Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Comparing Obama's Drone Bombing Campaign To Nixon's Bombing Of Cambodia And Laos

Barack Obama continuing an age-old American policy of bombing as many black and brown people as possible:

Last October I was at a jirga in Islamabad where 80 people from Waziristan had assembled to talk about the US Predator drones that buzz around overhead, periodically delivering death by Hellfire missile. A jirga is the traditional forum for discussing and resolving disputes, part parliament, part court of law. The turbaned tribal elders were joined by their young sons on a rare foray out of their region to meet outsiders and discuss the killing. The isolation of the Waziris is almost total – no western journalist has been to Miranshah for several years.

At our meeting I spoke as the representative westerner. I reported the CIA claim that not one single innocent civilian had been killed in over a year. I did not need to understand Pashtu to translate the snorts of derision when this claim was translated.

During the day I shook the hand of a 16-year-old kid from Waziristan named Tariq Aziz. One of his cousins had died in a missile strike, and he wanted to know what he could do to bring the truth to the west. At the Reprieve charity, we have a transparency project: importing cameras to the region to try to export the truth back out. Tariq wanted to take part, but I thought him too young.

Then, three days later, the CIA announced that it had eliminated "four militants". In truth there were only two victims: Tariq had been driving his 12-year-old cousin to their aunt's house when the Hellfire missile killed them both. This came just 24 hours after the CIA boasted of eliminating six other "militants" – actually, four chromite workers driving home from work. In both cases a local informant apparently tagged the car with a GPS monitor and lied to earn his fee.

Last week officials in the Obama administration talked to the New York Times about the "Secret Kill List" drawn up for drone assassinations. Democratic strategists in an election year calculate that the article will prove a vote-winner, dispelling any notion that Barack Obama is soft on terror. The administration voices wanted to leave the impression of an involved and committed president who reads Thomas Aquinas's theory of the "just war" in between personally vetting the kill list.


It is easy to understand how the CIA slaughtered Tariq and many other innocent victims. Those who press the Hellfire buttons are 8,000 miles away in Nevada and are dependent on local "intelligence". Just as with Guantánamo Bay, the CIA is paying bounties to those who will identify "terrorists". Five thousand dollars is an enormous sum for a Waziri informant, translating to perhaps £250,000 in London terms. The informant has a calculation to make: is it safer to place a GPS tag on the car of a truly dangerous terrorist, or to call down death on a Nobody (with the beginnings of a beard), reporting that he is a militant? Too many "militants" are just young men with stubble. At least 174 have been children.

The New York Times reports that Obama first embraced a policy of taking no prisoners in order to avoid the embarrassing sore of Guantánamo. Then he accepted a method for assessing casualties that "counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants" unless there is explicit posthumous proof of their innocence – because they are probably "up to no good".

While Obama's policies may go down a treat in the US, they are fomenting radicalism abroad, the very policy not only undermining our way of life but provoking an extremist hydra with many more heads.

Some sane voices penetrate the gloom. Starting last summer, Cameron Munter, Obama's ambassador to Islamabad, was required to give a thumbs up or down assessment of each drone attack on Pakistani turf, as if he were an emperor in the Colosseum. "He didn't realise his main job was to kill people," said a colleague. Munter is quitting his job early this month because his diplomatic mission has been rendered impossible.

The dearth of US domestic criticism is astounding. The last time a president indulged in an illegal bombing campaign in the sovereign territory of allies (Richard Nixon in 1969, in Cambodia and Laos), the policy nearly got included in the articles of impeachment. We should remember that history, as the Vietnamese capitalised on the backlash, helping to impose the genocidal Khmer Rouge on Cambodia, and a single-party regime that endures 40 years later in Laos.

Can you imagine if George W. Bush were engaging in this kind of slaughter?

How about if Nixon and Kissinger were engaging in it?

Or Reagan?

But this is the Nobel Peace Price Winning Barack Obama, so mostly what we get from the liberal left is silence on this, or worse, rationalization.

I'll say it again - Obama belongs in Gitmo with Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Yoo, et al.

These are evil people doing evil deeds for their own ends.

Obama hold a Terror Tuesday meeting each week and invites his political team to it.

Then they leak details of the meetings and how "cool and collected" Obama is while ordering these drone killings.

It's all a political calculation to sell Obama as a "strong leader".

So what if some 12 year olds are killed in the process.

They're just foreigners anyway.

Probably will grow up to be terrorists in any case.

Ah, the irony of Obama finally making a note how Trayvon Martin could have been his own son on the same weekend he orders U.S. drones to kill black and brown kids in Yemen and Pakistan.

These are truly, truly evil people, no better than the war criminals in the Nixon, Reagan or Bush administrations.


  1. All I can say is Thank God that Bloomberg,Walcott and Kelly have not yet taken this power (private army,atbp.) upon themselves to use on NYC teachers and cops with a conscience who decline to participate in their "data-driven" statistical fraud.
    Cops have to deal with the "Rat Squad", and teachers with timein the "Rubber Room" or its unnamed successor.Time to get Popeye and "The Midget" ready for their Perp Walks!

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