Barack Obama

Obama's Secret Court for Killing

The White House shows little respect for due process.

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President Obama willingly admits he dispatched CIA agents to kill an American and his teenage son and the son's American friend while they were in a desert in Yemen in 2011. He says he did so because the adult had encouraged folks to wage war on the United States and the children were just "collateral damage." He says further that he'll do this again when he is convinced that killing Americans will keep America safe. He says he knows the adult encouraged evil, and his encouragement caused the deaths of innocents. The adult was never charged with a crime or indicted by a grand jury; he was just targeted for death by the president himself and executed by a CIA drone.

International law and the law of war, to both of which the U.S. is bound by treaty, as well as federal law and the Judeo-Christian values that underlie the Declaration of Independence (which guarantees the right to live) and the Constitution (which permits governmental interference with that right only after a congressional declaration of war or individual due process) all provide that the certainty of the identity of a human target, the sincerity of the wish for his death, the perception of his guilt and imminent danger are insufficient to justify the government's use of lethal force against him. The president may only lawfully kill after due process, in self-defense or under a declaration of war.

The reasons for the constitutional requirement of a congressional declaration of war are to provide a check on the president's lust for war by forcing him to obtain formal congressional approval, to isolate and identify the object of war so the president cannot kill whomever he pleases, to confine the warfare to the places where the object's military forces are located so the president cannot invade wherever he wishes, and to assure termination of the hostilities when the object of the war surrenders so the president cannot wage war without end.

But when war is waged, only belligerents may be targeted, and advocating violence against the U.S. is not an act of wartime violence and does not make one a belligerent. Were this not so, then nothing would lawfully prevent the U.S. from killing Americans who spoke out in favor of al-Qaida, and then killing Americans who spoke out against war and killing, and then killing Americans whose words became an obstacle to killing.

That's the reason the enabling federal legislation enacted in support of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force specifically exempts expressive conduct from the ambit of prohibited criminal or warlike behavior that can provide the basis for any government prosecution or military belligerence. So, the feds can shoot at a guy with a bomb in his hands when he is about to explode it, but not at a guy with a megaphone in his hands when he is about to speak through it.

Thus, if New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki had been shooting at American troops at the time the government took aim at him, naturally, the troops can shoot back. But when he merely encourages others to shoot, his behavior is protected by the natural law, the First Amendment and numerous federal statutes. As well, he was 10,000 miles from the U.S., never known to have engaged in violent acts, and having a private conversation at a roadside cafe in a desert when he was killed. No law or legal principle justifies the U.S. government killing him then and there; in fact, numerous laws prohibit it.

The president's use of the CIA for offensive killing also violates federal law. Intelligence agents may only lawfully kill in self-defense, not offensively. Only the military may lawfully kill offensively. In the al-Awlaki case, intelligence sources have confirmed to Fox News that a team of American and Yemeni intelligence agents had followed al-Awlaki and had him under continuous observation at the time of his killing and for the preceding 48 hours. They easily could have arrested him—had he been charged with a civilian crime or a war crime, which he wasn't.

Of course, the murder of his Colorado-born son and the son's American friend are not even arguably defensible, and the president's spokesman who suggested that the young al-Awlaki should have "chosen a different father" shows a seriously defective thought process and an utter antipathy for the rule of law in places of power.

We now confront the truly unthinkable: a proposal to establish yet another secret court, this one with the authority to authorize the president and his designees to kill Americans. This proposal has come from Congress, which seems more interested in getting in on the killing than in upholding the Constitution. The federal government only has the lawful powers the states delegated to it. As the states cannot kill Americans without due process, neither can the feds. Congress cannot create this killing court, and no judge on such a Stalinesque court can authorize the president to kill.

The president has made a political calculation that it will be easier for him to justify killing folks he can demonize than it will be to afford them due process, by capturing, housing and trying them. Now, he has come to believe that it will be easier still if unnamed federal judges meeting in secret take the heat. Politically, the president may be correct. But he has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, and he lacks the moral and legal basis to reject that in favor of killing.

When he kills without due process, he disobeys the laws he has sworn to uphold, no matter who agrees with him. When we talk about killing as if it were golf, we debase ourselves. And when the government kills and we put our heads in the sand, woe to us when there is no place to hide.

NEXT: Source: White House "Pushed Out" Gen. Allen from NATO Command

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  1. “When he kills without due process, he disobeys the laws he has sworn to uphold, no matter who agrees with him.”
    If that isn’t an impeachable offense, I don’t know what would qualify.

    1. No, no, he didn’t swear to uphold the musty, 100-year old, hard-to-understand Constitution! He swore to uphold the ‘living, breathing’, infinitely malleable constitution that means whatever they want it to mean.

    2. Racist.

    3. Republicans got a hard on for killing too, it’s why they won’t fight.

    4. Assuming these killings aren’t covered by the 9/11 AUMF, they are illegal. Which makes them murder. Depending on how you apply the various statutes, he is at minimum guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.

