How do you feel about the drone strikes that were carried out against the US citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan?

Does this action by the President negate our guaranteed rights to due process under the 5th amendment? Is a new precedent set giving the executive branch extrajudicial powers now? Do you feel that this action is an impeachable offense?

Answer #1

I think it needs to be on a case by case and based on how much of a risk for national security. On this case it was warranted. If I am gonna go overseas and make myself all big about how bad I am and how much I hate the USA then is all my fault if they send someone to hunt me down. Just because it happened on this particular situation does not mean all that we stand for has to somehow now be nullified. But! then again the reason there has not been a bigger out cry and Obama will be able to not only get away with it but also be praised is that the american victim looked like a terrorist from the middle east, had a middle eastern name and the attack happened in typical middle east drone attack fashion. The way the American people see it, is ok, we just killed another terrorist. But this type of attack could never happen here inside the USA, unless it was some guy about to detonate a nuclear device or about to fly a jetliner unto a building.

Answer #2

Anwar al-Awlaki doubt earned his fate. The problem I see is presidential powers are given they are difficult to take away. Note that the last time congress declared war was WWII. It has been long recognized that the president has the authority to repel a sudden attack without going to congress. This has been necessary at different times in history but presidents have authorized attacking Korea, Vietnam, Granada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Afganistan, Iraq again, and Pakistan without any formal declaration of war. The War Powers Act was put in place to force presidents to come to congress within 60 days after the beginning of our involvement for congressional declaration of war or authorization of hostilities. The constitutionality of the War Powers Act has not been tested with several presidents dismissing it. Now that Presidents can wage war with a signature there is little reason to go to congress or the American people for authority. So, we capped a bad guy. President Obama made the right call. But what about the future? If we had a President Palin, Cheney, Perry, or Cain would we really want them to have broad authority to execute American citizens extra-judicially? I have no doubt that President Obama is on firm legal ground. There is enough legal precedent to back him up taking out an American citizen who threatens the US. I would argue that this should be changed though.

Answer #3

Thanks for posting the video, miseg. THAT was shocking but wow, to see an ABC reporter calling Obama on this, seems like no-one is listening, and that should be a frightening thing for all Americans.

Answer #4

Well… the President alleges he was a bad guy… and we have all seen the news clips proclaiming him to be… but surely this cannot be our new standard of ascertaining guilt? The War Powers Act is sort of like a Presidential pardon… bad pun. It gives the impression that by reining in the President’s ability to wage war by calling it something else… the President can legally do it… which… he can’t… according to the Constitution. As you allude to though… it illustrates how far this country has veered from the intentions of the framers of the Constitution… and for how long. I’m not sure about the legal standing of Obama on this. I don’t know of any prior precedent. Neither does this NYTimes reporter… “It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing, officials said. A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president. “ The fact that he has acted with congressional consent… cannot protect the President from the legal consequences as a result of using extrajudicial powers to assassinate a citizen. His choice… his consequences.

I agree with the sentiment that this is myopic. I am not that reassured myself… in President Obama having the favor of the people to exercise this power… but those who favor it under Obama are consenting to the power for his successor as well. These people need to think twice.

Answer #5

Badmouthing the policies of our government should be a capital offense? I hope you are proven correct… concerning the future possibility of this ever occurring within the confines of the country… this seems like a step in that direction to me.

Answer #6

One would think… but thoughtful Americans are a rarity.

Answer #7

I guess the argument would be that although an American citizen he was clearly a traitor and enemy combatant. The real question I think is whether the president had the authority to take such action, not so much whether the targeting was justified. I don’t favor the expanded executive war powers we have today for any president, but unfortunately, as filetofsoam eluded, once the cat is out of the bag, it is very difficult to get him back in.

Answer #8

How did you arrive at your conclusion that he was clearly a traitor and enemy combatant? You are taking someones word that it is the case. In America… we are given the opportunity to face our accusers in a court and to dispute their accusations. Accused traitors stand trial for their crimes against this country… are judged by a jury… and then they receive their due punishment. One man doesn’t decide this to be true or false and then take it upon himself to dole out the punishment. This is why we have a 5th amendment. Why are so many progressives and neoconservatives in accord on this stance?

Answer #9

I said that would be the argument given. I did not say it was my conclusion. Based on what I know (which is somewhat limited I admit), he does seem to have fostered and called for jihad against the US, and aided al Qaeda operatives in plots against us. If Benedict Arnold, after he defected, had been killed by the Continental Army, would we have called that murder, or the killing of an enemy combatant? While one could argue if the evidence is enough for such actions, but to call it an impeachable offense is ludicrous.

