http://www.nationalreview.com/articl...jonah-goldbergI agree with the Obama administrationís decision to kill the American-born al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki. What I canít fathom is why the administration agrees with me.
Hereís Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta responding to complaints from the ACLU over the ďassassinationĒ of an American citizen without due process: ďThis individual was clearly a terrorist. And yes, he was a citizen, but if youíre a terrorist, youíre a terrorist. And that means that we have the ability to go after those who would threaten to attack the United States and kill Americans.Ē
I agree with that. The Constitution empowers the president to put down insurrection, and what was Awlaki if not an insurrectionist? From the Whiskey Rebellion to the Civil War to World War II, there have been times when presidents legally and constitutionally treated American citizens as enemy combatants. Awlaki hardly seems deserving of special treatment.
Moreover, the authorization for the use of force passed on Sept. 18, 2001, says the president ďis authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.Ē
It doesnít say anything about exempting Americans. If news reports, statements from U.S. officials, and Awlaki himself are to be believed, Awlaki was a member of al-Qaeda. Moreover, he helped orchestrate and incite violence aimed at the U.S. He never denied the charges against him but hid outside of U.S. jurisdiction fomenting violence against America.
And yet, I sympathize with critics on the far left and libertarian right who find the whole thing unseemly. Surely when an American is in the crosshairs, thereís a higher political bar, even if there isnít a higher legal or constitutional one.
ABCís Jake Tapper asked White House spokesman Jay Carney, ďDoes the administration not see at all how a president asserting that he has the right to kill an American citizen without due process, and that heís not going to even explain why he thinks he has that right, is troublesome to some people?Ē
Carneyís response: ďIím not going to . . . discuss the circumstances of his death.Ē
The mind reels to think how people would have responded if President Bushís spokesman, Ari Fleischer, had said that.
But hereís where I am confused. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the administration is committed to treating captured terrorists as criminals, entitled to all of the rights and privileges of a civilian criminal trial.
It seems the Defense Department disagrees, given that some lesser-known prisoners are allegedly kept on ships ó call them floating Gitmos ó without trials.
Meanwhile, President Obama keeps ordering that the more famous terrorists be killed on sight. Thatís fine with me. But as far as I can tell, heís never disagreed with Holderís view about the need for civilian trials for terrorists we donít kill, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Hence my confusion. If you believe that even non-American terrorists should be treated like American criminals, with all of the Fifth Amendment rights we grant to our own accused, how can you sanction killing an American without so much as a hearing?
The Fifth Amendment says that no person shall be ďdeprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.Ē A Predator drone strike seems to deprive a person of all three.
Which would you prefer: to be arrested, possibly waterboarded, and then tried by a U.S. military court in Cuba, or to be disintegrated by a Hellfire missile? Whatís worse, to be executed after a less-than-perfect military trial, or to be executed with no trial at all?
And letís not forget, these missiles arenít that surgical. They kill the people around the target too. In this case Samir Khan, a U.S.-born editor of al-Qaedaís magazine, Inspire, was killed ó not to mention a number of others. Where was their day in court?
And thatís the point, really. If captured alive, terrorists pose political problems for Obama. Where do we put them? How do we interrogate them? And, most pressingly, how do we try them?
I donít think those are tough questions. But Obama does. So he prefers to kill these people outright, avoiding the questions altogether.
Killing al Wacky was the best thing BO has done since taking up his role of destroying the country.
By destroying al wacky and the american journalist he simply destroys the country further. All the other guy did was write jihadist crap on websites. And lets not forget to Bin Laden if that story even holds water. Unarmed man. You'd think the intelligence/credibility benefit of taking that old unarmed dork prisoner would have outweighed having murdered him as well, but I guess the vaunted SEALS which every retard in America worships like they were in some kind of military cult couldn't figure out how to do it.
86dude is very upset over Bin Laden and other dead Al-Queda members, it seems like he's about to cry.
C'mon dude, don't be sad, it's not like Dale Jr. lost the race or something.
You're mincing my words. That isn't my point at all.
I don't watch Nascar.
Even Timothy McVeigh got a trial.
I represent the angry, gun toting meat eating people. ~ Denis Leary
The same shepherd that protects the flock leads them to the slaughterhouse.
The killing of OBL is about the only thing Obama got right so far. I have no problem with the SEALS assassinating him, regardless of whether or not he was armed. He managed to do what Bush openly stated wasn't a priority anymore.
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