First, Esquire outlines the facts:
A 16-year-old American boy accused of no crimes was killed in American drone attack, and the administration has neither acknowledged his death or acknowledged that it killed him. It has, indeed, done everything it possibly can to avoid saying how and why it killed him, and has answered the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the ACLU with a blanket insistence that it is not obligated to confirm or deny the existence of the CIA’s drone program, much less disclose information about those the drone program has killed.
A 16-year-old American boy killed in an Obama administration drone strike “should have [had] a far more responsible father,” Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs says in a new video released by the group We Are Change.
Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda propagandist killed by a U.S. drone a year ago. But the child was killed in a separate strike some two weeks after his father was killed. . . .
“I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business,” Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, told the interviewer from We Are Change, when asked to justify “an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial — and, he’s underage, he’s a minor.”
. . . The Atlantic suggests that if Gibbs is giving the genuine rationale for the killing, it’s grounds for impeachment.
“Again, note that this kid wasn’t killed in the same drone strike as his father,” writes The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf. ”He was hit by a drone strike elsewhere, and by the time he was killed, his father had already been dead for two weeks. Gibbs nevertheless defends the strike, not by arguing that the kid was a threat, or that killing him was an accident, but by saying that his late father irresponsibly joined al Qaeda terrorists. Killing an American citizen without due process on that logic ought to be grounds for impeachment.” . . .
“Anyone who thought U.S. targeted killing outside of armed conflict was a narrow, emergency-based exception to the requirement of due process before a death sentence is being proven conclusively wrong,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, in a statement. “The danger of dispensing with due process is obvious because without it, we cannot be assured that the people in the government’s death database truly present a concrete, imminent threat to the country. What we do know is that tragic mistakes have been made, hundreds of civilian bystanders have died, and our government has even killed a 16-year-old U.S. citizen without acknowledging, let alone explaining his death. A bureaucratized paramilitary killing program that targets people far from any battlefield is not just unlawful, it will create more enemies than it kills.”
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