      Which ought to qualify as an impeachable “high crime”.

      1. I guess Biden needs to go arrest him.

        1. Better hurry up before little Beau strips him of his arresting powers.

    5. That was precisely my thought.

      And to those anyone who even mentions Bush’s impeachable statements and actions I would say “the bastard got lucky and got away with it”.

  2. but it’s okay when He does it. So many lefties told me so. This power would only be worrisome if held by some evil Repub.

    Why does the judge love jihadists? And why does he hate Murkuhns who would be killed here if we didn’t kill other Murkuhns there?

  3. Taking this argument to its logical conclusion, as long as Osama bin laden was only talking to other al Qaeda members, encouraging jihad, and not physically firing on us troops, his targeted assassination was illegal and immoral.

    Good luck with that.

    1. Shut the fuck up Joe, you retarded pathetic little homunculus.

      1. A little homunculus must be really small.

    2. Planning and organizing is not talking. Hitler never personally killed anyone.

      1. He killed himself. Does that count?

      2. That’s exactly what al-aulaqi was doing. You disagree with the judge too?

        1. And his son?

        2. They presented proof that Al Awlaki was organizing and planning terrorist attacks? Citation needed, dipshit.

          1. The AUMF doesn’t require public dissemination of that evidence.

            But it seems pretty obvious to me, regardless.

            1. Awwww, little’s joe’s WAR BONUR is so cute.

              I love how now, morality = right TEAM + policy.

              1. The only argument I’m making is legal = what’s written in the laws.

                1. Then you get right on returning those run-away slaves joe. I hear there might even be payment.

                  Fucking shitsipper.

                  1. I agree the law is sometimes immoral. I do not follow all laws. However the argument that obama’s drone use is illegal or impeachable has no basis in the law.

            2. Let’s see what the AUMF says there, chief:

              (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.

              Oh look, nothing about “anybody that has a funny sounding name and looks shifty to me” in there.

              1. So now you’re asserting that Obama killed this guy because he’s a brown Muslim? Maybe to prove to the breitbart crew that he’s really an American?

      3. He might have killed someone in WWI. Wasn’t he a soldier?

        1. He was a messenger, running orders from the command post up to the front trenches. It’s unlikely he ever personally killed anyone.

          1. He was an frustrated artist! And he would have succeeded if not SilverFox316! That temporal OCD bastard.

    3. DEUS VULT! The Holy Land shall be ours!

    4. The Derider| 2.14.13 @ 10:50AM |#
      “Taking this argument to its logical conclusion,…”

      Deidiot, you’re not capable of any such thing.

      1. It’s “Deridiot”. He’s German, you know.

        1. So, he’s a scheise kopf.

    5. just stop. We have a methodology for dealing with traitors, as one might logically brand an American turned jihadist. Oddly enough, it does not murder by remote.

      1. We’re german American traitors who joined the third reich arrested and put to trial?

        No, we killed them indiscriminately.

        1. We’re german American traitors who joined the third reich …”

          Sounds a bit right.

    6. not physically firing on us troops, his targeted assassination was illegal and immoral.

      Bin Laden should have been captured, indicted, and tried for conspiracy to commit murder, a few thousand counts of murder, and whatever other charges federal and state prosecutors could make stick based on the fact pattern.

      1. Under the 9/11 AUMF, killing OBL was kosher.

        Droning people who were not connected in any way with 9/11, not so much.

        1. Congressional authorization does not make it either morally right or Internationally legal.

          1. For the moment, I’m leaving aside the issue of whether the AUMF was, itself, a Constitutional action. I’m just saying that, by its relatively limited terms, its very difficult to justify the continuing drone war.

        2. Droning people who were not connected in any way with 9/11, not so much.

          It sure looks like the AUMF makes it kosher to go after Al Qaeda, whether the current members were involved in 9/11 or not.

          1. Even if you read it that way, you’d be stretching it to go after organizations that just adopt the brand without any other substantial connection to OBL’s organization.

            1. I’m not so sure. Anyone who advertises that they are part of the organization, whether they are the “true” Al Qaeda or not, has pretty much assumed the risk, it seems to me. If you want to adopt the brand for philosophical or membership reasons, you’ve adopted the brand for all that comes with it.

              “Oh, we’re not that Al Qaeda” isn’t very convincing.

              That’s not to say that the AUMF, or it’s wording, are all that great, but adopting the brand doesn’t get you a pass any more than renaming the brand would.

              1. So, if I start selling Al Qaeda brand cookies, I’m fair game?

                Very silly question, I know, but shouldn’t some actual intent to do harm at least have to be demonstrated, not just using a name?

                1. I’m not sure selling Al Qaeda brand cookies is the same as joining Al Qaeda.

                  I suppose it’s conceivable that people adopt the name with absolutely zero intent to harm, but it seems like that would be pretty unlikely. It also seems pretty unlikely that such people would be very high on the drone list.

                  I’m not trying to defend the drone war but, by the terms of the AUMF, there is organizational guilt. It’s pretty easy to avoid that by not associating with the organization.

