Ron Paul: Assassination of al-Awlaki Might Be an Impeachable Offense

Story:

Asked at a Manchester, N.H. town hall meeting about last week's killing of the American-born Al Qaeda leader, the Texas congressman said impeachment would be "possible," but that he wants to know more about how the administration "flouted the law."

Paul called the killing a movement toward "tyranny."

"I put responsibility on the president because this is obviously a step in the wrong direction," Paul said. "We have just totally disrespected the Constitution."

Whole thing here. Reason on assassinating American citizens here.

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.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    If lying because one got a blowjob is impeachable, I can't understand how killing an American citizen not in a war zone just because he said so wouldn't be.

    But then again I'm not a statist, so who the fuck knows what goes through their sick little minds.

  • ||

    When you lie under oath during legal testimony - it is called "perjury" and is an actual crime.

  • ||

    Which makes not having any kind of a trial so convenient.

  • ||

    He was being sued in civil court.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Eh, that's like someone lying about using illegal drugs in my book. If the law is bullshit, lying to skirt it does not bother me.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I'm not sure I'd give an elected officeholder (a lawyer, no less) a pass in this regard.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    There were probably plenty of more justifiable reasons Clinton, and most presidents for that matter, could have been impeached over.

  • Wesley||

    Getting a blowjob wasn't what the investigation was about. The investigation was about sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a lot less of a bullshit law than using illegal drugs.

    (Still wouldn't have impeached him, just saying.)

  • CE||

    When you lie under oath during legal testimony - it is called "perjury" and is an actual crime.

    When you drop an explosive device on someone's house and kill them - it is called "homicide" and "assault with a deadly weapon" and "arson" and "terrorism" and is several actual crimes.

    If it happens during a declared war it's generally okay, unless you lose and the winner's military tribunal rules otherwise.

    The Constitution already authorizes several ways to go after bad guys: file charges, indict, and extradite, or have Congress (not the Prez) issue a letter of marque (and/or reprisal?), or have Congress declare war against the uncooperative nation harboring the alleged terrorist.

  • Apogee||

    The Constitution already authorizes several ways to go after bad guys:

    That old thing? It was written like, over a hundred years ago, and probably nobody can understand it.

  • ||

    It's only perjury if the verdict is affected by the false or misleading statements in question. That case was settled out of court, so the impeachment article was for "perjurious statements" which aren't in themselves illegal.

  • cynical||

    But if we don't let the sherriff lynch people, how can we punish murderers?

  • ||

    We kill the sheriif and all of the other cowardly, craven hideously habadashered worshippers of Caesar.

  • stonewyrm||

    I thought sure the FBI Agent provocateurs were more competent than this.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    You have been paying attention to the kinds of people they work their wiles on, haven't you?

    So why would you think that?

    But if Libertymike is a FBI controlled entity they have more patience then I'd been willing to credit them with.

  • Christ opher||

    But the whole world is a war zone. Here a war zone, everywhere a war zone.

    Also how dare you criticize our African-American President. You must be a racist....

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear.

    As I have stated before, and most Americans agree with me, al-Awlaki was not a CITIZEN citizen.

  • Kristen||

    Does Steve Smith commit rape-rape?

  • Barack Obama||

    Have we even seen his long-form birth certificate?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    What I don't understand is why they didn't devise some trumped-up story about how they tried to apprehend him, he fought back, and was killed in the process? Same goes for Bin Laden(well a more coherent trumped up story than the one they tried to sell).

    For that matter, why didn't Bush and Cheney just plant some 40 year old Nukes in Iraq to justify it to their neocon lapdogs? That shit must be stored all over New Mexico anyway, rotting away in some bunker 400 feet below the surface.

    Maybe these fuckers in charge aren't the diabolically intelligent assholes which secretly hope they are. Maybe they are just fucking idiots with access to nuclear weapons and flying robotic kill drones.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Maybe they are just fucking idiots with access to nuclear weapons and flying robotic kill drones.
    NOW you're getting the idea.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Citizen Nothing, I've HAD the idea for far too long. Sometimes I wish I could just take the blue pill and slip back into blissful patriotic ignorance.

  • West Texas||

    Someone tried to tell me recently that it was OK since al-Alwaki "considered himself to be Yemeni and not American."

    LOL... that's one slippery slope you're standing on the edge of, buddy.

  • ||

    No. "Renunciation of citizenship includes renunciation of all rights and privileges of citizenship."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....itizenship

  • T||

    Did Al-Alwaki ever formally renounce? Keep in mind the .gov won't let you renounce under some circumstances, such as if you owe the IRS money.

    It's not enough to say he considered himself a Yemeni. He has to go down to the consulate and do the deed and fill out the forms.

  • prolefeed||

    So you're saying that if you want to protect yourself from being assassinated by the U.S. President, you should file a tax return and attach a notice officially declaring that you refuse to pay your taxes? But if you pay up like a good little sheep, they can murder you?

    Oh, the irony.

  • ||

    I don't think that's what he was saying protefeed

  • T||

    No, they'll murder you either way. But they're not supposed to be able to straight up murder you if you're being a good little sheep. They should have to go get a trial and prove you did something and all that jazz.

