Ron Paul, Gary Johnson Among Those Not Keen on U.S. Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki

Anwar al-Awlaki is dead; and on the occasion of the deliberate targeting and killing of an American citizen by the American government, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is less than excited about the precedent that may have been set. 

The protections under the Constitution for those accused of crimes do not just apply to people we like — they apply to everyone, including a terrorist like al-Awlaki. It is a question of due process for American citizens.

The rest of Johnson's response here.

Texas Congressman and fellow GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul made lots more headlines when he dubbed the killing of terrorist friend and inciter Awlaki (and another American citizen) an assassination. In contrast with the other potential presidents besides Johnson, Paul thought this didn't bode well for America, saying:

No one knows if [Awlaki] killed anybody. We know he might have been associated with the ‘underwear bomber.’ But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys. I think it's sad.

Paul pointed out how domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh got a trial, appeals, and an execution, and said that's what should have been done with Awlaki.

Ivan Eland, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, weirdly enough wrote a column just two days ago in which he contrasted the outrage over recently executed Troy Davis and the less for the appeal-free death sentence put on Anwar al-Awlaki.

The meat of Eland's objections:

“War on terror” advocates will then argue that that is only a technicality, because Congress did pass a resolution authorizing military action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and those who harbored them. But although al-Awlaki may be part of the group al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (a franchise of the main al-Qaeda group), has publicly called for the killing of Americans, and may even be linked to certain specific terrorist attacks in the United States, it has not been alleged by Obama administration officials that he planned, authorized, committed, or in any way assisted the 9/11 attacks or harbored those who perpetrated them. Thus, killing him is not authorized by the congressional resolution.

His case merely highlights the fact that the administration has secret criteria for putting people, including U.S. citizens, on a hit list. Thus, al-Awlaki won’t even have been informed of how he ran afoul of the U.S. government before he gets whacked. But why should Americans care about the rights of some guy who hates America and may even be a terrorist? Because if an American president can just declare anyone anywhere, including U.S. citizens, a danger to national security and kill him without any due process or oversight from the other branches of government, the rights of all Americans (and other persons) are in danger.

Even the district court judge who dismissed a suit by Anwar’s father, Nasser al-Awlaki, who tried to argue against the Obama administration’s unconstrained authority to kill any American without due process, wondered why the administration required a judge’s warrant to target a U.S. citizen overseas using electronic surveillance but not to target that same citizen for death. 

Read the rest here.

All three, as well as that faithful opponent of the open-ended war on terror, Glenn Greenwald, make the same point. Even by the rules set out during post-9/11 feverish paranoia, this is something new. And though the Obama administration is making sure to declare Awlaki a big fish posthumously, The Atlantic again makes the case that he was just a blow-hard who was a little too good at convincing the U.S. government that he was a threat. Even if that's not true, the Obama administration has not been forthcoming enough to destroy that argument to everyone's satisfaction.

Read Reason on the war on terror, especially Jacob Sullum on some half-assed debates over the legality of targeting Awlaki for death in the first place. And stronger words of caution from Sullum last June:

Before you take the government's word that Awlaki has been marked for death based on something more than his anti-American tirades, consider its track record in justifying the detention of alleged "belligerents." Even though the burden of proof is much lighter than it would be in a criminal trial, the American Civil Liberties Union notes, "the government has failed to prove the lawfulness of imprisoning individual Guantanamo detainees in 34 of the 48 cases that have been reviewed by the federal courts thus far."

Luckily for the government, it does not need to present any evidence against Awlaki or other "high-value targets," because it does not want to detain them. It only wants to kill them.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    I would have no problem with the Army shooting and killing Americans during WWII who had gone over to Germany to fight for the Nazis, and see little difference with these individuals. Al-Awlaki abandoned his nation to join a group dedicated to ending that nation. He's not a criminal, he's an enemy combatant during a declared war. Killing him, in whatever way it is done, is moral and just.

  • Joe M||

    This, of course, presumes we have perfect knowledge about what he actually did, which we don't.

  • o2||

    one doesnt need "perfect knowledge" to hear alwaki's own words renouncing the US, becoming aQAP chief, & declaring war. search insight mag online

  • o2||

    correction aQAP's mag is called inspire.

    >In support of that goal, al-Awlaki was due to release an article in the next issue of AQAP's Inspire magazine on the justifications for attacking civilians in the West. The group announced the upcoming article -- "Targeting Populations of Countries at War with Muslims" -- this week but did not publish it in its latest edition.

    Rep. Peter King (R), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, called al-Awlaki's death a "great success" in the fight against al Qaeda.

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/30/.....?hpt=hp_t1

  • sevo||

    Lot of words to say "I don't give a shit about due process".
    Other than that, so much bullshit.

  • ||

    I saw a picture of that little snot-nose from North Carolina, and he looked like an over educated Raisinite protester. I was glad he was killed and wished there were film of his facial expression when he realized that dron is for him!

  • JohnD||

    Sevo is a fool. Due process my ass! This SOB was a traitor and complicit in the murder of Americans. He deserved to die.

  • GeoffB||

    If Sevo's wrong to evoke due process, why are you talking about treason and murder? These are crimes for which one is tried, convicted and sentenced. And that's a process that should not unfold in the executive branch alone.

    If al-Awlaki was killed as the member of an enemy force whose death would fulfill our military aims, that, of course, is fine.

  • ||

    It doesn't presume perfect knowledge, as there is no such thing, but we know enough about this guy.

    Next on the list, I hope, the goat boy from California, Adam Gadan (I think) that's the name).

  • Pathagreon||

    Nothing like Hoping for murder by Government.

  • ||

    I have mixed feelings about this. In a normal wartime situation, someone taking up arms and fighting against us obviously loses due process rights.

    In this case, if the citizen in question is actively engaged in hostilities against us and can't be captured, I suppose we can't just let him run amok just because he happens to be a citizen. Heck, there are situations where a cop can legitimately shoot at a citizen without going to court first. But I don't see that as a blanket right to take out citizens. I can just imagine one of our wise leaders applying this reasoning to, say, an American drug lord.

  • ||

    ""Heck, there are situations where a cop can legitimately shoot at a citizen without going to court first.""

    Based on some sort of defense or in some states fleeing from a felony. But both cases are in real time. I've never heard of a cop being able to shoot you for something you may do some other day, or something you did a year ago.

    I have an issue with the idea that the world is our battleground and that the WOT has no end.

  • ||

    I don't mean to sound all okay with this, but I do think this is a gray area. Not that I trust the government to behave properly or with restraint or to otherwise do anything right.

  • Pathagreon||

    Like it was said...they needed a warrant to spy on him, but nothing to kill him.

  • GeoffB||

    I think that's the big problem here. Since he renounced his citizenship and was fighting for our enemies, I see no reason the President couldn't order his elimination as a military target. But then I again, I believe we're at war and have to do what it takes to win it. The President often does not.

  • ||

    Dunphy has in the past quoted case law that says a cop can kill a fleeing suspect if the crime they purportedly committed is a lethal or near-lethal one and they are judged likely to commit the same crime if allowed to escape.

  • T||

    I trust dunphy's citations about as much as I trust the administration's justification for placing people on watch lists.

  • Xenocles||

    Fleeing from whom? What attempt was made to apprehend him? Which cops are equipped with air to ground missiles?

  • sasob||

    Uh, New York City cops now have the ability to shoot aircraft out of the sky apparently.

  • sasob||

    Just a couple weekends ago I was listening to a female county sheriff's deputy telling some friends of mine that she would have been legally justified to shoot a parole violator if he attempted to flee while she tried to arrest him. Fine state of affairs when a cop is allowed to shoot an un-armed man in the back, because he's trying to run with the cop's handcuffs dangling from one wrist.

  • Destrudo||

    What declared war would that be, exactly?

  • ||

    There's an AUMF for our war against al Qaeda. Whether that's a formal declaration is debatable, of course, but I think AUMFs generally are viewed as passing constitutional muster (which means that the two for Iraq, at least, were arguably formal declarations of war).

