In the movie Witness, there is a scene where a little Amish boy, who has witnessed a murder, takes the gun of the detective who is there to protect him from a chest of drawers. He is caught by his grandfather who sits him down for a talk. The grandfather asks if the boy would use this gun to kill. The boy says that he would only kill a bad man. The grandfather asks “How will you know who is the bad man?” This is the central point of our system of justice, we don’t just assume that someone is a bad man before punishing them, we have an elaborate process designed to require proof of actions before we punish.
Unfortunately our trauma with terrorism has eroded this system. Today, as you read this, there is a list of people around the world who are targeted for death. They are suspected of being involved with terror plots, and some of them are your fellow citizens. If they are found anywhere in the world by our forces they will be killed. Not captured and brought to trial, not attempted to be captured, but killed out right.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed suit challenging the legality of this policy. There is an Islamic cleric named Anwar Al-Aulaqi who has been implicated in both the Fort Hood shootings and the Fruit of the Boom bomber plots. He has made many anti-American statements including the active encouragement of terrorism.