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Thread: Eric Holder: Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal

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    Thumbs down Eric Holder: Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal

    Attorney General Eric Holder can imagine a scenario in which it would be constitutional to carry out a drone strike against an American on American soil, he wrote in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.


    “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder replied in a letter yesterday to Paul’s question about whether Obama “has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.”
    Here we go.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Here we go.
    Sorry, wrong forum. Please move to Social Lounge.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Nothing he said in your quotation of his words is not true. My fear is not that they will do it. I, too, can imagine "extraordinary circumstances" where military force could be used against a domestic threat. My fear is that they will do it more ordinary circumstances where military force shouldn't be used, such as in law-enforcement actions.

    Again, folks must distinguish in their minds the difference between law enforcement actions and military actions (to which the government may resort "without trial"). This was a silly trap set by Senator Paul, into which the Obama administration blindly and happily stepped, blissfully unaware how bad the answer had to sound, no matter how correct it was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Nothing he said in your quotation of his words is not true. My fear is not that they will do it. I, too, can imagine "extraordinary circumstances" where military force could be used against a domestic threat. My fear is that they will do it more ordinary circumstances where military force shouldn't be used, such as in law-enforcement actions.

    Again, folks must distinguish in their minds the difference between law enforcement actions and military actions (to which the government may resort "without trial"). This was a silly trap set by Senator Paul, into which the Obama administration blindly and happily stepped, blissfully unaware how bad the answer had to sound, no matter how correct it was.
    While I see your point, but I kinda think its really the highly objectionable scenario.

    This is the same bunch that has already killed an American citizen and an American minor in two separate attacks. This is the same bunch that knew nothing about Fast and Furious. This is the same bunch that said Obamacare is a tax is a penalty is a tax. This is the same bunch that...ad infinitum. Its not like they let the constitution get in their way on other stuff.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    While I see your point, but I kinda think its really the highly objectionable scenario.

    This is the same bunch that has already killed an American citizen and an American minor in two separate attacks. This is the same bunch that knew nothing about Fast and Furious. This is the same bunch that said Obamacare is a tax is a penalty is a tax. This is the same bunch that...ad infinitum. Its not like they let the constitution get in their way on other stuff.
    I have no doubt that large numbers would find such a military action horrific. However, it is possible for the overwhelming majority of folks to be behind such an action were they to perceive the target to be an enemy making war on the nation.

    Again, the problem is not whether military force can be used, but whether or not it is a constitutional action that has the overwhelming support the American People. I do not trust this administration to act constitutionally.

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    Regular Member Deanimator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Nothing he said in your quotation of his words is not true. My fear is not that they will do it. I, too, can imagine "extraordinary circumstances" where military force could be used against a domestic threat. My fear is that they will do it more ordinary circumstances where military force shouldn't be used, such as in law-enforcement actions.

    Again, folks must distinguish in their minds the difference between law enforcement actions and military actions (to which the government may resort "without trial"). This was a silly trap set by Senator Paul, into which the Obama administration blindly and happily stepped, blissfully unaware how bad the answer had to sound, no matter how correct it was.
    1. The ONLY, and I do mean ONLY plausible example I can imagine is:
    2. attack/invasion by military forces of a hostile foreign nation
    3. U.S. citizen acting as part of those forces as in the case of U.S. citizens who served in the German and Japanese forces in WWII
    4. drone strike carried out as part of military action carried out to repel that attack/invasion


    Of course Maj. Nidal Hassan was apparently acting on behalf of a foreign terrorist organization (Al Qaeda), but the regime chooses to treat that terrorist act as "workplace violence", as if he'd shot up the office because his co-workers made fun of the Hello Kitty wallpaper on his PC.
    --- Gun control: The theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deanimator View Post
    1. The ONLY, and I do mean ONLY plausible example I can imagine is:
    2. attack/invasion by military forces of a hostile foreign nation
    3. U.S. citizen acting as part of those forces as in the case of U.S. citizens who served in the German and Japanese forces in WWII
    4. drone strike carried out as part of military action carried out to repel that attack/invasion


    Of course Maj. Nidal Hassan was apparently acting on behalf of a foreign terrorist organization (Al Qaeda), but the regime chooses to treat that terrorist act as "workplace violence", as if he'd shot up the office because his co-workers made fun of the Hello Kitty wallpaper on his PC.
    I could probably come up with variations on that scenario. But the point is that such scenario(s) exist. That is all the reply to the senator says.

