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Thread: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

  1. #11
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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob0627 View Post
    Using armed drones may be part of war but using them on civilians and/or in countries where there has been no declaration of war is clearly a war crime.
    The Authorization for the US of Military Force (AUMF) very specifically does not limit its scope to a single country. It also specifically leaves these determinations to the discretion of the President. Affiliates of al-Qaeda seem to clearly fit the parameters of the AUMF and Congress has as yet not chosen to dispute that interpretation or invoke its power to curtail or further define that authorization.

    "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

    The deliberate targeting of civilians has however always been a war crime.

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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob0627 View Post
    Using armed drones may be part of war but using them on civilians and/or in countries where there has been no declaration of war is clearly a war crime.
    According to what law/treaty/convention?

    Understand, I'm not challenging you; this is a serious question.

    In order for something to be a "war crime" it has to violate some "law of war".

    Once you define a target as an irregular combatant (or something similar) (s)he leaves the strictly black-and-white definition of a "civilian" and enters a much more gray area of the law, and an area where most laws/treaties/conventions/etc... allow for his or her deliberate killing.

    On the other hand, most laws of war carry some prohibition against perfidy, generally defined, in part, as the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status.

    In light of that, a "terrorist" can't be a part-time terrorist, attacking, or planning attacks against, their enemy at times and then laying down their terrorist hat and claiming protected civilian status at others.

    I don't pretend to know international law in this respect well enough to give a definitive answer, but I know enough of it to know that it's anything but clear-cut.
    “Now it is not good for the Christian’s health to hustle the Aryan brown,
    For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down;
    And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
    And the epitaph drear: “A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.”

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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by soot View Post
    According to what law/treaty/convention?
    The Nuremburg Principles for one, that the US is a signatory to:

    Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950

    The Geneva Conventions for another:

    Geneva Conventions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    The House could impeach but the Senate does not have the votes to convict. Impeachment also takes a toll on the majority party bringing the impeachment to light unless it's a bi-partisan impeachment - in Obama or Holder's case, I would suggest impeachment proceedings regardless of the reason (whether this issue or any other or this compounded with other issues) would be drawn down party lines. Therefore Congress cannot compel a President or Holder to do anything unless there is a majority or better, super majority in the House and Senate of one party, and the President being the opposite party.
    I was simply addressing who has the power. Which is congress. If its split politically, then no, theres nothing they can do. The voters have to replace congress and the presidency with people who will enforce the law.

    Of course, the voters are split politically too. So as long as half the country is ok with the President breaking the law, he will.

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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob0627 View Post
    The Nuremburg Principles for one, that the US is a signatory to:

    Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950

    The Geneva Conventions for another:

    Geneva Conventions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    We arent targeting civilians though. They just happen to be nearby. Are you saying those treaties forbid collateral damage?

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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    And what happens if the government decides they don't want to turn this information over because of a DoJ internal investigation (that may or may not actually exist) or possibly a matter of national security. The Judiciary can only get it right if the government entity they are ordering complies. What we've seen so far is this current WH more so than any previous, will simply ignore the order - so then what? If this President says no to the order - who's going to make him? The DoJ? Congress? The media sure as hell won't badger him or his appointees.
    If the courts issue lawful order and the President doesn't comply, it would then fall to the Congress to impeach.
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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by soot View Post
    According to what law/treaty/convention?

    Understand, I'm not challenging you; this is a serious question.

    In order for something to be a "war crime" it has to violate some "law of war".

    Once you define a target as an irregular combatant (or something similar) (s)he leaves the strictly black-and-white definition of a "civilian" and enters a much more gray area of the law, and an area where most laws/treaties/conventions/etc... allow for his or her deliberate killing.

    On the other hand, most laws of war carry some prohibition against perfidy, generally defined, in part, as the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status.

    In light of that, a "terrorist" can't be a part-time terrorist, attacking, or planning attacks against, their enemy at times and then laying down their terrorist hat and claiming protected civilian status at others.

    I don't pretend to know international law in this respect well enough to give a definitive answer, but I know enough of it to know that it's anything but clear-cut.
    It is a good question, what international legal procedure is concerning attacks from a third country that does not prevent the attacks. Do you really want to declare war on Lebanon, Yemen or Pakistan? Same is true for the pirates off the Horn of Africa. What do you propose?

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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    If the courts issue lawful order and the President doesn't comply, it would then fall to the Congress to impeach.
    That would be the way one would have to proceed.

    But why would the Executive not publish its take on the legality of what it does? Of course, there are a lot of differing opinions on what is okay and the adversaries are not going to change their minds lightly. So as publishing the documents on enhanced interrogation did not help much, as most people didn't read the documents and studies, when they were published, the present set of docs probably won't do any good either. But at least the people that are interested in the facts would understand, what the Administration was thinking.

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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by jonny5 View Post
    We arent targeting civilians though. They just happen to be nearby. Are you saying those treaties forbid collateral damage?
    Our entire judicial system is based on the doctrine of innocent unless and until proven guilty by a proper court. So all these drone attacks target INNOCENT people in countries we are not at war with. People are being declared terrorists or insurgents, then targeted for murder. This is classic guilty by accusation (judge, jury and executioner). "Collateral damage" is a cover word for murdering innocent men, women and children, just like "enhanced interrogation" is a cover word for torture. This is a war crime and genocide (see treaties).

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    Re: Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

    Quote Originally Posted by joG View Post
    That would be the way one would have to proceed.

    But why would the Executive not publish its take on the legality of what it does? Of course, there are a lot of differing opinions on what is okay and the adversaries are not going to change their minds lightly. So as publishing the documents on enhanced interrogation did not help much, as most people didn't read the documents and studies, when they were published, the present set of docs probably won't do any good either. But at least the people that are interested in the facts would understand, what the Administration was thinking.
    Why doesn't Congress? They're all doing suspect crap be it drone bombing civilians or authorizing massive spying and data collection against its own citizens. Congress passed legislation to protect phone companies and such for giving away your data.

    It would be great if the lot of government published their results and reasoning...but then they could be held accountable, so they won't. No Rebublocrat is going to open up the process.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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