Al-Awlaki Video Released For Mass Distribution

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today the U.S. is actively seeking cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is on a U.S. "capture or kill" list.

This weekend, a video interview of al-Awlaki, an excerpt of which was released in April, was posted in full on radical Islamic websites.

"Oh, America, if you transgress against us, we will transgress against you, and you keep killing our people, we will kill your people," Anwar al-Awlaki says in the video. "This is the image that we need to present. These American soldiers heading to Afghanistan and Iraq will be killed. We will kill them if we can, there in Fort Hood, or we will kill them in Afghanistan and Iraq."

He praised the actions of Maj. Nidal Hasan, charged in the Fort Hood, Texas killings, and according to CNN, urged others to follow in Hasan's footsteps: [More...]

If he indeed urged others to do what Hasan did, the question as to whether he is only inspirational rather than operational, seems pretty moot. (Although, I still wonder if the U.S. targeting him for assassination wasn't the impetus for the change.)

If the tape was made in April and only fully released this weekend, I wonder if al-Awlaki's comments that he moves freely in Yemen protected by his tribesmen are still accurate.

Regardless, as to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, he gets this much right:

[H]e said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the failed Christmas Day plot to bomb a Northwest Airlines flight, succeeded in "even though it didn't cause the killing of one single person."

"They spent more than $40 billion, and a mujahed like Omar Farouq was able to infiltrate their security apparatus even though they claim he was under surveillance," he said. "And despite all he managed to get there and reach the American heartland, to Detroit."

Any time we restrict our freedoms in response to a terrorist threat, they've won. Whether it's the mass employment of full body scanners, increased electronic surveillance or creating more exceptions to providing Miranda rights to suspects, they have succeeded in chipping away at our fundamental values and freedoms and made another dent in our economy by our predictable response of ramping up the funds spent on the war on terror.

One of the few "successes" we've had in the war on terror has been the Justice Department's conviction rate in 300 or more terror-related cases. Since they are conducted in federal court, the whole world sees what happens to a terrorist who gets convicted -- decades behind bars in a place like Supermax. Instead of capitalizing on the potential deterrent effect such sentences bring, Republicans and weak Democrats want to move the biggest cases to military commissions, which are far less transparent and will receive much less publicity, rendering their deterrent value close to zero.

Young would-be suicide bombers are brainwashed into believing they will become martyrs. If they succeed, in their world, they do. But when they fail, they are abandoned. If they were aware that failure at their mission would lead not to a valiant death or unknown destiny, but only to being locked up in cages for decades, maybe they would think twice before signing up.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Times Square accused plotter Faisal Shahzad, Najibullah Zazi, Zacarias Moussaoui, Richard Reid, -- even the teenage Somali pirate -- are poster boys/men for what happens when plans fail or one gets caught.

Maybe we should take the money we're wasting on TV ads that say "this is your brain on meth" and replace them with TV and internet ads that say and depict "This is your cell at Supermax" and broadcast them in international as well as domestic markets and on You Tube. Over time, maybe the ads would have a greater impact than body scanners, biometric cards, and massive use of security cameras, which cost far more money and infringe on the rights of the rest of us.

Al-Awlaki and his associates have learned to use the internet to recruit and spread their message. Targeting them for assassination has no deterrent effect, it just fuels the hatred and gains them followers. Our reactive policy of increased surveillance only proves to them they can succeed, even with a failed attempt, in destroying our freedoms and values. We should be smarter than this.

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    Al-Awliki sure sounds like an (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun May 23, 2010 at 06:51:10 PM EST
    enemy combatant to me.

    he's an American citizen (4.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 23, 2010 at 06:53:41 PM EST
    And therein lies the problem (4.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:13:50 PM EST
    "Any time we restrict our freedoms in response to a terrorist threat, they've won."

    I'm not thrilled with the way we've treated non-citizen "enemy combatants," because I believe that we are just creating more grievances, and therefore terrorists, against us.  But when we treat American citizens the same way.......where do we draw the line?  Is Al-Alwiki a good guy?  Certainly not.  But does that mean we have to descend to their level?  As you said, Jeralyn, if we do, they have won.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Thank you, Benjamin Franklin.


    Citizenship is a TERRIBLE place (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:14:59 PM EST
    to draw the line.

    It makes no sense constitutionally imo.


    As I said, (none / 0) (#6)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:19:16 PM EST
    I'm not thrilled with the way we treat non-citizens, either.  In a practical sense, the worse we behave, the more terrorists, both citizens and non-citizens, we create.  When we descend to the level of the "enemy," however you define it, we lose any moral standing to oppose them.

