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Foreign Affairs

Obama's Predator Lawyers

AG Holder has been given his just deserts, but State Department legal adviser Harold Koh may deserve even sterner rebuke.  In a lengthy (and fascinating) article in the Weekly Standard (see part 2), NYU law professor Kenneth Anderson notes Koh's unwillingness to offer defense of the legallity of the highly effective Predator drone strikes on terrorist leaders. 

Even as the Obama administration increasingly relies on Predator strikes for its counterterrorism strategy, the international legal basis of drone warfare (more precisely, its perceived international legal legitimacy) is eroding from under the administration's feet--largely through the U.S. government's inattention and unwillingness to defend its legal grounds, and require its own senior lawyers to step up and defend it as a matter of law, legal policy, and legal diplomacy.

If you didn't know Koh, Ed Whalen told us what to expect.  Perhaps Koh, Holder, and any number of Administration attorneys may feel more comfortable in this Swiss legal post, in the canton of Zuerich--an office that defends the rights of animals, including a pike that failed in its 10-minute struggle against a fisherman.  "On Sunday, the Swiss will vote on a referendum that would compel all of Switzerland's cantons to hire animal lawyers."
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The Swiss, who else, are going to vote on a referendum that would compel of all Switzerland cantons to hire animal lawyers? Great. Can't wait for the depositions. Europe is the laughing stock of western civilization. And just think the sitting President loves Europe and they love him.

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Marc Thiessen notes that State Dept. legal adviser Harold Koh justifies the deadly Predator drone strikes via the congressional Iraq War resolution (AUMF).  But, as several others (including the UN, the ACLU, and former Bush officials) have observ... Read More