Tonawanda News

Opinion

March 10, 2013

DUVALL: Drawing the line on targets for drone strikes

Tonawanda News — Defending America is tricky business and even those with the best of intentions quickly find themselves miles from jingoistic bumper stickers imploring us to “support our troops.”

Case in point is the debate in Washington over the Obama administration’s sanctioning of the drone killing of an American-born member of al Qaida. 

The case of Anwar al-Awlaki raises pertinent and scary new questions about the limits of presidential power, First Amendment rights and prosecuting global terrorists.

Awlaki wasn’t born a radical Muslim orchestrating terror strikes against innocent fellow citizens. He was at points in the beginning of his career as a cleric, a moderate. He preached at the Capitol and spoke at the Pentagon. He gave moderate interviews to American media.

But slowly, over the course of a decade, he would grow into a senior al Qaida operative who played a role in the Fort Hood shootings, the so-called Underwear Bomber’s attempt to bring down an airliner over Detroit and another failed bomb plot in Times Square.

He was, in short, a very bad man.

How the Obama administration addressed the situation, though, was at best clumsy and at worst downright terrifying. After months of debate and an intense legal battle justifying the act — all behind closed doors — the military and the CIA tracked Awlaki and killed him. Along the way, they also killed two other Americans — one Awlaki’s 16-year-old son who, with no terrorist implications, who had set out to try to find his father.

For years, the CIA had monitored Awlaki’s correspondences, telephone and web-based. He was a powerful recruiting tool for al Qaida, speaking unaccented English and writing eloquently about what he saw as America’s war on Islam.

Dastardly as that might sound, we have a thing called the First Amendment protecting it. 

Text Only
Opinion
  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Kenmore is a village made of bricks Buffalo and surrounding environs have brick buildings galore, often in the process of repurpose. Whole neighborhoods made of brick await development, redevelopment, gentrification, whatever wand will be waved at them to make them function again. Structures here tend not to be razed; they fall down occasionally but typically simply stand and wait.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.


    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leffler Mug 041114 [Duplicate] LEFFLER: 'Need to know' a double-edged sword Inquisitive doesn't begin to describe me. I must know everything. About everything. I hate being in the dark. I guess that's what makes my career choice so very obvious. I think "must know everything" is at the top of most journalists' trait lists.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wallace, Amy BW mug WALLACE: Airplane coverage has gone awry I don't know about you, but I am so sick of the cable news stations' constant coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER: NIMAC grateful for NT support

    April 10, 2014

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: Making a list, checking it twice Maybe I was thinking about David Letterman's impending retirement. Or maybe it was because my brother posted it to Facebook. I spent a couple hours the other day crafting two top 10 lists, of my favorite books and movies.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video