The last thing the Founding Fathers wanted for our country was omnipotent government — that is, a government that wields totalitarian-like powers. Thus, when the U.S. Constitution called the federal government into existence, it expressly restricted its powers to those enumerated in the Constitution. If a power wasn’t enumerated, it could not be legally exercised.
The powers enumerated in the Constitution were few and limited. The Constitution’s enumerated powers did not include the power to murder people. That’s because our American ancestors did not want to live under a government that had the power to murder people.
Americans were leery about the enumerated-powers concept. They were concerned that federal officials would ignore the concept and exercise totalitarian-like powers anyway, including the power to murder people.
That’s why the Bill of Rights was enacted. It expressly prohibited the federal government from exercising totalitarian-like powers that would destroy the fundamental, God-given rights of people. The Bill of Rights made it clear that our American ancestors were concerned about the power to murder people. Thus, the language of the Fifth Amendment is clear and unequivocal: “No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.”
Notice that the term “person” is used. Not “American” but rather “person.” Our ancestors did not want the federal government to wield the power to murder anyone.
What is “due process of law.” It is a term stretching all the way back to Magna Carta. It requires a formal criminal charge and a trial before the federal government can kill someone. In other words, the Fifth Amendment prohibits federal officials from murdering people.
Why do I bring all this up? Because a few days ago the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon conducted an airstrike in central Baghdad, Iraq, that intentionally murdered two Iraqi citizens and injured five more.
No formal criminal charges. No trial. Just outright murder. Permit me to repeat the express restriction of the Fifth Amendment: “No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.”
Notice that it doesn’t say: “except when it’s the Pentagon or the CIA that is doing the killing.” It also doesn’t say “except when the person is a citizen of Iraq.” It says “No person.”
But wait a minute! Did that Associated Press article actually say that these killings took place in Iraq? Isn’t that the nation that the Pentagon and the CIA invaded after the 9/11 attacks, where they killed, injured, tortured, and abused countless Iraqi people in the process of installing a pro-U.S. regime? Given such, what in the world is the Pentagon doing murdering Iraqi citizens in the middle of Baghdad?
The Pentagon says that it is retaliating against militias in Iraq who are attacking U.S. military bases in Iraq. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, if the Pentagon didn’t have U.S. soldiers based in Iraq, there would be no attacks on U.S. military personnel in Iraq and, therefore, no need to murder people in Baghdad.
An obvious question arises: Why do people in Iraq want to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq? I thought that their “Operation Iraqi Freedom” invasion was supposed to cause the Iraqi people to love the U.S. government. The reason for the widespread anger is because people in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East are extremely angry over the U.S. government’s unconditional military and financial support for the Israeli government and its brutal and deadly military campaign in Gaza. Question: Where in the Constitution is the U.S. government authorized to deliver taxpayer-funded military and financial aid to any foreign regime, including the government of Israel?
In any event, here you have a classic example of how one U.S. intervention — i.e., the unconditional U.S. support of the Israeli government — ultimately leads to another intervention — i.e., the cold-blooded murder of people who are suspected of targeting U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq. Of course, the operative word is “suspected” given that there was never a formal criminal charge or trial accorded to the murder victims, as the Fifth Amendment expressly requires.
The recent U.S. murders in Baghdad reveal how the conversion of the U.S. government to a national-security state has resulted in the type of government our American ancestors feared and opposed: one that exercises omnipotent powers with impunity, including the power to murder people.