Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in Yemen

Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen on the U.S. "capture or kill" list was killed by a drone today in Yemen.

A CIA drone finally got him, but that was only the tip of a much larger military operation. Missiles fired by the drone took out Awlaki's vehicle. That made the American-born cleric the first U.S citizen to be targeted and killed as a terrorist. A senior defense official said, "a very bad man just had a very bad day."

...Harrier jets flying from an amphibious carrier off the coast were ready to take a shot if the CIA drone missed. There was even an option for sending in Marine Ospreys with Special Operations Forces to collect any intelligence left after the strike, but that was never used.

President Obama proudly commented on the killing. [More...]

"This is further proof that al Qaeda and its affiliates will find no safe haven anywhere in the world," Mr. Obama said.
Interesting timing, as the killing coincides with jury selection which is underway in the trial of Private Underpants, Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Abdulmutallab provided information on Anwar al-Awlaki during his unsuccessful cooperation bid. He never said al-Awlaki knew about his Christmas Day attack, just that he was his "teacher" and they had met and communicated, something al-Awlaki also acknowledged.

"Brother Mujahid Umar Farouk may God relieve him is one of my students, yes," Mr al-Awlaki said in the interview, which al-Jazeera reported on its website on Tuesday. "We had kept in contact but I didn't issue a fatwa to Umar Farouk for this operation."

... A senior U.S. intelligence official said Mr al-Awlaki represented the biggest name on the list of people Mr Abdulmutallab might have information against. His information could provide fresh clues for forces attempting to kill or capture him in the remote mountains of Yemen.

Al-Awlaki, who had not been charged with a crime, insisted his role was inspirational not operational and that he had no knowledge of either the Ft. Hood killings or Abdulmutallab's Christmas Day attack. He admitted to being a recruiter for Jihadists, and a very successful one. He was associated with AQAP. Does that make it okay to give orders to kill him on sight?

We've moved from torture to outright murder of suspects, even before charging them with a crime. How abysmal, for a nation supposedly dedicated to freedom, due process and the rule of law. In his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama said:

"America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity."
How does killing people instead of bringing them before a court of law meet that mission?

Update: The ACLU weighs in:

The targeted killing program violates both U.S. and international law. As we've seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts. The government's authority to use lethal force against its own citizens should be limited to circumstances in which the threat to life is concrete, specific and imminent. It is a mistake to invest the President any President with the unreviewable power to kill any American whom he deems to present a threat to the country."
< Friday Evening Open Thread | Al-Awlaki is Dead: AQAP is Not >
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    Should The Reverend Jeremiah Wright (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:40:26 PM EST
    be concerned about his own safety?  "God damn America."  

    Oculus, I think (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:51:00 PM EST
    that we should all be concerned.

    Get back to us when (none / 0) (#54)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:20:14 AM EST
    Rev. Wright goes to Pakistan and joins al Qaeda and advocates the killing of U.S. civilians.....

    Yemen. Pakistan is our "ally." (none / 0) (#68)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 02:41:28 PM EST
    Pakistan is our ally until they aren't (none / 0) (#82)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 05:40:00 PM EST
    but right after that they will be our ally the next day :)  You will get in trouble for admitting such things in the public arena though.

    I like how a leak at the Pentagon with access to "papers" beats a guy's assessment who has commanded troops at war and also is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs :)  But okay

    Let us not get overstated :)


    Did I mention that Admiral Mullen (none / 0) (#83)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 05:42:46 PM EST
    is retiring and is now fresh out of appropriate fear of his betters :)?

    IOW (none / 0) (#69)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 02:42:48 PM EST

    Or if you're FDR (none / 0) (#87)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 06:06:39 PM EST
    He targeted an enemy general.

    No, it's not about Obama, but about whether we can take out al Qaeda leadersghip.  I think we can.  

    It is a far sight better than invading entire countries.  


    actually, this is not about FDR (none / 0) (#88)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 06:52:53 PM EST
    it is about Obama, however, & it is Obama who ordered the execution of a U.S. citizen (not "an enemy general") who was never charged with a crime

    in your earlier comment, you justified the execution on the grounds that he joined a political organization that we don't like and said things that we didn't want to hear

    that's what i found so chilling

    perhaps you are too young to have experienced the McCarthy era


    Al Qaeda is a military organization (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 07:53:09 PM EST
    that kills people.

    I guess the standard insult around here is that someone is young--the assumption being that Obama supporters are young.

    He was not just a U.S. citizen and was every bit an enemy General.....


    projection (2.00 / 0) (#99)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 10:48:38 PM EST
    of the insult, IMO

    i was actually trying to cut you some slack

    but it's you, not i, who just framed this issue in terms of your being an Obama supporter

    not just a U.S. citizen

    appalling - absolutely shameless

    some of you O-pologists will stop at nothing


    I'd rather have the insult (none / 0) (#101)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:48:58 PM EST
    than the condescension.....

    And, the shameless aspect to this?  Huh????

    You are inferring something here that I did not say.......


    O.K. as the highly paid, (5.00 / 0) (#102)
    by NYShooter on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:15:47 AM EST
    Official, Commandant of the Grammatical Secret Police Censor Bureau, MKS, You have been flagged.

    "You are "inferring" something here that I did not say....... "
    "You are "implying" something here that I did not say....... "

    All right, I'm bent over; give it a good hard kick


    No, I meant infer (none / 0) (#103)
    by MKS on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:28:13 AM EST
    Gomez did not "imply" anything--he straight out leveled an insult.....

    He leveled an insult based on a mysterious reading of my comment; he drew an inference that I did not intend.....

    Thus, I cannot tell what he inferred from my comment that led to his comment.


    clarification (5.00 / 0) (#111)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:58:50 AM EST
    you said:

    He was not just a U.S. citizen and was every bit an enemy General.

    please see comments #104 and #105, where Jeralyn points out that there is no evidence that al-Awlaki ever joined AQAP or gave operational support to AQAP

    recall as well that al-Awlaki was not charged with any crime

    thus your claim that al-Awlaki was "every bit an enemy General" was advanced without evidence

    more important, a U.S. citizen is entitled to all the protections of the U.S. Constitution, protections that should not have been denied al-Awlaki, notwithstanding your evidence-free assertion that he was "every bit an enemy General" and "not just" a U.S. citizen, as if U.S. citizenship were not, in & of itself, sufficient justification for the protection of his or anyone else's constitutional rights

    what i inferred from your comment is a contemptuous & autocratic attitude toward the principle of equal protection under the law, an attitude apparently adopted for the sake of supporting President Obama, since you framed your support of this summary execution in terms of your support for the president

    that's a new low in Obama apologism, & that's what i found shameful

    & this is a value judgment, though you're free to characterize it as an insult


    On the other hand (none / 0) (#114)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:38:09 AM EST
    more important, a U.S. citizen is entitled to all the protections of the U.S. Constitution, protections that should not have been denied al-Awlaki

    To get those protections, even here, a person wanted by the police and described as armed and dangerous must surrender and go to trial.

    al-Awlaki had plenty of opportunities to do just that. He chose otherwise.


    al-Awlaki (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:47:43 AM EST
    was not charged with a crime but was targeted for summary execution

    To get those protections, even here, a person wanted by the police and described as armed and dangerous must surrender and go to trial.

    even here, constitutional protections don't begin with a citizen's arrest and trial

    ultimately we disagree on whether 9/11 called for military or police action, but at least i know that you, Jim, would also have supported al-Awlaki's execution if it had been ordered by George W. Bush

    i don't have the same confidence when it comes to some in the "progressive" camp


    That's not the whole picture (none / 0) (#122)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:15:04 PM EST
    even here, constitutional protections don't begin with a citizen's arrest and trial

    If you are aware that the police have a warrant for you your rights are that you surrender for a fair trial under the protections we all cherish.

    al-Awlaki knew he was wanted. He decided to resist.

