Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lord of the Drones


Perhaps one of the more insidious developments of the Barack Obama presidency has been the normalization as well as public acceptance of the murder by drone policy of the Empire. The man who gets his daily kill list delivered to him along with his orange juice in the morning has not only refined the Bush-Cheney "war on terror" by expanding the use of the killer drones, juicing the surveillance state and further presiding over the looting of the average American in order to finance Wall Street and their foreign  wars of profit but institutionalized it. With the mounting toll of civilian casualties, dismissed by the warmongers so "collateral damage' doing nothing to win hearts and minds and more to create lifelong enemies of the United States one has to wonder whether the creation of the legions of relatives of the dead sworn to avenge the deaths of their loved ones is actually the intent. Nothing quite justifies the beggaring and criminalizing of the lower classes to fund a bloated military and surveillance beast as does an abundance of so-called "terrorists" that provide a constant line of bogeymen.
Former Congressman Ron Paul who is a libertarian calls it like it is in a recent piece published at antiwar.com entitled "Obama's Drone Wars Undermine American Values" where he shows again why he has become a respected elder and a seriously legitimate critic of US foreign policy in the neocon era:
Earlier this month, CIA-operated drones killed as many as 55 people in Yemen in several separate strikes. Although it was claimed that those killed were “militants,” according to press reports at least three civilians were killed and at least five others wounded. That makes at least 92 US drone attacks against Yemen during the Obama administration, which have killed nearly 1,000 people including many civilians.
The latest strikes seem to contradict President Obama’s revised guidelines for targeted killings, which he announced last May. At the time he claimed that drones would only be used against those who posed a “continuing and imminent threat to the American people,” that there must be a “near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured,” and that safeguards to prevent civilian casualties were at “the highest standard we can set.”
None of these criteria seem to have been met. In fact, the threshold in Yemen is considerably lower than the president claims. In 2012 President Obama approved “signature strikes” in Yemen, a criteria for attack that is not based on actual or suspected wrongdoing, but rather on a vague set of behaviors that are said to be shared by militants.
This means that the individuals killed in the most recent drone attacks were not necessarily terrorists or even terrorist suspects. They were not proven to have committed any crime, nor were they proven to have been members of al-Qaeda or any terrorist organization. Yet they were nevertheless targeted for attack, and the sovereignty of Yemen was violated in the process.
Some may claim that we need to kill suspected terrorists overseas so that we can be safer at home. But do the drone attacks in places like Yemen really make us safer? Or are they actually counterproductive? One thing we do know is that one of the strongest recruiting tools for al-Qaeda is the US being over there using drones against people or occupying Muslim countries.
How can we get rid of all the people who may seek to do us harm if our drone and occupation policies continually create even more al-Qaeda members? Are we not just creating an endless supply of tomorrow’s terrorists with our foolish policies today? What example does it set for the rest of the world if the US acts as if it has the right to kill anyone, anywhere, based simply on that individual’s behavior?
We should keep all of this in mind when the US administration lectures world leaders about how they should act in the 21st century. Recently, the US administration admonished Russian president Vladimir Putin for his supposed interference in the affairs of Ukraine, saying that violating the sovereignty of another country is not the 21st century way of conducting international relations. I agree that sovereignty must be respected. But what about the US doing the same thing in places like Yemen? What about the hundreds and even thousands killed by US drones not because they were found guilty of a crime, but because they were exhibiting “behaviors” that led a CIA drone operator safely hidden in New Mexico or somewhere to pull the trigger and end their lives?
What about a president who regularly meets in secret with his advisors to determine who is to be placed on a “kill list” and who refuses to even discuss the criteria for placement on that list? Is this considered acceptable 21st century behavior?
The Obama Administration needs to rein in the CIA and its drone attacks overseas. They make a mockery of American values and they may well make us less safe.
In addition to his latest spot on critique of post September 11, 2001 American foreign policy - sure to set off the puckering assholes at the neocon central propaganda transmission command center The Washington Post or Pravda on the Potomac - but of the "CIA drone operator safely hidden in New Mexico or somewhere to pull the trigger and end their lives". As the Empire evolves into a more efficient killing machine the use of the drones by non-military joystick fondling geeks to murder in the sanitized manner of playing a goddamned video game is another illustration of the moral rottenness that has consumed America carried in like smallpox infected blankets by neoconservative ideologues - cowards who never served one day in the US military.  Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has a great term for it in a song from his powerful but far too critical for mass consumption "Amused to Death" album, the song is called "The Bravery of Being Out of Range":
Hey bartender over here
Two more shots
And two more beers
Sir turn up the TV sound
The war has started on the ground
Just love those laser guided bombs
They're really great
For righting wrongs
You hit the target
And win the game
From bars 3,000 miles away
3,000 miles away
We play the game
With the bravery of being out of range
What a better way to wage modern war for a nation of detached sheep than turning it into nothing more than a video game where the killer doesn't have to look into the eyes of the victims. Dropping bombs and incendiaries were certainly as detached and cowardly but Obama's drone strikes represent a new level of monstrous immorality. They won't stop either now that the corrupt and contemptible US Senate has bowed to pressure from DNI James Clapper, the man whose main claim to fame is lying to Congress about NSA surveillance of Americans. Language requiring the disclosure of civilian victims of Obama's murder by drone program from a bill has been removed, despite her recent kerfuffle with the CIA DiFi remains an impenetrable firewall of cellulite protecting the criminal activities of the US regime.
Fuck the victims, they were brown-skinned, non-Christian dirty foreign devils anyway, just collateral damage like something icky to be wiped off of the red, white and blue jackboot simply because that is the just way that we roll anymore in our god-kissed, flag-wrapped most of exceptional nations.