Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Can the President Legally Authorize the Shooting Of Harry Whittington?

by Frank Dwyer

In all the confusion swirling around the shooting of Harry Whittington, all the usual innuendos and attacks and denials and counterattacks, no one has yet addressed what seems to me the crucial historical and political question. I know it's only philosophical; it's actually one of those much-despised "hypotheticals" that reactionary pundits won't answer, even if it involves drawing a conclusion on the order of what two plus two equals.

Anyway, here it is, in the hope that some Constitutional lawyer can answer it for me and for the nation:

Does the Constitution and/or the congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force of 2001, give the President of the United States the legal authority, if he deems such a thing necessary in the interests of national security, to authorize the shooting of Harry Whittington?

Hypothetical! I'm not saying such a thing happened! It's pretty far-fetched--but what about it? If George W. Bush determines that we need to be protected from somebody like Harry Whittington, does he have the Constitutional authority to send one of his crack homeland security sharpshooters (US service only) to take care of it? The American people need to know.

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