Golly, Who Could have Predicted This?

The Wall Street Journal, organ of corporate interests, joins up with the Obama Administration, tool of corporate interests, to tell Rand Paul to shut up about Obama’s secret and unaccountable tyrannical power to murder whoever he feels like.

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  • http://www.cfmpl.org/blog Alberto Hurtado

    Hudge and Gudge!!!!

  • http://street-called-straight.blogspot.com Neal

    It’s either Catholicism or the world system. Take your pick.

  • Stu

    Both Durbin and the Wall Street Journal are droners.

  • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com JoAnna

    LACKING SERIOUS ARGUMENT? Did they watch ANY of the footage from the filibuster?? Rand stayed ON-TOPIC the entire time. And he couldn’t get Obama or anyone else to answer a very simple question (can the government kill Americans on American soil when no imminent threat is present?).


  • Kenneth

    I’m not a big fan of Paul’s policies, but he’s dead on on this score, and I’m glad we still have someone in that hall willing to stand up for what’s left of the Constitution.

  • Oregon Catholic

    I’m just trying to sort this out. Is it giving the president the power to kill, or is it killing without a trial, or is it targeting Americans that you object to? And do you honestly consider terrorists like al-Awlaki to be American citizens?

    Because if the alternative is to go to war, even a just war by Catholic definition, then not only are the guilty individuals going to be killed but a whole lot more who aren’t. I have zero desire to see my son go to war to kill other mother’s sons and daughters over the likes of the terrorists that are being targeted by drones.

    • Mark Shea

      What is complicated about this? The president does not have the right to summarily decide, in secret and with no accountability, that you shall be executed. This is what due process is all about. And do you seriously consider a 16 year old boy to be a terrorist? But yes, in answer to your question, I would much prefer an American citizen who is a friend of the enemy (like, say, Jane Fonda) be tried than the panicky and dangerous course of sacrificing our right to trial to a tyrant. Show some courage.

      And who in hell says “the alternative is to go to war”? What is *wrong* with you?

      • Oregon Catholic

        So is this only about Americans or any terrorist the president might target?
        Did you consider al-Awlaki a US citizen? You didn’t make your position clear and I haven’t been following your blog recently.

        If the president cannot summarily decide, then who can? Congress? They can only declare war. Courts? They don’t hear the cases of non-citizens off US soil. International courts? We’ve already rejected that.

        So what is the answer according to Mark?

        • Mark Shea

          If by *this* you mean Rand Paul’s filibuster, it’s about American citizens. But in the end it’s about the President’s lawless claim to be able to target people for drone strikes and then declare them terrorists after the fact.

          Yes, I consider al-Awlaki a US citizen. That’s not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of fact. Not even Obama denies that. Rather, he asserts that he can kill American citizens without evidence, arrests, trial, judge, or jury. And you still have not told me if you think the murder of a 16 year old boy was wrong, much less illegal.

          You do realize this is about the murder of Americans on US soil, right?

          • Oregon Catholic

            I’ll have to claim ignorance on who the 16 yr old is.
            If this is about Americans on America soil under the jurisdiction of US courts then I’ll agree.

            But comments like this:
            “But in the end it’s about the President’s lawless claim to be able to target people for drone strikes and then declare them terrorists after the fact.”
            and the fact that people are not being killed by drones in this country
            make me wonder if this is about any terrorist of any nationality on any soil. If so, we are back to my original comment about going to war if drone killings are off the table.

            Is that what you would rather see? You still haven’t told me what YOUR solution is.

            • Mark Shea

              Read the link. My solution to what? The state killing somebody and then declaring, through a pliant media, that he had it coming? I would start by educating my self on what a crock the policy is: http://www.salon.com/2010/04/07/assassinations_2/ All you know about the victim is what his killers tell you.

              • Oregon Catholic

                Mark, it looks to me by your refusal to answer my direct questions that you object to any drone kills anywhere regardless of whether they are American or not. If that’s the case, and you have no other solution to offer, then the only thing left would be to declare the kind of war we did in Afghanistan over and over and over in order to kill or capture them.

                The world has moved on from your position and thanks to technology we no longer have to put so many of our sons and daughters in harm’s way to get the terrorists. To do that to our men and women and the innocent men and women soldiers of countries we might invade would be immoral in the extreme. Are people mistakenly killed or are there civilian casualites – you bet. But not nearly as many as what happens in a conventional boots-on-the-ground war.

                When I think of teen terrorists I think of the teen who tried to blow up 1000′s of people in my home town 2 years ago during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and only failed because the FBI gave him a fake bomb.

                • Mark Shea

                  Then you are not reading me very carefully. What I object to is lawless, unaccountable murder of American citizens. I also object to lawless, unaccountable murder of foreign civilians and non-combatants. Your argument boils down to saying that Al-Awlaki was such a desperate menace (because his killers told you so) that the President could just up and have him killed and claim the right to do that to any American, anywhere on planet earth. In short, out of fear of this one man–or rather what Caesar told you about this one man–you are willing to grant His Royal Highness sweeping dictatorial power of life and death over everyone on planet earth. That is folly.

