Legality of Assassinating Saddam


March 18, 2003, 02:29 PM
What's the exact law that prohibits assassination of foreign leaders?

Undoubtedly Warshington has probably thought of ways to circumvent this law? US-controlled mercenaries? Having the Brits pull the trigger?

IMO this would be the best thing for the people of Iraq, but is it illegal as far as the US military is concerned?

Edited thread subject to dodge Carnivore :o

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March 18, 2003, 02:46 PM
There is no law against assassinating foreign leaders. President Ford signed an executive order that prohibited US personnel from specifically targeting the leaders for foreign countries as targets for assassination. All subsequent presidents have left that in place.

Powell was asked why we don't just shoot Saddam a few weeks ago and his reply was simply he's very hard to locate, including many doubles. Interestingly, he didn't say that assassination was not an option nor was prohibited.

March 18, 2003, 02:49 PM
It looks like the only real basis for the ban is in three executive orders, ending with EO 12333 by Reagan. It looks like the legal status of assassinations is one big mess, regardless of the EOs that ban it.

Doesn't carnivore just do email?

March 18, 2003, 02:50 PM
However, there's always that regrettable "collateral damage".

Like what happens when you pound his palaces into smoking craters.

Hey, he's the one who made them military targets by using them to hide things!

March 18, 2003, 02:55 PM
Shouldn't be a problem if an Iraqi does it. JT

Joe Demko
March 18, 2003, 02:59 PM
Heads of State generally prefer to eschew it as a tool of international diplomacy. That "tradition" goes all the way back to when the folks running the show were kings and queens and such. If one kills another head of state, one in effect makes it okay for other heads of state to try the same thing on you. So, rulers have normally found it desirable to stay with this particular "gentleman's agreement" and just have their armies destroy each other.

Lord Grey Boots
March 18, 2003, 03:15 PM
All it takes to change the executive order, is another one which IIRC GWB has already signed.

Besides, as the head of the Iraqi military, Saddam is a valid military target.

March 18, 2003, 03:18 PM
Assassination is prohibited by Executive Order, but the President can issue a finding that the person poses a clear and present danger, and that assassination is in the best interests of nat'l security, etc. This is the out built into the orders.

As for why it isn't done, it's generally considered bad form to whack another nation's leader, especially if you don't want it done to you.

March 18, 2003, 03:31 PM
All true, but there should not be any doubt that ANY of the militant Islamics would kill GW (or any American President) if they could, so the gentlemen's agreement is moot.

March 18, 2003, 06:45 PM
During a press conference, reporters were asking George Bush Sr. the same types of questions during Desert Storm, and he replied "We're not targeting any one individual."

I hung my head, when he said that.
That was an error, I believe, because the media would hold him to that.

During a press conference a few nights ago, a reporter asked President Bush if he had to kill Saddam Hussein to fulfill his mission. He replied, "We will change the regime."

He's not making the same mistakes.

March 18, 2003, 06:51 PM
Seems like there's a war exception in those EOs too, I think.

March 18, 2003, 06:51 PM

The reason Saddam was not taken out during Desert Storm was because we were acting under UN charter and the charter forbid any action against Saddam. I know stupid us for following the resolutions, we all know that THEY don't follow them.

This time should be different. I can see an order being given to troops something like this(at least I hope so):

"Capture him if you can, but don't risk your life in the process. If he won't come peacibly, then do what you have to do to bring them along".

OR a little more bluntly:

"Bring him to me alive if possible, dead is just as good"
---- Braveheart, KIng to his soldiers

March 18, 2003, 08:33 PM
It's war, he is the CnC for his country, he is a legitimate target.
Sucks to be him, more than ever. :D

March 18, 2003, 10:16 PM
I predict he'll get a terminal case of lead poisioning, shortly. But as to who will get to do the honors? Heck, that's anybody's guess. Who watches the watchers?

March 19, 2003, 12:00 AM
Gotta figure there's at least American, Brit, and Israeli operators already in the area, just waiting for the go-ahead. With so many people gunning for him, it's real easy to just say it must of been the other guy who took the shot....

March 19, 2003, 05:23 AM
A sitting President is not bound by his predecessors' Executive Orders.
Hint: If a President violates an Executive Order, which branch of government "enforces" the penalties?

March 19, 2003, 08:18 AM
The goal is not to get rid of one saddam but to replace the ruling class of Iraq with a coercible one. With all of Saddam's family and brainwashed party machine in place it wouldn't do much towards that end to just nick him and the doppelgangers.

March 19, 2003, 11:45 AM
I'm pretty sure if Hussein goes down in a hail of bullets, it will be an "Iraqi defector" that pulls the trigger. ;)

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