Whenever I start to think that the Obama administration is essentially the same as a McCain administration would have been… our President decides to do something worse. Now the CIA has an official list of people targeted for assassination, with the name of at least one American citizen on it. It’s legal, they say, because President Obama OK’d it. Well alright, then.
Anwar al-Awlaki, U.S. citizen marked for death by order of President Obama
George Bush’s decision merely to eavesdrop on American citizens without oversight, or to detain without due process Americans such as Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, provoked years of vehement, vocal and intense complaints from Democrats and progressives. All of that was disparaged as Bush claiming the powers of a King, a vicious attack on the Constitution, a violation of Our Values, the trampling on the Rule of Law. Yet here you have Barack Obama not merely eavesdropping on or detaining Americans without oversight, but ordering them killed with no oversight and no due process of any kind.
…Here again, we see one of the principal and longest-lasting effects of the Obama presidency: to put a pretty, eloquent, progressive face on what (until quite recently) was ostensibly considered by a large segment of the citizenry to be tyrannical right-wing extremism
I hope it’s not really necessary to point out that the Constitution doesn’t allow the extra-judicial killing of an American citizen.
Although President Obama has so far offered no justification, some have argued that the U.S. government can legally kill Anwar al-Awlaki because of the September 18, 2001 AUMF. Spencer Ackerman points out that the mere accusation that al-Awlaki had something to do with the 9/11 attacks does not equal proof.
UPDATE: Right-wing blogger Connor Boyack:
Obama, like many tyrants before him, has taken it upon himself to disregard the clear laws of the land in order to be able to kill citizens of his own country. In doing so, he has modeled himself as supreme dictator—the man who, on his command alone, can end the life of a fellow countryman. This is a power not even King George could boast.
UPDATE: On HuffPo, Jason Linkins suggests that Dawn Johnsen’s 14-months as President Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice may have come to an end due to Obama’s outrageous assassination order.