Celebrate the Death of ‘An Enemy of the State’ — or Be Considered One Yourself

Email Print

“For the second time this year, Americans can celebrate the elimination of another enemy of the state, ” proclaims columnist Mark Paredes of Utah’s Deseret News, who — like any other collectivist drone — appears to be a stranger in the house of irony. He also appears to believe that the words “can” and “must” are synonymous in this context, since he denigrates Rep. Ron Paul for refusing to join in the celebration of this summary execution, which according to Paredes has “come from all quarters.”

“President Obama has elected to continue the Bush administration’s post-9/11 policy of authorizing the killing of U.S. citizens abroad if there is strong evidence of their involvement in terrorist activities,” recites Paredes in a creditable impression of a Stalin-era media apparatchik. “There is believed to be an official, secret list of those citizens who can be targeted. The elimination of a man who methodically planned to kill hundreds of his fellow Americans is exhibit A for the wisdom of this policy. To be sure, a great deal of care needs to be taken in identifying those on the list. However, American citizenship shouldn’t protect someone living abroad from suffering the immediate consequences of plotting mass murders on American soil.”

This argument is as perfectly circular as a freshly minted Hula-Hoop: There is an official secret list of American citizens who are subject to summary execution, based on secret evidence — and the execution of somebody whose name is on that list validates the wisdom of that policy. Ron Paul’s objections, sniffs Paredes, mark him as “irrelevant” at best, and a fellow “enemy of the state” at worst.

Paredes is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly referred to as the “Mormons”), which owns and operates the Deseret News. If he possessed so much as a molecule of historical insight, he would recognize that Ron Paul’s insistence on defending due process even when it applies to demonized “terrorist” enemies of the state puts him solidly in the company of Alexander Doniphan, who has been revered by generations of Mormons for acting in defense of that principle at a time when that church and its leaders were subject to an “extermination order” issued by Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs.

In the late 1830s, a low-grade civil war erupted in Missouri between Mormons and non-Mormons. Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of that church, was arrested by the Missouri state militia and accused of organizing a covert paramilitary terrorist band called the “Danites.”

Smith and two associates were subjected to a drumhead military trial under Maj. Gen Gen. Lucas, and sentenced to be shot at dawn. Lucas issued a written order to Colonel Alexander Doniphan commanding him to carry out the execution: “Sir: You will take Joseph Smith and the other prisoners into the public square at Far West, and shoot them at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.” Alexander Doniphan, to his eternal credit, refused the order and more or less gave Lucas anatomically explicit instructions regarding its proper disposal. “It is cold-blooded murder,” Doniphan wrote to Lucas. “I will not obey your order. My brigade shall march for Liberty [Missouri] tomorrow morning, at 8 o’clock; and if you execute these men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God!”

Under Paredes’s standard, Alexander Doniphan should have clicked his heels and proceeded with the execution.



10:05 am on October 3, 2011