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Can we kill Americans with our drones?

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  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    This subject came on Century link news:

    Drone killing memo released after NY court fight
    The Associated Press - By LARRY NEUMEISTER - Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday released a previously secret memo that provided legal justification for using drones to kill Americans suspected of terrorism overseas.
    The memo concluded that the killing of an al-Qaida leader who had been born in the United States had legal justification. It said the authority to use lethal force abroad may apply in appropriate circumstances to a U.S. citizen who is part of the forces of an enemy organization. It said the killing was justified as long as it was carried out in accord with applicable laws of war.
    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan released the memo, portions of which are blacked out, after the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
    Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU lawyer who argued the case before the 2nd Circuit, said the memo's release "represents an overdue but nonetheless crucial step towards transparency. There are few questions more important than the question of when the government has the authority to kill its own citizens."

    The memo pertained specifically to the September 2011 drone-strike killing in Yemen of Anwar Al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader who had been born in the United States.

    Some legal scholars and human rights activists complained that it was illegal for the U.S. to kill American citizens away from the battlefield without a trial.
    Lawyers for the Times and ACLU had said that the government's continued delays regarding the document were cheating the public of a fully informed and fair debate over the highly classified "targeted-killing" program.

    2014 The Associated Press

    So what are the opinions of our members?
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Life had no value inside the USA anymore - why should it outside?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    I feel like abuses of this ruling are on the way. If the U.S. was at war and the term 'enemy' was easily defined then that would be different. But the US is not at war, and the term "enemy" can be used in a number of abusive ways.

    It's a dangerous ruling I think
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Zach F Wrote: I feel like abuses of this ruling are on the way. If the U.S. was at war and the term 'enemy' was easily defined then that would be different. But the US is not at war, and the term "enemy" can be used in a number of abusive ways.

    It's a dangerous ruling I think
    I don't know; what do you call "war"? I think it is any time you invade a country and start shooting. Also the word "enemy", it could be my neighbor!!
    Anyway you are right; what does a "word" mean? I guess everybody here knows what the word "money" means and on how to get it.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I agree with both Zach and PGR, this has the potential of abuse by political operatives, I don't believe that battlefield combatants would be the only ones targeted. Again who is defined as an enemy, must the person take up actual arms against us or is political or religion, or even cultural rhetoric to be also included, especially if it calls for some types of action. This may set a dangerous precedent without a clear definition of the word"enemy".
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Zach F Wrote: I feel like abuses of this ruling are on the way. If the U.S. was at war and the term 'enemy' was easily defined then that would be different. But the US is not at war, and the term "enemy" can be used in a number of abusive ways.

    It's a dangerous ruling I think
    The court didn't address whether drone strikes against American citizens are legal or not. The ruling explicitly stated "[W]e emphasize at the outset that the Plaintiffs’ lawsuits do not challenge the lawfulness of drone attacks or targeted killings. Instead, they seek information concerning those attacks, notably, documents prepared by DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) setting forth the Government’s reasoning as to the lawfulness of the attacks."

    The legality of targeting an American citizen overseas will eventually have to be determined by an act of Congress or the Supreme Court. The only thing this ruling did was force the Administration to release redacted memos written by David Barron that were addressed to Attorney General Holder which justified the killing of an American citizen who has sworn allegiance to the 'enemy' overseas. It's a good first step, but hardly the last we will hear of this.

    In the memos, Barron suggests the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) provides legal justification to target American citizens, specifically the clause which reads "[W]hereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States." I feel that justification has a rather shaky foundation, but that is for our Congress and the courts to work out.

    I'm not very doom and gloom about this ruling. In the same breath, I'm a little frustrated with the Administration for not being more forthcoming about this from the get go and discussing these types of things with Congress. They Constitutionally have an out sized role when it comes to these types of things, but I just don't see any President, Democrat or Republican, using this memo as justification to start indiscriminately killing a massive amount of American citizens without trial.

    Full text of ruling

    Full text of (redacted) Barron memos

    F
    ull text of 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF)
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I was being fascists, actually., but if a US citizen is fighting against us with enemy combatants I have absolutely no problem with the gumint' taking them "out". In fact, I can think of a lot of people in Congress that fit that very description but they have never left the US.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    pr Wrote: I was being fascists, actually., but if a US citizen is fighting against us with enemy combatants I have absolutely no problem with the gumint' taking them "out". In fact, I can think of a lot of people in Congress that fit that very description but they have never left the US.
    The thing with this case was that he wasn't actually fighting at the time he was targeted.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    We just have to face reality - the world is full of bad guys (and that includes politicians)!
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    For some reason, this reminds me of Army Ranger Cpl Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan in 2004. He had been a famous football player, who had given up a $4 million football contract, in order to "serve his country" after the 9/11 terrorist attack. He and his brother both signed up with the Army immediately, which established their patriotism & honor. During an assignment in the mountains of Afghanistan, Pat Tillman was shot dead (3 times in the head) which was presented to the US public as "killed by enemy fire" --- but medical evidence & other details eventually were released to indicate he was shot by "friendly fire" or outright murder. His uniform was burned & his journal (notebook) was burned, & the fact that no other soldiers in his platoon were injured in this incident, led to many inquiries. After the burial ceremony, the Army gradually began to release more details suggesting that this whole episode was very "suspicious" -- since Pat Tillman had begun to question our whole involvement in Iraq & Afghanistan, & was even critical of President Bush. (Being a popular "sports" figure, & thus could influence other potential enlistees, maybe he had to be silenced, before the Truth came out to the public). Even the autopsy doctors said it appeared to be a "murder", since the bullets came from a short range, & were closely spaced. And no other soldiers had been hit by bullets at all. Oh, well, just another American patriot killed for G.W.'s phoney War against Terror.

