Barack Obama

America the Lawless

From the Obama administration to the NYPD, government in America refuses to follow the Constitution.


Before you rejoice that the government has seized an alleged terrorist in Libya who was indicted for planning the notorious 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, before you join the House of Representatives in a standing ovation for the Capitol Hill Police who killed a woman whose car struck a White House fence and who then drove away at a high speed, and before you commend the New York Police Department for quickly getting to the bottom of an alleged assault by a motorcycle gang that tormented a young family on a city street, please give some thought to the rule of law.

Last weekend, a Delta Force team kidnapped a Libyan, Abu Anas al-Libi, off of a public street in Tripoli. The Navy men did not have a warrant for his arrest, did not have the permission of the local authorities or the Libyan government to carry out this kidnapping, and were unlawfully present bearing arms in public in Libya. Many of al-Libi's alleged accomplices already had been arrested, prosecuted and convicted in the U.S. The U.S. could have sought his extradition, as it did with some of them, had President Obama not bombed the American-friendly government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi out of existence, without a congressional declaration of war.

Obama apologists have praised this maneuver as a bloodless way to obtain justice without using drones to kill. (How low we have sunk when Obama can be praised for not executing someone with a drone.) Secretary of State John Kerry, acknowledging that al-Libi is innocent until proved guilty, has claimed that the rule of law was followed here because he will be brought to a civilian U.S. court for trial. Former George W. Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey claimed that because the embassy bombings constituted an act of war, the kidnapping of al-Libi was a lawful wartime assault, and he should be tried before a military tribunal.

It borders on the ridiculous for Kerry to profess fidelity to the rule of law when this criminal gambit was anything but. Fact: We are not at war with Libya. Fact: We cannot lawfully—under international law, American law or Libyan law—engage in law enforcement or offensive operations in Libya without the express consent of the local and national authorities. Fact: As a defendant in federal court in the Second Circuit, al-Libi must be brought to a federal judge in New York City within 48 hours of his arrest.

Don't hold your breath waiting for him in lower Manhattan, as the feds will "debrief" al-Libi aboard ship before turning him over to federal prosecutors for trial. One can only imagine what that debriefing will be like. It will no doubt consist of torture. That's why the interrogation is being conducted on the high seas, where the government will claim it is free to disobey any federal law. And that's why the Geneva Conventions prohibit housing prisoners of war aboard ship.

What kind of government seeks venues in which it can break the law? One that has forgotten that every time Bush made his extra-territorial argument to the Supreme Court, it was rejected. Wherever the American government goes and whatever it does, it remains subject to the confines of the Constitution.

Not to worry, administration sources claim, the FBI won't learn of whatever beans al-Libi spills while the CIA is simulating his drowning. Wrong again. While no federal court will admit evidence obtained under torture, the Patriot Act—that monstrosity that permits federal agents to write their own search warrants and FISA court judges to evade the Constitution—requires intelligence interrogators and law enforcement interrogators to share information—even the results of torture. So much for the presumption of innocence, the right to a lawyer, the right to remain silent, the right to be brought before a judge, and the rule of law.

The U.S. is a signatory to treaties that prohibit kidnapping, no matter the governmental need for the victim. Just ask Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan who was convicted in absentia a few years ago in Italy of kidnapping a Muslim imam there, and then was arrested on an international warrant in Panama this summer. And President George W. Bush himself and others were convicted in absentia of war crimes by a court in Malaysia last year. Can you imagine the outcry if Bush or Lady were kidnapped off of American streets by foreign agents? How can it be lawful for the U.S. government to kidnap innocent foreigners but not for foreign agents to kidnap guilty Americans?

While much of the above was going on in secret, two public spectacles played out on American TV last week. One involved a gang of bikers in New York City who chased a family in a Range Rover at high speeds and eventually pulled the driver from his car and beat and kicked him. Eventually the cops caught the gang, but not all gang members will be prosecuted, as at least three of them are cops—and they did nothing to stop the assault.

Also last week, a deranged single mom rammed her car into a fence that surrounds the White House. Then she sped toward Capitol Hill, a few blocks away. Instead of using any one of a number of non-lethal procedures to stop her, dozens of police gave chase and fired military-grade weapons wildly at her, hitting one of their own. After containing the car, the cops slaughtered her in a hail of bullets. Then the cops discovered that she was unarmed and had her 1-year-old baby with her.

What's going on here?

