President Obama has ordered the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen born in New Mexico. This is further than the Bush administration actually went, which had stopped - as far as we know - at arresting, torturing, and holding American citizens born on American soil indefinitely. Greenwald, as usual:
No due process is accorded. No charges or trials are necessary. No evidence is offered, nor any opportunity for him to deny these accusations (which he has done vehemently through his family). None of that.
Instead, in Barack Obama's America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens -- and a death penalty imposed -- is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someone's guilt as a Terrorist. He then dispatches his aides to run to America's newspapers -- cowardly hiding behind the shield of anonymity which they're granted -- to proclaim that the Guilty One shall be killed on sight because the Leader has decreed him to be a Terrorist. It is simply asserted that Awlaki has converted from a cleric who expresses anti-American views and advocates attacks on American military targets (advocacy which happens to be Constitutionally protected) to Actual Terrorist "involved in plots." These newspapers then print this Executive Verdict with no questioning, no opposition, no investigation, no refutation as to its truth. And the punishment is thus decreed: this American citizen will now be murdered by the CIA because Barack Obama has ordered that it be done. What kind of person could possibly justify this or think that this is a legitimate government power?
This embracing of Bush-era radicalism in executive power became sadly predictable before the election, and was particularly obvious with then-Senator Obama's 180-degree turn in voting for both retroactive immunity for clear and indisputable lawbreaking in domestic warrantless spying by the US government and telecommunications companies on Americans, and the forward legalisation of this process. (Legal, at least, insofar as something so blatantly against the black letter law of the Constitution can be called legal.) This is crazy illegal too:
The full Hamdi Court held that at least some due process was required before Americans could be imprisoned as "enemy combatants." Yet now, Barack Obama is claiming the right not merely to imprison, but to assassinate far from any battlefield, American citizens with no due process of any kind.