  • BakedPenguin||

    What I'm wondering is what did the guy do? Did he commit or assist in acts of violence, or did he just say a bunch of nasty things?

  • ||

    I was being nice in assuming that he was involved in directing some terrorist activities, but you're right, how do I know that?

  • ||

    I haven't heard anything other than he was an inspriation to terrorist. Well other than the promotion to Chief of Operations Obama gave him.

  • BakedPenguin||

    PL, I certainly hope if we're going to go kill someone, there's more to it than just a bunch of hate speeches. TV - yeah I find his "title" to be suspicious, too.

  • ||

    Obama is in al Qaeda? That would explain a few things.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Interesting to note that even after WWII, we did not hang Tokyo Rose or Axis Sally. The Brits hanged Lord Haw-Haw, but then, they're not Americans.

  • ||

    ""There's an AUMF for our war against al Qaeda. ""

    AQ is not mentioned in the AUMF. There is an AUMF for those who caused, or supported those who attacked us on 9/11.

  • ||

    Fair enough--I've never read the thing or forgot it if I had.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Good call. The War on Terror justifies killing this guy because he has joined up with the other side. Just like the War on Drugs means the DEA can kill drug dealers and smugglers without having to worry about all of that due process bullshit, and the War on Poverty means cops can go door to door in poor neighborhoods and stomping peoples faces into the curb to raise per capita income figures.

    In time of war, we must ignore the Constitution in order to preserve our precious rights and liberties.

  • some guy||

    And we are now always in a time of war. Convenient, no?

  • ||

    Amazing how that turned out to be just as convenient for TEAM BLUE as for TEAM RED. But they're different, right? Because they say so?

  • Esteban||

    We've always been at war with Eastasia. Didn't you participate in Hate Week last month?

  • Overt||

    To be fair, it is well recognized that there is a formal authorization to use military force for the WoT and not one for the WoP or WoD.

    Just because they are wrong is no reason to use sloppy rhetorical devices.

  • ||

    ""Just like the War on Drugs means the DEA can kill drug dealers and smugglers without having to worry about all of that due process bullshit,""

    Wrong, because there is no AUMF to go after drug dealers. However, I see no reason why Congress couldn't pass an AUMF for drug cartels and street gangs based on an event where Americans were killed.

  • ma||

    But wait, after 9/11 I remember reading articles in Liberty and Reason that discussed alternatives to all out conventional war on these terrorists. One popular idea was to put a bounty on Bin Laden's head or on Saddam Hussein's head. Taking one of these guys out with a drone doesn't seem all that different to me.

  • ||

    He's not a criminal, he's an enemy combatant during a declared war.

    Oh, well then you won't have any problem providing a link to that Declaration of War, will you?

    Face it, you fuckhead, there is a HUGE difference in Americans going to Germany and fighting against us as uniformed soldiers, and this nitwit who may or may not have actually committed any terroristic acts.

    According to your argument, our government would have been completely justified in shooting a missle up Jane Fonda's ass for the shit she pulled in Vietnam.

    It's a slippery slope. I'd rather just look out from the moral high ground than take that first step for expediency's sake.

  • mike||

    Within the hyperbole your citing of Fonda was actually pretty good and illustrates the terrible precedent which has been set. Note that we did not shoot Yousef in the head, nor Moussawi, nor Ressam. And the case against Alwaki appears weaker - one of conspiracy - then of actually carrying out the attack.

    All that said, RP was stupid politically go get front an center on this especially when Johnson was going to say the same thing and has even more remote chances of winning a primary than does RP.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    He's not a criminal, he's an enemy combatant during a declared war.

    When did this happen?

  • ||

    He's not a criminal, he's an enemy combatant during a declared war.

    When did this happen?

    from http://articles.cnn.com/2010-0.....s=PM:WORLD

    American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is calling for jihad against America, claiming "America is evil" in a new audio message obtained by CNN."

    Right there. That's when it happened. Why isn't his declaration of war (supported by actual acts of war) valid? Take the man at his word.

  • ||

    1..2..3..4..I declare a thumb war!

    Serious shit, these war declarations by individuals.

  • ||

    1) Not just an individual, but a high ranking member of Al-Qaeda -- arguably the De facto government of large areas of several middle eastern countries.

    2) Yes, very serious indeed, when backed up by actual acts of war.

  • sevo||

    Well, Billy offers a lot of claims and innuendo and then says it's serious, so I guess that solves it.

  • ||

    You want to make a convincing argument that we shouldn't have done it? Try any of the following:

    1) We've mischaracterized him. He didn't advocate acts of violence against the US and help people carry them out.

    2) He's a raving lunatic. He talks about Jihad, but no one takes him seriously. He doesn't actually help plan and facilitate acts of violence.

    3) He's advocated and helped carry out acts of violence, but this is a law enforcement matter. The Yemeni government would extradite him or lock him up if only we asked nicely.

    4) We haven't sufficiently explored diplomatic options. Yemen would take care of this if only we applied the right diplomatic pressure.

    If you reject all these, the only thing left is to conclude that he is either an autonomous warlord with his only little army that Yemen cannot control (effectively his own state), or he is operating with at least tacit approval of the Yemeni government.

  • BakedPenguin||

    1) If there is evidence he actually helped carry out murders, then you have a point that he should be arrested if at all possible, and something like what happened could well have been required if the arrest was impossible. Where is the evidence? "Classified"?

    2) See the First Amendment, Constitution of the United States.

    3) See my #1 and #2

    4) What do you mean by "take care of this"? Have him arrested, tortured, and murdered? See #1 and #2, and the Eighth Amendment, Constitution of the United States.

    If you reject all these, the only thing left is to conclude is that you believe the US government can murder anyone whom it claims is a terrorist. Since the 2nd in command of the government has recently claimed that some domestic political enemies were terrorists, perhaps you can imagine why we don't think this is a good idea.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Why isn't his declaration of war (supported by actual acts of war) valid?

    What "acts of war" did he commit? Who did he personally kill? What property has he personally destroyed? What funding, material, or information did he contribute to this war effort?

    At least William Joyce got a trial.

  • ||

    It would have been nice to give him that trial, but unfortunately he was hiding out in a lawless area of a not-too-friendly country with his own little private army.

    If you want to dispute that he helped plan attacks and order them to be carried out, I can respect that. If you don't, then it doesn't matter if he personally killed/destroyed property or if he actually kicked in a few bucks out of his own pocket for boxer shorts.

  • .||

    So try him and convict his ass in absentia, in public, and then execute him.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It would have been nice to give him that trial, but unfortunately he was hiding out in a lawless area of a not-too-friendly country with his own little private army.

    Does the name Manuel Noriega ring any bells?

    If you want to dispute that he helped plan attacks and order them to be carried out, I can respect that. If you don't, then it doesn't matter if he personally killed/destroyed property or if he actually kicked in a few bucks out of his own pocket for boxer shorts.

    I do dispute that. I dispute the idea that an American citizen can be killed by Executive fiat based on "secret evidence", essentially declared an outlaw without even the pretense of due process.

  • JohnD||

    If you idiots ever read anything other than Reason or the NYT, you would know. This terrorist bastard has publicly called for a war on Americans. His taped comments have been played on FOX and CNN.

    Morons.

  • ||

    So publicly calling for war on America now warrants summary execution?

    Again, I will go back to my Jane Fonda example. Or the idiots at the G20 summits with "Death to America" and "destroy the US Government" signs. If that isn't a call for warfare against America, I don't know what is. Or how about Illinois Nazis? They have regularly called for the destruction of the US government. Jeremiah Wright?

    Jesus Titty-fucking Christ!!! Since when is exercising ones 1A Rights in a distasteful manner a fucking death sentence?

    I'm not gonna go all "No True Scotsman" here, but there are quite a few of you that really need to rethink your libertarianism on what is a core libertarian principle.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If you had ever read the First Amendment of the Constitution... ah, never mind. Moron.

