Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do Unto Others ...

before they do unto you.

I simply cannot understand how allowing our government to get into the assassination business can be justified. At least once before, the CIA and other branches of the security mob had their chops busted when it came to such behavior, and yet here we go again. The Obama administration (the one that was supposed to bring change to the nation) has continued to play loose and fast with the principles of due process and equal protection before the law. The issue this time is a bit narrower, but just as horrific: can the US government target a US citizen for assassination because the government believes that citizen is engaged in terrorist activities.

Sadly, the "center-left" editorial board of the Los Angeles Times seems to think that the government can make citizens targets as long as a court approves the plan.

Should a federal court have any say over whether a U.S. citizen can be targeted for killing by his own government without due process of law? The Obama administration has submitted a lengthy document to a federal court that can be summed up in one disappointing word: No.

... before the government begins targeting its own citizens for assassination far from a combat zone, it should, at the very least, have to explain to a court why such an extraordinary step doesn't violate the Constitution, which promises that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. ...

"At the very least"? I would submit that even that fails the due process test: the target is not present, only the government and the federal judge. How one-sided is that? But the Times goes even further:

We don't underestimate the problems that would be created if the judiciary intervened in the day-to-day national security decisions of the president, the armed forces or the CIA. But that is not what is being proposed here. Assassinating a U.S. citizen away from a battlefield is such a momentous step that the administration should have to justify its reasoning, in secret if necessary, to a court of law. [Emphasis added]

Good God! In secret? Yeah, that's going to guarantee rights mandated by the Constitution.

We already have in place a procedure for dealing with a dangerous miscreant: we arrest him (or have the country in which the miscreant is currently residing arrest him), we engage the extradition mechanism or whatever other mechanism is available under international law to bring the person to this country, and we try him in a court of law with all the protections and rights guaranteed under the Constitution. We don't assassinate because it's quicker and easier.

What is so hard to understand about due process?

Labels: ,


Anonymous Jamie said...

Well I am of several minds on this issue, there is a difference from saying you have an assassination program and actually having an assassination program.

10:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home