    Again, though, we have demonstrable examples of egregious violation of the Constitution by this administration. We should not trust them to make the determination of whether military force would be constitutional. I am sure that they will use military action on political enemies.

    Deanimator! DUCK!!

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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Wouldn't the use of military force against American citizens on U.S. soil run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act?

    And I find the thought of Hassan's terror attack being classified as "workplace violence" utterly reprehensible. I also refuse to give him the title of "Major". He forfeited the privilege of that honorific when he carried through his cowardly attack.

    As concerns Eric Holder: I am appalled that a United States Attorney General could be as clueless as he apparently is. Not to mention as completely ignorant of the Constitution and Bill of Rights as both he and his boss are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    Wouldn't the use of military force against American citizens on U.S. soil run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act?...
    Not necessarily. Only if the armed forces are used for law enforcement, and even that proscription has exceptions (bolded).

    Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

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    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...ne-strikes-in/

    There's a link to an actual article on this subject. As for the topic at hand, I can see certain situations where military action would be plausible. But my issue is that I don't trust the current government to poperly exercise such power and that there would be a gross abuse of power should strikes start happening inside the boarder. I also agree that Holder's response was inadaquate for the question as he seems to try to just side-step and not answer the question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    Wouldn't the use of military force against American citizens on U.S. soil run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act?

    And I find the thought of Hassan's terror attack being classified as "workplace violence" utterly reprehensible. I also refuse to give him the title of "Major". He forfeited the privilege of that honorific when he carried through his cowardly attack.

    As concerns Eric Holder: I am appalled that a United States Attorney General could be as clueless as he apparently is. Not to mention as completely ignorant of the Constitution and Bill of Rights as both he and his boss are.
    To the violation of Posse Commitatus, yes.

    Neither Holder nor his boss are clueless. They know exactly what they're doing. Your charitable diplomacy is to your credit, though.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Eric Holder: Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal

    I quoted Posse Comitatus above. It IS legal to use the military to enforce the law. There are exceptions built into the act.


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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    I quoted Posse Comitatus above. It IS legal to use the military to enforce the law. There are exceptions built into the act.


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    Well, yes. But, those cases are not in question.*

    *I'm thinking disaster relief, rebellion, Nat'l Guard preventing looting after a hurricane, etc.


    None of those exceptions, except maybe anti-looters, applies to the current concerns. Is this just a case where you fell for the deliberately vague answer from Holder? He knew what was being asked. He gave the vague answer--probably to avoid stirring up criticism. Too bad for him if others can fit objectionable situations into his vagueness.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Well, yes. But, those cases are not in question.*

    *I'm thinking disaster relief, rebellion, Nat'l Guard preventing looting after a hurricane, etc.


    None of those exceptions, except maybe anti-looters, applies to the current concerns. Is this just a case where you fell for the deliberately vague answer from Holder? He knew what was being asked. He gave the vague answer--probably to avoid stirring up criticism. Too bad for him if others can fit objectionable situations into his vagueness.
    Considering that we are addressing Holder's answer to Rand's question, my point that Posse Comitatus does not prevent all LE activity by the military is spot on in helping to establish that, while it scares the [stuff] outta me, Holder is speaking the truth.

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    I think there should a distinction be made between the "regular army" and the "national guard." I suspect that to the casual observer there is no distinction, but a distinction there is. As has been note previously there is no constitutional mandate to maintain a regular army. I disagree given the realities of today's world, but the premise retains merit.

    I postulate that the state(s) to which such a hypothetical "strike" would be subjected to would be informed before hand. I will not hold my breath though.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Considering that we are addressing Holder's answer to Rand's question, my point that Posse Comitatus does not prevent all LE activity by the military is spot on in helping to establish that, while it scares the [stuff] outta me, Holder is speaking the truth.
    Reporter: "Attorney General, what did you know about Fast and Furious; and when did you know it?"

    USAG: "The sun is shining."

    He told the truth, he told the truth! Even if its pouring rain outside that press conference, the sun must be shining somewhere on planet earth, so he told the truth!


    C'mon, Eye. You're better than that. I know you are. I've seen you do it.
    Last edited by Citizen; 03-06-2013 at 11:40 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    If, God forbid, the government moves to use military force against American citizens, then we will, I believe, see a guerrilla war, fought on American soil, that will make the late unpleasantness in Vietnam look like a Sunday School picnic. What I do think will happen is that the government will use agencies like BATFE, the Marshal's Service, or some of the alphabet agencies to strike at individuals and small groups over a period of time until the majority of citizens are living in a constant state of fear.

