Obama Can’t and Won’t Explain Drone War Legality
The White House has announced it will not be sending anyone to officially stump for the thousands of overseas drone killings America has committed.
In fact, it appears the White House isn’t going to say or do anything at all about it except keep on drone striking, which shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to anyone paying attention, since they haven’t come clean about it yet.
In fact, America’s drone war is so much worse than the elephant in the room at this point, it should replace the phrase “elephant in the room”.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution subcommittee had scheduled a hearing to advance the goal of creating a transparent legal framework for drone use. However, the group specifically postponed it to give President Obama time to send someone down there who would attempt to explain exactly how the government’s use of drones to target and blow up ‘suspected terrorists’ overseas (and also blowing up thousands of innocent people including hundreds of children in the process) is ‘legal’.
The administration’s silence speaks volumes. Could such a failure to discuss it mean the White House finally figured out there is no way to make drone bombing suspected people legal by the standard definition?
The Senate Judiciary Committee might as well have asked Obama for a magical flying leprechaun. In fact, that might have been more plausibly produced.
The White House responded (sorta kinda):
“‘We do not currently plan to send a witness to this hearing and have remained in close contact with the committee about how we can best provide them the information they require,’” Caitlin Hayden, a National Security Council spokeswoman, wrote in an email to McClatchy Newspapers. She added that the White House would continue working with lawmakers ‘to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and the world.’”
Ms. National Security Council went so far as to use the phrase “even more transparent,” which this writer finds pretty hilarious considering this administration was never — and has never — been transparent in the first place, despite the widely celebrated 2008 campaign promise of more transparency, through the continued periodic promises of transparency, and right on to the latest promise at Obama’s last State of the Union address where he specifically promised to be transparent about the overseas drone strikes.
Actually, to show just how opposite of forthcoming this administration has been thus far on the government’s covert drone program, here’s Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitting that when he first took the job, they told him he had to pretend the program didn’t exist:
Gibbs even makes a Wizard of Oz ‘man-behind-the-curtain’ reference to make his point.
Nowhere is it okay to just kill people because the government says they are bad, no charge, no trial. Besides being merely suspected without any kind of true due process (but instead, in a process behind closed doors where President Obama discusses his “kill list” and picks and chooses who lives and dies judge-jury-execution style), the term ‘combatant’ is also nothing more than a piece of propaganda. The media likes to use the word combatant to make people feel better about the fact that the government is killing so many people so often, even though a combatant is actually every adult male in strike zone, as Glenn Greenwald reports:
Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
By that definition, a 95-year-old wheelchair-bound blind man who never even posed a threat could be officially be labeled a combatant.
While the Obama Administration literally refers to its drone program as “surgical,” The Atlantic points out this is indeed Orwellian propaganda. Why? Well, for starters, how about that one time when the U.S. dropped a bomb on an Afghanistani wedding that murdered 18 civilians including nine children? How’s that for precision? Other tactics include targeting funerals and ‘double tapping‘, a phrase used to describe bombing the same target multiple times so the first responders who show up to help after a strike are also killed.
A recently released report notes that the U.S. is actually violating international laws about harming children in war through its drone strike program.
On Wednesday this week, five people were killed and another seven injured in yet another U.S. drone strike; four people died in similar strike last Sunday. And the government just keeps drone striking and drone striking and drone striking…with no respect for the rest of the world and without even respecting the American people enough to admit it.
At a time when the likes of anti-Second Amendment crusader Senator Dianne Feinstein is casually discussing drone warfare breaking out over U.S. soil like it’s not even a big deal, it should at the very least concern the American public ever-so-slightly that our government won’t even admit to its all-too-obvious, completely-in-your-face, and totally-illegal drone war overseas.