What's going on is the flow of government lawlessness down from the feds to the cops in the streets. Like children observing and imitating their parents' unsanctioned, inappropriate, yet repeated behavior, when cops see the use of the military today to pull off government crimes, to shortcut the law and to evade the Constitution, they arm themselves with military-grade hardware and do the same.

In America today, to paraphrase Voltaire, criminals are punished for their crimes, except when they commit them to the sounds of official rejoicing. 

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  1. Scary…


  2. Since when is Abu Anas al-Libi, while in Tripoli, protected by the US Constitution? The Judge should move there and mete out his decisions.

    OT: South Park did a number on Cartman/Zimmerman and SYG last night in a new episode. No justice for poor Token! I wonder if any of the Peanuts caught that.

    1. So he is not going to be prosecuted under U.S. law?

      1. Please don’t feed the troll. It’s not here to do anything but annoy you. Insult it if you must, and go on with your life–a life where you haven’t sunk so low that your only entertainment is capering around like a retarded Capuchin in a place where everyone already thinks you are a tired joke.

        1. I know. I’m not caffeinated enough yet to remember to ignore its stupidity.

          1. It’s OK. You’re only human. Of flesh and blood you’re made.

            1. But every single one of us has the Devil inside.

              1. Maybe someone needs to send us an angel. Right now.

                1. I’ll just leave this here.

                  1. Thank you! I had never seen that clip. The iridescence alone was worth clicking over. And the aqua on Stuart’s suit and all the rhinestones and fringes! I’m happy now. Well, you know, except for the bit about my government killing folks willy-nilly.

          2. Thats what reasonable is for.

            Especially since I gave up caffeine nearly two years ago.

            1. Who knew you could post after death.

        1. Heinlein would not approve of your ignorant anti-hobo slander.

          1. Indeed. I’d rate shriek’s coherence at approximately .01 Winos.

    2. What Drake said. Besides, I would prefer it if our government acted morally, regardless of what the law says.

      Also, when is gold going to hit $600/oz. again? I’m still waiting for it to make a seroius move in that direction…

    3. That’s not the issue. It is the respect for the rule of law and the sovereignty of nations, something most of America cannot get a grasp upon because we have come of age with the yankee leviathan we all labor under. It respects no other authority. As long as we can maintain military superiority it may insulate us, but if we slip the barbarians will certainly be at the gates.

      1. The rule of what law? Intl law is a farce.

        1. True – but we love to act as if it’s holy writ when it suits our purposes.

    4. The Constitution doesn’t “protect” me or apply to me at all.

      The Constitution applies to GOVERNMENT, which it restricts anywhere and everywhere it operates.

      1. May I Rephrase your statement. The Constitution is there to protect us from the government with restrictions on the government.

  3. Don’t you know we’re at war? The Constitution limits government, but we’re at fucking war! How the fuck can our government win a fucking war while being constrained by the fucking Constitution? And it’s not like we’re at war with uniformed soldiers who will stand down when a political solution is reached. No, our enemy could be anyone! Everyone is the enemy until they prove otherwise! So fuck the Constitution, fuck limits on government, and most importantly… Fuck you! That’s why!

    1. Are you off your meds again, Sarc? You know you go on rambling tirades when you’re off your meds and disturb the other patients.

  4. The al-Libi situation is a bit complicated. If we’d asked the Libyan “government” nicely if we could take him into custody, in all likelihood, someone would have tipped him off and we’d discover that he had disappeared from his previous location by the time we got there. Same deal with OBL in Pakistan.

    If the local “government” is incapable or unwilling to bring a criminal into custody despite evidence of a crime, then we have every right to grab them off the street.

    I do agree they should have gotten a warrant if they’re going to prosecute him in civilian court, and shouldn’t be doing whatever they’re doing to him on that ship, though.

    And it wouldn’t be a Reason article on the Mariah Carey debacle if there weren’t a few uncorroborated “facts” inserted (a hail of bullets? friendly fire hit a cop?) and some corroborated ones left out (she hit a cop with the car, and rammed a cop car out of the way when they attempted to detain her — you know, non-lethal force that you supposedly prefer).

    1. And I’m becoming less convinced of the NYC SUV driver’s innocence in that matter. He left the scene of an accident where he ran someone over, and that was before the bikers started smashing the car up. That doesn’t justify the smashing of the car or his being beat up, but it does take some air out of his “feared for his life” justifications.

