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Thread: Executive Branch's Kill List Can Include American Citizens

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    Regular Member DanM's Avatar
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    Executive Branch's Kill List Can Include American Citizens

    "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

    There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate. . . ."

    http://news.yahoo.com/secret-panel-p...041603267.html

    This is quite chilling, and I have called my Congressmen to ask them to get to the bottom of it!
    "The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi . . ."--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    “He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.”--M. K. Gandhi

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." --M. K. Gandhi

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    If we can kill people from other countries overseas without a trial or anything else why should an "American" who is engaging in the exact same acts be treated differently? And I say it in quotes because someone who engages in those types of actions should have their citizenship revoked.

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    Regular Member DanM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    If we can kill people from other countries overseas without a trial or anything else why should an "American" who is engaging in the exact same acts be treated differently?
    There is no reported restrictions on limiting this to "overseas" nor on what "acts" would qualify an American Citizen for being placed on this list. And, the Executive branch is apparently judge, jury, and potential executioner with respect to any American Citizen on this list. And, there is absolutely no transparency to what is going on, beyond the Executive branch, with regard to this whole thing.

    Did any of that, in the slightest, occur to you as you read the article? Does any of that, in the slightest, concern you?

    Does "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" ring a bell?
    Last edited by DanM; 10-07-2011 at 10:30 AM.
    "The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi . . ."--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    “He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.”--M. K. Gandhi

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." --M. K. Gandhi

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    There is no reported restrictions on limiting this to "overseas" nor on what "acts" would qualify an American Citizen for being placed on this list. And, the Executive branch is apparently judge, jury, and potential executioner with respect to any American Citizen on this list. And, there is absolutely no transparency to what is going on, beyond the Executive branch, with regard to this whole thing.

    Did any of that, in the slightest, occur to you as you read the article? Does any of that, in the slightest, concern you?

    Does "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" ring a bell?
    Well then, I guess we shouldn't ever go to war because those enemy combatants that we're killing haven't had due process. And the same goes for enemy terrorists that we kill as well.

    To sit there and be fine with these types of actions when it isn't an American citizen, but to then be up in arms when these actions are taken on an American who is is acting the same way is hypocritical. Am I concerned with potential over-steps? Yes. Am I upset that they properly took out a terrorist who has trained and advocated for violence against fellow Americans? No.

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    Wanted, Dead or Alive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    If we can kill people from other countries overseas without a trial or anything else why should an "American" who is engaging in the exact same acts be treated differently? And I say it in quotes because someone who engages in those types of actions should have their citizenship revoked.
    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    There is no reported restrictions on limiting this to "overseas" nor on what "acts" would qualify an American Citizen for being placed on this list. And, the Executive branch is apparently judge, jury, and potential executioner with respect to any American Citizen on this list. And, there is absolutely no transparency to what is going on, beyond the Executive branch, with regard to this whole thing.

    Did any of that, in the slightest, occur to you as you read the article? Does any of that, in the slightest, concern you?

    Does "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" ring a bell?
    We've been doing this for decades.

    The question is "Should anyone (not just US Citizens) sought by US LE (Federal, State or local) for crimes be designated as Wanted Dead or Alive?" Is the designation "Armed and Dangerous" code for the same thing?

    How many of the FBI's Most Wanted have been killed during attempts at capture? J. Edgar wasn't troubled by such pesky details as set forth in the Constitution. He was all about "Justice", wasn't he?
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

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    Regular Member Deanimator's Avatar
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    During the Second World War, along with French, Indian and British contingents, there was an American Waffen SS contingent. While it was tiny and mostly a joke, it did exist.

    Would it have been "illegal" to bomb its barracks and training facilities? After all, they were American citizens, and to the best of my knowledge, they did NOT renounce their U.S. citizenship.

    Is U.S. citizenship some kind of magic talisman for people outside of the country actively waging war against this nation?

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    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    I think it is prudent for those participating in this discussion to familiarize themselves with what Homeland defines as a threat and potential terrorist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post
    I think it is prudent for those participating in this discussion to familiarize themselves with what Homeland defines as a threat and potential terrorist.
    That is a different discussion imo. This is about the killing of said terrorists regardless of nationality. While I disagree with the current policies in regards to "potential" terrorists, I don't think their nationality should play a factor into how they are dealt with.

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    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post

    "...American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

    This guy was not a true American. He was a radical Islamic terrorist and he chose his own poison, in my opinion.

