NYT: Did you know that the US has a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia?

posted at 12:01 pm on February 6, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

You do now, thanks to the Gray Lady’s predilection for disclosing national-security secrets across its pages.  The NYT opens a discussion on John Brennan’s work in the drone program, pushed to the forefront because of his pending confirmation hearing for CIA Director by the Senate Intelligence committee, and a leaked memo describing the rather ambiguous process of deciding whether to use drone strikes on American citizens abroad suspected of terrorist activities.  Among Brennan’s accomplishments are the agreement with Saudi Arabia to use their country as a base for drone attacks on radical Islamist terrorists:

Mr. Brennan, a former C.I.A. station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has taken a particular interest in Yemen, sounding early alarms within the administration about the threat developing there, working closely with neighboring Saudi Arabia to gain approval for a secret C.I.A. drone base there that is used for American strikes, and making the impoverished desert nation a test case for American counterterrorism strategy.

In recent years, both C.I.A. and Pentagon counterterrorism officials have pressed for greater freedom to attack suspected militants, and colleagues say Mr. Brennan has often been a restraining voice. The strikes have killed a number of operatives of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist network’s affiliate in Yemen, including Said Ali al-Shihri, a deputy leader of the group, and the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

But they have also claimed civilians like Mr. Jaber and have raised troubling questions that apply to Pakistan and Somalia as well: Could the targeted killing campaign be creating more militants in Yemen than it is killing? And is it in America’s long-term interest to be waging war against a self-renewing insurgency inside a country about which Washington has at best a hazy understanding?

And is it a good idea to disclose our operations inside such a country on the front page of a newspaper?  When one reads the story, the base location is actually superfluous to the point.  The NYT argues that the drone strikes are the big problem, not the base.  So why reveal its location and put pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain its cooperation in these attacks from what Muslims consider holy ground?  Remember that one of the reasons that radicals attacked the US was the staging of American armed forces in Saudi Arabia starting in 1990 for Operation Desert Shield after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

The drone strike memo is getting pretty bad reviews across the political spectrum today, too.  The New Republic’s Jeffrey Rosen calls it unconstitutional, and ignorant of long legal precedent:

The Justice Department white paper released on Monday by NBC News is the public’s first direct glimpse at the legal reasoning that the Obama administration relied on in using a drone strike to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen living in Yemen. The memo’s arguments are troubling on many levels. Although the Obama administration’s brief is directed at the assassination of Americans abroad, the arguments it offers could apply with equal force to the assassination of Americans at home; lawyers for the Bush administration who tried to justify lesser outrages have been pilloried for supporting torture. …

This “trust us” argument is precisely the one the Supreme Court rejected in the 2004 Hamdi, where the Court upheld the Bush administration’s power to detain enemy combatants, on the grounds that it had been authorized by Congress, but only after insisting that suspects could challenge the factual basis for their detention before a neutral decision maker. The Obama administration repeatedly invokes the Hamdi case to justify targeted assassinations, which have been specifically prohibited by Congress, and then omits the Supreme Court’s requirement that independent judges need to have the last word on whether or not suspects are, in fact, as dangerous as the administration claims. …

There are other reasons to object to the administration’s justification of targeted assassinations—including its questionable claim that they are legally supported by Congress’s authorization of the use of force after 9/11. On pragmatic grounds, the administration’s brief is a disaster: As the Church Commission found after studying the attempted assassinations of Castro, targeted killings are likely to produce an international backlash that threatens far more American lives than they protect. But, as a legal matter, the casual, and unpersuasive, attempt to read out of American constitutional law the principle that government can only kill citizens in order to prevent imminent death or violence in return is the most objectionable of all.

Matt Lewis suggests that the Obama administration may just be giving us what we want — while we remain ignorant of the implications.  In fact, ignorance is the selling feature:

American citizens want someone who will make the big, bad world disappear. Problems only exist if we have to confront them. Obama has made warfare more convenient for us — and less emotionally taxing. We should thank him.