    That is a different issue (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:21:51 PM EST
    Where do you (none / 0) (#15)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:45:49 PM EST
    draw the line yourself, BTD?  Citizenship?  The Geneva Conventions?  What gives us the moral high ground?  (And, yes, I'm concerned with this, because if we lose the moral "high ground," we're no better than they are.  And I do think we can protect ourselves without totally throwing away our core  values as a country.)

    Does authorizing extrajudicial assassination of (none / 0) (#26)
    by gondobie on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:24:25 AM EST
    al-Awlaki trouble you?  If not, how would you propose to keep the executive branch's authority to declare someone an "enemy combatant" (and thus subject to assassination) in check?

    Not if ... (none / 0) (#39)
    by nyrias on Mon May 24, 2010 at 02:19:45 PM EST
    it keeps to a few people who are obviously tied to the terrorist (like a terrorist leader who PUBLICLY announced their intention to kill US citizens.

    And who makes the decision? (none / 0) (#51)
    by gondobie on Mon May 24, 2010 at 05:25:27 PM EST
    And based on what standard of proof?  Beyond a reasonable doubt?  Clear and convincing?  Preponderance?  Or just "trust us--we know it when we see it?"

    I'm sorry, but I don't trust my government that much.  See, e.g., the case of Brandon Mayfield:


    If there had been no process of review, no requirement that the government meet a specified burden of proof, then maybe Brandon Mayfield could have been targeted for extrajudicial assassination.
    He was completely innocent--and the United States Government literally swore to the contrary.


    American citizens can be (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:13:57 PM EST
    enemy combatants. See John Walker Lindh.

    terrible example (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:43:37 PM EST
    John Walker Lindh never fought against the U.S. He had no trial, he was silenced by his plea agreement. As I wrote here,

    bq. I have never understood what crime Lindh committed against the United States. He was fighting against the Northern Alliance, not America. An American citizen, he was captured in Afghanistan. He is a devout, religious Muslim, not a terrorist.

    The government ultimately dropped its charges of terrorism, conspiring with al-Qaeda and attempting to kill Americans. Lindh pleaded guilty to providing services to the Taliban and carrying explosives. His plea agreement contained no reference to involvement in a plot to kill CIA agent Johnny Spann.

    He got a trophy Ashcroft sentence. Here's a good article on him.


    And I agree (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:50:49 PM EST
    with you, Jeralyn.  The whole thing was an example of the hysteria of the times.  Unfortunately, we don't seem to have evolved past that mind-set.

    And I don't think (none / 0) (#7)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:21:17 PM EST
    that was handles=d correctly, either.  Although, at least he got a trial in the United States, rather than being sent to Gitmo or Bagram for an "indefinite" period.

    He had no trial (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by scribe on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:28:59 PM EST
    He pleaded to a charge to avoid the legalized lynching a trial would have been in the context of 2002-2003.  And that was after he was ill-treated, if not tortured, in Afghanistan.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#13)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:41:17 PM EST
    You're correct, scribe.

    Did he? Didn't the federal government (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:58:50 PM EST
    offer him a plea to less than the death penalty?

    I disagree (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:22:35 PM EST
    He should have been declared a prisoner of war and held as a POW under the Geneva Conventions.

    And do you really, (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:54:47 PM EST
    in your heart of hearts, truly think that John Walker Lindh was any kind of a threat to this country, BTD?  

    And I disagree, (none / 0) (#11)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:34:07 PM EST
    respectfully, with you, BTD.  But then, I'm A DFH, a long-time member of the ACLU, People for the American Way, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.  So I have a very different perspective on how we treat our own citizens, but also non-citizens, as well.  We'll have to agree to disagree, here because, as much as I respect your opinion, we're not going to come to a common ground.

    There are precedents, right? (none / 0) (#12)
    by observed on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:37:10 PM EST
    Why is this even controversial?

    BTD reveals his gross ignorance of the law (none / 0) (#73)
    by mcl on Tue May 25, 2010 at 06:58:33 PM EST
    The term "enemy combatant" has no legal standing. It's a made-up phony term ginned up the Bush White House and has no more legal validity than a made-up buzzword like untermensch.

    Why not just come clean, BTD?

    Why not simply admit that you want to summarily execute American citizens because they're untermenschen?

    Why bother with the fig leaf of the bogus made-up phony buzzword "enemy combatant"?  

    The term "enemy combatant" cannot be found in the constitution. It does not appear in any legislation passed by congress. The term "enemy combatant" or "unlawful combatant" does not appear anywhere in the Third Geneva Convention. The term "enemy combatant" does not appear in any U.N. declaration.

    The bogus buzzword "enemy combatant" or "unlawful combatant" first appeared when it was ginned up by the corrupt and incompetent lawyers tasked by the Bush White House with confecting a legal fig leaf for torture and murder. The bogus buzzword "enemy combatant" has not more legal standing and no more legal validity than other historical buzzwords such as "deviationist" (a phony Khmer Rouge "crime") and "hooligan" (a phony Soviet "crime") and "untermensch" (a phony Nazi "crime").

