Civil Liberties

New Boss, Old Boss, Etc.

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Credit where it's due: Keith Olbermann, usually an Obama loyalist, has harshly criticized the president for ordering the assassination without trial of a U.S. citizen. Glenn Greenwald observes:

What's most striking to me about all of this is that—as I noted yesterday (and as Olbermann stressed)—George Bush's decision merely to eavesdrop on American citizens without oversight, or to detain without due process Americans such as Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, provoked years of vehement, vocal and intense complaints from Democrats and progressives. All of that was disparaged as Bush claiming the powers of a King, a vicious attack on the Constitution, a violation of Our Values, the trampling on the Rule of Law. Yet here you have Barack Obama not merely eavesdropping on or detaining Americans without oversight, but ordering them killed with no oversight and no due process of any kind. And the reaction among leading Democrats and progressives is largely non-existent, which is why Olbermann's extensive coverage of it is important. Just imagine what the reaction would have been among progressive editorial pages, liberal opinion-makers and Democratic politicians if this story had been about George Bush and Dick Cheney targeting American citizens for due-process-free and oversight-less CIA assassinations.

Speaking of Bush and Cheney, here's a historical note from the London Times:

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.

Colonel Wilkerson, who was General Powell's chief of staff when he ran the State Department, was most critical of Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld. He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was "politically impossible to release them"….He also claimed that one reason Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld did not want the innocent detainees released was because "the detention efforts would be revealed as the incredibly confused operation that they were".

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  1. I read the London papers some times. I have seen stories that make the forign press that should be reported on here but are not. I wonder if this will get any time on CNN or Fox.

  2. Whatever Bush and Cheney’s faults, they also released 2/3 of the people they held at Guantanamo because of lack of evidence. How was that a “cover-up?”

    1. I don’t think they had any choice. It was the result of a SCOTUS ruling to release them. Boumediene v. Bush, I think.

  3. …which is why Olbermann’s extensive coverage of it is important.

    I guess it’s a good thing for the Obama Administration that Olbermann had long ago driven away any audience that might have seen this extensive coverage.

    1. Olbie’s just getting a few breaths in before resuming fellatio.

    2. Has Olbermann ever consistently pulled more than 1.5 million viewers? I think the answer is no.

      All of the Olbermann fear confuses me. If you can’t pull even one percent of registered voters (assuming all of the viewers are registered voters which is a lousy assumption) how much of an influence can you have?

      1. Who said anything about fear? Ridiculing him is hardly the same as fearing.

  4. Progressives,

    If you were truly wondering why Bush & Cheney weren’t impeached or prosecuted for their crimes, here’s your answer.

  5. Great post, Jesse.

    Where is the outrage from the progressives? Can you imagine the hysteria from the Left if Bush were still in office?

    1. Yeah, they’d be pretty pissed 🙂

    2. I’ll be outraged for them. This ain’t my America.

      1. Well, I can imagine what your America would be. A third world country with a muslim marxist as president. Moron.

    3. Actually, if you read the comments for Greenwald’s post (99% of them liberal Democrats), they’re almost all disgusted with Obama.

      1. Unfortunately, Greenwald and his commenters are as representative of the broader Left as dissenters from GWB were among the Right. Less so, I think, considering that Frum tried to call out those “Unpatriotic Conservatives.”

    4. ‘Progressives’? You mean the regressives who constantly apologize for Stalin and Mao?

      They eat this shit up. Leftists are sick and twisted.

      1. You forgot “retarded fetuses.”

      2. And who still get dewy in their Fruit of the Looms for Castro, one might add.

        1. That is incredibly disturbing imagery.

          1. Yet funnier than shit, especially considering Castro is an impotent old man who druells through his poor excuse for a beard.

  6. * What I should have said in my previous post, was can you imagine the hysteria from the Left if the policy had been implemented while Bush was in office?

    The baby was up all night and I haven’t had any coffee yet this morning.

    1. I feel your pain, and may soon be in the same place. Our second child is due in about a month.

      1. Congratulations and best wishes for a health child and mother.

        1. Oops. That was me.

          1. Careful. The dingoes might eat your baby.

            1. I’ll eat it if no one else will.

  7. That would suck losing my life to such an intangible concept as “politically impossible”, when I could choose to lose my life with something more tangible,….say Kiera Knightly and 20 gallions of olive oil and KY jelly.

