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Kucinich writes: "How long can a democracy last with a foreign policy based on assassination without oversight? Thus far, it's been about ten years."

Congressman Dennis Kucinich. (photo: AP)
Congressman Dennis Kucinich. (photo: AP)


Assassination Without Oversight

By Dennis Kucinch, Reader Supported News

27 November 12

 

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who recently led 26 Members of Congress in a letter asking the President of the United States to explain the legal justification for targeted killings, today released the following statement:

he CIA and the military use drones to drop bombs on our suspected enemies and no one denies that innocent people have been killed in the process. The only debate is how many.

"It is hard to know how many civilians have been killed, in part because we don’t always know who we are killing. The CIA conducts certain strikes called ‘signature strikes’ in which an individual is targeted based on ‘defining characteristics.’ Even more troubling, our government defines ‘any male of fighting age’ as a combatant in order to gain more latitude in whom it can target for such strikes.

"The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that the United States has killed as many as 1,105 innocent civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia alone. This includes as many as 213 children. According to The New York Times, the United Nations will establish a unit to investigate American drone strikes next year.

"The current Administration’s response to questions about this program has been ‘trust us.’ The White House claims that the strikes are legal, but refuses to provide the memos which it uses as its legal framework. In addition to Congress’ responsibility to provide checks and balances, Congress has a responsibility to defend our national security. Many nations around the world are developing comparable drone technology and I think we would all agree that a foreign attack on American soil in which American civilians were killed would be an act of war.

"A recent article in The New York Times revealed that there is no clear set of rules determining the use of targeted killings – the attacks are left to the judgment of the President and his advisors – and that this current Administration agrees that whether the attacks are appropriate is a matter of trust.

"According to this article in the Times the Administration rushed to create a legal framework before the new year out of fear that a different administration might be in charge. The Times quotes one official explaining, ‘There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands.’

"The reality is that such rules already exist under the laws of war and international law. The United States conducts attacks in foreign countries that we are not at war with and in which innocent civilians are killed. We are creating a dangerous precedent for other nations, but the only established explanation is that this Administration only kills people when it is absolutely necessary. Yet even this Administration acknowledges it wouldn’t trust this system if this Administration wasn’t in control.

"How long can a democracy last with a foreign policy based on assassination without oversight?"

"Thus far, it’s been about ten years."

 

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+28 # SMoonz 2012-11-28 00:09
If only more people had voted for Mr. Kucinich in the Democratic primaries in 2004 and 2008. Things could be so much different today. Instead we got what we got, 2 lousy presidents (Bush and Obama).

Kucinich is a true American who stands up for the people and defends what this nation truly represents.

I am proud I voted for this man then and I would do so again in a heartbeat.
 
 
+19 # suziemama 2012-11-28 01:04
...And this is why I worked on the campaign of Dr. Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party presidential nominee, and the presidential campaigns of Congressman Dennis Kucinich in 2004 and 2008, Democratic candidate. If progressives actually supported the best candidates with their time and money, instead of cowering in the corner, we might actually preserve Democracy.
 
 
+20 # Milarepa 2012-11-28 01:38
The US has invented a whole new, sophisticated vocabulary to circumscribe the fact of killing. The question as to how long a democracy can last etc should be answered "Not a day." And it hasn't. American democracy ended when W. came in. Obama
is just continuing in his footsteps, and adding refinements of his own.
 
 
+21 # James Marcus 2012-11-28 03:30
This is Mafia Talk. Legal? Give me a break!
These murders are both treasonous and immoral. 'Hitlerian', at best.
The 'Administration ' can, and will, say whatever it pleases....proo f that This Democracy did not make it ten years...as a democracy.
 
 
+19 # fdawei 2012-11-28 04:14
Congressman Kucinich is correct...how long can a democracy last with a foreign policy based on assassination without oversight?
If the leader of a foreign country were to do the same, the President and his advisors and even the oppositon would be the first to scream foul.
Did the American electorate re-elect this president to assassinate supposed terrorists wherever they may be?
How can we hold our heads high and permit such heinous and arbitrary decisions made by a select few in the president's circle of co-conspirators ? Who gave them the right, how do they decide who is to be "offed?"
This is a thoroughly despicable act from the leader of the free-world where democracy reigns, or does it?
 
 
+27 # RMDC 2012-11-28 04:41
Thanks, Dennis. You are one of the very few in government who has consistently spoken out against the worst abuses of war, banking, and corruption.

I would only disagree with the last statement. The US ceased being a democracy long ago. The US government is controlled by the root of the problem you cite -- the military-indust rial-banking complex. Eisenhower was right to note the dangers of the military establishment to democracy way back in the 1950s.

The drone campaign is the leading edge of a new campaign to recolonize much of Africa, the middle east, and central asia. There were Pentagon research papers going back to the 90s about the ability to assassinate leaders around the world by some sort of remote control. Space weapons are being developed for targetted assassinations. Such high level murder or terrorism is at the heart of the US government. It is not a program that can be stopped. The ultimate goal is to advance the US corporate conquest of natural resources all over the world. The USG is now not a lot more than Murder, Inc.
 