  • That's rational...||

    ....IF you are someone who sees terrorists hiding under rocks all over the globe, believes in endless warfare and assassinations as a way of life, and looting the national treasury to fund the whole mess is a good thing. O-BOMBA 2012?????

  • ||

    I'll vote for that. They killed the motherfucker and I, for one, am glad they did.

    They got another American citizen that wrote Al Qaeda's magazine with the same shot. That saved some money and will help with the deficit.

    I'd love to all Constitutiony and stuff, but I'm glad they killed these two.

  • sevo||

    "I'd love to all Constitutiony and stuff, but I'm glad they killed these two"

    Yep those darn constitutiony things can get in the way of raging assholes.

  • JohnD||

    It's pretty funny to hear a raging asshole (sevo) calling someone else a raging asshole.

  • ||

    I agree. He's an enemy combatant. Sure, we should have captured him and put him on trial if we could, but we couldn't. He was in an area that is not under our control (or control of a friendly nation -- The Yemeni government is arguably not in control of the area of Yemen where he was hiding), he was (by his own admission) waging war on the United States. A military response is warranted.

  • MrGuy||

    You're talking about Obama, right?

  • Hugh Akston||

    No no, he's talking about drug smugglers. Or mobsters. Or online gamblers. Or prostitutes.

    Because the AUMF is totes specific and discrete. It only allows the unwarranted killing of people who can be connected to 9/11 in anyway shape or form. Which is anyone on earth who was alive that morning or has been born since.

  • ||

    It's possible to interpret the AUMF broadly enough to mean that military action is authorized against people who join the organization that was responsible for 9/11 at a later date.

  • T||

    Wow, you mean they'd twist the language to find a justification for whatever they wanted to do?

    Somebody report Tulpa to AttackWatch.

  • MWG||

    "...he's an enemy combatant during a declared war."

    *clears throat* Declared war?

  • ||

    We are in a declared war? I missed that vote.

  • ||

    Well Cap,you would,as a leader of our great nation would havekilled Nixon,Prescott bush(Georges dad),Ford,the Dulles brothers,Joseph Kennedy,certain Rothchilds,Rockefellers and many more.You are now a member of the terrorist network.The C.I.A. is interested in you.

  • ||

    Show me a war where we have perfect knowledge of ANYTHING. The fact is, wars kill the innocent all the time; one of the secrets of living is to do whatever it takes not to be in a war zone where, in the words of von Clausewitz, shit happens.

    I'm not particularly happy with the idea of presidents getting to target and kill whoever they like, but leaving the US to run around Yemen is sort of like getting raped by Mike Tyson in his hotel room; if you wanted to reduce the chance of that happening to zero, you wouldn't be there in the first place.

  • Dave||

    When did he become a combatant? Everything I've read said that he was on the ideological side of things - which basically means that the U.S. government just killed a man for his beliefs.

    Not that it would be the first time.

    Come to think of it, maybe that is why he denounced the U.S. Perhaps he is simply an American patriot.

  • ||

    You're missing the crucial point that this was an assassination in neutral territory of a US citizen not in uniform or in any battlefield. We would never have done that in WWII.

  • Mainer||

    So the president is like those hero cops in the movies and tv, who have the guts to fight the system and take out the bad guys, their "rights" be damned.

  • Destrudo||

    Dirty Barry

  • Sparky||

    +.357

  • Make my fucking day....||

    "LAUNCH!"

  • ||

    Actually, I think that should be +.44 Magnum, Sparky.

  • Sudden||

    +(model) 29

  • kilroy||

    But that would make Bush a +.43...

  • Hugh Akston||

    I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six Griffin missiles or only five? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drone, and Congress can't say boo about me using it to kill whoever the fuck I want, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?

  • ||

    (slow clap)

    Good. Very good.

  • ||

    How Clint wasn't our president immediately after 9/11 is beyond me.

  • ||

    Clint has better things to do that grimace in the stinking swamp off the Potomac. As much as he wants everyone to leave everyone else alone, I don't think he has the masochistic self sacrifice in him to be the guy that brings it about.

  • ||

    Crazy Harry (Reid).

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    You do know that this allusion is why Rush calls him "Dingy Harry."

  • ||

    OK, Rev., I went through the lyrics to all of their songs, and cannot find a single reference Rush made to Harry Reid, let alone "Dingy Harry."

    The closest I could come was in "Tom Sawyer," and these lyrics:

    Ill equipped to act
    With insufficient tact

    But that could refer to most politicians.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Maybe he was "the Snow-Dog". Just spit-balling here.

  • ||

    G.W. Bush inadvertently gets a third term.

  • Joe M||

    Is that why they keep blaming Bush? Because Obama and Bush are actually the same person?

  • ||

    Try to convince a republican of that.

  • Rrabbit||

    O'Bummer is the continuation of Bushed using different means.

  • ||

    You libertarians, always obsessing about "liberty".

  • ||

    It's our extremely extreme extremism.

  • ||

    It's our extremely extreme extremism racism.

  • Esteban||

    Worst. Reply. Ever.

  • ||

    You can't argue with the truth, so you insult it.

    For shame.

  • sevo||

    "You can't argue with the truth"

    That's GREAT! I'll bet you got a million of 'em!

  • ||

    That's GREAT! I'll bet you got a million of 'em!

    It's easy when you don't let the Koch brothers do your thinking for you.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Bitch all you want, but the PAY is great!

  • sevo||

    "It's easy when you don't let the Koch brothers do your thinking for you."

    OK, so you're down to 999,999,999. Gonna be here all week?
    Or do they give you the hook once they figure out you're a no-talent shithead?

  • ||

    You get 'em, sevo. cap-L's howling liberalism has gone unchecked long enough.

  • sevo||

    Tulpa,
    I really can't remember any of cap-L's prior posts, but anyone claiming 'you can't argue with the truth' is fair game.
    If you're going to make that claim, you better offer something other than "It's our [...] racism." as a starting point.

  • ||

    I know that I've been scarce around here lately, but damn you kluxers don't pay much attention, do you?

  • S.W.A.T.||

    All he had to do was to surrender himself for extradition. Stop resisting.

  • ||

    That's a good point.

  • the district court judge||

    Even the district court judge who dismissed a suit by Anwar’s father ... wondered why the administration required a judge’s warrant to target a U.S. citizen overseas using electronic surveillance but not to target that same citizen for death.

    Oh, well.

  • ||

    As usual, government incentives turn out to make things worse, so that it becomes safer for a president to kill you than to spy on you.

  • ||

    As I mentioned on another thread, the problem here arises from the (apparent) fact that Anwar was an illegal combatant, which is to say, a war criminal.

    Leaving aside the squabble about whether an AUMF satisfies the requirements for a "declaration of war", the issue is how do you determine that someone is a legitimate target.

    A legal combatant is identified by their uniform, per the Geneva Conventions.

    An illegal combatant doesn't wear a label. So how do we know? How do we decide they are a legitimate target? During open combat, of course, this needn't detain us - someone acting as a combatant can be shot on sight. This shouldn't be controversial.

    But we're talking here about how we target someone for a hunt-and-kill operation. Should we go the full-on due process trial-in-absentia route? My instinct is no.

    Should we have some kind of standards and process before we target someone? Yes, we should. And it should be somewhat open, at least. That's what we're lacking. We don't know who, or how, this decision is made, which means it is begging for abuse.

  • ||

    I think that there's a pretty big difference between "guy out of uniform that we picked up during a military operation with another goal" and "search and kill operation targeted at one person."

    In the case of the former, I think it's a much harder question of what do you do with people, particularly when they seemed to be fighting on the other side and you don't have anyone to trade them for.

    But if the entire point of the operation is to get somebody, well, it's no surprise if he's out of uniform and shoots back.

  • tarran||

    If you read the Geneva Convention, the determination of legallity/illegality is done after capture in a trial. People who aren't in uniform are supposed to be treated as civilians.

    The option of shooting partisans was expicitly removed from the treaty in order to criminalize the behavior the Nazis had shown towards resistance fighters in WW II.

