Extrajudicial Killing

During the Bush administration, we had illegal wiretaps, detention without trial, and torture.  Do you remember the infamous DOJ memo defending torture?  At the time, people said that if America abandoned our own principles in order to fight the terrorists, then the terrorists would already have won.

Well, the Guantanamo prison is still operating in 2013.  New admissions are off, though, because the Obama administration has replaced “detention without trial” with – you guessed it – death without trial.

NBC News has obtained a new DOJ memo, this one defending the use of “extrajudicial killing.”  We hope that the news media pursue this outrage as vigorously as they did the earlier one.  Jeremiah feels an uncomfortable sense of continuity – new president, same old police state.

A Justice Department white paper argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of American citizens [whom] the government believes are affiliated with a terrorist organization.

Like its forerunner in the Bush administration, this doctrine is aimed – so to speak – at bearded American citizens hanging out in Waziristan.  However, a close reading shows that anyone, anywhere, can be summarily executed, so long as “an informed high-level official” says you’re a terrorist.

If you are now urgently rereading your Bill of Rights, “due process” is in the Fifth Amendment and “public trial” is in the Sixth.  Silly document, that – parchment, and all –  extrajudicial killing is justified by the war on terror, which is a little funny because CNN says that al Qaeda is on the back foot.

Over the last ten or so years, our government has arrogated to itself unprecedented powers to spy on its own citizens, to arrest and detain them without trial, to torture them, and now to murder them outright.  This is not the America we were born to.  The terrorists have won.

See also: Justice Department’s White Paper on Targeted Killings


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