This is me not being surprised

Hello Mister Precedent:

In a significant new blow to al-Qaeda, U.S. air strikes in Yemen on Sept. 30 killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American militant cleric who became a prominent figure in the terrorist network’s most dangerous branch, using his fluent English and Internet savvy to draw recruits for attacks in the U.S.

The strike was the biggest U.S. success in hitting al-Qaeda’s leadership since the May killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. But it raises questions that other strikes did not: al-Awlaki was an American citizen who had not been charged with any crime. Civil-liberties groups have questioned the government’s authority to kill an American without trial. (emphasis mine)

Like I said before, a law that only applies to nice folks isn’t a law, it’s a suggestion.  Was al-Awlaki at the least a religious nut?  Yes, he was.  Legally, that was entirely beside the point: the U.S. government, according to the law, is not to kill, or so much as even harm in a way intended to punish, a citizen without first having proven that they committed a crime.  To charge someone means to say you believe they did something and will attempt to prove it, yet no charge was brought up at all.  Doesn’t matter now, government is judge jury and executioner.

Even if regardless of the law you feel the world is simply better off without this guy, that isn’t the issue.  The issue is the authority being claimed, and who is next.  A hint already exists as to the 2nd part of that:

Predator drones firing on homes suspected of containing drugs might not be as far away as we think…


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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6 Responses to This is me not being surprised

  1. Todd S. says:

    Well, the Miami PD has already purchased some drones, so I don’t doubt that it’s far off. On a related note, I made the quip earlier today that had the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing happened today instead of 1996, that the accused (and later exonerated) Richard Jewell might very well have been the first domestic citizen to fall victim to a drone-launched missile.

  2. Todd S. says:

    Assuming he managed to evade the lynch mobs on his way home of course…

  3. ricketson says:

    I agree that this is a significant step (leap?) down the slippery slope, but it still seems distantly removed from the idea of drones/snipers picking off drug dealers on American soil.

    One of the big differences here was that there was plausibly no good way to capture Alwaki, and he was supposedly preparing further assaults. With your American drug dealers, the state can normally deploy overwhelming force, and attempt to capture them (only shooting them if they are resisting violently). So the most likely situation to see this precedent applied within the borders of the USA is if the state decides that it has no way to apprehend a person alive.

    So… riots? gangsters? people fleeing arrest?

    The catch here is “how much risk is too much risk”? Is lethal force justified in the face of a 1% chance of a cop getting shot? Based on the graph you provided above, maybe that’s the decision that the cops will make.

    Of course, everything I wrote above is assuming that the agents of the state are all reasonable people with good intentions… and it’s only “non-state actors” who are Bad People.

  4. B Psycho says:

    I was half-joking with that line. Though it’s interesting that Miami police already have them.

  5. Cheshiremythos says:

    Where did you pull the information for the delayed action. warrants?

  6. B Psycho says:

    New York Magazine had it in with their 9/11 Anniversary coverage (the image is also a hyperlink to the page), they got the info from the DOJ.

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