Obama’s Drone Memo: The Mind-boggling Hypocrisy Of The Left Is Alive & Well

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News broke today that Obama and pals have a memo that says they can kill any citizen of this country even if they are not engaged in a plot to attack the US:

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.

To sum up the memo (available here) it says that the US can target a citizen for death if they believe a threat to be “imminent” even when no threat is immediately present. The citizen must have been involved in “activities”, but doesn’t define “activities,” and it’s not up to the US to prove that the citizen is a imminent threat, no…instead the citizen must prove to one sole government official that he has renounced and abandoned the “activities”

Remember the wails, screams, protests, endless newscasts and so on when Bush just detained and eavesdropped on Americans.

Now Obama targets them for assassination and we get this from the far left?

TOURE NEBLETT: We’re at war with al Qaeda right now, and if you join al Qaeda, you lose the right to be an American. You lose the right to due process. You declare yourself an enemy of this nation, and you are committing treason. And I don’t see why we should expand American rights to people who want to kill Americans, who are working to kill Americans, who are committing treason. This is not criticizing the United States. This is going to war against the United States.

KRYSTAL BALL: …I’m on board with Toure. I think, you know, if we are at war with al Qaeda, and part of the challenge here is that is a war that does not have the borders of a traditional war, and that is what we’re grappling with really here, that’s part of the struggle. But the part that I’m uncomfortable with is, you know, why couldn’t this memo have been made public to start with?

She’s uncomfortable that the memo wasn’t released earlier is all. Who cares what the memo itself says.

Toure was asked on twitter by Kirsten Powers about this:

He’s the Commander in Chief.

Can you imagine him saying this if it was Bush.

This hypocrisy is just so unimaginable.

John Sexton brings up even more hypocrisy in this memo and the support Obama is getting from the left:

There have actually been several definitions of the Bush Doctrine. One of the most common has been the idea of launching a preemptive strike against any government who might pose a threat.

This idea of preemptive war was much maligned by the left during the Bush years. Mother Jones called it “a romantic justification for easy recourse to war whenever and wherever an American president chooses.” Charlie Gibson, describing it to Sarah Palin, called it “the right to anticipatory self-defense.”

…Key here [in the Obama memo] is the justification of the prevention of “future attacks.” The memo, a declassified summary of a classified memo, is especially elastic on what constitutes an imminent threat. What this amounts to is a justification of a preemptive strike or the right to anticipatory self-defense. This is President Obama’s more intimate version of the Bush Doctrine.

A doctrine the left hated and despised. Many called Bush a war criminal and protested in the streets.

But not for Obama.

Jameel Jaffer from the ACLU:

Who decides that a particular person presents a threat sufficient to justify the government’s summarily killing him? The Justice Department contends that the Constitution permits this decision to be entrusted to an “informed high-level official” — with no judicial review before the killing or even after. This is wrong and dangerous.

The Constitution prohibits the government from depriving a person of his life without due process, and due process requires judicial process, not just executive fiat. The Justice Department’s argument that judicial process is infeasible in the context of an armed conflict is an argument that the Supreme Court has already rejected. Even in the context of armed conflict, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Constitution “most assuredly envisions a role for all three branches when individual liberties are at stake.”

So which is it lefties? You were against it before you were for it?

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

28 Responses to “Obama’s Drone Memo: The Mind-boggling Hypocrisy Of The Left Is Alive & Well”

  1. 1

    MOS 8541

    Remember one factor that is not being made public. AQ and TOC’s and various terrorist organization have produced their own drones thanks to China.
    Stupidity is flourishing in d.c. as the cherry blossoms will soon.
    We as a nation are surrounded by the stupidity of what would we refer to a leaders.
    Too late America…

  2. 4

    [email protected]

    That’s just who they are; if not for double standards, they’d have none….

