The Legality of Using Drones To Kill American Citizens Who Are Part Of Al Qaeda...

The Legality of Using Drones To Kill American Citizens Who Are Part of al Qaeda...

No country places more import on the rule of law than America – those of us who are privy to the history of this great country know the protracted debates that went into the codification of our Constitutional Principles we now enjoy… one only has to read the debates among Jay, Madison, and Hamilton, memorialized in the Federalist Papers,to substantiate my point. But nothing is easy in this life and the cherished ideals of our Constitution, which are sacrosanct in mandating formal trials before a judgment, especially the ultimate judgment of death, are running into the harsh reality of terrorism. The times we are living in and the challenges we face, ala the threat from jihadists, have, to some extent, made the application of some of our Constitutional Principles unrealistic; this new reality is the gist of the debate concerning the usage of drones to kill American citizens, who are members of al Qaeda, without a formal trial and subsequent sentence.

Specifically, the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendment contain the Constitutional principles implicated in the debate concerning the killing of American citizens who have allegiance to al Qaeda. The ACLU believes that these American citizens, not-with-standing their allegiance to al Qaeda, deserve the protection that is mandated under the listed Amendments above; the Justice Department, on the other hand, believes that these American Citizens are akin to combatants and their killings are no different than those that occur in the respective war theatres of Iraq and Afghanistan. For me, there are merits to both positions, but some common sense and the weighing of the real life issues must be utmost in our thinking because if not, we run the risk of making our Constitution, layered with its poetic judicial prose, into a mandating suicidal document.

The ideals debated vis-à-vis the topic in issue, at least from the ACLU’s point of view, stems from the ACLU looking at our Constitution as a Living document… meaning that it was written in broad sweeping, judicial language to consider the new challenges, not apparent during its inception, in our society. Others, like Justice Scalia, put it succinctly, the Conservative jurist wants a Constitution that is “Dead’… meaning that the laws that make up our Constitution need no such ‘evolving,’ elastic standards to keep up with the changes in society. My take on that part of the ‘idealism’ issue compels me to be circumspect… of not speaking in absolutes in the interpretation of our Constitution Principles because we can all objectively cherry-pick merits borne out of either the ACLU or Scalia’s take on said Constitutional Principles. The point about idealism is that it sounds good to quote, but if I had to choose between saving lives or waxing poetic about ideals… my choice is easy - that is why I have no qualms about using water boarding.

I am not going to delve into the competing ideals - I am looking at the lives save in killing those American citizens who pledged allegiance to a group… whose motto was to kill Americans. Were I to surf the Internet, those two American citizens, who were killed in Yemen, had spoken clearly on the Jihadists’ web-sites on how to kill Americans; moreover, we can prove that many of the recent home grown terrorist acts - Fort Hood (over a dozen died) and Times Square - were motivated by one of the citizens who met his demise in the Yemeni desert. The question that begs itself, addressed to the ACLU, are we to wait until the plans of mass destruction are carried out before we act… I say nyet because this is where pre-emption (Drone strike (s)) is prudent.

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Comments 19 comments

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 5 years ago from Port St. Lucie

"inciples unrealistic; this new reality is the gist of the debate concerning the usage of drones to kill American citizens, who are members of al Qaeda, without a formal trial and subsequent sentence."

First of all, there is a distraction here caused again by the stealthy Obama Admin., that was based on the assassination of Anwar Alwaki, who was an " anchor baby" due to being born on Am soil after the passage of the 1965 Naturalization & Immigration Act. However, his parents returned to Yemen when he was seven, and, since Yemen does notrecognize dual cutizenship, he lost hi American citizenship. For further proof of this, examine the fact that Anwar came back to get his B.S. I'n Colorado on a Yemen scholarship, and on a foreign student visa. Obviously, our immigration officials would have given him an American passport, if he were American. They did not.

