Awlaki’s Killing: Legally Justified

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On September 30, 2011, a U.S. drone air strike killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American citizen with ties to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula whom the U.S. government had specifically targeted for death or capture. Awlaki was cut down in Yemen where he had been hiding and reportedly had been helping plan terrorist plots against the American homeland.

Awlaki was considered to be the most dangerous terrorist threatening the lives of American civilians following the death of Osama bin Laden. He turned on his fellow American citizens by calling for violent jihad to kill them and leading efforts to carry out his threats. For example, he had reportedly provided instructions to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of attempting to detonate a bomb aboard a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009. He was also said to have had a connection to the effort in 2010 to use explosives-laden printer cartridges to blow up cargo planes bound for the United States.

Yet despite the U.S. government’s expressed concern regarding Awlaki’s expanding Al-Qaeda operational role and his ability to communicate widely with an English-speaking audience to recruit more jihadists, the government had not publicly charged Awlaki with any crime, much less issued any warrant for his arrest. Instead, he was reportedly the first U.S. citizen added to a list of suspected terrorists the CIA was authorized to kill, without charge, trial, or conviction.

Civil libertarians, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are aghast that any American citizen, no matter how dangerous, could be targeted for execution by his government without due process of law pursuant to the U.S. Constitution and international law. The ACLU, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, had even gone to court on behalf of Awlaki’s father to challenge the government’s decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son. They had sought an injunction prohibiting the government from intentionally killing Anwar Al-Awlaki “unless he presents a concrete, specific, and imminent threat to life or physical safety, and there are no means other than lethal force that could reasonably be employed to neutralize the threat.” They argued that where there are means other than lethal force that could reasonably be employed to neutralize any threat that Awlaki may have posed, his targeting for execution violates (1) Awlaki’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures and (2) his Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of life without due process of law.

The federal district court dismissed the ACLU case on the grounds that the plaintiff, Awlaki’s father, did not have legal standing to challenge the targeting of his son, and that the case raised “political questions” not subject to court review.

Last Friday, U.S. drones had the last word in sealing Al-Awlaki’s fate.

Did the president of the United States have the legal authority to order Awlaki’s killing without any supervening judicial oversight and review? After all, the courts have placed some restrictions on presidential assertion of wartime powers as commander-in-chief. Judicial limitations on the circumstances and conditions of detention of suspected terrorists provide an obvious example.

Awlaki’s actions would seem to match the definition of treason in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

However, this same section also contains restrictions on the proof necessary to convict someone of treason, requiring “the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

But it is a mistake to regard the military action that resulted in Awlaki’s death as punishment for the criminal act of treason, or for any other crime for that matter. It was a military action to kill an enemy jihad warrior before he had an opportunity to plan and implement more acts of war against Americans. As General George Patton said about warfare, “our task is to kill the enemy before we are killed.”

There are at least two reasons that, when considered together, would appear to strongly justify the president’s decision to authorize the killing of Awlaki in Yemen and the carrying out of that decision.

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  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    This article is full of weaseling. It purports to explain a legal justification, but all the points are qualified with "was considered to be," "had reportedly," "accused of," "said to have had a connection to," "would seem to match the definition of treason," "all available evidence."

    Anyone with critical thinking skills would point out that Joseph Klein does not have the goods. Whatever the Obama administration is sitting on by way of its secret unrevealable legal argument for killing Awlaki is not in Klein's hands. This is just kludgy innuendo.