    And yes, I think 9/11 called for military action and since he had not surrendered I would have agreed that capture or kill was proper.


    you are trying to have it both ways (none / 0) (#124)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:02:56 PM EST
    i can respect your seeing al-Awlaki's elimination as a military action - you have a First Amendment right to take & express that point of view

    but you argue inconsistently for your point of view when you attempt to impose a frame of law enforcement on a case in which such a frame was specifically & deliberately circumvented

    we can agree that al-Awlaki was scum

    i will even say that i might have cheerfully killed him myself, given the opportunity

    which is why we all have certain protections under the U.S. Constitution: to prevent potential vigilantes like me from taking the law into our own hands when we don't like a fellow citizen's expressed views or the company he chooses to keep

    you & the pirate crew could be next, Jim, especially out there on the high seas


    So you believe (none / 0) (#125)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:13:14 PM EST
    that just being an American citizen gives you the right to attack the US and not suffer penalties because he is a foreign country that either cannot or will not capture him and turn him over to the US.

    That is truly "having it both ways."


    no, i never said that (none / 0) (#126)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:21:15 PM EST
    & your question is not responsive to my comment, which attempted to engage respectfully with your point of view, which i do not share

    My response was to this: (none / 0) (#128)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 04:07:04 PM EST
    which is why we all have certain protections under the U.S. Constitution: to prevent potential vigilantes like me from taking the law into our own hands when we don't like a fellow citizen's expressed views or the company he chooses to keep

    I read that as a complaint as to what we did. Am I wrong?


    yes, i think you misread my comment (none / 0) (#129)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 04:30:34 PM EST
    clearly, debate continues on the legality of the action against Anwar al-Awlaki

    personally, i don't think the world is a poorer place without him

    but any inconvenient person is potentially an "enemy combatant" according to who defines that term, & for what purpose

    i am concerned with the precedent being set


    I'm not happy either (none / 0) (#136)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:48:55 AM EST
    But I can see no other way that would not be worse.

    I see these options.

    Kill him.

    Let him continue to attack us.

    Invade the countries that harbor such people as him and occupy them taking political and physical control.

    Don't invade but destroy infrastructure and kill so many people that they will turn such people as him over when next we we request.

    You pick it.


    Yep, that is exactly right (none / 0) (#132)
    by MKS on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:40:29 PM EST
    The issue here that has grabbed people's attention is that al Awlaki was a U.S. Citizen.  

    We have killed a number of non citizen members of al Qaeda with drone strikes before....

    I don't think it matters whether he was a U.S. citizen or not.  The issue is whether he was a leader of an orgnization that was trying to kill innocent civilians.....What kind of passport he had does not matter--legally, or morally imo.

    I don't usually agree with you, Jim, so this must be a first.


    No, I did not connect the two ideas (none / 0) (#130)
    by MKS on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:24:24 PM EST
    I was following your post with a perhaps an off topic observation about the "young" comment.  I have seen the anti-Obamabots toss that one out with some regularity as arguments ensue.  But that observation has nothing to do with my comments regarding al Awlaki.

    BTW, I do not agree with or support all things Obama and have voiced my criticisms here in the past.  The anti-Obamabots, on the other hand, not so much.    

    And, I think citizenship is irrelevant.  You can ask Jeralyn and Peter G, but I believe that citizenship is irrelevent in a criminal proceeding--non citizens get full Due Process rights in a criminal proceeding here.

    The salient issue is whether the person killed is a civilian or poses an immiment threat to kill.

    As to proof of being a member of al Qaeda, I think that is an entirely different issue....If he was a mere politcal commentator, then obviously killing him was wrong.  

    But since you raised the spector of McCarthyism, I think we can suspend Godwin's rule, and I would ask you whether killing Goebbels would have been acceptable, and if so, what level of proof would have been required.


    Hmmmm, o.k. I hear you (none / 0) (#106)
    by NYShooter on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:48:49 AM EST
    But, it's a teeny bit shaky, I'll have to turn it over to "The Committee" for a final ruling. (There's some pretty far-out, anal retentive, purists over there, but let's hope for the best)

    Maybe if you worded it something like this:

    "You "inferred" a meaning that I neither stated, nor "implied...."

    And, then, armed with your erroneous, obtuse, cognitively challenged analysis,

    You didn't simply "imply"  that I've been disingenuous, but, emphatically, and shamelessly proclaimed it."

    just ignore me.

    see you tomorrow, and, good luck!


    True, the syntax was a bit labored (none / 0) (#131)
    by MKS on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:28:30 PM EST
    idiosyncratic and non-standard.  So, usage flag--but for another reason....

    Maybe it's just me (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:41:44 PM EST
    (well, all right, probably not in this blog), but doesn't this set a very, very dangerous precedent?  Today, we assassinate an American citizen, overseas (in a country with which we are not at war), without any kind of due process, without even formally charging him with a crime.  Tomorrow?  Who knows?  Maybe assassinating an American citizen within our own borders?  Where does it all end?  And for those who say "Well, he was very dangerous, and he was a direct threat to our country, and his rhetoric led to American lives being lost," all I have to say is, do you want this power to be in the hands of someone, oh, like Rick Perry, or even worse?  The next President, or the one after that, may decide that you, or me, is a national security risk.  It boggles the mind that someone like Obama who is supposed to have been a constitutional scholar, who took an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," could sign off on something like this.  But then, our Constitutional protections have been steadily eroded.  I am saddened and ashamed for our country.  It's not the United States of America that I was raised to believe in.  

    Not just you of course (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ruffian on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:50:50 PM EST
    I don't see anything in the stated rationale for this killing that would preclude them doing it within the borders of the US. Not good.

    Kevin Drum (none / 0) (#80)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 05:11:20 PM EST
    No one is likely to mourn al-Awlaki himself -- which is what made his assassination so safe in the first place -- but we sure ought be mourning the fact that it happened, and that it's likely to happen routinely from now on. The Obama administration has demonstrated once again, as it did in Libya and as it's done in a variety of surveillance cases, that its view of executive power in the arena of national security is hardly any less expansive than Dick Cheney's was. The fact that this was predictable makes it no less alarming. Regardless of how any of us feels about warmaking in general, there are very good reasons that national governments are more constrained in their ability to kill their own citizens than in their ability to kill foreigners, constraints enshrined in both the explicit rules and longstanding traditions of due process. That bright line has grown a lot dimmer today. link

    Gov. Perry, (none / 0) (#93)
    by NYShooter on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 08:23:55 PM EST
     and former President Bush, had no problem killing over half a thousand of our own citizens........and slept like babies afterwards.

    I'm sorry, just couldn't couldn't resist.

    I understand your concerns, and I concur.

    You see, I have a problem with "killing;" but whether the target is a foreigner sworn to kill Americans, or a U.S. citizen sworn to kill Americans, I find it difficult to make that distinction.


