Patterico's Pontifications

2/5/2013

Government Memo: Obama May Kill Certain U.S. Citizens

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

Today, that’s restricted to leaders of Al Qaeda or an associated force planning an imminent attack on the U.S. who cannot be captured.

Tomorrow?

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.

Here’s the memo itself (.pdf).

I haven’t read the memo all the way through, but it’s hard to conclude that a President doesn’t have authority to defend the United States from deadly attack by a terrorist, citizen or no. For example, say it’s reported that a U.S. citizen has hijacked a plane overseas, and has announced his intention to ram it into the Empire State Building on behalf of Al Qaeda. Surely the president can order that plane shot down.

One problem is that the memo does not restrict itself to an imminent attack situation:

“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.

Another problem is that Obama is a liar and I do not trust him. So while I might be OK with what the memo proposes, there is no way for me to be sure he won’t take it further, if he thinks it would benefit him politically. He doesn’t consider himself constrained by little things like budget deadlines. Why would he pass an opportunity to kill a U.S. citizen outside the above guidelines if he thought he could justify it?

RELATED? Iowa farmers complain about drones monitoring their farms:

Few developments in the news in recent weeks have disturbed me more than what we’re learning about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) using unmanned drone aircraft to monitor Iowa farms. In some cases, we’re learning that the EPA has used the aircraft to gather information on agricultural operations. The simple truth is that no government agency should be able to treat Iowa farmers like the Taliban.

Alarm is growing among many farmers in the Midwest regarding this surveillance operation. They’re justifiably concerned that a government agency may be gathering information on them or their property without their consent or knowledge. Much of this alarm stems from the scarcity of facts we have about these flights. In response, I sent a letter this week to the EPA administrator to get to the bottom of what this aerial surveillance is all about. In my letter, I demanded responses from the EPA on what sort of information is being gathered, how that information is being used, how much these surveillance flights cost and what legal justification they have for conducting them.

I bet U.S. citizens never thought drones would be conducting surveillance on farmers.

It’s not like this guy thinks of himself as above the law or anything, does it?

UPDATE: I added a paragraph that explains that the memo does not restrict itself to situations where an attack is imminent.

184 Responses to “Government Memo: Obama May Kill Certain U.S. Citizens”

  1. I’m willing to listen to a case that the memo itself is dangerous, but I don’t see it that way currently. To me, the problem is the implication of a dishonest president using it as precedent for worse.

    UPDATE: Actually, the memo does not restrict itself to imminent attacks, so I do have concerns. I have updated the post, which was published minutes ago, to add a paragraph to that effect.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. America is a beacon of liberty kinda like our fascist universities are bastions of free speech

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  3. As a veteran of some years of government service, I would never use a memo as an authorization for anything. An undated memo provides no grant of authority and no basis for legal quidance.

    If the Obama administration has provided written guidance for drone strikss, the memo is not it.

    On the other hand, if the memo reflects the thought process of the administration, it is scary.

    David Lentz (d966ed)

  4. Another problem is that Obama is a liar and I do not trust him. So while I might be OK with what the memo proposes, there is no way for me to be sure he won’t take it further, if he thinks it would benefit him politically. He doesn’t consider himself constrained by little things like budget deadlines. Why would he pass an opportunity to kill a U.S. citizen outside the above guidelines if he thought he could justify it?

    and I suppose when George W. Bush was doing it, it was just perfectly fine eh?

    You’re nothing but a two-bit racist and an Partisan heck Frey. Get real.

    Patrick in Michigan (7b58f8)

  5. I meant Hack, not heck. But I stand by the statement.

    Patrick in Michigan (7b58f8)

  6. Possible reasons for caution, the DHS memo four years ago, and this;

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342686

    narciso (3fec35)

  7. Was the moon over Miami drone over iowa policy in effect prior to 2009?

    elissa (94e93f)

  8. You’re nothing but a two-bit racist and an Partisan heck Frey. Get real.

    How precious. And predictable. And Buuuuuuuuuuush.

    JD (b63a52)

  9. Bush acted like he thought it mattered to follow the law. Obama doesn’t.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  10. I didn’t get the memo, when did the NRA or the TEA Party or Arizona or Texas make the associated forces blacklist?

    ropelight (1a9b2e)

  11. Well Patrick in Michigan, let’s get real. I don’t doubt that you were in the pack baying, screaming and bitching about Dubya’s administration “shredding the constitution” by waterboarding/torturing three Muslim men.

    OTOH you seem to have no problem with Obama choosing to blow away innumerable Muslim men, women and children–some “guilty as sin” and others simply having the bad fortune to be in the general neighborhood at the time with Hellfire missiles.

    Worse yet, despite all the veneration for due process for American citizens and all that, you don’t seem to have a problem with blowing away an American citizen (asshole that Awlaki may have been) without a trial–and on the Bamster’s whim.

    You wanna talk “parisan hacks”–look in the mirror.

    Comanche Voter (29e1a6)

  12. If we were a nation of laws and not men/women, and we elected people of integrity who could be trusted, this would not be a problem,
    but we aren’t (at least anymore), and we don’t.

    A nation of laws would not be so polarized from administration to administration as to whether you give the president carte blanche or vilify everything, as Patrick in Michigan either demonstrates, accuses us of, or both.

    For one brief moment of objectivity, I hope he can agree to that, no matter who he wants to blame it on.

    I agree in principle with the ideas that our federal government sometimes does things I don’t know about for the sake of national security, and pointed execution/assassination of those guilty of crimes against humanity is sometimes appropriate…
    but when people want to justify such things more or less secretly without accountability after demonizing GW Bush falsly, you cannot trust them.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  13. The President is ascribed the authority to kill US citizens and conduct surveillance of farms via drones by virtue of the “regulating interstate commerce” clause !

    Elephant Stone (f8ce9d)

  14. I don’t dismiss it entirely, but considering he’s willing to supply Morsy with lethal ordinance, I have reservations,

    narciso (3fec35)

  15. and I suppose when George W. Bush was doing it, it was just perfectly fine eh?

    Patrick in Michigan, please tell us all when Bush was ordering the killing of US citizens? I guess I missed when that happened.

    Chuck Bartowski (11fb31)

  16. No, in fact, the left had a temper tantrum when we held American born Saudi nationals like Hamdi, to interrogate,

    narciso (3fec35)

  17. A memo of this sort is just the “tip of the iceberg” that allows a small peek into the thought processes engaged within the inner inner-circles of the administration.
    There is no telling what classified “findings” have been written, and signed by the President, supporting the broad outlines of the memo, and detailing how the administration will carry out this policy.
    So much for being a “constitutional scholar”.
    How’s that Due Process thingie working for you?

    An Iowa question:
    Will the farmers push back by using manned ultra-lights to deal with the drones?
    A 2-man UL with a “shot-gunner” might be an effective defense against unwarranted surveillance.
    Sort of mimics the start of the use of aircraft in WW-1:
    Observers being fired upon by other observers, and then the mounting of light-weight machine-guns,
    and finally the formal development of fighter-aircraft for all-out air engagement.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  18. So the snarky version … which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.Paul Krugman

    Neo (d1c681)

  19. I see that Patrick in Michigan links himself with a blog called Thoughts and Rantings. My guess is that there is very little of the former, but a whole lot of the latter.

    JVW (4826a9)

  20. The WaPo says it’s not drones over Iowa but small planes. They are indeed checking for illegal use of water and runoff and animal poop but since it’s not a drone, no problemo.

    So all is well.