    • MartyG

      It appears that the glaring question is why wasn't Awlaki charged if he was guilty?
      I have no fondness for the likes of Awlaki, but it concerns me that the state thinks it "ok" to put a US citizen on a "kill list" without charging them with anything or attempting to arrest/apprehend them, then contorts to using the targets very unwillingness to turn himself in (to those who have declared him "killable") as justification for killing him. Not your normal concept of "due process". If you want someone to turn themselves in, you have to charge them, right? You have to attempt to arrest them and/or demand they turn themselves in, right? Again, not your normal concept of "due process". Unless charged, they have no reason to "turn themselves in". Being put on a US kill list or target of opportunity list seems like dubious motivation to walk into a US embassy. Again, I didn't like the guy and despise his cause, but I don't like the precedent at all. But, then again, what was David Koresh charged with and why wasn't he apprehended when alone on the road or in town? Why was Randy Weaver apprehended over a tax issue by a large team while at home with his belated wife and children when he could easily have been peacefully arrested at far less risk? Hubris perhaps?

      • aspacia

        Why was Lord Ha Ha executed by the British? Come on–these turds want you and me dead.

        • MartyG

          Strangely, Haw Haw *tried* for treason a court of law even though he was a German citizen. Not sure where you are going with this.

          Yes, the turds want us dead. And I want them dead. And I want to adhere to the Constitution because I swore an oath and because I hold it sacred. I don't see it written anywhere that these goals are mutually exclusive.

          The common refrain seems to be that because people are trying to kill us, the Constitution doesn't matter. This would imply that the Constitution never mattered because people have always been trying to kill us. That is not the version of America I'm going to fight and die for. And it is not a sanctioned version either being outside the Constitution.

          Those who believe in the suspension of the Constitution and suspension of the Rule of Law when they see fit may have guns, bullets, training, and conviction on their side. But those of us who support unwaveringly the Constitution and and the Rule of Law also have guns, bullets, training, and conviction. And we also have the Constitution on our side.

          • aspacia

            Haw Haw was a U.S. citizen executed by the British. Fact. Peruse Buchanan's latest article, and yes, I checked.

    • UCSPanther

      So says our favorite Ron Paul supporting, George Soros supporting wannabe cannibal…

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        People who are addicted to alternate reality PC gaming should never poke fun at anyone.

    • aspacia

      Flipped, Klein is a lawyer and has more working brain cells than the two you have between you ears.

      Targeting an enemy propagandist for elimination is legal.

      This is from Buchanan, who I usual disagree:
      Do we have a right to target enemy propagandists who do not carry out acts of mass murder but encourage or instigate them?

      Ezra Pound, the American poet and expatriate who made wartime broadcasts from Mussolini's Italy attacking Jews and FDR, was charged with treason and spent a dozen years in St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Insane.

      Lord Haw-Haw, the American-born William Joyce, who broadcast from Berlin during World War II, was executed by the British, though like Pound, he killed no one. Mildred Gillars, the American-born "Axis Sally," was imprisoned for treason in the United States after World War II.

      Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino, the American woman branded "Tokyo Rose," was imprisoned for treasonous radio broadcasts, though later pardoned by President Ford.

      Would it have been unconstitutional for the U.S. military to target the radio station broadcasting Tokyo Rose?

      Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi ideologist and race theorist, was convicted at Nuremberg and hanged. One does not have to kill in wartime to get the death penalty for war crimes.

      Several of the German saboteurs put ashore in Florida and Long Island were U.S. citizens who were tried in secret and executed. Their executions were upheld by the Supreme Court.

      As the Obama administration argues, were Japanese-Americans to have been found engaged in support of Japanese forces in wartime, they could have been targeted and killed.

      The order to intercept and shoot down the aircraft carrying Adm. Yamamoto, architect of Pearl Harbor, would appear to qualify as wartime assassination. As does Winston Churchill's decision to drop British-trained Czech and Slovak agents into Czechoslovakia to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich.

      Here is the link: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pag

  • Reallawyer

    It looks like Harvard Law School has an affirmative action program for Constitutional illiterates. According to the Constitution, if an American citizen levys war against the United States, adheres to their enemies or gives them aid and comfort, that citizen commits Treason. (Art. III, Sec. 3, Clause 1). Therefore, according to your positon, Awlaki committed Treason. The President could not decide to assassinate Awlaki because Article III, Sec.3, Clause 2 states that "Congress shall have the power to declare the punishment of treason." You are also apparently ignorant of the second sentence of Article III, Sec.3, Clause 1, which requires the testimony of two witnesses (or a confession) in open court before a citizen can be convicted of Treason. Perhaps you should try reading the Constitution sometime!

