I've been having discussions on Facebook and in person with various folks -- my son Scot in particular, and his friends, and coffeehouse friends as well-- about the matter of drone killings. The assassination of Anwar al Awlaki is the meat of the discussion.
Regarding the Oct. 1 news story about the assassination of al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki “In secret memo, Justice Department sanctioned strike”:
I had been a member of the American Civil Liberties Union since the administration of the first George Bush. However, my conviction that the ACLU was dangerously wrong in contending that Mr. Awlaki’s killing violates the U.S. Constitution and international law forced me to withdraw my support.
The militant fanatics of al-Qaeda have, in effect, declared the entire planet a war zone, since they are prepared to attack us anywhere, and at any time, they can. Nor were we ever likely to be able to extradite Mr. Awlaki from Yemen, a U.S. “ally” in name only. Arresting and trying Mr. Awlaki would have been nice, but in the real world it just wasn’t going to happen.
Mr. Awlaki had declared himself our enemy. In killing him when and where it could, the United States did what was possible rather than what was preferable. The ACLU should remember that we live in a highly imperfect world.
John W. Floars, Woodbridge