There is little question that Anwar al-Awlaki, the cleric linked to the Fort Hood shooter and other terror suspects including three of the September 11th hijackers, had a radical streak.
In an interview earlier this week with Al Jazeera, Awlaki praised the actions of Major Nidal Hasan as “a heroic act” that was legitimate because his “target was a military target inside American and there is no dispute over it. Also, these soldiers weren’t normal ones but they were prepared and getting ready to take off to fight and kill weakened Muslims and commit crimes in Afghanistan.”
On Thursday, according to The New York Times, Awlaki was presumed to be among 30 supposed Al Qaeda members killed during an air strike in Yemen carried out with the help of United States intelligence.
One of the other people was Said al Shihri, who had spent five years as a Guantanamo prisoner
before being released and supposedly becoming the head of Al Qaeda’s operations in Yemen.
So, based on his support of terror attacks and the crowd he was hanging out with, I think it’s safe to say that maybe his allegiances lay elsewhere.
So, while he moved to Yemen and was associated with Al Qaeda, he was also an American citizen who may or may not have been targeted for death with the assistance of American intelligence.
I am in no way saying this guy was guilty, innocent or whatever or that he didn’t support some hateful people. At the same time, if he was targeted was it because of what he said and, if that’s the case, isn’t there something wrong with killing an American citizen — even one who is supporting the enemy during wartime — without a trial or even charges?
And while Awlaki was in communication with Hasan and some of the September 11th hijackers and was hanging out Al Qaeda, he’s never actually been charged with a crime.
But other than Ahmed Hijazi, who was killed in 2002, even in times of war, there is usually, at least, the pretense of a trial.
Again, I’m not saying he was targeted and, even if he was, maybe he did get what was coming.
Or maybe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Or maybe an American-born, American citizen was marked for death because of what he said.
No easy answers; just lots of questions.