Friday, September 30, 2011

Was the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki legal?

Anwar al-Awlaki. Muhammad ud-Deen photo
The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American turned al Qaeda spiritual and cheerleader, by the United States in Yemen is being heralded by people on both sides of the aisle.
President Obama called his killing a “major blow” to al Qaeda.
Republican Congressman Pete King of New York who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee echoed the president, praising the assassination as “a great success in our fight against al-Qaeda.”
Perhaps so. But was it legal?
Can the United States target U.S. citizens abroad?
It’s a question that members of the White House press corp wanted an answer to. But Talk Radio News Service White House correspondent Victoria Jones, reporting for News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network, said, although the question was asked in various ways during Friday’s White House press briefing, Obama spokesman Jay Carney refused to answer.
Perhaps the killing was constitutionally supported. But if so, shouldn’t the administration be forthcoming with an explanation?
I raised this issue during tonight’s show. And was met with a barrage of criticism from those in my audience who felt my questioning the issue was, as one put it “politically correct.” Many believed that because Awlaki presented a clear and present danger to the United States, because he’d have never even blinked had the Times Square bomber or the underwear bomber been successful, he deserved to be taken out.
Maybe so. But was his killing extrajudicial? Or supported by law?
Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas running for the GOP presidential nomination, lamented that Awlaki was killed even though he “was never tried or charged for any crimes.”
The ACLU charged that the killing was a violation of both U.S, and international law.
I don’t know if it was. But I do know that it’s a question that needs to be answered. By Carney. Or better yet. By his boss.

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