Why the President must never be given the authority to assassinate U.S. citizens

If the U.S. Constitution does not grant every American citizen certain rights and liberties, it means nothing. Even a citizen on foreign soil suspected of promoting terrorist activity should have some kind of trial and be found guilty before a drone strike assassination. Such a trial should be recorded and made public record. This is not about being some conspiracy theorist; this is about not being naive. This is about knowing history.

In the defense of a Presidents Constitutional authority to kill American citizens on American soil, Eric Holder made the excuse that the administration wasn’t planning on it. To be clear we’re not talking about an armed bank robber, a pilot aiming a plane at a building, someone who has hostages or a finger on the device of some detonator. We’re talking about an assassination of an American citizen that doesn’t pose an imminent threat.

The fact that we wouldn’t expect President Obama to abuse such power is a very short sighted view of the issue. Can they vouch that subsequently elected leaders would never abuse such power for political purposes? Can they guarantee that 25 or 50 years from now, such powers would not pave the way for a dictatorship?

But surely the power to simply assassinate American citizens would only happen under extreme circumstances. Should that give us comfort? And what would qualify as an extreme circumstance and couldn’t such events be exploited or manufactured?

What happens when a leader is able to simply assassinate his people?

-James Kirk Wall

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