Another major battlefield success for America in the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a major Al Qaeda leader, and yet we endure another round of dismay from the usual suspects plus Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul about the questionable constitutionality of the event. What don’t we understand about the fact that we are a country at war and have been since at least 1979, one with many battlefields and many non-traditional belligerents with and without flags and uniforms, but otherwise no different from those conflicts we have prosecuted many times in our history. Presidential authority under our Constitution is pretty clear on this and has been since at least the era of Lincoln, or don’t we believe that he was on constitutional grounds in pursuing war against Confederate forces (American citizens, incidentally) without a grand jury indictment? And the Congressional authority given the President shortly after 9/11 was pretty clear about the pursuit of international terrorism aimed at the U. S., irrespective of national borders. There is no question about the qualifications of al-Awlaki as an enemy combatant who planned, aided, abetted, and executed initiatives that killed Americans, and his status as a U. S. citizen does not immunize him from lethal force. The drone that killed him is part of a military campaign that is legal and very successful. We need more of this American success, not less. The ultimate hypocrisy of this episode is that the Obama administration has consistently allied with its political base in railing against the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation” procedures used on captured high value enemy combatants, yet sees no conflict with killing a large number of them on the battlefield.
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