    Once that has been achieved, an "incident" will be engineered to give an excuse for the seizure of all weapons from private individuals. Think the Reichstag fire of 1933. When the confiscation starts, anyone who resists will be labelled as a terrorist, or worse. That will turn that fearful majority against those who would stand up for their rights.

    I wish someone could make me believe that my predictions are totally baseless, but I've studied far too much history not to think the way I am thinking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    If, God forbid, the government moves to use military force against American citizens, then we will, I believe, see a guerrilla war, fought on American soil, that will make the late unpleasantness in Vietnam look like a Sunday School picnic. What I do think will happen is that the government will use agencies like BATFE, the Marshal's Service, or some of the alphabet agencies to strike at individuals and small groups over a period of time until the majority of citizens are living in a constant state of fear.

    Once that has been achieved, an "incident" will be engineered to give an excuse for the seizure of all weapons from private individuals. Think the Reichstag fire of 1933. When the confiscation starts, anyone who resists will be labelled as a terrorist, or worse. That will turn that fearful majority against those who would stand up for their rights.

    I wish someone could make me believe that my predictions are totally baseless, but I've studied far too much history not to think the way I am thinking.
    Well, yes.

    But, I think Rand was referring to government "droning" select citizens. I would be expecting next the murder of someone who could plausibly (based on slim evidence) be labelled a terrorist. Its the natural next step for usurpation. Kill a couple citizens overseas who were labelled terrorists by the government, then drone a few on US soil.

    Then ratchet up the rhetoric and expand your list of killable people.

    If history is any guide, the event that will really mark the turn is when the politicians start going after each other in the courts. When a politician here and there is tried by by charges brought by political enemies. Ancient Rome supplies the examples. The elites and politicians were plenty willing to oppress the common man with selfish legislation and policy--the decay of the Republic was already well under way by this point. But, things didn't really get hairy until some politicians were looking out for their own ambitions to the point they disregarded what little was left of the Roman constitution and started arranging charges and trial of political enemies. This was the final period of disregard for the constitution that ultimately led to the tyranny of the emporers. Of course, now that government has a well-trained, covert intelligence arm, we might also see a few unexplained disappearances or deaths of polticians.
    Last edited by Citizen; 03-07-2013 at 09:42 AM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Eric Holder: Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal

    I don't get all this "citizen" crap. Whether or not someone gets droned is neither justified nor outlawed by their citizenship. Constitutional rights are protected for "People," not just for "citizens."

    Citizens have some privileges that non-citizens do not (for example, voting), but rights to life, Liberty, due process, privacy, etc. belong to all People.

    That being said, it also works both ways. If a non-citizen can be targeted by a drone lawfully, then so can a citizen if all other circumstances are the same.

    If a citizen becomes an enemy combatant, then the military is justified in making them a military target. Law enforcement may have an interest in the person also, but if the military gets there first...

    I don't trust anyone in the Obama administration to make these decisions correctly. But the American People (stupidly, IMO) vested them with these powers. God help us.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Well, yes. But, those cases are not in question.*

    *I'm thinking disaster relief, rebellion, Nat'l Guard preventing looting after a hurricane, etc.


    None of those exceptions, except maybe anti-looters, applies to the current concerns. Is this just a case where you fell for the deliberately vague answer from Holder? He knew what was being asked. He gave the vague answer--probably to avoid stirring up criticism. Too bad for him if others can fit objectionable situations into his vagueness.
    Who was looting after that Katrina Hurricane?
    Last edited by Freedom1Man; 03-07-2013 at 02:47 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    I don't get all this "citizen" crap. Whether or not someone gets droned is neither justified nor outlawed by their citizenship. Constitutional rights are protected for "People," not just for "citizens."

    Citizens have some privileges that non-citizens do not (for example, voting), but rights to life, Liberty, due process, privacy, etc. belong to all People.

    That being said, it also works both ways. If a non-citizen can be targeted by a drone lawfully, then so can a citizen if all other circumstances are the same.

    If a citizen becomes an enemy combatant, then the military is justified in making them a military target. Law enforcement may have an interest in the person also, but if the military gets there first...

