Ron Paul, Mike Doherty and Anwar Al-Awlaki

There is an almost Manichean quality to the mindset of Paulbots and conservo-gnostics when it comes to the Constitution of the United States – an ‘either/or,’ ‘black/white,’ ‘good/evil’ dichotomy that admits of no fog or shades of gray. In some cases, they remind me of the Pharisees described by the Gospel writers in the New Testament, for whom the precise letter of the law and the unquestioning adherence – often to the point of absurdity – to its most literal interpretation becomes the sum of all desires and ne plus ultra of all conscious actions. It is one thing to evince a profound respect for the Constitution coupled with a determination to hew as closely as possible to the law it proclaims; it is another thing entirely to fetishize it – and this is precisely what Paulbots and their fearless leader do best.

Yet another dreary case in point comes to us after the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, a member of al-Qaida’s top leadership echelon who also happened to be an American citizen by birth. I won’t bog down this article with the details of his biography except to point out that, in his case, American citizenship counted for nothing more than a legal technicality.

Even by 14th Amendment standards (“All person born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”[Emphasis added]), his status as an American citizen was questionable. Both of his parents were Yemeni nationals who never established a permanent domicile here, according to the standard established by SCOTUS in United States v Wong Kim Ark.

When his father completed his university studies here in 1978, 7 year old Anwar returned to Yemen with his parents. At some point during that time, his father became the Agricultural Minister of Yemen and in 1991 Anwar returned to the U.S. to study at the University of Colorado. But he did so with a scholarship from Yemen – along with a Yemeni visa. In light of the fact that (a) Yemen does not recognize dual citizenship, (b) children born abroad of Yemeni citizens must obtain special permission to be declared citizens, and (c) only Yemeni citizens are granted Yemeni passports, it follows that Anwar Al-Awlaki effectively renounced his U.S. citizenship – even if, according to U.S. law, he did not.

His subsequent history as a self-proclaimed – and actively engaged – enemy of the United States is well-documented and needs no repeating here. Awlaki was a proud member of al-Aqaida who got what was coming to him yesterday. Rest in pieces.

All of which brings us to New Hampshire, where Dr. Ron Paul (aka Crazy Uncle Ron) is  campaigning to become the Republican nominee for president of the U.S. – in spite the fact that he has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected. There in the Granite State, Uncle Ron held forth on the news of Awlaki’s welcome death:

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is condemning the Obama administration for killing an American born al-Qaida operative without a trial.

Paul, a Texas congressman known for libertarian views, says the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki on Yemeni soil amounts to an “assassination.” Paul warned the American people not to casually accept such violence against U.S. citizens, even those with strong ties to terrorism.

I suppose Dr. Paul’s statement would resonate more plausibly if Awlaki had remained here since birth, had not engaged in a de facto renunciation of his American citizenship and, most importantly, was present on American soil at the time of his death. Thus NRO’s Andrew McCarthy’s response to NRO’s Kevin Williamson on this issue:

Kevin would have a stronger case if Awlaki had been killed in the U.S. But he was in Yemen — as an avowed member of al-Qaeda, a foreign enemy our nation is at war with under Congress’s authorization of military force. There already is precedent for conducting military operations against Americans under those circumstances, most recently the Supremes’  2004 Hamdi ruling.

The precedent that would be radical is the one Kevin seems to be arguing for, namely, that American citizens carry the protections of the Constitution wherever in the world they go, and however hostile their stance toward the U.S., even in wartime. How far do we take that precedent? Would we have needed an arrest warrant to capture Awlaki? A search warrant to raid his hideout in Yemen? Would he need to be brought to the nearest available magistrate, assigned counsel, and advised of the charges against him? Does he get Miranda warnings? Does it matter the the writ of American courts and the authority of American law-enforcement agents do not apply in Yemen? Does it matter that Congress has authorized military operations and, therefore, that the laws of war apply?

I think you can see Awlaki as an enemy combatant or as a criminal defendant, but you have to follow through with the logic and consequences of either choice. In my mind, he’s an enemy combatant.