    Patricia (be0117)

  21. Referring to these Islamist sympathizers as Americans, when most of them were born and.or raised as hard core Islamists, is iffy at best. The lax and actually rather stupid laws regarding American citizenship most definitely do not preclude targeting people who have not only declared war on the West, but have in fact committed various war crimes such as targeting civilians. Note that the idiots on the left do not even mention Islamist war crimes, preferring to pretend GW Bush committed such crimes. This goes to prove the often-stated theory that the left will declare war on anyone except our enemies – and that declaration of war is done by the left BECAUSE of American citizenship, not despite it.

    welldoneson (0ce2ba)

  22. Another problem is that Obama is a liar and I do not trust him

    A viewed shared by close to half the public. The other half would have that view were there a President with (R) next to his or her name.

    It’s much like the filibuster. Support for a given policy depends in large part on whether one supports the party currently in charge.

    steve (369bc6)

  23. A little more on the Houston shot across our bow:

    http://thecampofthesaints.org/2013/02/04/something-horribly-wrong/

    I think drones legality in citizens’ airspace sort of clinches the 2nd Amendment falderal. Senators Rubio and Flake, you are known in part by the company you keep.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  24. Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 2/5/2013 @ 9:12 am

    I saw mention the other day of a similarly described “assault” in Miami.

    Is this an elaborate urban legend/hoax, or is the govt really doing multiple urban warfare/spec ops training sessions in the US?

    In my limited understanding, what allows a government to oppress or allows for a successful civilian resistance of unreasonable power is the willingness for troops to fire on their own people at the orders of a tyrant.

    I find it hard to believe that our current military has enough people that side with Bill Ayers to violently oppress the people.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  25. But it is bizarre to even contemplate the topic.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  26. Utterly amazed by this commentary, by a prosecutor of all people.

    The memo (it’s not the OLC opinion, but presumably it is consistent with that) outlines how due-process free assassinations on the order of the executive should be done.

    That is completely chilling in itself. Never mind the substance, which includes the endlessly tractable definition of “terrorism”, the routinely flexible definition of “imminent”, and unconstrained geographical scope of the “battlefield”.

    This is a memo that aims to justify any killing through any argument by any president.

    Not just Obama, but no-one, ever, surely should have this sort of power.

    eddie (858b20)

  27. Waterboarding = BAD
    Killing in the name of = GOOD

    Icy (ed7006)

  28. R.I.P. Essie Mae Washington-Williams; black daughter of segregationist Strom Thurmond
    [BTW, the phrasing isn't mine; you can that The Dog Trainer for this one.]

    Icy (ed7006)

  29. I don’t understand the entire issue here. All you people, including Patterico, seem to have forgotten that we are at war. And war consists of killing the enemy. That’s what it means.

    On 11-Sep-2001 President Bush announced his determination that the USA was in a state of war with the network of Islamist terrorists, including but not limited to those involved in the attacks that day. Congress later affirmed this determination with two formal declarations of war, but legally the state of war existed from that day, and still exists today. Therefore the military, which is to say the president, has the right and duty to kill all enemy forces that it can, if it determines that killing them would advance the USA’s military interests. It’s not necessary that they are about to attack us, and there’s no need to try to capture them. Enemies may be shot in the back, or in their sleep. It really is as simple as that.

    I simply do not understand the distinction that is being made in this discussion between US citizens and aliens. What difference does it make what passport(s) an enemy soldier carries? In which previous war have we hesitated to kill enemy forces just because they happened to be US citizens? Is the blood of US citizens any redder than that of aliens?

    Now, who decides whether someone is an enemy? There is only one entity that can make this determination: the military, which is to say the president. That’s who has always made this determination; who else could do so? Washington’s troops didn’t give the Redcoats trials or due process to determine whether they were indeed enemy soldiers, rather that civilians with an unfortunate fashion sense. They made the determination on the fly, and shot them, all under his authority. On occasion they got it wrong; that’s called friendly fire, and it happens in every war, but that doesn’t affect the legitimacy of the process. In almost all cases, though, they got it right, and they still do. Nobody’s disputing that they got it right in all the cases we know about. So what’s the problem?

    I agree that 0bama is a liar, and I don’t trust him; but the problem there is that he is president, not that he has this power. The president, whoever he may be, has always had this power, and it’s inconceivable that he should not; it’s inherent in the definition of war-making. If you’re worried that he may kill people who are not enemies, pretending that they are, then why are you only concerned about the Americans he might do this to, and not the aliens? Again, aliens’ blood is no less red than that that of Americans. Murder is murder, no matter what passport the victim carries, but killing enemies in war is not murder in the first place.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  30. I also don’t understand the issue with drones in Iowa. There’s surely no question that the EPA has every right to send up pilots to take photos of people’s farms; you and I have that right, so why wouldn’t the EPA have it too? So how does removing the pilot change anything? Again, you and I could send up drones to take photos of Iowan farms, provided only that FAA rules allowed it; so why shouldn’t the EPA? This whole complaint sounds like black helicopter stuff.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  31. Few developments in the news in recent weeks have disturbed me more than what we’re learning about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) using unmanned drone aircraft to monitor Iowa farms. In some cases, we’re learning that the EPA has used the aircraft to gather information on agricultural operations. The simple truth is that no government agency should be able to treat Iowa farmers like the Taliban.

    Like the Taliban? Sheesh. I’m as nervous as the next guy regarding the possible use of drones to infringe upon our citizens’ individual rights. But…

    1) Isn’t the EPA legally charged with monitoring the “environmental health” of the land, water and air so as to prevent statutory violations? I mean, I don’t even think that there should be an EPA but isn’t this part of their job?

    2) How many of these Iowa farmers don’t receive — directly or indirectly — some sort of subsidy, incentive or other kind of payment from the federal government? As the legal maxim goes, let he who comes into a court of equity do so with clean hands. That is, you suckle at the teat of the goverment, don’t be surprised when the same government decides that it owns you.

    3) Aren’t there satellite services — both governmental and private — that presently give essentially the same information that the EPA seeks with drones — and no one’s complaining about them? Gee, I dunno — maybe this is cost-effective. You know, drones instead of sending up an EPA satellite?

    Now, if you want to complain about an open-ended authorization to kill Americans using poorly defined concepts as justification for the aforementioned liquidations, then fine, I’m on board.

    I just don’t think that the subjugation of America will begin by monitoring crops. There’s an awful lot more to worry about than this silly notion.

    J.P. (bd0246)

  32. eddie-

    From my limited understanding, I agree that no one person, including the president of the United States, should have the power to make such a decision, and if my comments suggested that then I was not clear.

    But I do think in principle that the president and the govt. needs to have a process whereby they can decide to execute someone without having the equivalent of a criminal trial in public. When a US citizen has essentially become an enemy of the state, especially when self-proclaimed, the idea that our options are limited to arrest and extraction from an uncooperative country seems inadequate to fulfill the responsibility of protecting the public.

    But yes, there needs to be a process more involved than the unilateral decision of any president.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  33. @MD in Philly

    The lack of due process here is one problem, the basically unlimited power of the president to decide who to kill is another. I’m undecided on what is the greater offence.

    I gotta say too, if some is in principle ok with the executive having power to assassinate at will and in secret, quite what is the objection to drone reconnaissance of farmland? That the latter is too extreme? I don’t get that.

    eddie (858b20)

  34. But yes, there needs to be a process more involved than the unilateral decision of any president.

    When has there ever been such a process before? And how do you envision it possibly working in any war? If the military have to formally identify each enemy soldier before killing him, war will become impossible.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  35. Milhouse,

    US citizens have the right to due process and to be free from unreasonable searches that non-citizens don’t have.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  36. Milhouse, the problem comes from the fact that in the past, military operations almost never targeted an identified person. That a US citizen who was a combatant in an enemy force died at the hands of the US military was obviously acceptable. If a person was found in violation of the laws of war during operations and was therefore executable in a summary fashion, such was not directed from the White House but occurred at the hands of subordinate commanders.

