About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kill Al-Awlaki, But Don't Revoke His U.S. Citizenship

LV Congressman Charlie Dent last week introduced a Resolution (you can read it here) asking that Anwar al-Awlaki's U.S. citizenship be terminated. It's been referred to the Judiciary Committee, where it will likely die of old age. Dent has 16 co-sponsors, but every one of them is a Republican.

Those of you who actually read that nonbinding Resolution can see that Dent never suggests that Congress act unilaterally. He never even hints that the due process rights afforded by our Constitution be ignored. He does suggest that al-Awlaki is "an operative for al Qaeda's conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States." This citizen-terrorist did provide "spiritual" guidance to several of the 9/11 hijackers. He did give the orders for the failed Christmas-Day bombing. In March, he did state all Muslims have an obligation to take up arms against the United States.

Any one of these could provide a Constitutional basis for a denial of the benefits of U.S. citizenship.

Pennsylvania Avenue initially broke this story, but failed to include or link to the actual language of the Dent's Resolution. LV bloggers jumped to conclusions, condemning Dent instead of al-Awlaki.

LVIndependent shrieks, "Gulag: Charlie Dent Wants to Disappear an American Citizen." Another blogger, LVCI, calls Dent a "dummie" and huffs he would never "vote for anyone to power who, even for a second, entertained a thought of stripping ANY American of their citizenship no matter how vile." Finally, Rich Wilkins adds, "[T]his is all crazy talk to be honest."

I waited to read the actual Resolution, which is relatively innocuous.

I have to wonder where the hell these bloggers were when Barack Obama decided to kill this terrorist. I'm pretty sure that will bother Al-Awlaki a lot more than a mere loss of citizenship. The New York Times, German newspaper Junge Welt and National Security Policy Analyst Mohamed Elibiary have all spilled the beans on this authorized hit. Maybe they're next.

Can you advocate killing this guy and still be considered a progressive? Thankfully, Daily Kos says yes. Citizenship, schitizenship. One of their goofy bloggers actually argues it's "a bit repulsive whenever anyone suggests that US Citizens should be afforded more rights than anyone else. To me, it smacks of racism (or at the very least, nationalism)." If we can whack a non-citizen without due process, we should also be able to whack a citizen for the sake of consistency.

So there you have it. You can whack this guy, but whatever you do, don't take away his citizenship. That would be unconstitutional. Cuckoo.

Of course, what these folks really find objectionable is that Dent is a dirty, evil Republican. As a result, nothing he proposes can be right. President Obama is a Democrat, so nothing he proposes can be wrong, even a sanctioned hit on an American citizen.

Instead of playing "Hail to the Chief" when Obama enters a room, the Godfather theme might be more appropriate.


Jon Geeting said...

Nice try - constitutional experts already called bullshit on this Cheneyite plan. The Morning Call apparently couldn't find one expert who thought it was constitutional.

You also mangled the point of the Daily Kos article you linked to. The author's reason for supporting Obama's authorization to assassinate Al-Awlaki is that the man is in a rebel-controlled area of Yemen where he cannot be arrested and extradited by any government. If he was able to be extradited, the author would not support killing him and would support processing him through the regular civilian court system. :

I think Greenwald would agree with that much as well. So how is al-Awlaki different? It seems to me that Greenwald's key distinction (since he repeats it in his text) is that this killing would occur "far away from the battlefield".

Now, that's true - but really only in the sense that al-Awlaki is far away from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan where the US is currently engaged. But he is on a battlefield - in the rebel-controlled areas of Yemen. And quite intentionally so.

To me, this is a key point. Al-Awlaki is not in civil society. He is not sitting at home, or in an area controlled by any government. If he was, my opinion would be different. Then I would expect us to demand he be arrested and extradited, and with that, he would be afforded due process and so on. If the Yemeni government refused, we would then have the usual battery of diplomatic tools to apply.

Anonymous said...

They are right and you are wrong. Please provide all proof of the White House involvement in the purported cold-blood killing of this man, as you allege.

Anonymous said...

Im a liberal and I cant stand Obama. Never voted for him, never will, I'll support any republican candidate in 2012, even Sarah Palin.

Rising Sun said...


This is crazy talk. This man has not formally renounced citizenship, he has not been tried or convicted for treason, he has not joined a foreign national army, and I can see no other way by which constitutionally you can say he should lose his citizenship. I'm not even sure that at this point, without more evidence, he'd even be convicted of treason, even if everyone of us reading this think he's a traitor. The standard applied for that charge is very high, and that's on purpose.

We don't really have a record of doing this type of thing all that often anyway. We didn't revoke citizenship for domestic terrorists like Tim McVeigh or the Unabomber. We don't even often revoke citizenship for people who sell state secrets. What Charlie's proposing is something that will sound great to some, but at best is marginally borderline constitutionally, and is probably way, way out of bounds.