      Also I’m not sure if the NYPD is really holding back on its investigation. These gangs are known for using stolen plates on their bikes, so it may be extremely difficult to identify who’s doing what from the video. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if they were protecting the officers’ buddies, but we’ll see.

      1. Circa 2014 – Opening Arguments – NYC District Court

        Lead Prosecutor: The dude was Asian. Driving a car. The prosecution rests, Your Honor.

        Judge: The State has made its case.

        I keed. I keed.

        1. True story. When we lived in California my wife worked with a wonderful older lady of Japanese descent. One weekend we were going to drive up to SF and my wife mentioned this to her. The lady said, “You be careful up there, oriental people don’t drive very well.” My wife said, “But Niko, you’re oriental.” To which the lady replied, “I know. Have you ever seen me drive?”

      2. He left the scene of an accident where he ran someone over, and that was before the bikers started smashing the car up.

        From what I’ve read, he was surrounded by bikers after the dude he eventually ran over cut him off, causing him to bump into him.

        1. Next up: Jordan tries to argue water out of being wet.

        2. There were two guys who got hit by the SUV. The first one was the guy who cut the SUV off and got bumped. Then the bikes all stopped and the SUV did. Nothing criminal here (other than perhaps the cutting off).

          Then, for whatever reason a few seconds later the SUV takes off and runs over a different guy who was standing in front of it. The camera is waaaaaay down the road at this point so it’s hard to see what happened during those few seconds. The SUV looks undamaged when it passes the camera, though.

          1. Then, for whatever reason a few seconds later the SUV takes off and runs over a different guy who was standing in front of it.

            That “whatever reason” is that some of the guys on motorcycles were slashing at his tires.

            1. Evidence?

              that was happening LATER on the video. But he was able to go pretty damn fast and drive over a motorcycle and a human being with slashed tires? I don’t believe that.

              1. Slashing at, not slashed. My three year old has better reading comprehension than you, and she can’t even read!

                1. LOL. So they were just whiffing? Pretty awful aim if you can’t hit an SUV tire, I guess.

                  And of course there’s no evidence for that claim. The video doesn’t show anything like that, though it is pretty far away.

              2. According to everything I’ve seen, they attacked his vehicle _before_ he drove over the bikers. Not to mention which the bikers provoked the original incident, then stopped him in the middle of the highway and surrounded his vehicle; not exactly the standard or recommended way of handling a fender-bender.

                Seriously, you’re arguing that the driver was such a psycho he just suddenly decided to drive over a few guys for no reason at all?

                1. It’s Tulpa man. It wouldn’t be a thread about LAO if he didn’t nitpick the victim’s story to try and disprove it in favor of the state.

              3. Land Rovers tend to have run-flat tires that will keep going for a while after being damaged. I’m not certain these tires were on that vehicle, but it would explain his ability to keep going after getting slashed.

          2. “for whatever reason”


      3. How do you figure that fleeing ‘takes some air” out of his “feared for his life” justification’?

        Are you supposed to hang around when you believe you’re being assaulted by a gang?

        Get real.

    2. If the local “government” is incapable or unwilling to bring a criminal into custody despite evidence of a crime, then we have every right to grab them off the street.

      So it’s perfectly acceptable if agents of some foreign “government” kidnap Americans off American streets if our “government” refuses to do it for them? I mean, in principle it’s exactly the same thing.

      1. Did we even try to extradite him?

        1. Extradite from what government ?

          There is no one “government” to speak of in Libya since the CnC bombed the last one out of existence. At this time Libya is an anarchist hell hole not much unlike Somalia. As the one poster above said, if we had approached “the” government, odds are he would no longer have been around for capture by us or those in Libya willing to help us.

      2. If they had evidence of a crime committed by the person within their jurisdiction, and the US govt was either (a) incapable of finding and securing the person, or (b) unwilling to do so and likely to help the person evade capture if told in advance, then yes.

        Intl. law is just a guideline. To paraphrase the famous quote that I’m unable to google, “Violence is the arbiter of disputes only among small children and great nations.” (I have a strong feeling it was GK Chesterton?) You get away with what you can get away with.

        1. While I acknowledge that “might makes right” is the way the world often works, I dont argue thats the way it should work.

        2. So Italy should be able to come here and kidnap the CIA agents that the government refuses to extradite for committing kidnapping in Italy? Or Amanda Knox?

