The Drone That Killed My Grandson

I’ve covered the death of Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son Abdulrahman previously. They were both American citizens killed without a trial using our latest preferred war toy, drones. While Anwar was on the U.S. “kill list,” his teenage son was not and he was killed by a drone in an entirely separate incident two weeks after the death of his father. The U.S. government has never explained his murder, and all I can recall hearing is Eric Holder statement that he wasn’t “specifically targeted.” Last week, his grandfather wrote a powerful and impassioned Op-Ed in the New York Times. Here are some excerpts:

SANA, Yemen — I LEARNED that my 16-year-old grandson, Abdulrahman — a United States citizen — had been killed by an American drone strike from news reports the morning after he died.

The missile killed him, his teenage cousin and at least five other civilians on Oct. 14, 2011, while the boys were eating dinner at an open-air restaurant in southern Yemen.

I visited the site later, once I was able to bear the pain of seeing where he sat in his final moments. Local residents told me his body was blown to pieces. They showed me the grave where they buried his remains. I stood over it, asking why my grandchild was dead.

The attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., said only that Abdulrahman was not “specifically targeted,” raising more questions than he answered.

Abdulrahman was born in Denver. He lived in America until he was 7, then came to live with me in Yemen. He was a typical teenager — he watched “The Simpsons,” listened to Snoop Dogg, read “Harry Potter” and had a Facebook page with many friends. He had a mop of curly hair, glasses like me and a wide, goofy smile.

A country that believes it does not even need to answer for killing its own is not the America I once knew. From 1966 to 1977, I fulfilled a childhood dream and studied in the United States as a Fulbright scholar, earning my doctorate and then working as a researcher and assistant professor at universities in New Mexico, Nebraska and Minnesota.

After the deaths of Abdulrahman and Anwar, I filed another lawsuit, seeking answers and accountability. The government has argued once again that its targeted killing program is beyond the reach of the courts. I find it hard to believe that this can be legal in a constitutional democracy based on a system of checks and balances.

Let’s not forget Robert Gibbs’ disturbing response when he was unexpectedly confronted on the topic in the video below.

Full Op-Ed here.

In Liberty,

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  1. As long as people can justify their actions on fighting terrorists. Those who don’t follow all the main beliefs of a ruler, or when a government becomes about their agenda. Not about what’s good for the people, and country. Then this is going to happen, not just in a country we have some enemies in but our own country. When anyone has the power to kill people, just by thinking they may be dangerous, suspicious, or may some day become a threat. Then we have become no better then those we fight, their hate is with all, that don’t believe as they do. That doesn’t mean just us! it means EVERY PERSON that believes, in the right’s to (believe freely) in what we choose. That includes everyone, in every country, that believes in that freedom. But I guess some in our government and we don’t need to name them they know who they are, don’t believe in that freedom, they’re belief’s are close to a dictator’s,power money ours, and not for us but for them. Besides, their decisions have sucked so far you don’t expect they will suddenly do something smart now? That’s all in can say about all that’s been going on and print it.

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