Blogs Sep 30, 2011 at 6:41 am


And here I thought Ayman Al-Zawahiri was at the top of our list, silly me.
Now can our troops come home? Oh nevermind....
And Terrorism was never ever a problem, ever again.
"Assuming his was everything the US government says...."

What possible justification is there that ANYthing the US government says is accurate? They have been lying from the very beginning about the whole mess, and their actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and here in the US have done far more to promote anti-American jihad than any cleric or extremist movement possibly could have managed on their own.
Actually Goldy, no - not "assuming he was everything the US government says".

The US Government saying that someone is a terrorist - without offering any proof of any kind, much less proving that accusation beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law - does not give the US government the right to murder American citizens who are not active participants on a battlefield. Read Greenwald on this.…

There's _nothing_ complicated about that. Nothing at all. Why is it so hard for you?

(By the way, the idea that believing in due process means that you want terrorists to go free - that's bullshit at a level that's hard to describe, in that it begs the question (in a formal logical sense): without due process, no one is anything but an alleged or accused terrorist. To say nothing of the fact that Constitutional protections of due process on the say-so of the president - that's not an American value.)
So you support extra-judicial, due process-free executions of U.S. citizens, Goldy? I'm sorry, I meant to say "targeted killings." There is only one party in this country, the War Party. Just look at the spectacle of a hard lefty like Goldy falling over himself to praise our Nobel laureate-in-chief for this bullshit.
This guy was a pretty bad person, and he recruited a lot of people to do bad things. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
@7 nailed it. This should be the thing that strikes terror in the heart of every American. The government is wiping their asses with the Constitution. It is meaningless.
@6 and @7

durp durp durp.…

He chose his camp. And suffered the consequences.

Goldy, your closing remark has brought the former Stranger intern and libertarian scab Matt Luby back to our humble commt threads. The new year is off to a scabby libertarian start. Hoo boy.
@8, and @11, re-read my last paragraph, and then explain why, precisely, you think that Constitutional protections do not matter.
I heart drones.
Bye-bye 5th amendment! It was fun while it lasted!
@ 5, 6, 7, 10 - Pussies

To make an omlette, ya gotta break some eggs.
Hell, even assuming only 1/2-2/3 of what's been said about him was actually true, he was a high-value enemy soldier, serving in the capacity of a controller of domestic covert operatives. If it's true, droning was thoroughly justified. In general, I have no problem with icing these fucks. Just so long as we keep it overseas.

I trust this Aministration miles more than the Bush/Cheney kakistocracy. Simply put, they got more cred from the outset by espousing sensible policy goals and they haven't got caught in a real whopper yet.
While I generally believe in treating captured terrorism suspects exactly like civilian profit-driven criminals, I see a clear bright line between the restraint we're bound to use in apprehending a civilian target and a military one. If you're directing covert military action against our soldiers, you're a military target. Within our own borders, it doesn't make much difference. You're a target of law enforcement whose primary directive is to apprehend you for due process. Overseas, it's not just our government's right, but their duty to neutralize a military threat by military means.
I'm not surprised but still horrified to witness liberals acting like jingoistic, bloodthirsty warmongers when Democrats do the killing.
I only trust the government to murder those people I want it to murder with their extraordinary powers that they just invented for themselves, were never voted on, clearly violate the Constitution, and let them do whatever they want without any oversight, because I'm a proud Democrat and I support my Party dammit!
Goldy, you could not be more wrong than to assume what the government says is true. That's what we have the Bill of Rights to protect against.
Was al-Awlaki one of the guys who hijacked those planes on 9/11? We need to keep assassinating lecturers until we find them, never give up!
Remember kiddies if a Democrat commits criminal acts its OKAY!! It's only bad if a Republican does the same thing.

