National Review Writers: Even Republican Presidents Should Not Summarily Execute Suspected Terrorists

At least two National Review writers have criticized President Obama's policy of summarily sentencing suspected terrorists to death by drone. Yesterday Charles C.W. Cooke tweeted: "In case my position isn't obvious: I am appalled by any president possessing the unilateral power to kill American citizens extrajudicially." This morning Jim Geraghty, after quoting Mother Jones writer Adam Serwer's criticism of Obama's license to kill, likewise conceded that such a policy would be cause for concern even if Mitt Romney had won the presidential election:

Of course, the hypocrisy of most liberals doesn’t get us off the hook on the need to have a coherent view on this. Okay, conservatives, big question now:  If this were President Romney, would we be shrugging, concerned, complaining or screaming? I think “concerned.” At the very least, you would want another set of eyes – the House or Senate intelligence committees, or some independent judges – taking a look at the presidential “kill list,” right? At least for the American citizens?...

Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, puts it rather bluntly: “Every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them.”

That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

No, it doesn't, and I have another big question for conservatives: If the party of the president doesn't matter, why does the nationality of the guy he marks for death? Don't people have a right to life even if they aren't U.S. citizens? Are you comfortable with letting the president kill anyone he deems an enemy of America, as long as that alleged threat had the misfortune to be born outside the United States?

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  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm not sure which is less understandable to me: going after conservatives on this when it's a Dem in the White House doing it, or forgoing alt-text.

  • John||

    And Bush never drone striked a US citizen. He actually tried John Walker Lindh in a federal court even though he was legally under no obligation to do so.

    Funny how Obama doing this somehow puts conservatives on the spot to prove they are true Scottsman.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's understandable once you understand what Reason has become.

    Very disappointing to see Sullum do this. I would expect it from Tucille or Krayewski, but this is sad.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You should always expect them to provide alt-text. Any less is grounds for a drone strike.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Maybe someone could write some killer alt-text on the Hellfire?

  • ||

    Cry me a river. Reason hasn't changed in the six years I've been reading it (they were just as peacenik then as they are now).

  • ||

    Sullum doesn't "go after" conservatives till the last paragraph and I think it's a valid question to ask and one that no main stream journalist will.

  • sarcasmic||

    Makes me think of the first Indian Jones movie "You can't do this to me, I'm an AMERICAN!"

  • Brett L||

    Was that the part where they put him on the Trail of Tears?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    +1

  • ||

    Are you comfortable with letting the president kill anyone he deems an enemy of America, as long as that alleged threat had the misfortune to be born outside the United States?

    I am if war has been declared. That's EXACTLY what a declaration of war is. It is permission fro the executive to kill people WITHOUT due process. As that is EXACTLY what war is.

    Now, THIS situation is COMPLETELY different, as the president was given no such authority.

  • John||

    Yes he was. The Congress gave him authorization in 2001 to kill Al Quada wherever he found them. The UNSC did the same thing.

    Why Al Quada different than a country?

  • Another David||

    al-Qaida:country::Raven:writing-desk

  • ||

    No, John, they didn't. Go read it. It gave him authority to kill those responsible for 911.

  • John||

    Which was Al Quada. It is like saying that the declaration of war against Japan only covered those ships involved with Pearle Harbor. The Congress gave the President the power to destroy the organization, not just the individuals who planned 9-11

  • ||

    Is everyone targeted in Pakistan (and elsewhere) Al Qaeda or are some simply Taliban and Taliban sympathizers?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    It gives the President a lot of leeway:

    (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

  • John||

    That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations...

    There it is right there. The authorization is for organizations, not just these particular people involved in this attack. If people don't like that, get Congress to revoke the authorization.

  • ||

    planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001

    planned, authorized, committed, or aided

    Not, is planning, authorizing, committing or aiding.

    My point. If you can link them to 911, you can kill them. If you cannot, you cannot.

  • John||

    My point. If you can link them to 911, you can kill them. If you cannot, you cannot.

    Do you deny that AQ planned 9-11? If they planned 9-11, then everyone involved in the organization is subject to the authorization. Again, not everyone in the Japanese government was directly associated with Pearl Harbor. But the declaration of war was on the government not just those who planned Pearl Harbor. Same thing here, the organization at large is subject to attack, not just the parts of it linked to 9-11.

  • ||

    Come now John. Japan entails the entire country. It people, its possessions, its territories...

    If Congress is going to declare against an nation state, which I believe it has the power to do, it must specify who. It did. Those responsible for 911. Not anyone who can say the words Al Qaeda.

  • John||

    Where does it say a declaration of war can only apply to a nation state? That is hardly a given. You think it must. But I don't see why when you are talking about transnational organizations whose single purpose is violence.

    We declared war on the Barbary Pirates didn't we? Congress also authorized the Navy to hang any pirates wherever they were found. Why can't they not now authorize the Army to do the same with members of AQ?

  • ||

    If Congress is going to declare against other than a nation state, which I believe it has the power to do, it must specify who. It did.

    No edit function, sorry.

    In your example, it did as well. Barbary Pirates. NOT Pittsburgh Pirates. That's my point. If not a nation state, Congress specifies whom and that's all you get without another declaration.