                  1. Ya know, the text of the AUMF has been posted twice now. You might want to read it.

                    1. That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those… organizationshe determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001…

                      Which part of that doesn’t support the position that the President can go after Al Qaeda? Which part limites him to going after members in place on 9/11/2001?

                    2. That little part after your bold section that says

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

                      If they weren’t a member of AQ as of that point, they had nothing to do with the events of 9/11/01.

                    3. The organization, as distinct from the explicitly mentioned “persons,” had something to do with the events of 9/11/2001. Thus, attacking the current organization is authorized. Thus, attacking the current members of the organization is authorized.

                    4. The organization, as distinct from the explicitly mentioned “persons,” had something to do with the events of 9/11/2001.

                      That is a very generous reading of the language. Sorry, but no. They went after the bad guys and got them.

                      But hey, who doesn’t want a war that has no definable end and even if so, can be redefined on a whim. I’m sure that nothing bad will come out of that.

                    5. Al Qaeda, the organization, planned and executed the attacks. Therefore members of al Qaeda are valid targets, regardless of the date they joined the organization, as long as they are working to promote future acts of terrorism.

                2. Can you please make maple-bacon Al Qaeda cookies? Cut them in the shape of OBL?

        3. Even if it is kosher, is that really the America we want? Even in cases of obvious and admitted culpability that the government can dispense with any pretense of due process and proceed straight to the killin’?

        4. They don’t need to be connected with 9/11 specifically, only al Qaeda in general.

          1. The Derider| 2.14.13 @ 11:43AM |#
            “They don’t need to be connected with 9/11 specifically, only al Qaeda in general.”

            ‘Cause you say so, right, deidiot?

            1. No, that’s what the AUMF says explicitly.

              1. So al-Awlaki’s son was a member of al Queda?

                1. So his son was the target of a drone strike?

                  No on both counts.

                    1. Well if the former whitehouse press secretary says it, it must be true!

                      He argued that al-awlaki’s son died because he had a shitty father, not that his son was the target of a drone strike. It’s a callous statement, but not what you’re trying to twist it into.

                    2. I see now that joe is now a full-fledged member of TEAM RETARD.

                      I hope the bib helps with the drooling.

                    3. You have to be nice to the retarded. It’s right there in the Constitution.

                    4. You sure are dumb, joe.

                    5. I’m sure that’s why no one can refute the argument.

          2. They don’t need to be connected with 9/11 specifically, only al Qaeda in general.

            And that means a lot to me, joe, because you said it.

            But seriously, fuck off.

          3. They don’t need to be connected with 9/11 specifically, only al Qaeda in general.

            From the AUMF:

            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.

            There was a time when a good old fashioned Whole Earth Catalog progressive would find the vague and open-ended language to be exceedingly problematic. That the Obama-fellating crowd is fine with it now that their bastard is in office is all you need to know.

            1. That’s not a very nice way to tell me I’m right, but I’ll take it.

              1. You are not right, you are a cunt and fuck off.

      2. The SEALs who were sent in probably would’ve captured him, if he hadn’t gone for his gun. Granted that the reports from the scene contradict one another, but most of them say he was either armed or trying to arm himself, in which case shooting him dead makes sense.

        Just the fact that we sent in SEALs in person and didn’t just blow up the compound with drones argues they wanted him taken alive, if at all possible.

        1. Or it argues that they wanted physical proof that he was dead.

    7. Hey, joe! Still short? Still stupid? Awesome! Glad to hear it, bro.

      1. Still sucking democrat cock. I hear he might be promoted from mop boy soon.

    8. Good luck with that.

      Bloodlust trumps rule of law, eh Joe?

      his targeted assassination was illegal and immoral

      Yes. Regardless of how much that appeased most everyone…yes. Regardless of how much I don’t like that…yes.

      But fuck principles, right joe?

    9. Your logical conclusion is correct: prior to any physical attack on Americans, assassinating him was illegal. After a physical attack, he still should have been brought in to face speedy public trial which would have resulted *by his own statements* in his execution.

      Public clamor for revenge is one of the reasons that we have (had) rule of law.

    10. Yes, Osama bin Laden should have been captured alive and put on trial.

      1. What if that wasn’t feasible? Should we leave him alive or kill him?

    1. Don’t tell me, let me guess:
      Dorner was one of the planners for the inside job on 9-11, right?

    2. Van is also the guy who termed Rubio ‘dangerous’ after the SOTU, and dangerous is a bad way for Dems. But it is interesting how the Jones types never want to talk about someone’s politics when it makes their Team look bad.

    3. Why not? Because Dorner can’t be spun into an evil white racist who was probably in the pay of the Kochtopus?

      Time for some gun control on cops, just in case any more of them decide to go Dorner.

