The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

77° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Terrorist acts negate constitutional rights

    Simply put, terrorists have no place anywhere in this world, let alone in the United States of America. It does not matter where you are from or who you are. If you seek to destroy any group of people, you simply do not belong. U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki is no exception to this rule.

    Al-Awlaki is a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He attended school in the U.S. until age 7, when his parents moved back to their native country of Yemen. He returned to the U.S. on a student visa to study at Colorado State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. During his undergraduate career, he was president of the Muslim Student Association on campus, actively engaging in a number of Islamic affairs.

    While Al-Awlaki’s story may seem like nothing out of the ordinary, there are a number of underlying details that take away from this nicely painted story. During his return to the U.S., Al-Awlaki began recruiting for terrorist organizations back in the Middle East. The CIA has numerous reports citing his involvement in recruiting American-born citizens to join the terrorist organization al-Qaeda overseas.

    Al-Awlaki has been linked to nearly a dozen different cases of attempted terror plots in the U.S. He is responsible for engaging and recruiting Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab prior to his attempted underwear bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight on Dec. 25, 2009. He was connected with Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, who attempted to set a car bomb off in New York City’s Times Square. He has been connected with Zachary Adam Chesser, a 20-year-old who was recently arrested for trying to join the Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab. Al-Awlaki has also been linked to Maj. Nidal Hassan prior to the Fort Hood Army Base killings in Texas in 2009. Last year he attempted to set cargo plane bombs off in the United Kingdom during another failed terrorist attack.

    Al-Awlaki was a main component to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City. While in the U.S., he gave the terrorists lectures and even helped them rent apartments and fund their project. This man was a known terrorist who subsequently forewent all rights as a citizen of any country. It should come as no surprise that when the U.S. had the chance to kill him, they did via drone air attacks in Yemen.

    Unfortunately, there are many critics who argue that because Al-Awlaki was born in the U.S., he should have been brought back for trial as part of his constitutional right to trial. This idea might be one of the most irrational ideas proposed in recent times. Al-Awlaki rose in the ranks of al-Qaeda, becoming a regional commander. Why would the U.S. want to bring one of the world’s most dangerous criminals onto their own soil when he repeatedly attempted to kill citizens?

    GOP presidential nominee Ron Paul is among those who think that Al-Awlaki deserved a fair trial. Paul told MSNBC that “Al-Awlaki was born here, he is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes. No one knows if he killed anybody. We know he might have been associated with the underwear bomber. But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it’s sad.”

    Those who believe Al-Awlaki deserved a fair trial are sorely mistaken. Terrorists forego their right to a fair trial when they choose to wage war, especially on their own countrymen. Taking Al-Awlaki out was one of the smartest moves the U.S. could have made, and as a result, our world is a bit safer today than it was a couple weeks ago.

    — Joshua Segall is a management information systems senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search