The 174th Attack Wing at Hancock must stop
President Obama is not a lawful combatant. Therefore, under the Laws of War, he is not permitted to kill people or order people to be killed. Those in the military who cooperate with their Commander-in-Chief in targeted executions are obeying orders they should know are illegal, and are violating their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. The Commander of the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock is Colonel Semmels. He needs to know.
It is ironic to note that all the men at Guantanamo were denied POW status (aka professional courtesy) because our lawyers easily saw that men not in uniform are unlawful combatants. Will Obama attempt to claim POW status, if he is captured?
Commander in Chief powers
The unenumerated “Commander-in-Chief powers” are as follows: The heads of the military must obey his lawful orders. That’s it. The reason for having the military obey a civilian is obvious: General Curtis “there are no innocent civilians” LeMay.
The President’s duty
The president’s duty, according to his oath of office, and the Constitution, is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
Must the President preserve the United States?
No. Our Declaration of Independence explicitly recognizes “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” A President may not sacrifice the Constitution to “save” the country.
The Bill of Rights is a Bill of Human Rights.
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were written by revolutionaries, who knew first hand that for a just society, the people’s voice must be heard; knew that without that feedback, those in power will become isolated, coming to believe in their own natural righteousness, and fall into patterns of abuse. The only purpose for the Bill of Rights was to place a fence around the exercise of power of the Federal Government. The Fifth Amendment is a check on governmental action, whenever and wherever governmental action is claimed to be Constitutional. No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.
State of War
International Law recognizes something called a “state of war” to limit atricity, not to facilitate it. Only lawful combatants can participate in fighting, non-combatants must be protected, and certain acts and weapons are not permitted.
Are we at war?
For the US to be at war, congress must declare war. But a declaration of war may not create a “state of war”. There must be sufficient valid reason for the declaration of war. International law is not based on fantasies. When the justification for the declaration of war against Iraq was shown to be false, the continuation of the war became illegal. The declaration of war against Afghanistan because of their unwillingness to extradite Osama bin Laden does not rise to the level of sufficient cause for a just war.
War is characterized by fog. As technology clears away the fog, the justification for international recognition of something called a “state of war” becomes more problematical. With few pitched battles, the “theater of war” concept is difficult to accept, where the theater has a functioning civil society, the “fighting” is a bombing, followed by strafing, and the main activity in the “theater” is rescuing the wounded.
What we must do.
Wars are becoming less intense, barely impinging on daily life, no rationing, no bond drives, but they are lasting longer, and wars often erode civil liberties. The drone war must stop now. The Wing Commanders must be engaged in order to help them overcome their presumption that orders from above are legal. The notion of war itself must be examined. The right to petition the government for redress of grievances must be taken seriously and defended by the police. Those in power who see what is going wrong must put their lives in jeopardy to save the nation. We must be prepared to support them.
Martin Gugino hangs out with Witness Against Torture in DC, and Burning Books in Buffalo. His heroes are Dr. Paul Farmer, Fr Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Fr Jerzy Popielusko, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Jesus Christ. He is a retired computer analyst.