A Peculiar Kind of Reasoning


Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, gamingvulture.tumblr.com. And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Stillwater says:

    It is a bit shocking, no? And he has to say it, doesn’t he? After what went down?

    As to the constitutionality of it all, I’m not at all in a position to argue it one way or another. But it sounds about right. If the government has the authority to kill people in any event, then it seems it would also have the authority to kill US citizens in foreign countries under the conditions outlined (basically, a list of otherwise applicable conditions which may be abrogated due to circumstance). If not, then government would be in principle deprived of an otherwise justified use of its constitutionally accorded powers, one which it is in fact required to perform. Of course, the problem with Holder’s argument is that there’s no public review of charges or evidence, so there’s no real check on the exercise of this power. But is that required for constitutionality, especially given the argument made?

    All that said, I don’t like what it permits or what it implies.Report

  2. Avatar ted whalen says:

    Northwestern University, not Northeastern University. One’s a major international research institution with Big Ten athletics in a world-class city and the other, I guess, is in Boston.


  3. Avatar Mopey Duns says:

    Now it reads northweastern.Report

  4. Avatar BSK says:

    “First, the U.S. government has determined, after a thorough and careful review, that the individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; second, capture is not feasible; and third, the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.””

    That is all fine and dandy.  Just demonstrate that those three conditions were all met.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I recall a time not long ago, when I (together many other people) was horrified that our phones could be tapped by presidential order.  And when the Administration suggested, as a compromise, that the AG would also have to approve, we said “The president and the purely independent voice of someone that he can fire, huh?  Bullcrap.  Get a court order and we’ll talk.”

    Now apparently it’s acceptable for the president to order someone killed without the decision process ever leaving his administration. God help us.Report

  6. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:


    Generally there’s more commentary at Lawfare, but the gist of it is that Holder’s speech is pretty legally nuanced. Whether or not you agree, is a different matter.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      I intend to read Lawfare in full on Holder’s speech before sounding off. Failure to do so would be the blogging equivalent of professional negligence.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      It’s also worth noting that there’s some explicit acknowledgments in the speech that are firsts. For example the notion that Due Process protections apply even to enemy combatant US citizens abroad is a first.Report

      • Avatar Jeff says:

        Yes, but “due process” doesn’t mean a judge.  Odd definition of “due process” to me.

        This is the difference between the right and the left.  When Bush trotted out his Executive Privilege BS, the right shouted “traitor” to anyone who dared speak up.  On the other hand, the liberal blogs are denouncing Holder  in no uncertain terms.

        If there was a mensch running on the Republican side, I would hold my nose and vote R.  For good or ill, I don’t have to (or get to) make that choice.Report