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    For Those Who Support the Killing of Awlaki:

    Goddamit! We cannot afford to learn the lessons of history again the hard way!

    The Roman Republic (prior to the Empire) learned the horror of proscription. Look it up. If you were a citizen and enemy of the current power, your name was put on a list. You could be killed, and your property confiscated and sold. In fact, there was a very famous Roman court case that involved just this--except there was evidence the deceased's name was added to the list after the killing in order to legally justify both the killing and the seizure of his property. Think about that last point for just a moment.

    In a separate situation, the man who would become the first Caesar, Caius Julius, advocated against killing without trial certain citizens strongly suspected of overt acts of treason (the attempted killing of a number of senators I believe). Think about that. The tyrant himself spoke against killing without trial.

    Look up Bill of Attainder--that little thing Congress is forbidden to pass. Same subject. A Bill of Attainder is a legislative act declaring one an outlaw, making him open to be killed by anybody. Its basically a license to kill. No trial. No judicial review. Like the Roman proscription, your family could be disposed of your property. Our federal constitution prohibits this last point by its clause about corruption of blood, meaning heirs and their legal rights.

    These points are reinforced by our federal Bill of Rights. 5th Amendment. "[Nor deprived of life or property without due process of law]."

    It is never a matter of whether any given bad guy is "bad enough." Or, whether "he deserved it." It is always a matter of what and how government will abuse a power.

    Omitting to consider how government will abuse a power is dangerous.

    We have lots of history on this power. Full of abuse. And, blood.
    Last edited by Citizen; 10-10-2011 at 03:10 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Goddamit! We cannot afford to learn the lessons of history again the hard way!

    The Roman Republic (prior to the Empire) learned the horror of proscription. Look it up. If you were a citizen and enemy of the current power, your name was put on a list. You could be killed, and your property confiscated and sold. In fact, there was a very famous Roman court case that involved just this--except there was evidence the deceased's name was added to the list after the killing in order to legally justify both the killing and the seizure of his property. Think about that last point for just a moment.

    In a separate situation, the man who would become the first Caesar, Caius Julius, advocated against killing without trial certain citizens strongly suspected of overt acts of treason (the attempted killing of a number of senators I believe). Think about that. The tyrant himself spoke against killing without trial.

    Look up Bill of Attainder--that little thing Congress is forbidden to pass. Same subject. A Bill of Attainder is a legislative act declaring one an outlaw, making him open to be killed by anybody. Its basically a license to kill. No trial. No judicial review. Like the Roman proscription, your family could be disposed of your property. Our federal constitution prohibits this last point by its clause about corruption of blood, meaning heirs and their legal rights.

    These points are reinforced by our federal Bill of Rights. 5th Amendment. "[Nor deprived of life or property without due process of law]."

    It is never a matter of whether any given bad guy is "bad enough." Or, whether "he deserved it." It is always a matter of what and how government will abuse a power.

    Omitting to consider how government will abuse a power is dangerous.

    We have lots of history on this power. Full of abuse. And, blood.
    Thank you educated man. Thank you citizen. Thank you Citizen.

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    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    That is a different discussion imo. This is about the killing of said terrorists regardless of nationality. While I disagree with the current policies in regards to "potential" terrorists, I don't think their nationality should play a factor into how they are dealt with.
    Actually that very much weighs into this conversation. The discussion is about abuse of power and constitutional violations against US citizens. As Citizen has already pointed out, this very practice is already a severe violation!

    By reminding yourselves what the government considers to be a terrorist/'possible terrorist' you will quickly realize that it is very possible for this to be turned against you. Which is another point being mentioned in the OP and is directly related to the discussion at hand. The discussion isn't strictly national vs non-national. You yourself advocated the use against US citizens. Well, hey guess what! According to Homeland security, you're a potential terrorist. At which point does that threat require assassination? Uh-oh, you bought three handguns and took a training course in paramilitary tactics, but you're not an officer. You must be a terrorist planning an attack! Your brother joined a militia that doesn't support Obama and supports smaller government, he must be a terrorist too! Think I'm overreacting? Look again at what DHS has declared terrorist activities. You'll find those very examples fall under the definition set out by the government.

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    Regular Member jbone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post
    I think it is prudent for those participating in this discussion to familiarize themselves with what Homeland defines as a threat and potential terrorist.
    What you say is important to remember. Janet did define early in this Administration that Patriotic Veterans were one of those "potential terrorist!" The assault on America began early with this Administration.

