Targeting American Citizens?
The possibility of the Obama’s administration using military force on its own citizens is not a useless speculation. From the attorney general’s acknowledgement it is very clear that it is something that has gone through the corridors of white house. However, this move has triggered a lot questions on the public on the legality of this matter. Going by the Gallup polls, majority (66 per cent) of the Americans strongly oppose the use of drone airstrikes on the US citizens.
The federal government can only target the American citizens on the United States soil if they are conspiring with terrorists to attack their own country. Despite the fact that the United States constitution protects its citizens against such attacks, the citizens must also work hard to defend it. The conspiracy to commit terror attack against the United States is thus unconstitutional. According to the United States attorney general Eric Holder, the president has the obligation to protect his homeland even if it means giving such orders to avert catastrophic attacks such as the ones witnessed in Pearl Harbor and pentagon in 1941 and 2001 respectively. However, if this provision made constitutional, it may be liable to abuse by both politicians and the security agencies such as the CIA department. For instance, politicians may target their political opponents. This would make this provision very unfair to apply. The chairperson of the senate intelligence committee Dianne Feinstein questions the integrity of the military to operate on the same grounds as the intelligence committee.
Attacking the United States citizens suspected for terrorism without trial contravenes the due process. According to the United States constitution, every suspect should be accorded a full due process. In this process all the rights of the accused person should be observed through legal procedures. In fact, even the international bill of rights recognizes and safeguards every human being’s right to life. In this regard, none should be deprived of this right. But critically, going through the due process may also put the country at risk. The period of legal criminal procedure is long enough for the suspects to execute their terrorism attacks.
Mali, M. (2013, March 25). Gallup poll: Majority opposes drone strikes against U.S. citizens.
The Hill .
Reilly, R. J. (2013, March 25). Eric Holder: Drone Strike To Kill U.S. Citizen On American Soil
Legal, Hypothetically. Huff Post .