Libertarian-minded Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul describes American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awaki as “detestable” but decries his killing as an “assassination.”
“President Obama apparently belies he is not bound by the Constitution or the rule of law,” Paul, a Texas congressman, said in an op-ed page for the New York Daily News.
The libertarian Paul has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union in criticizing the drone strike on Friday that killed al-Awaki, al-Qaeda leader in Yemen and perhaps the movement’s leading propagandist.
“Awaki was a U.S. citizen,” wrote Paul. “Under our Constitution, American citizens, even those living abroad, must be charged with a crime before being sentenced.
“As President I would have arrested Awaki, brought him to the U.S., tried him and pushed for the stiffest punishment allowed by law.”
Paul offered no explanation how he proposed to apprehend and arrest Awaki in Yemen. He did cite, as precedent, the kidnapping of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina by Israeli commandos. Eichmann was brought to Israel, tried for his war crimes, and executed.
At St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, Paul had harsh words for apparently public approval of the drone strike. (Fellow Republican candidate Rick Perry praised both the military and Obama for the action.)
“If the American people accept this blindly and casually, have a precedent of an American president assassinating people who he thinks are bad, I think that’s sad,” Paul said.