The Death of the 5th Amendment
On September 30th, 2011, Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was assassinated by American forces in Yemen. He was a member of Al-Qaeda and propagandist for the terrorist organization. He is not the only casualty of the day, however; due process rights are apparently dead now, too.
As a natural-born American citizen, Al-Awlaki is guaranteed by the Constitution to the rights of due process, which includes a trial by jury to determine guilt. Essentially, he is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. None of this transpired. In fact, Al-Awlaki was assassinated without any due process, in foreign territory, too.
There is evidence that Al-Awlaki was involved in the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, that is true. But one of the principles and rights given to all American citizens is the right to due process of law. Al-Awlaki was accused of no crimes, he was given no opportunity to defend himself in a court of law, and he was assassinated in Yemen, a country in which we have no formal declaration of war. Everything about the assassination is unconstitutional.
It seems we as a nation have come to the conclusion that we can skip all of the time-consuming trials to which we are guaranteed, and the Pentagon can simply say that you are "bad", kill you, and not give it a second thought. No need for a trial, no need for a lawyer, no need for execution in a legal method by lethal injection.
Do we really think that if he were brought to trial, he would be found innocent? The evidence was there. He would have been found guilty, and he could have had dignity as any American citizen should, regardless of crimes. The moment we take away the rights of one person because the government says they are a terrorist, our own rights are taken away as well.