Home / Time to repeal Executive Order 12333 prohibiting political assassination

Time to repeal Executive Order 12333 prohibiting political assassination

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There are a lot of reasons why it would mostly not be a good idea to go around carelessly assassinating foreign heads of state. It’s going to generate a LOT of ill will that will make the faked up outrage over Abu Ghraib look like a valentine.

Still, the possibility of such an action has strong moral weight under some circumstances. Under what system of morality would it NOT be superior to kill a few deserving offenders if you could rather than have a full scale war?

Yes, it would be the PR nightmare from hell for US to send a hit squad after a foreign head of state, but being labeled the bad guy might be less bad than, say, letting Iranian mullahs get nuclear weapons.

There’s one major legal issue, though: It’s illegal under US law for our agents to perform assassinations. As Alan Colmes played the liberal trump card against an apologist for Rev Robertson’s remarks about assassinating Hugo Chavez, “You do believe in the rule of law, don’t you?”

The relevant law is Executive Order 12333, most specifically Part 2, Section 11: “2.11 Prohibition on Assassination. No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” You have to admit, that’s pretty clear.

Thing is, this is merely an executive order, ie something the president made up on his own accord. It is not part of the US Constitution, nor was it even a law passed by Congress.

Therefore, President Bush could and should perfectly well simply rescind that provision what ties our hands behind our backs of his own accord with another executive order.

Plus, even if we don’t actually use it, the hanging possibility of assassination COULD conceivably happen to be just the thing to make Kim Jong Il or some Iranian mullahs become more open to reasonable negotiation. OK, so maybe they could calculate that we won’t start a wholesale war, but the possibility of US coming after them personally might get their attention.

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  • Rich


    Why do you write like this?

    Is it for shock value?

    I hope your not serious.

    Anyway, I would suggest reading “Confessions of an economic hitman” by John Perkins.

  • Rich, I fail to see what is “shocking” about this proposal, and I assure you that I’m dead serious. I write this particular piece exactly in answer to the hysterical tut-tutting of people who are having fits of what appears to me as utterly, completely unjustified moral fury over even the theoretical concept of killing a bad guy.

  • lauri wiss

    The Executive Order gives deniability to the President if and when such actions occur.

    At most, The President will be impeached and jailed by the citizens of this country. However, this action does not resurrect the head of state who was killed.

    In my lifetime, the use of the phrase “regime change” has been actively used since President Carter’s Administration over Nicaragua.

    We already can and have distablized a country’s economy with our allies over aparthaid in South Africa.

    Funding insurgents and political parties who would agree with American foreign policy was an accepted policy practice especially during the Cold War. “Proxy Wars” have thus been fought since time immortal when loss of life of their citizens was considered not necessary by the dominent foreign states.

    Venality,graft, corruption, and the treatment of others from different racial,social,and economic classes as “less than” by a society and its political leaders allows manipulation of economies and politics worldwide.

    The realpolitic lesson ignored in top level policy pronouncements by those in favor of head of state asassinations is the that politicians come and go BUT domestic and multinational lobbyists of elite groups, militaries, and senior political aides continue to run the system regardless of a nation- state’s political ideology.

    So whether killing the leader of an idea,(the use of nonviolence)the leaders of the dissidents of a political party (the “disappeared” in Argentina and elsewhere), or a political head of state DOES NOT GUARANTEE that a project or course of action will stop.It will guarantee an equal action here in the United States.

    In one book on the shelves of Borders now, NEMESIS, the thesis statement is Robert Kennedy was murdered by Aristole Onassis and his Arab friends.Ari’s friend at the time was a major moneyman for the “terrorrists” in the 70’s. The line I read which was chilling to me was that after the Israeli’s win over the Arab Coalition, it was felt that a major politician should be killed in America. Is this book correct? I don’t know. However,it could be.

