U.S. drone killing of American al-Awlaki prompts legal, moral debate

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. drone killing of American-born and raised Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a major figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has re-energized a national debate over the legal and moral quandaries of a government deliberately killing a citizen.

The issue has been roiling throughout the U.S. campaign against terrorism, but Friday's drone missile killing of al-Awlaki and a second American, Samir Khan, provided a stark, concrete case of a U.S. policy that authorizes death for terrorists even when they're Americans, analysts said.

A government source who was briefed Friday morning by the CIA confirmed the U.S. missile strike, which killed two other persons in a car in Yemen.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaYemen

37 Comments
Posted September 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Henry Greville wrote:

Am I the only one who sleeps a little better, knowing that bin Laden is dead and now also knowing that al-AwLaki is as well?

September 30, 5:43 pm | [comment link]
2. AnglicanFirst wrote:

If I remember correctly, the Commandment is “Thou shall not murder.” or in another translation “Thou shall not kill innocents.”

These two al Qaeda operatives were both murderers and killers of innocents either by direst involvement or by encouragement and facilitation.

A corollary, something that follows naturally from not murdering and not killing innocents, is an obligation to protect others, particularly the innocents, from being murdered.

So, apart from the gravity on the part of the leadership of a sovreign state of making a decision to protect the innocent by pre-empting murders from committing further murders, ‘where’s the beef?’

I don’t like it, but what are the alternatives, what are the consequences of non-action for a President and our armed forces who are sworn to protect the American people?

September 30, 7:04 pm | [comment link]
3. BlueOntario wrote:

I wonder if Mr. al-Awlaki ever considered the significance of the name of his birthplace, Las Cruces.

September 30, 7:08 pm | [comment link]
4. carl wrote:

The correct analogy here would seem to be Lord Haw-Haw or Tokyo Rose.  These are individuals who have left the country, taken up residence with the enemy, and given them aide and comfort during time of war.  They can’t very well appeal to their civil rights for protection in such circumstances. 

carl

September 30, 7:28 pm | [comment link]
5. Cennydd13 wrote:

He was a legitimate target, and they eliminated him.

September 30, 7:58 pm | [comment link]
6. Cennydd13 wrote:

And his pal.

September 30, 7:58 pm | [comment link]
7. Ad Orientem wrote:

Carl,
The problem with your analogy is that both Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw-Haw were in fact tried before courts of law for treason.  They were given their full legal rights and subsequently were convicted.  In Lord Haw-Haw’s case he was hanged.  Tokyo Rose served many years in prison before having her sentence commuted by President Ford.

I am not saying what was done here was unlawful.  But it is a dangerous precedent.

September 30, 9:39 pm | [comment link]
8. David Keller wrote:

#7 Oh please.  They were on a kill list and they knew it and they knew why.  They could have turned themselves in for trial any time.  They got all the due process they deserved.  They are currently where they deserve to be.

September 30, 10:21 pm | [comment link]
9. NoVA Scout wrote:

No. 1:  A lot of us probably do sleep better knowing that this man is dead, but still we have concerns about the process by which the American government kills its citizens.  I have little (make that no) remorse for the outcome, but considerable concern that if we are to pursue to the death Americans who turn against us and the Government, there be some process to ensure that citizenship is revoked and that there is merit (as there probably was in this instance) to treating the man as an armed alien combatant.  Something approaching this process occurred in a suit brought by al-Awlaki’s family (with ACLU support) and they lost in the courts.  But this was dispiritingly ad hoc and not really adequate in a country that values the rule of law.

September 30, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
10. carl wrote:

7. Ad Orientem

The problem with your analogy is that both Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw-Haw were in fact tried before courts of law for treason. 

Well, sure, because they survived the war and were caught.  That isn’t the point.  They couldn’t claim during the war itself that they weren’t legitimate targets simply because of their American citizenship.  What if they had been killed in a strike that targeted the transmission facility for the express purpose of killing them?  That is a legitimate military mission. 

carl

September 30, 11:51 pm | [comment link]
11. carl wrote:

9. NoVA Scout

there be some process to ensure that citizenship is revoked and that there is merit (as there probably was in this instance) to treating the man as an armed alien combatant. 