    The thing that is disturbing is that technology has made it more feasible to use communications intercepts to locate someone and precision munitions and drones have made it feasible to kill them. The idea of the President making a deliberate choice to kill a specific individual without due process is what bothers people.

    SPQR (768505)

  37. Even if it means we all face more danger as a result.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  38. See here, Milhouse: “When has there ever been such a process before? And how do you envision it possibly working in any war? If the military have to formally identify each enemy soldier before killing him, war will become impossible.

    This is where you go astray. Its not that people think that the military must avoid killing US citizens in the course of operations. The issue is the considered, deliberate choice to target and kill an individual.

    SPQR (768505)

  39. If a drone flies over my property, I’m a-gettin’ my assault rifle and I’m
    a-gonna bring it down!

    Icy (ed7006)

  40. US citizens have the right to due process and to be free from unreasonable searches that non-citizens don’t have.

    Bullshit. What makes US citizens special, and gives them rights that others don’t have? The Bill of Rights doesn’t grant rights, it protects rights that it claims already exist; what source could these rights possibly come from, that would distinguish between citizens of different countries?

    Milhouse, the problem comes from the fact that in the past, military operations almost never targeted an identified person.

    Almost never != never. Actually even that isn’t true, the enemy was usually identified, if only as “that person over there”. But it has never been thought that knowing the person’s name made a difference. It was surely common for soldiers to recognise at least some enemy officers, and to fire on them. And then I give you Yamamoto, whose identity was certainly known.

    such was not directed from the White House but occurred at the hands of subordinate commanders.

    Whose authority comes from the president, and who act only in his name. In any case, that hasn’t changed today — surely you don’t imagine that 0bama is picking the targets?! The same military that picked them before is picking them now, but he has taken the final decision into his hands instead of delegating it. That gives more control over the process, not less. How can that be a problem?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  41. If a drone flies over my property, I’m a-gettin’ my assault rifle and I’m a-gonna bring it down!

    And you’re a-gonna be facing charges, just as you would if you brought down a manned plane.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  42. IMO SPQR’s comments explains why Patterico is concerned about imminence and location. It’s one thing to kill someone with a weapon on a foreign battlefield. It’s another to kill an American with evil thoughts in a foreign country, or to order surveillance of Americans here at home without due process or a court order.

    And, frankly, the fact they used military assets and technical advisers to free the little Alabama boy is a happy ending but it also worries me.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  43. Pat in Michigan is the infamous Chuckles Adkins. Check out his website.

    JD (b63a52)

  44. I think you’re reading the memo wrong, Patrick. It does restrict itself to imminent attacks. Perhaps your beef lies with the fact that “imminent attack” is ill-defined and/or too much power is given to one person to decide when an attack is “imminent”.

    As for the farmers, I’m not sure what’s the problem. Flyovers are commonplace for both regulatory reasons (e.g., to test air pollution), as well as for criminal detection reasons (e.g., to see the opium fields in your backyard), all of which have passed 4th Amendment challenges. The only difference here is that the thing “flying over” is unmanned.

    Kman (5576bf)

  45. “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.

    Back to the meaning of imminent, again.

    JD (b63a52)

  46. Just imagine, for a moment, if Bush had taken this position.

    JD (b63a52)

  47. So. It turns out that a “Skynet” won’t be the reason for robotic drones unleashed upon the world.

    It’s going to be another “Civil” War.

    Only difference being that the rich plantation owners have used persuasion, lies and bribery to gain the support of their “slaves” and they’re trying to spread this SLAVERY to the rest of the country.

    The hardest part is that they are so diffuse. We can’t point to group of States that support this move (well almost). It’s our GOVERNMENT GONE WILD that’s brought this on. And two of the driving reasons for government expansion are: UNIONS and QUOTA HIRING. They have driven the government push for more and more authority and more and more workers.

    We’ve brought this on ourselves for not being alarmed at the signs sooner. Like say at least 2001 or earlier.

    Jcw46 (eda37d)

  48. Comment by welldoneson (0ce2ba) — 2/5/2013 @ 9:03 am

    You might want to read Andrew McCarthy over at PJM on Brennan’s nomination for CIA…
    http://pjmedia.com/andrewmccarthy/2013/02/04/oppose-brennan-for-cia-director/?singlepage=true

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  49. When a US citizen has essentially become an enemy of the state, especially when self-proclaimed

    When this occurs and that individual is outside the jurisdiction of the U.S., then – like an al-Awlaki – he should be terminated if capture is unreasonable.
    But, within U.S. jurisdiction, there is a presumption that constitutional provisions will be adhered to, and Rights observed.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  50. Milhouse said: “In almost all cases, though, they got it right, and they still do. Nobody’s disputing that they got it right in all the cases we know about. So what’s the problem?”

    The problem is the Sixth Amendment guarantee of due process, the right to face your accuser, see the evidence, have a jury trial. US citizens were all born with this right, and it was taken away.

    Most of the 775 detainees brought to Guantanamo have been released without charge. We had been offering paid bounties for “terrorists” and we were taken for many a ride.

    Leaks showed our copters shot at reporters, bystanders and children without provocation and then covered it up. The idea of jury trial has served us well, I don’t think we should change it out of fear.

    Also, it’s only a matter of time before other countries develop remote controlled weapons meant for us – do we want them doing to us what we’ve for years done to them?

    General Washington actually made it a point to treat enemy prisoners with dignity, to set an example.

    But US citizens are granted liberties by the Bill of Rights, no matter how heinous the crime, we always let the courts determine guilt before sentencing. If you want to now skip this, and want partisan politicians to draw up legal kill lists, you should amend the Constitution first because

    Mahalia Cab (894417)

  51. The Bill of Rights grants NOTHING…..

    It is a guarantor of those Natural Rights that pre-exist the Constitution, and the Founding.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  52. The problem is the Sixth Amendment guarantee of due process, the right to face your accuser, see the evidence, have a jury trial. US citizens were all born with this right, and it was taken away.

    1. There is no such right in war. There never has been, and war would be impossible with it. 2. US citizens are not born with more rights than anybody else.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  53. Even The Week thinks kmart is a clown.

    What criteria does the government need to meet to justify an attack on an American member of al Qaeda? According to the memo, an “informed, high-level official” within the government must determine that: 1) the individual in question poses “an imminent threat of violence attack against the United States”; 2) capture of the individual is “infeasible”; and 3) the attack is “conducted in a manner consistent with” the laws of war.

    Upon even a cursory examination, however, these constraints are virtually meaningless. The government is not required to “have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.” Furthermore, the feasibility of capture can be determined by several factors, including if it would simply be too risky for U.S. personnel to conduct a capture operation, or if a capture operation would imperil a “relevant window of opportunity.” There are miles of space to maneuver within the so-called constraints.

    JD (b63a52)

  54. Milhouse – Do you really believe that there is no difference between citizens of the US and non-citizens in the application of our laws?

    JD (b63a52)

  55. The notion, that the the drone-strike memo shifts the burden of proof to the target rather than the government, is a throwback to the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919 which killed at least 400 unarmed men, women and children.

    When asked about children being in the crowd at the inquiry, Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer said that his troops were prepared to aid any that requested aid, but couldn’t explain just how that could be done.

    The Nobel Committee should be proud.

