Last Friday, on September 30, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born citizen-turned-terrorist, and Samil Khan, a naturalized American, were killed by a US drone strike in Yemen, on the orders of the President of the United States.
On Monday, in a very lively post, Rogue argued stating that we shouldn’t be gloating so much, as this “open and notorious” official sanction of the killing an American citizen sets a very bad precedent. Some of our finest minds weighed in. Less than a week later, it’s still worth a re-read, including the comments, for the Constitution is clear:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime,
unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…
…nor be deprived of life,
liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be
taken for public use, without just compensation.
And there are no howevers, buts or on the-other-hands found in the 5th Amendment.
Rogue was also speaking to the fact that even as he sanctioned this killing, the President and his Attorney General have refused to make public the “finding” that is required to justify such a presidential action. Compared to the express language of the Constitution, we’d all like to know where else DOJ’s attorneys found their justification.
And that should have been the end of it.
Then Herman Cain stepped in it, sort of, so we need to revisit this.
Earlier in the year, May, when asked if tracking and killing al-Awlaki was the right thing to do, Herman said no, al-Awlaki is a citizen and such a killing would be illegal.
Then this past week he stated he supported the President’s decision.
A flip-flop, as the attached article suggests?
Well yes and no, for I think Cain was right on both accounts, but I’ll let him deal with that politically.
If, instead of Candidate Cain, a President Cain had been asked this question, he would have said the same thing Herman did say, that targeting an American citizen for assassination is illegal.
That is what American presidents are supposed to say.
But the real world sometimes gets in the way of legal niceties, for indeed, al-Awlaki was trying to kill Americans in massive numbers. The Christmas underwear bomber was to have taken down an airliner with 290 passengers. The Times Square bomber could have killed at least as many. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Ft Hood shooter killed over 30. al-Awlaki was no mere lone gunman whose face was on a Wanted poster.
If I could get a clear shot, I surely would not pass it up, especially with the recent memory of the clear shot Bill Clinton had on Osama bin Laden (not an American citizen) still fresh in my mind, result – 3000 deaths.
With the possible exception of Ron Paul, who would simply say that adherence to the Constitution sometimes comes at a cost, I can’t imagine an American president who would pass on the shot offered up to Barack Obama.
There was a time in America, not that long ago, that we all understood this. I can’t recall if 007 ever killed a British citizen or member of the Commonwealth, but I think he did. And for fifty years, the Free World approved. Most nations have officially sanctioned all sorts of assassinations, from the old KGB to the modern Mossad, and yes, our CIA. And a thousand times more in popular fiction since Ian Fleming.
The world still approves, only the world never knows…and that is why it approves.
And that’s the point.
Barack Obama, as a way to get political points, bragged to the world about the assassination of Osama bin Laden, and even went so far as to applaud the guys who carried it off. Two months ago, over 20 Navy SEALS were shot down over Wardak Province in Afghanistan, in a set-up, a trap, in part as retribution against the men who killed Bin Laden. Loose lips, Barack…
For reasons that are inexplicable to me, Obama publicly put out a hit on al-Awlaki through the CIA, based on an “legal finding” of dubious quality, and then, just like bin Laden, bragged about it, for what I can guess are the most tawdry and childish of reasons, up to and including telling the world “Yes, I do have a pair.”
We did not need to know al-Awlaki was dead. What we did need was for him to be dead. Al Qaeda would have been even far more inconvenienced had we left it up to them to announce to the world his departure. What we wanted and needed was for this mass murderer to be out of the game, and not an excuse to spike our Smurf football in the end zone.
For once, Ron Paul is right, Barack Obama should be impeached, only unlike Paul I can find three crimes there, not one. One against the Constitution, one against common sense, and one against the decorum of the Office.
And Herman Cain was also right.
This was an illegal kill.
It was also a righteous kill.
We just didn’t need to know about it.