MSNBC’s Touré: Killing Untried 16-Year-Olds Is OK, Killing Convicted Murderers Isn’t

b1ecCiC MSNBCs Touré: Killing Untried 16 Year Olds Is OK, Killing Convicted Murderers Isnt

The Internet is making itself sweaty
talking about Touré, the liberal MSNBC TV host, who, on Tuesday,
defended President Obama’s targeted killing policy to the disbelief
of his MSNBC colleagues (and Twitter).
In his own words, Touré’s position: 
We’re at war with al Qaeda right now, and if you join al Qaeda,
you lose the right to be an American. You lose the right to due
process. You declare yourself an enemy of this nation, and you are
committing treason. And I don’t see why we should expand American
rights to people who want to kill Americans, who are working to
kill Americans, who are committing treason. This is not criticizing
the United States. This is going to war against the United
As the segment progresses, it becomes apparent
that Touré isn’t familiar with the nonpartisan criticisms of
Obama’s assassination policy. For instance, when Salon’s Steve
Kornacki asks him about the
killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the Denver-born 16-year-old
son of radical (New Mexico-born) cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Touré
responds, “What do you mean what about the 16-year-old who was
killed?” and then “We’re not talking about civilian casualties.”
And when his co-hosts continue to press him on the consequences of
a small group of individuals determing who deserves to die without
a shred of oversight, Touré dismisses them by saying, “Al
Qaeda attacked this nation. We are attacking al Qaeda back.” On
Twitter Touré simply said, “He’s the Commander in Chief.” Touré’s confidence in Obama’s assassination policy is
fascinating in light of his skepticism of capital
punishment, which
he revealed after the executions of Troy Davis and
Lawrence Brewer:
America is one of the last nations in the world to still employ
the death penalty even though it cripples our status as a world
moral leader and is barbaric and is not uniformly
applied and is subject to bias and is rife with error and sometimes
leads to the execution of people we’re not completely certain
actually committed the crime. How could that happen? We’re
just human and we need to end the death penalty and get out of the
business of playing God.”
Emphasis mine. If we can’t execute, with 100 percent certainty,
someone who’s had the benefit of a public trial and an extensive
appeals process, where does Touré get off expressing confidence in
a system as opaque and challenge-free as Obama’s targeted killing
doctrine?The best rebuttal I’ve yet to read to people like Toure
is from Reason’s own Jacob Sullum, who argues that to accept
the reasoning
in the DOJ’s targeted killing white paper, 
you have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and
ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors. You
have to believe they are properly defining and inerrantly
identifying people who pose an imminent (or quasi-imminent) threat
to national security and eliminating that threat through the only
feasible means, which involves blowing people up from a distance.
If mere mortals deserved that kind of faith, we would not need a
Fifth Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution.

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MSNBC’s Touré: Killing Untried 16-Year-Olds Is OK, Killing Convicted Murderers Isn’t

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