“It’d be easier to launch a Hellfire missile at a non-citizen than a citizen”

The whole point of Joe Lieberman’s tea-bagger bait Terrorist Expatriation Act, according to his Republican House co-sponsor Charlie Dent, is to make it easier to launch Hellfire missiles at people. And Lieberman, too, ties his citizenship-stripping measure to Obama’s targeting of an American citizen with a predator drone.

Taking on critics who say his proposal goes too far, Lieberman pointed to news reports that President Barack Obama signed an order enabling the US military to kill US citizens like radical US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

“If the president can authorize the killing of a United States citizen because he is fighting for a foreign terrorist organization,” he said, “we can also have a law that allows the US government to revoke Awlaki’s citizenship.”

Lieberman said his proposal would make it harder for US nationals who cast their lot in with extremists, and train overseas, to return and carry out an attack, and if they do would make it possible to try them in military court.

“They will not enjoy the rights and privileges of American citizenship in the legal proceedings against them. That, I believe, will make America safer,” he said at a press conference with three other lawmakers.

“The US military may have more options to use necessary force to neutralize the threat, such as Anwar al-Awlaki, without the concerns associated with targeting an American citizen,” said Republican Representative Charlie Dent.

“I suspect it’d be easier to launch a Hellfire missile at a non-citizen than a citizen,” said Dent, referring to a weapon sometimes fired from US aerial drones at suspected terrorists.

Now, there’s a lot to loathe about this bill. Shane Kadidal describes the many ways in which it is illegal here.

But what I find most astounding about it is that Lieberman ties this not to actual military preparations against the United States (as he claims in his comments to Andrea Mitchell) but simply to “providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.” And while I’d be willing to consider the merits of deporting Congressman Peter King or former top Chiquita executives like Carl Lindner and Roderick Hills (though following the logic of Elena Kagan, we’d also have to deport Attorney General Holder), I’m also cognizant that the way the government currently uses material support charges, it is prone to ensnare people who donate socks or money, sometimes in the name of charity.

The logical endpoint of this, then, in the addled little brains of Joe Lieberman and Charlie Dent, is that we should consider drone strikes on brown people who might have a good faith belief that they’re engaging in charity. And not just that we should consider drone strikes, but we should try to make it easier to execute those drone strikes.

16 replies
  1. Becca says:

    Not just drone strikes and other assassination techniques, but also secret imprisonment forever, no right to be charged or tried, no protections against torture.

    As I commented in other blogs, I wonder if Joe realizes this would likely keep escalating year by year until voting the wrong way in Congress would be defined as treason.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Lieberman has no worries, Becca, he ALWAYS votes the “right” way.

      And, concern for others, NEVER presents a problem for such as he.

      The big ‘divide’ among people, today, on this particular planet, is between those who see other people, other human beings, as being, essentially, like themselves and those who do not.


  2. BoxTurtle says:

    Holy Joe is not such a complete idiot that he actually believes this would survive a court test. This is simply more kabuki tough talk.

    And I’m not sure he’s correct that it’s easier to target a non-citizen. True, more non-citizens have been targeted. But it still only takes a presidential signature.

    Boxturtle (Holy Joe IS an idiot, just not that big of an idiot)

  3. rosalind says:

    ot: sooo,

    * darth surfaces in saudi arabia earlier in the week
    * today the Dow suffers a 1,000 pt plunge, with wall street rumblings it was due to a bungled trade by Citibank.

    US stocks did a cliff dive, with the Dow dropping a just shy of 1000 points, and market participants believe it was a single monster seller.


    So, what was the ex-veep doing in Riyadh? The obvious answer would be: something financially advantageous.


    • Hmmm says:

      Seems pretty clear to me. I would think that the Horizon disaster foreclosing costal US drilling for the foreseeable future would necessarily shift production elsewhere, so Hellllooooooo, House o’ Saud!

      I also wonder how this plays into the timing of exploitation of the Caspian region petro riches, which are massive. If we’ll recall, many people thought those fields figured heavily in the NeoCon long-range plans that gave us the Iraq war.

  4. PJEvans says:

    It’s noticeable that US citizens joining the Israeli army are not covered by unHoly Joe’s proposal, even though they’re probably going to be engaged in what, by any definition, is terrorism.

    I’d like to include US citizens who support Israel over the US government, too.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I’d like to see the entire bill written on coarse grade sandpaper, set on fire, and [Edited by Moderator. Not even metaphorically]. Metaphorically, of course.

      Boxturtle (Rosalind @4: If there was any justice, he’d be there to dodge process servers)

    • skdadl says:

      I’ve had that thought too, PJE. It applies in Canada too.

      Please give my non-citizenly best regards to the senator and congresscrittur. We shall sleep so much more comfortably here tonight on the north shore of Lake Ontario knowing that Rep Dent wouldn’t blink at sending a Hellfire missile our way.

      • PJEvans says:

        I’d prefer that missiles not be launched in your direction, being as some of you are (literally) cousins. (My grandnephew has Canadian ancestors through three of his four grandparents. Y’all get around!)

  5. skdadl says:

    O/T: The polls have closed in the UK, and the BBC exit polls are predicting what they call a “hung parliament” (snerk: we’re much more polite in Canada; we call that a “minority government”).

    It will be very telling, which way Clegg jumps. Brown has the right to try to form a government first, even if the Cons have more seats (but not a majority). If Clegg won’t support him at least for a time, then the Lib-Dems aren’t what I thought they were.

    • emptywheel says:

      please go check out my next post. It looks like Gitmo just banned Canada’s best reporters (as well as Carol Rosenberg) from any further coverage at Gitmo.

      Any idea who in Canada needs to know about this?

  6. klynn says:

    Sounds like all my missionary friends in Afghanistan/Pakistan should come home. Stop building those schools and planting those farms folks. Just quit and come home.

    So will they issue a Pattern of Life strike on Greg Mortenson?

  7. jdmckay0 says:

    I assume Joe’s proposal would allow Ledeen, Wolfowitz, Pearle, Feith, and all the other Likudniks who subjugated US policy to narrow neo-con Israeli wet dream interests… does this mean we could hoze those guys?

    Maybe even Joe himself?

  8. Acharn says:

    @boxturtle: “But it still only takes a presidential signature.”

    Heck, it doesn’t even take that any more. Apparently Obama got tired of being asked to sign stuff all day long so he delegated approval authority to Panetta.

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