Consider this of a piece with my Greenroom post earlier about strange, dark questions raised by long years at war. The impetus for this one is the news that the State Department tried to reach out somehow to Anwar al-Awlaki in March 2011 and invite him to the embassy in Yemen to formally notify him that his passport had been revoked. Minor problem: The New York Times had reported 11 months earlier that Obama had marked him for death. Go figure that he politely declined State’s invite to appear in person before them. As Politico notes, this was probably some sort of half-assed gesture at due process from the White House, to give him the option of surrendering peacefully and coming home to face (unspecified) charges instead of facing a rendezvous with a Predator. The fact that he was already very publicly known to be targeted for assassination, however, tends to … complicate the surrender process.
Actually, I’m not so sure the notification about his passport was a due process gesture at all. I think it may have been State’s way of symbolically casting him out of the United States, which isn’t equivalent to revoking his citizenship but makes the optics of targeting him for terrorism theoretically less squirm-inducing. He’s still technically an American, but he’s barred from entering America and therefore something of an outlaw. And you know what happens to outlaws.