  3. 5


    I consider Obama to be an enemy of this country: I am sure he considers me to be his enemy and therefore an enemy of the Socialist States of America. He can grease me with one of his drones; I am old and I don’t really care that much, but many of you are young. Remember, Napolitano said the returning vets are more of a terrorist threat than the guys who commit terrorist acts. If you don’t climb on Obama’s turnip wagon of “Freedom,” you are an enemy of the Socialist States as well. Today we can kill Americans in other countries, but as the law and the threat evolves, who needs an arrest warrant? Obama will soon have the right to eliminate potential enemies of the Socialist States as they walk to their cars, after all he is the Commander in Chief and he knows what is good for Socialism. Like I say, I no longer give a damn. I will continue to write about the new Socialism, and if Bo wants to send his bully boys for me, let it happen; they will know they have been in a fight.

    Welcome to the Socialist States of America and the totalitarian concepts that trash your traditional rights as an American. His next goal is to silence through intimidation or eliminate opposition through assassination all opposition. We are the immediate threat to Utopia and the immense wealth his crony capitalists can reap as they rape the economy of middle class America.

    You can cower in fear or say, to Hell with you Obama, I hate you from the very fiber of my soul.

  4. 6


    This ought to scare the h*ll out of everyone, IMO. I doubt that it will, though, as you have different viewpoints from people, some of whom thought it was ok for al-Awlaki to be targeted as he was, and some of who seem to trust Obama unequivocally to “do the right thing”.

    The reason that I say this ought to scare the h*ll out of everyone is that this policy, by our government, throws away another important right of US citizens.

    US Constitution, Amendment V;

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Get that everyone? The Constitution forbids the government from depriving a citizen of his life, without due process, which means judicial review, no matter what the citizen’s acknowledged or accused crime might be.

    And ok, I get that al-Awlaki was a bad person who targeted citizens of his country in terrorist actions. Fine. I have no problem with throwing the book at him and ending his life. AFTER he is given due process. In fact, I would have no problem with him being killed during an attempted arrest or capture, like many criminals in this country are when they are armed and shoot back at police. That stuff happens. But at least the idea that the citizen in question is being given his chance to have their “day in court” is present.

    In the case of al-Awlaki, nothing.

    This starts us down a very, very slippery slope towards the worst the world has seen, al’a Stalin, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, or Idi Amein, Slobodan Milošević, Saddam Hussein, etc., who deemed themselves worthy of deciding the fates of others, including people who were citizens of their own countries.

    Haven’t a certain segment of American citizens already been noted, by this administration, as possible terrorist subjects, like white, middle-aged, TEA party supporter, veterans?

    And what is there to prevent those drone strikes from being turned inward, upon American soil, if another group like Koresh’s in Waco, or the Ruby Ridge inhabitants, become a threat to the government?

    Hell, when we Second amendment supporters claim, rightly so, that the Second Amendment asserts our right to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government, invariably on of the first things mentioned is that we cannot win because the Federal government owns tanks and planes. Drones ain’t much different from planes, are they?

    Or what if your name is something like David Jones, and you are a completely innocent citizen of our US, and some other person like al-Awlaki is using that same name as an alias. Say you travel to Africa to go on a hunting expedition. And say the Feds get notified that a David Jones is going to Africa, and you get wrongly identified as the terrorist? What then?

    All kinds of slippery slope things going on here, and I don’t trust anyone to have that kind of power over US citizens. You shouldn’t either.

  5. 7


    And this ought to worry people as well:

    The government says that they can target you if you are an “associated force” to AQ. That means you are identified as a “terrorist”. As I noted above, Big Sis and the Feds have already added people like me to that list of potential terrorists, as I am white, middle-aged, a veteran, associated with the TEA party, etc.

    And now gun-control is one of the big arguments of the day, with people in the Federal government wishing to limit my Second amendment rights. If we refuse to give in, are we not then going to be identified as enemies of the state?

    So what is to stop them from turning their targeting within our borders? Anything?

    Sure, you say this cannot happen here. Or that it won’t.

