Blood and Gridlock
Vol: 120 Issue: 30 Friday, September 30, 2011
This just in: Anwar al Awlaki, the American-born terrorist believed to be involved in every major al-Qaeda attack effort since 9/11 was killed by a drone strike in Yemen.
“The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions,” Yemen’s Defense Ministry said in a statement sent by text message to journalists, but gave no details.
A Yemeni security official said Awlaki, who is of Yemeni descent, was hit in a Friday morning air raid in the northern al-Jawf province that borders oil giant Saudi Arabia. He said four others killed with him were suspected al-Qaeda members.
Awlaki had been implicated in a botched attempt by AQAP to bomb a US-bound plane in 2009 and had contacts with a US Army psychiatrist who killed 13 people at a US military base the same year.
US authorities have branded him a “global terrorist” and last year authorized his capture or killing, which created its own set of legal problems. Is it legal for the United States of America to order the extra-judicial killing of an American citizen, under any circumstances?
After all, this is Anwar al Awlaki! The guy is undoubtedly responsible encouraging Major Nidal Hassan to murder a dozen US soldiers at Fort Hood. He is believed to have been the Flight 77 hijacker’s contact when they arrived in the USA.
Plus, he embarrassed us big time. Shortly after 9/11 al Awlaki was invited to the Pentagon to give US officials some insight into what motivated the attacks. This was back in the days when US officials actually believed in the myth of the moderate Muslim.
They don’t believe the myth anymore, but they still pretend that they do. (But you will note that the government doesn’t invite allegedly “moderate” Muslims to nearly as many high-profile events as it used to.)
Although I think it is terrific that another terrorist was given confirmation of Allah’s true identity, it is difficult to ignore the hypocrisy of an administration that finds no moral issues with targeting and killing an American citizen without due process of any kind, but was prepared to prosecute US officials for waterboarding Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
Indeed, Candidate Obama was asked his opinion, as “a Constitutional Scholar” about President Bush’s authority to even detain US citizens as enemy combatants. His scholarly opinion, as offered to Charlie Savage at the Boston Globe, was as follows:
“No. I reject the Bush Administration’s claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.”
Which is worse? Being waterboarded? Or being killed? In the case of waterboarding, US officials obtained intelligence information that thwarted a dozen planned attacks.
In the case of dropping Osama with a double-tap to the forehead, or blowing al Awlaki to kingdom come, we only know they won’t plan anything new. We learned nothing about what was already in the pipeline.
The only way that we could have learned anything would have been to capture them, interrogate them (with whatever enhancements might be necessary) and then after we had squeezed them dry of information, turn them over to a military tribunal for trial and execution.
The same administration and legal authority that was horrified about sending terrorists captured by the Bush administration to Gitmo and demanded civilian trials in downtown New York City for the masterminds of 9/11 doesn’t take prisoners.
It kills them instead.
Today’s OL is a two-fer. I wasn’t planning a column on Awlaki – I didn’t find out he was dead until five-thirty this morning. I had initially planned to follow up on a question I had asked in Tuesday’s OL.
As far back as November, 2009 we were already beginning to notice Obama’s shrinking popularity. With the midterm elections less than a year away, Obama was ramming through legislation that all but guaranteed the Democratic shellacking that they received in 2010.
I wondered then what it was that Obama knew that we didn’t. Now that it is his neck on the voter’s chopping block, I am really wondering because he still doesn’t seem to care.
Last weekend, he alienated black voters, telling them to stop complaining and whining.
From there, he resumed his attacks against “the rich” abandoning any pretext of civility as he demonized them and then proudly admitted he was deliberately provoking class warfare.
Obama knows that most of what he is selling is snake oil — and what’s more, he knows that we know it.
The very next day, there were TWO competing news stories about prominent Democrats suggesting that America’s major malfunction is that it has “too much democracy” and that the country would be better served if we suspended next year’s elections.
North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat, floated the idea of suspending the next round of elections, although she later claimed she was ‘joking’ when she said this:
“You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things,” Perdue said, speaking at the Rotary Club in Cary, N.C. Tuesday. “I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. …You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”
The very same day, former Obama budget director Peter Orzag published an op-ed piece in the New Republic explaining why America needs “less democracy”:
“To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.”
In a sense, I find myself in agreement. America was never designed to be a democracy. Indeed, Orzag opened his column with a famous quote from John Adams saying “there was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
But Adams was writing in support of a Constitutional Republic, not the form of imperial socialism favored by the Democrats.
“During my recent stint in the Obama administration as director of the Office of Management and Budget, it was clear to me that the country’s political polarization was growing worse—harming Washington’s ability to do the basic, necessary work of governing. If you need confirmation of this, look no further than the recent debt-limit debacle, which clearly showed that we are becoming two nations governed by a single Congress—and that paralyzing gridlock is the result.”
That is why the Founders designed the nation as a Constitutional Republic – to ensure gridlock so that the government cannot rule by decree – and if an elected official should try, he would have to face the people in the next election.
The Founders wanted gridlock. Gridlock would have prevented the passage of Obamacare. Gridlock would have prevented TARP, the first stimulus, the auto bailout, Cash for Clunkers and even deficit spending.
None of those programs would have passed had Obama not had supermajorities in both Houses. As soon as the GOP wrested control of the Lower House away from the Democrats, gridlock ensued.
The White House has been unable to impose new consumer regulations, new taxes, new EPA regulations, a runaway budget, immigration amnesty, and job-killing free trade deals. Why?
The root cause of all this inactivity is our peculiar form of democracy. While most democracies are governed by parliamentary systems, our Founders opted for a presidential system, which they consciously booby-trapped with multiple veto points to impede decisive legislative action and sweeping social change.
In America, for instance, presidents take office, but they don’t form a government, as prime ministers do in virtually every other democracy. Presidents can only shape the executive branch. They appoint cabinet members, sub-cabinet officials, military commanders, ambassadors, and the heads of regulatory agencies.
Multiple checks on power prevent rapid or radical changes, in spite of the progressive efforts to undo them. The results, even though America has been seriously weakened, are clear.
Europe spent decades burying themselves in socialism, and the Russian, Chinese, and others spent decades slaughtering their own people by the tens of millions. Those systems allowed for quick and more radical changes, and they are paying the price for that now.
I believe that the Democrats are floating a trial balloon to see what the reaction would be to the suggestion that America’s serial troubles justify suspending next year’s elections.
The big question is whether or not enough Americans have been sufficiently brainwashed into believing government is the solution, rather than the problem. Is it possible? You would be amazed at what works.
The other day, I heard Jeanne Garafalo on MSNBC explaining that the reason that the Republicans like Herman Cain so much is that it hides their racist tendencies.
Like I said, you would be amazed at what works.