Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 30, 2011

The Murder Of Anwar al-Awlaki

So this American, Anwar al-Awlaki, had become convinced that the U.S. is doing evil in the Middle East and elsewhere and that this was a reason to fight against it. He never fought against the U.S. himself, but only said that there was reason to do that. I believe that to be right protected under the U.S. constitution as well as under international law.

The U.S. never showed any proof that he al Awlaki was guilty of something, never indicted him, never brought him to court.

But now the U.S. government intentionally killed him and those who were with him. That, to me, seems to be a pretty clear breach of the fifth amendment for someone who simply used his rights under the first amendment.

One wonders when whatever argument the administration will use to defend this murder will be used against more American people, and more, and more ...


First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - - because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

It is beyond me to understand anyone who would defend this murder.

Posted by b on September 30, 2011 at 16:08 UTC | Permalink


And when will Obama or some future power besotted president follow precedent and take out someone in, oh, NJ? And those killed in the action? Meh, just collage damage, or, worse, guilty by proximity to the target.

I'm sickened by this president.

Posted by: jawbone | Sep 30 2011 17:13 utc | 1

Eeeek! "Collateral" damage. Not art work or collage damage....

Posted by: jawbone | Sep 30 2011 17:14 utc | 2

For a non U.S. government perspective read Gregory Johnsen, who has lived in and studied Yemen, on What Does the Death of Anwar al-Awlaki Actually Mean

Bin Laden headed al-Qaeda; Awlaki did not head AQAP. They are different people with different roles and the impact of their deaths will also be different.

I have long argued that while Awlaki was a threat he was not the most significant threat coming out of Yemen. Nasir al-Wihayshi, Said al-Shihri, Qasim al-Raymi and so on are much more important to the continued existence of AQAP than was Awlaki.

I don't think Awlaki's death will in any way be debilitating for the organization.
It would be nice to see the US publicly lay out what it has been claiming over the past two years that Awlaki is an integral part of AQAP whose continued existence threatens the lives of other Americans. Up until now we have only been given anonymous statements and the diplomatic equivalent of "trust us, we know what we are doing."

From that aspect it was useless to kill al-Awlaki, but it will certainly have bad consequences. Who in Yemen and elsewhere will agree with the U.S. argument that the man was dangerous? Likely no one. So this is just another U.S. act of violence against Muslims in the Middle East. That will have consequences.

Posted by: b | Sep 30 2011 18:36 utc | 3

His brother denied the death of Awlaki

Al-Qaeda imam’s brother denies his death

Posted by: sappho | Sep 30 2011 20:20 utc | 4

Anwar al-Awlaki was not an important member of Al Qaeda, just a spokesman

Posted by: nikon | Oct 1 2011 3:17 utc | 5

The Empire does to whom it wants, when it wants and where it wants. The constitution be damned.

Posted by: ben | Oct 1 2011 4:11 utc | 6

Assuming of course that he is actually dead, as sappho says.

Posted by: alexno | Oct 1 2011 7:53 utc | 7

Re jawbone @ 2.
I thought it was a fortuitous slip.
Collateral damage is, after all, a euphemism for transforming human beings into collages of dubious artistic and legal merit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 1 2011 8:11 utc | 8

Ah, H'Whispherer -- Collage in red mist with tones of gray, beige, and brown.

When designated enemies are the source of the red mist, it's a good thing; anyone bothered by it needs to just get over it. Look forward, not back.

If "acceptable" US citizens are its source, revenge is mandatory, at any time in any place; anyone who disagrees becomes an enemy or enemy supporter.

Thus say the US Powers That Be.

Posted by: jawbone | Oct 1 2011 14:43 utc | 10

Yes, jawbone, that's precisely the point. The language of the lunatics needs to be resisted and rejected. It would be a "giant leap for mankind" if 'collateral damage' could be erased from the lexicon and replaced by the infinitely more graphic and repulsive 'collage damage'.
I've never seen a lovely, neat collage.
Yours, for example, would have to be kept as far away as possible from the dinner table...
...and the children.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 1 2011 16:16 utc | 11

Well so Obomber has a hit list. That is not Flash News.

Big time guy, lots of power, can scribble names on a napkin, minions gotta go for it.

And everyone shuts up or pretends to look the other way.

Al Q is a US invention or extreme hype (There are Breton Liberation movements who don’t make the news ever) - sure there may be some creeps planning some lame stuff, though usually it is the FBI and CIA who encourage, fund, provoke, then arrest. (Underpants? Model planes?)

Glenn Greenwald gives some detail, and that is on Salon, mainstream:

Heh. Been saying such things forever. London, Madrid bombing, same story.

Extra-judicial murder? And Americans just think that is peachy cool, as Muslims have green claws, bad breath, a wrong religion, don’t treat their women right, kill babies and plan to bomb the Sears Tower?

And the pundits object and are horrifically alarmed because this chap was American ? Implying that targeted murder of Arabs is, well, acceptable...

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 3 2011 16:35 utc | 12

Implying that targeted murder of Arabs is, well, acceptable...

well, for almost everyone, that is true. they have been designated the enemy. the narrative is that those Arabs wish harm to come to us. It is much better to kill them over there than to have to kill them over here.

people who are afraid will kill. americans are very afraid. so afraid that I am somewhat ashamed of my fellow countrymen. the french are quite afraid too for that matter, they are afraid of women wearing scarves on their head. that is almost the epitome of cowardice.

but, let's not lose sight of what this latest obama action is really about. we have now given the power of life and death to an executive with virtually no oversight. we know of no protocols, no decision tree that has to be followed for issuing an execution order. How anyone can square this with a nation of laws is simply mind boggling.

it seems to me to be economics and the fear of losing US lives that drives this too. Any one of these guys who have been killed in drone attacks could have been captured. but the people doing the capturing would have had to risk taking casualties. that doesn't happen when you remotely control the drone from thousands of miles away. I suppose they also don't want to be bothered with having a trial since the evidence they have can't be released to the public. at the end of the day, it is either sentencing someone to death in a secret tribunal or simply killing them with a hellfire missile....the pragmatic solution might just be the missile.

the rest of us got other things to worry about.

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 3 2011 19:05 utc | 13

@DoS - I suppose they also don't want to be bothered with having a trial since the evidence they have can't be released to the public

You assume they HAVE evidence? I very much doubt that. Awlaki was no an AQ operative, he was just someone using his first amendment rights.

Posted by: b | Oct 4 2011 17:47 utc | 14

As Pravda points out in an Oct 3 rant America is still Dead, killing al-Awlaki won't resuscitate America.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 5 2011 14:14 utc | 15

You assume they HAVE evidence?
Well, it may not be evidence that would stand up in a court of law but certainly there is some reason for wanting to kill the terrorist. and that is something they most likely do not want to divulge.

Pat Lang is one who places a lot of trust in the apparatus he was part of. Certainly those spooky guys can convince themselves that someone is really bad and needs to be killed. they would have their reasons. I would guess that it has always been so. difference is now, it is all out in the open and the public eats it up. there are plenty of cheerleaders/sycophants at SST and I find that most people I talk to think that it is quite alright to kill bad guys.

I fear that those super secret organizations don't take into account the echo chamber effect. one agency suspects someone, the next agency accepts without question that that person of interest is a bad guy, they find more examples of badness and the final result is that no one would bother to find out if there is anything wrong with the hypothesis since everybody knows that terrorist is bad to the bone.

just my 2 cents

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 5 2011 18:44 utc | 16

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