Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yes, Mr. President, What About Abdulrahman Alawki?

     Last May, President Obama was giving an address on the legality and the necessity of his drone program when he was importunely interrupted by what the press peripatetically terms “a heckler” —(a heckler being a person who sees fit to express an embarrassing statement or question into an otherwise smoothly conducted address by some public official). Only this was not just some ordinary heckler. The person addressing the President so “rudely” was none other than Medea Benjamin, the founder of the antiwar protest group Code Pink, and actually she managed to deflect the attention of the press, as well as the president, who took the time to calm the nerves of the aggrieved press by saying “Wait a minute, that woman is saying something important. She deserves to be heard.”
     Only President Obama did not, in fact, address her question. Which was, “What about Abdulrahman Alawki?”
     For those of you unfamiliar to this discourse, Abdulrahman Alawki was the 16-year old son of Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar Alawki. He was killed just two weeks after the President’s death drones caught up with his father, as he ate dinner with a relative. His father, Al Qaeda propagandist though he was, was also still, under law, a United States citizen who had been released from an original indictment set on him by the Bush administration, and freed, to take up residence (and an inarguably adversarial stance) from the country of Yemen. Abdulrahman, who had no stated connection to his father in terms of radical Islamic politics, had left home (against the advice or consent of his now aggrieved grandparents) to seek out a reunion with his father.  Who knows what goes on in the minds of kids.  What is clear from all reports and from interviews with the grandparents is that Abdulrahman was an ordinary American 16-year old with no pretensions of jihadi warfare against the American Government, nor lust for killing innocent fellow Americans. But he was put on Mr. Obama’s kill list, and executed summarily, as his father was,  without due process of law.
     The Constitution of the United States is very clear in stating what the government must do in order to claim a right to  “forfeit life or property” from any citizen. There must be a conviction in the courts, there must be, in the case of “treason”- evidence presented by two witnesses, in same said courts, and it must be a matter of process.  Instead, in the case of both Alawkis, the President had chosen to pre-empt the legal process and proceed with what is Orwellianly termed an “extrajudicial killing”- or in plain English, a Premeditated Murder. Both United States citizens became two of a select group of Americans, which is now counted at four,  who have been so honored by the Republic as to be “exceptions to the Constitutional process.”
     Ms. Benjamin’s question, however important the President may have thought it to be, or not, at the time, has yet to be answered. Instead, the killing of Anwar Alawki has now been summoned forth as “a precedent” for another planned, premeditated murder, minor details of which have actually been leaked by the White  House to the press, and who knows why. Mr. Obama has not yet apologized to the family, the grandparents, of Abdulrahman Alawki, although as he himself admitted, his murder was “an accident.” (Press Secretary and official sock puppet Robert Gibbs cynically said “He should have had better parents.”)
     Perhaps Mr. Obama prefers not to comment, perhaps he is actually shaking in his boots at night, haunted by Abdulrahman’s ghost, because a lawsuit now yet sits before the Courts of the United States lodged against Mr. Leon Panetta, who was the contemporaneous Secretary of Defense, and others, acting on behalf of the President’s Targeted Killing Program (which this column will henceforth term “TARKILPRO”) or as is referred to more often, “the Kill List.” But he has said that the killings of innocents under the duration of his drone program “will haunt us forever.” Well and that they ought to! For the murder of a United States citizen, no matter how much lawfare sophistry attends it, remains, without the due process of law, as immoral, illegal, and unjustified in the name of freedom and liberty and all things which Mr. Obama would wish the United States would be “blessed by God” for. We no longer have a Republic, when the President of the United States can assume the right to act as though he were a King, and kill anyone he feels like, for whatever reason, wherever they are in the world, at any time he chooses. It’s no longer your grandparents' America, your parents' America, nor is it even your America.

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