The assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki sets an important precedent, one that will go down in our history as a shameful moment, a turning point, when the policy of endless war empowered the President to kill his own countrymen without benefit of trial. Any American, whose “preaching” purportedly “inspires” a terrorist act is now fair game for our Praetorians. The first time we take out an American citizen on American soil, on the mere suspicion that he may be a “terrorist,” our legal eagles will point to the al-Awlaki case as justification. That a citizen of this country may be put on a list that marks him for death, without public trial, seals the doom of our old republic. Obama’s partisans hail his great “victory,” while their neoconservative rivals do the same – and there is no one left to wonder what has happened to the Constitution.
I wonder what it felt like to live in the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. It is kind of eery to see the similarities: An growing executive branch, a weakening legislative branch, an expanding war campaign looking for more enemies to fight.
What’s even worse, is that, according to Raimondo’s article, Al-Awlaki was at one time an adviser to the administration after 9/11. What happened to turn an adviser into a terrorist? And as Raimondo points out, this is a very dangerous precedent. If Al-Awlaki was targeted because his preaching fomented terrorism against the U.S., how long will it take before more American citizens are targeted for their ‘subversive’ speech?
We’ll never know the truth behind this assassination. The administration will not release its justification for this killing, nor is any reason being given as to why Al-Awlaki wasn’t arrested and extradited to the U.S. to stand trial. If he is guilty of some crime, then he should stand trial. Unless of course there are other, deeper reasons behind this killing…