I couldn’t be happier that there is one less terrorist leader in the world. Some have asked me what I think about the Constitutional significance of this action. So here goes. Let’s start by focusing on the problem that brought us here, the 800lb gorilla in the room, if you will; Al-Awlaki’s citizenship. Al-Awlaki’s parents are from Yemen and are NOT US citizens. His father, Nasser al-Aulaqi, served as Agriculture Minister and as President of Sana’a University, and is a prominent member of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling party. Al-Awlaki was born in the United States, but in 1978, when he was seven years old, he and his family returned to Yemen. He then lived in Yemen for 11 years, and studied at Azal Modern School. Al-Awlaki returned to the U.S state of Colorado in 1991, at 20 years old, to attend college on a foreign student visa and a government scholarship from Yemen, apparently by claiming to be born in that country. Al-Awlaki was classified as a person of dual citizenship, his only claim to US citizenship is the good fortune that he was born on this soil. There was NOTHING in Al-Awlaki’s life or his parent’s life that indicates any loyalty to any country other than Yemen. Our founders made it clear that the most important aspect to US citizenship is LOYALTY to America. Why do we continue to assert that the offspring of foreign nationals have citizenship in America simply due to location of their birth? Al-Awlaki was not a threat to America because he was a citizen of the United States; he was a threat because he had no loyalty to America. It is our failed immigration system that is the enemy of Liberty.
Looking at the activity of Al-Awlaki, we see further evidence of our failed immigration system. Al-Awlaki’s activity with known violent terrorists was well documented. He was being actively watched by the FBI and was a subject of investigation since at least 1999. Yet, in 2002 he was the first Muslim to conduct a prayer service at the Capitol. After at least 3 years of active investigation by the FBI for known terrorist ties, the FBI did not feel that they had enough evidence to arrest Al-Awlaki and bring charges against him. In 2002, his name was added to the federal terror watch list, and an arrest warrant was issued by a Judge for passport fraud. Later that year, the warrant was withdrawn after they decided they did not have enough evidence due to the 10 year limits on the statute of limitation. This allowed Al-Awlaki to travel freely back to the States which he did. Al-Awlaki moved back to his home nation, Yemen in 2002. This is the exact issue, the exact same problem, and the same result that I wrote about in June of 2010 when discussing the threat of our failed immigration system and Faisal Shazhad, the failed Time’s Square bomber. Eric Holder has made it clear through his response to “Fast and Furious” and Faisal Shazhad that he believes it’s our Constitutional Rights that need to be “more flexible”. This administration has no intentions of fixing our failed immigration system.
The only reason Al-Awlaki is labeled a citizen is because of our failed immigration system. But because our system has failed us, because it has conferred a privilege on someone who neither wanted it, nor deserved it – our very Liberty is under attack.
Since he has been granted citizenship status, the government is now bound to afford him all legal protections under the US Constitution. It is absolutely tyrannical and illegal for a president to unilaterally take the life of a citizen of the United States without due process, without proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Liberty must mean more to us than that! If we don’t wake up and fix the real problem, Liberty is lost.
What is wrong with the Executive branch of a government engaging in the assassination of our citizens, who are engaged as combatants against this country, absent due process? First, we are trusting the government to convey truthful and accurate information to justify their actions. However, our founders were intimately aware that the governments often have their own perspective on things and have the power and tools to justify their actions at all levels. Their point would be that a government not only has an agenda, but also has the power to control and manipulate information. Richard Henry Lee stated that we must not only guard against “what men will do, but what they may do.” They knew the power of the government must be closely guarded in favor of Liberty.
Secondly, have we not already seen the threat of redefining a “terrorist”? Just look at Janet Napolitano’s report, as head of the Department of Homeland Security, warning America regarding who is a terrorist; “rightwing extremists” concerned about illegal immigration, abortion, increasing federal power and restrictions on firearms – and returning war veterans.
“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
What if you have been identified as falling into this category and you take a trip to some Middle Eastern country (Israel, for instance)? …
Our founders knew that in a government that has the ability to define the enemy, and the uninhibited inclination to define its own citizens as terrorists, tyranny is already established. Unrestrained power of the government must be continually checked against the Liberty of the people.
Our founders also knew some things that we have forgotten, or more likely, have never been taught. First and foremost our founders knew deep in their soul that “Liberty must be supported at all hazards.” (J. Adams, 1765), It is Liberty that is the most important asset to any peace loving nation. Benjamin Franklin is quoted to have said, “Those who would trade Liberty for temporary security deserve neither Liberty nor security.” How could he make such a bold statement? Because he knew from history that trading Liberty will NEVER result in greater security and once Liberty is traded, you never get it back. You simply trade something that is more valuable than your life for a vapor, a false object, and get absolutely NOTHING in return but less Liberty. I find it very telling that our founders never said, “Peace must be supported at all hazards.” Eliminating enemy combatants – good; giving enemy combatants citizenship – not good; assassinating US citizens…a destructive assault on Liberty. This is the Constitutional quagmire we have created by maintaining a completely failed immigration system maintained by a completely inept political administration.