And that's how you play Slog!!!
It's an interesting debate. I certainly won't shed a tear for the guy, and let's acknowledge that his killing qualifies as a victory in this war. But it's also true that it sets a disturbing precedent for the USG killing a US citizen without due process. However, can't you argue that virtually EVERY killing of an AQ-affiliated combatant/leader falls into that category? I mean, every AQ fighter is a citizen of SOME state, but the US has not declared war on ANY state in this "Global War On Terrorism". So every time we kill an AQ fighter, we kill a citizen of a state that we are not technically at war with. That Alwaki is American is incidental; his killing is a subset of the larger problem of fighting a war aginst a "non-state actor". The only similar historical precedent is fighting piracy in the 18th century, when states essentially adopted a policy of "see pirates, kill pirates" and used their naval forces accordingly. I'm sure the Royal Navy "extra-judicially" killed a number of English citizens who had taken up piracy. So what?
I'm sorry...was there a declaration of war that I missed? I thought the last one happened in December of 1941? Because if Bush or Obama asked for a declaration of war the media certianly didn't mention it.
@25: So what?! If you should know anything about the history of piracy, it's that most pirates were escaped slaves, of some form or another. Despite the folklore, pirates were seen as outlaws not because of what they DID but what they WERE. The threat was the notion that people could liberate themselves. Do you say "So what?" about the treatment of runaway or insurrectionist slaves in the 19th century U.S.?
Yes, the pirate wars are good comparison: it's an empire distorting reality to justify barbarous acts and expansion of said empire.

Many go great lengths with appeals to reason to justify the killing of Awlaki, because they cannot justify it morally.
Good Morning Goldy,
While I agree with you, "Good Riddance", I am greatly disturbed by this assassination of an American citizen w/o due process. The point is moot but it would be interesting to hear/read how the Left would have reacted had this operation occurred under a Bush or McCain Administration. The question has been posed already by Sloggers but do you agree to kill American citizens extra-judicially whether residing aboard or even domestically?

For the record, I do recall a similar situation of an American, John Walker Lindh participating in a combat mission against the USA. He was caputured not killed.
As Greenwald says, how will you feel about these awesome new powers Obama has inaugurated when they're wielded by President Perry or President Bachman?

Nice to see liberals here calling Goldy out on his partisan hypocrisy.
Though I would like to thank Goldy for using the appropriate language of mob in the title of the post to describe what the U.S. did.
@27, good points. So we do have a basis of comparison then: the core of "AQ prime" consists of highly-educated and wealthy elites who adopted a radical violent ideology, not runaway slaves. So they've been pursued because of what they DID.

And remember, when the government says someone is guilty, like Anwar al-Awlaki, or, say, Troy Davis, or say, the West Memphis Three, you know they must be guilty.

Especially when a Democratic government says they're guilty.…

Goldy's sentiment in this post is a clear demonstration of how reflexive partisanship is inherently conservative.
There seems to be a lot of evidence Al-Awlaki was actively engaged in terrorism. Let's assume you are running the government and you are convinced he is hip deep in planning operations to kill Americans. He is in Yemen, hiding among people who don't like us and isn't volunteering to surrender for trial. What are your options? You can blow him up with a drone. You can send special forces troops in to arrest him, if he stays still long enough for you to plan an operation. Or you can do nothing, and hope that he doesn't do much damage before you might have an opportunity to arrest him some time in the future.

Would those of you criticizing this action really choose to ignore someone you were convinced was actively engaged in plots to kill Americans? I would hope not. Does that mean the only legitimate response would be sending in troops to try to arrest him, in a hostile region, at great risk to those troops, if he can be located somewhere this is possible? It really seems to me that a lot of folks are actually arguing that because he was an American citizen, the government could not take any action against him except arrest and trial, and if he took part in terror operations before that, too bad. I don't think that's what the Constitution requires.
@28: that's a distortion of Lindh's role in the Taliban - he was a taliban foot soldier and then a bush propaganda scapegoat. lindh was, and is, a fucking idiot. the evidence: he's a monotheist.

he was captured by the Northern Alliance, not the US military. his role in a prison uprising was to keep his mouth shut, get shot in the leg, and hide in the basement. it wasn't exactly a "combat mission against the USA" - they killed a CIA officer, along with lots of Afghanis. his treatment by the american military and media was appalling, bush sr.'s comments about "marin-county hot tubbers" predjudicial, the charges at his trial were overkill (conspiracy to contribute services to Al Qaeda?), the 20 year sentence without parole excessive, and the gag order unconstitutional.

al-awlaki was al-qaeda 1st, and an american technically. i get the anger at his killing, but i guess we should have shot a big net from the drone instead.
@33: Nope. It's what we are TOLD they did.
@ #36 - Or we could have had the drone drop a sternly written letter on him. He was an enemy combatant and a traitor; I do not mourn him and could give a fuck about the Constitution in this particular matter.
@17, "I trust this Aministration miles more than the Bush/Cheney kakistocracy. Simply put, they got more cred from the outset by espousing sensible policy goals and they haven't got caught in a real whopper yet."

