Burn in hell, Anwar al-Awlaki

A dead terrorist is a point for freedom.

The Hellfire missile fired into Yemen last month from a CIA-operated drone did its job, splendidly, by swiftly eliminating two al Qaeda vipers, who are now resting with the dodo bird for taking their anti-Western propaganda into cyberspace and recruiting a new generation of fighters.

Thanks to U.S. expertise — a might not to be short-changed — no more will radical American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki spew, “Don’t consult with anybody in killing the Americans” or “Jihad against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding on every other Muslim.”

And, no longer will Long Island-raised Samir Khan — editor of al Qaeda’s English-language magazine — pen how-to articles about building bombs and firing assault rifles or crow, “I am proud to be a traitor to America.”

Reason enough to dance in the streets? Not for the Republican presidential candidate, Ron Paul, who dubbed al-Awlaki’s assassination “an impeachable offense,” and accused the Obama administration of flouting the law and moving towards “tyranny.”

Paul’s naive concern over the slain terrorist’s civil rights is misplaced in this day and age of homegrown extremism, plus it’s at odds with the law.

Title 18, Section 2381 of the U.S. Code of Laws states, “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death…” Sounds as if the CIA followed the letter of the law to a tee.

Al-Awlaki’s venomous online rants were linked to more than a dozen terrorist investigations here and abroad, including the foiled Christmas Day bombing aboard a Detroit-bound jetliner, the failed Times Square car bombing, and the Fort Hood shooting in which 13 people died at the hands of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who was hailed a “hero” by the carcinogenic cleric with whom he exchanged e-mails.

Al-Awlaki’s targeted assassination — Khan’s zapping was mere collateral gratification — comes at a critical time: U.S. officials believe al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, whose external operations al-Awlaki masterminded in Yemen, is currently the most lethal arm of that terror group; the state department has branded the leader of al Qaeda’s operations in Iraq a global terrorist; and the Taliban can’t wait to regain its formidable foothold in Afghanistan once the U.S troop withdrawal is completed in 2014.

When al-Awlaki became the first national to be approved for targeted killing by the CIA — much to the chagrin of Paul — it reinforced a lesson which cannot be repeated enough: for our civil rights to exist at all, there must first be a nation for them to exist in.

Al-Awlaki and Khan wanted nothing more than to destroy America. Their final exits, not worth half a sob, are only lamentable because they didn’t come sooner.

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