And I’m pretty sure that in the minds of most conservatives, Awlaki died an enemy combatant. Once again, Crazy Uncle Ron has given us a glimpse into life as…Crazy Uncle Ron.

By the way…State Senator Mike Doherty – who may be preparing to challenge Robert Menendez for the latter’s U.S. Senate seat – has endorsed Crazy Uncle Ron as a candidate for President of the United States.

Will State Sen. Doherty stand by Dr. Paul’s comments or will he default to weasel mode and distance himself as he has done before with other positions taken by Dr. Paul? This will be interesting, insofar as Sen. Doherty has embraced Dr. Paul’s bogus “illegal war” argument.

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28 Responses to Ron Paul, Mike Doherty and Anwar Al-Awlaki

  1. dloosend says:

    “Protect and defend against enemies foriegn and domestic”–works for me.
    And just further proof that America’s enemies stick together.

  2. Frank Jack Fiamingo says:

    GH “There is an almost Manichean quality to the mindset of Paulbots and conservo-gnostics when it comes to the Constitution of the United States – an ‘either/or,’ ‘black/white,’ ‘good/evil’ dichotomy that admits of no fog or shades of gray”.

    Who decides the grey Gene, the President, the Attorney General, the Military, YOU? That is why the country is in the dire situation it is in, Executives, Legislators and Judges who have strayed so far from the Constitution, they can no longer make out its silhouette.

    “…it follows that Anwar Al-Awlaki effectively renounced his U.S. citizenship – even if, according to U.S. law, he did not”.

    Here you are admitting that according to our system of laws, Anwar Awalki *IS* a citizen of the United States. However, without benefit of a trial, you have decided that he can be executed. The question becomes, who is next, and who gets to make the decision? According to our founders, and the amazing documents they constructed for us and even our current system of jurisprudence, every U.S. citizen is entitled to a defense and a trial. However, because some think it is inconvenient or unnecessary, they have decided that it is proper to set the Constitution aside – well maybe just this once. Really?

    You can deride Dr. Paul and his supporters for our devotion to the Constitution if you think that is the proper position a conservative leader should take. I actually find it a bit surprising and VERY disturbing. It takes more than an “artful” manipulation of words and name-calling to make a legitimate point, Gene. You disregard the law. You disregard the Constitution. What do you regard; the arbitrary judgment of some nameless agency somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon?

    This is not the United States of Obama. This is not the United States of Eric Holder (THANK NATURE), and by all that is real, logical and objective this is not the United States of Gene Hoyas. We are a Constitutional Republic. Disregard the Constitution in the way you are suggesting and you invite lawlessness and tyranny. Remember, Anwar Awalki is only the target we KNOW about…

  3. HeleneH says:

    The closer I look at Rep. Paul, the more I learn about him, the less I respect him.
    Although I am uncomfortable with the method used to address Al-Awlaki & can’t see another way. I doubt if he was planning on turning himself in for a trial.

    • lg1015 says:

      The fact is that he was an American citizen. The question remains: does the POTUS have the Constitutional right to assassinate American citizens without due process? This has nothing to do with what I think about Ron Paul, or any other politician. We can’t complain that “they” are not following the Constitution in some instances, and forgive them for not following our founding document, in other instances.

      • HeleneH says:

        The reason I mention my thoughts on Rep. Paul does not have anthing to do with what I think of the handling of Al-Awlaki. It seems that the followers of Rep. Paul act as if he can not be wrong in anything he says or does. The points he brought up regarding Al-Awlaki are valid & should be considered. This adminstration is willing to bend over backwards for those who have never been US citizens, but this guy, the blew him up.

        • lg1015 says:

          That’s my point, Helene. They bent over backwards to see that the lowlife who masterminded 9/11 got due process.

  4. gnryanx93 says:

    Sigh…. Some people just don’t get it.

