"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bipartisan Voices Want Legal Reasoning from POTUS on American Assassinations

It appears a Washington Post article details a growing bipartisan urging of the administration to release its declassified memo citing the legal justifications for assassinating an American citizen without charge or trial. Certainly the legal reasoning can't itself be classified. I hope our government provides this reasoning for public examination.

UPDATE: apparently some are discussing the secret legal memo and giving clues to its reasoning. Interestingly, the memo reportedly claims that Awlaki would have had to be captured if feasible. The recent New York Times story, Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen, states:

The memorandum is said to declare that in the case of a citizen, it is legally required to capture the militant if feasible — raising a question: was capturing Mr. Awlaki in fact feasible?

It is possible that officials decided last month that it was not feasible to attempt to capture him because of factors like the risk it could pose to American commandos and the diplomatic problems that could arise from putting ground forces on Yemeni soil. Still, the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan demonstrates that officials have deemed such operations feasible at times.

UPDATE 2: Bruce Ackerman has a good article over on his Foreign Policy blog.

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