      1. This is over on the ML, too:
        “Ex-cops like Dorner may own banned guns”
        “Taking on the issue would mean challenging the politically powerful police lobby…”
        http://www.sfgate.com/crime/ar…..277196.php
        But see, *nothing* should stand in the way of…

        1. The exemption in the state’s stringent gun laws is one few lawmakers are likely to challenge, even as state leaders are pushing a wide array of bills to further restrict gun ownership and use.

          Taking on the issue would mean challenging the politically powerful police lobby and could set up a scenario where the state mandates the removal of guns from the possession of former public safety officials.

          So what if a cop decides to slaughter a few peasants for his amusement? You should be happy to die for the pleasure of the Warrior Caste.

      2. How about not picking and choosing who’s guns we are going to control. Isn’t this the problem?

  4. “The children were just “collateral damage.” He says further that he’ll do this again when he is convinced that killing Americans will keep America safe.”

    We should bring this up every time Barack Obama accuses defenders of the Second Amendment of rationalizing the killing of children–as being worth the price of freedom.

    Among all the other problems with that accusation, someone should point out that Barack Obama rationalizes all the children he’s killed, too. And I’m not sure that’s a tu quoque objection, either, if it’s presented specifically in response to Obama claiming moral superiority in that regard.

    From what I can tell, Barack Obama has killed more children, with drone strikes, than Adam Lanza did, and, sure, Obama rationalizes the children he’s killed. The big difference between Obama and Second Amendment defenders on that count is that Second Amendment defenders aren’t trying to kill any children, but Barack Obama, apparently, takes children in the vicinity of his drone strikes into consideration–and gives the go ahead anyway.

    1. That’s why I blew a gasket about him declaring the day of the Newtown massacre as being the worst day of his presidency.

      If I were in his shoes, if dead kids bothered me, the worst day of my presidency would be when 20+ children were slaughtered my someone obeying my orders, rather than the day when some nutjob who had nothing to do with me did it.

      Obama is pretty clearly suffering from some form of Narcissistic Personality disorder, so he doesn’t care. He’s just saying whatever will get him adulation regardless of how nutty is when considered soberly.

      So I shouldn’t get as pissed off as I do. His self-centeredness and obliviousness to the harm he wreaks should be utterly unsurprising.

      But still I feel like punching him in the jaw.

      1. He’s a master media manipulator.

        And speaking out of both sides of his mouth is a lot easier since he doesn’t seem to have a shred of personal integrity.

        Call Barack Obama a two-faced manipulator of facts, and he doesn’t care. Some of his marginal supporters might, though.

        I guess we can only hope.

        1. Ken Shultz| 2.14.13 @ 11:15AM |#
          “He’s a master media manipulator.”

          Disagreed.
          The media is self-manipulating.

          1. Yes – it’s not rape, it’s not even seduction, it’s “take me now, Mr. President!”

          2. this….Obama is not manipulating anything. A compliant press corps is manipulalting what he says to make it palatable to the masses.

  5. “The president may only lawfully kill after due process, in self-defense or under a declaration of war.”

    Everybody knows I’m no fan of Barack Obama, but I question the argument that he doesn’t have the right to go after anyone affiliated with Al Qaeda at his discretion–anywhere in the world–given the wording of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists:

    “(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.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…..med_Forces

    He seems to have blanket authority to go after Al Qaeda (“organizations”) anywhere in the world and/or individuals (“persons”). Congress can revise or rescind that authorization whenever it chooses, but, in the meantime, it seems to me that as long as he’s going after someone “he determines” is affiliated with Al Qaeda, he can drop a rocket on anybody he wants to–anywhere in the world.

    1. Congress can authorize the president to rape all the red-headed lasses in Ireland too, but it doesn’t make such rapes legal.

      1. It doesn’t make it right, but it may make it legal.

        1. Well, since the Constitution is the highest law of the land, and the congress has no power under the Constitution to authorize any such thing, I think it would also be illegal.

          1. Very well may be.

            I’m not sure the AUMF was illegal.

            It was enacted within the context of the War Powers Act.

            Please note, I’m not saying I like what’s in the AUMF, or that I support what Barack Obama is doing. But just becasue I don’t like it, doesn’t mean I have to pretend it’s illegal.

            If it’s legal, and it’s authorized by way of the AUMF, then there’s a way to change that–we need to get rid of or revise the AUMF. It’s been 12 years! Time to revise it–at least.

            1. I don’t think the AUMF can authorize the extra-judicial assassination of Americans any more than a congressional declaration of war can. Congress can’t legally authorize assassination of Americans without due process any more than the President can.

              1. I think you’re suggesting that it might not work if it were taken to the Supreme Court?

                Or maybe you’re suggesting that if Obama were impeached over this, then he should be removed from office?

                Whether the law really has standing, though, doesn’t change the fact that it is a law. It was almost unanimously passed by both chambers.

                Maybe it’s a bad law, but it’s a law.

            2. the AUMF was in regard to using force against those who attacked us WRT 9/11, not Americans who may have some sympathies with Islamists or may someday be traitors. Anyway, a system already exists for dealing with treason.

