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Assignment Questions

The Increment of Predator Drones by President Obama

As we embark on examining the presidency consider the following question. President Obama has increased the use of predator drones in lieu of putting “boots on the ground.” In a controversial move, the Obama Administration killed suspected al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awaki in 2011. al-Awaki had been accused of being a pivotal organizer in several terrorist plots, and was identified as a key al-Qaeda leader. The al-Awaki case, however includes a complicated set of factors, primary among them is that he was a US citizen before his death. Accordingly, al-Awaki as a citizen has due process rights granted to him by the Constitution. Due process includes the right to a trial before an impartial judge and jury and access to a lawyer. al-Awaki was not provided these rights before the attack in Yemen that killed him.

Did President Obama have the right to authorize the execution of al-Awaki without a court trial? If you believe President Obama does have this power, why? Think about what this type of assassination opens the door to — does this mean the president can kill American citizens using the global war on terror as justification? If you believe he did not have the power, why? Is this an example of an egregious over reach of executive power?

Use LA time, NY TImes, Wallstreet Journal, Washington Post articles as evidence to support your argument.

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