Barack Obama’s lawyers state US citizens are legitimate military targets
When it was announced that Anwar al-Awlaki–an American who emigrated to Yemen to take up arms against the United States–was killed an a drone attack in Yemen I was not saddened, because this man was a traitor to his country and was killed while actively trying to convince people to up arms against his country. Yet I was worried because of the precedent it set. Here is part of what I wrote when it was learned that Barack Obama targeted al-Awlaki for death:
We are entering a grey area here. What is the difference between Anwar al-Awlaki and Faisal Shahzad– the failed Times Square bomber? After all, Faisal Shahzad is also an American citizen who tried to wage war on American soil. Yet Shahzad was granted his rights under the constitution and read his rights. Both men have decided that America must be attacked; Anwar al-Awaki is trying to entice Muslims to fight against the United States, while Faisal Shahzad actually carried out an attempted attack– with the help of the Taliban– that would have been successful if the bomb had exploded, and he was probably influenced by al-Awaki. The most obvious difference is the fact that Shahzad was an American on American soil while al-Awaki is an American hiding overseas.
I do not have a problem with the handling of the Shahzad case to this point. I understand fully that as a United States citizen who was arrested on American soil he will receive the full rights granted in the United States constitution, including the reading of those rights
So my position at that time was this: if an American is overseas plotting against the United States he forfeited his rights under the constitution, but if an American is at home and caught plotting against the United States he should be offered a trial as is his constitutional right. The distinction between the two cases being one might be in a battlefield while the other is on the homeland.
But what happens if the United States is deemed a battlefield? If this sounds outrageous to you, consider this: a bill was introduced by John McCain and passed by the Senate which shortly could be headed to the president’s desk which would deem the United State a battlefield and would give the president unprecedented powers.
Section 1031 of the NDAA reads: “Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force … includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons…. [including] [d]etention under the law of war without trial….” This “indefinite detention” section hands over to the executive branch the power to have the military arrest U.S. citizens. No trial needed. Simple suspicion would suffice.
This would make it legal for the president to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely if considered a threat, rendering the protections of the constitution null and void because the United States homeland is also a battlefield. And apparently this is something that is supported by Barack Obama because his lawyers have stated that the Executive Branch has sole authority to make citizens military targets without first going to the courts for a search warrant.
Barack Obama can decide all on his own who he deems is a threat to the United States and we have already heard people equating the Tea Party to terrorists, and Joe Biden has already declared that working with Republicans is akin to negotiating with terrorists so the question is this; is it too much of a leap to think that Barack Obama could declare that anyone who is opposed to him is someone who should be detained for the good of the country?
In my opinion there is no case in which it is justified to deny a United States citizen who is arrested on American soil his right to a trial by jury, even in the case of treason, yet with the exception of Ron Paul I wonder how many of the Republican candidates for president would agree with me.