Fast forward to January 2009 when the current Democratic Barack Obama administration began.
It became apparent to me over time that not that much changed under our Constitutional Law professor president.
The U.S. recently confirmed that Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a military drone strike. And almost from when this news became known, there was a debate between civil libertarians and the rest of the country over the justification of the U.S. military action in northern Yemen. In its news article today's New York Times points to the President's dilemma. To quote,
The strike was the culmination of a desperate manhunt marked not only by near misses and dead ends, but also by a wrenching legal debate in Washington about the legality — and morality — of putting an American citizen on a list of top militants marked for death. It also represented the latest killing of a senior terrorist figure in an escalated campaign by the Obama administration.
. . . There had been an intense debate among lawyers in the months before the Obama administration decided to put Mr. Awlaki on a target list in early 2010, and officials said that Mr. Khan was never on the list. The decision to make Mr. Awlaki a priority to be sought and killed was controversial, given his American citizenship. The American Civil Liberties Union, which fought unsuccessfully in the American court system to challenge the decision to target Mr. Awlaki, condemned the killing.Commentators on television, the blogosphere and social media soon raised questions about the legality and morality of the "assassainations" or war combatant targeting of two United States citizens. So I am not alone with my discomfort. That view is not widely held beyond the members of the left. But it does give many of us pause. Michael J.W. Stickings, my longtime blog friend at The Reaction, wonders whether President Obama is "a disaster for civil liberties." He mirrors my own ambivalence, saying:
Though I remain, for the most part, a supporter of the president, I cannot disagree[with legal scholar Jonathan Turley, whom Stickings quotes extensively].
While I would argue that he has done a lot of good thus far in office, this remains the major blot on his record.
*Just a few of my previous posts related to civil liberties over the years:
- 9/7/11: A look at freedom and liberty in the US ten years after 9/11/01
- 9/2/09: Intelligence Bytes
- 12/18/05: NSA Surveillance of Americans: NYT
- 12/09/05: Patriot Act May Be Extended
- 10/20/05: Spy World
Posted on 10/1/11 - from Texas:
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