    AND, I might add, I don't consider an authorization for the use of force a declaration of war. It's a fucking cop out to remove accountability.

    Got to go skiing now. I'll check back after 6PM MST.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Congress delegated the determination of who is the enemy to the executive.

  • ||

    It is like saying that the declaration of war against Japan only covered those ships involved with Pearle Harbor.

    Holy shit how can you be so dense? Those two instances are NOTHING ALIKE because Congress actually declared war against Japan. All they did following 9/11, as FdA said, is give authorization to pursue the people responsible.

    Osama bin Laden is dead, so why are we still fighting an undeclared war?

  • John||

    (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    Are you too fucking retarded to know what the term ORGANIZATIONS means? Congress said go destroy the organization not just Bin Ladin.

    I can forgive you for being stupid and dishonest. But please do me a favor and stop projecting that on other people. No I am not dense. You are a fucking moron who can't follow the conversation.

  • ||

    And FdA answered for me. Stop burying yourself deeper into a trench, John.

    Find a point and stick with it. Your logic is like a blackhole, slowly pulling anything similar to the point your making within its grasp so that your initial point is suddenly much broader.

  • John||

    GB,

    My logic is only a black hole because you are stupid. Actually you are just dishonest don't have an answer. The resolution speaks for itself. They have the authority to go after the organization that was responsible for 9-11, not just those particular people or parts of said organization who actually did it.

  • $park¥||

    My logic is only a black hole because you are stupid.

    Let this be a lesson to everyone here. It is useless to argue with John because he was, is, and always will be smarter than you can ever hope to be. John is never wrong and arguing with him just shows your stupidity. John is the ultimate in infallibility. Abandon hope all ye who comment here.

  • John||

    No Sparky. If you disagree with me, make a point in response. Saying "your logic is a black hole" doesn't mean anything other than you don't understand the argument.

  • ||

    Well maybe you could enlighten us lower beings and show your work instead of taking for granted the natural assumptions you have about the world and the way it works.

    That is what I mean by "your logic is a blackhole". You go from one point to the next and on to a far more encompassing point without showing the leaps to get to those places. All I'm asking is that you be consistent.

    I'm sorry I'm not as smart as a hotshot lawyer (which is really hard for me to believe sometimes).

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Like it or not, John is right. The authorization includes organizations that committed or aided the 9/11 attacks. al-Qaeda and the Taliban meet that description. It was stupid to give the President so much discretion and a mandate never likely to end, but that's exactly what Congress did.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It was stupid to give the President so much discretion and a mandate never likely to end, but that's exactly what Congress did.

    Congress doesn't have the power to do that.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Congress doesn't have the power to do that.

    That's certainly an argument that has been made before - that once war is authorized, there is no limit on how they can prosecute it. Is that your contention?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Also he's too fucking stupid to comprehend

    That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    The analogy to WWII fails because the authorization is so broad. It'd be like Congress in 1941 declaring war on anyone that the president determined had engaged in hostilities against the US.

    It's ridiculously vague and sucks, but there it is.

  • wareagle||

    Osama bin Laden is dead, so why are we still fighting an undeclared war?

    lawyers call this assuming facts not in evidence. The resolution to use force has the weight of a declaration of war, and no part of it limits the scope to the time until OBL is caught or killed.

    This thing is broadly worded, particularly the part about 'in order to prevent future acts...'. Some would no doubt argue that is the effect of Obama's droning - prevention.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    John is correct as to the scope of the declaration.

    He's wrong as to it being a valid declaration of war. I'm skeptical about the ability to declare war against unspecified nations, let alone against "organizations or persons". It's a ridiculously broad "enemy".

  • John||

    So hanging pirates on the high seas was unlawful?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Separate constitutional power.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    He's wrong as to it being a valid declaration of war.

    Unfortunately, the only authority that has a binding opinion is the Congress itself or SCOTUS and neither agrees with you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    WTF? Are you hanging with Tony? SCOTUS isn't a priesthood in a mystery religion. They are wrong sometimes.

  • $park¥||

    Let's get something straight, did they give authorization to kill Al Qaeda, Al Qaida, or Al Quada? Or was it just terrorists in general?

  • wareagle||

    yes, yes, yes. And yes.

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    If the power to kill is based upon an authorization that is specific to Al Qaeda then changing the name of the organization should require a new authorization, right?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I still think that AUMF was too broad and basically an improper delegation of congressional power.

  • $park¥||

    Look at it this way, you can say you were alive at the beginning of The Forever War.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    + 1.

    Man, that was a good book.

  • $park¥||

    That was a book? I'll be damned. I honestly didn't know that. And it's even somewhat appropriate.

  • entropy||

    I agree. If a war has been declared.

  • Virginian||

    and battle come down

  • ||

    Under what rationale are drone strikes moral as long as they are in a foreign country? If there was an Al Qaeda camp in the back woods of Maine, why don't the Administration's arguments apply to that as well?

  • ||

    If the Soviets had invaded Maine, would the president have the authority to attack them?

  • kinnath||

    If a frog had wings, he'd be able to fly and he wouldn't bump his ass all the time.