    1) This was the first time a U.S. citizen was officially put on a government hit list and killed. Now Obama has set a precedent where he officially has the authority to deem somebody a terrorist, put him on a hitlist, and have him murdered without a trial. That’s part of what Ron Paul is upset about – this is a sad precedent indeed. If you thought Bush’s Patriot Act was bad, where the government could magically override the 4th amendment and commit searches without warrants, and wiretap those suspected of being dangerous to national security, then I’ve got news for you – when the President can kill those suspected of being dangerous to national security without a trial in a court of law, that’s much worse.

    Only someone blind to American history would deny that when precedents like this are set, and one or a few people are killed or imprisoned for the sake of protecting national security, the label is always expanded to include those who disagree with the government. Try looking up John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts, Woodrow Wilson’s Espionage and Sedition Acts, and Bush’s Patriot Act. What do they all have in common? They were all signed in a time or war or military conflict. Each time, the government used fear mongering and propaganda to convince its citizens that if only they give up some civil liberties and let the government break the law, they’ll be more “safe.” Each time, without fail, the Acts were used to spy American citizens who just disagreed with the government. And the government had carte blanche to spy or imprison anyone suspected of being a”threat to national security” – a label so vague that practically anyone can fit under it, if the government wishes to make it so. Ron Paul is aware of this history… Are you?

    2) Read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. It says explicitly that if you are an American citizen, you’re entitled to a trial before you’re convicted (and, presumably, before the government murders you). It doesn’t say “unless you’re a bad guy” or even “unless you’re a threat to national security.” Also, your claim that “Dr. Paul’s statement would resonate more plausibly if Awlaki had remained here since birth, had not engaged in a de facto renunciation of his American citizenship and, most importantly, was present on American soil at the time of his death” is absolutely ridiculous. First of all, the guy went to college here and didn’t leave the second after he was born. He was brought up here until he was 7 I believe, left to Yemen, came back for college and lived here for a while. BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE. The Constitution, AKA the LAW doesn’t say that you can renounce your American citizenship by doing really, really bad things. It doesn’t say that if you don’t need a trial in order to be killed on non-American soil. Look it up if you don’t believe me. Apparently making sure the government follows the law isn’t one of your priorities.

    So, if you’d rather the President not be obligated to follow the Constitution that he swore to uphold and protect, Ron Paul really isn’t your guy because he believes the President should have to follow the law… Just like any citizen has to. The President or any government official shouldn’t become exceptions simply because they’re the government. That train of thought has paved the way for many a’ dictator over the course of human history.

    3) Think of the blowback this will cause. Blowback is, ironically, the term coined by the CIA itself for when our national security is worsened because of our presence on foreign lands, which leads to incredible resentment from the people who live there and thus, an increased terrorist threat. Look up the reasons for 9/11, not only according to the perpetrators of the attacks but according to CIA officials such as Michael Scheur, the man who has written most extensively about blowback and who was in charge of the unit dedicated to finding Bin Laden for several years.

    This wasn’t the first time the government attempted to have al-Awlaki killed. They’ve missed before, and doubtlessly caused some civilian casualties. Think of all their friends and families – that’s more than a handful of more people that now hate America probably with a passion. A handful of more potential terrorists who want revenge. Ron Paul understands this, which is why he’s actually the best man for our national security. But by all means, if you think we can do whatever we want overseas and not expect the logical consequences, continue supporting whoever you support. I’m sure they know better.

    In short, Ron Paul is right, as usual. To recap, 1) Allowing the President to murder an American citizen without a trial simply because he deems a terrorist is a very dangerous precedent to set. The question is: what’s next, or who’s next? Only someone who’s incredibly naive and blind to history would deny the danger of such a precedent. 2) The President and the government should be obligated to follow the Constitution. According to the Constitution, what they did was against the law. Simple as that. 3) The blowback caused by these numerous killing attempts harms our national security in the long run. There are most likely a fresh batch of foreign people that have a good reason to hate America. That’s the biggest cause of terrorism against our country and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    Have a nice day.

    • lg1015 says:

      Amen!

    • JerseyJoey says:

      “This was the first time a U.S. citizen was officially put on a government hit list and killed.”