So, the whole premise of your article is built on a misconception, propagated by the Ibama Ain.


vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 5 years ago from Port St. Lucie

Obama Admin. Sorry, Using my IPod.


rabecker profile image

rabecker 5 years ago

In this case, I think the right thing was done. IMO, if you inspire others to do criminal activity on your behalf, your just as guilty of those crimes as they are.


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 5 years ago from New York Author

Why are we debating - let us just say that you are right,about citizenship and the like... i do not care who is securing this country. I have to be objective because let us be honest, President Obama has done a heck of a job killing jihadists via the drones and yes it is an extension of the Bush policy - but Bin Laden died under Obama's watch and the President deserves recognition. I am a Christian first above all and even though I may hate Obama's politics I will not refuse to give him honor where honor is due.


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 5 years ago from New York Author

To Rabecker:

I have nothing to add because I agreed with the outcome like you.


noorin profile image

noorin 3 years ago from Canada

@vrajavala, Yemen does recognize dual citizenship after US naturalization.

@Verily Prime, there are much more issues that go into drones than just the American citizens involved in the process. What about the innocent civilians including women and children who have nothing to do with AQAP and end up being killed via drones.

In addressing the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Dennis Kucinich stated that US drone strikes have killed around 2,000 people in Yemen, only about 2% of whom were Alqaedah operatives while the remaining 98% were innocent civilians! That means, for the US to target kill 40 militants without any trial, it's ok to sacrifice 1,960 innocent civilians.


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 3 years ago from New York Author

You will not get me to say target children in drone strikes - but if you as a father or husband will put your family in harm's way, the onus and blood are on you. Let us supposed that terrorists knew that they can seek shelter among their families after doing God-awful acts.... think of the incentive to keep doing what they do and seek refuge among their families. As for Dennis Kucinich... he must know that our defense posture should not be one of suicide - Kucinich also reminds me of animal lovers who have access to weapons, but would call the ASPCA when say a lion is in the process of having their children for a meal... and incidentally what makes Kucinich numbers about innocent childen killed via drones sacrosanct?


noorin profile image

noorin 3 years ago from Canada

@Verily Prime thank you for getting back to me.

The thousands of innocent people that have been killed tells you that these innocent people were not necessarily close to the alleged terrorists (not by blood, nor by distance). The main argument used with drones is that they are allegedly precise. If that is the case, USA should be able to target the terrorist with few causalities caused. I can see terrorist shielding by a family not a village ! Besides, who gives the right to anyone to arbitrarily decide who gets and who doesn't get to live?

The fact that only 2% of whom were killed were actually Alqaedah operatives tells you that the whole thing is unjust. Its pure math, do you risk the lives of 98% for the sake of 2% who may or may not have been involved in terrorist attacks ?

Even from a financial perspective, USA is loosing a lot by killing random people and missing their targets. If those people had no affiliations towards the terrorists, they might form networks with the AQAP once they realize that a technological genocide is being targeted towards them.

Aside from ethics, drones are not or at least were not legal internationally until USA decided to make them so for just months before 9/11, the government of USA explicitly spoke out against targeted assassinations and labeled them as extrajudicial killings.

Finally, if Kucinich's numbers are not so reliable to you then I can tell you that I have done in-depth research on the topic to conclude that his numbers are unfortunately close to reality.

Moreover, I am from Yemen and I have witnessed enough to conclude that our government in cooperation with the American drones has managed to murder too many innocent human beings.

Thanks,

Noorin


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 3 years ago from New York Author

Sir - I will not let terrorists get away with murder - you tell me what America should do when peple are planning mass murder against its citizens. You are from Yemen and know what drones have done to innocents - I live in New York and I too know personally what terrorists have done and if you are a terrorist and take refuge among innocent children... you must be neutralize even if you are among said children... as I have said the children's blood is on your back for being a coward to hide among them because If I do not deal with them in that manner... terroristts will always used these children as a shield. Bear in mind, this is the Same USA that is generous to a fault to those who are its enemies, yet we are hated. I hope to Christ Jesus that America never accepts the posture of Denis Kucinich, you, or the UN because it will hasten our demise even quicker.


noorin profile image

noorin 3 years ago from Canada

I would appreciate if you could answer my questions, there were multiple question marks above that went unaddressed.

