Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Obama approves extrajudicial execution

The New York Times reports that President Obama has approved the "targeted killing" of radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki lives in Yemen, but he was born in New Mexico. So Obama has just approved the assassination of an American citizen.

There is a name for the officially sanctioned killing of people without trial or evidence: extrajudicial execution. And it is contrary to the rule of law and to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States is a party. When other countries do this, the US State Department screams bloody murder, and rightly so. But I guess, like torture, extrajudicial execution is OK If You're An American.

Except its not. Judicial execution is fundamentally wrong; extrajudicial execution doubly so. Ordering your citizens summarily murdered because they oppose you is the sort of thing kings do. but I guess that's all the US is now: a petty tyranny dressed in democratic clothing.