    Neo (d1c681)

  56. Most of the 775 detainees brought to Guantanamo have been released without charge.

    1. And therefore? All of the prisoners of WW2, the Korean war, and the Vietnam war have been released; that doesn’t mean their capture or detention were wrong. They were released when the president determined that they no longer posed a threat. Usually that happens when the war ends, or within a few years after that, but often prisoners are released during a war. It used to be common to release POWs on their parole, i.e. their word of honour not to return to the war until an exchange had been worked out for them.

    2. In any case, who says they should have been released? Are you unaware of how many of them went straight back to the war? Many or most of these releases were due to pure political pressure, treasonous pressure, and it was their release which was wrong, not their detention.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  57. Leaks showed our copters shot at reporters, bystanders and children without provocation and then covered it up.

    Bullshit. That is absolute slander of the USA. Shame on you.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)


  58. If a drone flies over my property, I’m a-gettin’ my assault rifle and I’m a-gonna bring it down!

    And you’re a-gonna be facing charges, just as you would if you brought down a manned plane.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 2/5/2013 @ 10:13 am

    Um, Milhouse, you do know that Icy is riffing on the stupidity of Jesse Jackson, right?

    JVW (4826a9)

  59. Also, it’s only a matter of time before other countries develop remote controlled weapons meant for us – do we want them doing to us what we’ve for years done to them?

    They’re going to do it; how can our not using these weapons prevent that? Do you also think that if you close your eyes then other people can’t see you?! Is your house a gun-free zone, and your town a nuclear-free zone? This is magical thinking.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  60. Kman is at the public library using the taxpayer-funded computer again.

    Elephant Stone (f8ce9d)

  61. Even The Week thinks kmart is a clown.

    I’m not surprised that lefties are upset at this. They are against war, against the US military, and want to apply the legal model to all conflict. I’m gratified that Kman, for once, is not prattling this leftist line. What surprises me is that right-wingers are singing along, apparently just because the president we happen to have is a lying Marxist.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  62. Judge Napolitano on FOX NEWS just asked a key question:

    The government gets it’s powers from the consent of the governed, do you know anybody who consented to this (new policy)?

    ropelight (1a9b2e)

  63. Comment by JVW (4826a9) — 2/5/2013 @ 11:14 am

    That is a VERY low bar.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  64. Speaking about “consent of the governed”, Insty has a say about that in a new colume:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/02/04/americans-unhappy-government-convention-column/1887593/

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  65. Milhouse – Do you really believe that there is no difference between citizens of the US and non-citizens in the application of our laws?

    We’re talking about rights, not the application of our laws. The law merely protects those rights. And it’s absurd to claim that inalienable rights, inherent in the human condition, can depend on citizenship.

    As far as USAn law is concerned, within the USA you’re damn right that there is no difference between citizens and aliens. Outside the USA, USAn law is of limited application anyway. It is true that (at least so the courts have ruled) when the USAn government acts outside USAn territory, the law distinguishes between USAns and others. But it still can’t kill aliens with impunity — except enemy combatants in war, to whom the whole concept of legal rights doesn’t apply, because they are fair game, no matter what passports they hold, or where they are.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  66. Mahalia Cab is a loon and repeats a lot of false stuff.

    Milhouse, you continue to ignore my point. I certainly don’t attempt to apply a legal model to all conflict. I believe that the US military can and should use all the force it finds useful against armed combatants. I have no problem with the military using drones, or any other remotely controlled craft to surveil, target and launch weapons at combatants.

    What I’m discussing is not the use of military force against combatants, but the case where a considered, deliberate decision is made to kill a specific individual. That’s qualitatively different from attacking armed combatants because they are combatants.

    There is a point where that’s not warfare any longer. And the only relevance to the fact that Obama is in office is that he applies to the issue the usual amount of dishonesty and hypocrisy that Obama always does.

    SPQR (768505)

  67. Um, Milhouse, you do know that Icy is riffing on the stupidity of Jesse Jackson, right?

    No, I didn’t, but you can in fact bring down a low-flying aeroplane with a rifle. And you’d face charges if you did so.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  68. What I’m discussing is not the use of military force against combatants, but the case where a considered, deliberate decision is made to kill a specific individual. That’s qualitatively different from attacking armed combatants because they are combatants.

    No, it isn’t. It’s always been a part of war. Each sniper on a battlefield is aiming at a specific individual. Sometimes an individual whom he recognises, such as a well-known officer. Or do you think it would have been wrong for one of Washington’s soldiers to shoot at Cornwallis, or for soldiers in the Civil War to shoot at people they recognised from before the war? How is what we’re doing now different in any way from what we did to Yamamoto?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  69. under Obama’s new policy, what would be the difference between targeting and individual enemy combatant for elimination and targeting the leader of an enemy nation for assassination?

    ropelight (1a9b2e)

  70. No, I didn’t, but you can in fact bring down a low-flying aeroplane with a rifle. And you’d face charges if you did so.

    Well, yeah, much in the same way that a shepherd boy can take down an eight-foot tall Philistine with a stone from a sling, I suppose.

    JVW (4826a9)

  71. Milhouse, now you are being deliberately obtuse. You know what the difference is, and pretending not to understand is not good faith. Your examples are from instances on an actual battlefield, of troops in maneuver and carrying arms openly. Snipers identifying an individual officer almost never happened, they targeted uniformed soldiers. Yamamoto was in a military marked aircraft.

    SPQR (768505)

  72. You stupid conservatives, an enemy combatant is a person who opposes Obama !

    Elephant Stone (f8ce9d)

  73. This isn’t news.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  74. NBC News: “A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.”

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  75. ropelight, one of the greatest differences is that the status of an enemy nation’s leader is publicly known. However, the targeting of an enemy leader for assassination was a topic that gave the US a great deal of policy problems – and the actual policy was not to do it except obliquely as attacking enemy command/control installations. There was some debate you’ll recall about targeting Saddam Hussein during the Iraq war and the Kuwait war.

    SPQR (768505)

  76. Just my unqualified opinion, but nothing Ogabe asserts as within is power approaches his avaricious limit with respect to same.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  77. under Obama’s new policy, what would be the difference between targeting and individual enemy combatant for elimination and targeting the leader of an enemy nation for assassination?

    None. And there never has been. If we’d had a chance to kill Hitler or Mussolini or Hirohito, don’t you think we’d have done it? We did try to kill Castro, several times.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  78. Ok, let me get this straight.

    David Gregory can escape prosecution for a clear violation of what capital city’s law?

    Obama can kill how many US citizen’s?

    That Swartz dude was getting prosecuted for what, again?

    I spent 20 years serving what country?

    Steve57 (bc3ba2)

  79. Let’s quit with hypothetical generalities. Obama called off CENTCOM with Al Qaeda Libya torching the Benghazi consulate.

    They had two drones filming live, whether or not telemetry from the compound existed.

    These directives and powers aren’t intended to be used against enemies of the American people.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  80. No, I didn’t, but you can in fact bring down a low-flying aeroplane(sic) with a rifle. And you’d face charges if you did so.

    There is always that chance that the plane’s (aeroplane? – are we talking about The Western Front?)cameras, if fitted, captured you on film in firing the deadly shot. And, there’s always the chance that they didn’t.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  81. an associated force

    Better cancel those CAIR fund-raiser dinner reservations.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  82. There never has been, Milhouse? That will puzzle those people who are aware of President Ford’s executive order prohibiting it.

    SPQR (768505)

  83. Milhouse, now you are being deliberately obtuse. You know what the difference is, and pretending not to understand is not good faith. Your examples are from instances on an actual battlefield, of troops in maneuver and carrying arms openly.

    Enemy troops can be attacked when they’re camped and asleep too.

    Snipers identifying an individual officer almost never happened, they targeted uniformed soldiers

    It may have been a rare event, but are you seriously suggesting that if the opportunity presented itself they would not take the shot?!

