Speaking today at Northwestern University, Attorney General Eric Holder insisted that the president has an absolute right under the context of the “war on terror” to order the assassination of American citizens overseas saying that the nature of a war against a “stateless enemy” meant that assassinations could happen anywhere.
Insisting that such killings are “legal and constitutional,” Holder also said that President Obama’s decision to assassinate an American citizen in and of itself amounted to “due process,” and that courts are entirely unnecessary.
Holder went on to spurn human rights groups for suggesting that assassinations were only acceptable in the case of “imminent threat,” saying that there is no requirement in the Constitution to wait until “some theoretical end-stage of planning” and that killings could happen before the “time, place and manner of an attack become clear.”
Though officials had presented Holder’s speech ahead of time as a final word on killings, he left much of the debate entirely unaddressed, not even touching on the standard for which a citizen could be assassinated and simply insisting that when the president decides to do so we should assume it was for a really good reason.
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