  • John||

    Yes he would have. And he wouldn't have even needed a beloved declaration of war to do so. This is why both sides talk past each other. One side views Al Quada as just another fraternal organization or small time criminal organization. The other side view Al Quada as a organization whose single purpose is to wage war on the United States. If it is a criminal matter, then the President can never just kill any member of Al quada. If it is war, he can kill them on sight.

  • kinnath||

    One side views Al Quada as just another fraternal organization or small time criminal organization.

  • kinnath||

    fucking squirrels ate most of my messsage.

    Al-Quada is a big-time criminal enterprise (not unlike the drug cartels), but a criminal enterprise none the less.

    There is no nation, state, army, or whatever to fight against and defeat. Just a bunch of well-financed thugs.

    There can be no war when there is no way to declare success.

  • John||

    There can be no war when there is no way to declare success.

    I think there is. Is there a black hand anymore? Is the IRA a threat? Terrorist organizations come and go. They can be eliminated just like national armies.

  • kinnath||

    Criminal organizations come and go. They are not the same as national armies and you know it.

  • John||

    Sure criminal organizations are not the same as national armies Kenneth. But terrorist organizations are not the same as criminal organizations. They are closer to national armies. In fact they are much worse. The worst thing we could do would be to make it advantageous to be in a terrorist organization as opposed to a national army. And that is what the practical effect of treating them like criminal organizations does.

  • ||

    Sure criminal organizations are not the same as national armies Kenneth.

    Dude... it says "kinnath" right there.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What's the frequency?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    AM.

  • kinnath||

    We have disgreed in the past; we disgree now, we will continue to disagree.

    At least I don't disparage your taste in women ;-)

  • sarcasmic||

    Al-Quada is a big-time criminal enterprise (not unlike the drug cartels), but a criminal enterprise none the less.

    And government isn't? The only difference between government and any other criminal enterprise is that government wins. That is the only difference. When government loses, the winner becomes government.

  • T o n y||

    And what do you propose to do about it? You treat it as a fact of nature, here and elsewhere... so one wonders exactly what the purpose of your little crusade is. To feel good about yourself?

    If this is just a fact of life, then isn't the solution we've already come up with a pretty good one? That is, make governments legitimate by having them act via the consent of the governed.

  • ||

    Well fuck, people are always going to be murdering each other so I guess we should just accept it and make murderers legitimate by having them act via the consent of the governed. Genius!

  • ||

    I vote that Tony should be murdered first, BTW.

  • ||

    I thought our unilateral consensus was that Lyle was #1 on the kill list?

  • ||

    But John, what does it really mean for an organization to "wage war"? Is that even possible.

    Shit, half the crazy wackjob groups ever probably thought they were "waging war".

    Drones for all of them.

    My point is that the argument applies to both intra and inter continental assaults. But somehow, I bet if they said "yes, we can bomb within the US at our discretion" people would go apeshit. But I don't see the difference.

  • John||

    The problem with bombing inside the US is not that it would kill our enemies. The problem is that it would kill Americans too and there is no need to do it since if we know where they are in the US, we can just arrest them and avoid anyone else getting hurt.

    And certainly, I don't think we should be unilaterally whacking our enemies off of a battlefield in cases where we can just arrest them because there is no need to kill them if you can capture them.

  • ||

    we can just arrest them and avoid anyone else getting hurt

    Unless the State is sheltering them, we can "arrest" them in foreign lands too.

    We're bombing out of convenience.

    Seriously, for the targets we are currently bombing, what's to stop us from dropping in a arresting force and doing exactly what we would do in any compound in the US?

  • John||

    Unless the State is sheltering them, we can "arrest" them in foreign lands too.

    We're bombing out of convenience.

    I completely agree. And that is why this is wrong. But Reason won't stop at saying that. They seem to want to say that we can never bomb our enemies outside of a conventional battlefield. And I disagree.

  • ||

    They seem to want to say that we can never bomb our enemies outside of a conventional battlefield.

    I would suggest that only if you're dealing with a host state that is being forcefully obstructive to Team America, then yes, bombing is an alternative.

    And again, there lies the importance of the Nation State in defining the boundaries of conflict. I think the need to declare War against a forcefully obstructive Nation State in order to bomb with its territory is debatable, but I do believe there at least needs to be firm obstruction in place (i.e. they would obstruct/shoot our arresting officers when encountered) to justify Air From Above.

  • John||

    I would suggest that only if you're dealing with a host state that is being forcefully obstructive to Team America, then yes, bombing is an alternative

    Then we don't disagree. And that is all the infamous memo says. It says if an American citizen is actively planning attacks on the US and is in a place where capture is impossible (i.e. in a country that is supporting his activities), we can bomb him. That is it. That is all the memo says. And in that one narrow point, it is absolutely correct.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They seem to want to say that we can never bomb our enemies outside of a conventional battlefield. And I disagree.

    That's not what they're saying.

    The problem is the determination of who is an "enemy" is left solely up to the executive, with no possibility of review by anyone else.

    It would be like if Congress had authorized FDR to attack anyone in the world he determined to be connected to Pearl Harbor. He could invade Australia and Canada technically, no one could stop him from doing so.

