Recently, United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, came out with his defense of American drone assassinations of American citizens without due process of law. Obviously, his rationalization left something to be desired.
For those that missed it, in 2011, the President of the United States ordered the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico. In fairness to the President, al-Awlaki was assassinated because he was an active Al Qaeda operative and a dangerous threat to the United States. Eric Holder essentially defended the action as being constitutional under the Fifth Amendment which states:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . .
Holder outlined an Obama doctrine that allows for any person’s killing, if: they are a terrorist, capture is not easily attainable, the killing is done consistently with US War Principles and the US government concludes that the target poses a severe threat of violence against the United States.
It’s not the Constitutional justification we were promised by the Obama Administration.
Now to be fair, the Patriot Act was a scary and unconstitutional bill pushed on the American people by the Bush administration and republicans (and democrats).
Obama was the answer to the Bush “tyranny.” But weren’t democrats supposed to be the good guys?
Barack Obama unilaterally ordered the killing of a United States citizen without a trial. It is a scary, scary decision. Anyone that ever compared Dick Cheney to Darth Vader would only be consistent to compare Barack Obama to the Emperor of the Republic (not the American Republic).
If I were a republican running for president, I would make this the third plank in my election platform (after a stagnant recovery and the XL pipeline). Obama killed an American citizen and then went on with his day. The problem is that most republicans don’t disagree with the decision.
This was a frightening call from the leader of the free world and at some point, we need to have a national conversation over whether the President may assassinate American citizens. That is not to say that Al-Awlaki was not likely guilty or that he was of no danger. But it is to say that this is a precedent that cannot stand. Although it may not be used again for 100 years, it is dangerous nonetheless. It was within the same year that the Department of Justice labeled right-wing-pro-life-religious-nuts, as being at risk of becoming domestic terrorists.
Going into this campaign season, I would like to hear a conservative besides Ron Paul outraged about this. It is a shame that this has to be said, but American policy should be to never kill American citizens.