This dynamic helps explain why some other liberal policies become popular. Ignorance is bliss. It’s why many people believe that adults have more rights than the unborn (after all, we can see them, hear them complain. Likewise, an unborn baby cannot talk. The unborn can’t hire a lobby.) The same could be said about spending. The notion of debt surpassing trillions of dollars is so ethereal as to be incomprehensible. See no evil, hear no evil…

And so, we appreciate Obama. With Bush, we had to see pictures of inmates. Yes, it’s possible that some of the information extracted might have led us to bin Laden — but it still makes us feel bad. And we had to hear about waterboarding. How barbaric! It is far better to simply cause your enemies to evaporate. It’s like pulling a band-aid off all at once. It’s so much tidier — so much more sophisticated.

Dead men tell no tales.

For the last word, let’s turn to Michael Ramirez.  The Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist captures the essence of what Rosen and Lewis argue today:

ramirez-drone-lg

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.


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Killing me softly….

BobMbx on February 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Incinerate, mutilate, decapitate your Jihadi enemy.

But for God’s sake – don’t urinate on them.

FlaMurph on February 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM

NYT: Did you know that the US has a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia?

Yes – and about 35 others around the world – and in the USA.

jake-the-goose on February 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Admin selectively applies legal precedent.

The Obama administration repeatedly invokes the Hamdi case to justify targeted assassinations, which have been specifically prohibited by Congress, and then omits the Supreme Court’s requirement that independent judges need to have the last word on whether or not suspects are, in fact, as dangerous as the administration claims.

Another example…
Administration: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

freedomfirst on February 6, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Actually, I’m okay with the NYT leaking this. These extra-judicial killings in countries we are not at war with need to stop. This is a terrible precedent and is clearly and without a doubt illegal.

And I don’t care if we have to throw the Saudis under the bus.

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 12:11 PM

“What difference, at this point, does it make?”

The brilliance of Hillary, that phrase works in so many situations.

Fallon on February 6, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Makes you wonder how much the NYT is covering up to keep the halo on Obama.

pat on February 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 12:11 PM

+1

jake-the-goose on February 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Incinerate, mutilate, decapitate your Jihadi enemy.

But for God’s sake – don’t urinate on them.

FlaMurph on February 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM

…We gotta pee somewhere!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Incinerate, mutilate, decapitate your Jihadi enemy.

But for God’s sake – don’t urinate on them.

FlaMurph on February 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM

…we gotta pee somewhere!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

…sorry for the double piss!
…computer is pissing me off!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Actually, Obama gave this info to the NYT to use in the event of a Romney victory.
For some reason, the yippy little attack dog bit the hand that feeds it.

Jabberwock on February 6, 2013 at 12:23 PM

These extra-judicial killings in countries we are not at war with need to stop. This is a terrible precedent and is clearly and without a doubt illegal.

And I don’t care if we have to throw the Saudis under the bus.

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 12:11 PM

My biggest concern isn’t where these killings take place. It is who is getting killed, and by that I mean my fellow American citizens. You want to execute an American citizen, no matter how big of a scumbag, dammit I want a judge signing off on it…

JohnGalt23 on February 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

The only thing that separates us from the current drone targets is time.

Curtiss on February 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

MeanWhile…………

Foreign Policy ‏@ForeignPolicy

.@brooks_rosa looks over Obama’s new drone memo and asks, “Tell me how this ends.” http://atfp.co/XLyjYK
======================================

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/05/death_by_loophole

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 12:26 PM

…sorry for the double piss!
…computer is pissing me off!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 12:23 PM

KOOLAID2:Stop whinning,after one too many tabs open,I had to re-boot
twice…………(snark):)

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 12:28 PM

I assumed we had a base somewhere w/in reach of Yemen. Big deal.

flataffect on February 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

freedomfirst on February 6, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Hamdi also holds that the Executive Branch cannot deny American enemy combatants of due process.

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Gee golly, and the NYT just found out? How is this news? The US has numerous drone bases. Yawn.

tommy71 on February 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Ignorance is bliss.

And if anyone is full of “bliss”, it’s liberals.

So when is the NYT’s building going to be targeted with a drone?

