Assassinating Liberty

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Recently by Justin Raimondo: Are We At War With Pakistan?

The assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki sets the kind of precedent that Americans will come to regret, but for now they cheer, like Romans hailing a death in the arena. Richard Miniter, writing in the Obamaite — and aptly named — Daily Beast, avers that not only was the killing legal, it was also “wise.” He writes:

“President Obama’s targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and died in Yemen fighting for al Qaeda, is a victory for America and for common sense.”

As if our all-wise and all-powerful President personally stalked and killed his prey, mano a mano. Obama is “like Lincoln,” says Miniter, who ordered the deaths of his fellow Americans in a vicious civil war — but a more accurate analogy is, perhaps, the Roman emperor Commodus, who personally fought in gladiatorial contests, and, as Wikipedia relates, “For each appearance in the arena, he charged the city of Rome a million sesterces, straining the Roman economy.”

According to the US government, al-Awlaki was murdered because he “inspired” others to attack the United States through his preaching over the internet. He was also supposedly personally involved in planning the activities of the “underwear bomber.” No evidence of his guilt has ever been released: it’s all secret, along with the list of individuals marked for death by US authorities.

Yet this alleged “terrorist” wasn’t always so notorious: indeed, right after the 9/11 attacks he was summoned to Capitol Hill to lead a prayer vigil for Muslim congressional staffers, and was invited to the Pentagon to lecture on Islam. The idea was to find a “moderate” Muslim, who was “vetted” by the authorities, to “reach out” to the Muslim community, Fox News reports. The event was reportedly a luncheon, during which al-Awlaki denounced al-Qaeda, and, although “harassed” by audience members, “handled it well,” according to one eyewitness.

The trail of the “terrorist” imam leads us to the 9/11 hijackers, two of whom were devoted communicants of al-Awlaki’s San Diego mosque. So great was their devotion that they followed him to Falls Church, Virginia, when the imam took up his duties at a local mosque. He had also been investigated as early as 1999 for links to bin Laden’s organization. So why was al-Awlaki invited to the Pentagon?

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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