Does That Sound Like US?

It had never been legal, sans due process, for the US President to shoot to kill a US Citizen. Nor has it ever been legal to order the same of his underlings. That would deny us our rights — our constitutionally claimed God given rights.

Not many people would deny that Anwar al-Awlaki was a bad guy and deserved to die for the safety of our nation. But that view misses the point. To overlook the legality of denying him his rights, because he was a special case, means that you or I could be a special case someday too. And that is the point. Our rights were given to all citizens for that very reason.

Whether you trust President Obama to use this power wisely or not makes no difference. One president is given power and it passes to every president that follows. When it becomes lawfully acceptable for the person in the most powerful position in the nation to deny the rights of select citizens, with no burden of proof and no need to explain, does that sound like the United States of America to you?

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3 Responses to Does That Sound Like US?

  1. dukeshoward says:

    Does this sound like us? I think history shows that nations in times of perceived or actual peril will do things that might not sound like us. And at least going back to World War I, the US govt’ with either the active consent or disinterest of the people have been willing to countenance actions by said government that look a lot like violations of the rights of Americans. Whether its the Palmer raids and persecutions of Germans of WW I, the internment of the Japanese during WWII, McCarthyism of the early cold war, the warrantless searches of the Bush days or Obama’s targeted killings, the country will either trample on rights or take extraordinary but justifiable measures to protect our interests. Two things stand out to me. First, many of these calls are close calls. It’s not open or shut, although some will clearly look worse than others with the benefit of hindsight. The second thing is that this is an area where the government cannot operate without the consent of the governed. When folks raised concerns about the warrentless wiretaps or torture, the leaders pulled back. When the press uncovered Obama’s drone memos the administration offered to be more transparent. We need an informed and involved public. That is the real guarantor of our rights under the constitution.

  2. Invictus says:

    That’s a very insightful blog, Deb! your statement “[t]o overlook the legality of denying him his rights, because he was a special case, means that you or I could be a special case someday too” triggers a very fundamental yet classical question over the relationship between government and the people which I won’t go deep in though it seems the main point of your blog.
    More interesting to me is the US foreign policy specifically in the Middle East. You mentioned that not so many would question Al-Awlaki is “a bad guy and deserve to die for the safety of out nation,” and I agree with you not so many would do that and the reason is that not so many know that Al-Qaeda is a CIA’s creation that the US government trained, armed, funded and supported in Afghanistan during the cold war. You might want to check this video where Hillary Clinton clearly admits that they now (the US) are dealing with a group of people they created and trained to fight against the USSR.
    The shift in the US’s position demonstrates its double standard in the Middle East policies. Up until September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda was a puppet of the US; they created it, they trained its members and they used them. The US and Saudi Arabia invested over three billion dollars to create this terrorist network.
    Now aside from morality, logically, I don’t think president Obama or any future president has the right to kill those people whether openly or secrecy just because they changed their political position and allegiance. As you see, as a friend or a foe, the US obviously doesn’t value those people’s lives and perhaps they eventually realized that they were being used, this is of course in case we believe Al-Qaeda exists at all.
    Even the scenario I have just given above is not completely convincing at least to me and here is the reason. Think about it, “nothing despite Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, has ever been publicly found, no trials have been held that we know of, and no one has been convicted of being part of Al Qaeda – except the dead. So – What exactly is Al Qaeda?” No one saw Osama Bin Landin’s dead body, we just heard of it, and when I try to find out a reason to why they didn’t show us, I constantly failed to find any… so seriously what is Al Qaeda? A myth, possibly? After all, doesn’t this sound more plausible scenario?!
    And even if the first scenario is the right one, the US gov’t owes both the local and the international public an explanation on their claims regarding Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Ladin….these two things cause muslims all over the globe a lot of harm and unquestionably distorted their image.
    Check these short videos, Osama Bin Ladin was murdered long time ago in Pakistan.

    The question remains why did Obama claim that they killed him? :O

    For further reading on this check out this article
    the quotation above comes from the same article as well!

    • DebbS says:

      Invictus, thank you for engaging with my post! I did know that Al-Queda was a US creation during the cold war, but honestly, that fact hasn’t been foremost in my mind …and it should be. I’ll be following the links in your reply over the next few days.

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