Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Media Noticeably Quiet on Obama’s Policy of Targeted Assassinations of Citizens Abroad
By Greg Campbell / TPNN Contributor


A leaked memo from the Obama Administration has outlined the official policy of the United States in regards to the assassination of American citizens on foreign soil.

The leaked memo explained that drone strikes used to kill American citizens that are suspected of being engaged in terrorism is legitimate and lawful. The memo that was provided to the members of Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees is entitled, “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa’ida or An Associated Force.”

The memo outlines a broad range of instances when the U.S. could target an American citizen for assassination and makes extensive use of ambiguous phrasing to describe who constitutes a threat, how imminent the threat is and who, in fact, are even enemy combatants.

Despite some discussion in the mainstream media, the media has, thus far, been unwilling or unable to secure many direct answers from the Obama Administration on this issue. However, the media was relentless during the Bush years in their criticism and their pursuit of clarification on what the operational procedure was for enemy combatants.

The media inquiries for clarification on the controversial and confidential memo that have occurred have been met with panicked obfuscation of the issue by the White House. Neil Munro noted,
“President Barack Obama today walked away from a roomful of journalists, leaving Jay Carney to evade numerous media questions about the administration’s semi-secret, closed-door process of killing American citizens who are tied to jihad.
The numerous questions were prompted by the release late Monday of the administration’s legal brief explaining why it has the legal and presidential authority to kill overseas Americans in al-Qaida, even without a trial or public due process.
‘I think you’ve seen in the way that this president has approached them the seriousness with which he takes all of his responsibilities on this,’ claimed Carney, moments after Obama walked out of the press room after delivering a short statement on the pending sequester budget cuts.”
After evading the questions of reporters on the leaked memo, Carney stated that the questions would be best answered by a lawyer. However, President Obama is a lawyer and has taught Constitutional Law, but has still, nonetheless, remained evasive on the issue.

The memo poses several problems for the Obama Administration:

After Obama rode to office denouncing the foreign policy of the Bush Administration, it appears that the Obama Administration has embraced a foreign policy that makes broader use of drone strikes in military engagements.

Secondly, the flexible terminology could give many Americans pause as while the memo seems to target American citizens engaged in jihad, it also enables a broadening definition of “enemy combatant” mixed with the noticeable absence of due process.

With regards to a drone strike, the memo reads,
“As stated earlier, this paper does not attempt to determine the minimum requirements necessary to render such an operation lawful, nor does it assess what might be required to render a lethal operation against a U.S. citizen lawful in other circumstances.”
America has seen a foreign policy heavily reliant on drone technology developed by defense spending throughout the 2000’s, intervention in the Middle East and toppling of quasi-stable regimes to be replaced with increasingly unstable regimes, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and a doctrine of military engagement that provides an ambiguous outline for what assassinations are lawful.

Obama came into office claiming to end the wars and promised to engage foreign policy very dissimilarly than that of his predecessor who had become much-maligned by the press. In fact, only days after taking the oath of office, Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for merely holding the potential to create peace.

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