    Do you trust them?

  6. 8




    But at least the idea that the citizen in question is being given his chance to have their “day in court” is present.

    In the case of al-Awlaki, nothing.

    No, not quite.

    A a-As father brought suit and was represented by the ACLU in court. The Court ruled against him stating in part:

    For his part, Anwar Al-Aulaqi has made clear that he has no intention of
    making himself available for criminal prosecution in U.S. courts, remarking in a May 2010
    AQAP video interview that he “will never surrender” to the United States, and that “[i]f the
    Americans want me, [they can] come look for me.”
    See Wizner Decl., Ex. V; see also Clapper
    Decl. ¶ 16; Defs.’ Mem. at 14 n.5 (quoting Anwar Al-Aulaqi as stating, “I have no intention of
    turning myself in to [the Americans]. If they want me, let them search for me.”).

    Looks like we took him up on that request.

    The United States has, however, repeatedly stated that if Anwar Al-Aulaqi “were to surrender or otherwise present himself to the proper authorities in a peaceful and appropriate manner, legal principles with which the United States has traditionally and uniformly complied would prohibit using lethal force or other violence against him in such circumstances.” Id. at 2; see also Mot.
    Hr’g Tr. 15:2-9.

    …as the D.C. Circuit has explained, “[i]t is not the role of judges to second-guess, with the benefit of hindsight, another branch’s determination that the interests of the United States call for military action.” El-Shifa, 607 F.3d at 844. Such military determinations are textually committed to the political branches. See Schneider, 412 F.3d at 194-95 (explaining that “Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution . . . is richly laden with the delegation of foreign policy and national security powers to Congress,” while “Article II likewise provides allocation of foreign relations and national security powers to the President, the unitary chief executive” and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy).

    Judge Bates, in his opinion, also stated:

    …this Court recognizes the somewhat unsettling nature of its conclusion — that there are circumstances in which the Executive’s unilateral decision to kill a U.S. citizen overseas is “constitutionally committed to the political branches” and judicially unreviewable. But this case squarely presents such a circumstance. The political question doctrine requires courts to engage in a fact-specific analysis of the “particular question” posed by a specific case, see El– Shifa, 607 F.3d at 841 (quoting Baker, 369 U.S. at 211), and the doctrine does not contain any “carve-out” for cases involving the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. While it may be true that “the political question doctrine wanes” where the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens are at stake, Abu Ali, 350 F. Supp. at 64, it does not become inapposite. [p. 77 opinion, emphasis added]

    a-A had his opportunity to pursue “due process” but refused to do so.

    He chose poorly.

  7. 9

    [email protected]

    @johngalt: “The government says that they can target you if you are an “associated force” to AQ. That means you are identified as a “terrorist”. As I noted above, Big Sis and the Feds have already added people like me to that list of potential terrorists, as I am white, middle-aged, a veteran, associated with the TEA party, etc.”
    BINGO. They determined that the White House, unilaterally, decide who needs killing. And is there really any restrictions in that doc that says WHERE the executions can take place? I started barking at an idiot TSA “officer” for rousting an old lady on my way home from St. Thomas back in December and he said, point blank: “STFU or you’ll be living here.”

  8. 10

    Nan G

    First of all everything is a slippery slope.
    If Obama is willing to be police/judge/jury/executioner to Americans on foreign soil, when will he feel bold enough to try it on US soil?

    Now combine this with Obama’s idea of mandatory mental illness profiling before anyone can purchase a firearm.
    Only law-abiding people would even try to get a gun through legal channels.
    There are ways of skewing these tests so literally no one who would want a firearm might pass them.

    Recall also that Obama thought it was a war crime to put water up the nose of a prisoner who might have vital information that could save lives if extracted.

    So, whose side is Obama on?
    Al Qaeda is only ONE of many militant Islamist groups intent on worldwide caliphate.
    Also there are those other Islamist groups intent on worldwide caliphate who would try to step in after an al Qaeda (or AQ twin) does their dirty work.

