Jewish World Review March 25, 2011 19 Adar II, 5771
By Roger Simon
This war is going to cost us a fortune, it puts our military personnel at risk, and innocent civilians are in peril of death or injury through collateral damage. So why don't we just ice the guy? Grease him, snuff him or, yes, assassinate him?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no federal law that makes the assassination of a foreign leader outside the boundaries of the United States illegal.
There are executive orders against it, but executive orders are simply rulings by a president, and any president can amend or set aside the executive order of a previous president.
In 1976, Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905 that forbade the assassination of foreign leaders for "political" reasons. Ford did this after revelations that the United States had conducted a series of botched and sometimes hilarious (poisoned cigars) assassination attempts against Fidel Castro.
In 1978, Jimmy Carter reaffirmed the policy, and in 1981, Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 stating that "no person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination."
And since no president has since overturned that executive order, it is still in effect. Except that it doesn't really mean anything. After a Berlin nightclub bombing by Libyan agents in 1986 in which U.S. soldiers were killed, President Reagan unleashed eight F-111 bombers against Libyan President Gadhafi's personal compound in Tripoli.
Although the planes dropped 60 tons of explosives, Gadhafi escaped harm, though we did, unfortunately, kill his 15-month-old daughter. One U.S. pilot was lost in the raid.
The Reagan administration denied this was an assassination attempt, however, because "administration legal counselors advised that the strike could be justified as self-defense and a preemptive military attack." Such deaths, the White House lawyers ruled, even the death of a head of state, "could not be considered political assassination."
Which is why it is always good to have a lawyer on your payroll.
But in early 2001, Bob Barr, then a Republican representative from Georgia, felt that the executive orders were too restrictive and introduced the Terrorist Elimination Act of 2001 that would nullify them. "Our federal government should never put the lives of our troops at risk when there is an alternative method of accomplishing the same goals," Barr said.
In other words, Barr wanted to bring assassination out of the shadows and make it legal.
The bill went nowhere, but it didn't matter. Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush signed a "finding" ordering the CIA to use "lethal covert operations" to kill Osama bin Laden and destroy al-Qaida.
Why would that not be an attempt at assassination?
Because, the White House decided, "the ban on political assassination does not apply to wartime" and does not apply to "action against terrorists."
So there is ample precedent for U.S. presidents to try to whack people.
And since it is clearly "wartime" in our endless war against terror, and since Gadhafi is a terrorist — - he was behind not only the Berlin bombing but also the blowing up of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, murdering 270 people, including 190 Americans — targeting Gadhafi for death would be as simple as writing a parking ticket.
Sunday night, a U.S. cruise missile slammed into Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli — maybe this guy should get an unlisted address? — but Gadhafi was once again unharmed, and the United States said it had not been targeting him.
Why not? It is likely that with Gadhafi dead, his government would collapse and rebel forces could take over the country. Why risk numerous U.S., allied and civilian deaths to achieve a rebel victory when all we need to do is rub out one guy?
"Equal and exact justice to all" is what Thomas Jefferson said America promised.
And with all the innocent blood on Gadhafi's hands, equal and exact justice is exactly what America would be giving him.
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