DOJ to America: we won't reveal the circumstances under which you can be assassinated by us

The DOJ has rejected a Freedom of Information Act request from the New York Times that asked the agency to reveal the legal basis for the newly unveiled American program of strategic drone-attack assassinations of American citizens off the field of battle.


* The government dropped a bomb on a U.S. citizen,

* who, though a total dick and probably a criminal, may have been engaged only in propaganda,

* which, though despicable, is generally protected by the First Amendment;

* it did so without a trial or even an indictment (that we know of),

* based at least in part on evidence it says it has but won't show anyone,

* and on a legal argument it has apparently made but won't show anyone,

* and the very existence of which it will not confirm or deny;

* although don't worry, because the C.I.A. would never kill an American without having somebody do a memo first;

* and this is the "most transparent administration ever";

* currently run by a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

For Christmas, Your Government Will Explain Why It's Legal to Kill You


  1. I have never seen the case against our government put so boldly or succinctly. Combine this article with the earlier one that describes how Boehner had the CSPAN cameras in Congress turned off because he didn’t like the way a debate was going and you can see that we no longer have much claim to democracy or open government.

    And you know what the worst part is? The hippies and flower children of my generation grew up and allowed this shit to happen (hangs head in shame).

      1. Yeah, I’ve lost a couple of uncles expressing this sentiment.  It’s time to pass the torch.

        I am extremely unhappy with my parent’s generation.  It doesn’t mean I don’t love them or have a cold dead heart.  I simply need to fix what they have done so my children won’t live in an ever deteriorating world and it will take some effort.

        Btw, Xmas dinner will be interesting, to say the least.

        1. It really is amazing how idyllic, peaceful, right-thinking, and altruistic the world was until the boomers came along and made humanity eat the fruit that got us all thrown out of Eden.

      2. As a member of the baby boomer generation, let me be emphatic that I do not nor have I ever been in favor of any of this kind of behavior.  I have railed against corrupt politicians for over 30 years.  Incidentally, my right-wing Republican parents (i.e. the “greatest generation”) are all in favor of this shit.  So don’t waste your time casting blame, because it’s often going to miss the target and not help fix things.

        1. Your objection is the most common I have heard from the Baby Boomers: “But *I* am not like that!” This too I think is a typical response of a member of that generation, but more importantly it does not possess any rhetorical value.

          Your efforts are, if you have done what you say you have done, commendable. However, exceptions to the norm do not disprove the norm. Not all dogs act the same, but we feel comfortable generalizing about the behaviors of dogs. Some airplanes perform differently from others, but we can nevertheless generalize about the features and functions of airplanes. The same goes for Baby Boomers.

          We can only begin to fix things after identifying the problems. Your generation is a primary source of those problems, and often actively prevents us from exploring alternatives.

          1. Your generation is a primary source of those problems, and often actively prevents us from exploring alternatives.

            Yes, because before the baby boomers the world was eden, then *boom*, in the 70s when THEY became adults the world went to hell.

            Myopia is one of the problems that need to be identified, methinks.

          2. I said *a* primary source, not *the* primary source. Nor did I suggest that the so-called Greatest Generation lived in an Edenic world. Quite the opposite. The problem is that we are back-sliding into a world that is even worse than the one they fought so desperately improved for their children, the Boomers. That my generation will be worse off than the Boomers were is not an inevitability, but rather because of the collective selfish short-sightedness of a generation that cares largely only about itself.

          3. The Baby Boomer generation has had more than fifty years to develop and solidify its character. My generation has not yet had the opportunity to express and define itself unemcumbered by the dead weight of the Boomers. Until that time, your characterization of it is meaningless.

          4. Seriously, dude. You are spewing hate speech. And your obsession with blaming baby boomers for the world’s ills sounds like mental illness.

    1. Thanks for the mea culpa, at least. Most of the boomers I know tend to throw up their hands and claim it isn’t their fault (or accuse me of being anti-American, which is always mind-blowing for me).
      Don’t hang your head for too long, though. We’re losing, but I don’t think we’ve lost – do what you can to hold powerful people responsible for their actions. 

