Posts Tagged ‘drones’

The text “And if so many great men and women could wear our country’s uniform and sacrifice their lives for our most fundamental rights…” is taken from Michelle Obama’s speech. The village ruins shown is a house targeted by a US drone strike in an area of northwestern Pakistan on March 16, 2009. (**).

When I read & listen to the speech of Michelle Obama on the Democratic Convention yesterday, I am moved to tears… but in my mind’s eye this imagery pops up at the same time and quells my flow of tears… Obama’s care for “fundamental rights” has been also the ‘normalisation of extrajudicial murder’ by remote controlled drones killing in both Afghanistan and Pakistan real, supposed and non-Taliban civilians, all alike, with high technological precision.

No “fundamental rights” for these people, subjected to the professionalism of “great men and women” in USA army uniforms…

It was Obama running for the presidency who promised to put an end to the non-legal ways of fighting terrorism of his predecessor, but in the place of torturing prisoners in the ‘concentration camp of Guantánamo’ under Bush we are facing now high tech liquidation without any due process of law… with hit-lists signed by Obama.

Will Romney do different? He certainly will not, maybe worse, or just the same.

The speech of Michelle Obama is moving many to tears… in the NY Times video we have frequent zoom in’s on faces in the public with both men and women that finger away tears from their faces.

How long will it take before the idea of this kind of ‘exceptional’ chosen guardianship of American Dreamers (*) will be over and people in the USA start to see themselves through the eyes and tears of ‘non-Americans’, ‘the others’?

It will surely make the world more equalitarian and possibly better.

(*) From the last passage of Michelle Obama’s speech (19:10 and further) which the NY Times gave the header “American Exceptionalism”:

… in the end, more than anything else, that is the story of this country, the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle

…that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it

Thank you. God bless you. God bless America

(**)  Iranian Press Agency Press TV reporting : “US assassination drone strikes kill 14 Pakistanis in 24 hours” (non Western-allied countries reporting on Afghanistan can be an important source of information.

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Summary Execution 2012 – 1968.. long distance versus close range killing on the spot without any trial… are we as shocked by the killing drones of today as back in time during the Vietnam War, with the Chief of the South Vietnam Police General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a handcuffed Vietcong prisoner, Nguyen Van Lem in the street in Saigon in front of an NBC camera man and an Associated Press photographer?

Is high tech killing of a whole area, building or car with “precise” rockets experienced as somewhat more acceptable than a close range shot in the head?

Tableau made after reading in The Guardian yet another story of the use of drones to kill adversaries without any form of trial: “William Hague questioned over British role in drone strikes” (Lawyers for Noor Khan, whose father died in Pakistan strike, want clarification of British intelligence’s role in CIA campaign).

There has been much debate in its time about the picture – I know –  Eddie Adams (the photographer in 1968) later wrote in Time:

“ The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths … What the photograph didn’t say was, ‘What would you do if you were the general at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American soldiers?

… such discussions we still have today, think about the execution of Bin Laden without trial, or do we believe he felt in combat?

(See my article “NATO’s collateral tyrannicide” 7 May 2011 in OpenDemocracy.)

Human Right Watch has a recent report and statement on drones dated December 19th. 2011.

Members of the Abida tribe point to a drone aircraft flying over Wadi Abida, Yemen on October 13, 2010. (click on picture to go to Human Right Watch drone page)


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