      WRONG! Thousands have been “Wanted: Dead or Alive”. Thousands on that list have been killed. Bonnie and Clyde. John Dillinger. Pretty Boy Floyd/ And that’s just from the Depression Gangster era.

      • lg1015 says:

        And that’s ok with you?

        • Gene Hoyas says:

          Hell yeah. Some people just need to be killed. Period. We – and they – know who they are.

          • Frank Jack Fiamingo says:

            Ah – you mean *YOU* know who they are. Forgive me if I am not willing to risk the Constitution of the United States of America on your whim, Gene. It was never meant to work that way. You don’t get to decide “who needs killing”.

  5. Frank Jack Fiamingo says:

    gnryanx93 – Of course you are 100% correct. I hope that the readers will carefully consider the points you have made. It is easy to react emotionally to something like this, but if we abandon our principles every time we are faced with an emotional decision, there will be chaos in the streets. Our founders had good reason to formulate a Constitution upon which we could base our laws. People are complex. We are prone to quick judgement and error. Without proper guidelines, behavior becomes random and unpredictable. If there are procedures that we agree to follow with regard to the treatment of our enemies, then by all means we should adhere to them. If these procedures need to be altered, we have a method in place to do so.

    People need to understand, if the rules can be changed to affect one individual, one day they can be changed to affect *ANY* individual. If you allow the erosion of rights to occur for one person, eventually you will find that they no longer exist for any person.

  6. dloosend says:

    When you move to an enemy state–Yemen–whose citizenship we do not recognize, attend school here as a Yemeni citizen, and both preach and aid in acts of war on our country, at what point can you no longer hide behind a flag which represents everything you despise???
    How did the Founders feel about Al Queda, electronic terrorism, EMP’s, airplanes loaded with explosives???
    l can’t find where the Barbary Pirates attacked the Mainland of the US to cause Jefferson to send ships to a foriegn country and invade them–maybe you could show me.
    lf we can’t have any foriegn relations why are there provisions for treaties in the Constitution??
    When you are on the same side of an issue as lran, aclu, garafalo, moore, olberdork and mslsd–maybe you need to rethink your position.

  7. dloosend says:

    And Frankie is a drama queen

    • Frank Jack Fiamingo says:

      And you are a coward loosebowels. Lets see you publish your name. If you had half a ball you “might” be worth wasting time on. I will answer your questions when you are able to manage to grow a pair. Of course, I am making the assumption that you are a male, probably not a reasonable assumption. You certainly seem to think that you know an awful lot about queens. There is no reason to be ashamed of your sexual orientation. I certainly won’t judge you on that account. You have the right to choose whatever lifestyle you are comfortable with. I would just like to see you come out of drag long enough to prove that you are actually “person” enough to converse with intelligently. So far, I am unimpressed. You KNOW who *I* am. You are easy enough to find if it were warranted. So far, there isn’t anything you have been able to regurgitate that requires that much effort. Perhaps I am being unfair, the nuns always taught me to be kind to the (well, let’s just say) “less gifted”. I apologize if I hurt your feeling and made you feel uncomfortable about hiding in the shadows. After all who knows what perverse acts you may have committed that make you so secretive.

  8. dloosend says:

    Here’s a novel idea—if you don’t want to be blown up by a drone—don’t hang out with Al Queda in Yemen—or Pakistan for that matter. l know, such an extreme position.

    • Frank Jack Fiamingo says:

      Here’s another novel idea. Did you know that everything you post on the Internet is actually there forever – even *IF* it is deleted. Especially threats against other posters. No, you probably didn’t, but then again, you probably didn’t spend over 30 years of your life in the computer business. It is a good thing to keep in mind though. You never know when it might come back to haunt you.

      Actually, come to think of it, you probably still think this discussion is about Anwar Awlaki. Forrest – Trees. What is “extreme” about your positions is that it makes about as much sense as saying “If you don’t want to be burned and crushed to death, don’t hang around in tall buildings in NYC”. Yeah… I don’t really expect you to be able to follow. That’s OK.