As for killing him, yes, kill him, if we need to. I don't really care if it makes him feel better to lose his citizenship or die. If they feel he wants to cause us harm, and are reasonably sure of it at the White House and in the Intelligence Community, then do it if need be. He's in the middle east's "wild west," so it's probably the only way to stop him, if in fact the government has decided they need to stop him.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 12:37, I've cited three sources, including the NY Times. It's no big secret they want to kill this American citizen. Maybe it's just me, but I think I'd prefer being stripped of my citizenship.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Geeting,

My reading of the MC account differs from yours. Clearly, the bar is high, and should be high. But there is a Constitutional basis for revoking the citizenship of a person who commits treason against the United States.

Before grasping at this as yet another basis to attack Dent, you probably should have read the resolution, which is nonbinding, proposes no unilateral action by Congress, and merely recites the Constitutional basis for revoking citizenship.

You headline is also false. Dent has never suggested we "disappear an American citizen." It's President Obama who wants to off this terrorist.

Basically, you excoriate Republican Dent for suggesting that al-Awlaki's citizenship be terminated, but turn your head the other way when Democrat Obama imposes a death sentence without due process.

In your Orwellian world, that's just dandy.

And I read the Daily Kos propoganda correctly. I frickin quoted the blogger, who suggests that if we kill a non-citizen abrioad, we should do it to a citizen, too, so that we're not racists, whatever the hell that means.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rising Sun (Rich),

I understand you advocate killing this guy, but heaven forbid that we try to strip his citizenship. He has rights, damn it.

Do you realize how insane you sound?

Bernie O'Hare said...

" I'll support any republican candidate in 2012, even Sarah Palin."

Whew! Better watch out or you'll be sent to an Orwellian re-education camp run by Geeting. But rest assured, you're in no danger of losing your American citizenship.

Rising Sun said...


With all due respect, Presidents have had people killed in the past as threats to the nation. It's well within their powers, even when they are considered a "lowly threat" like homegrown terrorists. I believe, as do the constitutional scholars the Morning Call used, that you and Charlie are the ones sounding insane here. There's very little, if any, argument that what he's proposing is legal, and it's certainly not normal.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It is very reassuring to know that you have no problem with whacking American citizens if they are deemed terrorists.

But not too long ago, when President Bush was eavesdropping on their overseas telephone calls, that violated their Constitutional rights.

Kill them, but don't violate their privacy rights, right?

One question. Are you and Geeting auditioning to be Grooms of the Presidential Stool?

Bernie O'Hare said...

If we can take out an American citizen like al-Wacky in Yemen, what's to stop us from knocking off American citizens here, too?

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Rising Sun said...

I'm not auditioning for anything. I'd shoot back with the "did Charlie put you up to this" but that's a tired argument. Bernie, you're advocating for an unconstitutional step that Charlie wants, but saying the completely legal step taken by the President is offensive. I'm sorry, I find that crazy. I don't care what party has the White House, if that President legitimately sees threats, they should act against them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't worry, Rich, that argument will be made, and worse.

Your position is logically indefensible. If it is unconstitutional to consider revoking the citizenship of Al-Wacky on the basis of the evidence recited in Dent's resolution, it necessarily follows that it is unconstitutional to kill the bastard.

I personally think it is constitutional to commence proceedings to strip this terrorist of his citizenship, but would never endorse a sanctioned hit on a US Citizen without due process. I did not endorse it when Bush authorized it in 2002, and do not endorse it now.

Rising Sun said...


It's late, so we're just going to have to disagree here. I guess I'd just say that it seems that most experts would disagree with you on Charlie's proposal. I don't hear the same drumbeat saying Obama's violating the law. I'm not just talking about from partisans, I'm talking about from legit experts too. You'd appear to have a minority position here.

Anonymous said...

An American is hiding in a cave in Arizona after killing a thousand people and planning on helping kill more. He is being hunted to be brought to justice. should we first take away his citizenship and then claim that makes sense before we bring him in or kill him trying to?

You stretch yourself so thin when you defend every dumb thing your mancrush politicians do.

This Al-Aw whack job is in a war zone and he is a hostile dangerous criminal. Somehow the entire idea of debating his need to have his American citizenship taken sounds like a Saturday Night skit.

You are comparing apples to oranges. Or in political speak, you are comparing an Abe Lincoln to a Ron Angle (with all apologies to Abe Lincoln).

This is a silly resolution meant to build a tough guy image and at its heart rather un-American.

Anonymous said...