    • Joseph Klein

      Perhaps you should learn how to read.. The article explicityly states as follows:

      "Awlaki’s actions would seem to match the definition of treason in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

      However, this same section also contains restrictions on the proof necessary to convict someone of treason, requiring “the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

      The article then goes on to explain (obviously above your head) why the president nevertheless has the authority in these particular circumstances as commander in chief to carry out this "military actionto kill an enemy jihad warrior before he had an opportunity to plan and implement more acts of war against Americans."

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        Right. Because you can always plan MORE if you have already planned none.

    • aspacia

      Frankly, I doubt is Flipped knows how to read considering the fact he continually misuses academic language.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        Like how you misuse Judaism like it’s a rental phylactery?

    • aspacia

      It is difficult to locate an enemy promoting violence against U.S. citizen when they are protected by enemy states. I doubt if Awlaki would have submitted to a Marshall handing him a warrent.

  • proxywar

    Frist off, The crucial distinction that's almost always missed in a debate about treason like this one here is between those who adhere to using MEANS such as (violent paramilitary jihadist groups) to establish their ENDS such as (sharia law) like Al-Awlaki and other Jihadist (Whether Al-Awlaki et al can actually pull this off is beside the point because that is their intent.), and those who are non-violent protestors/dissenters against American foreign policy and the other sides foreign policy as well. The latter of which aren't treasonous, but are conscientious objectors to something they don't agree with and may want to challenge it via peaceful means (ie.non-violent persuasion) in my opinion.

    Our own law of the land points this distinction out:

    "Under English law effective during the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, there were essentially five species of treason. Of the five, the Constitution adopted only two: levying war and adhering to enemies. Omitted were species of treason involving encompassing (or imagining) the death of the king, certain types of counterfeiting, and finally fornication with women in the royal family of the sort which could call into question the parentage of successors."

    So you can't be killed for treason because you talk or fantasise about using violence against America/POTUS. You have to actually try and pull it off. Which is exactly what Al-awlaki had been trying to do for years and in Major Nidal Malik Hasan's case finally did. (I'll explain more about this this below.)

  • proxywar

    Now, according to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode § 1481 the following is the standard for renouncing your U.S. citizenship:

    "In order to lose citizenship, it must be shown that the U.S. citizen joined the foreign military or swore allegiance to another state with the intention (I believe there was intent on Al-Awlaki part) of relinquishing United States nationality."

    Al-Awlaki, In his own words:

    Al-Awlaki:"With the American invasion of Iraq and continued U.S. aggression against Muslims, I could not reconcile between living in the U.S. and being a Muslim (ie. He voluntarily choose to expatriate. See:§ 1481), and I eventually came to the conclusion that JIHAD (ie. jihad bis saif = armed sturggle/fighting) against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding on every other Muslim,"

    Al-Awlaki:"To the Muslims in America, I have this to say: How can your conscience allow you to live in peaceful co-existence with a nation that is responsible for the tyranny and crimes committed against your own brother and sisters? How can you have your loyalty to a government (ie. His loyalty is to Islam and other muslims not to the U.S. gov't anymore) that is leading the war against Islam and Muslims?"
    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/03/al-awlaki-i-eve

    So wouldn't this constitute being a pretty formal renunciation of his citizenship? I think so.

    Now, I agree with you expatriating and inciting violence aren't treasonous offenses, but joining/conspiring with a violent paramilitary jihadist group like AQAP to try an overthrow the U.S. gov't is.

    The United States Code at "usc|18|2381" states:

    "whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death." (FYI: One can also be jailed and fined as well, but I left that part out because Al-Awlaki suffered death via predator drone.)

    So, has Al-Awlaki levied war against America and adhered to its enemies by giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere?