  • ||

    This has come up before in connection with the detainees at Guantanamo. What we need is a special kind of due process for illegal combatants.

    Before anyone says we don't have due process in war, in a way, yes we do. Leaving aside self-defense, which, of course, allows one to shoot back, we require a state of war and have rules for what can and can't be done during combat and with POWs.

    With illegal combatants, we need some new rules. Obviously, where possible, something like normal due process should be employed, particularly for detainees. I'd also prefer something a little heftier for American citizens.

    It's one thing if one of us is running around with a gun, but it's another if we don't know for sure what our citizen-enemy is doing. In this case, with the guy directing terrorist attacks, the situation isn't entirely disturbing. But where is the line? Can it be moved? Will a drone blow my ass up for speeding?

  • GroundTruth||

    "What we need is a special kind of due process for illegal combatants."

    No, actually, we don't. Criminal or military, but we really don't need a third justice system for "enemy combatants" or whatever Orwellian name you want. If the person is in uniform in a declared war, then it's a military offense and standard Geneva Convention protocols apply. Otherwise, it's a criminal offense, in which case, gawd knows, someplace in that seventybazillion lines of federal criminal code there ought to be something already to hang him with. After a fair and open trial.

    I'd rather take my chances of dying free and with my morals and dignity intact at the hands of one of these nut-jobs, than see my country continue to descend towards a military fascist dictatorship.

  • ||

    Inside the U.S., yes, but what do you do if someone really is trying to kill U.S. citizens under circumstances without a formal declaration of war? Can we really treat it strictly as a criminal matter? Is that realistic?

  • ||

    "" but what do you do if someone really is trying to kill U.S. citizens under circumstances without a formal declaration of war?""

    Like a serial killer?

  • ||

    Ugh. Like I said, I don't think there's any question within our borders.

    I don't like this whole business. I mean, if we can catch the guy, we probably should. If he's killed people, then he should be tried. Like with bin Laden. Ideally, we probably should've captured him. On the flip side, I don't think killing him is quite the same as someone drone-killing, say, a drug lord operating out of Ocala.

  • L13||

    One Constitution, to limit all of our governments actions, wherever they occur.

    One law for all. It's extreme, but anything else starts down the slippery slope, and you see how far we've descended already.

  • .||

    Will a drone blow my ass up for speeding?

    No, just for dissing Obama and the government on H&R. :-)

  • sevo||

    "My instinct is no."
    RC, that's pretty thin ice to pull the trigger on someone who may well be a raging, despicable asshole, but has yet to be shown to be other than that.

  • ||

    ""And it should be somewhat open, at least. That's what we're lacking. ""

    Openess for clandestine activities? How much openess do you really expect for the CIA's activities?

    And AQ is not mentioned in the AUMF.

  • .||

    As I mentioned on another thread, the problem here arises from the (apparent) fact that Anwar was an illegal combatant, which is to say, a war criminal.

    WTF? Did he forget to join the union or something?

  • Alan||

    As near as I can tell, Anwar al-Awlaki was not a combatant at all, much less an illegal one.

    Face it: the U.S. government has just declared that it has the right to assassinate anyone it wants, and has given up the high ground if anyone overseas wants to assassinate an American.

    Likewise, the U.S. has chosen to enforce American laws on non-Americans in non-American jurisdictions, even going so far as invading a foreign nation to do so, as well as sending in agents to kidnap foreign nationals in friendly countries without their government's permission. Again, the U.S. cannot expect to have any moral high ground if a foreign government kidnaps American citizens on American soil.

    The American government has decided that Might is Right, which is not necessarily a wise choice for a rapidly declining power to make.

  • GeoffB||

    Actually, the U.S. has given up the high ground if anyone overseas wants to assassinate a former citizen who is in America. Iranian apostates, Pakastani girls with boyfriends and former Russian oil barons come to mind.

  • He ain't the first||

    and he won't be the last

  • A Serious Man||

    Due process? We don't need no stinkin' due process!

    Btw, Ron Paul has in the past suggested that the US go old school and authorize letters of marquee and reprisal against terrorists and pirates. In other words, this would allow bounty hunters and merc teams to take out terrorists and pirates like privateers during the Age of Sail. Don't you think that also has a potential for bad consequences?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So does our entire foreign policy. But letters of marque have a history (at least in naval warfare), and that history can be studied to see what consequences it has. Reason published an article called "public-pirate partnerships" dealing with this topic.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You're leaving out the most important part of the process. A holder of a letter of marque and reprisal had to bring their prisoners and prizes before an admiralty court for condemnation (legal transfer of title). Admiralty courts in the past have revoked letters, refused to award captured goods and money as lawful prizes and even given tort damages to captured parties.

    A letter of marque wasn't a license to rob and kill at your pleasure.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    In other words, this would allow bounty hunters and merc teams to take out terrorists and pirates like privateers during the Age of Sail. Don't you think that also has a potential for bad consequences?

    Actually, I think it has a potential for bad-assery and fuckin' awesomeness.

  • The Dread Pirate Roberts ||

    Me too

  • ||

    I think there may very well be a constitutional question about targeting one American citizen. However, within 4 years of Pearl Harbor Hiroshima and Nagasaki were glowing in the dark and here we are, more than 10 years after 9/11 and Iraq, Iran, Yemen (USS Cole), Afghanistan and Somalia (international pirates and Al-Qaeda staging) are not. If we had taken care of all those enemy countries, Anwar would have been vaporized with the rest. Let Allah sort the dead out.

  • Esteban||

    Ah the neocons are here! Advocating murder using "nucular" weapons too.

  • sevo||

    "If we had taken care of all those enemy countries, Anwar would have been vaporized with the rest. Let Allah sort the dead out."

    Yep, you live in any of those places, you can eat our nukes!
    You tell 'em.

  • Hugh Akston||

    What I don't get is why neocons invariably invoke WWII when supporting the Executive excess of the week.

    I mean I get why they do it, because WWII is the war we can all agree needed to be fought and more or less turned out OK.

    But I guess I don't know whether they think we're too stupid to see the weakness of the analogy, or they are.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Because like most nostalgists, they really think the good old days of war planning, rationing, the abridging of civil and natural rights, really weren't all THAT bad. We were united and had common purpose and saluted the flag and prayed in church that God would help our boys kick Hitler's ass. It was a simpler time, when the men were men, the women were women, and the negroes knew their place.

  • So true||

    Ever since they invented the female orgasm, the world has gone to shit.

    I hear there is one of those darkies in the White House -How fucking hard would he be to spot!!!?

  • You read his website first||

    So how do we know? How do we decide they are a legitimate target?

    The part that says: "I am a fucking terrorist, and I will kill Americans" is the real clue

  • Esteban||

    Not much evidence that he did anything more than engage in a typical rabid muslim circle jerk. Methinks the Obama administration needs to feed some red meat to get their numbers up.

  • sevo||

    I'm waiting for Cindy to start screaming about that "gun-slinging cowboy" Obama.

  • ||

    Well, according to the almighty Wikipedia, according to Cindy Sheehan, "I don't think much has changed since the Bush administration."

    She also protested in Norway when BHO was given his Nobel Prize for Peace not being George Bush.

    And she's been aressted at protest outside the white House within the last year or so.

    She may be a socialist crackpot but, at least, she's a consistent one.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    I have a soft spot for Cindy Sheehan because I kept running into her during the post-G-20 riot cop party in Pittsburgh AND because she is a consistent socialist crackpot, as you say.

    She seems to be chummy with the Castro and Chavez crowd, though. So really, still no civil liberties credibility.

  • sevo||

    "she's a consistent one."
    I stand just a little bit corrected.
    Her voice seems to have dropped ~100dB since Obama took office.

  • T||

    Because her media enablers quit helping her when she was no longer a convenient club to basg Bush with.

