Friday, September 30, 2011

Murder, Justice, or War?

Let's try this from a sliding argument.  Obviously no one would accept the government dropping a bomb in the middle of a crowded neighborhood in Chicago to kill a housewife.  How about a drug dealer driving down the highway in traffic?  No?  Driving alone with no one around?

What if it was a Mexican Drug Lord, responsible for slaughtering dozens of people and we knew he was in a house in downtown El Paso, TX.  Drop the bomb?  What if you were pretty sure the neighbors weren't home?

What if he were in a crowded barrio in Mexico?  That's like, out of the country and stuff so it's not murder.  Convicted, well, no, but we're almost certain that he's the guy that killed all those people.

Not a drug lord, but a terrorist.  Well, not like a convicted terrorist or anything, but we're pretty sure that he was behind a couple of unsuccessful terror plots.  And he's on video saying death to the infidels and everything.  Still murder.

Enough hypotheticals.  An American born Muslim cleric in Yemen, a country we have never been engaged in armed conflict against, was killed today when US planes dropped bombs on a convoy of vehicles suspected of carrying this person that we suspect is the mastermind behind several ultimately unsuccessful terror plots.  Is he a criminal, quite likely, is he an enemy combatant?  That would make you think there was a declared war we were fighting.  There is not.  Unlike the conflicts continuing in Iraq and Afghanistan, this military action took place in the country of Yemen.  There is no declared war against an armed force in Yemen.  Also unlike those previously mentioned countries, the military action in Yemen and in Libya aren't featured nightly on every network news show.  Most people don't even realize the full extent of our involvement in either country. 

My issue is that once again our government isn't following it's own laws with regard to how it handles criminal actions.  Using the military as a criminal justice wing of our Executive Branch goes far far beyond the scope of what our laws allow.  When will they test those limits again?  When will we say anything about it?  When it happens in the crowded Mexican barrio?  So far we haven't raised too much of a fuss about shipping weapons to arm the drug gangs down there.  Surely we'll say something if they do it here, but hey...maybe that person too will deserve to die. 

And really?  By then, will anyone be brave enough to challenge the authority?  Why am I suddenly reminded of Jack Nicholson, sitting on the witness stand, proudly proclaiming that yes, he did indeed order the code red and he did it to protect our sorry asses.

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