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Author Topic: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen  (Read 4280 times)

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Offline September

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #50 on: April 11, 2010, 05:08:57 PM »
Collateral Damage Estimate.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #51 on: April 11, 2010, 06:09:39 PM »
Yeah, it is a little hard to understand without the document that it is a supplement to.

Which is to say Annex E to OPORD 01-04.

A document that includes the specific instructions:
Quote
A commander must consider the assigned mission, the current situation, the higher commander's intent, and all other available guidance in determining the level of force required for mission accomplishment. The level of force employed should not exceed the force required to accomplish the assigned mission.
A document that, if it is legitimate, is still subject to the command of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and still subject to the Law of War.

On the battlefield, lethal force can be considered necessary. In a non-combat situation it is not. I do not believe that our soldiers walk around Iraq going from door to door shooting unarmed Al Queda members. The military does not carry out executions of detainees, nor does it shoot wounded or surrendered individuals. Precisely because it violates what is clearly spelled out in these rules of engagement.

The issue at hand is an action of the Executive branch allowing exactly that, beyond the scope of the ROE and a notion of necessary force. Can we please get back to that issue?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2010, 06:11:58 PM by DarklingAlice »

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Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #52 on: April 11, 2010, 06:21:38 PM »
[Removed as superfluous]

Offline September

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #53 on: April 11, 2010, 06:31:28 PM »
Alice, read section B-1-B of the very document you just linked to.  It explains that members of Al Qaeda are "proper targets of attack".  This seems to be all the Executive Branch has done, designated this guy as a proper target of attack.  The military will take care of the rest.  It's not a "first they came for Al Qaeda" kind of thing.

Offline Huginn

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #54 on: April 11, 2010, 07:27:15 PM »
My point about Treason is simply that it could be in no way considered a ruling a treason, for the point you mentioned.

Secondly I am not justifying the action due to any previous ruling or law, I am simply pointing out where the power to designate a target in this manner comes from. It is because he is actively operating with a specific group that he has been targeted.

My only other real point is that we don't know the degree to which the "Capture" of the "Capture and kill" Is being stressed. It may seem like semantics but if the primary objective is Capture and protect yourselves, its a lot better then "Run in and shoot him as he surrenders" What nobody here knows is what the exact order is, at least if someone has the wording I would love to hear it, as I spent  3 hours last night jumping around trying to find the power behind this.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #55 on: April 11, 2010, 07:54:38 PM »
Alice, read section B-1-B of the very document you just linked to.  It explains that members of Al Qaeda are "proper targets of attack".  This seems to be all the Executive Branch has done, designated this guy as a proper target of attack.  The military will take care of the rest.  It's not a "first they came for Al Qaeda" kind of thing.

Yes, he is a proper target of attack, within the bounds of necessary force. I have never asserted anything else. The military is authorized to use a level of force up to deadly force when engaging him. The level of force employed must however be justified and deemed necessary, this is precisely what military inquiries and the military justice system are there for, to ensure that soldier behaviour is necessary and proportional

The problem is how does an American citizen get declared a proper target of attack in the first place? What court, what oversight, what balance of power? What evidence is sufficient, what rigour must be applied when examining that evidence? What safeguards are in place to prevent the abuse of this ability? There do not appear to be any, and that is what I find troubling.

Offline LIAR

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #56 on: April 13, 2010, 02:35:23 AM »

Terrorist suspects are guilty until proven innocent and while it may be morally repugnant, these claims aren't made lightly. Shoot first, investigate later.

Offline Revolverman

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #57 on: April 13, 2010, 02:37:00 AM »
Terrorist suspects are guilty until proven innocent and while it may be morally repugnant, these claims aren't made lightly. Shoot first, investigate later.

And what if he was innocent?

Offline LIAR

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #58 on: April 13, 2010, 02:44:55 AM »
What if he is? What if he isn't?

I am fine with taking the chance on this. I don't feel like we've yet overstepped a boundary. Where do we cross the line? I don't know. But this isn't it- only a step towards it.

Offline September

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #59 on: April 13, 2010, 02:50:32 AM »
The problem is how does an American citizen get declared a proper target of attack in the first place? What court, what oversight, what balance of power? What evidence is sufficient, what rigour must be applied when examining that evidence? What safeguards are in place to prevent the abuse of this ability? There do not appear to be any, and that is what I find troubling.