  9. Mark D Quick says:

    While I think the DIRTBAG GOT WHAT HE DESERVED… It is true that our laws were broken and its illegal for our government to kill without a conviction. What happens if Obama or a Republic claimed we are a threat.. I am sure they would love to declair me a threat to their evil empire. A 2000lbs bomb on top of my roof/ a swat team with an order to shoot, sound like a far flung idea, I would say not so fast. Here recently we had the CIA running operations in NJ under the pretence it was the NYCPD, were was Doherty, Paul or any other elected official call for arrests and investions???? As an American I am deeply worried our government has leaped over the constitution and straight into ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.. Obama has acted as the UN is in charge and surrendered our military forces to its will… Bush did this in Afganistan, every conflict sense the end of World War II we have fought wars and left the UN in charge and shipped our countries manufacturing and other assets aboard.. READ AGENDA 21 Not matter how evil one is, it does not give us the right to not respect the US Constitution or look the other way….. Mark

  10. truther says:

    “(a) Yemen does not recognize dual citizenship, (b) children born abroad of Yemeni citizens must obtain special permission to be declared citizens, and (c) only Yemeni citizens are granted Yemeni passports, it follows that Anwar Al-Awlaki effectively renounced his U.S. citizenship – even if, according to U.S. law, he did not.”

    This is not much different than the constitution of most Latin American countries. Guatamala, Mexico, etc., according their own constitutions, declare that any oneborn of parents of that specific Latin country are citizens of that country, regardless of what our 14th amendmend says. So the bigger question is whose constitution is followed. Does the US Constitution trump the constitution of a foreign country? I think not. Basically all the questions about illegal aliens, especially those from the Latin countries and according to their own country’s consitutions are citizens of their “native” country, not the US according to their own constitution.

    Therefore, Mr, Al Wacky DO DO!, was never a citizen of the US. period according his own country’s declaration. There is no legal or constitutional issue except for the ones raised by the Paulbots and the other self proclaimed US Constitutional experts. You need to know what the constitution and laws of the other country in question are before you automically jump to the conclusion that we assasinated one of our own. People need to do a bit of research before the shoot off their mouths or keyboards as the case may be.

    • Frank Jack Fiamingo says:

      truther – It doesn’t matter what Yemen does or does not do. In the United States we follow U.S. law. By your own admission, according to U.S. law he did NOT renounce his citizenship.

      You can try to construct a universe in which Anwar Awlaki is not a U.S. citizen, but it will not have much in common with the one in which we actually live. If you are willing to negate the rights of one citizen, you are willing to negate the rights of ANY citizen you happen to disagree with. I prefer to stay in my universe.

  11. Kenny says:

    hmmmm, the guy is a self-proclaimed Al Qaida operative and chief. He is known and acknowledges his feats under the Al Qaida umbrella. He is a known terrorist and does not deny that. He has killed and will continue to kill Americans. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. I do believe in the Right to Life from cradle to grave. However, you break into my house, which has an alarm, 3 barking dogs (one of which will bite), and dead bolt locks – guess what – I have guns and if you break in, I’m using my guns to kill. I’m not interested in maiming you so you can sue me from jail or the hosptital. If you break in, regardless of reason – I will be of the belief that you are gunning for me. Therefore, I will be gunning for you. I’m sorry – but the President is supposed to protect Americans and failure to do so, would be a lack of responsibility on the Presidents part. Also – let’s not forget, that we have an oath the the Country, not to the Person who happens to be President.

    • Frank Jack Fiamingo says:

      Kenny, I understand your position, and if someone breaks into my home or threatens my family, I will not hesitate to shoot. That may mean that I will have to defend myself in court. I sure am glad that there is a procedure in place in this country to allow me to do so. It is my right as an American citizen.