And unlike you I would never want to see any harm being done to New Yorkers or any humans regardless of their race and regardless of the circumstances. What happened in the Twin towers was devastating, and inhumane to say the least. However, killing other innocent civilians isn't the solution. Murder is murder. Period ! Human soul is a human soul. Period !

And im glad you mentioned that UN too is against such drones which tells you that a) its not humanitarian and b) its not legal.

You keep saying that such terrorists use children as shields but you never answer my questions, how can a terrorist use around thousands of people as a shield? This sounds more like ethnic cleansing than it is a defense.

Thanks,


Verily Prime 3 years ago

you are saying the US into ethnic cleansing? I will pose a question to you that if our intelligence is aware that someone is about to grave harm along with the attendant collateral harm... I have no problem with targetted assassination. I am a Traditional Christian so I do not mince words... I will say again for the last time anyone who is a terrorist - he or she should stay away from his family because they put their families in grave danger by their choices. And know this I put no credence into the UN - most of them are corrupt and biased and I wished we did not fund most of those countries which are are bunch of thieves. Now - I do not accept your premise that we used a bunch people as shields... implying that we enjoy killing people ... because if we did enjoy killing people (ethnic cleansing), believe me we have more effective ways of doing so. I say with emphasis I support our drone programs!


noorin profile image

noorin 3 years ago from Canada

My bad, it is not ethnic cleansing because Americans as well get assassinated in the process, perhaps a 'massacre' is what it really is, a massacre that people have gotten used to.

I never said or even implied that Americans enjoy killing, so please don't put words in my mouth, our government is to be blame for this just as much as the American government is to be blame. I said drones is an inefficient and inhumane way to solve the issue of terrorism not a fun one. As why the American government and our government has sought this path is beyond my understanding. Besides, American soldiers themselves go through a whole lot of PTSD post conflicts especially when they get to see the impact of their actions, that tells you they don't enjoy it.

A genuine question though, you say you are a traditional Christian and I know that religions usually or at least the ones I know condemn killing innocent people even in wars. Whether people stick to their religions is a completely different thing. So religiously speaking is collateral damage tolerated in Christianity?

The reason I ask is because I know that in Islam, killing women, young children, or the elderly even in wars is extremely prohibited as well as uprooting or burning palm trees. Harming people secluded in monasteries, is also prohibited.

And a good friend of mine once told me that the same rules apply in Christianity, is that not true?

I would appreciate it this time if you answer my question directly.

Thanks,


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 3 years ago from New York Author

Sir - how man times Must I tell you that I support our Drone program... you want me to accept your premise that we target innocent children - I will do no such thing. I wonder what religion has been responsible for Bali, the Kobar Towers, 911, and the reason why we have an ongoing internecine fight being waged by way drone strikes? The next time there is some tragedy in the Middle East I guarrantee you that the succor will be coming from these murderous shores... look at our budget come fiscal year, and you will noticed that the USA is more generous to her enemies than her friends. Years ago, a mother tried to use her baby as a decoy and use the baby's formula to blow up an airline... let us supposed that if a soldier had to take out the mother to save many - guess what he would have done, even it meant that innocent baby had to die too - that is the nature of the fight we are waging against this type of enemy. You have the luxury to live inside your ideology, but many of us live in the real world. Hear me when I say with clarity... if your acts have the ability to cause mass murder and you cravenly run in the vicinity of your family... your family will take the fall with you. Let us stop this going back and forth because you will not change my mind from my position stated in the initial blog. And how little you must know about us soldiers - the vast majority of us do not enjoy killing anyone, much less children because as an ex-soldier, I have been out of the Army for sometime now - I wonder what then is satisfying my bloodlust? All across the USA, parents were duly convicted for crimes they had committed and said parents left behind innocent childen, some of which will become wards of the respective states - should have the authorities ignore the parents' breaches of the law and have left said parents be because they had children... many of whom are now destitute of parents? If you do not get the analogy to our ongoing debate - then, I cannot do nothing for you....