    1. She’s rather skinny. A teaspoon of each should suffice.

        1. She needs to cut back on the A2M. Tapeworm infestation is not a pretty thing.

          1. Good lord, it’s a Photoshop

            http://i131.photobucket.com/al…..743052.jpg

              1. Way too skinny.

              2. Yeah, she still needs someone to give her a sammich.

            1. Still pretty nasty.

        2. Aww, sick. That sum dum ho.

    2. Scratch the oil and jelly.

      1. That woman needs a bagel and cream cheese, stat!

  8. Wow, of all stunning stories I’ve ever read on this site, this may be the most shocking story ever – Olbermann criticized Obama for a valid reason! The Mayans might be right, it’s a sign of the end times!

  9. Who is Treadstone?? Who’s running Treadstone??

    1. Matt Damon!

      1. Matt Damon!

        1. I’m fucking Matt Damon!

  10. It’s a lot of bother (declaring war, etc.) to kill other people’s serfs, but you can kill your own serfs anytime you like.

  11. It is horrible. I mean it is not like this guy joined Al Quada and ran around trying to kill thousands of Americans and encouraging others to do so. Nope, he is just an innocent guy living in Yemen and now Obama is going to kill him for fun I guess.

    This guy has basically declared war on the United States and joined a multi national non state actor to do so. He doesn’t deserve anything beyond a cruise missile in his front door. If an American citizen joined the a foreign Army and attacked the US, we would shoot him just like everyone else in the Army. This is no different.

    1. If moral turpitude of a person is excuse enough to kill them without any due process or oversight, then our entire criminal justice system is operating along seriously misguided principles, John.

      Now, if this guy was a legit military target, then citizen or not it is OK in my mind to kill him. I’m not exactly brimming with trust for the Obama administration, so I’ll hold on to my skepticism that that was really the case here.

      1. This guy is a legit military target. He is not a criminal. He is not stealing or committing crimes of passion. And he is not acting alone. His sole purpose in life is to wage war on the United States. Shooting him is no different than killing any other soldier. If he doesn’t want to be killed and instead wants due process, he can always surrender.

        1. But unlike any other soldier, he could have been held eternally with no trial and no Geneva Convention protections. Right?

          1. Well, his leaders haven’t declared the war over, so yes. He can be held as long as it takes.

            1. How do you know that? Who is Terror’s head of state again?

              1. Exactly

                1. When fighting a war, there are some major advantages to your leaders and army being decentralized. Osama wouldn’t be alive if he had a capital and an executive mansion.

                  There are also disadvantages to being part of this system.

                  1. That is true, but it doesn’t justify completely abandoning any semblance of compliance with any known rules of war. It’s not like non-state aggressors are a new phenomenon — the writers of the Constitution included provisions for dealing with pirates and such.

                    1. That is true, but it doesn’t justify completely abandoning any semblance of compliance with any known rules of war.

                      Hanging pirates after a military trial (who lack recognized Letters of Marque) is a well-known and traditional rule of war.

                      The provisions in the Constitution are about how to create our own privateers with Letters of Marque. They don’t specifically indicate that this is the only way to deal with pirates.

                      Shooting someone rather than capturing and having a military trial or at least investigation, however, does go beyond the accepted rules of war.

                    2. I’m sorry- we’re talking about the accepted rules of war? Fighting terrorist actions that deliberately target civilians while wearing civilian clothing is about as outside the “rules of war” as you can get, so I’m pretty sure anyone doing that doesn’t get to benefit from those rules.

                      As for the war being declared: oh shit! Maybe they didn’t know! And come to think of it, I don’t remember Bush ever announcing that nobody should fly planes into the WTC. The answer to the terrorism problem might just be some PSAs!!

                      Meanwhile back in the real world….

                    3. And what is the offical “uniform” of the terrorists? Moron

                    4. That is the fucking point, “moron”!

                      The Geneva conventions very specifically do not apply to non-uniformed combatants for the very reason of prohibiting this type of warfare and protecting civilians. The fact that they are dressing as civilians therefore gets to bye THEM in the ass.

                      Moron

              2. The District of Columbia.

            2. We never legally declared the war started.

            3. As long as what takes??? The “War on Terror” is perpetual and is intended to be. The real purpose of it’s inventive was to give any President perpetual authorities he would never have, it is presumed, in “peace time”. The is so much corruption of the language with this war on terror horseshit I think George Orwell would be horrified. “Illegal combatant” is what exactly? Not a soldier, right? But not a civilian either. This country is mired in philosophical corruption.

    2. I will give John his due here — he’ll defend Obama over this, rather than descend into Team-Red-Everything-Team-Blue-Does-Is-Bad hackery.

      I thoroughly disagree with John over this, but I’ll give him props for being consistent in his ideology.

