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By Bigggcountry1 Mar 14, 2013 716 Words
Bobby Kelly
Law and Society

Law in the News

For the first Law in the News it seemed fitting to jump right in so to speak. On September 30th, 2011 Anwar al-Aulaqi was killed by an airstrike from a drone. A drone is an unmanned plane of sorts that is capable of firing missiles at targets with pin point accuracy. Having airstrikes like these has become a somewhat common occurrence in President Obama’s and his predisesor George Bush’s presidencies. Obama’s administration alone has killed hundreds and even of civilians with these strikes which I think is worth it personally. However the controversy over this specific killing was that Anwar al-Aulaqui was born in the United States of America. -------------------------------------------------

The Obama Administraion very recently realesed a memo that adresses not just Anwar al-Aulaqi’s death but the killing of any American Citizens thought to be terrorists. This memo roughly says that “according to the Justice Department, the U.S. can kill a citizen who is continually planning attacks" for al Qaeda when an informed, high-ranking official decides that the target "poses an imminent threat" and capture is infeasible.”(WSJ) Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying, “they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses  “an imminent threat of violent attack.””(nbc news) -------------------------------------------------

The Obama administration says that it knows that if these cases go to court that the judges will overwhelmingnly side with them. Also that judges should not be the ones deciding if specific targets should be fired upon or not. That the discretion should be left to those calling the shots in the admninistration. -------------------------------------------------

To counter these arguments the oopposition has raised the point that when the Justice Department says an “Imminent threat”, who is really deciding how imminent it is. Does an “imminent threat” mean capable of hurting the US ever? It is sad in my opinion that all of the women and children killed by these drone attacks have been ignored but when one or two American Citizen’s are killed the country is up in arms. The Obama administraion is saying they are acting in self defense while the opposition continues to say that there is no justification for killling an American Citizen. -------------------------------------------------

However it is clear that the opposition believes that The Bill of Rights creates a specific set of rules for how to enforce the laws. “Officers can use deadly force only when there is probable cause to believe a suspect will imminently cause serious bodily harm.” The law does not give anyone the authority to stop people just because they believe they could possibly be dangerous and commit said crimes. (WSJ) -------------------------------------------------

In my opinion I believe that the government knows what they are doing. I know that they protect my life every day doing things that are hardly legal but the United States does what it has to do to survive. It draws upon the concept of Salutory neglect. The United States is able to flourish if we just close our eyes and forget anything bad is happening. The world is never going to be perfect and if the United States deems it necessary to kill an American Citizen so be it as long as they are a huge threat to the United States. What is the difference between this and the death penalty one might say. We execute many persons each year for doing bad things. I am definitely not for the death penalty however one, two or three people in exchange for the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people is a sound trade off in my mind. It is a tough issue to swallow which is why this issue has created such a firestorm. -------------------------------------------------


EXCLUSIVE: Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans. (n.d.). Open Channel. Retrieved from John Yoo: The Real Problem With Obama's Drone Memo - (n.d.). The Wall Street Journal - Breaking News, Business, Financial and Economic News, World News & Video - Wall Street Journal - Retrieved from

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