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Assassinations of Terrorists/etc.

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Irviding
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#1

Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:57 AM Edited by Irviding, 06 March 2012 - 03:01 AM.

Just today, Eric Holder made a speech to Northwestern University in which he laid out the legal basis for the killing of American citizens overseas involved with terrorism. Interestingly, when Obama was presented with the option to take out al-Awlaki, the Justice Department Counsel as well as elements of the White House Counsel found no constitutional basis for what he did. Obama, being a former constitutional law professor and constitutional lawyer, actually, according to most inside sources, pretty much principally authored his own legal opinion on the killing under the guise of the White House Counsel. That interested me a lot, and the basis he used exactly is still unknown to the public. My own guess is that it's probably something that was stretched to within an inch of its life in order to make it alright for this one case. I can't imagine there is some hard hitting legal memo authorizing the assassination of any American out there. As for the legal basis, Holder argued the following -


QUOTE (Attorney General Eric Holder)

... he said three conditions must exist. The U.S. government must have determined that the individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against America; capture of the suspect is not feasible; and the operation would be conducted within the principles of the law of war.

Holder argued that al Qaeda has the ability to spring surprise attacks and is considered to be continuously planning against to attack on America. Therefore, the law allows for striking even before the "precise time, place, and manner of an attack becomes clear."


That makes sense to me, and I agree with that legal basis, but this is what irked me.

QUOTE (Holder again)

"Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process."

How could you argue that? Judicial process is a part of due process. The 14th amendment (actually the fifth even in this case since it's the federal govt) provides that the government must provide due process to all citizens. Part of due process in this country is the judicial process. I think Holder was talking out of his ass there and I'm surprised the law students at Northwestern didn't flip a sh*t on him for saying that. I'm not even a law major and if he came and spoke to one of my international relations or polysci classes and said that we'd have a field day with him.

How far can the government go in ensuring security? Is bending the constitution completely in order to further a national security goal alright? I absolutely recognize the operational and security necessity in taking out al-Awlaki. But the fact of the matter is, we in the US have a constitution which must be followed. When you start declaring parts of it arbitrary and meaningless, you run into trouble. Holder's main argument here is that the use of force authorization passed in 2001 by Congress allows us to take these actions, but again, you have an American citizen here. This is not some ragtag group of Islamic radicals running around Afghanistan blowing up NATO installations. This is a guy that was a US citizen. Infact, one of the other people that was killed in the drone strike (also a US citizen) was a guy that lived a couple of miles away from where I am from on Long Island. What do you all think? Is it alright to just throw the legal basis and the very institutions we claim to be protecting out the window under the guise of protecting the country? Or does it go too far?

Icarus
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#2

Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:40 AM

I'm surprised no one has replied to this yet since it's actually a good topic of discussion.

Before I begin, I'm a bit cut right now, so if what I say makes no sense, I apologize.

I can't say I know too much about al-Awlaki, except for what I've read and heard on the news and that he served as a mentor to people on the path of terrorism, so my response to this topic is going to be a bit more general rather than very specific. The problem I have with this is that when you start cutting due process for one group of people (e.g. terrorists), it sets a dangerous precedent and puts you on a bit of a slippery slope. Yes, the US Government played the "terrorism card" to eliminate al-Awlaki without due process, but who's to say that in the future (how far in the future, I'm not sure) that something like this could not happen to your everyday citizen in the sense that the government throws away judicial review (due process)? Now I'm sure many people would say it's very unlikely, but you never know (and as a physicist, you cannot know what will happen in the future until it actually happens - causality). It's best not to stray down that path in the first place.

My opinion on the legal system, be it in Canada or the United States, is that it is one of the elements of our society we should try and keep as "pure" as possible and by that, I mean we should never say something like, "Well, this person is a terrorist, so he's not entitled to due process." As far as I'm concerned, everyone is equal before the law and deserves a fair trial, regardless of how vile they may be. Protecting the integrity of the justice system is, in my opinion, very important for a just society.

If we start to throw away the notion of due process, I believe that does more harm to the country as it essentially makes us no better than some totalitarian state.

spaceeinstein
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#3

Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:45 PM Edited by spaceeinstein, 10 March 2012 - 10:53 PM.

How does U.S. laws treat treason? Does the government require due process for dangerously armed criminals if they are actively threatening the public within its country? If anyone, including U.S. citizens, is directly causing immense harm and can be out of reach from the authorities for an extended periods of time, the law should be stretched. An extreme but unlikely scenario I'm thinking of is what if someone obtained a nuclear bomb and threatened to blow a city? Is it right to sacrifice many lives just to uphold the law?

