An Open Letter to Rand Paul: Investigate the Killing of an American Teenager
Hello Senator Paul,
My name is David Kretzmann. I am a 19 year old student at Berea College in Kentucky; I’ve lived in Kentucky since August of 2010. Today I urgently write you to investigate the death of Abdulrahman Al-alwaki.
Within the past 45 days, three U.S. citizens have been killed at the hand of U.S. drone attacks in Yemen. The most well known of these incidents was the case of Anwar Alalwaki, the U.S. citizen born in New Mexico suspected (but never officially charged) of working with Al-Qaeda. Alalwaki was on the CIA’s public hit list, signed off by President Barack Obama, for 17 months prior to his assassination on September 30, 2011. Alalwaki’s constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen were ignored by the Obama administration, despite attempts from Alalwaki’s father and the ACLU to protect Alalwaki.
What’s even more disturbing than Alalwaki’s assassination is the death of his 16 year old son, Abdulrahman Al-alwaki, just two weeks later on October 14, 2011. Abdulrahman Al-alwaki was having a Friday night barbecue with his cousin and fellow teenage friends. A U.S. drone strike took their lives that night.
Abdulrahman Al-alwaki was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1995. He was an American citizen and just 16 years old. He was no less a U.S. citizen than you and I. He had no ties whatsoever to Al-Qaeda or any other militant group.
The Obama administration has been eerily silent on this matter, not so much as acknowledging that a U.S. drone strike killed a 16 year old American citizen. This is the primary reason I am writing you this letter. We need to know why Abdulrahman Al-alwaki was killed; whether it was an intentional killing (i.e. assassination), casualty of war, or a tragic misfire incident.
On November 2, 2011, hundreds of Yemeni individuals peacefully came together to protestU.S. drone attacks in Yemen. I highly encourage you to observe some of the pictures and footage that came out of this event; it is remarkable seeing these people come together to bring about a change in their country. Innocent civilians, including children and teenagers, are losing their lives in Yemen because of U.S. drone strikes. This is the heartbreaking reality for a growing number of families in Yemen, and demonstrates the urgency of the plea I bring to you today.
I know that you can, above anyone else in the Senate, bring about an investigation of Abdulrahman Al-alwaki’s death. You have proven yourself to be a principled voice of liberty, reason, and the rule of law in the U.S. Senate, and there is no one I would trust more to spearhead an investigation. At the very least, people deserve to know why their tax dollars are going to war efforts that have now taken the life of an innocent American teenager.
Please consider sharing this information with your colleagues in the Senate as well as your constituents in Kentucky. I know that you can, if nothing else, raise awareness of this incident. This should be a nationwide discussion of what Americans are willing to allow their government to do in these ongoing wars.
I write you today not for my own well being. I am doing fine here in Kentucky. But it hit me hard when I learned of Abdulrahman’s needless death. We are talking about an innocent American teenage citizen who’s death has been callously ignored by our President. I am writing this for the people in Yemen who have nowhere else to turn.
Al-alwaki’s family is currently promoting a petition calling for an investigation of Abdulrahman’s death. As of this writing, 334 letters and petitions have been sent to Congress.
Let us not forget the words of President Obama:
“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”
Please work to hold the President to his word. The American people deserve to know the truth about these matters, especially when one of their own is taken in the line of war. I believe an investigation would mean much to Abdulrahman’s family, the people of Yemen, and your constituents who are paying for these war endeavors.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do personally to help you with this process.
Thank you for your commitment to life, liberty, and the rule of law. I am proud to call you my representative, and I look forward to the progress we can reach on this vital issue.
For Life, Liberty, and Justice,