President Obama willingly admits he dispatched CIA agents to kill an American and his teenage son and the son's American friend while they were in a desert in Yemen in 2011. He says he did so because the adult had encouraged folks to wage war on the United States and the children were just “collateral damage.” He says further that he'll do this again when he is convinced that killing Americans will keep America safe. He says he knows the adult encouraged evil, and his encouragement caused the deaths of innocents. The adult was never charged with a crime or indicted by a grand jury; he was just targeted for death by the president himself and executed by a CIA drone.[Emphasis added]
…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence be to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law… [Emphasis added]
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.The Congress shall have the Power to declare the Punishment of Treaon, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
As killing a U.S. citizen is a graver deed than waterboarding a terrorist plotter to get information to save lives, Obama, who bewailed Bush’s detention, rendition and interrogation policies, appears guilty of manifest hypocrisy.But with 3,000 to 4,500 now killed by drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen over 10 years, and an estimated 200 children and other civilians among the “collateral damage,” it is past time for a debate on where we are going in this “war on terror.”
Where this ends is anyone’s guess.For example, it is hard to see where geography would come into play under the type of precedent that is being created. Would the authorization to use military force against U.S. citizens also apply to U.S. soil?The answer is, if this Administration, or any administration, merely took a broader view of what Congress has authorized it to do, geography would be no limitation whatsoever to the exercise of war powers here.While the memo may not have been intended to address “what might be required to render a lethal operation against a U.S. citizen lawful in other circumstances,” it did not need to. It would essentially be the same argument.