Assassinating Americans?

184550

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May 8, 2008
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There was an interesting opinion piece on the NY Times site today.

It's seems simliar to the plot of 'The Bourne Ultimatum' for those of you who don't want to read the entire article. It talks about the policy of assassinating American citizens who are deemed to be combatants of the US.

Here's a couple of paragraphs that introduce the basis and argument of the piece:

It all began last Wednesday with a couple of stray paragraphs near the end of a Washington Post article by Dana Priest on counterterrorism efforts in Yemen:

'After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. The evidence has to meet a certain, defined threshold. The person, for instance, has to pose “a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests,” said one former intelligence official. The Obama administration has adopted the same stance.'

“Obviously, if U.S. forces are fighting on an actual battlefield, then they (like everyone else) have the right to kill combatants actively fighting against them, including American citizens,” was the understandable response from Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. “But combat is not what we’re talking about here. The people on this ‘hit list’ are likely to be killed while at home, sleeping in their bed, driving in a car with friends or family, or engaged in a whole array of other activities.” That’s just the beginning, he thinks:

'More critically still, the Obama administration — like the Bush administration before it — defines the “battlefield” as the entire world. So the President claims the power to order U.S. citizens killed anywhere in the world, while engaged even in the most benign activities carried out far away from any actual battlefield, based solely on his say-so and with no judicial oversight or other checks. That’s quite a power for an American President to claim for himself.'
Some of you know my positions when it comes to national security. I really don't see a problem with this policy overseas. Chances are if a American citizen is somewhere in the Middle East and they're not working for an aid group or for the government and there is evidence that supports the conclusion that they're actively engaged in attacking the US, then by all means they should be dealt with accordingly.

However, I think that real problem presents itself when you start enacting this policy domestically. I have no idea how you could do this domestically without it getting extremely messy, but nonetheless I support this policy. I wouldn't be surprised if they have already done this domestically, in which case, I'm glad they've found a way to do this effectively.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
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Chicago, Illinois
I don't. If they are that big of a problem and there's enough evidence, arrest and try them. I can't believe anyone would support this kind of action against our own citizens in our own country. This is absolute insanity and goes against everything this country stands for.
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
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Bush & Cheney used 911 to trample the Constitution of the United States this is no surprise meanwhile Bin Laden is still sending out messages.....:rolleyes:Horrible administration and we will be paying for years for all three of these sob's.
 

GfPQqmcRKUvP

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2005
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Terminus
Some of you know my positions when it comes to national security. I really don't see a problem with this policy overseas. Chances are if a American citizen is somewhere in the Middle East and they're not working for an aid group or for the government and there is evidence that supports the conclusion that they're actively engaged in attacking the US, then by all means they should be dealt with accordingly.

However, I think that real problem presents itself when you start enacting this policy domestically. I have no idea how you could do this domestically without it getting extremely messy, but nonetheless I support this policy. I wouldn't be surprised if they have already done this domestically, in which case, I'm glad they've found a way to do this effectively.
This is maniacal. I can understand if an American citizen is on the front lines of some insurgency and gets killed by US forces in a gunfight against insurgents, but actively placing kill orders on US citizens without due process? That is against the Constitution.

I live close to Compton, California, one of the worst crime neighborhoods in the US. What if I'm there, someone doesn't *think* I have a valid reason to be there, and there's "evidence" I'm up to no good? Can they just throw me in jail and not give a reason? No, there's a trial. The US Government is not infallible. Similarly, juries are not infallible but at least putting someone through due process ensures their rights as citizens of a country that has lost hundreds of thousands of servicemen to protect those very rights.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
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While I follow your point, Badandy, it's irrelevant. What's at issue is, "The evidence has to meet a certain, defined threshold. The person, for instance, has to pose “a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests..."

The bothersome point is "mission creep". I'd worry about middle-management, with possibly the tacit approval from above, lowering the threshold from some level of observation and evidence to mere opinion.

Think "enemies list". After all, we already have Ms. Incompetano listing Tea Party protesters, southern Christians and returning members of the military as potential domestic terrorist and right-wing extremists.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
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Chicago, Illinois
While I follow your point, Badandy, it's irrelevant. What's at issue is, "The evidence has to meet a certain, defined threshold. The person, for instance, has to pose “a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests..."

The bothersome point is "mission creep". I'd worry about middle-management, with possibly the tacit approval from above, lowering the threshold from some level of observation and evidence to mere opinion.

