Barack Obama's Private War

The Obama administration has acknowledged the use of the drones and revealed plans to increase the frequency and ferocity of the attacks.

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Did you know that the United States government is using drones to kill innocent people in Pakistan? Did you know that the Pakistani government has asked President Obama to stop it and he won't? Did you know that Pakistan is a sovereign country that has nuclear weapons and is an American ally?

Last week, the Obama administration not only acknowledged the use of the drones; it also revealed that it has plans to increase the frequency and ferocity of the attacks. White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan argued that these attacks are "in full accordance with the law" and are not likely to be stopped anytime soon.

Brennan declined to say how many people were killed or just where the killings took place or who is doing it. But we know that Obama has a morbid fascination with his plastic killing machines, and we know that these machines are among the favored tools of the CIA. We also know that if the president had been using the military to do this, he'd be legally compelled to reveal it to Congress and eventually to seek permission.

We know about the need to tell Congress and ask for permission because of the War Powers Act. This law, enacted in 1973 over President Nixon's veto, permits the president to use the military for 90 days before telling Congress and for 180 days before he needs congressional authorization. Obama must believe that he can bypass this law by using civilian CIA agents, rather than uniformed military, to do his killing.

The Constitution limits the presidential use of war powers to those necessary for an immediate defense of the United States or those exercised pursuant to a valid congressional declaration of war. In this case of Pakistan, the president has neither. And international law prohibits entering a sovereign country without its consent. But Brennan argued that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which Congress enacted in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11 to enable President Bush to pursue the perpetrators of 9/11, is essentially carte blanche for any president to kill whomever he wants, and that the use of drones, rather than the military or rather than arresting those the government believes have conspired to harm us, is a "surgical" technique that safeguards the innocent.

Attorney General Eric Holder made a similar unconstitutional argument a few months ago when he stated in defense of the president's using drones to kill Americans in Yemen that the AUMF, plus the careful consideration that the White House gives to the dimensions of each killing and the culpability of each person killed, somehow satisfied the Constitution's requirements for due process.

What monstrous nonsense all this is. These killings 10,000 miles from here hardly constitute self-defense and are not in pursuit of a declaration of war. So, what has Congress done about this? Nothing. And what have the courts done about this? Nothing.

Prior to the president's ordering the killing of the New Mexico-born and unindicted and uncharged Anwar al-Awlaki, al-Awlaki's American father sued the president in federal district court and asked a judge to prevent the president from murdering his son in Yemen. After the judge dismissed the case, a CIA-fired drone killed al-Awlaki and his American companion and his 16-year-old American son.

In his three-plus years in office, Obama has launched 254 drones toward persons in Pakistan, and they collectively have killed 1,277 persons there. The New America Foundation, a Washington think tank that monitors the presidential use of drones in Pakistan, estimates that between 11 and 17 percent of the drone victims are innocent Pakistani civilians. So much for Brennan's surgical strikes. So much for Holder's due process.

The president is waging a private war against private persons—even Americans—whose deaths he obviously believes will keep America safe. But he is doing so without congressional authorization, in violation of the Constitution, and in a manner that jeopardizes our freedom.

Who will keep us safe from a president who wants to use drones here? How long will it be before local American governments—313 of which already possess drones—use them to kill here because they are surgical and a substitute for due process? Can you imagine the outcry if Cuba or China launched drones at their dissidents in Florida or California and used Obama's behavior in Pakistan as a justification?

How long will it be before even the semblance of our Constitution is gone?

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written six books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is "It Is Dangerous To Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom."

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  1. Hey, if you think Predators are cool, “stick around.”

    1. “If it bleeds we can kill it.”

      1. You still don’t understand, Sandwich, do you? Whatever it is out there, it killed sage, and now it wants us.

        1. You really think this Boy Scout stuff is gonna work?

          1. What happened to you, Sandwich? You used to be someone I could trust.

            1. I got the job done! You’re an expendable asset.

              1. You set us up. It was bullshit, all of it.

                1. AAARRRGGHHH! Being stabbed with that big fork fucking hurts!

                  1. That’s it man, game over man, game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?

          2. Anytiiiiimme…Anytiiiiime…(bellicose laughter)

        1. Time well spent, both on the production side and the audience side. Excellent!

    2. u want cool? then i give you micro killbots flying in formation
      http://www.wired.com/autopia/2…..ormations/
      _
      mohammed el fukwad will be mesmerized & blown-to-virgins all at once!

