Friday a US airstrike in Yemen killed known al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. Also killed was former Charlotte resident Samir Khan, the producer of Awlaki’s English-language al-Qaeda web magazine. Both men were US citizens.
Support for the targeted assassination of a US citizen overseas by the US military has come from all quarters.
However, not everyone is singing praises. Some have questioned the legality of the murder.
Among them Rep. Ron Paul,who is currently running for President of the United States: “I don’t think that’s a good way to deal with our problems…”
The Fifth Amendment says no citizen shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process.” In this case, there was no due process.
Jibril Hough, who also serves as spokesperson for the Islamic Center of Charlotte says, “If Bush would have done this there would have been a big uproar. But now since Obama is the president so many people are being quiet.” (See: “Charlotte Lawyer calls US Air strike in Yemen illegal” http://www.foxcharlotte.com/news/top-stories/Charlotte-Lawyer-Calls-US-Airstrike-in-Yemen-Illegal-130923958.html )
Others feel that Awlaki and Khan got what he deserved and deserved to die for committing what many term “treason” against their country. If so, they should have been brought to trial.
All this, of course is very controversial.
Including this idea, that it is all right to target and kill Americans living overseas in a foreign country.
A policy, which has carried over by President Obama from the post 9-11 Bush Administration, which first authorized the killing of U.S. citizens overseas if there, is evidence of their involvement in terrorist activities.
Awlaki death is proof that this policy is still in force.
There is also believed to be an official, “secret list” of those citizens who can be targeted.
Insiders say that list includes the names of about 100 America citizens.Although I have been unable to get any official confirmation of that.
The White House public affairs office refused to comment on that when I called to inquire about getting a copy of that list. Needless to say my request for that information was denied.
To be sure, a great deal of care needs to be taken in identifying those on the “secret list”, to make sure real evidence exists before the government goes out and kills someone.
After all, we are talking about people who may be killed without trial or conviction in a court of law.
Jim Gronquist, former ACLU attorney and Charlotte resident calls the targeted airstrike a “violation of both national and international law.” Gronquist is a senior partner of Nixon Park Gronquist & Foster. PLLC.
In talking about this situation with a Tom Goodman, a retired schoolteacher, who lives in Durham, N.C he said bluntly “This is all part of the war on terrorism.”
I suppose he is right.
In the end it hard to say what might happen next as this assassination has called in question certain moral and ethical questions as well issues of law that deal with our rights as citizens in a democracy.
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