28 2 mins 11 yrs

Wherever Anwar al-Awlaki is and whatever he’s doing, he is an American citizen and the President has ordered up his death. Nikhil Arora at the Adam Smith blog does have a fair point:  

Even George W Bush, in spite of all the disgraceful human rights abuses he presided over, did not target American citizens for assassination […]

Now that these tactics can be applied to American citizens, without any need for judicial approval, even die-hard Obama supporters should be wondering what good was served by believing in his plans for ‘change’.

No doubt the world would be a better place if al-Awlaki dropped dead in the morning, but I’m not sure Americans ought to cheer if it happened as a result of death by Presidential diktat rather than by him falling under a bus.

Executive powers are rarely shrivelled, given up by a president or taken away by Law, and that al-Awlaki is believed to be in Yemen will soon be of no consequence. The living gods will come to regard an American terrorist as a target for assassination whether he’s in the Middle East or the Midwest, and we know that this regime regards normal, decent Americans as terrorists.

Be careful what you wish for.

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  1. Obama isn’t the dove Rightworld like to paint him. Although it’s sad that he’s taking the US down this disgusting route.

  2. Obama is usually villified by Rightworld for being soft on America’s enemies. This terrorist vermin deserves to die, but Rightworld then comes over all concerned for his civil liberties. He gave those up when he defected to Yemen and Al Queda.

    The president took the right decision.

  3. Hmmm, well, there are plenty of so-called "British citizens" (so-called by the likes of the BBC, usually) whose bodily protoplasm may just happen to be resident here, but who have about as much loyalty to Britain as Gerry Adams does, who I would have no problem whatsoever with the gov’t ordering them assassinated (hah! With this Labour lot, some hope of that!) So I don’t really see the problem. -Except that if Obama is going to go around assassinating America-hating Marxists and fifth columnists, then perhaps he ought to assassinate himself, just to be consistent.

  4. The founding fathers declared "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. "

    What relevance does this man’s citizenship have? If it is OK to assassinate foreigners without judicial approval then why should it be a problem to do the same to someone who happens to hold American citizenship?

  5. The President has the full right, authority and duty to target any such person at war with the United States, including a citizen of this country. This is not some random selection, but the deliberate targeting of a legitimate threat.

  6. Incidently, it was also legal and proper for the Bush Administration to take out American citizen Ahmed Hijazi by making him a member of the Drones Club in 2002 (apologies to Bertie Wooster).

  7. Mahons –

    It may be morally right for the President to order the death of specific American citizens, that’s your call. It may be he has the authority to do so, although I fail to see where the Constitution and natural law confers this explicit right.

    However, a Republican President will one day inherit this power if it remains unchecked, and you’d have already conceded the principle that the President has not only the authority but duty to order the death of specific American citizens and that he alone is all the authority required for it to happen.

    And then where do you go?

  8. "American citizen Ahmed Hijazi".

    If you take the first two, and the second two words of that phrase, that’s sort of like in school, when you attempt to push two positively (or negatively) charged ends of a magnet together and make them fit.
    He’s either Ahmed Hijazi, or he’s an American citizen. Can’t be both. You must recognise this, or fall.

  9. The name has nothing to do with it. There are millions of US muslims who are loyal to their country.

  10. He’s either Ahmed Hijazi, or he’s an American citizen. Can’t be both

    He can in the real world.

  11. Pete – It is in the Constitution, it follows the general principles of internationa law and self-defense.

  12. Oh, of course he can, in the "real world" of Reuters media reporting, if that’s what you take as a reflection of the "real world". But if you take your own eyes and ears as better indicators of what can and cannot be, then he can’t. It’s just a question of "who do you believe": the papers, or the ever-accumulating evidence of your senses.

  13. What a ridiculous post Tom.

    Unless of course you’d care to provide us with a list of acceptable american citizen names?

    Will we be waiting long?

  14. It may be morally right for the President to order the death of specific American citizens, that’s your call. It may be he has the authority to do so, although I fail to see where the Constitution and natural law confers this explicit right.

    Does the Constitution and natural law confer the right to order the death of specific non American citizens?

  15. It’s not a question so much of the "names", RS.
    "Ahmed" "Mohammed" etc etc. Just names, of course. Fly them up in the air, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet", etc etc.
    Then, Ouch! Compare the meerkats dot com! Eeeeee, ees so many meerkats named "Mohammed" who fly de airplanes into buildings, eet must surely bee de coincidence? Eeee, I no like these meerkats, seems like nasty nasty bad meerkats to me!

  16. GOOD GOD what a pack of candy glazed gits

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

    At the start of each new Congress, in January of every odd-numbered year, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate performs a solemn and festive constitutional rite that is as old as the Republic. While the oath-taking dates back to the First Congress in 1789, the current oath is a product of the 1860s, drafted by Civil War-era members of Congress intent on ensnaring traitors.

    For most of the time since the founding of our republic the right to target anyone for assasination has been a Presidential perogative It went away for a little while under Jimmy Carter and Bush reinstated it.