You fundamentally do not understand what the rule of law means. If you're not going to object when Obama does it, then the next president - who might be more like Bush/Cheney than Obama - will feel free to do it as well.

The laws apply to all - including every president - or else they only apply to the weak. There are no other choices.
@37... "what we are TOLD"... oooookay. He said most of it himself, on YouTube, Al Jazeera, etc. Don't think he wouldn't have killed you if he'd had the chance.…

South America called to say we've been doing crap like this for decades, probably longer. The Middle East concurs.

It's not like America has every truly or fully lived up to its professed values. I guess we're left with two questions:
* Is there a way to improve the system and properly check the government's power and still protect our interests?
* Does this somehow absolve us from the imperative to make our government the least evil we can achieve?
@ 38,

... could give a fuck about the Constitution...

Why should you? No Serious Person does.

It's an even bigger fraud than the eCONomy.
@35 Nicely put, and thank you. I don't think that there are many people, even among all but the wingnuttiest of wingnuts, who would favor extrajudicial execution to trial, if the option is available to bring him to trial (i.e. he was captured in combat, or could be arrested by a foreign country's intelligence or police service and extradited to the US). In the real world, none of these options were available to us, and certainly not without a tremendous risk to American servicemen. I don't particularly care for the precedent, but I have no doubt that this man would have cost many American lives if he was given the chance, and weighing America lives to terrorist ones is a simple equation for me.
The only question I have is why didn't we revoke his citizenship? Is it really that hard, even when an individual is a loud and proud traitor?
That Anwar guy, didn't he used to have a column with the Washington Post (WaPo)??

And wasn't he the same Anwar al-Awlaki that met with George Weasel Bush when he was el Presidente to give Bush advice on Islamic relations?

Guess that meeting didn't go so well.......

(And BTW, if they can whack one WaPo columnist, they should be able to whack them all!)
Well, at least they can't blame the American debt on that Anwar guy, after all, but let's supposing they started sending those drones over Wall Street and Liberty Street (after all the decent Real American protesters there had been cleared away, of course).…
The next thing the crazy conspiracy theorist will try and say is that Anwar Al-Awlaki actually dined at the pentagon....oh...wait....……
Would it be just and right for Iran to send a missile strike onto the Pentagon to murder Iranian defectors helping the US Gov't plan attacks within Iranian borders? Would that not be an act of war?

This whole "I approve of the US Gov't murdering people WHEN they murder the people who I don't like" is the highest possible perversion of the rules of law, of ethics, and a complete embrace of hypocrisy. "It's right when we do it, but it's wrong when they do it." Fucking nonsense.
Yep. Goldy, when has the US government EVER lied to us? Oh, and just where is the evidence that this guy was heavily involved in any crime or involved in direct hostilities with that drone? Still can't find it huh?

Liberal handwringing over Troy Davis over the past week or so is pathetic. It's interesting, we call this guy a traitor when there's a strict specification for that which was not met. But nobody gives a shit about the Constitution, right @38? Well, I am sure your turn will come soon enough.
@48 You have the best avatar, ever. God, I loved that game. One of my favorite SNES titles.

Anyway, a bad guy died? I dunno. I don't see what the problem is. I shot people who may or may not have been terrorists - hell, they were shooting at me, so I didn't stop and ask - and no one ever had a problem with it, aside from my hippy niece.

