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So Obama wants to kill an American Citizen

NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
edited October 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
So Obama wants to kill an American Citzen. Specifically he wants to kill
Anwar-al-Awlaki-001.jpg
this guy. Anwar al-Alwaki who is a terrorist and a sympathizer with terrorists and an all around bad dude. Seem simple enough right, well there are a couple things that have people worried.
1. Anwar al-Alwaki has not been convicted or even tried of any crime. A lot of people like to throw around the word traitor in cases like this, but the Constitution defines that term very narrowly. This is not to say that al-Alwaki is not necessarily guilty, merely that the burden of proof still applies.
2. The administration has ordered his death wherever he is found, on or off a battlefield. This is not someone ordering the sniper to take a shot at a hostage taker. The administration has ordered his death even if he is just found sitting in a restaurant eating lunch. Officials say if he doesn't want to get killed he should turn himself in, ignoring the fact that he hasn't been charged with anything to turn himself in for.
3. They have given no proof that he is guilty, and say they do not have to. They are asserting that they have evidence that al-Alwaki is a terrorist, which they very well might, but that they don't have to show it to anybody.
4. If the president can order the execution of a U.S citizen without having to show the evidence, what can't he do. I am being serious here. If you accept that this is a valid presidential power, then what isn't? How can you criticize the Bush administrations detentions but say it would have been fine if he had just killed them.

As it is probably obvious I am very much against this expansion of presidential powers that Bush started and Obama has increased. I think that people who dismiss this as just one case ignore the precedent it sets, and I think the idea of what would happen if some of the far right conservatives become president and have this authority to be absolutely fucking terrifying.

Neaden on
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Posts

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    If he is actively immediately fighting against US troops, (like there with a gun) then he should absolutely be killed. That being said, if he can be taken alive then all efforts to do so should be done.

    His position is a grey one and would do with some clarification for the future. If he can be captured he is absolutely entitled to due process but if he is actively engaging in violence against American soldiers they have a right to return with deadly force.

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  • override367override367 Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    If it's okay to kill anyone it's okay to kill this guy

    It's assassinations in general I have moral qualms with

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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    If he is actively immediately fighting against US troops, (like there with a gun) then he should absolutely be killed. That being said, if he can be taken alive then all efforts to do so should be done.

    His position is a grey one and would do with some clarification for the future. If he can be captured he is absolutely entitled to due process but if he is actively engaging in violence against American soldiers they have a right to return with deadly force.
    I agree with you but that is not what this is about. The administration is saying they have the right to kill him however far he is from a battlefield, whether or not he is threatening anyone else.

    If it's okay to kill anyone it's okay to kill this guy

    It's assassinations in general I have moral qualms with
    May I ask why you feel this way? As stated there is no evidence giving that he is actually a terrorist unlike a criminal who has been sentenced to death. There is no evidence that he is currently threatening the life of anyone else either. Both of these are circumstances where I think it could be argued it would be ok to kill him.

  • DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    If he's an American citizen, American laws and the constitution give him certain rights that can't be denied from him, even if he is an all around asshole.

    That's where it should end, really.

    I'm wondering why they don't just strip the guy off his citizenship, though. I don't really have problems with assassinations if you don't fuck them up and kill innocents in the process, I consider them no more morally bad then just slitting the throat of some random soldier in an covert mission. Less morally bad, in fact.

  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    If he's an American citizen, American laws and the constitution give him certain rights that can't be denied from him, even if he is an all around asshole.

    That's where it should end, really.

    I'm wondering why they don't just strip the guy off his citizenship, though. I don't really have problems with assassinations if you don't fuck them up and kill innocents in the process, I consider them no more morally bad then just slitting the throat of some random soldier in an covert mission. Less morally bad, in fact.


    To strip someone of citizenship you have to go through a fairly complex legal process. Which apparently isn't the case for just outright murdering people.

  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    There is no evidence that he is currently threatening the life of anyone else either.

    Is this the kind of evidence you expect the government to show you?

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  • KamarKamar Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I don't get what being a US citizen has to do with it; if assassination is an acceptable necessity then the nationality of the person targeted shouldn't matter.