    Huey Newton would argue the point, as would Vicki Weaver, but we're talking about how it's supposed to work.

  • pmains||

    I think you're misintepreting that. I believe that the State Department will still let you renounce, but you are still under the jurisdiction of the US government in regards to the taxes you owe them.

    And, to reiterate, renunciation of citizenship is a formal process. You can't pull a Michael Scott, stand in the middle of your office and yell, "I ... DECLARE ... BANKRUPTCY!"

  • Citizen Nothing||

    You say "I break with thee, I break with thee," then throw dog poopy on Hillary Clinton's shoes.

  • ||

    Then go to the bars and look for the girls with dog-poop on their shoes.

  • ||

    You can always renounce citizenship (though this has to be done outside the US at a consulate), but the IRS says renouncing citizenship has no effect on tax liability.

  • West Texas||

    Right, but that wasn't what this guy said and as far as I know, al-Alwaki never formally renounced anything.

    The point is, the U.S. government still considers him a citizen and has said as much while excusing this.

  • ||

    Now we are in splitting legal hairs. Leaving the U.S. to join a foreign organization that has declared war on the U.S. - is that a renunciation?

  • West Texas||

    Could be, but that's what we have judges for, to make such an "indepedent" determination.

    As it is now, Obama is literally saying, "this is a bad guy and we know that he's associated with al-Qaeda and plotting to do bad things so we are going to kill him."

  • ||

    If that was the case, we could drop a bomb on Roman Polanski.

  • ||

    The old statute said that joining the military of a foreign nation engaged in hostilities with the US constituted automatic renunciation...but SCOTUS overturned it in the 1970s I think.

    I'm not sure about generic foreign organizations.

  • ||

    It's still in the Wiki link I attached above - whatever that's worth.

    They did overturn the loss of citizenship for voting in a foreign nation.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Someone tried to tell me recently that it was OK since al-Alwaki "considered himself to be Yemeni and not American."

    So? We're not at war with Yemen...as far as I know.

  • Citizen Brother||

    We've always been at war with Yemen.

  • T||

    So Paul and Kucinich can co-sponsor a resolution impeaching Obama!

    This will accomplish nothing, but as I vote LP, I'm perfectly okay with futile gestures.

  • ||

    They should apply the pressure, non-stop, to take down this modern day brown bomber.

  • ||

    What did Joe Louis ever do to deserve that comparison?

  • ||

    Joe Louis was a far better human being than Obama is, imo. Joe's foes may have been knocked out, but they were not assasinated.

  • ||

    They should apply the pressure, non-stop, to take down this modern day brown bomber Septimus Serverus.

  • ||

    Ron Paul needs to read more on Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote that the unwritten laws of necessity, self preservation, of saving our country when in danger, is of a higher obligation than following written law. http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu.....2_3s8.html

  • affenkopf||

    You've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, comrade.

  • o2||

    so now jefferson is a commie? jeesch

  • T||

    Let me put this as simply as possibly for morons like you:

    SOME DUMBASS HIDING OUT IN A DESERT IN YEMEN IS NOT AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES.

    It costs nothing to follow the law when it's easy. This is character on a national level. Either we follow the laws we have made to govern ourselves when it's difficult or there's no fucking point to having them at all.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    +1

  • ||

    I worship liberty; not a hypocrite like Jefferson. Only the small of intellect can be persuaded by the reasoning set forth in his letter.

  • J_L_B||

    When the rule of law comes in direct conflict with your surival, I suppose you rank bureaucratic compliance above continuing to live. I'm sure you'll forgive others if they politely disagree with your ranking.

  • ||

    FALSE PREMISE. LEARN HOW TO ARGUE.

    There is no evidence that Obama or any of his thugs were facing a conflict of the like you asseverate.

    There is no evidence that the very survival of the socialist cess pool of Amerika was at stake.

    Don't be such an intellectual lightweight.

  • J_L_B||

    FALSE PREMISE

    There is no evidence that the very survival of the socialist cess pool of Amerika was at stake.

    I would tell you the same thing. That a 9/11-style attack would not lead to the collapse of the nation is no justification to dismiss threats of similar attacks.

  • ||

    You obfuscate.

    The FACT remains that you are arguing from a FALSE PREMISE.

  • J_L_B||

    It's very simple:

    There are threats to a nation.
    Some of them may lead to its downfall, others may not.
    Nevertheless, they should all be addressed.

    Your argument concludes that only those that could possibly lead to its downfall should be addressed.

  • rst||

    What else but that which could possibly lead to its downfall would have any effect on its survival?

  • Katze Zeit||

    okay, so if it was to lead to the downfall, you could KILL someone? So, Wall Street stock brokers should be killed, right?

  • ||

    How you respond to the threat is important. It's why we have a court system. IF death is the action required, then courts should be involved.

  • ||

    ""There are threats to a nation.
    Some of them may lead to its downfall, others may not.""

    Threat to a nation and threat to citizens are very different. He might have been a threat to the latter, but nothing he could do is a threat to the nation. Our government has done a better job of damaging the nation than anything AQ could do.