                  Meanwhile, the President ordered the murder of a sixteen year old boy and has deliberately targeted civilians, inluding women and children, on the theory that some of them might be terrorists. When they are dead, he simply declares them terrorists after the fact. And you are fine with this. You will deserve you chains.

                • Kenneth

                  99% or more of the “terror plots” the FBI “foils” were never serious threats. They were angry idiots who had a chip on their shoulder and sometimes channeled that into radical Islam, at a very shallow level. None of them, so far as I recall, had the technical expertise, the resources, the discipline or the tradecraft to carry off a mass casualty attack of any kind.

                  They’re guys who download a recipe from the internet, start ordering obvious chemical ingredients online, in their own names, and divulge their plans to the first guy they meet in a mosque or online (inevitably an FBI agent or informer), who seems simpatico. These guys are not serious terrorists. They’re schmos. That’s not to say we shouldn’t prosecute them or be complacent, but it doesn’t wash as a justification for what the president is claiming.

                  This is not limited to some doomsday scenario in which an American terrorists is poised over the detonator of a stolen nuke or who becomes the next bin Laden with international reach and no other way to get at him than by drone or kill team. This is an attempt to declare the president beyond the law whenever he feels its in the nation’s security interest. In other words, he can kill someone or anyone at any time for any reason if he can justify it to himself.

                  Even if you believe that this president will use such power with the utmost restraint, there is no instance in human history where unaccountable absolute power is used in an accountable and limited way by self-restraint, over any period of time. What we will see, inside of a decade or two if this stands, is that “imminent threat to national security” will be construed to include anyone inconvenient to the regime in power. Inconvenient political opposition parties, inconvenient religions, inconvenient unions, peaceful protest movements, human rights activists, journalists, authors, party loyalists who don’t seem quite enthusiastic enough or who seems a bit too ambitious….

                  If you think absolute power in the name of national security is such a good deal, ask people who lived under that – an Egyptian, a Syrian, a North Korean, an Iranian, a Venuzuelan, anyone who has lived in any of the places we say we’re defending our way of life against tyranny. It blows my mind that conservative Christians who wail about the HHS mandate being a gulag train ticket think it’s ok to give this same executive the power to actually kill them, with no recourse or review by anybody.

                • Stu

                  “The world has moved on from your position and thanks to technology we no longer have to put so many of our sons and daughters in harm’s way to get the terrorists.”
                  And the side effect of this is that politicians now only have to consider political risk. That’s too easy. I want a politician to have to consider risk of life on our side before taking the step of using force. If it isn’t worth risk our own lives, then it isn’t worth doing.

              • Kenneth

                The flip side of this is that we could save on prisons and prosecutions if the president’s standard was extended to the general public. “Did you have a good reason for killing this man? Was this a clean shoot?
                “Yes sir.”
                “Okay folks, go on about your business, nothing to see here.”

                • Mark Shea

                  Sooner or later, such thoughts do occur to tyrants. To paraphrase Uncle Billy, “Not every heel is in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Once you grant that you can kill Americans as “national security threats” you need only slightly tweak the meaning of National Security to “danger to life and property” and it’s open season on suspected criminals at home. We’re already killing “suspected terrorists” (i.e. women and children) abroad. The only thing that keeps it from happening here is a) custom and b) a greater likelihood of outcry. These are both challenges that can be overcome as state and corporate media become more incestuous.

            • Liam

              Does it matter that Americans are being killed by American drones, as opposed to American poison or an American .22?

              • Kenneth

                For my money, the method does not matter so much (except that snipers have no collateral damage compared to a drone, and “poison” may violate conventions of war). What matters, what the problem is, is that there is no accountability, no transparency, no policy or even guiding principle which attempts to constrain or balance pre-emptive killing against considerations of the real immanence of the threat, due process and decency considerations, or even the cold practical mathematics of how many new enemies a mistaken strike or collateral damage may cause relative to the benefit.

                What also matters from my perspective is the enormous disconnect between the moves to broaden execution powers and our actual security situation. This talk might have made sense in 2002. Today, we have decimated the organizations and networks which were truly capable of projecting terror onto U.S. soil in a significant way.

                They’re not all gone by a long shot, but we have a much better handle on the problem. State actors like Iran and North Korea are shaping up to be more present threats. No president since 9/11 has allowed themselves to be unduly restrained by existing laws. No terrorists the White House wanted to kill has gone unkilled because lawyers or judges tied a president’s hands too tightly. Why, then, do we have the executive clamoring for unimpeded killing authority?

            • Kenneth

              One solution we might try is the Constitution and the entire concept of accountability and due process which had defined our legal tradition for 786 years prior to 9/11. That got us through a lot of situations a hell of a lot more dire than the “War on Terror.”

  • Cinlef

    What’s utterly terrifying is how quickly things become normalized, and the boundaries of what’s acceptable shift….If someone had claimed in 2000 that by 2012 the US president would be publicly asserting the right to kill anyone citizen or not , anywhere in the world, by executive fiat with no oversight or accountability of any kind I’d have dismissed them as a deluded conspiracy theorist on par with the people concerned about shape-shifting alien lizards infiltrating our political and business elite….what Orwellian nightmare is 2023 going to look like?