    The people that Gov. Perry and Gov. Bush (none / 0) (#95)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 09:07:44 PM EST
    executed had a trial. The evidence against them was presented in an open court and rightly or wrongly they were judged guilty by their peers.

    al-Awlaki was judged guilty and sentenced to death by the president behind the shield of state secrets.    

    While I am against both. From my POV there is a definite difference. IMO it is unfortunate that you can not see the distinction.  


    Essential difference between (none / 0) (#96)
    by christinep on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 09:10:53 PM EST
    criminal law matters & enemy warfare matters. That really is the crux of this: Some believe that it is the former & others emphasize the latter.

    Reverse the situation and (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:09:23 AM EST
    see if you believe that the action was justified under enemy warfare and the "rules of war."

    Curious if you defended Bush and his actions. Also, when the next Republican is in office can I anticipate that you will vigorously defend him assassinating American citizens either here or abroad using the justified of enemy warfare under the "rules of war."


    In answer to your hypothetical (none / 0) (#127)
    by christinep on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:49:35 PM EST
    "It depends upon the facts."

    No, I did not support Bush's invasion of Iraq. While he obtained authority to do so (based, apparently, on remarkably false "evidence"), I accept at a certain level that he finagled getting said authority. However--unlike the present situation & the present apparent facts--many nations considered the Bush Iraq fiasco a violation of international law.  (While I personally did not support the Afghanistan War, I understand that the responsive action to 9/11 was legally justified, etc. My concern was more the quagmire situation that Afghanistan has been notorious for...and which could well be borne out. Tho, so far, this President seems to have proceeded rather adroitly in that area.)


    Some steps that I left out (none / 0) (#97)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 09:11:18 PM EST
    A judge sentenced the people in Texas to death and they were allowed to appeal the decision.

    Obama was judge and jury. No evidence was presented in open court, no defense or appeal process was allowed.



    Of course I see the difference (none / 0) (#98)
    by NYShooter on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 10:33:29 PM EST
    And  we could fill dozens of legal pads itemizing them.

    But, if the distinction is that the killings in Texas had the
    imprimatur of "the Law,"  I believe our Constitutional lawyer, President also believes he operated within "the Law."


    Obama seems to believe that whatever (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:55:42 AM EST
    the president (as long as it is him) does is within the law. Example:

    Libya: Barack Obama 'overruled top legal advice'

    Barack Obama overruled the advice of administration lawyers in deciding the US could continue participating in the Libya conflict without congressional approval, The New York Times reports.

    I am very worried about what this means. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by caseyOR on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:50:41 PM EST
    I'll just repost my comment on this assassination from yesterday's open thread.

    Thank you, Anne, for putting words to (none / 0) (#100)
    by caseyOR on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:16:59 PM EST
    the uneasiness I have been feeling about this assassination of an American citizen. Slippery slope is way behind us; we are now careening down a cliff toward giant rocks below. The end game will not be pretty.
    By all accounts (if those accounts can be believed) al-Awlaki advocated violence against Americans.  Still, he was an American citizen. And he was hardly the first citizen to encourage violence against the U.S. Except for the fact that he was a muslim, al-Awlaki does not strike me as all that different from the many rightwing militia groups operating in the U.S. and advocating the violent overthrow of the government.  

    If advocating, encouraging, preaching (choose your verb) violence  is now an offense that permits the president to order assassination, how long before American citizens living here are targeted? Are we only going to assassinate muslim Americans? Or are Christians also to be targeted? Are we only going after fundamentalists, or will the President decide that those on the left are also fair game?

    This is bad, this is very bad. We have entered a dark night of the soul. I fear we will never find our way out.

    I totally agree (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:02:58 PM EST
    And I am especially disappointed because this happened under a so-called "Democratic" administration.  I have been a member of the ACLU for over 25 years, and a member of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch almost as long.  I truly believe in the values articulated in the Constitution of the United States of America, including, and most especially, in the Bill of Rights.  These are not just words to me.  They are a living, breathing way to govern a country.  I guess I was wrong.

    'Civil libertarians... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:15:33 PM EST
    ...have long had a dysfunctional relationship with the Democratic Party, which treats them as a captive voting bloc with nowhere else to turn in elections. Not even this history, however, prepared civil libertarians for Obama.... It's a classic case of the Stockholm syndrome, in which a hostage bonds with his captor despite the obvious threat to his existence... [As with] a cult of personality, Obama's policies have become secondary to his persona.'

    - Jonathan Turley, yesterday, the LA Times


    And while I consider myself (none / 0) (#26)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:39:34 PM EST
    a civil libertarian, I do not necessarily consider myself a Democrat as the Democratic Party is currently constituted.  I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, and in the 2008 primaries, I voted for Dennis Kucinich.  I was never enamored of Barack Obama- I told everyone I knew that I mistrusted him from the first because of his ties to Chicago politics, and because I considered him a DLC, Third Way, neo-liberal.  So, are you accusing me personally of being a victim of "Stockholm Syndrome," or you just making a general observation?  Because it's not entirely clear from your comment.

    That was a (none / 0) (#38)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:54:11 PM EST
    quote from Turley's Op-Ed.  He provided a link but did not apply the blockquote.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#41)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:57:09 PM EST
    Really wasn't clear what the heck his point was.

    This president takes pride in (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Anne on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 08:10:14 PM EST
    things that just make my blood run cold.

    I don't care if he does or doesn't have the "authority" to order the killing of an American citizen; what I do care about is how easy it's becoming to find justification for whatever it is they want to do, whenever they want to do it.

    Anyone who thinks there will be more than a token fight against the next whack they want to take at the Constitution hasn't been paying attention.

    And patting me on the head and telling me how glad I should be that our government is protecting us from terrorists is just...well, it's offensive.

    Maybe we need an #OccupyPennsylvaniaAvenue.

    Donald: At first, I thought the same (none / 0) (#62)
    by christinep on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:44:19 PM EST
    as you describe...a bit anyway. Then, the obvious question: Who & how many of who would have been deployed in a fairly unpredictable place such a Yemen to capture Awlaki alive?

    The more that I read now about Awlaki, the more it becomes clear-er that he appears to be at a senior al-Qaeda level having participated in senior strategy meetings, etc.  The more that trickles out the more his personage (not just his exercise of speech) & his actions fit the pattern of one abetting enemies that are self-declared as well as declared so by Congress & now two Presidents. That he was an American citizen is significant, but--in the circumstances of one who moves to join forces in operational activites with the declared real foe of this country--that cannot be paramount in determining the necessary balance of rights of a citizen vis-a-vis rights of a country to defend itself.

    The Denver Post has a fairly balanced discussion of what may become central in how we fight wars in future: The paper notes the dangers of the pathway where perceived national interests threaten individual liberties. In a bit of a dodge (but, IMO, a supportable characterization in this particular case), the Post goes on to call this "...a clear-cut case of a combatant who is a danger to America.  But it serves as another reminder of how the war on terror pits our tradition of civil liberties against our need to protect ourselves."

    I suspect that we should balance those interests with law & conscience. It is not mathematical.


    I'll go with Ben. (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 01:36:16 PM EST
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Benjamin Franklin 1759

    Nobody takes the people who are sometimes referred to as our "founding fathers" very seriously.

    But I think that they were on to something.


    Ben knew of what he spoke (none / 0) (#66)
    by christinep on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 01:56:38 PM EST
    I hope that his observation will be taken to heart & used as a guideline as we inevitably face the wartime variations posed by self-declared & congressionally/presidentially-declared enemy al-Qaeda.

    The fact that Ben Franklin was a consummate diplomat did not negate his support of a budding nation--as we were then--and that nation's innate right of self-defense.  If the situation today still remains "war" with al-Qaeda premised in self-defense, then Ben may well have approved such situational acts against said enemy.  

    Note: It is hard for me to use absolutist words like "enemy" after previous fiascos of what constituted the "enemy" in my lifetime...especially after the Iraq imbroglio. But that doesn't mean my skepticism about war leads to my not accepting any military engagement. Legally--and, I think, in a larger ethical sense--this limited response is justified by international law as well.


    The (none / 0) (#75)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 04:34:36 PM EST
    killing of an American citizen, who has been declared an "enemy" without charge or trial, is not something that I identify with.

    If this is being done to make me feel safer, it doesn't.
    It makes me feel less safe.

    And, to return to Benjamin Franklin, I'm afraid that the result of this kind of action - which I consider to be a betrayal of American values - makes me very concerned that our safety as well as our liberties are being sacrificed on the alter of political expediency and bravado.

    And - on another subject:
    You have asked me to name a politician in whom I could feel confidence: Elizabeth Warren.

    I will be watching and reading what she says, but so far I consider her to be a beacon of light.


    Elizabeth Warren is (none / 0) (#85)
    by christinep on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 06:00:34 PM EST
    the kind of candidate that I look forward to supporting in this election cycle. 'Agree with you that she appears to be one to put the adjective "good" in front of "government."

    And, I do have a queasy feeling also about "drawing the line" in what is becoming 21st century warfare. Under the facts as I read them, the al-Awlaki situation is within the bounds because his reported actions fit a description of one aiding a declared military enemy via operational support. Yet, I do share your concern here.  


    there's no evidence he gave (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:36:05 AM EST
    operational support, as opposed to inspirational support. After Private Underpants got caught, he praised his efforts. He acknowledged meeting with him. Maybe he gave him courage. But there's no evidence I've seen that he knew what the plot was. Which is not suprising. They don't even tell the suicide bombers what their mission is until the very last moment.

    WSWS: Obama boasts of assassinating citizen (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by Andreas on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 01:52:40 AM EST
    The WSWS writes:

    The assassination of Awlaki in Yemen, together with the celebratory reaction of the American political establishment and the media, demonstrate once again that there exists no constituency within the American ruling elite and two major parties for the defense of the most basic democratic and constitutional rights, including the Fifth Amendment's protection against being "deprived of life ... without due process of law."

    The Bush administration held that such rights could be suspended in the name of a "global war on terrorism," and now the Obama administration has taken the crimes of its predecessor a significant step further with the extra-judicial murder of a US citizen.

    Having crossed this line, the precedent has been set for the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA using military violence and assassination not only as instruments of US imperialist policy abroad, but as the means of dealing with those deemed "enemies of the state" at home.

    Obama boasts of assassinating American citizen in Yemen
    By Bill Van Auken, 1 October 2011

    The ACLU (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Zorba on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 03:46:43 PM EST
    also strongly condemns the assassination.  They had sought to represent Al-Awlaki previously, at the request of his father, but were denied that right by the administration.  I have been a proud member of ACLU for over 25 years.  I just sent them another $150.

    Wasn't it the federal district court that (none / 0) (#73)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 03:50:45 PM EST
    determined al Awiki's father lacked standing?

    They did determine that (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by Zorba on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 04:04:33 PM EST
    about his father's standing.  But further:  
    The ACLU tried to get permission to represent Al-Awlaki directly, and were rebuffed. The exchange was testy and tense, and while President Obama had positioned the Al-Awlaki operation as a "major blow" against Al Qaeda, the fact that he was born in America brought with it certain representational rights that do not appear easy for the White House to weave around.
    "Do you know that the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU tried to get permission to represent Al-Awlaki. His father had asked them to do that," Tapper said. "But they needed to get permission from the Treasury Department so that they could challenge his being on this targeted killing list, and the Obama administration refused to let them represent him. He couldn't even have the ACLU representing him."
    "I would take those questions to Treasury," Carney said dismissively. "I don't have anything for you."

    WSWS quotes Jameel Jaffer (none / 0) (#134)
    by Andreas on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 12:29:43 AM EST
    The WSWS quotes ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer in the article. The WSWS and the ACLU are in agreement regarding that matter.

    But they have different opinions on how to stop such crimes. Such crimes are a result of the death crisis of world capitalism. Therefore the disarming of the capitalist class by the international working class is necessary.


    The "war on terror" (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by Edger on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 09:37:44 AM EST
    will never be "won" by adopting the tactics of and becoming the people one claims to be fighting.

    In Obama's world (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Edger on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:57:07 AM EST
    the way to be a winner is to be BETTER at doing the things your opponent does?

    Blowing Anwar al-Awlaki - an American, btw - into a red mist with planes out of the sky helps, too.

    Impresses the hell out of the people whose hearts and minds need to be won, too.

    If this (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 04:40:21 PM EST
    kind of thing is meant to make me feel safer, all I can say is that the opposite is true. It makes me fear for my country.

    Well, (4.00 / 3) (#6)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:59:32 PM EST
    I think we're still at war with Al Qaeda. If you get yourself involved with them like this guy apparently did, and you're asking to be killed by the U.S. in that war.

    And tell me, andgarden, (none / 0) (#9)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:11:03 PM EST
    where is the official declaration of war?  Yes, we have unofficially declared a "War on Terror."  We have also unofficially declared a "War on Drugs."  What's next?  Drone strikes on meth labs?  What if your beliefs are the next ones that the government thinks are dangerous to our country?  Where does it all end?

    AUMF (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:15:23 PM EST
    He's gotcha, Zorba. It's all perfectly legal. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:23:39 PM EST
    (looks up spelling of Nuremberg)

    "Legal" (none / 0) (#15)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:32:59 PM EST
    in the narrow interpretation does not necessarily mean ethical or right.  Nor does it even mean constitutional, in the original sense.  I think our Founding Fathers would be appalled at some of the sh!t that is going on now.  

    Our constitution has been twisted (none / 0) (#21)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 08:26:57 PM EST
    into an eleven dimensional pretzel to justify some of the injustice that's transpiring.  Who knew that's what they taught in Law school?  That's why I mentioned Nuremberg.  

    As unbothered as I am by the demise of this one particular man, I am literally horrified by the prospect of this power/policy accruing to the presidency.  Obama, who we believed a good man, abandoned virtually none of Bush's enhanced powers.  What would a lesser politician do in his place?  More.


    Obama stopped Bush's nonsense claims (none / 0) (#57)
    by jpe on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:58:33 AM EST
    that he could override Congress in all things national security related.  That's exactly what I wanted, and it's exactly what the Constitution demands

    I don't happen to agree (none / 0) (#13)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:27:32 PM EST
    that the "Authorization for Use of Military Force" is constitutional, and in any case, it was supposed to have originally authorized use of force against "those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001."  Al-Awlaki was responsible for those attacks?  Really?  We're not going to agree on this one- I think our country should be better than this.