    He wasn't just killed for inspiring Muslims to make war against the US via internet. Al-Awlaki was in direct contact with Major Nidal Malik Hasan the Jihadi Forthood shooter, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab the Jihadi Christmas Underwear bomber, Faisal Shahzad the Jihadi Time Square bomber. He also had an operational role in Rajib Karim's plot to bomb an American airliner/British Airways, and was the "spiritual adviser" to Nawaf al-Hazmi & Khalid al-Mihdhar two of the 9/11 hijackers. (ie.He gave aid and comfort to the enemy within the United States, and if you look at his activties in Yemen you'll also notice he was giving aid and comfort to the enemy elsewhere as well.) So the answer is: Yes he did.

    You can read more indepth about Al-Awlaki's adherence to violent means for nefarious ends and treasonous deeds domestically and abroad, right here: http://www.9news.com/news/article/222157/328/Al-Q… Here: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/dd0tgt Here: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/03/an… And Here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/08/10/

    I'm sure strict constitutionalist will argue for his due-process rights in Article 3 Section 3 of the United States Constitution.

    However, I would point out that:

    "The Supreme Court found that two witnesses are not required to prove intent; nor are two witnesses required to prove that an overt act is treasonable. The two witnesses, according to the decision, are required to prove only that the overt act occurred (eyewitnesses and federal agents investigating the crime, for example)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Three_of_the

    Which in the case of Al-Awlaki they did.

    Al-Awlaki got what he derserved and Adam Gadahn is going to soon or later get what he derserves too. I believe in bring these guys to justice. If that means they are captured or killed that's FINE with me!

    • MartyG

      So you are saying that a hearing occurred whereby Alwhaki was found treasonous? Or you are saying he *could* have been found treasonous had such a hearing been held and had he been charged with treason and that is the same as him having been charged and a hearing held? While at the same time you are saying that treason doesn't apply because he had already publicly expatriated and intel shows he was fighting for the other side so I assume he would then fall into the "enemy combatant" zone? I am unfamiliar with the law on this, but am wondering if the public renunciation is enough for his citizenship to be considered stripped, or does his renunciation merely allow the state to then strip him of his citizenship? If the latter, did the state do so? Or was his citizenship considered forfeit because the state *could* have stripped it given his statement? Was he a US citizen or not? All press is reporting him as being a citizen. Is this in error? If he was a citizen then he should have been charged, apprehended, convicted, and executed for treason. Not executed in the field by an AGM because he *potentially, given intel*, could have been charged, apprehended, and convicted of treason. Was he a citizen or not? What natural rights does our Constitution defend? What is the "way of life" we are defending by way of our oaths to defend the Constitution? Is ignoring the Constitution to defend the Constitution a viable approach to changing hearts and minds about how sacred our Constitution is?

      I just think our state needs to be more circumspect and less cavalier in situations like this.

      • PhillipGaley

        I think that, no one was deprived of their citizenship: Rather was it upon stated intent and in the same remove, joining or uniting with a foreign military force that, Al-whacki rather simply divested himself of his as born US status.
        Yes, power to kill is dreadful. And I think that, in this instance, the US, nor the one who pulled the trigger could in anywise be described as cavalier, and especially, as though being "less cavalier" would have been better—plainly, as I think, such composition is fruit of a mere confused thought process, . . .

        • MartyG

          So you are saying the reporters are wrong to report that him as a US citizen.

          And thanks for the bonus ad hominem once removed at the end of your post. All human endeavor is less than perfect. Given that, total lack of cavalierness, or "cavalierity", is surely unattainable. So yes, "less cavalier" is desirable to "more cavalier" just as being less irrational is better than being more irrational. And we got on this digression how?

      • aspacia

        Marty, we are at war and many U.S. citizen want us dead, including you.

    • aspacia

      Excellent insight regarding law, albeit, I would not trust Wiki.

  • maturin20

    Assassination is un-American and evil.

