Original Proposal - The US Gov's "Kill List" To Assassinate US Citizens in Yemen - Dec 15th

We will focus on two lawsuits filed last August challenging the U.S. Government's right to assassinate U.S. citizens far from any battlefield, so long as the U.S. Executive Branch deems them to be terrorists who are a threat to the U.S.

The suits were brought by the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights in the name of Dr. Nasser Al-Aulaqi on behalf of his son, Anwar Al-Aulaqi. The father has spent his entire career as a Yemeni Government Minister or as President of two different Yemeni Universities. His son is a U.S. citizen because he was born in the U.S. in 1966 when the father was here during his student days on a Fulbright scholarship. The U.S. government believes the son is a member of Al Qaeda in Yemen. The father disputes that.

The key legal issues from reading quite a few of the materials (including court papers) are whether the entire world is a battleground against terrorism or, alternatively, whether the target is an imminent threat to the U.S. -- in either of which cases our Commander In Chief has the right to impose capital punishment by drone upon U.S. citizens without a trial.

An interesting question in the event that the courts hold that the entire world is a battleground against terrorism = what is the difference between sending drones over Yemen and sending drones over, say, Britain, France or Germany???

And would we want other countries to begin flying their drones over the U.S. in order to implement assassinations here, including assassinations of U.S. citizens deemed by the other countries to be a threat to them??? After all, our drones have assassinated in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan at least 3 German citizens and more than a dozen citizens of other Western European allies.

Are these questions really governed by "might makes right" tempered only by discretion in the case of friends and allies??? In other words, since Russia for example is not normally considered a friend or ally, would we consider flying drones into their air space in order to conduct assassinations within their borders since our drones, if provided stealth technology, might be difficult to bring down (and how much does a drone cost anyway???)???

The practical problems, as we have discussed in the past, are (1) Osama bin Laden issued long ago a Fatwa to nuke 10 million Americans (the number of Arabs he calculated had been killed by the U.S. or its allies), (2) the Founding Dean of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government wrote a book on how to deal with Osama's Fatwa by controlling nuclear material, (3) it has often been pointed out that this approach is wishful thinking because, for example, the old Soviet Union's missing 178 suitcase-size nuclear weapons contained a considerable amount of recycle-able nuclear material and have long since been universally agreed by experts to be in the hands of terrorists, and (4) this issue has been the subject of intense concern for every recent Chair of the Sen Fgn Rel or Sen Armed Services Committees with, indeed, Sen Fgn Rel Chair Joe Biden writing an Op Ed piece for the Wall St. Journal during the 2008 Presidential campaign arguing that all nuclear material has "DNA" indicating where it was produced and the U.S. should announce to the world that if it is ever subject to a nuclear attack from terrorists, the U.S. will annihilate with nuclear weapons the country of origin of the nuclear material used against the U.S. (causing some wags to point out that if the U.S. itself is the country of origin, the Biden Doctrine would obligate us to commit nuclear suicide!!!).

A companion problem, as we have also discussed in the past, is that if there is a nuclear attack by terrorists on the United States and President Obama is not seen to have done everything in his power to protect America, that will probably be the end of the Democratic Party.
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