      1. Thanks for your input, Mary.

        1. mary dont surf

  2. What does it take to impeach a President? This seems much more egregious than what Nixon did.

    1. A blowjob?

    2. Shit, it’s way worse than getting hummers from a fat intern (and then lying about it under oath in a civil case, you know, the part people tend to forget about) and Slick Willy was impeached for that. I think charged with treason would be appropriate for this shit.

    3. What does it take to impeach a President?

      Congressional majorities from the other party.

      Because we all know that a President could post a Youtube of himself raping the corpses of puppies and devouring the livers of infants, and as long as Congress is in the hands of his party, he won’t be impeached.

      1. One of the big mistakes of the Founders was in assuming that branch prerogatives would be greater than party loyalty.

        1. I’d pay a few bucks to see those videos…

    4. A Congress with a spine (i.e. never again).

      1. There should be more politicians that speak out against this, at least.

  3. How long will it be before has it been since even the semblance of our Constitution is was gone?

    fify

  4. How long will it be before even the semblance of our Constitution is gone?

    I think we’re pretty much there. Oh, occasional lip service is still paid, but only when it’s politically necessary.

  5. This, and NDAA FY 2012, have destroyed the Constitution.

  6. LBJ woulda loved a few of them things over the Ho CHi Minh trail.

  7. MSM Talking Head: After the break…why does Libertatian Judge Andrew Napolitano hate black people and why does he want American children to be less safe?

    1. why does Libertatian Judge Andrew Napolitano hate black people and why does he want American children to be less safe?

      Your question contains your answer.

  8. It is pretty shocking that we see almost nothing about these issues in the media. Talk about a big story…

    As for semblance of the constitution, echoing earlier comments, but it’s pretty much gone. As soon as the supreme court ruled that congress could regulate people growing grain for their own use, we were fucked.

  9. I think “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States” is at least a little sketchy to hang any presidential power to wage war on at all – especially given Federalist No. 26 wherein the idea of having a standing army under control of the executive branch was thought to be a rather silly thing to worry about. Hamilton argued that clearly the army was under control of the legislature so how could the army be a threat? Not to mention that 2nd amendment thing about a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.

    I have always thought the War Powers Act was unconstitutional not because it limited the power of the President to wage war (as Nixon argued) but because it was an unconstitutional delegation of powers from Congress to the President – the President has no power at all to wage war.

    Of course, Congress still has the power of the purse, they can simply defund the CIA. But that assumes Congress is jealous of their powers rather than eager to turn over their responsibilities to somebody else who can be blamed when things go wrong, as in the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

  10. President Bush to pursue the perpetrators of 9/11, is essentially carte blanche for any president to kill whomever he wants, and that the use of drones, http://www.petwinkel.com/pet-polo-c-38.html rather than the military or rather than arresting those the government believes have conspired to harm us, is a “surgical” technique that safeguards the innocent.

  11. I’m more concerned about places like Memphis using drones:

    http://www.commercialappeal.co…..ny-drones/

    Land of the free and home of the brave?

    Yeah, right….we’re a real freedom loving bunch.

  12. I think that if President Obama wins in November of 2012, he must be impeached as soon as possible thereafter, but I have little faith in the Congress to do this, and so I hope that the electorate and the electoral college will do the job that Congress is too craven and corrupt to do. I was for impeaching Mr. Bush on the same grounds, but Mr. Obama has elevated his constitutional transgressions to a whole new level of egregiousness.

    I am also worried for my country, when I remember that we are dealing with eye-for-an-eye moralists in the middle-east. Especially now that Iran has one of our drones, what is to keep them or any of the many groups with a grudge against us, from making their own drone fleet and sending them our way to take out, for example, the Oval and anyone in it? Or from realizing OBL’s dream of exploding Air Force One en route? And if any of this ever came to pass, how would we ever know who was responsible?

    More than ever before, I think that the US must adopt a non-interventionist foreign policy. Going forward, it is critically important that the nation conduct itself in a way that will not inspire blow-back.

  13. The other thing that we must do, which Congress seems too craven and corrupt to do, is repeal the AUMF. The parade of constitutional travesties in recent years are all almost invariably traceable back to that source.

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  15. There are so much tensions between the pakistan and america in this matter, there is lots of pressure on the pakistan government by the public to stop america drone attacks but the barack obama made it private war.

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  18. When did Mr. Obama become a Republican?

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