    "Enemy combatant" has no legal definition and no discernible meaning, other than "someone we don't ilke." The term "enemy combatant" has precisely the same legal meaning as the term "heretic," which is to say,  none at all.

    Why doesn't BTD simply come clean and declare that we should liquidate all untermenschen for the good of the state?  It has exactly the same legal meaning as the phrase "the president has the right to order the assassination of enemy combatants."

    Would it be because if Armando publicly called for the liquidation of untermenschen for the good of the state, it would suddenly become clear to everyone exactly what BTD is really advocating?


    he sounds like (none / 0) (#23)
    by cpinva on Mon May 24, 2010 at 01:31:03 AM EST
    a fun date to me.

    absent any actual action on his part, i don't believe he qualifies as an "enemy combatant", per the geneva conventions.


    BTD urges the murder of a U.S. citizen (none / 0) (#58)
    by mcl on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:34:55 AM EST
    Namely, Al-Awlaki. According to the same logic Big Tent Democrat uses to support ending assassination squads to blow Al-Awlaki's head off, BTD must be classified as an enemy combatant.

    After all, BTD has now crossed the line into openly urging the murder of U.S. citizens. BTD sure sounds like an enemy combatant to me.

    Dispatch the JSOC assassination team. Shoot Big Tent Democrat in the head with a sniper rifle from 700 yards out.

    What's good for the goose should be good for the gander.


    I really do not comprehend the (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by oculus on Sun May 23, 2010 at 08:00:31 PM EST
    meme that if our freedoms are curtailed by our government the terrorists have won.  How far must our freedoms be diminished before the terrorists declare victory and just go away?  Anyone have any idea?

    I do, (none / 0) (#20)
    by Zorba on Sun May 23, 2010 at 08:15:21 PM EST
    but I suspect we will disagree on this, oculus.  If we restrict any of our freedoms that are enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the rest of our Constitution, then we are not much better than what we profess to fight.  Where do you, yourself, draw the line?  If we become at all like those we are fighting against (even if we are not nearly as bad), how much of a moral high ground does that give us?

    That is an extreme position ... (none / 0) (#40)
    by nyrias on Mon May 24, 2010 at 02:23:12 PM EST
    So what if we need to be checked at airports .. it is a huge inconvenience but nothing more than that.

    So what if money greater than $10k needs to be tracked. I am not seeing any downside of that to my life.

    I draw the line when it starts to impact my life (or has a good chance of doing so).

    And i don't think moral high ground is as necessary in this fight as you may think. It is not like they are stopping because of it.


    They know they can't win... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:02:10 AM EST
    militarily...they can only make our society as miserably tyrannical as some of theirs, and make us flush our wealth and empire down the train chasing ghosts...and we're doing a bang-up job for them.

    For a buncha cats stuck in the dark ages, I gotta say...they're schooling our leaders and making chumps outta them...total chumps.  They've said as much themselves..."we can't beat 'em but maybe we can bankrupt them".  And if we go so broke as to pull our troops outta all the muslim countries, thats when I think they wrap up their operation and go away.


    And once again, we get "dueling Obamas," (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Sun May 23, 2010 at 10:33:46 PM EST
    with Obama giving a lovely speech at West Point, where he said (my bold):

    But this nation was founded upon a different notion. We believe, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." (Applause.) And that truth has bound us together, a nation populated by people from around the globe, enduring hardship and achieving greatness as one people. And that belief is as true today as it was 200 years ago. It is a belief that has been claimed by people of every race and religion in every region of the world. Can anybody doubt that this belief will be any less true - any less powerful - two years, two decades, or even two centuries from now?

    And so a fundamental part of our strategy for our security has to be America's support for those universal rights that formed the creed of our founding. And we will promote these values above all by living them - through our fidelity to the rule of law and our Constitution, even when it's hard; even when we're being attacked; even when we're in the midst of war.

    And we will commit ourselves to forever pursuing a more perfect union. Together with our friends and allies, America will always seek a world that extends these rights so that when an individual is being silenced, we aim to be her voice. Where ideas are suppressed, we provide space for open debate. Where democratic institutions take hold, we add a wind at their back. When humanitarian disaster strikes, we extend a hand. Where human dignity is denied, America opposes poverty and is a source of opportunity. That is who we are. That is what we do.

    I wonder how it is we can promote democracy anywhere given the policies this president and this administration and this Justice Department have promoted, continued and defended.

    He has become quite the soldier's President (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:41:03 AM EST
    My husband said that he can't remember such a cogent yet gracious West Point speech given by any other President.

