The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler


Posted on | September 30, 2011 | 72 Comments

Apparently a U.S. Predator drone strike:

The U.S.-born terror mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed, Fox News confirms.
Awlaki was killed with several other suspected al Qaeda operatives, the Yemeni defense ministry said. The statement did not elaborate on the circumstances of Awlaki’s death.
However, tribal sources told AFP that Awlaki was killed in an air strike which hit two vehicles in Marib province, an al Qaeda stronghold in eastern Yemen early Friday.

UPDATE: Notice the legalistic mumbo-jumbo (“terror suspect,” “believed,” “reportedly”) in the CBS News story, as if they are afraid Al-Awlaki might sue for libel:

Yemen: Terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaki killed
Yemen’s Defense Ministry claimed Friday that Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic preacher believed to be a high-ranking member of al Qaeda’s franchise in the region, has been killed.
Al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico, has been linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) attempted bombing of a U.S. passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas day, 2009, and is thought to be a leader of the group.
U.S. officials consider him a most-wanted terror suspect, and added his name last year to the kill or capture list – making him a rare American addition to what is effectively a U.S. government hit-list. . . .
Al-Awlaki is believed to be a prominent member in the group, taking a role in the planning of actual terror plots, in addition to his role as a religious adviser and counselor to other members.
He reportedly met directly with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 19-year-old Nigerian who attempted to blow up the flight to Detroit in 2009, when the young man traveled for training to Yemen.
Al-Awlaki’s voluminous online preaching, in both video and print form, is also thought to have inspired Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, who made email contact with the preacher before carrying out his attack

Look, I understand that a news organization isn’t supposed to be uncritically publishing government press releases, but there is such a thing as being “notorious,” and Al-Awlaki’s role in al-Qaeda was notorious.

UPDATE II: In July, K-Lo at NRO interviewed Fox News national security correspondent Catherine Herridge, who had this to say:

Anwar al-Awlaki is the leader of al-Qaeda 2.0. The New Mexico–born cleric is a digital jihadist who uses our technology against us to spread his message of hate. He is the Facebook friend from hell.
Most Americans don’t realize that al-Awlaki, the first American on the CIA’s kill-or-capture list, was held in federal custody in October 2002 until an FBI agent ordered his release even though there was an active warrant for his arrest.
Awlaki developed an online e-mail relationship with the accused shooter at Fort Hood, Maj. Nidal Hasan, and many others. Think how history would be different for the Fort Hood families if Awlaki had been prosecuted in 2002?
Despite calls from Capitol Hill, the FBI has refused to explain how the cleric slipped through the bureau’s grasp. I believe it could be the biggest law-enforcement failure since 9/11.

UPDATE III: “Religion of peace“:

When he was imam of a San Diego mosque in the 1990s, his sermons were attended by two future 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
He also lived in the UK from 2002-04, where he spent several months giving lectures to Muslim youth.
In a video posted in November last year he called for the killing of Americans, saying they were from the “party of devils”.

And this guy was born in New Mexico, a U.S. citizen.

UPDATE IV: A brief Associated Press video report:

UPDATE V: No fewer than four reporters — in Yemen, London and Washington — contributed to this story in The New York Times:

SANA, Yemen — In a significant and dramatic strike in the campaign against Al Qaeda, the Defense Ministry here said American-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, a leading figure in the group’s outpost in Yemen, was killed on Friday morning. In Washington a senior official said Mr. Awlaki had been killed in an American attack by an unpiloted drone firing a Hellfire missile.
Mr. Awlaki’s Internet lectures and sermons have been linked to more than a dozen terrorist investigations in the United States, Britain and Canada. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had exchanged e-mails with Mr. Awlaki before the deadly shooting rampage on Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009. Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square in May, 2010, cited Mr. Awlaki as an inspiration.

Notice that Awlaki is described as a “preacher,” not an “imam” or “cleric.” As of 8 a.m., the online version of this NYT story is 1,265 words and it is not until the 24th paragraph that we discover what religion Awlaki preached:

Mr. Awlaki has been linked to numerous plots against the United States, including the botched underwear bombing. He has taken to the Internet with stirring battle cries directed at young American Muslims. “Many of your scholars,” Mr. Awlaki warned last year, are “standing between you and your duty of jihad.”

As an amusing side-note, the Internet now enables the Times to get stories wrong in real-time:

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 30, 2011
An earlier version of this article said that Yemeni forces had carried out the attack. The circumstances of the operation remain unclear.

All the (wrong) news that’s fit to print!

UPDATE VI: “They Told Glenn Reynolds …”



  1. Anonymous
    September 30th, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    The Southern Poverty Law Center is a progressive supremacist group. The fact that their reports and other rantings are given any weight is disturbing.

  2. McGehee
    September 30th, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

    Then I guess we need to make sure the SPLC’s people lose the next several hundred elections.

    Who’s with me?

  3. McGehee
    September 30th, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

    Then I guess we need to make sure the SPLC’s people lose the next several hundred elections.

    Who’s with me?

