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Forum Post: Obama's killing spree

Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 4, 2012, 8:50 p.m. EST by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

For the second time in about a week, a study has been issued examining the terrible human costs of the drone wars being carried out and expanded under President Obama. Entitled "The Civilian Impact of Drones: Unexamined Costs, Unanswered Questions," the new report was issued on Oct. 1 by the Columbia Law School and the Center for Civilians in Conflict, and it constitutes another damning indictment of the policy using covert drone strikes to kill targets in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, much of which is personally overseen and approved by Barack Obama.

A major theme of the study is to debunk the notion of "precision" in drone strikes. It quotes Obama, for example, as describing drone strikes as "precise, precision strikes against Al Qaeda and their affiliates." There is no "precision" in either targetting before strikes, or in assessing casualities and damage after the fact, the study documents.

The Columbia study notes the difficulty in determining civilian casualties caused by drone strikes, but notes that the CIA and JSOC (the military's Joint Special Operations Command) have the same problem: the lack of active intelligence in areas where the U.S. does not have boots on the ground. In the Pakistan tribal areas, Yemen, and Somalia — the U.S. has little if any human intelligence, little signals intelligence (because of the low-technology environment), and a lot of drone video surveillance. But the latter is of limited value because of the inability to distinguish individuals on the ground, and the "soda straw" effect — a very narrow view, missing the wider picture. (For example, one drone operator targetted a truck thought to be full of "insurgents;" after the missile was fired, two young boys riding bicycles unexpectly appeared on the screen, and the drone operator could do nothing as he watched the missile kill the two boys as well as the "insurgents" on the truck.)

The Columbia report, in addition to detailing the harm to civilians caused by drone strikes, delves deeper into the legal implications of Obama's policy, and its flagrant violations of the laws of war and interational humanitarian law. It also does a more thorough analysis of the roles of the CIA and JSOC, and the different legal authorities under which they operate, but pointing out that they have become virtually indistinguishable in practice. As a number of observers have pointed out, JSOC, sometimes called "the President's army," has a particular fascination for Obama, and it is his favorite killing instrument.

The super-secret JSOC operates without any significant public scrutiny and it also evades Congressional oversight, the Columbia report notes (which may be why Obama loves it so much). JSOC, as Gen. Barry McCaffrey noted, is "a parallel universe." It operates in almost total secrecy, outside of the conventional military command structure and rules of engagement. And it maneuvers in the cracks, in-between Congressional oversight of either military operations, or intelligence operations. Many if not most of the drone strikes with high civilian casualties, often attributed to CIA, are actually carried out by JSOC.

There are many indications that drone strikes are actually increasing overall violence and contributing to anti-American sentiment. A number of studies have found that the effect of the drone strikes has been a radicalization of the population and increased recruiting by Al-Qaeda and related groups. A lawyer in Yemen said the following in a May tweet: "Dear Obama, when a US drone kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with al-Qaeda."


(Please note: this post is not and endorsement of Romney. Impeach Obama, then let Biden defeat Romney).



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[-] 1 points by scottyperey (2) 5 years ago

Great post, thanks! I have been following the drone issue very closely ever since Media Benjamin came through Eugene on her book tour.

By the way, she and many others are in Pakistan right now meeting with drone victims and families of drone victims and others who are protesting these crimes in their country.

There are some great inspiring reports of this event at this site: http://droneswatch.org/

Also, I don't know if you all heard about Apple rejecting the Drone+ app a month ago, but it was total BS. Here's an open letter I sent out to a wide variety of media regarding it:

Open Letter to Apple:

I have been using --- and promoting! --- your platform and your products in my capacity as a music instructor to hundreds of students and their families for over a decade. Now, your indefensible decision to disallow Josh Begley's "Drone+" app has resulted in my no longer being able to buy, support, or promote your products. Moreover, I will encourage my many friends, students, and other extensive connections in the spheres of both entertainment and education to consider following suit.

I take your decision as a personal slap in the face. I am passionately invested in educating as many of my fellow citizens as possible with regards to the illegal and outright murderous policies and devastation involving these "unmanned aerial vehicles" (UAVs). The drone warfare activities of the CIA are utterly horrendous, and if we are to believe that we are truly a nation of "values and morals" then the only reason that these strikes are tolerated is because of a lack of awareness on the part of the American populace as a result of a lack of information. Hence, the need for an app such as Mr. Begley's. This is an app that would have served my own current endeavors immensely in helping educate people everywhere about the impact of drone strikes as they occur and thereby highlighting the frequency of such a vile practice conducted in the name of US citizens. Words cannot convey how disheartened I was to hear that although the tracking app is now functional, it is being denied distribution as a result of extremely capricious judgement on the part of your company.

Secondly, and more fundamentally, I can no longer justify giving your company thousands upon thousands of dollars of my hard-earned money for all of these unending products and conveniences that you are developing, ostensibly to help me with my livelihood and my career and my hobbies and with every aspect of my life (as your ads are so eager to illustrate), now that I realize that at any moment some faceless Apple employee can take it upon themselves to nix something so critically important to my affairs on the revolving grounds of being ---what was it again? --- "technically flawed"... or rather "lacking in entertainment value"... or wait, now it's determined to be "objectionable content"?

Needless to say, your shifting rationale for not carrying the app is a bit hard to keep up with. Let me only say that it is the very "objectionable" essence of the illegal U.S. drone attacks themselves that people like Mr. Begeley and myself, among many others, are attempting to mitigate through our efforts to enlighten the public about these highly lucrative and deadly war machines that are ripping apart families and executing far more innocent civilians than those on the Administration's extrajudicial "kill-list."

Consider me a former loyal customer who is grievously offended. Accordingly, I am hereby pledging to not purchase another apple computer or iPhone or iPad or iANYTHING until you reverse this unconscionable decision to prohibit a very simple app based on a universally-available news aggregate, one that would be of great value in one of the areas my research is currently focused.

Most sincerely,

~scotty perey Eugene, Oregon


[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

Thanks, as you may know, drones are beginning to be used in America as well.

[-] 1 points by Skippy2 (485) 5 years ago

War criminal? Possible charges being prepared at the Hague. Be alert for announcement.

[-] 1 points by ericweiss (575) 5 years ago

dont believe MSM
believe larouche !