Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and Why You Shouldn’t Stand Next to an Al Qaeda Terrorist

Live by the sword, die by the drone

Some conservative sites have chosen to embarrass themselves by adopting the anti-drone OHMYGOSHKILLLIST rhetoric of the far left. This garbage is not some sort of challenge to Obama or the media. The best proof of that is that the media is filled top to bottom with articles criticizing the “assassination” of Al Qaeda terrorists and bewailing the death of  Abdulrahman al-Awlaki; a topic that some conservative sites are now picking up on.

“According to his Facebook profile, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki enjoyed watching The Simpsons and the BBC’s Planet Earth series.”

That’s how CNN begins its story on Al-Awlaki Jr. Can we get any word on what was in the Facebook profiles of the people murdered in the World Trade Center?

What about those on United Airlines Flight 93? No. They don’t seem to have Facebook profiles for some reason. Perhaps because some of the fellows that Mr. Al-Awlaki Sr. worked with killed them.

So I suppose we’ll never know what they liked to watch. They won’t ever matter as much as Abdulrahman al-Awlaki who liked watching the BBC and taking long walks with terrorists.

Drone kills of terrorists is not a new policy. It’s a Bush policy. It did not become wrong when Obama took over. The first such strike took place a year after September 11. Obama is carrying on an existing Bush policy because it allows him to maintain a minimal footprint while achieving some results. It’s the very least that he can possibly do short of doing nothing at all.

Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was not an innocent American teenager cruelly assassinated by the United States. He was the son of an Al Qaeda leader who happened to be standing next to another Al Qaeda leader who was the actual target of an infidel drone.

If you happen to be standing next to an Al Qaeda leader, then you might find yourself swimming downstream to the virgins, regardless of whether you have an American passport.

Should the United States ascertain that there is absolutely no one with an American passport in the vicinity of an Al Qaeda leader before the drone gets sent in?

Or perhaps we should only kill terrorists when there isn’t anyone around them for miles? Or better yet, maybe we shouldn’t kill terrorists at all. Maybe we should try to capture each and every one, regardless of how many men die doing it, and then take them back for a civilian trial, give them four ACLU lawyers and then release them a year later because of a lack of due process?

That’s what the left wants. That’s what the people turning Abdulrahman al-Awlaki into a martyr want. Anyone who wants to adopt their arguments should do so consistently and follow them to their logical end. And that way lies Hotel Ron Paul and Noam Chomsky Plaza.

“Evolving” into the positions of the left to win over the center or devolving into the positions of the far left out of knee jerk opposition to anything that is done by the government between 2008 and 2016 are both destructive habits. Either way the left wins.

  • Mary Sue

    So there goes the theory that a "US Citizen" was deliberately singled out and targeted.

    Not that the Left will let such facts get in the way of a good bit of rhetoric.

    • BoulderBiker

      It's not the left, I'm on the left. It's stupid people not do their own research. Right has a lot of them.

  • Yael

    I trusted that in the hands of the Bush administration, anyone hit by a drone was likely a terrorist, and unlikely an American citizen. I don't trust Obama as far as I can spit and truly fear that if allowed, he could initiate drone strikes on American "right wing extremists" who are "suspected" (the only criteria at present) of being associated with terrorists. So if "siding with the Left" by repeating their examples – such as the teenage son of al-Awlaki – adds to the general noise that might result in his restraint, I'm happy to do it.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The left is not going to oppose drone strikes on "right wing extremists", only on Muslims. Backing their campaign in support of terrorists will do nothing whatsoever about that.

      There is no such thing as a united front with the left. That's a suicide pact.

      • Hidden Author

        Do you have any proof of this? After all, the Left considers Nazis to be right-wing extremists but Leftist lawyers still stand up for their civil rights.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Only when it's convenient for the left's own agenda. Once the left is in power, it no longer has any need for that.

          "I believe in non-violent methods of struggle as most effective in the long run for building up successful working class power. Where they cannot be followed or where they are not even permitted by the ruling class, obviously only violent tactics remain. I champion civil liberty as the best of the non-violent means of building the power on which worker's rule must be based. If I aid the reactionaries to get free speech now and then, if I go outside the class struggle to fight against censorship, it is only because those liberties help to create a more hospitable atmosphere for working class liberties. The class struggle is the central conflict of the world; all others are incidental. When that power of the working class is once achieved, as it has been only in the Soviet Union, I am for maintaining it by any means whatever."

