Back in May, your humble Devil pointed out that America's great white hope—Obama, the Boy Blunder himself—was quite keen on ordering the extra-judicial killings of American citizens.
However, I am quite sure that Obama has reconsidered his position, and realises that due process and the rule of law were really important to people. After all, governments murdering their own citizens without any kind of trial is hardly in the great traditions of freedom, is it?
I mean, sure, just over the last century, many governments have spent a lot of their time wiping out their own countrymen —the USSR, Cambodia, Chile, Argentina, China, Germany, etc.—but it is not generally viewed as being A Good Thing by anyone except the murderous regime itself.
And given how Obama is a symbol of hope and change (not to mention change and hope), I reckon that the leader of theLand of the Free would never indulge in such authoritarian behaviour.
At this point, I didn't believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki's father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief [PDF] asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That's not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality.
But what's most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is "state secrets": in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.
As Timmy asks "So how’s that hopey, changey thing workin’ out for ya?", the Agitator elaborates on the point in question.
There are no mitigating factors, here. Obama is arguing the executive has the power to execute American citizens without a trial, without even so much as an airing of the charges against them, and that it can do so in complete secrecy, with no oversight from any court, and that the families of the executed have no legal recourse.
You can’t even make the weak argument that the executive at least has to claim this power in the course of protecting national security. Because it doesn’t matter. Obama is arguing that he has the right to keep everything about these executions secret—including the reasons they were ordered—merely by uttering the magic phrase “state secrets.” In other words, that this power would only arise under a national security context is deemed irrelevant by the fact that not only is Obama claiming the president’s word on what qualifies as “national security” is final, he’s claiming the power in such a way that there’s no audience to whom he would ever need to make that connection.
So yeah. Tyranny. If there’s more tyrannical power a president could possibly claim than the power to execute the citizens of his country at his sole discretion, with no oversight, no due process, and no ability for anyone to question the execution even after the fact . . . I can’t think of it.
So, at the risk of this becoming repetitive, how is that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?
Or, to put it another way, is Obama progressive enough for you, punk...?