    3. Who the hell is Al Quada? One of those Mexican country singers I keep hearing about?

    4. Thank God for you. When a Reason writer stuffs his head up his ass, gets Greenwald and the libertarian posters here to stuff it further up, I can look u your name for an injection of common fucking sense. Cripes, you’d think this guy was a matyr.

  12. And the lack of outrage just proves that Progressives are just politically craven but not suicidally insane. They understand the threat of terrorism and in their hearts had no problem with what Bush did. They just complained about it for political advantage. Greenwald in contrast really is insane.

    1. Yeah, what historically validated reason could anyone ever give for fearing too much power in the hands of one leader, like say, the power to decide whom to kill, whom to torture, and whom to disappear?

    2. Well, here’s bipartisanship in action: John is down with a Dem President extrajudiciously killing someone! Go bipartisanship!

  13. You don’t need due process when the right people are in charge.

    1. Due process doen’t apply in the case of war, asshole. If you still don’t understand this is a war then you are feeble minded or incredibly stupid.

  14. Due process, schmoo process. I already told you racist teabaggers that Americans do not care about process.

    1. Matt Damon!

  15. Olbermann is still a pig-fucker.

  16. Looks like you owe Mr. Olbermann an apology for your bashing over the past few weeks. Thank God you didn’t link to that awful “dramamine chipmunk” video.

    1. Wait, all those videos of Olbermann being a total douchenozzle were fake?

    2. Who’s this “we” bullshit?

  17. Isn’t conspiracy to commit murder a “high crime” worthy of impeachment?

  18. I repeatedly predicted several years ago that the anger over Gitmo and the way it was displayed would lead to a “kill ’em all” attitude. The problem of what to do with people captured in a war zone is a real one. Out of sight is out of mind, though, so killing them rather than capturing them is generally better politics. So are secret prisons instead of something highly visible– and visited by human rights organizations– like Gitmo.

    Anyway, good for Olbermann and Greenwald for some consistency.

    1. You make a good point John. It is easier to just kill people than to try them in court. Obama knows that bringing this guy to trial in New York will cause more headaches for him than just killing him. Thanks to people like Greenwald it is virtually impossible to deal with these people by capturing them. So, Obama is making the rational decision just to kill them and not be bothered. If we had a functioning military commission system, it might be practicle to capture this guy rather than just kill him. But we don’t. And no President is going to risk just letting him run wild. That leaves one option.

      I constantly make this point. The American people are not going to sit around and allow themselves to be targeted and killed in the name of “civil liberties”. People like Greenwald expect them to. But they are not going to do it. In criminal law, people are willing to assume the harm of letting the occasional criminal go free in the name of process. They are not willing to do that when it comes to terrorism. So, if you put terrorists into the criminal system, you end up corrupting your criminal system. You have trials like the proposed KSM trial where the outcome is pre-determined.

      When looking at terrorism you have to operate under the cold light of reality that Americans are not going to tolerate even one of these guys going home on a technicality and they are not going to tolerate increased risk in the name of civil liberties. So, you better figure out a different system or just kill them on sight and not have to bother. Obama has chosen the latter because really it is the only one available right now.

      1. When looking at terrorism you have to operate under the cold light of reality that Americans are not going to tolerate even one of these guys going home on a technicality and they are not going to tolerate increased risk in the name of civil liberties.

        There’s a word for people who can concieve of no greater moral principle than the continuation of their own lives by whatever means necessary.

        The word is “coward”.

        1. Gonna store that one for later. Nice.

        2. That was beautiful.

      2. There is no evidence that not killing this guy prevented a single American life from being endangered. Your entire argument is based on several questionable assumptions: that killing people like this actually prevents attacks, that the people in this administration know which people need to be killed, and that the possibilities for abuse of this power are small enough that they don’t cancel out any gains in security.

        And your argument that “the American people won’t stand for it” is as ridiculous as it is cowardly. The American people won’t stand for a lot of things that need to be done — ending the drug war, balancing the budget, cutting back on entititlements — it’s our job to convince them to do so.

        1. The evidence is if he is dead, he won’t be a threat. My idea is to kill anyone who threatens us. Waht is your idea? To reward them? Ask them nicely not to hurt us?

          1. So if the Obama administrations decides you are asking too many pesky questions and making excessively bold statements, and thus poses a “threat” to what THEY consider vital interests, and declares you a terrorist — they can order your assassination? Because if you’re dead, you definitely won’t pose a threat.

            This the slippery slope you want to slide down?