    The organization is Al Qaeda (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:30:27 PM EST
    Everyone involved in authorizing this strike (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Peter G on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 11:57:57 PM EST
    had better hope that their legal advice was correct. It is potentially a capital offense to kill or aid and abet the killing of a U.S. citizen or national abroad, if "intended to coerce, intimidate, or retaliate against a government or a civilian population."

    Peter G, could the federal government (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:08:24 PM EST
    have requested an arrest warrant, and if obtained, served it on alAwiki outside the U.S.?  Need to go to foreign court first for permission to arrest?

    No, not really (none / 0) (#65)
    by Peter G on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 01:41:19 PM EST
    Get an arrest warrant?  Yes, of course, if he were indicted for or otherwise charged with a federal crime in the U.S. (which on the facts asserted by the White House he could have been).  Serve it unilaterally outside the U.S.?  No, this is governed by treaties.  To proceed lawfully, the U.S. would have to seek his extradition from the other country, and their police would have to arrest him for extradition (not that U.S. agents couldn't "accompany" the foreign police in this effort).  Finally, the Supreme Court has also ruled that if the U.S. were to proceed "extrajudicially" (i.e., illegally) to take him into custody (to wit, seize/ kidnap him in a foreign country, and spirit him back to the U.S.) it would not affect the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal court to proceed with the prosecution, and he would have no legal right to demand his release or return, much less dismissal of the charges.  

    SCOTUS review of seizing of (none / 0) (#70)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 02:43:11 PM EST
    alleged murderer of DEA agent in Mexico?

    Yes, that's the most recent of the cases (none / 0) (#121)
    by Peter G on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:03:47 PM EST
    I'm sure Holder (none / 0) (#60)
    by Edger on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:40:03 PM EST
    will get right on it...

    Narrow circumstances (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:12:36 AM EST
    of this....

    Al Qaeda is a foreign enemy military force at war with the U.S.  Members of an enemy force can be killed.

    The assassination of Yamamoto in WWII is the precedent.

    That al Awlaki was a U.S. citizen does not change the fact that he was a leader of an enemy military force at war with the U.S.

    The concern that this is a slipppery slope leading to the assassination of U.S. citizens at will theoretically could be realized.  But that scenario is far from the current situation.


    Does AQ fall under the definition (none / 0) (#61)
    by nycstray on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:43:26 PM EST
    of military force?

    I don't see why not (none / 0) (#86)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 06:01:34 PM EST
    We're not talking the Taliban or some other hybrid organization....

    Let's just hope (none / 0) (#16)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:41:31 PM EST
    that any organization that you are involved with is not the next one that the government decides is dangerous.  We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I'm a Bill of Rights purist.  

    I won't belabor the subject (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:54:26 PM EST
    Initially we heard aQ in Yemen was a (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 10:54:58 PM EST
    separate org. from aQ  I gather that characterization is no longer accurate.

    I'm angry about this, too, Zorba, but to be (none / 0) (#20)
    by Peter G on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 08:12:47 PM EST
    intellectually honest, the AUMF says more than you quoted.  It says: "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."  Whether or not he is endorsing the AUMF (which he didn't say), Andy is suggesting that if Congress authorizes the use of deadly force against "organizations" that "planned, etc.," the 9/11 attack, in perpetuity, as long as that organization exists, it is plausible (frightening, but plausible) to suggest that Congress has authorized the targeting killing of those (at least) who assume leadership positions in that organization. Is AQAP the same "organization" as the al-Queda that carried out 9/11? I don't know that; I would think not.  And it is too broad a reading of the over-broad AUMF, which because of its potential implications demands a narrow reading.  But that's the claimed "legal" basis for the killing of al Awlaki, and Andy is right to point that out.

    There is strictly "legal" (none / 0) (#24)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 08:52:42 PM EST
    based on a law passed by Congress, and then there is Constitutional (which I don't think has been totally decided yet, and I don't hold out any hope for what this particular Supreme Court would decide, in  any case) and there is moral and ethical.  I certainly don't hold myself out as the ultimate moral arbiter of this country, but I can certainly say, for me at least, that if this is what my country has become, and holds to be perfectly fine, it really is no longer the country that I recognize.  Slavery used to be legal in this country, Peter, and so did segregation, and so did withholding the right to vote from women.  Among many other things. That doesn't make them right.  I can only hold out the hope that, eventually, this country will recognize the moral, ethical and, yes, Constitutional hazard that the Patriot Act and AUMF has placed us in, and do the right thing.  I'm not holding my breath, unfortunately.

    There is nothing in what I wrote to suggest (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by Peter G on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:43:06 PM EST
    that I disagree with anything you said, Zorba.  And I don't disagree. Except that I would point out that the slavery and woman suffrage examples are different from the segregation example.  The former were not only authorized by positive law, they found sanction in the terms of our Constitution as drafted, until the Constitution was amended.  Segregation, on the other hand, was authorized by federal, state and local statutes deemed valid by blatant judicial misinterpretation of the Constitution, which was later corrected by the courts themselves.

    "he determines" (none / 0) (#34)
    by Edger on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:47:35 PM EST
    Kind of like, he's "determiner guy"?

    Hey, he preached to 3 of the Sept. 11 (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 08:37:53 PM EST

    That fact, if it is a fact, doesn't put him (none / 0) (#29)
    by Peter G on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:43:56 PM EST
    into any category covered by the AUMF.

    Twas snark. (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:44:48 PM EST
    He also exchanged e-mails with the (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:46:52 PM EST
    suspect in Ft. Hood shootings and with the Detroit suspected underwear bomber.  And no, I don't see that as a sufficient basis to take him out.  

    i.e., guilt by association (none / 0) (#67)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 02:17:39 PM EST
    - the kind of guilt which can be automatically inferred from the network and traffic analysis the NSA performs on the unimaginably vast quantities of data they vacuum from their taps on U.S. network switches.

    Call out for pizza from your local pizza joint, the one where pizzamaker M. takes personal calls from his cousin, also named M., an angry young man, who is on somebody's list.

    Voila - you're on the list.


    I believe (none / 0) (#94)
    by NYShooter on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 08:39:05 PM EST
    Our military & intelligence organizations determined al-Awlaki did more than " exchange emails " with the individuals you mentioned. I believe they felt they had evidence he was involved in the planning and/or execution of those plots.

    Member of AQAP, an associated force of AQ. (none / 0) (#55)
    by jpe on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:53:28 AM EST
    Simple enough.

    He was not a "member" of AQAP (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:32:28 AM EST
    according to Der Spiegel:

    Ironically enough, despite all his efforts in support of al-Qaida, al-Awlaki had never become a formal member of the terrorist organization or its branch in Yemen. Indeed, it's unclear whether he ever swore the "bai'a," the oath of allegiance necessary to become a member. The first time he showed up in an official AQAP video was in May 2010 -- and that was only as a kind of interview guest.

    A supporter, a propogandist for, a recruiter for, yes. A member of? Maybe not.

    Does it make a difference? Maybe not, but the thought that the U.S. can kill people for associating with and espousing the views of an organization that is at odds with the U.S. is even more disconcerting in some ways than the thought that it can kill the group's leaders.

    It's very unclear what al-Awlaki's level of knowledge was with respect to Private Underpants and the Fort Hood guy. He encouraged them, he corresponded with them, he met with Private Underpants....but he may have been totally in the dark as to what either was planning, when, how, etc.

    So if A says to B, I'm going to be suicide bomber, and B says "great idea, go for it", and then A does it, B is not only criminally responsible, but subject to execution without charges or trial? Seems a little off-kilter to me.


