1. “Bad Precedent: Obama’s Drone Doctrine is Nixon’s Cambodia Doctrine (Dietrich)
The cynical manipulation of legal and historical precedent regarding unmanned targeted killings vehicles damages the credibility of the Obama administration. The recently-leaked argument by the Justice Department is as weak and counterproductive in the light of contemporary international history as it is in terms of constitutional law.
Commentators have admirably analyzed the flouting of the U.S. Constitution. The Obama administration vindicates the potential liquidation of American citizens through a spuriously broad redefinition of “imminent threat,” even when the U.S. government does not have clear evidence that a specific attack will take place. The administration holds that the use of deadly force is “reasonable” even in the case of relative ignorance. This “trust us” argument moves against a core constitutional right of citizens to neutral judicial review. Yet the Justice Department rationalizes quashing speech and assassinating citizens without sound evidence of an imminent threat.
The rationale of the Justice Department paper is just as specious in the light of recent history. At its most disturbing moment, the Justice Department invokes the legal reasoning of the Nixon administration for the extension of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. In 1969 and 1970, Nixon and his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, approved secret bombing missions and then outright invasion. A legal adviser rationalized that decision in a February 1970 report. “If a neutral state has been unable for any reason to prevent violations of its neutrality by the troops of one belligerent…the other belligerent has historically been justified in attacking those enemy forces in that state,” he wrote. The Obama administration takes this bad argument and makes worse. Because “transnational non-state organizations” are so diffuse, and “terrorist organizations may move their base of operations,” the United States is justified in eliminating threats with the consent of a host nation. If the U.S. government determines that the host nation is “unable or unwilling to suppress the threat,” both the Obama and the Nixon administrations reserved the right to act unilaterally. ”
2. “Daniel Ellsberg: Obama, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Senators Voting for Indefinite Detention Are “Enemies of the Constitution”
American Government Claims Power that Even King George Didn’t Claim
Daniel Ellsberg said this week:
[The indefinite detention provision of the defense bill] allows you to put an American citizen – a civilian – in military custody, treated like Bradley Manning in the marine barracks right now, indefinitely – without charges – that’s not a fight that we had to make in 1776
King George the Third didn’t have the power. No King of England had that power since John the First.
Indeed, even Hitler and Stalin didn’t claim that power.”
3. “DOJ kill list memo forces many Dems out of the closet as overtly unprincipled hacks
Last week’s controversy over Obama’s assassination program forced into light many ignored truths that were long obvious
That many Democratic partisans and fervent Obama admirers are vapid, unprincipled hacks willing to justify anything and everything when embraced by Obama – including exactly that which they pretended to oppose under George W Bush – has also been clear for many years. Back in February, 2008, Paul Krugman warned that Obama supporters are “dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.” In May, 2009, a once-fervent Obama supporter, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, wrote a column warning that Obama was embracing many of the worst Bush/Cheney abuses and felt compelled – in the very first sentence – to explain what should be self-evident: “Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House.” The same month, former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith – who provided the legal authorization for the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program – went to the New Republic to celebrate that Obama was not only continuing the core Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism, but even better (from his perspective), was strengthening those policies far beyond what Bush could achieve by transforming Democrats from opponents of those policies into supporters.
And exactly as Goldsmith happily predicted, polls now show that Democrats and even self-identified progressives support policies that they once pretended to loathe now that it is Obama rather than Bush embracing them. On MSNBC, Obama aides and pundit-supporters now do their best Sarah Palin impression by mocking as weaklings and losers those who think the President should be constrained in his militarism and demonizing as anti-American anyone who questions the military (in between debating whether Obama should be elevated onto Mount Rushmore or given his own monument). A whole slew of policies that would have triggered the shrillest of progressive condemnations under Bush – waging war after Congress votes against authorizing it, the unprecedented persecution and even torturing of whistleblowers, literally re-writing FOIA to conceal evidence of torture, codifying indefinite detention on US soil – are justified or, at best, ignored.”