Published on Friday, April 16, 2010 by The Nation
Kucinich: White House Assassination Policy Is Extrajudicial
by Jeremy Scahill
There has been almost universal silence among Congressional Democrats on the Obama administration's recently revealed decision to authorize the assassination of a
Several Democrats refused, through spokespeople, to comment on the assassination plan when contacted by The Nation, including Senator Russ Feingold and Representative Jan Schakowsky, both of whom serve on the Intelligence Committees. Representative Jane Harman, who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, said recently that Awlaki is "probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No. 1 in terms of threat against us."
One of the few Democrats to publicly address the issue of government-sanctioned assassinations is Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich. "I don't support it--period," he said in an interview. "I think people in both parties that are concerned about the Constitution should be speaking out on this. I can't account for what anyone else doesn't do."
Kucinich told The Nation he has sent several letters to the Obama administration raising questions about the potential unconstitutionality of the policy, as well as possible violations of international law, but has received no response. "With all the smart people that are in that administration, they've got to know the risks that they're taking here with violations of law," he says.
Targeted killings are not a new Obama administration policy. Beginning three days after his swearing in, President Obama has authorized scores of lethal drone strikes, including against specific individuals, in
"In the real world, things don't work out quite so neatly as they seem to in the heads of the CIA," says Kucinich. "There's always the possibility of blowback, which could endanger high-ranking
He added: "The assassination policies vitiate the presumption of innocence and the government then becomes the investigator, policeman, prosecutor, judge, jury, executioner all in one. That raises the greatest questions with respect to our constitution and our democratic way of life."
Kucinich says the case of al-Awlaki is an attempt to make "a short-cut around the Constitution," saying, "Short-cuts often belie the deep and underlying questions around which nations rise and fall. We are really putting our nation in jeopardy by pursuing this kind of policy."
© 2010 The Nation
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