…the drone president, strikes again…paging cornel west!!!…Posted: 2015-04-24
The devastating indictment. It had to take the deaths of two civilians, in particular Western civilians.
So we now have an apology from the very well-spoken Nobel Laureate for Peace, the US President. The deadly game of drones he continues to play with such aplomb or even delight, with two Western victims of the predictable dubious certainty of his emphatic assurances of accuracy. These two, Westerners, one a Dr Weinstein of the US, the other, a Mr LoPorto of Italy. Such deaths obviously did make an apology from the Nobel Laureate President necessary.
Of course, this is the very President who failed to show when the two grandchildren of an Afghan woman incinerated by one of his Hellfire missiles had come to Washington, DC in 2013 to seek answers – even as shortly before he had been chatting with Malala who was shot by the Taliban and treated in the UK. Is picking okra now a threat to the national security of the US; or is the grandmother doing so? (Clearly, mention of some antipathy to Yemeni wedding parties would be overkill?)
The upshot of all this is that even the corporate MSM is now, all of a sudden, bothered by the President’s meting out death by drone, especially since Westerners were victims.
The good news is that the blogs and alternative media have not been silent on what many see as international lawlessness and gratuitous slaughter of innocents. We sample one non-confirmist MSM and a few of the blogs that more and more rely on.
We can go back to November 2013 with a report from the blog at AJE, Malala and Nabila: worlds apart
This past week Nabila, her schoolteacher father, and her 12-year-old brother travelled to Washington DC to tell their story and to seek answers about the events of that day. However, despite overcoming incredible obstacles in order to travel from their remote village to the United States, Nabila and her family were roundly ignored. At the congressional hearing where they gave testimony, only five out of 430 representatives showed up. In the words of Nabila’s father to those few who did attend: “My daughter does not have the face of a terrorist and neither did my mother. It just doesn’t make sense to me, why this happened… as a teacher, I wanted to educate Americans and let them know my children have been injured.”
The translator broke down in tears while recounting their story, but the government made it a point to snub this family and ignore the tragedy it had caused to them.
The remarkable Guardian, with its imperial biases far more rationally constrained than those of other corporate MSM, has been exceptional in focusing on areas considered tacitly verboten, to be overlooked, not to be examined, again delivers. In this post, Inside Obama’s drone panopticon: a secret machine with no accountability. The indictment is evident from just these excerpts,
Thanks to Obama’s rare admission on Thursday, the realities of what are commonly known as “signature strikes” are belatedly and partially on display. Signature strikes, a key aspect for years of what the administration likes to call its “targeted killing” program, permit the CIA and JSOC to kill without requiring them to know who they kill.
[bold added for emphasis]
Further evidence that the appearance of sincerity, that confirming character trait, guides performance comes here,
A solemn White House pledged on Thursday to review its drone strike rules. Yet its record casts doubt on anything changing. Obama declared two years ago that he would launch drone strikes only when he had “near certainty” that the “terrorist target is present” and civilians were not. That did not stop the January signature strike that killed Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto.
No Obama official involved in drone strikes has ever been disciplined: not only are Brennan and director of national intelligence James Clapper entrenched in their jobs, David Barron, one of the lawyers who told Obama he could kill a US citizenwithout trial as a first resort, now has a federal judgeship.
[bold added for emphasis]
And from the blogs, we have at common dreams, a report from John Queally, After Nameless Thousands, Can Two Hostage Deaths Dent ‘Kill List’ Tactics?
In the wake of Thursday’s revelation that the U.S. government, specifically the CIA, killed one American and one Italian hostage held by al-Qaeda in a drone attack in Pakistan earlier this year, will a renewed and possibly elevated debate on the Obama administration’s so-called “kill list” or assassination campaign finally break into the mainstream?
Though long-standing critics of the Obama’s drone war and the existence of a presidential “kill list” have been issuing objections for years over the legality of the program and the number of innocent people from foreign countries—including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere—who have been killed, maimed, or left traumatized by these bombings, observers noted that when it came to the U.S. media on Thursday, it was the death of two Western hostages that finally caught the attention of the broader public.
From The Intercept, we have Ryan Devereaux with his telling, When Will Obama Apologize for All the Other Innocent Victims of Drone Strikes?
“Today, if Nabila or Zubair or many of the civilian victims — if they are watching on TV the president being so remorseful over the killing of a Westerner, what message is that taking?” Akbar said Thursday in an interview with The Intercept.
The answer, he argued, is “that you do not matter, you are children of a lesser God, and I’m only going to mourn if a Westerner is killed.”
[bold added for emphasis]
Glenn Greenwald presents his, The Key War on Terror Propaganda Tool: Only Western Victims Are Acknowledged
The reason for the unusually intense, largely critical coverage of drone killings yesterday is obvious: the victims of this strike were Western and non-Muslim, and therefore were seen as actually human.
The British-Yemeni journalist Abubakr Al-Shamahi put it succinctly: “It makes me angry that non-Western civilian victims of drone strikes are not given the same recognition by the US administration.” The independent journalist Naheed Mustafa said she was “hugely irritated by the ‘drone strikes have killed good Westerners so now we know there are issues with drones’ stories.” The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson this morning observed: “It is all too easy to ignore … the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners. Only then does ‘collateral damage’ become big news and an occasion for public sorrow.”
But the deeper, more troubling answer is equally clear: Foreign Muslims are so dehumanized, so invisible, that they are just equated with Evil Threats even when nothing is known about them. Indeed, Obama officially re-defined the term “combatant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone.” In other words, as The New York Times reported in 2011, all males between 18 and (roughly) 54 killed by U.S. drones are presumed to be combatants — terrorists — “unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” That mentality is the ultimate in dehumanization.
And thousands of innocent civilians, non-Western, Muslims, have been injured, if not, killed – dismembered or incinerated, but not videotaped – from Yemen to Afghanistan, without any trace of remorse. Death instead of torture? Not respected even in death. And a Noble Prize awarded for Peace to a US President with an active Kill List? The word, sociopath, screams for recognition.
Clearly, Cornel West’s succinct character profile of this US President has been unduly charitable, as this snippet shows.
No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency… And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair.
All that remains is for the US President to now secure his TPP and TTIP, then he can declare, ‘Mission Accomplished.
…the art of the con, and the majority of the us populace is none the wiser, even as their standard of living declines – exceptionalism at its best…