Double Standard: Only Obama Can Obliterate His Own Citizens
Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen who chose to advocate terrorism and built a career on orchestrating activities intended to weaken, injure, and ultimately overthrow the government of the United States. He was a member of numerous subversive groups, dating back to his college days. He was an avowed Islamist, who pledged to do all in his power to subjugate the world, and everyone in it, under Islam, by any means necessary.
As an able propagandist, Awlaki became a valuable recruiter for terror groups. By any objective measure, the man was an enemy of his own nation. Awlaki was a fiery Islamic preacher. His words were unreservedly anti-American. They inflamed Islamic passions. Awlaki wielded words as weapons.
He met his demise in 2011, on the receiving end of an American drone strike in Yemen ordered by then-president Barack Obama. That strike also killed Awlaki's American-born 16-year-old son.
While there were a few bleats and squawks from various civil libertarians on the left and right over the assassination of not one, but two American citizens without due process of law, the issue grew stale quickly as the media sensed that their favorite son (Obama) might be harmed politically with further reporting.
Fast-forward to the present day, and while keeping the circumstances of Awlaki's death in the forefront of your mind, ask yourself why so many on both sides of the aisle are now exercised over Saudi Arabia allegedly doing the exact same thing to a Saudi national, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national guilty of every crime (and a few more!) for which Awlaki paid with his life.
There is little reason to mourn the deaths of Khashoggi and Awlaki, as both surely understood the risk inherent in attempting to bring down the governments of their respective nations. The two scenarios are, in nearly all aspects, identical.
Khashoggi was Muslim Brotherhood. Not only did he belong to groups committed to overthrowing the House of Saud, but he founded two of them himself. He was a proud friend of Osama bin Laden, even taking up arms and fighting alongside bin Laden in his younger days. He was as committed an Islamic supremacist as Awlaki. Khashoggi's diatribes were instrumental in sparking and sustaining the Muslim Brotherhood-led uprisings collectively known as the "Arab Spring," which was not the grassroots demand for democracy the Obama administration and the media claimed, but rather a series of coups to replace secular-minded leaders with Islamist theocrats who shared the ideology of the Brotherhood.
In Khashoggi's posthumously published final article in the Washington Post, he wrote: "The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011," echoing verbatim the tape-recorded words of al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden, praising the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and speaking of a "rare historic opportunity" for Muslims to rise up. Throughout Khashoggi's career, his words and those of bin Laden were largely indistinguishable in sentiment, purpose, and vitriol toward the West.
More recently, Khashoggi became incensed over the progressive direction taken by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince bin Salman regarding the social strictures of Islam and the role of Islam in government. For the first time since the founding of the kingdom one hundred years ago, Islam in Saudi Arabia has been removed from its favored perch in the affairs of government. No longer willing to accept a Middle East where the only exports are oil and terrorism, MBS has taken concrete steps to enforce a growing separation of church and state in his nation, has arrested and prosecuted those wealthy patrons of terrorism among Saudi society, and has initiated diplomatic overtures to Israel and the West.
MBS is the embodiment of everything the Muslim Brotherhood despises, and his continued rule in Saudi Arabia means the continued decline of the Brotherhood and its influence. Khashoggi knew it. The Muslim Brotherhood knew it. Most of all, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia knew it.
Did bin Salman consider Khashoggi a threat to the throne, as the media and political pundits claim? There is little evidence for this. There are no elections in Saudi Arabia, so MBS couldn't have worried about Khashoggi mounting a political campaign to win control. Khashoggi's influence in the Middle East had been greatly diminished with the failure of the Arab Spring, reducing his readership to boutique status, no longer capable of fomenting major shifts of opinion.
If the crown prince did indeed order his death, it likely wasn't for the reasons Western media are reporting, but more likely due to his backdoor facilitation of continued terror funding of Saudi origin through his so-called democracy-building organizations. Khasoggi was a dangerous Islamic ideologue whose employment as a "journalist" with the Washington Post gave him a hyper-magnified platform for his radical Islamic thoughts and the perfect patina of legitimacy to conceal his more nefarious activities.
Due almost exclusively to the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood in America, Islamic ideology here in the U.S. is alive, well, and thriving. A federal judge recently ruled that it is unconstitutional to prevent female genital mutilation of girls as young as five, ruling that authorities have no constitutional basis for interfering in that Islamic rite.
The elevation of Islam above all other religions by criminalizing criticism of it remains a shining beacon for Muslim activists and the groups to which they belong. The international Muslim Brotherhood is not a fantastical concoction of Arab-phobic morons, but is an active and powerful organization that has been committed to civilizational jihad for the better part of a century.
They operate through front groups masquerading as civil rights organizations, and the unwillingness of responsible authorities to investigate and dismantle these Islamic Trojan horses does not constitute evidence of their innocence, but is indicative of their mastery of propaganda and "lawfare," using our open system against us. This is the arena where Khashoggi operated in plain sight.
We are in a war with Islamic extremism and the ideology that gave birth to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. President Trump knows that a good relationship with a progressive Muslim ruler in the Middle East like bin Salman is key to winning that war. He was wise to make a measured response to the murder of Khashoggi, eschewing the overreach demanded by his detractors.
Apparently, either the Post didn't check into the background of this man it publicly mourns or it wasn't bothered by his lifelong commitment to facilitating Islam's goal of global dominance.
A question remains unanswered by those calling for harsh sanction of the young Saudi ruler: "Why is the U.S. permitted to defend itself by assassinating a citizen who was a clear and active threat, but the Saudis are not?"
If we ought to sanction the Saudi crown prince for an order we have no firm evidence was given, then we certainly ought to revisit Obama's well documented order and apply the same standard.
Dr. Christian is the executive director of the Global Faith Institute and invites you to visit www.globafaith.org. Joe Herring writes from Omaha, Neb.