    Israel bombed a facility that could have become a factory of nuclear weapons. Secret services in this decade identified the scientists,especially those of Pakistan, participating in the transfer of knowledge needed for a nuclear program. Both of these actions slowed the development of nuclear programs in the Middle East.A man working for an import export high-security electronics firm had the paperwork capabiltiy,connections, and being in the right country to provide a key part needed in the manufactoring of a nuclear weapon. Fortunately, he was identified and is now cooperating with American officials. These type of actions work.

    On a different note,
    what if the people and the politicans of a state agree nuclear power is needed.The possibility of an accident is a willing risk. Do we Americans want other countries intervening, killing our politicians, because other world citizens feel we make the world unsafe for their children?

    How do you explain the high increase of international countries having American lobbyists representing their interests before Congress if not to influence policy and economic decisions?

  • Considering the high number of failed attempts at assassinating Castro, I don’t see why it would act as much of a deterrent.

    That aside, the key argument against assassination is that you have no control over what happens next. In a dictatorship it depends on who manages to grab power. That person might very well be worse than the person he replaced.

    In a democracy, the lines are clearer and you may be able to make a reasonable assessment about the desirability of new leadership, but an assassination starts smelling really fishy and disregarding the morality of assassinating an elected leader, might still be undesirable because of the potentially extreme backlash if the assassin can be connected to you.

    In either case, the potential risk is tremendous, and might even directly cause war or terrorism as retaliation.

    While I don’t have any strong moral objections to political assassinations in principle, I do consider the above problems significant enough to warrant extreme caution.

    Of course, another problem with it for me personally is that I have absolutely no faith that the US government would use them only against people that there’s anywhere near a consensus deserves to be toppled, much less killed.


  • jim

    Hey, any of you people remember the 10 Commandments??

    I just love so-called “Christian” people killing for God. Tell ol’ Pat to keep up the good work – I hear Hell still has some openings! (but they are going fast!)

  • Too late. Keep up with the news.

  • Once again, I argue that repealing that ban on assassinations will lead to other countries instituting policies of assassination of the President of the United States. And what will we be able to do about it? Furthermore, who’s to say WE won’t change our behavior as a nation if the threat of assassination is hanging over our heads?

    Maybe that wouldn’t be all bad…

  • Vidar, “extreme caution” is right. There would be hell to pay. It’s more the hanging possibility as a negotiating tactic rather than doing it.

    You might get something worse in his place is also a very good argument- unless you’re dealing with something completely unacceptable and untenable where rolling the dice looks better than the status quo.

    Plus, it’s not that easy to just conveniently surgically whack a couple of baddies. How would we even get at Kim Jong Il? Might not be possible other than to absolutely bring in the army and take down the regime.

    It’s a bad BUNCH of pr if we assassinated a head of state, but I don’t see how it would cause them to come after ours. Those what would do such a thing would do it regardless.

    Plus, the possibility of losing a couple of our hack politicians is a risk I would be willing to accept. But woe be unto any known relative, associate, business acquaintance, or countryman of those that did it.

    Also Jim, I am not a Christian, and even if I were, that invocation of the Ten Commandments is just wrong. It’s a dumb thing to keep saying frankly, since absolutely every sentient being knows that the commandment not to kill was set in the middle of a list of capital offenses.

    When you throw that argument up, it’s like you’re trying to say that Yahweh laid out pacifism as the law. That just obviously was not the case. Also, see the book of Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land.

  • This is, quite typically I’m afraid, unsophisticated and poorly thought-out.

    Think before you write, Senator.

    That is all.

  • Geesh how many Senators think before they write? Oh, I forgot, they usually have speech writers.

  • Realist

    Hey — assassination works!

    On November 4, 1995, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a gunman in central Tel Aviv after attending a rally.

    That killed the peace process that was underway.

  • WTF

    Git some… Pat.

    Anyone not willing to kill with their own hands, shouldn’t go around asking others to do it for them.

    It’s called chickenshit.

  • Rich

    Has anyone read this book?

    “Confessions of an economic hitman” by John Perkins.

    It would inlighten people on this subject and put into perspective our foreign policy tactics over the past decades.

    I would strongly recomend this book to our fellow BC politicos.