 
+5 # Urbancurmudgeon 2012-11-28 07:24
Kucinich has the wrong answer to his own question. It's not ten years, it's since the beginning of time. The problem isn't any national policy it's war itself. The reality is that despite attempts by nations to mitigate the brutality of war it continues on with the basic premise that I will kill you before you kill me and anything goes.

The solution to Kucinich's problem is an end to international greed and uncontrolled religion, but who thinks that these goals are achievable?

AS soon as man stopped fighting wars on the battlefield, the death of innocents became a fait accompli. To think otherwise is to avoid the issue.
 
 
+6 # PGreen 2012-11-28 13:09
While I completely agree with you on the atrocity of war, and believe that we should work to end it, I think that Kucinich provides us with a valuable analysis and potential strategy to accomplish this goal. Returning the United States to upholding its constitutional law (as well as international laws) would help. A lawless nation-- as one operating from the unrestrained edicts of an executive branch-- is an extremely dangerous thing, both for the world and for its own citizens.
The problem is immense, but so is the will of those committed to peace and civil liberties.
 
 
+7 # LegacyCost 2012-11-28 09:44
The Congresssman warned us about the unjust nature of the Iraq war need for peace as an organizing priciple and now about extra judicial killings. My question is whos is listening? Where are the American statesmen? Have all our leaders just decended into being political hacks? Rhetorical question ...I know.
 
 
-1 # arquebus 2012-11-28 11:35
Would it have been immoral or wrong for the US to have assassinated Adolph Hitler in 1941 when it was already obvious that he was responsible for 10s of thousands of deaths? If you say no your moral compass is broken. Other than scale, there is no difference between Adolph and the terrorists being targeted.

And, is it moral to allow an organization to use your country as a launching pad for terrorist attacks as has been the case for Pakistan, Yemen or to provide refuge for murderers who seek to murder yet again?

Do you really prefer to do nothing and allow these thugs to slaughter people as they did at the WTC?
 
 
+7 # dbriz 2012-11-28 16:10
Quoting arquebus:
Would it have been immoral or wrong for the US to have assassinated Adolph Hitler in 1941 when it was already obvious that he was responsible for 10s of thousands of deaths? If you say no your moral compass is broken. Other than scale, there is no difference between Adolph and the terrorists being targeted.

And, is it moral to allow an organization to use your country as a launching pad for terrorist attacks as has been the case for Pakistan, Yemen or to provide refuge for murderers who seek to murder yet again?

Do you really prefer to do nothing and allow these thugs to slaughter people as they did at the WTC?


You have created a classic inductive logical fallacy laced with straw man illogic.

Since you are into asking questions:

Is it immoral or wrong to assassinate a citizen of the United States without charges being filed, without due process, habeas corpus or protection of the rule of law under the Constitution of the United States?

Does the President of the US have the right to order the assassination of US citizens by himself or by committee?

Do you believe that asking the President to abide by the Constitution would constitute "...doing nothing..." against the thugs that pulled off 9-11?

Are you aware that those "thugs" were all from Saudi Arabia?

Is it "moral" to attack a nation that had nothing to do with any attack upon this country?

Is it possible to EVER win a war against an adjective?
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2012-11-28 18:39
arquebus -- the answer to your first question is "yes". And there were Germans who tried. Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was a lutheran priest debated the moral question with himself and decided that the moral thing to do was to assassinate Hitler. He tried, was caught, and executed.

But you must have the facts straight. The US supported Hitler until 1941 and there would have been no hitler without the support of American corporations.

Your reference to Pakistan is wrong. These people are defending their country from invaders from America. If America left Afganistan and Pakistan, they would not be fighting against Americans.

Who were the thugs who slaughtered people on 9-11. It sure as hell was not anyone from Pakistan or Afghanistan. The best evidence points to the neo-cons and Dick Cheney in particular.

Moral decisons about violence and "just war theory" or self-defense require a true analysis of the fact. The US uses false evidence as a pretext for acts of aggression and terrorism.

I would prefer to go after the real thugs who blew up the WTC and building 7 but there has been nothing like a decent criminal investigation by any police system in the US. All we have is lies. What do you do about people who lie in order to bomb other people?
 
 
0 # futhark 2012-11-29 01:45
Thanks RDMC for refocusing the question about the "thugs" behind 9-11. There is no question in my mind that the neo-cons and Dick Cheney were involved. The best links to international connections seem to lead to Israel rather than to Afghanistan.

A real investigation of 9-11 has been consistently thwarted by government agencies and a compliant media insisting on the orthodox "Islamic militants did it" hypothesis, for which there is little factual evidence.
 
 
0 # SMoonz 2012-11-29 00:31
Congratulations , you still believe the 9/11 fairy tale about 19 guys in box cutters. Please try again.
 
 
+1 # RMDC 2012-11-30 04:36
The great irony of the drone murder campaign is that it is not being used against america's enemies. In Yemen the US is killing the enemies of Saudi Arabia. In Pakistan, the US is murdering the enemies of the Pakistani military. In Somalia, Obama is murdering the enemies of the terrorist bands who keep the country in chaos.

This is a simple case of the CIA having found its dream murder machine and it is going to town with it. Obama is just told to get in line or he will be droned out of office in the same way JFK or Nixon was when they disobeyed the CIA.
 

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