Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 5, 2013
NBC News’s investigative correspondent, Michael Isikoff, reported on a chilling story of governmental overreach. Isikoff reported on a confidential Justice Department memo that authorizes the US government to assassinate American citizens located outside of the United States. Should the government conclude that such individuals are “senior operational leaders” of known terrorist organizations, they have the legal authority to assassinate such individuals even without evidence of imminent threat to the United States.
The shocking Justice Department memo is likely created to be cover for future legal actions that may be taken against Americans who authorize this ultimate of sanctions. In September 2011 a US drone strike in Yemen killed American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan who were supposedly involved with Al Qaeda.
Deputy legal director of the ACLU, Jameel Jaffer, rightfully said of the Administration’s plan:
“This is a chilling document. Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen. … It recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it’s easy to see how they could be manipulated.”
It is remarkable how far we have come in four years. Shortly after his first election Barack Obama and his Atty. Gen. Eric Holder threaten criminal action against government employees involved in waterboarding suspected terrorists during the Bush administration. Since then the President has used assassinations without due process on the same type of individuals and creates a legal memo for justification. Where is the moral outrage from the Left?
President Obama is indeed a uniter. Who else could have gotten this Blogger and the ACLU on the same page on an important issue!
Posted in ACLU, Civil Liberties | Tagged: ACLU, al Qaeda, assassination, Citizen, Department, Drone, Justice, Terrorists, US | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 7, 2012
Eric Holder recently gave a speech at the Northwestern University Law School that again shows Progressives do not mind using deadly force to enforce national interests as they perceive them. It has become clear that their problems with George W. Bush’s use of such force was based on the man dishing out the punishment, not on moral grounds.
The New York Times reported that Holder’s speech offered a justification for the Obama Administration’s killing of American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen via a Predator drone strike. Holder called al-Awlaki a terrorist that the United States could not capture and therefore had “the clear authority to defend the U.S. from lethal force.” He also added a few caveats for future assassinations including that targeted individuals would need to be located in a foreign country and be a leader of a terrorist organization planning to kill Americans. Then, in an attempt in to sanitize deadly force, Holder indicated that the killings must be done in compliance with the Geneva Convention. Yikes, that caveat certainly does not make the victims any less dead.
The negative response from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Obama Administration’s position was immediate. One director, Hina Shamsi, correctly said: “Few things are as dangerous to American liberty as the proposition that the government should be able to kill citizens anywhere in the world on the basis of legal standards and evidence that are never submitted to a court, either before or after the fact.” A positive outcome of President Obama’s election has been to bring together to diverse groups: Libertarian Conservatives that include this Blog, and the heavily left-leaning ACLU.
It is ironic that radical Leftist Barack Obama, who ran for the presidency on a peace platform and against Bush’s anti-terror policies, not only ratcheted up the war in Afghanistan, but is using international assassinations as a central tool of his foreign policy. This same Administration that would take criminal action against CIA employees who used waterboarding prior to Obama’s election has no problem justifying the use of assassination against similar targets. This perverted logic is allowed to continue by a press that remains silent and the radical Left that treats Obama more like an emperor than a servant of the people.
Posted in Eric Holder, Terrorism | Tagged: ACLU, al-Awlaki, assassination, Bush, Drone, Holder, Obama, Predator, Yemen | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 21, 2011
All presidents have narratives created about them. Sometimes the narratives accurately reflect the man, as with Nixon being “tricky”. Other narratives have not reflected the individual with an example being that Eisenhower supposedly accomplished little and played too much golf.
It is interesting to compare the related narratives created by the Leftist media for George W. Bush and his successor, Barack Obama concerning the use of force. Bush was portrayed as a cowboy ready to use force on a moment’s notice. Obama, on the other hand, has been portrayed as more cerebral, instead using negotiations. Reality, however, tells quite a different story.
On the use of the U.S. military, Bush engaged America in two wars; Afghanistan and Iraq. Most Americans would agree that the initial invasion of Afghanistan was justified due to that country protecting the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. Similarly, most Americans believe that the Iraq invasion was ill-advised. Obama has a similar record in this area. He has not only continued the Afghan War, but has increased America’s effort with more troops. Obama has also involved America in the Libyan civil war and more recently committed troops to Central Africa.
A comparison of Bush’s and Obama’s willingness to use deadly force against terrorists is more telling. During the Bush presidency two world-known terrorists were captured; Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM, 9/11 planner) and Saddam Hussein (Iraq’s dictator). KSM was brought to America and is currently in a U.S. jail. Hussein was turned over to the Iraqi government and later executed.
