Thursday, August 25, 2016

Obama's guaranteed legacy: Droning the shit out of brown people

Consider this:
Our Peace Prize president has now been at war longer than any other American president, and has overseen the use of military force in seven countries—Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. In the latter four countries, virtually all the force has come in the form of unmanned drones executing suspected terrorists said to be linked to al-Qaeda or its “associated forces.”
That an antiwar president has found the drone so tempting ought to be a warning sign.
Here is the scariest aspect of this war legacy--neither major party candidate will scale this back!

The killing of people in other countries--sometimes even US citizens--without the politically hot "putting boots on the ground" is one awful, awful direction in which Obama has led as the commander-in-chief.

I have blogged about this plenty of times before (like here and here) and other than the peace-loving greenies in the Democratic coalition, most of the Democrats don't seem to care.

Further, this is not a legacy that Obama leaves behind merely for his successor.
Other countries are unlikely to be reticent about resort to unmanned aerial warfare to “solve” problems beyond their borders. Already, Israel, the United Kingdom, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan have joined the US in deploying armed drones. China is selling them at a list price of only $1 million. In short order, most of the developed world will have them. And when other nations look for precedents, Obama’s record will be Exhibit A.
What an atrocity!

Of course, when it comes to drone-killings, there is practically a bipartisan unanimity.  On the other hand, try talking to the esteemed politicians about potentially helping the homeless and they will throw you out!
The question for President Obama is whether he wants to be remembered as the leader who ushered in the era of permanent, low-level drone warfare. His actions will be looked to for justification by those that follow, here and abroad. As Daniel Reisner, former head of the Israel Defense Forces legal department, has said, “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it…. International law progresses through violations.”
I suppose we have reached a point of no return as far as war and killings are concerned.    Obama's legacy "will be as the Nobel Peace Prize winner who pioneered a dramatically dangerous and ethically dubious form of warfare."

Meanwhile, a lengthy essay in the Atlantic, "Is America any safer?" the author concludes:
As Trump’s hard-line rhetoric about the president being weak on terrorism demonstrates, Obama and anyone who follows him and tries to continue on that path will be an easy target for opponents who will claim that transforming homeland security from the fantasy of never-again prevention to a combination of prevention and mitigation and recovery is throwing in the towel.
That this is still a debate in an election season 15 years after the 9/11 attacks is evidence that although we’ve made progress, we’re still a long way from adjusting—politically and psychically—to this new normal, where, unlike during the Cold War, there is no relying on deterrence for protection.
The droner-in-chief is labeled "weak" on terrorism!  Which only further confirms George Carlin satirical comment that we like war :(

2 comments:

Ramesh said...

Yes, you have argued passionately against the use of drones to kill people. The US using this liberally outside its borders is clearly morally repugnant. Obama must take his share of blame for using this extensively. But I would argue you should also give him credit for not going into a full scale war in the very same countries you have listed. Every other US President has gleefully gone to war with far greater causalities. His successor (either of them) will be far more interventionist than he has been.

War is the greatest of evils that afflicts man. What is Basher al Assad fighting for. His country is completely shattered. The people are in the worst form of human existence possible. What really does he hope to gain ? Even if he wins, what is he going to be left with ? How can he even call himself human ?

Sriram Khé said...

Nope, I don't care to give Obama any credit for vastly expanding the drone-based killing of people in other countries.
1. Unlike a war, this happens practically only in the background. In the shadows. There is no public accounting of what is going on.
2. It is disgusting that the President has to sign off on a "kill list." Remember those news reports on how the President decides on who gets to die?
3. KIlling suspected terrorists (and civilians) is a neat way to get away from the complications like Guantanamo. After all, isn't the Gitmo problem because we have suspected and real terrorists who are alive? Dead men, on the other hand, tell no tales. Killing, thus, eliminates the political reality too.
4. Drone-based killing has not eliminated the real problems--whether it is Assad or ISIS or whatever. In fact, the drone-killing becomes a recruitment poster for the pissed off to sign up for more violence.

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