GarandFan on February 6, 2013 at 12:35 PM

My biggest concern isn’t where these killings take place. It is who is getting killed, and by that I mean my fellow American citizens. You want to execute an American citizen, no matter how big of a scumbag, dammit I want a judge signing off on it…

JohnGalt23 on February 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Yeah, that’s certainly the scariest part of it all. But even the fact that we’re killing “suspected jihadists” worldwide with no declared war, no oversight, nothing… That’s really bad.

How many enemies of our despot tyrant friends in middle eastern countries were murdered by drones because our tyrant friends told the US, “these people might be involved in terrorism”?

Unless we declare a war against a country, we have no right to be operating on foreign sovereign soil, much less shooting missles from unmanned drones.

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Incinerate, mutilate, decapitate your Jihadi enemy.

But for God’s sake – don’t urinate on them.

FlaMurph on February 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Then, Congress should amend § 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481) and strip Americans of their citizenship if they join a foreign terrorist organisation that is currently conducting hostilities against the US. The government can make a proffer to a court and a judge could then decide.

It is unconstitutional for the government to target American citizens for execution.

The three Americans that have been executed by drones, including a 16 year-old boy that had just joined his father in Yemen, but was killed 16 days after al-Awlaki was killed, were not wearing the uniforms of any country. They had not formally renounced their American citizenship. They had not even been charged with crimes where a prosecutor could have made a case producing his evidence to a grand jury. There were no indictments. There was NO oversight of the Executive Branch by either of the other two.

No leader of ANY country should ever have the power to decide which of his fellow citizens are terrorists and should be killed without any checks and balances.

Americans have a right to due process, including the opportunity to challenge the charges, their detention, the evidence, and to confront their accusers. We make a grave mistake allowing the President to summarily – and unilaterally – decide who should be stripped of those rights.

Further, we must be incredibly vigilant about ceding rights in the name of “national security.” From the Night of the Long Knives through the end of WWII, Adolf Hitler killed millions in the name of “national security.”

BTW: On what basis did national security “deem” 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki to be a terrorist?

Let’s see this evidence.

Let’s see what upon what basis President Obama believed he had a right to execute a minor when such IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL in the United States, Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005).

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 12:36 PM

All the screaming peeps demanding gun control/infringement on 2nd Amendment Rights, because ‘it is the right thing to do…, What say you in regards to Drone Control & the Obama DOJ who claims the right to kill Americans when deemed ‘necessary?’

drivingtheview on February 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM

My biggest concern isn’t where these killings take place. It is who is getting killed, and by that I mean my fellow American citizens. You want to execute an American citizen, no matter how big of a scumbag, dammit I want a judge signing off on it…

JohnGalt23 on February 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

A judge like Sonia Sotomayor or Eleanor Kagan? Sorry, but I don’t trust any one person to make the call to assassinate a U.S. citizen. And to make it in secret on top of that.

Curtiss on February 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Troll Free.

Del Dolemonte on February 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Gee golly, and the NYT just found out? How is this news? The US has numerous drone bases. Yawn.

tommy71 on February 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Yeah, I agree this isn’t shocking news. But do you not think that us having bases from which to launch our assassination machines around the world is a problem?

Are you okay with the US engaging in targeted assassinations world wide against perceived enemies with no oversight or input from Congress or the people and without a declared war?

If the people feel this is SO NECESSARY in the war on terror, how about we just amend our constitution to say that the US government can assassinate anyone, US citizen or not, whenever they want? We’re clearly operating extra-constitutionally with these drones/

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I am the only who thinks the latest outrage on drones is hogwash? We should be demanding even more aggressive and coherent counterterrorism program. The real issue here is Obama’s is atrocious Middle East policies. This is another example of how he GOP goes off message. All we do is respond to the next Obama controversy which frankly is getting tiring.

celticdefender on February 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Somebody please purchase the NYT and turn it into the next Nickel Ads.

portlandon on February 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Perhaps NYT would be kind enough to draw the nmy an accurat location map.

katy the mean old lady on February 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Iowahawk tweets:

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog

Is it okay to waterboard somebody who’s on fire from a drone strike? #AsktheDOJ

lol..