    Yamamoto was in a military marked aircraft.

    So? He was specifically targeted. Would we not have taken the shot if he’d been flying in an unmarked plane?!

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  84. Milhouse, you’ve obviously abandoned any intention of arguing in good faith.

    SPQR (768505)

  85. So FEMA now is being enlisted in planning counter insurgency. The Depts. of Education and HHS have their own swat teams.

    DHS has more than a billion rounds of ammo on order and 7000 assault rifles. They are positioning armored cars and ammo containers around the country.

    Meanwhile some arm(s) of the Services are undertaking joint operations in urban locales unannounced, in Miami and Houston for starters.

    This is a little more incendiary a situation than nerve gas on herds of sheep in MT, or nuclear testing in NV.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  86. I looked this up, and Milhouse’s pix was attached:

    Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” – Ronald Reagan

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  87. NBC News: “A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.”

    That’s right. Just like aliens in the same situation. They are enemy combatants, against whom we are waging war. They do not need to be actively engaged in any specific plot.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  88. They are positioning armored cars and ammo containers around the country.

    Gee, I hope that none of those supplies fall into the wrong hands. It would be a shame if any of that inventory was “lost”.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  89. Enemy troops can be attacked when they’re camped and asleep too.

    They’ll never sneak up on us at night.

    Nosiree bob.

    Steve57 (bc3ba2)

  90. Save that old fishing line and tin-cans.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  91. There never has been, Milhouse? That will puzzle those people who are aware of President Ford’s executive order prohibiting it.

    An executive order is not a law. It’s an order from the president to his employees. Ford decided it was not a good idea; no law prevented him from changing his mind the next day, and no law prevents 0bama from deciding that it is a good idea. And of course the president himself is not bound by executive orders, so if he gives the order to kill there’s never a problem.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  92. Milhouse, you’ve obviously abandoned any intention of arguing in good faith.

    I’m arguing in perfect faith. I’ve been assuming that so are you; should I reexamine that assumption?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  93. And of course the president himself is not bound by executive orders, so if he gives the order to kill there’s never a problem.

    Lets let that one sink in a little bit.

    JD (8fc815)

  94. While the notion that any of angles of the threads post has to do with enemy action I would entertain the possibility in some patriots minds that control within our borders will be lost in a few short years owing to economic realities.

    Its still a fool’s errand defending government, the doomsday scenario is orchestrated by government as well, but it makes a modicum of sense.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  95. Doh, “has to do with enemy action [is absurd], I would entertain the possibility..”

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  96. Barry Obama was such an outstanding student at Columbia, that no other students in the political science department can recall having attended any classes with him.

    Kman knows what I’m talking about.
    Nobody recalls attending DeVry Control Data Institute with him.

    Elephant Stone (f8ce9d)

  97. And of course the president himself is not bound by executive orders, so if he gives the order to kill there’s never a problem.

    Lets let that one sink in a little bit.

    What’s there to sink in? It’s a truism.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  98. Let’s not forget that in August 2012 Janet Napolitano identified potential domestic terrorists as disgruntled veterans or groups or individuals opposed to abortion or immigration or those who reject federal authority or support 2nd Amendment rights or who believe in “end times prophecies” or those who fear economic collapse or the loss of US sovereignty as the UN or world government takes over.

    ropelight (1a9b2e)

  99. While I’ve repeatedly underestimated the Audacity of Dope, I remain, perhaps foolishly, comforted by the unlikelihood that all of the pieces can come together for Ogabe.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  100. Icy: If a drone flies over my property, I’m a-gettin’ my assault rifle and I’m a-gonna bring it down!

    And you’re a-gonna be facing charges, just as you would if you brought down a manned plane.
    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 2/5/2013 @ 10:13 am

    Um, Milhouse, you do know that Icy is riffing on the stupidity of Jesse Jackson, right?
    Comment by JVW (4826a9) — 2/5/2013 @ 11:14 am

    – Exactly.

    No, I didn’t, but you can in fact bring down a low-flying aeroplane with a rifle. And you’d face charges if you did so.
    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 2/5/2013 @ 11:33 am

    – Ya know, people that ‘get’ The Trinity also tend to get sarcasm and parody.

    Icy (ed7006)

  101. 1. There is no such right [Sixth Amendment protection] in war. There never has been, and war would be impossible with it. 2. US citizens are not born with more rights than anybody else.
    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 2/5/2013 @ 11:08 am

    – Two more (conveniently enumerated!) entries for the Comment Hall of Fame.

    Icy (ed7006)

  102. In Milhouse’s case, that’s the Wall of Shame.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  103. – Two more (conveniently enumerated!) entries for the Comment Hall of Fame.

    Which of these statements do you disagree with, and what possible grounds could you have for doing so?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  104. That’s right. Just like aliens in the same situation. They are enemy combatants, against whom we are waging war. They do not need to be actively engaged in any specific plot.
    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 2/5/2013 @ 12:04 pm

    – Then how about we arrest them and try them, in a federal court, for treason? Uh, you know, treat them like citizens as opposed to labeling them ‘enemies of the state’.

    “Excuse me, Mr. President, but why did you just kill one of your fellow Americans?”
    “He was a terrorist.”
    “Really? What did he do?”
    “Nothing. But he was gonna.”

    It might be time to dust off that DVD of “Minority Report”.
    Or better yet, go read Philip K. Dick’s original short story.

    Icy (ed7006)

  105. – Two more (conveniently enumerated!) entries for the Comment Hall of Fame.

    Which of these statements do you disagree with, and what possible grounds could you have for doing so?
    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 2/5/2013 @ 12:44 pm

    – Did I not JUST SAY that I disagree with both of them?

    Icy (ed7006)

  106. I’m with Milhouse on this subject. We have an Authorization to Use Military Force against Al Qaeda and affiliated organizations, the functional equivalent of a declaration of war. With irregular combatants the normal rules of war do not apply. The enemy is extraterritorial, does not wear uniforms and does not adhere to the Geneva Conventions.

    In terms of precedents, the argument seems to be form over substance. LBJ reportedly picked individual bombing targets during the Vietnam War. How is that different? Clinton had several opportunities to take out bin Laden but got cold feet. In terms of process, I find it hard to imagine targets magically appear on Obama’s desk untouched by human hands and that there is a process in place to make it on the list and have missions authorized.

    The danger becomes retaliation and every tin pot economy raping dictator or Islamist fanatic wanting to emulate Obama and have his own personal kill list now that the secret is out. Just thing, the left used to go nuts over Seymour Hirsch’s fantasies about Dick Cheney’s secret kill squads, and Bush air raiding weddings and villages for no reason.

    I also share Patterico’s concern over Obama’s fundamental dishonesty, plus his lack of transparency and character.

    To the extent farm overflights are not through restricted airspace, are there any legal issues with the practice? People may object to it, but it certainly does not seem illegal.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  107. 104. Thank you, for making the obvious explicit. We are so polite around here it can be embarrassing to kick the dirt around, eyes lowered, until someone has the balls to spit it out.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  108. 106. How white of you, daley.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  109. “Excuse me, Mr. President, but why did you just kill one of your fellow Americans?”

    Icy – I can see the conversation going more along these lines.

    No I didn’t.
    The reports we have indicate that you did.
    Who did you get your reports from?
    Al-Qaeda linked sources in Yemen.
    Why would you trust such sources?

