Via Salon’s Glenn Greenwald:
In late January, I wrote about the Obama administration’s “presidential assassination program,” whereby American citizens are targeted for killings far away from any battlefield, based exclusively on unchecked accusations by the Executive Branch that they’re involved in Terrorism. At the time, The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest had noted deep in a long article that Obama had continued Bush’s policy (which Bush never actually implemented) of having the Joint Chiefs of Staff compile “hit lists” of Americans, and Priest suggested that the American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was on that list. The following week, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, acknowledged in Congressional testimony that the administration reserves the “right” to carry out such assassinations.
Today, both The New York Times and The Washington Post confirm that the Obama White House has now expressly authorized the CIA to kill al-Alwaki no matter where he is found, no matter his distance from a battlefield. I wrote at length about the extreme dangers and lawlessness of allowing the Executive Branch the power to murder U.S. citizens far away from a battlefield (i.e., while they’re sleeping, at home, with their children, etc.) and with no due process of any kind.
I was waiting for Obama’s human rights violation. Every modern president commits them. (Reagan’s administration traded arms for hostages. Clinton initiated extraordinary rendition. Bush continued it, and in Guantanamo began the practice of holding suspects indefinitely with no intention to press charges, and authorized the torture of detainees. And, also, he invaded Iraq for some inscrutable reason.) It would be stupid to expect Obama wouldn’t commit some atrocity of executive power sooner or later.
To exercise cold, political calculation: I wonder if the GOP will go after Obama on this. al-Awlaki is a US citizen, but many Republicans’ idea of “strong on terror” precludes any rights for terrorism suspects. At least one representative of the Bush administration, John Yoo, insinuated the relatives of terrorist have no rights, as when he argued the POTUS has the legal power to crush a suspect’s child’s testicles “if the President thinks he needs to do that.”
But if the party that produced Liz “Al Qaeda Seven” Cheney is willing to go all bleedin’ heart for the turrists, it might finally have a legitimate grounds for impeachment.