    You're absolutely right (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by NYShooter on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:19:56 AM EST
    And as more facts come out I would hope many opinions will change also.

    But, speaking for me only, of course, this early in the story, I have to go with some educated guesses/assumptions.

    The most important one, from an operational point of view, and after the strategic and legal issues have been satisfied, is, how thorough the check-list is before recommending a "go?"

    That will come out in time, but just from my own experience, many, many levels below this one, the criteria for approving even a sniper take out of combatants far below Awlaki's level is more exhaustive than I ever imagined.

    The idea that multi million dollar drones are sent to kill people because "we don't like them," or they were seen "whispering" is simply preposterous.


    It sounds like, in this instance, B was (none / 0) (#113)
    by jpe on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:26:53 AM EST
    coordinating A and the terrorist org that was plotting attacks.  (link)  That would be the sort of operational role that makes him fair game for military targeting.

    I didn't fall off a potato wagon (none / 0) (#115)
    by NYShooter on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:40:54 AM EST
    The scraps of information we sift through to justify, or criticize, our governments actions is an exercise of comedic futility.

    Some of our best strategists have always felt (at least since 9-11) that the reason our country hasn't been attacked these past ten years is less our enhanced security measures, and more that its not the timeframe settled on by the terrorist leadership.

    9-11 served its purpose. But, the "big one," destroying and killing numbers exponentially bigger, will be decided at a time of their choosing. And, it will happen....if we let them.

    Those people are not discouraged farmers, or disillusioned laborers. Mothers don't give birth to babies, hoping they grow up to raise families, become teachers and engineers. They give birth to "ordinance for the cause" to better kill our babies. This is their job, their careers. They don't design buildings, or submit patent applications. They study and train for the only career they were conceived for....killing Americans.

    The real worrisome danger ahead is less of the guns and bombs type, and more of the cyber-threat type. The information I've been told is that there is virtually no security system that, given enough time and money, can't be hacked into. The only exceptions, our nuclear stockpiles, silos, and submarines.

    Because we don't hear from them everyday is no reason to believe that we're not in a state of war.


    Some thoughts (2.00 / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 09:07:52 AM EST
    Donald, do you have reason to believe that we didn't try to capture him? I think we were trying to capture him for years before Obama said capture or kill.

    Loved, you condemn us for not respecting other countries borders, does this mean you are for closing ours and deporting all illegal immigrants who have not respected ours? And while the attacks you mention turned out to be unsuccessful, would, for example, the shoe bomber's bomb killed passengers and/or brought down the aircraft IF he had not been subdued? Should we assume that we will always be lucky or have stupid opponents?

    dandelion, in your example of Pound, could it be that we were in a war between nation states and that we are now in an asymmetric war in which our avowed enemies live in the general population and move seamlessly between countries.

    Slado, actually we now know he was running from the attack when the second missile got him. But I get your point.

    Gerald, yes indeed. Nicely said.

    et al - We are now starting to face the ultimate question, is the Constitution a document that can be used against us by letting our enemies do what they want? Or shall we, in some cases, ignore it and kill?

    Please explain your response re: Ezra Pound (none / 0) (#58)
    by Peter G on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:03:34 PM EST
    The distinction you draw, of course, between AQ today and Italy in WWII is accurate: "dandelion, in your example of Pound, could it be that we were in a war between nation states and that we are now in an asymmetric war in which our avowed enemies live in the general population and move seamlessly between countries. "  I just can't perceive the logical significance of the difference, in terms of the point Dandelion was making.  If a dedicated propagandist and recruiter (not a mere sympathizer) for the enemy in time of war (grant all that for purposes of discussion) can be killed at will, and by whatever means, wherever found, why would this not have applied to Pound during WWII?

    The point I was trying to make was (none / 0) (#71)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 02:50:25 PM EST
    that since we were at war with Italy our focus was rightly on defeating Italy. (I would have been happy with the killing of Pound but I see no practical way it could have been accomplished.)

    On the other hand, we are now in an asymmetric war in which we have the technology to focus on specific enemies who exist in the general population of and move between nation states.

    While I cheer for the method and way we killed him, I confess the situation makes me uncomfortable.

    I just see no other practical way of dealing with the situation.


    jimakaPP (none / 0) (#119)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:32:20 AM EST
    Thanks man.

    Too many people these days haven't a clue what it takes to keep our country safe.

    They focus on the bad apples that turn up in Law Enforcement or the military, and remember forever the Crazies that were on OUR side.

    They want to give the guys on our side the maximum punishment and blame, and yet seem very ready to give the guys on the other side who may or not be also crazy but are very determined to kill us, to brutalize us, our families, our country.


    Well, as an old Navy guy (none / 0) (#123)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:31:12 PM EST
    I always support a shipmate!

    But seriously, I am no longer amazed that people seem to think that we could have captured people like this and complain when we take them out. I attribute it to a gas that we picked up while hurtling through a cloud of it in space.

    They know not what they do.

    And yes, I understand the angst over killing a US citizen by President decree in a foreign land. I felt that we over reacted in Waco and Ruby Ridge.

    But being an American citizen does not give you the right to commit what I dare call treason and live in safety in a foreign land.


    Personally, (1.50 / 2) (#27)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:39:40 PM EST
    I think the US did the right thing.

    Friends we are in the "heat of battle" at all times in those places in the Mid-East.

    There were a few times, not many when I was called on to give my best concerning an action that was about to be taken.  I was there mainly to dot the i's and cross the t's technically so that the commanders in charge felt comfortable on all levels that they had done their due diligence and things were under control.
    What I did, what I checked, when I said "ok.", "Yes, Sir.", "You got it dead on", "Absolutely correct", "Carry on" wasn't nearly as dramatic or direct as the guys watching the screen ready to fire the hellfires, or the pilots in the harriers, or the Marine strike group ready to go, but I was just as proud of myself those days, as I am of our guys getting this "enemy" American Citizen.

    All I can say is that until these people surrender, and turn themselves in, they are fair game for our sharpshooters wherever they are.

    When does the War Crimes (none / 0) (#5)
    by BTAL on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:54:44 PM EST
    mantra start from left?

    Not sure (none / 0) (#25)
    by Yman on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:04:00 PM EST
    Many on the left are already questioning the legality of Alawlaki's assassination, including challenging the targeting of Awlaki in court - not to mention here at TL.

    BTW - When does the "war crimes mantra" (for Bush) start from the Right?


    All true, but it is fun ... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Yman on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 08:50:11 AM EST
    ... to point out their hypocrisy.

    As usual (none / 0) (#118)
    by BTAL on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:23:00 AM EST
    The ad hominem.  Like clockwork.

    Today's lettres de cachet (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:04:04 PM EST
    are in the driver's seat of that bus.

    Check out "All Things Considered": (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 08:49:48 PM EST

    "The requirements of the Constitution with respect to due process for killing an American are not clear," says John Bellinger, a lawyer in the State Department under President George W. Bush.

    After 10 years of talking about legal authority when it comes to terrorism, he says, there's still no international consensus on the legality of drone strikes -- and no clear precedent for using those drones to kill a U.S. citizen.

    "Wherever they are in the world, they have a constitutional right to due process," Bellinger says. "But due process doesn't necessarily mean an adversarial judicial hearing."

    So, Bellinger says, under his view of the law, a criminal trial or even an indictment doesn't have to happen to satisfy the Constitution.

