Thursday, October 06, 2011

Assassinating Americans

My computer situation has been rather dicey as of late. I'm in the process of obtaining another copy of Windows 7 to reinstall; in the meantime, I've been running Fedora, booting from my DVD drive. It's not terribly stable.

So I'll make this short. I'd like to put something together later about the lawlessness of American society. We seem to be in a state of anarcho-tyranny. Large crimes go unpunished, but the citizens are held culpable for a seried of bizarre and insignifcant infractions. The fact that no one has been held accountable for the financial mess is a good example of this. Not only should the regulators who failed to detect any malfeasance be fired, but an investigation should be started to determine the extent of the fraud perpetuated by the banks.

Another example of anarcho-tyranny is the assassination of the American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. Conventional wisdom has is that he was a terrorist and as such deserved to die. But we really don't know if he was a terrorist, both because the term as used by our government is sufficiently broad enough to cover a panoply of behaviors, but also because the government has not released the information it possesses which proves that he is, in fact, a terrorist.

Yet this obscures the greater point, which is this: the rule of law is an intregal component of any well-ordered society. It separates civilization from barbarism. As such, any attempts to go around our legal system should be viewed with a modicum of skepticism. Our justice system is far from perfect, but circumventing it hardly constitutes an improvement.

Anwar al-Awlaki was not charged with a crime. He was not tried and found guilty. He was executed at the discretion of our President. Awlaki is an exceptional citizen in many regards. Yet there is nothing to prevent the President from issuing similar orders against any other citizen. He may very well have been a terrorist, but since he was never charged with a crime, he is not objectively different from any other citizen.

This is an alarming precedent. We will come to regret that we stood silently by as our government abrogated our constitutional right to due process under the guise of fighting our never ending War on Terror.

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