Drone Strikes on American Citizens
If an American is specifically targeted by President Obama with a missile fired from a drone, and the press ignores it, does it make a sound? The President has taken it upon himself to draft his own guidelines for when it is appropriate to target American citizens on foreign soil. During his administration, a number of American citizens – and the unlucky individuals within the blast radius – have been killed in strikes authorized by the White House.
The reality is that traitorous Americans are going to engage in activity that threatens the US. I feel no particular sympathy for a dead terrorist that just happens to be an American by birth. In World War Two, a large number of Americans went to Nazi Germany to fight, and ended up being killed by GIs, bombed by the Army Air Corps or sent to the deep by the Navy. That’s what happens when you choose sides against your countrymen – your countrymen may kill you in the heat of battle.
In WW2 we were in a declared war against other nations. Terrorists are in non-state organizations and due to their actions are not entitled to protections like those found in the Geneva Protocols. The Geneva Conventions were written to reward signatories for following the laws and customs of land warfare by affording them privileges. Terrorists violate all the rules of civilization. Being vaporized in a fireball is a perfectly good end given who they are and what they do.
That said, we are not killing Americans in pitched battle. We are targeting them with, deliberate forethought. It is also being done entirely by the Executive branch, with no controlling legislation from Congress. This means there is no judicial review that guidelines set by Congress are followed or that the guidelines are constitutional. The further insult to America is the lack of thoughtful debate about the practice. I personally don’t have a problem with wiping out actual terrorists without warning, even if they are Americans. Lets see Congress debate the issue and provide a law that the President must follow and the Courts can review.
We have three co-equal branches of government to keep power in check. President Obama, by arrogating to his office the power to decide when, where and under what conditions he can choose an American, call him an imminent threat, and blast him out of existence all by his lonesome has gone too far. It’s not the drone strike, it is not the lack of a Miranda warning, it is the lack of involvement of Congress and the Courts that are disturbing. I may not like some parts of the PATRIOT act, but at least President Bush asked for and received a law for which the actions taken under its authority can be reviewed.
Congress needs to act to challenge the President, and either authorize the terms and conditions under which President Obama can whack an enemy and surrounding non-combatants.