    They bank on non-sincere apologies, and denial fading away, and bank on the seed of that ill planted notion growing. They’re not concerned about the corruptness of their actions, what is seen overtly, or which covert actions are discovered since the media is their very own Bagdad Bob. This administration is heading an Anti-American Social movement that will continue to rear its ugly head and grow as a result of the contaminated seeds planted these past few years.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post
    Actually that very much weighs into this conversation. The discussion is about abuse of power and constitutional violations against US citizens. As Citizen has already pointed out, this very practice is already a severe violation!

    By reminding yourselves what the government considers to be a terrorist/'possible terrorist' you will quickly realize that it is very possible for this to be turned against you. Which is another point being mentioned in the OP and is directly related to the discussion at hand. The discussion isn't strictly national vs non-national. You yourself advocated the use against US citizens. Well, hey guess what! According to Homeland security, you're a potential terrorist. At which point does that threat require assassination? Uh-oh, you bought three handguns and took a training course in paramilitary tactics, but you're not an officer. You must be a terrorist planning an attack! Your brother joined a militia that doesn't support Obama and supports smaller government, he must be a terrorist too! Think I'm overreacting? Look again at what DHS has declared terrorist activities. You'll find those very examples fall under the definition set out by the government.
    By reading the initial post I thought the conversation was in killing American terrorists vs non-American terrorists (since the OP doesn't seem to be bothered by foriegn national terrorists being killed). To me that is a different issue than what it takes to be labeled a terrorist.

    To me a terrorist is someone who does things like attack or plan to attack (note, threats alone don't count; requires a physical action) innocent civilians (ie the general public) in order to strike fear into the public in order to get their way; or anyone who purposely aids those that would carry out such attacks. Or in othe words, either a person or non-government organization who has declared war on a government and uses attacks on the citizenry (as opposed to attacks on actual government people/facilities) to achieve their goals.

    Now I know that my view of what should be a terrorist is far different than the government's view of what a terrorist is. To me they are a specific sub-catagory of an enemy combatant (would be considered an unlawful combatant but an enemy combatant none-the-less). But the difference in what defines a terrorist is a different issue than how terrorists (who are enemy combatants) should be treated.

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    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter how you define them, it matters how the one with the hitlist defines them.

    You seem to support the assassinations. I'm pointing out that is a very dangerous stance to take when the one taking names probably considers you a terrorist too.

    I don't support this initiative in any form, whether it only targets those outside of the country that aren't citizens or not. I don't support the so called war on terror either. Like the "war on drugs" it has brought more harm than good.

    Posted using my HTC Evo

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    I think it's important to remember that if the Pres. had passed up the opportunity to take this guy out, he would have been vilified for it, much as Clinton was for passing up the opportunity to take out OBL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beebobby View Post
    I think it's important to remember that if the Pres. had passed up the opportunity to take this guy out, he would have been vilified for it, much as Clinton was for passing up the opportunity to take out OBL.
    Huh!?!? So, rights are subordinate to the political concerns of the people in power? Oh, where have we heard that before?

    Apples and oranges on Obama vs Clinton and bin Laden. Clinton was attacked well after the fact for not accepting bin Laden when another country had him. Meaning, Clinton was offered a live bin Laden, not the opportunity to kill him.

    For those who are interested, look up the case of Sextus Roscius (accused of patricide--killing his father, one of the worst crimes in Rome), the dictator Lucius Sulla and his henchman, Chrysogonus. Google or wiki ought to work fine. Also, I should correct something I wrote above. The murdered man was not put on the proscription list to justify his murder; he was put on the list after the fact so Chrysogonus and a couple others could get his property. Roscius was already accused of the murder, so no need to encourage the killing by proscribing the deceased. The whole point was that the dead man's property would pass to his heirs unless he was proscribed. Then his property was forfeit to the state, and auctioned. Available to purchase or transfer to whichever favored henchman one wanted.

    This is sick business, people.

    Who here doubts that Janet Reno wouldn't have proscribed Randy Weaver given half the chance. Or, that AFT wouldn't have proscribed the Branch Davidians if they could have gotten away with it. In both cases the government went out of its way to villify the people. The Davidians were just a strange religious group who Texas social services had already visited a number of times over the years and found no evidence of child abuse. Yet, the fedgov villified them and Weaver in the press.

