I read this very interesting article that asserts President Obama is going down the same onerous road as his predecessor in dispensing justice to perceived enemies of the state…..at the expense of breaking the law and further endangering the national security as well as the national psyche. What is the matter with America that she has become afraid of people, not nations mind you, but individual people, that it makes her break her own laws as well as the laws she has agreed with the international community upon for decades?!?
The Obama administration now claims a right to kill American citizens without trial, without notice, and without any chance for the marked men or women to object legally. The Bush administration’s “targeted killing” program has been radically expanded to include Americans far from any war zone. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified earlier this year that the targeting-to-kill decision depends only on “whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us.”
The poster boy for the targeted killing program is Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric who is reportedly in Yemen. The Obama administration touts allegations that al-Awlaki helped spark the slaughter at Ford Hood, Texas, inspired the attempt to destroy a jetliner on Christmas Day 2009, and has done other dastardly things that the government has not yet disclosed (for our own good, of course). Al-Awlaki might well be a four-star bastard, but government press releases and background briefings have not previously been sufficient to justify capital punishment.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to compel Uncle Sam “to disclose the legal standard it uses to place U.S. citizens on government kill lists.” The Obama administration has responded by invoking the doctrine of state secrets, effectively claiming that national security demands that these policies be kept hidden. By hiding behind state secrets, the feds don’t even have to explain why the law doesn’t apply to their actions.
In oral arguments in federal court on Nov. 9, Justice Department attorney Douglas Letter asserted that no judge has authority to be “looking over the shoulder” of the Obama administration’s targeted-killing program. Letter declared that the program involves “the very core powers of the president as commander-in-chief.” When Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008, entitling the president to kill Americans without trial was not one of the reforms he promised.
The Obama administration has decided to pursue a Bush administration policy of extra-judicial punishment for individuals anywhere in the world, even American citizens, and claim no one has the right to oversight. It is an extraordinary position to take on the heels of an administration whose party was soundly defeated in the presidential elections in part one may argue for just such a disregard for law and the rights of US citizens. There has been no hue and cry on the part of the people for their president to undertake this action, so why does he feel the need to do so?
The Obama administration’s position “would allow the executive unreviewable authority to target and kill any U.S. citizen it deems a suspect of terrorism anywhere,” according to Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Pardiss Kebriae. And the feds have a horrible batting average when it comes to accurately identifying terrorist suspects. In the six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government rounded up 1,200 people as suspected terrorists or terrorist supporters. None of the detainees proved to have links to the attacks. And as the ACLU noted earlier this year, “the government has failed to prove the lawfulness of imprisoning individual Guantanamo detainees in 34 of the 48 cases that have been reviewed by the federal courts thus far, even though the government had years to gather and analyze evidence for those cases and had itself determined that those prisoners were detainable.”
It’s clear to this viewer that the Obama approach to the war on terror, is just as pernicious as Bush. In fact it is a continuation of the former President’s policy at at time when the “threat” level is not as imminent as it was after 911 all the inaccurate and misleading press propaganda to the contrary. What we are witnessing is the way in which government works; it’s march towards diminution of citizen rights is gradual, slow, deceptive and relentless. New faces have little to do with changing the progress of government’s march toward this goal. Obama isn’t ‘change we can believe in’, he’s more of the same.