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Showing content with the highest reputation on 11/13/11 in all areas

  1. Maarten

    On Ron Paul and Awlaki

    I'm definitely not a fan of Ron Paul, but the general principle at work here is somewhat worrisome. It is, as far as I know, the first time an American citizen has been deliberately killed by its own government without a prior trial, and it does set a precedent. I'm sure Awlaki deserved to die given what he did, but that is not the most important issue at stake here. The fact of the matter is that in our legal system precedents matter, and the fact that the government killed one of its own citizens through a completely intransparant procedure with no regards to due process is a bad precedent. Yes, right now we are using it on terrorists abroad, but there is no clear constitutional differentiation between a US citizen's rights in the US and abroad when it comes to these situations. Yes, our current administration may only use it to hunt down heinous terrorists who deserve to die, but establishing this method of killing as an acceptable way of doing business could very well mean that at some time in the future it will be used against US citizens who are "suspected terrorists" on our own soil. Given that DHS is already looking closely at people who have anti-government leanings, it is not completely outside my imagination that a different government at some point in the future could designate someone completely innocent of any wrongdoing besides being opposed to the then current administration as a threat that can be eliminated in the same manner. I would certainly hope that this event is followed by a series of safeguards put in place to ensure that it does not one day happen to an undeserving person. I certainly do not trust all senior government officials enough to simply expect ALL of them to never abuse a power like this.
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