Since the Obama administration offered some lawyer talk last week to justify zapping Awlaki, all the Very Concerned People who never do anything besides be very concerned have been, well, acting very concerned. Not least of which Glenn Greenwald - who, being a Cato Institute flack doesn't really give a shit about your personal liberty, but is having an absolute fit over the due process afforded to a traitor.
I don't mean that as hyperbole. Awlaki was a traitor according to the very Constitution all the Very Concerned People keep moaning about -
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. ~ Constitution of the United States, Article III, Section 3.Now he never confessed in open court but I wouldn't bet a dollar you can't find at least two witnesses to "levying War against [America]... adhering to [America's] Enemies... [or] giving them Aid and Comfort." And if you're still not convinced, just take a Wiki-walk through his record. This was not just some outspoken critic.
"But what does that have to do with Gitmo?" I hear you asking because I work for the NSA. For starters, everything. While a legitimate threat, drone assassination was not a particularly pleasant way of dealing with Awlaki. We could've sent Special Forces in but the results would've been the same, give or take a few dead American servicemen (which is a something the President has to be very sensitive to as I'll explain next time). Similarly, there is no politically clean way to close down Guantanamo Bay. For a decade, we've been torturing people who's greatest crimes consisted of failure to yield. The correct thing to do - morally and legally - is release them all at once. And then weather the blowback.
Thanks to all that abuse, we've at worst groomed the next generation of al Qaeda - angry at America, alienated from their former communities, and with a passable knowledge of English from getting screamed at by crew-cut closet cases all day. At the very least, we're looking at a century of lawsuits against the US government and you just know the screwheads will use that as an excuse to cut even more necessary domestic spending, to say nothing of what a tsunami of bad PR would do to the "full faith and credit" of the United States that guarantees the safety of your savings in every bank in the country.
Understand this would suck but it would still be bearable. We deserve it for the hell we've put these people through. And that's why it will never happen.
One things Americans of every partisan persuasion will not accept now or ever is the thought that they themselves are somehow to blame for this. They're all quick to blame Obama - despite his hawkishness having been established since 2005 - or they still rightly blame Bush, who's administration was following the will of even nominal "liberals" in this country. Any legitimate due process the Gitmo prisoners receive will invariably indict the entire country as craven, two-fisted cowards who let loose on the world a band of muddling fascist wannabes. Americans will not collectively accept that sort of guilt, even though they should.
Which leaves us with show trials - exactly what Awlaki and bin Laden would've got if captured - where any fool knows the verdict before the judge is even seated. It would be "due process" in only the most superficial sense and a much greater insult to justice than a drone strike because at least missiles are honest. Just take the case of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad from a few years ago as an example. No less an authority on American morality than Jon Stewart scoffed at the idea of him being found not guilty, not because of overwhelming evidence but because he was a Very Bad Man. That's as far as you can get from the spirit of due process without shouting "Burn the witch!"
And besides, America really sucks at show trials in the first place. We've been soaking in the dullest Protestant virtues this side of the Pontifex family for so long, we all assume the rest of the world shares them. That's how no less an authoritarian junta than the Bush administration could put an unbowed Moussaoui on the stand and be shocked - seriously, shocked! - when he said of 9/11, "the whole POINT was to hurt you." Because one thing Americans will not let themselves believe is that we're the bad guys now.
|He will never forgive you. You assholes.|
That's probably how all these Very Concerned People can be taken seriously. They perpetuate the delusion that we can somehow resolve the horrors of the Bush era while still feeling good about ourselves.