      You are also correct that the oath is to our Nation. But the oath is to uphold the Constitution in its entirety. That is all I am saying. Just like our legal system here at home, there are accused perverts, rapists, child molesters, etc. We would probably both rather eviscerate them in a public square rather than grant them a trial; but there are reasons why our Constitution and our laws are written the way they are. Our system of justice requires that we do everything in our power to protect the rights of the individual BEFORE taking punitive action. Yes, it sometimes lets the wrong people go free, but it also sometimes prevents the wrong person from being executed or unjustly prosecuted. Bend the rules and eventually they will break. Aren’t we close enough to breaking as it is?

  12. Pingback: Al-Awlaki Killing Was Perfectly Legal « Casey Hendrickson

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  14. Kenny says:

    For the most part – we’re on the same page. We differ here in this situation. This guy is a known thug and proudly wears it as a badge of honor. The day you begin planning and executing those plans to harm and kill Americans – is the day your head goes on the Wanted List. And if you happen to live in a Country where we can not get you out safely, then I have no issues with stopping those thugs with a bomb sent by a drone plane or any other type of plane. If one decides to switch sides, I don’t care what Nationality you are, but if one switches sides to kill me and my people – it’s the same as breaking into my house. If you’re gunning for me, I’m going to be gunning for you. And it’s the President of the US, that must ensure that all Americans are safe, no matter where they are. Failure to gun for terrorists will allow them to continue to do what they do – terrorize. And Shame on any President who fails to protect the general American public against any terrorist – American or not. If you’re an enemy combatant – I don’t care what nationality you are – you’re an enemy combatant and that’s takes precedence. To allow this clown the ability to kill just one innocent American – is unimaginable to me. You would sacrifice another American just to protect Al Awlaki’s rights as an American to which he has not claimed??? And even if he did claim to be an American citizen, you would put this thugs rights above another innocent American??? Keeping in mind, that this particular thug is interested in killing Thousands of Americans at one time, not just one singular American. And – that’s okay with you?

    It may be okay with you – but it’s not okay with me. And if Ron Paul were to make it thru the primary to face Obama, I would certainly vote for Mr. Paul. However, because of his foreign policy – he is certainly NOT my first or second or third or fourth or fifth choice. Truth be told, he’s probably way down at the bottom of my list. Anyone but Obama – so the saying goes.

    The World is a much safer place, now that Al Awlaki is gone. We are not talking about shadows of a doubt – we are talking — with certainty.

  15. Frank Jack Fiamingo says:

    No Kenny, it’s not “OK” with me. The difference is that I don’t think the Constitution is “optional”.

    If Awlaki was designated as an “enemy combatant” and if our Constitution allows for such a citizen to be treated differently under our laws, then I don’t have a problem with his killing.

    If that is NOT the case, then I refer back to line one – the Constitution is not optional. This is not about emotions. On an emotional basis I am quite pleased to see him blown to bits. That is because I AGREE that he should probably *BE* blown to bits.

    The problem is – what about the next time. Will we agree with THAT decision? Now that we have made the Constitution optional, why would we have any reason to complain. Just because *YOU* don’t happen to AGREE next time – Oh well….

  16. PattyD says:

    I will forgive you the Paulbots nonsense that this article starts out with if you will answer me this ONE thing. How is Al-Awaki’s defacto renouncement of his US Citezenship, by going to Yemen and coming back to a US college on a Yemeni passport (of which the writer declares can ONLY be given to Yemeni citizens) and a Yemeni scholarship (which all point to a denouncement of US Citizenship in spirit and in the eyes of the law) ANY different than Barack Obama’s (aka Indonesian citizen Barry Soetero’s) EXACT same story and frankly similiarly anti-amercian behavior ANY DIFFERENT?????? He got into the CA college (where his records are being guarded) on a purported Foreign scholarship. He went to Indonesia as a US Citizen and his parent RENOUNCED his US citizenship and he obtained and went to school there (by HIS OWN admission) as an Indonesian citizen and returned to the US with his Indonesian passport (same rules for Indonesian, NO Dual citizenship allowed) and then he ran for US Senate in Chicago as a NON Citizenship, proud of his Kenyan citizenship (there are plenty of archived Chicagp News stories detailing this fantastic new US Senator from Kenya) and now holds the position as most powerful man in the free world? Looking forward to your answer.