  • ||

    Funny thing is, the threats that could conceivably lead to the downfall of the nation are, by and large, internal and emanate from the central governing authority of the nation. If this nation collapses it will be as a direct result of the policies and agenda of our own government and not from the actions of some idiot terrorists.

  • J_L_B||

    Since,

    SOME DUMBASS HIDING OUT IN A DESERT IN YEMEN AFGHANISTAN IS NOT PROVED TO BE AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES

    I'm less inclined to believe your statement.

  • T||

    Do you not understand the word existential?

    Bin Laden was never in a position to destroy this country. The only people in a position to destroy America are hysterical ninnies who vote and the government. They're doing a far better job than Bin Laden ever dreamed of.

  • lil w||

    never in a position? did u miss the iraqi mushroom cloudz over NYC?

  • ||

    ""iraqi mushroom cloudz over NYC""

    That would violate NY state's smoking ban.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    You gotta have the right tool to do the job right. What kind of tool is J_L_B, I wonder?

  • J_L_B||

    It's nice to know some people out there think that 9/11 had the planning and backing equivalent to that of a flash mob. I guess when you think that, no one person is ever a threat, and historical atrocities just happen.

  • ||

    So, let's bring down the great satan!

  • Skr||

    Atrocities aren't existential threats to the country.

  • J_L_B||

    Existential threats to the country do not encompass all threats to the country that should be address.

  • Citizen Brother||

    Ah. A wing-nut driver.

  • Skr||

    But it is a good bright line for weakening the constitutional protections of 300 million people.

  • J_L_B||

    I'm no fan of the TSA or the Patriot Act, but I just think these guys that say they want to kill us might actually make good on their threats. Their threats of international warfare and mass murder should be addressed with a plan not equivalent to that used for shoplifters.

  • Katze Zeit||

    People have been saying dirty words to the US for years and haven't done shit. It was Saudi's that destroyed the WTC, not Iraqi's or Afghanis or anything.....

  • T||

    If you want to bring up arguments about how we have to sacrifice for our survival, you'd better have a convincing argument about the destruction of the nation. For all the posturing and whining and vapors, al Qaeda was never close to destroying this country, or even doing a major amount of physical damage. The damage inflicted was primarily psychological.

    You are apparently incapable of doing a rational threat assessment. Your threat assessment apparently stops at "OMG! Furriners killed Americans! World end soon!" If you honestly think we were incapable of dealing with al Qaeda without shredding the Constitution in the process, you obviously have a lower opinion of the US than I do. We are capable of destroying the goddamned world and doing it in accordance with the laws we had prior to 9/11 had we so desired. We're that good, and that capable. Would it have been harder? Yes. So fucking what?

  • J_L_B||

    If you honestly think we were incapable of dealing with al Qaeda without shredding the Constitution in the process, you obviously have a lower opinion of the US than I do. We are capable of destroying the goddamned world and doing it in accordance with the laws we had prior to 9/11 had we so desired. We're that good, and that capable. Would it have been harder? Yes. So fucking what?

    I agree with all of this, I just understand there is a distinction between military and civilian threats. They should be addressed accordingly. To think the NYPD or anybody else could treat 9/11 as a crime to be addressed by cops, lawyers, judges, and juries is ridiculous; it’s as ridiculous as indicting Hirohito with conspiracy to discharge an explosive device on government land in December 1941. After 2001, that distinction seems to have been forgotten, both in favor of too much timidity (using courts to fight wars) and too much boldness (TSA, Patriot Act).

  • ||

    ""I agree with all of this, I just understand there is a distinction between military and civilian threats.""

    I think trying to acknowlege AQ as a military force gives them waaaaaaay too much credit. They are nothing but thugish civilians of the highest order.

  • ||

    If someone claims to be Jesus, it means nothing. When governments start claiming that person is Jesus, it give him legitimacy.

  • J_L_B||

    I think trying to acknowlege AQ as a military force gives them waaaaaaay too much credit.

    This is what gets to me; bending over backwards to equate AQ to the people who hold up convenience stores. What is so hard about conceding that their threat is at a military level (even if a small military), and that their tactics are military in nature?

  • ||

    ""What is so hard about conceding that their threat is at a military level (even if a small military), and that their tactics are military in nature?""

    Because they are not.

  • West Texas||

    [i]Since,

    SOME DUMBASS HIDING OUT IN A DESERT IN [s]YEMEN[/s] [b]AFGHANISTAN[/b] [s]IS NOT[/s] [b]PROVED TO BE[/b] AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES

    I'm less inclined to believe your statement.[/i]

    As far as I know, OBL was never a citizen of the United States.

    Not to mention that he was never an existential threat to the United States. The United States did not end on 9/12/2001. (it took Bush and the warmongers a few more months...)

  • West Texas||

    stupid html markup

  • kilroy||

    stupid html markup

    Um, preview.

  • stonewyrm||

    What I said about immigration yesterday. Follow the laws. If the laws suck, CHANGE THEM.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Did he say this last night? My coworker went and saw him...

