The successful assassination of Adolph Hitler would have been seen as a blessing. It would have saved many lives–German, British, European and American. Adolph Hitler was leading Germany into war with all of its neighbors and had plans for an even larger war. He needed to be stopped.
Life is a little less black and white when you are dealing with terrorist leaders. The average terrorist leader is not the head of a country, although there are a few exceptions. The average terrorist leader has followers, but there are not necessarily all located in one place. The average terrorist leader may not even be acknowledged as a terrorist–he may be perceived as a moderate Islamic leader. It really is difficult in a war on terror to tell the bad guys from the bystanders. That is part of what makes President Obama’s drone program such a major concern.
NBC News has posted an article about three drone killings that occurred in September 2011. All those killed were American citizens. Americans would be up in arms if Americans were killed overseas by other countries without proper jurisprudence, so why are we doing it ourselves?
The article reports:
Anwar al-Awlaki posted anti-American sermons on the internet and encouraged terrorism by his followers. Major Nidal Hasan, who killed soldiers at Fort Hood while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” is said to be a follower of Anwar al-Awlaki.
The article reports on al-Awlaki and Khan:
Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, he ( Anwar al-Awlaki) became a popular spokesman for moderate Islam, and was often used to juxtapose perceptions that Islam is a religion that spreads hate. But less than a decade later, he was hiding in Yemen as a name on the CIA’s kill list.
“I eventually came to the conclusion that jihad against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding on every other Muslim,” he said in an audio message in March 2010.
Conversely, Khan was never interested in the peaceful side of Islam. The New York Times reports that as a teen, Khan’s attraction grew exponentially to militant sites on the Internet after 9/11. Parental concerns and intervention from community leaders proved unsuccessful. Khan was 25 when he died in Yemen.
My point is this. These men were killed without a trial for words they posted on the internet. They were not leaders of countries. Would it not have been better to take them alive and put them in Guantanamo to end their internet postings?