    Oh, he said a lot of nice things, (none / 0) (#44)
    by Anne on Mon May 24, 2010 at 03:57:28 PM EST
    which I would expect him to say to a group of men and women who will likely be going off to war.

    I have a problem with the talk about living up to the rule of law, and following the Constitution, because he is most definitely not doing that the way he takes credit for.

    In general, as I read about Afghanistan, I think your husband came home at the right time, Tracy - I think things are falling apart again, and all the nice speeches in the world won't change that.

    I know these kids have gone into this with eyes wide open; I just wish the powers-that-be would be better stewards of these lives and minds so that we would not have to keep sending graduating class after graduating class to war.


    What in particular Anne do you (none / 0) (#78)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 26, 2010 at 05:55:15 AM EST
    think signifies that Afghanistan is falling apart?  I have been offline lately, and scanned the news.  I didn't see anything in the current news.

    Spouse says that General McChrystal (none / 0) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:04:19 AM EST
    looks very worn and tired though and has aged with a scary speed lately.  He has awed many people in only needing about four or five hours of sleep a night, and I know that genetically there are people like that.  He usually runs about five miles a day too just to start out.  Inspite of all that, it looks like the constant stress of running this mission has really stripped it out of him.  And I don't know who else could keep this ship afloat at this time, he is tenacious about dealing with the problems and working on real solutions that actually work long term....like a pitbull.  Who else would have such dedication and selflessness though?  Not anyone like that poor excuse windbag James Jones, who ran Afghanistan into the ground sniveling all the way and now has a wonderful fatcat position in the Obama administration.  And the military is full of such leaders too, General McChrystal is not the rule...he is the exception.

    Wonder? (none / 0) (#37)
    by squeaky on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:57:02 AM EST
    this president and this administration and this Justice Department [emphasis mine

    Well you must have either been wondering your whole life, or not paying attention.


    An Expert Speaks (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Sun May 23, 2010 at 11:38:43 PM EST

    Chris Hayes hosts a fascinating conversation with law professor Mike Nellis on the burning question of whether the United States government can assassinate people.

    Audio via digby

    BTD and Jeralyn (none / 0) (#38)
    by squeaky on Mon May 24, 2010 at 12:31:25 PM EST
    I would love to hear your take on Vanderbilt law professor Mike Newton POV regarding the legality of a gov hit list.

    He argues that this is well within the scope of US and International law. The legality of it all sounded pretty persuasive to me, not being a lawyer.


    The unrestricted bullseye attached to al-Awlaki has many human rights activists, civil libertarians and legal scholars increasingly concerned about expanding executive authority. If the administration reserves the right to kill US citizens without due process, where does the slippery slope end? To explore the legality of assassination and targeted killings, this week's Breakdown with Christopher Hayes welcomes Vanderbilt law professor Mike Newton.

    treason is treason (none / 0) (#24)
    by BTAL on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:59:19 AM EST
    regardless how one wants to slice the salami.

    Treason is a crime; the 5th and 6th Amdts. (none / 0) (#27)
    by gondobie on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:28:13 AM EST
    to the United States Constitution guarantee due process of law and the right to trial by jury.  Or is the untested word of the government sufficient enough for you to convict and condemn someone to death?

    It is the ONLY crime specified in the (none / 0) (#53)
    by BTAL on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:52:23 PM EST

    It does specify a trial, but that would be a very easy hurdle to overcome.

    Again, no matter how you slice it, treason is treason.


    OK then, you agree that a trial (none / 0) (#54)
    by gondobie on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:03:34 PM EST
    is a necessary step in this process, then?  In other words, that the Constitution mandates due process and trial by jury, and that an executive decision to assassinate without providing the individual with due process and a trial by jury would be unconstitutional?

    I disagree with Jeralyn (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:37:31 AM EST
    According to my husband the success we have had recently in hunting terrorists down has been a big deterrent to their recruiting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will always be recruiting.  What organization isn't?  We still have a KKK in the United States, it is only smaller and underground and currently poses no discernable problem.  The day the pressure on them disappears though, they will be glad to reappear.  And the day that KKK membership doesn't come with a HUGE downside is the day membership will swell.

    And I agree with BTD (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:42:48 AM EST
    Al-Awlaki is an enemy combatant.

    Check out the caption on the photo: (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:31:36 AM EST
    There are different degrees of (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:55:58 AM EST
    Taliban and Al Qaeda.  Someone small, young, impressionable and trying to find some purpose....I'm glad his family goes to bat for him and the military does too. Al Awlaki knows, based on the past successes, that he'd better keep his head down because they can see you from a Predator Drone, get a few independent confirmations that that is Al Awlaki, send in a Spectre gunship, and then you aren't a problem anymore.  If he contacted us and turned himself in though because he wants to do something else with his life, I'm certain we would reciprocate.  He seems pretty intent though with what he wants to do with his life and his free time :)  We have essentially defanged Osama.  He can barely peek out to see if it is daylight.  Terrorist missions are small and ill organized, and I would like to keep them this way.

