DOJ lawyers claim dronekilling American citizens is "legitimate act," not assassination.

You just created a massive gigantic strawman. Feel free to debate that guy, but when I say "the Constitution matters" I wasn't slandering you like you did me. I wasn't being snarky. I was simply saying that you're dismissing people like Glenn Greenwald or Malor, calling them "Orwellian" and missing a very basic point. The Constitution doesn't grant Obama these powers. Arguing this point is far from Orwellian. It's getting back to basics and talking about the actual law. In this case the Constitution.

DSGamer wrote:

You just created a massive gigantic strawman. Feel free to debate that guy, but when I say "the Constitution matters" I wasn't slandering you like you did me. I wasn't being snarky. I was simply saying that you're dismissing people like Glenn Greenwald or Malor, calling them "Orwellian" and missing a very basic point. The Constitution doesn't grant Obama these powers. Arguing this point is far from Orwellian. It's getting back to basics and talking about the actual law. In this case the Constitution.

That's the issue: WHAT is this power? Is this guy being executed for crimes he's committed? Then yes: the President doesn't have that power. Is he being killed as part of a military operation? Then no: the President does have that power, assuming that power is exercised in accordance with all the other requirements like the laws of war and Congress' Authorization.

What's dismissive is when you say "the President doesn't have Power A because of the Constitution" and someone responds with "but he does have Power B because of the Constitution" and you respond with "let's get back to basics and talk about the actual law like the Constitution: the President doesn't have power A."

Now, if you want to respond to that by saying "no, I think he's misusing Power B and has gone beyond the Constitution's grant of that power" then great. But that's not what is happening here. We're just getting the same argument over and over again about how he doesn't have Power A.

No one is missing your very basic point. What you don't seem to grasp is that your point about Power A is irrelevant to the argument being made about Power B. It's not getting back to basics to talk only about the law you want to talk about and the part of the Constitution you want to talk about, that's just ignoring the law *I* want to talk about and the part of the Constitution *I* want to talk about.

That's the massive gigantic strawman.

I don't have time to be a part-time Constitutional lawyer. So you win. I yield.

This makes no sense. It would mean that Peal Harbor wasn't an act of war, because bombing is a tactic. You can't declare a war on planes with bombs in them.

Well, in the real world, we declared war on Japan.

If we'd reacted then like we reacted in 2001, we'd have declared war on bombing.

To my knowledge the entirety of the President's powers in this area stem from the "Authorization For Use of Military Force" signed in to law September 14th, 2001. The relevant passage is:

(a) That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

To my knowledge there has been no more recent legislation renewing or clarifying Congress's directives to the President now that more than 11 years have passed, and the vast majority (all?) of those in a leadership capacity connected to September 11th have been captured or killed.

I understand the needs of our armed forces to fight organizations that are enemies of the United States (although I often disagree with how they do so), and I understand that US citizens might be members of these organizations. I even understand that a lot of the evidence against the citizen may be classified.

I disagree that the solution to this problem is giving the Executive branch the sole authority to assassinate US citizens in countries where this nation doesn't even have a legitimate military presence.

The big difference to me is that these people are not killed in battle. This isn't kill or be killed with our troop's lives on the line, this is some robotic aircraft gliding above, missiles trained on the target and waiting for the signal.

Maybe a trial in absentia with a jury of people with appropriate security clearances is too much, but I would really like to have that conversation, to look at reports of how much that would impact and delay combat operations. Right now we are assuming there are no alternatives and that assassinating US citizens without a trial is a necessity, which doesn't seem like something that really resonates with the "Land of the Free".

Yonder wrote:

To my knowledge the entirety of the President's powers in this area stem from the "Authorization For Use of Military Force" signed in to law September 14th, 2001. The relevant passage is:

(a) That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

To my knowledge there has been no more recent legislation renewing or clarifying Congress's directives to the President now that more than 11 years have passed, and the vast majority (all?) of those in a leadership capacity connected to September 11th have been captured or killed.

I understand the needs of our armed forces to fight organizations that are enemies of the United States (although I often disagree with how they do so), and I understand that US citizens might be members of these organizations. I even understand that a lot of the evidence against the citizen may be classified.

I disagree that the solution to this problem is giving the Executive branch the sole authority to assassinate US citizens in countries where this nation doesn't even have a legitimate military presence.

The big difference to me is that these people are not killed in battle. This isn't kill or be killed with our troop's lives on the line, this is some robotic aircraft gliding above, missiles trained on the target and waiting for the signal.