              1. It seems really clear to me that he was part of Al Qaeda.

                The authorization gives the president the explicit right to go after those “organizations” that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11”.

                That’s Al Qaeda.

                If you become part of Al Qaeda (as determined by the president), then he can drop a rocket on you.

                And if we don’t like that, then we need to change or limit the authorization in some way.

            3. It was enacted within the context of the War Powers Act.

              The real question is whether it was authorized by the Constitution. The only clause I can think of is the one authorizing Congress to declare war.

              Now, I don’t know that Congress has to use the magic words “declare war”, but I’m not super-excited about saying Congressional authorization of extrajudicial killings at the President’s whim is within its authority to declare war.

              1. Well, the question of whether a law is constitutional is different from whether it is a law.

                It’s a law regardless of whether it’s constitutional.

                The president is citing it as his authorization to do this stuff, and if we want it to stop, then we need to revise or get rid of the law.

                You get rid of that authorization, and what he’s doing really will be illegal.

                I certainly think it’s more likely that Congress repeal or revise the authorization than that the Supreme Court will circumscribe the Commander in Chief’s war powers. I certainly think it’s more likely that the authorization gets revised than that the president gets impeached for killing a terrorist.

                So let’s revise or get rid of the damn thing!

                1. Well, the question of whether a law is constitutional is different from whether it is a law.

                  Not necessarily. Unconstitutional laws are void ab initio as ultra vires acts of Congress.

                  1. Well, I don’t think we’re about to get Obama impeached for this anytime soon anyway.

                    The way to handle it is to revise or get rid of the law. I’m not kidding about the Obama Administration citing the AUMF as authorizing this killing.

                    They really do. So, let’s kick the leg out from under that chair so they can’t use it anymore.

        2. I’m pretty sure it would still be illegal in Ireland. Rape is illegal in Ireland, right? At least when the Catholic church isn’t doing it?

          1. Rape is illegal in Ireland now? They must have passed a Violence Against Lasses Act, too.

      2. Is it legally rape when he uses a robot?

        1. Great, now the drones are becoming involved in hentai.

          1. Damn, drony robots. It’s like Skynet on Viagra.

      3. or Constitutional

    2. necessary and appropriate force

      Point of contention.

      1. I think he could argue that it was necessary and appropriate–I’ve seen people stretch more out of less elastic clauses.

        Point is that the authorization is due for an overhaul. Instead of arguing that what he’s doing is illegal, I would argue that what he’s doing is wrong–and we need to change the authorization so he can’t legally do it anymore. That’s basically what I’m trying to say…

        Just like the question up top about congressionally sanctioned rape. If there were such a law saying that was legal, my take would be that we need to get rid of that law–regardless of whether it’s legal.

        Judges think in terms of legal and illegal! I think in terms of whether something is smart or stupid or whether something is ethically right or ethically wrong. I’m one of these crazy people who thinks the law confers no real legitimacy to stupid or ethically wrong behavior–so we change bad laws. Instead of crying about whether something is legal.

        1. Judges think in terms of legal and illegal! I think in terms of whether something is smart or stupid or whether something is ethically right or ethically wrong. I’m one of these crazy people who thinks the law confers no real legitimacy to stupid or ethically wrong behavior–so we change bad laws. Instead of crying about whether something is legal.

          I don’t argue against drone striking or “signature strikes”, in terms of mere legality. I don’t think it is legal and even if it is legal under the AUMF (which is what Obama and his flunkies argue), it is an immoral position based on the philosophy of natural law as well as being against public policy (policy being to encourage justice and due process, especially where American citizens are concerned).

    3. Ken, allow me to offer you a tip. This is just a suggestion and in no way a command. USE FEWER WORDS! Think of what you want to say and the shortest way to say it. Brevity is the soul of wit.

      1. It’s important to get the whys in, too.

        It’s important if I’m going to learn something, anyway.

        Getting your ideas critiqued around here by smart people is what makes participating around here worthwhile. How are you gonna criticize my ideas properly if I never completely express them?

        1. If you believe that the people here are smart enough to properly critique your ideas, then maybe they’re smart enough to understand the whys. State your point, explain later if needed. Seems to work well enough for everyone else.

          1. I’ll try harder.

            1. To be honest, I generally skip your posts because of tl;dr syndrome.

              1. No you don’t!

                You stay up all night thinking about them!

                You print them out to show your friends and family.

                Someday, they’re gonna publish “The Collective Blog Posts of Ken Shultz, Volumes I-VII”, and you’ll be first in line to buy the first edition!

                I’ll sign ’em for you if you want me to.

                1. “The Collective Blog Posts of Ken Shultz, Volumes I-VII”

                  As much as you write, that’s about two weeks worth of posts.

                  BTW, is this you?

                  1. No.

                    What’s his name keeps linking to that guy thinking it’s me.

                    It’s not.

                    But if that dude wants to buy my email address, I’ll sell it to him for the right price.