  • Bee Tagger||

    I imagine this will gain zero traction, but it will be eternally worth it for the lulz from the reactions from our former and soon-to-be (once a Republican wins) "anti-war" left.

  • ||

    Last I checked, service in foreign armed forces is cause for loss of citizenship. I guess we could argue weather or not Al Queda meets that standard.

    Maybe the Administration should have gone through the Department of State to get a Certificate of Loss of Nationality before killing him.

    Either way, it isn't going to get Obama impeached.

  • ||

    It should be pressed, nevertheless. Put the pressure on this mass murdering marxist.

  • ||

    Solyndra, Fast & Furious, a $1.6 Trillion deficit, an endless recession. I think we have enough ammo to take him down next year.

  • ccw1220||

    How about premeditated murder or accessory to murder?

  • ||

    I would rather have seen Awlaki captured and tried, but frankly, I don't see the problem with having him killed.

    He defected from the US to become the leader of an organization that has declared war on the US and exists solely to kill American citizens. He has personally called for the destruction of America. His organization is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans, as well as attempting to kill many more. He was killed on foreign soil while continuing to plan attacks against American citizens.

    If these actions don't add up to a justification for killing, I honestly don't know what does...

    After all that, can Awlaki really claim the Constitutional protections that US citizens enjoy? Are folks like him what Adams and Jefferson had in mind when they wrote the Constitution? Even if you argue that he IS still entitled to the protection of citizenship, I think it's a grey-enough area that impeachment is unjustified.

  • prolefeed||

    So if someone living in the U.S. has allegedly "personally called for the destruction of" the current government in America, and allegedly was a member of an organization that has killed thousands of people living there, according to the President's assertion, you are OK with the President being able to order their assassination without any jury trial or court order or anything, just let him unilaterally up and kill anyone who he considers to be such a threat?

    And you fucking invoke Adams and Jefferson as support for this theory? You do know that under this definition, Adams and Jefferson fit this description of people who could be killed on the whim of the king ruling the American colonies at that time?

    Are you that tone-deaf to irony?

  • ||

    THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THIS GUY EVER PLANNED OR PARTICIPATED IN ANY VIOLENCE WITH AMERIKA, THE SOCIALIST CESSPOOL.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Hey. Obama (George W., Cheney, Clinton, Gore...) said so. It must be true.

  • ||

    1) yes
    2) re-read the post, douchebag

  • T||

    He doesn't have to claim shit. He's a fucking citizen, as backwards and unappealing as that may seem. The government is obligated to respect the protections afforded to him by the Constitution. That's why we have the document in the first place.

  • ||

    I say again, there are ways to renounce or be stripped of your citizenship.

    I wish the Obama Administration had made it official - but this pecker-head clearly met the standard of joining a foreign armed service and renouncing his American citizenship.

  • ||

    He was likely a traitor, but before the death penalty, he deserved a fair trial like every other traitor throughout history has gotten.

  • West Texas||

    Even John Brown and Timothy McVeigh got trials.

  • ||

    He defected from the US

    How the fuck do you "defect" from the US? You just leave.

  • JTC||

    On the Constitutional question, first of all, neither John Adams nor Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution, Adams was in England and Jefferson was in France during the Convention. Second, they would have wanted him tried in a court of law, just like when Adams defended the soldiers who took part in the Boston Massacre.

    Due Process is central to the rule of law, if you want to make the President a dictator, then let him assassinate whoever he wants without bringing charges or even letting his spokesman say what the person targeted for assassination did.

    If being a "terrorist" is enough to get someone killed, then Tea Partiers should watch out, the Vice President thinks they're terrorists over the debt ceiling, so apparently if the President agrees they're terrorists, then drone attacks may ensue.

  • Name Nomad||

    Most people just focus on the immediate outcome and ignore the implications. "He's a bad guy who got killed, so who cares?" Likewise, if a cop is randomly shooting into a street while blindfolded and hits a murderer who broke out of prison, most people would probably praise that action. I doubt Paul's going to be winning many votes with this line of reasoning, but it needed to be said anyhow.

  • ||

    If the President does it, it's not illegal.

  • Bush & Cheney||

    YES!!!!!!

  • ola||

    The other night Krauthammer went off on how the Awlaki killing was just fine with him, because during the civil war, the union didn't read miranda rights to the confederate soldiers at gettysburg. I totally understand that explanation. I mean really, I do.

  • Dekedin||

    But the Confederate soldiers were armed and in battle. Awlaki was assassinated in a foreign land, not killed in battle.

  • ||

    The confederate soldiers were also part of an organized army, and in uniform, from another country. Whether the US recognized that country or not, they abided by the rules of warfare for the period.

  • ||

    No, the union army did not abide by the rules of warfare. It was a mass murdering monster which deliberately, and with premeditation, made total warfare (i.e., killing of women and children, confiscating property, burning property,etc.) a feature of their warmaking.

    This plan was later adopted to exterminate the Plains indians.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    To be fair, the Confederates did their share of atrocities as well.

  • Atlanta||

    ""(i.e., killing of women and children, confiscating property, burning property,etc""

    Really?

  • Sherman||

    Shut the fuck up or I'll do it again.

