Up front I need to say that I have always felt Rep. Ron Paul is out there a bit. I give the man credit; he is probably the most intellectually consistent politician I have ever witnessed. He has his beliefs, and he sticks to them regardless of how unpopular or beyond the pale of common sense they may be. That said, his stand on the killing of AQAP Leader Anwar al-Awlaki last week is really ridiculous. As is the news flurry that followed (fueled by some commentators who are probably less consistent than Paul) raising the issue of the legality of killing this international terrorist who happens to have been born here in the United States.
First of all, the decision to kill this guy was not made solely on “secret intel” of which the American people have zero knowledge. It was made based on al-Awlaki’s own public statements and declarations. HE declares jihad on the United States, HE trained, equipped and sent out terrorists to kill innocent Americans, HE radicalized other American Muslims who then killed American service members, and HE claimed responsibility (“bragged about” would probably be a better term) for doing it all.
Becoming a traitor to the United States carries the “punishment” of losing your rights as a citizen. Fighting for the other side in a war does as well. What else would this “cleric” have to do to warrant action against him? Paul said “We don’t know if he ever killed anyone.” Please Mr. Representative, ask the folks at Ft. Hood if al-Awlaki ever killed anyone. Yes he did.
We are at war. This is not merely an affair for the Law Enforcement Agencies. If al-Awlaki was in the United States, acting as a gang leader, you would have a point. He was residing in a foreign country, directing foreign forces in action to kill Americans and was quite open about doing it. That makes him an enemy of this country, and it is absurd to debate the issue of where he was born.
If you make war on the United States and its people, how do you have any expectation of protections under U.S. law?
Again, we are at war. Anwar al-Awlaki thought so. When you fight a war, you kill your enemies. Kudos to President Obama for standing his ground on this, and kudos to the drone pilots and intel collectors that got this ENEMY.