The Slope is Ever More Slippery
By Matt Southworth on 02/23/2012 @ 04:53 PM
Scrolling through articles on my iPhone-a ritual on my morning commute-I was astonished by this headline in the New York Times: "Pentagon Says U.S. Citizens With Terrorism Ties Can Be Targeted in Strikes." That is to say: no charges, no trial, no jury and no due process. The Pentagon, with executive branch signoff, can strike down any U.S. citizen where they stand anywhere around the world.
The article opens: "The Obama administration's top Pentagon lawyer on Wednesday said that American citizens who join Al Qaeda can be targeted for killing and that courts should have no role in reviewing executive branch decisions about whether someone has met such criteria."
...Pardon me…I'm no constitutional lawyer, but that seems to violate my layman's reading of amendments IV, V, and IX (and mind you, there are only ten amendments in the Bill of Rights).
Then again, if you're not al Qaeda, why worry-right?
Well, this is where it gets interesting. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2012 expanded the Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in order to incorporate new "threats" on the "battlefield" of America-yes, that's right, within the continental United States. Under this expanded AUMF, the military is authorized to detain U.S. citizens anywhere in the world-even here in the U.S.-and can hold said citizens without charge, trial or conviction… indefinitely.
For this, you don't need to be deemed "al Qaeda" but simply a "belligerent." The military decides, the president authorizes, and U.S. citizens are denied rights afforded to them by the Bill of Rights. Coupled with another recent article titled "Admiral Seeks Freer Hand in Deployment of Elite Forces" I can say that this is getting scary.
As Congress moves U.S. foreign policy towards a "War-Lite" oriented strategy of drone strikes, Special Forces operators and targeted assassinations-possibly even here in the U.S.-who will be non-violently belligerent enough to un-slip the slope?