            1. Some days, I wonder why libertarians don’t have more power than they do. Other days, this shit gets written. Is it so much to ask that the government perform its ONLY legitimate function-to protect the rights of its citizens? And no, you can’t protect this terrorists rights. You may as well be accusing the US of conducting an extra-judicious killing the Fort Hood shooter.

          2. Hell, let’s just kill everyone. Like Stalin said, if there is a man with a problem, the solution is: no man, no problem.

      3. “””If we had a functioning military commission system, it might be practicle to capture this guy rather than just kill him. But we don’t. And no President is going to risk just letting him run wild. “”

        Agreed.

        “” The American people are not going to sit around and allow themselves to be targeted and killed in the name of “civil liberties”.””

        But I’m a little confused as to what you mean by “civil liberties”.
        We send American people across the globe to die for foreigner’s civil liberties. Why shouldn’t Americans be willing to die for their own?

        1. I guess I should have said foreigners’. No one wants to die for a cheesey rock band.

          1. They have a magic belt that gives them incredible powers.

        2. Gee, I don’t know? Why would it be that Americans would find dying in combat with an enemy preferable to simply waiting to be slaughtered, because fighting the enemy might encroach upon his civil rights?

          1. You must not be from New Hampshire.

            1. Did they change their slogan to “Americans should allow themselves to be killed by terrorists so that traitors who want to turn us into a Caliphate have their ‘rights’, in which they don’t even believe, protected”?

    2. Be careful people. The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

  19. I would like to see the specifics of this assassination order. What if the guy offers to surrender, for instance?

    1. For example, check out this proclamation by Confederate President Jefferson Davis declaring U.S. General Benjamin Butler an outlaw: “I do order that [Gen. Butler] be no longer considered or treated simply as a public enemy of the Confederate States of America, but as an outlaw and common enemy of mankind, and that in the event of his capture the officer in command of the capturing force do cause him to be immediately executed by hanging . . .”

      1. The proclamation makes clear that General Butler was in effect charged with terrorism.

    2. I would like to see the specifics of this assassination order. What if the guy offers to surrender, for instance?

      Jeez, I would certainly hope that if the guy offers to surrender and does so peacefully, our men will take him into custody and probably bring him back to U.S. territory.

      Even in actual field combat against a foreign enemy, gunning down men who are obviously surrendering is considering illegal and criminal under the laws of war.

      1. …and yet it happens all the time, because there’s (obviously) little independent oversight of soldiers’ activity on a battlefield.

        1. …and the more that guys in the field are convinced that people they capture won’t really stay captured, the more they’ll be likely to kill those surrendering.

          1. That is true, but many if not most of the Gitmo detainees were not “captured on the battlefield”, but handed over to us by “friendly” Afghan warlords of questionable honesty. It’s just as likely that they stared a few seconds too long at the wrong warlord’s daughter, as that they posed a credible threat to kill Americans.

            1. Sure, which is why effort to determine their innocence is necessary and appropriate. But what do you with people who are innocent with respect to us but in grave danger if you return them to care of the warlord who gave them to us? There’s the option of settling them in the US, but that one doesn’t seem to be too popular either.

              And it’s not as though closing Gitmo would prevent warlords from trying to hand over prisoners.

              It’s a grotesque but inevitable problem, but most of the people complaining about it publicly didn’t have a real solution, which has led to this even more grotesque solution of just killing them.

              1. How about determining whether the alleged combat activities occurred immediately upon “capture”, rather than waiting until years after the fact (and then only after the SCOTUS orders you to). And don’t give me the BS line about how there wasn’t time to do this during the invasion. Even if that were so, the Bush administration dug their heels in during the subsequent years because they wanted to expand the unilateral powers of the executive, since they thought Jesus was coming back in 2008 to inaugurate an eternity of Republican rule.

                1. “since they thought Jesus was coming back in 2008 to inaugurate an eternity of Republican rule”

                  For a minute there, I was trying to see your side of the issue and take you seriously. Nevermind.

                2. How about determining whether the alleged combat activities occurred immediately upon “capture”, rather than waiting until years after the fact (and then only after the SCOTUS orders you to).

                  If you believe the excerpt above from the London Times, the Administration determined this about many of the innocent prisoners very quickly, but then was a loss as to what to do with the innocent prisoners.

                  1. So every time they said that prisoners at Gitmo were “the worst of the worst”, they were lying through their teeth. I don’t find it implausible for that reason — the Bush administration was highly proficient at prevarication — but any way you shake it the Bushites fucked this whole situation up but good.

                    I acknowledge that we can’t change the past, and have to find some way to move forward given the absurd situation Bush & Cheney put us in, but one way to prevent something like this from happening again is to heap so much scorn and derision on those two fucktards that they can never show their face in public again and absolutely never come within a hundred miles of the levers of government power ever again.

