Debate Forum Right, 10/18/11

Obama don’t need no stinking trials

By Mark Luedtke

Mark Luedtke

Are you on President Obama’s hit list? Is your loved one? How can you know? The targets, who selected them and the evidence for putting them on the list are all secret. Did you even know Obama had a hit list?

On January 27, 2010 The Washington Post reported, “Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists of individuals, called “High Value Targets” and “High Value Individuals,” whom they seek to kill or capture. The JSOC list includes three Americans, including Aulaqi, whose name was added late last year. As of several months ago, the CIA list included three U.S. citizens, and an intelligence official said that Aulaqi’s name has now been added.”

Obama had tried to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki (Aulaqi above) several times before, but failed. However, on September 30, he succeeded and the Constitution died.

Reuter’s reports the Obama administration makes the following legal argument to justify assassinating Americans, “… the actions were permitted by Congress when it authorized the use of military forces against militants in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001.” It’s one thing for U.S. troops to kill an anonymous American in a firefight on battlefield. It’s another to target them for assassination.

Obama officials claim that al-Awlaki was a terrorist, but there’s no evidence he was anything but a propagandist. In fact, al-Awlaki was recently an ally of the U.S. government.

According to Fox News, “Aulaqi (al-Awlaki) was invited to and attended a luncheon at the Pentagon in the secretary of the Army’s Office of Government Counsel.” He denounced al-Qaida and the 9/11 attacks. Later he fled the country because the FBI threatened to arrest him for consorting with prostitutes. Obama’s apologizers want us to think he was implicated in 9/11, but he never was. This brings up the specter that al-Awlaki was murdered for political reasons, not terrorism. But because Obama claimed the power of judge, jury and executioner — he didn’t even bother indicting al-Awlaki — we can’t know. How convenient.

Imagine if you decided your neighbor was a terrorist and you murdered him based on that decision. Afterwards, you claimed you had evidence of his terrorist activities but you refused to publish it because of national security reasons. You would be charged with murder. Is the law against murder different for President Obama? Is Obama more trustworthy than you? Because absolute power corrupts absolutely, the president is the least trustworthy person on the planet.

The president’s war powers don’t include the power to assassinate Americans on his own authority. Al-Awlaki is accused of treason. The Constitution demands that Americans accused of treason get a trial. The Fifth Amendment demands government provide due process to anybody accused of a crime. It doesn’t say “except during war.” This wasn’t a case of U.S. troops combating rebellious Americans on a battlefield. Obama targeted al-Awlaki for assassination and murdered him. Nothing prevents him from doing the same to you or me. The most lawless president since Lincoln just stomped the last vestiges of the Constitution to dust.

Even more terrifying than Obama’s execution of an American citizen is the near universal support he’s received for doing so. It’s as if the American people fail to understand that by claiming the power to assassinate al-Awlaki, Obama has also claimed the power to execute every American on his own authority. You or I may be next. It makes me long for the good old days when Bill Clinton just ordered audits of his political opponents. That was just over a decade ago. That’s how fast our society is degenerating.

I can’t help but laugh at the hypocrisy on the right. Conservatives claim to support the Constitution. When Democrats are in power, they point out that the government screws up pretty much everything it does. They point out we shouldn’t trust Obama. But when he claims the unconstitutional power to execute Americans on his own authority, they support him.

But the hypocrisy on the left is even worse. Remember when leftists railed against the indefinite imprisonment of Jose Padilla without a trial? Remember when they claimed the war on terror was an illegal war? Remember when they railed against harsh interrogation techniques and imprisoning foreign enemy combatants indefinitely in Guantanamo? Now they suddenly make the argument that the war on terror is legal, and they cheer Obama for assassinating an American. There’s no such thing as the antiwar or pro-civil rights left. Leftists love war, murder and oppression as long as it’s done by Democrats. They’re only against it when it’s done by Republicans.

This hypocrisy highlights the moral and intellectual bankruptcy dominating our society. Moral degenerates — elected by misguided voters — control both parties and the corporate media. Only dictators assassinate their citizens. Americans used to oppose dictators. Now they celebrate their own. Working together, Republicans, Democrats and the voters who empower them have divided and conquered America and marched our country so far down the Road to Serfdom that totalitarian murder is now cheered in America. Americans will regret allowing this.

Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at

Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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