Anwar-Alaki: The Killing of an American Citizen

Anwar-Alaki, a Muslim terrorist, was shot and killed by a drone aircraft in Yemen on 30 September, 2011. He worked for Al-Qaeda, and he is accused of many things (on shaky grounds). These include attracting other major terrorist over to the organization like the Fort Hood shooter Major Hasan. ( the Times Square car bomber Faisal Shaazad and the underwear bomber Mutallab ( One of Anwar-Alaki’s alleged main goals was to eliminate Al-Qaeda’s current leader, Al-Zawahiri and replace him.

He was an American citizen and he was essentially assassinated at the stroke of a pen without being given his right to due process.

An executive order is an order that is issued by the executive branch with the force of law. They are constitutional because of the text in article 2, section 3 (according to It’s part of the President’s power to enforce and carry out the laws. The President cannot issue executive orders when they exceed his powers or as in this case when they violate the US constitution.

The 5th amendment says that a citizen’s life, liberty and property cannot be taken away without due process of law. According to President Obama’s logic, the government can just kill anyone if it issues an executive order to do so. Is that really the way we want to go? Anwar-Alaki was a US citizen who was essentially murdered by an executive order. Do we really not want to give people fair trials?

Critics of the Obama administration believe that the US government should not kill without a fair trial because anyone can be killed if they’re suspected of murder. Ron Paul, a Republican candidate, says that “It’s sad that the American people accept this blindly and casually. Nobody knows if he’s ever killed anybody. The United States has never been specific about the crime.” (

Ron Paul wasn’t the only Presidential candidate to question the Obama administration’s stance on the issue. Gary Johnson said the American Constitution doesn’t just apply to people that we like, but it applies to everyone, and this is a question that has to deal with due process.

If killing Anwal-Alaki is considered okay, then it might set a precedent in the future where preventive killing (killing people who are suspected to be terrorists without trying them) becomes the killing of American citizens without trial. I don’t know about you, but that just seems like a slippery slope to me.

The Obama administration’s decision to kill Anwar-Alaki sharply contrasts with the fact that terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad were readily given access to lawyers and the opportunity for a fair trial.