I mean, is it because it's targeted? Because of the drones? Where's the problem?
@ #49 - Please try to pay attention. I said "in this particular matter" for a reason. We are at war, if you hadn't noticed.
@50 Yeah, win-win for us when we can bomb people who aren't shooting at us. It's not analogous at all to your situation. I guess the main problem is...why the fuck are we even doing that, much less with a CITIZEN? What business do we have over there and when will people realize we are the Empire when we claim we can do this actions while expecting no consequences.
Let's just play the conventional wisdom game and say we're supposed to be a free country, recognizing the rights of all. It's not freedom if we only recognize it part of the time with a million provisos thrown in and because our tribe is the most awesomest ever.
@Yes, in this particular matter! I won't forget sir! Nevermind, it's NOT a fucking war and IF we want to follow the rules (which I am seeing less and less reason to do as a citizen, since no one takes them seriously), then they apply all the time--we don't abandon them so you can have a bloodcult circle jerk moment of self-gratification.
@50, you made an excellent point. They were shooting at you. This guy was telling people to shoot at you. He wasn't commanding them. He was saying he approves of it. In a free society, that's not a crime. In a free society, even if it could be construed as a crime, the accused has a right to a trial.

Last week, the government killed a guy they claimed was a murderer, after giving him a trial, and everyone here was horrified. Yesterday, the government killed a guy they claim encouraged murder, without giving him a trial, and many of those same people approve of it.
@50, just where were you when you were shooting citizens of another nation????

Were you smuggling? An illegal invader? Working on behalf of which and how many multinationals?

I recall many years ago, when a military draft was in effect, that a team I was on came across a weapons system in the hands of the NVA which hadn't even made it onto the market yet and was developed and manufactured by a subsidiary of Xerox.

Boy oh boy, was that ever an eye-opener......

But seriously, @50, China loves you (or at least the People's Liberation Army does, as they own the mining companies the US military is providing protection for in Afghanistant), and so do those multinationals in India where those oil and gas pipelines cut across to carry energy to their facilities there --- and Pakisan loves you as gas pipelines cut across Afghanistan for similar reasons.

(Say, Pakisan? Wasn't that were Osama was?)
Wow. It's amazing how many slog readers are willing to parrot the empire's talking points. It's as if you actually believe it. Who will be the next Emmanuel Goldstein?…
That's good, I'm glad somebody loves me. Cause god knows the Iraqis and Afghanis don't.

By gods, they sure cried, and screamed, a lot.
Really, this is similar to the western cliche, where the sheriff has a criminal in jail and the mob gathers outside to demand a lynching. The sheriff, says, "He'll hang. After he gets a fair trial."

In the scenario, the sheriff is the physical manifestation of the Constitution and its guarantees of due process to everyone. And I'm afraid the mob is everyone here who approves of this action.
Okay, if an American citizen is actively, intentionally contributing to a situation that puts American lives at risk- and I understand there's disagreement on the matter, yes- then he should be held accountable for that, and in a fully legal fashion. Due process and whatnot.

But if assassination like this is unacceptable, what other options are there if due process is not available? If he surrounds himself with armed protection in some foreign land disinclined to apprehend and render him to us, what else can the US do? Again, if he was taking steps to bring about the deaths of Americans, it seems to me like waiting for an opportunity to follow due process is putting lives at risk, so it becomes a matter of the weight one life vs. others.

And I'm not saying this as some snarky attempt to undercut the "assassination is wrong" camp, it's an honest inquiry. If not the assassination, what should have happened?
This was some good stuff right here. At least a dozen of you just reminded me so hard of Britta on Community that I actually heard her voice whilst reading your posts. Thanks for the entertainment, all.

@59, lot of "if's" in your post. That's the point of a trial. But your questions are good ones, and sincere.

First of all, we have no idea if he was "taking steps to bring about the deaths of Americans." Many experts believe there's no evidence whatsoever to suggest he was.

What do we do? We do what we do with any U.S. fugitive in a foreign country without a rendition agreement? We either threaten them or we send agents in or we land and surround the place and tell him to come out with his hands up. If he shoots, he dies.

If you're genuinely curious about what else could have been done and why this was so wrong, you simply must read this piece by Glenn Greenwald.…

There are a lot of people here saying killing Al-Awlaki this way was wrong. Let's assume that he was actively engaged in planning terror operations against Americans and recruiting others to carry those operations out. What should the government have done instead?

