Five months after the unconstitutional killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, on the say-so of Barack Obama, who was advised by a secret committee and operating on a set of still-secret procedures, Attorney General Eric Holder travelled to Chicago's Northwestern University Law School, Monday, where he brazenly rationalized that blatant assertion of anti-constitutional Hitler-like power. Speaking from a prepared text, Holder, channelling his best Dick Cheney, first told the crowd, "We are a nation at war. And, in this war, we face a nimble and determined enemy that cannot be underestimated." Following that, Holder went into a long digression about FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] courts and decisions to be made between military courts and civilian courts, before getting to the heart of his argument: that the President has a right to decide to kill anyone he considers to be a threat.
Holder's argument is a blatant defense of Nazi, Empire "law"—that the will of the ruler is the law—wrapped up in disgustingly sententious references to the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly forbids the behavior he defends. It was a defense of Barack "Nero" Obama's dictatorial actions, which represent a threat to the very existence of the United States as a constitutional republic.
Don't call these "assassinations," Holder argued. "We must also recognize that there are instances where our government has the clear authority — and, I would argue, the responsibility — to defend the United States through the appropriate and lawful use of lethal force." The Congress gave the President that authority, he claimed, and we're in a "state of war," so he can do anything he deems necessary. Move over, Carl Schmitt.
Holder lied that such decisions by Obama was actually permitted under the Due Process Clause, because "the Due Process Clause does not impose one-size-fits-all requirements, but instead mandates procedural safeguards that depend on specific circumstances." Later he went so far as to say that the "Constitution's guarantee of due process is ironclad," but it doesn't prevent the President from killing someone he considers a leader of a terrorist organization, "even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen."
Holder assured the assembled that, not to worry, because there was an entire cooperative interagency ("robust oversight") force that, by their breadth and diversity alone, could guarantee that Constitutional values were not violated. In fact, he repeatedly referred to the fact that it was to uphold these very values that the administration was so determined. However, "because the United States is in an armed conflict, we are authorized to take action against enemy belligerents under INTERNATIONAL LAW. The Constitution," after all, "empowers the President to protect the nation from any imminent threat of violent attack."
He then went through four "fundamental law of war principles governing the use of force," which he claimed were being maintained. We quote: "The principle of necessity requires that the target have definite military value. The principle of distinction requires that only lawful targets—such as combatants, civilians directly participating in hostilities, and military objectives—may be targeted intentionally. Under the principle of proportionality, the anticipating collateral damage must not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. Finally, the principle of humanity (!) requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering."
All this was not a "departure from our laws and our values," he said in closing, but rather, "an indicator of our times." Coming as it did, in the midst of a full-court press for an assault on Iran, this "justification" of police-state powers shows the mindset of an administration set on dictatorship and war. Remove Obama before it's too late.