By Robert Saleem Holbrook
The assassinations of Anwar Al-Awlaki, his 16 year old son, and Samir Khan, all American citizens, by a CIA drone strike in Yemen in September has ignited a debate (albeit a small one) about the legality of the President ordering the assassination of American citizens in the age of the war on terror. In theory, extra judicial murder/assassination is prohibited by the constitution's due process clause that states no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Yet, when it comes to fighting terrorism and terrorists, the government has assumed for itself a place outside the law and reserves for itself the right to summarily execute American citizens it identifies as terrorists. Or perhaps I should say alleged terrorist because as it now stands Anwar Al-Awlaki, his 16 year old son and Samir Khan were not convicted of any crime. Al-Awlaki was identified as a threat in a top secret memo containing information from detained persons, themselves identified as terrorists, who were subjected to torture. Al-Awlaki's own statements supporting and praising attacks on the United States were also used against him, despite the fact that verbally supporting or praising attacks on the United States is not a capital offense. The government claims Al-Awlaki was operational as a terrorist but without any proof, besides statements by persons tortured or detained as terrorists, this is hardly convincing.