MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Wednesday weighed in on a recently-leaked memo that purportedly shows how the Obama administration justifies using drone strikes to target U.S. citizens.
“Here you have something truly chilling,” said Scarborough of the recently leaked drone memo. “Here you have the United States government saying, we can kill you, American citizen. You have no constitutional right to a jury by your peers. You have no constitutional right even to probable cause or to due process. You have no right to a lawyer. You have no right to counsel. You have no right to anything.”
“If we suspect you, just suspect you, without evidence, that you were thinking about committing an act against the United States of America, we can kill you,” he adds.
The MSNBC host continued:
There are no checks and there are no balances. We can kill you. We can pick you out of a list and drop a bomb on you, and not only can we kill you, we can then kill your 16-year-old son who is not even affiliated with al Qaeda, and then we can blame it on the father for us having to kill the son.
Scarborough then added that Republicans should go after the drone program as an abuse of executive power.
“Forget Republicans. How about liberals and Democrats? I mean, can you imagine if George W. Bush had proposed this idea?” asked former Bush advisor Mark McKinnon, adding later that he thinks the program is a “good idea.”
“You think it’s okay to kill Americans without probable cause?” Scarborough asked. “You think it’s a good idea?”
“Thinking about the threats against us and the Machiavellian plots, I’m willing to err on the side of giving a little bit of latitudes,” McKinnon replied.
“This kid, this 16-year-old kid goes out to a restaurant and he gets killed because of his father,” Scarborough said, referring to the drone strike that took out Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. “That causes you no concern? Constitutionally?”
“I err on giving the government latitude on this one,” McKinnon repeated.
MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham jumped in to explain that one of the reasons the British lost control of the colonies was because “the rule of law could not simply be in the hands of a king and could not be arbitrarily applied and that’s precisely what this is: it’s in the hands of an American king.”
“An American king who actually gets the list of people who he decides who should be killed and who should not be killed and he goes down that list, and there’s so many things that are chilling here,” Scarborough said, adding that were it Bush president, there would be impeachment hearings right now.
“All of Washington, all of Manhattan, the entire press corps would focus its intention on this unprecedented overreach,” he added.
When you kill somebody without probable cause or evidence, that’s right there, and then you make it an American citizen who is protected by the United States Constitution, and suddenly that raises it to an entirely new level. And the U.S. government can decide which American citizens it’s going to kill without probable cause?
“That is frightening. And, of course, the next step is the killing starts taking place on American soil. We’re not far from that,” he concluded.
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(H/T: Mediaite). Featured image courtesy U.S. Air Force.