          Roger Nash Baldwin, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the ACLU

      • Anon


        The point is that a "kill list" which includes American citizens who are terrorists can then be a precedent for a "kill list" which includes American citizens who are right wing extremists.

        I agree that key terrorists like Al-Awlaki who are abroad do not need to be dragged into court. However, I do think there needs to be some bipartisan oversight or legal standards of some sort for this kill list.

        • Larry

          It is a kill list of people who are enemies of America and American citizens, and who are doing the damndest to kill as many of them as possible.

          It's called "war" and as such in not subject to the Criminal Code of Justice In 'war" any and all enemies are legitimate targets, and as such can be killed. In the type of "war" that we are currently fighting we don't even have to treat those we capture as PoWs, but instead could, and should be, putting them up against a wall and executing them.

          Go and read the various Geneva Conventions, etc, on the Laws of War.

          • A 23 Year Old Man

            But as we've already seen, "war," and as Mr. Greenfield has written extensively on, the -objectives- of war, have been redefined such that your conception of war, terrorism, battlefields, etc are far from what the Left and Obama actually considers such. The Left considers Terry Jones a terrorist for daring to threaten to burn a koran, the Left considers obesity a "war" and they see abortion and gay "rights" as a battlefield. Your problem is that you're anticipating that people will think rationally on this issue. Clearly Leftists are not rational; if they were, they wouldn't be Leftists.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            If Obama redefines war to such an extent that fat people or Terry Jones can be shot by drones, then we'll be in an actual civil war by then and the precedents really will not matter.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          If Obama starts drawing up kill lists of Americans, I really don't think we'll be in a place where we have to worry about "precedents".

          Obama doesn't even worry about them now and you think he'll be bound by them in the middle of some kind of civil war?

      • Anon

        The "left" is kind of a big category, don't you think? Of course there are some on the left who would indeed oppose drone strikes on "right wing extremists".

        • Ziggy Zoggy

          Who, exactly?

          • Anon

            Very funny, ZZ. If you don't personally know any people on the left who are opposed to killing their own political adversaries, you need to broaden your social networks some. It isn't healthy to only associate with people who agree with you politically.

          • Ziggy Zoggy

            Your projection is not very funny. Only 20% of Americans are deranged enough to self identify themselves as leftists and that figure has not changed for 50 years. The country is not divided between "right-wingers" (whatever those are supposed to be) and left-wingers. Marxists and other leftists all believe the use of violence is justified to achieve their social nirvana and they would get tingles down their legs if they could send drones after right-wing extremists-which according to them would be the other 80% of the population.

    • karla56

      I am so right with you on that,Yael. What's good for the goose is good for the gander…so to speak. NDAA with it's arrest and detain or kill Americans without an attorney or trial will surely come back to bite us.

  • tagalog

    The right-wing concern about the use of drones on U.S. citizens seems to be focused on the issue of the president authorizing drone attacks on U.S. citizens who find themselves in armed revolt against the government. If there is no armed revolt, Obama and his minions will be in very hot water indeed if they authorize any drone strikes on Americans in this country.

    Fellas, if you rise up in armed revolt against Barack Obama (no matter how much provocation you can point to), the use of drones against you is the last thing you should be concerned about.

    Look at some of those YouTube movies about hunting terrorists at night in Iraq and Afghanistan by helicopters. It's enlightening. Green figures move about, suddenly there's couple of dozen puffs of dust at their feet, then they're bodies lying on the ground. Take another look at the movies and photos of the Highway of Death back in the First Gulf War.

    First of all, you'll be acting at minimum EXTRA-constitutionally, if not outright UNconstitutionally, so you can kiss "a government of laws and not of men" goodbye, and you'll be accurately characterized as traitors or (at minimum) insurrectionists and the armed forces will be hot on your trail. Tanks, helicopters, gatling guns, rockets, bombs, napalm, all that stuff. KA-BOOM! Meat for the grinder…

    Second, at least half of all Americans will perceive you as the enemy and will make no fuss whatever if you're destroyed in any manner the administration wants to use, drones, small-unit attack, or whatever. You will be The Enemy. At least half of America will not care how you get neutralized. They will be happy to see The System protected and restored.

    So if your concern about U.S. citizens being targeted by drones is related to that concern, don't worry. No one with any clout is going to complain if you get blown up by a drone while carrying arms against Obama. It will be a non-issue. It'll be business as usual.

    Last thing: If you're going to revolt, you better win. Mao, scumbag though he was, had it pretty much right when he said that the revolutionary must move among the people like a fish in the water; the people sustain him. In this society, half of the people are willing to perceive you as an alien life form. Not a real good pre-revolutionary state of affairs.

    • kasandra

      Comment continued:

      But allowing one person, and in the current case that person would likely be a dishonest narcissist who does not seem to take opposition well, simply does not meet my due process concerns. So it isn't killing an American citizen that is the crux of my objection. We do that with capital punishment right now. It is the process to be used .

    • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

      This is why it is imperative to understand where the dangers lie, and who ones enemies are. Through this knowledge, patriots can push back and in a non-haphazard manner – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/02/americans-the

      IF you understand that the revolutionary left (in charge in Washington) is going for broke, then it is easier to set a plan in motion. As to the drone issue, you lie down with Islamic dogs, you wake up with fleas. Nothing more needs to be said.

      Getting into a pissing contest, is the Radical/Islamist-in-Chief the same as Bush, is a waste of time and a false flag. Best to stick with what is happening right on US soil, as Black Hawks swirl overhead – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/01/30/black-hawk-re

      This is where the action is.

      Adina kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • kasandra

    I seldom disagree with Mr. Greenfield but I'm going to have to in this case. I don't think that killing the waste of molecules that are supporters of al-Qaeda is really the issue. I think most conservatives support that even if the target happens to be an American citizen. What bothers at least this conservative is that there is no observance of due process in the Justice Department memo. It allows an “informed, high-level” U.S. government office to determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and has not renounced or abandoned such activities. It specifically states that the U.S. does not have to have clear evidence that an impending attack is even contemplated. Thus, the standard for making the determination to kill is impermissably vague and determination to kill an American citizen who has not been convicted of a crime is left to a single individual. I do not believe that this in any way comports with any cognizable notion of due process. If the determination is made by, for example, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court-like board, in which opposing views and arguments could be aired I would be much more comfortable.

    • tagalog

      Due process is something that goes with a society that isn't at war. U.S. citizens who have joined the jihadists don't get due process unless they're John Walker Lyndh, or Padilla, taken into custody in a political atmosphere of prudence, or on U.S. soil. Al-Awlaki didn't get a moment's due process and no American cares whether he did or not. His U.S. citizenry was secondary to the fact that he was making war on the U.S.

      Due process of law gets pretty shaky when the nation is at war and kills our avowed enemies outside the country. That's why being at war is clung to by President Obama; it gives him flexibility that he wouldn't have in peacetime. It's hard to remember that he promised peace in Iraq and Afghanistan and we're still at war and have troops in Iraq five years later under his Presidency.

      Greenfield is right; don't make common cause with the Left over this. They are not to be trusted.

      • kasandra

        We were at war when a German submarine landed saboteurs on the New Jersey (I believe it was) shore. They all had military tribunals in which their rights to due process were observed. Several were executed but the process used wasn't that of a dictatorship. This current policy is.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Yes because they were on US soil and were captured and taken into custody.

          US nationals fighting in Nazi forces did not have due process before being bombed.

          • kasandra

            Were Al-Awlaki and his sons engaged in combat with U.S. forces? If someone is engaged in combat with U.S. forces of course they aren't entitled to be brought before a tribunal before being shot. But this wasn't that, at all. These citizens were targeted for premeditated strikes designed to kill them. Under the circumstances, I still don't think it should be up to Dear Leader's whim. There should be be clearer standards and at least a panel where different views could be aired making the decision. Sorry, we're just not going to agree on this one.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Al-Awlaki was engaged in planning and carrying out attacks against the United States within a territory controlled by Al Qaeda and its allies.

            That's plainly a battlefield. United States citizens do not enjoy immunity on a battlefield when they are on the enemy side.

            Al-Awlaki Jr. was with another Al Qaeda leader who was the target and was not a US citizen.

            If we had panels during WW2. Then we might as well not have bothered.

          • Anon

            Nonsense. If people are shooting at each other, that's a battlefield. If people are thinking, talking, and writing down stuff, that is not a battlefield.

            It is cut and dried that if people are shooting, they are in a battle. That is why no due process is necessary for people who are shooting at American soldiers.

            However, "planning" is something that requires some evidence to determine what actually is happening.

            If it was really so clear that Al-Awlaki was planning to kill Americans, then it could be proven to some standard that is reasonable under the circumstances. Some type of judicial process should be required for these people who are "planning" but not actually shooting at anyone. I am not suggesting the same process as we have for criminal court cases. However, at least a minimal due process should be in place.

          • Larry

            So Hitler and his command bunker and staff weren't a legitimate target because they were thinking, talking, and writing down stuff?

            Think before you post, you idiot.

          • A 23 Year Old Man

            If I recall, Al-Awlaki was hit while in a moving car.

          • Anon


            As I recall, neither Hitler nor his staff were American citizens. That was a different situation.

            However, if there had been some judicial review of the question as to whether Hitler was a leader of the Nazis against whom we were at war, it would not have been the slightest bit difficult to produce evidence for it.

            Please take your own advice.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Most of the time people aren't shooting on a battlefield. They're preparing to shoot or planning to shoot or mostly moving things from one point to another.

            Wars don't consist of two armies arranging to meet in the same place and then shoot at each other there while being off limits the rest of the time.

            If you are with an enemy force and present in an area controlled by the enemy, then you are a legitimate target.

            Nothing has to be proven beyond that. There is no due process before killing enemy personnel on a battlefield.

            If we needed to run it by a lawyer each time, we couldn't ever shoot anyone in a war.

          • Anon

            Baloney. Anyone can tell the difference between someone on a battlefield who is in between shots and someone who is riding in a car.

          • Ziggy Zoggy

            Anon, despite your legalese sophistry, terrorists in foreign countries have no due process rights in America regardless of their nationality, and the President-even this little tool-absolutely has the authority to kill ANYBODY waging war on America.

            You could make an argument about national sovereignty but that would be false too because neither America or its President are constitutionally prohibited from attacking enemies across borders.

          • Anon

            Sure, "terrorists" don't have rights, but how do you know who is a "terrorist"?

            Oh, I know, let's let the President decide, with no oversight! Great idea.

          • Ziggy Zoggy

            Al Qaeda decided they were terrorists and Awlaki was a proud member who got his 72 raisins courtesy of your Obamessiah. Besides, nobody who wages war against America has rights and your criticism of the Anointed one is blasphemous according to Eric Holder.

          • tagalog

            So, am I, as a U.S. citizen, glad that al-Awlaki isn't around anymore to plot against us. Answer: Yes.

            Do I worrry about al-Awlaki not getting due process of law? No.

            Am I pretty much the same in those things as about 349.9 million out of 350 million Americans? Yes.

            Do I think it's a shame that John Walker Lindh didn't get shot during the jail revolt that he engaged in, that resulted in the death of one of our CIA people? Yes.

            Would I want John Walker Lindh to go to trial instead of being shot down in the dust like the dog he is? No.

            Would it have been better just to ship Padilla off to Gitmo instead of making a federal case out of his situation? Yes.

          • tagalog

            So how come some of us have been indulging in fantasies of what it would have been like if this dictator or that one had been assassinated early in his career, before they caused the mayhem they did? Do you think the Obama administration (or any other, for that matter) is immune from that kind of thinking?

        • tagalog

          There were hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. citizens of German descent whose families returned to Germany before World War II, who found themselves wearing the feldgrau of the Wehrmacht, and who got shot by our troops. Were they supposed to get due process first?

          • kasandra

            I’m going to make one last, and probably futile, try at this. I do not mind killing American citizens who have joined with al-Qaeda. I do not mind deliberately targeting such citizens when they are engaged in combat. What I do mind is leaving it up to one person to make the decision to assassinate such people under vague standards such as those presented in the DOJ memorandum.

