As I wrote about in an earlier post, the hypocrisy of the left in regards to Obama’s policy of allowing assassinations of United States citizens is quite telling.
Take for example this speech given by our Attorney General in 2004:
With all due respect to President Reagan, the problem is not government. The problem is with those who run the government. In the struggle against terrorism, these people have made a mockery of the rule of law…
And yet a disturbing pattern has emerged. Lawyers for this administration have attempted to sanction the wholesale roundup and extended detention of Middle Eastern men on routine immigration violations, and the indefinite detention of American citizens with minimal judicial supervision, and without access to legal counsel.
Now I understand that we live in difficult times, and that we face an extraordinary, unprecedented threat. We cannot be naive in how we expect to conduct this struggle. This is not a time for the liberal community to see our enemy for anything other than what they are: murderers bent on the destruction of our way of life, which is superior to that which they seek to impose. We must be aggressive in the conduct of the war, and in the interrogation of prisoners taken in that war. But this Administration’s view, that the President’s authority as Commander-in-Chief can almost always overcome what it views as burdensome laws, restrictive International treaties, and tired old customs is extremely dangerous.
Our history is replete with scandals and miscues that are tied to the unrestricted exercise of Executive Branch power, in peace and in war. We must employ techniques in the current struggle that are consistent with the spirit of our founding documents, and that will also stand the test of time. We must feel comfortable, fifty years from now, looking back at our actions in a way that we do not when we examine for instance, the detention of American citizens during World War II.
Now let me be clear. This is not to equate American al-Qaeda sympathizers with law abiding Japanese-American citizens. But citizenship must mean something. The guarantees that come with it must be respected.
The war on terrorism can be won and our tradition of respect for civil liberties can be respected. The tension that this administration sees existing between the two simply is not correct.
That was then, this is now:
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asserted on Monday that it is lawful for the government to kill American citizens if officials deem them to be operational leaders of Al Qaeda who are planning attacks on the United States and if capturing them alive is not feasible.
“Given the nature of how terrorists act and where they tend to hide, it may not always be feasible to capture a United States citizen terrorist who presents an imminent threat of violent attack,” Mr. Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school. “In that case, our government has the clear authority to defend the United States with lethal force.”
…While Mr. Holder is not the first administration official to address the targeted killing of citizens — the Pentagon’s general counsel, Jeh Johnson, did so last month at Yale Law School, for example — it was notable for the nation’s top law enforcement official to declare that it is constitutional for the government to kill citizens without any judicial review under certain circumstances. Mr. Holder’s remarks about the targeted killing of United States citizens were a centerpiece of a speech describing legal principles behind the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies.
“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces,” Mr. Holder said. “This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”
I agree wholeheartedly with Bush’s practice of fighting this war on terror and I agree wholeheartedly with Obama’s new policy.
But the hypocrisy is mindboggling.
I never thought I would link to Glenn Greenwald but he is especially pissed at the hypocrisy from his side of the aisle:
(1) The willingness of Democrats to embrace and defend this power is especially reprehensible because of how completely, glaringly and obviously at odds it is with everything they loudly claimed to believe during the Bush years. Recall two of the most significant “scandals” of the Bush War on Terror: his asserted power merely to eavesdrop on anddetain accused Terrorists without judicial review of any kind. Remember all that? Progressives endlessly accused Bush of Assaulting Our Values and “shredding the Constitution” simply because Bush officials wanted to listen in on and detain suspected Terrorists — not kill them, just eavesdrop on and detain them — without first going to a court and proving they did anything wrong. Yet here is a Democratic administration asserting not merely the right to surveil or detain citizens without charges or judicial review, but to kill themwithout any of that: a far more extreme, permanent and irreversible act. Yet, with somerighteous exceptions, the silence is deafening, or worse.
How can anyone who vocally decried Bush’s mere eavesdropping and detention powers without judicial review possibly justify Obama’s executions without judicial review? How can the former (far more mild powers) have been such an assault on Everything We Stand For while the latter is a tolerable and acceptable assertion of war powers? If Barack Obama has the right to order accused Terrorists executed by the CIA because We’re At War, then surely George Bush had the right to order accused Terrorists eavesdropped on and detained on the same ground.
That the same Party and political faction that endlessly shrieked about Bush’s eavesdropping and detention programs now tolerate Obama’s execution program is one of the most extreme and craven acts of dishonesty we’ve seen in quite some time.
He goes on write and link to my post, saying “By stark contrast, right-wing leaders, pundits and bloggers are being commendably consistent”
Yup. We have.
I agreed with the policy then and do now.
And I completely agree with Glenn when he writes that the hypocrisy of the left is “the most extreme and craven acts of dishonesty we’ve seen in quite some time.”
The bottom line is this: Current procedures under the CSRT are such that a perfectly innocent individual could be held and could not rebut the Government’s case and has no way of proving his innocence.
I would like somebody in this Chamber, somebody in this Government, to tell me why this is necessary. I do not want to hear that this is a new world and we face a new kind of enemy. I know that. I know that every time I think about my two little girls and worry for their safety–when I wonder if I really can tuck them in at night and know that they are safe from harm. I have as big of a stake as anybody on the other side of the aisle and anybody in this administration in capturing terrorists and incapacitating them. I would gladly take up arms myself against any terrorist threat to make sure my family is protected.
But as a parent, I can also imagine the terror I would feel if one of my family members were rounded up in the middle of the night and sent to Guantanamo without even getting one chance to ask why they were being held and being able to prove their innocence.
This is not just an entirely fictional scenario, by the way. We have already had reports by the CIA and various generals over the last few years saying that many of the detainees at Guantanamo should not have been there.
But it’s ok to assassinate that person without judicial review now eh?
Where’s the terror for your family members now?
H Y P O C R I S Y
In a sign that the left’s hypocrisy may not be going over so well is this editorial from the NYT’s today:
Perhaps most disturbing, Mr. Holder utterly rejected any judicial supervision of a targeted killing.
We have said that a decision to kill an American citizen should have judicial review, perhaps by a special court like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorizes eavesdropping on Americans’ communications.
Mr. Holder said that could slow a strike on a terrorist. But the FISA court works with great speed and rarely rejects a warrant request, partly because the executive branch knows the rules and does not present frivolous or badly argued cases. In Mr. Awlaki’s case, the administration had long been complaining about him and tracking him. It made an earlier attempt to kill him.
Mr. Holder said such operations require high levels of secrecy. That is obvious, but the FISA court operates in secret, and at least Americans are assured that some legal authority not beholden to a particular president or political party is reviewing such operations.
Mr. Holder argued in his speech that judicial process and due process guaranteed by the Constitution “are not one and the same.” This is a straw man. The judiciary has the power to say what the Constitution means and make sure the elected branches apply it properly. The executive acting in secret as the police, prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner is the antithesis of due process.
While the NYT’s editorial pages maybe coming around to their hypocrisy, we do not hear the wailing and the crying from the rest of our media, the rest of the Democrat party, the rest of the liberals.
H Y P O C R I S Y