The Danger of Obama and the So-Called Legality of Using Drones to Kill American Citizens

Posted: February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
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The Obama administration’s unapologetic rationale for using drones to kill U.S. citizens sends a clear and urgent message about the need to limit the government’s use of these devices domestically. We cannot afford to be lulled into a sense of complacency by legislation placing temporary moratoriums on drones. As with other weapons of war which have become routine weapons of compliance domestically, such as tasers and sound cannons, once drones are unleashed on the American people, there will be no limiting their use by government agencies.

To this end, The Rutherford Institute has called on government officials at the local, state, and federal level to do their part to safeguard Americans against the use of drones by police. Rutherford Institute attorneys have drafted and made available to the public language that can be adopted at all levels of government in order to address concerns being raised about the threats posed by drones to citizens’ privacy.

As a resident of Charlottesville, Va., the head of a national civil liberties organization based in Virginia, and a citizen of the United States, I am very familiar with the challenges involved in balancing local priorities with national concerns. However, I do not believe that one precludes the other. Indeed, I have always subscribed to the idea that we must think nationally, but act locally. If our freedoms are to be protected, let alone restored, taking action at the local level must be the starting point.

Government representatives are not only charged with addressing our needs at the community level but they also have a duty to relay our concerns as residents and citizens to state and federal branches of government when appropriate. Just as federal and state policies trickle down and impact us at the local level, we must ensure that our concerns and needs trickle up. Therefore, when either state or national governmental entities overstep constitutional bounds, it is imperative that our local government address these issues.

The concept of taking a stand at the local level in order to voice concerns about issues of national importance is as old as America itself. It was in the homes and town halls of the American colonies that concepts of liberty and freedom from British tyranny were first discussed, before any program of a national scale could be set in motion. The Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg was one such meeting spot, where men such as Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson created the first Committee of Correspondence in Virginia, a local group concerned with the mounting oppression at the hands of the British experienced throughout the colonies. The establishment of Committees of Correspondence throughout the colonies eventually led to a Continental Congress, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and America’s slow march toward freedom began.

Getting back to the Obama administration’s so-called “legal case” for carrying out drone strikes on American citizens, there is no legal case to be made for an act that is illegal, immoral and contrary to every fundamental and decent principle on which this nation was founded. Frankly, this is no different from the Bush administration’s legal justification of waterboarding as a legitimate torture technique and no less repugnant. Americans should be up in arms.

Entirely lacking in accountability and legal justification, Obama’s “legal” rationale for using drones to kill American citizens takes to new heights Richard Nixon’s brazen claim that “if the president does it, it’s not illegal.”

Entirely lacking in accountability and legal justification, Obama’s “legal” rationale for using drones to kill American citizens takes to new heights Richard Nixon’s brazen claim that “if the president does it, it’s not illegal.” No matter what is said to the contrary, the Constitution does not in any way provide for the president to engage in such acts, even under the auspices of his role as Commander in Chief.  In fact, the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of due process, intended to protect citizens in the event that the government attempts to overreach its authority, assure every American citizen that before the government can imprison them or put them to death, they have a right to hear the charges being levied against them, review the evidence, and be treated to a fair and impartial trial by a judge or jury.

Obama, by his actions, is circumventing the Constitution, especially as it pertains to the rights of American citizens. Indeed, in a decision he claims was “an easy one,” Obama has already killed two American citizens in this fashion: Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric living in Yemen who served as a propagandist for Al-Qaeda, and his 16-year-old son.

That Obama, schooled in the law and having himself taught constitutional law, can so glibly disregard the Constitution’s requirement of due process for American citizens is particularly troubling. Therein lies the danger of Obama, one overlooked by his supporters in their zeal to retain the White House and greatly underestimated by his opponents: he has become a law unto himself. Should we fail to recognize and rectify the danger in allowing a single individual to declare himself the exception to the rule of law and assume the role of judge, jury, and executioner, we will have no one else to blame when we plunge once and for all into the abyss that is tyranny. — John W. Whitehead

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Comments
  1. Very good

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone

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