Oftentimes, this question cannot be answered in public because the source of the information is too sensitive.  It’s just something you have to accept.  You can’t have a completely open process when you need to protect intelligence sources.  In addition, you don’t want to give the enemy the advantage of knowing who may be targeted and who may not be targeted.  You want to achieve tactical surprise.  War isn’t a court of law.  It isn’t about due process and rules of evidence. 

carl

October 1, 12:07 am | [comment link]
12. Cennydd13 wrote:

al-Awlaki and his pal made their choice, and that put them squarely in the crosshairs.  They knew the consequences of their actions and they were ready to die as martyrs, if necessary.  They also knew that no matter how long it took our forces to find them and kill them, it would happen.  This will happen again, and the region will never know peace.

October 1, 12:24 am | [comment link]
13. IchabodKunkleberry wrote:

I would disagree with equating al-Awlaki to Lord Haw-Haw or Tokyo Rose. In his calls for violence to be waged against all Americans, he
is more akin to Roland Freisler, the bloody-thirsty Nazi judge who meted
out death sentences to so many innocent people, but who was killed
in an Allied bombing attack, although he was not targeted as was
al-Awlaki. Their violence, or the incitement thereto, earned each of
them the wages of sin.

October 1, 1:26 am | [comment link]
14. Scatcatpdx wrote:

Where are thees people are coming from. Just arrest him, how. This is no pick up a conner store robber or while he sipping champagne in Paris. This is a high operative al Qaeda leader in a hostile country with no basses to launch a special operations. One would have to send a assault ship flotilla and a few Seal teams in to catch a moving target.  Now after whacking Osama ben Laden, You bet al Qaeda leadership is not staying in one place.

October 1, 2:09 am | [comment link]
15. clarin wrote:

The issue is that Obama demagogued himself into becoming the Democrat candidate on the votes of those leftists who condemned Predator and other assassination-type raids as un-constitutional acts of murde, along with ritual denunciations of Guantanamo. There was a wave of civil libertarian outrage about this activity of the Bush administration. But once in power Obama actually intensified these raids, and Guantanamo remains.
Who - apart from Victor Davis Hanson - is drawing attention to Obama’s hypocrisy here?

October 1, 2:40 am | [comment link]
16. NoVA Scout wrote:

There seems to be strong sentiment here and elsewhere that the Government of the United States can kill a US citizen without process in situations such as this.  But it continues to strike me that one ought to be able to define with precision exactly what standard we use to put a citizen outside the reach of laws that otherwise would apply.  The best analogy I can think of is that of a man confronting police with weapons in a stand-off.  Maybe a citizen joining an international terrorist group is close to that situation.

October 1, 7:08 am | [comment link]
17. Dan Ennis wrote:

15., Well I will, and I voted for Obama and intend to again. 

The Constitution is very specific regarding traitors (in fact treason is one of the few crimes the Constitution addresses in a separate article).  Traitors get their day in court. 

The Constitution is also very clear about forbidding “bills of attainder”  (i.e. a government’s attempt to declare who is guilty or innocent and punish them without trial).  Bills of Attainder are forbidden.

The Constitution explains how one might be stripped of citizenship.  It says nothing about somebody forfeiting their citizenship automatically just because they do something awful.  It says that your citizenship can only be revoked by—yep—due process.

All of you (and, I imagine Bush and Obama in private) saying “too bad about procedure, he got what he deserved” are kind of missing the point.  The Constitution extends rights to the “obviously guilty” even though it is inconvenient because it should be very inconvenient to kill an American Citizen.  If we’re in a security situation so unprecedented that we have to set aside inconvenient articles of our founding document then we should amend the document.  It has been ten years since 9/11. 

Hey, I don’t believe in conspiracies, and I don’t think the CIA is gonna bust down my door, and that raid probably, on the net, saved lives.  But the USA just assassinated an American citizen because he is a vile human being and it would be too hard to get him according to our own idealistic rules.  As Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”

Obama is a Constitutional scholar and has decided it is too hard to obey the law.  He will get away with it because al-Awlaki is about as unpopular as a person can be in America.  I had expected better from our President.

I think history will look back at the early 21st century and view the things we’ve done in the name of “the war on terror” in the same light we now look back at the Japanese interment camps and the Gulf of Tonkin incident—moments when we as a nation were too frightened to live up to our own standards

October 1, 7:11 am | [comment link]
18. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Who - apart from Victor Davis Hanson - is drawing attention to Obama’s hypocrisy here?

Remember the jr. Senator from Ill and his refusal to vote for raising the national debt and his soaring oratory to defend his position?