                    I only went with Kendall in my gmail address becasue all the other iterations of ken shultz were already taken. There’s a bunch of us out there. One dude somebody thought was me once? Had a race car that read “Kendall Shultz” on the side. …which is way cooler than somebody screaming Cannibal Corpse songs on YouTube.

                    I know there’s another ken shultz out there who’s a cop. There’s a bunch of us. We’re taking over!

    4. Ken, you’re missing some important nuance. That AUMF is limited to those who “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

      It definitely covers AQ and OBL. It doesn’t, as far as I can see, cover any other terrorist organization unless it was also involved, directly or indirectly, in the 9/11 attacks as, for example, accessories after the fact.

      And I think we are well past that point.

      1. That AUMF needs to go. It’s too damned much power being delegated.

      2. Anwar al-Aulaqi, the American citizen in question, was Al Qaeda.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-Aulaqi

        Certainly, the president determined (“he determines”) that al-Aulaqi was Al Qaeda.

        1. Was he involved directly or indirectly in the 9/11 attacks? Not as far as I know.

          If not, then was he part of OBL’s AQ organization, or one of the other more-or-less independent AQ-branded organizations?

          I really don’t know the answer to that.

          1. Right, he was part of the Al Qaeda organization.

            The president determined so.

            From what I can tell, that’s all the authorization requires.

            1. Part of OBL’s AQ?

              And all it takes is the President saying so?

              So if he pauses before putting out on the 12th hole and says Ken Schultz is part of AQ, putting a bullet in the back of your head is perfectly legal?

              1. “So if he pauses before putting out on the 12th hole and says Ken Schultz is part of AQ, putting a bullet in the back of your head is perfectly legal?”

                If he wanted to do that, yeah, I think it would cause a big outcry (since I’m in no way affiliated with Al Qaeda), but given the text of the authorization, that’s the way it reads, isn’t it?

                He could drop a rocket on any of us at any time if he wants. The only check on his power, there, is public opinion. And that’s not good enough for me.

                1. If he wanted to do that, yeah, I think it would cause a big outcry (since I’m in no way affiliated with Al Qaeda),

                  They’ve been droning all sorts of people who aren’t affiliated with AQ. All those Talibanis in AfPak, for example.

                  Plus, as I read it, it doesn’t matter whether you are or not, as long as the President says you are.

                  1. Taliban are covered by the authorization.

                    “he 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

                    It was written to take out the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

                    At the time, there was a problem in that they were afraid the alliance that had been fighting the Taliban might frown on us, technically, declaring war on them–since they claimed to be the legitimate state of Afghanistan, and we were still recognizing them, I believe, as the legitimate state of Afghanistan. So, declaring war on Afghanistan, at the time, might have been misinterpreted by our provisional allies as declaring war against them.

                    And that’s the last thing we wanted! Gee, if our provisional allies turned against us, who knows? We could be stuck there for a decade or more! And who the hell wants to still be in Afghanistan come 2011? So, our Bush Administration leaders, in their infinite wisdom, decided that we didn’t need a declaration of war–that an authorization would do. And our congressional leaders, in their infinite wisdom, were all about doing whatever the Bush Administration told them to do–and that’s on both sides of the aisle.

                    1. It was written to take out the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

                      True enough. The Taliban was harboring AQ.

                      Sticking to the AUMF, I think it authorizes military action against AQ and the Taliban. I suppose you could include the conduct of the drone war under that.

                      Currently, a decent chunk of the drone war is being waged against AQ-branded organizations in Africa. I continue to doubt the applicability of the AUMF to these organizations.

              2. So if he pauses before putting out on the 12th hole and says Ken Schultz is part of AQ, putting a bullet in the back of your head is perfectly legal?
                ————-
                that seems, depending on your POV, either the bug or the feature of this newfound power.

              3. Yes. Which is why the partisan hacks supporting this are absolute idiots.

      3. It’s not limited to “those who” planned or executed 9/11, it covers persons, organizations and nations who aided in the attacks, “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism” A person who joined al Qaeda on 9/12 is still a valid target.

        1. [A]ided in the attacks“. Going to have a hard time showing Awlaki was part of that. Or anyone who joined on 9/12 either.

        2. “A person who joined al Qaeda on 9/12 is still a valid target.”

          I would just add that they’re still a valid target per the logic of the law.

          Not per the logic of common decency or the question of what’s the smartest policy.

          Really, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it isn’t disgusting. American history is littered with examples of things that are both perfectly legal and morally disgusting–and Barack Obama has provided us with yet another example. I question whether this assassination policy is doing us more harm PR wise in the Muslim world than the good of killing this or that individual terrorist, too.

          Regardless, whether what the president does is legal hardly has anything to do with whether what he does is foolish or morally outrageous.

          1. Fair enough. But if obama’s policy is legal, the judge’s argument falls apart.

            1. Not if his argument is criticizing the law, it doesn’t.

              Did Rosa Parks have a right to sit in the front of a public bus–no matter what the law said?

              I think so! Don’t you?

