Although U.S. drones firing missiles at suspected bad guys in faraway places – such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia – have gotten much publicity in recent years, it was recently revealed that the CIA assassinated top Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mugniyah with a good old fashioned car bomb in Damascus, Syria with President George W. Bush’s strident approval in 2008. Because of an executive order, signed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford, prohibiting assassinations by the CIA, presidents usually get around that order by using the military to kill an enemy bigwig and then make the disingenuous claim that it was merely taking out a “command and control” target rather than an assassination. In this case, Bush, never one to observe constitutional or legal niceties, became incensed that the CIA director was being too timid in carrying out the hit using the exploding car. The real issue in such cases is not whether it is more dangerous to liberty to kill the enemy using a high tech drone or a more traditional car bomb, but whether it constitutional to do either.
Even Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, the author of numerous books and a legal expert for Fox News, in an otherwise excellent history of the usurpation of unique American civil liberties at the expense of ever expanding executive power (see Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty) focuses too much on President Barack Obama’s killing of American citizens without due process – for example, Anwar al Alawki in Yemen in 2011. Napolitano correctly argues that an American president is essentially claiming the right to murder his own citizens without prior legal niceties, but he focuses too much on the use of exotic drone technology to do so and not enough on a larger and more important problem. If anyone – U.S. citizen or not – is attempting to attack the United States, the president should have a right to take them out, provided the Congress has authorized military action or declared war. Even then, according to the founders’ original constitutional vision, if the country is under imminent threat of attack, the president can take appropriate action and get congressional authorization at the earliest possible time. If the president doesn’t have such legislative approval or a legitimate “imminent attack” rationale, he is essentially murdering people – U.S. citizens or not.
Read the rest via Unauthorized Government Attacks Are Murder by Ivan Eland — Antiwar.com.