    Sometimes I wonder if Obama kills specific targets in Islam to keep them quiet.
    What might they have testified to had they lived?

  9. 11


    @Nan G:

    Nan, it’s much, much wider than just some Islamic jihadist group(s). Read the language again that is used. In my opinion, it is intentionally ambiguous, to the point that anyone could be considered for targeting, depending on whom is making the targeting decisions.

    For those on the left, who might believe that I am just being paranoid, would you want to give this same power to someone on the right who sees Progressivism as a “danger” to our country?

  10. 12

    Nan G


    You’re right, JG.
    Obama NEVER uses the term Islamist.
    It has always been un-named who our ”enemy” is.
    The Apostle Paul 2,000 years ago wrote to early Christians that we should not stike out at the air, but know where our enemy is so as not to waste our punches.
    (He was speaking figuratively of course.)
    Obama would have our ”enemy” be anyone and anything.
    A grandmother in a wheelchair, a 5 year old boy who throws an imaginary grenade in a playtime while trying to ”save the world,” a charity.
    Did you know that Obama has opted to have his IRS audit charities at 79% greater numbers than the next highest past president?

  11. 13


    @Nan G:

    All I’m saying is that the memo is an opening gambit, or the continuation of it(depending on when you believe that it started), on how this WH will deal with it’s “enemies”.

    And the hypocrisy being displayed by the left is old news, even if it is ongoing. Back when Bush was president, even detaining a non-citizen “enemy combatant” in Gitmo indefinitely was considered a violation of that person’s human rights.


    We get crickets from the left when Obama is targeting American citizens abroad with military weapons, without due process.

    What has changed?

    The party and ideology in power right now.

    So, would I have agreed with this idea back when Bush was president? Drone strikes on suspected AQ leaders?……………………………………….Yes, I would. The targeting of American citizens abroad, chosen by the WH as targets and placed on “kill lists”?………………………………I don’t think so.

    And why? Because if I am to be consistent in my defense of the Constitution, the Fifth amendment MUST apply equally to everyone, including people like al-Awlaki, an American citizen by birth, otherwise it means nothing, as anyone, depending upon their circumstance and the viewpoint of their accusers, could be considered an “enemy” per whoever has their finger on the button, so to speak.

  12. 14


    Presumably most of us have believed it to be in the best interest of the United States to eliminate as much of al Qaeda’s top leadership structure as possible, and to eliminate as many central figures—such as mission organizers, bomb makers, recruiter/propagandists, etc—as possible. They have often been in areas inaccessible to our conventional military forces, where the use of capture/kill teams could pose an unacceptably high risk of mission failure, and/or an unacceptably high risk of losing the team itself. Give that, was it better to have made extensive use of drones, or would it have been better to have let the al Qaeda operatives in question go about their business?

    To my way of thinking, the first choice was the correct one.

    Do I have qualms about the targeting of an American citizen? I most certainly do. However, it also bothers me that an American citizen would have declared himself an enemy of the nation and would have openly allied himself with a foreign organization seeking to destroy it. By all accounts al-Awlaki was a highly effective propagandist and recruiter for a group that actively works to kill U.S. soldiers and citizens, and has far too often been successful in their efforts to do so.

    This seemed like a dilemma back in early 2010, when it first came to public attention: U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

    To my way of thinking, the correct choice was made.

    If that leaves me open to accusations of being a hypocrite, so be it. I had a lot more issues with the former president that I do with the current one. This doesn’t come down to any one particular policy or decision; it’s the pattern that emerges when you look at all of them.

    I have no problem if people insist on a careful public examination of the decision about Anwar al-Awlaki. The targeted killing of an American citizen at the order of any president is no small matter. I think it’s disingenuous to suggest that the Executive Branch has assumed a power to kill whoever it wants, however. Anwar al-Awlaki doesn’t represent a precedent; he represents an extremely rare exception to a rule.

