Al-Awlaki assassination gets thumbs up from Dick Cheney, little dissent elsewhere

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Paul writes that President Obama's former director of national intelligence, Dennis Ross, told a House Intelligence Committee last year that "Being a U.S. citizen will not spare an American from getting assassinated by military or intelligence operatives," which Paul writes sets a dangerous precedent for the nation.


The precedent set by the killing of Awlaki establishes the frightening legal premise that any suspected enemy of the United States - even if they are a citizen - can be taken out on the President's say-so alone. Part of the very concept of citizenship is the protection of due process and the rule of law. The President wants to spread American values around the world but continues to do great damage to them here at home, appointing himself judge, jury and executioner by presidential decree.


With such a major issue about targeting U.S. citizens for assassination a topic, you would expect the Sunday morning shows to touch upon this, right?


Well, only one did. That was CNN's State of the Union, hosted by Candy Crowley. On the program, former Los Angeles Democratic Congresswoman and former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said that there is probably a good case that President Obama can make to justify al-Awlaki. She said he should release the private legal memo sanctioning the killing of al-Awlaki."The Justice Department should release that memo. The debate on the legal grounds for that strategy should be more in the open," she said.


Preceding Harmon on CNN was former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz. Both the Cheneys have been huge critics of President Obama's policies on the war on terrorism, but both grudgingly gave props to Obama.


But they both say they want an apology for previous comments Obama made about the way Bush/Cheney
conducted their war on terror, even though the policies have been pretty similar. Cheney said:


"The thing I am waiting for is for the administration to go back and correct something they said two years ago, when they criticized us for quote overreacting to the events of 9/11. They in effect said we had walked away from our ideals, taking policy contrary to our ideals when we had enhanced interrogation techniques. They have clearly moved in the direction of taking robust action when they feel it is justified. In this case, it was. They need to go back and reconsider what the president said in Cairo."


"He said in his Cairo speech (in 2009) for example that he banned torture. We were never torturing anyone in the first place. He said We walked away from our basic fundamental ideals. That simply wasn't the case. What he said then was inaccurate especially now in light of what they are doing with policy."


Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Harman said the "targeted killing of anyone should give us pause," but that the al-Awlaki was a "good case" of someone posing an imminent threat."


On Friday, one of the most prominent national columnists to object to the killing of Awlaki, Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald, discussed the assassination on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! program with host Juan Gonzalez::


Anwar al-Awlaki
  • Anwar al-Awlaki

On Friday a U.S. armed drone strike in northern Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and jihadist who had risen near the top of the list of American terrorist targets in recent years because of his role in a succession of plots targeting the U.S.

In other words, an assassination.

Such an action during the Bush/Cheney administration would surely bring about a flurry of accusations that this was an unconstitutional act. But under Barack Obama? Crickets.

Oh, there have been some critics, none with a higher profile currently than Ron Paul, the GOP presidential candidate, who in an op-ed in the New York Daily News wrote:

Awlaki was a U.S. citizen. Under our Constitution, American citizens, even those living abroad, must be charged with a crime before being sentenced. As President, I would have arrested Awlaki, brought him to the U.S., tried him and pushed for the stiffest punishment allowed by law. Treason has historically been judged to be the worst of crimes, deserving of the harshest sentencing. But what I would not do as President is what Obama has done and continues to do in spectacular fashion: circumvent the rule of law.

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