  • John||

    It would be like if Congress had authorized FDR to attack anyone in the world he determined to be connected to Pearl Harbor.

    In a sense they did. FDR was entitled to attack anyone and everyone associated with the Japanese government. No one ever was given the power to second guess his judgement on who exactly said people were.

  • $park¥||

    "We are now at war with the nations of Germany and Japan. Just to be on the safe side, we better round up all those of German and Japanese descent in this country and put them into camps."

  • John||

    And Sparky, he did just exactly that.

  • $park¥||

    Just because history doesn't interest me doesn't mean I don't know anything about it.

  • ||

    Let me quote you...

    "THIS situation is COMPLETELY different"

    If the KKK had an enclave in Alabama that was preparing to bomb a Federal building...drone strike? Why not? I'm not seeing the difference.

  • ||

    MP, you will notice I didn't give my opinion. I merely asked the question. You make an assumption as to what my answer is.

    My answer is, it depends. I believe he needs a declaration of war before striking anyone. HOWEVER, an emergency situation is different. I wouldn't want the executive waiting for a declaration of war before responding to a FSU nuclear strike.

    My POINT is, our system is insufficient for dealing with all the possibilities. As usual, our government never debates such issues during peace-time, because why do anything unless there is an imminent crisis. And when there is, who has time?

    I think there needs to be an emergency provision allowing immediate action. OTHERWISE, a declaration is required.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The president has the authority to suppress insurrections and repel invasions, which is a separate subject from warmaking.

  • sarcasmic||

    If the Soviets invaded Maine they'd have a couple hundred thousand hunters waging a guerrilla war against them.

  • ||

    Just try to stop the Soviets with your "well-regulated militia" once Feinstein's gun ban is in place.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm sure that thousands and thousands and thousands of hunters with scoped rifles raining bullets down on anyone who stepped outside a building or armored vehicle would make life very difficult for an invading Soviet soldier.

  • ||

    It is good to see these statements, but somehow I doubt it is true of most conservatives. Most of them would have (I have no doubt in my mind) excused Bush if he had launched drone strikes on US citizens. They would have bent over backwards to justify it, in the exact same way that liberals are hypocritically bending over backwards to justify why Obama should be allowed to do it.

    However, the point is pretty well taken that liberal hypocrisy on the subject doesn't get conservatives off the hook. I'm happy to see at least some conservatives saying they wouldn't support these powers even for a Republican president.

    The sad thing is that such statements actually have to be made. That our political climate is such that people have to specify they wouldn't apply a double standard to their own side.

  • $park¥||

    You know who else sent robotic forces after a small group of people that was trying to take him down?

  • Another David||

    Hitler in Wolfenstein?

  • entropy||

    Borg-Assimilated Future Clone Adolf Hitler?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Count Dooku?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Palpatine?

  • ||

    Skynet?

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    Davros?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Daleks aren't robots, silly, they're living organisms encased in mechanical armor.

    I bet you think Frankenstein was the monster.

    So sad.

  • entropy||

    Frankenstein was the monster. His zombie just wanted to fly kites and prevent forest fires.

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    damn that's good

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    Not so fast, cyborgs could be considered "robotic forces".

  • Brett L||

    The bad guy from Voltron? Or the good guys from Voltron?

  • ||

    Dr Evil?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Zurg?

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    OCP Senior President Richard "Dick" Jones

  • $park¥||

    You guys are all wrong. I was thinking of Handsome Jack. Too much Borderlands I guess.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Are you comfortable with letting the president kill anyone he deems an enemy of America, as long as that alleged threat had the misfortune to be born outside the United States?

    No, but I wouldn't equate that with the President ordering the killing of an American citizen, either.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeppers. Because which side of an arbitrary line you fall out of your mother on is a flawless way to distinguish rights-bearing humanoids from targets.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The two are not the same, legally speaking. Morally would be a different matter.

  • $park¥||

    Not all TEAM RED members think alike.

    Just kill them before they kill us. At some point, we must trust that the president and his advisers, when they see a gathering of Al Qaeda from the watchful eye of a drone, are going to make the right call and use appropriate restraint and appropriate force to keep us safe.

    Frankly, it should be American policy that any American collaborating with Al Qaeda is better off dead than alive. Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney should be proud.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Are you comfortable with letting the president kill anyone he deems an enemy of America, as long as that alleged threat had the misfortune to be born outside the United States?

    No.

    Call me crazy, but since I view the Constitution as a constraint on the power of the government, I believe those constraints apply to actions of the government in relation to any act it commits, no matter whom it affects, or where they were born.

    Klar?

  • John||

    So you deny the right of the government to declare war? Isn't war, as rightly pointed out above, nothing but a license to kill without due process? Are we now just reading that clause out of the document? If not, why not?

    I know, it is different if we are killing the Gerry's in the good war. Then it is okay. But once our enemies get smart and stop wearing uniforms or abiding by the laws of war, then we have to only deal with them after a full trial and appeal in federal court, right?

  • ||

    So you deny the right of the government to declare war?

    If it's not a nation-state, then yes, I do deny the "right".

  • John||

    That is the whole thing. I disagree with that. I think if you form an organization whose single or main purpose is to inflict violence and terror on a nation, you have moved beyond mere crime and become subject to the fortunes of war.

