Not every one, including some conservatives, agrees with the President Obama policy that led to the killing of the first American citizen who also was an al-Qaeda terrorist: Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki has been linked to the Fort Hood massacre through 20 emails with Major Nidal Hasan who killed 13 soldiers. Awaki said Muslims should serve in the US military only if they intended on carry out similar acts of terror as Hasan. He inspired the Christmas Day bomber and the Times Square bomber with his anti-American internet messages.
Presidential candidate Ron Paul believes the President has violated the 5th Amendment which states, “No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.”
Oddly, these conservatives find themselves on the side of the ACLU who wanted to defend Anwar al-Awlaki but was denied by President Obama’s Treasury Department because of his terrorist status.
Jameel Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, believes “that the targeted killing program violates both U.S. and international law. As we’ve seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts. The government’s authority to use lethal force against its own citizens should be limited to circumstances in which the threat to life is concrete, specific, and imminent. It is a mistake to invest the President — any President — with the unreviewable power to kill any American whom he deems to present a threat to the country.”
The Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Hougju Koh in the present Obama administration defended targeted killing in March 2010: “U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war.” He said the U.S. is in “an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the associated forces” and therefore has the lawful right to use lethal force to protect its citizens “consistent with its right to self-defense” under international law.
Others believe that President Obama has exceeded the “Bush Doctrine” which was the practice of pre-emptive strikes or killing terrorists who put national security at risk.
In their logic this denial of the due process of law and rule of law also led to the condemnation of Guantanamo Bay.
Former supporters of Obama, who believed he would shut down Guantanamo Bay, are lamenting the Obama Doctrine which has exceeded the Bush Doctrine in violating human rights in their opinion.
According to Asim Qureshi the Obama Doctrine is the breaking of a taboo that the Bush administration balked at – the concept of treating US citizens outside of the US constitutional process. During the Bush era, the treatment of detainees such as John Walker Lindh, Yasser Hamdi and Jose Padilla showed reluctance by officials to treat their own nationals in the way it had all those of other nationalities (by, for instance, sending them to Guantánamo Bay and other secret prisons). The policy of discrimination reserved for US citizens showed that there was a line the US was not willing to cross.
The President is correct in taking out known terrorists even if they are American citizens.
Anwar al-Awlaki was no longer entitled to special protections as an American citizen since he was a direct threat to the USA and as Jane Harman, the Democrat chairman of the House homeland security subcommittee, said al-Awlaki was “probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No 1 in terms of threat against us.”
President Obama has put himself, however, in an hypocritical position because of his once condemnation of the Bush Doctrine for which he was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Will those who condemned Bush for detaining Muslim terrorist in Gitmo without due process voice the same or greater outrage at Obama for killing an American terrorist without due process?