I Am Your President, So I Can Kill You

September 27, 2010

Moveon.org created a web page during the prior administration entitled Bush In 30 Seconds. The self stated purpose of the page was as follows:

“Here’s a short list of the top 7 reasons we’re running this ad campaign against President George W. Bush and his administration. We hope this inspires you to look further into the policies of the Bush Administration and their effect on the American public.”

Here is Number 4 on their list:

“The Bush Administration’s Patriot Act threatens our constitutional rights and civil liberties. Passed by a post 9/11 Congress, the Patriot act expands the ability of law enforcement to conduct secret searches, and engage various forms of surveillance, including internet monitoring and wiretapping. It gives the FBI access to American citizens’ highly personal medical, financial, mental health, and student records without notification or permission, and allows them to investigate individuals without probable cause of a crime. Finally, it permits non-citizens to be jailed based on mere suspicion and held indefinitely in six month increments without meaningful judicial review.”

One would assume moveon.org will have something to say about Mr. Bush’s successor, who has taken things a step further.

Last week the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights announced a lawsuit against Barack Obama, CIA Director Leon Panetta and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The suit is being brought on behalf of U.S. citizen Nasser Al-Aulaqi,father of  Anwar Al-Aulaqi. Anwar did not bring the law suit, since he is hiding in Yemen.

Nat Hentoff wrote a piece about the case last week.  The complaint challenges the “executive’s asserted authority to carry out ‘targeted killings’ of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism far from any field of armed conflict.”

Hentoff acknowledged that the government may have evidence against Anwar Al-Aulaqi, but wondered “where does it find the assassinating authority to obliterate Mr. Al-Aulaqi without even bringing a charge against him?”

The complaint claims that “The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. Outside the context of armed conflict, the intentional use of lethal force without prior judicial process is an abridgement of this right except in the narrowest and most extraordinary circumstances.”

The plaintiffs assert that  “Due process requires, at a minimum, that citizens be put on notice of what may cause them to be put to death by the state.”

Mr. Hentoff’s article concludes with a quote from James Madison:

“The accumulation of all powers,” wrote James Madison in Federalist Papers No. 47, “legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

For those (including myself) who were angered by George Bush’s misuse of executive power, it is now clear that things have only gotten worse under Barack Obama and his “change we can believe in.”

I googled  moveon.org ‘s Obama In 30 Seconds website, but I think it needs to be updated.

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