    • PhillipGaley

      "Assassination is un-American and evil."?
      Huh. Whaddya know, . . . a mere conclusory allegation. I, for one, would marvel to know of the tenets or other reasoning which might plainly point that out to us all, of our own power in reason.
      Remember that judge in ancient Israel—Ehud—who was left-handed? Who beguiled his way in, to assassinate the bad king Eglon king of Moab? He naturally carried his dirk on his right, so, wrongly assuming him to be right-handed, when they patted him down, they missed it.
      Ehud was able to get a private audience—as his servants wrongly assumed—to perform a homosexual act such that, when they finally did break open the garden gate, Ehud had been gone, for hours.
      Anyone of whole mind must admit that, that took a lotta courage, but after all, he was inspired of all goodness to defend and deliver the nation.
      So, how was that evil? And by extrapolation,un-American?
      Won't you please, tell us, . . .

      • maturin20

        It was evil because murder is evil, whether its motive is political or not. It's un-American because a founding principle of this country is that political disputes can be resolved without resort to violence.We do not live up to this principle in practice, but it is a vital element of our national spirit.

    • tagalog

      "I want Pedicaris alive or Raisuli dead!"

      -Theodore Roosevelt

      • maturin20

        Politicians love tough talk, as do their constituents. Since both Pedicaris and Raisuli survived the bluster, let's assume TR was only saving face and not flirting with evil.

    • aspacia

      As a patriotic U.S. citizen, I support assassinating all treasonous U.S. citizens, including Bill Ayres and Van Jones. They along with other advocate the destruction of my land. This should be cause for losing citizenship.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        You’re not very patriotic if you support domestic assassinations.

      • maturin20

        Then you are as un-American as those whose death you seek.

  • Larry

    Methods of dealing with terrorists, of any stripe.

    Identify leaders, whether operational, planning, or ideological.

    Locate them.

    Terminate them by any means possible.

    They don't play by the Rule of Law, they are explicitly outside the Rule of Law, therefore, the Rule of Law doesn't apply to them, only Rule .303.

    • MartyG

      That is not what your oath of service or oath of office states (assuming you are in the military or have taken an oath of citizenship). You are sworn to defend the Constitution against enemies. By deciding that the natural rights the Constitution protects don't really matter one is actually *attacking* the Constitution. Technically, that puts one at risk of being defined as an enemy of the Constitution and in opposition to our great nation and all US military personnel that adhere to their oaths to defend the Constitution. If not for the natural rights the Constitution protects, what are we fighting for? Once you step outside the Rule of Law, you are no longer a defender, but an attacker of the Constitution and the natural rights of Man. It doesn't matter what how you rationalize your actions, this equation is inherent in our system of law and the basis of this great nation.

      • Larry

        See, you are being what is known as a mealy mouthed legalist. Aforementioned corpse no longer considered himself a citizen of the USA, had abrogated his citizenship, and was actively prosecuting war against the USA.

        Therefore, when you find him, you kill him. The Laws of War, and the US Constitution and Legal System were not formulated to deal with the actions of a non-national terrorist organisation, in fact, the Laws of War deal with them and their ilk by specifying that they aren't covered.

        Trying to deal with terrorists as if they are nothing more than criminals gets you into all sorts of legal knots that benefit only two groups; terrorists and lawyers, both of which when left unchecked are inimicable to a civilized nation.

        • MartyG

          So, supporting the Rule of Law is being a "mealy mouthed legalist"? I'll pass on that bait. Was Alwhaki a citizen or not? You claim he wasn't but he is still being reported as having been a citizen. If he was a citizen, due process was due. If not, then he was dealt with properly. If you don't get that then get out of the business of defending the Constitution, we don't need or want you. A person who hides behind the defense of the Constitution to justify making light of its precepts is a mental midget and a despot, or despot's henchman in the making.

        • MartyG

          One more thing. Soldiers who don't think the law applies to them are third group that when left unchecked are inimical to a civilized nation. Just ask anyone who lives in a banana republic.

