Friday, September 30, 2011

What I fail to see in Yemen.

Citizen al-Awlaki.

Another al-Qaeda operative has been killed, according to both my favorite MSM outlet and my most resented, so it must be true that Anwar al-Awlaki is dead, killed in a vehicle somewhere in the vast desert just like the film with George Clooney. Although we’ve1 killed terrorists2 before, the al-Awlaki situation is special-special because he held dual US-Yemeni citizenship. What Woody Allen described as “abstract murder... an unknown enemy on the battlefield” suddenly turned into what he also described as “the most foul of all crimes”, setting all the good peoples of America a-twitter with the knowledge of their impending doom from a remote-controlled airplane, up in arms that the government [in the personification of Obama] has come to take away their intangible due process, but I refute these worries.

Al-Awlaki had never been charged with a crime, and I assume was a dual citizen during his residence in Yemen [He was born in 1971, and a quick Google search reveals this 1975 law that applies to his extra-territorial birth]. However, it is my belief that his due process was never violated; the United States never chose to pursue the more traditional path of charging him with a crime, performing an extradition from Yemen, and having al-Awlaki stand trial. Instead, he was killed with the cooperation and awareness of the Yemeni government which like any government can contract the help of second party [us!] to get rid of a third. They had the authority to sign away his life because his Yemeni residence and Yemeni citizenship took preference over his second, American nationality at the moment and it was this Yemeni nationality that was interfacing with the CIA drone strike, which obviously could not have taken place within the States. Shouldn't the right to take a citizen’s life have a uniform international standard, or is it that there is no international body to enforce it? What difference does it make.

I don't believe anyone's constitutional rights were violated here, but maybe we need an amendment that would make it so, and protect us outside of our borders. If the Yemeni government cooperated with the CIA in his death, then it isn't al-Awlaki's killing that is a 'sad precedent' but American willingness to enable these kinds of human rights and what-should-be constitutional violations abroad [e.g. assassination, rendition] that wouldn’t be permitted in countries less complicit countries with less plastic definitions of natural rights nor can be done at home by la CIA: if Anwar al-Awlaki had been found in a London townhouse or a bungalow in Key West I think he might have been subjected to more traditional methods of law and order.

[1] Well, I didn’t do it. Neither can I say that his death was endorsed by Americans, nor was he engaged in combat with anybody, rather being killed by a remote-controlled plane. I find the use of the we in these situations troubling, yet I did it myself. [2] Simply by throwing out the word 'terrorist', without any objective, transparent criteria, someone transcends any conception of criminality into a new, boundless universe of evil not unlike Lord Voldemort or the Death Eaters from Harry Potter. You can’t contain them in Azkaban, they can blast open the walls with their self-destruct!