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Here’s a disturbing article on Senator Graham and drone attacks on US citizens in POLITICO.  Let’s start here:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama’s use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

“Every member of Congress needs to get on board,” Graham said. “It’s not fair to the president to let him, leave him out there alone quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.

“I think the middle of America understands why you would want a drone program to go after a person like Anwar al-Awlaki,” Graham added.

I hate to admit it, but Sen. Graham is partly right – up to a point.  Here’s my basic analysis on this issue:

We did give the President authority, fairly open-ended authority, to defeat al-Qaeda in 2001.  Certainly if it were found that an American citizen were working with al-Qaeda, he or she could be targeted.  However, the case supporting that is a World War II case, decided by the same Court that decided Japanese-Americans could be interned.  The question is:  What is the criteria and who decides.  Senator Graham is all right with the President, any President deciding unilaterally:

“The process of being targeted I think is legal, quite frankly laborious and should reside in the commander in chief to determine who an enemy combatant is and what kind of force to use,” Graham told reporters on Wednesday.

Graham said judges should not be the ones to decide individual cases of enemy combatants and the courts would uphold the president’s ability to decide.

I am concerned about who decides and why.  Those issues do not trouble Graham.  I would add that the original NDAA declares even the American homeland the be a battlefield!  And Senator Graham gleefully supported that:

The really galling thing is that this act specifically envisions American citizens falling under the authority of the bill. One of its supporters, the dependably-unlikeable Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, bragged that the law “basically says … for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and that people can be jailed without trial, be they “American citizen or not.” New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte reiterated that “America is part of the battlefield.”

So, would Graham support the use of drones in the US against alleged terrorists?  Who decides?  How about the teenage son of Anwar al-Awlaki?  He could not be legally executed under present Supreme Court precedent, even for actual willful murder.  What if another nation attacked the US with a drone to take out a domestic dissident who had fled here?  Those “libertarians” Senator Graham has so much disdain for have many valid questions.

Graham also asserted that detained Americans “associated with” al-Qaeda should not have legal counsel:

Regarding U.S. Citizens accused of supporting terrorism, senator Lindsey Graham has stated before the senate, “When they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them: ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer. You are an enemy combatant, and we are going to talk to you about why you joined Al Qaeda.’”

He was also associated with a remark that free speech ought to be curbed here at home because it might “inspire” terrorists.  (He was referring to the threatened Koran burning by the pastor in Florida.):

Yeah, I wish we could find some way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.  During World War II you had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy.

(And don’t forget Sen. Graham’s “mark of the beast” solution to immigration!)

This is exactly why I am an non-interventionist.  We cannot have perpetual war or we’ll be a police state.  I believe Sen. Graham needs to be defeated even if by a liberal and retired to private life.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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