          • Larry

            If, during WWII, an American citizen traveled to Germany with the express intention of serving in the German army and became a senior officer who's HQ was then targeted by USAAF aircraft and he was killed how would you react?

            You need to understand, which you obviously don't, that this is not a matter of civil law, it never has been. If we followed your logic hundreds or even thousands of US citizens could die going about their daily business at the hands of terrorists that he had recruited, inspired, directed, etc. What are their rights in consideration to his?

            Are they required to die, and keep dieing until somebody tracks him down and reads him his Miranda Rights? Are you privy to decisions taken at the highest level of the US Govt defence and security organisations? Have they stripped his citizenship and not announced it to lull him into a false sense of smug security?

          • MartyG

            You keep confusing non-US citizens with US citizens and keep using ad hominem crap to chaff the issue. In your example, the HQ was targeted and he was a happenstance casualty. Also, there is no way he'd be a senior officer serving in the German army if he hadn't first become a German citizen which, BY LAW would automatically expatriate him because the US doesn't recognize dual citizenship. But all reports are saying that Yemen target was a citizen. If some legal criteria and process duly traced has truly made him no longer a citizen, then I have no problem with him being droned. But if the argument is that a given certain reports, a legal process *could* have been traced is good enough, then you do no have the power of the Constitution behind your opinion. Are you just looking for a fight? I'm not your guy.

            You aren't sticking to the points and are simply using me for your angst. Go box your shadow.

          • Charles

            Our rights come from our Creator. They are not contingent upon being a US Citizen.

          • Larry

            Really about the senior officers? I knew several Colonels and up who served in the German Army who were citizens of other countries, but whose parents were German. Happens all the time. Just because becoming a US citizen means you have to renounce other citizenship doesn't mean other nations won't grant you citizenship if you happen to be a US citizen.
            Oh, and I know several Americans who I see on a regular basis who have dual citizenship. Once again, you got it wrong.

          • MartyG

            No. the United States of America does NOT recognize dual citizenship. It doesn't matter if Germany does or not. Your Americans who you see on a regular basis will find that the US does not recognize that they are dual citizens even if the other other country does.

            If that is all you got, and nothing else pertinent, can we call this done?

          • MartyG

            I stand corrected, the US does, to a degree, recognize dual citizenship.

            But the other facts of my post stand.

            If you don't like the rule of law or the natural rights protected by Constitution many of us are sworn to defend, there are plenty of places in the world where you wouldn't need to worry about believing in it or defending it. America has never had a barbed wire fence keeping people in so leaving for somewhere less legally knotty and complicated is easy.

        • Charles

          Police cannot take hostages or use human shields, although the criminals do. We always expect law enforcement, even in our military, to follow the rule of law. Not only because we know the bad guys are going to cheat, but because we want to win by not cheating.

          • Larry

            The military is not law enforcement. When you tie them to civil law enforcement standards you just get soldiers killed and stop them doing their job properly.

            The job of a military is to protect its nation by inflicting death, doom, and destruction on its enemies, not locking them up in a cell and letting lawyers make money.

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    The explanations in this article are rather confusing than clarifing the legality of the execution of an "American citizen" on the foreign territory.

    To add an insult to injury, the quoted federal court excerpt actually sounds grotesque: "The father has no standing to challenge the targeting of his son!!!" Seriously!

    Well, we ought to get used to the grotesque corruption of the US courts, which have already dismissed innumerous cases on the same ground as though the electorate has no standing to vet the legality of the "elected officials" (you know which).

    Fortunately in order to establish legality in this particular case in question, one must not look farther than one's own American passport. While being abroad, some actions of an American citizen may cause automatic waiver of his citizenship. Take a look at item 13: Loss of US citizenship. Fighting with enemy combatants against America well fits it. Those "American citizens" while being abroad had lost their US citizenship automatically due to their treasonous actions. They had turned into enemy combatants and were executed as such.

