According to the National Review, "The debate about the Obama administration’s alleged “assassination” order against Anwar al-Awlaki has been almost absurdly devoid of real-world context."
Well, thank aquabuddha for Dolphin-fucking-Kazoo! Seems to me your problem goes something like this:
1. The Constitution requires the president to take an oath to protect the country (Art II, Sect 1) and makes him commander-in-chief of the military.
2. The Constitution gives congress the power to declare war. (Art. I, sect. 8)
3. The war powers resolution of 1973 requires a congressional vote on sending troops into conflict except in self-defense. P.S. it may be unconstitutional.
4. People who murder others are criminals
5. People who murder others are also sometimes soldiers of a country at war with us.
6. Criminals get a trial, enemy soldiers we can just shoot.
7. Al Qaeda is not sponsored by a particular country at war with us.
8. Legally, they can't be enemy soldiers, just criminals.
9. Since 9-11, the Constitution has been tied up in knots so that we can kill al Qaeda guys instead of arresting them and trying them.
10. Many people who are big fans of the Constitution are upset.
So, enter Anwar Al-Awlaki, an Imam born in New Mexico, and therefore, an American citizen, (thanks to that pesky 14th Amendment). He worked in Denver at a mosque until just after 9-11, when he left the country. He's got a big mouth and he has jumped on the Death-to America bus.
The powers-that-be have "connected him" to the Ft.Hood crazy shooter guy and the Times Square wanna-bomber (TM) guy. In the same sense that we're all "connected" to Kevin Bacon.
Anwar al-Awlaki wrote a piece for the al Qaeda online magazine "Inspire" spouting all kinds of Death to America shit.
These days he is apparently somewhere in Yemen threatening to cause trouble with a group called AQAP. He is not its leader; in fact, the National Counterterrorism Center devotes 6 paragraphs to its description of APAQ without mentioning him at all.
The White House stated on 9-24-10 categorically that “There is no doubt AQAP is a serious threat to Yemen, the United States, and our allies,” citing the christmas underwear bomber, as well as AQAP attacks in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. “The United States has also designated AQAP and its leaders as terrorists domestically and through the United Nations in order to prevent their travel and restrict their access to the international financial system.”
Yet they can't put a gun in his hand, ever - and these guys don't go to the can without a loaded AK47.
So Anwar Al-Awlaki is either (a) a dangerous criminal who is planning an attack on the US, or (b) a harmless blowhard with a web site.
Not for nothin', but you know what's really handy in finding out what he really is? A TRIAL!!!!!!
Anyway, under one of the new crazy interpretations of the constitution that allows him to do so, Obama has targeted this guy for death. Yes, he was stroking a white cat and ordering his henchmen about.
A different writer for the National Review points out that al-Awlaki is mostly accused of being a propagandist. A professional cyber-asshole. There is no evidence that he loaded the gun for the Fort Hood shooter dude or stuffed anything into anyone's underwear on christmas. "The penalty for treason is not assassination without trial, and there is nothing in our Constitution or tradition to suggest that it is."
He sees this "assassination without representation" as an unwarranted expansion of executive power and I agree with him.
Criminal charges can only be brought on probable cause. Is it unfair to ask which crime the individual did or threatened to do? Targeting a citizen based on his status as the member of a named group seems antithetical to due process.
BTW, I love how they say that a certain guy is a direct threat to National Security. To say that one man is planning to “attack” the territorial United States strains credulity. It smacks of hyperbole. The Christmas bombing would have been a tragedy, but hardly an attack on the nation.
What I and others fear is the creation of a vague, clandestine system of quasi-criminal detentions and executions in the name of fighting an undefined threat – terrorism. The prior administration did an incredibly lousy job of building trust in this area.
the habeas corpus action filed by AlAwlaki's dad is bullshit. It's just an attempt to test the constitutionality of the “targeted killing of citizens” apparatus – a legal artifice to get the issue before a federal judge. Fail forthcoming.
Also, excuse me, but what kind of manly terrorist are you if you get your DAD to file a "please don't kill me" lawsuit in an infidel American court?? What a pussy! He should be blowing up courthouses, not groveling in them! I mean, one day, it's all "Death to America," and the next he's putting on a tie and sitting quietly next to his dad and his lawyer in court? (Send lawyers, guns and money / Dad, get me out of this!)
The al-Awlaki case presents some important questions about state secrets and executive power. I'm not on the inside, and neither are any of the wags yelping on one side or the other online. All I can do is hope they are doing the right thing. But won't it suck if it turns out that the guy was just a poser - a televangelist for jihad trying to make a buck online. Like a Yemeni Rush Limbaugh or Pat Robertson. That means no cyber-asshole is safe. . .