Libertarians, making common cause with Liberals are aghast at the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki; they contend that “hey, you could be next”. If we can kill ‘American Citizen’ Awlaki, then we could, in theory, kill anyone; you know, just because. The killing is, of course, even worse because the decision making process is housed in a secret panel. One must surmise that critics would contend that a Congressional hearing would have been the appropriate vehicle? Perhaps a trial in absentia would be best? Oops, can’t do that because then al Awlaki would not be present to participate in his own defense or face his accusers.
It’s a truly amazing exercise in circular logic tinted by willful blindness! The progressive sequence of arguments will, in fact, never end as the motivation is not about doing the right thing, it’s about doing the ‘correct’ thing and those two things are not moral equivalents.
Al-Awlaki was one of the American Islamic guides for 9-11 hijackers, the Imam of one of the East Coast’s most radical mosques in Falls Church, VA; he of Inspire magazine, the English language outlet of al Qaeda. Al-Awlaki, despite his connections to the Crotch Bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood massacre, the printer bomb plot and 9-11 should be what? Brought to trial? We’re we to kidnap him for the purpose of being brought to trial the kidnapping would face the same criticism as the killing has; Rendition? Rendition begins with a kidnapping.
Assassination? You bet it was and we’re better for it. Has there been a 180 degree turnaround by the Obama Administration moving from harsh criticism of Bush’s application of Executive authority and the legal opinions that supported it to a brand new level of applied Executive authority? You bet, and it is in that turnaround that the symptoms of the story reside.
If the Obama Administration is willing to engage in the assassination of high value terrorists, that should tell us something of the danger; clear and present applies here. It is evidence, despite rhetoric and criticisms past and present, that the President’s actions are symptomatic evidence of the danger.
Killing al Awlaki is not just about killing al Awlaki. It is a message that we are fighting back. It is a message that there may not be, in point of fact, safe havens. It is a point of de-motivation for terrorism as a career choice.
Fact is that the terror infrastructure counts on us doing the ‘correct’ thing as opposed to doing the ‘right’ thing they see it as our critical weakness. The “correct’ thing is to wring our hands over the KSM trial, waterboarding, Gitmo, Rendition, weakness on Iran and Syria and a host of other issues related to Islamic incursions and the application of terror. The ‘right’ thing is to take them at their word, treat them as the enemy they are and kill off as many of them as we can, as quickly as we can; margin of error notwithstanding.
It’s the only thing that delivers a clear message. It’s the only language they understand; strength and resolve.