Extrajudicial Murder

Photo Credit: Abdul Salam Khan/AP

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.) 

drone attacks damage
via abovetopsecert.com

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

Pakistan Drone Attack NumbersThe 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.
Yemen Drone Attack NumbersAs 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.

Afghanistan Drone Attack NumbersIn 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.

Somalia Done Attack NumbersWhile 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.

What Will Sorry Change?

hiroshima bombing
Hiroshima, Japan 6AUG1945

On 6 August 1945, the United States made a decision that has been debated passionately since. The date marks the death of at least 100,000 Japanese civilians in the city of Hiroshima; and the first use of nuclear weapons in known history. Since the dropping of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the morality of even having such weapons, much less using them has been a hot topic in many areas of discussion. At the time of the event, many Americans completely supported the decision; however, today the thought of using nuclear weapons is one of the most appalling imaginable. Ironically, one of the safety balances that existed during the Cold War that no longer exists was the mutual annihilation factor of the US and the USSR having ‘equal’ numbers of warheads.

Kerry in Hiroshima
Kerry in Hiroshima via pressherald.com

Recently, during a G7 gathering, US Secretary of State Kerry visited the site. This makes him the highest ranking US government official to ever visit the site. Kerry’s honor will be short lived, as Pres. Obama will be touring the Hiroshima site during his visit later this month. The announcement has drawn criticism that even just showing up at the site can be seen as an apology.
Hello! People see just what they want to see anyway, when they look with an agenda!

This is one time where I have to tell Obama critics they really do need to grow up. If the general practice should be that heads of countries should never attend the sites of previous conflicts with mass casualties then all world leaders would have to go to the Moon to make any trips. Human history is full of such disasters, some will say that it is human nature, but I say it is evil nature, which is different, not that humans cannot be filled with evil, they can. I also believe that holding on to wrongs forever is just as wrong as the original crime and creates just as much destruction.

While I have no issue with Obama going to Hiroshima, I would be less accepting and supportive if he was making an official or even unofficial apology. It was a decision made during in a war with the intent of winning the war. Just like it would be insignificant for Japan to apologize for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Apologies for acts during war should be limited to war crimes and other illegal acts of participants in the war, both military members, as well as, civilians. It should also be understood that civilian casualties are a part of war; yes, they should be limited and every effort should be made to limit them, however, they will occur.

In this case, for a war that most of the surviving combatants and civilians have already died; what will “sorry” change?
Will it turn back time? Would that ensure something better?
Will it bring the dead back to life? Will that definitely improve the world?
Will it change history? Will that make either country more just?

Participants in wars should be the most honorable and just that society has to offer, sadly that is rarely the case and even less so today. That being said it is not fair or just or right to judge wartime actions by peace time standards. In addition, demanding or demeaning things like official apologies is less important than moving forward by learning from the past. I do believe that it is possible for President Obama to visit Hiroshima without apologizing and it being a good and positive thing. In truth, official apologies have no true or real or sincere value, they are at most political stunts and thus irrevocably flawed from conception.

Kazari bans private security firms

President Kazari, whom earlier this year stated that he wanted to see all private security firms out of Afghanistan by the end of 2011 has now set the time line for 4 months hence. Keep in mind that private security firms work hand in hand with the NATO forces and with the State Department and if they didn’t we would not have the man power to continue the mission. So we need to look at what Kazari is really asking for. Does he want to support the corruption within his own government and is looking to fill the coffers of tribal elders and government leaders? Does he want a complete withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan? That will end his career and more than likely his life by the end of the year and I am being generous in that assessment. Currently private security not only helps maintain security of various compounds, they are also very important with regards to security of convoys and VIPs.

The security firms that provide these services to US and NATO forces are not all foreign either almost 40 are Afghan. Kazari apparently wants to over-burden his Army and police forces as the primary security with in the country. This is an expected goal to set, however you have to work to it. At this point neither the Afghan police forces nor the Afghan Army is up to the task in the least.

When the shit hit the fans the Afghans are more likely to consider removing themselves from the area and wait for it to become safe. There needs to be more motivation from the Afghans to take the matter of their security into their own hands. Do not get me wrong, many Afghans, at risk to life and the lives of family, have stepped up to the challenge and even succeeded. However, the numbers are not there for our troops’ compounds and the compounds of NATO forces to be secure along with the secure transportation of goods, troops and VIPs within the country, not yet. This is a position where ALL politicians seem to be ignorant across the board – – you CANNOT set arbitrary deadlines on political whims for personal gain.

Instead what needs to proceed here is open and continuous dialogue between Kazari’s military and police leaders and the NATO forces’ leaders on what personnel and equipment and training is required to complete the mission and updates on how Afghans are progressing in meeting those standards. Then when the Afghan military and police can state that they meet all the requirements for ensuring security for NATO forces’ compounds and convoys, as well as the movement of VIPs within their borders, they will still need to prove themselves with joint missions and a gradual and seamless turnover of mission.

So Kazari, what is it that you are really wanting? The palms of your leaders and yourself greased? Or the destruction of what so many brave men and women from Afghanistan and around the world have fought so hard to attain for you and your people? Because your haste ensures one or the other or both and denies the Afghan people what they so rightly deserve – – a safe and secure country to live and raise their families.

Steven Slater is not worth . . . .

the ticker at the bottom of the screen. Much less to be in the headlines of FOXNews numerous times this week when I hit my iGoogle page. I have no use for my time being wasted by the likes of this arrogant, rude, attention whore. Cause that is really all Slater is. He is a grown man whose fame is for acting like a spoiled little brat. Of course the impatient passenger on the flight was a spoiled little brat of the first order as well. But needless to say this man has gotten more than his share of attention and for what? Doing the wrong thing!!!

How bout FOXNews giving attention to those this week that paid the ultimate price for what; DOING THE RIGHT THING!!!

I missed your headline that spoke about  Army Pfc. Paul O. Cuzzupe II and his unit being hit with an IED. I also, missed the headline about Army Pfc. Bradley D. Rappuhn and Army Sgt. Andrew C. Nicol both members of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment whom died from another IED attack after they were supposed to be home. Their unit was extended another 45 days.

All three of these warriors perished the day before Slater’s tantrum. Yet 4 days and I can still find Slater on my FOXNews headlines, but no mention of  the above mentioned servicemen. What they did was news worthy! What Slater did was trashy!

Not only did these young men not make FOXNews.com headlines this week, they are not even buried in the depths of articles on the website. So much for fair and balanced News.

For those of you that would like some real news here are the links to 3 heroes that did the right thing;

Army Pfc. Paul O. Cuzzupe II – Honor the Fallen – MilitaryTimes.com.

Army Pfc. Bradley D. Rappuhn – Honor the Fallen – MilitaryTimes.com.

Army Sgt. Andrew C. Nicol – Honor the Fallen – MilitaryTimes.com.

Treason or Whistle-blowing. . . . . .

There is a lot of controversy over the posting on WikiLeaks of the ‘Afghan War Diary’ . The most focal of these arguments seems to be what to do with PVT Manning. The question that comes to my mind is, was he  looking for his 15 minutes of fame or was he ‘doing little evil to do greater good’? The only way to know for sure is to be inside the mind of PVT Manning. IF he was whistle-blowing, his method was not super smart, in all honesty if he was attempting to save lives then he should have secured the names of persons that he knowingly put at greater risk. Regardless of his initial intent, his final accomplishment seems to show a lack for compassion for the Afghan people and no loyalty or commitment to his fellow soldier. I have to wonder if maybe his reasoning got lost in the possibilities of being some kind of distorted hero.

Representative Mike Rogers (Rep. MI), has stated that if PVT Manning isn’t charged with treason, which carries a death sentence if found guilty, then he should be charged with murder. I think that Rep. Rogers need a couple law courses. According to the Constitution of the United States, treason against the United States consists only in levying war against the country/government, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. So to charge PVT Manning they would have to show that he gave aid to our enemy, now most that are against the accused will say that by releasing the information that he has aided the enemy. While that reach is certainly a factual argument, I would hope that the Supreme Court would be more cautious in its interpretation of the Constitution’s definition. If what PVT Manning did, unless certain malicious intent is confessed or proven, is considered as treason then a very dangerous precedent will have been set and the broadness of the definition will be too wide for well-intended individuals to work within.

As for the other charges of murder for the deaths of any Afghans or service-members, while hopefully PVT Manning understands the implication of leaving names visible in the documents and is willing to assume the moral responsibility for those deaths, it would be an investigative nightmare to prove a direct connection between PVT Manning and the deaths of any persons named in the “Afghan War Diary.” Furthermore, that connection will be required to properly convict PVT Manning of murder or even conspiracy to commit murder. Now if you want to look at something doable in the legal system, not with-standing the numerous charges under federal law and the UCMJ that he will face, you can certainly charge and probably convict him of reckless endangerment for each and every person named in the leaked documents. Under reckless endangerment you do not have to prove intent just that the actions of one placed another in danger of life or injury. There are other charges that could also be leveled against PVT Manning for the recklessness of his actions in regards to the Afghan people and service members stationed in the combat zone.