  • Dekedin||

    Given that we can declare war on pretty much anything now, even intangible acts, I donn't think "We're at war!" is a justification for anything anymore. Before the taking away of civil liberties, a politician should always be forced to come up with a better reason than war, whether it's Obama, Cheney or Graham.

  • Joe||

    We are at war now, Bush declared the war on terror.

  • T||

    Great. When you find 'terror', put a bullet in its head. You can cap 'fear', 'dread', 'loathing' and any other nouns you care to list while you're at it.

    People, on the other hand, need a little bit higher standard.

  • Skr||

    I just killed some drugs. I'd better go get some more.

  • ||

    "I put responsibility on the president because this is obviously a step in the wrong direction," Paul said. "We have just totally disrespected the Constitution."

    But that would imply some sort of strength of character as a job requirement for the Presidency. We all know how absurd that is.

  • prolefeed||

    I don't agree with the "we" part of Paul's statement. It isn't collective guilt. A clearly identifiable individual put out the hit order. The rest of us bear no responsibility, unless we endorse such action.

  • ||

    ""The rest of us bear no responsibility, unless we endorse such action.""

    And many do. Paul is in the minority.

    "". I doubt Paul's going to be winning many votes with this line of reasoning, but it needed to be said anyhow.""

    I agree. America loves utilitarianism when it comes to getting the bad guy.

  • JohnG||

    What amazes me is that people on this site take the gov's allegations as truth. Has the gov released any proof of A.A.'s alleged crimes? No, and they have blatantly told us they don't have to. Whether A.A. is a bad guy or not is irrelevant -- the President does not have the authority to play judge/jury/executioner with American citizens.

    Talking trash about your country is a 1st Amendment right. This guy wasn't an enemy combatant because he was killed far away from the battlefield. It's been claimed he committed treason, however that ignores 1 significant passage from our Constitution:

    "No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. "

  • T||

    Yeah, this is the thing that baffles me, even here. Too many people are inclined to accept on face value all the allegations. I'm supposed to take the government's word for any of this? How about no?

  • ||

    The irony here is if the feds wanted to listen in on his phone calls they would have to go to FISA courts and convince a judge. To kill the guy? Obama's order!

  • kinnath||

    The office of POTUS was fully informed that Solyndra was going down the tubes. But POTUS still went to the factory to flaunt giving a half a billion dollars to a failing company in order to score a few PR points.

    And you want this dickhead to have the authority to sign a death warrant on a US citizen living in a foreign land?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    What really strikes me about this whole affair is how it so demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of the modern "anti-war left."
    Where, I ask, is the outrage? No. The poseurs are busy down on Wall Street, protesting gravity, or something equally immutable.
    I would hope that some still have eyes to see, but I have my doubts.

  • ||

    Next GOP debate, Santorum is going to bring this up as more evidence of how Ron hearts terrorists.

  • West Texas||

    This is not a hard prediction. Turn in your crystal ball.

  • ||

    Santorum couldn't carry Ron Paul's used condums. Intellectually, Ron Paul towers over Santorum.

  • ||

    ""Santorum couldn't carry Ron Paul's used condums.""

    No, but he could make a diagnosis from a video of it.

  • Potsherder||

    I have this fantasy that some day England (or Israel or France or Germany... take your pick) uses a drone to kill a guy in Schenectady, NY. And that Americans are fine with it 'cause, hey, the guy said mean things about England on the youtubes.

  • kinnath||

    Well, you're half right. In 2022, the sitting president will have a drone kill a guy in Schenectady, NY, because the guy said mean things about America on the youtubes.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    Is he still breathing?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Dude, in a Thai prison, he'll wish he wasn't breathing. Have you read about the conditions in there?

  • Shake||

    I have this fantasy that some day England (or Israel or France or Germany... take your pick) uses a drone to kill a guy in Schenectady, NY. And that Americans are fine with it 'cause, hey, the guy said mean things about England on the youtubes.

    Yeah, okay.

    "The United States did not claim the power to kill Mr. Awlaki because of his political views or because he was a mere member of a Qaeda affiliate against which Congress had authorized the use of force. It claimed the power to kill him, rather, because he was an operational leader of a Qaeda affiliate that had been involved in terrorist plots on American soil and because he was hiding in a country that lacked the capacity to arrest him and bring him to justice."

    Too much stupid from Ron Paul lately. I don't think any amount of logic or reason will appeal to the paranoid "Predator drones over London!" crowd.

  • ||

    Where's the proof he was an operational leader? Any involvement I'm aware of comes in the form of inspiration, such as the Ft. Hood shooting.

  • Shake||

    Although much of the evidence is obviously classified (and I do agree that the administration should release a redacted version of the DOJ OLC memo), there's a good background on Awlaki here.

    Many commenters are quick to dismiss Awlaki's "mere incitement" as protected speech. Read al-Awlaki's own words and look at the facts we do know. The idea that this was some innocent guy who was merely guilty of criticizing U.S. policies is ludicrous beyond belief (Glenn Greenwald went even further, suggesting he was a peace-loving moderate until post-9/11 violations of civil liberties turned him into a radical), but for some libertarians, anti-government paranoia trumps everything. It's also worth noting that the International Tribunal for Rwanda convicted government officials for incitement to genocide.