    I want to write a blog article synopsis of the book, but don’t have the time.

    Maybe in the near future.


  • Liberal

    “Under what system of morality would it NOT be superior to kill a few deserving offenders if you could rather than have a full scale war?”

    How about when the offender happens to be you?

  • What exactly do you mean by that, Liberal? I’m not understanding you.

  • Liberal

    “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
    And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    – Martin Niemoller

  • Rich

    Hey wasn’t Iraq a secular State before we invaded it?

    And what is it going to be under Iraq’s new draft constitution, an Islamic Republic?

    Isn’t Iran an Islamic Republic?

    We are sacraficing our soldiers to build Islamic Republics?

  • Jumpin’ Jebus there Liberal. That quote in comment 16 is SO inappropriate to the context. What, if the cops kill a bankrobber or kidnapper, then I’m next? It’s a slippery slope from assassinating Kim Jong Il to coming after little Liberal you? As Jimmy would say during one of his South Park motivational comedy routines, I mean, c’mon.

  • Liberal

    OK, Al. Where do you draw the line between a dictator that is ok to assassinate and one who is not? We don’t like this guy’s human rights record, so he’s gone. We don’t like this one’s economics, so he’s gone. We don’t like this one’s religion…

  • Liberal, in all things in life there are judgement calls. I appreciate that we should be really skeptical of going around whacking people, but I think it’s not that difficult to establish some reasonable idea of where it would be acceptable. Not over economics or we “don’t like” their religion, but murdering thugs supplying, harboring or just playing footsie with terrorists. Mass murdering thugs can wake up dead.

    Plus, again, give US an even half viable alternative strategy. What’ll we do instead?

  • sammy

    As long as assassinations are regarded as necessary they will always have fascination. When they are looked upon as vulgar, they will cease to be considered.

  • lauri wiss

    are you equally able to see assasinations of heads and boards of directors of multinational corporations and NGO’s?
    Why? Why not?

  • Les Slater

    What right does the U.S. have to interfere with any country?

    This is not limited to assassinations of heads of state, or other so-called enemies.

    The U.S. free-trade policy is anything but free trade. The U.S. subsidizes whomever it pleases, whenever it pleases, at the same forcing underdeveloped countries to accept products from the U.S. without hindrance or tariff. It pushes governments to privatize all of its resources.

    The U.S. subverts democracies that don’t go along with these policies.

    These policies are being more and more resisted, principally by workers and farmers (peasant) in those countries. Governments have tried to suppress the resistance, or sometimes, give lip service. In Latin America may a president has been ousted by an enraged population, primarily, workers, farmers and the indigenous.

    At times a leader comes along, that to some extent, manages to hold off the wolves. These are the ones that are hated by the various U.S. administrations.

    Why? The flow of wealth is primarily from the undeveloped world to the developed world. As the economies of the developed world sink deeper into crisis, this cash flow becomes critical and central. This is why the U.S. is ratcheting up the invectives and threats to Chavez and Castro. They are examples that the U.S. does not want to see spread. They are spreading and this is bringing the threat of U.S. going to war against most of Latin America closer. The military buildups in counties like Colombia have nothing to do with drug trade.

    The assassination threats have to be seen in this context. No executive order has ever, or will ever, get in the way of this.

    In the Middle East the issue is primarily energy supplies. U.S. policy is designed to have as many countries beholden to U.S. policy, and be stable enough to deliver. Democracy is no criterion.

    As far as nuclear power is concerned, all developing countries have a right to it without interference. In the case of Iran, they have every reason to believe that if they depended on foreign supply of fuel, they would be at the mercy of countries that want to destroy them.

    This is also true of North Korea. Also, both Iran and North Korea have a right to nuclear weapons. Both countries have defined by the Bush administration to be part of the axis of evil. This means that they are in the gun sights of the mightiest military power on the face of the earth. Do we have a right to demand that they surrender? Lebanon did surrender and Syria is taking the brunt of the pressure at the moment.

