Editor’s note: The views expressed by the author below do not necessarily reflect those of the Western Center For Journalism.
If Barack Obama could pick a single thing to both make conservatives mad as well as his liberal base, it would seem to be his drone campaign against terrorists who happen to also be American citizens.
But this also may be one of the few times in my life that I feel a need to, at least partially, come to the defense of the President.
Is there any American out there who can seriously argue that Anwar al-Awlaki didn’t need to be taken out?
This clown—despite his American birth and his attendance at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces—took up arms against America. There’s a word for that in the dictionary and a penalty for engaging in that act. The word is “treason” and the penalty is death. For all I know, al-Awlaki may have been an NMSU cheerleader at Aggie basketball games (there’s a visual for you); but when you take up arms against the nation, you forfeit your rights as a citizen. And when you go into hiding overseas, we can’t arrest you and put you on trial.
As the New York Times, hardly a conservative stalwart, reported: “Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of shooting 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in November 2009, had exchanged e-mails with Mr. Awlaki before the deadly rampage. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab met with him before he failed to blow up an airplane with a bomb hidden in his underwear in December 2009. Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square in May 2010, cited Mr. Awlaki as an inspiration.”
In short, this is a guy, who in the lexicon of Texas, needed killing.
And, whatever his and his administration’s tortured reasoning, President Obama did what had to be done.
What amazes me is that the conservatives are screeching about “slippery slopes,” which is normally a liberal argument; and the libs are screeching that Americans who take up arms against America have “rights” (which is normally an argument reserved for chimpanzees.)
Killing terrorists is a very important issue because that’s the only thing a terrorist understands. They say they are willing to die for their cause, and we must be willing to accommodate them. You cannot negotiate with them; and as long as they are allowed to keep coming at us, we are not safe.
Given those circumstances, the right thing to do is to dispose of the threat.
Now if we start using Hellfire missiles from Predator drones to take out American criminals on the streets of south central LA, that’s a different issue. But that’s not what we’re talking about.
When someone goes overseas, establishes that he’s a leader of an organization dedicated to bringing down America, and participates in that organization’s actions to do so, then, by definition, he or she has committed treason and unilaterally relinquished his or her American citizenship.
If Congress wants to establish a special, classified court to review such instances, similar to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts that give us permission to wiretap conversations involving such intelligence, it should do so.
Absent that, the President—any President—should be allowed the flexibility to protect America and Americans.
I know that many people literally hate Barack Obama. I know that many different people literally hated George W. Bush.
But both of these guys have one thing in common.
They were elected by Americans to the office, and they have a responsibility to all of us to keep us safe.
As I outlined above, I’m not in agreement with the legal reasoning which Obama used to come to his conclusion because the actual reasoning should be crystal clear. Further, there is a big element of hypocrisy in the Eric Holder department of so-called Justice’s ability to play intellectual twister to get to this position. He could have just called a press conference and said that after a few years in office, their views had changed. That when you commit treason overseas, all bets are off.
But, however he came to his conclusion, I support his actions in these limited cases; and I don’t think you are going to see drones over Nevada taking out conservative, gun-owning citizens.
Because if that were to happen, there probably would be an armed revolt.