Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Constitutional Law and Assassination

I wanted to write something to indicate my indignation at the assassination of Al-Awlaki without any due process. Not that I support him, or think he's "innocent." But I find the process troubling (at one time, the CIA said it would not engage in assassinations, but now they are even assassinating US citizens abroad). And it is clearly illegal. But now I've found someone who makes the same argument, so I don't need to write my commentary: see Peter Van Buren's column in the Huffington Post.  He is right that it is especially shocking that a former professor of constitutional law would allow this to happen.

I found this column because I heard him on Fresh Air talking about his new book, We Meant Well:
How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People
. Depressing (yet funny) stories of institutional irrationality.  He has many amazing stories to tell about his time as a development officer in Iraq; you can a good sense from the Fresh Air web page, and from a piece on a chicken factory and war tourism in The Huffington Post (among other places it was published). It is a testament to American freedom that he was allowed to publish the book, but then again, it seems that because he linked his blog to a leaked Wikileak memo, he is going to fired for that (apparently that counts as leaking secrets). It sounds like China, where almost anything can be considered a state secret.

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