    These policies of preventing undeveloped countries from developing are costing many millions of lives annually. Is it surprising that there are those that seek to strike America with as much harm as they can?

    None of this will change until the imperialist arrogance of the U.S. is defeated. This will not be able to stand if the majority of us understand who are our enemies and who are our allies.

    The powers, federal, state and local, Republican and Democrat, that let New Orleans suffer untold destruction and grief are not our allies or friends.

    The calls for assassinations are thoroughly reactionary!

  • Lee, you’re gonna get a lot of flak for what you said.

    NO ONE deserves nuclear weapons, certainly not Iran and North Korea. It’s the hypocrisy of nuclear-armed states that makes proliferation possible and motivated.

    That is all.

  • Les Slater

    “NO ONE deserves nuclear weapons, certainly not Iran and North Korea. It’s the hypocrisy of nuclear-armed states that makes proliferation possible and motivated.”

    The problem is that the U.S. has them, used them against civilian populations, and continues to threaten to use them.

    If the U.S. unilaterally disarms and stops threatening and attacking the rest of the world, then, but not before then, can we start talking about disarming the rest of the world.

    To do otherwise is reactionary hypocrisy.

  • Yeah Lee, this right here out of all your verbiage tells me about what I need to know about how seriously to take your opinions on foreign policy and US defense: “both Iran and North Korea have a right to nuclear weapons.”

    This pretty much tells us that you are stuck on some ideological so severe that you are apparently blind to anything like reality on the ground. The map is not the territory.

    Look up from your BS (Belief Systems), and look at the actual road in front of you. In what Candyland scenario is either of these countries having nuclear weapons NOT a sure-fire recipe for epic catastrophe?

  • Les Slater

    “In what Candyland scenario is either of these countries having nuclear weapons NOT a sure-fire recipe for epic catastrophe?”

    You seemed to have missed the point. Did I say that a catastrophe was not on the horizon?

    It is not just my “Candyland scenario”. A large, and growing, percentage of the world sees the U.S. as threat to peace. What we are seeing has objective basis, it is not a figment of imagination, candyland or otherwise. The U.S. administration has made it perfectly clear, that it does not need world opinion on its side, nor U.N. authority, or even facts, to attack anyone it pleases.

    Not only does the U.S. have nuclear weapons, the only one in the world that has used them, on civilian targets no less, threatens to use them in the future, but the likelihood that they will be used (by U.S. forces) is increasing by the day.

    Are you saying that the rest of the world should accept that? Their subjugation by force and treats of force?

    Yes, the world is getting dangerous, very dangerous. But the problem is not emanating from Iran or N. Korea. Look closer to home. I know it is not an easy thing to do.

  • Nancy

    Do any of you people seriously believe the US already hasn’t gone around doing whatever the administration in power wants/wanted as far as ‘killing’, either economically or literally? If you do, then you must believe in the tooth fairy as well. Various administrations have been engineering assassinations on various levels by various 3rd – or more usually, 10th – parties almost since the inception of the US. This is nothing new, and it shouldn’t be a surprise.

  • Universal disarmament is the only truly moral gesture, but it’s not a political reality, unfortunately.

    Once we let the nuclear genie out of the bottle, the tragic reality is that proliferation will continue, is likely impossible to stop, and that we’ll have at least 30-40 nuclear states within 25 years. And it’ll become more likely that ethnic and territorial rivalries will bring us closer to nuclear war than ever before — the next nuclear war won’t be between superpowers but between neighboring states with long-standing disputes who miscalculate the military intentions of the other. It’ll probably be a pre-emptive nuclear strike based on a false belief that the other side is ready to use nuclear weapons offensively.

    This is why nuclear weapons are a great moral evil, for us for for rogue states.

    The problem now is that it’s too late to take away the attraction of those weapons. They’re already the forbidden fruit after the nuclear arms race of the last 40 years. How do we get rogue states and 3rd world nations to lose their taste for nuclear weapons?

