Drones have been successfully hitting one terrorist after another lately in the U.S. war against Islamist terrorism. Al-Qaida and other Islamist organizations have made it their top priority to ban the use of drones, and leftist and human rights organizations in the West have eagerly joined their battle.
The Sept. 30 killing in Yemen of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American imam linked to al-Qaida, by a Predator drone has led to the standard flurry of letters and announcements issued by left-wing and Islamist organizations that specialize in protecting the rights of terrorists.
In a written statement, Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “The targeted killing program violated both U.S. and international law. … This is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights called the use of drones to carry out targeted killings “the latest of many affronts to domestic and international law.”
And while it denounced the ideology espoused by al-Qaida, the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged U.S. leaders “to address the constitutional issues raised by the assassination of American citizens without due process of the law.”
And yet, these same organizations also maintain that using soldiers against terrorists is a crime because the terrorists could kill the soldiers and that would mean that “political and military leaders are once again needlessly sacrificing the lives of our citizens.”
According to these rules, killing terrorists with unmanned aircraft is a crime because the terrorists’ guilt has not been proved in court. After all, they ask, how can you kill a terrorist without due process of law?
At the same time, however, these groups apparently have no problem with terrorists blowing up innocent people. Such attacks prompt Amnesty International to declare that jihad is permissible if it is defensive in nature. Incidentally, Osama bin Laden had always claimed his actions were a “defensive jihad” against the West.
What amazes me most about these left-wing human rights groups is the way their logic is so inconsistent with common sense and the basic principles of human behavior that have been drilled into us by literature and film — from “The Iliad” to Hollywood.
There is a simple principle of life found in all literature and film: The hero is the one who destroys evil. Thus, we have Hercules killing the Lernaean Hydra, Perseus slaying the Gorgon Medusa and Harry Potter snuffing out Lord Voldemort, and who, when asked by Professor Dumbledore whether he is up to the task, replies without hesitation: “I want to kill him.”
The left-wing human rights groups operate according to a different principle. Hercules, Perseus and Harry Potter are all bloody villains, scoundrels and scum who must be constantly criticized for violating human rights. In their view, the real heroes are those bright and high-minded people who protect the rights of the Lernaean Hydra and Lord Voldemort.
Of course, rights activists do not share the views of those they protect, but they do demand that due process of law be observed. Otherwise, if Harry Potter is allowed to kill Lord Voldemort without a proper trial, tomorrow he will turn on Hermione Granger.
Or would he?
Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.