Jeeebuuus
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#4

Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:22 AM

Hell, why stop with terrorists? Why not indiscriminately kill suspected criminals? It would be for the protection of the public which you could make the argument for. If security is first and foremost and "liberty" and "justice" is secondary then why not? The Constitution? Are you kidding me? We cannot sit idly by while the enemy plots our destruction and the so-called freedom fighters helps them do so. Anyone talking of this "freedom" has to be delt with. I will leave whatever that entails up to my local law enforcement agency. They know what is best for my well being, not some paper written by some philosophers two hundred years ago. This is the modern day buddy. We can't afford any of this mumbo jumbo "rights". What are you a terrorist? mercie_blink.gif

Irviding
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#5

Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:48 AM

QUOTE (spaceeinstein @ Saturday, Mar 10 2012, 17:45)
How does U.S. laws treat treason? Does the government require due process for dangerously armed criminals if they are actively threatening the public within its country? If anyone, including U.S. citizens, is directly causing immense harm and can be out of reach from the authorities for an extended periods of time, the law should be stretched. An extreme but unlikely scenario I'm thinking of is what if someone obtained a nuclear bomb and threatened to blow a city? Is it right to sacrifice many lives just to uphold the law?

Yes, due process is granted to all US citizens, including those accused of treason. I agree with the decision to kill al-Awlaki. I think it's pretty clear that he was a terrorist and that all other options were out of the question. I mean if there were a war and an American defected to the other side, would we have to give him due process?

Jeeebuuus
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#6

Posted 11 March 2012 - 04:27 AM

I'm sorry, but not all men are created equal. You are either born American or you are a foreigner. If you decide you don't want to be an American anymore, then your equality status amongst other Americans gets terminated. This is how God wanted it to be and this is how we interpret what God's beliefs are.

Irviding
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#7

Posted 11 March 2012 - 04:50 AM

QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Saturday, Mar 10 2012, 23:27)
I'm sorry, but not all men are created equal. You are either born American or you are a foreigner. If you decide you don't want to be an American anymore, then your equality status amongst other Americans gets terminated. This is how God wanted it to be and this is how we interpret what God's beliefs are.

Um, what about people who come to America and become a citizen that way? I disagree with that part of your statement...

but as for the rest, I somewhat agree. I mean if a guy is out there calling for attacks on the country and training people to attack us, has he not relinquished his citizenship in all but name?

Jeeebuuus
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#8

Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:12 AM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 04:50)
QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Saturday, Mar 10 2012, 23:27)
I'm sorry, but not all men are created equal. You are either born American or you are a foreigner. If you decide you don't want to be an American anymore, then your equality status amongst other Americans gets terminated. This is how God wanted it to be and this is how we interpret what God's beliefs are.

Um, what about people who come to America and become a citizen that way? I disagree with that part of your statement...

but as for the rest, I somewhat agree. I mean if a guy is out there calling for attacks on the country and training people to attack us, has he not relinquished his citizenship in all but name?

No. He was never really a citizen to begin with, in spirit. See, we have to weed out those who are not faithful to our cause. We had the right idea with making our children recite the pledge of allegiance to our great republic, but we need to push it further for adults. All patriotic businesses need to make sure that their employees also show their commitment. Those who willfully refuse should be branded as traitors and arrested. Public hangings should follow to remind the public where their loyalties LIE. This is for our protection and the protection of our great country. Remember, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. Goddammit. notify.gif

Irviding
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#9

Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:29 AM

QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 00:12)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 04:50)
QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Saturday, Mar 10 2012, 23:27)
I'm sorry, but not all men are created equal. You are either born American or you are a foreigner. If you decide you don't want to be an American anymore, then your equality status amongst other Americans gets terminated. This is how God wanted it to be and this is how we interpret what God's beliefs are.

Um, what about people who come to America and become a citizen that way? I disagree with that part of your statement...

but as for the rest, I somewhat agree. I mean if a guy is out there calling for attacks on the country and training people to attack us, has he not relinquished his citizenship in all but name?

No. He was never really a citizen to begin with, in spirit. See, we have to weed out those who are not faithful to our cause. We had the right idea with making our children recite the pledge of allegiance to our great republic, but we need to push it further for adults. All patriotic businesses need to make sure that their employees also show their commitment. Those who willfully refuse should be branded as traitors and arrested. Public hangings should follow to remind the public where their loyalties LIE. This is for our protection and the protection of our great country. Remember, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. Goddammit. notify.gif

That actually made me laugh in real life, but regardless of that, do you believe someone "in spirit" relinquishes his/her citizenship should he advocate violent attack on the country (from outside of the country with an organization we are "at war" with).

