The Justice Department is releasing to Congress a memo detailing the administration’s legal justification for what we normally call the “drone program.” The real issue is whether or not the Executive Branch has the legal authority to order the killing of a terror suspect, especially if that terror suspect is an American citizen. Whether or not the killing is done via a Predator or Reaper drone, or by Seal Team Six kicking down someone’s door is a side issue.
To kill Americans fighting for an enemy during a time of war is not controversial. German-Americans occasionally wound up fighting for the Wehrmacht during WWII, and some of them never came home. If you wear the uniform of the other side during a hot war, that can happen. For some reason, however, people have a problem with targeting American citizens, who have admittedly made the irrational decision to join al Qaeda, in places that are not currently war zones (i.e. not in Afghanistan), all without the usual safeguards in place to prevent state power from being used arbitrarily.
Normally, before the government can end someone’s life, there is a little thing known as due process. Continue reading