ACLU On Targeted Killing: We’re Cool With Obama, But, We Don’t Trust Future Presidents


On first blush, I wrote the headline to reflect that it was weird for the ACLU to even attack Holder and Obama. How often do they do that? Not that often, and, the attacks are generally soft. They haven’t even bothered with Fast and Furious. On targeted killing, yes, they ACLU has been all over this, but, not to the degree had Bush still been president

(ACLU) In a speech today at Northwestern University School of Law, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke on national security issues and addressed the government’s targeted killing program.

“While the speech is a gesture towards additional transparency, it is ultimately a defense of the government’s chillingly broad claimed authority to conduct targeted killings of civilians, including American citizens, far from any battlefield without judicial review or public scrutiny,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

Terrorists are now civilians? As to “far from the battlefield”, that’s because they’re, well, terrorists, and aren’t fielding armies. Instead, they field nutjobs who tend to attack…..civilians away from any battlefield. But, to be fair, they do have a small point in terms of targeting American citizens, even if they have essentially renounced their citizenship by declaring war on the United States.

“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. Anyone willing to trust President Obama with the power to secretly declare an American citizen an enemy of the state and order his extrajudicial killing should ask whether they would be willing to trust the next president with that dangerous power.

Got that? While it is a slight shot at (NMP) Obama, what if one of those dastardly Republicans should win the White House? What kind of mayhem could they produce from the use of targeted killings?

I’ll admit, based on the actions so far, I do trust Obama to some degree on targeted killings. He’s been judicious with its usage. The killings of Al Awlaki and other Americans who joined Al Qaeda and declared war on America got what was coming to them. Despite some liberal hand wringing, he’s not ramping it up, he’s not extending it to domestic soil, and he’s keeping it focused in areas where murderous Islamist wackjobs reside in the Middle East and northeast Africa. BTW, when’s he giving back the Nobel Peace Prize?

However, it is rather interesting in the way Holder described the program

“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces,” Mr. Holder said. “This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

It’s nice that he included that bit about “senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces”, but, on one hand, Article 4 of the Bill of Rights requires a warrant, which is issued by a court. But, the 5th Amendment states

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence 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; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

There is some debate revolving around whether the section I’ve put in bold is over-ridden by the end part. Either way, I expect liberals to get out in the streets and demonstrate against the Obama administration’s clear war on Muslims.

BTW, no, the 14th Amendment on due process doesn’t factor in: it’s about the state and local governments having to follow federal law.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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