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    Bad facts make bad law, Anwar al-Awlaki edition

    Bad facts make bad law, Anwar al-Awlaki edition

    From David Dayen at Firedoglake:

    We’ll hear this was necessary because of Awlaki’s operational role, and his part played in the Fort Hood massacre and the Christmas Day bombing attempt.  In reality, many experts saw Awlaki as a public figurehead, a man who could speak in front of a video camera and therefore was magnified in the US public’s mind as some sort of leader.  He was a guy with a YouTube account rather than an operational leader of Al Qaeda.

    And now that he’s dead from a drone missile strike, it’s too late to wrestle with the question of whether a US citizen should be designated as a candidate for assassination by a murky process with no checks or balances.  The President and leading counter-terrorism officials just decide who should be marked for death, and then robot planes carry it out.  That slope is so slippery I’m assuming the BP Deepwater Horizon well is nearby.

    And Glenn Greenwald:

    What’s most striking about this is not that the U.S. Government has seized and exercised exactly the power the Fifth Amendment was designed to bar (“No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law”), and did so in a way that almost certainly violates core First Amendment protections (questions that will now never be decided in a court of law). What’s most amazing is that its citizens will not merely refrain from objecting, but will stand and cheer the U.S. Government’s new power to assassinate their fellow citizens, far from any battlefield, literally without a shred of due process from the U.S. Government.

    And frequent commenter myiq2xu:

    The President of the United States ordered the killing of an American citizen without any trial or due process of law.

    How do we know he’s guilty?  Because THE GOVERNMENT SAYS SO!!!

    These are legitimate concerns, but made as to the wrong person.

    Bad facts make bad law, and Anwar al-Awlaki was a bad fact.

    Update:  Kenneth Anderson at Volokh Conspiracy has background on the al-Awlaki legal case in which the ACLU unsuccessfully tried to get an injunction against his targeted killing.


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    Valerie | October 1, 2011 at 11:09 am

    2. The executive branch needs to make a clean sweep of the institutionalized senior bureaucrats in all the agencies, beginning at the SES level and working upwards. SES and above are all appointed and “at will” employees.

    3. Elect a Congress that will write only necessary laws in a clear concise and specific manner to remove almost all interpretation divergence by the remaining agency bureaucrats in rule writing. A full moratorium on new rules for 3-4 years would help, allowing only rule removal.


    2. One of the big problems with the present administration is its failure to follow the recommendations of experienced career people. That’s what the “government by waiver” problem is all about.

    3. Sounds good. They try to do this already.

    These demands are idealistic to the point of delusional.

      Aridog in reply to Valerie. | October 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

      “Experienced career people” in government are those in civil service grades up to GS-15. From experience I can attest they are not listened to … and over the years I think I only knew one SES level careerist who had ever done any of the work supervised or knew anything of substance about their field. They fill space and spend your money by every means available. Period.

      Sadly this malaise is creeping down to the upper GS grade levels now, if located at regional or divisional offices … many of which are redundant and do nothing but fulfill the SES’ers wishes.

      Legislation today is hardly clear and concise. Witness the Clean air Act being used to decide CO2 is a toxic emission. Not event he sponsors of the bill agree with that interpretation. “Rule making” has almost replaced clear law making.

      Yep, my ideals are delusional. Once upon a time in my life I’d not have thought so, but now … I frankly don’t give a damn.

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