Saturday, October 1, 2011

killing of Al-Awlaki rationalized as "due process in war"

leave it to the lawyers to dream up extreme rationalizations for the US government project to torture, kill and invade foreign lands to make the world safe for hypocrisy. anwar al-awlaki was certainly no friend of the government in its efforts to extend hegemony over the energy heartland of the planet, and advocated resistance to this program of exploitation and oppression, but if it's so reprehensible to kill and maim innocents in pursuit of an ideology he certainly proposed no worse than his adversaries, who in the grand scheme of things are far more prolific in the reach of mayhem and destruction.

nevertheless, as we learn below, the US government decided he was a bad man, so he had to go:
Justice memo authorized killing of Al-Awlaki - CBS News: "The Washington Post reports that a secret Justice Department memo sanctioned the killing of Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who became an al Qaeda propagandist and operational leader.

The document followed a review by senior administration lawyers of the legal issues raised by the lethal targeting of a U.S. citizen. Administration officials told the Post that there was no dissent about the legality of the killing.

The administration has faced criticism - and a legal challenge - over its targeting of Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents. The memorandum may represent an attempt to resolve a legal debate over whether a U.S. president can order the killing of American citizens.

With regard to the killing as a counter-terrorism measure, the memo deems, in the words of one officials, "due process in war.""
due process used to be a very fine thing, which involved courts, judges, attorneys -- the whole nine. now, however, it has evolved. not in any scientific way, so rick perry partisans can rest easy. no, this is an evolution of expediency, where once unimaginable practices like torture or assassination are given a facelift, and turned into ordinary and benign practices. international law, treaties, borders and such are mere artifacts, anachronisms in this brave new world made safe for hypocrisy in the name of the petrodollar.

al-awlaki's religious fanaticism is problematic in many ways, but no one has to embrace it realize his militancy was provoked. what our government calls terrorism didn't simply appear from nowhere, it's a response to something else -- but since 9-11, discussion of this question as been artfully dodged in the corporate media and by the establishment's chattering classes. the war goes on and 10 more will come along to take al-awlaki's place, and that will be just fine as far as the government and it's corporate affiliates are concerned, because it's good business and it keeps funding levels for the military high, even when the government is bankrupt.

CBS is actually being pretty audacious in printing this discussion of the legal implications of the killing of a US citizen without benefit of a trial or other recognizable form of due process, and it's worth asking why.

the answer is probably found in the line, "there was no dissent about the legality of the killing. a US president can order the killing of american citizens." while this has doubtless been the longstanding practice of the government, it has previously felt constrained to keep it on the quiet tip -- something they didn't brag about.

after a decade of cultivating the mindset that anything goes in the fight against "terrorism," the government has finally become comfortable with saying in public what i only used to admit privately.

if anyone remains squeamish about the government employing extra-judicial killings as a matter of policy, the nation's leadership has decided they aren't numerous or influential enough to effectively challenge this policy. having breached this important level, the next step is to escalate it to other's not directly involved in the "war on terror," which is, after all, the entire point of the war on terror anyway.

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