Ten years ago, America was brutally attacked by an evil enemy, with the loss of 3,000 innocent lives. And earlier this year, the demonic mastermind behind the attack was taken out. But amid nationwide rejoicing, there was the usual bleating by the Left—see Patriot column Why Liberals are Wrong on Osama’s Death.
Now it’s “It’s déjà vu all over again”, as Yogi Berra would say. Another Al Qaeda leader, Anwar al-Awlaki, met his Maker thanks to our drone attack on his convoy in Yemen’s desert. President Obama rightly called him “the leader of external operations for Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.” Awlaki was the adviser to Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 service men and women and wounded over 40 others at Fort Hood. Awlaki also trained the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “underwear bomber”; and the inspired the Times Square car bomber, too. In short, Alwaki was a declared enemy of our country, and had the blood of thousands of innocents on his hands, as well as hundreds of attempted murders (the underwear and Times Square bombers were stopped).
But predictably we have had an outcry from the Left, including ACLU. They whined that Awlaki was “far from any battlefield” and was “executed … without judicial process.” And if Senator Obama were still around, he would have joined them; but President Obama deserves credit for doing what Bush would have done (not that Obama would admit it, of course). Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
However, this has always been typical of the Left, treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue, when it’s really about defense of the country against an external enemy. Newt Gingrich wrote:
“I hope it represents a concession by the Obama administration that the view the Left has championed for years—that terrorism is just a ‘law enforcement’ issue—is fundamentally wrong.”
In regards to this issue, it looks like Obama’s job as commander in chief has taught him some lessons of real life, such as “reality has a conservative bias”.
Unfortunately, a few Republicans are joining the leftist bleaters, such as Ron Paul and rather too many of his followers. Frankly, while he has some very good ideas about liberating us from Government tyranny, his foreign policy sounds practically identical to that of leftist “blame America first” kooks. He was even thinking of impeachment proceedings against Obama:
“Al-Awlaki was born here. He is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes…But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it’s sad.”
However, Awlaki’s American citizenship is immaterial—the only relevant fact is that he is a high-ranking officer in an evil organization that has declared war on this country. Once this happens, they are enemy combatants (and traitors of course), who have forfeited any right to safety. John Yoo points out in WSJ:
“American citizens who join the enemy do not enjoy a roving legal force-field that immunizes them from military reprisal.”
Lessons from WW2
Indeed, the claims of Paul and the ACLU are simply nonsense, as can be shown from history. Andrew McCarthy points out an example from WW2:
“In June 1942, the Führer dispatched teams of saboteurs to conduct a terrorist campaign on U.S. soil. One was a 22-year-old American citizen named Herbert Hans Haupt. The Nazi infiltrators were arrested by the FBI, but Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt directed that they be detained as enemy combatants, tried by military commission, and put to death — i.e., the executive branch acted as judge, jury, and executioner. Haupt duly met his demise, along with five others, in the District of Columbia’s electric chair about seven weeks after they were captured. Because the nation was at war with the Nazis, the fact that Haupt was an American citizen made no difference — he was treated just as his confederates were. …
“ A unanimous Supreme Court, in Ex Parte Quirin, declined to interfere in the commander-in-chief’s decision to have an American citizen killed. To the Supreme Court, decades before there was a Bush administration, it was immaterial even that Haupt had been apprehended inside the United States, far from any traditional battlefield, at a time when the civilian courts were open and functioning.”
And citizen or not, any enemy combatant is fair game until he surrenders and throws down his weapon. During WW2, there were no armies of liberal lawyers trying to give them special rights.
Another example was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the (reluctant) architect of the Pearl Harbor infamy. In April 1943, the US Navy had cracked Japanese naval codes and learned that he was making an inspection tour in the Solomon Islands. An order to “get Yamamoto” came from the top—FDR himself—and was passed down the chain of command. On the 18th, a squadron of the long-range Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters began “Operation vengeance”. They intercepted Yamamoto’s plane and its fighter escort, and shot him down. At the time, no-one questioned that we had the right to kill a leading enemy commander.
Similarly, in the European theatre of WW2, the dying Nazi armies launched what was to be their last major offensive, in the Ardennes, called “The Battle of the Bulge”. This was the costliest WW2 battle in terms of American casualties—19,000 killed—although the Germans lost far more (also, the future Republican President, General Eisenhower, allowed black troops to fight alongside white troops, thus the first step in undoing the Democrats’ segregation policies). But the main connection to the present day is that some English-speaking German soldiers put on American uniforms and infiltrated American lines. When caught, they were simply lined up against a wall and shot.
This execution was even filmed, and no one bleated that they didn’t get a fair trial or that their Geneva Convention rights were violated. Back then, people realized that Geneva Convention rights came with Geneva Convention responsibilities; conversely, violate the rules of war, as spies and terrorists do, and you lose the protections of this Convention.
America is still at war with an enemy who attacked American civilians without provocation. We need to destroy this foe, not bestow rights on them they never had and don’t deserve in the first place, contrary to what leftists and misguided isolationists on the Right think.