Skip to main content

John Yoo's red herring

The former Bush Administration torture advocate thinks Obama is a wuss for actually trying to justify the assassination of an American citizen:
It may be that the Obama administration thinks that U.S. citizens who join the enemy are entitled to special rules — like those that apply to the police, instead of those that apply to the military. But this would be wrong too. As I explained in the Wall Street Journal last week, ever since the Civil War, our national leaders and the Supreme Court have agreed that a citizen who joins the enemy must suffer the consequences of his belligerency, with the same status as that of an alien enemy. Think of the incentives that the strange Obama hybrid rule creates. Our al-Qaeda enemy will want to recruit American agents, who will benefit from criminal-justice rules that give them advantages in carrying out operations against us (like the right to remain silent, to Miranda and lawyers, to a speedy jury trial, etc.). Our troops and agents in the field may well hesitate in the field, as they will not be able to tell in the heat of the moment whether an enemy is American or not.
I call BS. Nobody—nobody—disputes the right of American troops to engage enemy combatants in battle on an actual battlefield. If that's what Yoo means by the heat of the moment—and it seems so—then there's no dispute. If Anwar al-Awlaki had been charging against American troops in Afghanistan, AK-47 in hand, there would be no debate to be had. The chance that an American soldier will hesitate in that moment, wondering if the enemy is an American citizen, is virtually nil. And Yoo—once again—is disingenuous for suggesting so.

The debate comes in murkier areas. If reports are to be believed, al-Awlaki was tracked by American drones for weeks while officials waited to get a clear shot at him that wouldn't result in massive collateral damage. That's admirable if true, but it's also something less than a "heat of the moment" situation: American officials were able to make a considered decision to assassinate the man. And because of that, it's more than fair to question the process by which al-Awlaki was targeted.

But this is the world Yoo inhabits. There are precious few ticking time bombs, yet they always justify extreme action where considered processes might serve Americans better.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yoga

I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Interesting:
Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…