              2. And it’s not as though closing Gitmo would prevent warlords from trying to hand over prisoners.

                If someone hands you a dead baby and says, “I think you’ll find this dead baby very interesting,” do you just open up your backpack and pop it in?

                1. If someone hands you a dead baby and says, “I think you’ll find this dead baby very interesting,” do you just open up your backpack and pop it in?

                  Not like refusing would make the baby less dead. And the closer parallel is where someone hands you a baby and tells you that if you refuse it, he’ll kill it instead.

                  1. Wait, so our military is Amnesty International now? Crime and punishment in an Afghan warlord’s territory is none of our business. There are laws prohibiting us from handing over prisoners to states that engage in torture, yes, but they don’t require us to take away prisoners who might be executed if we don’t.

  20. Ok let me state right off the bat the proper legal method of dealing with Awlaki is to capture him, extradite him to the US and charge him with treason for levying war against the US and giving aid and comfort to our enemies.

    Why doesn’t Obama do this? I’ll tell you why: he knows that the ACLU, Greenwald, and all the rest of the “Civil liberties” groups will start their attacks immediately. They’ll bring all kinds of trouble to the trial and the holding of him etc.

    Obama has chosen instead to use executive prerogative (directly from John Locke) the idea that the executive may act counter to the laws in order to preserve the public good.

    I’m with Scalia (Hamdi v Rumsfeld) on this one: If Awlaki is fighting on a battlefield he may be killed as part of the immediate combat. However, if he is not, then the only options are 1. suspend habeas corpus or 2. capture and try him under treason.

    If he is assassinated tomorrow however, I won’t feel the least bit bad for him as he’s a bad guy. I’m more concerned about how this could be abused in the future.

    1. No declared war, no treason

  21. Seems like the smarter approach for Obama would have been to order having this guy captured and brought in for trial — but under ROEs (Rules Of Engagement) that said you don’t endanger the lives of the rescuers, if Awlaki offered any resistance under than immediate abject surrender, then shoot him.

    1. should have read “… don’t endanger the lives of the squad sent to capture Awlaki, if Awlaki offered any resistance other than …

  22. Ok let me state right off the bat the proper legal method of dealing with Awlaki is to capture him,

    A couple of questions:

    How many American soldiers are you willing to sacrifice to do this?

    Why does his status as an American citizen change how we deal with him as a hostile combatant?

    An observation: The only reason we are talking about “targeted” killings at all is because the US has gone to such extraordinary lengths to avoid collateral damage with traditional military approaches.

    If this guy were gunned down in a pitched battle, or killed in a full-on bombing or artillery strike, would there be a complaint about lack of due process? How did it get to be worse, then, to kill him without killing all the people around him?

    1. How many American soldiers are you willing to sacrifice to do this?

      None. Hence the comment above about ROEs that give them the authority to shoot unless he immediately drops his weapon and surrenders.

    2. How many American soldiers are you willing to sacrifice to do this?

      Zero. I’m ready to fold up the whole operation and bring everyone home today. Own your own bloodlust. Don’t hang it on everybody else just because you can’t fathom a world without the Iraq war.

      1. Uhhh…pretty sure this guys in Yemen.

        1. Uhhh…pretty sure you missed the point.

          1. Which is?

  23. RC, I respect you ‘n all, but you don’t understand how his status as an American changes things? By virtue of being born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, he can’t be a hostile combatant, he can only be a traitor. The Constitution defines treason and gives congress the power to “declare the punishment”.
    Does anyone know what is the law? If it includes execution, then we may be done here.

    1. Actually, joining the armed forces of another country engaged in hostilities against the US entails automatic loss of US citizenship. Now, neocons such as John are quite slippery about whether al-Qaeda or “Terror” in general should be treated like a state actor or not, taking whichever position on that question results in more unchecked power for the executioner executive.

      1. no, that may make him a traitor, but that doesn’t mean he legally renounced his citizenship. in order for that to happen he must go to an American embassy or consulate and officially renounce their citizenship. if you are just going on the fact that he may be a traitor, he still has the right to a trial.

        1. Actually, the government can revoke citizenship for several reasons. But it has to follow due process to do it.

          And AFAIK they can’t revoke someone’s citizenship in such a way as to make them stateless.

