The Department of Justice’s latest White (Wash?) Paper has effectively allowed senior members of the US government – politicians and public servants – to become both judge and executioner of anyone they regard as an enemy even if they are US citizens. The presumption of innocence, judicial process and all other legalities associated with justice in any democracy are entirely ignored and by-passed.
It seems the US government and its agencies will now decide who the enemy is stating that they may be either members of al-Qaeda or “its associated forces”. Furthermore, it seems, the US government decides which individuals or groups of individuals are to be labelled members of al-Qaeda and who shall be labelled as being their “associated forces”. It basically means that any Muslim that raises their hand to the US, Israel or their allies may be arbitrarily declared a member of al-Qaeda or “its associated forces” and therefore liable to be extra-judicially executed anywhere.
What’s really disturbing about all this is the fact that the people of the US, together with the various peoples of its allies in Israel and the West have raised very little objection to the US and Israeli practice of extra-judicially killing their enemies. By using the simple expediency of labelling them ‘terrorist’ members of al-Qaeda or their ‘associated forces’ there is an expectation from the government that the people, having been told those they are killing are ‘the bad guys’, will blindly accept it as being lawful. So far, those expectations have been fulfilled.
There was a time when such extra-judicial behaviour was considered abhorrent. It even got to the point that, while everyone knew it went on, an Executive Order from President Gerald Ford by 1976 was needed to put a stop to the practice of the government assassinating people. Free and democratic nations, it was presumed, did not lower themselves to such practices; these were the sorts of things that only evil governments like the USSR, China and Cuba indulged in. Today, abhorrence has turned into tolerance. We in the West have become, it seems, as evil as our ‘enemies’.
But how long will it be before The Government begins to regard its own citizens as enemies and just as liable to be extra-judicially ‘dealt with’ as foreigners from Islamic places are today?
The practice of extra-judicially imprisoning or executing those regarded by The Government as enemies is a backward step for all mankind. It must be resisted before it becomes a free-for-all whereby those who The Government believe are their enemies adopt the same tactic and begin extra-judicially killing Western political and military leaders. Where do go from there?