Thursday, December 01, 2011

Government Waging War on It's Citizens

As if the aptly named "Patriot Act" shouldn't be enough, the slippery slope turns into more of a mudslide -
U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida, top national security lawyers in the Obama administration said Thursday.

The lawyers were asked at a national security conference about the CIA killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and leading al-Qaida figure. He died in a Sept. 30 U.S. drone strike in the mountains of Yemen.

The government lawyers, CIA counsel Stephen Preston and Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson, did not directly address the al-Awlaki case. But they said U.S. citizens don't have immunity when they're at war with the United States.

Johnson said only the executive branch, not the courts, is equipped to make military battlefield targeting decisions about who qualifies as an enemy.
The Real Effect
It's quite easy to understand the argument that is being made here. Because the executive branch is executing the war, they alone possess the needed intelligence and relevant policies to determine how they need to deal with an individual. The little problem with that argument though is that all U.S. citizens are protected by the Constitution. Remove that protection and you have removed the rule of law and subsequently rendered any executive decision supportable if given enough PR and time.

Contrary to popular opinion, these situations are not all like the drama 24 with precious seconds ticking and a nuke waiting to go off in L.A. Even if such a situation were to exist, the worst case scenario would be several million dead. On the flip side, if the executive gets it's way we could still be looking at millions dead and tens of millions subjugated at the hands of a bloodthirsty dictatorship. Sheer numbers alone say that it is far better to take your chances and trust that empowering anyone with the means to destroy this country from within is not a terrible idea, but based on the government data from the last century alone it is highly evil.

Of course you could always take your chances that you don't fit this definition -

the term `domestic terrorism' means activities that--
        `(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
        `(B) appear to be intended--
          `(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
          `(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
          `(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

Section 802 of the Patriot Act

Now who wants to bet that Occupy Wall Street could be construed as "acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State" and"appear to be inteded"  "to intimidate or coerce a civilian population"?

Instant nullification of the 1st Amendment anyone?

No comments: