The issue here is not whether Anwar al-Awlaki is a good or even a dangerous man. The issue is whether he is—sorry, was—a U.S. Citizen. The issue is not whether the Patriot Act grants the President authority to declare any person—citizen or not—a combatant in the war on terrorism, but whether any individual, President or not, has the constitutional authority to annul another citizen’s citizenship short of a full, public judicial proceeding.
I am not among those (themselves militant opponents of the U.S. Constitution) who fear that President Obama is laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive annulment of constitutionally protected rights and freedoms for still other U.S. citizens. However, I am among those who fear that the extra-judicial killing of Anwar al-Awlkaki, should it be unchallenged, does lay the groundwork for political leaders who have far less respect for the U.S. Constitution than President Obama.
The formerly slow erosion of constitutionally protected rights and freedoms has quickened. Where it once divided Americans it now unites them.
To revise Richard M. Nixon’s admission, “We are all now post-democrats.”