"Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do."
"There's no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution."
"Lead, follow, or get out of the way"
President Obama has been on a roll this year with anti-terrorism, and the latest recipient of American justice was Anwar al-Awlaki, who was involved in or connected to at least six acts of terrorism against America. The problem is, al-Awlaki was an American citizen. This gave President Obama's opponents an opportunity to voice a complaint that actually had a veneer of credibility: that America had sentenced an American citizen to die without due process, and has since carried out the execution.
Now Bill Maher on his show Real Time recently pointed out that such was Rick Perry's job, and most of us see the irony of Maher's joke. On the one hand, Maher supports President Obama's decision, but on the other hand, his quip clearly shows where such a precedent could lead if our president were lacking in sound judgment.
And there's the rub! Alwaki could not be captured. Unlike bin Laden, who stayed in the same compound for years and thus made himself a stationary target, al-Alwaki was a moving target, and despite all our military capability, it was logistically impossible and diplomatically perilous to send ground troops in to capture him. If the president had stood on principle and idealism and had not acted, he would have placed American lives and the American economy at significant risk, since al-Awlaki had shown himself to be a capable and determined threat. If the president did make the decision to kill al-Alwaki, the precedent is set. But no president is given the luxury of indecision, and the decision he had to make rested entirely on his shoulders.