- Gary Peters 2Representative
- Patrick LeahySenator
Tell Obama: It's Not Okay To Kill U.S. Citizens Without Trial
Barack Obama campaigned on a platform that called for restoring the rule of law. Since taking office, however, he has ordered the U.S. government to kill its own citizens when they travel abroad, without even bothering to first charge them with a crime. That isn't restoring the rule of law -- that's eviscerating it.
Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen living in Yemen, is one man we know has been targeted for an extrajudicial killing. In December, Obama ordered air strikes to take him out. Though unsuccessful, the strikes -- using cluster bombs banned by nearly ever other country -- did kill more than 41 innocent civilians, according to Amnesty International, including 14 women and 21 children. Others may also be targeted, but the Obama administration has refused to disclose the list of Americans it believes deserve to die without a trial.
As Obama is fond of saying, "This is America," where citizens accused of crimes are supposed to be guaranteed the right to be judged by a jury of their peers -- not to be extrajudicially murdered by their elected leaders. And since this is America, it is time we quit passively accepting violations of our liberties and let the White House and congressional leaders know we do not appreciate having to check our Constitutional rights at the border.
Gary Peters 2
- President of the United States
I am writing to express my strong objections to the Obama administration's policy of targeting Americans abroad for killings without even bothering to first charge them with a crime. Once imposed, the death penalty is impossible to reverse, and it is exceptionally dangerous and irresponsible to entrust one man -- any man -- with the power to kill another, no court review required.
The White House must put a stop to this practice. Now. If it doesn't, Congress should step in and begin conducting a serious investigation into this illegal activity.
It has been widely reported that Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen living in Yemen, is one person the president has targeted for assassination. Last December, Obama even ordered an air strike in Yemen that attempted to take him out. As Amnesty International notes, however, the attack instead killed 41 innocent civilians, including 14 women and 21 children.
The Associated Press revealed on September 14th that the administration was now considering actually charging Al-Awlaki with a crime -- one that calls for a 15-year prison sentence, not capital punishment. This is not still enough, though, as the news wire reports those charges will only be filed if “the CIA fails to kill him and he is captured alive in Yemen.” If Al-Awlaki is guilty of a crime, capturing and extraditing him from Yemen should be America’s first priority, not its last. International law and the Constitution demand it.
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