  • sarcasmic||

    Who do you declare war against? Who do you negotiate peace with? What happens to prisoners if there is no one to order them to cease hostilities? Do you execute them, imprison them for life, put them on trial?

    These are honest questions, John. Please don't pull a Red Tony and attack arguments I am not making.

  • sarcasmic||

    Who represents these terrorists? Who employs them? Who can order them to stand down and cease hostilities?

    Until that can be answered (and it can't) then there is no one to declare war against.

  • John||

    So what? Who controls a group of guerrilla fighters? Who tells them to stand down? The lack of central leadership doesn't mean it isn't war.

  • sarcasmic||

    I didn't say it isn't war. I said there is no one to declare war against. There is no central authority with which to negotiate peace. I didn't say it isn't war. Learn to read, Red Tony.

  • John||

    If it is war, then why can't the participants be subject to the consequences of war? Meaning they are killed in combat and not captured?

  • sarcasmic||

    I didn't make those arguments, so I see no need to defend them.
    Nice try, Red Tony.

  • wareagle||

    alright, sarc. Let's look at teh argument you did make. If there is no nation or authority against to declare war, what then?

  • sarcasmic||

    If I knew all the answers I wouldn't be asking questions.

  • wareagle||

    well damn. Absent some formal process, we just write strongly worded memos?

    The terrorists are represented by ideology more than anything else, but tough to have a war declaration issued against that. So, Congress went with the next best thing.

  • sarcasmic||

    So, Congress went with the next best thing.

    Occupying two foreign nations for a decade plus. Wonderfuckingful.

    If it was up to me our soldiers would have kicked some ass and come home. Then again I'm one of those morons who actually believes that we're making more enemies than friends by occupying foreign nations and raining death from above. I know that they are supposed to love us for sending in an occupying army and killing people, but I just don't think they feel it.

  • wareagle||

    If it was up to me our soldiers would have kicked some ass and come home.

    and I would agree with you. We have developed a habit of hanging around long after the meaningful shooting has ended.

    For better or worse, going into Iraq gave them the framework for a democratic society, but it's up to Iraqis to keep it. In Afghanistan, we're not even talking a nation as the term is understood; more a group of tribes inside a common border.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Durand Lines for everyone!

  • Ted S.||

    Technically, wouldn't letters of marque and reprisal have been better?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Call me crazy, but since I view the Constitution as a constraint on the power of the government,

    You're crazy.

    The constitution doesn't prevent government from throwing in a rape cage for consuming a prohibited herb nor does it prevent the government from sending citizens to concentration camps in the name of national security.

  • ||

    If the party of the president doesn't matter, why does the nationality of the guy he marks for death? Don't people have a right to life even if they aren't U.S. citizens?

    I can appreciate the cozmo internationalist view point...i mostly share it, but give me a fucking break.

    One should not be surprised by nationalist interpretations of the constitution....i am pretty sure the founders were nationalist and wrote it to be nationalist and granted rights specific to its citizens not everyone under the sun.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Maybe you should actually read the Constitution some day. It doesn't grant rights. It constrains Congresses ability to abridge rights that belong to all human beings.

  • ||

    It constrains Congresses ability to abridge rights that belong to all human beings.

    Except minorities, women, and non-landowners. That's why we should just ignore it.

    /liberal logic

  • ||

    ---Except minorities, women, and non-landowners---

    Amendment XV
    1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the
    United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of
    servitude.

    Amendment XIX
    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the
    United States or by any State on account of sex.

    That is how you change the rules. You pass amendments, you don't just get to ignore the rules you don't like.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Let's say, just for fun, that I claim the right to shoot dead anybody, even a policeman, who comes crashing through my window in the dead of night screaming and menacing me with a gun.

    Does this mean I am justified in hunting down and executing everybody I *think* might be part of the Missouri River Drug Task Force?

    Show your work, John.

  • John||

    If the Missouri River Drug Task Force is some kind of international terrorist organization, sure. Why wouldn't you be? You just try to obscure the issue by changing the names. But the principle is the same.

    Try again Brooks.

  • sarcasmic||

    Now you're employing liberal "logic" where they conflate self defense with vigilante justice, and say you're better off dead with a phone in your hand then alive with a gun.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    So you deny the right of the government to declare war?

    When did we declare war on Pakistan? Or Afghanistan, for that matter? Or are they on Double Secret Probation?

    Define this war in a manner which clearly specifies what constitutes "winning".

  • John||

    When did we declare war on Afghanistan? In 2001 in the act we are discussing above. Save me the "they didn't call it a declaration so it doesn't count" horseshit. It is a declaration.

    And moreover, who cars if we didn't? My point still stands. If the government can't kill anyone without due process, how could it wage war even if it had a declaration?

  • ||

    That's not a declaration of war John. If it was an actual declaration, why would Ron Paul have requested an ACTUAL declaration of war for the decade following 9/11?

    As someone pointed out earlier, Congress sort of shirked its duty of declaring war by giving said authorization, but the two are not one and the same.

  • John||

    If it was an actual declaration, why would Ron Paul have requested an ACTUAL declaration of war for the decade following 9/11?

