Sunday, October 9, 2011

Torture Then, Assassination Now

Predator drones firing Hellfire missiles killed Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen on September 30, 2011. Al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen born in Las Cruces, NM in 1971. This was part of the vast collective insanity that plays out in the skies above us while down here all seems normal in up-scale Grosse Pointe Farms. Sunshine. Children going to school accompanied by parents weekdays. Down the street a lawn was dug up a couple of weeks ago to replace a defective sewer line. Now, thanks to Tocco Mannino Landscaping services, a new lawn completely hides the devastation. In the sky unspeakable madness. Some years ago I studied lawyerly documents showing why we could engage in torturing people. Today’s news tells me that the Obama administration evidently ordered al-Awlaki’s killing based on another lawyerly document justifying the event—provided that al-Awlaki could not be taken alive. It turns out that he might have been—taken alive. He and three companions were traveling by car and had stopped for breakfast. Helicopters might have landed and surrounded him. We’re not at war with Yemen, to be sure. Nor were we at war with Pakistan when we landed copters to grab bin Laden. I wonder. Was there also a lawyerly memo justifying military action in Pakistan before we landed?

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