    It's everything else that I find kind of grey.

    Due process is important, but how do you try him? Especially if the refusal to show evidence is because it would compromise someone on the inside? I doubt a secret trial-in-absence would please anyone bothered by this.

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Still, a secret trial in absentia is better than trial by also secret bureaucratic judgment. Even if judges almost always rubberstamp whatever the security establishment wants, it is alarming when the latter no longer feels obliged to ask.

  • AtomikaAtomika genius of the restoration Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Neaden wrote: »
    They are asserting that they have evidence that al-Alwaki is a terrorist, which they very well might, but that they don't have to show it to anybody.

    I'm shocked at your being shocked at this.

    There is such a thing as classified documents.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Neaden wrote: »
    They are asserting that they have evidence that al-Alwaki is a terrorist, which they very well might, but that they don't have to show it to anybody.

    I'm shocked at your being shocked at this.

    There is such a thing as classified documents.
    Classified documents are not generally used as evidence to execute American citizens.
    There is no evidence that he is currently threatening the life of anyone else either.

    Is this the kind of evidence you expect the government to show you?
    Not expect sadly. I think it is the kind of evidence they have a legal and moral responsibility to show if they are going to kill U.S Citizens though.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Kamar wrote: »
    I don't get what being a US citizen has to do with it; if assassination is an acceptable necessity then the nationality of the person targeted shouldn't matter.

    It's everything else that I find kind of grey.

    Due process is important, but how do you try him? Especially if the refusal to show evidence is because it would compromise someone on the inside? I doubt a secret trial-in-absence would please anyone bothered by this.

    I think the difference is that assassination in general might fly in the face of human decency, but in the case of this guy he has actual rights explicitly granted to him by our Constitution as well.

    Basically, assassinating random foreigners who are involved in terrorism is bad, but you can at least try to morally justify it and make it...okay, I guess. But if they whack this guy, that basically means the Constitution really is just a piece of paper, and the only thing keeping them from coming into your home, taking everything you own, then shooting you in the street is that they don't much feel like it. Right now.

    It basically destroys any semblance of rule of law in this country. At least that's how I see it.

    ronya wrote: »
    Still, a secret trial in absentia is better than trial by also secret bureaucratic judgment. Even if judges almost always rubberstamp whatever the security establishment wants, it is alarming when the latter no longer feels obliged to ask.

    This. We could argue the morality of a "dead or alive" declaration on the guy all we want. But my main concern is the legality. There exists a legal process by which they could make this happen...achieve the same result, with some extra paperwork and red tape. The fact that they don't feel the need to bother, and are comfortable just saying "if ya see 'im, kill 'im" makes this thing exponentially more worrisome than it would already be.

  • WishpigWishpig Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    He looks diffrent than me. Therefore I agree with the president... he looks ethnic and guilty!

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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Neaden wrote: »
    They are asserting that they have evidence that al-Alwaki is a terrorist, which they very well might, but that they don't have to show it to anybody.

    I'm shocked at your being shocked at this.

    There is such a thing as classified documents.

    I suppose that we are comparing "showing secret evidence to a judge, in secret" to "not showing secret evidence to a judge", when the actual historical comparison should be "conducting a covert operation" to "conducting a covert operation, but telling everyone that you're going to do it".

    If this news had come out in the context of, say, a botched (secret) CIA operation to assassinate al-Alwaki in Yemen, I suspect it would be received somewhat differently.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Wishpig wrote: »
    He looks diffrent than me. Therefore I agree with the president... he looks ethnic and guilty!

    Well, he almost certainly is guilty. But that doesn't mean we get to skip that whole "due process" thing.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Neaden wrote: »
    They are asserting that they have evidence that al-Alwaki is a terrorist, which they very well might, but that they don't have to show it to anybody.

    I'm shocked at your being shocked at this.

    There is such a thing as classified documents.

    I suppose that we are comparing "showing secret evidence to a judge, in secret" to "not showing secret evidence to a judge", when the actual historical comparison should be "conducting a covert operation" to "conducting a covert operation, but telling everyone that you're going to do it".