Jeeebuuus
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#10

Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:34 AM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 05:29)
QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 00:12)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 04:50)
QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Saturday, Mar 10 2012, 23:27)
I'm sorry, but not all men are created equal. You are either born American or you are a foreigner. If you decide you don't want to be an American anymore, then your equality status amongst other Americans gets terminated. This is how God wanted it to be and this is how we interpret what God's beliefs are.

Um, what about people who come to America and become a citizen that way? I disagree with that part of your statement...

but as for the rest, I somewhat agree. I mean if a guy is out there calling for attacks on the country and training people to attack us, has he not relinquished his citizenship in all but name?

No. He was never really a citizen to begin with, in spirit. See, we have to weed out those who are not faithful to our cause. We had the right idea with making our children recite the pledge of allegiance to our great republic, but we need to push it further for adults. All patriotic businesses need to make sure that their employees also show their commitment. Those who willfully refuse should be branded as traitors and arrested. Public hangings should follow to remind the public where their loyalties LIE. This is for our protection and the protection of our great country. Remember, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. Goddammit. notify.gif

That actually made me laugh in real life, but regardless of that, do you believe someone "in spirit" relinquishes his/her citizenship should he advocate violent attack on the country (from outside of the country with an organization we are "at war" with).

Citizenship or not. This is not so much a political question as a philosophical one. As with much of what has been said. It comes down to what you chose to believe in, not what someone wants you to belive in. I couldn't care one way or the other. I have more important things to worry about. I guess if you want a statement then someone once said, "Give me liberty or give me death".

Irviding
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#11

Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:41 AM

QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 00:34)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 05:29)
QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 00:12)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Mar 11 2012, 04:50)
QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Saturday, Mar 10 2012, 23:27)
I'm sorry, but not all men are created equal. You are either born American or you are a foreigner. If you decide you don't want to be an American anymore, then your equality status amongst other Americans gets terminated. This is how God wanted it to be and this is how we interpret what God's beliefs are.

Um, what about people who come to America and become a citizen that way? I disagree with that part of your statement...

but as for the rest, I somewhat agree. I mean if a guy is out there calling for attacks on the country and training people to attack us, has he not relinquished his citizenship in all but name?

No. He was never really a citizen to begin with, in spirit. See, we have to weed out those who are not faithful to our cause. We had the right idea with making our children recite the pledge of allegiance to our great republic, but we need to push it further for adults. All patriotic businesses need to make sure that their employees also show their commitment. Those who willfully refuse should be branded as traitors and arrested. Public hangings should follow to remind the public where their loyalties LIE. This is for our protection and the protection of our great country. Remember, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. Goddammit. notify.gif

That actually made me laugh in real life, but regardless of that, do you believe someone "in spirit" relinquishes his/her citizenship should he advocate violent attack on the country (from outside of the country with an organization we are "at war" with).

Citizenship or not. This is not so much a political question as a philosophical one. As with much of what has been said. It comes down to what you chose to believe in, not what someone wants you to belive in. I couldn't care one way or the other. I have more important things to worry about. I guess if you want a statement then someone once said, "Give me liberty or give me death".

But it absolutely is a political question. Assassinating a terrorist with US citizenship is in every way a political question.

El Diablo
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#12

Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:59 PM

there's nothing wrong with assassinating a US citizen involved in planning or carrying out acts of terrorism against the US.

such a policy is merely the modern reflection of one of the oldest codes of justice known to man: the penalty for treason is death.
if you betray your country and/or homeland then you forfeit any legal protections that may have otherwise been provided for you upon capture or prosecution.

you don't deserve to be treated equally under our laws if you turned your back on them with the intent of doing harm to those who were your fellow citizens.

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#13

Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:09 AM

Ingsoc!


I personally think it is wrong to assassinate someone overseas because they are about to do something.

Just think of it as, you overhear the next door neighbours that they are going to steal your big shiny lawnmower. In a case like this your faced with 2 option which are to either kill the neighbour or increase security measures. There is a third option which is to steal his lawnmower but it will look bad if you get caught.

If he is on US soil then that is something different.

El Diablo
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#14

Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:14 AM

QUOTE (vertical limit @ Sunday, Mar 18 2012, 21:09)
Just think of it as, you overhear the next door neighbours that they are going to steal your big shiny lawnmower. In a case like this your faced with 2 option which are to either kill the neighbour or increase security measures. There is a third option which is to steal his lawnmower but it will look bad if you get caught.

I'm sorry but this is a horrible example that doesn't reinforce your point at all.




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