Ed Driscoll

Obama's Terrorist Dilemma

“I agree with the Obama administration’s decision to kill the American-born Al Qaeda recruiter Anwar Awlaki,” Jonah Goldberg writes in the L.A. Times. “What I can’t fathom is why the administration agrees with me:”

Hence my confusion. If you believe that even non-American terrorists should be treated like American criminals, with all of the 5th Amendment rights we grant to our own accused, how can you sanction killing an American without so much as a hearing?

The 5th Amendment says that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” A Predator drone strike seems to deprive all three.

Which would you prefer: to be arrested, possibly waterboarded and then tried by a U.S. military court in Cuba, or to be disintegrated by a Hellfire missile? What’s worse, to be executed after a less-than-perfect military trial. or to be executed with no trial at all?

And let’s not forget, these missiles aren’t that surgical. They kill the people around the target too. In this case Samir Khan, a U.S.-born editor of Al Qaeda’s magazine, Inspire, was killed — not to mention a number of others. Where was their day in court?

And that’s the point, really. If captured alive, terrorists pose political problems for Obama. Where do we put them? How do we interrogate them? And, most pressingly, how do we try them?

I don’t think those are tough questions. But Obama does. So he prefers to kill these people outright, avoiding the questions altogether.

Allahpundit links to a Washington Post report that claims, “There was no dissent about the legality of killing Aulaqi,” and replies:

I’m glad there was no dissent because we know what happens to legal memos when they tell The One something he doesn’t want to hear. Speaking of dissent, be sure to read Matt Lewis’s tragically accurate take on the one unquestionable benefit of a second Obama term: Namely, killing terrorists will remain officially cool for another four years. In fact, at this point, I bet O’s kicking himself for having signed that order banning enhanced interrogation so soon into his presidency. He probably assumed that the left actually meant what it said when it screeched at Bush for five years about detainee rights; little did he know that most of them are content to let the president go around firing missiles at people, including American citizens, as long as there’s a “D” after his name.

Yes, it’s amazing how easy it is to pivot when it comes to foreign policy, isn’t it?

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