    I’m not quite sure, but we’ll forever be viewed as hypocrites and have very little diplomatic leverage in preventing proliferation by others as long as we continue to have the largest nuclear arsenal (or perhaps second after Russia) and refuse to repudiate bad ideas like resuming nuclear tests, refusing to ratify the CTBT, and developing nuclear bunker busters or other new nuclear weapon research on higher-yield weapons.

    That is all.

  • Haven’t heard much credible about assassinations outside of an open warfare situation anytime recently, no. It’s absolutely against the law ie this executive order. If there is anything like that going on, they’d best not be getting caught at it.

    Lee, are you out of your tree? Do you not see the difference between US and Iran or North Korea? We’re not going on blind massacres of innocent people just because we can. Dealing with Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Iraq is trying to put a stop to mass murders of US and others. That’s maybe just slightly different than Al Qaeda flying planes into our buildings or Saddam gassing the Kurds.

    The rest of the world damn well knows this. If they don’t, that’s primarily THEIR problem.

    You don’t have to like US, but don’t be supporting, harboring, or just generally playing footsie with Al Qaeda or other such groups, or you invite unpleasantness with US.

    And the stuff that you call economic “killing” is not killing, it’s called “business.” I apologize very goddam profusely to all those poor Middle Eastern folks whom we are economically killing by paying them $60+ for oil which they mostly wouldn’t even be able to get out of the ground by themselves.

    And NO, we absolutely do not need the UN to give US permission to stop sonsabitches who want to come kill US.

  • beadtot

    If there’s untrammeled foreign access to any U. S. region having an airport, then (as example) some counties lose their independence. Some people fly into Pennsylvania to shoot wild pigs but only because advertisers thought [<] there was a real crisis -- the real question concerned which [of all possible] beasts to plug when/if they approached a limestone funerary monu-ment. In some places the limestone is said to be 'foreign'.

  • gonzo marx

    oh, big Al..ya slay me sometimes..liek when ya say stuff like this…
    *And NO, we absolutely do not need the UN to give US permission to stop sonsabitches who want to come kill US.*

    now..in principle, we might share some agreement…however, after the bad taste of our last little fiasco…you remember, the pre-emptive attack on Iraq, who had NOT attacked us in any way shape or form, had NOTHING to do with 9/11, and basically could not even win a fair fight with the Hell’s Angels, much less the US Marines…

    but what the hell, it’s all ok with big Al..be the bully, whack who we like…fuck the Rule of Law, or anything resembling ethics….invade anybody on a whim…

    scary shit kiddies…and it ain’t even Halloween yet


  • Senator,

    We can’t and won’t kill people using nuclear weapons in the war on terror unless another nuclear-armed power strikes first or is involved, which would be World War III and possibly the end of the world.

    And Iraq had nothing to do with al Qaeda before the occupation. Yes, there are some terrorist fighters who have now come to Iraq BECAUSE of the occupation — that doesn’t provide an ex post facto justification for the linkage between Iraq and al Qaeda before the war. And anyone who understands the insurgency on the ground in Iraq, i.e., not you or any of your Internet buddies, realizes that most of the insurgents aren’t al Qaeda but disaffected Iraqi Sunnis who have a general disdain for the religious fanaticism of al Qaeda. The sooner we realize that, the better our chances for a real reconstruction in Iraq. As it looks now, the chances aren’t good going into the future for a unified nation-state. It’s much more likely that we have 2 or 3 nations as a result of this war within a decade to 15 years, one of which is likely to become theocratic and much more dangerous in terms of geopolitical strategy than the one that was deposed.

    That is all.

  • Several kids at my school are convinced that we have already used Nuclear Weapons on Iraqi citizens. That get this from our Liberal teachers.

  • gonzo marx

    and how many think that Saddam was involved in 9/11?

    that’s what we get from a neocon government’s propaganda machine


  • I’ve always believed that if we had not gone into Iraq, the only option would have been to rescind order 12333.


