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Friday, September 30, 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki

Regular readers will be unsurprised, I suppose, to discover that I disapprove not only the legal execution of American citizens accused of murderous criminality but also the unconstitutional assassination of American citizens accused of murderous war-criminality.

Quite apart from the fact that I do not think freedom loving governments should be in the business of murdering people for whatever reasons, consider: If there is no scrupulous accountable extra-military judicial process required to justify the extraordinary action of stripping the citizenship and expectations of due process connected with that citizenship of an American who becomes in some sense a terrorist or enemy combatant or supporter of such, then it becomes dangerously easier to harass, incarcerate, and even assassinate strong critics of American government, especially when they leave the country, when they can be connected however tenuously with organizations networked with other strong critics of US policies.

11 comments:

Martin said...
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Martin said...
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Dale Carrico said...

Glenn Greenwald is a civil libertarian, not a neo-feudalist market fundamentalist who finds the libertopianism of the Randroidal (Ryan through Paul) right the least bit congenial -- a point one has to hasten to make given the debased state of contemporary discourse. I don't think you have any illusions on that score, I'm just contextualizing the claim.

The sorts of folks who seem to me to be walking the same kind of high-wire act I do, talking policy within the given constraints while keeping their eyes on progressive prizes still worth fighting for, folks like BooMan and Steve Benen, are indeed raising the same sorts of questions this time they would had Bush been helming the White House while this played out.

I personally was so freaked out by jingoism after the death of UBL that I hid under my blankets for a day, as my blog archive embarrassingly attests to -- but I think some of the reason for this is just that Obama's (to me) ugly hard-assery on foreign policy issues never seems to penetrate the absurd islamo-fascist anti-American narrative the right has idiotically pinned to Obama's donkey, and that creates easy partisan narratives to glom onto. I mean, I guess it isn't exactly wrong to say that America has been more effective at killing al-Quaeda figures since Obama became President, after all, it's just that I would personally rather America would have become more effective at educating and providing healthcare for all its citizens, but I dunno, I'm pretty sure sure lots of liberals and also that very few vocal conservatives agree with that sort of sentiment at all anymore.

I don't personally read dKos, AlterNet or HuffPo with any kind of regularity so I don't know what to make of any conclusion you may be drawing about the American left more generally from your observation of their front pages -- nor do I personally think it will be surprising to find more considered and appealing analyses appearing making the sorts of connections you think should be obvious to lefties in such places once more thoughtful writers ruminate on these events soon enough.

You can see for yourself what my opinion of this development is -- I must say it isn't that long since Troy Davis' name was on everybody's lips and it shouldn't really be THAT hard to connect worries about the execution of citizens to worries about the assassination of citizens.

Anyway, just to be clear, given what we've been arguing about more generally lately -- I do want to say I am not nudged the least bit from my support of Obama's re-election by this news story. I personally believe that there is scarcely anybody in the whole country likely to do something practical to address the concerns I have about Anwar al-Awlaki who would not benefit from Obama's re-election and would not suffer from his loss to any of the Republican challengers on offer.

Political conviction (which differs in this from moral, aesthetic, and ethical conviction) is not a matter of the ticking off of a checklist of logically clear propositions with which one either agrees or disagrees in word or deed, but of enabling better outcomes and frustrating worse ones given the coalitions one can mobilize among stakeholders on offer in the face of given constraints. Ethical integrity does not nor should it be expected to look like political integrity does, even if they ideally overlap at least some of the time.

Dale Carrico said...

About Maddow -- my least favorite thing about her is a strain of liberal hawkishness that I discern in her. I like her emphasis on diplomacy and on veterans affairs and her critique of war profiteering/privatization, but she isn't exactly Amy Goodman. I still love her, too, though. And not only for the style tips.

Martin said...
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Dale Carrico said...

I hope you are not so disaffected that you can't hold your nose and vote for Democrats anyway, else Republicans will win to the ruin of all.

Martin said...
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Martin said...
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Dale Carrico said...

She fluffed the hawks rather chillingly but then shifted gears and raised questions for a huge national audience. Not bad, not best, but not bad. And of course on most everything else she is utterly awesome.

Dale Carrico said...

About Obama -- I'd like to think a second term without re-election considerations but legacy considerations instead would nudge him more to the left. I'd like to think three years of hard-knocks education as to Republican crazytown might also have disabused Obama of pre-emptive capitulation qua negotiation strategy tendencies, again conducing to a second term more to the left. I'd also like to think that Republican overreach in the states yielding left grassroots populism and re-energizing of organized labor creates an environment congenial to a second term more to the left. Enough of this smacks of armchair psychologizing of a kind I rather disapprove of, so I won't even begin to make cocksure predictions. But I will say that if Obama wins, Pelosi regains the House, and Reid holds on we would surely get a do something congress at least as good as the last one, and building on the last one, which suggests EFCA, Dream Act, cap and trade, more financial regulation, more progressive taxes, among other things. About civil liberties -- I do think surveillance/insecurity complex America than it was prior to the Patriot Act in terrifying ways, and major education, agitation, organization through the agencies of the ACLU, EFF, Free Press, Center for Budget and Public Policy Priorities, People for the American Way and so on will be necessary, and probably on a more than generational timescale (that is to say a timescale often different from the one that drives reasonable decisions from election to election in terms of candidates vis a vis actually available alternatives).

Martin said...
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