Forbes October 6, 2011
If sunlight truly is the best disinfectant, how diseased must our national security state have become? Nearly ten years after the rushed and largely unread Patriot Act was made law, the United States has entered into a new realm of secrecy, as a constitutional law professor turned President has brought the state’s secrets provisions to their logical conclusion: he has targeted and killed American citizens based entirely upon information he refuses to make public or submit to a duly established body or tribunal. The President’s move was as unprecedented as it was unnecessary, and rightfully makes many wonder not if we are at the precipice of a slippery slope, but rather how far down that dune we have fallen, and whether we will ever be able to scramble back up.
On September 30th, 2011, a barrage of hellfire missiles in northern Yemen destroyed the caravan carrying Anwar al-Awlaki, a United States citizen and allegedly a leading propagandist for Al Qaeda. Al-Awlaki has repeatedly denounced the United States, decried American actions, preached Jihad, and otherwise encouraged the killing of Americans. He was a likely traitor to the United States who quite vocally supported, both in word and, seemingly, action, America’s worst enemy. There can be little doubt that he earned the title of enemy and the status of being targeted