  • gonzo marx

    right up there with your belief in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus

    militarily , Iraq posed NO immediate threat…N. Korea and Iran are/were MUCH more important targets…hell, finishing the job in Afghanistan is immeasurably more important…but bin Laden still roams around with Mullah Omar and Muhammed’s Cloak…and THAT is infinitately more dangerous to the US than Saddam ever could be

    don’t get me wrong here, Saddam was a bad guy…but our world if full to the brim with bad guys…and pre-emptive has proven to be bullshit once the actual Facts were discovered…one of the side effects no one likes to talk about is the squandering of World support when the US abandoned Afghanistan to attack Iraq…



  • “and how many think that Saddam was involved in 9/11?”

    Who ever said Saddam was involved in 9/11???

    We did prove he was paying suicide bombers in Palestine though. And he did massacre thousands of his own people.

  • gonzo marx

    i agree, he was paying 25k to the families of palestinian suicide bombers..

    and he did kill lots of his own folks…mostly the Kurds after we abandoned them post gulf war 1…he used the weapons we gave him to fight Iran

    but my point is lost on you i gather


  • Gonzo, See Gonzo you start out as a compiment then finish with a negative remark.

    I believe those were Ruskie weapons they used on their own people.

  • Gonzo, the executive order clearly also prohibits the assassination of Bin Laden, not just heads of state. It applies to everyone.

    There have also been numerous actions in violation of the order. When we tried to target bomb Qaddafi, and when we launched cruise missiles at locations we thought Bin Laden and Saddam were in, we were attempting to assassinate them, albeit by crude methods.


  • gonzo marx

    what you believe has NO bearing on the Facts…go and look this shit up if you don’t know

    remember that nice picture of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam?

    remember that Russia was backing Iran while we backed Iraq in that 8 year war that killed millions?

    nah..i guess that is too much to expect

    but this is one you should know..Rumsfeld, cheney and some others in the current Administration, all worked for Regan…and supported Saddam, as well as sold him weapons, in response to the Iranian embassy incident under the Carter Administration (i was in the service when the Embassy was taken)

    it was these same folks that were in on the “arms for hostages” as well as the Iran-Contra bit of treason…

    i realize those Facts and that particular set of episodes in American history might be uncomfortable for you…but they do provide much of the needed context to view current events in the region intelligently rather than parroting bullshit


  • Geopolitics, gonzo. Your friend one day is your enemy the next. Surely we’ve all got a grip on this by now?


  • gonzo marx

    Mr Nalle…i do not dispute the fucked up facts of which you speak

    note, i clearly stated that my giving Ag the bit of a history lesson was so that things could be pondered in context, rather than erroneously as some kind of isolated incident

    but do note that this “killing of thousands of his own people” mostly took place during the time period i am talking about…the only other mass killing of his own people was after the first gulf war..when we mysteriously abandoned our Kurdish allies, and took down the no-fly barriers for a few days

    i don’t pretend to know the why of it all, just stating the Facts

    nuff said?


  • While it is dwarfed by Saddam’s genocide, he and his sons were dragging off hundreds of people a month for torture, rape and murder right up to the moment he was deposed.


  • gonzo marx

    and i don’t argue those Facts, Mr Nalle

    i just don’t see them as a pressing need to abandon our military action against those that DID fucking attack us in order to launch a pre-emptive strike against a soverign nation that did not offer any “clear and present danger” towards the US

    on that we can just agree to disagree


  • Where we disagree is that you think that the war in Iraq is not part of the effort to strike back against those who attacked us and I think that it is central to that effort. You are perhaps right that Iraq was not the direct source of 9/11. But I’m also right that attacking Iraq could be a viable beginning to taking down the entire regional terror network, even if they weren’t directly responsible for 9/11.


  • I agree with you. Its like having a law that says cops cant use lethal force. Of course no one wants to see it happen, but the threat is sometimes all it takes.

    We don’t have a law that says we can never use Nuclear missles do we?

  • Magnus

    You make me sick.

    Taking about killing as if human beings were stock options – nah, we don’t like this one, let’s get a few more of these instead.