    Getting back to the concerns of Mr. Ron Paul (and Pat Buchanan) about the civil rights of American citizens. I just wonder why these nice gentlemen were not heard of when so many heroic American soldiers were sued and imprisoned for doing their job under suicidal rules of engagement? Ron Paul had nothing to say about Lt. Col T. Lakin also. Yet there is no moslem in the world which Ron Paul doesn't love. After all, according to him:

    - America is not exclusively Judeo-Christian nation;
    - Islam has always been a part of American National identity;
    - It is OK if America turns into islamic nation in the "frame" of the 1st Amendment.

    • aspacia

      Gofen, no, Islam has not always been part of our identity. The US has had many immigrants from many lands and practicing many faiths; this fact does not mean that an ethnic group is part of our identity. Is Hinduism or Buddhism or Wiccan or Confucianism, etc., part of our identity? NO.

      Our identity stems from the Judeo-Christian tradition and Islam is not really part of this since they claim Jews and Christians misinterpreted the prophets' claims.

      • kafirman

        "Apart from Christian conceptions of a Creator Who asks to be worshiped in spirit and truth, and a Christian conception of the inner forum of inalienable conscience, George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, and Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance would lose all cogency and sense. These documents owe their derivation to a Jewish and Christian worldview, and do not spring from any other. " –Michael Novak (http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/the-faith-of-the-founding-39)

    • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

      Aspacia completely misunderstood my message. In my message the three statements below belong to Ron Paul and his crowd: not to me!

      Indeed, America has always been exclusively Judeo-Christian.
      Indeed, islam does not belong to America, no amount of it.
      Indeed, America must fight to preserve itself as a exclusively Judeo-Cristian nation!

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    ANWAR AL-AWLAKI: CITIZEN OF MILITANT ISLAM

    Al Qaida is a stateless militant organization of anti-US Moslem killers sworn to the utter destruction of America in Allah's name, and for the purpose of restoring Islam as a great world power. And on the day that the delusional Awlaki had his Damascus experience from hell, when he imagined that he heard from God the call to arms realizing in the fog of his deranged and hate filled mind the evil purpose of his life, on that day Awlaki made the fatal decision to replace the US Constitution with the Koran, the US President with Bin Laden, and his US citizenship for CITIZENSHIP IN MILITANT ISLAM.

    Indeed, on the day that he chose allegiance to al Qaida over that of the US Awlaki effectively renounced his US citizenship becoming a soldier in Allah's army of terrorist killers fighting the infidel unto death; fighting, in particular, for Islam's re-empowerment and glory, the Great Satan. the Great Monster, the Great Beast and Menace to the one true faith: the United States of America….

    Click my name to read the rest of this piece.

    • MartyG

      I have zero problem with *creating a law* that would make expatriation automatic for any citizen that violently acts, or urges others to act, on a philosophy consistent with being and enemy of the Constitution. But until that law exists, and if the Yemen target was a citizen, then it was counter to the foundation of this nation to execute him with out a trial for treason. If he was truly not a citizen, then he deserved the summary droning.

      Why is it so hard to get across the importance to the long-term survival of our republic that we need to adhere to the Constitution even when inconvenient? It seems that some in this thread are confusing/confounding respect for the Constitution which many of us have sworn to defend for sympathy for the Yemen target for which I have none. I have sympathy and allegiance to the Constitution and I want to know if it was abused or not. Was Awlaki a US citizen or not? If so, I think mistakes were made. But the biggest mistake woud be, if he was a citizen of the US, was that he hadn't been formally, and with due process, stripped of his citizenship, based on facts and evidence, *before* the droning. Short of that, if he was indeed a citizen, he should have been apprehended and tried for treason as a citizen.

      If people don't like the rule of law or the natural rights protected by Constitution many of us are sworn to defend, there are plenty of places in the world where they don't need to worry about believing in it or defending it. America has never had a barbed wire fence keeping people in so leaving for somewhere less legally knotty and complicated is easy.

