Unless the Constitution really is a suicide note, any American who joins al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that has avowed to attack us should have no more legal rights than any enemy we face on the battlefield. But since the 9-11 attacks, Congress, two presidents, and the courts have tangled us up in so many legal and policy knots that we’re now parsing terrorist ranks and duties to determine whether the enemy can be subjected to lethal attack.
We’re fighting a war that isn’t a war, Congress having only declared an “Authorization for Use of Military Force,” and only against al Qaeda, not all the terrorists who are engaged in war against us. We’ve not defined the enemy — radical Islam and all its adherents — and haven’t decided to fight the war in a manner calculated to win it decisively. So we are losing, as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and Syria — to mention only the top-ranking terrorist nations — are proving daily.
The controversy surrounding President Obama’s death-by-drone policy is the latest example of our refusal to deal with the reality of the war. It’s a legal contortion that should be unnecessary and would be if Congress had had the courage to declare war. It concludes that American-born al Qaeda leaders can be killed on order of any high-level administration official.
This is enough to drive even Obama’s most liberal allies nuts. In the confirmation hearing on John Brennan’s nomination to be CIA director, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) objected to the president’s ability to kill American citizens overseas, saying that every American has the right to know when his government has decided to kill him.
Brennan had no answer other than to say that killing Americans who belong to al Qaeda is a last resort. But is it constitutional? Is it legal? Should anyone care?
Read More at spectator.org . By Jed Babbin.