Becoming an officer in Al Qaeda seems to be the most efficient way to go about it.

Offline Kip

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #60 on: April 13, 2010, 02:52:33 AM »
I'm of the opinion that assuming guilt is a bad path when the punishment is death.  Human life should be considered worth protecting.  Terrorists terrorise by taking life - doing the same without proof or trial is past the line in my opinion.

That's a bit of a separate argument to events that happen in war and, specifically, this video.  The environment is different and decision making processes (both individual and organisational) come under severe time pressure.  I'm generally anti-war so I'm biased from that perspective.

Offline Revolverman

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #61 on: April 13, 2010, 03:04:37 AM »
What if he is? What if he isn't?

I am fine with taking the chance on this. I don't feel like we've yet overstepped a boundary. Where do we cross the line? I don't know. But this isn't it- only a step towards it.


What is the boundary then? 1 innocent to 1 Guilty? 2? 5? 100?

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #62 on: April 13, 2010, 12:09:19 PM »
Becoming an officer in Al Qaeda seems to be the most efficient way to go about it.

And all I am asking for is for two witnesses to testify to that fact in open court, and for the Congress to determine a response. Exactly as laid out in the Constitution for exactly this circumstance. These are not difficult rules to understand. As it stands there has been no open court and the response has been determined by the Executive branch. This is a problem.

Accusations of any crime are serious things which must be handled with gravity and due process of law. Do I doubt that this man is a terrorist and a member of Al Qaeda? No. Do I doubt that the guy at a crime scene standing over the dead body with a knife in his hand and proudly shouting: "I KILLED THE BASTARD" is guilty of murder? No. But in neither case should these people be punished for their crime until that crime has been demonstrated and ruled on in open court. This is necessary for the rule of law, a cornerstone of the concept of Justice, and the lack of such systems is explicitly mentioned in the Declaration of Independence as one of the grievances against the British Crown.

Now if the man with the knife attacks his arresting officer, or if al-Awlaki presents an armed threat to the US Military they have every right to defend themselves with the necessary level of force up to and including lethal force. This is also not at issue here. Their rights to that effective self-defence are very clear. What they do not have the right to do is execute someone on the basis of the crime they have not been proven to commit.

Nor am I (in this instance) arguing against the ability of the executive branch to put out a kill order on any number of militants, terrorist leaders, etc. Let us grant that right to the Executive branch for the sake of this argument.

The substantive factor here is that this man is an American citizen. He was born in New Mexico and remains the countryman of every American. We have certain rights as afforded by our Constitution. Regardless of any accusations against him, any right denied him is a denial and an affront to the rights of all other citizens, and guaranteed proceeding not granted him is an affront to the Constitution.

What if he is? What if he isn't?

I am afraid I don't follow. Would you elaborate on why you think killing an innocent would not be the wrong thing to do?

Offline September

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #63 on: April 14, 2010, 03:12:46 AM »
But he's not a criminal, he's an enemy soldier.  You may think recognising him as such without a courtroom trial is a bad precedent, I say introducing lawyers and juries into military decision making is worse.  Civilians often do not understand very basic concepts of warfare, such as the rules of engagement.  Bear in mind also that the evidence against terrorists and insurgents may well be classified for good reason.

...if al-Awlaki presents an armed threat to the US Military they have every right to defend themselves with the necessary level of force up to and including lethal force. This is also not at issue here. Their rights to that effective self-defence are very clear. What they do not have the right to do is execute someone on the basis of the crime they have not been proven to commit.

And you're still wrong about this.  Look at the flowchart again.  Start at the very first box, which asks if the unit is acting in self defence or is involved in combat.  Answer "no", and see if you're allowed to kill anybody.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 06:46:21 AM by September »

Offline Huginn

Re: Obama Approves Assassination of US Citizen
« Reply #64 on: May 06, 2010, 03:28:00 AM »
Something cropped up today that seemed pertinent to this conversation.

Currently, 8 USC 1481 reads, "A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing" the following act, among others, "entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States."

From http://congress.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/05/05/lieberman-seeks-to-strip-citizenship-of-americans-overseas-with-ties-to-terror-orgs/

The "Problem" that they are arguing is if this should work when its a designated terrorist group as well as a nations army. I have to wonder what the process of this loss of nationality takes.