Other bits and pieces

Friday, October 7, 2011

To Fist a Mockingbird


The United States and its allies have had increasing levels of success over the years with the tracking down and killing of big fish terrorists.  In 2006, an Air Strike clinched the U.S. leveling up victory against a boss as Abu Musab Al Zarqawi was bombified.  In 2011, the bulk of the western world nearly had an orgasm when a SEAL team  was sent to where Usamas Bin Hiding.   With terrorists getting pwned like little newbs front left and center, the gotcha bitch de résistance was the whacking of Anwar  Al Awlaki who was pimp slapped by a Hellfire missile after eating breakfast and going for a drive.   As Americans we absolutely love this.  Its that image of the eagle sharpening its talons and half a bazillion albums worth of Toby Keith songs finally getting their due.  But, no matter how big a collective erection we get over these hard fought victories over the dark lords, there is something just a little bit itchy underneath this Stars and Stripes codpiece.   Its probably not legal.  Not only is it not legal, if it werent for it being wrapped in the bacon of War on Terror, there is no way in hell Americans, or anyone else eat this filet mignon.

Its easy for us to accept it though.  We killed Usama Bin Laden.  And we did in a bad-ass Hollywood fashion.  He was known beyond a shadow of a doubt as the leader of the worlds most feared terrorist organization. Youtube has been awash for years in Awlaki made recruiting videos.  Hes known to have incited terrorism all over the world including the Fort Hood shootings.  Zarqawi led the insurgency in Iraq, responsible for countless car bombings, suicide attacks, and shoe throwings.   These guys were undisputed heavyweight bad guys.  And as long as you look at it that way, youll never get passed the GWOT film over your eyes.  So lets look at it another waychange of venue.

Hokay..soa Taiwanese drug lord, responsible for hundreds of murders in mainland China had immigrated to the United States on a visa.  Hes not really on our radar for any real reason so who cares.  Hes not our problem.  The Chinese government wants this guy something fierce and diplomatic efforts through the State Department to have the FBI go look for him havent really gotten anywhere because were just too busy.  Yes, yes, China we know. Hes here somewhere and you really dont like him but weve got other stuff to do.  So the Chinese manage to find a doctor who has financial problems and happens to live where they suspect this guy is.  They pay him to start a free clinic to give flu shots.  Meanwhile, the good doctor is sending back DNA samples to the Chinese to confirm this dudes presence.  Then, one night, when its dark and quiet, a Chinese helicopter enters the United States under radar from Mexico, unloads a bunch of Chinese special forces (Ninjas maybe) who engage in a gun battle inside an American neighborhood, kill the guy and exfil with the body.

If this happened, youwouldloseyourmind.  And we would very likely end up at war with China.  But this is pretty much exactly the scenario surrounding the take-down of UBL.  Why don’t we have a problem with it? We dont because we just really really really wanted him.  And so that makes it okay.  But it doesnt.

At the end of WWII, and after the fall of the German Reich, the manhunt was on for anyone whod been a Nazi.  During the occupation of Germany, there were several splinter groups still burning the candle for Adolf andcommitting acts of violence.  None of these people fell victim to military air strikes.  Nor were they summarily executed in their homes.  They were arrested.  In 2003, the U.S and some BFFs declared war on Iraq.  That is, they declared war on the government of Iraq.  After the cessation of hostilities between sovereign powers came to an end, the war (like WWII), was over.  The Iraqi people began fashioning a new government, and during that process there popped up a lot really nasty insurgents.  These insurgents had a habit of murdering other Iraqi citizens and coalition military as well.  Theres another word for these guys: Criminals.   Abu Musab Al Zarqawi was at home with his family when an airplane dropped a bomb on his house, killing him, along with his wives and their child.  Why didn't someone just arrest him?  Timothy McVeigh was an insurgent within a sovereign nation who had killed a lot of people by bombing and would likely have continued to do so.  The U.S.  didnt ask Canada to drop a bomb on his house.  The U.S. arrested him.  What about the Unabomber?  I don’t remember any JDAMS being used on him either.

Awlaki was an American citizen who was suspected of inciting other people to commit crimes.  He was never indicted by a grand jury, or charged with a crime.  As an American citizen, like the rest of us, he is protected by the 5th amendment for due process.  He as the right to face his accuser in a court of law and be tried by a jury of his peers.  He was nowhere near any battle field.  Just because the President ordered it, and congressional oversight approved it, doesnt mean it was legal.  If this was legal, it would be no different if wed carried out an airstrike on Roman Polanski who was living in France.  At least Roman had been convicted of something.  If Awlaki was not connected to terrorism, which seems to be a green light word for do whatever the hell you want, I would guess the American people would have a out and out collective shit-fit.  If hed been an L.A. based drug lord, directly responsible for numerous murders, and had fled abroad, you would not likely cheer as loud for a military lead execution based on suspicion of wrong doing. 

The fog of the word terrorism seems to cloud our eyes and engender a spirit of The end justifies the means amongst a large percentage of a population that would otherwise decry such behavior as contrary to the idea of the rule of law at the least, or even barbaric.  As a nation that does road shows the world over, pushing the critical value of the rule law as an essential underpinning of a free state, it bothers me that we are willing to overlook it so easily just because we really really dont like this particular flavor of criminal.  Im happy that these people are dead and can do no more harm.  But I think we, as Americans, need to take a hard look at who we are before we become what twisted those we fight.  We need to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves

© 2011 Raymond Smith

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