Democrats and "progressives" would have screamed in outrage if George W. Bush's attorney general had made this case for assassinating American citizens with no real due process. Today, most of them are silent or in agreement as Obama's AG does exactly that. And America moves more and more toward being what it used to rightly condemn.
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- Mar 9, 2012
- Seriously?! Did you actually mis-read what I wrote so badly that I ended up defending the assertion I was arguing against (that the stated legal rationale is constitutionally sound)? Try again, and this time try putting me on the opposite side of that debate. Just because I agree that it's potentially within the spirit of the constitution (I won't argue with respect to the letter because I'm not a constitutional lawyer) to take the action, given that you meet certain criteria doesn't mean that I agree with the assertion being made by the government that boils down to, "it's hard to employ due process and that absolves us of all requirements," which is absurd on its face.
My assertion was that who still hasn't responded to my proposed criteria, was dodging the question by deeming the whole war incorrectly waged, and therefore not engaging the specific issue of how one could or could not target specific persons during such a war. That's a cute semantic trick, but it doesn't actually address the pressing need to establish a correct precedent.
What it does do is take you out of the debate and allow the administration to ignore your opinion (not that they may not anyway, but if your voice ever had a chance of mattering, you abandoned that chance when you walked away from the discussion).
So, your contention is that any time you engage in any offensive action which is not a properly declared war, you're committing war crimes? Can you please cite your source for that? I'm unaware of any such international agreement. Or were you conflating "unethical action" with "war crime"? War crimes aren't "things we don't agree should happen". War crimes are very specific violations of international agreements.Mar 9, 2012
- The legal basis of the war is an essential part of the discussion. You asked how you can legitimately target people in such a war. You might as well ask how you could legitimately target people in a war of extermination against Native Americans. It's not a "cute semantic trick", it's fundamental to the whole problem.Mar 9, 2012
- No, I understood. I may be using a too simplified version of your argument though, so let me see if I've got it right by you:
You think that it may be acceptable to assassinate (if that word's too loaded, use another, that's fine, I'm not wedded to it) a U.S. citizen provide the following three criteria are met:
1. verifiable evidence of involvement,
2. oversight by another branch of government, and
3. lack of other options.
My first contention is that 1 is the duty of the Judicial branch and to a much, much lesser extent, the Legislative branch (by creating laws which may or may not be constitutional). The Executive does not get to decide what 'verifiable evidence of involvement' is, or even that this is an appropriate standard, which is what is happening here.
My second contention is that it is always possible to claim 3, therefore it is never a good argument. "There are no other options" is always semantically equivalent to "I don't care to search for more options" because the available option space is so large as to be effectively infinite, for just about any decision. I know it doesn't seem like to you that that is what you are arguing for, but that is the effect your argument will have on those with lesser amounts of training and good will.Mar 9, 2012
- You didn't read my original post, I guess, so you're taking "verifiable" a bit out of context. I'm not talking about weighing the evidence. I'm talking about basic assurance that the data isn't wholly created by any one party. For example, most of the evidence for WMDs in Iraq came from one source. What no one asked was, "if this source is lying, can we still rely on our conclusions?" The answer to that question, IMHO, must be yes if you're going to take someone's life as a result.
As for point 3, again, in my first post, above, I laid out very clear definitions. You only read the summary. The definition of "lack of other options" is a) Not on U.S. soil (and thus subject to normal law enforcement) b) not in U.S. custody or control c) not in a nation which can capture and extradite. Under these circumstances, it can be reasonably said that normal channels of capturing the target and bringing them into the justice system is, at the very least, extremely difficult. However, you are right that when you get to the last step, it's hard to be sure that capture wasn't a reasonable option. But in the face of independent sources of intel; the requisite oversight; and the lack of normal arrest and/or extradition options, I believe that we'd be on a much more solid moral footing. Yes, killing a person (U.S. citizen or no) is always a regrettable action, but I have no fundamental problem with doing it when it's required. The only problem is verifying that it was required. Really, that's criteria #1. Criteria #2 is there to verify that #1 was met and #3 is there as a means to allow someone to surrender themselves and be assured of due process.Mar 10, 2012
- Not the progressives I know- they're basically calling Obama a traitorMar 12, 2012