Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was a US citizen. He was also a typical 16-year-old; "he watched The Simpsons, listened to Snoop Dogg, read Harry Potter, and had a Facebook page with many friends," his grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki writes in a New York Times op-ed. In October 2011 he was killed in a drone strike along with at least five other civilians while eating dinner at an open-air market, and while President Obama has admitted that a US missile did the deed, neither he, nor any other American official, will explain it.
Courts have repeatedly shrugged off Awlaki's attempts to learn more, saying they lack jurisdiction over the drone program, which also killed Awlaki's son, Anwar. "A country that believes it does not even need to answer for killing its own is not the America I once knew," writes Nasser, who studied in Yemen before becoming a government minister in Yemen and founding a university there. "Abdulrahman used to tell me he wanted to follow in my footsteps and go back to America to study. I can't even bear to think of those conversations now." For more on the circumstances surrounding the boy's killing, read Awlaki's full column. (Read more Abdulrahman al-Awlaki stories.)