Saturday, October 1, 2011

President Palin Deals with Her Enemies

It is January 27th, 2013.  Newly inaugurated President Sarah Palin's Press Secretary, Andrew Breitbart, is asked if the White House is aware that the following people have died under mysterious circumstances during the preceding 24 hours:

Joe McGinniss
Frank Bailey
David Letterman
Keith Olbermann
Maureen Dowd
Jesse Griffin
a couple of bloggers in Germany, from the blog Politicalgates
Charlie Gibson
John Bitney
Tina Fey
Andrew Halcro
Frank Gwartney
Andree McLeod
Mike Wooten

Press Secretary Breitbart, begins his answer by referring to the date September 30, 2011.  He notes that the White House understands that, as in the case of Anwar al-`Awlaqi, there will be no comment from the White House on this matter past noting that "any matters related to these events are classified."  He defers further questioning, referring reporters to The Department of Justice, and Attorney General Joe Arpaio.

Breitbart then leaves the podium, barely bothering to hide his smirk.

Juan Cole:
I can only quote Clarence Darrow here, “All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.” Personal satisfaction apart, one is still left with the question of law raised by Paul and the ACLU.

Here’s a troubling thought: do you really think it would be a good idea to give a President Michele Bachmann or a President Rick Perry the authority to kill American citizens at will and with no due process? [emphasis added]

Being a historian, I try to understand these issues by looking at how we got where we are. As a civil libertarian, I am concerned that whatever is done be done within the law.
Glenn Greenwald:
[D]uring the Bush years, civil libertarians who tried to convince conservatives to oppose that administration’s radical excesses would often ask things like this: would you be comfortable having Hillary Clinton wield the power to spy on your calls or imprison you with no judicial reivew or oversight?  So for you good progressives out there justifying this, I would ask this:  how would the power to assassinate U.S. citizens without due process look to you in the hands of, say, Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann?
Michael Ratner:
The dire implications of this killing should not be lost on any of us. There appears to be no limit to the president's power to kill anywhere in the world, even if it involves killing a citizen of his own country. Today, it's in Yemen; tomorrow, it could be in the UK or even in the United States. [emphasis added]
 Marcy Wheeler:
The Administration very specifically and deliberately told a court that precisely the things needed to prove the operation was legal–whether Yemen was cooperating and precisely what Awlaki had done to amount to operational activity, not to mention what the CIA’s role in this assassination was–were state secrets. Particularly given the growing number of times (with Reynolds, Arar, Horn, al-Haramain, and Jeppesen) when the government has demonstrably invoked state secrets to hide illegal activity, the fact that the government has claimed precisely these critical details to be secret in this case only make its claims the killing was legal that much more dubious.

Critical thinkers must assume, given the government’s use of state secrets in recent years, that it invoked state secrets precisely because its legal case was suspect, at best.

Aside from John Brennan spreading state secrets, the Administration has tried to sustain the fiction that these details are secret in on the record statements, resulting in this kind of buffoonery.
Jake Tapper:    You said that Awlaki was demonstrably and provably involved in operations.  Do you plan on demonstrating –
MR. CARNEY:  I should step back.  He is clearly — I mean “provably” may be a legal term.  I think it has been well established, and it has certainly been the position of this administration and the previous administration that he is a leader in — was a leader in AQAP; that AQAP was a definite threat, was operational, planned and carried out terrorist attacks that, fortunately, did not succeed, but were extremely serious — including the ones specifically that I mentioned, in terms of the would-be Christmas Day bombing in 2009 and the attempt to bomb numerous cargo planes headed for the United States.  And he was obviously also an active recruiter of al Qaeda terrorists.  So I don’t think anybody in the field would dispute any of those assertions.
Q    You don’t think anybody else in the government would dispute that?
MR. CARNEY:  Well, I wouldn’t know of any credible terrorist expert who would dispute the fact that he was a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and that he was operationally involved in terrorist attacks against American interests and citizens.
Q    Do you plan on bringing before the public any proof of these charges?
MR. CARNEY:  Again, the question makes us — has embedded within it assumptions about the circumstances of his death that I’m just not going to address.
Q    How on earth does it have — I really don’t understand.  How does — he’s dead.  You are asserting that he had operational control of the cargo plot and the Abdulmutallab plot. He’s now dead.  Can you tell us, or the American people — or has a judge been shown –
MR. CARNEY:  Well, again, Jake, I’m not going to go any further than what I’ve said about the circumstances of his death and –
Q    I don’t even understand how they’re tied.
MR. CARNEY:  — the case against him, which, again, you’re linking.  And I think that –
Q    You said that he was responsible for these things.
MR. CARNEY:  Yes, but again –
Q    Is there going to be any evidence presented?
MR. CARNEY:  I don’t have anything for you on that.
Q    Do you not see at all — does the administration not see at all how a President asserting that he has the right to kill an American citizen without due process, and that he’s not going to even explain why he thinks he has that right is troublesome to some people?
MR. CARNEY:  I wasn’t aware of any of those things that you said actually happening.  And again, I’m not going to address the circumstances of Awlaki’s death.  I think, again, it is an important fact that this terrorist, who was actively plotting — had plotted in the past, and was actively plotting to attack Americans and American interests, is dead.  But I’m not going to — from any angle — discuss the circumstances of his death.
I can imagine a Press Secretary Andrew Breitbart gleefully taking this same line on January 27, 2013.

