I can’t quite explain it, but here lately our batting average for taking out al Quaeda figureheads has gone way up. A few months back, members of our U.S. Navy SEAL teams managed to corner and kill “El Chingon” himself, Usama bin Laden.(1) Yesterday, we managed to kill another one of AQ’s “talking heads,” American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, along with two other operatives in an unmanned drone attack in Yemen.(2)
With this victory in the War on Terrorism, we also get to scratch another GOP candidate from the Cybersattva list for serious consideration: U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. (R. TX) It seems that the distinguished gentleman from the state of Texas has a problem with us having taken out al-Awlaki. According to Ron Paul and some civil liberties organizations, al-Awlaki should have been given his “due process” rights as an American citizen.(3) Mr. Paul also stated that there was “no proof of anything” regarding al-Awlaki’s involvement with al Quaeda during a Fox News interview:
“No one likes these kind of people, but I also like the rule of law and I like our Constitution, that you don’t just target people, assassinate them, someone who has not been charged and you have no proof of anything,” Paul told Fox News. “So if we want to protect American citizens from that type of justice, we have to be more cautious.”
There are a number of things with Ron Paul’s position that I find problematic. First, the assertion that we have “no proof of anything.” How about Anwar al-Awlaki’s own words? Has Mr. Paul already forgotten about last year’s video, posted to jihadist websites and calling for the killing of Americans?(4) We all know that Ron Paul is getting up there in years, having just turned 76 in August. Maybe he’s starting to suffer from early stage Alzheimer’s. (Ooh! If that’s true then should his wife divorce him, as fellow Baptist Pat Robertson suggests?)
Second, just how are we supposed to take this guy into custody, in Yemen nonetheless? If the Usama bin-Laden end-game was any indication, any effort to apprehend al-Awlaki would have resulted in deaths. What Ron Paul and the civil liberties folks keep forgetting, is that these radical Muslims don’t fear death. They’ve prepared themselves and are ready to die for Allah and Islam. Hell who wouldn’t be, especially when they’ve been promised seventy-two virgins when they get to the other side!? (Come to think of it, they never did specify the gender of those virgins, did they? Even worse, what if it was a typo, and al-Awlaki was met by seventy-two Virginians!? Sucks to be him…)
Third and finally, why are these people even considering al-Awlaki to be an American citizen? Yes, I understand that he was born here, in New Mexico. Yes, I understand that he was a natural-born U.S. citizen, however once he left the U.S., ensconced himself in Yemen and started calling for the indiscriminate murder of Americans, he gave up the right to be called an American. At that point, he spat on everything that the name “American” embodies. He might as well have taken Old Glory, folded it up and used it to clean his backside. No, when that drone took Anwar al-Awlaki out, he was no longer a citizen of this nation, and had no expectation of due process rights. He gave those up long ago.
If Ron Paul is trying to do that whole “kinder, gentler president” thing, there’s no need. We already had that used on us with Bush 41.