Why did we never go after Osama?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Did you hear of that little war in Afghanistan?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 2:21, aka the 3 AM troll,

It's no surprise youi would justify killing an American, but would adamantly oppose any attempt to take away his citizenship.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Taking this terrorist's citizenship should be done, if it can be done legally, and after his due process rights are provided. That's pretty much all that is asked for by Dent's resolution.

Taking someone's life without due process should never be done lightly. If it is in retaliation for his criminal activity, that is not enough. If he presents an imminent and identifiable threat to the security of the United States, I could see it as a matter of national self defense. Calling on all Muslims to take up arms against the US would not, in my view, be enough because I see nothing imminent or identifiable. If he is helping to train terrorists coming to the US, as may be the case, even I could see killing him. All efforts should be made to capture him before killing him.

If we're intent on killing this guy, let's stop pretending we give a damn about his citizenship. You can't claim to do that while trying to snuff him.

LVCI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LVCI said...

REPOSTING with corrections

Couple things I find interesting: Bernie looked at my post and made no comment on my site. Five times the posting was viewed by the U. S. House of Representatives... still NO COMMENTS. I find it a ironic that I have to go around the blogosphere to find discussion and comment requiring me to respond here rather on my own.

Regarding your reasoning:
Of course when a sitting President (anyone for that matter) orders a whack on any American citizen it should be condemned.

This is art of political distraction. Pointing the finger to someone else who did something far worse.. does not wash Charlie's hands any cleaner then that of Obama's.

Stating " Of course, what these folks really find objectionable is that Dent is a dirty, evil Republican. As a result, nothing he proposes can be right. President Obama is a Democrat, so nothing he proposes can be wrong, even a sanctioned hit on an American citizen."

If you had expressed that on my comments, I would have certainly expressed extreme contempt for Obama's actions as well.

A statement of this nature pits people one group of people against another inferring that because one is either a Liberal or Conservative they can't have equal contempt for both Obama and Charlie's actions. It's thinking like this that's tearing America apart at the seams.

If there is one person of any political persuasion who would not find either action repulsive I'd question their understanding of fundamental American ideas. United States is supposed to be the 'good guys'. It what separates us from them. If we become more like them, what then makes us superior to those?

Difference is Barack's already in office. I can't weigh in on voting for him or not, but Charlie is currently up for elective office. Therefore he is my current focus.

By your own admission "I waited to read the actual Resolution, which is relatively innocuous."

thesaurus:innocuous- harmless- innocent- bland- safe

Neither executing w/o trial nor stripping an American of his/her citizenship is none of those! So either (a) Charlie is just doing this for political reasons or (b) just for the fun of it, since it means nothing anyway.

LVCI said...

Partisan pundits keep accusing liberal news sources of being koolaide drinkers marching in lockstep with everything Obama says and does. Not even Olbermann can stomach Obama's decision.


Fox couldn't wait to express outrage and condemn Obama.. Is FOX news going to make the same case against Charlie.. I think not!

And that's why I made the post. To offer balance to what I find equally offensive no matter who does it. But you won't hear it on FOX!

Bernie O'Hare said...

1) As I've told you before, I am scarcely able to look at your site w/o my PC exploding bc I use IE6. I've told you this at least twice. I have to use my laptop, but prefer to do most of my writing from a PC.

2) I have complaints with two blogs besides yours, and prefer to state them all together. Nobody has forced you to post a comment here.

3) This is NOT the art of political distraction. This is the Constitution. If you condemn an innocuous resolution you haven't read, calling for the revocation of someone's citizenship on the basis of the US Constitution, it necessarily follows that you should be even more outraged by the decision to kill a US citizen w/o due process. Especially the same person.

4) You would have expressed extreme outrage at Obama? Then why didn't you? His plan to kill al-Wacky was known at least 4 weeks or longer before Dent introduced his resolution. But you let that slide while calling Dent names.

5) You don't use a thesaurus to find out what something means. You use a dictionary. The correct word IS innocuous - a toothless or nonbinding resolution calling on the Obama administration to commence proceedings to take away a terrorist's citizenship, providing for all the due process rights afforded by our Constitution. Perhaps you should have read it before commenting about it.

6) Your blog, added to the cacaphony of LVIndependent and dissonance of Just Read It, is precisely what you supposedly condemn - pure partisanship. You slam Dent over a resolution you haven't read, call him names and claim you'd never vote for him. Yet you are strangely silent when the much more final step of killing that terrorist is sanctioned by Obama. Do you call him names? Do you claim you'd never vote for him? That sure sounds like partisanship to me.

