The Assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki: America Murders its Own People and We Don’t Care

[Author update: Since 95+% of comments are bashing my perspective but only appear to have read the first few paragraphs, please read the entire article and then criticise. It’s only appropriate to read the entire argument before trying to tear it down when, in fact, I may have already answered your rebuttal. To those of you who have read my article and agree, please leave a comment to let me know. I’d like to think there are more of us out there who believe in a government limiting Constitution even when the ends seem to justify ignoring it.]

This is in response to da Tagliare’s article on “Ron Paul Denounces the Killing of a U.S. Terrorist.” I believe da Tagliare is wrong and Ron Paul is right. Assassinating U.S. citizens is murder and never legally acceptable. The Barack Obama administration apparently has some sort of legal ability to do this but has kept their legal reasoning classified due to its supposed sensitive nature. I’m not sure how sound a legal case can be when you refuse to tell the American people you represent what it is. How can a president be held accountable? Why not just classify everything? Who knows, that time may be coming.

I want to be clear. I am NOT defending Anwar al-Awlaki. Based on what we have been told about him being an al Qeada leader and a terrorist intent on murdering American citizens he deserved the death penalty. What I am pointing out is the danger of acting like liberals in eroding the limits the Constitution places on our Federal government. Conservatives are praising the actions of a corrupt government because we are ok with taking this scumbag out, yet when liberals do the same in the name of their causes we scream foul.

Back to this issue I have with America murdering its citizens. Da Tagliare wrote:

What I don’t understand is that the US had a number of terrorist charges against al-Awlaki, which is why he was one of the most widely hunted al-Qaeda leaders.  Besides, al-Qaeda has declared war on the US and all Americans, which would make any and all of their leadership enemies of the state, which constitute sufficient charges.  And in the case of al-Awlaki, since he is a US citizen, he is also guilty of treason against the country of his citizenship for waging war against it and in giving support and aid to the enemies of the nation.

First of all, I believe Ron Paul is right on. An American citizen has the right to a trial by jury and due process of law no matter how bad or destructive he is. We don’t assassinate murderers (heck, we usually let them go free and cross our fingers into hoping they don’t murder again) and if we did, we would go after the one who did the assassinating.

It is true, we had terrorist charges against al-Awlaki and he was an al-Qaeda leader, but we never caught him nor put him on trial. Since when do we assassinate or execute people caught in the U.S. when we have charges on them for terrorism? We haven’t even executed those prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and they aren’t American citizens!

What if al-Awlaki was engaged in his terrorist activities in the United States? Unless he was engaged in the act of murder would we have just blown up his house?

Those accused of treason are still required to be put on trial and either convicted or found non-guilty. That is what should have happened to al-Awlaki if we were able to capture him. We may never have captured him, but we sometimes don’t even capture our own murderers. We even re-elect some to political office. The Constitution places some strict limits on the government before it can declare someone to be a traitor:

No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

This idea that there are exceptions in the Constitution to what limits are placed on our Federal government is a dangerous, slippery slope.

Where do the assassinations stop? What defines a legal right to murder a U.S. citizen? Who defines that? It seems right now the Obama administration has defined it. But what happens when our country accepts this assassination as one of those Constitutional “exceptions” we must act upon in certain situations? We become no better than the Liberals who are trying to destroy our Constitution. What happens when the definition of legal assassinations becomes more broad?

For a government that couldn’t outlaw alcohol without a Constitutional Amendment, we sure do allow it to do some pretty heinous things all in the name of “national security.” What happens when political opponents are targeted in the name of “national security” and assassinated because they are homegrown terrorists? What if TEA Partiers are labelled as enemy combatants against the United States?

The dangerous precedent this assassination has created is very real.