Why the angst over drone attacks?

Ralph Peters:
Americans who believe America’s always wrong are all but fainting this week. More evidence emerged, in the form of a leaked Justice Department white paper on targeted killings, that their president doesn’t share the belief that Islamist terrorists deserve all the rights and protections accorded American citizens, as well as catered halal diets, ObamaCare and Social Security benefits.

Let’s get one thing straight: The right of a state and its people to self-defense trumps every other aspect of international law, treaties and practices. The foundation of the moral legitimacy of the state is its role in protecting its citizens from violence, foreign or domestic. All else is secondary.

When attacked, we may do whatever it takes to defend ourselves. We have been attacked, repeatedly, by Islamist terrorists. And the fellow believers of those who attacked us publicly, regularly and venomously announce that they intend to attack us again.

It’s not only our government’s right, but its duty, to kill them before they harm us.

What about about the thug-huggers’ concerns? Dissect the issues, one by one: 
Kill, don’t captureWe owe America’s lefties a big wet kiss for forcing the Obama administration into this highly effective policy. By making a cause celebre out of the imaginary suffering of blood-drenched terrorists at Gitmo, they inspired candidate Obama to promise to close the facility within the first year of his presidency.
But no can do. Gitmo’s still open — and not just because Congress wouldn’t let him close it. Our legal system benefits terrorists; they’re briefed on how to beat our laws. So President Obama & Co. figured out fast that captured terrorists are another “unfunded liability.” In office, Obama also learned that the terrorists aren’t kidding. The obvious answer? Just kill ’em.

Thank you, left-wing champions of injustice! 
But killing terrorists only makes them martyrs. Hogwash. The opposite’s true. Imprison a terrorist and you will, indeed, make him a martyr. Kill him, and he’s dead.
Nobody’s attacking us in the name of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi these days (remember the Butcher of Baghdad?). And when terrorists seized a remote natural-gas facility in Algeria last month, they weren’t yelling, “Remember Osama bin Laden!”

Instead, they demanded the release of the “Blind Sheik,” the mastermind of the first Twin Towers attack, from a US prison. Misplaced mercy inspires more attacks. 
But killing terrorists deprives us of intelligence. As a former intel officer, I have some theoretical sympathy with this point. But given our hopelessly prissy rules for interrogation today, there would be zero value in taking even top terrorists prisoner. (Obama didn’t even try to capture Osama.) They follow our politics and policies. They know that a CIA interrogator can’t lay a glove on them without going to jail.
By insisting that we had to treat captured terrorists like prep-school kids caught in a food fight, leftists forced Obama to send in the drones. The result is that “core al Qaeda” has been rendered ineffectual. 
But no president should murder American citizens. Tell it to Abe Lincoln, Hollywood’s celebrity-president of the season, who invaded the South (which had not even threatened acts of terror). The result? Perhaps 750,000 dead Americans. I believe Lincoln was our greatest president after Washington, but he wasn’t just about emancipation.
Peters makes an interesting point that it is left wing sensibilities that are depriving us of the intelligence we could get from capturing al Qaeda leaders.   I had also thought of the Lincoln analogy when people worry over killing American enemy combatants on the battlefield with the enemy.  Could the Civil War have been fought and won if we were worried about due process for Confederate soldiers?  That thought should give perspective to those wringing their hands about drone strikes on Americans like Awlaki.


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