The world had better watch out!
The Central Intelligence Agency is back in the business of international assassination.
True, the six men killed on Nov. 3 by an unmanned drone were allegedly al Qaeda operatives, but what gives us the right to pass judgment on these men?
They had no trial; the only evidence against them has come from shadowed sources in the government.
Israel has been using assassination as a tool in their own war on terror by targeting militant Palestinian leaders.
The continued suicide bombings, ambushes and anger in the West Bank and Gaza prove the uselessness of such operations. The killings only feed into the cycle of violence and anger.
Violent reprisal only serves to strengthen the resolve of one’s enemies.
In Northern Ireland, the British Army was the Irish Republican Army’s best recruiter.
By targeting Catholic civilians and arbitrarily arresting and killing suspected I.R.A. members, the British angered many young men who turned to the I.R.A. as their only hope for survival; it was also a way to get revenge.
Wouldn’t these men in Yemen have been helpful for intelligence?
If the C.I.A. can track a car in which they are traveling, surely they could have pinpointed their homes and either asked the Yemeni authorities to arrest them or sent in U.S. Special Forces to capture them. One of the men, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, is alleged to have been a senior al Qaeda operative in Yemen.
In all likelihood, he could have provided valuable information about terrorist cells.
Instead, the C.I.A. took the easy route; they murdered these men.
Blowing up a car full of terrorists is a much clearer sign of victory in a war that has produced few positive results.
And with the new Predator drones, coupled with satellite tracking, it is almost too easy to wantonly deal out justice C.I.A.-style.
These men probably were al Qaeda operatives, but we will never really know.
There has been a dearth of information about the attack.
The point is we are a nation that supposedly espouses principles like the right to due process, with a fair trial and all the rest.
But at the same time, we have been routinely denying these rights to our captives.
One could argue that many of the Taliban and al Qaeda members being held in Guantanamo are not U.S. citizens and are not entitled to due process.
What makes these men so different that they do not have the same rights as everyone else? They are not even being recognized as prisoners of war.
In addition, the U.S. has several citizens being kept in indefinite detention, such as Jose Padilla, the so-called “dirty-bomber” who was arrested earlier this year and was later transferred to military custody because the Justice Department did not have enough evidence to hold him.
While Sept. 11 may have hurt us physically and emotionally, Bush and his cohorts have been working steadily since then to strip away our most basic ideals.
Assassination is not the tool of a democratic nation; it is a weapon of cowards.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org