          1. That is exactly what he is saying.

          2. As I said above, intl. law is kind of a slippery thing. They can’t get away with it so it’s kind of moot.

            1. They can’t get away with it so it’s kind of moot.

              But if they could get away with it, you’d have no problem with it. Let every government have international police forces that go and arrest people in foreign countries. You claim to be law and order, but that seems more like lawlessness to me. Then again, you are Tulpa.

              1. Anarchy blows…. and at the international level, we have anarchy.

                I’m only for law and order when you actually have a dominant coercer. A role the US has auditioned for on the intl stage a few times and come to regret it.

                1. Dodge! Twist! Juke!

                2. Seems to me that if another country is harboring a fugitive/criminal/terrorist, etc. that we want, but won’t turn him over, we have an obligation under our own constitution to either declare war against that country before committing an act of agression/war against it.

                  This is also a better moral solution than just grabbing people from the streets because it would force us actually debate in public and in Congress whether this action is really necessary and appropriate. And, it would also result in more diplomacy, I would think.

                  Alternatively, I think our Constitution would allow us to issue a letter of marque or reprisal (i.e. offer a bounty for a private person to retrieve the person for us).

                  Either seems like a more moral solution than just imposing our will unilaterally and without constitutional support.

                  1. Letters of marque and reprisal would work great.

              2. Government is a monopoly on legitimate force. (legitimate meaning whatever the government says is legitimate). In international disputes int’l law is useful but ultimately just suggestions as there are too many armies around for anyone to have full monopoly on legitimized force i.e. become a world government. Even the EU is technically not a real gov’t despite its passing binding laws & collecting taxes because it doesn’t have an army. Britain, a nuclear power with a good military compared to the rest of the EU, is in the process of leaving and I doubt anyone will try to stop them.

                1. Britain, a nuclear power with a good military compared to the rest of the EU, is in the process of leaving and I doubt anyone will try to stop them… despite the EU passing “binding” “laws” saying that leaving the EU is “illegal”. Britain/UK has kept its own currency.
                  Not following int’l law does cost you your reputation.

        3. “Intl. law is just a guideline”

          I understand the contempt for international law in the USA, which has the distinction of being both a great nation and a small child.

          Most other less than great nations don’t have so much resistance to following international law, or find the concept laughable. Smaller nations have even turned to the world court to settle disputes and followed the rulings.

        4. The Shah of Iran was wanted by the Iranian government to prosecute for his crimes against the Iranian people.

          He was sheltered by the US Government. In its attempt to force the extradition of the Shah and forestall the expected American coup, the Iranians stormed the US Embassy and took hostages.

          Was that justified?

    3. Tulpa, while I mostly agree with you on al-Libi do you why go out of your way to justify murder by cops? I get that you are pointing out the slant of the article, but slant or no slant there is no way to justify that behavior by police. You really can’t think of a scenario that could have ended without that women being shot? Do you think criticism of this type of police response is unwarranted?

      1. There is no police behavior that Tulpa will not find a way to justify.

      2. You are correct in identifying my sole point here as the slant of the article. In fact, I’m not sure the shooting was justified.

        They did, however, attempt to box her in in a non-lethal fashion near the Capitol. It’s not like they just decided she must die for the crime of hitting a fence, which is how many of the hysterical “accounts” portray it. She was sure as hell acting like a crazed terrorist so I can understand the cops treating her as such.

        1. Or maybe just crazed and in need of treatment.

          Its like when the police abuse diabetics and treat them as drunks. They are trained to know the difference, or at least should be. And ignorance is no excuse, to quote cops themselves.

          1. Do you have the same standard for non-cop citizens acting in self-defense?

            1. Nope.

              I hold cops to a higher standard.

              1. Not just cops, anyone granted authority/power beyond the norm is held to a higher standard when using that authority/power.

                Its why I would like to see trebled criminal penalties for government employees who commit a crime as part of their job.

                1. Its why I would like to see trebled criminal penalties for government employees who commit a crime as part of their job.

                  You’re not talking about increasing penalties here. You’re talking about transforming innocence into guilt. Big diff.

                  1. You’re talking about transforming innocence into guilt.

                    Im more concerned about policy than guilt. Its possible to say the behavior is legal but a fireable offense.

                    This situation is perfect for this. I dont think the cops are guilty of murder or manslaughter in this case. It was a tough situation. but they should be fired for not attempting non-lethal force first.

