Military Force Against Americans – Executive Power
In prior wars, we have not balked at the prospect of using lethal force against an American who fights for a foreign enemy. When American citizens join foreign armies and take up arms against America during wartime they are not immune from U.S. force.
In prior wars, we have not balked at the prospect of using lethal force against an American who fights for a foreign enemy. When American citizens join foreign armies and take up arms against America during wartime they are not immune from U.S. force. However, an American citizen, even one that goes and fights for a foreign army is entitled to due process.
I strongly disagree with the way Jose Padilla’s case was handled, and I find it deeply disturbing. He was held in detention for years before he could meet with an attorney, and was intentionally shuffled around in custody as a way to delay trial. The Fifth and Sixth Amendments, respectively, guarantee all citizens the right to counsel and the right to a speedy trial, neither of which Padilla received.
In regards to Anwar al-Awlaki, our government has a responsibility to defend and protect the national security interests of the United States. Make no mistake, the decision to use lethal force against any American, even one who has taken up arms against America, deserves the highest level of scrutiny. In the instance described, assuming intelligence was accurate in determining that al-Awlaki was an operational terrorist leader whose capture was infeasible, and who was directly participating in hostilities against the United States, the use of lethal force was both legal and necessary. The Constitution empowers the President to protect the nation from any imminent threat of violent attack, and international law recognizes the inherent right of national self-defense. This does not mean our military could act without limits, but the use of force in foreign territory is justified with consent of the nation involved or if the nation involved is unable or unwilling to address a direct threat to the United States.
Under our laws and the Constitution, the use of military force on US soil is allowed only under extremely serious and limited circumstances. I find it insulting that this president would make a mockery of our laws and traditions by invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy troops to our border or elsewhere within our country. The Insurrection Act has never been used to enforce immigration laws before and there is no need to invoke it now.