Sunday, October 09, 2011

O! The Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is the overarching theme found between the lines in the New York Times' Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen:
The Obama administration’s secret legal memorandum that opened the door to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Muslim cleric hiding in Yemen, found that it would be lawful only if it were not feasible to take him alive, according to people who have read the document...

...The secret document provided the justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war, according to people familiar with the analysis. The memo, however, was narrowly drawn to the specifics of Mr. Awlaki’s case and did not establish a broad new legal doctrine to permit the targeted killing of any Americans believed to pose a terrorist threat...
This authorization for the killing was done by the same person that scolded the Bush adminstration and his colleagues (both Republicans and Democrats) so derisively as a Senator during a radio interview:
Diane Rehm: ...Earlier this week the President signed into law the Military Commissions Act; the new law that gives the President quite far reaching authority on the war on terror. You voted against the measure. Tell us why.

Sen. Obama: I think it was a sloppy piece of legislation. It was rushed in part to match the election schedule. And had we stepped back and thought this through there was a way of making sure that the military could do it's job in charging and trying those persons who seek to do us harm, but do so in a context was consistent with our core constitutional principles. This wasn't that bill.

One of the most disturbing aspect of the legislation was the elimination for the first time in our history of the principle of Habeas Corpus. And those that are familiar with our jurisprudence know that Habeas Corpus predates the American Revolution; it's a principle going back to the 13th Century.

And the basic principle is one that should be so obvious to people that I think all of us take it for granted. That is, if the government grabs you and hauls you into custody they have an obligation to charge you and allow you to answer those charges. And this piece of legislation said for the first time that it is permisible for this adminstration or the military to capture people and not give them that basic hearing in court...
This authorization to kill Anwar al-Awlaki doubles-down on the hypocrisy previously detailed in the New York Times' Obama Upholds Detainee Policy in Afghanistan:
The Obama administration has told a federal judge that military detainees in Afghanistanhave no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there, embracing a key argument of former President Bush’s legal team...
What's playing out in Obama's policy is the dynamic previously covered in Immune Systems Provide a Framework for Developing Principles on the Use of Interrogation Techniques:
...The science of immune systems, Immunology, and Evolution offer us billions of years of 'best practices' in dealing with deadly threats that can be translated to the moral challenges our society faces in the Global War on Terror.

In principle, an immune system's mechanism works to protect an organism by attacking pathogens that would do it harm. White blood cells or leukocytes are constantly at work defending against harmful microbes in the body. The fevers we experience when our bodies get the flu, a 'high-level attack' and a disease that takes 250,000 to 500,000 humans annually, are part of the overall defenses the immune system utilizes. Because the body doesn't operate properly in a fever's high temperatures, it maintains a normal temperature when it is simply experiencing 'low-level attacks', like the germs that infect a small wound on your hand.

Unfortunately, the immune system's protection comes at a price; it's a two-edged sword with built-in imperfections. Sometimes it attacks the very organism it's trying to defend. This condition is called Autoimmunity. Rheumatology is one branch of medicine that treats one of these imperfections.

Billions of years of Evolution have given us a mechanism that precariously balances aggressive actions with unintended consequences. We must remind ourselves that the attack-and-defend interplay between pathogens and immune systems is not a steady-state system, but is co-evolving. One of the more fascinating adaptations is the process of active immunity and its production of antibodies. With active immunity, an immune system is constantly re-programming itself in response to the diseases/attacks it has survived...



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