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Inside America's Dirty Wars
Jeremy Scahill • The Nation
On the drone strikes that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and his U.S.-born son.
On the evening of May 5, Awlaki and some friends were driving through Jahwa, in rural southern Shabwah, when their pickup truck was rocked by a massive explosion nearby, shattering its windows. Awlaki saw a flash of light and believed that a rocket had been fired at their vehicle. "Speed up!" he yelled at the driver. Awlaki looked around the truck and took stock of the situation. No one was hurt. The back of the pickup was filled with canisters of gasoline, yet the vehicle had not exploded. Alhamdulillah, Awlaki thought, according to his detailed account of the incident that later appeared in Inspire, the English-language magazine published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). "Praise God." He called for help.
While Awlaki and his colleagues scrambled to get away from what they thought was an ambush, JSOC planners watched via satellite as his truck emerged from the dust clouds that the Griffin missile had caused. They'd missed-there had been a malfunction in the targeting pod, and the missile's guidance system was unable to keep a lock on Awlaki's vehicle. It would now be up to the Harriers and the drones.
John Moore/Getty Images
Natural Born Killers
Nathaniel Penn • GQ
A collection of war stories told by female combat veterans of the U.S. military.
I remember hearing the bullets hit the ground beside me and hit my truck behind me. Our squad leader had us sneak around and flank them. From a trench line that overlooked the field, we laid down fire, and I know that I shot, and made fall, three. After twenty minutes, most of the insurgents out in that field were incapacitated, but there were three more still left in the trench line opposite us, about thirty meters away. We knew that the only way we were going to end this is if we took them out. The staff sergeant and myself, we jumped in the trench; our teammate followed us along the top. I was so concentrated that I couldn't hear the bullets. I didn't even hear my own rifle. We hugged the wall of the trench on the right side. It kind of jutted out a little bit and gave us cover, but we couldn't get the right angle to kill them with our rifles. We resorted to throwing grenades. That did the trick. Looking at what was left of them, I felt nothing.
A woman can't be a killer? I beg the contrary.Staff Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, military police, Army National Guard
Alex Wong/Getty Images