    OK, can you tell us what happened.
    A U.S. operated drone conducted an attack on a multi-car convoy of senior Al Qaeda commanders in Yemen, causing multiple casualties.
    Was an American citizen among them?
    We have no information on that…………

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  110. Icy – Unfortunately, President Spike the Football does not like to keep his lips zipped.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  111. “106. How white of you, daley.”

    gary – Thanks. Call them mercenaries if you want. Can we kill American mercenaries fighting for our enemies?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  112. When in the course of human events…

    redc1c4 (403dff)

  113. An Oyabun must be killed with the sword.

    Oh, sorry, thought this was the non-sequitor thread.

    mojo (8096f2)

  114. I believe that one of our problems is that we have made the Rules of Engagement so restrictive, that decisions that in previous wars were handled at the Platoon, or Squad, level are now bucked up the chain-of-command to be made, and now ultimately in the Oval Office.
    The higher up the ladder that DMA is sequestered, the greater the chance that the authority will be abused – which is why we have a governmental structure based on “checks and balances”.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  115. 111- anyone who takes the field against American forces is a combatant eligible for termination with extreme prejudice.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  116. “I believe that one of our problems is that we have made the Rules of Engagement so restrictive, that decisions that in previous wars were handled at the Platoon, or Squad, level are now bucked up the chain-of-command to be made, and now ultimately in the Oval Office.”

    askeptic – I think also if you are going to have drone strikes outside our direct theater of operations, say Somalia, Ethiopia or Pakistan, there is also more diplomatic sensitivity and reason for pushing approval up the chain of command.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  117. #115, If only that were so.

    ropelight (1a9b2e)

  118. 117- It is in my AOR!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  119. At last, an explanation of what happened in Benghazi.
    They used to protect US citizens abroad, now they mark them for death.

    Neo (d1c681)

  120. 116- Concentrating DMA in the Oval Office sets us up for the same problems that we experienced with LBJ picking targets in North Vietnam.

    Whatever happened to letting the Generals run the war?
    Politicians have a bad habit of loosing wars, at least in the later half of the 20th-Century.
    Can you imagine Sherman waiting for a telegraph from Lincoln as to whether he should torch a particular barn in his March to the Sea?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  121. Oops….losing v. loosing.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  122. An argument could also be made that Operation Wag the Dog, errr Desert Fox, at the end of 1998 was an attempt to kill or depose Saddam Hussein.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  123. “Whatever happened to letting the Generals run the war?”

    askeptic – I’m not arguing it’s a good idea, just that those saying that there are no precedents are full of it.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  124. Roger that!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  125. I wonder if all the liberals who whined that John Walker Lindh just had to be granted a civilian trial in a U.S. court realize the irony that Barack Obama would just have him killed by an unmanned drone hovering from high above. Can’t wait until the Obama Presidential Library opens so I can see that Nobel Peace medal up front and close.

    And frankly, I generally support the idea that we can kill U.S. citizens who align with the enemy during times of war. I wonder though if all the liberals who disdained and mocked the idea that we were engaged in war — remember during the Bush years hearing the left sneer about “the so-called War on Terror”? — are having a tough time squaring the idea that Obama is acting within the bounds of war that they don’t think actually exists.

    JVW (4826a9)

  126. That’s right. Just like aliens in the same situation. They are enemy combatants, against whom we are waging war. They do not need to be actively engaged in any specific plot.
    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 2/5/2013 @ 12:04 pm

    – Then how about we arrest them and try them, in a federal court, for treason? Uh, you know, treat them like citizens as opposed to labeling them ‘enemies of the state’.

    Why should we? They are enemies of the USA. In no previous war have we ever distinguished between enemy soldiers according to their passports. Why should we start doing so now? Sure, in addition to killing them, or capturing them and holding them indefinitely without trial, as we do to aliens who make war on us, the president also has the option of trying them for treason, which he can’t do to aliens. That makes their legal situation worse, not better! Are you seriously suggesting that this possibility somehow exempts them from the first two possibilities?!

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  127. “Excuse me, Mr. President, but why did you just kill one of your fellow Americans?”
    “He was a terrorist.”
    “Really? What did he do?”
    “Nothing. But he was gonna.”

    It makes no difference whether he was gonna do anything. We didn’t kill him because he was gonna do something, but because we were at war with him. We killed all the other soldiers in his barracks at the same time; are you upset about them too? Why not? They were all “gonna” or “not gonna” do the exact same things he was. They were all exactly as innocent or guilty as he was. If we had the right to kill them, then we had exactly the same right to kill him. Or are you claiming that Americans’ lives are worth more than aliens’?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  128. I also share Patterico’s concern over Obama’s fundamental dishonesty, plus his lack of transparency and character.

    Of course. We all share that. But that applies equally to everything he does. If he might dishonestly kill an American, pretending that he was an enemy soldier, then he’s equally likely to do the same thing to an alien, which would be just as bad. And he’s likely to falsely prosecute people, and to do all sorts of horrible things. That’s what happens when we have a bad president.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  129. There was the case of the saboteurs landed on (?)Long Island(?) by U-boat during WW-2,who were captured and executed.
    One, or two, had status as Naturalized Americans IIRC, and SCOTUS said that didn’t matter.
    I’m sure you legal-eagles can cite the case.

    But, I think the argument goes as to whether the President would be within his authority in unleashing a drone attack on an American Citizen within America,
    even one who – like Major Hassan – had essentially committed Treason by their actions in gunning down U.S. Forces.
    Or, what if they were the Aryan Brotherhood?
    Or some other violent ethnic group advocating separation and secession?

    That might be an interesting case.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  130. I believe that one of our problems is that we have made the Rules of Engagement so restrictive, that decisions that in previous wars were handled at the Platoon, or Squad, level are now bucked up the chain-of-command to be made, and now ultimately in the Oval Office.

    Makes no difference. All decisions at any level are made with the president’s authority. When Bush was locking people up in Guantanamo, or having them killed, he wasn’t personally making those decisions, the military was doing it in his name. But he bore the responsibility, because all their authority comes from him. I believe he was right to do so, and for exactly the same reason I believe 0bama is also right to do so, and the fact that he has chosen to personally approve the hits makes them less likely, not more (which might not be a good thing). Anyone the lower ranks would not have killed, he won’t kill, because they won’t submit the option to him. Anyone they would have, they submit to him, and he either OKs it or not. Net result: fewer enemies dead, which may or may not be a good thing.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  131. I wonder if all the liberals who whined that John Walker Lindh just had to be granted a civilian trial in a U.S. court realize the irony that Barack Obama would just have him killed by an unmanned drone hovering from high above. Can’t wait until the Obama Presidential Library opens so I can see that Nobel Peace medal up front and close.

    Exactly. I’m not surprised to see them change their tune, now that one of them is president. What does surprise me is to see so many conservatives also changing their tune, for what appears to be the same reason. Surely we’re better than that.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  132. Please adjust Windage & Elevation, as you’re still missing the target.

    The point is not that all actions taken in the field are at the general direction, and under the authority of, the National Command Authority; but that the ability to say Yes or No to actions has been pulled up the chain-of-command far higher than was true in the past.
    Why have Theatre Commanders (CentCom, PacCom, etc.) if those commanders have to look over their shoulders for every significant decision.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  133. Milhouse – I don’t recall Bush asserting this authoritah, or supporting him doing so.

    JD (b63a52)

  134. There was the case of the saboteurs landed on (?)Long Island(?) by U-boat during WW-2,who were captured and executed.
    One, or two, had status as Naturalized Americans IIRC, and SCOTUS said that didn’t matter.
    I’m sure you legal-eagles can cite the case.

    Herbert Haupt. The Supreme Court said he had no right to habeas corpus, so the military could do anything it liked to him and it was none of any court’s business. His parents, on the other hand, were not themselves enemy combatants, just ordinary traitors, so they were tried in a civilian court and convicted.