  13. 15



    Do I have qualms about the targeting of an American citizen? I most certainly do. However, it also bothers me that an American citizen would have declared himself an enemy of the nation and would have openly allied himself with a foreign organization seeking to destroy it.

    Same here. The thing is, as Aye pointed out above, A-A was given a chance of due process. To further the case against A-A, he’s on record as being a blatant enemy of the US. What I have a problem with is a “high-ranking government official” deciding there is “intelligence” linking an American citizen to senior AQ levels.

  14. 16

    Nan G

    @Greg: By all accounts al-Awlaki was a highly effective propagandist and recruiter for a group that actively works to kill U.S. soldiers and citizens….

    Oddly however, one of al-Awlaki’s most successful recruits, Nidal Hassan, has had his terrorist actions, his jihad, downgraded to mere workplace violence.
    Thus all of his military victims were denied their Purple Hearts.

  15. 17

    Nan G

    Do I have qualms about the targeting of an American citizen? I most certainly do. However, it also bothers me that an American citizen would have declared himself an enemy of the nation and would have openly allied himself with a foreign organization seeking to destroy it.


    Greg, we have a pretty colorful history of traitors against the USA.

    Philip Vigol and John Mitchell, convicted of treason and sentenced to hanging; pardoned by George Washington; see Whiskey Rebellion.
    Governor Thomas Dorr 1844, convicted of treason against the state of Rhode Island; see Dorr Rebellion; released in 1845; civil rights restored in 1851; verdict annulled in 1854.
    John Brown, convicted of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1859 and executed for attempting to organize armed resistance to slavery.
    Aaron Dwight Stevens, took part in John Brown’s raid and was executed in 1860 for treason against Virginia.
    William Bruce Mumford, convicted of treason and hanged in 1862 for tearing down a United States flag during the American Civil War.
    Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt, all hanged on July 7, 1865 for treason and conspiracy for the Lincoln assassination and conspiracy – by military tribunal.
    Iva Toguri D’Aquino, who is frequently identified with “Tokyo Rose” convicted 1949. Subsequently pardoned by President Gerald Ford.
    Herbert Hans Haupt, German-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was convicted of treason in 1942 and executed after being named as a German spy by fellow German spies defecting to the United States.
    Martin James Monti, United States Army Air Forces pilot, convicted of treason for defecting to the Waffen SS in 1944.
    Robert Henry Best, convicted of treason on April 16, 1948 and served a life sentence.
    Mildred Gillars, also known as “Axis Sally”, convicted of treason on March 8, 1949; served 12 years of a 10- to 30-year prison sentence.
    Tomoya Kawakita, sentenced to death for treason in 1952, but eventually released by President John F. Kennedy to be deported to Japan.
    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg both tried and executed in 1953 for passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.
    Christopher John Boyce, sentenced to 40 years in 1977 for selling U.S. spy satellite secrets to the Soviet Union.
    James D. Harper Jr, sentenced to life in prison in 1984 for selling information on Minuteman missile systems to Poland.
    John Anthony Walker, communications specialist convicted of spying for the Soviet Union from 1968 to 1985.
    Aldrich Ames, CIA agent sentenced to life in prison in 1994 when caught spying on the CIA and reporting to the KGB.
    Robert Hanssen, FBI agent sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for spying for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States.
    Adam Yahiye Gadahn has been indicted for treason as of 2012, but has not been brought to trial as he remains at large.

    Notice what all traitors had in common before Obama’s Drone Memo?
    Some may have been executed but all were tried – first.
    Not all were found for execution, either.
    Some were let go.

    For reasons we cannot fathom, Obama seems intent on skipping that part of due process.

  16. 18


    @Nan G, #17:

    For reasons we cannot fathom, Obama seems intent on skipping that part of due process.

    That part was likely skipped in the case of Anwar al-Awlaki only because it had to be skipped in order to bring a stop to what he was still doing.