BigWyo on February 6, 2013 at 12:41 PM

You do now, thanks to the Gray Lady’s predilection for disclosing national-security secrets across its pages.

Something tells me that if the secret base was in Kansas, the NYT would be mum on the issue.

CurtZHP on February 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Are you okay with the US engaging in targeted assassinations world wide against perceived enemies with no oversight or input from Congress or the people and without a declared war?

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I have a problem with targeting assassinations of AMERICAN CITIZENS.

As for a “declared war,” this really has to stop. While I opposed the Iraq War and the ground war in Afghanistan, NEITHER was illegal or unconstitutional. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who is called the “Father of the Constitution” for a reason, probably had a better grasp on the intent of the Founders as it pertains to the clause in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which requires that must “declare war” and they did not agree that a “formal declaration of war” was necessary. The Constitution lays out no form that Congress must take in “declaring” war.

According to those that believe that both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are illegal, they are such because Congress never “declared war” on either country. The fact of the matter is that neither the Constitution nor Federal law stipulate the form in which a declaration of war from Congress must take.

There were NO DECLARATIONS OF WAR for the First Barbary War, which occurred during Jefferson’s Presidency, and the Second Barbary War, which occurred during Madison’s administration. Instead, in both cases (just like Afghanistan and Iraq), Congress granted AUTHORISATION to the President to WAGE WAR war for both. The authorisation for the First Barbary War was passed on 6 February 1802 and the one for the Second Barbary War was passed on 10 May 1815.

While it is true that Jefferson acted against the Barbary pirates before the AUMF, he did so DEFENCIVELY, which IS PERMITTED under the Constitution. The Pascha of Tripoli declared war on the US on 10 May 1801 by chopping down a flagpole. (Yes, this was his declaration of war). Jefferson sought PRIOR AUTHORISATION before offencively “waging war” against him. This is exactly what Bush did when he secured the AUMFs for both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Framers’ entire purpose by substituting “declare” for “make” was to prevent the Executive from waging war without authorisation and unilaterally (see: Minutes from the Constitutional Convention, 17 August 1789).

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

owahawk tweets:

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog

Is it okay to waterboard somebody who’s on fire from a drone strike? #AsktheDOJ

lol..

BigWyo on February 6, 2013 at 12:41 PM

BigWyo:Tee-hee,yup!:)

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

In His mind, we, the American public, are just a ‘Boom in the road’.

Missilengr on February 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

My biggest concern isn’t where these killings take place. It is who is getting killed, and by that I mean my fellow American citizens. You want to execute an American citizen, no matter how big of a scumbag, dammit I want a judge signing off on it…

JohnGalt23 on February 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

A judge like Sonia Sotomayor or Eleanor Kagan? Sorry, but I don’t trust any one person to make the call to assassinate a U.S. citizen. And to make it in secret on top of that.

Curtiss on February 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM

One incumbent Democrat “government official” has already been quoted as saying Republicans = al Qaeda.

That “official” is second in line to the Presidency.

Del Dolemonte on February 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Telephone, telegraph, tell the NYT.

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Meh, the Emperor will decide who gets targeted, not to worry.

ghostwalker1 on February 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Leftards, where are you, tyrannicall hypocritical fools?

Defend your dictator, you devoid creatures, the dummies and the ‘elititsts’…Rywall, Tom_Shipley…

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Are you okay with the US engaging in targeted assassinations world wide against perceived enemies with no oversight or input from Congress or the people and without a declared war?

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

No, but Obama does it all the time.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 12:49 PM

leaked memo

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Imagine, in “the most transparent admin, evah” the memo had to be leaked…wait until you see the memos which support this – this is just the white paper. You have NO idea how devastating the other documents are.

Obama is a criminal.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 12:51 PM

When a Republican is elected President, the liberals, Democrats and media will scream that the drone killings must stop and blame Bush for starting it….conveniently ignoring Obama’s actions.

albill on February 6, 2013 at 12:52 PM

My biggest concern isn’t where these killings take place. It is who is getting killed, and by that I mean my fellow American citizens. You want to execute an American citizen, no matter how big of a scumbag, dammit I want a judge signing off on it…

JohnGalt23 on February 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Exactly. I could care less about someone getting blown up in the Middle East; it happens on a daily basis. But for American citizens to be summarily declared dead men walking without any due process whatsoever is bone-chilling.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 12:52 PM

The NYT likes exposing secrets so much it makes you wonder where they were on Fast and Furious, huh.