      1. Most of the boomers I know tend to throw up their hands and claim it isn’t their fault …

        A response that will come to define their generation once the rest of us begin to build a world they destroyed.

        1. Most Americans of our generation never had a say in it, and got beaten and gassed if we tried to protest against it. I imagine it’s the same for our parents’ generation as for our own.

          Let’s keep the blame on the ruling class.

          1. “Most Americans of our generation never had a say in it”
            Wow, you must be old, to be part of a generation where the majority of Americans didn’t have the right to vote.
            (inb4 voting doesn’t matter, we’re not that far gone yet.)

          2. Baby Boomers had a responsibility, at the very least, to leave the world in as decent a condition (economically, environmentally, etc.) as existed when they entered it. They abrogated that responsibility, not because those conditions could not be maintained or even improved as their parents had done, but rather because of their own selfish short-sightedness. Baby Boomers were not compelled to trash the environment by the Morgans of this world. The Rockerfellers of this world did not force Boomers to de-fund the education system or the social safety net in exchange for a lower tax rate. To claim otherwise — to place the blame on someone else, that big, bad ruling class — is typical of their generation as I’ve mentioned above.

            Not that they care for posterity, but we will not look back fondly.

          3. We’re not that far gone yet?

            See the original post. How many of you voted against these policies, got your candidate elected, and are seeing your candidate expand these policies?

            I think it’s obvious that the system’s structured to favor the already-powerful, and political activism needs to take place outside the system, as with the occupy movement, instead of within the system.

          4. @davidasposted:disqus In the Boomers defense though, cocaine circa 1979 was pretty awesome. Really, the whole social responsibility thing kind of goes away when you have something that awesome.

          5. Well said, Marja.  The ruling class has been steam-rolling the majority’s rights for many generations (see “gilded age” for instance).  

            That oppression may have been slightly less noticeable to the middle-class white males of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, since we were living in a cheap-gasoline fueled, frontier-like society, but I suspect women and especially blacks were not particularly happy.

            bja009, thanks for a non-sequitor strawman.  First you claim it’s our fault because we had the vote, and then you claim voting doesn’t matter.  As if people cannot be misled, on top of that.

            davidasposted: you keep thinking that and your children will be blaming you. The problems existed long before baby boomers were born, but were masked by much larger forces and a temporary degree of political sanity with respect to the middle class and liberties under FDR and Eisenhower. Much of today’s problems are not a result of baby boomers doing worse than their parents, but rather shortage of resources and greater leverage by the greedy enabled by technology.

          6. Brian Sprague, Dig deeper into those figures and compare the percentage increase in funding devoted to administration versus the increase in funding devoted to teachers and instruction. Furthermore, compare the amount of education funding as a percentage of GDP. Finally, compare the rates of state and local funding, which far exceed federal funding.

    2. We don’t choose when we’re born any more than we choose our race or sex. Most Americans seem to understand that it’s not okay to blame an entire race or sex for something, even when members of that group are statistically more likely to be at fault (e.g., men and the presidency of George W. Bush). Why not apply the same understanding toward people of different ages?

    3. IIRC, Pelosi did the same a couple of years ago. The galleries remained open in both cases and the Congressional Record still published the proceedings, so things were still done in public in both cases, unlike our current White House occupiant who accepted an open government award in private.

  2. Oh, a MEMO.  Why didn’t you say so in the first place?  Everything the CIA does is totally cool as long as someone official writes down their legal opinion ahead of time.  I can’t argue with that logic.

    1. Yeah. I was worried for a sec, but then they said that the paperwork was in order, and I was all, “cool!”

      Where…where should I stand? Here? Cool.

  3. So basically, the DOJ grunting “boy needed killing” is supposed to be equal to “rule of law”.


  4. My favorite part about all this is that I warned everyone I could back during the 2008 campaign. Obama would continue the same foreign policy as Bush. People thought “no way, that’s nuts.”

    Unfortunately, people still believe in the false dichotomy of Left vs. Right as it applies to federal government.

      1.  A wholesale repudiation of the electoral system in which an overwhelming majority 0f Americans simply refuse to vote any longer. If you want an alternative, you need to demonstrate that the existing system has no legitimacy… by, say, a party claiming to govern with a 15% mandate.