Maybe a trial in absentia with a jury of people with appropriate security clearances is too much, but I would really like to have that conversation, to look at reports of how much that would impact and delay combat operations. Right now we are assuming there are no alternatives and that assassinating US citizens without a trial is a necessity, which doesn't seem like something that really resonates with the "Land of the Free".

I guess the thing I have to ask is whether this is how you interpret the Constitution and the other relevant laws, or is this the solution you think is best, because I'm not sure which one you're arguing. Are you saying that because it's not in battle, etc., it's not part of the war? That the AUMF is being interpreted too broadly in terms of what it authorizes? Or is this just about how it resonates with the "Land of the Free"?

Trial in absentia has some very serious problems* in U.S. law, which is understandable given the history leading up to the American Revolutionary War.

In order to handle these sorts of situations in a reasonable way, I think we need new law allowing for such trials in these even more exceptional circumstances. It would be very interesting if it could be done in such a way so as to allow the accused to present their case remotely from outside of U.S. territory. But... I doubt that would ever happen, unless the law specifically forbade locating and acting against them.

However, I'll note that in that situation we're in now, with the absence of such a new law, trial in absentia is improper to a very similar degree to summary execution outside of the territory of the United States. That is: neither one is allowable at all.

Given that it is [em]possible[/em] to make an argument that such an execution is not a civil action but a military action allowed under the law Yonder mentioned above, while a trial in absentia would have no possible legal justification, I can understand why the President would make that choice if he had evidence that the person in question presented a real, serious threat to the safety of U.S. citizens. I'm not particularly happy about it, and you could not pay me enough to have to make that sort of decision. But I can understand the reasoning behind it.

(And further, I believe that the only person who could legitimately make such a decision is the President. Whether the actions stemming from that decision are legal is a matter for the Judicial branch. Providing guidance in making future decisions by creating new law is a matter for the Legislative branch. Determining how to implement the law is a matter for the Executive, and if it's done wrong, the Judicial should come down on it like a hammer, and the Legislative should make sure there's a better way.)

I think it's ridiculous that there's more legal arguing room for extra-territorial executions of U.S. citizens under a vague war than there is for making an effort to prove their perfidy first.

* Wikipedia wrote:

In 1993, the Supreme Court revisited Rule 43 in the case of Crosby v. United States.[3] The Court unanimously held, in an opinion written by Justice Harry Blackmun, that Rule 43 does not permit the trial in absentia of a defendant who is absent at the beginning of trial.

This case requires us to decide whether Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 43 permits the trial in absentia of a defendant who absconds prior to trial and is absent at its beginning. We hold that it does not. ...The Rule declares explicitly: "The defendant shall be present . . . at every stage of the trial . . . except as otherwise provided by this rule" (emphasis added). The list of situations in which the trial may proceed without the defendant is marked as exclusive not by the "expression of one" circumstance, but rather by the express use of a limiting phrase. In that respect the language and structure of the Rule could not be more clear."

However, the Crosby Court reiterated an 80-year-old precedent that

Where the offense is not capital and the accused is not in custody, . . . if, [em]after the trial has begun in his presence[/em], he voluntarily absents himself, this does not nullify what has been done or prevent the completion of the trial, but, on the contrary, operates as a waiver of his right to be present and leaves the court free to proceed with the trial in like manner and with like effect as if he were present. Diaz v. United States, 223 U.S. at 455 [1912] (emphasis added).

I understand the needs of our armed forces to fight organizations that are enemies of the United States (although I often disagree with how they do so), and I understand that US citizens might be members of these organizations.

But the problem with the War on Terror, the fundamental issue, is that an 'enemy combatant' looks just like a civilian. In fact, unless one is actually pointing an AK-47 at you right this very second, the only semi-reliable way of telling that they are, in fact, not just a civilian, is with a court trial.

We have huge expertise in determining who is covering up activities that are not allowed. This is called policing.

If something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, well by God, it's probably a duck. Terrorism is a crime.

Malor wrote:
I understand the needs of our armed forces to fight organizations that are enemies of the United States (although I often disagree with how they do so), and I understand that US citizens might be members of these organizations.

But the problem with the War on Terror, the fundamental issue, is that an 'enemy combatant' looks just like a civilian. In fact, unless one is actually pointing an AK-47 at you right this very second, the only semi-reliable way of telling that they are, in fact, not just a civilian, is with a court trial.

If our difference of opinion is that for you, a person has to be pointing a gun at you right this very second to be able to tell if they are a civilian or not, that's a disagreement I'm happy to agree to.

In other words, you're really and truly okay with killing by assertion?

The government says they are bad people, therefore they are bad people, and they get to die. They don't get a defense, they get to die. Nobody but the government is allowed access to the evidence, especially not the accused, but they get to die anyway.