    The KK K would not rise again (none / 0) (#42)
    by BobTinKY on Mon May 24, 2010 at 03:29:30 PM EST
    the KKK spread fear of blacks, Jews, Catholics,  etc etc, interracial marriage and mixed race children.  Who cares about that today?  A very small minority compared to the times of the KKK's heyday, a number that thankfully grows smaller every year as we make progress to a more equal, colorblind society.  The reasons to join the KKK no longer exist except in the warped minds of a diminishing number of bigots.  Terrorism is different because our actions to date reinforce, indeed add to, the reasons why many Muslims feel a need to join the extremists.

    Terrorists, the ones we are fighting so illogically, are motviated by American occupation of their lands, exploitation of their resources, killing of their civilians, uncondititional support of Israel no matter what atrocities that government may inflict upon Palestinians, and ignorance of their culture/disregard of their values.  I would submit that not ccupying Muslim lands, not exploiting the resources, and not killing thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians would render our ignorance of their cultures and disregard of their values moot points.  A long overdue, more even handed approach to Israel and the Palestinians, and a more meaningful attempt to establish a two state solution, would go a long ways towards addressing the remaining terrorist motive/complaint.

    There's a lot of discussion here about how and what we are fighting and precious little about why.  Why do they attack us and why do we fight back?  So the USA can continue to occupy their lands, exploit their resources and do whatever it takes for those rights no matter what human cost must be paid by the innocents in those lands, not to mention the costs to US citizens of 1) being terrorist targets by virtue of the passport they hold,  2) funding inane, counter-productive wars in Muslim lands, and 3) having less in the way of civil rights and liberties.

    So we're fighting them over there so they won't fight us here in the "homeland."  Fine as far as it goes, which is not very far.  The fact that they're fighting us at all is because of our actions and insistence on empire and rules that apply to everyone but ourselves.  And how many of us benefit from our empire and hypocritical approach to international law?  Damn few.  So the many pay for fighting terorrism to save an imperial system that benefits very few.

    Being a terrorist target is a tax imposed upon very US citizen by those who benefit from an inhumane, imperialistic, relentlessly profit seeking, corporate controlled foreign policy.  I for one want a tax cut.  If there ever was a case for eliminating a tax by cutting the programs the tax supports, this is it.


    Let me see .. (none / 0) (#43)
    by nyrias on Mon May 24, 2010 at 03:48:15 PM EST
    Before 911, which land were we occupying? what resources were we exploiting (even now, what are we exploiting in the middle east? We didn't get much oil out of Iraq, did we?) and how many civilians did we kill?

    If they attack us then, i don't see these are reasons why they would attack us now.

    Sure, we support Israel, by words and may be some money. If that is the reason why they want to kill thousand of our citizens, i don't see a reason why not take the war to them.

    And sure, we dont respect their values .. because their values are fundamental opposed to ours. We value free speech. They will threaten violence on those who want to draw cartoons. We value equal protection on the gender .. well, i don't even think i need to go to this one.

    And you think if we stop, they will? If you believe that, i have a bridge to sell you.


    Are you kidding? (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by BobTinKY on Mon May 24, 2010 at 05:07:30 PM EST
    US troops had been based in Saudi Arabia since the first Gulf War, that was Bin Laden's major complaint.  Saudi Arabia is home to Mecca and Medina, Muslim holy places.  The US had imposed crippling sanctions on Iraq, the cost of which fell on everyday Iraqi men, women and children. Then there is the one sided support of Israel at the expense of other Muslims (and Christians too) in Palestine.  Not to mention the dozens of US client states the world over which includes most of Western Europe, S Korea and Japan (which we still occupy).

    As for resources, oil, oil, oil, precious metals, sugar, name it we exploit it.  US corporations to be more exact.   Unocal, among others, has been wanting to control., the rights to a gas pipeline across Afghanistan for decades now.

    Whatever their values, they are their values and they are or ought to be free to shape their own society, it is not up to us.  All this ethnocentric dehumanizing of these folks is no different than what the powers that be did to the image of the Native Americans back when they were the people in the way of "progress" and "civilization."

    There is no need to do any of what we had been doing pre-9/11 and certainly it is counter-productive to do what we have been doing since 9/11.  If we renounce empire, bring our troops home and stop believing we have the natural, God-given right to run roughshod over other nations and cultures whenever there's a buck in it then that will end terrorism directed at US Citizens.

