You will not be facing a media mob shouting out inconvenient questions -- such as, why hasn't the government responded to a FOIA request for documents relating to the drone strike assassination of Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son? Exactly how many thousands of women and children have been part of your collateral damage, anyway? When you are Eric Holder, you intellectualize the slaughter, and try to get away with bullshit like this:
Let me be clear: an operation using lethal force in a foreign country, targeted against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces, and who is actively engaged in planning to kill Americans, would be lawful at least in the following circumstances: First, the U.S. government has determined, after a thorough and careful review, that the individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; second, capture is not feasible; and third, the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.Eric Holder conveniently did not find it necessary to mention any evidence of how the government determined that the target of the assassination was actually a "senior operational leader of al Qaeda", rather than, say, a loathesome provocateur, or why the "applicable law of war principles" could be applied in a country (Yemen) with which we are not at war. Here is just a little more of what he said:
Al qaeda leaders are continually planning attacks against the United States, and they do not behave like a traditional military – wearing uniforms, carrying arms openly, or massing forces in preparation for an attack. Given these facts, the Constitution does not require the President to delay action until some theoretical end-stage of planning – when the precise time, place, and manner of an attack become clear....
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.....
The Constitution’s guarantee of due process is ironclad, and it is essential – but, as a recent court decision makes clear, it does not require judicial approval before the President may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war – even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen.So, by repeating the claim over and over again that Awlaki was an al Qaeda mastermind plotting attacks, Holder makes the case that saying something often enough makes it true. Yet, he and his boss refuse to provide the evidence behind the legalese, because they deem it to be top secret. Rather than admit that there is in fact no credible evidence, they hide behind the convenient curtain of national security. Bush taught them well.
Holder was also careful to add that such targeted killings (he just hates, hates, hates that critics are calling them "assassinations") are ever so humanely carried out, so as not to impose "unnecessary suffering" on hapless innocents who may have the poor taste to get in the way. Here again is his dry legalspeak way of putting it: "Under the principle of proportionality, the anticipated collateral damage must not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. Finally, the principle of humanity requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering".
In other words, if some women and children get killed along the way, their numbers are acceptable, and their deaths will not be needlessly prolonged. Isn't it too bad that President Obama is being forced into humanely killing people? These are the most extremely unique times in all of recorded history! Here a threat, there a threat, everywhere a threat-threat. "It is an indicator of our times," Holder cravenly pontificated on the need to kill. "Not a departure from our laws and values."
Besides, nobody really cares about targeted assassinations on foreign soil, as long as a photogenic Democratic president who loves his gorgeous wife and and adorable kids and cute puppy dog is doing it. He outlawed torture, didn't he? The drone targets hardly feel a thing when they have the good sense to die quickly, disappear from sight, and not linger on and on, calling attention to themselves. So let's continue expressing 24/7 outrage at a fat slob of a provocateur named Rush Limbaugh, and yammer some more about whether crazy Rick Santorum can win Ohio in the GOP sweepstakes tonight.
|Collateral Damage in Pakistan|