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Due Process Uber Alles

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We were greeted this morning by the welcome news that a CIA-led drone strike in Yemen killed a top al Qaeda operative, the American-born Anwar al-Awlaki.

Never wanting to take "yes" for an answer, the predictable sanctimonious scolds  --  the ACLU, CAIR and the Center for Constitutional Rights  --  are up in arms.  (Are they ever anything but up in arms?).  It was really a matter for  --  guess what  --  due process.   

"The targeted killing program violated both U.S. and international law," ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said in a written statement. "As we've seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts."

When asked about this, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to answer questions about the legality of the government targeting and killing an American citizen without a trial.

"I'm not going to address the circumstances of Awlaki's death," he said.

Let me respectfully suggest a different answer:  "We are in a war and the President is the Commander-in-Chief.  His foremost responsibility is to see to the physical safety of the American people.  Courts have neither the portfolio, under the Constitution, nor the competence, under any reasonable understanding of their mission, to direct the battle that has been thrust upon us.  This is not the next matter on the police blotter, and we are not looking for an arraignment date.  We will not be sending al Qaeda subpeonas.  With any luck, we'll be sending them more drones." 

3 Comments

Bill, I agree -- the White House should be proud of this, not mum. As far as I am concerned, this guy got all the process he was due.

Do you think ACLUers really believe all the things they propound publicly? Or is it often an attempt to put the other side to the test, to keep the other side honest? Just like a defense attorney has to zealously defend a clearly guilty defendant in order for the system to work.

Yankalp,
Does a defense attorney have to "zealously defend a clearly guilty defendant in order for the system to work"?

I think not, at least not in the manner of Jose Baez at the Casey Anthony trail.

Prior to this age of gamesmanship and greed--and in any era when attorneys on both sides pursue justice as the goal--defense counsel would seek a fair sentence, perchance mercy, for a guilty client.

John Adams at the Boston Massacre trial may be a good example.

--Adamakis

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