    For the moment the federal government can only assassinate one's character in the press. Lets not cede them the power to assassinate the citizen himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post
    It doesn't matter how you define them, it matters how the one with the hitlist defines them.

    You seem to support the assassinations. I'm pointing out that is a very dangerous stance to take when the one taking names probably considers you a terrorist too.

    I don't support this initiative in any form, whether it only targets those outside of the country that aren't citizens or not. I don't support the so called war on terror either. Like the "war on drugs" it has brought more harm than good.

    Posted using my HTC Evo
    So then, what should one do when an enemy attacks but doesn't declare a formal war? Or what should we do if they attack us AND declare war on us? Because like it or not that is what has happened. A war has been declared on America by Islamist extremists. Just because they don't have a standing army in the traditional sense doesn't mean that they are any less dangerous. Hell, our own founding fathers didn't have a traditional army for the times and part of the reason the British lost the war was because they failed to adapt to their new enemy and instead tried to use the same tactics that they would for a "traditional" army. So a government needs to have the ability to adapt to it's enemy, but I also recognize that part of the issue is that our government has lost the trust of it's people and it has abused its power.

    So again, how a country handles enemy combatants is a different issue from how a country defines an enemy. This is especially true when dealing with an enemy that doesn't have an allegiance to a specific country that one can wage war against.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    This is sick business, people.

    Who here doubts that Janet Reno wouldn't have proscribed Randy Weaver given half the chance. Or, that AFT wouldn't have proscribed the Branch Davidians if they could have gotten away with it. In both cases the government went out of its way to villify the people. The Davidians were just a strange religious group who Texas social services had already visited a number of times over the years and found no evidence of child abuse. Yet, the fedgov villified them and Weaver in the press.

    For the moment the federal government can only assassinate one's character in the press. Lets not cede them the power to assassinate the citizen himself.
    And these are examples of the government abusing its power and something that shouldn't be tolerated. But then at which point does a person become an enemy of the state? I mean in WWII there were Americans in the German army so should we have tried to capture them rather than kill them? There has to be a line somewhere and to me the current issue is in the government abusing how they define an enemy combatant (specifically a terrorist), not in how they deal with said threat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    So then, what should one do when an enemy attacks but doesn't declare a formal war? Or what should we do if they attack us AND declare war on us? Because like it or not that is what has happened. A war has been declared on America by Islamist extremists. Just because they don't have a standing army in the traditional sense doesn't mean that they are any less dangerous. Hell, our own founding fathers didn't have a traditional army for the times and part of the reason the British lost the war was because they failed to adapt to their new enemy and instead tried to use the same tactics that they would for a "traditional" army. So a government needs to have the ability to adapt to it's enemy, but I also recognize that part of the issue is that our government has lost the trust of it's people and it has abused its power.

    So again, how a country handles enemy combatants is a different issue from how a country defines an enemy. This is especially true when dealing with an enemy that doesn't have an allegiance to a specific country that one can wage war against.
    Who says Al-Queda declared war on the US? Meaning, who accepts Al-Queda's say-so? They seem to be a stateless bunch of cut-throats, not a nation. If they declared "war", its self-aggrandizing. They're puffing themselves up, making themselves into far more than they really are.

    Yes, they've pulled off some spectacular successes. Mainly because of the technology used to jack up the body count. But, that doesn't make it "war." Lets not credit these people more than they deserve. Our own government does enough of that already in order to justify occupations in two countries, 100's of thousands of deaths, and ratcheting the national debt to Saturn.

    Terrorism is a criminal act; not an act of war.

    What is a government to do? Well, lets explore that for a moment. Require the host country to arrest and turn him over? Try him in abstentia?--at least present the evidence for judicial review if he simply must be killed because the price of not killing him is far worse than giving government the power to kill citizens without trial.

    You see, I think this is the point that people are not weighing out: the damage the individual subject terrorist can do weighed against the damage the government can do by abusing that power. Never forgetting that one element of the government's damage is using the consent as the first inch from which to expand abuses and justifications.

    What and how the government should handle such a situation is only a part of the picture. The answers are limited by imagination. Just because someone asks tells us right away the asker may be so short on imagination he can't think up any answers. All of us should suffer under a government that kills citizens without trial because an asker is too dumb to think up alternatives? We don't need imagination to know what governments do with the power to kill without trial. The history on that question is long and bloody.

