Why the Awlakis Were Killed
by Jacob G. Hornberger
While President Obama, the Pentagon, and the CIA have steadfastly refused to say why they assassinated American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, one thing remains beyond dispute: It wasn’t because Awlaki was trying to take away the freedom of the American people. It was instead because he was opposing the U.S. national-security state’s interventionism in the Middle East and neighboring regions.
The issue is a simple one:
People over there are saying to the Pentagon and the CIA:
Go home. Leave us alone. Close your military bases. Cease your sanctions, embargoes, coups, invasions, occupations, regime-change operations, threats, kidnapping, incarceration, prison camps, torture, and support of our dictators. Just go home and deal with your own problems.
On the other hand, the U.S. national-security state says:
Not on your life. We are the U.S. national-security state. We are a force for good in the world. We are here to help you. We have the right to do so. We have the right to bring you democracy and freedom and order and stability. We have the right to support your dictators, oust your rulers and install new ones, sanction and embargo you, kidnap, incarcerate, and torture you, and assassinate you. We are here to stay. You are free to protest to your heart’s content. But the minute you try to force us to return home, we will bomb, shoot, arrest, incarcerate, torture, execute, or assassinate you and anyone standing near you.
The rumor is that Awlaki had crossed the line from legitimate protest to some sort of “operational” role in attacks on U.S. troops over there. Nonetheless, the basic fact remains — he was killed not for trying to deprive the American people of their freedom but because he was supposedly part of an effort to force the Pentagon and the CIA to exit that part of the world and return home.
Awlaki wasn’t trying to take over the reins of the U.S. government in an attempt to enslave the American people. On the contrary, he left the United States with the sole intent of resisting the presence and activities of the U.S. national-security state over there.
By the way, the same principle applies to the assassination of Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman. The rumor is that the boy was supposedly “collateral damage” from a drone missile fired at some supposed terrorist in Yemen. But like his father and, for that matter, all the other people they have assassinated over there, the supposed terrorist sitting next to Abdulrahman had no intent to cross the Atlantic Ocean as part of some gigantic terrorist army to invade, conquer, and occupy the United States and deprive Americans of their freedom. At most, the supposed terrorist was involved in the effort to oust the U.S. national-security state from that part of the world and force it to return home.
That’s what the assassinations are all about — not about defending the freedom of the American people but rather the “freedom” of the U.S. national-security state to do whatever it wants in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Why is this important? Because when a government is killing people, including both its own citizens and foreigners, it is incumbent on the citizenry to determine the reasons for the killings. Then, if the citizenry conclude that the reason for the killings is an illegitimate one, based on moral, ethical, religious, and spiritual factors, then it is up to the citizens to place the government back on the right track.
That’s where the role of conscience comes in.
Is the U.S. national-security state’s interventionism abroad a valid moral, ethical, religious, and spiritual justification for the Pentagon’s and CIA’s continued assassination of Americans and foreigners? Is it consistent with God’s laws and fundamental laws of morality? Is this the type of thing American Christians should be supporting? Or is it time for the American people to demand that the Pentagon and the CIA stop the killings and come home?