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Opinions Mixed on Assassination of US Born Radical Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

al-Awlaki

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On tv, radio and on the Internet, pro and con opinions are rapidly cropping up over the assassination in Yemen of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric.

Plenty folks in the U.S. were simply elated. Period.

But others  are questioning whether the U.S. has stepped over the line by assassinating the U.S. citizen.

President Obama called Awlaqi’s death “a major blow to al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate” and described him as “the leader of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” according to the Washington Post.

“In that role, he took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans,” Obama said at a ceremony honoring the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Fort Myer, Fla., the Post reported.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), when asked by CNN Friday whether he had a problem with President Obama approving the assassination of an American citizen, said the only problem he would have had would have been if the president had not ordered the assassination.

Charlie Dunlap, visiting professor of law at Duke University Law School and director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, said in a statement:

“In short, if a U.S. citizen overseas presents an imminent threat, or is a participant in an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict against the U.S., as the administration seems to be alleging is the case with al-Awlaki, the mere fact that he may also be accused of criminal offenses does not necessarily give him sanctuary from being lawfully attacked overseas as any other enemy belligerent might be.”

Here’s some samples of  opinions on newspaper websites around the country:

Reader DELewes wrote in the Washington Post:  “While a happy result, the means is a little frightening. We need a serious discussion of proper conduct of war…”

Reader battleground51 wrote in the Post: “This seems to be one of the things Obama is doing right.”

In the New York Times, Shane from New England wrote:  “Great news. With the murder of Bin Laden, this is a real feather in the president’s cap. The world is safer (I hope) today.”

A.S. of CA wrote in the Times: “Yes, Awlaki made videos supporting Al quaeda and wrote sermons. But as the Supreme Court has made it unambiguously clear in the past, advocating violence is protected free speech.”

Kevin D. Williamson, in a column in the National Review wrote:

“Here are two facts: (1) Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen and an al-Qaeda propagandist. (2) Pres. Barack Obama proposes to assassinate him. Between the first fact and the second falls the shadow.

“The Awlaki case has led many conservatives into dangerous error, as has the War on Terror more generally. That conservatives are for the most part either offering mute consent or cheering as the Obama administration draws up a list of U.S. citizens to be assassinated suggests not only that have we gone awry in our thinking about national security, limitations on state power, and the role of the president in our republic, but also that we still do not understand all of the implications of our country’s confrontation with Islamic radicalism.”

In response to the column, reader RobL wrote: “OK so if a policeman kills a criminal who is shooting at him, is this an assassination?

If a National Guardsman shoots and kills a looter during a state of emergency, is that an assassination?

If Major Hassan was killed by the guard woman who shot him, would that have been an assassination.

No, no and no!

al-Awlaki whether a citizen or not was declared war against the United States has plotted to kill and successfully organized missions to kill Americans.”

 


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