    The way I see it, it’s the difference between how an actively hostile enemy is dealt with on a battlefield, and how the same enemy would be dealt with after being neutralized by capture. Different rules apply.

  17. 19

    Nathan Blue

    @Greg: An issue for me is one of a double-standard. It was quite fashionable to have lots of issues with everything Bush and gang did (with the approval of congress, and with the appropriate powers granted by the government to go to war, rather than covertly killing people and considering that something other than war), yet the same indignation does not surface with Obama (or Clinton, for that matter).

    Bush’s administration: three (and only three) terrorists are waterboarded (the same procedure performed on our own personnel in order to teach them how to resist torture). And Gitmo–indefinite detention without trial.
    Response? Media and those fashionably against all things not liberal: “Aren’t we better than that? This is the worst thing ever, and it shows this country is going down a bad road. Bush is a fascist.”

    Obama’s administration: killed one person already, and have publicly proclaimed the right to kill anyone associated with terrorism without due process. No court, no law . . . none of the things America routinely boasts as the hallmarks of our nation.

    MY response: Aren’t we better than that? Isn’t this much worse than waterboarding? Isn’t this more like real, historical fascism that we’ve seen before in centuries past? Shouldn’t this be covered by the media as the breach of liberty it really is? Isn’t this a further extension of all the things put in place by Bush: not a reversal, but an escalation?

    I can’t understand why anyone would have more of a problem with Bush than Obama. It’s not rational.

  18. 20



    I somehow missed your post yesterday, Aye. I hadn’t heard or read that al-Awlaki had any court proceedings related to his AQ activities. That being the case, then I have no problem with it.

    But, can you explain the targeting of a drone that ended up killing his son? And the subsequent comments of the WH on it(Gibbs, specifically)?

  19. 21



    I somehow missed your post yesterday, Aye. I hadn’t heard or read that al-Awlaki had any court proceedings related to his AQ activities. That being the case, then I have no problem with it.

    Anwar al Awlaki has never had any court proceedings brought against him, even in absentia. His father brought a case against Obama, et al, on behalf of his son. If you read the opinion handed down by the judge, the judge ruled that the father had no standing on behalf of his adult son.

    Our rights as American citizens do not end at the water’s edge. If that were the case, then any American, “suspected” to be engaged in criminal activies against the United States, could simply be assassinated. No trial, or due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, necessary.

    But let’s not forget: Obama’s drones also killed al Awlaki’s 16 year old, Denver, Colorado born, American citizen son. Where is the evidence that the son had participated in any terrorist activity? Or the other American born youth that was also killed when the son was killed. Was he also involved in terrorist activies? If so, where is the proof of that claim?

    If the Federal government deems it has the authority to murder somone who has not been tried, and convicted, of the claims of criminal wrong doing levied against them because they are on foreign soil, why should being on American soil be any different. Is that person less of a threat on American soil? Why did FDR just not order the assassination of Al Capone, who was considered the biggest threat to national security at the time? Or any other criminal, for that matter? Just assassinate them and eliminate the cost of a trial.

  20. 22



    This just in:

    Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) implied Sunday Congress or some part of it was notified in advance of the air strike that killed al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki:

    CROWLEY: I need a quick yes or no from you, about the use of them and using them targeting Americans overseas. Al-Awlaki, a known terrorist, but an American citizen, as well as his son were killed–you have talked about oversight, you think there’s plenty of oversight for this drone program. Were you told in advance of those two killings?

    ROGERS: For the planning purposes of air strikes against terrorists and enemy combatants overseas, yes.

    CROWLEY: These specific men?

    ROGERS: If people make the target list we know that in advance, there’s appropriate oversight. And then how we target those individuals changes from day to day, but air strikes are certainly a part of that.

    Those who believed that Obama was doing the whole “kill list” “targeting Americans” thing without Congressional oversight should wait by the phone for further instructions.

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