07 April 2010

State-sanctioned murder we can believe in

No hypotheticals, no reserving rights for possible scenarios, it's now official:
U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.
The headlines are nothing short of breathtaking.
Obama Administration Approves Killing Of Muslim American Cleric‎

Barack Obama orders killing of US cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

US Authorizes Killing of American Cleric

US approves killing US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

Reports: US OKs radical US-born cleric for death

Muslim cleric Aulaqi is 1st U.S. citizen on list of those CIA is allowed to kill
Words like "Muslim cleric" tend to muddy peoples' thinking, but there being no way to describing this individual without eliciting knee-jerk reactions from a certain segment of the populace, I prefer the final headline, taken from the Washington Post. It's about as unambiguous as it gets:

The government can now kill a United States citizen, born right here in New Mexico, without arrest, charge, or trial, based on nothing more than what unaccountable government sources suspect him of having done.

Story after story calls it "unusual," "unprecedented," "extraordinary," etc., but no one seems to ask the crucial question:


By what authority is the President of the United States allowed to essentially cite secret evidence and unilaterally declare that a U.S. citizen is to be killed? What statute supersedes not just some, but every, last protection this man has under the law? What legal basis exists for stripping the basic rights that this government affords to murderers, spies, assassins, and, yes, terrorists?

Consider this quote, dutifully regurgitated without the slightest analysis or question by the WaPo:
"He's recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," said a second U.S. official. "He's working actively to kill Americans, so it's both lawful and sensible to try to stop him." The official stressed that there are "careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens."

According to which one?

"Careful procedures?

What are they? Who decides?

"U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection?"

Not even against being summarily executed by your own government?

The questions are so obvious that their absence should be as shocking as this revelation, itself. And yet they will remain absent and unspoken, both by Obama's reversal-embracing apologists, as well as his deranged group of detractors who see the conscious destruction of this nation's values in his every decision...until confronted with this choice that does just that.

This assassination doctrine means that we, as a nation, have not only not changed course from the last eight years, but we've followed it right off the map.

And where that leaves us is anyone's guess.

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