        2. Formal renunciation of citizenship is only one way it can be lost.

          Further confirmation of the necessity to establish the citizen’s intent to relinquish nationality before expatriation will result came in the opinion in Vance v. Terrazas , 444 U.S. 252 (1980). The Court stated that “expatriation depends on the will of the citizen rather than on the will of Congress and its assessment of his conduct.” The Court also indicated that a person’s intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship may be shown by statements or actions.

          Military service in foreign countries usually does not cause loss of citizenship since an intention to relinquish citizenship normally is lacking. In adjudicating loss of nationality cases, the Department has established an administrative presumption that a person serving in the armed forces of a foreign state not engaged in hostilities against the United States does not have the intention to relinquish citizenship. Voluntary service in the armed forces of a state engaged in hostilities against the United States could be viewed as indicative of an intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship.

          1. What state is it that he joined to fight against the Americans? AFAIK, Terrorstan isn’t a state.

          2. article 1 section 9 says the feds can not use bills of attainder. this also violates the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments.
            face it, this is unconstitutional deprivation of civil rights and his very life. whether he is guilty or not isn’t the point, the feds have to accuse you of a crime and then prove in a court of law that you are guilty of the crime before they can deprive him of his life.
            many terrorists are not directly funded, trained, or are under the authority of any state. so by that definition he could argue he still is a citizen. also even if they could connect him to a hostile foreign military it says COULD BE, not definitely is indicative of intention to relinquish citizenship.

          3. they haven’t proved he is a member of a hostile military or that he intended to revoke his citizenship. the feds can’t make bills of attainder. whether or not he is guilty they need to formally accuse him of a crime and prove in a court of law that he is guilty before they can deprive him of his life.

    2. The constitution also specifies that the treason charges must be supported by the testimony of at least two witnesses. In any case, treason is a criminal offense as far as the constitution is concerned, and even accused traitors are supposed to get due process before execution.

      1. At least two witnesses to the same overt act or a confession in open court. As libertartians, why are we having this discussion. The first discussion, no matter how we feel about the “War onTerror” is that the Constitution specifically grants the power to declare war to the Congress, along with the specific power to make rules concerning captures on land and water. These are not executive perogatives. We should scream that we want the Constitution followed. If Congress declares war so be it. G. Washington was Commander in Chief during the Revolution, but the Congress directed policy and set the goals for the war. Until this corruption of law is corrected, this is all moot.

  24. I specifically dealt with the situation about if the guy is immediately involved in combat on the battlefield. I said “if Awlaki is fighting on a battlefield he may be killed as part of the immediate combat”. If he resists in the attempt to capture him, fine, eliminate him then, with extreme prejudice.

    The reason it matters is because the US Constitution guarantees trial by jury in matters involving state punishment of US citizens. I’m not some soft on terror civil liberties board member. I strongly believe in the US using lethal force against Islamic radicals like Awlaki. I’m just worried about the implications of the legal precedent set by this.

    1. The reason it matters is because the US Constitution guarantees trial by jury in matters involving state punishment of US citizens. I’m not some soft on terror civil liberties board member. I strongly believe in the US using lethal force against Islamic radicals like Awlaki. I’m just worried about the implications of the legal precedent set by this.

      What Yemeni laws were violated?

      1. he is a US CITIZEN, being targeted for assassination, by the US GOVERNMENT. DEPRIVING HIM OF LIFE, it doesn’t matter if it happened in Yemen, if he is a US citizen the US government may not deprive him of his rights. the constitution still applies to the government when they leave US soil dumbass.

  25. Sounds pretty good to me dude, I like it.

    Lou
    http://www.whos-watching.es.tc

    1. Any relation to Peter?

  26. They can’t assassinate him – he hasn’t provided his tax return to the IRS yet.

    1. I’m fairly certain that death doesn’t remove tax liability.

    2. When you sit on your tax return until the last possible minute, and deprive the people’s treasury of much-needed funds, you’re siding with al-Qaeda. Straight up.

  27. The day Olberdouche names Obama or any member of his Cabinet as Worst Person in the World, is the day I say he is not completely in the tank.

  28. isn’t assassinating an American citizen unconstitutional? does he not have a right to due process and a fair trial where the state must prove he is guilty? the guy may be guilty scum, but that is no excuse for violating his constitutional rights.

    1. If he wants to use that right, then he may surrender pronto and turn himself over to a US Embassy. He isn’t using that right, so fuck him. And Greenwald.

  29. Actually, the Fifth Amendment doesn’t appear to distinguish between citizens and non-citizens.

    Maybe the President would be better off declaring war on whatever country this guy is from, so he can kill their civilian population as he sees fit.

  30. Nice work Olberdoodle.

    I am now going to cry in the shower while still clothed after having to say that.