Rule 1.  Say anything to get elected
Rule 2.  All pronouncements and solemn promises have an expiration date
Rule 3.  Sacrifice anything and everything for the goal
Rule 4.  Remember rules 1 - 3 between now and Nov 2012

October 1, 7:12 am | [comment link]
19. carl wrote:

17. Dan Ennis

the USA just assassinated an American citizen because he is a vile human being and it would be too hard to get him according to our own idealistic rules.

No, he wasn’t ‘assassinated’ because he was a ‘vile human being.’  There are legions of vile human beings in the world and the US military somehow manages to get through the day without searching them out and killing them.  This man was killed because he took up arms against his own country.  He wasn’t arrested because:

1.  It wasn’t necessary.  He made himself an enemy combatant.  If a man places himself in the enemy ranks with a rifle, he can’t say “Ha Ha.  Can’t shoot me cuz I’m an American.  Arrest me if you can.”  If a soldier is allowed to kill an enemy combatant, then he is allowed to kill any enemy combatant.

2.  It wasn’t worth the risk to the servicemen who would have been charged with the mission.  Why place 40 men in harm’s way to arrest someone when you already have both the means and legal right to kill him?

You may not have noticed this, but the US military is not an agency of law enforcement.

carl

October 1, 7:49 am | [comment link]
20. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

I have no problem with the elimination by any means of people, even American citizens, who have an active avocation of mass murder for political purposes, if they can not be apprehended by less spectacular means.
  One thing that has always concerned me, though, are the signs sprinkled about our highway system saying: 

“Warning, Speed Limits Enforced By Aircraft”

I have always wondered how, exactly. Now it becomes evident. My concern now is, with this administration’s cavalier approach to citizenship, enforcement could soon start to occur inside our borders for more mundane crimes, such as speeding, or failure to yield.

October 1, 8:37 am | [comment link]
21. Paula Loughlin wrote:

I am in agreement with NoVa Scout and Ennis, though the arguments raised by others are certainly persuasive.

October 1, 3:58 pm | [comment link]
22. Sarah wrote:

RE: “If we’re in a security situation so unprecedented that we have to set aside inconvenient articles of our founding document then we should amend the document.”

Huh?

Our founding documents are for people not engaged in a war against our country.  If you’re involved in a war against the U.S., and you get killed during that war, Washington, Jefferson, and Madison would have all recognized that the killing was perfectly consistent with our founding documents.  Obviously if the war ends, and a US citizen fighting against the US in the war is captured alive and hauled back to America, then I assume he or she would be tried for treason.

But al-Awlaki did *not* survive the war.

It seems to me that—as with so many other protests from the past decade—some people simply don’t want to believe that we are at war.

October 1, 5:32 pm | [comment link]
23. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

We are in a de facto, if not de jure, asymmetrical war against a culture that want to annihilate us. That may be subject to argument, but what is no longer subject to argument is that those who are deemed to be “terrorists” or “enemy combatants” ( or the precipitators of “human caused disasters”)  can now be targeted by the white house without consequence for summary hot flaming death from the skies. What is concerning is who exactly it is that the point man (er, person) on terrorism considers to be a terrorist.
Quoting Pogo: ” We have met the enemy and he is us”.

October 1, 5:58 pm | [comment link]
24. Sarah wrote:

RE: “what is no longer subject to argument is that those who are deemed to be “terrorists” or “enemy combatants” ( or the precipitators of “human caused disasters”)  can now be targeted by the white house without consequence . . . “

Which is called “being in a state of war.”

How is this any different from FDR being able to target our country’s sworn enemy combatants “without consequence” in a war?

October 1, 6:15 pm | [comment link]
25. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Some of this posting has really gotten looney: let’s say a guy/gal walks into Walgreens and offs 4 people and when the police show up he/she points the gun at them.  What do you think will happen to that American citizen?  No miranda rights, no free attorney, no day in court, no 15 minutes of fame in front of the 6pm news cameras.

Good ole dead-as-a-doornail Al did lots worse and got his very very just deserts.  Darn good job USA military!!!!!!!

October 1, 7:58 pm | [comment link]
26. Dan Ennis wrote:

24.  Well, for one, FDR got Congress to declare war.  Funny how all this goes back to reading what Constitution says and trying to apply it.  But since WWII we’ve allowed Presidents of both parties to ignore Congress’ responsibility to declare war.  Instead it was papered over with the War Powers act and now we get vague congressional resolutions “authorizing force” against whoever the executive branch thinks is worth bombing.