It really, seriously scares me that you're willing to go there.

Look at all the goddamn mistakes in Guantanamo. Goddammit, I really would like to just grab you by the lapels and shake you a little. Innocent people are dying, people that do not need to die, and it is not making us safer. It is making us less safe.

I mean, for f*ck's sake, we're now doing TWO drone hits -- we blow up the people we're after, and then we kill anyone who tries to help them!

That is EVIL. All-caps evil. Indefensible.

But there you are, defending it.

It is your opinion that drone killings are 'evil.'

Malor wrote:

In other words, you're really and truly okay with killing by assertion?

I am really and truly okay if our disagreement hinges on your idea of minimum due process being higher than mine because yours requires the person to be pointing the gun at you that very second or else you need a trial to see if he's a civilian or not.

The government says they are bad people, therefore they are bad people, and they get to die. They don't get a defense, they get to die. Nobody but the government is allowed access to the evidence, especially not the accused, but they get to die anyway.

It really, seriously scares me that you're willing to go there.

Look at all the goddamn mistakes in Guantanamo. Goddammit, I really would like to just grab you by the lapels and shake you a little.

There's some incredible irony in that statement.

Innocent people are dying, people that do not need to die, and it is not making us safer. It is making us less safe.
Malor wrote:

I mean, for f*ck's sake, we're now doing TWO drone hits -- we blow up the people we're after, and then we kill anyone who tries to help them!

That is EVIL. All-caps evil. Indefensible.

But there you are, defending it.

No, I am not. You've decided that because I'm defending this one thing, then I must be defending everything you want to attack. I must be defending it in the way you want me to defend it so you can make your point regardless of what I actually say. I must be defending it as a good idea if I am defending it as a legal idea. I must be defending it as a legitimate extrajudicial execution even if I wonder if this is a war crime.

Like I keep bringing up, what seriously scares me is this Bush-like "you're either with us or against us" talk.

It is your opinion that drone killings are 'evil.'

When you are striking the first responders to a drone strike, THAT IS EVIL. This is not open to question. If there is such a thing as evil, that is it.

Malor wrote:
It is your opinion that drone killings are 'evil.'

When you are striking the first responders to a drone strike, THAT IS EVIL. This is not open to question. If there is such a thing as evil, that is it.

Yes it's an opinion, but it's one that's probably shared by the overwhelming majority of the world. Making an attack that lures in first responders so a second attack causes more casualties is an incredibly despicable thing to do. The FBI considers it a terrorist tactic, and intentionally targeting first responders is generally considered a war crime.

Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:
It is your opinion that drone killings are 'evil.'

When you are striking the first responders to a drone strike, THAT IS EVIL. This is not open to question. If there is such a thing as evil, that is it.

Yes it's an opinion, but it's one that's probably shared by the overwhelming majority of the world. Making an attack that lures in first responders so a second attack causes more casualties is an incredibly despicable thing to do. The FBI considers it a terrorist tactic, and intentionally targeting first responders is generally considered a war crime.

I wasn't referring to the killing of first responders.

Reaper81 wrote:
Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:
It is your opinion that drone killings are 'evil.'

When you are striking the first responders to a drone strike, THAT IS EVIL. This is not open to question. If there is such a thing as evil, that is it.

Yes it's an opinion, but it's one that's probably shared by the overwhelming majority of the world. Making an attack that lures in first responders so a second attack causes more casualties is an incredibly despicable thing to do. The FBI considers it a terrorist tactic, and intentionally targeting first responders is generally considered a war crime.

I wasn't referring to the killing of first responders.

That's the drone strikes Malor said was evil though.

Stengah wrote:
Reaper81 wrote:
Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:
It is your opinion that drone killings are 'evil.'

When you are striking the first responders to a drone strike, THAT IS EVIL. This is not open to question. If there is such a thing as evil, that is it.

Yes it's an opinion, but it's one that's probably shared by the overwhelming majority of the world. Making an attack that lures in first responders so a second attack causes more casualties is an incredibly despicable thing to do. The FBI considers it a terrorist tactic, and intentionally targeting first responders is generally considered a war crime.

I wasn't referring to the killing of first responders.

That's the drone strikes Malor said was evil though.

That's not how I read it or re-read it. After he explicitly called them first responders I understood his point.

Similar to waterboarding, "Double-tapping" to hit first responders is a war crime if any country we don't like does it. When Japanese officers did the former in World War II we executed them after the way, when Al Qaeda started the latter we rejected their actions in the strongest rhetoric possible.

When the US does either one though, that's just good tactics.