“President Obama apparently believes he is not bound by the Constitution or the rule of law”

So says Ron Paul in an op/ed for the New York Daily News in which he notes that the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki was unconstitutional.

We have to take the fight against terrorism very seriously. In 2001, I supported the authority to capture and kill the thugs responsible for 9/11. In our efforts we must, however, work hard to preserve and respect our great American constitutional principles.

Awlaki was a U.S. citizen. Under our Constitution, American citizens, even those living abroad, must be charged with a crime before being sentenced. As President, I would have arrested Awlaki, brought him to the U.S., tried him and pushed for the stiffest punishment allowed by law. Treason has historically been judged to be the worst of crimes, deserving of the harshest sentencing. But what I would not do as President is what Obama has done and continues to do in spectacular fashion: circumvent the rule of law.

On Feb. 3, 2010, Dennis Blair, then the country’s director of national intelligence, admitted before the House Intelligence Committee that “Being a U.S. citizen will not spare an American from getting assassinated by military or intelligence operatives.” This open admission by an Obama administration official, not even attempting to keep it classified or top secret, sets a dangerous new precedent in our history.

I agree, and it’s a precedent no proponent of limited government should support. Because there is no more odious example of government excess then the ability of our leaders to kill citizens without due process and with impunity.

Nobody is sorry to see Awlaki go, except perhaps his ideological fellow travelers, but how our government does things matters.

The ends do not always justify the means.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • robert108

    The first rule of war is to win.  There is nothing after that.  Ideological bullshit costs lives and property.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      So for you the ends justify the means?

      What atrocities would justify to win at any cost?

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    If they could have arrested him I agree.  My impression is that the man was living outside of where US authorities could reasonably capture him.

    I suppose we could have sent in covert operators but I think that’s entirely too much to ask to for us to invade a country to take down one perp.  

    • Brent

      I think you are right that invading a country to get a perp or even a small group of perps has to be considered outrageously costly (at least at first glance), but I don’t think it is right to assume that the only way of capturing the most-wanted criminals is through invasions.  There are other ways, including bribing people, including foreign officials, to turn him in… which you can argue isn’t right, either, but it is certainly cheaper (in every way) and more in accord with the rule of law than an invasion.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I agree, burning not sure that excuses killing him either.

  • Neiman

    While I am a strong defender of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the protests here are bovine excrement. It is Obama hatred, nothing less.

    This man was an enemy combatant, still in the field, still directing military operations against the U.S., he had thus surrendered all his rights. Even if he were in America, had the weapons, was threatening to kill people, it was justifiable homicide for anyone to kill him – period.

    This hue and cry about a slippery slope is absolute nonsense and the weeping and wailing over violating the Constitution is based on gross ignorance. It is Libertarian, not defense of the Constitution but a desire for anarchy. What a load of crap!

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      So the constitution matters…except when it gets in the way?

      That’s very hypocritical of you.

      • Neiman

        No, the constitution always matters, I am a strict interpreter of the Constitution and Bill of Rights as originally written and defined; but, in this case this man took himself outside of he American citizenship, he became an enemy combatant and thus surrendered any of his rights. If an American soldier in the field crosses the lines and begins fighting along side the enemy against America, he is no longer a citizen of America, he has joined the enemy forces and if he shoots at us or aids those that do, we can shoot that treasonous sucker and not violate the Constitution.

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    This wouldn’t be the first time Rob Port has shown he has more in common with Ron Paul than any of the far right wing whack-jobs, like Bachmann for instance.

    Why not just come out and support the candidate you have most in common with, Rob?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Unlike you, politics is something I think about. It’s not a team support. When someone who I’m normally critical of says something that is right I have the integrity to say so.

      Again, unlike you.

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        That’s comical, Robby.  You have never agreed with Obama, even when he has done things you used to claim conservatives should do.

        You support Paul, because he attacked Obama, that’s it…..and why?  Because politics is a team sport for you, not “support”, you idiot.

  • Vlad

    Ron Paul is wrong.  There is nothing in the constitution that requires us to take extraordinary measures to capture a US citizen who is making war on the US. 

    Ron Paul however is at least consistent.  He is against this war and would be against this drone attack against anyone.

    I can’t say the same for Rob.  He is for this war and if this was an attack on a non US citizen I don’t think there would be a post on how it was wrong.

    Please explain to me what part of the Constitution this breaches.  Due Process?  Please explain to me what due process is due to somebody who makes war on the US.  BTW, it is not just citizens who get Due Process in the USA, it is everybody.

  • Fredlave

    It’s just easier to kill them.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    I fully support offing the pig-hater.  There is, of course, the Clinton/Obama crap about treating terrorists like someone who took off a 7-11.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204138204576602702095344830.html?grcc=88888&mod=WSJ_hps_sections_opinion  and comments.

  • Ratbite

    Just wait until Commrade Barrack Hussein Obama declares a national emergency in late October 2012 & cancels the elections.

  • Jamermorrow

    Rob, you are right on this issue and should ignore the big government conservatives. Their is a reason government always gets bigger. Conservatives support militarism and liberals support socialism. In the end we get both. We pretend like our countries actions have no consequences. I wonder how many future enemies the wars are creating?

  • 11B40


    Back during my all-expense-paid tour of sunny Southeast Asia in the very late ’60s and very early ’70s, there were reports/rumors of American soldiers being capture by the Commies and then defecting and actually participating in attacks against their fellow citizens.

    One day, the subject came up as we were saddling up for one of our walkabouts. Nobody at all seemed interested in capturing, or is it recapturing, him and bringing him back for a court martial. The nine-cent solution, a reference to the cost of an M-16 bullet, was thought both expeditious and appropriate.

    I can’t help but think that some people pushing this “thought problem” are hoping to wage some more “lawfare” on the old USofA.  

  • WOOF

    Final Jeopardy:  The constitution is not ?

  • mikemc1970

    Hasn’t there always been those that were “Wanted Dead or Alive”?

    Maybe it would have been legally prudent to at least get a judgment of treason against them, in front of a military tribunal, before putting them on the list, but this President has never been big on following the laws or parts of the constitution that were inconvenient to him.

  • HG

    Paul is wrong.  The logistics of arresting this traitor who took up arms with the enemy in a time of war are too challenging to be expected.  Targeting this so-called “American” with extinction was fitting for a traitor of this sort.

  • Jvette

    If this man had been engaged by our military on a field of battle would it have been unconstitutional to shoot him? I don’t see how this is any different. He is an enemy of the US engaged in a war and he was killed in the commission of that war.

    He was not taken on US soil and executed without due process.