                    Someone suggested a while back that anytime a cop fires, that should be his last act as a cop. It would prevent them from being over exuberant, but still allows them to defend their life. I think that goes a bit too far, but I like the concept.

                    I want to end all the shootings that end up with statements like “I thought he was reaching for a weapon”. Wait until you see the weapon before firing. If that means a few more cops die, that sucks, but better than a few unarmed citizens die while reaching for their wallet.

                    1. but they should be fired for not attempting non-lethal force first.

                      They attempted non-lethal force by boxing her in. She responded by ramming a cop car to get out of the box and tearing off down the road.

                      I don’t know how you expect the cops to tell the difference between a crazed fleeing, hitting driver caused by depression vs. one motivated by terrorist desires; maybe there’s a job for you as a police instructor if you have a method.

                    2. Normally I’m not one to stand up and defend police, but I think it’s very easy when you’re not the one standing there watching a potentially hostile person reach for what may be a gun to say that you should wait and make sure it really is a gun that the person really does intend to kill you with.

                      It’s also very easy to speak the phrase “last act as a cop” without considering the follow-on career opportunities for retired cops.

                      I sympathize with your position in general, but cops are people too, and there’s no reason to expect them to run out and sacrifice their own lives left and right in the name of making sure cops aren’t ever able to hurt anyone on accident.

                2. Seems simple enough. Logical and moral.
                  I even include carelessness in the equation – such as accidentally letting personal data loose.

              2. For criminal law purposes? That’s pretty unjust.

                I agree that the cops should be fired if there’s evidence they should have known she was not a threat. But the standard for criminal prosecution is higher, that would require evidence they DID know.

                1. But the standard for criminal prosecution is higher, that would require evidence they DID know.

                  Ever heard of manslaughter? Or are you busy moving the goalposts? I can’t tell.

                  1. Thanks to those evil teabaggers in Congress, you finally get your chance to give me that comeuppance you’ve been talking about here on a weekday. So far you’re misfiring baldly.

                    1. You’re furloughed? Ha ha! Loser!

                    2. There you go jumping to conclusions again.

                      Reality is far more subtle than you realize.

                    3. Ha ha!

                    4. The tentacles of leviathan go deep into the private sector.

                      If I were a furloughed fed, I would have been idle last week too.

                    5. When did I say you were a fed? I didn’t! Goalposts have been moved. Straw man has been attacked. This thread is officially Tulpafied.

                      c-ya… loser!

                    6. Only feds get furloughed, goalpost chucker.

                    7. Only feds get furloughed, goalpost chucker.

                      Look up the definition of furlough. It is simply “temporary unpaid leave for economic conditions”. So, sarcasmic’s assumption was quite valid. Now, maybe you’re at home on paid leave or something. Then he would be wrong. But you are certainly wrong about furloughs applying to feds only.

            2. Pick up those goalposts! Where’s the straw man? Gotta attack that straw man! Tulpafy!

        2. she was boxed in thats why she left the car there was no further need she couldn’t go anywhere so a dozen cops could have easily tackled one little woman, instead they shot her. However in this case she may well have been a terrorist with a bomb on her and the safest thing to do is shoot her although terrorist normally don’t hit then run they just go boom, so her actions weren’t normal for a terrorist either.

    4. If the local “government” is incapable or unwilling to bring a criminal into custody despite evidence of a crime, then we have every right to grab them off the street.

      I’d amend that to make a very clear distinction between malum prohibitum vs. malum in se.

      For example, if you posted something that was critical of the Thai monarch, do you believe the Royal Thai Navy SEALs* have a right to abduct you on American soil for the “crime” of lese majeste?

      *Yes, they exist.

      1. Thanks a *lot*, HM. Now I have *another* thing to worry about!

      2. Yeah, my statement above was just a first approximation.

        I recall having a conversation with John where he claimed the PRC would be justified in grabbing Chinese democracy activists off the streets in the US and bringing them back to PRC for execution…. which is a more extreme interpretation that I’d like to eschew.

        1. I fail to see the difference between what you said above and that.

          1. I agree that a simple “the law is the law” explanation (ironically akin to Napolitano’s in this article) can’t distinguish. But it’s clear that the crime of blowing up an embassy and the crime of talking about democracy are quite different.

            1. “He’s clearly guilty” is an excuse used to set a lot of bad precedent.

