The New American February 20 2013
House Democrat leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California is under fire from across the political spectrum after admitting in an interview, among a host of other controversial positions, that she was not opposed to President Obama’s secret executions of U.S. citizens without a trial or even charges. She also claimed that, depending on the timing and situation, it was acceptable for the executive branch to simply “disappear” Americans and keep it secret — a wildly unconstitutional notion that even most Third World dictators would never dare support publicly.
The Obama administration, of course, admits to believing it has the power to legitimately murder anyone, anywhere, anytime — no charges, trial, jury, or due process are needed. Americans have known about the murderous program for years, but more facts about it were exposed recently when an apparently leaked memo from the Justice Department “justifying” the murders hit the headlines earlier this month. The incredible document purporting to legalize extrajudicial assassinations shocked even the president’s most slavish supporters.
Speaking to the extremely Democrat-friendly Huffington Post, however, the former Speaker of the House said she was not even sure whether the Obama administration should tell the public when it lawlessly executes an American. “Maybe,” she told the liberal media outlet after being asked if the government ought to acknowledge murdering U.S. citizens with a drone strike after the deed is done. “It just depends.” What it “depends” on was not immediately clear.
Rep. Pelosi, who infamously said the deeply unpopular ObamaCare would have to be passed so the American people could find out what was in it, cited public opinion as one reason that lawmakers have allowed the president to unconstitutionally becomejudge, jury, and executioner without much protest. “It’s interesting how popular it is in the public,” she claimed about Obama’s extrajudicial assassination program.
The administration’s lawless policy, as The New American’s Joe Wolverton has documented extensively, has already claimed the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, and other nations. Even an American teenager, 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was assassinated by a drone strike under the administration’s program without ever being so much as charged with a crime.
Pelosi, though, despite her oath of office, apparently relies on public opinion rather than the Constitution she swore to uphold — at least if it is to support Obama and his radical agenda. “People just want to be protected,” she told the Huffington Post. “And I saw that when we were fighting them on surveillance, the domestic surveillance. People just want to be protected: ‘You go out there and do it. I’ll criticize you, but I want to be protected.'”
When former President George W. Bush was in office, Democrats rightfully condemned his lawless activities — spying on Americans without a warrant, torturing suspects, and even murdering people with drones. Under Obama, however, despite the fact that his administration has gone far beyond what even the Bush administration was doing, serious Democrat criticism of the rogue and unlawful executive-branch activities has all but ceased to exist.
The former House speaker, however, denied the she or her party were hypocritical. “Those opposed are pretty critical, and other people are just listening to see what this is and why this is necessary, because we’re in a different world,” Pelosi claimed, disputing the idea that Democrats are less critical of the mass-murder program than they would have been if a Republican were in the White House.
Apparently, then, the establishment wing of both parties agrees: Despite the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the president now has the power to secretly murder or indefinitely detain anyone, including Americans, anywhere in the world at any time. They also seem to agree that no justification is necessary and that the public does not even have to be informed.
In terms of Obama secretly “disappearing” Americans, Rep. Pelosi, while apparently appearing “conflicted,” confirmed that she thought it was essentially alright. “It depends on the situation,” she said. “Maybe it depends on the timing, because that’s right — it’s all about timing, imminence. What is it that could be in jeopardy if people know that happened at this time? I just don’t know.”
The Huffington Post went on to cite a variety of polls claiming that a slim majority of Americans support the extrajudicial assassination of people “suspected” of being high-level members of al-Qaeda — an organization originally created, armed, and funded by the U.S. government that, in Libya and Syria at least, continues to receive support from the Obama administration. If the “suspect” is American, supposed public support for murder without charge or trial drops to about 43 percent, the survey showed.
Despite the polls, however, prominent anti-war Democrats are still speaking out. “Polls, schmolls,” said former Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who worked with ex-GOP Congressman Ron Paul in an effort to rein in the administration’s unlawful assassination schemes. “What if you asked the public, does the government have the right to summarily execute you if they think you have committed a crime? You take that poll and you see what kind of answer you get. The questions that are being asked are being asked to try to justify the policy.”
