Obama Orders Killing, Death, Assassination or Whatever You Want to Call it Of American Citizen

I can't believe it either!  He's trying to look tough to the Tea Party?  From the Times in UK:

The Obama Administration has taken the unprecedented step of authorising the killing of a US citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to the plot to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day. The move to place Mr al-Awlaki, 38, on a hit list was taken after a White House review concluded this year that he had moved from inciting terrorist attacks to taking part in them. 

The decision is extraordinary not only because Mr al-Awlaki is believed to be the first American whose killing has been approved by a US President, but also because the Obama Administration chose to make the move public.
According to other sources around the web, this guy isn't really linked to much of anything.  He seems like another quasi-harmful bumbler that the U.S. intelligence community and the White House wish to parade  around like they made some real big discovery that justifies the current and future billions in more defense and "Home Security" spending.

Is Obama losing it?  This is certainly a publicity stunt of bizarre and scary dimension one would expect from a Bush or Cheney.  But Obama, ordering the death of an American citizen who will have no recourse to defend himself?  Where are we going from here?  Is this one more step towards tyranny?