              1. I agree. It would be a lot easier if we had a law-and-order-libertarian world dominator.

                1. I dont think that is necessary at all.

                  Just dont fucking do it.

            2. “But it’s clear that the crime of blowing up an embassy and the crime of talking about democracy are quite different.”

              I’m not sure your average iron-fisted tyrant necessarily agrees. . .

      3. How about this – if another country wrongly shelters a criminal who harmed americans, that country will be liable to us for the harm the criminal inflicted and vice vrrsa. So countries can pursue compensation from each other.

        1. But re libya, as napolitano says, quadaffi would probably have helped us if we hadnt overthrown him and put in a regime that wont even help us catch terrorists.

    5. You mean this cop car that rammed into a barrier?

    6. Reading this piece, especially the part about the DC woman, it sounded like a MSNBC gun-grabber wrote it. So many uses of “military-grade weapons”. Is that the only term your thesaurus had for “assault rifle”?

  5. I was talking with a friend last night who recently took a position as a professor at a small university in PA. She said she was talking with one of her students about a conference she was attending in the South, and he expressed discomfort with traveling that far. He said, “it must be at least 4 or 5 hours away!” She laughed and said it’s a lot longer by car but a flight is only a couple of hours. He expressed severe discomfort with flying, but not for reasons you or I would cite. No, he said “you never know what they’re planning after that 9/11 shit.”

    His greatest concern with air travel in the U.S. is terrorism. Now, granted, he’s a freshman or sophomore at a small state university in PA, whose students are generally drawn from ranks of people who lilely don’t travel much and haven’t seen much of the world yet, but I wonder how.much of his fear is representative of a bulk of Americans.

    1. he said “you never know what they’re planning after that 9/11 shit.”

      Well, to be fair, “they” might be the TSA.

      1. Yep. “If killing all the bees helps keep us safe, then don’t we have an obligation to try it?”

      2. To be fair, vending machines terrify me.

        1. I just pictured Butters tweeking out while saying that.

          i lawl’ed

        2. Why does anyone *need* a vending machine?

          1. You should check out the vending machines they have in Japan.

            Some even sell like crab.

            I don’t know how they cook it or if they just eat it live.

            1. And vending machines that sell girls’ used panties. How covenient!

      3. That list quite noticeably leaves out police.

      4. Ha ha, that douchebag actually thinks global warming has killed people. What a maroon.

  6. Well, I have severe discomfort with flying but that’s more b/c of the pain-in-the-ass TSA rules. And, admittedly, I do have some fear of flying but it isn’t terror related, it’s good old, this a huge bit of metal stuck up in the apparently defying the laws of physics, fear.

    1. huge bit of metal stuck up in the apparently defying the laws of physics, fear.

      If it helps just know that planes fly because of the laws of physics, not in spite of them.

  7. Why didn’t the Navy Seals turn him over to local authorities once arrested?

  8. Iirc thu us joined a un resolution against israel for kidnapping eichmann ffom argentina. Isthis dude somehow worse than eichmann?

    1. Wow! Indeed it did condemn Israel for kidnapping Eichmann, a senior functionary in the Holocaust who bragged that he had efficiently delivered millions of Jews to their deaths.

      UN Security Council Resolution 138 – Approved 8-0

      “Council declared that such acts, if repeated, could endanger international peace and security”

  9. The left keep saying laws prevent anarchy yet The New York City and Dc incidents remind of the lawlessness of Somalia. Further proof that to many laws also creates anarchy.

    1. But they also create ROADZ!

  10. There was a time when dealing with violent bandits on the international scene was fairly simple. One applied Gunboat Diplomacy to force the local government to do something about them. Most of the international laws concerning bandits, insurgents, and so forth are either crafted to expedite Gunboat Diplomacy or crafted to make it impossible. And the U.S., for the most part, hasn’t signed on to the parts that are intended to make it impossible.

    If we would act like 19th Century British, everything would be a lot simpler. We would have, for example, sent an ambassador to Libya to tell the government, quietly, “We want so-and-so. You can turn him over to us, or you can have a battalion of Marines looking for him in the streets of your capitol; turning over rocks and uncovering embarrassing bank accounts. Which would you rather?”. Since the Libyan government would denounce us as if that is what we DID do, no matter how we managed matters, and regardless of whether we got the creep, where’s the downside?