    If this news had come out in the context of, say, a botched (secret) CIA operation to assassinate al-Alwaki in Yemen, I suspect it would be received somewhat differently.
    I think it is scarier this way. I expect the CIA to do ilegal stuff all the time, it is just what they do. They are not even trying to hide this though, because they think that people will just let them. If this goes through I honestly don't know what power the president will not have. Even if you are OK if Obama does this, do you really want to risk Sarah Palin being able to kill whoever she wants?

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Wishpig wrote: »
    He looks diffrent than me. Therefore I agree with the president... he looks ethnic and guilty!

    Well, he almost certainly is guilty. But that doesn't mean we get to skip that whole "due process" thing.

    There is nil chance of due process here, even in the secret-trial approach; we have to wholly discard trial by jury and so on. Note that due process entails no trials in absentia either, and we can't exactly find al-Alwaki to begin with.

    It is, I think, less a matter of ensuring process justice than of ensuring some mechanism of oversight. As it stands, the current formal procedure of putting people on the CIA "kill list" apparently requires US NSC consent; unfortunately, since it seems that the National Security Council is pretty much made of the President and his administration's appointees, it can probably do whatever its main ideological leader (e.g., the position Cheney apparently occupied in Bush II) can talk the Joint Chiefs of Staff into doing. This isn't much oversight; we do know that ideologically similar groups of individuals can convince themselves to do some pretty egregious things.

  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer I'm Speed Racer and I drive real fast. I drive real fast, I'm gonna last.Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Yeah it's really not about whetehr or not it's okay in this specific instance

    it's about the kind of precedent that it establishes

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  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Wishpig wrote: »
    He looks diffrent than me. Therefore I agree with the president... he looks ethnic and guilty!

    Well, he almost certainly is guilty. But that doesn't mean we get to skip that whole "due process" thing.

    There is nil chance of due process here, even in the secret-trial approach; we have to wholly discard trial by jury and so on. Note that due process entails no trials in absentia either, and we can't exactly find al-Alwaki to begin with.

    It is, I think, less a matter of ensuring process justice than of ensuring some mechanism of oversight. As it stands, the current formal procedure of putting people on the CIA "kill list" apparently requires US NSC consent; unfortunately, since it seems that the National Security Council is pretty much made of the President and his administration's appointees, it can probably do whatever its main ideological leader (e.g., the position Cheney apparently occupied in Bush II) can talk the Joint Chiefs of Staff into doing. This isn't much oversight; we do know that ideologically similar groups of individuals can convince themselves to do some pretty egregious things.

    I feel like the debacle that has been Guantanamo Bay pretty much proves that american citizens shouldn't be trusting the govt's claims of secret proof, like ever, as secret proof seems to be nothing but a code word for "no proof" these days.

    It's entirely possible this is one bad dude, but then that shouldn't make it very hard to make a criminal out of him and arrest him, it certainly hasn't stopped the US before. Field of battle is one thing, but assassination, while of great immediate benefit, seems to have far reaching long term issues.

  • YougottawannaYougottawanna Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    My preferred solution would be to have some kind of process where a jury can review evidence against someone in this situation and make every effort to keep it secret. I don't have a problem with assassination by itself, the part of this that rankles me is the "we have evidence but we're not gonna show it to anyone" part.

    I have a reasonable amount of trust that this guy probably really is a scumbag and a threat to the country and world, but from here it's a short walk to deseparecido-type abuses of power. For all the comedic hay that's made out of comparing this or that to what the Nazis did, this really is something that blurs the line between a representative government and a totalitarian one.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    State-sponsored assassination is sketchy at best, and that's putting it lightly.

    In this specific case, the guy is entitled due process under the law. Though frankly the times that's not the case and it isn't simply handwaved anyway are few and far between.

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  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't make SOME attempt to capture him if they could.

    I mean, guy has got to have some sort of useful info.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Magus` wrote: »
    I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't make SOME attempt to capture him if they could.

    I mean, guy has got to have some sort of useful info.

    I would assume this is mostly so they can blow him up with a drone or something similar where capture is not an option.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    My preferred solution would be to have some kind of process where a jury can review evidence against someone in this situation and make every effort to keep it secret. I don't have a problem with assassination by itself, the part of this that rankles me is the "we have evidence but we're not gonna show it to anyone" part.

