Fox News has been running a story about an ex-army vet turned Jihadist warrior. His name is Eric Harroun. He grew up in Phoenix. He is known as “the American” in Syria where he has been fighting alongside several different al-Qaeda factions. He considers himself a freedom fighter. Perhaps he should learn the law of the United States because he is now our enemy. He’s also a vocal opponent of Israel.
I bring this up because of the rash of news surrounding drones and the infamous filibuster of Sen. Rand Paul concerning drone attacks on American citizens. I don’t think we’ll see Harroun getting a hero’s parade in Arizona anytime soon as he would be a target for the use of lethal force. Legally.
Harroun, who said he is now in Turkey, shrugged off a question about fighting alongside Al Qaeda terrorists who have joined the Syrian rebellion, saying, “the U.S. plays both sides, too.” He said the offshoot of the terror group behind the 9/11 attacks welcomed him.
“Getting into Al-Nusra is not rocket science,” he said. “It just takes balls and brains.”
Harroun, known among Syrian rebels and loyalists alike as “The American,” has moved from one country to another, joining protesters in the takedown of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before fighting alongside rebels attempting to depose Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. A prolific poster of online diatribes against the infidel, he’s joined the threads of those calling for the deaths of Zionists.
Section 2(a) of Public Law 107-40, otherwise known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, states the authorization.
SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) <> In General.–That the President is
authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those
nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized,
committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11,
2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any
future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such
nations, organizations or persons.
In other words if you take up arms with al-Qaeda, you are now a wartime enemy of the United States. That means no due process. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t attacking the U.S. itself. It doesn’t matter if you’re on U.S. soil.
This is where Sen. Paul got it wrong when he proclaimed victory from his filibuster. The letter from Attorney General Holder said absolutely nothing new other than to state in essence that the United States would not illegally murder an American. No concession from Obama. No answer whatsoever to the question Paul posed which was could an American be targeted by a drone.
Without question, the policy authorized the President by Congress under the AUMF creates a potential for abuse. It is the President that makes the determination as to whether an American citizen meets the criteria. There is no avenue for an American citizen to appeal or get redress of a determination that they fit the profile under the AUMF. At that point, they can legally be targeted for the use of lethal force.
Obama has nothing to do with it. Drones have nothing to do with it. It is Congress and Congress alone that gave the authorization and has the ability to change it.
Harroun may very well face an al-Awlaki fate. Harroun has an excellent point in his assertion that the U.S. plays both sides when it comes to al-Qaeda. But that won’t save him from a legal execution.