So here we are now:  We have an undelcared “war on terror.”  “Terror” is defined various ways, depending on whether you’re talking to Donald Rumsfeld or Leon Panetta.  “Enemy combatants” are define by a “kill list” using criteria we can’t know because to examine them (wither in a congressional hearing or via a court process) has been deemed a security risk. Or you take #23’s route and say we are are war “against a culture.”  Whew.

Again, the world is safer without him on it.  But al-Awlaki was never charged with anything—not even the obvious, treason.  We didn’t even bother to go through the nicety of a trial in absentia to strip him of his citizenship and then blow him up.  Ends….means…

October 2, 7:52 am | [comment link]
27. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

Which is called “being in a state of war.”

I don’t disagree. My concern is that we are developing casual attitude towards murder, and it a short step from offing terrorists in Yemen (who we are not at war with) or Pakistan (who I am starting to think we should be at war with), to declaring a domestic emergency and targeting the pickup trucks of inconvenient patriots. It’s quite likely that they go to the same church every Sunday, so they’ll be easy to find. The technology makes it too easy, and we are never more than a short step from tyranny.
As far as al-Awlaki goes, I’d have pushed the button. But I’m not gonna do a victory dance.

October 2, 8:24 am | [comment link]
28. carl wrote:

26. Dan Ennis

Funny how all this goes back to reading what Constitution says and trying to apply it.

Like for example Article 2, Section 2.  The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States  The President has the Power of Command.  If the Congress wants to defend its power to Declare War (by among other things giving it an operating definition) then Congress has to defend its prerogative by means of impeachment.  Otherwise, the President will keep on issuing lawful orders, and guys like me will keep on executing those lawful orders because we have sworn on oath to do so.  So this idea that the War on Terror is not constitutional is wrong.  The Supreme Court’s arrogation notwithstanding, each branch of the Government has the authority to interpret the Constitution.  The military actions taken since 2001 are consistent with Presidential interpretation of Article 2, Section 2, and Congress has never acted constitutionally against this interpretation.  When Congress impeaches the President for it, then it becomes unconstitutional.  You can make all the fine constitutional arguments you like.  They don’t amount to a trickle of spit until Congress acts.

carl

October 2, 8:52 am | [comment link]
29. carl wrote:

27. Creedal Episcopalian

As far as al-Awlaki goes, I’d have pushed the button. But I’m not gonna do a victory dance.

By making this statement, you have contradicted the whole of the argument you made in the preceding sentences.  You worry about ‘a casual attitude towards murder’ and then say “Of course, I would have killed al-Awlaki.”  If his killing was legitimate, then it has no relationship to your argument, and does not demonstrate the things you fear it demonstrates.  You have either admitted you would commit murder, or you have admitted your whole argument has no foundation. 

carl

October 2, 9:02 am | [comment link]
30. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

You have either admitted you would commit murder, or you have admitted your whole argument has no foundation.

The addlepatedness of my logic is dependent on chronology; BC (before coffee) or AC (after coffee).
As I stated (#23), we are de facto at war. Al-Awlaki was a leader of our enemies, citizen or not. It is not murder to kill your enemies when you are at war, it is murder to kill the innocent. It is still not something to take joy in, and neither have we achieved a victory. Thus no dance.
The whole point of my argument, however badly stated in the cause of alliteration, is that we currently have a government that regards themselves as our rulers, who are engaged in a war that they will not admit that they are engaged in, with hostile actions happening in countries that we are not at war with. However necessary the military action, the hypocrisy is startling.
It is of course a short step from killing American citizens identified as enemy combatants in neutral countries, to identifying inconvenient American citizens as enemy combatants in the United States, and dropping high explosives on them. (sorry to repeat the link) The implications of the technology used here and of the moral decisions made to employ it are sobering.

October 2, 9:46 am | [comment link]
31. Sarah wrote:

RE: “We have an undelcared “war on terror.””

Well of course we don’t.  The AUMF—the congressional authorization of military force—is nicely in compliance with the Constitution on that matter.  And it certainly wasn’t “vague” but rather “broad”—which is a different matter altogether.  The only problem I have with it is that Congress did not just insert the words “and we do hereby declare war” and then proceed onward with their words—that would have stopped the pedantry from those who do not believe we *should* be at war anyway from arguing that it’s not a declaration of war.