    I have a reasonable amount of trust that this guy probably really is a scumbag and a threat to the country and world, but from here it's a short walk to deseparecido-type abuses of power. For all the comedic hay that's made out of comparing this or that to what the Nazis did, this really is something that blurs the line between a representative government and a totalitarian one.

    Honestly, this is the kind of thing that should be uncommon enough that it's worth the effort to field a jury that can obtain clearances. You pre-screen until you've got like 30-40 people, run fast-track clearances on all of them, then pick twelve of those that pass to serve on some kind of jury to determine whether this is warranted. It still wouldn't be a proper trial, or anything, but I like the idea better than what we're doing now.

    But that's probably an incredibly crazy idea.

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Wishpig wrote: »
    He looks diffrent than me. Therefore I agree with the president... he looks ethnic and guilty!

    Well, he almost certainly is guilty. But that doesn't mean we get to skip that whole "due process" thing.

    There is nil chance of due process here, even in the secret-trial approach; we have to wholly discard trial by jury and so on. Note that due process entails no trials in absentia either, and we can't exactly find al-Alwaki to begin with.

    It is, I think, less a matter of ensuring process justice than of ensuring some mechanism of oversight. As it stands, the current formal procedure of putting people on the CIA "kill list" apparently requires US NSC consent; unfortunately, since it seems that the National Security Council is pretty much made of the President and his administration's appointees, it can probably do whatever its main ideological leader (e.g., the position Cheney apparently occupied in Bush II) can talk the Joint Chiefs of Staff into doing. This isn't much oversight; we do know that ideologically similar groups of individuals can convince themselves to do some pretty egregious things.

    I feel like the debacle that has been Guantanamo Bay pretty much proves that american citizens shouldn't be trusting the govt's claims of secret proof, like ever, as secret proof seems to be nothing but a code word for "no proof" these days.

    It's entirely possible this is one bad dude, but then that shouldn't make it very hard to make a criminal out of him and arrest him, it certainly hasn't stopped the US before. Field of battle is one thing, but assassination, while of great immediate benefit, seems to have far reaching long term issues.

    He's allegedly in Yemen. The US is not at war with Yemen. The Yemen government wants to arrest al-Alwaki too, at least at the top levels, but they can't find him; it seems likely that the rank-and-file Yemenese law enforcement are poorly staffed and not very enthusiastic about arresting al-Alwaki anyway.

    IAPW Yemen arrests him based on their own laws, and then deports him if they have a deportation treaty with the US. But we are not IAPW. Insofar as it is judged necessary to have al-Alwaki killed or otherwise incapacitated, it seems reasonable to claim that assassination without all the rights of due process may be the only way to achieve this. But we can still have political structures creating oversight over said judgment.

    e:
    mcdermott wrote: »
    My preferred solution would be to have some kind of process where a jury can review evidence against someone in this situation and make every effort to keep it secret. I don't have a problem with assassination by itself, the part of this that rankles me is the "we have evidence but we're not gonna show it to anyone" part.

    I have a reasonable amount of trust that this guy probably really is a scumbag and a threat to the country and world, but from here it's a short walk to deseparecido-type abuses of power. For all the comedic hay that's made out of comparing this or that to what the Nazis did, this really is something that blurs the line between a representative government and a totalitarian one.

    Honestly, this is the kind of thing that should be uncommon enough that it's worth the effort to field a jury that can obtain clearances. You pre-screen until you've got like 30-40 people, run fast-track clearances on all of them, then pick twelve of those that pass to serve on some kind of jury to determine whether this is warranted. It still wouldn't be a proper trial, or anything, but I like the idea better than what we're doing now.

    But that's probably an incredibly crazy idea.

    What's so special about trial by jury, among all the elements of due process that are necessarily discarded? We are already conceding the right to be present during one's own trial will be absent. And even the actual, complete, mechanism of due process entails considerable manipulation of the jury to isolate some of their less desirable impulses (see also: the rape thread). With pre-screening juries become even more worthless, since John A. Smith at the DHS will just pick the twelve Fox News acolytes among them. We are giving power not to the pool of people who can expect to be jurors but to the people selecting them from said pool.

