Paul criticizes Obama on al-Awlaki killing
September 30th, 2011
10:40 AM ET
12 years ago

Paul criticizes Obama on al-Awlaki killing

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul criticized President Obama Friday for "assassinating" al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, saying that the American-born Muslim cleric should have been tried in a U.S. court.

Al-Awlaki, who preached terror as the public face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed in Yemen Friday when an airstrike hit his motorcade, a Yemeni government official said. A "successful joint intelligence-sharing operation" between Yemen and the United States led to the attack that killed al-Awlaki, a Yemeni government official said Friday.

A senior U.S. administration official confirmed al-Awlaki's death, and the president was expected to make a statement on the situation later Friday morning. The United States has previously stated that al-Awlaki would be targeted if he were ever located.

"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," Paul told reporters after a speech in Manchester Friday.

The libertarian firebrand pointed to the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was tried and sentenced to death, as an example of how to deal with suspected terrorists.

"Al-Awlaki was born here, he's an American citizen, he was never tried or charged for any crimes," Paul said. "To start assassinating American citizens without charges - we should think very seriously about this."

Al-Awlaki was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and lived in the United States until the age of 7, when his family returned to Yemen. He returned to the United States in 1991 for college and remained until 2002. It was during that time that as an imam in California and Virginia, al-Awlaki preached to and interacted with three of the September 11, 2001, hijackers, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. He publicly condemned the attack afterward.

U.S. officials say al-Awlaki helped recruit Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Nigerian man known as the underwear bomber, who was charged with trying to blow up a transatlantic flight as it landed in Detroit on December 25, 2009. The militant cleric is also said to have exchanged e-mails with accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of killing a dozen fellow soldiers and a civilian in a rampage at the Texas Army post.

Paul wasn't the only Republican presidential candidate raising concerns about al-Awlaki's demise. Gary Johnson released a statement citing the Constitutions intention of giving all citizens rights.

"Let there be no doubt. We have to be vigilant, we have to protect the U.S. and U. S. citizens from terrorist attacks, and we have to aggressively pursue those who would do us harm. At the same time we cannot allow the War on Terror to diminish our steadfast adherence to the notion of due process for American citizens," he said. "The protections under the Constitution for those accused of crimes do not just apply to people we like - they apply to everyone, including a terrorist like al-Awlaki. It is a question of due process for American citizens."

Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Ron Paul • Terrorism
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. lisa2010

    Ron Paul scares the hell out of me.. there can be a terroist right in front of his face, going into a group of people with a bomb on him, and he'll come right out and say its not our business.. you're out of here, ron paul...

    September 30, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Frida

    This is why Ron Paul will never be a president. He is full of bureaucracy and still wants to apply old procedures which are no longer working/helpful, in this modern world full of bad people, who are living just only to kill others. No one is interested in kangaroo courts Ron Paul is fond of.

    September 30, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Danel

    If trying him on American courts, how come most of Republicans don't want to try those people in Guantanamo? Which is it Ron Paul?

    September 30, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Jordan Bourne

    Sure, we all know Al-Awalki was a bad man. Either way, he was still a natual born citizen of the United States. You have to put your feelings aside and pay attention to principles. If you're willing to OK the government to kill an American Citizen without a trial, then think of what the government could do next. As much as you might hate Al-Awalki, you can't compromise our freedoms and constitutional rights just becuase you're pissed off. At least someone is speaking out on principle. Our government does not have the RIGHT or AUTHORITY to execute anyone without a trail first. You should all be afraid of this display of power.

    September 30, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Gigione

    Yea for Ron Paul a man of honor. al-Awlaki could have been caught alive and just maybe we could find out if there are other terrorists friends of his in the States. Some of you are so quick to pull the trigger.

    September 30, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. unsub

    i was actually like Paul until this!?!?

    September 30, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. Tim Gard

    This is a slippery slope.

    September 30, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Martino- TORONTO cANADA

    Dr. Demento,.. how can this guy be running for POTUS?

    September 30, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Noodle Nose Johnson

    The Ron Paul position = Terrorists should not be killed, Americans without insurance should be left to die.

    What planet is this man from?

    September 30, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Lou

    You people who think Ron Paul is saying this just to against Obama are idiots. Ron Paul, unlike the majority of Democrats, voted against the Iraq War and Patriot Act and has always been critical of Bush policies. Look it up.

    And he is right about this. Killing a US Citizen without an indictment or due process should disturb all of you.

    September 30, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Duncan

    Amazed at the comments here. Most of you are completely missing the point. Once you start to do stuff like this, then it becomes just a question of who the government decides is good or bad.. The 1st amendment allows people to be able to say almost what they want. The guy was never charged with any crime. If your ok with the government doing that, then you are part of the problem. The Constitution is not selective about who it protects or what rights are afforded to which people.

    September 30, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Seam

    There are a number of US citizens in this country right now that deserve to be killed on the spot without trial. Just watch the local news. As far as I'm concerned, a Terrorist loses his rights.

    September 30, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Congressman Ron Paul, the gentleman knew he was wanted by the US and had every chance to turn himself in to American authorities and he didn't. He chose to wage a terrorist war against his own country and as such, he was an enemy combantant. Now I have no idea what you have been smoking in that pipe of yours but I strongly suggest you change brands and start smoking something that will put some hair on your chest.

    September 30, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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