Friday, February 05, 2010

Assassination is the continuation of law enforcement by other means?

This blog would become even more tedious if we cataloged our disappointments with Obama, but even in such times as these, president-ordered assassinations of Americans abroad ought to merit a word.
The director of national intelligence said the factors that "primarily" weigh on the decision to target an American include "whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us, whether that American is a threat to other Americans."
So, not a matter of killing an American who's on the battlefield in the enemy's ranks - no one would question that - but rather, an American "involved in a group." If you're an American suspected of being tied to al-Qaeda, then you may get a Hellfire missile in your bedroom.

Glenn Greenwald:
... wouldn't it be preferable to at least require the President to demonstrate to a court that probable cause exists to warrant the assassination of an American citizen before the President should be allowed to order it? That would basically mean that courts would issue "assassination warrants" or "murder warrants"--a repugnant idea given that they're tantamount to imposing the death sentence without a trial--but isn't that minimal safeguard preferable to allowing the President unchecked authority to do it on his own, the very power he has now claimed for himself? And if the Fifth Amendment's explicit guarantee--that one shall not be deprived of life without due process--does not prohibit the U.S. Government from assassinating you without any process, what exactly does it prohibit?
I wonder how the Republicans feel about Obama's power to order such assassinations? Travel plans, Ms. Palin?

(H/t Baumann, in for Kevin Drum. If the post title's allusion has to be explained, it probably wasn't all that great to start with.)

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