Judicial oversight is for sissies. How Obama can legally kill you in your sleep
Attorney General claims Obama has power to kill citizens on American soil.
President Obama can kill you, without a trial, based on a secret determination that remains entirely within the executive branch. This is the conclusion explained by Attorney Eric Holder in a letter to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
Holder explained in his letter "well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat." He also made clear that the government has no intention of initiating drone strikes in the United States.
However, he did reserve the right for Obama to order such a strike in extraordinary circumstances.
"It is possible, I suppose," Holder wrote, " to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001."
Unfortunately there are a couple problems with this statement that give rights activists considerable pause.
First, outsiders carried out the attacks carried out on the United States at Pearl Harbor and on 9-11, none of the attackers were Americans and as enemy combatants, they were not entitled to the full course of due process guaranteed by the Constitution.
Second, Obama has already carried out attacks on Americans on foreign soil, all without due process.
The decision to make those attacks has fallen to an unknown person within the ranks of the Obama administration. The criteria is supposed to be if "an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US."
However, we know of several examples where Americans have been killed without any evidence that they were engaged in planning a specific and imminent threat of violence.
Of course, this determination happens in secret, entirely under the purview of the executive branch.
Taken as a whole, this means that sometime over the next three-and-a-half years of the Obama administration, should Obama feel the situation warrant it, he could order the military to conduct a secret drone strike on an American for reasons known only to those within his secret cabal which is judge, jury, and executioner.
This isn't the way it's supposed to be. Presidents may not order the killing of fellow Americans because he thinks they might be up to something nefarious. Indeed, this has been the criteria in the past. Without judicial review nothing really needs to be proven. Without knowing who the deciders are, we don't even know what the standard of evidence is, if there is one.
The only difference is one of geography.
Fortunately, drones don't care much for geography, since they are airborne platforms equipped with high tech, long range weaponry.
Meanwhile, under Obama's watch, drones are already becoming ubiquitous in American skies. Eventually, someone will arm them, and it's just a matter of time before someone calls a shot. The sword itself incites to violence.
Lethal attacks against Americans overseas are troubling enough. It's yet more troubling to think they could be part of our future here in America.
Perhaps Obama and Holder would do better in Venezuela? There's a job opening down there just now.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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