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Al-Awlaki taken out via drone

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There was a crazy old christian who used to stand by campus and yell at all the girls at what whores they were and how everyone was going to burn in hell.

 

Ahh religion.

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I think it might be less about his life and principle and more about possibly sacrificing our principles and what that says about us as a nation as well as how we're looked at by the rest of the world after showing that we're more than willing to throw those principles out of the window when it suits our goals; especially where interpretations of our founding legal document are concerned.

 

I, for one, am glad he's taken out and can easily see the value of it but having all too often seen examples of, "Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile" in mundane aspects of life as well as my old braggart clientele who worked on Capitol Hill, I also have a good bit of paranoia for what this could mean for future actions especially after things like Renditions and "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques". Hell even seeing normally emergency-only measures in legislation like the Filibuster now being attempted practically every other time the 'other side' in Congress submits a bill doesn't exactly do much for my confidence that this type of thing can't or won't be exploited.

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If we want to sell the ideals of liberty and justice for all we should be strong enough to actually promote them. For without them are we really any better than those who we oppose?

 

This is probably where theory and practise collide. In theory we should treat him humanely but in practise he doesn't care a damn about any constitution nor about our lives. I don't believe that God will sort him out when he is dead, so I'm happy for him to be sorted out by whoever has the capability in this world. And no, I don't see such decisions as the slippery slope to a dictatorship - he wasn't the first and he won't be the last victim of US/British/etc government-sanctioned killings of their own citizens; from decisions taken out of necessity.

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There was a crazy old christian who used to stand by campus and yell at all the girls at what whores they were and how everyone was going to burn in hell.

 

Ahh religion.

 

Ah yes the other religion card. The Christian nutters on campus did not threaten us with murder, but this Pakistani guy did. He was expelled for a while.

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Or how the US government claimed it needed special powers to deal with terrorists, and then after using said powers to get exceptional warrants 763 times, only 3 of those had to deal with terrorist cases: http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/SneakAndPeakReport.pdf .

 

But of course if we give the government more exception powers, I am sure they will never ever be refused.

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I knew Saudi Arabs at Uni in the 80s. The first thing they wanted to do was get whores, booze and some coke and then party. 'Hypocrites' would be an understatement.

 

Too bad for you and your argument that the Fifth Amendment doesn't state that "no person . . . shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, unless he's a hypocritical asshole."

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I knew Saudi Arabs at Uni in the 80s. The first thing they wanted to do was get whores, booze and some coke and then party. 'Hypocrites' would be an understatement.

 

Were these students also Wahhabi clerics or did they preach all day - or why were they hypocrites?

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I also love how the term "war" is bandied about to justify killings all over the place. Does the US wage war in Yemen? Does this logic also work the other way round? Was that guy who killed those US airmen at Frankfurt airport justified in what he did? After all, it's "war" and he was hitting a military target.

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That's a very good point, Oblomov. It's my opinion that if the US wants to designate as a military target any place in the world where a "terrorist" or potential terrorist may be hiding, even if that's a private home or a car in which others are also traveling, then we Americans need to recognize that certainly our bases are targets.

 

Targeting American military personnel in a public place seems out of bounds, but we need to recognize that American military personnel make no such distinctions in targeting "enemy combatants" wherever they may be. And the Pentagon and CIA typically make no apologies afterward for such actions.

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It is war afterall. Yes, it IS war.

 

I'm sure you'll have no trouble linking to the act of congress where war was declared against the sovereign state of Al-Quaeda then.

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Except we aren't at war, war can be declared only through sovereign states. Under this rhetoric we could use a drone to take out bodie and poot in the baltimore projects because they are in the war on drugs. The fact that politician markets political action as a 'war' does not make it a war from a legal standpoint. I know we thew this away with the 'enemy combatant' nonsense, but once we start doing it to our own citizens it does bring up legal questions. And it is a matter of not questioning it, most of America doesn't even conceptualize there could be a question. Even here, people like you who should know better attack those who question this action as being "disdainful of the military".

 

They avoided it for political reasons. They certainly have business addressing constitutional questions of the presidents power to arbitrarily execute citizens without having to justify it except to say "its top secret, but trust me, he had to die". But yes, unfortunately in post 9/11 legislation the executive can hide behind the veil of national security and justify pretty much whatever rights abuses it wants by saying if it actually had to explain its actions we would all die in a fiery jihad.. Convenient.

 

I think it is perfectly right and proper for the judiciary to be able to judge if it is constitutional for the executive to issue arbitrarily execution warrants, especially as it would at least require the same requirements as suspension of habeas corpus, which have not been met. I suppose one could say the congress had the responsibility to be the check on that matter, but since the judiciary tends to avoid these questions on political grounds the far more politically enslaved congress would never touch it - which is why Ron Paul is about the only politician with any principle who has the tamrity to actually stick up for the values that America once claimed to represent in this issue.

 

From a legal standpoint, imminent danger is likely interpreted quite literally (much like imminent lawless action is interpreted). If he was in the cockpit of a plane flying towards a building, that means they can shoot him down. If he is a continent away thinking of how to put someone in a cockpit and send him at a building, that is not imminent danger. Of course it is a moot point because now the government can just *claim* we are in danger and kill whoever they want. We can't of course tell you why, but trust us - it was for your own good.

 

Move along citizen, nothing to see here.

 

The ease or difficulty of apprehending a criminal will do nothing to assuage the discomfort I have with the widespread assessment of the ability of our government to arbitrarily remove due process and execute people, so no, I likely wouldn't change my mind.

 

Generally it is kind of the job of the Justice Department to come up with legal justifications for the president's actions.

 

The denial on your part of the nature of what Al-Qaida is attempting to wage on us shouldn't lead you into ridiculous strawmen like this statement on drugs in the projects. Unlike al-Awlaki, the projects are located in the US, hence you don't need to use a drone there. You yourself acknowledged that he should not be left alone to carry out his activities against the US, but for some reason either naively or disingenuously pretend that he could simply have been arrested like an ordinary criminal.

 

The executive branch in protecting the American people, has to use intelligence information and every single action of the government in using that information simply cannot be reviewed- it's just not possible. Whether you think of it that way or not, you are suggesting that the judiciary be the arbiter of all executive branch actions as regards national security. The President is going to have to make some judgement calls as regards imminent danger, and you seem to have a problem with that. It's also not reasonable to insist that intelligence information be made public so we can all decide if there was imminent danger. IMHO, a judge who doesn't have the big picture view of US national security should not be the arbiter of decisions properly residing in the executive branch- do you really think any judge has as good a view as the President as to the dangers posed by someone like Al-Awlaki?

 

While skepticism and discomfort about the actions taken by governments is an important part of a free society, along with checks on its power, it seems you have gone too far in the other direction regarding this incident in analyzing Obama's decision in the al-Awlaki case. I would have been happy to see the Yemenis arrest him and extradite him to the US for trial, but that wasn't going to be possible given the protection he had from his tribe and the political situation in Yemen.

 

cinzia, our bases have long been potential targets, and that has nothing to do with the action Obama took against al-Awlaki, unless you think, for example, that the Red Army Faction had a crystal ball to look into the future and decided to be upset about it back in the 1970s and 1980s. The attempts to claim moral equivalence between the actions of terrorists and that of a government protecting its citizens by taking out a terrorist is ridiculous.

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The denial on your part of the nature of what Al-Qaida is attempting to wage on us shouldn't lead you into ridiculous strawmen like this statement on drugs in the projects.

I thought it would only be fair after your ridiculous 5th amendment strawman earlier. But the hauptpunkt in that obvious exaggeration was that because we call it a war on xxx, or non sovereign entity calls it a war on xx, from a legal standpoint it is not a war and using wartime justifications shouldn't work.

 

 

Unlike al-Awlaki, the projects are located in the US, hence you don't need to use a drone there. You yourself acknowledged that he should not be left alone to carry out his activities against the US, but for some reason either naively or disingenuously pretend that he could simply have been arrested like an ordinary criminal.

The fact that something is difficult to do doesn't justify the president to arbitrarily strip citizens of their constitutional rights.. I'm also skeptical of our inability to sieze people if we really want considering we thought it was just kosher to waltz into pakistan and at least make a token attempt at seizing Osama before killing him - the same could have been done for someone who is actually an American citizen.

 

 

The executive branch in protecting the American people, has to use intelligence information and every single action of the government in using that information simply cannot be reviewed- it's just not possible. Whether you think of it that way or not, you are suggesting that the judiciary be the arbiter of all executive branch actions as regards national security.

When it comes down to constitutional violations of the executive branch towards its own citizens, yes, the judiciary should be. Under your logic the executive can do absolutely whatever they want and sweep it under the rug under the guise of national security, a dangerous precedent.

 

 

The President is going to have to make some judgement calls as regards imminent danger, and you seem to have a problem with that.

Yes, mostly because of the definition of imminent danger and the uncertainty that homeboy was a source of imminent danger as opposed to speculative future danger. He wasn't boarding a plane to crash into the US and we weren't shooting it down at the last second - which is what imminent danger would mean.

 

 

It's also not reasonable to insist that intelligence information be made public so we can all decide if there was imminent danger. IMHO, a judge who doesn't have the big picture view of US national security should not be the arbiter of decisions properly residing in the executive branch- do you really think any judge has as good a view as the President as to the dangers posed by someone like Al-Awlaki?

So the government should have unfettered power to do whatever they want and sweep it under the rug, and we should all smile and nod as our civil rights get more and more eroded because no one can possibly know better than the president about the issue. That is scary and confusing, because I am not sure how the cognitive dissonance of Republicans can function - where government can not be trusted for anything socially and economically but when it comes to defense no man shall question dear leader.

 

 

While skepticism and discomfort about the actions taken by governments is an important part of a free society, along with checks on its power, it seems you have gone too far in the other direction regarding this incident in analyzing Obama's decision in the al-Awlaki case.

The only people who have gone too far are the many supporters of the flagrant rights abuses under the past two presidents in regards to the war on terrah, the future ramifications I fear far more than any possible terrorist attack.

 

Anyways, on that note, I'm heading back for a week to our Orwellean homeland, hopefully we'll manage to not strip away any more protections until I'm back in Germany..

 

Austin and Dallas here I come - OU Sucks.

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Too bad for you and your argument that the Fifth Amendment doesn't state that "no person . . . shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, unless he's a hypocritical asshole."

 

I know some Americans like to think their laws apply to the whole world but Saudis outside the US are really not subject to them.

Nevertheless, US law-makers are able to adapt the constitution should they see fit and including exceptions for hypocritical assholes may be just around the corner.

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I thought it would only be fair after your ridiculous 5th amendment strawman earlier. But the hauptpunkt in that obvious exaggeration was that because we call it a war on xxx, or non sovereign entity calls it a war on xx, from a legal standpoint it is not a war and using wartime justifications shouldn't work.

 

The fact that something is difficult to do doesn't justify the president to arbitrarily strip citizens of their constitutional rights.. I'm also skeptical of our inability to sieze people if we really want considering we thought it was just kosher to waltz into pakistan and at least make a token attempt at seizing Osama before killing him - the same could have been done for someone who is actually an American citizen.

 

When it comes down to constitutional violations of the executive branch towards its own citizens, yes, the judiciary should be. Under your logic the executive can do absolutely whatever they want and sweep it under the rug under the guise of national security, a dangerous precedent.

 

Yes, mostly because of the definition of imminent danger and the uncertainty that homeboy was a source of imminent danger as opposed to speculative future danger. He wasn't boarding a plane to crash into the US and we weren't shooting it down at the last second - which is what imminent danger would mean.

 

So the government should have unfettered power to do whatever they want and sweep it under the rug, and we should all smile and nod as our civil rights get more and more eroded because no one can possibly know better than the president about the issue. That is scary and confusing, because I am not sure how the cognitive dissonance of Republicans can function - where government can not be trusted for anything socially and economically but when it comes to defense no man shall question dear leader.

 

The only people who have gone too far are the many supporters of the flagrant rights abuses under the past two presidents in regards to the war on terrah, the future ramifications I fear far more than any possible terrorist attack.

 

Anyways, on that note, I'm heading back for a week to our Orwellean homeland, hopefully we'll manage to not strip away any more protections until I'm back in Germany..

 

Austin and Dallas here I come - OU Sucks.

 

Terms like the "War on Drugs" are figurative, so you are just doing a reductio ad absurdum. What Al-Qaida does and tries to do isn't ordinary criminal activity. While you can assume all you wish that al-Awlaki could have been seized by US forces, I am certain you will find that experts in that field don't agree. Assuming that he could have serves your interests in this discussion, but it's a very critical error because of its impact on Obama's decision.

 

That sort of strawman, which is really a reflection of an assumption that the government is lying about everything, is part of the problem. Obviously, no one is saying that- I think Obama's actions were constitutional in the al-Awlaki case but that does not mean that I think they would be in another case, depending on the facts. The projects case earlier showed that you assume that al-Awlaki's case was a slippery slope that would lead to Obama killing people in the US at will, which is a ludicrous notion.

 

As for cognitive dissonance, perhaps you need to separate rhetoric from the discussion and think about this- while Obama does have lots of incentive to push his economic agenda because it benefits him and his party, and in doing so he may not necessarily be honest (there are also differences of opinion to consider), plus, more important, what he would like to do is to a significant extent anathema to what Republicans generally support in their economic policy. In the case of national security decisions, there often isn't as much of partisan divide, hence there will be more cases in which Republicans agree with Obama's actions, especially taking out a terrorist. In the al-Awlaki case, I have earlier pointed out that Obama has a much better view of the al-Awlaki situation that we do, and I am loathe to assume I know better than him about al-Awlaki unless there are facts to the contrary. I'm also confident in Obama the human being to not knowingly kill a person who is innocent- maybe you think he would, but I think that's ludicrous.

 

At the end of the day, LP, you seem to think that anyone who doesn't agree with you on the al-Awlaki situation must support anything else done in the previous two administrations when it comes to national security, and you seem to think that what's been done is all wrong. While it is a convenenient rhetorical device to paint a broad bush that appeals to you emotionally, every case has its own set of circumstances and should be analyzee separately. I think you would agree that emotion shouldn't be the guiding force in national security decisions.

 

 

Targeting American military personnel in a public place seems out of bounds, but we need to recognize that American military personnel make no such distinctions in targeting "enemy combatants" wherever they may be. And the Pentagon and CIA typically make no apologies afterward for such actions.

 

I am quite sure they do make distinctions, and yes, targeting military personnel in a public place in Germany is certainly "out of bounds".

 

LP-this is an example of what disdain for the military produces.

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Boring flight delays, boo.. I hate schipol airport.

 

 

Terms like the "War on Drugs" are figurative, so you are just doing a reductio ad absurdum.

As are terms like "War on Terror" or "War on Poverty", none of them are wars in a legal sense, they are all dramatizations to sell political policies. If the use of soldiers in the War on Terror makes it an actual war, than so is the War on Drugs, considering we invaded panama for it not to mention Plan Colombia and Meridia Initiative - and the various cartels are becoming as much a threat as terrorists. So if you want to glorify the war on Terrah into something it is not, it is hardly a reductio ad absurdum to do so with the War on Drugs (while of course my specific example was made tounge in cheek, but it wouldn't be hard eventually to create a scenario where American citizens are summarily executed in the war on drugs).

 

 

What Al-Qaida does and tries to do isn't ordinary criminal activity. While you can assume all you wish that al-Awlaki could have been seized by US forces, I am certain you will find that experts in that field don't agree. Assuming that he could have serves your interests in this discussion, but it's a very critical error because of its impact on Obama's decision.

And we get to the point of where in the constitution it says our right to due process can be taken from us.

 

 

That sort of strawman, which is really a reflection of an assumption that the government is lying about everything, is part of the problem. Obviously, no one is saying that- I think Obama's actions were constitutional in the al-Awlaki case but that does not mean that I think they would be in another case, depending on the facts. The projects case earlier showed that you assume that al-Awlaki's case was a slippery slope that would lead to Obama killing people in the US at will, which is a ludicrous notion.

I've actually earlier said that we probably are safer, and from a pragmatic standpoint it is likely good the guy is dead. But pragmatism shouldn't be used to to run rampant over the constitution. Do I think Obama is going to go on a killing spree now that he has this unchecked power? Likely not, but it does set precedent for more and more authority over us to 'keep us safe'. You may dismiss any criticism of military and executive unaccountability as naive people worrying about slippery slopes that will never happen, but recent history shows a disturbing pattern of steady civil rights erosion from both parties and a joyful acceptance by a population easy to manipulate by any scary Muslim boogyman. Who knows where this will lead when we get an even less savory president than the last two asshats.

 

 

more important, what he would like to do is to a significant extent anathema to what Republicans generally support in their economic policy. In the case of national security decisions, there often isn't as much of partisan divide, hence there will be more cases in which Republicans agree with Obama's actions, especially taking out a terrorist

The teabag brigade should be all over this. Which is why I do have some grudging respect for Ron Paul, because he is about the only small party civil rights candidate that is actually sticking to his guns on the matter.

 

 

In the al-Awlaki case, I have earlier pointed out that Obama has a much better view of the al-Awlaki situation that we do, and I am loathe to assume I know better than him about al-Awlaki unless there are facts to the contrary.

How can there be facts to the contrary once our government has decided it can kill us without due process for *reasons redacted* ?

 

 

At the end of the day, LP, you seem to think that anyone who doesn't agree with you on the al-Awlaki situation must support anything else done in the previous two administrations when it comes to national security, and you seem to think that what's been done is all wrong.

Well generally the people (that I know) who do support arbitrary executive executions without due process are the same people i've seen who don't have a problem with the various other civil rights abuses since 9/11. To be fair, there have been a number of foaming Obama lovers who are supporting this move but have criticized Bush for all kinds of civil rights abuses because they can't admit their Golden boy doesn't value the constitution anymore than hated Barry. So I do give you credit, you don't let your disdain for Barry get in the way of your views on authoritarianism.

 

 

While it is a convenenient rhetorical device to paint a broad bush that appeals to you emotionally, every case has its own set of circumstances and should be analyzee separately. I think you would agree that emotion shouldn't be the guiding force in national security decisions.

The Constitution and civil rights are not things that should be upheld only when it is convenient, safe, or expedient to do so - and they should not be flexible.

 

My fucking flight is delayed again - how long will it take to get from schipol into city center, into a coffee shop and back... hmmm

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I guess this topic in particular lends itself to a soapbox for you, but the point that seems to be lost on you is that whatever you dislike isn't necessarily unconstitutional because you say it is, and your comments seem to imply that you aren't interested in considering the various circumstances of different cases within the context of trying to figure out if something is constitutional. Note that even an ordinary criminal suspect can be shot by police depending on the circumstances.

 

Do you know that al-Awlaki didn't pose and imminent danger to the US (which as I pointed out earlier even the attorneys for al-Awlaki's father admitted would have made taking him out legal)? No, you don't. While I don't reject concerns about a slippery slope out of hand, I don't think that's a concern in the al-Awlaki case- something like wiretapping, for example, does have these concerns.

 

EDIT: let me ask you this, LP, should Obama in your opinion be impeached for the al-Awlaki killing and/or other things he has done related to national security?

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I guess this topic in particular lends itself to a soapbox for you, but the point that seems to be lost on you is that whatever you dislike isn't necessarily unconstitutional because you say it is, and your comments seem to imply that you aren't interested in considering the various circumstances of different cases within the context of trying to figure out if something is constitutional. Note that even an ordinary criminal suspect can be shot by police depending on the circumstances.

I've already stated there are various circumstances when you could kill someone without due process, and they are generally imminent danger - and imminent danger is a pretty strict criteria that does not mean 'he was recruiting terrorists'. Police are allowed to use deadly force in self defense or to quell an imminent danger. They cannot just shoot people from afar if they think they are planning a crime.

 

I'd be happy for a constitutional body to consider various circumstances but the executive is saying this circumstances cannot be examined because our national security would fall apart - effectively shielding them from all questions.

 

 

Do you know that al-Awlaki didn't pose and imminent danger to the US (which as I pointed out earlier even the attorneys for al-Awlaki's father admitted would have made taking him out legal)? No, you don't.

Do you know that he did? No you didn't - and yet you are defending and justifying the government's actions as vehemently as I am opposing them. Given the fact that he was in Yemen and no where near American soldiers, however, I am finding myself at somewhat of a loss to even construct a fantasy scenario in which he could have been considered to be posing an imminent danger however. I suppose if he had a doomsday weapon aimed at Washington and we took him out right before he pushed the button, that would be an imminent danger. Otherwise, pretty hard to imagine from that distance. The criteria set from federal law enforcement rules doesn't just mean he is going to do something bad at some point in the future.

 

 

While I don't reject concerns about a slippery slope out of hand, I don't think that's a concern in the al-Awlaki case- something like wiretapping, for example, does have these concerns.

I would call the removal of due process of citizens and the precedent that the executive doesn't have to offer any actual justification of this to any other branch of the government or the public a far greater concern than warrentless wiretaps, and that is being said as someone who views such wiretaps as an anathema to the constitution.

 

 

EDIT: let me ask you this, LP, should Obama in your opinion be impeached for the al-Awlaki killing and/or other things he has done related to national security?

No, he hasn't commited treason or bribery and exceeding executive power isn't a high crime or misdemeanor, per se. I also think the people crying for Bush's impeachment didn't have any grounds to do so other than "I don't like the guy".

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you are just doing a reductio ad absurdum.

Quoting Harry Potter spells is never a good way to win arguments.

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