        1. You do realize that those who hold power care very little whether they are legitimate as long as they continue to hold power, don’t you? Demonstrating a lack of legitimacy will get you a resounding “so what” from those who rule.

          1.  Of course they do not care. But the electoral process provides members of Congress, the executive, judges, and other public officials who serve at their pleasure with a veneer of legitimacy. They often publicly claim to act on behalf, or express the will, of the folks who elected them (or those who appointed them). If you want to dump the system, they you need to show that the citizens of the country have rejected it.

            FWIW, in order to be successful you cannot stop there. The next step requires that citizens stop paying taxes, which is one of the primary means by which the state supports itself.

            There are further steps. But I do not mean to hijack the thread, so…

    1. nobody who has seen any of the GOP debates should be able to say, with a straight face, that the difference between “Left” and “Right” is a false dichotomy.

      no, the Democrats aren’t perfect, but to say there’s no difference between them and the GOP is just plain stupid.

      1. I think you may be missing the point. Let us abstract this from politics a bit with some metaphoricalizationing:

        Behind the wheel, the difference between beer and wine is a false dichotomy. A perfect beer or a terrible wine; there’s no difference between them in the wreckage left behind. Drunk is drunk.

        1. your “behind the wheel” scenario is deliberately constructed to mask the obvious differences.

          Obama has not continued the same foreign policy as Bush. yes, there are similarities, and if that’s all you focus on, then yes, the two will appear identical –  just as wine is exactly the same in every single way to beer, if you only focus on the effect ethyl alcohol has on the human nervous system. but the OP was not quite that specific. maybe it was intended to be. i don’t know.

          bottom line: there are striking differences between Bush’s and Obama’s foreign policies. and if one is to be honest, one must acknowledge both.

          1. OK, lets try a slightly different direction:
            When the cops pull you over it doesn’t matter if you’re the least drunk person in the car.

            Obviously there are differences between Bush and Obama, Democrats and Republicans, beer and wine. The point is those differences provide circumstantially limited distinctions. Relevant distinctions become irrelevant.
            What’s the significance of what’s been drunk or who is drunker when no one is sober?

          2. “What’s the significance of what’s been drunk or who is drunker when no one is sober?”

            you can’t reduce the innumerable differences between the parties to a binary. it’s not about “drunk” or “sober”, it’s about turning SS into a private IRA-style investment account, turning Medicare into a voucher program, eliminating the Department of Education, forcing Christianity on everyone, outlawing abortion, moving to a ridiculous “flat” tax, etc..  there are many profound differences between the parties. and, the only reason we don’t live in a “conservative” wonderland is because there is a party that stops the GOP from enacting those laws – even though it doesn’t always do such a great job.

            the only way everybody is “drunk” is if this one particular civil liberties issue is literally the only issue you care about. if that’s the case, then yes, everybody is drunk. neither party is great on this issue.

            but it’s not the only issue, for most people.

          3. “you can’t reduce the innumerable differences between the parties to a binary. it’s not about “drunk” or “sober””

            I think you are still misunderstanding. I’m not saying the least drunk person in the car is just as bad a driver as the idiot vomiting on himself in the backseat. I recommend you start drinking and don’t stop until you understand that there is a spectrum of drunkenness.

      2. That’s really not true though. The Republican debate had Ron Paul who spoke vigorously against this sort of thing, and Garry Johnson (at least in the first debate) who was also against this, but isn’t much of a speaker.

        While it’s doubtful he will win, he certainly has raised these questions

      1. He fought hard to keep us in Iraq. When the Iraqi government refused to continue to give U.S. troops immunity for murder and other crimes, that was a dealbreaker, so we’re out.

  5. it did so without a trial or even an indictment (that we know of)
    Even if there was one for Awlaki, there definitely wasn’t one for his son.

        1. I think that’s actually just the subject line for the memos asking for permission to assassinate people without due process.

  6. “Don’t worry!  The Spanish Inquisition will NEVER get out of hand!  That guy was an actual witch, we are positive.  No, I can’t tell you how we know.  Don’t worry, The Star Chamber only ever tries guilty people in secret.”