    Instead, a legal finding by the Justice Department and debate among lawyers from multiple government agencies might have satisfied Awlaki's rights under the Fifth Amendment.

    Ken Anderson, who teaches at American University's Washington College of Law and follows U.S. policy on drones, says the analysis starts with whether Awlaki amounted to a lawful target -- U.S. citizen or not.

    "The U.S has always seen somebody who is planning attacks against the United States as a lawful target," Anderson says.

    Anderson also opines al Awiki couldn't be served with a subpoena.  This doesn't ring true--purportedly Yemen cooperated with CIA in figuring out where the target was.  

    I guess drones can't drop subpoenas (none / 0) (#30)
    by ruffian on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:44:00 PM EST
    Maybe we can? (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 10:58:54 PM EST
    Personally (none / 0) (#32)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:46:42 PM EST
    I think the US did the right thing.

    Friends we are in the "heat of battle" at all times in those places in the Mid-East.

    There were a few times, not many when I was called on to give my best concerning an action that was about to be taken.  I was there mainly to dot the i's and cross the t's technically so that the commanders in charge felt comfortable on all levels that they had done their due diligence and things were under control.
    What I did, what I checked, when I said "ok.", "Yes, Sir.", "You got it dead on", "Absolutely correct", "Carry on" wasn't nearly as dramatic or direct as the guys watching the screen ready to fire the hellfires, or the pilots in the harriers, or the Marine strike group ready to go, but I was just as proud of myself those days, as I am of our guys getting this "enemy" American Citizen.

    All I can say is that until these people surrender, and turn themselves in, they are fair game for our sharpshooters wherever they are.

    This is (none / 0) (#36)
    by Zorba on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:53:53 PM EST
    a duplicate comment.

    For emphasis. (none / 0) (#39)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:55:36 PM EST
    Sorry, not intentionally. (none / 0) (#44)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 11:12:22 PM EST
    I wish we had the ability to delete or edit our comments if we make a mistake.

    I just came from Mobile Read Forums and they have the most amazingly flexible blog/forum, you have ever seen.  Of course it may also be a very high dollar forum.

    I only mention them because they in no way compete with Jeralyn.  No politics or religion allowed, though we do carry on about Amazon's "no state sales tax" a lot.  (I am for their current position.)



    Gerald... (none / 0) (#79)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 04:57:05 PM EST
    You are certainly confident that someone whom the government has designated as an "enemy" is in fact an enemy.

    I have zero confidence in the declarations of the Obama administration. I had no confidence in the previous administration either.

    What we have to realize is that our government will kill people - individuals and groups of people - for no other reason than to prove a point or solidify their hold on power.

    As with Troy Davis, when it comes to killing someone dead, I require more evidence of guilt than the say-so of an unreliable witness or a power-hungry administration.


    Confidence is a luxury in war! (none / 0) (#81)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 05:34:20 PM EST
    Confidence is a luxury!

    We just don't have it in war.

    If you wait to be sure, the Huns, the Visigoths, the Vandals will have swarmed over the walls and killed all the men, raped the women, and taken the children as slaves.

    So when you are on the ramparts, or in the watchtower, you shoot at the movement or the sound in the dark.

    Or you die.


    The Huns? (none / 0) (#84)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 05:51:26 PM EST
    Who is our enemy?

    It is not a state.
    There is no leader.

    Terror is a tactic.
    How do you declare war on a tactic?

    How do you fight a war that you can't even ask the Congress of The United States to declare?

    Huns? Visigoths?
    In this instance we are speaking of the killing of an American citizen without charge or trial.


    War Declaration? (none / 0) (#107)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:07:01 AM EST
    Hey, 9/11 was the declaration.  Pearl Harbor was the declaration.

    Congress and the President don't have to declare a war when the enemy does it.  You dispense with the formalities when the wall is climbed, the gates breached, when someone is at your throat, when death encroaches.

    You ask who are the Huns and other assorted barbarians, well they are the folks after our folks.  Now I understand that you would like to take time to sort it out, and consider all the niceties, but when people are dying, it is time to defend yourself, and the truth is you have to go and get the bad guys where ever they are, and it is better to get them before they get us.

    It is a shame that the innocent and blameless also must die.  Yes it is. We had many innocent and blameless die in 9/11.


    What (none / 0) (#112)
    by lentinel on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 03:50:25 AM EST
    country, what State, was responsible for 9/11?

    Did killing 100,000 Iraqis make up for it?


    Concerning Iraq, (none / 0) (#133)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:59:42 PM EST
    we probably agree on Iraq more than you think.

    As for "9/11" and which  "State" or "Country" you have the wrong mindset. You are trying to compartmentalize the situation to fit your ideas of law and order.

    Whatever you want to call them, a mob, a bunch of renegades, desperadoes, cartels, religious nuts, haters, gangs, or AQ, there are dangerous people out there that need to be stamped out quick before they do more harm.  Period.

    That is why I called them barbarians and I agree wholeheartedly on the standard MO of shooting on sight.


    OK (none / 0) (#135)
    by lentinel on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 08:08:43 AM EST
    But you are the one forming the mindset when you compare it to the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan.

    I also can see why you have no problem "shooting on sight" one of the barbarians.

    The problem from my point of view is determining beyond a reasonable doubt who is and who is not a "barbarian". With regard to American citizens, there has traditionally been a right for the accused to face trial, rather than go directly before a firing squad.

    There is also, from my point of view, the pesky reality than our current way of going after the "barbarians" is to bomb the hell out of locations that we "suspect" they may be hiding. The resulting civilian casualties have been numerous. Very very numerous. They include children, as I'm sure you know.

    I'm glad to hear that we may agree about Iraq - but that is but one example of the chaos engendered when the enemy is ill-defined, unknown or in some cases already dead.

    The barbarians who commandeered  the planes that day - 9/11 - deserved the fate that befell them. But we have been taking it out on people who have had little or nothing to do with 9/11.

    And finally - and this is subjective - I honestly feel that our current policy of killing "suspected" terrorists is creating terrorists. It does not make me feel safer. Consider from the perspective of the people we have been bombing for that last 10 years. They have all lost loved ones. The number even exceeds our civilian losses. I can identify with your anger, and it makes me think about how angry those people must feel.


    I will agree with part of what you say. (none / 0) (#137)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 05:52:25 PM EST
    Our tactics and strategy in Iraq caused us great harm and produced another generation of terrorists.
    In my humble opinion, "if we went in, which we did" we should have gone in exactly like we did at first, rolling right into Baghdad and then rolled right out, and left control of the country under the Military which was better than the police.  Our people on the ground had chosen "careerist" soldiers that weren't so involved with Saddam.
    That idea was tossed out by Bush and his people so that we could "start from ground zero" and we got a royal mess.

    If we had backed out of Baghdad, and established a few bases around the country and told the Military that anyone even looking like they were consorting with Saddam would get a few 500 pound presents. Also any place we suspected him of being would get the same.  Then we should have told the citizens and the military there was a hundred million (or more) on his head -think of the money we would have saved.    The structure of the country with some warts would still be there, but the country would still be running, and we could help with that, and the evil directing and driving the country would be nullified and the people would take it from there.  That is my thought at least.