Sadly, here in Alaska, one of the people listed as having had an unfortunate event a week after somebody like Palin takes office, wrote the following this morning about the demise of  al-`Awlaqi.  Here's Jesse Griffin at The Immoral Minority, doing the snoopy dance:


If you click on the link at the top you can read all of the details of Obama's "palling around," which in Obama-speak means "bust a cap in their ass."

Apparently being his "pal "can be quite dangerous.

Under Obama, the United States, particularly the Executive Branch, is drifting further and further from the rule of law.


Anonymous said...

What made me most sick about seeing this article is the fact you referred to Palin as 'president' and showed her in front of the White House. That indication made me totally sick to my stomach.

And, I disagree w/your stand on this....the man was a terrorist - treasonist - he had to be stopped and I'm proud of President Obama having the ability to make the decision.

I swear to God - it doesn't matter what our great President does that is good and protects the citizens of the USA.....he is always admonished.

I think you are way off base. And, please for God's sake, don't refer to Palin as 'president'!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sarah loves her German bloggers. They solidify her base.

Philip Munger said...

@ 3:02,

Good grief! If you call your local library, they may be able to recommend a free reading comprehension course for you.

Rule of law = relue of law, no matter who occupies the White House oval office. Don't you understand that?

Anonymous said...

My gawd Phil! Using that pic and title for her is so FRIGHTful!

As far as our Exec branch getting further and further fron the rule of law, isn't that just one more of the previous administrations nasty habits continued, much to our collective dismay and disappointment?

A thought provoking post. I'm off to go scrub my eyeballs out.

Susan in MD

Celia Harrison said...

People don't understand that no matter what someone is accused of they must have due process. If any one of us looses their right to a trial with vigorous representation we are all in danger. This BTW has already happened, but people are still stuck in the news media and movie model of our court systems which is false, just like they believe inmates are getting good health care. You can be accused of a crime falsely and then get railroaded in this country, it happens all the time. There are no exceptions for any citizen no matter who they are or what they have done.

Anonymous said...

First of all, as Palin understands it, it is the White House Department of Law. And her Attorney General, I think, would be as equally unqualified and as inexplicable in a position of power - enter insurance specialist, Talis Colberg.

annettej said...

It seems there are no limits to this derangement . . . .

Thanks for settling something that I have longed believed. I'm sure Awlaqi could have been subdued with a harshly handwritten double spaced summons. I know I would have felt safer if he'd turned himself in like the good American he is—excuse me, was.

Our American terrorist was indeed exceptional and just because he flouted the law, lived by the sword and basically thumbed his nose at all that is human and good--I still will not weep for him or cry that he didn't get "due process". Another day and time, maybe.

I shall weep for the hungry, uninsured and people being beaten in NYC who actually are using their citizenship to stand for something besides terror and the death of innocents.

Mr. Munger, you can stand on the rule of law and principle and be better than the rest of us. I salute you. Truly. But I guess I would salute you a bit more if I didn't know that whatever decIsion this President made, you'd think it was unethical, weak or treacherous.

And the Palin thing. That was just creepy nasty. Thanks for the nightmares.

Aussie Blue Sky said...

Phil, would you be the first to offer your military serviceman son's life to the mission of attempting to capture the terrorists instead of killing them?

Anonymous said...

Al Awlaki was a member of AlQaeda which has declared war on the United States.Thusly he effectively renounced his American citizenship.So his termination is nothing more than an enemy combatent killed in action.

Philip Munger said...

The point isn't the guys that got whacked.

The point is that once a president uses these creepy tools, they remain in the toolkit for the next person to use, as creatively as his or her attorneys can lie themselves into the limelight of the chief executive's inner circle can come up with - as in John Yoo.

Again, I'd like to recommend a course that I might call "Reading comprehension for Obamabots."

Aussie Blue Sky said...

Phil, I don't think your "Obamabots" crack is justified. The hardest blowback isn't coming from the Right.

Philip Munger said...


I think these are largely redirects from my criticism of Gryph's adulation of Obama's assassination yesterday.

Unknown said...

Oh My, Phil!

Unknown said...


Thanks so much for the hint that we make a difference!

Anonymous said...

This is a wild way to go at it :-) but I think you are correct that this event is important in light of possible future uses of this executive behavior.
If we are to truly be a nation of laws , not of (wo)men we have to pay attention to the law itself even when we are mostly /partly ok with the person/people in office.
The reeling in of our internal and external so-called intelligence communities post civil rights era ( J Edgar anyone?)and foodling-in-other-countrys'-politics-cold-war era ( anyone remember our part in Chile's mess ? Iran's mess? A whole bunch of other nasty harmful-to-everyday-citizens messes?) was very important. It's still important.
I don't buy your hyperbole at times ( this time either ) but I buy the solid underpinnings of this essay.
The law is what protects us when we have crappy leaders, it ought not be bent or twisted when we have good or ok leaders. Period.
Alaska Pi

Anonymous said...

I do not recall this type of death to americans who fought for Germany or Japan in the middle of the last century being protested like this is being protested. I think the similarities are there.