    Do you think they "hate our freedoms?"  They don't even know our freedoms.  There is no War on Terror, what there is a cost of doing the business of empire that is sold to us as a War on Terror that we must all support.  Terror is a tactic, an emotion, a concept it cannot be defeated.  But that is in fact not the point of our actions.  The point is to maintain and expand the US empire.  Empire, cruelty and exploitation breed resentment and conflict.  That is human nature and should surprise no one.


    Bin laden (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Mon May 24, 2010 at 05:24:20 PM EST
    Had been kicked out of Saudi Arabia in the 1990s because he was antigovernment and US personnel were stationed there during the first Gulf War at the request of (wait for it) the Saudi  government.  Most US personnel withdrew in 2003, although thst's not an excuse for Bin Laden or anyone to do what he's done.

    The whole "US troops are on holy land" was (and still is) complete BS.  They would have made up some other excuse.  


    The Saudi "government" like many (none / 0) (#55)
    by BobTinKY on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:28:01 AM EST
    around the world has long maintained its position courtesy of the US, supported by the US and when push comes to shove, lackeys of the US.

    How would you like it if a Muslim superpower-backed US government, corrupt and dictatorial, "invited" Muslim troops to "base" at Yellowstone or your city?  If the dictatorial government ran the place primarily and unapologetically for the benefit of themselves and extended family.


    You asking for an imaginal (none / 0) (#67)
    by jondee on Tue May 25, 2010 at 01:24:00 PM EST
    leap that some apply the word "empathy" to, Bob.

    This is a week day: that stuff is only reserved for Sunday in this country.


    based is not the same as occupied ... (none / 0) (#52)
    by nyrias on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:21:09 PM EST
    i think even YOU can tell the difference.

    Plus, did we kill anyone in Saudi Arabia? I think NOT.


    It is exactly the same (none / 0) (#57)
    by BobTinKY on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:29:38 AM EST
    Would you feel differently if Muslim troops were basing in the US at the request of a corrupt, dictatorial US government that enjoyed the support of a Muslim superpower?

    just to clarify (none / 0) (#45)
    by CST on Mon May 24, 2010 at 03:59:09 PM EST
    support of Israel not limited to words.  Definitely includes money.  Also includes military equipment.

    True ... (none / 0) (#46)
    by nyrias on Mon May 24, 2010 at 04:21:14 PM EST
    does that warrant killing couple of thousand Americans, in your opinion?

    no (none / 0) (#47)
    by CST on Mon May 24, 2010 at 04:24:28 PM EST
    None of this warrants killing of anyone (none / 0) (#59)
    by BobTinKY on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:44:44 AM EST
    by anyone.  The empire is unnecessary and benefits a relative handful of people yet the costs of it, most notably terrorism by the people who resent the empire, are borne by all US citizens.  Just like the less lethal costs of shipping high paying US manufacturing jobs to countries that allow for all intents & purposes slave laborers, countries that ignore environmental protections, and the subordination of US (as well as those of other developed nations) labor and environmental laws to international treaties intended to override domestic laws that US multinationals find inconvenient.

    US business hates socialism, except when they get to socialize their costs be it pollution, financial collapse or terrorism.  

    Our decision makers know terrorism cannot be defeated as well as they know what causes terrorists and how to stop it.  But they won't stop it because the benefits of empire, concentrated as they are to the powerful & relative few, far outweigh that few's negligible share of the terrorism costs produced by the empire, costs which they have successfully socialized to us all in the name of patriotism and national security.  There is not a war to defeat terrorism, there is a war to contain terrorists, even the many more the war creates, so "we" can continue business as usual.

    And it is, and has been for a very long time, insane.


    Well said (none / 0) (#68)
    by jondee on Tue May 25, 2010 at 01:25:51 PM EST
    Never ending cycle (none / 0) (#31)
    by mmc9431 on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:12:28 AM EST
    I have no problem with the US trying to capture him and if in the process they kill him, I certainly won't weep. He is at traitor that is inciting people to create havoc for the American people.

    That's only the first step. His type are a dime a dozen. If he dies another will just step forward. We need to to work on the cause. We need the support of the Muslum community. We're never going to end this "War on Terror" with the course we've charted. But I wonder if DC really wants it to end?

    War equals power and money. A lot of people are making a lot of money off of this.  Plus this has been the biggest political boom for the Republicans since the collapse of the cold war).

    I am listening to Barbara Kingsolver (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:29:31 AM EST
    read her wonderful novel "The Lacuna."  One of the main characters is Trotsky, who opines a young man working in a munitions factory in France is benefitting the factory owner and maybe the munition the young man is working on will end up killing a young man working in a munitions factory in Germany, who is also working to benefit his employer's bottom line.  

