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.