@62 Why assume that when the US can provide no evidence that he was "actively engaged in planning terror operations?" Shall we accept the word of the State over the adversarial system established to keep that very State from depriving EVERYONE from being deprived of their right to life without due process? If it was a police action, it might be different but this was a consistent long-term campaign of bombing this man, with the help of dictatorial regimes in Yemen.
Also, when he stopped being a useful idiot for WaPo and the Pentagon, he became a "terrarist."

A useful article, thank you.
@62, it's a legitimate question. But your hypothetical situation requires lots and lots and lots of evidence that isn't present in this one. But, let's say it is. The government would do what it does with all criminals. It would surround his compound and order his surrender. If he didn't surrender, then he'd be taken dead or alive.

That's the difference between an assassination and an attempted apprehension. It's why the Constitution says you can't deny a person their life without a trial. Living with due process is more difficult than living without it, to be sure. But what choice does any free society have?
@62, Also, it would be different if the suspect was known to shoot and kill those attempting to arrest him, like Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde. It would be different if he was hiding in a place like North Korea or even Iran where we wouldn't be allowed to go and apprehend him. Of course, none of that applies in this case.
Also: Any terrorist or guerilla warrior capable of doing anything operates within a cell that only a few people know about. It they are smart enough to kill you they are smart enough not organize themselves in such a way that killing someone who posts videos on YouTube accomplishes anything. I guarantee he had NO connection to any actual plots. Any supposed connection is to Obama what WMDs in Iraq were to Bush.

Watch "The Battle of Algiers" sometime for more insight. Also, how many times does your government have to lie to you before you stop believing it? Seriously.

"What do we do? We do what we do with any U.S. fugitive in a foreign country without a rendition agreement? We either threaten them or we send agents in or we land and surround the place and tell him to come out with his hands up. If he shoots, he dies."

It is apparent you have not thought this through. Grabbing up a terrorism suspect in a hostile region is not so simple as strapping on the guns and sending in the troops. First, he is surrounding by heavily armed folks who are going to resist when you show up. Second, he is apparently not sticking around in one place long enough to verify his presence, determine what else is there, plan an operation, and get the logistics in place to carry it out. So your plan amounts to either doing nothing while this guy carries out plans to kill Americans, or sending in a bunch of troops in a hastily planned risky operation, where a whole bunch of people are likely to get killed.

@68 A hastily planned, risky operation in a foreign territory? Oh, like we did with unarmed Osama Bin Laden?

I believe Milosevic was also captured and handed over to the UN after a lengthy standoff at an armed palace. It's been done before. We gave a trial to that scumbag, too.

Whether you trust what the government is telling you is a different question than what are the legitimate means the government can use to protect its citizens. I am only addressing the latter question. Based on Al-Awlaki's own words, it is apparent to me that he was active in recruiting people to be terrorists in the organization of which he was a member, if nothing else. That makes him a legitimate target.
Osama was staying in the same place for an extended period of time with almost no guards. That made it possible to carefully plan an operation, and it was still risky. There was also a benefit to making sure it was him, in person. It would have been a different matter if he had been constantly moving around with a large armed escort. I guarantee that they would have used a drone.
No, it doesn't and that's the point. It's not even close to a legitimate target. First and foremost because the Yemeni war is illegal. Not to mention all that due process crap that doesn't matter to you anymore, especially when it's a Donk in office.

What did Awlaki say and when did speech become an offense, summarily punishable by death? Why are we not bombing others who *say* bad things then? I'm pretty sure the government killed MLK Jr for the same reasons. Cuz he was saying verrry bad things. He was a very bad man. Right? Usually, that means you have to go ahead and kill people that say very bad things.
@71 This wasn't the first drone attack against Awlaki, where it entirely missed him in the past killing many innocent women and children. How does your perverted sense of Imperial morality justify those killings that will continue long past this day?

Take a look at Al-Awlaki's wikipedia page. You are free to think he was just some poor schmo exercising his freedom of speech. It is obvious to me he was hip deep in planning operations and recruiting suicide bombers.
@74 Thanks for converting me, Hallowed Source of Truth Wikipedia. I was going to consult some other peer reviewed articles or foreign press but I can just go believe the Wiki. Now I can swallow that bitter pill so much easier. I don't care if he's a schmo or a criminal. Principled belief in rights means everyone has 'em--especially when they are not even actively engaged in hostilities.