    I am sure they made a movie or docu-drama about Pat Tillman's story, & much of it was told by his brother. [Look on Wikipedia or Google].
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    But...I don't think Pat Tillman was killed by a drone, which is the subject of this thread.

    Nothing like a good conspiracy theory, though. If Tillman were intentionally killed by our forces, that would be a good subject for another thread.

    Yes ..."G.W.'s phoney war against Terror"... as opposed to B.O.'s phoney war against Terror. The vast majority of American blood spilled in Afghanistan has been on Obamas watch and is certainly on his hands.

    Now it seems as if Obama is about to be responsible for more American blood shed in Iraq.

    Not one more American should be killed in Iraq since many of them will not fight for their own country.

    Enough already!
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    The "thread" asked if we (USA) could legally kill Americans in a war overseas -- possibly using drones. And I recalled the fact that we have already killed American soldiers overseas in illegitimate wars, -- such as Army Ranger Pat Tillman. It is not exactly a "conspiracy theory" when top brass in the US Army admitted that things were seriously suspicious, & the autopsy doctors said it appeared to be "a murder," -- not a casualty of war. No other soldiers were shot at or injured, Tillman's uniform & his notebook (evidence) were burned, & he had 3 shots in the head at close range.

    Your assertion that Obama caused more deaths in the Iraq/Afghanistan War than Bush did is ridiculous. For one thing, Obama had nothing to do with STARTING the inexplicable War in the first place. It was the Bush Admin which insisted on starting that war by "lying" to the American people & then "lying" to the United Nations, which itself is a war crime. False charges of WMD, & stating falsely that Saddam Hussein was associated with Al Quaeda, & falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the 9/11 "terrorist attack." ALL TOTAL LIES - Bush Fabricated just to steal Iraq's oil.

    Since the Iraq/Afghanistan War has gone on at least 13 years, and Obama has only been President 5-1/2 years. Less than HALF of the war. And Obama has spent every minute trying to get us OUT of those stupid senseless wars, but he needs the votes of Republicans to accomplish that, so THEY have held up our withdrawal every single way they could. So WHOSE FAULT IS THAT? (Gee, the Republicans of course). ANY AMERICAN BLOOD SPILLED anywhere overseas in the last 13 years is exclusively due to George W. Bush -- & his "chicken-hawk" Admin.

    (That means they always talk like a HAWK in wanting WAR (acting real macho) but are Big CHICKENs when it comes to actual serving in any war zone).

    --- Did I forget to mention that Geo "W" Bush was actually AWOL during his service in the TX National Guard? (That was even before he learned how to "rig" 2 federal elections). I am always amazed by the "quality of character" in Republican politicians. (and so "religious" too : ) : )
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Double Post
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    DOUBLE POST!

    COMPUTER ERROR OR MAYBE COMPUTER OPERATOR ERROR!
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    EF I agree with you that the Tillman death is strange, and maybe there is a conspiracy there. Most conspiracy theories are pushed by nutjobs and believed by nutjobs. Tillman's death certainly seems to have some unanswered questions. The reason that we don't hear more about it is that the big MONEY is to be made on the BIG conspiracy theories like 9-11, the JFK assassination...etc. No big money to be made on Tillman.

    More deaths of American servicemen in Afghanistan occured while Obama was in office, and that's just a FACT as much as you may not want to admit it. Not how long it's been going on, but how many deaths. And it's about 70%-75% on Obamas term, so as Commander in Chief that's on him.

    Bush was stupid enough to start that war, and Obama was smart enough to end it, but he didn't, he decided to SURGE the troop strength. He had "SURGE ENVY" because he saw Bush do the surge in Iraq and how well it "worked" so he just had to show us how he could match Bush.

    As the WALL STREET JOURNAL reported in December 2009 that by doing the surge and announcing the date of withdrawal of the additional troops, "MR OBAMA MADE AFGHANISTAN HIS WAR".

    That's right, Obama could have, and should have ended the war in 2009, but he decided to send an ADDITIONAL 30,000 American troops to kill and be killed, making the war longer, bloodier, and more wasteful.

    Thousands more lives lost, thousands more families destroyed, hundreds of billions wasted...all due to Obama's "SURGE".

    And for what? FOR NOTHING!