  • As the most heavily armed and warlike country, I think we should assasinate the political leaders of the USA!

    Seriously, Al, in a history of daft proposals, this is the daftest; wake up will ya?

  • troll

    so – we all agree

    our next geopolitical move in the Greater Chess Game is to assassinate Castrated by dropping a hydrogen bomb on Cuba – make it a big one…we wouldn’t want to miss

    I bet Chavez would change his tune in a hot second

    too bad about all that collateral damage…we better tell Florida to issue sun screen preemptively

    we need a rebirth of wonder – who do you think you are – ?

    take your realist nonsense off my bridge


  • See, defining exactly how much tangible involvement in exactly what acts will justify the necessity of intervention. Diffusion is the grand strategic weapon of this enemy. There tends to be minimal paper trails and documentation. There are different levels of involvement from planning to hosting to merely quietly tolerating the mere handfuls of direct actual terrorists.

    They basically count on our fairly extreme and proper desire to avoid killing innocents as much as possible. It is exactly for the point of avoiding unnecessary killing of civillians that we need the option of targeted assassinations.

    A lot of that part of the world is pretty much a big rat’s nest of terrorists, mostly Muslim extremists in marriages of convenience with evil secular figures like Hussein. A fair amount of rat’s nest was and to some extent apparently still is laying in Iraq. Besides anything else, the Hussein regime was one of the biggest half dozen groups in that region for supporting terrorist crap. He ain’t no more.

    You could argue that we should have attacked Iran or North Korea first rather than Iraq, and I might agree. Perhaps we should have, but I doubt you really mean that. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it would seem that instead you would say that we should have done nothing, and gone after NONE of them.

    That just wasn’t working. Do you have a better plan, other than doing nothing and hoping that they just go away?

  • Your beard is a rat’s nest.

    How about finding them where they ARE, like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, both political allies that we don’t want to mess with or push too hard despite the fact that they shelter more terrorists and more al Qaeda within their borders than any other nations?

    How about avoiding military over-stretch so we could effectively respond to the next critical war we DO need to fight? Right now, the wonderful, powerful US of A couldn’t fight and win another major war if one came upon us at this moment. We’re tapped out of personnel and resources.

    Dave: you’re misusing the word “genocide” again in terms of describing Saddam’s political prisoners he tortured. The one argument someone could make (but which you clearly weren’t) for something akin to a genocide was Saddam’s use of chemical weapons on the Kurds in the early 1990s, but I’m not sure there were enough casualties or enough systematic murder for it to qualify as genocide. Genocide is a very specific term in international politics where ethnic groups are targeted for extermination.

    That is all.

  • Somehow I don’t think the Senator’s 3rd-grade reptilian brain processes satire, especially that of his South Park heroes.

    You do know that “America, Fuck yeah!” was meant to be satirical, right, Al?

    That is all.

  • RE comment 51: You realize Troll that the point of repealing this executive order would be precisely to avoid killing a bunch of people like that in order to get one or two jerks.

  • Trpg

    Okay it’s September 13th, Pat Robertson has been shut down (for now). This is a dead issue…. quite resurrecting a dead blog and get on to something new.

    Like Pat Robertson, really had any authority to sanction a “hit”

    Go watch a football game and get over the lout.

  • troll

    but Al – why would you trust the US Gov (motto = ‘if it doesn’t work use a bigger hammer’) with a task as important and sensative as political assassination

    keep it privatized and outsourced I say…


  • Les Slater

    When John Kennedy was assassinated Malcolm X. said the “chickens have come home to roost.”

    Does anyone know what he meant? Or what it means?

  • Pete

    Because it is a presidential order, the president does have the power to make exceptions.

    Congress wanted to pass a law making assination illeagal, and a compromise was made, with the president at the time (I want to say Ford, but I’d have to look it up), resulting in Executive order 12333. What this means is that it is illeagal for any agent of the US to have anything to do with an assasination.

    However, because this policy is in the form of an executive order, instead of a law, the President has the power to make exceptions (which I’m sure he does).