Was There A Better Way To Defeat Anwar al-Awlaki?

Posted August 28, 2015 at 5:00am

Scott Shane : “The government has a portentous euphemism — ‘‘removed from the battlefield’’ — for the targeted killing of terrorists. But Awlaki has by no means been removed from the most important battlefield in any ideological conflict, the battlefield of ideas… For counterterrorism investigators, such discoveries have become routine: Check the suspect’s laptop, and Awlaki will be prominent in the download and search history. This has held true in dozens of cases.”  

“So, was there a better idea of how to deal with Awlaki once he had joined Al Qaeda? Yemeni tribes might have been induced to capture him and turn him over, but a criminal trial would have given a global audience to a mesmerizing orator. Martyrdom would have been avoided, but his YouTube presence would have lived on intact. A more outlandish idea was raised immediately after Awlaki’s death by Ed Husain, a former British militant… Husain suggested then, and believes now, that a better approach might have been a careful, high-profile public release of the prostitution files on Awlaki.”