    War does equal power and money (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:01:23 AM EST
    We are currently working to support Muslim communities though, we are working pretty hard at this time to do so.  The Jihadists don't own Islam even though they may claim to, much as Evangelicals try to claim sole ownership of Christianity.  Most Muslim's do not subscribe to their definition or brand of Jihad.  The terrorists are the exception, not the rule.

    And one errant bomb (none / 0) (#60)
    by BobTinKY on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:55:36 AM EST
    undoes by a hundred times the work we do supporting Muslim communities, swelling the Jihadist ranks in the process.

    We spend money building health and edcution facilities at the same time we bomb these countries knowing innocent men, women, children and unborn children will die.  And we expect the surviving family members of those killed to appreciate our good works?  Would you if it were your loved ones minding their own business who had been killed?

    I think these good works, important as they are, are largely for domestic consumption to convince ourselves that despite our well demonstrated tendency to bomb other countries we are at heart an exceptional people.  I wish we'd spend as much on these community support programs as we do on "defense," and that we engaged in these programs not to offset our bombs, but because that is how you treat those less fortunate.


    One errant bomb does not (none / 0) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:36:11 PM EST
    undo everything we have done or will ever do....total hyperbole to quote my son.  Doesn't make an errant bomb ever okay, but your argument that we must stand hear with our limbs shivering in utter fear to make any sort of move to protect ourselves or anyone else ever is not a rational argument.  And, that is not how we treat others less fortunate.  You are about twenty years dated in your rhetoric.  It is how we treat someone who is an extreme danger and who is building terrorist networks in order to create death, havoc, and extreme violence against the rest of the world simply to gain power through nothing greater than fear.

    I am not shivering in fear at all, (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by BobTinKY on Wed May 26, 2010 at 08:52:03 AM EST
    where do you get that idea?  I am also not of a mind to make others around the world shiver in fear.  What I am is disgusted & horrified.   Disgusted by those who do shiver in fear and would have us all shiver in fear to justify their completely wrong headed approach to combating terrorism.  And horrified by our country's killing of an "astounding number" of folks who have nothing to do with any of this.

    Terrorism is a crime, convicted terorrists are criminals.  We do not assassinate those we have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe are criminals, certainly not prior to trial and conviction.  

    I believe my rhetoric about treating those less fortunate is a lot older than 20 years.  I also do not believe the aim of these terrorists is to gain power over the rest of the world.  I believe their aim is to rid themselves of those who have power over them, power that they believe has been exercised in an unacceptably oppressive manner.    

    We don't have to agree with the actions of these criminals to understand what their motives are.  Misunderstanding their motives as hating "our freedoms," or desiring world power leads us to respond to their actions in self-defeating ways that wreak havoc and death upon thousands of innocent bystanders, bleed our treasury and kill and maim our own.


    Oh (none / 0) (#62)
    by squeaky on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:54:33 PM EST
    I feel safer now... Might as well use our world leadership position to start another make fun Mohammed contest.

    Bring em on!  


    I don't care if you feel safer (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    You are sort of freakish anyhow and out of touch with reality.  Whenever anything goes terribly wrong everyone cries, "Where's the military?" Even on DailyKos....everytime something horrible happens "Imperial Paranoia" is instantly forgotten and crying and the gnashing of teeth begins in seeking accountability and actual action taken.  If our military worried about and made decisions based on whether or not YOU felt like what they did made you safer, they would achieve a brand low in job affectiveness.

    Freakish? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by squeaky on Tue May 25, 2010 at 01:13:46 PM EST
    Well I'll take freakish and out of touch any day over your popular and "up to date" warmongering attitude that both writes off collateral damage as no biggie, and cheers anyone who would inflame and insult muslims.

    "Bring em on" because war is fun, profitable and America rules.


    yeah .. so some insults some muslims ... (none / 0) (#70)
    by nyrias on Tue May 25, 2010 at 06:20:08 PM EST
    you insults republicans.

    Republicans insults democrats.

    And South Park insults everyone from the Christian to the Scientologists.

    Big deal. Although muslims are the only group i have seen who would public asking for violence because of insults. Even the scientologists will only sue you.


    Big Deal? (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by squeaky on Tue May 25, 2010 at 07:04:01 PM EST
    I do not see any Republicans or Democrats getting killed these days en masse. Had we not invaded a country, tortured and humiliated its people and continued to wreak anti-semitic stereotypes, while laughing at the dead, you might have a point.

    Some people first ask (none / 0) (#64)
    by jondee on Tue May 25, 2010 at 01:12:52 PM EST
    why it happened. And the answers are often a little complicated, interesting and useful than "where was the military?"

    little more.. (none / 0) (#65)
    by jondee on Tue May 25, 2010 at 01:13:34 PM EST
    Yeah, I know (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 26, 2010 at 05:30:59 AM EST
    I wore the wrong shirt so Osama had to rape me.  The Dutch have worn the wrong dresses every day.

