“No” in this case meaning, of course, “Yes”, as the power to determine an imminent threat is held by the same people who have the power to determine if you or I ought to die. Therefore, the Bush, oops, I mean the Obama administration is asserting the right to summarily execute anyone anywhere in the world with no independent review just so long as they think it’s a good idea. This includes not merely Pakistani families in the neighborhood of somebody who we are pretty sure had impure thoughts at some point about doing something bad to America – nope, it means *you* and *me*. Here’s Holder’s acceptance speech for his induction into the Newspeak Hall of Fame, oops again! I mean his clarification of our dear President’s totally not arbitrary and tyrannical powers:
“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States For example, the President could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.”
Just a couple things to note:
– So, hate to be a pedant and all, but *where* exactly are the “applicable laws of the United States” that would give the President the right to kill an American citizen on American soil without trial or any independent legal process or chance for appeal and all that crap that differentiates the rule of law from mere tyranny?
– I note that in the 2 examples given, there would have been no cause or opportunity to murder American citizens on American soil so as to stop an act of war – the Japanese were not American citizens and were not in America. There is no reality-based scenario for 9/11 whereby the prudent move would have been for the President to somehow have murdered the conspirators – arrested them before they got on the plane, maybe, but kill them?
So, again, we have ’24’ level fantasy scenarios in mind for the use of this power. If it were truly a fantasy, then the Executive would not be arguing for its existence.
– “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance…” Note the steps taken to make the issue of summary execution of Americans on American soil seem like a fever dream, to seem like the issue is just so crazy that it had just never occurred to anyone at the White House before Paul had the unbalanced nerve to raise it – even though the less enthralled reporters have been saying this for years ever since the justification for the drone strikes was first offered. Further, the easiest and most politically opportunistic thing to do would be to say: Oh, no! We never meant *that*! we’ll close that loophole lickety-split! – if in fact, you really didn’t mean it. But you did. So the whole ‘Rand is on drugs’ spin is a not so subtle lie.
The first link is to a commercially available model designed to carry a camera, and capable, in skilled hands, of zipping around at high speeds and taking pictures. They retail for around 2 grand. There are cheaper models.
The second link is to a group of really smart people who have taken cheap tri-rotor micro copters and ‘trained’ them to do all sorts of fancy stuff – in this video, to throw and catch a little white ball.
Skipping right past the issue of how our own government might use such devices, now add the concept of asymmetrical warfare. Just like insurgents scrape together roadside bombs and take out our Humvees for pennies on the dollar, it has probably occurred to our enemies that, for a small investment in tiny programmable helicopters, they could have their own drone air force. I’m sure the smart guys who program the tri-copters to catch balls could easily program them to find and fly at military brass or, heck, elected officials. And put a small but lethal explosive along side the cameras.
It. Could. Work!
Oh, what a tangled web we weave.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reports:
Just hours before Mr. Paul began his filibuster, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. testified to a Senate committee that he believed it would be illegal for the government to kill an American who was not actively engaged in an imminent threat to security.
Well, that’s a relief! Who in the hell would ever even think to say something that stupid? The administration is attempting to limit its right to unilaterally murder American citizens to ONLY those American citizens on American soil who, in the sole, unchallengable opinion of the Executive, are ‘actively engaged in an imminent threat to security’. And, pray tell, who has the sole, unquestionable authority to determine what qualifies as actively engaged in an imminent threat to security? So, cutting through the B.S. – the Executive claims the right to kill anyone anywhere in the world at its sole discretion. Period. No review. No appeal.