  • sevo||

    I do stand *all the way* corrected.
    You're right about the biased coverage, but she's not giving Obama a pass:
    "Cindy Sheehan calls President Obama a war criminal..."
    http://www.democraticundergrou.....89x7967540
    And there's more.
    "I'll take the crow rare, please, with a side of humility"

  • Michael||

    Perhaps I've been living under a rock for too long and should be more aware of stuff like this, but my HOLY SHIT moment of the day came from the update posted to that NPR piece:

    This ABC News story from the time explains one complication in the case was that after al-Awlaki was placed on the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control's terrorist list it becomes illegal for anyone to represent them legally.

    The government also asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit because the "case would reveal state secrets," as The Washington Post reported at the time.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah that's old news. Legal counsel would be providing material support to teh bad guyz. Technically, I think a few people on this thread (myself included) could be placed on a watch list for providing moral support.

  • ||

    Yeah, I heard that before. I wonder what happens if a person on the list is actually brought to trial in the normal court system -- can the public defender be charged with material support? Or is it the taxpayers of the district in question?

  • Mr. Mark||

    Disclaimer: IANAL, just some crazy guy who knows things and likes to act as an internet-enabled peanut gallery.

    It wasn't a death sentence. It was killing an enemy engaged in a defacto war against the United States.

    From the United Nations Charter, Article 51:

    "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."

    Al-Awlaki was a key leader in the al Qaida organization, a group engaged in inspiring, planning, and conducting violent attacks on both military and civilian American targets. Al-Qaida is a hostile force, and al-Awlaki was a member of that force. That he was an American citizen has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the legality of his killing.

    When the police use force, they are generally authorized to do so in defense of themselves or the public. Likewise, the military has the right to use force in self-defense, as well as in defense of those persons, equipment, activities, or information as laid out in applicable rules of engagement. However, the military ALSO has the authority to kill and destroy personnel and equipment belonging to what is known as a "hostile force". A hostile force is designated as such by "appropriate authority" (National Command Authority or NCA, which is basically Prezbo & Co. This is entirely constitutional as the president is the commander in chief, as explicitly stated in the constitution). That's why the Army didn't land at Normandy looking to arrest anybody. It's why B-52s don't drop handcuffs. It's why the guys who got Osama didn't need a search warrant.

    We're in a war. The enemy isn't a nation, it's a "non-state actor/rogue actor" (basically, the kinds of folks lambasted on Penn & Teller Bullshit, but with bombs). If I join that group (no chance of that, BTW), then the fact that I'm American doesn't mean diddly-squat so long as I am out there, on the ground, acting as a member of that hostile force. Being American doesn't give you a shield to run around the battlefield with. If you are a member of that hostile force, you are a valid target.

    Once a person is taken into custody, either by police or even the military, then there are Law of War (LOW) considerations that come into play. Persons captured by the military are due certain basic protections. I can see the arguments for a person's American citizenship generating additional protections as well, though I'm not sure I agree with such arguments entirely. But the important thing is that such protections only matter once a person is taken into custody. If they are not in custody, they have NO PROTECTIONS. None. Nada. Zilch. A member of a hostile force that has not yet surrendered is a legitimate bullet receptacle.

    Screw 'em.

  • Mr. Mark||

    I should have said that Law of War considerations ONLY come into play when a person is captured by the military - it doesn't apply to the arrest of persons by civilian law enforcement outside of armed conflict.

  • .||

    All that is just a mockery of the law when it's already predetermined that no attempt is going to be made to "take someone into custody."

  • Mr. Mark||

    "All that is just a mockery of the law when it's already predetermined that no attempt is going to be made to "take someone into custody.""

    You should learn something about the law you claim it mocks.

    There is no requirement to take anyone into custody who has not clearly indicated an intent to surrender.

    There is no requirement to give the opportunity to surrender.

    There is no requirement to ask for surrender.

    Both surrendering and the communication of the intent to surrender are placed squarely on the shoulders of the combatant, under international law.

    That's the law.

    Here's some reading material:

    The Geneva Conventions of 1949
    FM 27

    Anwar al-Awlaki was NOT killed for being Anwar al-Awlaki.

    Anwar al-Awlaki was NOT killed as punishment for being an al-Qaida member.

    Anwar al-Awlaki WAS killed in order to STOP his activities as an al-Qaida member.

    I really don't see any reason to oppose Obama's approval of drilling in Anwar. It's been a long time coming.

  • sevo||

    Lot of words to attempt to justify assassination.
    Shame it didn't do anything of the sort.

  • Mr. Mark||

    Great counterargument.

    You're a deep thinker, I can see.

  • Chowda||

    Awesome post!

  • sasob||

    It's why the guys who got Osama didn't need a search warrant.

    The Pakistani government might not look at it that way - they might even consider our sending an armed military force over their border to be an act of war.

  • Mr. Mark||

    "The Pakistani government might not look at it that way - they might even consider our sending an armed military force over their border to be an act of war."

    I don't care.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Obama didn't just go medieval on Awlaki, he went pre-medieval. He declared Awlaki an outlaw, who could be killed on sight without a trial, without having any kind of trial. In the Magna Charta, King John had to agree not to outlaw anyone except by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land. So you either need to get convicted by your peers or you have to be charged with a felony and repeatedly fail to show up in court. Otherwise, no outlawry. Obama skipped all those picky, technical steps which those civil-liberties-obsessed medievals insisted on, and imposed outlawry by executive fiat. King John would be proud!

    But don't just take my word for it:

    “By authorizing the killing of a particular citizen, whether he is arrayed in battle or sleeping in bed, the President has circumvented restraints on his power by creating a third and extraconstitutional category [of killing] alien to both the law of war and the principles of justice. Furthermore, the Framers would have recognized this purportedly new category for what it is: extrajudicial outlawry.… In approving of the killing of a citizen under any circumstances by means of a nonjudicial order, when that person has never had access to the courts either before or after the determination to do so was made, we have again surpassed the boundaries of a medieval practice that was itself repugnant to the Framers….

    “Allowing the president to declare a citizen an outlaw, who then effectively has no legal rights and can be killed on sight pursuant to the president’s order to do so, dispenses with the centuries of collected wisdom about due process and the rule of law embodied in the U.S. Constitution. It demands a vigorous response, and not just drawing-room disapproval.”

    http://www.cato-unbound.org/20.....-concerns/

  • "Impeach Obama"||

    When will we see the demonstrators with that sign.

  • Old Mexican||

    Paul pointed out how domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh got a trial, appeals, and an execution and said that's what should have been done with Awlaki.


    There's an important difference between McVeigh and Al-Alwaki... Timothy was arrested before he could be assassinated.

    See? It's just a matter of timing. Oh, and political expediency: we're in an election cycle and The Great One needed to wag the dog.

  • Syd Henderson||

    McVeigh was also arrested on American soil. If Yemen had extradited Al-Alwaki to the US, he too could have also been executed through due process.

  • Chowda||

    This is pathetic. Google al-Awlaki and it's pretty obvious he was a traitor and a bad guy.

    It's also pretty obvious Ron Paul and Glenn Greenwald are retards.

  • French Waiter||

    It's shau-der.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chowda,

    This is pathetic. Google al-Awlaki and it's pretty obvious he was a traitor and a bad guy.


    Give me your name, so I can Google it and know if you're a good person or a bad person.

  • ||

    Say, Google as due process. That's a good idea.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    What if you're not on Google? As in your full, legal name appears nowhere in the search engine?

    Persona non grata?

  • ||

    You're clearly an illegal immigrant.

  • ||

    I don't mean you, I mean the person searched without a result.

  • ||

    Don't be hasty Pro, this here feller is Anonumous so we don't know if he's an illegal or a terrorist or BOTH!

    Just to be sure we should put the drones on him before he starts squirtin' out shrapnel packed exploding anchor babies.

    We are at war with a word and all.

    Never can be too careful.

    *pisses pants*

  • Colin||

    Does that mean we can shoot Rick Santorum?

    Maybe Chowda's on to something

  • Chowda||

    Al-Awlaki was pretty blatant in his actions and it's all very well documented as an internet search far and wide will show.

