Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 1, 2010

Anwar al-Awlaki: Give the devil benefit of the law

Filed under: Legal Issues — by Philip J. Palin on October 1, 2010

   Thomas More confronting Cardinal Wolsey

Yesterday Dan O’Connor offered a comment in the form of a YouTube link.  According to the stats package only two people clicked on the link.  I was one of those.  Looks like Bill Cumming was the other.  I think the three minute link — to a biopic of a late Medieval/early Renaissance politician and lawyer —  is worth your time and relevant to our times… that, as always, try men’s souls.  The link is at the close of this post.

The video is an excerpt from “A Man for All Seasons.”  The man is Sir Thomas More — aka St. Thomas More —  an ambitious, sometimes ruthless, intolerant, repressive, and even cruel political leader who is also remembered as a model jurist, loving father and principled martyr to freedom of conscience.  I believe in a God of paradoxes, More is one of my proofs.

The linked video shows More at his best.  But it is not merely Hollywood hagiography.  More actually wrote, “I would uphold the law if for no other reason but to protect myself.”  The scriptwriter is quoting. (More on More is available from Luminarium.)

In our discussions regarding Mr. al-Awlaki we have disagreed regarding the sources, nature, and meaning of the law. The contributors (discussants?)have tended to perceive those of opposite opinion to be misquided and, even, potentially dangerous.  But we have not questioned the motivations of our opposites nor have we dismissed their arguments.  Rather than arguing, we are engaging in argumentation.   In this attitude and discipline we uphold the law and embrace the opportunity for the law to save us — individually and collectively — when each one of us inevitably chooses what is wrong.

Please view the brief link at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMqReTJkjjg

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15 Comments »

Comment by Dan O'Connor

October 1, 2010 @ 8:57 am

If you take into account Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem: any logical model of reality is incomplete (and possibly inconsistent) and must be continuously refined/adapted in the face of new observations and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle ; there is a limit on our ability to observe reality with precision one can see the fallacy of perception.

If we are all shaped by our environment, education, class, ethnicity, theology etc and can only observe what the eye can see, meaning what the brain knows, that amongst all of us “arguing” each vector or point of view is flawed. In those flaws lies blind spots and therefore, gaps in reality, perceived reality, and perception. If there are adjacent blind spots or a growing knowledge gap or the unknown unknowns, what can we make of our ability to be just?

Is that therefore, the law? Is that why we need law to render opaque the blind spots?

Maybe the writings, teachings, and musings of Jeremy Bentham and Sir Thomas Aquinas have more to say about our decision making and thought process than we care to entertain.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 1, 2010 @ 9:06 am

God’s grace is always tempered by His justice. Great guns hun, this is a Go devil be damned. Stock soaring and sky is the limit. Keep it under 600 MPH, that’s all the tape is good for.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 1, 2010 @ 9:33 am

Autopilot set. Do not disturb US.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 1, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

Everything takes longer than you thought, is more difficult than you imagined and if it can go wrong it will at the worst possible moment. Waiting for next Friday the 13. Looks like May is still secure if we never forget. I said never. It’s easier making numbers do what you want than people. Count your blessings.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 1, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

Read W.H. Bates, M.D. on blind spots. Eye glasses can ruin your vision. Many patients throw away their glasses forever. Imagination as an aid to vision. People are distracted. When not distracted the vision is improved by imagination. Learn by imagination and you can learn with your eyes closed. Mr. Rogers 101 and King Friday. One on One.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 1, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

Print eye chart in daily paper and get the benefit of better sight. Devil can’t see past a dollar sign and is losing dollars. Lawyers are cleaning up on this. Happy hour is around the corner.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 1, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

Washington Post saved my vision. Eyes were sore and sight was restored. A miracle.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 3, 2010 @ 5:37 am

SOUND…TRANSMISSION…ANTENNA…
Do you remember…Back in 1966…Country-Jesus-Hillbilly-Blues…That’s cutting through the air…

We can all thank Dr. “B” who stepped across the line
With lots O watts he took control
With the first one of its kind
So listen to yo’ radio
Each and every night
Heard it on the X

We were workin’ it through…
But I remember
She keeps saying breakaway…Thanks Troop B! You Guys are Tops! They won’t get the benefit of Ranger Law.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 3, 2010 @ 5:46 am

Love it mighty deep. Talkin’way underground. Waitin’ for a three point landing. Got an execution in Texas in need of speedin’ it up. Thanks ZZ!

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 3, 2010 @ 5:53 am

BOOKED AND LAWD YOU’RE BOUND
JUST A MYSTERY AND CHANCE
THE LAW GIVES
IT TAKES AWAY TOO 66

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 3, 2010 @ 6:22 am

dR. “P” SAYS IT’S A ROUGH DRAFT AND ROUGH JUSTICE. YOU ALWAYS FIND THE ANSWER THOUGH. THAT’S HISTORY FOR YOU AND YOUR’S. GOD IS COLD AND I FEEL A DRAFT MAN.

LOOKS LIKE A LONG COLD WINTER AGAIN. KEEP THE KIDS WARM AND HAPPY. REMEMBER RALLY AND PROMOTION DAY 66.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 3, 2010 @ 7:09 am

A paradox. It’s going to start getting real cold in that cell and they won’t be able to find God. Hell is going to freeze over. P-popcicles for desert in the Penn Pen. Tastes like lemon lime DOC. They’ll go O bananas for them. Who runs this banana republic?

Voted for change and got no chance at all. Second helpings? Keep us Posted Washington!

Thanks,
Bl…bag Guys

P.S. Turn on the gas without the pilot in the joint. We ain’t feeding you. Baby needs fed and diaper needs changed honey. Should we go to the zoo today?

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 3, 2010 @ 7:21 am

Dress to kill sweetie. The action is going to get somewhat intense. Don’t be tense unless it’s present tense. They’re all dead, they’re all messed up. Dress them down and put ’em on dead trees. Don’t give them the benefit of ink. I’m working on a BP stick here. Knife work if you can find it. No jobs for idiots with no tools. You people are such tools. Fools with jobless benefits.

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 3, 2010 @ 7:27 am

Keep pliers handy Chiefs. Don’t pull my teeth out for the gold.

Got a domestic situation here. Gotta go.
Stay safe out there friends!

Comment by HISTORY DETECTIVE

October 4, 2010 @ 10:15 am

Market is crashing. Call defense lawyers about undertow then call undertakers to pick them up and lay out in case. We’ll get back to you.

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