Dispatches from District 48
Incredibly, Mr. Hope and Change believes he has the power to have American citizens legally assassinated.
Probably time to add "or lack thereof" to the "Invidual Rights" category?
It's shocking that this isn't yet the subject of nationwide protests and a forceful supreme court challenge.
Take that, opponents of health care reform!
This has been discussed over at the Volokh Conspiracy law blog with some interesting commentary: http://volokh.com/2010/09/06/the-washington-post-on-targeting-killing-and-us-citizens/
The principle behind supporting targeted killing or assasination of American citizens (or anyone else, really) is that it is an act of war and nations are not geographically restricted to predetermined battlefields when fighting. I think there might also be more commentary at the new Lawfare blog: http://www.lawfareblog.com/
The way I understand it is that the reasoning goes like this: Nobody is going to say the army needs to provide a trial before shooting back at an American citizen who is shooting at soldiers. And, I doubt anyone would have an issue with knowingly killing an American citizen in an artillery bombardment of an enemy army's rear areas, so the American doesn't necessarily have to be actively fighting to be legally killed. Therefore, since the government isn't restricted to fighting on predetermined battlefields, and they can kill even American citizens who are not actively fighting but part of the enemy's organization, it's legal to target and kill Americans pretty much anywhere.
Personally, this is part of the reason why I think it's a mistake to treat global terrorism as a military threat instead of as criminal activity. Dealing with small groups of people operating in civilian populations seems to me much more like a traditional police mission than a military mission. The military will kill as many people and break as many things as it takes to achieve its mission, which is what we need when we're faced with an enemy army. But when the enemy is individuals, we need more of an investigative and preventative methodology, and I think we're 1.) blunting our military by asking it to do a different job that it's designed to do and 2.) eroding our own civil liberties and the rule of law by adjusting our rules to allow the military to do what we're asking it to do.
"But when the enemy is individuals, we need more of an investigative and preventative methodology". Not to make too fine a point of it, but when you drop a cruise missile on the head of a terrorist in a foreign land (citizen or not), I think you have taken a clear preventive step.
Caseyboy: Or needlessly made a new bunch of enemies, depending on how good the investigation was...
Yes, and as long time readers of this blog know, both the Coke and Pepsi parties have the same economic policies.
They are equally in favor of protectionism, higher taxes, reckless spending, ever-increasing government control of major industries, etc.
That's why between 2006 and 2010 the debt/GDP has been relatively stable at 35% and 70% respectively and the deficit has been relatively stable, only climbing modestly from $250 billion to $1.4 trillion.
Based on the utter lack of distinction between the Republican Congress of 2006 and the Democrat Congress of 2010, I say we sit this election out, just as we libertarians wisely sat out 2008.
Hasdrubal - Its not really a police mission either. We can't easily investigate or arrest people in many of the favorite terrorist hangouts, and they are part of a large (if somewhat diffuse group) that uses larger amounts of organized force against us, and considers themselves at war against us. It has aspects of war, and aspects of policing. Relatively low level terrorism, within our country, by people based here, or based in countries that have their own effective anti-terrorist police efforts and will use them to combat terrorism against us, can be treated more as a police matter. But I don't think we can reasonably treat the whole conflict against Al Qaeda and associated or allies groups that way. The terrorism of Al Qaeda or other similar terrorist orgs (like Hezbollah who mostly targets Israel, but has killed Americans as well), has many war like aspects. They are not out to profit, or to kill or harm some specific person they dislike, they are against our nation, trying to harm our country as much as they can or force us to make political and/or religious changes. They consider themselves at war. They are not just a collection of individual criminals, they are an organization that recruits to wage what they see as holy war against us. And they wage this effort across international boundaries. They are too difuse to make this a normal conventional war, but it has aspects of guerrilla warfare. Also they plan, train, and stage their attacks from places that are difficult to impossible for our normal law enforcement processes to work.