  • ||

    So do you believe that the government should have just shot Timothy McVeigh without a trial? What about Charles Manson? I mean, we knew they were blatant in their actions and were bad people.

    What's your line where it's okay to kill American citizens without trial?

  • GroundTruth||

    "it's pretty obvious he was ... a bad guy"

    So were Goering, Bormann et al. But they got a trial at least.

  • Bob||

    Bad guy how? Advocating violence? Look how the good guys dealt with him.

  • Colin||

    Even Eichmann got a trial. The Israelis could've just shot him. It would've been a whole lot easier. Instead they went through an elaborate and dangerous plot to smuggle him out of the country.

    Why?

    To show they weren't like him.

    A lesson that is sadly lost on us.

  • ||

    Did Himmler get a trial? If not, why?

  • sevo||

    Uh, 'cause he took cyanide?
    Sorta makes a trial difficult.

  • ||

    You're right, I'm thinking of some other Nazi who got strafed from an airplane while trying to make it to Allied lines.

    No trial for him.

    Rejoice, the traitors have been killed. Woot!

  • sevo||

    "You're right, I'm thinking of some other Nazi who got strafed from an airplane while trying to make it to Allied lines."
    I doubt it; more likely you're making things up.

    "Rejoice, the traitors have been killed. Woot!"
    Pathetic.

  • ||

    What I find interesting about the torture/indefinite detention/summary execution supporters is their willingness to sully the memory of those who fought in WW2.

    I guess when you're covered in shit, it's a good strategy to wipe shit on everyone else so you stink relatively less.

  • ||

    "Chowda is an evil person and should be shot"

    What, you're not evil? Well, too bad.

  • sevo||

    "This is pathetic. Google al-Awlaki and it's pretty obvious he was a traitor and a bad guy."

    Yep, the evidence is in! Just look him up on the web! All that stuff passes the rules of evidence, right?
    At least you got "pathe4tic" right.....

  • Dave||

    "it's pretty obvious he was a traitor and a bad guy."

    Well, gee. By that standard, we could just assassinate apply kinetic action to Congress.

  • Old Mexican||

    But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys. I think it's sad.


    It's also quite frightening, because now the only thing required to assassinate somebody is to have the head of the regime declare person X or Y to be 'enemy combatants' and thus allow their assassination without as much as a trial and a defence.

    It is certainly more than sad - downright creepy.

  • Bob||

    A warrant to wiretap but not to whack. Let's give Obama a break guys he only has about 15 months to define his legacy.

  • "Illegal Combatant"||

    Uniforms? How quaint!

  • Bob||

    It was unconscionable when Bush locked terraists up in Gitmo for indefinite periods, but it's ok to just kill a guy -- so long as there are no pictures of it.

    Somebody should just go ahead and put this in the Constitution.

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi||

    Note the hatred of the bloodthirsty Neocons.
    Neocons are now available in both corrupt flavors.
    No Judge, No Jury, Assassinations by decree world-wide !!

  • cynical||

    No, left-wing neocons are called "progressives"

  • affenkopf||

    Aren't all neocons left-wing?

  • sevo||

    Neocons and lefties are at least 'authoritarian', if not 'totalitarian'.
    Depends on how much power the can collect.

  • Warty||

    IF YOU DON'T LIKE AMERCUH U CAN GIT AHT

    thebeekeeper1
    Member


    Site Staff
    Joined: Mar 2001
    IL, USA

    Posts: 80764
    Feedback: 100% (17)
    Link To This Post
    Posted: Today 11:57:34 AM
    Originally Posted By RangeWarrior:
    American citizens have a right to trial by jury. how that is lost amoung so many of you is beyond me.


    Yes––so I guess he should have been in the U.S. and standing for trial, no? What country was he in when he died again? What was he doing?

    Fuck, I hate TEAM RED.

  • ||

    We need post counters like they have there. Damn, some of those guys have like 20000 posts!

    Maybe they let you comment in three post burst over there.

  • ||

    I think there is a difference between a "terrorist" and openly taking up arms against your former country.

    In the Civil War, should the North have given each Southern soldier a trial because firing a bullet at him in battle?

    Not to mention, the way the North treated loyal citizens in Missouri pretty much spawned a rebellion there (Missouri was originally going to be neutral, but heavy handed tactics sparked a guerilla war)

    So basically my point is, this isn't even remotely a new thing.

  • sevo||

    "So basically my point is, this isn't even remotely a new thing."

    Yes, murder has been with us for quite a while.
    Now, what was your point?

  • ||

    There's no evidence this guy took up arms against the US. Certainly he didn't do so openly.

  • sevo||

    And that notion of "due process" might have discovered whether he did, or whether Obama perhaps needed a tail to wag the Solyndra dog.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Doesn't matter. AQAP membership and aid to that organization is good enough for the killing.

  • ||

    Then why does your side keep talking about "enemy combatants" "taking up arms" "on the battlefield" when none of these things apply?

    If you think that joining a disliked organization and publicly announcing your distaste for the US is enough to warrant death, why don't you say that to the general public?

  • sevo||

    "Doesn't matter. AQAP membership and aid to that organization is good enough for the killing."

    When were you appointed prosecutor, defense, judge and jury?

  • tarran||

    Oh look, it's our cyto the trostkyite is here to show of his depraved anti-life philosophy.

    cyto's group are good guys, and can do whatever they want. Anybody who disagrees is a traitor who must be exterminated. And if the guy being killed wasn't a real traitor, then he should be grateful to die for a noble cause, cyto's little collective becoming rulers of the world.

  • Lord Obama||

    When were you appointed prosecutor, defense, judge and jury?

    He wasn't - that's my job. And I intend to keep it.

  • Alan||

    Two points: First, it was the North that rebelled against the law, not the South.

    Second, the problem of heavy-handedness by State actors has a long and glorious history of turning loyal subjects into implacable enemies. In fact, the behavior of the British army in South Carolina pretty much lost them the American Revolution. Something about having one's house and church burned down tends to turn the most loyal subjects into rebels. Instead of raising a Loyalist army as they intended, they lost an army or two instead.

  • ||

    And though the Obama administration is making sure to declare Awlaki a big fish posthumously, The Atlantic again makes the case that he was just a blow-hard who was a little too good at convincing the U.S. government that he was a threat.

    If so, that means Awlaki is just Kick-Ass to someone else's Big Daddy...and Hit Girl is still on the loose, waiting for the moment to be ripe for revenge.

  • Hugh Akston||

    With Nicholas Cage still on the loose, none of us is safe.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Safe from terrific cinema, that is.

  • ||

    Anwar al-Awlaki was a US Citizen, and all US Citizens are required to file tax returns, need to pay taxes on world wide income derived from all sources including barter, and report all bank accounts with more than $10k balance that they have in their name or signing authority on that are in banks outside the U.S.

    Clearly he is a terrorist.

    Even that guy who minted silver coins in the U.S. is a terrorist.

  • kilroy||

    What's the odds this guy renounced his US citizenship at some point. Wouldn't you think that would be on your "How to become a terrorist" checklist?

  • T||

    You can only 'officially' renounce if they let you, Kilroy.

  • kilroy||

    Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship

    Doesn't seem that hard to get it done to me.

  • ||

    They should let you do it on the websites for each of the three branches. A little on-line form, with a box at the bottom for explaining your reasons for being dissatisfied with your American citizenship experience.

  • kilroy||

    There's an Onion article in there.

  • Dave||

    Get this - the U.S. government actually charges you a fee to renounce your citizenship - and it's not a small fee, either.

  • Max||

    I wonder if the Ron Paul who published the racist newsletters is opposed to lynching fleet-footed black muggers.

  • o2||

    dont waist youre time here max teh foming [WIGNNUS] take there marshing ordres from shaun hanitty

  • sevo||

    Two dipshits sharing lies! How quaint!
    Uh, Hannity *really* doesn't like Paul, and Paul returns the favor.

  • MaxiePad||

    and Rush Limbaugh are on the same page -- they don't like anti-war Rouan Paoul.

