How Will Liberals Celebrating Awlaki Killing React When President Rick Perry Executes Americans Abroad?
The U.S. born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has reportedly been killed in a U.S. drone strike carried out by the CIA and U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, making Awlaki the first American citizen executed under the Obama administration without a shred of due process or oversight. The BBC reports, “President Barack Obama is said to have personally ordered his killing.”
What’s most frustrating about this entire episode is the reaction from liberals who are cheering on the execution of Awlaki when just weeks ago they were condemning the GOP for applauding Governor Rick Perry’s atrocious record of executing citizens in the state of Texas (arguably a less radical approach than Obama’s since Perry allows his victims a trial and appeals before death). These are the same liberals that were outraged at President Bush for detaining people in Guantanamo for years without charge, a point Glenn Greenwald articulates well at Salon. He writes:
Yet now, here's Obama claiming the power not to detain or eavesdrop on them without due process, but to kill them; marvel at how the hardest-core White House loyalists celebrate this and uncritically accept the same justifying rationale used by Bush/Cheney (this is war! he was a Terrorist!) without even a moment of acknowledgment of the profound inconsistency or the deeply troubling implications of having a President -- even someone as good and kind as Barack Obama -- vested with the power to target U.S. citizens for murder with no due process.
Regardless of whether Awlaki was in fact guilty of terrorism (there is doubt) the 5th Amendment to the Constitution strictly forbids the government from depriving a citizen of life without due process. In other words, Obama violated the constitution by acting as judge and jury to sentence an American to death, which sets a dangerous precedent for U.S. Presidents to come.
Those who justify Obama’s actions should ask themselves if they would feel comfortable with a future President Michelle Bachmann or the death penalty adoring President Rick Perry possessing the tyrannical authority to execute their citizens abroad based upon their own judgment of who constitutes a threat to the United States. That is the inevitable consequence of Obama’s abuse of power, should it remain unchallenged.