So, uh, hey, did anyone else notice it last Friday when President Obama had two U.S. citizens assassinated in Yemen? Anyone catch that?

I have to ask, because I feel like the only one I heard a peep from about it was Ron Paul, who took the bold stand that completely subverting the justice system and “taking out” Anwar al-Awlaki was not cool. Way to stick your neck out, dude. Not that anyone’s listening because you’re also a total hypocrite (that whole “let’s tear down all government except that which prevents gay marriage and abortions” thing), but hell, at least you said something about it. Everyone else seems to have been busy Occupying Wall Street this weekend.

Back in 2008, I voted for Barrack Obama for one reason only: Pretty speeches. After eight years of watching and listening to George W. Bush bankrupt both our economy and our vocabulary, all I wanted out of an Obama Presidency was a little eloquence. And you know what? I got it that same night, as he stood before a million people in Chicago and brought the country to tears with a message of hope and prosperity. I don’t think he delivered either that prosperity or that hope, but I didn’t vote for the completion of those things. I voted for never having to hear the word “misunderstimated” used again by a public official.

I’m a pretty left-leaning guy, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve watched over the last couple years as this country’s meandering, confused, often-naïve liberal contingent grew increasingly disappointed in President Obama not being able to fulfill some of the promises he made—failure, as it turned out, was very much an option—but I could never count myself among their number, because the first night he was elected, I got what I came for. This past weekend, as more details emerged about the drone strike that took the lives of Anwar al-Awlaki and 26-year-old Samir Khan—both U.S. citizens—I realized I could no longer support the President, no longer be proud of having been a part of sending him to the White House, and no longer vote for his reelection next year.

Because what the hell do we have worth fighting for if this is the kind of thing that happens? What’s the point? All the rhetoric about freedom, and these two men—neither of whom was charged with a crime; Awlaki was said to have “inspired” and “motivated” several failed attacks and an influential position in Al Qaeda, and Khan published the Al Qaeda magazine, Inspire—are neither arrested nor given any trial before they’re murdered by the state? Even if their actions were treasonous, and it’s a pretty safe argument that they were, what happened to due process?

It’s Samir Khan that really gets to me. He was 26. Not much more than a boy. He put out a newsletter with articles on how to make explosives that had cutesy headlines and talked about how the American government was evil. That’s a death penalty offense? Again, even if you think it’s treason, what about the First Amendment? Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press? I don’t think the headline the Times cited, “How To Make A Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom,” counts as presenting a clear and present danger, considering you can fire up Google (which does, in fact, also exist on the Arabian Peninsula) and find out the same thing in under 25 seconds. Break out the predator drones!

All this American exceptionalism and wanting to protect the homeland. These men were part of the homeland! I certainly don’t feel any safer knowing that radical newspaper editors can be assassinated by the government and no one will say boo about it. That smacks a little bit of state-sponsored terrorism to me. Just saying.

Perhaps the most ironic part of the whole thing, though, is that President Obama is basically going to get away with being a war criminal because Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan are foreign-sounding names. Obama, who’s been subject to scrutiny over his birth certificate since getting elected and who, in his initial campaign, more or less had to prove he wasn’t a secret Muslim out to destroy our American way of life, is now banking on the fact that Awlaki and Khan have Middle Eastern names and brushing them under the rug, glorifying their murder as “a major blow” to Al Qaeda.

Maybe it is. I don’t know. I’m sure President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings are much more detailed than mine. What I do know is that America has a means of dealing with its criminals, and that if we’re going to undermine the principles on which the country is built in order to protect it or save it, it’s not worth our time. You could say it’s just two people, and fine. How many does it need to be before it stops being okay? Isn’t one enough?


JJ Koczan

7 Responses

  1. Jesse

    Just for clarification, Ron Paul thinks the Federal Government has no role in recognition of marriage, gay or otherwise. It should simply be a private contract between those involved. He doesn’t agree with gay marriage on a personal level, but he also doesn’t seek to push that belief on others.

  2. KJ

    I don’t think ‘hypocrite’ means what you think it means. Ron Paul thinks, for example, that people should be able to be together and call it whatever they want and government shouldn’t even be involved, but if it is, it should be at the state level. He voted to repeal DADT when he learned it was being interpreted as a status crime rather than to stop disruptive behavior.

    Your vote is your own, but if you want these topics to even come up in the election, I think you should quickly switch your registration to GOP and vote for Ron Paul, in the primary, to make sure the issues are discussed.

    October 14 is the deadline to change registration in NH and NY.

  3. Sara

    >(that whole “let’s tear down all >government except that which >prevents gay marriage and abortions” >thing)

    This statement is totally off base. The man has his own opinions, but his whole point is that his opinions don’t matter. Every one should be free to live their lives as they see fit w/out the federal govt. looking over their shoulder. You really owe it to yourself to find out the truth.

  4. brian

    Check your facts, Ron Paul is the only one who does support gay marriage, by proposing that the Federal government have NO role in marriage. Same with abortion, he says let the states decide, get the Feds out of it. Of course he personally dislikes abortion, he delivered 4000 babies. Derp!

  5. F.A. Hayek

    Dude, get your facts strait about Ron Paul before you go off pooping all over yourself. Ron Paul does not care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, and he doesnt thing government should be in the business of marrying people in the first place. He says to let the states decide about Gay Marraige. And obviously being an OBGYN who deliverd 4000 babies, he is going to want to protect unborn babies. Stop pouting and vote for real change, not a cheap smile and hollow promises from someone who had literally zero political experience. Ron Paul 2012

    • Arts Weekly

      Congratulations both on your misspelling of marriage and your misuse of “literally.” Two years in the senate is not “literally” no experience, it’s “literally” less experience than someone might want. “Literally” no experience would be if you were a baker and you were elected president or something like that.

      Further, putting the gay marriage issue to the states is a cop-out and everyone knows it. Conveniently cloaking your prejudice in an argument for states’ rights is nothing new — see Southern revisions of the Civil War. And to the other point, that “being an OBGYN who deliverd (sic) 4000 babies” thing is BS too. Just because you’ve seen a bunch of vaginas doesn’t mean you should be able to legislate what goes on in a woman’s body.


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