Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Anwar Al-Awlaki Killed in Drone Strike –My 2 cents worth

Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born cleric in Yemen, was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen. The fact that this happened without a trial brought out a chorus of civil liberties groups raising "due process" concerns over the drone attack.

"No one likes these kind of people, but I also like the rule of law and I like our Constitution, that you don't just target people, assassinate them, someone who has not been charged and you have no proof of anything," Ron Paul said. "So if we want to protect American citizens from that type of justice, we have to be more cautious."

U.S. counterterrorism forces not only killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an Al Qaeda leader but also three other operatives, including American-born Samir Kahn, who edited a Jihadi Internet magazine. Al-Awlaki's reputation as an instigator of terrorist plots had grown in recent years, especially in the power void created in Al Qaeda with the killing of Usama bin Laden earlier this year.

I completely understand the civil liberty and constitutional arguments being made but I can not even remotely agree with their logic. Al-Awlarki was directly and actively involved in planning and carrying out attacks for the sole purpose of killing innocent American citizens. He was, by any definition, an enemy combatant engaged in operations against the United States. The fact that he was born in America and was a US citizen did not give him any special immunity nor place any special restrictions on our intelligence and military forces in taking him down.

If he had been located in a “safe house” in some city, perhaps a ground assault to try and capture him would have been possible and appropriate –something similar to what happened to Osama bin Laden. But that was not the case. He was constantly on the move, hiding in the mountainous regions of Yemen and doing his best to recruit radicals to kill Americans and direct attacks which could result in mass murders. The opportunity to put a stop to him presented itself, the ability to do it with a drone attack was available and our intelligence and military authorities acted –quickly, decisively and entirely appropriately.

If even one more of his attempts to attack Americans (such as the massacre of 13 soldiers by the traitorous Major Hassan) had succeeded and it was learned that we had had the chance to kill him but failed to do so because it may have violated his rights as a US citizen –the people responsible for that failure would have been crucified by public opinion. And rightfully so.

The debate about the status of enemy combatants in this new era of terrorism is a legitimate one –but only when it recognizes the danger of a failure or even a hesitation to act in the defense of innocent lives.

So, in my humble opinion, our armed forces acted properly and professionally in taking out a significant threat. I say everyone involved, from the President on down, deserves a “Thank You” and “Well Done”. Now let’s stop the bickering and get on with the business of tracking down and taking out the rest of these dangerous radicals.

Live Long and Prosper...

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