Look—I certainly wish we’d elected a better President and one who actually cared about following the Constitution.  But in this matter, he’s in compliance, since we’re at war, this guy was an enemy combatant, and he was killed in the process of prosecuting that war.

There are some excellent articles over on NRO on all of this if anyone is actually interested in the Constitutional issues of killing an American during the prosecution of a war [those who don’t think we *should* be at war at all but are using the “killing an American is unConstitutional” argument are arguing a different case and these articles won’t be of interest].

Here’s a shorter one:
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/278906/al-awlaki-s-just-demise-editors

And here’s the longer one covering more of the Constitutional issues:
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/278843/war-power-paranoia-andrew-c-mccarthy?page=1

October 2, 9:51 am | [comment link]
32. carl wrote:

30. Creedal Episcopalian

we are de facto at war. Al-Awlaki was a leader of our enemies, citizen or not. It is not murder to kill your enemies when you are at war, it is murder to kill the innocent. It is still not something to take joy in, and neither have we achieved a victory. Thus no dance.

Fair enough.

we currently have a government that regards themselves as our rulers ...

They are our rulers.  They have the authority to do what they have done.

... who are engaged in a war that they will not admit that they are engaged in ...

I don’t understand this at all.  Who is refusing to admit to the War on Terror?  If the government refused to admit what they were doing, you wouldn’t even know that Al-Awlaki was dead.

with hostile actions happening in countries that we are not at war with.

With the full agreement of the Governments in question ... OK, except for Pakistan.  Tango Sierra for Pakistan’s sovereignty.  It should have maintained control its intelligence agencies.  But that is the nature of the war.  It doesn’t have boundaries and borders.  There is no other way to fight it.

the hypocrisy is startling.

What hypocrisy? 

It is of course a short step from killing American citizens identified as enemy combatants in neutral countries, to identifying inconvenient American citizens as enemy combatants in the United States

It is actually a huge enormous cavernous step.  The US military is prohibited by law (Posse Comitatis Act) from acting as a law enforcement agency within the borders of the United States.  More important, the US military really Really REALLY doesn’t want that job.  If the President ordered a strike on an American citizen within the US, the probable response would be “No sir, that is an unlawful order.”  It would take an Act of Congress to allow it.  If the situation warranted such action, I guarantee you the US public would support it, because it would be in response to a large indigenous terrorist organization within the US.

carl

October 2, 10:24 am | [comment link]
33. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

Please excuse my temerity, in engaging in a fisking joust with the redoubtable carl.  I certainly do not want to appear to be trolling, as that is not my intent, but….

we currently have a government that regards themselves as our rulers ...

They are our rulers.  They have the authority to do what they have done.

They are not our rulers. Congress is made of our representatives, the senate a least since the 17th amendment. The president is an executive; He has no brief as a tyranos or prince. In spite of his attempt to rule by czar, the president still serves at the citizens’ pleasure. We may have given him the authority, but it is ours, not his.
 

... who are engaged in a war that they will not admit that they are engaged in ...

I don’t understand this at all.  Who is refusing to admit to the War on Terror?  If the government refused to admit what they were doing, you wouldn’t even know that Al-Awlaki was dead.

What is the “war on terror” if not a euphemism for a battle against Wahhabi Islam and it’s manifest goal to subjugate the entire planet? Nobody else is out there blowing themselves up to slaughter infidels. Homeland security refuses to use profiling to protect our borders in order to avoid discrimination, even though it is their mission to discriminate against the bad guys. So who exactly are we fighting?
 

  with hostile actions happening in countries that we are not at war with.

With the full agreement of the Governments in question ... OK, except for Pakistan.  Tango Sierra for Pakistan’s sovereignty.  It should have maintained control its intelligence agencies.  But that is the nature of the war.  It doesn’t have boundaries and borders.  There is no other way to fight it.

You certainly can’t fight war if you can’t admit who the enemy is. Pakistan is not our friend.  And given recent events re the “Arab Spring” it would be difficult to say that an agreement with Ali Abdullah Saleh is an agreement with the government of Yemen. It’s hard to drain the swamp when you up to your, uh, knees in alligators.
 

  the hypocrisy is startling.

What hypocrisy?

Saying one thing while meaning something else.
Calling our efforts a “war on Terror” When it actually is (or should be) a war on religious extremists who often have the protection and support of our putative allies. Terror is just their modus operandi.