    Back to our government killing US citizens. At least we had a little break there for a while. Lets hope we avoid burning the women and men to death this time.

    1. The F in ATF doesn’t stand for firefighting. Least of all when you’re talking about a bunch of anti-government loons who (a) had shot and wounded several federal agents approaching their compound in the past, (b) were armed to the teeth, and (c) set their own house on fire because they thought Jesus was coming.

      Rushing into that burning compound to save those nutjobs’ lives would have been a very Christian act, no doubt. But we don’t want to violate the separation of church and state by doing that either.

      1. Right. It was a judgment call. Just like when Mayor Wilson Goode dropped a bomb on MOVE members killing 5 children and burned down 61 neighboring homes.

      2. You troll like old people fuck. Slow, sloppy, and to the left.

        1. Oh yeah? Well you smell like old people do: Bad.

          1. Really, give it up. Anonbot trolls better than you.

  31. Haven’t Harry Brown and libertarians not running for president argue that a good way to deal with foreign aggression, in order to minimize casualties, was simply to put a price on the head of the leaders or instigators?

    1. Lex Leed|4.10.10 @ 10:17PM|#
      “Haven’t Harry Brown and libertarians not running for president argue that a good way to deal with foreign aggression, in order to minimize casualties, was simply to put a price on the head of the leaders or instigators?”

      Tu quoque? And a false one also?
      “…a good way to deal with foreign aggression,…”
      Foreign aggression would seem to indicate war, and I’ve heard no suggestions that war be dealt with in that manner by anyone. Terrorists are not soldiers and that distinction should be obvious.
      Further, as you mention, those who have suggested that alternative were *not* president, nor were they constrained by the Constitution.
      Fail, and fail.

      1. You’ve never heard Harry Brown or others suggesting the use of bounty hunters to take out heads of rogue states – like Saddam Hussein – or leaders of terrorist groups like Osama Bin Laden? Okay, I guess you don’t read enough. In the aftermath of 9/11 I distinctly remember these discussions in Liberty and other places.

        1. And there’s this:
          http://donklephant.com/2007/07…..bin-laden/

      2. Ron Paul absolutely introduced a bill to award Letters of Marque to US privateers.

        1. letters of marque are constitutional, bills of attainder are not. they are not the same thing.

  32. If you’re disapproving of Obama’s opponents’ criticism of him, that makes you loyal merely to your opinion of their criticism — not to the person they’re criticizing.

    1. True, and if Olbermann hadn’t dished out a stream of vulgar insults and accusations of bigotry at Obama’s critics, then that would be relevant to this discussion.

      1. He criticized Obama’s critics for THEIR incivility — which, as I have already observed, makes him loyal to his opinions of THEM, not necessarily to the person they’re criticizing.

        If you just started watching Olbermann last year, or last month, you wouldn’t be aware that he’s been a lot more impatient to see Obama follow thru on his campaign promises than he ever was with Bush during Bush’s first term — probably because he didn’t expect much from Bush to begin with. However, he was very much on board with the hopey-changey thing, resulting in the current occupant of the WH coming in for some strong Olbermannic rebukes — particularly with regard to due process, but other issues as well.

        1. you wouldn’t be aware that he’s been a lot more impatient to see Obama follow thru on his campaign promises than he ever was with Bush during Bush’s first term

          Neither I nor Wikipedia is aware that Olberman had a regular show during the first two years of Bush’s first term.

          1. He was on ESPN in those days, right? Though I don’t know how much opportunity he got to comment on politics at that time.

            1. LOL, no, he wasn’t with ESPN in 2001 & 2002. Nice try, though. He was on the radio (scored a couple of Murrow Awards for his coverage of 9/11; transcripts still available online). Was a CNN correspondent (baseball strike was looming). Wrote a bunch for Salon and incidentally was as full of opinions then as he is now. But not all that political, really.

              “Countdown” started in the spring of 2003, so Bush’s first term was far from over. Yet it was nearly 5 years in before he seriously got on Bush’s case.

              And the point is, he’s been plenty critical of Obama during Obama’s FIRST year. I believe he originally had said he was going to give him a year, but that plan went out the window a long time ago.

              1. He was on ESPN from 1992-97, and moved to Fox Sports from 1998-2001.

                1. Dood, CLINTON was president from ’98 to ’01, LOL.

                  You seem to be studiously avoiding the issue. That’s okay, my posts were for someone who might be interested in how Olbermann is actually covering the current administration — which you’d have to have followed first-hand for a while to know.

  33. Article III, Section 3

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

    Due process is a requirement. Congress shall levy punishment if found guilty.

