Calm down, Senator. Mr. Holder is right, even if he doesn't explain the law very well. The U.S. government cannot randomly target American citizens on U.S. soil or anywhere else. What it can do under the laws of war is target an "enemy combatant" anywhere at anytime, including on U.S. soil. This includes a U.S. citizen who is also an enemy combatant. The President can designate such a combatant if he belongs to an entity—a government, say, or a terrorist network like al Qaeda—that has taken up arms against the United States as part of an internationally recognized armed conflict. That does not include Hanoi Jane.The editors fail to note that the administration killed Anwar Awlaki's 16-year-old son without designating him as an enemy combatant. He wasn't on a kill list. He was just killed. A boy. An American boy.
As I always say, I really don't care that the U.S. is killing terrorists with drone strikes. What is
Added: From Diana West, "THE FILIBUSTER HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD?":
One of the stranger results of the popular Paul filibuster was the instant coalescence of an ad hoc “Calm down, Rand” (read: shut up) effort. This political eruption loosely and overlappingly linked “surge” and Arab Spring diehards, neocon-esque conservative journals and blogs, and establishment pooh-bahs such as Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.Hey, I just like killing terrorists. But if it were me, we'd be putting boots on the ground, in Syria, Africa, you name it. Take it to the terrorists, I say. And don't be hypocritical about it.
I think the common ground here is that these groups basically favor the Bush-Obama drone wars that allow them to believe we are winning, or at least fighting, the war on terror, even if the unacknowledged reality is that we are losing the free world to what we might call “noncombatant” (or pre-combatant) Islamization. Maybe they think deep inside that if drone wars were deemed unconstitutional in any way – or, worse, ineffective – the hollow offensives the U.S. continues to support would eventually collapse, giving rise to panicky paralysis. In such an event, the absurdity of picking off terrorist leaders worldwide as a national strategy to fight “terror” might emerge with distressing clarity, while the Islamic law and money that have almost wholly engulfed Western institutions might become frighteningly apparent.
Maybe that’s why it seems as if blind trust in presidential discretion now trumps the bounds of the Constitution. But I hope not.