Think "enemies list". After all, we already have Ms. Incompetano listing Tea Party protesters, southern Christians and returning members of the military as potential domestic terrorist and right-wing extremists.
And when Bush was in charge it was a different group of people. I'll give you a few guesses as to who.

It doesn't matter who's targeted. What matters is that anyone is targeted at all. This is absolutely insane.
 

GfPQqmcRKUvP

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2005
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Terminus
While I follow your point, Badandy, it's irrelevant. What's at issue is, "The evidence has to meet a certain, defined threshold. The person, for instance, has to pose “a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests..."
I don't see how it's irrelevant. Evidence of having met that "certain, defined threshold" needs to be argued in front of a judge, in court.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
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There was an interesting opinion piece on the Times site today.

It's seems simliar to the plot of 'The Bourne Ultimatum' for those of you who don't want to read the entire article. It talks about the policy of assassinating American citizens who are deemed to be combatants of the US.

Here's a couple of paragraphs that introduce the basis and argument of the piece:



Some of you know my positions when it comes to national security. I really don't see a problem with this policy overseas. Chances are if a American citizen is somewhere in the Middle East and they're not working for an aid group or for the government and there is evidence that supports the conclusion that they're actively engaged in attacking the US, then by all means they should be dealt with accordingly.

However, I think that real problem presents itself when you start enacting this policy domestically. I have no idea how you could do this domestically without it getting extremely messy, but nonetheless I support this policy. I wouldn't be surprised if they have already done this domestically, in which case, I'm glad they've found a way to do this effectively.
Then, by your own admission, the entire US Military should have been court marshalled for violating a direct order from its Commander-in-Chief (per Section II of the Constitution). John Walker Lindh is still living, and thanks to due process (his right, per that same Constitution), he only gets 20 years in prison.

Your own logic fails, as well as proves the failure of this piece.

No soldier in the US military (and I repeat, NO Soldier) would ever take or carry out the order to do this, with the conditions mentioned in this piece. And we wonder why articles like this, and people like you going along with it are causing the polarization we have in this country.. all of it based on fear and paranoia.

BL.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
Trouble is, most of us grew up with the idea that "war" is a condition which exists between identifiable nations and within certain boundaries of behavior. That idea, however, is right in there with dinosaurs and dodos.

Today's reality is that non-governmental groups have gathered together in coalitions which in their own minds are indeed at war against us. They keep saying that at every opportunity. It doesn't matter what any of us think. They get a chance at you, you're gonna die.

Some on our side figure it's better to go on and kill them while they're in the planning stage, rather than wait until after some poor bastard's head has been haggled off while being video-taped for your evening enjoyment on Al Jazeera TV.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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Article said:
The people on this ‘hit list’ are likely to be killed while at home, sleeping in their bed, driving in a car with friends or family, or engaged in a whole array of other activities.”
I'm sorry, but that's insane. Your government technically can't do this to anyone who's non-American, and I don't see how it makes any more sense to do it to your own people. If the evidence reaches this threshold that they speak of, then arrest him/her and have him/her stand trial. More evidence should translate into a stronger argument during trial. Nobody should be allowed to decide the fate of somebody's life without trial.

From the article, it sounds like you would need the permission of the President to assassinate a specific person or group of people. I don't see why this would make anyone feel better about it.
 

184550

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May 8, 2008
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No soldier in the US military (and I repeat, NO Soldier) would ever take or carry out the order to do this, with the conditions mentioned in this piece. And we wonder why articles like this, and people like you going along with it are causing the polarization we have in this country.. all of it based on fear and paranoia.

BL.
You really think that the military would be trusted to carry out an operation on this scale and depth? I feel certian that the Special Activities Division (or similiar body) would be tasked to carry out an operation like this.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
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You really think that the military would be trusted to carry out an operation on this scale and depth? I feel certian that the Special Activities Division (or similiar body) would be tasked to carry out an operation like this.
You miss the point. You are advocating killing your own people without due process, by order of a Commander-in-Chief. In knowing that such an order for charges not brought out through due process is against the US Constitution (which would protect the people from such an order from the government), in violating that order, this 'Special Activities Division' would fall under the same court marshal in by disobeying said order. Same point applies with Lindh. It fails, and your logic behind it fails, your stance behind it fails, and the opinion piece fails.

BL.
 

