Drones, torture, the war on drugs, and seven other issues that shape our lives at home and our standing abroad
By design and consent, Monday's third and last presidential debate, moderated by the incomparable Bob Schieffer, will be about foreign policy. This means that another election year has come and gone without the main presidential candidates being asked -- never mind candidly answering -- some of the great legal questions of our time. This isn't just shameful for the candidates and the reporters who have been covering them. It's a pity for voters, because it deprives us of insight into some of the bigger differences between the two men.
Here are 10 law-related questions, five for each candidate. Their answers would enlighten us about some core values that would be in play in an Obama or Romney term. Some of them, I hope Schieffer will find, touch upon foreign affairs, and thus could form the basis of a question he might conceivably ask next week when he is sharing a table and a microphone with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. (For the record, I expect Schieffer will bring his full "Texas" with him Monday night and brook no nonsense from the candidates.)
For President Obama: Last year, an American citizen named Anwar al-Awlaqi was killed in Yemen by a drone strike reportedly authorized by you. The executive branch alleged that he was a terrorist, but that was never proven in any court, or established publicly in any way, either before or after al-Awlaqi was killed. Your tribunes said only that the man had been given all the process he was due. Does it concern you that a U.S. citizen could be killed in this fashion, without a judge ever looking at the case, or any public evidence that he was a deadly threat? And when will you disclose in full the legal justifications for such a policy?.