  • T||

    There's no question in anybody's mind he was a dirtbag, mmkay? (Well, except maybe Libertymike's.) But being a dirtbag is not a necessary and sufficent criteria for getting whacked.

    We have given the government far too much leeway, and this is where it got us. A non-reviewable determination this guy is a threat, based on information they won't share, and now they can order his assassination. WTF is this bullshit?

  • Apogee||

    He was, most likely, a terrorist - otherwise why hang in Yemen? The weather?

    The entire problem with the assassination isn't the target, it's the Administration's refusal to address the fact that he was a citizen with constitutional protections, by either stripping him of his citizenship, or holding a trial or military tribunal where they presented evidence to necessitate his killing.

    After all, if he's important enough to spend the millions necessary to target and destroy with a drone, shouldn't there be some sort of effort to clarify the legality of the operation using due process?

  • ||

    From that crap article you linked about al Awlaki:


    "In October 2002, the U.S. arrested Awlaki while he was entering the country after traveling overseas but released him almost immediately under murky circumstances. Had he been arrested and prosecuted then, it might have saved American lives.


    Awlaki left the country immediately after this near miss."


    The author doesn't consider that Awlaki had a round trip ticket. But the entire article uses the same sorts of bogus inuendo to paint Awlaki as evil. For instance, Because "dozens" of suspected terrorists claim he was their spiritual leader, this is the basis for saying he's "inspiring terrorism"

    Also, the article conveniently leaves off that Awlaki was so impressive as an outspoken CRITIC of Al Qaeda, he was invited to the Pentagon shortly after 9/11 because they wanted to reach out to moderate muslims.


    I'll tell you what chaps my hide is that every time one looks deeper in the rabbit hole the so-called evidence that somebody is bad, the "evidence" is usually compiled by some Tom Clancy wannabe.

    It wouldn't have mattered either whether al-Awlaki was a citizen or not. The protections of due process are not limited to citizens and never were intended to be limited to citizens.

    Ron Paul is correct and any so-called conservative should be ashamed for condoning this. The non-citizens we've been assassinating in Pakistan via predator drone (is that a rock band or something?) are just as deserving of due process as I or al-Awlaki.

  • The Other Kevin||

    More realistic example... aren't there Chinese dissidents living in the US? So would we be ok if the Chinese government sent hit squads to the US to kill anyone they considered an enemy of their government? (Falun Gong, Tibetans, etc.)

  • ||

    Or supporters thereof.

  • Richard||

    I think this blog post by Mario Loyola spells out the case for killing Awalaki pretty well.

    If this were World War II, and an American defected to the Nazis and was made an officer in the SS, no one would be talking about "assassinating American citizens’" when we dropped a bomb on him. But the WOT straddles the line between war and law enforcement. If the guy were in Paris or London or some other place where he could be extradited, that would be one thing. But as Loyola put it:

    An al-Qaeda convoy riding along a desert road in Yemen is a legitimate bombing target, period.
  • ola||

    "If this were World War II...."

    If if and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all be happy at Christmas!

  • Richard ||

    You truly have a dizzying intellect.

    That the President is 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.


    Authorization for Use of Military Force
    September 18, 2001
    Public Law 107-40

    I am fine with dropping a bomb on an al-Qaeda convoy in Yemen, and I really don't care that one of the al-Qaeda members was born in the US.

  • ||

    That's easy to say when you're on the side dropping bombs.

    If China passed it's own AUMF against Falun Gong and started hitting targets in the US, I doubt you would be OK with it.

  • Richard||

    True. I think that the US bombing Islamic nutcases in godforsaken wastelands is different than China killing dissidents in America. Call me crazy/racist/imperialist/warmonger...

  • T||

    he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001

    Great. Pony up some proof al Alwaki did any of those things, because I haven't seen shit that indicates any of that.

  • TPTB||

    Sorry, T. Classified. We're sure you understand.

  • Richard||

    And during WWII, you would have wanted proof that every atoll the US bombed had Japanese soldiers on it?

  • Apogee||

    you would have wanted proof that every atoll the US bombed had Japanese soldiers on it?

    Given that thousands of US soldiers were killed unnecessarily taking strategically unimportant atolls in the pacific during WWII (by the Army's own admission), it might have helped save some lives to at least go over the formal necessity for the operations.

  • ola||

    I just go by the words in the AUMF. It uses the words "aided" and "harbored" not "someday will aid" or "someday will harbor". Does the government have evidence that Awlaki, prior to 9-11, planned, authorized, committed, aided or harbored anyone who had anything to do with the "terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001"? If so, present it in a court of law. Have a trial and authorize the sentence to be carried out. But what we have is a bunch speculation, charges, counter charges, all of which is apparently secret. WTF?

  • T||

    Exactly.

  • ||

    The big difference is it was done is a war zone. I do not believe in unlimited war with no borders.

