Friday, September 30, 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki

My first reaction on hearing the news today about the death of U.S.-born radical Muslim cleric - a terrorist who sometimes targeted travelers - from a drone attack in Yemen was it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

There is much wringing of hands in the United States over whether the U.S. government should be in the business of killing U.S. citizens; this assassination, a truly exceptional case, will probably feed the paranoid fear and loathing of the federal government in some circles. It shouldn't.

Let's be clear about who this man was. He had a bloody hand in recruiting unstable, violent people to kill innocents, especially innocent Americans. Traditionally, in many cultures throughout history, treason has been punishable by death. What are attacks on state targets, fellow citizens and civilians, if not treason? Among his targets in failed bomb plots were the passengers of a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas Day, tourists and locals in New York's always jammed Times Square and bombs he hoped could be put in parcels in the cargo bays of airliners.

I don't mourn for him, and don't think this fanatic, who cast a long, cold shadow over travel, earned any protection or exemption from justice by virtue of his citizenship.

One traveler's opinion.

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