    Because Ron Paul is a know nothing kook? Congress didn't "declare war" because doing so gives the executive a lot of really big powers it didn't want to give up. It has nothing to do with shirking responsibility.

  • ||

    Congress didn't "declare war" because doing so gives the executive a lot of really big powers it didn't want to give up. It has nothing to do with shirking responsibility.

    So better to just give up all of those powers anyway? Because that's what seems to have happened with the "Authorization". What actual powers does Congress have in warmaking besides "making war"? The president is the commander of the armed forces.

  • pmains||

    If you go back and read the debates, none of the DoW opponents mention constraining the president. Congress refused to declare war because, among several apparently trivial concerns, it would void certain insurance policies.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Trivial concerns just show how trivial the thinkers in Congress have become.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Congress sort of shirked its duty of declaring war by giving said authorization

    Congress spent most of the 20th Century shirking its Constitutionally appointed duties. Why should the 21st be any different?

  • entropy||

    Because it's an odd number goddamnit!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    If the government can't kill anyone without due process, how could it wage war even if it had a declaration?

    ...because the declaration is the required act to allow the government to kill without due process.

  • John||

    But we do have a declaration of war, at least with regards to Al Quada.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Nope. If Congress wanted to declare war, they'd have given a declaration of war, but they didn't.

    Unless you're now willing to accept Roberts' penaltax now too.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    That's a silly argument. The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, but it doesn't specify what format that declaration has to take. This is just an attempt at a semantics gotcha, and it's ridiculous.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    So any bill by Congress can be interpreted as a declaration of war?

    Does the toy safety act count as a declaration of war against China?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Does the toy safety act count as a declaration of war against China?

    It does if it authorizes the President to use military force against China.

    Any other dumb questions?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't see that standard anywhere in the constitution...

  • sarcasmic||

    The last time the U.S. declared war was in 1942.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....tes#Formal

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yes, and not coincidentally, the last time the U.S. had a Department of War was in 1947.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    You just try to obscure the issue by changing the names. But the principle is the same.

    Dizzy, now.

  • R C Dean||

    If the Missouri River Drug Task Force is some kind of international terrorist organization, sure.

    Its certainly the local branch of an organization that conducts operations internationally. Since we're disregarding sovereignty in this discussion, why wouldn't we treat it as one of the various "organizations" involved in initiating force, what you might call "terrorizing", people around the world in the name of a Jihad War on Drugs?

    My point, really, is that tossing the whole Westphalian concept of nation-states, sovereignty, and war as conflict between sovereigns overboard leads us into very dangerous waters. Centuries of hard experience led to the adoption of that model, and I for one am uncomfortable taking the mindset of warfighting that we currently have out of that model and letting it gambol about the planet.

  • John||

    But you have to understand RC, the Westphalian concept of nation states developed to give war some kind of structure and prevent guerrilla wars and terrorism.

    None of this is new. People have been running around battlefields in civilian clothes and hiding amongst civilian population looking to do mischief for all time. And the way they were dealt with before the 20th Century is they were summarily hung as spies or saboteurs. And there was a reason for that. The reason was that when people didn't wear uniforms it became impossible not to target civilians.

    It is not us who is gamboling off the Westphalian model. It is our enemies. And by giving what amounts to favorable treatment for doing so, we doing nothing but encouraging more of the same.

  • Enough About Palin||

    The name's Obama. Barack Obama.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    No, it doesn't, and I have another big question for conservatives: If the party of the president doesn't matter, why does the nationality of the guy he marks for death? Don't people have a right to life even if they aren't U.S. citizens?

    Because furriners aren't entitled to due process. They are entitled to whatever the fuck we choose to give them.

    see: Insular Cases.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I have asked this question before.

    If the Spanish government sent a team of elite commandos to America to bomb a restaurant in Reno "known to be" a gathering place for Basque separatist plotters, what would/could/should the American government do? How would the American public react?

    What about collateral damage? "Too bad, that's what you dumb poker players get for liking mutton"?

    Could it be that we have established a precedent which will some day come back to haunt us?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    If the Spanish government sent a team of elite commandos to America to bomb a restaurant in Reno "known to be" a gathering place for Basque separatist plotters, what...should the American government do? How would the American public react?

    See President Demonocles' foreign policy. No more Spain.

  • John||

    If the Spanish government sent a team of elite commandos to America to bomb a restaurant in Reno "known to be" a gathering place for Basque separatist plotters, what would/could/should the American government do? How would the American public react?

    Why do you think that is some kind of clever or hard question? The answer is simple. The US has an obligation to keep people within its borders from attacking other countries. If it refuses to do so, those other countries have a right to violate US sovereignty and do something about the people who are attacking them.

    In this case, Spain would owe the US some kind of proof that yes these are in fact people plotting to attack them and the US once the proof was made would owe it to Spain to go arrest these people. If the US refused to do so, then Spain would be perfectly within its rights to do what you describe. Would the American public like it? No. But tough shit. The shouldn't let Basque terrorists operate on their soil.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    In this case, Spain would owe the US some kind of proof that yes these are in fact people plotting to attack them and the US once the proof was made would owe it to Spain to go arrest these people.