President Obama has been even more successful in getting high-value bad guys. During this year alone, America Navy SEALS assassinated Osama Bin Laden. Then, a few months later Obama order a successful drone hit on American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al–Awlaki, which also resulted in the death of others; i.e. collateral damage. Yesterday, a U.S. drone strike hit a convoy in Libya that resulted in first the capture and then the execution of former dictator Colonel Gadhafi. Three bad guys located; three assassinated. That’s the trifecta for President Obama.
The use of force narratives created for Bush and Obama by Progressives are but fantasies. For Obama’s narrative he was awarded the Noble Prize for Peace. That’s Progressive Chutzpah!
Posted in George H. Bush, President Obama | Tagged: 9/11, Afghanistan War, Anwar al-Awlaki, Bush, Colonel Gadhafi, Drone, Eisenhower, Iraq War, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, KSM, Leftists, Mainstream Media, Nixon, Nobel Prize, Obama, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, SEALS, Yemen | 1 Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 9, 2011
The New York Times reported that lawyers in the Obama Administration prepared a secret memo that approved killing American citizens under certain circumstances. That memo led the way to the assassination of New Mexico born Anwar al-Awlaki earlier this month in Yemen.
The secret memo, written about a year ago, authorized the killing of an American citizen if that person could not be captured alive. The Times reported that Administration lawyers justified the killing of al-Awlaki since he was taking part in a war between the United States and Al Qaeda. This is a disingenuous position for the Administration given President Obama’s unwillingness to even call America’s battle with terrorists a “war”.
The assassination of al-Awlaki was carried out by a drone missile attack. Others were killed during the attack including another American citizen, Samir Khan, who published a magazine for terrorist organizations.
There is no question that al-Awlaki was a terrorist who inflicted casualties on the United States. The President’s decision to assassinate him will make America safer. However, allowing any president to authorize assassinations, especially of American citizens, is a dangerous and slippery slope to travel.
It is questionable whether President Obama had the authority to authorize the hit on an American citizen without the benefit of a trial. Legal blocks include an executive order that bans assassinations, as well as Bill of Rights, Fourth Amendment, that guarantees that a person cannot be unreasonably seized by the government, and the Fifth Amendment that guarantees the government cannot deprive a person of life “without due process of law”.
It is remarkable to compare the muted response from the mainstream media to the Obama Administration’ s assassination memo to that of the so-called “Terror Memo” written by John Choon Yoo during administration of George W. Bush. The media turned Yoo into a pariah for his legal memorandum authorizing the use of enhanced irrigation techniques ibncluding water-boarding. It seems evident that the Leftist press is more concerned about the political views of the authors of the memos than the results of their use.
The Administration has refused to release the assassination memo. President Obama’s promise to bring change and transparency to Washington has once again proven hollow.
Posted in Constitution, President Obama | Tagged: American Citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki, Bill of Rights, Drone, Fifth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, John Choon Yoo, Legal, Memo, Obama, Secret memo, Transparency, Water-boarding | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 30, 2011
The Obama Administration announced the successful assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was residing in Yemen. Al-Awlaki, leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and some of his bodyguards were taken out by a missile fired from a Predator drone.
Al-Awlaki has been preaching terrorism and anti-American vitriol for years. He was linked to various terrorist investigations in the United States and other countries including the Fort Hood, Texas massacre in 2009, the attempted Times Square bombing in 2010, and a planned to attack on Fort Dix, New Jersey.
The New York Times reported that a senior American military spokesman said al- Awlaki’s death sends a message to other terrorists that they can’t hide, stating: “It sets a sense of doom for the rest of them. Getting Awlaki, given his tight operational security, increases the sense of fear. It’s hard for them to attack when they’re trying to protect their own back side.”
The Obama Administration has been successful in putting the hit on some very bad people. Most Americans, except those on the far Left, applaud such efforts. However, this use of assassinations in sovereign countries raises interesting questions for the Administration. For example, the Obama Justice Department since early in their Administration has been investigating for possible criminal prosecution operatives from the Bush days for using advanced interrogation means (water-boarding). Using their logic, roughing up a suspect in the U.S. is a breach of American law, but putting a hit on them before being captured is not. Yikes! That’s
Posted in Terrorism | Tagged: al Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki, assassination, Drone, Justice Department, Missle, Obama, Predator, Water-boarding | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 11, 2010
On May 1st Muslim extremist Faisal Shahzad planted a bomb in Time Square New York City with the goal of killing as many innocents as possible. Only by the good fortune of Faisal’s incompetence did the plan fail.
