I personally do believe the official US story that he was actively recruiting and actively participating in Al Qaeda. but a lot of people have debated with me otherwise.
Clearly, he was "in" the Al Qaeda culture, but publicly at least... some believed him to only be a preacher.
War is messy, to say the least. I'm not sure if the truth will ever come out. Nevertheless, I'm personally in the belief that Anwar Al Awlaki was too personally connected to a number of attackers, so he almost certainly was an operative.
Nevertheless, I bring up this example to demonstrate that the line between "operative", "journalist", and "preacher" can very well be blurred during wartime. Regardless, the US certainly ordered an assassination through our Drone technology.
Much of the evidence to his Al Qaeda "operative" connections is classified unfortunately. So the US Documents at least, won't be released for many years to come. In any case, even with only the public information, its clear that there's a "Lot of Smoke" as they say, and where there is smoke, there's probably a fire. But nothing really proves him to be an operative publicly (just a lot of corroborating evidence and close personal-connections to attackers).
Drones target fighters, and they sometimes kill civilians. They don't target civilians. If you don't think there is a difference there fine, but many lose sight of it.
While I personally agree with you, I know people who will vehemently disagree with you on this factoid.
I wouldn't necessarily call him a "general", but perhaps an "operative". He had way too many connections with prominent attackers, so surely he was related to them. But once again, US-evidence of his operations remain classified and thus force me to only speculate on the matter.
At bare minimum, Anwar Al Awlaki was a publisher and prominent writer to the Al Qaeda magazines. So yes, he was an "enemy journalist" in some regards. The US alleges he did more than just write however, and that's why President Obama ordered the drone strike.
My ultimate point is that the line between "journalism" and "operative" is incredibly blurry, even to US Officials.