- Politics and Social Issues»
- Politics & Political Science
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.