While, I feel that PVT Manning should be held completely accountable for his actions, the greater issue is just how a private in the United States Military was able to gain access, authorized or not, to such documents. These documents should not, at least in their full bodies, been in positions accessible to just anyone. The DOD and State Department may want to proclaim to the ends of the earth that those documents were not accessible, their publication on the Internet clearly show that not only were they accessible they were not even cleaned. Yes, whole original documents should be maintained in some form that is absolutely secure for thousands of reasons including protecting innocent lives and actions, not to jeopardize those same innocent lives and actions. As of today that is not the situation, but hopefully will be the primary focus of the intelligence arms of  both the State and Defense departments.

As a footnote, I find Julian Assange’s complete dismissal of allegations that innocent persons are now in greater danger with the release of these documents to be totally callous and ignorant. Of course every citizen of Afghanistan that is mentioned in the leaked documents that is still alive will be placed in greater danger now, not to mention the innocent family members of said individuals and that does include children. If Mr. Assange thinks that the insurgents do not use the internet to further their activities then he is either incredible stupid or he lives with his head stuck in the sand. In all honesty, I find Mr. Julian Assange to be negligent in his responsibilities to innocent citizens of the world by not having in place a review of submissions that insure that no innocent lives are  threatened. Had such a review been in place, the names could have been removed from the documents before their publication. That in no way would have distracted from the impact of information contained in the documents but would have proven to be of humane and moral responsible action.  If Julian Assange is fortunate he will never be on the receiving end of the danger that those Afghan citizens now find themselves, however if he does, at least in my direction, any pleas from him will fall on half deaf ears.

With Allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

17 February 2007

If you have not been paying close attention to world politics and activities then you may not be aware of the detrimental actions of two of our ‘best’ Muslim allies.  The end result will be that we will have a harder time achieving our goals in the region and insuring a secure existence for our country and her interests abroad.

There has been intelligence and rumors, as well as, covert actions by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, at least as far back as the mid ’90’s that should give a reason for pause when it comes to depending on these ‘allies’ to do their part to help defeat terrorism. Both countries independently have supported terror organizations and extremists views of Islam. Not only have these countries allowed extremist views and organizations to flourish within their borders, they have also funded and supported extremist and terror groups internationally.

The Saudi royals have long been known to provide moneys and other support to radical Islamic movements to help change the political climates of other countries. The facts are that Saudi Arabia produces a large number of international terrorists. Most of the suicide bombers in the GWOT have been of Saudi nationality. Not only were most of the 9/11 hijackers Saudi, but also based on which group you site, between 40% and 60% of the suicide bombers in the Iraqi Insurgency are Saudi. When the FBI arrested one of Al Qaeda’s top persons in Faisalabad, according to General Posner, he stated that his primary contacts in Saudi Arabia included three princes of the royal family. The irony of this revelation is that those three princes, as well as the named contact within the Pakistani government, all died within a very short time of the respective governments being notified of the information.

The U.S. was caught between a rock and a hard spot, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were needed to have any success in the GWOT, yet, the truth of the matter is that they are largely responsible for the enemies that we fight in that war. The choice was made by the U.S. that our need for these regional, strategic partners was greater than our ability to wage any effective attack against Afghanistan or Iraq without them.

So do we have control over these ‘allies’, and do they have any form of allegiance to us in this war? Our control or influence over these allies is more limited than we would like to imagine as can be seen in recent events between the two countries when Gen. Pervez Musharraf made a recent official visit to the Kingdom. This visit was a stop on a tour of 5 capitals in the region, but was of the most notice for what went on behind the scenes. The Pakistani President and the Saudi King meet in secret for 3 hours and then in a ceremony the King awarded Musharraf with the King Abdul Aziz Award. Also brokered in this visit was “an epic accord of 7 secret clauses on the terms in which Pakistan would make nuclear weapons available to, and sell, Saudi Arabia nuclear-capable missiles.”

We have the makings of some very precarious moments in the future. There is a common theory that the royal family and Gen. Pervez Musharraf walk political tightropes in their respective countries, yet if things continue globally down the road that they are on right now, it will be the United States that finds itself on an international tightrope without the proverbial safety net.