Tags: Rep. | Barr: | Allow | Assassinations | Terrorist | Leaders

Rep. Barr: Allow Assassinations of Terrorist Leaders

Thursday, 13 September 2001 12:00 AM

Rep. Bob Barr R-Ga., Thursday sent out a letter urging his colleagues to sign on to his Terrorist Elimination Act, H.R. 19, "to repeal those portions of executive orders prohibiting the government from directly eliminating terrorist leaders.”

In 1998, Barr wrote then-President Bill Clinton asking him to "consider lifting this ban and designing a new system so the threat posed by individuals proven to be directly responsible for the deaths of American citizens — such as Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein — can be eliminated in cases where it is simply impossible to capture them by ordinary means.”

Three years later, Barr notes, "both of these terrorists are alive and well.”

Former Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y., who favors a congressional declaration of war against the international terrorists, says he would favor the Barr measure only up to a point.

"I draw a distinction between assassination as a political effort. I do not favor attempts to assassinate leaders of governments that perhaps we need to see a change in,” he said.

Appearing Thursday on the Sean Hannity radio talk show, the 1996 GOP vice presidential candidate recalled that under the Kennedy administration, the U.S. allowed the assassination of President Diem of South Vietnam, and there were attempts to get rid of communist Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as well. Often we end up with "something worse,” he said.

However, "I agree with Israel,” Kemp added. "Every time you find someone who’s going to commit a terrorist attack, you take them out before they can attack unarmed men and women.”

Under Kemp’s distinction, Osama bin Laden would be a legitimate target. Saddam Hussein would not.

"Not if we’re at war with Saddam?” Hannity asked.

Kemp hesitated and said the constant bombing of Iraq stirred hatred for the U.S. among innocent citizens and left Hussein in power.

"If we could’ve assassinated Hitler, we should’ve,” Hannity commented.

In his widely circulated letter, Barr makes the argument, in effect, that a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist.

"When terrorist leaders, such as the ones who caused those attacks take the lives of Americans, I believe it is entirely appropriate for us to remove them by any means necessary, without arbitrarily limiting our options,” he wrote. "The world has changed dramatically since” 1976 when President Gerald Ford signed the executive order.

"We are at war,” the Georgia lawmaker reminded his colleagues.

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Rep. Bob Barr R-Ga., Thursday sent out a letter urging his colleagues to sign on to his Terrorist Elimination Act, H.R. 19, to repeal those portions of executive orders prohibiting the government from directly eliminating terrorist leaders." In 1998, Barr wrote...
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Thursday, 13 September 2001 12:00 AM
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