While traveling in Vietnam, President Obama announced another “successful” drone attack in Pakistan. It appears this time he might actually be correct. From photos of the scene it looks as though a single vehicle carrying the target and at least a driver if not others was hit without damage to other vehicles or individuals; however, this is the exception and not the more common results of Obama’s favored covert drone war on terror.
In case anyone has forgotten, Pakistan is a sovereign country, that we have not declared war against and was not officially consulted prior to the attacks. Before we go further, how do you think it would go over if say Columbia initiated a drone attack of a ‘known’ cartel leader inside U.S. borders? (And we do not even have to consider any collateral damage for this rhetorical hypothetical scenario.)
It has been reported in The Washington Times that while Obama claimed he wanted to get America out of war, he merely wanted to change the way in which the war was fought. Whereas Bush fought his wars openly, Obama wants to fight his in the secrecy of ‘national security’ redaction. For Obama the cloak of ‘national security’ has been his greatest weapon both abroad and within the Beltline. However, the headline of that Washington Times article told the sad truth of his war….. “Obama-led drone strikes kill innocents 90% of the time“
The information for the above article is based on a 5-month long mission in Afghanistan that was, based on the numbers, a complete failure! The complete exposé can be found at The Intercept. The original article states what EVERY American should be thinking, but seems completely unfazed by. “This outrageous explosion of watch-listing — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield – it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the unnamed source told The Intercept. Luckily for some of those that have been detained as our enemy or the families of those death-listed there is someone in the States that is working for justice and not revenge being served. As Reprieve started freeing GITMO detainees, George Bush’s Attorney General told them “if you don’t let us imprison and interrogate these guys, we will just kill them.” The drone program amounts to little more than a killing spree of fear and hate that increases the profits for defense contractors flying under the guise of foreign policy’s agenda of keeping the world safe and spreading democracy. Neither of which has improved over the course of the decade and half since 9/11.
As a matter of record, the countries, in which the drone program has been the primary weapon of choice, have seen greater violence and instability. In addition to having less security and democracy and living in constant fear, their citizens have been deemed unworthy to have any access to any proper legal process. This ‘justification’ that a group of people, no matter how ‘evil’ they appear to the world, is not allowed access to the legal process of justice to determine guilt or innocence is completely immoral and by action shows the unworthiness of those justifying and carrying out these executions without the order of a proper and public conviction of crimes.
Based on numbers found in an article in The Guardian at least 6 different targets were ‘hit’ 5 or more times and at least 5 different targets resulted in collateral deaths of over 100 individuals each, with another 35 targets resulting in the collateral deaths of on average over 25 others. The inexcusable fact is that these numbers which are based on 2014 figures are lower than the current truth, if the truth were to ever be told.
In 2013, Obama declared that no drone strike was taken without “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.” adding that “nevertheless, it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties” and said “those deaths will haunt us as long as we live.” Apparently, based on the continued use of these weapons and the continued skirting of accountability, the haunting only lasts till the next morning when he signs the next day’s “kill list”. It seems that the label of ‘national security’ like a spoonful of honey makes it sweet enough to swallow.
In the course of this very covert public war on terror, at least 8 American citizens have been murdered without due process or judicial precedent. The more troubling fact is that not all drone attacks are target attacks on ‘known’ and ‘identified’ terrorists, some are so-called signature strikes based on indications that people on the ground were likely with Al Qaeda or allied militant groups. Another words, the US government is intentionally murdering foreign citizens based entirely on association and possible behavior and or location, without any real or tangible evidence or even identification.
While it is true that drone attacks have killed alleged terrorists, they have also killed innocent civilians, American citizens, misidentified targets, and victims of the terror groups. Military and intelligence officials argue that in most cases they were confident that they were killing only dangerous militants. However, when they are questioned about the misses and civilian casualties, they insist they did not know that the civilians were present and or that the target was absent. This proves that the intelligence on the ground is haphazard at best and that the method of drone attacks needs to end until such time as it can be carried out within the bounds of proper legal precedent without civilian casualties being the norm and in great excess of the actual stated intent.