Posted by: mulrickillion | October 4, 2011

Was Killing American al Qaeda Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Legal?

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Ho New / Reuters.

By Michael Crowley, Sept 30, 2011 — The killing of al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki is another big counter-terrorism triumph for a President once derided for “palling around with terrorists.”  Even by the time SEAL Team Six dispatched Osama bin Laden, the notion that Obama wasn’t up to fighting al Qaeda had, of course, proven comically wrong. (With pals like Obama, who needs Dick Cheney?) Thanks to the awesome power of our unmanned drones, the U.S. has ravaged al Qaeda’s senior leadership in Pakistan, and is now training its sights on offshoot groups in northern Africa and the Arabian peninsula. But the killing of Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, along with another American allegedly involved with al Qaeda, spotlights the way drone strikes may be outpacing our legal, moral and strategic thinking about them.

It’s clear that Awlaki was an avowed enemy of the United States, actively inciting others to inflict harm on Americans, and perhaps inspiring at least one mass killing on our soil. But as civil libertarian absolutists like the Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald note, the government can’t simply execute someone for exercising his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech. Moreover, all U.S. citizens enjoy due process under the Fifth Amendment, and Awlaki was never charged in a court of law. Obama, Greenwald argues, acted as “judge, jury and executioner”. . . .

Was Killing American al Qaeda Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Legal? | Swampland | TIME.com

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