    But, I think the argument goes as to whether the President would be within his authority in unleashing a drone attack on an American Citizen within America,

    I don’t see why not, though it would be silly to use a drone. Just send a hit squad.

    even one who – like Major Hassan – had essentially committed Treason by their actions in gunning down U.S. Forces.

    Not unless he was actually part of the enemy forces, rather than an independent supporter of theirs. Herbert Haupt was a German soldier; his parents Hans and Erna were just American Nazis. If evidence emerged that Hassan had signed up with al Qaeda or some other Islamist group, then yes, it would be lawful to treat him as an enemy soldier.

    Or, what if they were the Aryan Brotherhood?
    Or some other violent ethnic group advocating separation and secession?

    No state of war exists between them and the USA. If it did, e.g. during the Civil War, then the same would apply, as it did then.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  135. Why have Theatre Commanders (CentCom, PacCom, etc.) if those commanders have to look over their shoulders for every significant decision.

    That’s a question of prudence, not law or ethics. Having 0bama approve each of these hits may not be a good idea, but it’s his decision. That’s what he’s president for, to make those decisions. He may be unwise, he may be foolish, he may be incompetent, he may even be deliberately bollixing things up in order to weaken the USA (which would be treason), but what he is not is ultra vires. And if he is wrong, it’s in killing too few people, including too few American citizens, not too many.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  136. Yes, he has to make those decisions because he is a lousy manager, and not only has great difficulty in delegating authority, but an even worse track-record on hiring competency.

    Send a hit squad….
    In the case of the old (are they even still around) Aryan Brotherhood in ID, a hit squad would entail a very risky proposition, as it would probably have to fight its way in, and out. So much easier to just send a Predator/Hellfire.

    A state of war….
    A state of war exists when a belligerent party declares war, you may or may not acknowledge same (such is the delusion that we’ve operated under vis-a-vis Iran since 1979) but that doesn’t change the conditions on-the-ground.
    If a group undertakes violent acts with the intent of seceding from the USA, and establishing an independent state, is that not an act of war?
    But, under Posse Comitatus, can the President use DoD forces to suppress such a rebellion?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  137. Milhouse-

    I get that all men are created equal… but the President of the USA is expected to put Americans first

    SteveG (831214)

  138. I get that all men are created equal… but the President of the USA is expected to put Americans first

    But that’s not the claim here. The claim is that USAns have rights that aliens don’t; that it’s OK to kill enemy soldiers if they are aliens, but not if they’re USAns. If killing them is murder, then it’s just as much murder if they’re aliens. And if it isn’t, then it isn’t even if they’re citizens.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  139. It is as though Milhouse is trying to not understand the point.

    JD (b63a52)

  140. He makes obtuseness a fine art.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  141. Would it help if we printed Miranda warnings in Arabic on the sides of the missiles our drones fire?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  142. A state of war exists when a belligerent party declares war, you may or may not acknowledge same (such is the delusion that we’ve operated under vis-a-vis Iran since 1979) but that doesn’t change the conditions on-the-ground.

    It depends on whether the president chooses to recognise it. Panama declared war on the USA two days before the invasion; Bush chose to acknowledge it and follow up in force, but he could have chosen to ignore it.

    If a group undertakes violent acts with the intent of seceding from the USA, and establishing an independent state, is that not an act of war?

    Not necessarily. Without an actual declaration of war on their part, low-level violence would be indistinguishable from ordinary crime; and a declaration could be seen as merely a ridiculous attempt to justify the violence, which should not be dignified with an acknowledgment. If they launched a major campaign, though, then the Insurrection Act would come into play.

    But, under Posse Comitatus, can the President use DoD forces to suppress such a rebellion?

    If there’s an insurrection, then the Posse Comitatus Act is not an issue. The Insurrection Act provides the necessary authority for federal forces to act.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  143. I think a Govt where the President can select American citizens to be executed without due process sucks.

    JD (b63a52)

  144. Not doing law here (not qualified), just thinking out loud.

    1) Government needs at least a core of virtuous people to keep others in line. Checks and balances don’t work if not enforced.

    2) “Warfare” isn’t what it once was. Ever since the stick, technological advancements have often outpaced human wisdom.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  145. 1) Government needs at least a core of virtuous people to keep others in line. Checks and balances don’t work if not enforced.

    Te thing is, the usual checks and balances are unworkable in wartime; you can’t have Congress and the courts second-guessing the Commander in Chief. So his war-making powers are effectively plenary. If Congress doesn’t like how he wages war, they can always impeach him, but they can’t be back seat drivers. And the courts can’t interfere at all, or at least that’s the theory; recent decisions seem to represent the court sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  146. “recent decisions seem to represent the court sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong.”

    - Milhouse

    To be fair, I think that’s more about the increasing difficulty of identifying “wartime” (as MD’s comment mentions) than it is about an increased Judicial inclination to interfere with plenary Executive war powers.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  147. Salim Hamdan was captured in southern Afghanistan on November 24, 2001. According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, he was captured in a car with four other alleged al-Qaeda associates, including Osama bin laden’s son-in-law. Three of the men were killed in a firefight with Afghan forces. The Afghans turned over Hamdan and the other surviving associate in the car to U.S. forces.[10] Initially held in Afghanistan, he was transferred to the new Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2002.

    narciso (3fec35)

  148. Does anyone think the academic left will attempt to blackball the author of this memo like they did John Yoo? Anyone expect marches in the streets?

    Or will we get a few columns the left can point to ten years from now?

    Marshal (79a61f)

  149. The author isn’t listed, on the memo.

    narciso (3fec35)

  150. Since the military is precluded from “direct participation in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law” on American soil, I assume the drones in Iowa are either operated by EPA personnel or there is authorization for the military to operate them.

    Maybe the military is doing this as part of their training, since the Air Force and/or the Iowa National Guard may have a drone operation center in Des Moines. (If it’s the Guard, is that exempt from Posse Comitatus?)

    Did you know that Congress has already approved 30,000 drones in American skies by 2020? But they don’t want us to have guns.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  151. From my last link:

    Concerns that the drones would add to privacy violations were vindicated when a newly discovered Air Force intelligence brief revealed that surveillance data of American citizens captured by drones “accidentally” can be stored and analyzed by the Pentagon.

    “Collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent,” the instruction states.

    Meanwhile, the drone industry in the United States is doing its best to project a positive image to the public.

    Michael Toscano, president of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, is optimistic that some astute public relations will help the industry.

    “You have to keep repeating the good words,” he said, adding that the word “drones” should also be dispensed with because of its negative connotations and replaced with the term “remotely piloted vehicles.”

    Salon observed:

    Toscano made it sound like something straight out of a crisis-management textbook — or Orwell. The AUVSI wants to bombard the American public with positive images and messages about drones in an effort to reverse the growing perception of the aircraft as a threat to privacy and safety.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  152. 149.The author isn’t listed, on the memo.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35)

    We’ll know who they are before long.

    Marshal (79a61f)

  153. It would be so much easier if we were governed by a wise oligarchy of journalists, lawyers, judges, teachers, union members, and community organizers.
    All these checks and balances and consent just gets in the way of smarter people doing what’s best for the rest of us !

    Elephant Stone (f12567)

  154. In the fall of 2009 Ogabe rescinded the joint Polish/Czech ABM sheild treaty as a freebie engendering goodwill with Russia.

    Putin thanked him for the gesture and suggested he share technology with Russian client states.

    In the following Spring a Polish jet with 100 of its elite executive flew into Smolensk to honor the Poles massacred by Russians late in WWII.

    Putin closed the airport and turned off the lights due to “heavy fog”, all aboard perishing.

    In confidence Ogabe exclaimed “Damn, Poot is one bad dude! I have a serious man-crush.”