184550

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Original poster
May 8, 2008
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You miss the point. You are advocating killing your own people without due process, by order of a Commander-in-Chief. In knowing that such an order for charges not brought out through due process is against the US Constitution (which would protect the people from such an order from the government), in violating that order, this 'Special Activities Division' would fall under the same court marshal in by disobeying said order. Same point applies with Lindh. It fails, and your logic behind it fails, your stance behind it fails, and the opinion piece fails.

BL.
Given that SAD is a division of the CIA, they don't have the same cares or standards of the Military, and these people will never see the inside of a courtroom.

You make it sound like I said this policy should be used against anyone who says something bad about America, which is far from the truth.

I can only see this policy being used in extreme cases.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
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Chicago, Illinois
Given that SAD is a division of the CIA, they don't have the same cares or standards of the Military, and these people will never see the inside of a courtroom.

You make it sound like I said this policy should be used against anyone who says something bad about America, which is far from the truth.

I can only see this policy being used in extreme cases.
Uh huh. How long before oops! Wrong guy!? And how long before someone starts using this against political enemies? This should not be happening. If there's enough evidence to kill someone, there's enough evidence to arrest, try and convict them.
 

184550

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May 8, 2008
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Uh huh. How long before oops! Wrong guy!? And how long before someone starts using this against political enemies? This should not be happening. If there's enough evidence to kill someone, there's enough evidence to arrest, try and convict them.
Eh, then it's unfortunate. The pros out weight the cons. Though given the circumstances I mentioned earlier, I doubt there would be that many mistakes.

The whole political thing seems unlikely given that the CIA wouldn't brief congressmen/ women that would be able to disclose this information without exposing themselves as the leak and thus ending their careers. I don't know about you, but I don't hate anyone enought to end my career over it.

I'd rather they save some my tax money and just kill that person out right. I don't want to pay to feed, house and try them.
 

scottness

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Mar 18, 2009
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Eh, then it's unfortunate. The pros out weight the cons. Though given the circumstances I mentioned earlier, I doubt there would be that many mistakes.

The whole political thing seems unlikely given that the CIA wouldn't brief congressmen/ women that would be able to disclose this information without exposing themselves as the leak and thus ending their careers. I don't know about you, but I don't hate anyone enought to end my career over it.

I'd rather they save some my tax money and just kill that person out right. I don't want to pay to feed, house and try them.
After a while, the politicians with a lust for power will corrupt this practice just like most everything else they get their hands on. Let's not deny our citizens their privileges until conviction. As for foreign enemy combatants... I feel differently.

I'm glad you're not in power.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
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I really don't see a problem with this policy overseas. Chances are if a American citizen is somewhere in the Middle East and they're not working for an aid group or for the government and there is evidence that supports the conclusion that they're actively engaged in attacking the US, then by all means they should be dealt with accordingly.
No possibility of going to the Middle East on business, or to visit family, or as a tourist, or any number of other reasons?
 

yojitani

macrumors 68000
Apr 28, 2005
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No possibility of going to the Middle East on business, or to visit family, or as a tourist, or any number of other reasons?
Yeah, I didn't get this point either. I know several US citizens who live or have lived in various middle eastern countries because of business or family. It's not like the US doesn't have many economic interests in the M.E. Even Osama bin Laden could tell you that! :D
 

FX120

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2007
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Eh, then it's unfortunate. The pros out weight the cons. Though given the circumstances I mentioned earlier, I doubt there would be that many mistakes.

The whole political thing seems unlikely given that the CIA wouldn't brief congressmen/ women that would be able to disclose this information without exposing themselves as the leak and thus ending their careers. I don't know about you, but I don't hate anyone enought to end my career over it.

I'd rather they save some my tax money and just kill that person out right. I don't want to pay to feed, house and try them.
This same ideology could be applied to other areas, including our own domestic justice system in "the name of efficiency", and then I think we'd all be up in arms about it.

When a small group of people with little to no oversight have the power to start executing people without trial, that is flat out wrong and can only lead to further abuse of power.

No one should trust their government to that extent. What can start as good intentions are often soon blurred by power and greed.
 

GfPQqmcRKUvP

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2005
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Terminus
I'd rather they save some my tax money and just kill that person out right. I don't want to pay to feed, house and try them.
Good to know. You also probably know, without a doubt, whether the latest alleged murderer on the evening news is guilty, right? Why let a trial drag on anyway? Let's kill 'em outright!