  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer I'm Speed Racer and I drive real fast. I drive real fast, I'm gonna last.Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Kamar wrote: »
    I don't get what being a US citizen has to do with it; if assassination is an acceptable necessity then the nationality of the person targeted shouldn't matter.

    It's everything else that I find kind of grey.

    Due process is important, but how do you try him? Especially if the refusal to show evidence is because it would compromise someone on the inside? I doubt a secret trial-in-absence would please anyone bothered by this.

    Because the American government has an obligation to protect the rights of all its citizens, no matter who they are. You can debate the morality of assassinating non-Americans, but punishing a citizen for a crime without due process of law is something the U.S. was specifically designed to be incapable of doing.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Kamar wrote: »
    I don't get what being a US citizen has to do with it; if assassination is an acceptable necessity then the nationality of the person targeted shouldn't matter.

    It's everything else that I find kind of grey.

    Due process is important, but how do you try him? Especially if the refusal to show evidence is because it would compromise someone on the inside? I doubt a secret trial-in-absence would please anyone bothered by this.

    Because the American government has an obligation to protect the rights of all its citizens, no matter who they are. You can debate the morality of assassinating non-Americans, but punishing a citizen for a crime without due process of law is something the U.S. was specifically designed to be incapable of doing.

    Yeah, like I said before human decency implicitly forbids assassination in general. But hey, whatever. Our Constitution, on the other hand, explicitly forbids assassinating our own citizens.

  • KamarKamar Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Kamar wrote: »
    I don't get what being a US citizen has to do with it; if assassination is an acceptable necessity then the nationality of the person targeted shouldn't matter.

    It's everything else that I find kind of grey.

    Due process is important, but how do you try him? Especially if the refusal to show evidence is because it would compromise someone on the inside? I doubt a secret trial-in-absence would please anyone bothered by this.

    Because the American government has an obligation to protect the rights of all its citizens, no matter who they are. You can debate the morality of assassinating non-Americans, but punishing a citizen for a crime without due process of law is something the U.S. was specifically designed to be incapable of doing.

    I might have been unclear, but I do think that something should be done wrt due process. Even a secret trial would be an improvement in my opinion over the current state of affairs, I was just observing that most people wouldn't be satisfied by that.

  • Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I wonder how much of this is an actual assassination attempt, and how much of it is a bluff to try and get some response out of Al-Alwaki, whether that response be turning himself in cowardice (doubtful) or posting something online as a form of gloating that the USA can then attempt to track down.

    Shit, for all we know this is all smoke and mirrors to insert Al-Alwaki deeper into his cover. :P

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  • DraperDraper __BANNED USERS
    edited October 2010
    Whoever worries about this and the secret power of government needs to get a reality check. I don't mean that in a condescending way. Far worse things than this have happened and will continue to happen behind closed doors. We even have an entire facility you made have heard of in southern Nevada in which no info is ever disclosed from it.

    It's understandable to be worried about what this means and all, but if you want to look at situations to be concerned about, you could do a lot worse than some blatant terrorist.

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  • NewtronNewtron Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    This is the same guy that issued the fatwa against Molly Norris isn't it?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1312941/Cartoonist-Molly-Norris-hiding-Everybody-Draw-Mohammed-Day-picture.html

    As well as (allegedly anyway) numerous other fatwas.

    That seems like a threat to me. Not necessarily one that warrants assassination mind you, but it can't be legal.

    I'm also curious as to how his citizenship works in this case.

    He's not still in the country is he? I was under impressions from previous immigration threads that if you leave the country and make no attempt to preserve your citizenship, the country basically terminates it (and it can be extremely hard to get it back, if not impossible).

    I'm probably completely wrong and dumb, so If anyone has any clarification on how citizenship laws play into this, then i'd be grateful for an explanation.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Newtron wrote: »
    This is the same guy that issued the fatwa against Molly Norris isn't it?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1312941/Cartoonist-Molly-Norris-hiding-Everybody-Draw-Mohammed-Day-picture.html

    As well as (allegedly anyway) numerous other fatwas.

