Justifying ‘justice’: When it’s OK for US to kill own citizens
“The use of advanced weapons may help to ensure that the best intelligence is available for planning and carrying out operations, and that the risk of civilian casualties can be minimized or avoided altogether,” Holder argued.
The practice is blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but allows fast response without the use of American ground troops in operations.Unlawful killings?At least three US citizens have been killed by US forces on foreign soil in recent months. Civil rights groups cried foul after the attack on Awlaqi in Yemen. US citizen Samir Khan was killed in the same attack, and Awlaqi's US-born teenaged son was killed in October in a suspected US air strike in Yemen.President Barack Obama hailed the death of Awlaqi as a major blow to Al-Qaeda, but critics said it amounted to an assassination to deliberately kill a US citizen without a prior attempt to indict him.The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit seeking the release of documents authorizing such drone strikes. After Holder’s comments, it lashed out at the attorney general’s position."Few things are as dangerous to American liberty as the proposition that the government should be able to kill citizens anywhere in the world on the basis of legal standards and evidence that are never submitted to a court," ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi said in a statement.She added that anyone willing to give such power to Obama must first assess whether he is ready to give it to every subsequent president as well.