I know this news came up an epoch ago in internet time (last week) but in the interest of demonstrating consistency in opinions (which is apparently not required of more highly-paid pundits) and in fulfilling my duties as a blogger, I would like to state here and now, that I am appalled, ashamed, shocked and a bit frightened that it appears President Obama, a man I supported for the presidency, has authorized the death, without due process or trial, of an American citizen.
If you read the above link, from the Guardian, a newspaper from the United Kingdom, you’ll learn that the person who has been given a death sentence by the elected head of the now aptly-named Executive Branch, has been “linked” to a failed plot to bomb an airplane full of innocent victims last Christmas. The person, one Anwar al-Awlaki, was born in New Mexico, which makes him nominally eligible to be elected to the same position that Barack Obama now holds – although I doubt Anwar al-Awlaki would make it past the arduous primary process, regardless of how socialist/communist/fascist/Democrat our country has become since November 2008.
This is the logical endpoint of the rise in Executive Branch powers that have been claimed going back several administrations, administrations of both Democratic and Republican colors. To be sure, a craven former official from the 43rd president’s administration would not go on the record with his or her name, but did attempt to avoid any shadow of war crimes prosecution by pointing out that there appears to be no record of the 43rd president ever taking this particular step. Oh, would that there would any shadow of war crimes prosecution in our country.
Shit, I know, I know, that I’ve said this before, but try as I might, I can’t find a link now. I’ll update this if I find it (or if someone finds me saying the opposite) but let me clearly state my position on whether presidents who swear an oath to uphold the United States Constitution should be able to imprison, or restrict the free speech of, or assassinate, or plant evidence on, or abridge our freedom from state religion, or in any other manner restrict the rights of American citizens: No, they should not.
No president should have the powers that I’ve seen presidents use for as long as I’ve been watching presidents. And that goes for ones I voted for just as well as those I did not. I draw the line. I don’t care what the rationale is. I don’t care if they’re “keeping the country safe” or “protecting our national interests” or whatever bullshit reason they give.
No president should have these powers.
Update: I found a post where I made my position clear, although it does not explicitly mention political parties. In September 2007 I wrote, in regards to electing Steve Novick to the US Senate (my emphasis added):
“Steve Novick is on the side of the majority of Americans and Oregonians on many issues: universal health care, getting US troops out of Iraq, returning to the 500 year-old principle of allowing all humans the right to challenge their accuser in court (habeas corpus), and holding the Executive Branch accountable in order to prevent future administrations to abuse the powers Bush/Cheney have claimed in their devastating terms in office.”
If that’s not clear, I will make it clear now: When I wrote those words, I meant to include all administrations, Democratic, Republican, Whig, No-Nothings, Teabaggers, you name it. No president should have these powers.