Obama Crosses Line Not Even Bush/Cheney Crossed!

Posted: April 11, 2010 in Current Events, Politics
Tags: , , , , , , ,

You know, in the Bush/Cheney years, there was a lot of talk about the abuses of the executive branch, particularly in relation to the Constitution.  So in that light, I read this article with interest:

U.S. Approves Targeted Killing Of American Cleric

In short, President Obama has ordered the assassination of an U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki.  To the best of anyone’s knowledge, not even Bush, Cheney, and his fellow neo-cons did that.  Congratulations Mr. Obama, you have found yourself on the right of even some of the most right-wing of the conservative movement.  And the folks on the right that you are not to the right to and are pleased to hear this?  They are kind of crazy.  This action is not only unconstitutional, it is clearly wrong and goes against what this country stands for in regards to justice.  Of course, this action won’t get a lot of criticism because Obama plays on the same team as those on the left (however, to his credit, and to my surprise, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann did devote time and criticism of Obama on his show) and those on the right can’t move away from their playbook that says everyone on the left is weak on defense, so the right would rather criticize actions by the President such as those that allows our country to only be able to blow up the world 10 times over instead of 15 times over.

Our justice system is based on the idea that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  This principle is to be applied even to the worse of the worse.  We didn’t order the assassination of Charlie Manson.  We didn’t order the assassination of Jeffrey Dahmer.  We didn’t order the assassination of Timothy McVeigh.  Heck, even when that guy tried to blow up the plane with that underwear bomb, the passengers restrained him but they didn’t kill him.  And this is a man who undeniably had just tried to snuff all of them out.  It would have been hard to blame the passengers for wanting a little vigilante justice.  But they didn’t because that is not what we do in this country.

So what makes Anwar al-Awlaki so different?  So much more dangerous?  And what makes Obama so sure that he is guilty?  So guilty that he doesn’t get the same due process as all other American citizens receive?  And if Obama can single-handedly make the decision in this case, why not other cases?  Why not just drop the whole court system altogether?  It would save a lot of money.  If those of you that support Obama’s ability to do this, would you still support this power if it were Bush’s call?  Say this power was held by someone like Sarah Palin?  The fact is if it is wrong for a Bush or Palin to wield such power, it is wrong for Obama to do so as well.  What powers the President does or does not have should not be dependent on who holds the position.

An interesting point I heard raised is that Obama may potentially be even more dangerous than Bush in regards to abuse of power.  At least when Bush made such power grabs, he faced heavy opposition from those on the left.  Obama may be free to make these power grabs without much opposition at all.  Hopefully those with principle will beat the drums loud enough where there is at least a debate about this.  Surely if warrant-less wiretaps and holding people indefinitely without charges is wrong, killing citizens without so much as a hearing has to be wrong too.

(One thing I would love to hear from somebody on the left/progressive side of the fence, how does Obama’s policies in regard to terrorism significantly differ from those of Bush/Cheney?  Because I just don’t really see it.  In fact, with actions such as this, I think I could make the case that the policies are even worse.)

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