- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some claim that the recent killing of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and propagandist Samir Khan in Yemen violated international and U.S. law because they were both American citizens (“Obama’s illegal assassination?” Comment & Analysis, Tuesday).

But for all practical purposes, both al-Awlaki and Khan renounced their U.S. citizenship when they joined foreign terrorist groups. Both were involved directly or indirectly in promoting terrorist attacks on Americans. Therefore, they were legitimate targets.

When making life-or-death decisions like this one, one must weigh the rights of the perpetrators of terror against the need to save the lives of potential American victims. Whenever such lives can be saved, killing terrorists is justified, regardless of their country of citizenship.

KENNETH L. ZIMMERMAN

Huntington Beach, Calif.