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Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Now it's personal!

The liberal intelligentsia (e.g., Glenn Greenwald, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow) is up in arms because President Obama has apparently given a "shoot-to-kill" order against an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. After all, as Olbermann's guest tonight rightly pointed out, the CIA and the U.S. government have claimed they "knew" all sorts of things which have proven utterly false (Iraqi WMD just one of countless examples), so claiming they "know" that al-Awlaki is "guilty" of something or other that deserves death is a dubious proposition (even if you accepted that they would have the right to do so without a trial if they really did have ironclad proof).

But left unsaid in all the analysis is a very simple fact - the U.S. (and its junior partners in Israel) have been assassinating people ("extrajudicial killing") right and left for years - Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Somalis, Palestinians, and probably others I'm forgetting. The idea that the proposed killing of a U.S. citizen is somehow abhorrent and worthy of shock, but that the killing of all those others isn't even worth a mention, is simply wrong (if you don't see that, imagine that they were talking not about one of those "swarthy foreigners" but a nice pale white Canadian - just as much a non-U.S. citizen, and, judging from the reaction I've seen, just as acceptable as killing an Afghan, a Somali, or a Palestinian - do you really think the reaction would have been as sanguine as it has been to those other very real assassinations?).

Assassinations are illegal and reprehensible, and just as much so if the targets are U.S. citizens or anyone else.

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