(NaturalNews) Do you remember when Barack Obama, as a senator and onetime constitutional law professor, opposed legislation he felt incriminated on the rights of American citizens? If that seems like a political lifetime ago, that's because it was; it was back in a time (2007) when he also believed the U.S. should close Guantanamo Bay, restore Habeas Corpus to Muslims around the world and never hold U.S. citizens as enemy combatants.
This startling opinion came as a pair of administration attorneys - Stephen Preston from the CIA and Jeh Johnson from the Pentagon - justified the White House's decision to authorize the CIA to kill Anwar al Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and leading al Qaeda figure who died following a drone strike on his position in a mountainous region of Yemen Sept. 30.
The justification for, say, assassinating this U.S. citizen without a trial, is that anyone - citizen or not - who is "at war" with the United States is a target for assassination (even though, as a matter of policy, the U.S. "officially" does not sanction assassinations).
Perhaps even more alarming is Johnson's assertion that only the executive branch (the president) has the authority and right make so-called "battlefield decisions" about who is and is not a U.S. enemy, not the courts.
And yet, the courts in habeas cases, "such as those involving whether a detainee should be released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, make the determination of who can be considered an enemy combatant," Reuters reported.
This legal maneuver may seem acceptable to many Americans because, legitimately or otherwise, the United States is at war with extremism which by its nature, is so much different than wars past, in that there are no armored columns, legions of soldiers, orders of march and squadrons of aircraft coming at us.
It may also seem acceptable because al Awlaki was a bad guy who indeed worked against the United States. But think about it - when did assassination become official policy under the guise of creating "enemy combatants?"
The Obama administration decided in January 2010 to continue a Bush-era policy that authorized the CIA and the military to kill U.S. citizens outside the country if there is "strong evidence" they are involved in terrorist activities. So now, just because the government says you are an enemy, you can be killed, all in the name of combating "terrorism" and protecting the homeland. Surely the founding fathers are doing cartwheels in their graves.