Sunday, October 31, 2010

The UPS/FedEx Bombs and the American Al Qaeda

I need to be clear here: I'm not about to engage in a bit of "truther" conspiracy theorizing. But I do have a concern that the Obama Administration will seize on the Friday's interecepted cargo bombs to make the public case for the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar Al-Awlaki, without bothering with due process.

You see hints of this in the New York Times story today:

Reviewing the evidence, American intelligence officials say they believe that the plot may have been blessed by the highest levels of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, including Mr. Awlaki.

“We know that Awlaki has taken a very specific interest in plotting against the United States, and we’ve found that he’s usually behind any attempted attack on American targets,” said one official.

Still they cautioned that it was still early to draw any firm conclusions and they did not present proof of Mr. Awlaki’s involvement.

We don't need to go through all the arguments against assassinating Awlaki here. The issue I'm raising, I guess, is more political than legal in nature. And the issue is this: I don't trust the Obama Administration -- any more than I would trust any chief executive -- not to wave the almost-bloody shirt in order to smooth over public concerns about the propriety of an assassination program aimed at an American citizen, no matter how loathesome that citizen might (allegedly) be. This case might demonstrate the need to stop Awlaki; it doesn't necessarily follow that we need to drop due process as a result.

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