Should America have an assassination list?

October 6, 2010

Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen. He is also a high-ranking al Qaeda propagandist and spiritual leader who counseled the Fort Hood shooter on his murderous mission. He inspired Feisal Shahzad, the Muslim jihadist who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square. He approved the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit. He has called for jihad against his own country.

Not surprisingly, the American government wants him dead.

This troubles Jonah Goldberg, one of my favorite authors. Not because of the orders against Awlaki, himself: Jonah agrees this medieval sociopath needs to be reduced to his component parts as quickly as possible. But  other questions trouble him:

There’s ample precedent — and common sense — to support the claim that the executive branch can kill American citizens when they are sworn members of enemy forces and avowed traitors working with the enemy.

But those precedents start to fray at the edges when the whole world is the war zone and the war doesn’t end until a diffuse, committed, and often camouflaged army of suicidal religious fanatics defy their god and agree to leave the Dark Ages. And the common sense starts to drain away like water through your fingers when you contemplate that we may be facing these kinds of problems for half a century. So while it strikes me as a no-brainer that al-Awlaki should go, what about the next guy? Or the next?

Goldberg’s problem comes not with the targeted-killing policy, per se, but with its secret, ad hoc nature in a society based on democracy and the rule of law. Rather than having this question fought out in the courts (not surprisingly, the ACLU has sued the Obama administration in court to have the order to kill Awlaki blocked), the policy should be debated openly and settled democratically by the elected political branches in a way that meets our traditions: voted on in Congress in agreement with the President. Not the specific targets, mind you, but a set policy on what happens when a citizen joins a non-state actor to wage war against his own country.

I agree, both with Goldberg and with the Obama administration: Anwar al-Awlaki has sided with our deadly enemy and thus needs to die himself, citizen or not. But  we need clear rules for for future cases.

Because we know there will be more.

This is the kind of genuine national issue Congress should be dealing with, the very kind of question for which the federal government was created. Not regulating the air we breathe or the kinds of light bulbs we can buy.

Very frustrating.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Big Green and the enviro-statist agenda, part 2

October 6, 2010

Last week, PJTV presented the first in its three-part series on the politics of the environmental movement, presenting an overview of its goals and its relationship with government, particularly the Democratic Party and the administrative state.

This week, Joe Hicks and his guests take a closer look at the origins of the movement in the 1960s left-wing counterculture,  the large sums of money they have to spend, and their alliance with big business* to push harmful measures such as cap-and-trade:

*(Don’t be surprised. As Goldberg pointed out in Liberal Fascism, there’s a natural urge in big corporations to ally with statists if if means guaranteed profits and restrictions on smaller competitors. Think of the utilities under FDR, or the deals the big insurance and pharmaceutical companies almost cut with the administration over ObamaCare. The cooperation between Big Green and Big Business highlighted in this video is just another example.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Wednesday laughs

October 6, 2010

The latest NewsBusted, with Jodi Miller:


When love goes sour

October 6, 2010

It was so wonderful for left-wing Democrats back before Obama was elected: their Messiah-candidate promised to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, investigate the CIA, and even  …maybe, just maybe, in their most cherished dreams… go after the evil Bush and Cheney themselves.

But then Obama actually won, and the reality of governing set in. He found he couldn’t fulfill the Moonbat wish list and, so, he made compromises. But compromise is anathema to those who demand purity; the Left is feeling betrayed and they are punishing Obama for it:

It was a lot of fun while it lasted, up to election night 2008 and Inauguration Day 2009. But then Obama had to govern. Knowing little of military affairs, he retained Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has loyally served presidents of both parties. Understanding even if not admitting the great headway Americans had made in Iraq, Obama declined to throw it all away.

Appreciating that Afghanistan was critical to protecting Americans, he made a commitment to increase troop levels there in May 2009, reconsidered it from August to November, then restated it Dec. 1, with a commitment to begin withdrawals in July 2011.

In so doing, Obama implicitly confessed that the view of the world held with quasi-religious fervor by the Democratic left was delusional all along. Bush didn’t lie, we didn’t go into Afghanistan and Iraq without allies and against their wishes, we didn’t carry out policies of torture, etc. The effort to cast Iraq as another Vietnam and America under Bush as an oppressive rogue power were perhaps emotionally satisfying but unconnected to reality.

And so the legions of ObamaTots are not enthused about voting, their dreams exposed for the childish fantasies they were, and the big donors’ checkbooks remain closed. I suppose I could be gentlemanly and make sympathetic noises toward those who rooted against their own country in time of war, but why disguise my enjoyment of the sweet, sweet schadenfreude?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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