deaths of millions of innocent unborn children expect peace for themselves? Is it reasonable to expect God’s blessing under these circumstances?” No

    Romans 1:24, “Therefore God gave them up…” Romans 1:26, “For this reason God gave them up…” Romans 1:28, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up…”

    The greatest expression of God’s wrath is His silence; he allows us to go our own way. Martin Luther.

    The penalty of sin is sin. Augustine.

    In other words, all the vile sins with which Paul ends Romans 1 are not what God does to us but what we do to ourselves. The sins, immorality, lying, hatred, murder, abortion, pornography, homosexuality, etc., are evidence that we being judged by God. He allows us to go our own way. We choose sin and that sin is in turn a scourge. The end of this process of estrangement from God is the affirmation of sin, “And they gave hearty approval…” Our estrangement from God is complete.

  • Porcell

    Another Kerner, your late husband and many others including the Japanese benefited from Truman’s decision to drop atomic weapons on Hiroshima. The author, Warren Kozak writes in a WSJ article A Hiroshima Apology?, as follows:

    It should be noted that when President Harry Truman was considering whether to invade Japan instead of dropping the bombs, his advisers estimated that an invasion would result in one million American casualties and at least two million Japanese deaths. In the strange calculus of war, the bombs actually saved Japanese lives.

    …Japanese children have learned little about the Rape of Nanking or the fact that as many as 17 million Asians died at the hands of the Japanese in World War II—many in the most brutal ways imaginable.

  • Porcell

    Another Kerner, your late husband and many others including the Japanese benefited from Truman’s decision to drop atomic weapons on Hiroshima. The author, Warren Kozak writes in a WSJ article A Hiroshima Apology?, as follows:

    It should be noted that when President Harry Truman was considering whether to invade Japan instead of dropping the bombs, his advisers estimated that an invasion would result in one million American casualties and at least two million Japanese deaths. In the strange calculus of war, the bombs actually saved Japanese lives.

    …Japanese children have learned little about the Rape of Nanking or the fact that as many as 17 million Asians died at the hands of the Japanese in World War II—many in the most brutal ways imaginable.

  • Porcell

    Sorry the link is Here.

  • Porcell

    Sorry the link is Here.

  • Porcell

    If one may say so, this thread has ended on just the right note with Mark’s link to Rabbi Shalom Lewis’ sermon that includes the irrefutable remarks that:

    We are at war, As yet, too many stubbornly and foolishly don’t put the pieces together and refuse to identify the evil doers. We are circumspect and disgracefully politically correct.

    Let me mince no words in saying that from Fort Hood to Bali, from Times Square to London, from Madrid to Mumbai, from 9/11 to Gaza, the murderers, the barbarians are radical Islamists.

    To camouflage their identity is sedition. To excuse their deeds is contemptible. To mask their intentions is unconscionable.

    Truth spoken to naive, feckless pacifists and isolationists in no uncertain terms.

  • Porcell

    If one may say so, this thread has ended on just the right note with Mark’s link to Rabbi Shalom Lewis’ sermon that includes the irrefutable remarks that:

    We are at war, As yet, too many stubbornly and foolishly don’t put the pieces together and refuse to identify the evil doers. We are circumspect and disgracefully politically correct.

    Let me mince no words in saying that from Fort Hood to Bali, from Times Square to London, from Madrid to Mumbai, from 9/11 to Gaza, the murderers, the barbarians are radical Islamists.

    To camouflage their identity is sedition. To excuse their deeds is contemptible. To mask their intentions is unconscionable.

    Truth spoken to naive, feckless pacifists and isolationists in no uncertain terms.

  • kerner

    If:

    1. We are at war, and

    2. It is acceptable during war to kill the civilians of your enemy, including women and children, to break the enemy’s will to resist and compel the enemy to surrender, as we did with the Japanese at Hirshima and Nagasake.

    Then our enemy may be barbarians, but they are not murderers. Rather, they are only merciless modern warriors who are trying to get us to surrender by using a tactic that we ourselves find acceptable in war.

    We can’t have have this both ways.

  • kerner

    If:

    1. We are at war, and

    2. It is acceptable during war to kill the civilians of your enemy, including women and children, to break the enemy’s will to resist and compel the enemy to surrender, as we did with the Japanese at Hirshima and Nagasake.

    Then our enemy may be barbarians, but they are not murderers. Rather, they are only merciless modern warriors who are trying to get us to surrender by using a tactic that we ourselves find acceptable in war.

    We can’t have have this both ways.

  • Porcell

    Kerner, at 165, you raise a reasonable point, though the distinction is that in this case we are at war with an enemy that is not a legitimate state and, unlike Germany, we have done nothing, such as the bombing of London and other parts of England and Europe involving civilians, along with the unprovoked slaughter of millions of Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, et al, and in Japan’s case the attack against Pearl Harbor and the slaughter of millions of Asians, before we became involved, to justify an attack involving large numbers of civilians.

    Incidentally, like your father, my father was involved in Europe during WWII, in his case as commander of a naval vessel that was en route to Japan when the war in ended in August of 1945. I once during my sophomoric college years criticized Truman’s decision to drop the A-bombs; he gently pointed out that chances are I would not exist had that decision not been made. Admittedly, this is not a serious argument against that decision, though Kovac’s information that Truman was advised an attack of mainland Japan would result in about one million American casualties and two million Japanese deaths is more compelling.

    The U.S. has done nothing similar to justify the Islamic militant’s attack of large numbers of civilians.

  • Porcell

    Kerner, at 165, you raise a reasonable point, though the distinction is that in this case we are at war with an enemy that is not a legitimate state and, unlike Germany, we have done nothing, such as the bombing of London and other parts of England and Europe involving civilians, along with the unprovoked slaughter of millions of Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, et al, and in Japan’s case the attack against Pearl Harbor and the slaughter of millions of Asians, before we became involved, to justify an attack involving large numbers of civilians.

    Incidentally, like your father, my father was involved in Europe during WWII, in his case as commander of a naval vessel that was en route to Japan when the war in ended in August of 1945. I once during my sophomoric college years criticized Truman’s decision to drop the A-bombs; he gently pointed out that chances are I would not exist had that decision not been made. Admittedly, this is not a serious argument against that decision, though Kovac’s information that Truman was advised an attack of mainland Japan would result in about one million American casualties and two million Japanese deaths is more compelling.

    The U.S. has done nothing similar to justify the Islamic militant’s attack of large numbers of civilians.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X