Shortly after Shahzad was caught, some in the Obama Administration called the attack a “one off” and the perpetrator a “lone wolf”. This premature conclusion was dead wrong and was in keeping of the Left’s desire to avoid calling the threat from radical Islam for what it is.
On May 10 Attorney General Eric Holder then stated that the Administration had evidence that Shahzad was connected with other Islamic terrorists, in this case the Pakistani Taliban. The connection to a larger group of terrorists should not come as a surprise.
President Obama has proven to be amateurish and out of touch when it comes to understanding the threat the West faces from radical Islam. This was exhibited during his first week in office when he signed an order closing the GITMO terrorist prison. By making this one of his first acts he informed the Muslim extremists that Obama was not prepared for war. Shortly thereafter the President changed the name of our battle from the “War on Terror” to an “Overseas Contingency Operation”, another clear signal that America was not prepared for war. Evidently Obama views the need to destroy his predecessor‘s legacy as a priority over winning the war.
It has become clear that President Obama does not understand that America’s wars have often been not of our choosing. However, since Obama and his fellow Progressives view America as the problem, this distorts their view of reality. In addition, the attempted Times Square bombing was not “overseas”. In war the enemy tries to bring the battle to its opponent’s home and that is what is beginning to occur under Obama’s watch.
The President’s “Overseas Contingency Operation” defies logic. Examples include:
- Obama ramped up the Afghan War, sending additional troops. This commitment of American blood was made prior to demanding appropriate commitments from the corrupt Afghan government. Since then Afghan’s president Harman Karzai has befriended Iran’s chief thug, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and threatened to join the Taliban if the United Nations didn’t back off on its claim of voter fraud during the Afghan elections.
- President Obama has made liberal use of Predator drone attacks in Pakistan with an estimated 100 attacks killing hundreds of suspected Taliban and collateral innocents. In fact today there were two more attacks that killed 24 in Pakistan. This is an approach similar to what the United States used during the Viet Nam War when we bombed Cambodia and Laos. The Left wanted Nixon impeached for that action, which they believed illegal. The Left’s silence today removes their veil of morality.
- While most Americans including this Blog commend Obama for taking out Taliban in Pakistan, any action in war results in reactions that have consequences. As we kill Taliban in Pakistan via Predators, they will look for ways to retaliate. Their strongest available weapon is sending terrorists to the United States and that was behind Faisal Shahzad’s attempted Time Square bombing.
- President Obama and other Progressives are quick to criticize an ally, Israel, for their assassination of one terrorist in Dubai earlier this year who previously attack Israel. That criticism is in conflict with Obama’s policy of using Predator-based assassinations in Pakistan for those that attack U.S. interests. This convoluted message tells the Muslim extremists that the Obama Administration is not committed to the war that we are forced into.
- After capture, Shahzad was questioned for a few hours and then offered Miranda rights and a lawyer. Offering these rights to a soldier that Attorney General Holder confirmed is part of the Taliban army is on the fringes of lunacy. Let’s see: if you come to America to kill civilians and you get caught you receive Miranda rights and a government-paid lawyer. Should you have the same intent and be driving in Pakistan, our President sends a missile into your car. That logic could only exist in the make believe world of Progressives.
President Obama avoids the reality that we are at war with radical Islam. War typically results in a winner and loser. However, before a war can be won the enemy must be properly defined and a long-term strategy must be implemented that can lead to total victory. In addition, the enemy must understand his opponents resolve to win. None of these items were in place during the Viet Nam War and the outcome reflected that. None are currently in place in our war against radical Islam.
While history is still to be written on our current war, a lesson of past wars is clear: Don’t fight a war you are not willing to finish. Shooting missiles into the enemy’s homes is indeed fighting a war.
Posted in Afghanistan, Foreign Policy, Islam, Pakistan, Terrorism | Tagged: Afghan War, Assassinations, Attorney General, Bomb, Cambodia, Drone, Dubai, Eric Holder, Faisal Shahzad, Gitmo, Harman Karzai, Iran, Islamic Terrorists, Israel, Laos, lawyer, left, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Miranda, Muslim, New York City, Nixon, Obama, Overseas Contingency Operation, Pakistan, Predator, Progressives, Taliban, Times Square, Viet Nam, War, War on Terror | Leave a Comment »