  4. Quartermaster
    September 30th, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    Like it or not, capturing Awlaki was not in the cards. Offing him like we did is the next best solution.

    The G-men gave John Dillenger as much due process as they gave Awlaki. I’m not bothered by Dillenger, not Awlaki.

  5. Old Rebel
    September 30th, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    O-bomb-a orders an execution of an American citizen without a trial, and that’s something to cheer? I disagree. Let’s say O wanted to do something to appeal to his base, and ordered the execution of a dissident blogger accused of inciting hostility against Aborigines?

    Charles Johnson and the SPLC would applaud such a preemptive act, and how could we condemn it since we’ve supported it for accused terrorists? Precedents that expand executive power have a loooong shelf life, so don’t be surprised at how they’re used in the future.

  6. Beto Ochoa
    September 30th, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    Jimmy Hoffa subscribes to the al-Awlaki school but real Americans subscribe to the ballot box method of taking congressman out.

  7. ThePaganTemple
    September 30th, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    What part of al-Awlaki joined a foreign enemy waging war against America don’t you people understand? He was already responsible for thriteen deaths at Fort Hood, the attempted underwear bombing, and was continuously engaged in more plots of attacks against American citizens on American soil, so yes it was right to take him out.

    Oh wait a minute, that’s right, I see your point now-it was Obama who did it, not a Republican, so maybe we’d better think about this some more.

    Grow up, dude.

  8. Old Rebel
    September 30th, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

    So — we’re supposed to adopt the SPLC/NOW/NAACP standard of guilt, which says an accusation is equivalent of a guilty verdict?

    Again, what’s to stop a socialist CiC from ordering the execution of conservatives? If you have a legal remedy better than the Bill of Rights, I want to hear about it. We’re waiting.

  9. Editor Of Popular Internet Magazine Dead At 25 « Truth Before Dishonor
    September 30th, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    […] RS McCain notes some serious sanitizing going on in the mainstream media. (Is anyone surprised?) The New York Times called Awlaki a “preacher,” then waited […]

  10. ThePaganTemple
    September 30th, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    It was not a matter of an “accusation” of guilt. There was no question of his guilt. He himself joined the other side and presented himself as the operational head and mastermind of Al-Queda in Yemen. There is absolutely no question about that, none whatsoever.

    And again, this man was at war with us, on an on-going basis. That’s what happens in war. People kill other people, or try to, and people do get killed. Why does the technically correct fact that he was an American citizen make any difference?

    Maybe if he had retired from his position and gone into private life, and was no longer active in planning and ordering terrorist attacks on our country, you might have somewhat of a point. Maybe then the best thing to do would be to arrest him, if possible, and put him on trial.

    But he was not retired, he was active up until the time he was thankfully killed, along with the publisher of Inspired Magazine.

    Again, wrap your head around the reality that We. Are. At. War. When you’re at war, you kill the enemy. What is it the constitution says we must be protected from?

    “All enemies, foreign and domestic”. Well, he was both, so get over it.

  11. Anonymous
    September 30th, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

    OR, leaving aside discussions of foreign policy, Smitty did not “incite hostility,” but rather described his reaction to a situation. While I’m reminded of a Lewis Grizzard joke with the punchline, “I don’t know if I’d have told that one, brother,” Smitty did not advocate any policy on the basis of his long-ago reaction, nor say that aborigines are bad people. The fact that CJ and SPLC would make much of such a comment doesn’t mean that Smitty was “inciting hostility.”

    What Awlaki did was something else entirely, and the analogy you offer cannot stand scrutiny. But I’m not one to fault people for defending their own viewpoint by unfair rhetoric, as I am aware that I do the same quite often.

  12. Old Rebel
    September 30th, 2011 @ 7:34 pm


    I know Smitty didn’t, and that was my point. I know what it’s like to be taken out of context and condemned as a heretic from the One True Church of Tolerance. That’s what could be done with Smitty’s post, but a full reading in context would clear him. In other words: A formal and complete consideration of the facts. In criminal cases, we call that a trial.

    Problem is, both the civil rights hustlers and laptop bombardiers have itchy trigger fingers, and, like our friend from the Pagan Temple, claim the power to see into men’s souls and determine how to punish them accordingly. They don’t need no stinkin’ trials. And that’s where they’re wrong.

  13. Old Rebel
    September 30th, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    So you’re all for gutting what’s left of the Bill of Rights in pursuit of a few scruffy religious nuts?

    Who’s the real domestic enemy here?

  14. Thomas Knapp
    September 30th, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

    You use the word “we” a lot. For the record, I’m unaware of any groups or organizations with which you and I are both affiliated.

    You’re correct that the US government couldn’t “just send a few guys out there with a warrant and take him in.”

    It was a military kind of thing.

    But it wasn’t an emergency/exigency/heat of the moment kind of military thing, like “oh, shit, those are Japanese pilots strafing Pearl Harbor. What the fuck? Man the AA guns!”

