Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The next step in US assassination policy
As an expansion of the bin Laden thread this news story takes the legality of US assassination to new heights. Now we're trying to kill American citizens who have not been charged with any crime, let alone been given a trial after such charges. Let's just move right to killing them because they are deemed an enemy of the State. WTF is going on?
Here are some excerpts from “U.S. tries to assassinate U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki” at Salon, by Glen Greenwald (see the article for the rest and discuss):
That Barack Obama has continued the essence of the Bush/Cheney Terrorism architecture was once a provocative proposition but is now so self-evident that few dispute it (watch here as arch-neoconservative David Frum -- Richard Perle's co-author for the supreme 2004 neocon treatise -- waxes admiringly about Obama's Terrorism and foreign policies in the Muslim world and specifically its "continuity" with Bush/Cheney). But one policy where Obama has gone further than Bush/Cheney in terms of unfettered executive authority and radical war powers is the attempt to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process.
That Obama was compiling a hit list of American citizens was first revealed in January of last year when The Washington Post's Dana Priest mentioned in passing at the end of a long article that at least four American citizens had been approved for assassinations; several months later, the Obama administration anonymously confirmed to both the NYT and the Post that American-born, U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was one of the Americans on the hit list.
Yesterday, riding a wave of adulation and military-reverence, the Obama administration tried to end the life of this American cit... -- never charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime -- with a drone strike in Yemen, but missed and killed two other people instead:
There are certain civil liberties debates where, even though I hold strong opinions, I can at least understand the reasoning and impulses of those who disagree; the killing of bin Laden was one such instance. But the notion that the President has the power to order American citizens assassinated without an iota of due process -- far from any battlefield, not during combat -- is an idea so utterly foreign to me, so far beyond the bounds of what is reasonable, that it's hard to convey in words or treat with civility.
The killing of bin Laden got the testosterone pumping, the righteousness pulsating, and faith in the American military and its Commander-in-Chief skyrocketing to all-time highs. It made America feel good about itself in a way that no other event has since at least Obama's inauguration; we got to forget about rampant unemployment, home foreclosures by the millions, a decade's worth of militaristic futility and slaughter, and ever-growing Third-World levels of wealth inequality. This was a week for flag-waving, fist-pumping, and nationalistic chanting: even -- especially -- among liberals, who were able to take the lead and show the world (and themselves) that they are no wilting, delicate wimps; it's not merely swaggering right-wing Texans, but they, too, who can put bullets in people's heads and dump corpses into the ocean and then joke and cheer about it afterwards. It's inconceivable that this wave of collective pride, boosted self-esteem, vicarious strength, and renewed purpose won't produce a desire to replicate itself. Four days after bin Laden is killed, a missile rains down from the sky to try to execute Awlaki without due process,