    Speaking of toiling to (none / 0) (#69)
    by jondee on Tue May 25, 2010 at 01:28:57 PM EST
    win over those on the fence..

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by squeaky on Tue May 25, 2010 at 07:05:31 PM EST
    Trying to insult and humiliate 1.3 billion people is not going to win over anyone sitting on the fence.  

    Bring em on.


    That is assuming ... (none / 0) (#76)
    by nyrias on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:51:57 PM EST
    winning people on the fence is the objective.

    Jeralyn, Really? (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:34:53 AM EST
    If they were aware that failure at their mission would lead not to a valiant death or unknown destiny, but only to being locked up in cages for decades, maybe they would think twice before signing up.

    Does the death penalty stop people from killing, does lwop make a potential criminal think twice before doing something bad? I do not think so.

    And these people are either criminals, soldiers, or religious zealots. The later two would seem to be even less concerned about their fate, that a common criminal, and I do not think that the common criminal ever believes that he or she will get caught.

    Of course .. (none / 0) (#41)
    by nyrias on Mon May 24, 2010 at 02:24:43 PM EST
    the death penalty stop people from killing.

    How can a murderer kill again if he/she is dead?


    Trust the executive (none / 0) (#48)
    by NewPepe on Mon May 24, 2010 at 04:44:01 PM EST
    they'll only denigrate the law and Constitution to go after terrorists...

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of the law!

    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned `round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast. Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake!

    A Man For All Seasons

    Al-Awlaki's speech is despicable (none / 0) (#56)
    by mcl on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:29:19 AM EST
    But I don't see any evidence that Al-Awlaki has directly participated in any murders of Americans.

    Basically, the guy is running his mouth. The last time I checked, America does not summarily execute people for running their mouths.

    The measure of America's real commitment to freedom of speech comes from how loathsome we find that speech to be. Al-Awlaki's hatemongering is pretty loathsome. On the other hand, I don't see how it's significantly different from Ann Coulter's statement urging the murder of a Supreme Court justice. Is Obama going to dispatch assassination squads to blow Ann Coulter's head off while she sleeps?

    How do you know Obama did not see ... (none / 0) (#71)
    by nyrias on Tue May 25, 2010 at 06:24:02 PM EST
    additional evidence about his involvement?

    You are not tasked with making that decision and hence you are not provided with all the relevant intelligence.


    Bogus argument (none / 0) (#72)
    by mcl on Tue May 25, 2010 at 06:39:10 PM EST
    The claim that we should assassinate U.S. citizens because people in authority (Obama) have secret evidence that those people have committed crimes, but we're not allowed to see that evidence, is so odious and so long debunked that it's amazing anyone would dredge up a lie that morally bankrupt at this late date.

    Secret evidence that no one is allowed to see was the hallmark of the infamous Star Chamber.

    In the Star Chamber, secret evidence was presented at secret trials and death sentences were handed down in order to silence political enemies. The Star Chamber became the most corrupt and most hated tool of the English monarchy to oppress political enemies.

    Evidently you're not familiar with the basis of the American way of life, nyrias. Apparently you've just arrived in America after spending your entire life in North Korea, so I'll explain it to you.  

    The American system of jurisprudence is set up specifically to avoid the abuses and corruptions of the English Star Chamber courts and the English church's inquisitions and witch hunts. The constitution of the United States of America specifies that people must be charged with a crime before they can be arrested because the Star Chamber dragged English citizens into dungeons on mere suspicion, without formal charges.

    The constitution of the United States of America specifies that people must be charged with a crime and tried by a jury of their peers before they can be killed by the state because the English inquisition and later the English crown summarily executed people because they spoke out against the king and the against the church hierarchy.

    The constitution of the United States of America specifies that people cannot be tortured because the stock in trade of the English inquisition and the Star Chamber was arresting people without charges and then torturing them into giving a confession, at which point a secret trial was held the evidence presented at which was the tortured confession, after which the accused was condemned and executed.

    The constitution of the United States of America specifies that people have a right to face their accuser and hear the evidence presented against them in open court before a jury of their peers because the trademark of the English Star Chamber was the presentation of secret evidence at a secret trial that the public was never allowed to witness, the better to cover up the corrupt political nature of these kangaroo courts and their phony charges and bogus show trials.

    If you don't like due process and judicial transarency and a public hearing with public charges and publicly presented evidence and a ban on torture of suspects, nyrias, there's a simple solution. Emigrate to North Korea, where they don't believe in these things.

    As long as you live in America, these are the rules we live by. You can find them in amendments 5 and 6 and 8 of the constitution of the United States of America.