I suppose we could worry about targeted assassinations but I’m sure the Skeet Shooter in Chief knows how to identify a target.

ghostwalker1 on February 6, 2013 at 12:53 PM

@Timin No, I’m not. Like a commentor posted last night, its like the Chinese uses drones to attack one of their citizens who they suspect of terrorism right in the middle of NYC. And if theres some collateral damage, they say: Sorry, my bad.

tommy71 on February 6, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Good old Bryan Preston on more stupidity

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

One incumbent Democrat “government official” has already been quoted as saying Republicans = al Qaeda.

That “official” is second in line to the Presidency.

Del Dolemonte on February 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Yes. And he wants to run for POTUS in 2016. In 2008 I would have called that crazy talk. But not now.

Curtiss on February 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

i would like to say the Lewis’ point is insulting and a crude slander of the voting public.

but we have an infantilized country who looks at O as our Dad. And we are the children who play in the garden

r keller on February 6, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Unless we declare a war against a country, we have no right to be operating on foreign sovereign soil, much less shooting missles from unmanned drones.

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 12:35 PM

I’m with you with respect to killing American citizens without any oversight.

But unless I am misunderstanding your position, how do you go after a Bin Laden in Pakistan under this rubric? Saying simply “You don’t” can’t be the right answer.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on February 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Yeah, I don’t recall declaring war on Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, or anywhere in Africa, but we’re still using drones there.

Afghanistan was authorized w/ a blanket declaration of war after sept 11. I think thats a little fast & loose, but not necessarily illegal.

Iraq was a declared war.

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM

But unless I am misunderstanding your position, how do you go after a Bin Laden in Pakistan under this rubric? Saying simply “You don’t” can’t be the right answer.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on February 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

You don’t is the correct answer.

What if bin Laden was in London and the Brits were hemming and hawing about turning him over (for whatever reason)? Do we launch an airstrike / done strike into Britain, or do we work through official channels to get him extradited?

I mean it’s kind of a sucky answer, but so is launching military operations on foreign soil.

What if China decided we had a dissident that they wanted living in the US and launched a raid to capture him?

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Is Dear Leader the new Darth Vader..? or would that be racist?

d1carter on February 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Is Dear Leader the new Darth Vader..? or would that be racist?

d1carter on February 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Darth Vader would have him scrubbing every inch of the Imperial Palace with his tongue and ship every one of his incompetent cronies to Kessel.

As has been said here, the only thing worse than an incompetent evil man is a competent one.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

You don’t is the correct answer.

What if bin Laden was in London and the Brits were hemming and hawing about turning him over (for whatever reason)? Do we launch an airstrike / done strike into Britain, or do we work through official channels to get him extradited?

I mean it’s kind of a sucky answer, but so is launching military operations on foreign soil.

What if China decided we had a dissident that they wanted living in the US and launched a raid to capture him?

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Working through official channels (and backchannels) with the Pakistanis got us nowhere. They were harboring the guy who masterminded killing 3000 Americans. We didn’t send an airstrike or drone strike — we sent in Seal Team 6. (That may be a distinction without a difference for your position, though.)

While this is an extremely unlikely hypothetical, if the Brits were harboring Bin Laden, knowing full well that he was responsible for the deaths of American citizens, and all of our official channels/overtures to the Brits failed (including prevailing upon our historical ties, NATO, etc etc), I think the answer to your question would be yes, we would violate their sovereignty to get rid of Bin Laden.

The Chinese launching a raid to capture or kill a dissident living in the US would clearly violate our sovereignty. If that dissident is a Falun Gong practitioner who peacefully advocates for Chinese democracy, that’s one set of facts. If that dissident sets off an incendiary device killing 5000 innocent people, and then goes to live in the US, it’s another set of facts entirely. The US would not grant asylum to the latter, or knowingly let him or her stay here.

