Dear Sen. Feingold,
I am writing to you today to express my absolute disgust over hearing yesterday the confirmation that President Obama has ordered the assassination of a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. He is suspected of being an al-Qaeda member. The key word there is SUSPECTED. He is a U.S. citizen suspected of being a terrorist (he hasn't even been charged with a crime like treason). Instead of handling this case according to the traditions of law and justice like every U.S. citizen should and must expect, President Obama has usurped these bedrock principles and has essentially become the Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
I can understand that national security issues are always challenging to deal with but this action sets an extremely dangerous precedent. What is to stop the President (or future Presidents) from ordering the assassination of other U.S. citizens who are away from a battlefield? This is absolute insanity.
Please continue to harshly criticize the administration in its horrific effort to destroy the foundational principles of our country and society.
But wait...you might be thinking, "Hey, I thought Obama was soft on terrorists..." That has got to be one of the most ridiculous myths currently plastered across the media (specifically at places like Fox News). Although his rhetoric might sound nicer and more reasonable than Bush/Cheney, his actual policies for the "War on Terror" have followed in lock-step with what they did.
Just ask yourself, how is this any different than the Good vs Evil mentality initiated by Bush/Cheney? Somehow they just think that the American public will just blindly believe them when they declare someone as a Terrorist who they feel is dangerous. Where is the skepticism of our government? Just because the President or the military says that someone is a terrorist, doesn't magically make that person a terrorist. That should go without saying. We have the justice system set up for this exact reason. The government can't just declare that someone broke the law and hand out their punishment without the use of the judicial branch.
And even if they were a terrorist, we still can't just assassinate them...especially if they are an American citizen. That is insane and contrary to the very foundation of our country. Some could reasonably argue that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (no matter what you think about them) give the U.S. military the right to kill
terrorists in a battle situation. But targeted killing far away from a battlefield is an entirely different thing. Obama, Bush, and Cheney may think that the "battlefield" is the entire surface of the Earth, but if that is true, then there is no limit to their authoritarian power (and no end to this perpetual War). All they would have to do is declare someone as a terrorist (i.e., our enemy in the War on Terror) and then assassinate them no matter where they are. Judge, Jury, and Executioner are all conveniently wrapped up into one Executive decision.
The Executive branch was never intended to have this much power. With this much limitless power, abuse is just inevitable. It is insanity, plain and simple...and the President who was supposed to be the Constitutional scholar is continuing the destruction of our American principles of justice and the rule of law.
With all that said...the most frustrating thing about this whole mess is that I would vote for Obama a second time if it kept a Republican like Romney or Palin out of the White House. As vile and despicable as Obama's positions are on the War on Terror, the GOP front-runners are even more extreme (I mean, they laugh about how soft Obama is on Terror...sometimes I feel like I'm taking crazy pills).