  7. Familiar with the concept of a SWAT sniper team? Same thing. In some instances we do grant the government this power, to kill without a trial. And the skidmark that got the bomb dropped on him was doing a bit more than just “propaganda.” He’d run off to work with the enemy. If Al Q followed the rules of warfare, and he’d worn a uniform, nobody would have a problem with this. But they don’t. And so this is the only way to get rid of him. Can’t say I have a problem with this.

    1. It’s not the specific instance, so much as the general concept. Because see, they can do this to anybody, anywhere, ‘legally’, based on the above justifications.
      (And if he was doing more than propaganda, let’s see the evidence. What’s that? Secret evidence in a secret memo in front of a secret judge? Yeah, okay.)

      1. How much evidence you need? Convicted in a Yemeni court, complicit in the kidnapping of a teenager for ransom, provided Al Q protection from his own tribe…the guy was an enemy combatant.

        1. Got evidence? Then that should make for a pretty easy trial in US courts, right? That’s due processes, and the lack of that is what people complaining about.

          1. Trying in absentia is not due process either. He has a right to confront his accusers.

            The “due process” people have a problem in that ultimately you can’t get the guy into U.S. jurisdiction without seizing him, and any trial in absentia is already flawed.

            The issue is harder than either side makes it seem. There are bad people at war with the U.S., and we do need to maintain the rule of law.

          2. @ChicagoD:disqus “A trial court may infer that a defendant’s absence from trial is voluntary and constitutes a waiver if a defendant had personal knowledge of the time of the proceeding, the right to be present, and had received a warning that the proceeding would take place in their absence if they failed to appear.”

            It’s not ideal, sure, but it’s worlds better than no trial at all.

            “The issue is harder than either side makes it seem.” Definitely. A trial in absentia would be difficult to arrange, would be a media circus, and would expose some things that the administration might prefer go unexposed. But that’s the law, and even when we think it’s ridiculous, we still have to obey it. Especially something as important as not getting assassinated by our government for undisclosed reasons. :

    2. SWAT operates during emergency situations, and what they do is reviewed openly afterwards, so it’s not a good comparison. When did a SWAT team ever take out a pamphleteer?

      1. The open review afterward is the vital part. I can understand that there are situations where someone needs to die in order to save the lives of others. But that doesn’t mean that assassination automatically becomes okay when due process is inconvenient. There has to be accountability. Have clear rules on when and how it can happen, and make sure you can show afterwards that it was the best thing you could do given the circumstances.

    3. Balls to what you say.  SWAT kills only when there is an immediate threat or a judge approved order for arrest.

      This jack mass Awlaki was cruising in a car down the road.  He wasn’t even under the influence.  No immediate threat.

      The US military knew where he was and they definitely could have swooped down in a helicopter and plucked him up.  No laws broken.

      Something’s rotten in Denmark and you are sopping it up like it is Saturday morning cereal.  Forshame.

        1. And shooting a rocket in another country killing people isn’t?

          Of course, getting cooperation from the Yemeni government would have been paramount.  I didn’t think I needed to write everything in a single comment.

          1. I understand that there a terrible issues no matter what the U.S. does, but your “easy peasy” take on this strikes me as perfectly reasonable as long as you are not really having to make the decisions.  I think the idea that this issue could have been resolved without breaking any laws is unrealistic. YMMV.

          2. I agree the decision is tricky, but I think everyone is forgetting the fact there is always another option:  Don’t do anything.

            If the government can’t do something that won’t violate the law then they should consider not doing it.

            It does sound easy peasy and is extremely realistic.

            (sorry, the reply button fell off the thread)

          3. If the government can’t do something that won’t violate the law then they should consider not doing it.

            How would Obama get any cred with the hatemonger demographic if he didn’t order vigilante revenge killings? Oh, wait…he didn’t get the credibility after all.

  8. Awlaki was just the ideal test case for establishing precedent for the government to assassinate citizens, IMO. No evidence I’ve seen has established that he had any importance to Al-Qaeda whatsoever, other than hearsay by our government. So now there’s legal precedent for assassinating US citizens out of the country without trial, the next step will be legally assassinating US citizens inside the country without trial. Watch what you post on your blog!