If you were making the decision on what to do about this guy, and you believed he was actively engaged in planning terrorist operations against America, would you have waited to do anything about him until you could get boots on the ground? Would you have made this decision even if you believed that the delay might enable him to plan operations that killed Americans? Would you have made this decision even if you knew troops would likely be killed or captured in an operation that would be violently opposed by heavily armed tribesmen protecting Al-Awlaki? That's not the decision I would make.

Why does it seem like ytou are more suspicious of the government made up of your fellow Americans, than a guy who puts out videos telling people to kill Americans.
"Why does it seem like ytou are more suspicious of the government made up of your fellow Americans, than a guy who puts out videos telling people to kill Americans."

I am equally suspicious of both, only one has an extensive military apparatus and the other posts videos on YouTube.
I am suspicious of a government that claims it has the right to kill Americans away from a battlefield and then hides behind the power of the state to conceal any evidence that it says exists to substantiate those claims. Are you not? It's as clear a violation of the entire social contract as all the other egregious bullshit that Bush and Obama and everyone else have put over on us "fellow Americans" not to mention the rest of the world. Just remember who the "biggest purveyor of violence in the world own government."
So the lesson here is that sometimes it's unconstitutional to kill AmeriKKKan citizens without charges or trial, unless the Preznalent or some other random authority figure like some mindless CIA desk-jockey demanding more funding for their department sez they're A Very Bad Person, then--presto!--it's totally OK to kill anyone, anywhere at anytime. Especially if a Google search sez they're guilty of Thoughtcrime. The End.
"Despite the folklore, pirates were seen as outlaws not because of what they DID but what they WERE. The threat was the notion that people could liberate themselves."


oh wait, you're serious

let me laugh even harder

"First of all, we have no idea if he was "taking steps to bring about the deaths of Americans." Many experts believe there's no evidence whatsoever to suggest he was."

Doesn't matter if he was planning deaths. One of the standards for treason is "aid and comfort," which he most certainly was providing as a willing propagandist.
@81- Once again, you have to TRIED for treason.
*have to be TRIED for treason.
Bullshit. Any trial in absentia would be bitched about endlessly as well, because that's what it would have to be. Considering every person that's watched his videos is a witness to his crimes, the evidentiary standard has more than been met. Managing to spirit yourself to shores w/out extradition treaties doesn't give you carte blanche to do whatever you want. He willingly became an enemy combatant and got his just desserts. It's no different than if he picked up a gun and and was fighting in that sort of battle, American forces aren't under the obligation to not shoot at him while he's shooting at them just so he can be put on trial.
@84 - I'll just quote GG on this."Because he wasn't shooting at anyone when he was killed - other than that, it's a great comparison "

We are allies with Yemen. How do you know that Anwar al-Awlaki was surrounded by "heavily armed folks?" How do you know he was in a "hostile region?" How do you know these things?

It may be "clear" to you that he was actively doing something that required him to be blown up by remote control, but that's not how things work in a free society. Evidence is presented and evaluated by a jury. But the government refused to present ANY evidence that al-Awlaki was doing the things you're sure he was doing. "State secrets," don't you know.

How many more innocent people need to die violently so that we can kill a guy who was cheerleading terrorism on the internet? Five? Twenty? One hundred? Okay, how about this. How many of your family members would be worth violently killing to put an end to a guy cheerleading terrorists on the internet? Seriously.
Churchill was right. Now that I'm over 40 my youthful idealistic liberalism has given way to a more common-sense approach. This guy wasn't the Rosenbergs (nice Jewish intellectuals tried and executed for their ideas). He was an Al Aaeda terrorist in Yemen, plotting to attack and kill Americans on our own soil. Better a drone than the waste of more American lives and the tragedy of the "collateral damage" of innocent lives lost in Yemen, Afghanistan, or Iraq.