    I don't trust anyone in the Obama administration to make these decisions correctly. But the American People (stupidly, IMO) vested them with these powers. God help us.


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    This. And this is also why I don't feel too horribly about Anwar-whatever getting droned. Just because he "was" an American citizen doesn't change the fact that he left the country, hid from attempts to apprehend him to stand trial for his alleged crimes (the LE side of the issue), and also aided the enemy (the military side of the issue). To me the bigger issue is that the whole "terrorist" concept and fighters not being a part of really anything that can be easily defined/targeted (like a foreign government) and how this relates to the Constitution and trying to target said individuals. I don't really have a good answer for how to fix this issue, but I can recognize this as a problem that needs to be solved. Pity that I don't trust the current government to come up with a reasonable answer that doesn't walk all over rights and due process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    This. And this is also why I don't feel too horribly about Anwar-whatever getting droned. Just because he "was" an American citizen doesn't change the fact that he left the country, hid from attempts to apprehend him to stand trial for his alleged crimes (the LE side of the issue), and also aided the enemy (the military side of the issue). To me the bigger issue is that the whole "terrorist" concept and fighters not being a part of really anything that can be easily defined/targeted (like a foreign government) and how this relates to the Constitution and trying to target said individuals. I don't really have a good answer for how to fix this issue, but I can recognize this as a problem that needs to be solved. Pity that I don't trust the current government to come up with a reasonable answer that doesn't walk all over rights and due process.
    The government is counting on that. Its not our job to come up with a good answer--its theirs.

    And, I don't believe for one minute Awlaki was all that out of reach. Remember the guy who shot up the cars in the left-turn lane waiting to go to work at Langley back in the 90's? He fled to Pakistan. The FBI just went over there right across an ocean and several international borders and grabbed him, and brought him back. He's in a federal prison right this very instant.

    I would like to point out that you're depending for info on Awlaki being a terrorist and so forth on the very government that killed extra-judicially both he and, in a separate attack, his 16 year old son. That's the whole reason for jury trials and the prohibition on bills of attainder (legislative declarations of outlawry that make it legal for anybody, not just government, to kill the subject of the bill).

    Aiding the enemy is treason--it gets a trial, not a pre-judicial execution.

    Make the government play by the rules, even for people you really don't like--the rules are there for our safety.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Eric Holder: Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal

    No. It is our job. We are in charge. It is up to us to make sure the the government does OUR collective bidding in a way that does not trample on the rights of others.

    Oh, and while the act is treason, it is also an act of war, actionable by both LE and the military. It is a false choice to imply that only one has constitutional authority.

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    Last edited by eye95; 03-07-2013 at 07:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    No. It is our job. We are in charge. It is up to us to make sure the the government does OUR collective bidding in a way that does not trample on the rights of others.

    Oh, and while the act is treason, it is also an act of war, actionable by both LE and the military. It is a false choice to imply that only one has constitutional authority.

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    Eye, give it up. You're just arguing in circles for the sake of arguing. Of course its our job to make sure the government stays in bounds. I'm referring to government having access to experts who can figure out the tactical problems of bring such a fellow to justice, as opposed to soccer moms and brick masons who carry guns. I know you knew that was what I was talking about. Nobody is that dumb.

    Regarding treason and war, if treason is an act of war, why did the Framers bother to criminalize it? Are you suggesting the Rosenbergs should have been droned instead of tried? Of course, not. So, what are you talking about? Which of Awliki's actions were actual, genuine, real acts of war, as opposed to mere treason?
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Eye, give it up. You're just arguing in circles for the sake of arguing.
    That was rude. I have lately come to expect better from you.

    ...Regarding treason and war, if treason is an act of war, why did the Framers bother to criminalize it?
    Because it is possible for something to be both a crime and an act of war.

    Are you suggesting the Rosenbergs should have been droned instead of tried?
    I mentioned no specific cases. LE will seek out lawbreakers. The military will seek out military targets. It is possible to be both. It is possible to be both even while one of the two entities shows no interest.

    ...Which of Awliki's actions were actual, genuine, real acts of war, as opposed to mere treason?
    Again, I mention no particular instance. The point all along has been that it is POSSIBLE for the government to target enemy combatants on American soil, even though they may be citizens.

    However, aiding the enemy is BOTH a crime and a participation in the war as part of the enemy, making that person BOTH a criminal and an enemy combatant.

    Anyway, I will move on unless you choose to stop being rude.

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