Now, before anyone gets defensive and starts chest thumping around the room, please wait and let me explain, because I do have a point. We must first take a look at multiple topics and find a way and combining them in a way that honors the spirit AND letter of the constitution.
First, the United States Constitution declares without exception that ANY person born inside the borders or on property owned by the people of our great nation IS a citizen of this land. Second, as long as the person in question meets the aforementioned requirement they are entitled to ALL of the rights and privileges guaranteed in the constitution. Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan met the requirements and, therefore, were entitled to its guarantees.
Some say that they renounced their citizenship (of which there is no proof) and others say that because of their actions, words, beliefs, etc. that they renounced their citizenship by default. I reject both of these claims, but I also think that the argument is much greater and means so much more than we can imagine. First the constitution sets no such requirement for maintaining one's rights and privileges; the second is that these two men deserved no less than we what have granted our most hardened criminals at home. The issue reminds me of the story of the prodigal son. Even though the son asked for all of his inheritance and essentially severing all ties with the father to live life as he saw fit. When the time came that the son had nothing left; humbling asking to be a servant, the father restored the son to his original place. Now, I am not saying that we should forget all transgressions and crimes, but I am saying that the story applies in that, in the father's eyes the son never stopped being anything but his son. In the same way, no matter what a child of our nation may do to separate or distance himself from us; we must act in the same way as the father. We must always hold out hope for reconciliation and repentance. We must work even harder to ensure that their rights are recognized and upheld. Doing this doesn't make our union weaker or infringe on the rights of any other citizen, but it rather strengthens our union making it stronger. This proves that the document we hold so dear honors no color, creed, or opinion but ensures liberty AND justice for all.
I believe that these core beliefs we hold so dear are under attack. The two terrorists that our nation killed were also citizens. They were no less a citizen than Al Capone, Charles Manson, Jeffery Dhamer, Whitey Bulger or any other infamous criminal of years gone by. I believe how we treat these people is the true test of what we really are. If they are guilty then they deserve whatever punishment a jury of their peers decides. These two terrorists were not killed in self-defense or in an attack on an American target or ally but by a Drone attack plane while traveling in a convoy. These two citizens were denied their 5th Amendment rights of Due process (below). The right to Due Process essentially ensures that every American, no matter what they have done, has the RIGHT to present his case in defense of the charges against him; this stops the government from just doing what it sees fit when it wants to. This is one of the tenants that makes our nation great and The Union strong. It is unconditional and that is what makes it a truly beautiful thing. All I will say is that whoever gave the order to murder these two men should be prosecuted and brought to justice. We must not let one man or group of men destroy one of the beliefs and rights that make our nation great.
In closing, I will say this. If America has become a nation that can disregard the most sacred document of our land because it is convenient; then we live in perilous times. What statement are we making to the world? How will the world view us in light of these actions? The "city on a hill" is in danger of going dark. Our constitution is not a document that can be ignored, if it is to mean anything, when it is politically or operationally expedient. However, if this is what our nation has become; then we truly are living in frightening times, indeed.
The Fifth AmendmentNo person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to have all the answers. What you have just read is an opinion (except for the 5th Amendment). Please treat it as such.