Recently, President Obama responded to allegations by members of the Republican Party, notably Sen. John McCain, that his administration is responsible for leaks of classified information. Fueled by a recent article in the New York Times and a forthcoming book Kill or Capture, both sides are involved in petty attempts to detract from the true matter at hand, the information contained within the leaked documents.
First off, we already know Republicans and Democrats alike, in government, agree on the policies of drone strikes, kill lists, and egregious acts against Iran in collaboration with Israel. So when it comes to using potential bombshells that shed light on the hypocrisy of the United States’ rhetoric–supposed values–and exposing the United States for what it is, a monstrous war machine, both ruling parties take stances that serve only to conceal that which has been uncovered.
Republicans achieved this through John McCain, first, by claiming that the Obama White House was actually the source of the leaks “for political purposes.” What McCain was attempting to say was that the information leaked is favorable to the president during this election year. Stating that the information is beneficial to Obama is directly approving of all detailed information that could be viewed as negative by those outside the U.S. intelligence circles. This changes the dialogue from “look what’s been revealed” to “U.S. foreign policy is sound, great, and right.” In other words, the U.S. Senator from Arizona created a message for the media to broadcast that said, “The White House should not have exposed the greatness of U.S. foreign policy by leaking classified information.” This is not a denouncement of atrocious drone attacks that kill undeserving human beings, but an attempt to make the case that doing so is something much needed.
Sen. McCain stated, “It makes the president look very decisive,” as if being decisive is an asset or noble act when it comes to killing U.S. citizens without “due process” or striking a village where many of the casualties are sure to be people simply living normal lives trying to get by. The case can be made that former president George W. Bush was very decisive in his choosing to invade both Iraq and Afghanistan. Were those acts of being very decisive conducive to improving United States’ relations with the rest of the world or to promoting the ideas of peace and freedom? If voters believe that being able to decide who and how many people to kill is commendable, they should have no problem siding with women who drown their children by driving into bodies of water, men who slaughter slews of people for sport, and others who go on shooting rampages at schools and workplaces. They could even go as far as supporting the same dictators and regimes they claim to oppose–such as Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and even the supposed terrorists and militants whom they believe are very decisive when it comes to killing others and even themselves.
After the old guy who chose Sarah Palin as a running mate in his bid for the presidency successfully shifted the conversation from what was entailed in the leaks, the Obama administration doubled down on the distraction tactic–as usual. As with any other leak of classified documents that casts light on U.S. atrocities and disregard for international law, its own law and constitution, and human rights and life, the top administration attempts to make those who expose the truth of the aforementioned villains, while the leaked documents reveal who the actual villains are. Instead of taking a stance to reign in true corruption in the form of changing course from inhumanely murking men, women, and children–including American citizens–President Obama chose to focus on cracking down on people who allow for these atrocities to come to the surface for public display. It takes some special kind of person to say that the villains in this case are the ones who shed light, while the heroes are the ones who perpetuate such acts and attempt to keep them secret. Isn’t it usually the molesters/rapists and others involved in despicable or questionable acts who are most adamant about keeping those details under wraps? Isn’t it those who are involved in great acts of humanity the people who openly share with the world the practices of which they are involved?
In a press conference Friday, June 8, 2012, Barack Obama responded to allegations that the leaks were intentional to bolster his foreign policy record:
Now, this is the same man who shimmied into the White House by claiming that he would be the “change” the nation needed to move from Bush’s policies of warmongering, torture, and secrecy. His administration was supposed to be a beacon of hope for the causes of peace and human rights. While claiming to put an end to Bush-era wars, Barack Obama has made a new form of war the hallmark of U.S. foreign policy. The old idea of war–having troops on the ground–is still pretty prevalent among Americans. What everyone must realize is the Obama administration is transitioning to a new model. While everyone has it stuck in their minds that war is troops in gear shooting each other, the administration successfully continues to wage war in a fashion many do not conceive of as war. While U.S. troops may be out of Iraq (somewhat) and may be leaving Afghanistan (questionable), the United States is actually killing people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other places. That is exactly what war is–killing some perceived enemy by an outside nation. There is no need for troops on the ground to wage a war on a people in this age of technology. Today, it is done by remote-controlled killing machines called drones. So, Obama has not ended “the wars”; he has expanded them into different countries and into another continent under disguise.
