The successful mission to kill Islamic radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki naturally drew disgust on the left, even against President Obama. On Friday night’s Rachel Maddow show, the critic was Spencer Ackerman of Wired magazine, who in the JournoList expose by the Daily Caller clearly proved he wasn’t a pacifist, when he gleefully talked of throwing anti-terrorism expert Michael Ledeen into the wall or through a window: “I’ll bet a little spot of violence would shut him right the f--- up, as with most bullies.” He wondered why Obama wouldn't have drone attacks in Massachusetts, where the latest Islamic-radical plotter of D.C. violence was based.
On the radio, comedian John Fugelsang tried to joke that the deceased owed him money, and Thom Hartmann blamed Bush: “I think that Anwar al-Awlaki would not even exist as a phenomenon had George Bush not responded to 9/11 by going nuts.”
Ackerman wanted to establish that al-Awlaki was distasteful, but dismissed the idea that the government had enough evidence to justify attacks:
ACKERMAN: They're clearly guilty of incitement. You can see on any of Awlaki's disgusting, poisonous videos how they're trying to get Americans to kill their fellow Americans. On the other hand, there's absolutely no evidence ever been offered that either man was part of an operational cell of al Qaeda or part of an unfolding plot, it's just pure assertions. And to kill an American without any recourse to due process of law absent that basic evidence is crossing a Rubicon in the war on terrorism.
MADDOW: In terms of that Rubicon and whether there are others, if the U.S. government can justify this action overseas, what about here in the US? I mean, we know the FBI's also tracking people with possible ties to al Qaeda and other forms of extremism. Does, how close is this to the government claiming the right to kill first and ask questions later of U.S. citizens in the United States?
ACKERMAN: Right. I don't understand what the differentiating criterion could be. You know, why in Sana'a and not Schnectady? Why in Yemen and not Yuma? If the important factor is that an American citizen can be targeted for destruction, why not just fly a drone over the next, you know, plot the, you know, like we heard this week, that guy from Massachusetts was apparently trying to pull off. Why even bother arresting an American citizen at all and then you're down the exceptionally tricky, murky and ugly constitutional path?
Maddow ended the segment by honoring Ackerman for his clarifying wisdom. She clearly has a bad case of political schizophrenia on this issue. The “Sybil” segment began with Maddow showing old clips of Rudy Giuliani and John McCain saying Obama had a pre-9/11 mentality. Then, like a good DNC press agent, she listed about 20 terrorists who’ve been killed in the Obama era, and replayed the GOP clips for effect. From there, she promptly displayed the pre-9/11 mentality in wanting terrorists to have “due process,” not drone attacks.
Message: Obama's plenty tough on terrorists, you Republican liars! And we on the left think that is heinously unconstitutional. But we want him re-elected.
On his radio show, Thom Hartmann proclaimed: "Anwar al-Awlaki was murdered today, was assassinated from the air by a drone by the Obama administration. No court proceedings. This baffles me...I consider war to be mass insanity, and I don't consider this to be a legitimate war, and, frankly, I think that Anwar al-Awlaki would not even exist as a phenomenon had George Bush not responded to 9/11 by going nuts."
Over on the Stephanie Miller show, guest host John Fugelsand was having a rough day with the jokes:
FUGELSANG): I’m looking here on Twitter and I saw that Anwar al-Awlaki is trending and that is awesome cause that guy owes me twenty bucks. Maybe I can finally find him know.
RICK OVERTON, comedian: We got him. Ha ha ha ha ha!
FUGELSANG: What’s so funny what? Oh right, I’m sorry, 'cause we killed him without any due process and he’s never actually been connected to a single killing of anybody. Okay yeah!
This wasn’t the last time Fugelsang was disappointed in this segment, as you can see from Tom Rhodes:
FUGELSANG: You’re in an interesting position cause Tom I always loved watching you on Comedy Central and then you did something that very few American comics have done. You went overseas to Europe had a hugely successful talk show and became a huge American star over for European audiences, so I’m very curious what you’re point of view is on how the Europeans are viewing us right now. They still like Obama, right?
TOM RHODES, comedian: No, I don’t think so. I think people are kind of surprised that things haven’t turned around.