I write this blog with mixed feelings. My mind tells me that our soldiers have eliminated a grave threat to the country, but my heart tells me that our government has made a humongous mistake.
I am not a backer of Ron Paul for president, though I often pay close attention when he speaks because he is straight forward not always wrong. In this issue, I fear he is correct in voicing his opposition to the killing of an al Qaeda operative in Yemen.
Paul is condemning the murder by American forces of not one, but two American citizens dwelling in another country. It is disturbing, for a number of reasons. Yes, Anwar al-Awlaki was a bad guy, a dangerous radical Islamist who deserved the full brunt of the American justice system. That’s not what he got. He was assassinated, as was his accomplice. In this instance, the United States by-passed the justice system and carried out a death sentence without a trial. I’m not so sure we did not commit an illegal act.
Where is the liberal media now? Is there anything that Barack Obama can do that deserves criticism by the press? Imagine G.W. Bush carrying out assassinations in foreign countries, not in the theater of war operations. How would MCBNC or the New York Times have reacted then?
There is no evidence that Anwar al-Awlaki killed anyone, although we know that he has counseled and inspired other people to commit acts of terror. Is that reason enough to assassinate? Should we use our intelligence sources to identify all haters of America who call for our destruction, inspiring violence, and then order them to be killed? If so, there are plenty to go around. Radical Islamists have been calling for our destruction all over the world, including in Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, even London. Let’s go get ‘em.
I’m not sorry al-Awlaki is dead. And I’m not sorry Osama bin Laden is dead. But where do we now draw the line? Does this not set precedent that the United States government, at the discretion of any president, can select our enemies — while not in a field of combat — by crossing the borders of another nation and kill them at will, then pump fists as though we’re heroes?
The media went into a frenzy lauding President Obama for the killing of Osama bin Laden. But few thought about the process. According to reports, by the time the SEAL team reached him, Bin Laden was unarmed and shot down in cold blood. He could have been captured and tried, humiliated, punished and excoriated to serve an example of the fate of future terrorists. But that was not the case. He was murdered at the behest of the president. And any intelligence information about his network that would have become public, died with him.
His body was whisked off and secretly shuttled to an American warship where he was given (allegedly) a Muslim service and buried at sea. No pictures. No media criticism.
Is Osama bin Laden really dead?
If we are going to talk about living by the rule of law, then we have to live by that rule. If this administration is going to berate the previous administration for abuse of power, then it must — by all accounts — be cautious not to abuse its own power.
Some folks say it’s all part of war. But I don’t remember a war being declared by congress against any entity, any nation or any person. So, where and by what authority does the United States have to invade the sovereignty of another country, uninvited, for the purpose of seeking out and assassinating another human being, especially a legal citizen of this country?
How would Americans feel if we learned that Vladimir Putin dispatched a stealth team of Russian assassins into Dallas or Miami to kill an enemy of their country? In the United States, that would be labeled a First Degree Murder.
In no way do I defend al Awlaki or bin Laden, or any of their ilk. I have always been a hawk on issues of national security. But if we think we’ve dealt a blow to the terrorist network around the globe, we should think again. The Jihadist organizations are in many counties in the world, with riches galore at their disposal and thousands of martyrs-to-be in waiting to ascend to a heaven filled with dancing virgins. Stamping out Osama bin Laden or Anwar al-Awlaki is like killing two big sharks in the ocean. Then what? Do we really think this is going to put a stop to international terror?
Global terrorism is rooted, not in one or two people, but in an ideology that is pervasive around the world: Radical Islam. We are not at war against al Qaeda, though some would have you think that. We are at war against an ideology that spans the globe, in more than seventy countries. Al Qaeda is a mere regiment in an Army that is focused on eliminating the western way of life, by violence or by deceit. There are many other enemy soldiers in that war, besides al Qaeda, and some of them are living inside our borders pretending to be our friends.
One thing’s for sure: By using assassination as a tool to combat terrorists, it by-passes the trial process in which prosecuting teams would delve very deeply into the backgrounds, lives and associations of the accused, with the potential to reveal mountains of information that will now remain secret.
Makes you wonder. Was there another motive?