While on the campaign trail years back, Barack Obama stated that he would “end the use of torture without exception,” essentially eliminating tactics prominent under George W. Bush’s administration. It is obvious that the U.S. has not ended its torturing practices, but let’s–for a moment–suggest that Barack Obama has stopped all instances of torture by the United States against alleged terrorists. Now that Obama has achieved this extraordinary feat, we can take a look at how it was done. Instead of capturing supposed terrorists and holding them at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp or other detention facilities notorious for torture and murder, the U.S. simply drops a missile via drones. Since taking office, the Obama administration’s use of drones have dwarfed that of former president Bush. If people simply suspected of being a terrorist are killed, there is no possible way U.S. authorities can torture them! The problem is that there is no way to prove that suspected terrorists were actually involved in any activity that would warrant death under international law. Being dead, there is no need for a trial, so the assassination target has no chance of disputing claims made against him by members of the United States’ vast intelligence community or someone who reported them allegedly being involved in acts warmongers use to justify killing people.
While some may argue that “due process” is only allotted to American citizens–which is a ridiculous argument from anyone who claims to be on the side of human rights to life and liberty–even American citizens are targets of U.S. drone strikes. The leaked documents show that the Obama “kill list” contains many American citizens. Keep in mind, no one makes it on the list as a definite target unless it is signed off by President Obama personally. This means that United States citizens are denied “due process” as guaranteed under the 5th Amendment of The United States Constitution. The 5th Amendment states that no one shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” If “due process of law” is characterized by a secret meeting of top government officials, that deems the courts null and void and “due process” nonexistent. An administration with an agenda–and, they all have agendas–unilaterally deciding to kill its citizens is specifically denying its citizens due process.
The “kill list” not only contains American citizens the Obama Administration intends to kill; it, also, contains American citizens who have already been killed by drone strikes, notably Anwar al-Awlaki. On September 30, 2011, U.S. forces killed al-Awlaki along with another American citizen, Samir Khan. But, they didn’t stop there. Two weeks later, Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, an American citizen born in Denver, Co. was killed while attending a barbeque. The only justification that was ever provided for the killing of these U.S. citizens was that they were suspected and that top officials agreed that they should be killed. Thus, killing American citizens without due process is not a theory of the distant future, it is happening now, which makes it something we all should be fighting against.
Listen to Leon Panetta’s effort at making sense of non-sense:
I find it sad that many people who claim to stand for human rights and rights of American citizens fall in line with policies and practices that are contradictory to those supposed values. Even Glenn Beck seems to have somewhat of a grasp on reality concerning a drone attacks & kill lists, at least in the following video. If someone as mentally-challenged as Beck can make a reasonable case against policies contrary to proclaimed American values, surely can others who do not have posses Beck’s frequent mental blocks.
In addition to the hypocrisy and appalling conduct of the United States in the recent revelations, it is well known that many, many innocent people have been killed along with people simply suspected of wrong-doing. If you believe that dropping drones on suspects abroad including American citizens is fine and dandy, how do you justify killing those who are suspected of nothing but living or traveling in a region the United States bombs far from any battlefield?
While everyone is hollering about how the Obama administration leaked documents, or how the administration launched an investigation to find those responsible, take a step back and think about the major issues at hand. When those who benefit from the existence of an ever-growing war machine sing together the song of “leaks put American lives at risk”, focus on what the leaks show. The information details how American lives are at risk because of practices by its own government. Americans are on kill lists created by individuals and institutions who have a proven record of killing. The kill list IS what puts American lives at risk! Take a look at the many drone strikes that impact the lives of everyday people who have no involvement with any illegitimate war–people who are trying to get by just the way you are. Talk about the drone strikes in nations the United States is supposedly not at war with.
Who investigates the investigators? Why are the ones investigating the leakers of information the same ones involved in what’s described in the leaks? This whole debacle should have little to do with who you want to vote for or who put the information out. It is about gross acts from the highest levels of government hellbent on causing destruction to human lives. It is about a government reneging on its promises of civil rights and civil liberties. Presidential candidate Barack Obama promised transparency. His administration tried to keep the wool over our eyes after WikiLeaks’ dump of documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. After these recent leaks, they are attempting to distract us from seeing what our own government is doing in our names. And it’s not just the Obama administration and Democrats. Barack Obama, his administration, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and all who fight to keep such information a secret–or agree with the policies revealed–are all complicit in death and destruction of human life, and thus society and humanity as a whole.
New York Times: Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will