    ONLY AN IDIOT LIKE OBAMA, would make people on that list public and say things like if you hit us with a bio weapon we won’t nuke you.

    Wake up and smell the Coffee I know it’s a product that most of you don’t appreciate but it is the primary adult beverage here in the US

    If your not an american YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS UNDER OUR CONSTITUTION oh well, to bad, lifes a bitch!

  17. Although I don’t agree with "The Messiah" on 99.9% of his decissions,

    In this case I believe The end justifies the means.

    It’s like having a rotten tooth pulled.

    Yea, the tooth is part of your body, but the pain it causes justifies it being removed.

    I really don’t care if Anwar al-Awlaki is proven to be a direct descendant of Thomas jefferson, he must be terminated with extreme prejudice………In public view hopefully!

  18. Troll –

    That’s an oath you quote, not the Constitution, which has been grossly violated by the Republicans you vote for.

    Now then, where in the Constitution is the President empowered to name you and order that you be killed?

  19. Good for Obama.

    But how does Mahons square his new disdain for judicial process here with his previous firm committment to it regards Guantanamo Bay inmates?

    Peter why must you always lump anything Pete Moore says in with "Rightworld". Precisely who or what is "Rightworld"? Hardcore libertarians with their couldn’t give a shit laiissez faire attitude towards anything at all don’t exactly fit in with Conservative views.

  20. as commander in chief and in direct control of the military as part of protecting the country if the assasination of one man can save the lives of many the President has the power to order assasinations.

    The President is Commander in chief of the military, assasinations are a part of war

  21. Pete More,
    I don’t disgree with the fact that Republicans have violated the constitution, I would however if your going to make statements of such things, post examples

  22. Troll –

    Abraham Lincoln launched an unconstitutional war of aggression for unconstitutional reasons, forced American citizens into exile, shut down the press, had Southern soldiers murdered in cold blood, ordered the mass murder of American citizens, ordered civilian property to be confiscated or destroyed – the question is, did Lincoln ever act in accordance with the Constitution?

    You want something more up to date? Try much of the Patriot Act’s provisions.

    Look, I’m trying to save your life here. You have a madman in DC who assumes for himself the powers of Augustus. He believes not a power on the planet can prevent him from saying, "This Troll – keeeeeeeeeeeeeel him."

    And what do you you say? "Well yes, that’s quite fine with me."

    Fine, it’s your country and he’s your Emperor, but let’s have a bit less of all this talk of 1776 and liberty and Gadsden flags and all that. George III could only dream of the power wielded by most presidents, and now you have one who literally drapes himself in the power of the emperors to order a citizen to be killed, and you cheer.

    Liberty my arse.

  23. Ahhh your heart is in the right place I will give you that, There are very few imperial powers of the President Direct control of the Military and the intelligence agencies is one of them.

    If they abuse these powers they are subject to the law, meaning that if the commie Mr. Potatoe Head that holds the office currently were to order my death he better have just cause. If however he has just cause that power does exist and always has.

    We have until now Elected men of mostly sound judgement even those that couldn’t keep their pants buttoned, and I refer to Kennedy more in that matter than Clinton, Those men a total of 44 so far have had the sense to only use the imperial powers of the President on extreamly rare occaision.

    As for lincoln in todays world the press and half the people in the north would hang him.

    As for the Patriot Act name one time under GW that it was used improperly and keep in mind we are in a state of War

  24. Troll, you always cry blue murder if someone doesn’t follow a strict, plain reading of the Constitution… unless of course you agree with the decision. You have no problem tearing up the Constitution when you agree with it.

  25. According to the constitution The President is commander in Chief, assasination is part of standard military operations, it is constitutional

    Good Try Seamus

  26. Alison – Feel free to address me directly. I haven’t changed my position one iota. Once captured a prisoner is entitled to to due process – be that military trial or civil judicial process depending on the facts of the particular case. But in the battlefield they are subject to the penalties of war – namely to be killed or captured.

    Pete – The President is charged with defending the nation, and empowered to use military force to do so. This isn’t some opportunity for parnoid Ron Paulist fears that they are randomly selecting individuals without cause.

  27. Troll –

    The Patriot Act authorises warrantless searches, something explicitly forbidden by the 4th Amendment. Therefore, GWB exceeded his authority when he signed the Act. IIRC, the Act has been used to execute warrantless searches.

    The President is Commander-in-Chief because that is an explicit authority placed on him by Law, yet he remains subservient to Law and must obey it. Nowhere is he authorised to name individual Americans and order their death.

    Come on, let’s cut through all this "oh it’s in the Constitution/comes with the job" malarky. Where are the very words which allow Barack H Sulla to kill a citizen by his own authority?

  28. "GWB exceeded his authority when he signed the [Patriot] Act. IIRC, the Act has been used to execute warrantless searches."

    I’d have thought that knowingly banging up innocent people in Guantanamo was slightly more serious.

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