  9. Pres Obama lost my vote over this one.  I can’t support someone that is so fervently against US citizens.

    Who’s the jack ass that forgot to give Obama the oath of upholding the constitution?

    Sheesh… my gut still aches from this NDAA business.

  10. which, though despicable, is generally protected by the First Amendment;

    What’s the point of including this caveat if you don’t include it every time you mention the government as well?

  11. I’m voting for Rocky Anderson as a write in candidate. I was able to vote for Obama in 2008 because no matter how bad he is, the prospect of Sarah Palin being a heart attack away from the Presidency was unacceptable, but between Romney and Obama it’s a toss-up.

    1. The phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” has now been deprecated in favor of “voting for Rocky Anderson.”

      1. I see your point, but I wouldn’t be voting at all in 2012 if not for local elections, so since neither Romney nor Obama will be getting my vote and I’ll be at the polls anyway, I might as well vote for someone I like even if they have less than zero chance of winning

        1. Why not get everybody who’s unhappy with the major candidates to agree on a real, credible third-party candidate and give him a real chance of winning?

          You people need to break out of that toxic two-party system.

  12. Now that the DOJ has figured out it can commit crimes with impunity….something….something….profit!

  13. I’m surprised BoingBoing hasn’t written a post on National Popular Vote yet.  There are masses of people here that are unhappy with the candidates on both sides.  NPV, which can be implemented by individual State Legislatures before November 2012, can make a huge difference in how we elect and nominate presidential candidates.

    Don’t you wish there was another Democrat running against Obama?  Sounds neat, eh?  It kinda means parties no longer rig the game.

    If you like the sound of that, head over to  It will make that possibility real and it already has half of the electoral votes needed (California signed up not long ago).

    Disclaimer: I don’t work there and have no association.  I just am sold on the idea of having a representative government and disenfranchising the least amount of citizens.

    I can rant on this forever, so I had better stop here.


      Don’t you wish there was another Democrat running against Obama?  Sounds neat, eh?  It kinda means parties no longer rig the game.

      Not really. The only way forward is a viable third party free from the complete corruption of the Democrat and Republican parties. Another Democratic candidate is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The Occupy movement had a chance to turn into such a party, but they are floundering and directionless now, and I don’t know where a realistic party can spring from. Certainly the hatred for both parties is palpable in the country, but it needs to be focused under one banner that sticks to the issues affecting everyone.

      1. Take a serious look into NPV.  You’ll find it turns parties into a mere label… or an easy way to sum up a candidate’s position.

        When a candidate wins elections based upon votes and not winner-take-all districts, then any candidate on the ballot has a chance to win.  They don’t need approval from party overlords.  Endorsements are nice and all, but not required.

        A third party in our current winner take all system has no chance and only tips the balance to the party that least deserves to win (the one that didn’t splinter… ever wonder why there is no official Tea PARTY?).

        Think about it.  You will have the opportunity to vote for Ron Paul even when Romney get the nomination (this is a fact.  Romney has already been decided as the winner).  

        In addition, you would have had the opportunity to have voted for Hillary alongside Obama in the previous election, too.

        We must legitimize our elections, or else this isn’t a democracy.

        1.  The NPV may turn parties into a multiple choice quiz, but the answers are different ways of saying the same thing. The party bosses still pull the strings. It doesn’t matter which guy/gal you pick and it doesn’t matter what their platform positions are — they will always tow the party line on the issues that really matter when they get into office.

          So in my view, the only way to change this shell game is a new party that is free of corporate entanglements and free of the social issues which people have polarizing reactions to. You say the system makes that impossible, and I agree that the Electoral College needs to be abolished – it flies in the face of a representative democracy voted on by the people – but look at the ’92 election. If Ross Perot hadn’t caved in to the CIA threats, he would’ve done a lot better. Ross Perot got 19% of the national popular vote. Think about that. That’s half of what Bush got, and that was already after everyone thought Perot had a screw loose. He easily could’ve beat Bush. Beating Clinton was unlikely; he was a political Elvis. But it would’ve set up Perot’s party as a viable third entity. And going back farther, Theodore Roosevelt ran in 1912 under the Progressive Party and got 27% of the popular vote, and carried six states in the electoral college.