      • PhillipGaley

        No, in 2 things, he was not: in his statement of intent supporting his overt acts—see my posts, above, . . .

      • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

        The right of self-defense against a mass murdering enemy (citizen or not) is LAW ENOUGH.

  • dodo

    Killing the unwanted young bulls of a polygamous society just increases the violence, increases the dysfunction, and enables terrorism to escalate unchecked. The old bulls celebrate in glee as they have more young girls for themselves

  • tagalog

    Suppose a group of Americans perceived their interests or rights at grave risk, and engaged in armed revolt against the United States. During the course of hostilities, certain members of the rebellious group were killed by U.S. forces. Is the killing somehow a violation of those American rebels' Constitutional rights?

    I think not. Al-Awlaki was at war with the United States; he engaged in actions designed to take the lives of everyone around his chosen jihadists, including Americans. For our forces to kill him is perfectly defensible.

    An American New Deal liberal, Robert Jackson, a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Justice of the first Nuremburg Tribunals, famously said, "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." Al-Awlaki got peremptorily killed by a U.S. drone? Good. Tough for his constitutional rights.

  • Charles

    Contradiction! First you write that there were no legal charges and no warrant. Then you justified his assassination by writing that he evaded law enforcement and didn't turn himself in.

    With regards to the issue of citizenship. Our rights come from our Creator. That is why the Government cannot violate them. Whether you are a citizen or not does not change that.

    • tagalog

      Yes, but whether or not a particular exercise of governmental power can lawfully be done has nothing to do with our Creator or our unalienable rights.

      Citizenship is conferred upon a person solely by law. Rights have nothing to do with that issue either. It is perfectly legal for the United States to hold (as it has done often in the past) that a person's U.S. citizenship is lost when that person makes war against the United States.

      Al-Awlaki knew what he was doing; if he didn't want to engage in militant hostilities against the United States, he didn't have to turn himself in to U.S. law enforcement, all he had to do was stop planning and executing death-dealing attacks on the United States.

    • aspacia

      We are a secular state and your are using the same arguments that Islamic terrorists use.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        Excuse me but I thought you said you were a Zionist who supports assassination of American citizens. How does that fall under “we are a secular state?” YOU are a religious state within a state. How is there a “we?”

  • mrbean

    We need to dispatch Esquadroes le Morte word wide.

    • tagalog

      Aren't our Special Ops hunter-killer teams death squads? What about the SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden? What more had he done to Americans than al-Awlaki?

  • Rifleman

    Trials are for captured traitors, nothing prohibits us from killing them in the field.

  • Asher

    Good Riddance to Awlaki…I am quite sure he will not get 72 virgins in Paradice.

  • pxxat5

    We live in a world where men carry guns, and sometimes they use these guns to kill other men, but killing is killing and all we can hope for, is the men we do kill are the ones we should kill. We are in a war with a ruthless ideological enemy, who is willing to die for their cause. We cannot fight them like a gentlemen's duel, "stand back to back and pace off 10 steps, turn and fire" . To fight this kind of war, you need an organization that is as committed, as brave , as cold, who cheat, steal, rob, debase, and use any other underhanded tactic, that will advance our cause. It’s called the CIA, and it can operate in any manner that get results…except on American soil.
    What the POTUS and the administration that sanction these " Covert National Security" operations must remember, is that the CIA can and does operate in a criminal capacity , outside our Laws and the Constitution of the United States, so they must maintain "PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY", for these operations by keeping these covert OP’s " Top Secret – secure eyes only". All the public needed to know was…” Mr. Anwar Al Awlaki death was "COLLATERAL DAMAGE", caused by the fog of War. Mr. Awlaki like so many other naïve young men was in the "wrong place at the wrong time", riding in a car with a known Al-Qaeda operative, when a Hellfire missile struck the vehicle……. END OF STORY
    File the truth under… CONSPIRACY THEORY.