    So you're suspending the fourth amendment? I seriously doubt the US is sharing enough "proof" with the govts of Yemen or Paki that we would consider enough to justify an arrest here in the US.

  • John||

    I am not suspending anything. Plotting to overthrow the government of another country is a crime. Beyond that, doing so is certainly a crime in Spain. The Basques in this case would be wanted criminals in Spain. The US would go arrest them at Spain's request and extradite them back to Spain. If the US refused to do that and allowed these people to wage war from our territory, Spain would have every right to use self help and violate our sovereignty to stop them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Spain doesn't have jurisdiction in the US.

  • John||

    That is why they would ask us to arrest them. They sure as hell have the right to claim jurisdiction over someone who is plotting to attack them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    OK. Hugo Chavez tells the US that Hit and Run commenter John is plotting to overthrow him, as evidenced by several comments on Hit and Run, and he wants John arrested and extradited to Venezuela.

    We are at peace with Venezuela, so the federal law you cited is applicable.

    What's your call? Do we arrest commenter John because Hugo says so?

  • John||

    Since I am an American national, the US couldn't do much to me without proof that I am in fact plotting. But if they have such, they can and should arrest me for it. If I am an Venezuelan National and there is a warrant out for me in Venezuela, then the US is bound to honor that warrant and arrest me and deport me home. Unless I can make some kind of really strong showing in court that I deserved Asylum, I am going home.

    If the US and Venezuela can't agree on whether I am really plotting, Venezuela can go to the UN and demand sanctions or they can declare war.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    My my my we're in a pretzel here.

    So if a Paraguayan national is believed to be plotting in Yemen against the US, we're out of luck and can't do shit without declaring war on Yemen itself. However, we can demand that a US citizen be turned over with no evidence.

    Is this the Bizarro world?

  • John||

    So if a Paraguayan national is believed to be plotting in Yemen against the US, we're out of luck and can't do shit without declaring war on Yemen itself.

    Why would we be out of luck? We just call the Yemeni government and say "hey do something about this asshole who is plotting to attack us. They could arrest him and charge him under Yemeni law. We could indict him here and have the Yemeni arrest him and turn him over. Hell, we could even get the Paraguayans to indict him and have the Yemenis turn him over to them.

    And if the Yemenis refused to do anything, we could just take matters into our own hands and send a SEAL team to capture him or just drone strike his ass.

    There is nothing bizarre about it. It is actually quite simple.

    There is nothing

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They could arrest him and charge him under Yemeni law.

    Not if they have something like the 4th amendment in the way.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Not to mention the fact that plotting against Spain is not a violation of US law, last I knew. So we'd have no justification for arresting them anyway.

  • John||

    It is a violation of federal law to plot the overthrow of a foreign government. Beyond that, it sure as hell is a crime in Spain. And we have an obligation to arrest them and turn them over to Spain just like any other criminal.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It is a violation of federal law to plot the overthrow of a foreign government.

    Link?

    I don't think Basque separatists are out to overthrow Spain anyway. They want to separate from Spain.

  • John||

    You can't use google Tulpa?

    Here you go, here is a news story about some Laotions who were arrested in the US for plotting the overthrow of Laosian government.

    http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/11.....anded_down

    And whatever they want, they clearly want to attack Spain and that obligates us to stop them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    "Federal law is without equivocation: you cannot conspire to overthrow a foreign government with whom our nation is at peace," U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said in a statement to reporters.

    Which Basque separatists aren't doing, and AQ isn't doing with regard to the US. And we certainly haven't given Y and P the level of evidence that would be required to arrest someone in the US.

  • John||

    Tulpa,

    We don't need any evidence. In most cases we just need a warrant from the other country.

    And if Yemen and Pakistan don't like us doing it or don't think we have given enough evidence, they are free to stop us. That is what wars are for.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    OK. So Spain comes to us and says they think two guys in a bar in Reno are Basque separatists and want them arrested, with no evidence beyond their say-so. When we tell them to give us probable cause for an arrest or blow off, is that justification for Spain to declare war on us?

    I mean, obviously Spain couldn't beat us in a war, but I hope we're not talking might makes right here (in which case this whole discussion is pointless -- we can do it so we can do it).

  • John||

    So Spain comes to us and says they think two guys in a bar in Reno are Basque separatists and want them arrested, with no evidence beyond their say-so

    Are they Spanish or American nationals? Is there a warrant for them in Spain? If Spain honestly believes that people in America are plotting an attack against them, the US has an obligation to stop them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And that's fucking certainly bullshit. What about the Cuban exiles who for decades trained for an overthrow of Castro.

  • John||

    They were committing a federal crime. But since the feds were funding them, they were never charged obviously. See my link above.

    I call bullshit on your bullshit.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Let me first state what I understand to be your position. It is, that if it shall become necessary, to repel invasion, the President may, without violation of the Constitution, cross the line and invade the territory of another country; and that whether such necessity exists in any given case, the President is to be the sole judge. .. But…: Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - and allow him to make war at pleasure…. If, to-day, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, ‘I see no probability of the British invading us’ but he will say to you ‘be silent; I see it, if you don't.’

