From the Imagine if Bush Did That file.
Of the scores of people dubbed terrorists who have been targeted by American military drone strikes, three men — all killed in the fall of 2011 — were U.S. citizens.
And their lives illustrate the complexity of the issue, recently brought to light amid a newly discovered government memo that provides the legal reasoning behind drone strikes on Americans.
Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed by a missile strike in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011, while al-Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman, was killed in the country just weeks later.
Since the attacks, family members have called the deaths unjust and sued the U.S. government, calling the killings unconstitutional.
Anwar al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico, became well known for his fiery anti-American sermons posted throughout the Internet.
Samir Khan, who’d lived in both New York and Charlotte, N.C., produced a magazine called “Inspire” that became known for its extreme jihadist views.
But the most controversial drone strike took place on Oct. 14, 2011, when 16-year-old Abdulrahman was killed by U.S. forces.
Family of the Denver-born teenager say he had no ties to terrorist organizations and was unjustly targeted because of his father.
Nassar al-Awlaki, grandfather of Abdulrahman and father to Anwar, said he tried to protect his grandson as Anwar al-Awlaki’s profile grew.
In December, Nassar al-Awlaki told CNN, “In Anwar it was expected because he was under targeted killing, but how in the world they will go and kill Abdulrahman. Small boy, U.S. citizen from Denver, Colorado.”
Nobel Prize committee members were unavailable for comment.