              Just because something is legal doesn’t mean we shouldn’t register our disgust with it. For the last time, the question isn’t just whether Obama’s behavior is legal; the question is whether Obama’s behavior is disgusting and should be illegal.

              And presidents executing American citizens (and their children) without the benefit of a trial or a lawyer or a jury or anything like due process? You can see how there might be a problem with that, right? Even if it’s Barack Obama who’s ordering the execution?

    5. If you ask me, it boils down to three basic things:
      1. Does the AUMF authorize the President to kill ALL people claiming to be terrorists: Maybe

      2.Does the Constitution protect the right to life of a United States citizen and clearly present the path the government must take to end said life: Yes

      3. Does the Constitution trump the AUMF: YES YES YES

      Thus, in my opinion, the President’s killing of a U.S. citizen without a trial is unconstitutional.

      1. 5th amend. “no PERSON shall be deprived of life… w/o due process of law”. Not just citizens.

  6. Transparency. Accountability. Limited power. Checks on power. Legitimacy.

    These are all hallmarks of a free society. When any official can act in total disregard to these things in almost complete secrecy, we’re all placed in danger.

    1. Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Libertate.
      Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure
      up the stolen economy, or given you clairvoyance enough to find terrorism’s hidden fort.

      1. [Strangles Warty with the force of his righteous indignation.]

        1. Exhibit A that the Star Wars writers are oblivious to the effects of the force on human society.

          The Jedi training academy has an utter dearth of incidents where kids bully the weaker ones with force wedgies.

      2. I find your lack of faith disturbing.

        1. [Strangles Sparky with the force of his righteous indignation for calling his perfectly rational position faith.]

          1. And yes, I followed due process before strangling.

    2. ProLib, I’ve been from one side of this country to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that anything can legitimize this all-powerful Government controlling everything.

    3. I’m altering the terms of our free society. Pray I don’t alter it further.

  7. I can imagine some future Republican president getting impeached for what Obama is doing today. As his administration circles the drain all the butthurt repubs will whine about how Obama did it first, but the media and Dems will slaughter them without mercy.

    1. more than a couple of liberals have said they would be calling for impeachment had a Repub done. And the really odious in the left justify it by saying they feel better about Obama having the power rather than evil GOP teafucking ratbagger.

      1. Which ones? Name names.

        1. Bill Maher’s eyebrows went up, too. Most of the rest, partisan scum that they are, just talk about how much warmer and fuzzier they are about Obama having this authority and not some evil Repub. I believe even Rachel Maddow’s eyebrow twitched over it.

  8. If the president’s drone wars aren’t generating around the clock attention, the legacy media have failed, outright failed, in their responsibility. I’d expect the same if it were any party in the white house. This shit has got to stop or it will insidiously creep inside what is considered normal for the American executive. It’s so shockingly, blatantly, disgustingly, unconstitutional, that I wonder if there are any limits to what the American people will put up with.

    1. The current majority of “American people” have absolutely no idea what’s going on in our dirty war. Due to plausible deniability and the complex web of compartmentalized information tactics, neither does much of anybody, including top brass. JSOC and other acronymically guised secret squirrels have become far more adept at gathering acorns and are calling their own shots under a no holds barred defense of a national creedance that has run amok.

  9. OT, but I think one of the consequences of civil disobedience ought to be dismissal from your government sinecure.

    Climate scientist James Hansen was arrested today outside the White House while protesting the proposed construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

    1. Some 48 activists, including Hansen, actress Daryl Hannah, executive director of the Sierra Club Michael Brune, Bill McKibben, co-founder of the grassroots climate group 350.org, and civil rights activist Julian Bond, practiced civil disobedience in front of the White House.

      Drone strike these domestic terrorists now!

    2. because pipelines for oil have never been done before. By the way, how did all those protestors arrive at the protest site? I’m guessing no one walked or biked.

      1. What? How dare you question the idea that Hanson got up to DC from NOAA in Alabama without using oil!

  10. anyone else having problems loading the AM links comments?

  11. Obama’s Expanding kill list

    the power of government to imprison and to murder its citizens without due process of law is the certain mark of dictatorship.

  12. Somewhere the spirit of Stalin is jealous that all he apparently had was a ice axe.

  13. We occasionally talk about the Judge’s weird insistence on including references to God and Judeo-Christian values in his articles. Many of us think it feels tacked-on and unnecessary to the line of argumentation, and distracts from the overall effect he could have on potential converts to skepticism of the state. I’ve come up with a possible explanation that might make sense as to why he does it, one that I hadn’t considered before since I am not part of the target audience for the tactic: Is he trying to shame socons, or to convince them with a line of argument with the premise of which he feels they are more likely to agree?

    1. Unless his articles are also being carried by media that have been vetted for the consumption of discerning Jesus Freaks, than he’s not preaching to the correct choir.

      1. My point is that to maximize his audience he can still make a coherent point that will get heads nodding without needing to include the religious overtones. The term “Jesus Freak” might have the opposite of the intended effect.