    Trust me on this. Please. If you can't think up a good alternative, just listen. Or, look around to see what other people, smarter, might be saying. Like historians. Or, government professors. The question is far too important to hold a half-thought-out opinion. Much less promote it, possibly giving support to an abusive government. We cannot afford to relearn the lessons of history the hard way. Especially on this question.
    Last edited by Citizen; 10-10-2011 at 10:46 PM.

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    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post

    I don't support the so called war on terror either. Like the "war on drugs" it has brought more harm than good.
    Thankfully, there are many others who do.

    I support both. I'm not involved in terrorism or in drugs, so I don't have to worry about the things that unlawful miscreants do.

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    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilProGuy View Post
    Thankfully, there are many others who do.

    I support both. I'm not involved in terrorism or in drugs, so I don't have to worry about the things that unlawful miscreants do.
    Your a vet, no? You're already on the governments list of potential terrorists.


    Posted using my HTC Evo

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    A reasonable attempt to capture terrorists should be made, but that shouldn't freeze all other actions against them. The person who was killed in the OP was in a lawless region of a foreign country where one can't just send in police to arrest the person. The current system is broken, but there is no easy answer to fix it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MilProGuy View Post
    Thankfully, there are many others who do.

    I support both. I'm not involved in terrorism or in drugs, so I don't have to worry about the things that unlawful miscreants do.
    Sadly many others support it. They apparently don't learn from history or just want to try and control the masses. Tell me, how well did the prohibition on alcohol (which is a drug) work? Now tell me, why do people expect a different result with a prohibition on other drugs that are just as easy to illegally manufacture as alcohol? And I won't get into all the issues that have arisen from the government's "war on drugs" and the militarization of the police force and the various questionable search warrents, incorrect house raids, etc that have happened due to this "war" (hint: you can't go to war against an item or idea, you go to war against people).

    Also have you not been paying attention to the various issues of our "terrorism" watch list? A Congressman ended up on the list (I believe it was a senator, but not positive), and plenty of other people have had issues with incorrectly ending up on it (people usually find out when they attempt to fly and suddenly can't). You don't have to be involved in terrorism or drugs for our government's handling of these things to negatively impact you.


    And for anyone potentially confused by my postings this is my rough stance on the OP. A government needs to be able to have the power to properly handle those that are attacking the citizenry, regardless of where those people are. Attempts should be made to capture the individuals if reasonably possible. If one is not able to be reasonably captured (such as the OP where he was hiding in a foreign country where LE simply can't go in and attempt to get him), then the killing of the enemy combatant is a reasonable use of force to help stop the enemy attacks. The citizenship of the enemy should not matter for how they are handled; though it might be a factor in attempting to capture the individual as a foreign national is likely to be in a foreign country and thus capture might be unreasonable for a variety of reasons. That said, our current system is broken and allows too much potential for abuse. Also I don't have a problem with absentee trials should the person refuse to come to court in order to show everything that the individual has done to justify the actions that are to follow (so the trial would need to be before the killing), and the trials would have to be public as private trials are too suseptable to corruption.

    I'm sure I could go into even more detail, but I'm trying to keep it relatively simple and to the point.

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    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post
    Your a vet, no? You're already on the governments list of potential terrorists.

    Perhaps...but I seriously doubt that the federal government is going to be sending an armed drone my way anytime soon.

    My lifestyle versus the lifestyle of a known radical Islamic terrorist are two totally different ways of life. I've never been harassed by any department of law enforcement, and I never will because I am a patriotic veteran and a law-abiding citizen...unlike the puke who was taken out by the drone.

    He chose his path of destruction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MilProGuy View Post
    Perhaps...but I seriously doubt that the federal government is going to be sending an armed drone my way anytime soon.

    My lifestyle versus the lifestyle of a known radical Islamic terrorist are two totally different ways of life. I've never been harassed by any department of law enforcement, and I never will because I am a patriotic veteran and a law-abiding citizen...unlike the puke who was taken out by the drone.

    He chose his path of destruction.
    Then you're either naive or willfully ignorant of the abuses of LE. Here's an article of a senator being harrassed by law enforcement and I'm not about to try and post stories of us "common" folks being harrassed because they are so abundant that you would have to be an osterich to not know about them given how many are regularly posted on this very site.

    Just because you're a vet and a law-abiding citizen doesn't mean that you're immune from government harrassment.

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