There are too many assumptions that have to be made to obtain the simple answer of “you never can do this.” The world is more complicated.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on February 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

NYT: Did you know that the US has HAD a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia?

I would bet the Saudis will boot them out and deny they were ever there, if they want to keep peace with jihadis in SA and with their neighbors.

Why would anyone trust the US with anything in the way of secret cooperation? Nothing stays secret, except what happened in Benghazi, who was responsible for Fast and Furious, and what 0 is going to do about the economy and jobs.

iurockhead on February 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

My biggest concern isn’t where these killings take place. It is who is getting killed, and by that I mean my fellow American citizens. You want to execute an American citizen, no matter how big of a scumbag, dammit I want a judge signing off on it…

JohnGalt23 on February 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Exactly. I could care less about someone getting blown up in the Middle East; it happens on a daily basis. But for American citizens to be summarily declared dead men walking without any due process whatsoever is bone-chilling.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 12:52 PM

I have a problem with us shooting missiles in a country where we are not “at war”. If you want to kill people in Yemen, then properly declare war against Yemen and have at it.
I have a problem with the hypocrisy of Prezzy NobelPeacePrize doing this stuff – but fundamentally I have no problem with killing terrorists.
HOWEVER – if a US citizen is in a foreign war zone, and fighting against the US, I have no problem with him being killed without a trial. I don’t see that as a US Constitution issue, and I would not want a precedent set where our troops (of any kind – ground troops or combat pilots or drone controllers) in combat have to determine an enemy combatant’s citizenship before shooting back at him.
And IF we are doing everything right and legal, and we do happen to determine it’s a US citizen we’re ready to kill – too bad for him – he’s in the wrong place on the wrong side.

dentarthurdent on February 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

If that dissident sets off an incendiary device killing 5000 innocent people, and then goes to live in the US, it’s another set of facts entirely. The US would not grant asylum to the latter, or knowingly let him or her stay here.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on February 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

I don’t buy that. Our current government has very little to no concern about violent criminals being in this country illegally.

dentarthurdent on February 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

HOWEVER – if a US citizen is in a foreign war zone, and fighting against the US, I have no problem with him being killed without a trial. I don’t see that as a US Constitution issue, and I would not want a precedent set where our troops (of any kind – ground troops or combat pilots or drone controllers) in combat have to determine an enemy combatant’s citizenship before shooting back at him.

dentarthurdent on February 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

I’m not saying there’ll always be the time and effort to ID every SOB who joins the terrorists. If he/she happens to get splattered in a firefight before someone notices “hey, that guy isn’t a raghead”, that’s the price for running with rabid dogs.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

I’m not saying there’ll always be the time and effort to ID every SOB who joins the terrorists. If he/she happens to get splattered in a firefight before someone notices “hey, that guy isn’t a raghead”, that’s the price for running with rabid dogs.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

But that’s why we need to be careful with what kind of legal precedent is set. If some judge declares that killing ANY US citizen anywhere in the world without a trial is illegal, then it potentially leads to restrictive (and likely impossible) rules of engagement for our troops. Imagine our troops having to yell out Miranda warnings in battle before shooting back? Don’t laugh – we’ve gotten awefully close to that already, and overly restrictive ROE have already cost us military lives.

dentarthurdent on February 6, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Journo-List inter office memo found in trash can at DC Peppermill:

“OK – just so we’re all good to go on this: When the next Saudi wahabbist millionaire becomes radicalized and directs a mass casualty attack in the US to avenge muslims killed from this secret drone base, it will be George Bush’s fault.”

Sacramento on February 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM

But that’s why we need to be careful with what kind of legal precedent is set. If some judge declares that killing ANY US citizen anywhere in the world without a trial is illegal, then it potentially leads to restrictive (and likely impossible) rules of engagement for our troops. Imagine our troops having to yell out Miranda warnings in battle before shooting back? Don’t laugh – we’ve gotten awefully close to that already, and overly restrictive ROE have already cost us military lives.

dentarthurdent on February 6, 2013 at 2:01 PM

I completely understand what you’re saying and totally agree with you. And I’m not laughing about the last part either.

