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What exactly do you mean, “engaged in combat”?

Nice Op-Ed from Ryan Goodman today:

What, exactly, does the Obama administration mean by “engaged in combat”? The extraordinary secrecy of this White House makes the answer difficult to know. We have some clues, and they are troubling. ...

One could argue that that definition applied solely to prolonged detention, not to targeting for a drone strike. But who’s to say if the administration believes in such a distinction? ...

In a 2010 Fox News interview, under pressure to explain whether the Obama administration was any closer to capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, Mr. Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, said that “we have gotten closer because we have been able to kill a number of their trainers, their operational people, their financiers.” That revelation — killing financiers — appears not to have been noticed very widely.

As I have written, sweeping financiers into the group of people who can be killed in armed conflict stretches the laws of war beyond recognition. But this is not the only stretch the Obama administration seems to have made. The administration still hasn’t disavowed its stance, disclosed last May in a New York Times article, that military-age males killed in a strike zone are counted as combatants absent explicit posthumous evidence proving otherwise. ...

By declining to specify what it means to be “engaged in combat,” the letter does not foreclose the possible scenario — however hypothetical — of a military drone strike, against a United States citizen, on American soil. It also raises anew questions about the standards the administration has used in deciding to use drone strikes to kill Americans suspected of terrorist involvement overseas — notably Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

When Obama starts parsing, that's when you want to watch out!

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Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

"The administration still hasn’t disavowed its stance, disclosed last May in a New York Times article, that military-age males killed in a strike zone are counted as combatants absent explicit posthumous evidence proving otherwise."

I'd missed this. How unrealistic is it to suppose that the definition of "engaged in combat" (for purposes of US citizens on US soil) involves a presumption of guilt along similar lines?

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

On "Up" with Chris Hayes this morning, the author of "Gun Guys" or something like that said that they are now perfecting the drones so as not to kill innocent bystanders sitting around Jane Fonda in the cafe. The drone will now have a rifle like device. So they can be like snipers and just kill the one bad dude. Isn't that wonderful!

I'll try to do a piece on the segment on "Up" where I and the ACLU woman were agreeing with the Republican guests. Yikes! Looks like research is proving that Republicans no longer follow their leaders and Democrats now are the lockstep types who dutifully follow their leaders no matter what. If I want to be a rebel, I might have to join the local Republican party!

Submitted by lambert on

Would love to see the piece! The Republicans might be following their leaders if they were in power, though....

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

I think that has been the pattern. To rally with your tribe when they are in the catbird seat. But something feels different lately. maybe there is real rebellion simmering. Well , one can hope. ( although hope has lost it's meaning.)

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

Subject: Constitution Hacked

So I found this on a far right website:

"Obama's AG: No drone strikes on American citizens ‘not engaged in combat’
"Combat" includes "combat support" doncha know, including communications (making a phone call), logistical support (cooking dinner), or planning (reading this email on your computer).
Anybody who doesn't know how these weasels think isn't qualified to deal with them.

We’re gonna need people that know how to deal with these drones."

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

"Engaged in combat"
Ah here we go, why wait for DHS to ready yourself for those no-knock raids?
(Scott's Valley is where Santa Cruz's pot farmers live )
SCOTTS VALLEY -- Without using any money from its budget, the Scotts Valley Police Department purchased and retrofitted a surplus armored truck to use as the department's SWAT team vehicle.

Officers unveiled the latest addition to their fleet, a boxy black truck emblazoned with Scotts Valley police symbols, Tuesday afternoon at police headquarters.

"For $10, the Scotts Valley Peace Officers Association bought the truck from a private security company that offers their retired vehicles to law enforcement agencies for very little money. Then officers drummed up donations from businesses in the area to pay for sprucing up the truck."

So the well equipped constabulary is putting its new toy to good use:

SWAT Team Seizes Marijuana Plants, Cocaine During Scotts Valley Home Search « CBS San Francisco

SCOTTS VALLEY (CBS SF) — Around 120 marijuana plants were found in a Scotts Valley home during a search by a SWAT team on Friday, police said Sunday.

That's scary enough to me; but it gets worse, much worse:

The “Buildup” Continues: DHS Purchases 2,700 MRAPs (Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles) ^ | 3/4/13 | n/a

Posted on March 4, 2013, 7:20:52 AM PST by Texas Eagle

The “Buildup” Continues: Dept. of Homeland Security Purchases 2,700 MRAPs (Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles) For Domestic Use… Posted on March 4, 2013 by sundance Some may ignore – But we ask the same questions again, and again. Why do they need these? – This is beyond Creepy – Who is the DHS going to war against?

The Federal Government ordered almost 2 billion rounds of ammunition. They ordered targets looking like average armed citizens. They are conducting military style exercises in urban areas. North Carolina police say they are practicing for martial law.

And all this, for what?

War Clouds on the Horizon (But Can You See Them?)–UPDATE : NO QUARTER USA NET

On February 14, 2013, it was reported that the DHS intended to purchase 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.[2] On March 2, it was reported that DHS had converted its fleet of Predator B drones to carry out domestic spying missions. (The new capability will allow federal, state, and local police forces to identify, at night, a standing human being and determine whether or not that person is armed. An additional technological capability will give the Predator the ability to intercept calls and pinpoint the location of cell phones).[3] On March 5, it was reported that the DHS acquired 2,700 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, a platform developed to protect soldiers from IED’s in Afghanistan and Iraq.[