  • Max||

    "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."--Ron Paul

  • Daniel||

    This is the first I've heard of this!

  • sevo||

    Hey, with one-trick ponies like dipshit here, you'll hear it again, and again, and again, and......

  • Lord Obama||

    You mean they aren't? RAAAACIIIIIIST!!!

  • ||

    One of the worst aspects and legacies of that fucking imbecile Dubya was this notion that there is such a thing as a sort-a-war, where you're in a war when it serves your agenda to be in a war, but it's not really WAR, war, like those other real wars when it serves the agenda for it not to really be a war. Not to mention, it instituted this idea that we are always and will always be at "war" since the "war on terror" will never cease. The abuse of the language and the meaning of words serves the same function and purpose in our society as it does in Orwell's book.

    There is reason why words have a particular meaning and don't just mean whatever you want them to, when you want them to. It is certain sign of the moral corruption of a society when language is corrupted in this way. I don't actually know if Bush was astute enough to deliberately use language in this distorted and corrupt way or if he was too stupid to recognize that words have specific and significant meanings and just willy nilly called things wars because "war" sound tough and serious. But war has a very specific, technical meaning when we are talking about the affairs of nations. Of course, the Hopey clan is no better with their military non-engagement (or whatever, I can't remember the term)in Libya. The corruption of language is a harbinger of corruption throughout a society.

  • sevo||

    Bad as W was, he can't lay claim to originating the concept.
    LBJ started the "war on poverty" for what seems to be the motives you mention. Then Nixon got us the "war on drugs", and the stage was set.

  • sasob||

    Don't forget the "police actions" of Korea and Vietnam.

  • ||

    There's no due process on the battlefield or when defending a third party from being killed.

    These killings were legal. I'm glad Obama obliged these traitors with a kickass death.

  • sevo||

    "There's no due process on the battlefield or when defending a third party from being killed."
    OK, and so?

    "These killings were legal. I'm glad Obama obliged these traitors with a kickass death."
    Are you familiar with the term non-sequitur? You should look it up.
    As far as your *opinion* that someone should be killed, you might be in trouble if we heard from your wife.

  • ||

    "OK, and so"

    ... and therefore it was perfectly legal to blow these guys to kingdom come, which is exactly what President Obama did.

    What are you missing?

    ... and I'm happily not married. Kiss.

  • sevo||

    "... and therefore it was perfectly legal to blow these guys to kingdom come, which is exactly what President Obama did.
    What are you missing?"

    Anything that offers the least evidence for your claim.
    Again: non-sequitur
    "A non sequitur (Latin for It does not follow; pronounced /ˌnɒnˈsɛkwɨtər/)"
    You should learn about it before you embarrass yourself further.

  • ||

    What are you talking about? Your evidence is what?

    You going to make a citizen's arrest of Obama? Haha.

  • sevo||

    "What are you talking about?"
    That you're a lying sack of shit and seemingly too dumb to know it.

    "Your evidence is what?"
    Uh, my evidence is your posts; clear enough.

  • ||

    How I long for the days when Battlefield: Earth was just a kickass John Travolta film, rather than official administration policy.

  • ||

    You hate fighting wars and protecting people huh? Aww... Obama is right, America has gone soft. Haha.

  • sevo||

    "You hate fighting wars and protecting people huh?"

    And Straw Man; you should look at that, too:
    "A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position."
    Boy, you're really batting a thousand!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    You lost me at "kickass".

  • ||

    I have no earthly idea what you're trying communicate to me man.

  • sevo||

    "I have no earthly idea what you're trying communicate to me man."

    Well, to make it clear, you're a lying sack of shit.

  • CE||

    There's no due process on the battlefield or when defending a third party from being killed.

    A good point, if the deceased in question was, you know, actually on a battlefield, or actually in the act of attempting to kill someone, rather than sitting at home watching TV.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Oh Christ this is preposterous. He joined a violent hostile organization at war with America as effectively a battlefield participant. He recruited for that enemy and gave them aid. So yeah he got a JDAM or whatnot up his ass. This is not hard and it's not tyranny. The government actually did what it is supposed to. Ron Paul's bitching makes me less sad that he has no chance in the GOP nomination.

  • sevo||

    "He joined a violent hostile organization at war with America as effectively a battlefield participant. He recruited for that enemy and gave them aid."

    Where did you major in "Innuendo"? Is that a new field in the study of law?

  • Shake||

    Oh Christ this is preposterous. He joined a violent hostile organization at war with America as effectively a battlefield participant. He recruited for that enemy and gave them aid. So yeah he got a JDAM or whatnot up his ass. This is not hard and it's not tyranny. The government actually did what it is supposed to. Ron Paul's bitching makes me less sad that he has no chance in the GOP nomination.

    Agreed - but this response is also completely unsurprising considering Paul's previous statements (e.g.: condemning the killing of bin Laden). I've learned not to expect intellectual honesty or rational debate on this issue from most so-called "civil libertarians." Any use of force against terrorists is illegitimate and illegal; anyone who doesn't tow the party line is a "neocon" (do these people even know what neoconservatives actually believe?). There are also a lot of libertarians whose distrust of the government knows no bounds, so they simply refuse to believe anything the government says if it contradicts their head-in-the-sand worldview.

    Benjamin Wittes and Kenneth Anderson have done an excellent job examining the legal aspects of drone strikes and dismantling the arguments made against them.

  • sevo||

    "Any use of force against terrorists is illegitimate and illegal;"

    Nice straw man you got there. Sorry, it won't fool anyone.

  • ||

    Coercion is coercion.

  • Shake||

    Too bad it isn't a straw man. Many civil libertarians really do believe that, as demonsrated by half the commenters here and by people like Paul, Greenwald, etc. Just read their own words on any issue related to terrorism. Note that there are rarely, if ever, any valid alternatives offered to the policies that they criticize, short of simply doing nothing.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Where is the evidence he actively planned or participated in violence? From your Volokh link:

    "Al-Aulaqi was an American-born radical Muslim cleric who had emerged as both a leading voice in Al Qaeda recruiting and propaganda over the internet and, according to the US government, was also involved in operations and operational planning with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an offshoot Al Qaeda terrorist organization that the US governments regards as an “associated force” with Al Qaeda (and hence covered by the terms of the original Authorization to Use Military Force)."

    Try, just fucking try to see why we might have a problem with the government killing someone based on evidence they do not offer, but merely allege. If I can see evidence that Alwaki was involved in the planning or participation of violent acts, I won't feel bad about this. But I need more than some government flacks' allegation to believe that.

  • sevo||

    "Too bad it isn't a straw man."
    Too bad you haven't shown otherwise.

  • GeoffB||

    "The government actually did what it is supposed to do."

    No wonder there's so much confusion here!

  • ||

    Dude should have surrendered.

  • cynical||

    To guys that believe you're outside of the bounds of either military law or normal due process? They would have killed him on sight.

  • sevo||

    They did.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Surrender. Surrender, but don't give yourself away.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The Dream Police were inside of his head. The Dream Police killed him by a river bed.

  • Dave||

    They would have killed him on sight.

    No, no. You don't understand Americans at all. If the man had surrendered, they would not have killed him on sight.

    They would have subjected him to decades of psychological torture under the name of "treatment", to cure him of his drapetomania.

  • ||

    For everyone who has questioned Ron Paul's statement,I have something that you all need.http://fakediplomaonline.cu.cc

  • ||

    For everyone who has questioned Ron Paul's statement,I have something that you all need.http://fakediplomaonline.cu.cc

  • ||

    "It is a question of due process for American citizens."

    Actually, read the Constitution. For the most part, it is a question of due process FOR ALL. The Constitution doesn't confer rights, whether or not based on citizenship status. It restricts government. Those restrictions -- including guarantees of due process for the "accused" -- should apply wherever and whenever the US government operates. Whoever started spreading the meme that only "citizens" had rights, especially rights as important and fundamental as the ones being discussed here, was a venal, evil bastard. We need to shake those pernicious cobwebs from our minds and read what the Constitution REALLY says.