    It was a long-term, definable kind of military thing, far more along the lines of:

    JOINT RESOLUTION Declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial Government of Japan and the Government and the people of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same.
    Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be itResolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.

    If you non-anarchists can’t be bothered to follow your own fucking rules, quit expecting everyone else to.

  15. ThePaganTemple
    September 30th, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    I’ll settle for following the rules of the constitution. When our country (psssst-that’s the aforementioned “we”, feel free to leave yourself out of that if you wish) are attacked, we have a right to expect our government to act in a way to protect us. That is their constitutionally mandated duty, to protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic. As long as that document stands, I don’t give a shit about resolutions. We are under attack, against an enemy with no definable borders, no recognized government, and no leaders with whom we may negotiate a treaty, or a cease-fire. We are, in effect, at war with an ideology. If you don’t like it, file a lawsuit. I wouldn’t count on getting very far with it if I were you. Al-Awlaki is dead. May he be followed by many countless more, however many it takes to get the job done, and regardless of whether they are foreign or so-called US “citizens”.

  16. ThePaganTemple
    September 30th, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

    Not me. If anything that would be you or anybody who wants to give any of these traitors any quarter, and hiding behind the constitution to do so doesn’t make it any more acceptable to me. Again, he is a domestic enemy, aligned with a foreign enemy in an attempt to kill American citizens. Just by that definition, his death was justified by the constitution. The minute he went to war against us, he forfeited any and all constitutional protections he otherwise would have enjoyed as an ordinary citizen, or even a common criminal.

  17. Thomas Knapp
    September 30th, 2011 @ 8:50 pm


    Well, that’s my point: If “we” (by which I’m assuming you mean the Congress, which is the constitutionally empowered agency for doing so) hasn’t formally declared war, then the US is not legally at war. Period.

    And not only has the Congress not declared war, it has declared — for a decade now — that it isn’t declaring war. That’s what the “War Powers” reservations in the “authorization” means — it is an explicitly delineated separate category of military action from war, and one entirely without basis in the Constitution to boot.

    I don’t know of anyone who objected to US troops firing back at the Japanese at Pearl Harbor and Wake Island in the hours between the Japanese attack and the formal declaration of war. That was genuine military exigency, not to mention immediate self-defense.

    That war was declared within hours, and lasted, soup (Pearl Harbor) to nuts (surrender on the USS Missouri) a little more than 3 1/2 years.

    The current “war” has lasted almost three times as long as that already. If Congress was interested in formalizing and legalizing it, it has had ample time to do so, including clearly identifying specific enemies.

    Since it has not done so, the only reasonable conclusion is that it doesn’t want to do so.

    Which is fine — until the president starts claiming the powers attendant to them having done so. The one is part and parcel of the other. Without Congress doing the former, the president doesn’t get the latter.

  18. Anonymous
    September 30th, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

    Speaking of defending a viewpoint via unfair rhetoric, ThePaganTemple never made any blanket statements about not needing any stinkin’ trials.

    He/she was strictly arguing that, under the laws of war, enemy combatants do not have a right to a trial. 

    Thus, his/her proposition-A is that Al-Alwaki was an enemy combatant; his/her proposition-B is that enemy combatants do not have the same rights as citizens of the U.S.  Setting aside the strawman, do you disagree with prop A, prop B, or both?  

  19. ThePaganTemple
    September 30th, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    Still wrong. I don’t have a problem capturing them and putting them on trial, if that’s practical, but in the case where its not, I also don’t have any problem killing them, regardless of whether or not they are “citizens”, any more than I would have a problem with a cop killing some carjacker or armed robber, or some maniac shooting people down in the street, or any other kind of criminal. If you can capture any of those guys alive then by all means give them due process, but if you kill them in the line of duty, why cry about it? And how is this any different?

    “All enemies, foreign and domestic”

  20. ThePaganTemple
    September 30th, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

    Thank you. That’s my view in a nutshell. I don’t see what’s so hard to figure out about that. When you have an enemy who is trying to kill you, you kill them first if its at all possible. What’s worse, if some of these guys got their way and we did bring them here for a trial it would turn into the biggest circus in history. Can you imagine if we’d captured Bin Laden and brought him here? Good Lord. These very people bitching about killing them would be the very ones going out of their way to make it next to impossible to prosecute them. It really doesn’t pay to take these people too seriously, especially when they wax all poetic about their supposed concern for the constitution. Give these guys enough rope you might as well put the document in a binder with a clown on the cover and rename it “Ye Olde Philadelphia Joke Book”

  21. al-Awlaki got due process « Don Surber
    September 30th, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

    […] Robert Stacy McCain: “As an amusing side-note, the Internet now enables the New York Times to get stories wrong […]

  22. Old Rebel
    October 1st, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

    The standard is “imminent danger.” If a gunman is killing people, police can use deadly force, but even then only as a last resort.

    It’s disturbing that people accept the word of the liars and murderers in DC as the gospel. They could claim ANYONE is an enemy of the people, and the heel-clickers will scream for their heads.

    What the hell happened to conservatives?