          So it’s certainly possible to do well as a third-party, with the right platform and the right candidate. It’s certainly a better choice than going back to the same poisoned well.

  14. The guy was in a war zone.  He has no expectation of protection under Habeas Corpus.  Also, he was in the company of identified and confirmed enemies who were the target of the strike.

    I see no problem at all with the actions taken.  Legally or morally.

    1. Since when are we at war with Yemen?

      Obama signed a death warrant for him BEFORE he was murdered.  He was the target of the attack.  Don’t delude yourself.

      1. Just because the US Congress doesn’t declare war doesn’t mean the President can’t authorize military action as the commander in chief of the military.

        Only 5 wars the US has fought have had a formal declaration of war by Congress (War of 1812, Mexican-American war, Spanish-American War, WW1 & WW2).

        There have been more that have been “authorized” by Congress without an actual formal declarations of war and plenty of wars that had no authorization at all.

        1. If you are going to be that pedantic then openfly should not have said war zone.

          Maybe some day you can look beyond the words people use and actually get the message.

          1. I should look beyond the words people use and get the message? What is the message?

            Two people argued that the place wasn’t a war zone because Congress didn’t declare war on Yemen. A place can be a war zone without Congress declaring war.

            I don’t understand how I was being pedantic. The entire argument was wrong.

            Now that doesn’t mean I agree with the President executing US citizens, but if you’re going to make an argument against it, at least make a valid one.

          2. Using your logic, let me ask you this:  Where are war zones?  Pedantics would say, “Where there is military conflict.”

            The US is not officially at war with Yemen, nor do we have active engagement inside of Yemen (at least before these drone attacks).  So, by pedantic logic, the war zone appeared when the US bombed someone.

            Applying that same annoying logic to openfly’s comment, we would find that the suspect was in a war zone because he was bombed by the US, therefore making the action justified.

            Maybe the important question should be: “Where is a place that isn’t a war zone?”

            Actually, forget everything I wrote.  I don’t need to explain what ‘war zone’ means.  That’s your job.

        2. Oh right, I forgot that we’re becoming a military dictatorship. Who needs Congress and a separation of powers.

          May the endless consolidation of Federal power into a single individual resume….

          1. Uh, who needs the separation of powers? What are you talking about? The executive has command of the military because of the separation of powers.

            Congress is the branch ones who can say “I declare war,” but that and controlling the purse strings is pretty much the extent of their power.

            The first “unauthorized” war started in 1798 so if we’re “becoming” a military dictatorship (run by an elected civilian?), then it’s going very very slowly.

          2. Ditto Aloisius.

            Something else, concerning  the power of the purse. 

            In 1798, Congress had to appropriate money to pay for the cutting down of trees from which ships were to be built.  In the 21st Century, Congress appropriates money, on a regular basis, for all kinds of state-of-the-art force-projection systems, which enable us to strike were we deem it necessary in days, hours or minutes.

            Ships, aircraft, missiles, carrier battle groups and amphibious task forces, constantly on station–all these things are paid for in advance, with the understanding that they are to be used.

            Even if the War Powers Act is constitutional, which is questionable, that act lets the President commence action without specific advance Congressional authorization. 

    2. Would you say the same if Russia started killing dissidents in the US with drones and said “Hey it’s ok guys ’cause President Putin said so”?

    3. I wasn’t aware that being in a “war zone” (that characterization is debatable) operated as a waiver of constitutional rights, particularly for non-military.

      Even someone accused of treason has the right to trial.

    4. According to these people America is a war zone. You understand that? They are claiming they have the legal and moral authority to kill anyone on earth without proving guilt by trial. Regardless of your beliefs about this specific assassination, no government has the right to deny a person of justice like our government claims it can.

  15. I really love the way so many of you are outraged about this. It’s been going on since WWII. Holy shit what a day.

    “Baby boomers are responsible” Yeah. Right. As if they had control of things. Try cracking a history books, kids. Ever hear of Kent State? How about the ’68 democratic convention?