Like former Rep. Paul, Kucinich recognized the fact that Obama’s murder program was wildly unconstitutional and a complete abuse of power. “It’s morally abhorrent, it’s objectionable and I don’t care if it’s politically popular or not,” Kucinich was quoted as saying by the Post. “You can find a lot of things in the past that were politically popular that after further consideration the public decided [were] morally repugnant.”
Outside the polls cited by the Huffington Post, which indeed seemed aimed at eliciting the impression of public support for Obama’s mass-murder program, other recent surveys have come up with starkly different findings. A recent poll by Rasmussen, for instance, found that barely 20 percent of Americans thought the president should have sole authority to order an execution. Only slightly over a third of the public, meanwhile, favored the use of drone strikes to murder U.S. citizens abroad — not that public opinion should matter when it comes to upholding the Constitution that Obama and every member of Congress took an oath to uphold.
Establishment Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), often blasted as a Republican in Name Only (RINO), and establishment Democrats such as Rep. Pelosi have spoken out to support the lawless reign of terror waged by Obama. However, there is also significant and growing opposition to the mass-murder program among prominent Democrats and major segments of the GOP. Even among Obama supporters, criticism of the lawlessness is growing; but among constitutionalists, the outrage is becoming increasingly fierce.
“Anytime the government willfully executes a citizen, regardless of the circumstances, it is a very serious issue,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told the Washington Examiner. “As the body that oversees executive branch actions, at the very least, Congress should have a full accounting — even if it must sometimes be in a classified setting — of the specific considerations that went into the decision.”
According to Sen. Lee, in stark contrast to sentiments expressed by Pelosi and Obama, government should always err on the side of greater transparency. “Where there are limited and serious national security concerns about releasing certain details, the appropriate committees in Congress should have the opportunity to perform oversight,” he added, noting that in some instances where the administration released its “legal analysis,” the justifications have been “wrong.”
“If you’re going to regard somebody as presenting an imminent threat of an attack on the U.S. simply because you have concluded that they are an ‘operational leader’ or they are involved in planning an attack in one way or another, you find yourself giving way to much discretion to the government,” Lee told the Examiner after the Justice Department memo purporting to justify extrajudicial assassinations was made public.
On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also slammed the murderous program and the secrecy behind it. “Every American has the right to know when their government believes it’s allowed to kill them,” Wyden told the rabidly pro-Obama MSNBC during a recent interview. “I don’t think that, as one person said, that is too much to ask. And this idea that security and liberty are mutually exclusive, that you can only have one or the other, is something I reject.”
The Democrat Senator, like other members of Congress, plans to take action, too, even if it is tepid. “So we’re now going to have to begin the heavy lifting of the congressional oversight process by examining the legal underpinnings of this program and to make very clear I am going to push for more declassification of these key kinds of programs,” he continued. “And I think we can do that consistent with national security.”
Critics in the antiwar movement also attacked the controversial assassination program and especially the remarks made by the top House Democrat. “Pelosi is erring on the side of deference,” observed analyst John Glaser with the popular, liberty-minded AntiWar.com blog. “If Obama declares he will strip Americans of the Constitutional rights and that it needs to be secret because divulging such information could ‘harm national security,’ she grants him that prerogative because she is not an independent voice in the branch of government meant to serve as a check on the President’s power. Instead, she is an apparatchik; she’s a Party mouthpiece faced with the task of capitulating to the Party leadership.”
While Obama publicly claims to be fighting “al-Qaeda and associated forces” as part of a terror war, in Libya and Syria, the administration was caught providing arms, training, and support to self-described leaders of the terrorist organization. In reality — as documents from the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, “fusion centers,” and even military think tanksmake clear — the U.S. government considers veterans, pro-life activists, constitutionalists, gun owners, and other regular Americans to be the primary “terror” threat facing the “Homeland.”
If Congress and the American people allow the president to continue secretly assassinating and “disappearing” Americans at will without even charging them with a crime, lawmakers and analysts say it is only a matter of time before those usurped unconstitutional powers are turned on the citizenry. Opposition exists: More than a few critics have called for Obama to be impeached or even prosecuted for war crimes and treason. With support from Democrat leadership and much of the GOP establishment, however, it appears that Obama will be allowed to run roughshod over the Constitution and the unalienable rights of Americans — at least for the foreseeable future.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at [email protected].