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KNIGHT: ACLU says ‘Right to life … most fundamental of all rights’

But only if you’re a terrorist, not a baby

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The American Civil Liberties Union has discovered the right to life. Seriously. The ardently pro-abortion organization declares in its Aug. 30 lawsuit against the Obama administration that the CIA's plan for targeted killings of terrorists violates the terrorists' rights. "The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights," says ACLU lawyer Arthur Spitzer in the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.

While this tack might annoy the folks in the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, it's got to be music to the ears of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born, al Qaeda-linked Muslim cleric hiding in Yemen. Mr. al-Awlaki has been tied to at least two of the Sept. 11 hijackers and to the Fort Hood shooting suspect, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, before Maj. Hasan slaughtered 13 of his fellow soldiers and an unborn baby on Nov. 5, 2009. After the incident, Mr. al-Awlaki pronounced Maj. Hasan a "hero."

The CIA put out a "kill" order on Mr. al-Awlaki in early 2010, according to the suit, which was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU. It asks U.S. District Judge John Bates to order the government to stop any plot to kill Mr. al-Awlaki. That might delay the fond wish of Maj. Hasan, who told Mr. al-Awlaki in one of the captured e-mails, "I can't wait to join you in the afterlife." Of course, Maj. Hasan himself is still in this life, too, facing murder charges.

"U.S. citizens have a right to know what conduct may subject them to execution at the hands of their own government," Mr. Spitzer wrote. "Due process requires, at a minimum, that citizens be put on notice of what may cause them to be put to death by the state. ... Both the Constitution and international law prohibit targeted killing except as a last resort to protect against concrete, specific, and imminent threats."

Given Mr. al-Awlaki's colorful past, one would think he would qualify under "concrete, specific, and imminent."

Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement, "The U.S. is careful to ensure that all its operations used to prosecute the armed conflict against those forces, including lethal operations, comply with all applicable laws, including the laws of war."

By the way, the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project page, which celebrates Roe v. Wade,excoriates abstinence-based sex education and hails President Obama's expansion of taxpayer-funded complicity in abortions, does not display the "right to life" phrase. It does have a "Tweet to close Gitmo!" button.

Perhaps the ACLU would look more kindly on taking out terrorists if the CIA renamed the operation the "Selective Retroactive Abortion Project."

Robert Knight is senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries and author of the recently updated "Radical Rulers: The White House Elites Who Are Pushing America Toward Socialism" (, 2010).

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