Both were apparently in a vehicle traveling in Yemen when two Predator Drones rained Hell Fire missiles from the sky.
Awlaki was the first American placed on the CIA’s Kill or Capture list and the first to meet his demise in that manner.
Awlaki, American born in New Mexico, was well traveled in the U.S. until after 9-11, having lived in New Mexico, Colorado, San Diego and Virginia. In fact, shortly after 9-11, an unknowing Pentagon had him as a guest speaker believing, at the time, that Al Awlaki could and would shed light on the mindset of Jihadists. He was at that time considered a valuable resource and a moderate who might help build bridges.
Such was NOT the case.
Awlaki, in fact, was in contact with at least 2 if not 3 of the 9-11 hijackers.
More recently, al Awlaki had mentored such people as the Underwear Bomber, the Fort Hood shooter and others as well as being on the hunt for cyanide and ricin to use in the production of weapons to be used against Americans.
Kahn was the co-editor of an English language magazine, “Inspire,” which is an al Qaeda rag supporting Jihad – and among other things, providing recopies regarding homemade bombs.
Now, neither of these terrorists exist.
In a way. Kahn, while despicable, was nowhere near being of the ilk of Awlaki. Awlaki was the conduit between al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and cells and individuals within the U.S. and his ability to coordinate events, attacks and ideas through the use of the internet made him a high-profile target and a terrorist who will be difficult to replace.
We should also expect revenge attacks for the removal of al Awlaki from this planet, and those attacks could happen either here in the U.S. or in the nations of our allies.
In the long term, this is NOT thought to be crippling to al Qaeda as they have plenty of terrorists ready to move up in rank – but know and believe this:
One by one, they will be hunted, they will be found and they will meet their end just as bin Laden, Awlaki and Kahn over the last few months and one of the primary reasons is the fact that Gen. Petraeus now heads the CIA.
While certain groups, quite possibly including the ACLU, will have their collective shorts in a bunch, it is clear that once these two, Awlaki and Kahn, signed on to al Qaeda, their official status as American Citizens came to an end and because of their actions over the years since 9-11, so to today, did their lives.
With Yemen a disaster area politically, a vacuum there is clearly forming in regard to power and control and al Qaeda is filling it rapidly. In Pakistan, anti American sentiment is growing since the killing of bin Laden.
Is Obama able to handle this? At best, his foreign affairs ability is highly questionable – but anyone who believe he may have done the wrong thing in THESE cases is sadly mistaken. High level terrorists like Awlaki, bin Laden and others must be taken out regardless of who the President is and regardless of where they are hiding.
It’s his penchant for turning our interests over to the UN or NATO which raises valid concerns. In Libya, Obama’s non war is creating a vacuum and in NATO’s hands, thousands of shoulder fired surface to air heat seeking missiles have gone missing. Who knows what other weapons from the days of Gadaffi’s power have disappeared? It IS a fair bet that those missiles, probably the vast majority of them, are now in the hands of al Qaeda.
There will be fallout from terrorists whenever one of their own is dispatched to hell, and how we react to those repercussions is yet to be seen.
One thing is clear. As we proceed with these important operations to kill or capture these terrorists, now is no time to start cutting the defense budget. Our military need every resource available in this war, and stripping the military budget puts our personal in the field and our people at home in greater danger.
For those who believe entitlements must continue at the expense of our national defense, or to those who feel we should not be engaged in any way in foreign lands or helping our allies, think again.
Awlaki is dead today.
Tomorrow, another terrorist bent on the destruction of America, our allies and our citizens will take his place.