I’m with David Harsanyi and NRO’s Kevin Williamson on assasinating al Awlaki. We just set a precedent that the US president can murder his own citizens without due process based upon his judgement that someone is a bad guy…or a terrorist.
Awlaki was undoubtedly a bad guy…but he was also an American citizen. Maybe he “joined the enemy”, maybe he was “on the battlefield”, maybe he was “fighting”. Does giving speeches in Yemen satisfy all those criteria? I don’t know. I just know that the bar should be VERY high in giving the POTUS permission to kill American citizens without due process.
This is not a defense of al Awlaki. Rather this should just give us all pause. I hope we ask these questions. I hope we define those criteria. Because, I don’t care how immature and hypothetical it may sound, the possibilities here do not play out pretty.