 

  It is of course a short step from killing American citizens identified as enemy combatants in neutral countries, to identifying inconvenient American citizens as enemy combatants in the United States

It is actually a huge enormous cavernous step.  The US military is prohibited by law (Posse Comitatis Act) from acting as a law enforcement agency within the borders of the United States.  More important, the US military really Really REALLY doesn’t want that job.  If the President ordered a strike on an American citizen within the US, the probable response would be “No sir, that is an unlawful order.”  It would take an Act of Congress to allow it.  If the situation warranted such action, I guarantee you the US public would support it, because it would be in response to a large indigenous terrorist organization within the US.

First of all, It wasn’t the military that did the deed, it was the CIA. Second, it wasn’t a terribly huge enormous cavernous step when BATF sent tanks in to Waco to enforce trumped up charges against a religious group that they claimed was a militant cult, at the expense of 80+ lives. Why didn’t they just pick up Koresh when he was out jogging? The military may not want the job, but the evidence is clear that there are government entities that will willingly do it.

My entire point is that it is exceedingly dangerous for the kind of technology used in Yemen to be in the hands of people who will commit domestic atrocities like Waco and Ruby Ridge, or flub a sting operation as badly as OKC. For now, until the government finishes recreating the Sacred Band of Thebes in the name of non-discrimination, I still trust the military.

October 2, 1:56 pm | [comment link]
34. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re # 28
Carl,
Are you seriously suggesting that anything the president does is legal and constitutional until/unless he is impeached for it?  That’s insane.

October 2, 2:06 pm | [comment link]
35. carl wrote:

34. Ad Orientem

Are you seriously suggesting that anything the president does is legal and constitutional until/unless he is impeached for it?

No, I am seriously suggesting that the President has the authority to issue lawful commands in his capacity as Commander in Chief.  I am seriously suggesting that the President has the authority to issue those commands whether Congress has declared war or not.  I am seriously suggesting that the boundary between the President’s power of command and the Congressional Power to declare war was left deliberately vague.  If Congress wants to enforce its prerogative, then Congress must act to enforce its prerogative.  The Executive and the Legislative branches will never agree on where that boundary lies.

In the meantime, you should consider that service members are not allowed to disobey a direct order simply because Congress hasn’t declared war.

carl

October 2, 3:01 pm | [comment link]
36. carl wrote:

33. Creedal Episcopalian

We may have given him the authority, but it is ours, not his.

That’s the right answer from your High School Civics class, but it doesn’t address the practical reality.  We elect people to act, make laws, compel obedience, and punish disobedience.  This is the very definition of ruling.  So long as they hold the office, they have the right and responsibility to exercise authority of the office.

You certainly can’t fight war if you can’t admit who the enemy is.

So your complaint about the War on Terror is that we haven’t declared war on several Muslim states?  Let’s say we declare war on all these Muslim states.  Then what?  Unless you are willing to aggressively and actively and lethally suppress Islam by ruthlessly killing lots and lots of people, you are going to find yourself on a quandary.  What are you going to do with all these countries you invade?  Occupy them?  Westernize them?  There does not exist either the ability or the will to do this.

We are fighting a quasi-government shadow organization that isn’t tied to any particular state.  It is tied to certain actors within states.  Not every Pakistani supports Al Qaeda, after all.  That makes the fight long and hard and frustrating and difficult to conclude.  There isn’t going to a surrender moment.  It’s a long war of attrition.  The side with the greater will to endure will emerge victorious.

carl

October 2, 3:45 pm | [comment link]
37. carl wrote:

33. Creedal Episcopalian

First of all, It wasn’t the military that did the deed, it was the CIA.

I had to check out this assertion because it didn’t seem right to me.  The article says:

In what one source called a joint U.S. military-intelligence operation, the strike was launched at 9:55 a.m. Friday, officials said.

This agrees with the CIAs own website.

9. The CIA has been accused of conducting assassinations and engaging in drug trafficking.  What are the facts?

The CIA does neither.  Executive Order 12333 of 1981 explicitly prohibits the CIA from engaging, either directly or indirectly, in assassinations. Internal safeguards and the congressional oversight process assure compliance.

CIA FAQ

In other words, the CIA found the target and the military pulled the trigger.  If there are drones flying around the US with missiles attached, it will not be the CIA at the control.  Someone would have to specifically give that capability to another organization like the BATF.  For that to happen, something really bad would have to occur.  In which case there won’t be a controversy.  In which case, the military would execute the mission, and there wouldn’t be a need to give the BATF Predators with missiles.

carl

October 2, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
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