-by Geoff Caldwell-
The use of drone strikes as President Obama’s primary weapon of choice in the shall not be mentioned in his White House “war” on terror, is the unmanned drone. Under this administration drone strikes have been used more than 6 times as often in Obama’s first 4 years as compared to Bush’s 8.
God speed I say. Those who wish to destroy America and the ideals she represents deserve to be ushered on to Allah and their 72 awaiting virgins just as fast as a Predator’s “welcome package” can make it from 50,000 feet to terra firma.
Just one catch. Three of those sent to the big desert in the sky were American citizens, one of them just 16 years old.
Two of them, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were open and transparent in their aiding and abetting a known enemy to America, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Their resumes a collection of one terrorist act after another. Both were without a doubt, fully deserving of their un-natural demise.
The third however should give every American pause. His name was Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and he was only 16 years old. Tom Junod in the Atlantic provides background:
But Abdulrahman al-Awlaki wasn’t on an American kill list.
Nor was he a member of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Nor was he “an inspiration,” as his father styled himself, for those determined to draw American blood; nor had he gone “operational,” as American authorities said his father had, in drawing up plots against Americans and American interests. He was a boy who hadn’t seen his father in two years, since his father had gone into hiding. He was a boy who knew his father was on an American kill list and who snuck out of his family’s home in the early morning hours of September 4, 2011, to try to find him. He was a boy who was still searching for his father when his father was killed, and who, on the night he himself was killed, was saying goodbye to the second cousin with whom he’d lived while on his search, and the friends he’d made. He was a boy among boys, then; a boy among boys eating dinner by an open fire along the side of a road when an American drone came out of the sky and fired the missiles that killed them all.
His “crime” that President Obama found serious enough to issue his death warrant? Being unfortunate enough to have been born into the wrong family. As top Obama adviser Robert Gibbs put it:
ADAMSON: …It’s an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial. And, he’s underage. He’s a minor.
GIBBS: I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.
And there you have it. The United States of America, and specifically the President of the United States, one Barack Hussein Obama, acting as judge, jury and executioner unilaterally sent a 16 year old kid to his death for no other reason than having an “irresponsible father”.
White House mouthpiece Jay Carney said Obama’s strikes and the process behind them were “legal, ethical, and wise”. (While the Corner has long known Carney has been forced to navigate life with an amount of gray matter less than that found in your average toad, such an outright misuse of those three words as they apply to the current processes would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.)
Between his minion media propping him up and his campaign machine brilliantly focusing the ignorant on “binders full of women”, “Romney’s a felon”, Romney kills wives”, the legal and Constitutional authority surrounding Obama’s “kill list” and the eliminating of those on it never got the debate it deserved.
This past week we learned why the Obama administration was so eager to bury discussion of the legality of it’s drone operations when NBC national security correspondent Michael Isikoff revealed a 16 page Obama justice department “white paper” that outlined its legal reasoning for unilateral killing of American citizens.
And those pages are some of the most chilling reading I’ve read in my entire 52 years upon this planet. Everything I know of the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the debates and reasoning that went into their drafting is moot if the Obama administration is allowed to pass off those 16 pages as anything but the insult to the rule of law that they are.
The elasticity given to the DOJ’s “new” definition of “imminent threat” could slingshot a man to the moon, the evidentiary bar is lower than the combined ethics quotient at a trial lawyers convention, and any idea of “check and balance” is non-existent.
It is, on its face and in its words, a document one would expect to be drafted by a “Ministry of Propaganda” serving a Banana Republic dictator than a department that is supposed to uphold the rule of law and the Constitutional rights of its citizens.
This is not about restricting a President’s ability to protect the nation in times of emergency or true “imminent” threat.
This is about who we are as a people.
We exist today because two centuries ago another group of citizens pledged their “lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to ensuring that future generations would never again live under the rule of just one man.
One man having the ability to issue a kill order for a 16 year old minor with no oversight, no check, no balance is the antithesis of everything America stands for. It cuts to the very core and foundation of our Republic.
In 2008, when attacking the Bush policies on Guantanamo Bay then candidate Obama stated:
“We need not throw away 200 years of American jurisprudence while we fight terrorism. We need not choose between our most deeply held values, and keeping this nation safe.”
To demand legal rights for foreign terrorists then while ignoring Constitutional rights of American citizens today is worse than hypocrisy it is all out, front and center anti-American. As Conor Friedersdorf writes in his piece:
Killing an American citizen without due process on that logic ought to be grounds for impeachment….Any Congress that respected its oversight responsibilities would get to the bottom of this.
Obama may think of himself as a 21st century Caesar with “thumb up, thumb down” power over the lives of his subjects, but at least for now, there is still a Constitution of the United States of America that says he is not.
And the time is now to make sure he knows that.