We teach limited government under a constitution that secures unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This first right means that one’s life cannot be taken by tyrannical government.
The two-minute video below is Defense Secretary Panetta claiming US law allows assassinating Americans if government merely says an American is guilty of a crime. Acts upon what the leader says at any given time rather than limited power under law is the etymology of dictatorship. “Law” based on the dictates of a leader is exactly what Nazi Germany had; their word for leader was fuhrer.
The 5th and 6th Amendments of the US Constitution promise that if the government is to seize you, let alone assassinate you, they have to follow due process to secure persons’ unalienable rights:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury (that means a jury of one’s peers, not the dictatorship of ‘the leader’)… nor shall any person… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;..
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Department of Defense Chief Counsel Jeh Johnson spoke to Yale’s law school and repeated the claim of government authority to dictate any American as a “terrorist” or “terrorist supporter” and be assassinated. This is in Orwellian contradiction to 5th Amendment rights that government cannot deprive you of your life without the above explicit due process. Importantly, Mr. Johnson, the War Department’s top “legal” voice, had more to say: government-dictated assassinations cannot be legally challenged through US courts.
President Obama instructed Justice Department lawyers to defend unlimited warrantless searches in Orwellian violation of the 4th Amendment. Such searches could be claimed as evidence of “supporting terrorism” and then not subject to review after assassination.
President Bush and VP Cheney previously claimed that controlled drowning (waterboarding) is an acceptable method to interrogate and receive confessions, despite US courts’ unanimous rulings that this is torture and that the US hanged WW2 Japanese authorities for its use.
These policies to crush dissent protect US obvious violation of war law to engage in current Wars of Aggression. The publicly-stated “reasons” for these wars are tragic-comic lies easily proved as such with a few moments’ attention.
This is US “law” in our world of the present, and in “emperor has no clothes” obvious violation to the Bill of Rights for all persons (not just citizens).
If we just used “nation x” and “government official y” for the above facts, and students identified them as examples of the US form of government, we would be horrified at their fundamental confusion, yes? We have other names for such forms of government.
Americans who receive their “news” from the six mega-corporations that dominate ~90% of “reporting” will never view clearly-stated facts of the above topics. The CIA disclosed to the Senate Church Committee that they had 400 persons working with the largest US media market to spin stories favorable to administration policies. The facts argue this is still active practice.
Colleagues in education: how are you teaching US War Crimes and destruction of the US Constitution?
Or, do you ignore these changes as you suffer from cognitive dissonance, American Exceptionalism, or the “Big Lie” (and here)? Is it that you haven’t heard about them clearly through the “news” you receive? Or can you ethically justify government claims for removing unalienable rights as somehow Constitutional?
I would really like to know how teachers are teaching these war crimes and the destruction of rights, or how they would dispute them. Please comment and share this to get other teachers’ perspectives.
Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher in economics, government, and history with a passion for research, education, and lobbying for improved public policy. See more articles by Carl Herman Here. Contact him at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu