Three American citizens, including a 16 year old boy, were killed by an Obama drone strike in 2011. Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were known Al Queda terrorists but Abdulrahman the 16 year old teenage son of al-Awlaki, born in Denver, had no record as a terrorist. None of the three American citizens was afforded the same due process that the Obama Administration would extend to the captured Al Queda terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. No lawyers, no trial, no judicial review before their killing. According to the Justice Department opinion authorizing such action, killing of American citizens can be based on the arbitrary decision of ambiguous U.S. officials.
Remember all the caterwauling against the Patriot Act, FISA monitoring of terrorist communications, Gitmo and the waterboarding of JUST THREE terrorists? Obama and the Democrats used each of these to accuse the Bush Administration of trampling on the Constitution and civil liberties. Now, the Obama team assumes the power to kill American citizens without due process and we hear hardly a squeak from the professional worry warts who screamed about Bush policies. Forget death panels in health care. We now have an officially sanctioned Obama death squad!
Before he was elected Senator Obama said "When I am president we won't work in secret to avoid honoring our laws and Constitution, we will be straight with the American people and true to our values." As a candidate he also promised to end "warrantless wiretaps" that Democrats falsely called "domestic spying" and rein in the Patriot Act as well as Close the detention facility at Gitmo. He failed on all counts.
Pete Wehner writing in Commentary Magazine had this take on the issue:
So what do you think Senator Barack Obama would have said if President George W. Bush had pursued these policies? And how do you think the press and the political class would have reacted?
Let me suggest as well that a man who feels wholly at ease with drone strikes that have killed American citizens suspected of engaging in terrorist activities without the benefit of a trial and which have, in the process, killed hundreds of innocent people should be a tad bit more careful when it comes to lecturing about the immorality of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs). Joe Scarborough, for example, argued that what Bush did with EITs is “child’s play” compared to what Obama has done.
During the 2008 campaign and much of the early part of his presidency, Barack Obama obsessively argued that waterboarding all of three individuals–September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and senior al-Qaeda leaders Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri–was a violation of human rights and a grave moral offense. Here’s the thing, though: unlike Mr. Obama’s drone strikes, no American citizens, no terrorists and no innocent children have died due to waterboarding. Yet the president’s press spokesman is defending Mr. Obama’s policies as “legal,” “ethical,” and “wise.”Jim Treacher adds "Is it okay to pour water on a terrorist’s face if it’s dropped from an unmanned drone? He goes on to say: "It’s almost as if lefties don’t really believe the things they harangue the rest of us about. It’s almost as if their only principle is obtaining and maintaining power." I've been saying the same thing for years Jim. Pick an issue. Any issue. The left's position on it is relative to whether the President in power has a D or an R after their name.
Jon Stewart on the Daily Show showcases the hypocrisy of the Obama Administration and their lack of transparency in how they reached this decision. But hypocrisy is nothing new for Obama.
Finally, Rich Lowry ponders whether the Obama officials who devised this policy will face the same kind of public scrutiny directed at Vice President Cheney and war planners in the Bush White House? Yeah, right! From Rich's column in Politico:
Barack Obama was going to be different. We had this on the highest possible authority: Barack Obama. As the junior senator from Illinois in 2007, he set out his alternative vision: “The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.”Like that will ever happen!
In a speech as president in 2009, he said we are at war with Al Qaeda and must update our institutions to deal with it. “But,” he added, pointedly, “we must do so with an abiding confidence in the rule of law and due process; in checks and balances and accountability.”
It’s not for nothing that the author of the white paper sounds like he could have worked for Dick Cheney. The Obama administration’s approach reflects the logic of the laws of war, the structure of American government and the exigencies of the fight against Al Qaeda.
This is not to say that the white paper is beyond reproach, or that it made sense to keep it secret for so long, but the basic point would seem obvious. Democratic partisans might be confused. They considered Bush a threat to America’s liberty because of his defense of his war powers, yet their hero stands on similar ground. How to resolve the contradiction? Easy. Conclude that they were wrong the first time.
As Hillary Clinton would say "what difference does it make?" When a Democrat is President those who profess concern for civil liberties, or any other value, are largely silent.