    That seems like a threat to me. Not necessarily one that warrants assassination mind you, but it can't be legal.

    I'm also curious as to how his citizenship works in this case.

    He's not still in the country is he? I was under impressions from previous immigration threads that if you leave the country and make no attempt to preserve your citizenship, the country basically terminates it (and it can be extremely hard to get it back, if not impossible).

    I'm probably completely wrong and dumb, so If anyone has any clarification on how citizenship laws play into this, then i'd be grateful for an explanation.

    No, simply leaving the country for any arbitrarily long amount of time will not cause you to lose citizenship. See here. The only situation where extended absences from the country create citizenship issues is regarding your children; extended absences from the country can cause your children born abroad to be ineligible for natural U.S. citizenship.

  • Big Red TieBig Red Tie a crucified man can't be attached to anything elseRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Neaden wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Neaden wrote: »
    They are asserting that they have evidence that al-Alwaki is a terrorist, which they very well might, but that they don't have to show it to anybody.

    I'm shocked at your being shocked at this.

    There is such a thing as classified documents.

    I suppose that we are comparing "showing secret evidence to a judge, in secret" to "not showing secret evidence to a judge", when the actual historical comparison should be "conducting a covert operation" to "conducting a covert operation, but telling everyone that you're going to do it".

    If this news had come out in the context of, say, a botched (secret) CIA operation to assassinate al-Alwaki in Yemen, I suspect it would be received somewhat differently.
    I think it is scarier this way. I expect the CIA to do ilegal stuff all the time, it is just what they do. They are not even trying to hide this though, because they think that people will just let them. If this goes through I honestly don't know what power the president will not have. Even if you are OK if Obama does this, do you really want to risk Sarah Palin being able to kill whoever she wants?

    can we afford not to let obama have the power to assassinate sarah palin?

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  • AumniAumni Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Neaden wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Neaden wrote: »
    They are asserting that they have evidence that al-Alwaki is a terrorist, which they very well might, but that they don't have to show it to anybody.

    I'm shocked at your being shocked at this.

    There is such a thing as classified documents.

    I suppose that we are comparing "showing secret evidence to a judge, in secret" to "not showing secret evidence to a judge", when the actual historical comparison should be "conducting a covert operation" to "conducting a covert operation, but telling everyone that you're going to do it".

    If this news had come out in the context of, say, a botched (secret) CIA operation to assassinate al-Alwaki in Yemen, I suspect it would be received somewhat differently.
    I think it is scarier this way. I expect the CIA to do ilegal stuff all the time, it is just what they do. They are not even trying to hide this though, because they think that people will just let them. If this goes through I honestly don't know what power the president will not have. Even if you are OK if Obama does this, do you really want to risk Sarah Palin being able to kill whoever she wants?

    can we afford not to let obama have the power to assassinate sarah palin?

    But she's getting booed off of TV dancing contests, I think that is assassination enough.

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  • HozHoz Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    What I'm wondering is, let's say the courts come down on this and say the government doesn't have the right to assassinate Americans suspected of being terrorists without due process, even if they're living abroad and avoiding capture.

    But we do have the right to kill non-citizens we suspect of being terrorists. Obviously there is a good chance the American we suspect of terrorism, if he really is a terrorist, is going to hang out with foreign terrorists. So the government can just say, "Hey, we can only nail this group with a missile and if this American gets hit too, so be it"?

    I think that's what it'll come down to if this line of reasoning is held up by the courts, but I highly doubt it will be. If guys like al-Alwaki want due process they can turn themselves in. It's such a unique circumstance. Would the Supreme Court even accept someone besides al-Alwaki challenging this?

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited October 2010
    So, non-rhetorical question for people who know more about the legal process than me.

    Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this is one Bad Dude. He is basically Bin Laden with an American citizenship. He is dangerous and is directly or indirectly killing, or trying to kill, Americans. And let's say we have strong evidence of this, but that the evidence is legitimately something that would jeopardize the safety of American operatives if it were revealed to the public.

    What are our options in this scenario? Is there a legal and Constitutional way of issuing such a kill order?

