Jewish World Review Oct 5, 2011 / 7 Tishrei, 5772
Obama's Terrorist Dilemma
By Jonah Goldberg
I agree with the Obama administration's decision to kill the American-born al-Qaeda recruiter
Here's Secretary of Defense
I agree with that. The Constitution empowers the president to put down insurrection, and what was Awlaki if not an insurrectionist? From the Whiskey Rebellion to the Civil War to World War II, there have been times when presidents legally and constitutionally treated American citizens as enemy combatants. Awlaki hardly seems deserving of special treatment.
Moreover, the authorization for the use of force passed on
It doesn't say anything about exempting Americans. If news reports, statements from U.S. officials and Awlaki himself are to be believed, Awlaki was a member of al-Qaeda. Moreover, he helped orchestrate and incite violence aimed at the U.S. He never denied the charges against him but hid outside of U.S. jurisdiction fomenting violence against America.
And yet, I sympathize with critics on the far left and libertarian right who find the whole thing unseemly. Surely when an American is in the crosshairs, there's a higher political bar, even if there isn't a higher legal or constitutional one.
Carney's response: "I'm not going to ... discuss the circumstances of his death."
The mind reels to think how people would have responded if
But here's where I am confused. According to Attorney General
It seems the
Meanwhile, President Obama keeps ordering that the more famous terrorists be killed on sight. That's fine with me. But as far as I can tell, he's never disagreed with Holder's view about the need for civilian trials for terrorists we don't kill, like
Hence my confusion. If you believe that even non-American terrorists should be treated like American criminals, with all of the Fifth Amendment rights we grant to our own accused, how can you sanction killing an American without so much as a hearing?
The Fifth Amendment says that no person shall be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." A Predator drone strike seems to deprive all three.
Which would you prefer: to be arrested, possibly waterboarded and then tried by a U.S. military court in
And let's not forget, these missiles aren't that surgical. They kill the people around the target too. In this case
And that's the point, really. If captured alive, terrorists pose political problems for Obama. Where do we put them? How do we interrogate them? And, most pressingly, how do we try them?
I don't think those are tough questions. But Obama does. So he prefers to kill these people outright, avoiding the questions altogether.
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