Thursday, April 08, 2010

Policy of Assassination, Part 1

I am quick enough to be critical of Keith Olbermann, fairness dictates that I give equal time to giving him credit when he is on target. His first segment, the #5 Story, last night regarded the presidential targeting of an American citizen for assassination by U.S. forces.

Good evening from New York. President Obama has reportedly authorized the death penalty for an American citizen who has not been convicted of any crime—the evidence against whom has yet to see the light of day—who denies his guilt and who has not been given the due process, including trial guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. It is a power not even claimed by the Bush/Cheney administration, extending far beyond Bush/Cheney claims which even the most conservative Supreme Court justice rejected.

There is a slight muddle in the presentation in that he and Rice introduce the element of not knowing for certain whether or not the subject is actually guilty and, right at the very end, introducing an implication that if we actually are certain then this would be permissible. The element of doubt is not the issue, however. The issue is the ordering of extrajudicial killing; of execution without the filing of charges and a trial by a jury of his peers, with an opportunity to confront witness and to protest his own innocence.

Glenn Greenwald has more on the subject, noting that the Supreme Court ruled that an American citizen could not even be imprisoned without a trial. He concludes, as do I, that such ruling would surely extend to mean that a citizen could not be summarily executed without a trial.

He also notes that, as a candidate for the office he now holds, Obama repeatedly stated on film and in writing that the President did not have the power to imprison a citizen for any reason whatever without charges and access to habeas corpus. Obama is now claiming the right to order the summary execution of a citizen with no charges or trial.

Greenwald also calls out the Liberals and progressives who decried the abuses of power and assaults on the constitution committed by Bush, and who are now standing silent when those same abuses and assaults, and worse ones, are being committed by a Democrat. They remain silent out of loyalty to Obama, but supporting wrong acts by a person whom one supports is not loyalty.

I repeat; when someone you know is doing the wrong thing, supporting that wrongdoing is not loyalty. It is betrayal. Obama himself told us to “make him” keep his promises, and among those was to restore the constitution. If we stand by silent while he does this sort of thing we are not being loyal. We are not, as he asked us to do, “making him keep his promise.”

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