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The end of the rule of law

Published October 15. 2011 09:01AM

It appears to me that our government has turned to assassination as the primary means of accomplishing our international objectives.

Whether it is the assassination of Osama bin Laden or Anwar al-Awlaki, or other targets we may never hear about, the goal is the same: eliminate a foe without a declaration of war and without a trial.

It is alleged that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. Rather than capture him and bring him to the United States for trial, he was assassinated and his body buried at sea. My concern is that without a proper trial we will never know if he really was the leader of Al Qaeda.

We will never know with certainty that he planned the 9/11 attacks. Without his body we cannot be sure he was actually killed. It is just as likely that he was captured and that he is now alive and well in an interrogation cell or in a witness protection program.

That the President sanctioned the execution of an American citizen without a trial is unconscionable. It is alleged and very likely that Anwar al-Awlaki was the Al Qaeda operations planner. It is also likely that he recruited new terrorists for the Al Qaeda organization.

Every American has the right to due process of law. I believe Mr. al-Awlaki's Fifth Amendment rights were violated for political expediency.

We have the rule of law in the United States because our founding fathers rejected the oppressive laws in Europe. In the not so distant past, English kings would arrest people at will and execute them without a trial or after a sham trial. In the New World, our founders declared in the constitution that all men are created equal and would have the same rights. One of those rights is a trial before a jury of your peers.

While I believe that Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki should be brought to justice, it should have been decided in a court of law not in the Oval Office. Even the Nazis who killed 6 million Jews received a fair trial in Nuremberg.

Prior to killing Mr. al-Awlaki, the Justice Department researched the law relating to assassinating American citizens and prepared a memo for the President. Whatever was in that memo was good enough for the President to decide that he had the right to murder an American who likely was a terrorist.

I, and many people like me, would like to see that memo to determine how our constitutional rights were bypassed. Unfortunately, the memo has been classified as a national secret and it will never see the light of day.


While the world may be a better place without this terrorist, the violation of Mr. al-Awlaki's constitutional rights sets a new and dangerous precedent. It will be much easier for a President to assassinate other Americans in the future without a trial. Even Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian dictator, was given a proper trial.

He was arrested and brought to America. He was tried under U.S. law, properly represented by a team of attorneys. He served the sentence and was released, alive and well. He is now back in the Panama where he was tried, convicted and sentenced to another 20 years in jail. Mr. Noriega was a bad man, but we chose the rule of law instead of summary execution without trial in handling his case.

Our forefathers fought for freedom and justice for all. They didn't say for all except terrorists, dictators or mass murderers. It does not matter if they are citizens, immigrants or even illegal aliens; they have the right to a fair trial, with a proper defense, and the right to face their accusers.

The administration also mishandled the "Fast and Furious" debacle. This scandal, in which Mexican drug cartels were provided with illegal automatic weapons at the explicit order of the Justice Department (and likely with the knowledge of the President), resulted in the death of Brian Terry, a Border Patrol officer. His death and the source of the weapon used to kill him was widely reported in the press.

What was not properly reported was the deaths of over 200 people in Mexico, with guns provided by the Justice Department's "Fast and Furious" operation. Congressional investigations into Eric Holder and the Justice Department are under way.

Several memos have been produced which indicate that the President was aware of the operation. I believe that the Justice Department is partially responsible for the murder of these 200 Mexicans. If the congressional investigations prove that the President approved "Fast and Furious", then he too is complicit in over 200 deaths.

Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona was a very brave man for bringing the facts to the attention of the congressional committee. My hat goes off to him for standing up for the truth. He obviously knows the difference between what is legal and what is not. Maybe the President should invite him for a beer in the Rose Garden so that Sherriff Babeu can give him a better understanding of constitutional law. (

This week, the massacres continue in Egypt. Muslims murdered 24 Christians and another 272 were injured on October 10. The Imams have declared holy war on the infidels (Christians and others). In Egypt, Muslims have been following their Imams decrees, killing Christians almost every week.

As usual, our President remains silent on this Jihad. Yet the administration continues to give the Egyptian military government over $2 billion in aid every year. Clearly it is time to stop funding a country that burns churches and massacres its citizens because of their religious beliefs. As for the media, they mostly ignore the massacre of Christians, yet they decry a single threat to burn a Koran.

Meanwhile some in the media actively support the construction of a Holy Mosque at the 9/11 site to honor the 19 terrorists who brought down the Twin Towers and killed 3,000 people. Now is the time to stop funding oppressive regimes and any religion that actively promotes the death of non-believers.

It is clear to me that this administration has blood on their hands. The open assassination of an American citizen without a trial is deplorable. Providing guns to drug cartels so they can murder hundreds of people is ridiculous. Funding a regime that does not protect religious freedom and ignores the killing of Christians is downright sinful.

It is time for this President to follow the rule of law, not rule by Fatwa.

© 2011 Gordon Smith - All Rights Reserved.

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