"Traveling from secret bases on opposite sides of Yemen, armed drones from the CIA and the military's Joint Special Operations Command converged above Anwar al-Aulaqi's position in northern Yemen early Friday, 9/30/2011, and unleashed a fury of missiles." (Greg Miller-Washington Post-9/30)
Aulaqi was killed.
He was an imminent threat to the security interests of the United States and was deliberately hiding in a place where neither the U.S. nor Yemen could realistically capture him. He had played a direct role in the plot to blow up a jet over Detroit and had become an operational figure within al-Quaeda's affiliate in Yemen. Having been born in New Mexico, he was a U.S. citizen. That fact has prompted criticism from prominent liberal organizations, such as the ACLU.
Their complaints are predicated upon an alleged failure to afford an American citizen the constitutionally mandated right to Due Process of law. The plain language definition of Due Process is "fairness." The goal, they advocate, should have been to capture and bring him to trial, whereby he would have enjoyed such benefits as the presumption of innocence and the right to confront witnesses called to testify against him, etc. They claim that a dangerous precedent has been set for the targeted killing of U.S. citizens without judicial process, based upon evidence kept secret from the public and the courts.
The belief that such objections are made in the utmost good faith legitimizes motive but not common sense. We are at war. With terrorism. We were attacked by this enemy on 9/11 in a manner arguably reminiscent of the 1941 Pearl Harbor tragedy. Both events rallied the nation. Both events called for vengeance. Complete and unqualified. The axiom of World War II was "unconditional surrender." So it is now.
War is never a gentleman's sport. An approach to our military heroes, returning from combat, must be gingerly made. Their wounds are not confined to the surface. Memories are indelible. Whatever happened to the Due Process rights of the World Trade Center victims, the vast majority of whom were American citizens?
In the matter at hand, an opinion was initially sought from the Justice Department which promulgated a green-light memorandum, without which the CIA would not have acted. Detailed evidence, validating the classification of Aulaqi as a genuine threat to national security, was presented and is available to the public, surely in lesser detail, in daily press reports. This intelligence/military operation should be applauded and grounds for high confidence in the Obama administration. The buck stops with the President. He should be saluted.
Our terrorist enemies are fanatics who gladly commit suicide at every opportunity to murder us. Any of their members who are technically American citizens should be deemed to have waived all rights attending that status. Those thinking otherwise, motives notwithstanding, should reexamine their opinions through the the filter of war's realities.
Mainstream sentiments of our two political parties should be respected. Extremism, in either, is bad for the brew and should be rejected.
Being a U.S. citizen did have implications for Aulaqi. He was not only a terrorist, but a traitor, as well.