All I’m saying is that for a US citizen to be specifically targeted for assassination, we MUST have due process. Dying in the heat of battle is one thing. Being deemed a target by Jugears the judge, jury, and executioner is quite another.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Yeah, I don’t recall declaring war on Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, or anywhere in Africa, but we’re still using drones there.

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM

It wasn’t and Obama has adopted Bush’s flawed “global battlefield” theory. Nevertheless, the AUMF after 9/11 does permit such.

Libya was a different story, as is Syria. Neither was an al-Qaeda target. Obama did not justify Libya on the AUMF or “GWOT.” He said that he had authority under the Nato Treaty. It was an unconstitutional action, as would be moving on Syria, which is involved in a civil war.

Afghanistan was authorized w/ a blanket declaration of war after sept 11. I think thats a little fast & loose, but not necessarily illegal. Iraq was a declared war.

Both were authorised by Congress, which is all that is required.

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 2:13 PM

All I’m saying is that for a US citizen to be specifically targeted for assassination, we MUST have due process. Dying in the heat of battle is one thing. Being deemed a target by Jugears the judge, jury, and executioner is quite another.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Yes – and as I indicated in my first couple comments in my first post, that’s where we’re going wrong right now. We’re not “at war” in Yemen so we really don’t have a legal right to be firing missiles at anyone in that country – no matter who they are.
If it was in Afghanistan, I would see it differently – combat zone – anyone on the wrong side is fair game.

dentarthurdent on February 6, 2013 at 2:13 PM

If some judge declares that killing ANY US citizen anywhere in the world without a trial is illegal, then it potentially leads to restrictive (and likely impossible) rules of engagement for our troops. Imagine our troops having to yell out Miranda warnings in battle before shooting back? Don’t laugh – we’ve gotten awefully close to that already, and overly restrictive ROE have already cost us military lives.

dentarthurdent on February 6, 2013 at 2:01 PM

It is the TARGETING of American citizens that is the problem. If John Walker Lindh had been killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan, there would have been no problem. Citizenship does not act as a shield to protect those that are on the battlefield fighting for the enemy.

The difference with the drone attacks is that these were 3 Americans that were TARGETING for EXECUTION by the Executive Branch with no charges, no proffering of evidence, no evaluation of testimony of accusers, and no conviction.

Americans have a right to due process, including the opportunity to challenge the charges, their detention, the evidence, and to confront their accusers. Per Hamdi, the Executive Branch MAY NOT deprive American enemy combatants of due process. We make a grave mistake allowing the President to summarily – and unilaterally – decide who should be stripped of those rights.

As I wrote above, there is a fairly simple remedy to this. Congress can amend § 349 and strip Americans of their citizenship if they join a foreign terrorist organisation that is currently conducting hostilities against the US. The government can make a proffer to a court and a judge could then decide.

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 2:18 PM

On what basis did national security “deem” 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was killed SIXTEEN DAYS AFTER his father, Anwar al-Awlaki, to be a terrorist?

Let’s see this evidence.

Let’s see what upon what basis President Obama believed he had a right to execute a minor when such IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL in the United States, Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005).

Let’s see if Obama could have produced the evidence that would have convicted the 3 Americans he has so far denied due process to and executed…or, at least, been enough to get a grand jury to indict.

“If you believe the president has the power to order US citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then it’s truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable.”

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Well, now, isn’t this cute?

Old & Busted:

“I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God.”

- Evan Thomas, former assistant-managing editor of Newsweek

New Hotness:

“That the rule of law, that the rule of law, could not simply be in the hands of a king and could not be arbitrarily applied. And that’s precisely what this is, is in the hands of an American king.

- Jon Meacham, former editor-in-chief of Newsweek

What are we to make of it when the “Boyz From The Artist Magazine Formerly Known As Newsweek” DEMOTE Obama from God to King?

lol

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 2:47 PM

As the Church Commission found after studying the attempted assassinations of Castro, targeted killings are….

Can no one distinguish between assassinating the leader of a foreign country with whom we are not at war and killing soldiers and officers in an army with whom we are at war?

