I have said several times that one reason I cannot vote for Obama is because he believes he has the authority to use a drone to take out any US citizen that he has declared an enemy combatant, regardless of where they are, or what activity they were engaged in. Anwar al-Awlaki is a prime example of this. Awlaki was an American citizen who went to work as a propagandist and a recruiter for al Qaida. After killing him in a drone strike, the Obama administration leaked rumors that Awlaki had graduated to planning operation, but there was never any indication that he committed an act of war, i.e., took up arms against the United States.
But we killed him anyway, and most people were happy about it.
Then we sent in a drone to take out his 16 year old son at a barbeque. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was not a terrorist as far as anyone can determine but he was targeted just the same.
A teenaged US citizen, never accused, much less convicted of a crime, was killed, not on a battlefield, not carrying arms against the US, but eating a meal at a barbeque.
No court, no judge, no jury; just a secret order and a silent drone.
Folks, that scares the crap out of me.
Now here is where it gets interesting.
Mitt Romney shares nearly the same position as Obama.
All U.S. citizens enjoy due process and habeas corpus rights under the Constitution. Due process permits the use of deadly force against all enemy combatants, including citizens, who engage in acts of war against the United States on behalf of an enemy of the United States. U.S. citizens have no right to affiliate themselves with al-Qaida or other terrorist groups plotting attacks against our country from foreign shores.
As president, my top priority would be to protect the American people from all of our nation’s terrorist enemies, whatever their citizenship or country of origin. My preference would be to capture, interrogate, and prosecute any U.S. citizen who has engaged in acts of war against the United States. But if necessary to defend the country, I would be willing to authorize the use of lethal force.
Romney qualifies his statement slightly be referring to 'acts of war,' but then seems to include joining with or working alongside al Qaida as an act of war.
I have a very hard time stomaching that. Yes, we must defend ourselves, and yes, we must be proactive, but assassination of civilian targets? That's a step too far for me.
So I would love to see this question come up in the debate on foreign policy. I want to hear the future President justify targeting Americans for assassination. If you have the balls to do it, you should have the balls to stand up and admit to it.