July 19, 2019 | 87° F

US followed proper course to serve justice


In a drone attack in Yemen this past Friday, U.S. forces succeeded in killing al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Unlike the death of Osama bin Laden, which evoked nearly universal celebration, al-Awlaki’s death sparked a bit of controversy. That’s because there’s a major difference between al-Awlaki and bin Laden, in that the former was a U.S. citizen. As such, it is thought this is the first time in history when a U.S. citizen was killed because of intelligence collected on him and the president’s command to do so. This situation raises an incredibly salient question, one that we must all consider carefully: Did al-Awlaki’s position as a terrorist outweigh his rights as a U.S. citizen? In other words, was it okay in this situation to forego the established legal channels, including a trial, which al-Awlaki is entitled to as a U.S. citizen? After some careful consideration of our own, we at The Daily Targum assert that, yes, in this specific instance, it was absolutely okay to kill al-Awlaki without a trial.

Al-Awlaki may have been a U.S. citizen, but his involvement with the insidious terror cell al-Qaeda is nothing more than treason. As al-Qaeda’s leader of external operations, according to President Barack Obama, al-Awlaki was responsible for the mobilization of many threats to the people of the United States. The killing was by no means reactionary. The CIA placed al-Awlaki on their “kill or capture” list because of the overwhelming evidence it had to prove his licit and dangerous actions. This includes the calls to jihad he posted on the Internet, an airplane bombing plot he formulated in Christmas of 2009, and his efforts to send explosives through the mail to the U.S. in 2010. In short, his conduct was unforgivable. Not only did al-Awlaki effectively forfeit all of his rights as a U.S. citizen, but the U.S. was able to obtain more than enough incontestable evidence to convict him of his crimes if he were put on trial.

To be certain, this is indeed tricky political ground to maneuver. The U.S. government must be careful to not let this set a precedent. The only reason it was okay to ignore the trial process for al-Awlaki is because of how extreme the man’s actions were. He was an immediate threat to the entire United States, not your average criminal. The United States should always try to uphold the integrity of its legal system, but such a situation as this is an example of the very rare instances wherein the established legal channels must be abandoned for the greater good of the country. After all, the people making these decisions to suspend the legal system are the experts. We have every reason to trust their judgment in this scenario.

By The Daily Targum

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