February 05, 2013

Damn Right We Have the Right to Kill Americans ... IN AL QAEDA

drudge_drone_strikes_legal.jpg
Drudge shows he's been hanging out w/ Alex Jones again

Compare my headline to the headline over at NBC. Notice the difference? By adding three words the implications of the story change drastically.

If you tell people: Do you know that the Obama administration thinks it's okay to kill Americans without a trial?

Of course you'd be rightfully worried. The implication being that Obama believes he can kill you. Do not ask for whom the drones buzz, they buzz for thee.

However, just add three little words: Do you know that the Obama adminstration thinks it's okay to kill Americans in al Qaeda without a trial?

Kind of changes all of the implications of the story.

Except for paranoids on either fringe then who gives a damn what the nationality of the guy sitting next to Ayman al Zawahiri is? Bomb the mo-fo!

Which is why I'm getting increasingly annoyed at my friends on the right who take the headline and then run with it in paranoid fashion.

If you think it's unconstitutional or immoral to kill a member of a terrorist organization living abroad then you and I have very different readings of the Constitution and very different sets of moral standards.

Moreover, it's just basic common sense that in warfare you don't stop to ask the person you're about to shoot for a copy of their passport. Who gives a rat's ass if bin Laden was Saudi or if he was born in Colorado?

Please, go read the report. Nowhere in it is there even a smidgen of a hint that drones could be used against Americans ... in America.

The memo in question sets up a three tiered test for when it's okay to kill an American living -- and this is a direct quote from the memo -- "in a foreign country".

1) He must be an immanent threat. By immanent, we don't mean the threat is immediate. What we mean is that the person is involved in operations that will go forward unless he is killed. In other words, we don't have to wait for a suicide bomber to get on the airplane before we kill him.

2) Capture is infeasible. This means that a terrorist living in France will be treated differently than a terrorist living in Mali. The major difference being that the French police are perfectly capable (assuming they have the backbone) of arresting a suspected terrorist. In the hinterlands of Mali, not so much.

Infeasibility also does not mean impossible. Of course it's possible to capture a terrorist living in a cave in Tora Bora, but if the lives of American servicemen are put in great jeopardy, then drone the assmaggot. That's all the memo says.

If you've seen Zero Dark Thirty -- and I highly recommend it -- one of the key moments is when the protagonist, Maya, tells the SEAL Team members that they've been chosen to be "canaries in the coal mine", putting their lives at risk because the SOBs in the White House thought the political situation was too risky for a drone strike. This went counter to Maya's recommendation which was to, "Bomb the mother-f*cker".

3) The strike must be consistent with the laws of war. Which is just another way of saying we don't bomb the whole city of Abotabad just because we know bin Laden is there.

You really do need to read the whole memo. And stop with the slippery-slope arguments. There's nothing in the memo that says this Administration or any other Administration has the authority to do "extrajudicial killings" on US soil. Or on French soil. Or on English soil.

Such killings are only lawful in the context of a Congressionally authorized war against al Qaeda on the field of battle. The fact that our war against al Qaeda and allied forces is unconventional is too obvious to argue. And if you really think that we need judicial oversight on the field of battle -- which is what the ACLU is arguing in their lawsuit against the US government -- then the President ceases to be Commander-in-Chief and is unconstitutionally supplanted by the "least dangerous branch" of government.

And once the judicial branch has control over military decisions, then it ceases to be the least dangerous branch.

PS-- and we do have a control mechanism for overseeing the President's decisions. It's called an election. Where one candidate proposes that he would be a better Commander in Chief than the other candidate. In our nation's history, there has been such an election every four years -- even during times of war. Remember, Lincoln was opposed in 1864 by former General George B. McLellan based largely on the idea that he would be a better Commander in Chief than the man who fired him. Dewey vs. Roosevelt in 1944 during WWII. Humphrey vs. Nixon in 1968 during Vietnam. The list goes on and on.

If you think Obama's decisions on running the war against al Qaeda aren't good, then you had your chance to change that. It was called the election 2012 and you, and I, lost that one.

Courts are not intended to oversee Presidential decisions about war and peace. And just because we don't like -- or trust -- Obama to make the right decision, doesn't mean we should now be clamoring for judicial oversight of the most fundamental duty a President has.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:59 AM | Comments |