          • tagalog

            Al-Awlaki is driving in a car when the drone strike hits him. Al-Awlaki is not engaging in plotting a strke on the U.S. Driving in a car is not an act of war. Was it OK to drone him? You bet.

            Padilla was on his way to meet with other terrorists when he was arrested at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Did he require due process and a trial? The Supreme Court said Yes. Why? Because, though an enemy combatant, he was a U.S. citizen on U.S. land? What difference does that make? Even though he was just a plane passenger at an airport when he was arrested, he was still in the process of making war on the United States. The Supreme Court was overprotective and its decision was an exercise in sophistry.

            If my daughter becomes a crystal meth addict, and she enters my home with the intent to burglarize it so as to rob me of my money and I -a policeman- shoot her while she's standing in the doorway of her old bedroom reminiscing, have I, acting as a policeman, deprived her of some due process right? if so, who cares? The ACLU?

  • Cat K

    Tagalog, yes, all very scary. But in terms of unconstitutionally – what a joke. The current administration acts unconstitutionally! So, the idea that fed up citizens would feel constrained by your admonishment about that is ludicrous. If there is a revolt of significance, there would certainly be repercussions to fear from the current leader. For that IS the definition of a tyrant. Look it up! Also look up famous quote "When in the course of human events ….."

    • tagalog

      I don't find the prospect of an armed revolt during the Obama administration scary at all; I don't think such a thing is going to happen. Things are bad; the republic is not in danger. The wrongs that are being committed can be mended. The fears for our experiment in self-rule are overhyped. On that issue, I think that a left-wing revolt is more likely than a right-wing one. The left-wing one would be along the lines of the 1969 SDS-inspired Days of Rage, where solitary bands of discontents throw garbage cans into traffric, fight with the cops, stuff like that. That's about as insurrectionist as any possible "revolt" might be. In the recent past, union lefties have occupied a state's State House; maybe they'll pull that stunt again.

      I doubt that ANYONE feels constrained by my admonishments, whatever they might be.

      But to address your larger point, when there's an attack on a government, even when that government is not legitimate (THIS government, just for the record, is entirely legitimate, whatever its faults), that government has a right, under John Locke's formulation of rights, to defend itself. So droning insurrectionists, no matter how "right" in the objective sense they might be, is pefectly okay.

  • Cat K

    Furthermore, why the frenzied push to disarm citizens? It can't be because of the few lone wolf shooters or too much deer hunting. They must have war-gamed and found that the government is vulnerable if citizens are armed.

    • tagalog

      There is no frenzied push to disarm citizens. The entirely un-interfered-with frenzied rush to purchase firearms and ammunition for them is ample demonstration of the fact that the administration is not pushing to disarm anybody. The run on the market is evidence of an overblown fear of a hypothetical threat, not reality. I don't like the current gun attitude among our leaders any more than you do, I'm just not about to panic or overreact at this point. I'm more worried about my state legislature; there are 21 gun control measures before it in this session.

      Also, on the issue of gun control, we may see some heartening results when specific gun control bills begin to make their way through Congress. Newtown is receding and the gun "crisis" is passing. That's a positive turn of events for the Second Amendment. It's my hope that soon the supply of those semi-autos and the ammo for them, that have been the subject of so many lawmakers crying out and consequently have been in short supply, will start to be available again, as I have the bucks to buy one and am shopping around.

      I submit that ONE valuable lesson has been learned from this most recent gun flap: Wayne LaPierre is a TERRIBLE debater on gun rights.

  • BLJ

    The only good terrorist is a dead one. It is a pity they don't suffer more when a drone grants them a dirt nap.

    I also do not trust the Obama administration one bit in regards to what they may do with these drones. They subscribe to the "ends justify the means" attitude about everything and lust for power like a vampire does for blood.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “According to his Facebook profile, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki enjoyed watching The Simpsons and the BBC’s Planet Earth series.”

    OMG! He really was an American! We should never have killed him…oh no, oh no…OMG!!! What have we done?

    My feelings never lie.

    • tagalog

      Perhaps he was watching one of those shows when the drone blew him up, and died happy. As long as he's dead, I'm OK with that. "Don't go away mad, just go away."

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Don't go away mad, just go away."

        Those are in fact my true feelings too.