  • sasob||

    I believe that "meme" was started shortly after 9/11 by someone in the Bush administration, along with the other one about the Constitution not being a "suicide pact". In other words, it's to be followed only when it suits their purposes.

  • ||

    I think the meme was started before that. I remember encountering it several presidencies ago. Bush was a source of evil, but not the worst, only the most recently fashionable. And, if you haven't noticed, Obama has taken the ball handed off by Bush and is making a remarkable run for the endzone. GOP & Demos appear to be equally bad for liberty and the rule of law.

  • ||

    Whoever started spreading the meme that only "citizens" had rights, especially rights as important and fundamental as the ones being discussed here, was a venal, evil bastard.


    Did Spanish soldiers get due process during the Spanish-American War? (Aside from any process solely arising from POW protections?)

  • ||

    I'm not sure of the point of your comment. Are you talking about Spanish soldiers who were captured or killed in battlefields or found away from battle zones? The Spanish-American war was also a lawfully declared war. Was the War on Terror?

  • ||

    Clowns on here say, "he should have surrendered.". OK, what was he indicted for?

    Others say he was a terrorist. OK, what terrorist acts did he commit.

    Still more say that Yemen should have extradited him to the US. I'll bite and ask "under what charge is the extradition request."

    Face it, our government has not tried to bring this man before the bar of justice, whether in a civilian or military setting. The likely reason is that he was guilty of exercising his 1A Rights in a rather distasteful manner, made a mockery of the CIA and military intel units, and was able to find a good hiding place.

    Oh, and when our troops, under the "illustrious" leadership of one GWB, located Saddam Hussein, they summarily captured him so he could stand trial before the world, and that man actually did kill people with the WMD he actually possessed.

    Shit, GWB was an abject moron, yet adhered to the rule of law and the Constitution much more stringently than Obama has done when they were each actually tested. Pretty sad when you fall short of Bush, but the Nobel Laureate managed to pull it off...and at the low, low price of two American citizens' lives.

  • ||

    This .... Is how I vote on this issue.

  • Shake||

    Read this and this for a background of al-Alauqi's terrorist activities.

    Charging al-Alauqi and trying to extradite him from a lawless territory like Yemen (where he fled to escape U.S. law) would have been impossible. What should the Obama administration have done instead of taking him out with a drone? Should they have sent troops into Yemen to grab him and bring him back to the States? The idea that U.S. citizens who join enemy armies and terrorist organizations during a time of war, then flee to hostile nations to escape justice, can expect full constitutional protections is absurd. If an American citizen joined the German military during World War II, would we even be having this argument?

  • sevo||

    "The idea that U.S. citizens who join enemy armies and terrorist organizations during a time of war, then flee to hostile nations to escape justice, can expect full constitutional protections is absurd."
    Sort of forgot Tokyo Rose, didn't you?
    Fail.

  • Shake||

    Apples to oranges. Tokyo Rose was never involved in planning or inciting violence against Americans; al-Alauqi was.

  • ||

    Source? (and an "unnamed government official" doesn't fucking count.)

  • Barack de Fermat||

    I have discovered a truly marvellous proof that al-Awlaki was involved in planning violent attacks, but it is a state secret.

  • Ron Paul! OMG! Ron Paul!||

    Boo-hoo,hoo,hoo Awlaki's dead...oh, no, whattamIgonnado...weah-weah-weah...boo-hoo-hoo...

    And what makes it even worse is that my favorite moonbat politician is a laughing-stock...weah..weah...boo-hoo, hoo, hoo...

    What are we supposed to do when nobody sane believes our conspiracy theories? Why won't the rest of America hate America with us? Weah-weah-weah....boo-hoo-hoo....

    Ohhhhh!!! My hat's coming apart and I'm all out of tin-foil....

  • Jackson Baer||

    Herman Cain is honest, clear with his plans, and a successful businessman. He has my vote as of now and I look forward to hearing more from him. I also look forward to Perry dropping out lol... I like Paul but I can't support him for president with comments like these. He'd make a great "idea guy" or even a VP, but not the man in charge.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjRcO1Sm0HU

  • sevo||

    "I like Paul but I can't support him for president with comments like these."

    Yeah, darn that guy! He read the constitution!

  • President Barack Hussein Obama||

    Lynch-mob boss.

  • CraterMaker||

    Look, I like you guys.. I'm a libertarian leaning conservative. More and more I've come to admire your ideas and listen to your arguments. But with this, aren't there only three options - 1 to leave the guy alone, 2 put troops on the ground to arrest him and bring him back to the U.S. for trial, and 3 assassinate him.

    Obama chose 3.. so we need to pressure the administration to demonstrate why 1 and 2 were unacceptable options. You may dislike their choice, but to castigate people who see it as a reasonable solution is nonproductive.

    And unfortunately, there ARE secrets that have to be kept, and information that if revealed could endanger our soldiers and operatives. I understand how frustrating it is to be told "Trust us, we can't talk about it" and I applaud the anti-authoritarian sentiment behind never trusting the government - but.. what can we do differently to balance our intelligence concerns with the citizens demand that the .gov is forthcoming with evidence supporting their actions?

  • sevo||

    "But with this, aren't there only three options - 1 to leave the guy alone, 2 put troops on the ground to arrest him and bring him back to the U.S. for trial, and 3 assassinate him."

    Nope.
    4. Try him in absentia, present the evidence, see if a jury agrees and then........
    But the first thing you're going to have to do is actually charge him with specific crimes. Saying bad things about the US happens every day on this site and on every street corner.

  • CraterMaker||

    Hmm.. can we DO that? I mean, legally?

  • I don't think so....||

    "...balance our intelligence concerns...gov is forthcoming with evidence..."

    The last administration and the present one have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have no qualms about lying, misleading and covering up whatever they feel like. So, I say there is no way I trust them with their "secrets" or "we can't tell you because of national-security concerns" excuses.

    Remember, if the soldiers and operatives were not occupying countries in Asia and Africa, their lives would not be in danger.....

  • CraterMaker||

    Ah, well - I understand and disagree with your position.

  • CE||

    But with this, aren't there only three options - 1 to leave the guy alone, 2 put troops on the ground to arrest him and bring him back to the U.S. for trial, and 3 assassinate him.

    Another option: Congress (not the President, read the Constitution) could issue a letter of marque against the dude, authorizing bounty hunters to find him and bring him in, and kill him if he resisted capture.

  • ||

    Here is a poem dedicated to the killing.



    Americans are being praised all over the earth and in heaven about for killing Al-Awlaki

    Al-Awlaki is dead,
    They killed him with a bomb,
    We know it was the right thing to do,
    Because he hated the American and the Jew.
    Oh Al-Awlaki will no longer squawk,
    We don’t have to listen to his talk,
    He is as dead as can be,
    No longer will he jack his pee-pee.
    Oh Al-Awlaki Oh Al-Awlaki what is it that you did?
    No longer will you butt fuck, that goat that is a kid.
    There is no Allah to judge the afterlife for you.
    There is only HaShem and He is King of the Jew.
    You caused a lot of problems and you made a lot of hell,
    Now your corpse is roasted and cooked, PEW!! it has a stinky smell.
    Oh Al-Awlaki Oh Al-Awlaki you idiot Muslim sons the bitch.
    All your followers now have the terrorist twitch.
    You wanted to hurt Americans,
    You wanted to kill the Jews,
    But now your stinking caucus is yesterday’s news.
    I know you’re disappointed; there are no virgins where you’re at,
    And now you will be reincarnated as a fly that is fat.
    Well that is all I have to say you criminal Muslim hood,
    If you look close there is a pile of shit where you stood.
  • CE||

    The protections under the Constitution for those accused of crimes do not just apply to people we like — they apply to everyone, including a terrorist like al-Awlaki. It is a question of due process for American citizens.

    Pretty good by Johnson, except for one thing: the Constitution provides the federal government no exception for non-citizens. The federal government is required by law to grant due process "in all criminal prosecutions."

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement