May 14 2010
The Bush administration was raked over the coals, unfairly in my opinion, for recognizing how our national security guidelines allowed terrorists free reign once inside our borders prior to 9-11, and for taking steps to correct this deadly problem. The left-wing nuts went ape over the changes President Bush instituted, changes which required the Attorney General to request special, short term surveillance powers to ensure people here in the US or US citizens abroad, who are in contact with previously identified terrorists, were not planning or executing deadly attacks inside our borders. The changes to the NSA-FISA relationship, which I have discussed ad nauseam since the NY Times’ traitorous act of disclosing these changes (with complete falsehoods and hype), also require judicial branch review every 90 days. Each 90 day period the Attorney General had to demonstrate why there was sufficient probable-cause evidence to warrant the special scrutiny our national security agencies can bring to bear.
Also note that this completely legal act (now law per Congress) was set up with numerous checks and balances, judicial review and congressional oversight and reporting. The left were all up in arms because they feared somehow their nattering ramblings would be used for political benefit – a completely unfounded and paranoid view.
But here we are today with the Obama administration thwarting the constitution and this nation’s laws in a manner that makes the act of surveillance pale in comparison. The Obama administration has issued an assassination order on a US citizen, one Anwar al Aulaqi. Al Aulaqi is a radicalized cleric living in Yemen and tied to three recent terrorist attacks here in the US (Ft Hood, the Christmas Day Bombing attempt, the Times Square Bombing attempt). While I see al Aulaqi as a treasonous enemy combatant through his actions and words, the fact is he is still innocent until proven guilty in an open court of law by a jury of his peers.
And this is where the Obama administration is simply trampling our constitution and laws. If the administration wants to put a hit order out on al Aulaqi, they need to try and convict him in a court of law for crimes worthy of the death penalty. Only through the determination by a jury of al Aulaqi’s peers – we average Americans, as much as that relationship disgusts us – can a death warrant against a US citizen be deemed appropriate.
Folks, we are now on the slippery slope to oblivion. We need to stand up and stop this order and give this man due process. He was not captured on the battlefield, so he is not going to fall into the detention/interrogation bucket of cases being debated. If the Obama administration has proof of his treason and the threat Â he poses as the basis of the assassination order, then bring it to court and convict the man.
What I don’t want to see is precedence established here, where any old political leader can determine in secrecy that a US Citizen is a threat and then have them eliminated without due process or cause. Hitler and all other murderous leaders throughout history were given this kind of supreme power, and the results have always been a horrific disaster of epic human carnage. Once we remove our protections for one individual, or allow them to be circumvented in the heat of a moment of panic, then we lose them for all time.
I implore the leaders in Congress to stop this madness and call on the administration to try al Aulaqi in absentia and obtain a conviction and death sentence for his crimes. Then, once he is no longer innocent but proven guilty, the means of his execution can be considered in light of the circumstances of the man’s crimes and his threat to our nation. But not before hand, not in the America my father fought to protect during World War II, or the one my son signed up to protect as a United States Marine. We have not fought our way as a nation for 200+ years as we reached the pinnacle of human achievement and freedom to just throw it away on the hasty whim of a power-mad individual.
We are more than that. We used to be better than this.