    Nothing about having to “declare war” in order to be a traitor.

    Where the President is involved in this transaction is in FUCKING UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAND.

    There is a reason the founders revolted, and that reason is to get rid of a single man making unilateral decisions.

    This kind of shit needs to end yesterday.

    1. Since when have the Dems paid any attention to the Constitution?

      1. Fair enough, but let’s not try and infer that Republitards do either.

        Both are part of the only party left in America; the Big Government Party. The only difference is slight different in philosophy, but the result is the same.

      2. They seem to have the part about members of Congress not being subject to DUI arrests or speeding tickets down pat.

    2. No one in the administration is saying this was a punishment for treason. This action is said to have been taken because this guy was a military target, which means his citizenship status is irrelevant.

      Now, I’m not totally convinced this guy was a legit military target, largely because this administration is chock full of compulsive liars, but if he was this was justified.

      1. How is it that a legit target for the American military who is also an American citizen cannot be considered traitor? That the fucking definition of a traitor. And I take exception to the idea of “military targets.”. The military is not an autonomous body separate from the nation. There are US targets at whom we strike with the military, but not military targets. The military is a tool, not a body to make it’s own unilateral decisions.

    3. So how does one become an enemy without a declaration of war? Does the executive have the authority to declare a country or group or person an enemy? Does holding the view that America is evil constitute levying war against it? It seems to me (though I may be completely full of shit), that for treason, you need to be at war. The mechanism for declaring war exists.

      1. So Ethel and Julius Rosenberg weren’t guilty of treason for passing nuclear secrets to the Soviets?

        1. They were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, not treason.

  34. It is delicious to see progressives so silent on shit like this. Kudos to Olbermann for this (did I really just type that? That hurt.).

    I have to say, though, that it bothers me that the principle objection to this seems to be that the guy is an American citizen. That’s bullshit. If he’s a scumbag, prove it. It shouldn’t matter if he was born in the US or not.

    1. Are you talking about Obama or the guy in Yemen?

  35. I don’t understand. joe said it was going to be different this time and that you’d be racist not to think so.

    1. Olbermann’s a RACIST!!!!!!

    2. Did joe use the racist thing? I think he left before that became a DNC talking point to be regurgitated by hacks like joe.

  36. For all those saying that this man may be executed without trial by peers because he is a dangerous terrorist, I have two questions:

    A) How do you know? Obama says so? The CIA says so? Does accusation=guilt? The man himself denies actually aiding or commiting any terrorism, as does his family.
    “http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/26/AR2009122601796.html”

    b) In that case, if the Clinton administration had learned of Timothy McVeigh’s plans before he carried them out, would they have been justified in sending an agent to simply off him, rather than arrest him and bring him to justice?

    1. Your link appears to be to the underwear bomber site. This is not relevant to the person being discussed on this thread.

      1. Wrong tab, my bad…

        http://english.aljazeera.net/f…..76870.html

    2. A) How do you know? Obama says so? The CIA says so? Does accusation=guilt? The man himself denies actually aiding or commiting any terrorism, as does his family.
      “http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/26/AR2009122601796.html”

      b) In that case, if the Clinton administration had learned of Timothy McVeigh’s plans before he carried them out, would they have been justified in sending an agent to simply off him, rather than arrest him and bring him to justice?

      McVeigh was an American citizen in America.

  37. Regarding Greenwald’s observation, the Obama policies are precisely what is incented by the (in my view) over-reaction to the Bush surveillance, detention and interrogation policies. The easiest thing to do with the suspected bad guys is to kill them, instead of spying on them or capturing them and then enduring the political fallout from however you treat them.

    The assassination is over quickly, and you need only put up with a few news cycles to get past the negative impact on your poll numbers. Capturing and interrogating, on the other hand, is the gift that keeps on giving, to the lawyers the media, the publicity-seeking.

    Not that partisan hypocrisy doesn’t contribute to the differential response to Bush v. Obama, but I think the attention span explanation is much more compelling.

  38. Does the Constitution’s writ obtain in Yemen? Surely their laws should apply. I’m pretty sure we can kill this guy, then.

  39. Seems apropos that the movie “Shooter” was on last night. Remember, the deal was the gummint killed an entire village – including old people, wimmin and chilluns – and buried them in a mass grave, so they could run a pipeline through there – and covered it up. Of course Marky Mark found out about it and ended up having to give Danny Glover a high-velocity, long-distance tracheostomy. He took care of Ned Beatty up close and personal, though.

  40. Why is the non-trivial point that the American being targeted is a terrorist not even mentioned in this post?

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