Obama Adminstration Weighs Limits (If Any) of Targeted Killing
The New York Times reports the Obama Administrations' legal eagles are considering how far they can go in targeting and killing suspected terrorists in countries like Yeman and Somalia.
The Defense Department view:
The debate, according to officials familiar with the deliberations, centers on whether the United States may take aim at only a handful of high-level leaders of militant groups who are personally linked to plots to attack the United States or whether it may also attack the thousands of low-level foot soldiers focused on parochial concerns: controlling the essentially ungoverned lands near the Gulf of Aden, which separates the countries.
[I]f a group has aligned itself with Al Qaeda against Americans, the United States can take aim at any of its combatants, especially in a country that is unable or unwilling to suppress them.
The State Department view:
To kill people elsewhere [beyond battlefield countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan]....the United States must be able to justify the act as necessary for its self-defense — meaning it should focus only on individuals plotting to attack the United States.
A bill pending in Congress:
[One version] proposed by the House Armed Forces Committee would establish an expansive standard for the categories of groups that the United States may single out for military action, potentially making it easier for the United States to kill large numbers of low-level militants in places like Somalia.
Sen. Lindsay Graham wants more killing authority:
He said he would offer an amendment that would explicitly authorize the use of force against a list of specific groups including the Shabab, as well as set up a mechanism to add further groups to the list if they take certain “overt acts.”
....“This is a worldwide conflict without borders,” Mr. Graham argued. “Restricting the definition of the battlefield and restricting the definition of the enemy allows the enemy to regenerate and doesn’t deter people who are on the fence.”
All the world's a battlefield. It's become our national anthem. Everyone just sing along. Ten years ago the issue was whether we could indefinitely detain suspected terrorists without trial for associating with al Qaida. Now it's whether we can kill them on sight. The more things change....
Alternate tune: Blaze of Glory.
|< Senate Approp. Comm. Eliminates Funding for Prisoner Reentry , Increases BOP Funds | Global Protests Over Planned Execution of Troy Davis >|