To celebrate what I know is your favourite day of the week, here is your news report from Yair. This week, Google has decided for me that the biggest news for the week is: the death of Anwar al-Awlaki. Now, since I am an honest journalist (unlike certain other co-bloggers), please allow me to preface this article with a little disclaimer; until today, I had never heard of the al-Awlaki chap, nor any of the issues related to this matter. Other than terrorism. I noticed that stuff going down, 9/11 style.
No funny caption here.
I literally cried about this today.
However, also like any decent journalist, I have done my research - and I have done it well. For this week’s installment of ‘Top of the News’, I have done exactly 100% more research than I did for last week’s. That’s right - I have read two articles on the subject.
Apparently, al-Awlaki’s death is important for two major reasons: first, he was considered by some to be “one of al-Qaida's most dangerous operatives because of his potential appeal to western radicals”; second, this whole business was apparently slightly rather illegal. Or at least frowned upon. It’s a bit of a grey area, just like everything that you convince yourself is a grey area probably isn’t. Yeah, your collection of films/music/porn/friends is probably illegal in some obscure way. But this isn’t about you - the FBI will catch up with that some day.
al-Awlaki has been called “The Youtube Bin Laden” by President Barrack Obama. He is responsible for hate-mongering around the world, using the internet. His good friend (I’m willing to guess they were, anyway), Samir Khan, was the editor of Inspire - the English-language terror-spreading internet publication - was also killed in this strike. Khan once wrote an article with the catchy title: “I am Proud to be a Traitor to America”. At about 9:55 AM, last Friday, the truck that they and their colleagues were travelling in was blown to smithereens by a U.S. drone.
Sorry. This pic was too funny to not use again.
So the Americans killed at least two baddies, along with five unconfirmed non-goodies - that’s great news, right? Awesome news in fact. I mean, do you remember how happy we all were when we heard that Osama got killed, and this guy even had a nickname that likened him to Bin Laden. So what’s possibly wrong with that? How on Earth could any non-radical find a reason to complain about it?
Welcome to our Earth. This is a planet where Israel consistently gets in trouble for fighting back against people who have been quoted as saying they would like to destroy the Jews. This is a planet where people are allowed to completely misquote Thomas Paine to somehow prove that those with the most means should be exempt from taxes. THIS is a planet where Never Gonna Give You Up is one of the most watched videos in the free world.
Or, as The Guardian puts it, “Awlaki was a US citizen, had not been indicted for any crime, and the strike took place in a country where US forces are not officially waging war”. That last item is generally considered a breach of international law, the second thing is usually regarded as a breach of U.S. constitutional law, and the first reason for upset is... Well stupid, in my opinion. So what if he was an American citizen? So was Jeffrey Dahmer. Since when does citizenship make a person less of a monster worthy of nothing but horrible, painful death?
Since never. That’s when.
But really - what about the other two things? Those sound important. Global-politically important, in fact. My instincts would normally tell me to go down the tried-and-true ‘Who cares? We killed the bad guys here!’ route. You know - common sense. And it’s true. We killed bad people, which is inherently a good thing. That is precisely what I thought, until I read this quote from NPR’s article:
“"The requirements of the Constitution with respect to due process for killing an American are not clear," says John Bellinger, a lawyer in the State Department under President George W. Bush.”
Now this brings up a couple of interesting points. Namely “George W. Bush”, and ‘everything else that John Bellinger dude just said. Like really. Wow’.
A joke here would be quite simply too easy.
It would be like naming a black rapper who could kill me
for making this joke about black rappers. By blinking.
No, no... The important thing is what the guy said; not that he worked for He Who Shall be Forever Laughed At. Apparently, the constitution says nothing about the legal process involved in killing Americans. This is news to me, and I’m sure it will be welcome news to all those on death row who happen to hear it. Don’t worry, my serial-killing bretheren, apparently it’s unclear whether the State has the constitutional right to execute you, since you’re U.S. citizens!
Oh hang on...
That’s not a thing?
Sorry guys, that’s not a thing. The constitution totally does have precedents on the killing of American murderers and/or terrorists. It says ‘Go for it, dudes’. That might explain why we have always done this. Execution, no matter your stance on the morality of the matter, is not that rare to us in the U.S.A. Indeed, we’ve been doing it since before we even won our independence (much to Benedict Arnold's displeasure).
As for the international politics issue, I shall fall back on my usual answer: It’s morally right to rid the world of evil people, regardless of what politics says. In fact, in my experience, most politicians are evil people themselves so... (I’ll leave you to finish that sentence, since I don’t want to be put on too many lists, just yet.)
And now, I really think I must call this week’s session of news-bearing to an end. I’ve only written 957 words, and I’ve already pissed off black rappers and death row inmates. If I was Caowin, I’d probably make a joke about how those phrases both mean the same thing, but I aren’t him, and I don’t believe that. I don’t believe it and I don’t have a death wish. Both are relevant here.
At any rate, I think I’ve opened your eyes to the world’s stupidity enough for one day. Terrorists should be subjected to the full extent of common sense justice. The end.
Bluntly raging against the bureaucracy in the world, this has been as always,
Y. S. Rice
The Guardian source article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/30/anwar-al-awlaki-yemen?newsfeed=true
NPR source article: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/30/140959250/debate-erupts-over-legality-of-al-awlakis-killing
All pictures hotlinked also link to the originals. Clicky.