    1. How did all of that turn out for the British?

      1. Gunboat Diplomacy works very well, so long as you are prepared to face the people being publicly outraged about it with an air of bland indifference. So long as the British were prepared to face their critics saying “That’s nothing but outright Imperialism!” and reply “Yes, it is. And your point was?” they did very well indeed.

        Gradually, the Anti-Imperialists gained traction in England (and elsewhere). However, on examining the history of the post-colonialist Third World, with its history of tribal warfare, genocide, intolerance, mismanagement, kleptocracy, and famine as a tool of statecraft, I have to say that we should have burned the anti-imperialists at the stake.

        1. All of this is past tense, which is my point.

          I don’t think the British Empire collapsed because of internal opposition to imperialism.

          The British project was clearly absolutely unsustainable, and the state of the post-colonialist Third World is hardly something for the British to be patting themselves on the back about.

          1. WW1 and WW2, neither of which had much to do with imperialism or anti-imperialism, had much more to do with the collapse of the British Empire than any sustainability of their colonies. Though it’s true that all of them, (other than India, IIRC) were net money-losers for the Brits over the course of their empire.

            I really don’t get Napolitano’s point on al-Libi’s capture. His point seems to me to hinge on there not having been a recent civil war in the first place. What legitimate authorities were there to ask about al-Libi’s extradition? The place just had a revolution (that we should have stayed out of, but I digress). Totally different situation than, say, yanking al-Libi off the streets of Guadalajara. (But see the two kidnapping/apprehensions during the Enrique Camarena homicide investigation. U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 939 F.2d 1341 (9th Cir. 1991), goes into good detail about the legality of extraterritorial apprehension). Or the bin Laden raid, for that matter.

            1. WWI and II not about imperialism? Why were Europeans fighting in Asia and Africa?

              I do agree though, that it’s a bit silly to pretend that there’s a government in Libya to extradite someone from – seems sort of an ass backwards approach to the situation.

              1. WWI and II not about imperialism? Why were Europeans fighting in Asia and Africa?

                Seriously? 1 was about the balance of power toppling, and all of the great powers scared shitless that their armies wouldn’t mobilize in time. While there was fighting in Africa, and the German commander there did quite well, considering, there’s no way you could pin WW1 on imperialism.

                As far as WW2 goes, it’s definitely true for the Japanese—the Southern Resource Area was a necessity if Japan wanted to keep their military mobile and Japan invaded Manchuria precisely in order to have a colony of their own. I don’t see how the fighting Europe relates to imperialism, other than you can look at Nazi Germany’s war in the East as an attempt to establish a mostly depopulated colony for Greater Germany to develop and repopulate.

                Although Mussolini did think that he was starting a new Roman Empire, N. Africa was a sideshow for Germany and, despite Rommel’s skill, really shouldn’t have been invaded by the Germans. A waste of resources that would have been better spent trying to defeat the Soviets. I think Army Group Central could have used the 350k they ended up losing when the final surrender happened in Tunisia.

                1. I agree that the toppling of the balance of power was the immediate trigger that started WWI, but the balance was there in the first place because of the competition between European powers over foreign imperial possessions.

                  The British and the French were already waist deep in Ottoman territory by the time the war broke out, and carving up the remains of the Ottoman Empire into Allied-controlled mandate governments (colonies) was the main reason for those two to enter the conflict in the first place.

                  The Russians were also trying to push into Ottoman territory in the east, which gave them motivation to joint with the British and the French to squash the Ottomans.

                  While the German-French front had the highest body count, in my opinion it was not the true center of the war.

                  At the same time, the German invasion of France (both times – and what was WWII but a re-play of WWI?) was not even the metaphorical imperialism that was colonialism – that was just good old-fashioned straight empire building, and Hitler directly spoke of it as such.

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  12. “How can it be lawful for the U.S. government to kidnap innocent foreigners but not for foreign agents to kidnap guilty Americans?”

    Because it’s not fascism when we do it, silly.

  13. I am going to have to stop reading Reason. I know you will all miss me very, very much. But it is just too damn depressing. I am going to crawl into a hole, plug my ears, and shout “nyah nyah nyah, it’s not happening!”

    1. But I am STILL not paying my goddamned taxes! And yes, i work as a contractor, so I can get away with it until they haul my ass into court. But no automatic payments to the thugacracy for me!

  14. Good article, but Delta are primarily Army guys, not Navy. 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta (1SFOD-D) primarily recruits from Army units.

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