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Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    30 May '12 20:22
    There was an interesting article in the NY Times recently about the Obama administration's tactic of killing terrorists with drone strikes.

    The excerpt below discusses the question of whether it was OK for Obama to order the death of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The part in bold is the subject for debate. Can due process really be satisfied by internal deliberations within the executive branch?

    The president “was very interested in obviously trying to understand how a guy like Awlaki developed,” said General Jones. The cleric’s fiery sermons had helped inspire a dozen plots, including the shootings at Fort Hood. Then he had gone “operational,” plotting with Mr. Abdulmutallab and coaching him to ignite his explosives only after the airliner was over the United States.

    That record, and Mr. Awlaki’s calls for more attacks, presented Mr. Obama with an urgent question: Could he order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial?

    The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
  2. 30 May '12 20:31
    The president ordering the assassination of US citizens (or any person for that matter) at his whim seems like a dangerous slippery slope to me.
  3. 30 May '12 20:36
    Easy enough solution:

    Take away the citizenship of anyone who chooses to declare war on the US.

    After you do that, then you kill him.

    Easy.
  4. 30 May '12 20:43
    Originally posted by Sleepyguy
    There was an interesting article in the NY Times recently about the Obama administration's tactic of killing terrorists with drone strikes.

    The excerpt below discusses the question of whether it was OK for Obama to order the death of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The part in bold is the subject for debate. Can due process really be satisfied by in ...[text shortened]... /www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
    If the constitutional requirement for due process means that Obama (or anyone) can just have a closed meeting with no transparency and no independent review then the term due process becomes completely meaningless. It essentially becomes "the president had a process of thinking about it" - that is meaningless.

    Civil liberties has probably been the weakest part of the Obama administration since they have either continued and/or extended the civil rights problems that Bush created.

    The problem I have is that I don't see any evidence whatsoever that Romney would change that course and there are a precious few congressmen and senators who actually are willing to make an issue of it.
  5. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    30 May '12 20:52 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    If the constitutional requirement for due process means that Obama (or anyone) can just have a closed meeting with no transparency and no independent review then the term due process becomes completely meaningless. It essentially becomes "the president had a process of thinking about it" - that is meaningless.

    Civil liberties has probably been the wea are a precious few congressmen and senators who actually are willing to make an issue of it.
    I agree. I could probably find a clip of Ron Paul denouncing it, but I think whodey should get the pleasure of doing that.
  6. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    30 May '12 21:24
    Originally posted by Sleepyguy
    I agree. I could probably find a clip of Ron Paul denouncing it, but I think whodey should get the pleasure of doing that.
    http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?subject=Ron_Paul_condemns_killing_of_U.S.-born_al-Qaida_cleric&threadid=142289
  7. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    30 May '12 21:55
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?subject=Ron_Paul_condemns_killing_of_U.S.-born_al-Qaida_cleric&threadid=142289
    ah
  8. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    31 May '12 01:50
    Originally posted by Sleepyguy
    There was an interesting article in the NY Times recently about the Obama administration's tactic of killing terrorists with drone strikes.

    The excerpt below discusses the question of whether it was OK for Obama to order the death of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The part in bold is the subject for debate. Can due process really be satisfied by in ...[text shortened]... /www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
    Yeah, it's not due process.

    But let's be realistic. What other choice is there?

    You know that a US citizen is hiding in the mountains of Pakistan plotting to kill American civilians. What is the President supposed to do? Invite him to a trial?
  9. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    31 May '12 02:01
    Originally posted by sh76
    Yeah, it's not due process.

    But let's be realistic. What other choice is there?

    You know that a US citizen is hiding in the mountains of Pakistan plotting to kill American civilians. What is the President supposed to do? Invite him to a trial?
    If we "know" it, it should be reasonably easy to get an indictment.
  10. Standard member Scheel
    <blank>
    31 May '12 06:28
    Originally posted by sh76
    Yeah, it's not due process.

    But let's be realistic. What other choice is there?

    You know that a US citizen is hiding in the mountains of Pakistan plotting to kill American civilians. What is the President supposed to do? Invite him to a trial?
    The test of civilization is not in how it deals with its model citizens in easy every day circumstances but rather how it deals with scum in difficult situations.
    If a terrorist cell had any interest in impressing us with their attention to due process they could claim they went through the same delicate considerations before any killings. For an outside observer there is no difference in the process, only in the selected targets.

    Granted I would rather have Obama making these decisions than a fanatic hiding in a cave, but that is a poor substitute for the right to due process.
    Next thing up is that the majority of earths population doesn't even get the benefit of having their fifth amendment violated.
  11. 31 May '12 06:33 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    If we "know" it, it should be reasonably easy to get an indictment.
    It is a pity that the US constitution does not allow 'In absentia' trials.
  12. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    31 May '12 06:40
    Originally posted by sh76
    Yeah, it's not due process.