Answer #10

Here is the point. Whomever it is that has concluded al-Awlakis guilt… they never heard his side of the story. Whether or not you are playing devils advocate is neither here nor there… you offered the viewpoint and I am addressing that viewpoint. Anwar al-Awlaki never received the chance to cross examine the evidence implicating him to any charges placed against him. Anything that you or the person whom you’re speaking for think you know about al-Awlaki has been unproven in court… which is where a citizen is determined to be guilty… not from the single mind of a “Decider” I remember progressives rightfully challenging the person they gave that name to when he overstepped his bounds… Where did all of those progressives go? Was it simply a veneer? Are your principles held any further than skin deep.. that it permeates only as deeply as the die hard… dyed in the Wool capital letter D you wear around as if it means something? Are you all so willing to believe in your party leader that you now suspend disbelief that he can ever do any wrong? The founding fathers were no such hypocrites. The 5th amendment is a direct result from the tyrannical abuse of the Court of Star Chamber in England. A special court reserved for the enemies of the throne who weren’t afforded fair, public trials… but had their fates decided by the king. Your hypothetical has no bearing on the very real assassination perpetrated by President Obama… Benedict Arnold was not killed… but had he been… it would have been murder. Anwar al-Awlaki was not an enemy combatant. An enemy combatant is encountered on the field of battle… not driving on a highway. An enemy combatant is someone who has taken up arms against us. If during an attempt to arrest al-Awlaki… he had resisted with weapons… then his killing would be justified… but this is not the case. Had Bush Jr. carried this out… would you consider calls for his impeachment ludicrous? Your words at FA suggest otherwise. You were full of contempt for his polcies of “enhanced interrogation.” You rightfully scorned his indefinite detentions at GITMO. Your principled veneer washed right off when your guy took the reins.

Answer #11

You love to put words in my mouth. I agree he did not receive a chance to give his side in a court of law. And it might have been better to do that. But that happens in war at times. I am under no illusion that Obama has been perfect, nor have I agreed with everything he has done. Some times I think he has compromised his ideals for political expediency, as may be the case here. It will be hard to call him soft on terror when he has taken such a hard line approach. Not a good thing, I agree. But I also know that the Job he has is damn near impossible, and I don’t know how I would have handled it if I were in his shoes. Please do not infer that you know me so well as to claim knowledge of my exact feelings and opinions. The “war on terror” has been mishandled since Bush’s overreaction to 9/11. It has changed the mindset of Americans forever, and not in a positive way. I am disappointed that Obama has not done enough to reverse that, and I guess you can say actions like these are an indication of that. But in no way would I ever put him in the same category as Bush/Cheney. I do believe his motives are mostly altruistic, even if misguided at times. I also believe that Bush/Cheney were never altruistic about anything, and always had ulterior motives in helping their constituents, big oil, defense contractors, insurance industry, and the super wealthy among others. Yes, I am partisan, but I am not blind. I am a liberal before I am a democrat. I follow my ideology, not the party. I would not have been calling for Bush’s impeachment over something like this. There were many many much worse things he did and this would have seemed minor. So to claim Obama should be impeached over it, when Bush got a pass over much more egregious actions IS ludicrous.

Answer #12

“I agree he did not receive a chance to give his side in a court of law. And it might have been better to do that.”

There is no “might” about it. We are guaranteed the right to face our accusers in court and to allow the public a chance to hear our side of the story. I think it is showing that you consider an assassination writ on an American a minor offense. Though it does make your viewpoint that tyranny can never come to America a little easier to fathom now. Whatever despotic form of government we succumb to… as long as the despot calls himself a democrat… you will never call it a tyranny.

Answer #13

tPresident George Bush signed the presidential order authorizing the CIA to hunt down terrorists worldwide. It made no distinction between foreigners and US citizens. The CIA first faced the issue in November 2002, when it launched a Predator drone attack in Yemen that killed an American terror suspect but Pres Bush said he was not the intended target, Abu Ali al-Harithi was. Although the use of drones might seem to be popular from the user standpoint….currently “more than 40 countries” have access to drone technology…. which include Israel, Russia, Turkey, China, India, Iran, the United Kingdom and France and the Leganese organization known as Hezbollah have obtained drones not just for surveillance but also to launch targeted attacks. The first drone bomber called The messenger of death” presented by Iran, has a reach of 620 miles which is sufficient to reach US targets in the Persian Gulf and is being continually upgraded with possability of reaching Israels Nuclear facilities. In case of a military confrontation between Iran and the US or Iran and Israel, drone technologies will be available to both sides of the conflict.
Uless drone attacks are banned by an international agreement, it is unlikely that more countries and more advanced drone capabilities will stop.

Answer #14

Yeah… I agree. Brainier bullets and killbots don’t bode well for the future. When the citizenry offer no hope that they will ever hold their leaders accountable for any amount of wrong doing or rights violations… when they give fellow partisans a pass… the future looks a lot scarier.

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