For a war without strategic purpose, a drone’ll do. Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen born in New Mexico, was whacked by a Predator not on a battlefield but after an apparently convivial lunch at a favorite Yemeni restaurant. Two weeks later, al-Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman was dining on the terrace of another local eatery when the CIA served him the old Hellfire Special and he wound up splattered all over the patio. Abdulrahman was 16, and born in Denver. As I understand it, the Supreme Court has ruled that American minors, convicted of the most heinous crimes, cannot be executed. But you can gaily atomize them halfway round the planet. My brief experience of Yemeni restaurants was not a happy one but, granted that, I couldn’t honestly say they met any recognized definition of a “battlefield.”
Al-Awlaki Junior seems to have been your average anti-American teen. Al-Awlaki Senior was an al-Qaeda ideologue, and a supposed “spiritual mentor” to everyone from the 9/11 murderers to the Fort Hood killer and the thwarted Pantybomber. On the other hand, after September 11, he was invited to lunch at the Pentagon, became the first imam to conduct a prayer service at the U.S. Congress, and was hailed by NPR as an exemplar of an American “Muslim leader who could help build bridges between Islam and the West.” The precise point at which he changed from American bridge-builder to Yemeni-restaurant take-out is hard to determine. His public utterances when he was being feted by the New York Times are far more benign than those of, say, Samira Ibrahim, who was scheduled to receive a “Woman of Courage” award from Michelle Obama and John Kerry on Friday until an unfortunate flap erupted over some ill-phrased Tweets from the courageous lass rejoicing on the anniversary of 9/11 that she loved to see “America burning.” The same bureaucracy that booked Samira Ibrahim for an audience with the first lady and Anwar al-Awlaki to host prayers at the Capitol now assures you that it’s entirely capable of determining who needs to be zapped by a drone between the sea bass and the tiramisu at Ahmed’s Bar and Grill. But it’s precisely because the government is too craven to stray beyond technological warfare and take on its enemies ideologically that it winds up booking the first lady to hand out awards to a Jew-loathing, Hitler-quoting, terrorist-supporting America-hater.
What happened to the Twitter-hacking cover story? I guess no one bought it, especially after her intemperate response to the withdrawal of the award.
Steyn has his point and I have mine. The reason Rand Paul filibustered is the same reason some of us cheered his filibuster, even if we support drone warfare. No one else was asking the questions.
The press, which dug its teeth into Bush’s ankle, curls cozily in Obama’s lap, snoring and farting softly. They like it when he scratches behind their ears, but they give in completely when he rubs their tummies.
We were told the Patriot Act was the first boot-step toward martial law, yet it was renewed under Obama with barely a yap. Now Obama gaily obliterates Americans (albeit enemy Americans) and their teenage sons from the sky, and no one thinks to ask where the line is? Getting an answer out of Holder was like pulling teeth, and it’s no wonder: no one in the media had pressed him to do so before.
I loves drones—I want one over my house to nail the bastards who don’t clean up after their dogs—but their employment is well beyond anything imagined by even the most fervent sufferer of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Bring ‘em on, I love it. Let’s just be honest with ourselves about what we’re doing and to whom.