    But let's be realistic. What other choice is there?

    You know that a US citizen is hiding in the mountains of Pakistan plotting to kill American civilians. What is the President supposed to do? Invite him to a trial?
    Maybe capture him? Easier said, yeah I know. It's a conundrum. I was just surprised to see the Obama admin openly admitting they think a secret internal memo somehow satisfies constitutionally required due process before blowing up two US citizens. After all the fuss over waterboarding you'd think it would be a big deal.
  13. 31 May '12 13:12
    Originally posted by sh76
    Yeah, it's not due process.

    But let's be realistic. What other choice is there?

    You know that a US citizen is hiding in the mountains of Pakistan plotting to kill American civilians. What is the President supposed to do? Invite him to a trial?
    So assassinating US citizens contrary to the constitution is ok if the president determines it's "not realistic" to give them due process?

    How about an actual due process - i.e. they present their evidence that this US citizen is an imminent threat to an independent judiciary? Even if the person can't be at the trial at least there would be a requirement to put forward actual evidence instead of the whim of the president and his advisers.

    I know this is a slippery slope argument, but I have heard politicians refer to drug dealers as "terrorists" and other criminals. Why couldn't the president simply do the same thing against a prominent drug dealer?

    Where's the line where someone gets due process and who doesn't?
  14. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    31 May '12 14:02 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    So assassinating US citizens contrary to the constitution is ok if the president determines it's "not realistic" to give them due process?

    How about an actual due process - i.e. they present their evidence that this US citizen is an imminent threat to an independent judiciary? Even if the person can't be at the trial at least there would be a requirem inent drug dealer?

    Where's the line where someone gets due process and who doesn't?
    It's a tough line to draw, but it does have to be drawn.

    Most of us agree that it was okay for the US to kill OBL.

    Most of us would also agree that it would not be okay to kill an alleged drug dealer in Baltimore without an arrest or trial.

    Where is the line drawn? Well, somewhere in between. Is it a tough call? Sure. You need to deal with it on a case by case basis.

    Where would I draw the line?

    I'd say that if:

    1) Substantial evidence exists that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person has planned the killing of US civilians.

    2) The person cannot reasonably be expected to be captured and brought to justice in the US

    then that's as good a basis as any to warrant an extrajudicial operation to take him out.

    Who makes that determination? Well, somebody has to. It can't be a civilian court because we don't try people in absentia. A grandy jury would be meaningless since an indictment is not the same as a conviction. An indictment is not a basis to execute a guy. Maybe some quasi-judicial arm of the military or executive branch? I don't really know. But you can't just throw the baby out with the bathwater and say "Well, the call is too hard to make, so instead we just let all terrorists outside of our jurisdiction a pass." Well, you can do that, I suppose. But it's not a very good idea.
  15. 31 May '12 14:39 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    It's a tough line to draw, but it does have to be drawn.

    Most of us agree that it was okay for the US to kill OBL.

    Most of us would also agree that it would not be okay to kill an alleged drug dealer in Baltimore without an arrest or trial.

    Where is the line drawn? Well, somewhere in between. Is it a tough call? Sure. You need to deal with it on a case jurisdiction a pass." Well, you can do that, I suppose. But it's not a very good idea.
    "1) Substantial evidence exists that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person has planned the killing of US civilians.

    2) The person cannot reasonably be expected to be captured and brought to justice in the US "

    OK...

    1) Who verifies that this decision is not made based on a whim or flimsy evidence? How is it actually determined that there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt?

    Also, how far does this plan have to have moved forward? I.e. If we find minutes to a meeting that someone planned a bombing, but we have no evidence at all that any actual actions have taken place is that sufficient to assassinate them? Isn't that really just assassinating someone for thinking of committing a crime?

    It can't be a civilian court because we don't try people in absentia.

    Interesting, why not? Why can we make the decision to kill someone without any defense and not make the decision to try the person in absentia?

    You say that we can't just throw the baby out with the bathwater, but aren't we throwing the constitution out with the bathwater by invoking a glaring exception to it?

    My point is that there at the very least has to be some checks and balances to executive power that can prevent them from simply assassinating people (and US citizens especially).

    Let's say the president sent in a team of police into Baltimore that killed someone. Then he released a statement that this person was a terrorist and deemed to have been planning a terrorist attack on the US but all the information was sealed due to national security? I frankly think there are a significant number of people that would not be outraged and would even say that it was justified.

    Allowing the president to assassinate US citizens in foreign countries without having to actually provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt is just one step away from assassinating people within the US without having to actually provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt and can be justified with essentially the same arguments.