noorin profile image

noorin 3 years ago from Canada

Clearly you haven't read a word I said, I specifically and explicitly said that US soldiers DON'T enjoy killing and yet you spanned it all over again by putting words in my mouth. You keep saying "you" "you kill "you hide behind you families back" ...etc putting us as Middle Eastern or Muslims in one lump that behaves / acts the same way, something that I didn't do with Americans.

You didn't answer any of my questions and accused me of too many things that I didn't say. For those reasons, I have had enough with this discussion ! Hope to see this comment posted on this blog !


Sam 3 years ago

To claim being a practicing Christian who adheres to traditional Christians beliefs while endorsing the killings of innocent children and women is a total hypocrisy!

I invite you to take a moment and listen to what a real practicing Christian like Cornel West has to say about how drone strikes are inhumane massacres committed by the Obama administration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embed...

Who gives any of us the right to decide the fate of any person or take their lives even if terrorists use them as shelters? Would you think the same way if these terrorists chose to hide in your backyard? I doubt!

Before you start supporting drone strikes, I invite you to listen to people who have witnessed their effect on the ground like Jeremy Scahill:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9Trh8iwNt8

Read also Gregory Johnson's take on how drone strikes are ineffective and how they tend to increase the number of Alqaedah militants as a result!

http://www.lawfareblog.com/2012/11/gregory-johnsen...

When an innocent child is killed in a drone strike, the father will go into war with the US, guaranteed! It has NOTHING to do with Alqaedah!

I'm giving you statements from American people so that you don't think they're being biased.

The truth of the matter is, drone strikes are inhumane and amount to a mass murder! they are a big failure that will backbite the US administration very soon!

Unless you have been to Pakistan, Somalia, or Yemen and witnessed the tragic effects of drone strikes, don't try to tell me that they are effective or try to justify the killings of innocent children and women under any way, shape or form!


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 3 years ago from New York Author

Sir - do I really need to go to Yemen or the countries you have listed to know what these target (terrorists) of Drone strikes are capable of doing? I wonder what it is that we have done initially - meaning which came first - they (terrorists deciding to deliberately target innocents, including children or us doing our best to spare innocents lives in our Drone attacks.


Sam 3 years ago

Unless you go on the ground and have a close look at the damage the Obama administration has caused, you know NOTHING! You can't feel the tragedy and pain of innocent people while sitting on your comfy couch! And if we go by your logic of who started which, I would strongly recommend you look back at the last four decades and see how your country has been moving from one war into another! Violence breeds violence sir!


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 3 years ago from New York Author

Let me ask you a question if someone came and try to hurt you and your family and you respond - is that violence breeding violence? Incidentally, if I sit on my comfy couch, believe me... I have earned it. I am almost certain that you sir have eaten from the largess of the country who has done much evil for the last four decades or so... and I also supposed that life in the Muslim world has been a veritable cornucopia, especially for the female species for the last four decades too.


Sam 3 years ago

You respond by invading several other countries and killing hundreds of thousands of people?? And giving that your country is the one that starts wars, maybe Alqaedah can use your argument and consider what they do as a response to your country's brutal wars!

It's a two way street sir! And if you believe in what you say, then you can't blame Alqaedah when they do the exact same thing!

And trust me, the Muslim world was living in peace and harmony until your country set foot in it! Leave people lone if you don't want them to respond because you can't blame them when they try to! As simple as that!

I'm done here because from your argument, I can tell that you haven't been able to justify your illogical support to US war crimes but instead, you keep opening up racist arguments that have nothing to do with the topic of this discussion!

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