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • YougottawannaYougottawanna Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Draper wrote: »
    Whoever worries about this and the secret power of government needs to get a reality check. I don't mean that in a condescending way. Far worse things than this have happened and will continue to happen behind closed doors. We even have an entire facility you made have heard of in southern Nevada in which no info is ever disclosed from it.

    It's understandable to be worried about what this means and all, but if you want to look at situations to be concerned about, you could do a lot worse than some blatant terrorist.

    How is it you know this? (And is that supposed to make us feel better?)

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I wonder how much of this is an actual assassination attempt, and how much of it is a bluff to try and get some response out of Al-Alwaki, whether that response be turning himself in cowardice (doubtful) or posting something online as a form of gloating that the USA can then attempt to track down.

    Shit, for all we know this is all smoke and mirrors to insert Al-Alwaki deeper into his cover. :P

    At least to me, on its face, this seems like a case of, "well we think this guy is up to no good, but all of our proof is tenuous at best and extremely hard to back up, so lets just put him on the list of kill on site, and problem solved."

    Now granted it may be that top brass know unequivocally that this guy is causing trouble, but I'm simply having a very hard time believing it considering our govt's track record with the war on terror. Unfortunately, minus a few of the better blogs raising hell about it, no one else seems to really care.

  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I'm not sure why people are treating this as a criminal justice matter. Its isn't. It's a national security matter. The linking article attempts to further muddle matters by citing a case where an unlawful combatant was tried after capture. The Federal Government hasn't authorized the execution of this individual, they've authorized killing him. There is a punishment. The former is a criminal punishment. The latter is simply the termination of his life.

    Shooting an enemy soldier on the battlefield is not murder or an extra legal violation of their constitutional due process, its killing. Specifically ordering the death of an enemy leader, regardless of citizenship status, doesn't make it execution, it makes it assassination. Nothing requires that we have to capture and try each enemy soldier to determine their guilt or innocence because their deaths are not a criminal justice matter, but a martial matter.

    Yes you can say "if the President can order the assassination of someone without oversight he can order the assassination of anyone" but if it becomes the jurisdiction of the courts to review and override tactical and strategic military decisions then you are stripping the President's powers of national security and neutering his ability to properly conduct national security matters. Bush's treatment of enemy combatants wasn't permissible because along with being inhumane and dumb, it was illegal under US law and international treaty, not because national security matters have to operate as if they were criminal justice matters.

    Its not even as if anyone is disputing this individual is a threat to the national security of the United States. To me, this is no different than the predator drones in Pakistan targeting Taliban/AQ leaders or snipers killing enemy generals when they are in their own bases. In the same brief included as so damning in the links (defendants = federal government)
    Defendants state that if Anwar al-Aulaqi were to surrender or otherwise present himself
    to the proper authorities in a peaceful and appropriate manner, legal principles with which the
    United States has traditionally and uniformly complied would prohibit using lethal force or other
    violence against him in such circumstances.

    The Executive Branch has no obligation to exhaust all other measures to protect the country before using the military force authorized by the Legislative Branch, and when such action is authorized any interference by the Judicial Branch has to be narrow.

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    Spoiler:
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited October 2010
    PantsB wrote: »
    Shooting an enemy soldier on the battlefield is not murder or an extra legal violation of their constitutional due process, its killing. Specifically ordering the death of an enemy leader, regardless of citizenship status, doesn't make it execution, it makes it assassination. Nothing requires that we have to capture and try each enemy soldier to determine their guilt or innocence because their deaths are not a criminal justice matter, but a martial matter

    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but it sounds like the order here is basically "shoot on sight", whether the guy is on or off something that could reasonably be called a "battlefield". Isn't it considered a war crime to shoot an enemy combatant when he's sitting unarmed in a cafe supping a latte?

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    We're not at fucking war. Al-Alwaki is not the leader of an enemy army. America is not facing an existential threat. It is a criminal justice matter. It is national security in that he is accused of wanting to kill Americans, but then every murder is a national security issue.

    ETA: It is also ridiculous they are asking him to turn himself in. Turn himself in for what? He hasn't been charged with a crime.

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