Sunday, July 12, 2009

Obama’s Poignant Moment

The Afghanistan War is well under way complete with surges in troops and surges in drone strikes in Pakistan. By fall of this year there will be 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. By the year 2011 the number of troops is to be an estimated 85,000 to 135,000. Meanwhile in Pakistan the U.S. has been surging killer drone attacks even as they talk of reducing civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

After reading some articles on the U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan recently I have noticed that not much is being said regarding civilian deaths which strikes me as rather curious since one result of the use of drones is a high rate of civilian deaths but the news reports mention only that “militants” have been killed. This phenomenon of drone strikes suddenly becoming devoid of civilian deaths may have something to do with the fact that the drone operation is run by the CIA who take their orders from Obama, basically are his private army, and that they aren’t talking about the number of civilian deaths.


WASHINGTON, Jun 12 (IPS) - The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s refusal to share with other agencies even the most basic data on the bombing attacks by remote-controlled unmanned predator drones in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, combined with recent revelations that CIA operatives have been paying Pakistanis to identify the targets, suggests that managers of the drone attacks programmes have been using the total secrecy surrounding the programme to hide abuses and high civilian casualties.

Intelligence analysts have been unable to obtain either the list of military targets of the drone strikes or the actual results in terms of al Qaeda or civilians killed, according to a Washington source familiar with internal discussion of the drone strike programme. The source insisted on not being identified because of the extreme sensitivity of the issue.

"They can’t find out anything about the programme," the source told IPS. That has made it impossible for other government agencies to judge its real consequences, according to the source.

Since early 2009, Barack Obama administration officials have been claiming that the predator attacks in Pakistan have killed nine of 20 top al Qaeda officials, but they have refused to disclose how many civilians have been killed in the strikes.

In April, The News, a newspaper in Lahore, Pakistan, published figures provided by Pakistani officials indicating that 687 civilians have been killed along with 14 al Qaeda leaders in some 60 drone strikes since January 2008 – just over 50 civilians killed for every al Qaeda leader.

A paper published this week by the influential pro-military Centre for a New American Security (CNAS) criticising the Obama administration’s use of drone attacks in Pakistan says U.S. officials "vehemently dispute" the Pakistani figures but offers no further data on the programme.

No wonder Obama would prefer keeping the murder of so many civilians a secret. Obviously Obama considers the price to be worth the cost in innocent human life even while he reflects on the evil that men do. While visiting the slave fortress of Cape Coast Castle he had the following to say.


Later, on a spot overlooking the ocean, Obama spoke of being deeply moved by the experience that reminded him of visiting Nazi concentration camps. "It is reminiscent of the trip that I took to Buchenwald. It reminds us of the capacity of human beings to commit great evil," he said, adding that he had been especially struck by the seeemingly incongruous presence of a church near the slave dungeons. "Sometimes we can tolerate and stand by great evil even as we think we are doing good," he said.

I’m almost positive that when Obama spoke of tolerating great evil while doing good that the faces of the 687 murdered Afghan civilians were passing before his soulful eyes, a parade of victims sacrificed for the greater good of another noble U.S. enterprise. Fifty innocent lives snuffed out for every single “militant” just shows how committed Americans are to justice. Yes, I’m convinced it must have been a very poignant moment for Obama.


At July 12, 2009 6:37 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

I realize you are being ironic, but I want to note that the human capacity for compartmentalization being what it is, I don't think it's a given that he feels anything.

Maybe he rationalizes, says that it's their fault for "harboring militants."

Or maybe he tells himself he needs to kill Afghans to pass healthcare reform, because otherwise so-called moderate dems won't get on board, so it's a numbers game.

Who knows.

At July 12, 2009 7:18 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

That’s me, ironic. Agreed that the most likely scenario is Obama felt nothing. Though for certain, ironic as I am, I cannot look into Obama’s eyes to see his soul like W. Bush could. I doubt if he writes his own speeches any way. His speeches aren’t particularly good ones either.

I think the compartmentalized thinking is likely a candidate as any for Obama’s apparent blind spot though perhaps he is just another cynical national leader and doesn’t believe in his own words. Or perhaps some combination of the two.

Meanwhile Obama provides much fodder for the sarcastic abuse of his endless hypocrisy. Reading about his adventures abroad where he lectures everyone on how to live up to our standards is nauseating if not embarrassing. Africa probably contains some of the most destitute nations on the planet, a plight resulting from years of Western colonialism which makes Obama’s lecturing all the more insufferable.


Post a Comment

<< Home