Glenn Greenwald today in Salon recounts the details of a law suit brought by the father of the best known target of the assassination program and the ACLU. It also includes a YouTube video made by the ACLU that you may find interesting. How is it that we have come to the point at which a president would even want this power, that “terrorist” and “war” have become words so frightening that many Americans and people in both houses of Congress are willing to permit it? Some key points, followed by the link:
Just how perverse is the Obama administration’s assassination program is reflected in the rights Awlaki is forced to assert. He alleges — as the Complaint puts it — that the Government is violating his “Fifth Amendment Right Not to be Deprived of Life Without Due Process.” Just re-read that and contemplate that in Barack Obama’s America, that right even needs to be contested.
What I’ve found most disturbing about this controversy from the start is how many Americans are willing to blindly believe the Government’s accusations of Terrorism against their fellow citizens — provided they’re Muslims with foreign-sounding names — without needing to see any evidence at all. All government officials have to do is anonymously leak to the media extremely vague accusations against someone without any evidence presented (Awlaki is involved in multiple plots!!), and a substantial number of people will then immediately run around yelling: Kill that Terrorist!!
It’s an authoritarian scene out of some near-future dystopian novel, yet it’s exactly what is happening. This is precisely the reaction of a substantial portion of the population which has been trained to believe every unproven government accusation of Terrorism. The mere utterance of the accusation — Terrorist — sends them into mindless, fear-driven submission, so extreme that they’re willing even to endorse a Presidential-imposed death penalty on American citizens with no due process: about the most tyrannical power that can be imagined, literally. The fact that this very same Government is continuously and repeatedly wrong when it makes those accusations does not seem to be even a cause for hesitation among this faction. They just keep dutifully reciting the ultimate authoritarian anthem: if my Government says it, it must be true, and I don’t need to see any evidence or indulge any of this bothersome process stuff — trials and courts or whatever — before punishment is meted out, including the death penalty.