Here’s Harold Koh, previously the Dean of Yale law school, now the State department’s top lawyer, explaining why killing suspected terrorists (as well as innocent bystanders) with drones is A-OK. In short, Koh’s rationale is that nothing in the rules of war specifically prohibits using super-smart technology when fighting an enemy that relies on donkeys for transport, so long as those super-smart weapons are employed only as necessary and proportional. That’s a curious position, Harry, considering you had this to say (worth reading if for no other reason than Koh uses three strawman arguments in one paragraph) regarding Bush’s comparatively humane policy of not killing suspected terrorists outright, but rather detaining them until they are tried before a military commission:
The Supreme Court’s historic decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld has presented both Congress and the President with an opportunity to make a fresh start in crafting a fair and durable solution to the problems of humane treatment and fair trial of suspected terrorist detainees.
Get it? The way to craft a “fair and durable solution to the problems of humane treatment and fair trial of suspected terrorist detainees” is to skip the sticky issues of capture, detainment, and subsequent legal proceedings. Just send in the drones. Then again I find his rules of war argument unavailing, too, considering that we’re no longer involved in a war on terror, but rather engaged in a global contingency operation.
No, wait, that’s a brilliant argument. What are the rules expressly governing global contingency operations? None that I know of. Do the Geneva conventions apply? Can you find a lawyer within your own administration to say no because the issue is novel, and therefore executive authority must Constitutionally fill the void? Subject to, of course, Congressional limitations speaking directly (via mandate) or indirectly (failing to provide funding) on the matter. Hey, it worked for Bush and John Yoo, and I have yet to be persuaded that Yoo was wrong as a matter of law. I’m pretty sure, however, that Koh and company weren’t big fans of that. For instance, prior to becoming Attorney General, Eric Holder’s law firm litigated, pro bono, a good number of cases challenging Bush’s terror policies.
So how does the Obama administration square it’s drone assassination policies with its previous opposition to Bush’s detainment policies? This author essentially asked the same question, in January 2009, after Obama promised to close Gitmo, but didn’t say anything about ending drone asassinations.
And so when a progressive like Rachel Maddow cheers that the Michigan militia members can be indicted and imprisoned without having done anything violent, when she reports that the FBI has infiltrated this group for months and stepped in to arrest them just in the nick of time, we should not be too surprised when she fails to make the obvious connection, and fails to be the least bit skeptical of the federal government’s police agents infiltrating a group for months only to discover that that group’s members are saying things about government that amount to “seditious conspiracy.” What kind of Orwellian world is it when the government can arrest people accused only of planning to commit violence against government agents and unleash a “civil war” that we all know is only a fantasy? What kind of world is it when the very media figure who denounced Bush’s “preemptive war” and Obama’s adoption of Bush’s “pre-crime” approach to imprisoning “enemy combatants” in “prolonged detention” before they commit violence is happy to see a group indicted on federal charges of talking about committing violence—talk that we can safely guess was likely incited by the very FBI that had been infiltrating this group for months? What kind of absurdist dystopia has the left crying foul when a private citizen infiltrates ACORN, but has no similar apprehensions about the FBI infiltrating “extremist” groups and arresting them for “seditious conspiracy”? How can anyone who saw through the Bush lies of war and crackdowns in the name of “national security” and stopping madmen from getting “weapons of mass destruction” really believe that fewer than a dozen Americans with some rifles and some pipebombs were themselves planning to use “weapons of mass destruction” in any way that posed a threat to the U.S. government? And what about the charge of having weapons in connection to a crime—that crime being the intention of one day committing a crime, without even a specific target in mind?
More on the beloved FBI here, specifically information about it’s “secret room,” via GoodShit.
It is where the government has hidden the most secret
information: plans to relocate Congress if Washington were attacked,
dossiers on double agents, case files about high-profile mob figures and
their politician friends, and a disturbing number of reports about the
possible smuggling of atomic bombs into the United States.
It is also where the bureau stowed documents considered more embarrassing
than classified, including its history of illegal spying on domestic
political organizations and surveillance of nascent gay rights groups.
It is the FBI¹s ³special file room,¹¹ where for decades sensitive material
has been stored separately from the bureau¹s central filing system to
restrict access severely and, in more sinister instances, some experts
assert, prevent the Congress and the public from getting their hands on it.
Discriminations snark: Will Obamacare’s tanning salon tax provide palefaces with a disparate impact claim?
More Discriminations snark: is the logical end of Obamacare a civil right to electricity? Why not?
The deity one atheist conservative would designate as his God-particle, if he believed either in the human need for a God-particle, the potential for a deity to exist, or that such beliefs were germane to conservatism. For the record, it appears Instapunk would choose Christ, brah, and bear-mace liberals accordingly.
Economic Trouble Looming Abroad, by Mish Shedlock.
Finally, a film on Gerrymandering, ”the practice by which politicians manipulate voting districts for personal and political benefit.” It happens more than many think, too. See here for the twenty most gerrymandered congressional districts in the US of A.