July 18, 2013

Oral Arguments Tomorrow in Samir Khan Case

The family of a member of al Qaeda and self-described "traitor" is suing the the US saying his "constitutional rights were violated." The DOJ has filed a motion to dismiss the case, and oral arguemnts are tomorrow.

A good preview of the arguments and background info on the case can be found at the Lawfare Blog.

As much as the ACLU likes to describe the case in the vaguest of generalities and in the grandest and most outlandish slippery slope fashion, we need to remember that this case involves specific people in a specific context.

One can describe this as "the targeted killing of American civilians without judicial review" and be completely accurate, but also completely misleading.

The specific people involved were the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) external operations arm, Anwar al-Awlaki, one of Awlaki's sons, and Samir Khan, the head of AQAP's propaganda arm -- a self-described "traitor" (see above and recall that Khan himself edited the magazine the image is from) and a guy who personally called for my death and the death of my wife and children.

So, excuse me if I take this personally but .... it's as personal as it gets!

The context in which the al-Awlakis and Khan were killed matters, too. They weren't at home in suburban Charlotte (where Khan was from) sipping beers and minding their own business when they were killed. They were in Yemen as leaders al Qaeda.

Did I mention they were leaders in .... al Qaeda?

You can't just stop by the Awlaki residence in Yemen and then bring them to federal court. You can't ask the Yemeni authorities to first catch them and then extradite them to the US. There's no functioning government in Yemen and what passes for "government" in that country doesn't control most of it's own territory.

You can't "indict" leaders of al Qaeda living in lawless countries and expect any kind of results.

You have to kill them. There's just no other alternative.

If the ACLU has a better idea how to handle it, I'd like to hear it. Because so far all I've heard is a bunch of bellyaching about the way we treat terrorists without any real advice as to how we could do it better.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:14 PM | Comments |