Analysis Foreign Policy Review

DOJ targeted killing white paper makes chilling mockery of sense, english

As is well known, American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone attack in Yemen on 30 September 2011. He was alleged by the government to have been a “senior talent recruiter” for al-Qaeda, primarily by creating “radicalising” YouTube videos. The administration never charged or indicted him of him with any crime, much less tried him before an impartial tribunal, so his killing should offend the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The Obama Administration doesn’t agree with that straightforward analysis, but was unwilling to reveal the legal basis for their assumption of the power to execute American citizens in secret with no charge, trial, or congressional or judicial oversight. Members of Congress begged the Administration for months following al-Awlaki’s killing for memos explaining the Administration’s position, and finally the Administration deigned earlier this month to yield a draft white paper dated fifteen months ago — not to Congress proper, mind you, but to two of its subcommittees.

That white paper has now been leaked publicly. While it is unclear whether it completely details the Administration’s thinking, the paper is sufficiently devastating that Democratic California Representative Barbara Lee said in an open letter to the Los Angeles Times that it “should shake the American people to the core.” But Obama’s a nice guy, right, so how bad can it really be?

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overhaul to and new entry in Obama’s Record

As I predicted last month, each entry I make to Obama’s Record is quite likely to be pretty long. It only took me two entries to see that that would be the case, so I took the opportunity to restructure the hierarchy of the site.

This new entry is about the covert drone war Obama inherited from Bush, which he has massively escalated. I think it is one of the most damning aspects of his reign, which is why I have prioritized it over several other articles I know I will write (for which I have made stubs in order to link to). As the drones are being flown, for now, outside the ‘homeland,’ this is a foreign policy issue, and you’ll find it under that page.

Needing this extra level of complexity and grouping is likely to be a good thing, since now I can write more concise summaries of each point on that collection page and link to the full page from it. This will make it easier at a glance to judge Obama’s record at various levels of granularity. Let me know what you think (and if you happen upon any broken links as a result of this structural overhaul).