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  155. well there’s that example, also in 2004, the FSB blew up a Chechen exile leader, in the middle of Doha, no finesse there.

    narciso (3fec35)

  156. ==Did you know that Congress has already approved 30,000 drones in American skies by 2020?==

    DRJ-it’s just the next step beyond blue light camera surveillance

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/19/blue-light-camera-study-f_n_969721.html

    elissa (94e93f)

  157. DRJ

    The military is regularly secunded to law enforcement, especially in survelliance, search and rescue and intelligence.

    EPWJ (590d06)

  158. Hey Daley,
    Still think I’m crazy for saying that drones would be patrolling American skies?

    Ghost (2d8874)

  159. Charlottesville VA has passed anti-drone legislation.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  160. DRJ, the National Guard does not fall under Posse Comitatus as long as it has not been Federalized. Once it has been Federalized, they are just more Army troops, and no longer answer to their State’s Governor.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  161. 157- But PC precludes the military from having arrest powers, absent Martial Law.
    This is why, in a disaster, the call-up of the Guard is done under state auspices, and payment. Once they are transferred to the authority, and pay, of the Federal Government, Posse Comitatus applies.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  162. Government Memo: Obama May Kill Certain U.S. Citizens

    Can I send him a list?

    askeptic (2bb434)

  163. eddie sez:

    Utterly amazed by this commentary, by a prosecutor of all people.

    The memo (it’s not the OLC opinion, but presumably it is consistent with that) outlines how due-process free assassinations on the order of the executive should be done.

    That is completely chilling in itself.

    Milhouse sez:

    I don’t understand the entire issue here. All you people, including Patterico, seem to have forgotten that we are at war. And war consists of killing the enemy. That’s what it means.

    It would be awesome if y’all could talk amongst yourselves and get your stories straight.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  164. Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 2/5/2013 @ 6:33 pm

    this act only applies to the army and airforce. It also has several important exceptions that in essence nullifys it – the sudden emergency , the federal interest and federal property clauses.

    It was also weakened again I think in HR 815 in 2007 beause defene attorneys were trying to use it to have testimony from army investigators and other witnessess dismissed in criminl cases.

    EPWJ (6140f6)

  165. 163. Oh, but its more ‘fun’ to talk past each other without ever settling on the provided subject. We just pull a topic out of the air, wave it under a few noses, and gallop on our merry way.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  166. The really neat thing about the memo is Al Qaeda no longer has a supranational hierarchy, its just a collection of cells.

    Waste a few suspects who know each other and your investigation practically writes itself. If its the weekend and you ran a guantlet of pubescent hookers no prob.

    ‘Mistaken identity, we knocked on the wrong door and the butthole answered with frying pan in his hands. It looked like a pistol, sh*t happens.’

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  167. It was also weakened again I think in HR 815 in 2007 beause defene attorneys were trying to use it to have testimony from army investigators and other witnessess dismissed in criminl cases.

    I believe the changes you mentioned were repealed in 2008.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  168. AQ, has always commandeered preexisting networks, what is the difference now, Gamaa Islamiyah, GIA,
    Gemaa Islamiyah, etc, etc.

    narciso (3fec35)

  169. From The Global Dispatch Feb. 5, 2013:

    Lawmakers in nine states are looking at plans to restrict the use of drones over their skies amid concerns the unmanned aerial vehicles could be exploited to spy on Americans.

    …. the American Civil Liberties Union said state legislators are proposing various restrictions on the new technology, motivated in large part by the DOJ memo which outlines the legal reasoning to use the drones, even on American citizens.

    The ACLU said the nine states are Oregon, California, Montana, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, Florida and Virginia.

    elissa (94e93f)

  170. That pose reminds me of Mussolini.

    AZ Bob (c11d35)

  171. “Still think I’m crazy for saying that drones would be patrolling American skies?”

    Ghost – Where are they patrolling?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  172. i kill you wif mah flying robot of def pewpewpew

    ohnoes you won’t barack skywalker I have a forcefield hahaha

    oh yeah well you just wait you gon get it later crap nobody told me bout no forcefields

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  173. Why does Obama want to kill Jihadists from the sky ?
    Isn’t he the guy who says we should listen to their grievances and sit down at the table and discuss things with them ?

    And if it is “ok” for him to do it, why is it not “ok” when Israel does it to enemy combatants ?

    I realize these are rhetorical questions. Obama is the One. We must not question his wisdom. Or something.

    Elephant Stone (f12567)

  174. I am shedding copious amounts of crocodile tears for Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. The inhumanity of it all!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  175. ES – Obama is just making more terrorists.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  176. oh great just what we need – more terrorists!

    tell you what it just gets better and better

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  177. I don’t really give a crap if Obama kills terrorists by drone attacks, even if they are Americans.

    I do care that he is violating the law by killing an American without due process, no matter how worthless the terrorist may be.

    What really bothers me though is his high and mighty executive orders closing Guantanamo that never happened and his cowardly dodge of using drones to kill terrorists rather than capturing and trying them through military courts.

    If you really think about it, the President’s logic could include evacuating the military from Guantanamo and using a drone to bomb the prison after opening the gates.

    And using lefty logic, that would be fine because Obama!

    And that encapsulates the reason I despise the left. Everything is OK as long as a lefty does it. For the children.

    Ag80 (b2c81f)

  178. For the children.

    damn skippy everybody gets a peace prize and a lolly but you can’t win if you don’t play

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  179. No, they want to release at least another third of the detainees

    narciso (3fec35)

  180. It is as though Milhouse is trying to not understand the point.
    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 2/5/2013 @ 3:31 pm

    – In his case, it seems to be effortless.

    Icy (ecbc5a)

  181. If Congress doesn’t like how he wages war, they can always impeach him, but they can’t be back seat drivers.
    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 2/5/2013 @ 5:01 pm

    I included impeachment in my thinking of checks and balances, but it requires enough in Congress who will put the country and rule of law above political considerations. I don’t think that is the case today.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  182. I’m look’n at the very ‘tail-end summation’ and after all the ‘gobbly-goop’ of ‘sudo-legalistic lingo’ I find this entire memo (and that is ALL it is, a memo with NO ‘legal authority’!)another DISTRACTION OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, ASSISTED BY THE ‘LEAK’ THROUGH THE ‘LIBERAL NEWS MEDIA’ ONCE AGAIN, WHO WE KNOW ARE ALWAYS ‘PROPAGANDIZING’ FOR OBAMA…very ‘stupid’ people and I’m always ask’n myself, why are these ‘American’(??) so ‘blind’ (or ARE they?) to this narcistic, arrogant, socialistic/marxist man who insults the highest Office of the United States with his ‘non-American’ actions, geeze!
    Here’s the ‘summation’ one should ‘ponder, mull over, chew on’ and then THROW AWAY….IT IS ALL PROPAGAND AND NOT ‘THE LAW’…IF ENFORCED, WHOORAH, THEN ‘IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS, BEGIN’!!
    Let’s get on with ‘BALANCING THE BUDGET’ AND STOP THE SPENDING AND VOTE AGAINST ANY FURTHER SPENDING!

    Donna (e0fbcb)

  183. I am shedding copious amounts of crocodile tears for Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. The inhumanity of it all!

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 2/5/2013 @ 7:55 pm

    How about for Anwar’s 16 year-old American son? Can you shed some tears for him?
    As for drones in America, start here (mobile link).

    It’s not about what is illegal now, but what might become illegal in the very near future. Guns, smoking, growing your own vegetables… You’re deluding yourself if you think you’ll never be a target. Then look up Stellar Wind. Surprise! You’re already a target.

    Ghost (2d8874)


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