    The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.
  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    -- the other president from Illinois

  • John||

    That is the whole thing. If people don't like the President doing this, Congress can always revoke or modify the 2001 authorization. If you think that it is time to stop waging war against AQ, great. Get Congress to end the President's authorization to do so. It is really that simple.

  • Calidissident||

    You know, John, it is possible for a declaration of war to be unconstitutional. A declaration that essentially repeals the 4th amendment by giving the president the power to go after *anyone* without regard to due process, as long as he deems them a member of al-Qaeda is not constitutionally valid.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    tough shit.

    Why don't I believe you?

  • John||

    I don't write the law. I just tell you what it is. And frankly if our government got into the game of allowing people to use our soil to launch attacks on other countries, I really can't see how I could complain when the other countries acted within their rights of self defense.

  • John||

    This has happened. There have been several cases of Chinese dissidents in the US being attacked by what appeared to be Chinese Special Ops. Those cases were quietly ignored and never investigated. Why? Because legally the US didn't have a leg to stand on. We were harboring people who are essentially trying to overthrow the Chinese government. And China has a right to do something about that if we don't.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Oh.

    My.

    God.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Seriously, no one else is reacting to this?

    The PRC considers, for example, talking about the Tienanmen Square massacre to Chinese nationals to be a threat against their govt. We have to enforce that here in the US? Or allow the PRC to send their operatives to enforce it on our soil? Bullshit.

  • John||

    The PRC as lousy as they are, are the legal government of China. How do we have any legal right to let people plot their overthrow from our soil?

    Should we let their operatives work here? Hell no. But what they are doing is probably legal.

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    Legal is just another word dude.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    So, the PRC says their national Huang Blow, currently in San Francisco on a resident visa working in a software industry job, is telling other Chinese nationals in the US about Tienanmen Square which they consider a threat to their govt. We have to then send cops to arrest Huang Blow and send him back to China on charges of talking about uncomfortable matters.

    Is that your interpretation of international law?

  • John||

    He would have to be doing more than that. I am talking about actually plotting or doing things like hacking the big internet wall in china and publishing stuff encouraging revolt.

  • ||

    John @ 2:59
    ---We don't need any evidence. In most cases we just need a warrant from the other country---

    John @ 4:09
    ---He would have to be doing more than that. I am talking about actually plotting or doing things like hacking the big internet wall in china and publishing stuff encouraging revolt---

    Huh??

  • T o n y||

    I blame Bush and Cheney. Here's why. To the extent that novel means are necessary to deal with the terrorism threat, national security people and Congress are more than able to come up with these and justify them, regardless of party. What Bush did was make it very politically difficult to support due process for Muslim suspected terrorists. (Non-Muslim terrorists like McVeigh and Jared Loughner get their due process no questions asked.) The only politicians who have been capable of not being on the president-as-judge/jury/executioner bandwagon are ones who live in safely liberal districts or the occasional anomalous libertarian.

    Bush chose the cowboy route instead of the moral high ground ("We will prove ourselves better than the terrorists by respecting our cherished rule of law.") Given how stupid and paranoid this country is, it's likely he didn't have much of a choice, but it's clear he didn't really want to give it a shot either. And neocons like Cheney explicitly have little love for due process.

    I agree with John. The only way things are going to change is if Congress forces the issue, and the only way it's going to do that is if overwhelming majorities of the people stop supporting these policies.

  • John||

    No Tony. He lied. He knew he was going to do this all along. He is appointing John Brenneman to head the CIA for God's sake.

  • T o n y||

    Are you under the impression I'm defending Obama on this matter?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Considering he's not in the list of people you're blaming, that's a reasonable conclusion.

  • T o n y||

    It was a narrow thesis: that a big part of the problem is the Bush/Cheney era policy of treating Muslim terrorists as too evil for due process. In my fantasy universe, post-9/11 would have been a big teachable moment on how the rule of law is what makes ours a civilization worth defending.

    Of course even then the CIA would be engaging in the same morally ambiguous covert stuff it's been doing for decades. We forget that there has never, ever been a time when the US actually lived up to civics class ideals. I'd say it's bent toward improvement, and I will unhesitatingly defend Obama on one count: his approach to the War on Terra is orders of magnitude more moral than Bush's. I will take targeted drone strikes with no Congressional oversight over massively costly land invasions based on neocon lies any day. There's plenty of room to improve, of course.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    It's like Tony doesn't even realize who escalated the war in Afghanistan and sent 10's of thousands more troops there, more than doubling casualties in the process. I'll cut him slack, though. It's rarely reported on in the mass media, so for him, it's like it never happened.

  • wareagle||

    tony,
    at some point, at least be honest with yourself in admitting the guy you voted for is not the man he pretended to be. EVERY aspect the Bush terror manual is in place and, obviously, some new wrinkles have been added.

    Obama ran as being aghast and agog at the parade of horribles unleashed by the evil Bush/Cheney. Until he got the job and decided those things weren't so bad and, as a bonus, he had blind followers like you who would excuse his every excess. Try watching what he does rather than focusing on what he says.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I blame Bush and Cheney.

    I am Jack's total lack of surprise.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I blame Bush and Cheney.

    Mika, is that you?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Seriously, no one else is reacting to this?

    I'm worn out.

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