New topic: Instead of contraception, assassination!

Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, gave a speech today on the legal justifications for the administration to order Americans killed without trial. For detailed analysis, see Danger Room, LGM, Glenn Greenwald, Mother Jones (and again) and Lawfare, or read on for the highlights.
Holder states that due process is distinctly different from judicial process: When the US is faced with an imminent attack, the right of self-defense includes striking first at terrorist operational leaders outside the United States such as (if you believe the White House) the Muslim cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, if there’s no way to capture them and if our attack honors rules about collateral damage.
Among the problems:
•Holder isn’t defining the requirements for a strike. He’s stating that in this situation, the US is 100 percent justified, but he’s not ruling it out in other situations.
•No clear definition of what constitutes an imminent attack. If you’ll remember, that’s one reason we had to rush in to Iraq (although Bush technically never said “imminent” he certainly implied it).
•No clear definition of “senior operational leadership.”
•No criteria for determining whether someone can be captured rather than killed.
•And while several of the linked articles above agree that due process doesn’t mandate a court trial, they’re also quite firm the Obama Administration’s policy—a group within the White House reviews the evidence, passes it to the president, then he makes the final decision—is pretty far from it. As Greenwald points out, the Supreme Court held that in indefinite-detention cases, the accused has a right to defend themselves in court, so how exactly does Holder think that Al-Awlaki doesn’t have the right? Especially when there’s no oversight: If the president (Obama or whoever follows him) says the case is sound, that’s it, no appeal, no questioning, bang you’re dead.
As one critic put it, Bush puppet lawyer John Yoo would have been proud of an argument like this.
In other topics:
•The South Carolina GOP requires candidates to swear that they’re straight, didn’t have sex until marriage and won’t look at porn after they sign the campaign pledge (the party admits it cannot actually enforce this if a non-pledger chooses to run).
•How long since we actually killed an al Qaeda agent in Afghanistan?
•The Daily Howler points out Limbaugh isn’t the only sexist jerk on the airwaves (this is not presented as a defense of Rush).
•The National Review defends Rush’s “good natured humor” against the evil liberal schemes to destroy his greatness. Needless to say, defending the man who once called 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton the “White House dog” as a good natured wit is a rather tall order.
•If we bomb Iran, we’ll probably have to invade as well.

3 Comments

Filed under Politics

3 responses to “New topic: Instead of contraception, assassination!

  1. Pingback: Let us now link famous people « Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Slapping around David Brooks some more | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: So why Obama? | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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