  • ||

    I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
    wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
    guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
    KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and
    he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
    yelling, "KILL, KILL." And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
    sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

  • PinkFluffyUnicorn||

    " or harbored such organizations or persons " 107-40

    The language would seem to indicate that force was legally justifiable. However, I don't think American citizens were in mind when this decree was delivered to the masses.

    Further, it is still open to question whether or not 10 years of war, thousands of lives lost, civil liberties ruined, etc. is an appropriate response to an act, thought heinous, inevitably had little to no effect on the function and survival of this country.

  • ||

    I just find it interesting how many people who think Obama is a liar believe him when it fits their own agenda.

  • Rick Santorum||

    Vic, you are a filthy fucking racist.

  • Dennis Reynolds||

    Weird how the Obama Administration has propped up al-Awlaki as Public Enemy #1 when everyone in the Middle East is saying the dude wasn't shit in a hat box in the order of terroistic things. If you ask me, Obama or the CIA was just tying up some troublesome loose ends that could blow back on them.

  • Rick Santorum||

    ... when everyone in the Middle East is saying the dude wasn't shit in a hat box in the order of terroistic things

    Dennis, you actually listen to those fucking brown-skinned, chirst-hating, goat-fucking, wife-beating, camel-jockeys?!!! You want us to take our marchin' orders from ALQIADAOIIAIAUAOIYIOIAOUYSOIUYA!!!!!!!!?????????

    OBY!!!!! Fucking KILL THIS TRAITOR QUICK!!!!!!! BEFORE HE KILLS US FUCKING ALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dennis Reynolds||

    I bet the font of your newsletter is like crazy awesome. Where do I subscribe?

  • Rick Santorum||

  • Rick Santorum||

  • Dennis Reynolds||

    Teh thanks in order. I'll be sure to be tripping ballz before previewing that.

  • Wesley||

    To me, the whole argument of citizen or not doesn't matter. What matters is whether he was a terrorist against the United States or not. And by all I can tell, he wasn't. He was a terrorist (or freedom-fighter, if you prefer) against the Yemeni dictatorship, but as far as I can tell, he was just a crazy preacher yelling about the United States. Assassinating a terrorist leader is defensible, whether he's a citizen or not. Assassinating a crazy preacher on foreign soil is indefensible, and I would think violates international law.

  • ||

    Assuming this source accurate, Ron Paul had a slightly different tune than today in 2001:

    "For various reasons, the enemy with whom we're now at war remains vague and illusive[sic]. Those who commit violent terrorist acts should be targeted with a rifle or hemlock - not with vague declarations . . . "

  • Dennis Reynolds||

    Arm Chair Warrior says: XTRA Super Soft Target FTW!

  • Max||

    Ron Paul is scared shitless that Rick Perry's Niggerhead sign will raise the issue of his own racist newsletters, so he's trying desperately to change the subject.

  • nobody||

    Yes Maxxxxx, Ron Paul is trying desperately to change the subject by answering questions at a town hall meeting. How nefarious!

  • Max||

    Ron Paul has a loyal following of Neo-Nazis who will ask any question he wants them to ask. Think about that while you're sucking on his cock, you witless piece of shit.

  • ChrisO||

    All I can conclude is that Ron Paul must have fucked Max's wife at some point. This level of single-minded obsession screams something like that.

  • T||

    My 1947 Engineering Dictionary has a definition of niggerhead in it. It has something to do with steam boats, I think? I'll have to look it up when I get home.

  • Dennis Reynolds||

    It's a type of meteoric rock that looks like a bumpy black noggin. Also, Brazilian nut.

    I may need to start a blog like Ask A Ninja but title it Ask A Racist instead because there exist a lot of knowledge that gets lost in the shuffle when society ventures to get all correct and stuff.

  • Dennis Reynolds||

    Ask A Grammarian, there is suppose to be an 's' after 'exist' above, right?

  • CE||

    Bombing Libya without Congressional approval would seem to be an even greater offense. Impeach him twice.

  • ||

    The whole "American citizen" thing is a red herring.

    Due process rights are the same for citizens and non-citizens. And, as far as I can tell, there is no different standard depending on whether you are located in US territory or not.

    The real question here is, how do we go about certifying anyone (American or not) for killing?

    In active combat, its not an issue. In a good old-fashioned Geneva Convention war, its not an issue. But in this situation, it very much is an issue.

    As far as I can tell, if the US government has the legal authority to kill someone in Yemen without any due process, they have the authority to kill someone in the US without any due process.

  • 0x90||

    I know you're talking principle, but in reality it doesn't matter. They'll do whatever they calculate they can get away with. Toss it on the wall and see what sticks. The concept of justice is something which can only exist between people who agree, mutually, that it should. And the state is increasingly disinterested in being in that kind of relationship with the people.

    So I don't see it as a question of whether or not they believe they have that authority. They will test the limits, and eventually come to have it, really as a result of having done so. Unless, of course, you actually believe the state is something which can ultimately be limited; I don't happen to believe that.

  • JD the elder||

    The whole "American citizen" thing is a red herring. Due process rights are the same for citizens and non-citizens.

    I'm also wondering about the process and the "Specially Designated Global Terrorists" list. How is this not essentially a bill of attainder? Since when does the government get to just declare punishment on people?

