[Re-posted from yesterday]
Let me restrict myself to Glenn's direct questions on the al-Awlaki case because I think they largely address the points of many others as well.
1. I wrote
But a single American al Qaeda terrorist in a foreign country actively waging war against us seems to me to be a pretty isolated example.
Glenn responds that Awlaki is most certainly not a singular case, and that there are three others whose identity we do not know. Not to nit-pick, but in a global war now almost a decade old, with thousands of casualties, four individuals is not a massive number. Now, I concede that even one could be a precedent that could enable the killing of countless, and on this Glenn has a point ... which leads me to the second response.
2. Glenn asks
Could Andrew please explain how he knows that Awlaki is an "al Qaeda terrorist"? Being an "al Qaeda terrorist" is a crime with which many people have been charged and convicted. But Awlaki never has been.
There is much public information about Awlaki, and I urge readers to go to Wiki and examine the public record and sources in detail to make their own minds up. Witnesses report he was a spiritual adviser to and met with two 9/11 mass-murderers, Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Khalid Almihdhar; his personal phone number was found in the Hamburg apartment of the 20th 9/11 terrorist; in 2006, he was arrested by Yemeni authorities for being part of an al Qaeda plot to kidnap a US military attache; his name was on a list of prisoners that al Qaeda affiliates sought to be released in Yemen; in December 2008, al-Awlaki sent a communique to the Somalian terrorist group Al-Shabaab, thanking them for "giving us a living example of how we as Muslims should proceed to change our situation. The ballot has failed us, but the bullet has not ... if my circumstances would have allowed, I would not have hesitated in joining you and being a soldier in your ranks." He sent a message in March of this year, urging treason and murder of Americans by American-Muslims:
To the Muslims in America, I have this to say: How can your conscience allow you to live in peaceful coexistence with a nation that is responsible for the tyranny and crimes committed against your own brothers and sisters? I eventually came to the conclusion that jihad (holy struggle) against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding upon every other able Muslim.
This year, he has directly threatened several writers, journalists, cartoonists with death, one of them in an al Qaeda magazine, Inspire. From Wiki:
Al-Awlaki's name came up in a dozen terrorism plots in the U.S., UK, and Canada. The cases included suicide bombers in the 2005 London bombings, radical Islamic terrorists in the 2006 Toronto terrorism case, radical Islamic terrorists in the 2007 Fort Dix attack plot, and Faisal Shahzad, charged in the 2010 Times Square attempted bombing. In each case the suspects were devoted to al-Awlaki's message, which they listened to on laptops, audio clips, and CDs.
Independent news reports have directly connected Awlaki to meeting with and inspiring the Christmas day underpants bomber. The undie bomber "told the FBI [not under Bush-style torture] that al-Awlaki was one of his al-Qaeda trainers in remote camps in Yemen. And there were confirming 'informed reports' that Abdulmutallab met with al-Awlaki during his final weeks of training and indoctrination prior to the attack... In January 2010, al-Awlaki acknowledged that he met and spoke with Abdulmutallab in Yemen in the fall of 2009. In an interview, al-Awlaki said: 'Umar Farouk is one of my students; I had communications with him. And I support what he did.'" More recently, a Seattle cartoonist, Molly Norris, has had to go into hiding because of a direct threat to her life from Awlaki.