It’s Kill Or Be Killed – There’s No Two Ways About It
Commentary by Dell Hill
In March 2009 the US Defense Department – under direct orders from President Barack Obama – officially changed the name of the "Global War on Terror" to "Overseas Contingency Operation". The name change is little known to most and has never been used on a regular basis to describe our efforts to combat terrorism on a global scale. Ask a thousand people what it’s called and 999 of them will say “the war on terror”.
It was back on September 20, 2001, during a televised address to a joint session of congress that President George W. Bush launched the war on terror when he said, "Our ‘war on terror’ begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated." President Obama has rarely used the term, but in his inaugural address on January 20, 2009, he stated "Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred."
Bush may have declared war on terrorism, but Obama has actually escalated a critical segment of that war – the outright search for and killing of any person shown to be a sworn enemy of the United States and bent on harm to her people. And, as we all know, those operations have included American citizens – the latest being Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a hellfire missile strike from a Predator Drone aircraft in Yemen.
Critics of this action are numerous and vocal, as expected. Constitutional Rights activists, in particular, call such killings “assassination of American citizens without due process under the law”. They’re quick to point out US and International law (whatever International law is…or is supposed to be) which clearly defines due process as dictated by the US Constitution. What these critics are saying, in effect, is that terrorists like Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki would have to succeed in some heinous criminal activity – like killing 3,000 people on 9-11-01 – and then somehow be captured, extradited to the United States and put through the so-called criminal justice system and determined to be guilty before any punitive action can be taken against them.
That’s an extremely righteous political position to take and as wrong-headed as it could possibly be. These terrorists – including those who are American citizens – have “taken up arms” against the United States and, as such, are traitors. Their ongoing plans and actions to do harm to Americans anywhere and everywhere in the world makes them instantly enemy combatants and, therefore, subject to capture or killing on sight.
It has become a matter of killing them before they kill us – just as it is in conventional warfare. And as long as US intelligence sources have sufficient probable cause to believe they are preparing to act against Americans and American interests, these same terrorists should continue to be neutralized in any reasonable fashion. We don’t exactly have the luxury of time to conduct an arrest, arraignment, probable cause hearing, discovery, status conferences, jury drawing and a six month trial to determine whether or not an declared enemy should or should not be brought to justice. Their words and actions are a declaration of war against America and have instantly elevated them to the possibility of dying on the battlefield at any given moment.
I am not concerned in the slightest about President Obama electing to have American citizens killed by Predator drones for no reason what-so-ever. The individuals involved are publicly sworn enemies of the United States and each of those enemies is positioned on a master list of terrorists with the clear intent to kill American people and do substantial harm to the homeland. They do so at the risk of preemptive strikes such as the ones that took out Bin Laden and al-Awlaki, just as they would be if they were uniformed soldiers fighting in conformity with the Geneva Conventions.
The President of the United States is sworn to defend this country against “all enemies, foreign and domestic”. President Bush did so. President Obama continues to do so and I pray that every president who swears to that oath will continue to do so.
The global war on terror is just that – a war, and the enemy must be defeated.