  • ||

    ""As far as I can tell, if the US government has the legal authority to kill someone in Yemen without any due process, they have the authority to kill someone in the US without any due process.""

    Yeah. But if we were shooting missiles at targets in our own backyard, many of those who support this would have an issue.

  • ||

    But think of how many SWAT team members we can save by using drone strikes instead of no-knock raids, not to mention the prosecution and imprisonment costs we'd save! Hello, balanced budget.

    Not to mention, the Krugman effect - all the houses we'll have to rebuild and thus stimulate the economy. Hello, jobs.

    Just when I was starting to lose hope, Obama might have finally discovered the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Katze Zeit||

    It is past time to empeach Obama. He has not truly given an official statement about the goings on in Libya when he was supposed to 60 days into it and he has helped push this through. I feel that a great deal of top government officials should be empeached and replaced by all new people because it's not like the assholes actually listen to the people they are supposed to represent. Congress members and presidents don't care anymore. They just care bout reelection or being upgraded beyond being a part of congress. I really wish the situation was better elsewhere, because I would move to get away from the bullshit if I could; but, we live in the most "free" nation on the planet. I just want the government out of my personal life. If I want to smoke, the government shouldn't care. I have private insurance that gets paid every month for that shit. I want an abortion, same deal man. My personal choices should have not affect on the government. They have expanded their boundaries beyond what the founding fathers intended. We fought Britain because we didn't want taxation without representation, and that is what everything seems to becoming. We pay taxes on tires and gas to pay fr roads, yet it wasn't until the stimulus package that anything really got done. It took a crisis for them to do anything effective, and even then it wasn't the needed solution. The government created the housing bubble and it's their fault...

  • Holy Cow||

    What a bunch of A-holes most of you are.

    Al-Awlaki's record of treason is a mile long.

    Yet, if Radly Balko wrote about some cop in Lower Bumfuck who shot a puppy during a drug ( and his sources were limited to some local news rag and one lawyer's expert testimony) you'd be calling for heads to roll.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    And the way to deal with treason is spelled out nice and neatly in the Constitution.

    Assassination sans due process is not part of that remedy.

    Fuckstick.

  • Future News Article||

    The TSA has apologized to Ann Arbor parents after a database mixup lead to the bombing of a school bus carrying students to Central Hills Elementary School.

    The attack was intended to assassinate infamous Al Qaeda lieutenant Mohammed Al-Akbar, a resident of Saudi Arabia, who used the alias James McGregor when attempting to order goat restraints online from an American manufacturer for his hidden compound/goatbrothel. Unfortunately, this name was also shared by Jimmy McGregor, 5, of Michigan, who died in the explosion along with 27 other children. When the terrorist leader's alias was added to the government's terrorist hitlist database, an unforeseeable tragedy was set into motion.

    "We regret that these students and their parents did not have a positive experience," the TSA said in a statement that was provided to [this paper] Friday morning. "The Regional Director for Kinetic Interventions has personally reached out to the families of these students to apologize and to learn about their experience, in order to ensure a smoother experience in similar interventions going forward."

    Predictably, the President's opponents on Capitol Hill took the opportunity to slam him in a scathing press conference. "Frankly, it's political correctness that killed these children," one Congressman said to the gathered reporters. "When will America accept that it isn't the Jimmy McGregors of the world that represent a threat? If the Administration truly cares about national security, it should focus its efforts on bombing Muslim schoolchildren in America and ignore the whining of the PC crowd."

    Al-Akbar took advantage of the controversy to release an Arabic-language video criticizing the U.S. government Friday afternoon to jihadist websites. On it, the terrorist leader is heard to exclaim, "At least it wasn't one of our fucking weddings".

  • Holy Cow||

    Sure, commenters here have called for Joe Arpaio to suffer an excruciating death sans trial.

    But that's different. You just can't snivel in that imperious way when you see Arpaio.

  • Holy Cow||

    "say" not 'see.'

  • wayne||

    I suppose Al Awlaki could have shown up at the American embassy in Yemen and said, "I hear that American authorities want to talk to me and possibly charge me with a crime. I am here to surrender myself and face these false charges in a court of law. DEATH TO AMRIKA!!!"

  • mike||

    R. Yousef, who built the bomb and helped deliver it in 1994 to the WTC is rotting in the Supermax. Why? Because after a lengthy investigation and search he was arrested in Pakistan.

    Please do not try to tell me there was no way we could send in a team of special forces to at least give a nod to the notion of attempting to capture and bring to justice one accused of crimes against the state? Would he most likely die while resisting? Yep. Could we all live with that outcome? Yep. It would seem this a far more noble mission to send some of the troops on than the crapola they do now in Afghanistan.

  • UGG boots classic||

    Your essay is good, I like it very much. Here I would like to share with you some things :
    Ugg Boots On Sale http://www.uggsukmall.com.
    --- too cai

  • UGG boots classic||

    Your essay is good, I like it very much. Here I would like to share with you some things :
    Ugg Boots On Sale http://www.uggsukmall.com. ----shacai

GET REASON MAGAZINE

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

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement