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1 iceweasel  Sun, Jun 27, 2010 11:52:31am

The sad fact is, Lieberman is correct that Obama has authorised the assassination of Al-Awlaki. I am not defending Al-Awalki and I believe he is a dangerous man who must be caught and punished. Should he be executed after due process I will weep no tears. But the authorisation of the assassination of a US citizen without trial is shocking. Politifact essentially confirms:

To recap, the Obama administration has not only claimed the authority to target and kill U.S. citizens linked to terrorist groups but may in fact be using that power already to target al-Awlaki. Many of our experts see ample justification for such actions in both domestic and international law, and both for political reasons and practical legal reasons (including finding someone with standing to file a court challenge) the president is unlikely to be curbed by the courts anytime soon. Still, even those who see strong arguments for this presidential prerogative acknowledge that a number of legal uncertainties could limit or undermine those powers in the future if court challenges were to be raised. So Lieberman is probably overstating his case when he says that “no one argues that a president doesn’t have the right to issue such an order,” but we still find his statement Mostly True.

What Lieberman is proposing is that we should be able to strip US citizenship from people without trial. There is no good reason for this to be done, and a number of frightening issues arise. Mostly over the issue of what constitites lending support to terrorist groups. In the case of Al-Awlaki, it’s clear he’s been engaged in such activities and inciting violence, and he’s known to have been in contact with terrorists who’ve attempted attacks and encouraged them and lent support. And in the case of someone who takes up arms against the US, it’s also likewise clear that they’re terrorists. But absent such cases, it gets much murkier, as the legal experts politifact cites also point out.

Lieberman’s proposal is essentially saying that the US cannot handle terrorists, even among our own citizens, within the confines of our legal system and the rule of law. This is far more radical even than supporting a system of military trials in lieu of criminal trials, and to me that’s the real issue here.

2 shutdown  Sun, Jun 27, 2010 12:03:07pm

iceweasel frames the discussion very well, and puts the thoughts I had been having on this issue in words. I have not yet been able to fully think through all the implications, or indeed whether and when the assassination of a citizen by the government can be justified. I certainly don’t believe that an accident of birth should protect dangerous enemies of the people from extreme sanctions. My concerns center on the framework and process for having reached this point. It seems to me that many necessary and important steps have been skipped in allowing this discussion to be held out in the open, and properly vetted by our judicial and legislative institutions. Assassination by executive fiat is an issue that cannot be backed into in the dark if night.

3 iceweasel  Sun, Jun 27, 2010 12:09:41pm

re: #2 imp_62

iceweasel frames the discussion very well, and puts the thoughts I had been having on this issue in words. I have not yet been able to fully think through all the implications, or indeed whether and when the assassination of a citizen by the government can be justified. I certainly don’t believe that an accident of birth should protect dangerous enemies of the people from extreme sanctions. My concerns center on the framework and process for having reached this point. It seems to me that many necessary and important steps have been skipped in allowing this discussion to be held out in the open, and properly vetted by our judicial and legislative institutions. Assassination by executive fiat is an issue that cannot be backed into in the dark if night.

I think your comment was better than mine and framed the issue better. Those are exactly the aspects that trouble me. It’s not that I defend Al-Awlaki— I tried to be very clear that I don’t and want him caught and punished. It’s the precedents this would establish that concern me and the implications.

4 shutdown  Sun, Jun 27, 2010 12:14:31pm

re: #3 iceweasel

I thought you made yourself very clear and I was grateful to have you kick off the discussion. BTW I think your avatar pic is hilarious. source?

5 Fozzie Bear  Mon, Jun 28, 2010 1:56:55pm

Wow. This is not a good idea.

6 darthstar  Mon, Jun 28, 2010 3:07:33pm

The President is doing fine without your help, Joe.


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