7) Charlie Dent is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and has strong feelings about terrorism. He has proposed what he has proposed bc he thinks it is the right thing for Obama to do. I would guess he also supports the killing of this citizen-terrorist bc of an identifiable and imminent threat to our national security. You call him names, condemn him, don't condemn Obama for ordering that this cleric be snuffed, and then claim that all objections to you must be partisan. My objection to your argument is based in logic, not partisanship. Your argument is a manifestation of the very partisanship you supposedly deride. Either that, or you are incredibly ill-informed. If you did not know that Obama had ordered a hit on this guy, then you do a disservice to your readers by blogging about him at all. And it is incredibly foolish to reach conclusions about a resolution you never read.

8) There is no reason for FOX to condemn Dent. He has not advocated violating this person's due process rights. You still don't get that, probably bc you are too busy linking to videos to actually read the damn resiolution. It's only one page.

9) My own view is that Dent has done nothing more than ask that the Obama administration commence proceedings to revoke citizenship. Al-Wacky would still have all the rights of an American citizen to defend against that, including due process. I believe it would be difficult, but possible, to prevail against him. As far as Obama is concerned, I can understand his action only in the event of an imminent and identifiable threat to our national security. I do not believe the information publicly known supports such a finding, but there may be things we do not know. What Dent is asking for is innocuous, especially by copmparison to what Obama has ordered, which may very well be necessary. If what Obama has ordered is constitutionally permissible, it necessarily follows that the less extreme measure proposed by Dent is permissible. But you condemn that while ignoring Obama.

Anonymous said...


Should there be proceedings to revoke Timothy McVie's citizenship as well?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No. He's dead. But let's say he's in hiding in another country. I could see strategic reasons for attempting to take away his citizenship.

Anonymous said...

Has Callahan been told what to think about this yet?

Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

Has Callahan been told what to think about this yet?

Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

Al Wacky.

great name

you can't make this stuff up

truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction

Anonymous said...

Does this picture of Obama cast our superstar President in a negative light and, therefore, automatically make you a racist even if you really only just disagree with an Administration policy?

Mafia leaders are known to be lawbreakers, killers and all-around bad guys.

What are you saying with your picutre here, Obama is the Godfather of the United States?


lighthouse said...

Interesting reading, though FYI your link to ("read it here")the bill took me to a “timed out” search. If you click on your "16 cosponsors", then click on Dent's name and scroll down you can click on the bill itself. A few quick thoughts:

1. while strictly a resolution suggesting revocation of citizenship, it almost reads like a “bill of attainder”, or legislative act that punishes without a trial, which is prohibited in Art I, sec. 3.

2. Being a US citizen at birth, I would think Art. III, sec. 3 could kick in regarding “treason”, which is the only crime actually defined in the Constitution.

3. I understand Bernie’s commentary regarding the “hit” on a US citizen, and the hypocrisy of some opposing the Patriot Act, yet supporting taking out a "citizen".

4. However, this brings me to my final comment….this terrorist is a US citizen (dual citizen) simply because his parents had a child on US soil while his father studied here. The historical context of soil-based citizenship in Amend 14, sec. 1, was so that no “state” could deny newly freed slaves (Amend 13) their due process rights, nor equal protection of the law. Original context understood and appropriate for the time. However, soil based citizenship in the modern era is out-dated and should be abolished by amending the US Constitution. It allows for the al-Awlaki-type citizens, and contributes to the serious (illegal) immigration problem by providing one of many “pulls” to our country.

Anonymous said...

Obama is waging a wider war in Afghanistan. He's adding human cannon fodder like LBJ. He's also letting DOJ lawyers direct bombing campaigns that have killed dozens of innocents in Pakistan. Remember the great Pakistan War and all the accompanying Congressional debate? To paraphrase our Vice President, I guess it was no big fucking deal. This guy has no strategy and is flailing from one tactical decision to another with no larger plan. He's running foreign policy like a alderman's race in Chicago. And all the while he plays lots and lots of golf. He really is a white LBJ. He even has a team full of anti-Semites advising him. The more things "change" the more they stay the same.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lighthouse, The Bill of Attainder is derived from common law. Henry VIII used it to great effect against Thomas More and even Cardinal Wolsey. But being an instrument of the legislature, the only thng that could be imposed was a fine.

Dent's resolution is simply a nonbinding instrument asking the Obama adminstration to do something it can already attempt doing. It imposes no fie or any other kind of penalty.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:39, If you are Pig Pen, your comments are unwelcome here.

Anonymous said...

God Ohare, this is bad even for you. You keep drinking at the fount of Dent's manjuice even when the topic is clearly bullshit. This resolution is nonsense and only meant as an election year ploy for hard right wing anti-terrorist cred.

Come on Ohare, your constant suckling of your mancrushes Angle, Stoffa and Dent have renedered their reputations shattered. Charlie is a great guy but you will jinx his election with your crazy talk.