GWB on February 6, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Gee whiz they way you guys are all carrying on you would think our President was resorting to renditions in seedy areas of the world, indefinitely detaining people in Gitmo without a civilian trial, or torturing them with wet towels.

Get some perspective, folks. What’s a few drone kills among countrymen?

/

Lily on February 6, 2013 at 3:02 PM

And why is it we “heard” about these things (drone strikes, waterboarding, etc.) with Bush and dont’ “hear” about them with 0-bama?

Three guesses and the first two don’t count…

stick on February 6, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Actually, this memorandum goes substantially further than what is required by the Constitution and the law of war.

The President as CiC has the power to kill all members of a wartime enemy – regardless of nationality – unless they are surrendering.

The only due process to which an American al Qaeda is entitled while in the field is a reasonable status determination that the person is actually AQ. That status determination can be made by anyone the CiC designates down to the local military commander.

If the AAQ desires the due process afforded a civilian criminal defendant charged with treason or terrorism, then he or she can surrender.

The white paper is correct that the war with AQ extends to any location AQ bases itself and there are no sanctuaries.

The white paper is incorrect that the AAQ must offer an “imminent threat” or that it must be impractical to capture the AAQ before the President can kill the AAQ. These are self imposed limitations a future president should ignore. Being a member of AQ is enough to kill the AAQ as a wartime enemy and there is no duty under the law of war to capture unless the AAQ surrenders.

Bart DePalma on February 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM

used to have. It’s not so secret anymore, is it?

mojo on February 6, 2013 at 3:51 PM

If the AAQ desires the due process afforded a civilian criminal defendant charged with treason or terrorism, then he or she can surrender.

Not if he is an American. American citizenship does not act as a shield to protect people if they are on the battleground. It is the TARGETING OF AMERICAN CITIZENS, specifically, that makes this programme problematic.

John Walker Lindh was captured on an Afghan battlefield. If he had been killed on that battlefield, instead, there would be NO problem because he was not targeted. He would have been a casualty of war and the American military does not have to pull its punches because an American may be in the midst of the enemy.

Perhaps, you would like to explain why 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was killed SIXTEEN DAYS AFTER his father, Anwar al-Awlaki, was “deemed” to be a terrorist and Obama believed that he had the authority to execute him even though the execution of minors in the US is unconstitutional.

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 3:53 PM

‘SECRET’ drone base?! I am SO sick of all these ‘leaks’! 1st, let’s call them what they are – acts of TREASON! 2ndly, since we are technically still at war with terrorism (or ‘man-made disasters’ if you are Obama), find out who is perpetrating these acts of treason (revealing classified info) & – according to U.S. Law during wartime – KILL THEM! You put one insider…1 POLITICIAN…to death, and these leaks would immediately STOP!

easyt65 on February 6, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I am the only who thinks the latest outrage on drones is hogwash? We should be demanding even more aggressive and coherent counterterrorism program. The real issue here is Obama’s is atrocious Middle East policies. This is another example of how he GOP goes off message. All we do is respond to the next Obama controversy which frankly is getting tiring.

celticdefender on February 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

To this point I have to concur. I have no problem with incinerating an American who flees to a foreign county to fight against the US as in illegal combatant, I have no symphony for them. The only thing that offends me is the liberal hypocrisy on this issue. I’m sure the outrage will resume if an (R) is elected president and decides to continue this policy.

heretic on February 6, 2013 at 4:41 PM

As the five men stood arguing by a cluster of palm trees, a volley of remotely operated American missiles shot down from the night sky and incinerated them all, along with a camel that was tied up nearby.

.
I certainly hope we don’t read the term “camel jockey” applied to reference the demise of these poor, poor victims of the Democrat War on Moderate Islam. They are simply “out of status.” So, pander….

ExpressoBold on February 6, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Reporters used to volunteer to be waterboarded “tortured” in order to criticise Bush.

They should be consistent and try out Obama’s “‘Due Process? What’s that?’ Execution Programme For American Citizens.”

If they do not, however will they know for certain that being “tortured” is worse than being summarily executed?

Consistency, please.

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 8:54 PM