Leon Panetta lies to justify murder

Glenn Greenwald shows a clip of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta being asked about the Obama administration’s murder of Anwar al-Awlaki and then proceeds to rip to shreds all the rationalizations offered by Panetta (and Democratic Party supporters) to mask the fact that the administration has decided it has the right to decide in secret which Americans can be killed without any due process and then carry out the murder.

It is chilling to think that right now, anyone at all can be in the crosshairs of the hired guns of the president and not even know that they are or why. No indictments, no trial, nothing is necessary anymore to be deemed guilty and worthy of summary execution. All they have to do is call you a terrorist and you immediately lose all your rights.

As Greenwald says,

Here we have the U.S. Defense Secretary, life-long Democrat Leon Panetta, telling you as clearly as he can that this is exactly the operating premise of the administration in which he serves: once the President accuses you of being a Terrorist, a decision made in secret and with no checks or due process, we can do anything we want to you, including executing you wherever we find you. It’s hard to know what’s more extraordinary: that he feels so comfortable saying this right out in the open, or that so few people seem to mind. [Emphasis in original-MS]

It is despicable how this administration hides its blatant disregard for the law in pious statements about their respect for the law.


  1. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    There’s another problem with killing “declared” terrorists besides the legal (and moral) issues.

    I was a long-term, high level Federal bureaucrat. I know a lot of things supposedly decided by the President aren’t actually handled at that level. So I worry that the decision to kill someone isn’t actually considered by the President but rather presidential approval will be assumed by the person ordering the killing.

  2. Sheesh says

    When you say “hired guns of the president”, are you talking about the members of our armed forces, the homeland security apparatus, or do you mean actual mercenaries? Actual hired guns?

  3. JetClarke says

    Since armed forces are paid for by the government, are they not ‘hired guns’ when it comes down to it? They just have more rules than mercenaries, in theory.

    Anyways, we’ll see how this policy goes over once someone in the Western world is executed for terrorism. Muslim extremists may be seen as less of a dangerous precedent during the wars in the Middle East, as I’ve seen little media coverage of reactions to this from outside US sources, but if for example a British ‘terrorist’ is killed, we might see a large response from the UN and other western countries I would think.

  4. Jeroen Metselaar says

    My response from Europe is: So effing what?

    The US government has been killing people all over the world for decades now. You think that was OK because they were not americans? Only now they start offing americans you think it is worth getting involved?

  5. grumpyoldfart says

    Anwar al-Awlaki was a bit of a scallywag sometimes, but why would anybody would want to kill him? Surely if someone had asked him nicely, he would have been quite happy to stop calling for the deaths of innocent civilians.

  6. Mano Singham says

    Killing people without due process was something that the US government has done for a long time. But the fact that it was illegal meant that there was at least some restraint on this practice since there was the remote possibility that someone might be prosecuted for it. Once you declare that it is legal, then even that restraint is gone and the killings can be done with impunity and hence will become even more widespread and indiscriminate since there is no possibility of repercussions.

  7. says

    Because why on earth would anyone ever need a day in court to defend charges against them?

    When you start using the “he’s evil, so it’s okay to just have him killed” argument, you give up any pretense to wanting to live in a civilized society. You also teeter on a very slippery slope as to who decides what is “evil” enough to warrant killing with no expectation of attempting an arrest.

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