Should the Constitution protect those who shun their own citizenship?
@ #88 - It doesn't, good point. He was a traitor who joined the enemy in a time of war...because of that the USA executed him. There was no need for due process. We are at war and he was our enemy. Congratulation to President Obama for doing his duty as Commander in Chief and defending the USA's safety from those who seek to destroy us.
@87 There's nothing conservative or "common-sense" about the War on Terror.
Actually the Rosenbergs were completely guilty and got what they deserved. Decoded Soviet cables confirmed this, and one of their co-defendants admitted it in 2008.
@88 Once again, you're showing your ignorance. All wonderful little bromides you can tell yourself though so you can go back to sleep with ease. None of those bromides carry a shred of truth.
@86 -- How many of your family members would have to be violently killed before you'd put a stop to it without a trial? Seriously.
"All wonderful little bromides you can tell yourself though so you can go back to sleep with ease."

Yes, bromides like "avowed traitors actively working to harm their own country in foreign lands ought to be tried, and if that option doesn't exist then welp I guess they get away with it!"
@87, We don't know that he was an Al Qaeda terrorist. The government refuses to release any evidence because of "state secrets."

What makes you think that killing him will decrease the number of civilians we're killing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen? You think we're going to stop with the drone attacks now that everyone is applauding them?
@Reader01 -- even Ethel? Still, not the point. The Rosenbergs were idealists, not murderers. Anwar al-Awlaki would have all of us on this threat murdered in front of our families and laugh as we died.
@ #92 - Do you know what bromide means? My statements are not trite. I appreciate your resolve, but that doesn't change the fact that we are at war and he had joined with the enemy. Why are you defending the memory of a traitorous and vile person?
Hey Slaggy, think you meant that for 93. I'm with you. ;)
@96 If there ever has been a bromide used reflexively and so often to justify criminal acts of the State, it's:

"We're at WAR!"
"He's a Terrarist! He is one with the Evil Other."
"Why defend the rights of Traitors*?"

*Even though that term has a strict legal definition that Awlaki didn't come close to...but nevermind the Constitution THIS TIME, not when I need a trial...only when evil guys do crime!

I know I am a terrarist lover. That'll be the new "nigger lover" in our fascist state. I should just love the big bad robots that set destruction on all the actual non-criminals we kill too.

"We don't know that he was an Al Qaeda terrorist."

Yeah, we do. His videos on Youtube.

"The Rosenbergs were idealists, not murderers."

Yeah, they were worse. They passed nuclear secrets to the Russians, enabling them to develop the capability to kill millions of us, more than any murderer could hope to accomplish, and that power enabled them to ruthlessly oppress a continent for decades.

"Even though that term has a strict legal definition that Awlaki didn't come close to."

The strict legal definition of treason is as follows: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." What in the everloving fuck do you think this guy was doing? He was doing ALL THREE.
That's actually two definitions, not three, but the point stands.

How do you know Al-Awlaki wasn't in a hostile region surrounded by heavily armed folks?

If there is evidence sufficient to support the determination by people at the highest levels of government that this guy is an active threat, and not just a "cheerleader", do they have to wait to do something until they can convince you and dirac that taking the guy out is appropriate? I voted for Obama because I wanted him and his people to making these decisions, not the GOP. I have not seen anything yet to suggest to me that they are killing people who are not active in terrorist operations.

How do you suggest we conduct a trial? You can't have a trial without a defendant, and he wasn't volunteering to turn himself in. If you think we needed to send a bunch of troops into Yemen to arrest him, I am glad you aren't making the decisions. And if he successfully conducts a terrorist attack, while we wait until a trial can be conducted, would you say oh well, that's just the way the system works?

If you want to be so cynical that you think everything the government tells you is a lie, that's your problem. I have no problem with what was done here, and I disagree that it was inconsistent with a free society. It was self-defense.
I appreciate your resolve, but that doesn't change the fact that we are at war and he had joined with the enemy.

When was war declared on Al Qaeda?

Why are you defending the memory of a traitorous and vile person?

You shouldn't misrepresent what people are saying. Nobody is defending al-Awlaki. People are criticizing the methods used to end what he was doing. People are criticizing the rather un-American idea that the government can target whoever they want without presenting any evidence against them and assassinate them.

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