The New York Times acknowledged what any psychically human being must: That it’s maybe not such a good idea to allow a government unfettered discretion to unilaterally decide upon summarily executing its own citizens (but does so while getting in a dig at the Bush Administration, that so far as I’m aware, never ordered the summary execution of any American citizens):
The Obama administration apparently spent months considering the legal implications of targeting Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen who was killed in Yemen last month after being accused of being a terrorist organizer. It prepared a detailed and cautious memorandum to justify the decision — a refreshing change from the reckless legal thinking of the Bush administration, which rationalized torture, claimed unlimited presidential powers and drove the country’s fight against terrorists off the rails.
But the memo, as reported by Charlie Savage in The Times, is an insufficient foundation for a momentous decision by the government to kill one of its own citizens, no matter how dangerous a threat he was believed to be. For one thing, the administration has refused to make it public or even acknowledge its existence. It was described to Mr. Savage by anonymous officials, and the administration will not openly discuss even its most basic guidelines for choosing assassination targets.
One month to the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11 comes a sobering moment in the history of the U.S. war on terror: The Department of Justice has charged that “factions of the Iranian government” plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States by blowing him up inside a Washington, D.C., restaurant.
Had it succeeded, this would have constituted an act of terror by the Islamic Republic of Iran on U.S. soil, and arguably an act of war. To those, notably an emerging isolationist wing in the Republican party, who’ve argued lately that the U.S. should pull its efforts back from a waning international terrorist threat to focus on domestic concerns, this event is a wake-up call.
Note the ominous tone, “one month to the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11…”. Are we now celebrating anniversaries in one month increments? My term “celebrate” in describing Review and Outlook’s view of 9/11 is not accidental. Without 9/11, where would all these neo-con warmongers be?
If assassinating a foreign national on third-party soil is an act of war against the third-party, then why hasn’t Yemen or Pakistan declared war against the US?
When the US finally chooses which country it wishes to fight (Pakistan or Iran, maybe both), I suspect the New York Times will be all conflicted about it, sort of like their Woody Allen personality would imply. The Wall Street Journal will suffer no internal conflict, but will bang the war drums loud and long. In both cases, but more so with the Journal, the first casualty of the war, as always is the case, will be the Truth.