  • Jesus

    "Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was not an innocent American teenager cruelly assassinated by the United States." – Have fun jerking off to that, creeps.

    • tagalog

      Wha-wha-wha-aah-what did you say? I wasn't paying attention.

      • Mark

        Maybe you'd have paid attention, if your son would've been there

  • Laura

    Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity et al. have lost all sense of reason and are making asses of themselves.

  • mjrowland

    Wow, Mr. Greenfield, you come off as one callous, ignorant, and immature SOB who obviously has no concept for human dignity and the due process of law. You need to grow the eff up.

    "Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was not an innocent American teenager cruelly assassinated by the United States. He was the son of an Al Qaeda leader who happened to be standing next to another Al Qaeda leader who was the actual target of an infidel drone." — So I guess if you have a father who is accused of being a traitor, and if I catch you standing next to it's perfectly okay for me to indiscriminately kill you both?

    "Or perhaps we should only kill terrorists when there isn’t anyone around them for miles?" — You seem to imply here that if the military just goes into a heavily populated area and starts blasting away, it doesn't how many civilians die, as long as it kills at least one terrorist.

    One of the central issues at hand here is the due process of law. The al-Awlakis were legal U.S. citizens at the times of their deaths. Therefore their assassinations were illegal, period. No one is above the law. Not even the president. If you don't give a crap that they were killed illegally, then you obviously don't give a crap about the U.S. Constitution. Even monsters like Charles Manson have their day in court. Even the Nazis got the Nuremberg tribunals. Belief and adherence to the due process of law is a principle that must be defended. That is why there is such a controversy over the al-Awlaki deaths. But then again, perhaps people like you think that them Muslim A-Rabs ain't real Americans anyway, so it doesn't matter how many of them are killed, right?

    There's a lot more I can say on this, but you can just read my full op-ed here: http://romuloadvocate.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/ho

  • Hailey

    Just about everything in this article reeks of ignorance. The issue here is what our rights are as American citizens according to the Constitution of the United States. If Obama can order an American citizen killed without any proof of wrongdoing and no ounce of due process, then he can do it to anyone. If the boy's name was Larry Johnson and his dad was a convicted serial killer, would it be okay to kill Larry for associating with a known killer? I highly doubt it. Regardless, this was a 16 year old boy who was born and raised in Colorado by family who was trying to distance him from his father. The gov't should not be able to go around killing people on American soil without proof. And it is absolutely absurd to make remarks that people opposing the drones are trying to say don't kill terrorists. The boy wasn't a terrorist nor was there evidence of him being a terrorist. The point is the government CANNOT simply order its own citizens killed in the absence of imminent threat.

  • John

    It's amazing what morally reprehensible positions people will stake out when they are consumed with bloodlust. By Mr. Greenfield's reasoning, had an apartment complex been blown up to kill a suspected terrorist inside, the lesson to draw would be, "Don't live in the same building as a suspected Al Qaeda terrorist." Perhaps Mr. Greenfield would like to share with us who this "Al Qaeda leader" was and what evidence of his crimes exist. Of course, he has absolutely no idea. He's taking the government's word for it. Remember the day when conservatives used to make intellectual arguments about the dangers of centralizing power and the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of federal bureaucracies? All of a sudden when the military is involved, it becomes unimpeachable and beyond reproach. What a joke.

  • Rubin Mathias

    "Nor was he a member of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninusla. Nor was he "an inspiration," as his father styled himself, for those determined to draw American blood; nor had he gone "operational," as American authorities said his father had, in drawing up plots against Americans and American interests. He was a boy who hadn't seen his father in two years, since his father had gone into hiding. He was a boy who knew his father was on an American kill list and who snuck out of his family's home in the early morning hours of September 4, 2011, to try to find him. He was a boy who was still searching for his father when his father was killed, and who, on the night he himself was killed, was saying goodbye to the second cousin with whom he'd lived while on his search, and the friends he'd made. He was a boy among boys, then; a boy among boys eating dinner by an open fire along the side of a road when an American drone came out of the sky and fired the missiles that killed them all."

    I don't understand how can this article justify the killing of innocents by calling them collateral damage. He was not with a terrorist, he was just a bystander. What if you'd been there in the restaurant? Would you call yourself collateral damage then?