    Many of you sound off about the state of the world as though you’re some entity’s gift to mankind and have all the answers. I’ve got news for you. In 40 years, your kids are going to be complaining about the utter mess the world is in and they’re going to blame you for the whole thing.

    1. You act like a single-party totalitarian regime completely disenfranchised you, and your only choices were to die protesting or live cowed. Don’t be obtuse. Change is hard, but it isn’t impossible.

      And just because ‘it’s been going on since WWII’ doesn’t make it okay. Hell, the fact that you’re NOT outraged is pretty sad.

      But no worries. Keep waving your hands and pretending you couldn’t have done anything, and mocking people who care about the state of their world. The rest of us will keep trying to make things better than they are, in spite of you.

      1. But no worries. Keep waving your hands and pretending you couldn’t have done anything, and mocking people who care about the state of their world. The rest of us will keep trying to make things better than they are, in spite of you.

        As far as I can tell from the contents of this thread, your strategy for making the world a better place is to whine about your parents’ generation in online web forums. I look forward to seeing the utopia that you create with that entirely new and innovative strategy.

        1. Hey hey, that’s a low blow.  Consider it honing one’s skills and gathering information and points of view, much like the ancient Greeks and their forums.

          Our forums just happen to be so cool we can talk to people across the globe in our underwear without having to look at people’s ugly mugs.

          Yet, there is a line between complaining and coming up with a solution.  The line after that is actually getting people together and doing something to make it a reality.

          Maybe it’s easier to see this as phase 0.

  16. currently run by a Nobel Peace Prize winner

    And a self professed “constitutional law professor.” The man surely knows these actions are unconstitutional.

    1. “Constitutional Law” has nothing to with reading the constitution simply and naively. It’s mostly about understanding how the constitution has been interpreted, and how to successfully argue on Constitutional grounds.

  17. |* currently run by a Nobel Peace Prize winner.|

    oh it’s much worse than that…

    he taught constitutional law and was a civil right attorney…

    he has been completely captured by the machine…

  18. “So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!”

    “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

    “I’d cut down every law in England to do that!”

    “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

    1. I wish there was more I could do than just click a silly ‘Like’ button.  This is amazing!  Thank you!

  19. Starting with the premise that this is wrong, which seems to be supported by most of you…what do we do?

    Voting the people who did this is insufficient–we don’t elect the DOJ.
    Voting for new people hasn’t helped, and I’m incredulous that anyone else is really any better than what we’ve got. (the trend is not a good one, though maybe I’m just young and it has been worse?)
    Most news outlets don’t discuss these sorts of egregious power grabs (see recent NDAA).
    When they do, most people don’t seem to care.
    Talking about it doesn’t help.
    Protesting has gotten ~nothing lately.
    Revolution is not supported by the masses.

    So we just wait for the end? Leave the country? Ignore it? Pray for aliens to give us something else to fight other than ourselves?

    1. I hold my nose…and vote.

      Not because I think it will ‘make a difference’ per se…but it does give me a fair chance to complain.  And I like complaining…

      Your questions are valid: I don’t really have a good answer.

      I do fear in this new climate of political gridlock and coarsening of values this place is going to have some real rough times ahead.  The result will please no one.

      So, yeah: aliens.

      1. As long as many people continue to vote, those in power will continue to claim legitimacy.

        I used to vote. I was told that voting means consent, and that because I had voted, I had no right to complain.

        I now refuse to vote. I get told that not voting means consent, and that because I don’t vote, I have no right to complain.

        As long as either action will be taken as consent, used to legitimize wars, and used to suppress criticism, it’s bull, it’s not really consent at all.

        1. In a democracy, you always have the right to complain, whether it’s the guy you voted for who screws up or the other guy.

          If you don’t vote, it could be argued that you’re part of the reason why there isn’t someone better at the helm, but in the toxic electoral system of the US, I can understand that some people just give up.

          But if you want change, you need to get up, organize, and get enough like-minded people to vote someone else into office.

          1. If you want change, voting someone else into office hasn’t been the most effective strategy.

            If it’s one guy at the top causing the trouble, voting him or her out might work. If it’s systemic trouble, it can’t work. Obama has continued the worst of Bush’s war crimes, so it hasn’t worked lately.

