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A Consistent Constitution


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Our AG, Eric Holder, recently "justified" the execution of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American by birth and an alleged al-Qaida plotter, as "necessary" and "legal". al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen under unclear circumstances, but is generally believed to have been targeted by a US drone.

 

I can't think of a more undeniable right under the Constitution than the right of due process. We can often find opposite sides of current hot-button Constitutional debates (RTKBA, abortion, Federalized health care, etc.), but I can't say that I've ever heard anyone in authority argue that the President is Constitutionally permitted to execute an American citizen whom he has unilaterally decided, without judicial review, to be a "threat to America".

 

I accept that we are at war; that it is a war unlike any that we have fought, with no defined state as our enemy, no known borders, and no clearly identifiable goals other than to make the "other guys" die before they can reach us. But I cannot accept that as a Constitutional matter, ANY President has the lawful power to reach out and kill an American who has not been arrested, indicted, represented, tried, convicted or sentenced in a U.S. court. Or that this supposed power is above review by the Courts, or beyond the reach of citizens who ask for the basis in fact and law for such an act.

 

And yet, there is AG Holder, stating clearly in HIS legal opinion, that the President can do so, without traditional due process, and without any of us being able to question it, or even know the facts upon which the decision was made. (Note - I am not a fan of al-Awlaki, the American terrorist who was targeted and killed; good riddence; but rules made up by the Executive branch in such a case, and establishing a never before verbalized power, are threats to our democracy and to every one of us).

 

I never believed that I would agree with the ACLU on any matter of substance; but I could not have said it better than they did:

 

"Few things are as dangerous to American liberty as the proposition that the government should be able to kill citizens anywhere in the world on the basis of legal standards and evidence that are never submitted to a court, either before or after the fact," Shamsi said. "Anyone willing to trust President Obama with the power to secretly declare an American citizen an enemy of the state and order his extrajudicial killing should ask whether they would be willing to trust the next president with that dangerous power."

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/05/holder-defends-killings-american-citizens-overseas-in-war-on-terrorism/?test=latestnews?test=latestnews#ixzz1oKffDYLd

 

Right now, the bigger threat appears to be an AG that is willing to corrupt, in a wholesale manner, the one document that seperates us from every petty dictatorship in the world, and to subvert the basic rights guaranteed to us by that document. This is wrong, plain and simple. And I am scared for our future.

 

LL

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I am truly disgusted that the actions of my government have put me in bed with the ACLU!

Being on a battlefield and being shot or killed is one thing. I have absolutely no emnity with the Vietnamese gentleman who shot me. I would have cheerfully have done the same to him. But that was not personal. We were soldiers, and expected to be shooting each other.

 

But what was done in this case was the cold blooded assassination of an American citizen. That is not good.

If they can do it to him, they can do it to you.

 

Duffield

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I am hardly a fan of the President or AG and I certainly have concerns about this, but it also needs to be viewed in entirety. I view our actions against terrorism as a military war, not as a law enforcement issue.

 

Was Anwar al-Awlaki a legitimate military target: It would seem so.

 

Was Anwar al-Awlaki easily able to be captured without undue risk to US military personnel: Probably not.

 

Would allowing Anwar al-Awlaki to remain alive and at large lead to more innocent people dying: Probably.

 

Would providing sufficient proof to the public of Anwar al-Awlaki actions that justified killing him compromise intelligence activities and foreign nationals that were helping us: Almost certainly.

 

The best analogy I can think of is a SWAT marksman killing a hostage taker before the hostage taker has actually hurt any of the hostages. The hostage taker is killed to prevent him from hurting someone, because his actions have indicated that he will do so if given an opportunity.

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... but I can't say that I've ever heard anyone in authority argue that the President is Constitutionally permitted to execute an American citizen whom he has unilaterally decided, without judicial review, to be a "threat to America".

 

 

Right now, the bigger threat appears to be an AG that is willing to corrupt, in a wholesale manner, the one document that seperates us from every petty dictatorship in the world, and to subvert the basic rights guaranteed to us by that document. This is wrong, plain and simple. And I am scared for our future.

 

LL

 

On the first point I agree LL that this is a dangerous precedent.

 

Right now it's Al-Awaki, an American who cast his lot with terrorists and was killed in a foreign land. What's to say that in the future the government will decide that any group or organization is a terrorist group just because it disagrees with the government's view? Automatically, anybody who's a member becomes a "terrorist" and hence becomes fair game. If the 'terrorist' just happens to be within the US borders, well that's just a formality. A little media spin on the raid or killing and everything can be explained away and swept under the rug.

 

Remember the uproar a few years ago over the memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the Missouri Information Analysis Center that considered anybody who opposed illegal immigration, was a returning veteran, favored 2A, had fundamentalist Christian views, was opposed to abortion, expressed concerns over high taxes and unemployment, etc ..... was to be considered a dangerous extremist and worth watching? With this line if irrational thought in vogue in government circles, how short a leap is it from opinion to branding? And just because the memos have been "withdrawn" doesn't mean they still don't think that way.

 

On the second point LL you have to consider the opinions of his boss. He's the guy who said he thought the Constitution was outdated because it puts limits on what the government can do to people. Like any good lackey, the AG is going to use his position to carry out his master's wishes.

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You say, "and the mystery of Eric Holder". What about the mystery of O'dumbo?

 

O'dumbo?? He is a mystery man and we don't know where he came from...Wish he would go back...

 

Texas Lizard

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Let us turn this around and ask this as a different question. If Osama bin laden had been a US citizen would the seals have killed him or been FORCED by law to bring him back to the US to face trial.

 

More over if a person is working with an enemy of the US they are a traitor or an enemy and should be dealt with accordingly.

 

Regrettably I must agree with the concept that killing this "us citizen" who is working with the enemy is legal and just.

 

 

Consider the consequence of having by law to retrieve a person who is working against the US and hold them for trial.

Do you really want to jeopardize the lives of soldiers doing that?

What if they are wearing that nations uniform? It still makes them a traitor bearing arms.

A LEGAL target!

 

All this is premised on the "traitor" being OUTSIDE the US borders and working against the USA.

 

My 2 cents worth.

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Loophole, I have had the same thoughts. Due process is one of the most important rights we as Americans have.

 

I also wrestle with the precedent that this process (drone firing on subject) provides.

 

But, I must agree with other posters who have stated that this is not a legal justice issue, but rather a military one. These terroists are not criminals. They are soldiers of the enemy. Therefore, if they are soldiers, combatants, for the enemy, then they are not entitled to Constitutional rights. If an American citizen puts on the uniform of the enemy and fights on "their side," he's a combatant and not an American citizen.

 

Now, one of the other issues I have is trying these terrorists in American courts. If my line of thought (and Holder's) is true, then we do not try enemy combatants in American courts. They are tried in military tribunals. This is not the same position that Mr. Holder has had in the past. He's been a strong advocate, as has the Pres., to try at least some of those captured terrorists in U.S. courts.

 

IMHO, you can't have it both ways.

 

I'd be very happy (and my conscience would be a lot better off) if those who wish to do harm to the United States would just put on a uniform and attack us the old fashioned way. Unfortunately, they don't. And this causes those who must actually pull the trigger and those who must provide the decisions of when to fire, who to fire upon, etc. to continuously self-examine both ourselves and the "right thing to do" under the parameters of safety, due process, etc.

 

I don't have all the answers, but I think that putting a missile up Al AwLaki's behind was the right thing to do because he was an enemy combatant. And I think that the Pres. and Holder's idea to try some of these combatants in American courts is talking out of both sides of their mouths.

 

FWIW

 

Chick

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