    Now did we have to go in.  I thought we did from what I heard.  Now I doubt it.  It seems that presidents have a penchant for getting into wars one way or another for reason that are suspect whether they turn out to be good reasons or not.  Roosevelt in WWII, Bush in Iraq, Clinton in several, Obama (MY DEAR GOD HOW COULD THIS BE?) in Libya, and so on.

    As for now.  The idea of taking the "evil doers" in hand and bringing them into the halls of justice for all that due process is wonderful.
    In time of war and severe duress though, sometimes those (and I grant you this) "supposed" evil doers are riding along on the road in a place where you can't mobilize the local or even your forces to capture them, and then you got to work with what you have.

    "roll drum, batons twirling, ..." enter the Hellfire missile from stage right.

    Hey man, personally I think it was a good day.

    Civilian deaths is too complicated here.


    Identity. (none / 0) (#138)
    by lentinel on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 05:23:44 AM EST
    I don't know what constitutes a "good day" for you in the context of your reply.

    When you write,

    Civilian deaths is too complicated here.

    it is chilling to me, because it expresses a mentality that enables terrorism. Terrorists attack a target that discounts the presence of civilians. Sometimes, they directly target civilians to prove a point.
    It is, to me, morally abhorrent.

    We are doing the same thing.
    And so, who are we?


    I'm sure you know (none / 0) (#100)
    by NYShooter on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 10:59:05 PM EST
     the old saying, "War is countless hours of utter boredom, interrupted by a few minutes of  sheer terror." (or something like that)

    That may have been true in WW2 type wars, but my experience in nam was the opposite. Because of the nature of the enemy, it was the waiting that was the terror, and that, when fighting broke out, it came as somewhat of a relief. At least I was doing something proactively; in the next few minutes I would either kill, or be killed; I had some control.

    Something else I can share with you: The most feared soldier was "the sniper." I don't have to explain why that is, I believe most would find it self evident.

    I tell you these things to try and broaden the discussion regarding the nature of our 21'st century enemies.

    I can't imagine the complexity of the job we gave our President, and the military. It's always been hard enough trying to protect our military forces from our enemies in battle, but how do you protect 300,000,000 innocent civilians.......today's target for our enemies?

    Could Truman have found a better way to end WW2? I would never sit in judgment of the person charged with that horrible responsibility.

    Nor, will I second guess President Obama.

    btw: I wasn't responding to anything you said, Gerald. I just felt comfortable piggy backing on your post. I hope you don't mind.


    Hey man. Good to have you on the line. (none / 0) (#108)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:09:59 AM EST
    We have to keep our people safe, even those that don't have a clue.  

    Spasiba, (none / 0) (#110)
    by NYShooter on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:27:28 AM EST
    That's Russian for "thanks."

    Oh, that's right, I didn't tell which military I was serving in.

    Kidding, just kidding. Jeez, put down the laser sights already:)


    I heard the first couple of seconds (none / 0) (#35)
    by loveed on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:47:48 PM EST
    of Obama speech today. When he mention the killing, the audience applauded.
     What kind of country are we becoming. After 911 we became a country of fear. We gave up all kinds of rights without a fight.
      The Obama administration is worse than Bush. These drone attacks makes us look like cowards. We fly above,destroying innocent people along with the so called terrorist.
      We have no respect for other countries boarders.
      The shoe bomber,the pantie bomber,so called toner cartridges, all of these attack were just stupid. When you looked at these people, you could tell they were lightweights. I could have planed better attacks in my sleep. But the media went apesh*t, again to sell there papers.
     Obama is again trying to be like Bush, no attacks on his watch. This is all about his reelection to change the subject.Can you believe he received the Nobel peace prize?
      How would we like it if there were drones flying all over our country?

    Obama (none / 0) (#78)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 04:45:31 PM EST
    has seen that his numbers rise if he kills somebody.

    Who's next?


    At least this president doesn't torture (none / 0) (#37)
    by Slado on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:53:58 PM EST
    Just swift death from above from this president.

    Probably never knew what hit him? (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:56:47 PM EST
    How (none / 0) (#77)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 04:44:02 PM EST
    do you know his death was swift?
    Maybe he lingered in pain for quite awhile.

    How do we really know anything?


    A prudent citizen, it would seem, (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by KeysDan on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 07:17:13 PM EST
    would, at a minimum, want to know more about the circumstances that resulted in a fellow American being killed on the order of the president.

    The highly unusual circumstance and dangerous precedent require more of an explanation and justification than that given. And, that explanation and justification demands public evidence that the cleric was not just inspirational and propagandistic, but was operational in the planning and direction of efforts to kill "innocent Americans".

    This presidential action impacts the spectrum of time, our past, present and future. Accordingly,  consistent with intelligence safeguards, erring if necessary on the side of revelation, assertions of al-Awlaki's actions need to be backed up with evidence and presented to the American people. The president's say so, in such a serious case, is not enough.  


    And (none / 0) (#90)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 07:27:59 PM EST
    I would add that sometimes, oftentimes, too many times, the president's say so has not been worth a brass farthing.

    Yes, and it is curious (none / 0) (#91)
    by KeysDan on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 07:48:44 PM EST
    that in so many other matters of governance and state,  questions of the citizenry loom large, from ' he says no, but I really think he is planning to take my guns away,' 'he says the stimulus is needed for the economy, but is is really socialism,'  'he says we need to intervene to avert a bloodbath, but it is the oil,' ...........but, in this case we know nothing, but that is enough. Sort of, like in the music from "Book of Mormon", "I Believe"--it is just faith-based.

    Ezra Pound (none / 0) (#46)
    by dandelion on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:39:56 AM EST
    I guess by Obama's logic FDR or Truman should have assassinated Ezra Pound.  

    I don't see a lot of difference between the Pound case and Al-Alwaki.  The govt. had a real problem in the Pound case because of the argument that speech cannot be considered treason.  

    Pound made all sorts of radio broadcasts exhorting people to rise up against the US government.  And that was while he was residing in a country where we actually were involved in a legally declared war that was far more an existential threat than this nebulous "war on terror."

    In the end, the decision to find Pound unable to stand trial and institutionalize him was a neat dodge from having to prosecute a case where the govt had such a weak hand.

    Gee.  If only Truman had realized all he had to do was shoot the poor b*st*rd.

    It seems that the Obama Administration (none / 0) (#63)
    by KeysDan on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:56:57 PM EST
    has considered the Ezra Pound legal parallel and has moved the description of  the activities of Anwar al-Awlaki beyond the "inspirational" or propagandistic speech.  President Obama now claims that the cleric had taken "the lead role in planning and directing the efforts to murder innocent Americans." And, for the first time, according to the NYT,  al-Awlaki was called by the president as "the leader of external operations for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula",

    However, the legal debate is controversial and complex and the precedents are those of Americans who sided with the enemy during WWII, primarily, and not the killing of Americans in  a war by terrorists, and a war that is not a war in the conventional sense.  But what does remain constant, for me, is that no public legal process led to an American citizen being put on the president's hit list, let alone, being hit.  
    Indeed, another American not on the hit list was also killed in the same drone strike.

     And, facts and circumstances do not always pan out as advertised.   Indeed, the case of Toyko Rose (aka Iva Toguri) is one that should cause pause. Convicted on one of 8 counts of treason for her radio broadcasts from Japan in WWII, and serving 6 or a 10 years prison sentence (at least not an execution), it was later determined that witnesses lied on direction of the FBi, and she was pardoned by President Ford.in 1974.