            In most cases, it’s better to work outside the ballot box: food not bombs, supporting foreclosed-on families, boycotting the most exploitative businesses, and sit-ins at them, raising awareness for invisible and invisiblized minorities, and so on.

  20. Nice Summary.  Very informative…and very depressing.

    Not really surprising…just -sigh.-

    Dammit Barack, what the fuck?!  I had high hopes for you.  I remember I thought you could Never win a popular election: “History shows that the old white guy always wins…”

    Shows what I know; and I was glad to be wrong.  But what I was really voting for was a Change Of The Previous Administration (and the policies thereof)!

    And now three years in…uhg.  I’m not saying you broke my heart, Fredo…and I totally understand it’s not all your fault.  But do you see why your potential constituency feels disillusioned and disenfranchised?  If not distrustful, dismayed and disgusted?

    It’s the SAME SHIT!!!  And we’re tired of it…Cut it out!  It’s not cool; it creates a horrible, frightening, totally Un-American precedent…

    So instead of big wars now we fight secret, personal ones against ‘enemies of the state’?

    Thanks, I feel so much safer…

    1. I see and hear people saying these kinds of disillusioned sentiments all the time. And it always makes me wonder what, other than the marketing of his candidacy and his posters, anybody saw that led them to believe that Barack Obama was ever going to be something other than the unambitiously centrist Democrat he always has been? It was obvious from his policy proposals in 2008 and has been confirmed time and again during his administration. Change was only ever his slogan, not his promise.

  21. You forgot the part where:

    *The victim’s father sued to have the assassination prevented (since it was the topic of much discussion) and the government successfully argued to have the suit dismissed on the grounds that he wasn’t dead yet so the father had no standing.

  22. Hey, does anyone remember back when courts determined facts and you couldn’t kill somebody over an accusation?  Glad we’re through that fad and right back to our American roots where we torture, elicit confessions and accusations, burn ’em, then move on to the next accused.  They knew how to roll in Salem.

  23. National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 will make this legal post-facto just as the Bush Administration made torture legal after the fact with the Military Comissions Act, and also how they made warrantless wiretaps legal after the fact with the Patriot act. Also the rampant lobbyist bribery that Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff were engaged in was made legal by the Supreme Court’s “Citizen United vs FEC” decision. Our Government is a commit crimes now, make them legal later institution.

  24. This isn’t a baby boomer caused problem this is part of the thousand year conspiracy… Instead of being “the stare at my thumbs to text my buddy generation” — you should read some real history and quit blaming people who are as victimized by blood ritualists —  as the generations whose skulls were piled high by Vlad the impaler or Genghis Khan or Nero. When I see this ignorance I know there is no hope.  It is an underground religion that transcends centuries — not a few decades– 

  25. “* who, though a total dick and probably a criminal, may have been engaged only in propaganda,”

    No.  He was definitely, in his own words, involved in the recruitment and indoctrination of combatants arraying against us in a war declared and authorized by congress per the constitution.  No lawyers need be consulted before such persons are expeditiously killed by military means, no more so than one need be consulted before a rifleman fires on an enemy soldier.

  26. And thanks to language put in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012at the President’s insistence, the Government will be able to indefinitely detain you without charge or trial as well as kill you. Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave.

  27. We may and must consider the requirements of the Law of War which govern our commanders’ targeting decisions and rules of engagement.

    We may and should study and discuss these requirements in appropriate professional and academic settings.

    What we should not do, ever, is tell the enemy, in advance, what laws we deem applicable to his situation, nor what he may expect from us. It is a long-standing military maxim that he who defends everywhere, defends nowhere. The opponent’s uncertainty is our force-multiplier. Rather let the enemy say of us that he never knew what the Americans would do, but that he knew it would be bad.  

    If we publicize anything as to our standards for our targeting decisions, let it be deception.  Let the enemy think we are coming at the Pas-de-Calais, and not Normandy.  May he think we are coming ashore at Basra, while we are sweeping into his flanks ashore.  Let him think that he is safe lurking behind this or that protected place or persons when he is not.

Comments are closed.