Friday, March 1, 2013

Drones killing Americans - lawful?

Terrorism fears has spawned an evil counterpart - patriotism, i.e., keeping America safe has become the justification for the president to not only kill Americans (for now only outside the US), but also to do it while ignoring their rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Today, the Constitution apparently applies only to American citizens living in the United States - that is the Obama's constitution. But the Constitution applies to "We the people."

But this power to assassinate Americans assumed by the Obama administration takes us far beyond whatever the wrong headed thinking that President George W. Bush used to attack Iraq and Afghanistan. Can you imagine the ire of the Democrats had Bush determined to execute Americans without Constitutional guarantees?

And the Obama administration  apparently believes that killing of Americans inside the US is within the executive power to wage war that has never been declared. See Obama officials refuse to say if assassination power extends to US soil. Of course the absence of a war declaration didn't stop Bush either.

911 patriotism has clouded the minds of well-intentioned politicians to where they act irrationally willing to put aside the Constitution to fight terrorism. Same is true of well-intentioned citizens that are seemingly willing to put aside the Constitution so that they can be "secure." See the Washington Post's 2010 report Top Secret America to see the path of security.

What is congress doing? Well - the House Judiciary committee is having hearings to determine when a review of the president's decision to kill Americans is to be made. Not a review of whether it is constitutionally correct. It seems okay with these guardians of the Constitution that the justification for killing Americans while ignoring their Constitutional rights is that we are at war.

But no war has been declared and surely enough time has passed since 911 that war could have been declared. The attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan waged by President Bush without the declaration of war might be justified by the exigencies of the situation, but there is a law that requires the president to subsequently justify actions taken. But patriots ignore those laws.

And you know the Constitution is in trouble when the chairman of the Judiciary Committee states: “I am open-minded about whether there needs to be something done with regard to due process when the decision is made by the president of the United States to target a United States citizen for a drone attack. Having said that, I don’t want to prejudge this on either side.” [House Judiciary Members Split on After-the-Fact Review of Drone Strikes Against U.S. Citizens].

And according to Roll Call this is a view of a panel of legal experts testifying before the Judiciary Committee: “The important question really isn’t whether the government [.i.e., the executive branch] may lawfully use lethal force against its own citizens. Instead, it’s when such force may lawfully be used.

Isn't the question when is it lawful that the executive branch can ever execute its citizens?

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