        1. ‘Jesus Freaks’ IMO, are incapable of being shamed. Shame implies recognition of morality and ethics, concepts seriously lacking in the adherents to the Abrahamic faiths.

          The Judge would be more efficient in spreading the cause of liberty by ditching any platitudes towards the religious – the liberty those cats are seeking only applies in the ‘afterlife’.

          1. Are you seriously claiming that anyone religious doesn’t really care about liberty?

            1. SoCons certainly don’t, most of whom claim fealty to one brand or another of the Abrahamic faiths.

    2. I’m pretty sure the Judge is actually religious. The interesting thing to me is the way he doesn’t preclude non-religious origins for rights in his work. He goes out of his way to do so when, again, I’m pretty sure he’s a religious man himself.

      1. I’m sure he is, to, and should serve as an example to SoCons about maintaining your faith without forcing it on anyone else. The line he has to walk is keeping atheists like me from rolling our eyes every time he employs te term ‘Judaeo-Christian tradition’

        OT and p.s. I’m kind of new around this site. Been watching it for over a year now, but have been reluctant to comment. You guys do a pretty good job, and are funny as hell.

        Thanks for not treating me like T O N Y or The Derider. (Yet)

        1. Thanks for not treating me like T O N Y or The Derider. (Yet)

          Heh.

  14. I just gotta give props to ken. he seems to be making a logically consistent, fact supported argument, and despite its unpopularity, he is sticking to his guns, and I’m enjoying reading it.

  15. “Judges think in terms of legal and illegal! I think in terms of whether something is smart or stupid or whether something is ethically right or ethically wrong. I’m one of these crazy people who thinks the law confers no real legitimacy to stupid or ethically wrong behavior–so we change bad laws. Instead of crying about whether something is legal.”

    this often comes up in UOF analysis. UOF is justified or unjustified based on law (case law, constitutional law, policy) NOT whether it is smart or stupid, ethical right or wrong, looks bad or good, has bad results (process is what matters) etc. people arguing against a particular uof here rarely (if ever) look at it in terms of law, they look at it in terms of these other subjective factors that are irrelevant in determining justification

    1. But your thinking would lead one to the conclusion that just because something was technically legal a President should still make a rational and ethical decision before taking an action. Without irrational and unethical action, Obama would have been nearly inactive since crooning his way into office.

      Government inaction = ?

  16. The debate Ken and I have been having about how to parse and apply the AUMF shows the danger, in my mind, of departing from the traditional understanding of “war” as armed conflict between sovereigns. Once you release the executive and the military to kill and blow up things outside that context, you have really let the cat out of the bag.

    A lesson that was learned, once, and led to the Westphalian model of international relations and war. Keep in mind that our approach to this justifies, for example, the Chinese putting a bullet in the Dalai Lama. Abandoning any restraint on state-sponsored violence except public relations and the ability of the host nation to retaliate does not move the needle toward a better world.

    1. I’ve found myself in the splitting of hairs sometimes falling in line with Ken, but I think you summed up what I’ve been struggling with as I was lurking: The US engaging in war like conflicts, without declaring war, leaves us with a shit pile of ethical, moral, and legal issues we have to dig through. We all have shit on us, not because we’re bad people for trying to sort it out, but because of the original government excrement collectively called The War on Terror. Very similar to it’s nutty sibling, The War on Drugs.

    2. There is a constitutional provision for dealing with organizations like Al Queda, which are not governments. The congress (not the executive) can issue a letter of marque to authorize force against outlaws beyond our borders.

      -jcr

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  21. The article quotes Obama as saying he wants to “keep America safe.” That’s how he justifies killing Americans: – he wants to discourage evil and the deaths of innocents.

    But aren’t the murdered man’s child and his friend also innocents. So how does murdering them help keep America safe?

    Seems like hypocrisy…

  22. Please quit truncating the phrase to “due process”. It’s “due process of law“, which means that it’s up to the judicial branch to determine whether killing someone is legal or not. Obama wants to substitute bureaucratic process for judicial process, and that’s prohibited by the fifth amendment.

    -jcr

  23. It’s not a new liberal debate technique, but its in such constant use now that I really wish commentators would stop their shows and go ape shit with outrage.

    Republican mouthpiece, “Here are the remaining questions on Benghazi..” What proceeds is a list if things like survivor transcripts, WH actions that day, administration actions prior to that 9/11, and the still as yet secretive talking points origination.

    Democratic mouthpiece, “What possible questions could remain, besides in horrible situations like this much is never known.” End of questioning and commentator moves on. WTF? Apply this to every current debate right now.

    Questions are asked, liberals act is if questions are either nonsense, already answered, or never asked. These people should never be allowed air time again, only invite people who will debate on topic. With politicians I expect this shit, but a ‘foreign affairs expert’ or some other air time guest whose only purpose should be to elaborate on the issues at hand should do some elaborating. You can be an expert in nothing and just ignore the other speaker, we all learn that at 5 years old with siblings.

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