President Obama’s Real ‘Kill List’
The New York Times piece on Obama’s terrorist “kill list” got a lot of attention. It listed the names of those chosen for execution by CIA and Pentagon drones outside the conventional battlefield. The names not listed on the kill list are those innocents in other countries killed by the strikes. But they are dead all the same.
The anti war protests have gone silent. Although I must admit Code Pink and Glenn Greenwald have stayed consistent in their beliefs. War is a bloody thing. Like most people, I am anti war. I just realize that sometimes we must fight evil. Most everyone agrees that fighting Hitler was the right thing to do, but I don’t think we have agreed about what fighting evil means since then. We seemed to have re-defined evil to fit our own political agenda. During the Iraq war, there was collateral damage. Which is a terrible thing. Do I believe our boys did everything in their power to keep that from happening? Yes, I do. But I did understand the left’s outrage at it. Especially when you don’t agree with the reason for the war in the first place. But we aren’t war in Yemen, are we? Yet Obama seems determined to drone the heck out of it. As with Bush, I assume they know something we don’t. I hope it’s good, and I hope it’s keeping us safe, because innocents are being killed.
From the NYT:
“DEAR OBAMA, when a U.S. drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda,” a Yemeni lawyer warned on Twitter last month. President Obama should keep this message in mind before ordering more drone strikes like Wednesday’s, which local officials say killed 27 people, or the May 15 strike that killed at least eight Yemeni civilians.
Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants; they are not driven by ideology but rather by a sense of revenge and despair. Robert Grenier, the former head of the C.I.A.’s counterterrorism center, has warned that the American drone program in Yemen risks turning the country into a safe haven for Al Qaeda like the tribal areas of Pakistan — “the Arabian equivalent of Waziristan.”
Does this sound familiar? Well, it should. But for reasons conservatives know well, Pres. Obama seems to be getting a pass on this. I’m surprised The New York Times even published this. It gets worse:
The first known drone strike in Yemen to be authorized by Mr. Obama, in late 2009, left 14 women and 21 children dead in the southern town of al-Majala, according to a parliamentary report. Only one of the dozens killed was identified as having strong Qaeda connections.
Misleading intelligence has also led to disastrous strikes with major political and economic consequences. An American drone strike in May 2010 killed Jabir al-Shabwani, a prominent sheik and the deputy governor of Marib Province. The strike had dire repercussions for Yemen’s economy. The slain sheik’s tribe attacked the country’s main pipeline in revenge. With 70 percent of the country’s budget dependent on oil exports, Yemen lost over $1 billion. This strike also erased years of progress and trust-building with tribes who considered it a betrayal given their role in fighting Al Qaeda in their areas.
Misleading intelligence??? Also familiar. Not getting quite the press as last time though. I can’t imagine why.
And let’s not forget Pakistan. President Obama has authorized 193 drone strikes in Pakistan since he took office in 2009, more than four times the number of attacks that President Bush authorized during his two terms. As I posted about this previously:
Behram says his painstaking work has uncovered an important – and unreported – truth about the US drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal region: that far more civilians are being injured or dying than the Americans and Pakistanis admit. The world’s media quickly reports on how many militants were killed in each strike. But reporters don’t go to the spot, relying on unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials. Noor Behram believes you have to go to the spot to figure out whether those killed were really extremists or ordinary people living in Waziristan. And he’s in no doubt.
“For every 10 to 15 people killed, maybe they get one militant,” he said. “I don’t go to count how many Taliban are killed. I go to count how many children, women, innocent people, are killed.”
According to Noor Behram, the strikes not only kill the innocent but injure untold numbers and radicalise the population. “There are just pieces of flesh lying around after a strike. You can’t find bodies. So the locals pick up the flesh and curse America. They say that America is killing us inside our own country, inside our own homes, and only because we are Muslims.
“The youth in the area surrounding a strike gets crazed. Hatred builds up inside those who have seen a drone attack. The Americans think it is working, but the damage they’re doing is far greater.”
The Times piece points out the obvious hypocrisy of the left:
Unfortunately, liberal voices in the United States are largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen — including the assassination of three American citizens in September 2011, including a 16-year-old. During George W. Bush’s presidency, the rage would have been tremendous. But today there is little outcry..
Very little outcry. In fact, even liberal Jon Stewart joked on his show about this with, “The president’s killing people with flying robots!” I’m thinking this isn’t a joke to the people of Yemen or Pakistan.
Even the Voice of Russia lists the killings, which include this entry: In March 2011, Karzai rejected American President Obama’s and Gen. David Petraeus’ apologies for the killing of 9 Afghan boys ages 7–13 who were collecting firewood. “The apology is not enough,” Karzai said.
So, why is President Obama doing this? Retired admiral Dennis Blair, the former US Director of National Intelligence has the answer, and is quoted as saying that it is “the politically advantageous thing to do — low cost, no US casualties, gives the appearance of toughness. It plays well domestically, and it is unpopular only in other countries. Any damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term.”
Not to be too harsh, but isn’t this always the way with Pres. Obama? It’s always about what is politically advantageous in the short term for him, and forget the long term. Forget his liberal ideals also, I might add. Whether it’s Obamacare, gay marriage, or not deporting young illegals, it’s all about what it gives him politically in the short term. Obama believes that the drones make him seem tough on national security, and they do, but I fear the long term affects of this. I might also add that the silence from the left on this convinces me that their outcry about the war and collateral damage was never about true principles or beliefs, but about Pres. Bush. Hollywood is guilty of this as well. Where is “Rendition 2?” Since Obama has continued the practice. Where are the movies about the drone strikes? Where is the movie about two American citizens being targeted and killed without due process? I’m thinking if this were a Republican President, those movies would already be made, but instead they are ready to film a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden, making Pres. Obama look tough. There will be no movies or flurries of MSM stories about Pres. Obama’s real kill list, and that should be the shame the left lives with.
*Note: My blogging will be spotty this summer due to traveling.