There is much going around the blogosphere regarding the death of Anwar al-Awlaki. I am not at all interested in hearing about the people who say he was innocent. He clearly was not. He was very clear that his intentions were to not only to kill Americans, but to bring this country to its knees. There is more than enough video in both English and Arabic to back up it up, these are not claims, but simply the proof. The man was terrorist scum. That isn’t the real issue, though.
The real issue is how the kill happened. The U.S. and Yemeni government worked in tandem to bring the man down. The details of exactly what happened are still a little fuzzy, but it seems like it was a joint effort that culminated in his death. But, what is not fuzzy is the lack of due process in the U.S. Court system.
Silverfidlle, a very smart blogger and true conservative feels that this was a legal and righteous kill. He lays out some very interesting facts to back up his claim:
Awlaki Renounced his Citizenship
Finntan did his usual yeoman research and provides the following results (Finn’s words are italicized):
Loss of nationality, also known as expatriation, means the loss of citizenship status properly acquired, whether by birth in the United States, through birth abroad to U.S. citizen parents, or by naturalization. As a result of several constitutional decisions, §349(a) of the current Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) provides that U.S. nationality is lost only when the U.S. citizen does one of the specified acts described in INA §349, voluntarily and with the intent to give up that nationality.
“taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof after having attained the age of eighteen years.”
“entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if (A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, or (B) such persons serves as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer;”
“performs an act made potentially expatriating by statute accompanied by conduct which is so inconsistent with retention of U.S. citizenship that it compels a conclusion that the individual intended to relinquish U.S. citizenship.”
“committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of Title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of Title 18, or violating section 2384 of Title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
Ok, I can buy that as a matter of law his actions lead one to believe that he has given up his American citizenship. But, does President Obama alone get to make that determination? Wouldn’t this have to go in front of a court? I say it should have.
Fellow Potluck blogger Fuzzy and Fiddle had a going back and forth about this issue. They decided to each do a post to describe their viewpoints in a more logical and easier to follow way then going back and forth from just the comment box on Fiddle’s earlier post. Here is a taste of what Fuzzy has to say:
The rights I care about are ours, those granted us in our Constitution. Those deliberately withheld in that glorious document of “negative liberties” from the federal government, in this case, from the executive branch. If you read the Constitution (and I know anyone reading this has done so, more than once. And recently), you know that nowhere in that document is the executive branch granted the right to issue death warrants on American citizens. No where. It’s not there. There’s no if the citizen is really evil clause, no if the citizen has killed “x” number of people exemption, not in any circumstance. And the founders knew a thing or two about traitors. Yet they still didn’t vest in one person, not even the president, the power to try, convict, sentence, and hang (or otherwise execute).
We know why they didn’t. They didn’t trust one person, they trusted the people. They knew from personal experience what tyranny looked like, how it manifested . . . and how to keep it at bay. And we know something that even they didn’t, we know about progressivism, about the insidious baby steps toward tyranny. We pride ourselves in having awakened, and rightly so, we have.
Fiddle has laid a good case based on laws and logic. I get what he is trying to say. What I don’t get, what I am having a hard time understanding, is how is it that President Obama got to make the decision, all on his own, that said scumbag was indeed guilty of the crimes and did renounce his citizenship? That is not just the job of the president to make those choices. While I am sure that there were some lawyers involved in discussions of this, but no court was involved. The likeliest scenario is that those lawyers are administration lawyers who are paid to protect the president, not the American people. Fiddle goes on to say that indicting him would have muddied the waters, but getting him declared an enemy combatant wouldn’t have so muddied. That was not done. His citizenship was not revoked in an open and legal fashion as it should have been.
For those of you who are afraid to speak up on these issues because you maybe accused of being soft on terrorism are being shortsighted. Terrorism is a danger to this country, that cannot be denied. But I firmly believe that we are more at risk in this country if we walk away from our constitutional principles and the rule of law.
Allowing any chief executive the power to decide for him/herself who is and who is not an enemy combatant is a slippery slope that we should not be allowing. It wasn’t all that long ago that returning war vets and members of the tea party were classified as potential terrorists by our own government. By overlooking the rule of law in this case is only asking for trouble down the road. We have to demand that our president, regardless of party, be responsive to the rule of law. When they are not, we need to demand an answer of why not.
Therefore, in this case, I must be team Fuzzy.