It is apparently the policy of the United States Government, and the view widely held among Washington’s ruling class, that it is acceptable for either the US or the Israeli governments to kill American citizens without any judicial process, as long as the killing is done in the name of fighting organizations we choose to classify as terrorists.

From this morning’s New York Times:

One of the nine people killed in an Israeli commando raid on a flotilla of ships heading for Gaza this week was a United States citizen of Turkish descent, according to officials in Turkey and Washington. . .

A United States official in Washington confirmed that an American was among the dead.

Reports in the Turkish press identified the American as Furkan Dogan, a 19-year-old who was born in the United States and lived there for four years before returning to Turkey with his family.

And there’s this:

The Cihan news agency reports that Mr. Dogan had one bullet in the chest and four bullets fired into his head from close range.

At least eight others, citizens of other nations, were also killed in the assault.

Vice President Joe Biden seems to think it’s okay to have the Israelis investigate this, when other foreign nationals are killed. As reported by The Hill (my bold):

"You can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not and the — but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know…whether or not arms are being smuggled in," Biden said during an interview on "Charlie Rose" to air this evening.

. . .

Obama, in the aftermath of the attack, has called for a thorough, independent investigation into the incident. Biden said Wednesday that the investigation should be conducted by Israel, with the possibility of additional international participation.

"Well, an investigation run by the Israelis, but we’re open to international participation, just like the investigation run on the sunken sub off the coast of Korea," Biden said of the investigation.

Steny Hoyer is equally adamant that outsiders not condemn the Israeli actions. As quoted in Google News:

"The loss of life was tragic," but "the administration and Congress are determined to prevent condemnation of Israel at the UN Security Council," Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement. . . .

"Israel — rightfully so — invoked its right to self-defense on the Mavi Marmara. While the majority of ships in the flotilla — five out of six — reacted peacefully when approached by Israeli Defense Forces, activists on board the Mavi Marmara were clearly bent on a violent confrontation," he said.

Hoyer said the flotilla had set a collision course with Israel, ignoring "two week’s worth of repeated warnings" that they would not be allowed access to Gaza, and Israeli offers to distribute legitimate aid to Gaza’s people.

"Finally, to the extent that this act was in protest of the Gaza blockade, let’s be clear: Hamas could end the blockade at any time by recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence, and releasing Gilad Shalit," an Israeli soldier held by the militant group since 2006, he said.

Of course, these statements were made before news that an American citizen was among the dead. Those other foreign citizens, well that’s just a shame about them but no one should be condemning that.

I seem to recall an Administration official saying the US response to this won’t have any adverse effect on US relations with the Muslim world — or anyone else, I assume. Incredibly tolerant, they are.

–John Chandley